We recently added a collection of no-tech toys to our online store. Simple turned wooden toys have always been popular but maybe more so now, when finding the right cord, charger, or fresh set of batteries can be a daily challenge.
We set out a display of no-tech toys at two recent holiday craft fairs. Almost all of our booth visitors picked up at least one toy to try it out. Some of the items were purchased as gifts for children but a surprising number of purchases were made for adults. Why not keep a fun little gadget on your desk at work — think of it as a stress reliever or a conversation starter.
Ted made a batch of simple spinning tops out of wooden dowels, pieces of SpectraPly (a hardwood laminate composed of pigmented layers of birch veneer), and scraps of Corian countertop material. The Corian is heavy and adds weight to the base of the top, increasing its spin time.
Pick a smooth flat surface, give the stem of the top a spin, and watch it go. If you have several kids, give them each a top and let them have spin-off competitions.
Oil-filled wand kaleidoscopes are new to the no-tech toy scene and are very popular with our customers. The concept is simple: Float a collection of reflective sparkles, stars, moons, and hearts in a hollow wand filled with colored oil. Look through the eyepiece and watch as the sparkles float through the oil, creating patterns as they go. Rotate the wand 180 degrees now and then to keep the patterns in motion.We also offer mini kaleidoscopes with contrasting stands. Some are shaped like an egg. Others are more cylindrical in shape, with housings turned from solid hardwoods (walnut and figured maple). The kaleidoscope mechanisms are solid brass. Look through the eyepiece, rotate the kaleidoscope, and watch as colored beads and mirrors create different patterns and designs.
Our ball-bearing spinning tops sold quickly during the holiday season. These require a little more dexterity than the simple finger-powered tops, so they are more suited for children six years and up. Or those of us who act as though we are six years old. These tops behave like gyroscopes due to a ball bearing design element at the base. You insert the pull string into a hole in the center post, wind the string around the post, hold the ring with one hand and pull the string with the other, and set the top down on a flat surface. With a Corian base for weight, these tops spin for a long time.