5 playful personalities that develop the whole child.


Children at play bounce from one play personality to another at fantastic speed. From creative play one minute to role-play the next. It's just a matter of time before learning, active, and storytelling play are covered. Legend has it that Benjamin Barlowe wrote of these 5 personalities watching his grandchildren play in his workshop.

“Zadie and Fuller switch play as they desire and as a tinkering grandpa, I build toys for the way they play.” - Benjamin Barlowe.

This is "A WISH for well-balanced play".

A is for ARTIST - creative open-ended play. This is where imagination is born.

W is for Writer - role & social play that makes sense of the world they live in.

I is for Inventor - play designed to exercise for the mind.

S is for Sportster - play designed to exercise for the body.

H is for Hero - character based storytelling and verbal skill building.

Many parents focus solely on learning toys (Inventor), some focus on primarily on sports based play (Sportster). By selecting toys, games, and puzzles that focus on ALL 5 of these play personalities - a child will receive…

a well balanced diet of fun!


Look for this tag on our packaging for an easy guide to selecting toys for each playful personality.

Our toys are designed to play in a variety of ways overlapping each of the 5 categories of play.


"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain one when they grow up." - Pablo Picasso


The foundation of play starts with creativity. 

Creative play develops imagination and this shouldn't stop as we get older. Artistic expression is open-ended fun and allows children to explore on their terms as there are no right or wrong answers with art. Introducing crayons, pencils, scissors, and tape are not only fun but also essential for fine motor skill development. The act of creating art is far more important than the final product, although there is nothing better than your child's art! 

When selecting toys (tools) for the ARTIST look for art kits, stencils, and plenty of paper. These supplies offer open-ended play and stencils allow kids to learn shapes and draw animals at a young age. This type of art also helps sharpen their storytelling. Encourage the "Artist" to draw their favorite animals and find stencils that allow them to trace and color. Try not to rely on coloring books as art projects as the art is already predetermined. Stencils allow for composition, coloring books already tell the story (that isn't that fun!)

Tips for the "Artist"

  • Look for toys and artistic tools that offer an open-ended experience

  • Look for recycled paper or FSC paper sources for drawing.

  • Create an art station where kids are free to access simple art supplies on demand.

  • Crayons, pencils, paper, and tape make a great gift anytime.

  • Be excited about every piece of art your children create.

  • Take your kids to the local art museum.


Suggested Items:


Art Dice - Drawing Game



Artist On The Gogh - Travel Art Kit

$25.00 - Coming Soon!


“Storytelling gives confidence to a child's imagination” - Benjamin Barlowe


When kids tell stories they reflect their world, it helps them organize information, and it helps them process the world they live in. It helps develop verbals skills and the confidence to begin reading out loud. Play rich in storytelling can be full of adventure and excitement as it unfolds. It crosses boundaries from imaginative adventure to an imitation of everyday life. The kids are in complete control of the story and their experiences helped to “write” the script.

They have become the "Writer" and we are the audience.

Children happen to be natural storytellers.

When your child switches to the "Writer", they move into the role of storyteller. What seems like plain old fun is developing social, language, and leadership skills that are important building blocks for kids. This type of play allows kids to express new emotions and spark their creativity and that is a great workout for the brain!

When selecting toys for the "Writer" look for play sets that seed the story but don't complete it. It's the child's job to finish or embellish the story. Some role-play toys are great for letting kids imitate everyday life, especially Mom and Dad. Dress up sets are great for more imaginative and fantasy play. When your kids dress up, encourage them to perform for you. A child that grows up performing will be more comfortable presenting or speaking in public as an adult.

Tips for the Writer:

  • Social and Role play influences storytelling as children near age 3.

  • Cardboard boxes - they are the ultimate prop for storytelling.

  • Keep old hats, costumes, sunglasses, and clothing for dress up fun.

  • A dress up box is easily accessible and great for impromptu storytelling.

  • Encourage your kids to put on performances at family gatherings.

  • Play sets that imitate everyday life are great tools for storytelling.

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Alphabites A to Z Puzzle & Cooking Play Set


Shutterbug Camera



“Learning, exploration, and construction toys sharpen the pencil of the mind.” - Benjamin Barlowe


Kids have an incredible curiousity to learn. They are like inventors of old or pioneering scientists like Marie Curie and Nikola Tesla. The thirst for knowledge as an adult can be attributed to how we played as children. Educational toys should be fun, they should inspire a child to learn while playing.

We create toys that grow with the child.

A puzzle or playset used with a 2 year old can sharpen fine motor skills, grabbing, stacking, and basic problem solving. As they approach age 3 and 4 the very same toy can introduce concepts like colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. Parents and teachers can use these toys as tools for more complex operations in language, math, and science. Learning through play is different at each stage of development, don’t concentrate heavily on teaching reading while neglecting the other skills that children need to develop at the same time.

When children transform into the "Inventor", they are curious to learn and want challenging play.

Toys for the “Inventor” should offer ways to learn, explore, and build. Themed puzzles are great for developing fine motor skills, problem solving, and even memorization. Construction toys are open-ended and offer both fine motor and cognitive fun. Science toys are fun and educational and most don’t need batteries!

Tips for the "Inventor"

  • Puzzles are a good challenge and suited for a variety of ages.

  • A magnifying glass is a simple learning toy, great for exploring.

  • It's not always about learning to read.

  • The library is local, free, and kids love to spend time there.


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Animal Parade A to Z Puzzle & Playset



Tinker Totter Robots



"A strong body makes the mind strong". - Thomas Jefferson


An active child will lead a more active life as an adult and the health benefits of this are incredibly important. Encouraging active play gets kids off the couch and away from video games and passive toys. When a child is young active play can be chasing a wooden push around car, or running around playing with characters in the backyard. Games are great for the sportster, they offer a simple way to introduce rules and team play as the children approach school age.

When a child jumps into the role of the "Sportster" it's time to get off the couch. The "Sportster" loves to play games, keep score, and will ride bicycles until the sun goes down.

When selecting toys for the "Sportster" look for games that get the whole family involved. Parents that take part in exercise are great role models for kids. There is nothing better than family fun time with kickballs, flying discs, and other games when summer time arrives.

 Tips for the “Sportster”:

  • Cut back television and replace that time with engaging active play.

  • Games like tag, catch, soccer, and hide and seek are simple and fulfilling

  • Family games are great for introducing rules and team play.

  • You don't need toys to play outdoor games, you just need imagination, creativity, and a pair of sneakers.

  • Kids never say no to a trip to the playground or park.


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Safari Bowl Game



PushAround Tractor



“In a world void of heroes, kids will create their own.” - Benjamin Barlowe


Character based play is another important element of well-balanced play. Action figures and animal characters are great tools for kids to express themselves in story. Character based play develops strong verbal and communication skills and it’s fun to hear the children’s narratives, songs, and stories. These characters give children the freedom to craft their own stories, create their own environment, and interpret life through play.

When your child becomes the “Hero” they are ready to save the day!

When selecting toys for the “Hero” look for character and play sets that seed the story and don’t complete it. Look for characters made from more natural materials like wood, rubber, and modern eco-plastics. Character based play doesn’t need to last 800 years in a landfill!

 Tips for the “Hero”

  • Create your own play set, let the kids decorate cardboard box house!

  • Create a character bin which is easily accessible

  • Bath time is storytelling time, look for characters for the tub!

  • Introduce characters made from natural materials – wood and rubber.

  • Characters are great for travel on the go play (restaurants, airports, vacation)

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Bathtub Ball - Shark Tank



Bathtub Pals - 6 pack collection