Paramount Pick:  Grimm's Large Wooden Rainbow

A powerhouse plaything for pint-sized and parent-sized people

A rainbow in nature’s a beautiful thing,
A symbol of good luck and fresh starts and spring.
A wonder of colour, the spectrum of light,
When spotted they fill us with hope and delight.

What kind of toy can reflect this creation?
One that is lovely and sparks imagination.
The Grimm’s Wooden Rainbow seems literal, true,
But you’ll be amazed at just what it can do.

A tunnel, a rocker, a bridge, a tower
There’s a new way to use it every hour.
What’s more, it’s gorgeous and sure to bring pleasure,
You’ll soon discover that it is a treasure.

With the arrival of spring and the recent celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we have had rainbows and bright spring-like things on our minds recently at Ape 2 Zebra. Whether or not the weather outside is cooperating, we want to throw open the windows, clean up the toy shop, and bring in fresh, cheerful decor that reflects what is going on – or what we wish was going on - outside.

Thinking about rainbows and spring makes my mind spring immediately to one of my favourite things, the Grimm’s Large Wooden Rainbow.
This toy, which I also think of as a work of art, has been universally adored from the moment it arrived in our playroom. If I have delayed in sharing it with you, it is only because I worry that my words won’t do it justice. I want you to be able to come into the playroom with me, and to experience it for yourself!

If you’ve never had the opportunity to play with a Grimm’s toy, you might wonder whether playing with a toy can be an experience, but if you know Grimm’s, I know you will agree. They delight the senses on so many levels: the way they look, to the way that they feel, the way they smell, even the soft sounds they make as you stack and move them against each other. Grimm’s toys are created largely from alder, lime and maple wood sourced from sustainable forests in Europe.

A significant portion of the production is done by hand, which results in each toy being unique. The center piece of one of my large rainbows, for example, does not quite fit into the centre of a second large rainbow in the playroom. I love that when I get out a Grimm’s toy, I know that it is the only one just like it anywhere. Visually, they are beautiful, coloured with safe water-based dyes that give them a vibrant colour, but still allow the natural grain of the wood to be easily seen. They are sanded smoothly enough that there are no splinters or rough patches, but not so much that the “natural wood feeling” is lost. If you run your paw over one of the pieces, you can still feel the changes in the grain. You can even faintly smell the lovely scent of fresh wood when you are near the toy.

The Grimm’s Large Wooden Rainbow is particularly extraordinary. Consisting of 12 pieces that reflect the colour spectrum, and therefore the order that colours appear when you see a rainbow in nature, it is a beautiful, sculptural toy that will actually make you smile when you see it on the floor of your family room. The largest ring of the rainbow measures approximately 37cm long by 17.5cms high, and the smallest piece, the solid wooden centre, is approximately 8cm long by 5 cm high. It is packed with potential for play, and the possibilities to use it seem as limitless as a child’s imagination. I am perpetually amazed by the potential it has to be something each time a person plays with it.

At its most basic level, the Grimm’s Large Wooden Rainbow is a puzzle. Stacking the pieces together into the traditional rainbow formation is an exciting challenge for toddlers, who much first discriminate between the large and small pieces, and then determine how those pieces specifically fit together. This is no easy task, since in order for the pieces to fit perfectly, they must also all be facing in the same original direction the puzzle was cut in. Pieces facing in the opposite direction will still fit, but with visible gaps.

Perhaps the next most obvious use of the Rainbow is as a stacking toy. Kids can attempt to build towers by standing the arches on top of other (“n” shape upon “n” shape), thus creating a tall tower. A more challenging variation is to stack one arch upwards (in an “n” shape), the next downwards (in a “u” shape), the next upwards, and so forth. This requires careful balance, and can be a challenge even for adults. It is a great activity to do together as a family team, with some members holding pieces steady for balance while remaining players carefully arrange the next piece on top. It’s fun to stack the pieces ON people too. We have had great fun attempting to keep arches on our heads while we walk, using the arches for giant sized silly headbands, and arranging arches over people’s bodies while they lie down. Preschoolers in particular seem to love having rainbow tunnels built on them that stretch from their shoulders to their toes.  Beyond its uses as a puzzle and a stacking toy, the pieces of the rainbow have been so many other things in our playroom. We have used them as hoops to knock balls through in an indoor game of croquet, and as tunnels to try and accurately roll balls through. We have arranged the arches standing up on the floor, a few centimetres apart, and been fascinated both by the wave-like, domino effect that occurs when the first arch is knocked over, as well as the neatly arranged rainbow that is produced once all of the pieces have fallen. Our rainbow arches have been rockers for baby dolls, ramps to race cars down, and tunnels to drive cars through. They have been the houses in an imaginary city, as well as the rooms in a house. They have formed pens for animals on the farmyard, and the larger arches have even been used as rocking-horses themselves. Placed on the floor half-pipe style, we have attempted to keep a ball rolling up and down the “half-pipe” walls while rocking the arch. If the Ape 2 Zebra kids were skateboarders or snowboarders, I have no doubt that the arches would be half-pipes for their pint-sized people and animals. Your kids will be delighted by all of the things the seemingly simple arches can be, and you will be amazed by the power and the possibilities of your child’s imagination. It is truly a toy that will make you both smile.

The Grimm’s Large Wooden Rainbow is a powerhouse plaything. It is perpetually picked off the shelf, a perennial favourite that pleases both pint-sized and parent-sized people (and porcupines). Providing an panoply of possibilities for imaginative play, while also fostering logical thinking and encouraging dexterity, the Grimm’s Large Wooden Rainbow is a positively perfect Pick of the Week!

Be sure to check out Ape 2 Zebra's selection of wooden toys and Waldorf toys by Grimm's for more spectacular finds!

Grimm’s Wooden Toys are manufactured with love in Europe, using wood sourced from sustainable European forests. Most Grimm’s Toys, including the Large Wooden Rainbow, are produced in Germany. All coloured dyes, oils and glues used in Grimm’s products fulfil the European Standards EN 71 for toy safety as well as the new CPSIA requirements concerning contents of lead and phthalates and are harmless to children’s health.

Grimm's beautiful Large Rainbow Rings usually retails for CA$100.  
Since it is one of Darla's Top Picks you can get your own at Ape 2 Zebra for 10% less!  Use Discount code Darla_Rainbow on checkout!

Precociously (and prosperously) yours

Darla Porcupine

Theodore and Darla also posted a fun Rainbow Mobile Craft in our Treats and Treasured Blog!  Perfect fun for celebrating Spring!