Flutterby™! : Toys

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2005-12-05 15:49:13.409068+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Part of the wackiness of our life has been that, along with the houseguests who stayed on our deck most of the summer, Charlene recently regained contact with her developmentally disabled brother under less than optimal circumstances. She essentially raised him for the first 7 years of his life, and attributes some of her affinity for her job, aiding special education students, to that experience.

And he's really a sweet guy. If there's a frustration with him it's that he finds so much of life fascinating and inspiring, and often feels it necessary to share the discoveries that make it so with you. Even if, in fact, you were the one who just showed him how cool something was: "Hey, Alan, take a look at this. Isn't it neat?" Alan looks, is momentarily distracted so that I can get on to the next task on my list, and then interrupts with "Dan, you have to come see this!"

So with the fact that Charlene now can have semi-regular contact with him again, it means one more person to find holiday gifts for.

Alan loves red vehicles. When we took him clothes shopping we rewarded him with a trip through the toy aisle, and he really wanted a fire truck. Which, surprisingly, they didn't really have.

So we've gone looking for a fire truck. Tonka is now a Hasbro company, and the best of their fire trucks is this cheap plastic thing with a sound "feature".

Ertl has some cool fire trucks although mostly vintage rather than modern, but that line appears to be in their custom "we'll put your logo on this for a 2,500 unit minimum order" category.

Community Playthings has a number of wooden vehicles, including this solid maple fire engine for $102, but aside from the price it seemed a little abstract (you can't say "he has the abilities of an N year old", because some bits are and some bits aren't) and there was no way I was going to paint that beautiful block of wood fire engine red.

After a short time pondering this, Charlene and I decided that the best option would be to build one. In fact, we could make it bolt together, give him a ratchet and an adjustable wrench and let him do final assembly himself. And we're pretty sure he'd love tools. So we went to the hardware store, and... well... photos and drawings for building your own rugged wood fire engine with extendable ladder will be following shortly.

But in the mean-time I also asked the hiking group for leads, and Lisa suggested a few vendors who carry higher quality toys: Hearth Song, Back To Basics Toys, and The Handmade Homemade Toy Shop Catalog, which has a 3d wood fire engine puzzle that's a bit pricey, but is something I'll consider down the road.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Dan's Life Nature and environment Toys Handicaps & Disabilities ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-05 20:04:09.216854+00 by: Nancy

Mike and I were in Hendersonville, NC a couple years ago and found "Dad's Cats" which had an amazing collection of diecast toys. I couldn't find a website for them. Mike might remember more.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-05 20:27:19.282086+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think that would be this site. There are also toys available on eBay, and while we appreciate that he's not going to grow out of these toys I'm also loathe to pay collectors prices. Some of those toys at Dad's Cats are reasonably priced (although on many of those I'm seeing "sorry, this item has sold out and price has appreciated considerably"), but... well... I'm thinking that he's probably not going to properly appreciate a $500 front loader. Although I might.

#Comment Re: Toys made: 2005-12-08 23:31:56.978224+00 by: Akylina

Never forgot to consider hand made wood toys. There's just something about a toy made from natural products by an artisan.


#Comment Re: [Entry #8409] Re: Toys made: 2005-12-09 00:26:02.457122+00 by: Unknown, from NNTP

Akylina <prefersanonymity_1027@flutterby.com> writes:

>    Never forgot to consider hand made wood toys. There's just something
>    about a toy made from natural products by an artisan.

things to love about flutterby #479: i had to stop for a moment and ponder before remembering that this was the 'fire engine' conversation, not an 'adult accessory' conversation...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-09 00:43:34.702169+00 by: Diane Reese

Would something like this work?

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-09 02:51:25.421044+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oooh. Pretty. We're going modern, but that one might be totally apropos if we get him to the context (a parade or a museum) in which it'd mean something to him.