Publications

Since 1995, Doug has written 90 articles for woodworking magazines, eleven books, and  3 instructional DVDs. For more information about his articles, see this page.

Making Classic Toys that Teach

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Description

The Froebel Gifts are perhaps the world’s first educational toys. Developed in the early 1800’s by Friedrich Froebel, inventor of Kindergarten, the Gifts appear deceptively simple but represent a sophisticated approach to child development. Over the last 180 years these intricately conceived playthings have had a widespread impact, becoming interwoven with the history of art/design, popular culture, and education. Inspiring and informing the work of Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and others, Froebel’s Gifts influenced Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Einstein, Kandinsky, Klee, and more while Mattel used them in designing Tinker Toys, Color Cubes, and Unit Blocks.

In Making Classic Toys That Teach, Doug Stowe, a professional woodworker and teacher, presents the history and valuable benefits of each gift while providing step-by-step instruction on how to build each toy and the box to hold them.

Each of the 10 Froebel Gifts are featured:

  1. balls of yarn, introducing color, shape and motion2. sphere, cylinder, and cubes on a hanging device
  2. sphere, cylinder, and cubes on a hanging device3. divided cube building blocks
  3. divided cube building blocks4. rectangular blocks
  4. rectangular blocks5. wooden cubes and triangular blocks
  5. wooden cubes and triangular blocks6. geometric building blocks in various shapes
  6. geometric building blocks in various shapes7. colorful geometric shapes
  7. colorful geometric shapes8. sticks and rings
  8. sticks and rings9. points – small colorful objects, like beads – that can be connected to create dotted lines, etc
  9. points – small colorful objects, like beads – that can be connected to create dotted lines, etc10. framework in the form of fiddlesticks or tinker toys
  10. framework in the form of fiddlesticks or tinker toys

As the backlash towards our overly technological world increases, the philosophy of Froebel and an understanding of the value of his Gifts is part of the trend of more focused playtime and creative thinking for younger children that will help them make connections on their own regarding the world around them.

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