Water & Lightning | Nature-Inspired Handmade Wooden Toy


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We didn’t have official resolutions this year but what I do have might be an unpopular wish for my children.

I wish to raise a wild child.  

Barring completely failing out of school, I don’t strive for my child to have the highest grades. I want my children to be free-thinkers, to be tinkerers, adventurous in their creations and inventions.

On New Year’s Day, in below zero weather, the boys and I got dressed and went to a nearby park. It has been our annual tradition to go to a nature area of some kind to start the new year. I’m glad the kids are still at an age where they are not complaining too much about going outdoors in freezing weather. Perhaps we have been doing this often enough that it’s been indoctrinated into their minds. Success!

During our new year’s day walk N climbs a fallen tree and slides down it multiple times. He says to me, “Mommy, look, it’s nature’s playground!” I hope his sense of awe and appreciation and ability to play like this lasts forever. My eldest, L, meanwhile has found a log and is carrying it on his shoulders in front of me. Later, we find some rocks and see how far we can throw them across the frozen pond. I can still hear the traffic on the road nearby, but for that moment, we are in our own world.

If the first day of the year is any indication of what 2018 will be for us, it will be a good year.

Erna BarenioComment
Alway dip your toes but don't forget the boots.

Noah and Lukas' Guide to Make Hiking Fun - Tip #2

Noah learned this lesson the hard way. We were on a late winter hike, made the mistake of not having him wear his waterproof boots. There was a semi-frozen puddle. What child could resist a puddle? However, this was a lesson he has never forgotten. Always bring a change of clothes, including socks and shoes. If there is a possibility of rain or snow, better to get that waterproof gear on. Proper clothing = comfort = a good time hiking.

Find a rock that you can climb

Noah and Lukas' Guide to Make Hiking Fun - Tip #1

It is so important to give our kids a chance to have fun on hikes. It should not just be about getting through a trail, or getting to that “magnificent view” on the hike. For kids, it will just be a chore if the only point is the destination. We have to allow for kids to explore that cool rock along the way or walk across that fallen log. It’s important to notice everything along the path and experience all we see. So don’t rush them along. With kids especially, allow for time to stop along the way and observe the joy they will feel when they do find that awesome climb-able rock.

Brian BarenioComment
Come play with us!

We have too much stuff. There is a constant battle in our household over toys that sit in the closet and the ones that they play with over and over. This battle involves me wanting to clear that closet and my boys need to keep just in case they want to play with it one day.

The toys that tend to survive my regular purges don’t have any particular theme to them - except for one. They are toys that have many uses and allow for many possibilities.

There was a lack of open-ended toys when our boys were much younger. Even the blocks were meant to be stacked a certain order. There were many battery operated toys, puzzles, or trains with tracks that were meant to do just that one thing. Our boys almost never “followed the instructions” with these toys. Almost never did they play with the toys as they were meant.

We have always wanted our boys to have memorable play experiences - indoors or out. But it is difficult to stick to that considering the choices we had in the toy market place. We’ve learned that simplicity is key. Buy less, play more is our intention and challenge to ourselves as parents.

Over the years, we’ve found that our kids just thrive being outdoors as well. As adults, being outdoors in our local nature areas reminds us of our own childhood. We are constantly reminded of the connection between play, nature and imagination.

We launched Water and Lightning in the hopes that we can provide toys that have no rules. Toys that provide the kind of play that is only limited by the range of your child’s imagination. Our pebbles, sticks and stones are our simple and humble invitation to play.

Come play with us!

Brian BarenioComment