Monday, June 06, 2016


I am packing Froebel's gifts to send to my publisher for photography and realized I was out of gift numbers 3 and 4 in nailed boxes. So that meant I needed to quickly make more. In that I am reminded of boxes I saw in the museum at Trondheim, and that while many Froebel gifts were made by manufacturers in Germany and the US, in Scandinavia, they were likely made by village craftsmen or by the parents themselves who would be no strangers to the woodworking art.

While in the US and many other nations, Kindergartens became crowded with as many as 30 children or more in a class, in smaller villages of Norway and Sweden, Kindergartens remained much more like what Froebel may have intended and offered in his own village.

In Making Toys that Teach, it is my hope that parents will make what is needed for their own children, and in the process, fall in love with building beautiful and useful things.

When my wife and I went to the Trondelag/Sveresborg Folk Museum in Trondheim, we rode the bus to get there along with a Kindergarten class on its way to the museum. There were about 10-12 children and three adults, a much better ratio of teachers to students than you would find in the US.

Still to complete on this box will be sanding corners, sanding the edges of the blocks themselves, and stamping the number 3 in the lid. Once the material is prepared (in this case white pine) it takes only minutes to make a box and blocks and so why buy what you can make so easily for yourself. That calls to mind one of the basic principles of the wisdom of our hands. When we buy something we've invested in development (economic and intellectual) elsewhere. When we make something, we've invested skills and intellectual development in ourselves.

I have also been preparing materials and supplies for my classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

Make, fix, create, and offer to others the gift of learning likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Great info! I admit, this is a bit late of a response but I stumbled onto this article just today – definitely going into my bookmarks section. Thanks for sharing the info!