The Treebeard Story
The Boredom came when our guard was down, ensnaring our children behind countless hypnotic screens. Distracted, we didn’t even feel its presence until it was too late, and the horizons were littered with cheap plastic toys. Our sense of wonder was all but lost. I knew the Boredom couldn’t be vanquished alone, and would require all the imagination, engagement, and adventure I possessed to be slain. I rallied the help of the whole family. We gathered our tools and set to work: day after day, we dreamed and played, sketched and crafted, tinkered and refined. From our struggle emerged the Sparrow, the first Treebeard toy.
It was a spell-bindingly beautiful toy. An elegant design, sturdy enough to be passed down from sibling to sibling, generation to generation. Built locally out of the highest quality materials, and versatile enough to be used in endless ways. This was the tool we needed to vanquish the Boredom at last. We were adventuring together as a family again and felt our creativity and imagination flourish.
We are Treebeard Toys, and we invite you to join us on our adventure!
Open-ended play is a type of play where no guidelines are established by a parental figure, and children have free reign to follow their own interests, or guide playtime wherever their imagination takes them. Toys and games for open-ended play have no right or wrong way to play with them, and studies have shown this kind of play drastically enhances children’s confidence, creativity, emotional intelligence, academic scores, social skills, and so much more.
Unstructured play creates a safe space for children to “try out” emotions and “rehearse'' real-life situations. When children have this kind of control, they build essential life-long skills such as critical thinking, risk assessment, resourcefulness, and self control.
I feel the main difference between traditional play and unstructured play lies in the underlying motivations of why you are engaging in the past-time. Traditional play attempts to entertain/distract your child, whereas open-ended play engages your child and allows them to fully immerse themselves in play. For example, how familiar does the following story sound?
One day I looked up and realized that I (and society at large for that matter) was focusing on distracting my children. Every holiday, the boys would get countless video games and a mountain of plastic toys with enough flashing lights they required warnings for anyone with epilepsy, and enough bells and whistles to cause a headache after five minutes of play time. The worst thing by far though was that these toys/electronics weren’t just loud and annoying, but were actually detrimental to playtime! Oh, my kids were certainly distracted for a short time and I was grateful for that, but it came with a mountain of post-playtime problems such as; constant meltdowns, a reluctance to use their imaginations or creativity, fights, boredom, an aversion to playing outdoors, and trouble regulating and controlling their emotions. Our family was losing its sense of play, and the toys they were being provided with were inadvertently getting us farther and farther away from the open-ended, adventurous playtime we desperately needed.
Many busy families face these same problems, and I personally know how easy it is to fall into the trap of distracting kids. However, I realized it was my responsibility as a parent to start actively cultivating play with my family, and not treating it as an afterthought. I started listening to my kids intently, and watched how they played together and by themselves. I started building high-quality, beautiful toys, tailored specifically to their developmental needs, and began using them as a tool to foster open-ended play.
The transformation in my boys, as well as our whole family, was nothing short of miraculous. They were suddenly preferring playing outside over video games. They were engaged with the moment and with each other. They were creating entire worlds through the lens of my toys, and even viewing difficult tasks with lightness-of-heart, and humor. We discovered a new way of being where play and laughter was an integral part of our everyday and every relationship.
At Treebeard Toys, we put this level of awareness, engagement, and play into every toy we make, and hope our products will help foster the same playful transformation in your family.
Mission and Values
Treebeard Carpentry creates spell-binding, functional, wooden toys that inspire, engage, and endure.
We recognize play for what it is - an essential human need. We bring playfulness into everything we do. We approach our work with curiosity, creativity, and connection. If we aren’t having fun, that is our signal that our approach needs to change.
We love the silly and the absurd. We always try to make each other and our customers laugh. We make products that delight our customers, and we never take ourselves too seriously.
We understand that in order to grow, we have to challenge ourselves. We take risks, set big goals, and we learn from our mistakes. We make time for adventure in our daily lives - engaging with the wonderful and mysterious in our own backyard.
We keep our word to each other and to our customers. We stand behind our products, using only quality materials that are ethically sourced. We do everything in our power to create a superior product and experience for our customers.
The Hero’s Journey
We believe everyone, no matter how small, is capable of heroism. When we feel something calling to us, we go. We face the unknown with courage. We push past our self-doubt, seek growth, and share what we have learned with others.