I know Christmas feels like an age ago already, but I couldn't pass up the chance to show you the present we got for Teddy. We've literally never bought him a birthday or Christmas present (hey, the kid has a lot of grandparents, what with all our parents being divorced and remarried. He doesn't do too badly), but decided that this was the year to treat him.
I searched and searched for a cheaper alternative to this Ostheimer farmhouse, but nothing really jumped out at me like this one did, and after seeing Amanda mention that it was the most played with out of her family's toy houses/farms/caravans, I just couldn't resist. We only splashed out on just a couple of Ostheimer farm animals (which are just lovely, really robust), but luckily my dad and step mother got wind of the imminent arrival of the farm and bought Teddy a rather fantastic herd of wooden animals, including pigs, chickens, ducks, cows and sheep (which are both named, despite my repeated corrections, "sheepdog"). The horse has been christened Freddie (Teddy was rather struck by a friend's horse of the same name. I think he's quite pleased to have a Freddie of his own).
A few weeks on, the farm is being played with pretty much all day, every day, and has been declared a roaring success by everyone in this household. As well as farmhouse, it has done duty as a train station, dinosaur museum (or possibly dinosaur tearoom. I remain unsure), garage, hiding place for satsumas (Teddy has a small addiction) and construction lesson (love the way it can be taken apart so easily by little people without fear of damage to either party).
I'm making a real effort this year (and beyond) to give Teddy (and the baby) more toys like this, which can fulfil one purpose, but aren't restrictive in the sense of only having one 'thing' that they do, as so many commercially made toys seem to. I've read a couple of times about such non-restrictive toys being great for stimulating their imagination and after seeing Teddy playing with this for a couple of weeks, I'm inclined to agree.
Can you tell I love it? The quality is amazing - solid but not too heavy. And having toys made of natural materials is just lovely beyond words for me, and Teddy seems to agree (fortunately). For anyone considering contemplating a splash-out toy, I really can't recommend this highly enough, and I hope to see it cluttering up our living room for years and years to come.
Oh, and do you see the bowl next to Adam's head in the second picture? Teddy painted it at a local pottery place where you can decorate a whole range of items and get them fired - I highly recommend it as a rainy-day activity with toddlers if you have one near you. Not the cheapest in the world, but at least you get something pleasing from it (assuming toddler paint splatters on a bowl are your idea of pleasing).