Hi there, I’m Erin and along with my husband, Nick, we are Imagination Kids. Our family of four just recently moved to 5 acres in Carthage, Indiana, where we create wooden toys, have lots of fun, and will hopefully have new flock of chickens soon!
I have always loved creating, making and working with my hands. Being a toymaker satisfies all of the above, with the added bonus of getting to play with my work and inspiring children to imagine and dream. Honestly, I can’t think of any better job description, and the fact that I get to do it all surrounded by my family is just icing on the cupcake.
Our goal is to craft toys that little ones are drawn to, love to play with, and are safe to enjoy. My designs are often born from my children’s interests, obsessions, and quirkiness. I trust that what sparks their imaginations will probably appeal to other kids, and even adults. Our toys are all made from natural untreated wood, non-toxic paints, and bits of creativity and whimsy.
My design process starts as a doodle in my notebook. From there, it gets revised and tweaked to make sure the finished toy is suitable for lots and lots of play. Once we settle on a final design, I create a pattern so that each toy will be roughly the same. Every toy is then hand traced onto a wooden board. I cut out each wooden toy shape with my trusty scrollsaw, Hilda. After cutting, Nick sands the rough-cut toys to a smooth finish.
Once the wooden figure is smooth, it is ready to be painted. Nick and I share painting duty. We spend many nights sitting side by side, painting everything from wooden honey badgers to helicopters. Our painting time is time for us to talk about our day, or plan out new and wonderful ideas. I feel so lucky that I get to work shoulder to shoulder with my best friend. Finally, we finish any sanding that is needed, and apply our wooden toy polish made from local beeswax, jojoba oil, and a touch of essential oil. And there you have it: a natural, safe, and creative plaything is ready to begin its life of fun.
I think having a handmade business that centers on helping children dream and imagine helps me to see the world from the eyes of a child. I appreciate the little things, the details that make something special. I notice the goofy smile on a whale teether and the really fun stripe pattern on a particular okapi’s leg.
For me, Etsy allows me to share my passion for natural toys with an audience all over the world. Our toys have traveled to South Korea, Israel, Australia and Brazil. The desire for children to play can be found the world over. Basically, I’m an 8-year-old girl who refused to grow all the way up. The best part is I get to make toys that would have thrilled my 8-year-old self.