Into the Woods

Play That’s Epic

When kids hear “forest”, they know things are about to get good. Consider Max, Little Red, Hansel & Gretel, Frodo, Snow White: They enter the woods and epic adventures begin. When they reach home again, they return triumphant heroes, royalty, or simply the bearers of a few life lessons.

It only takes a gathering of trees to create a hero’s journey; so if they’re stunning, hand carved and painted trees, the stories should be nothing short of transcendent. The most striking and nontoxic trees we found happen to come from the same place as many fairy tales—Eastern Europe. Some look straight out of a post-impressionist painting, others double as developmental toys. All are made of solid, sustainable wood and nontoxic paints and meet strict European safety standards. They also lend a woodland vibe to any room.

Even better, while little ones have a blast creating the next great work of modern fiction, research shows they’re also making huge developmental and cognitive gains. For 85 years, researchers and psychologists have studied imaginary play and found that it can improve things like language skills, creative and flexible thinking, impulse control, emotional expression, and problem solving skills, to name a few.

So grab some conifers, honor your child’s creative genius, and let the wild rumpus start.