Love HeartWood’s Journal

British Made Wooden Toys COVID Project

by | May 18, 2021 | commissions, journal, toys

Chapelhall Community Resilience Project

As I’m based in my garden workshop, I was able to continue working during lockdown in the precious hours when I wasn’t homeschooling my 3 sons aged 4, 8 and 10. At the beginning of June 2020 I received an email from the leader of a COVID resilience response team in Chapelhall, near Glasgow.

British Made Wooden Toys

Kirsty had been desperately looking for good quality British made wooden toys. The idea was to add them to activity packs for local children and I was her last hope. She felt that they’d provide an intergenerational and cultural element to the packs. Thus allowing them to encourage and facilitate shielding Grandparents and other individuals to demonstrate and share memories with younger children digitally. It sounded like such an amazing project that I wanted to help. So I created some custom wooden toys just for them.

Spinning Tops

handmade wooden spinning tops with recycled paper tags.
20 small wooden spinning tops created for the Chapelhall COVID Resilience Project

I was happy to help out. I made 20 small spinning tops and 80 whipping tops or ‘whip and peerie’ as they’re known in Scotland. Because of their limited budget I adapted the design to reduce costs. This allowed the project to afford the number they needed.

The whipping tops were left undecorated as traditionally kids would chalk their own patterns on them and watch them spin. This was what they hoped the older generation could teach the younger through the project. As well as the technique for spinning in the first place.

Whipping Tops

Large custom wholesale order of wooden whipping tops for a community project.
The 80 custom whipping tops created for families in the Chapelhall community.
a traditional whip and peerie made of reclaimed Beech and jute string.
The custom made wooden toy known in Scotland as a whip and peerie. The string is wound tightly around the peerie and the handle is pulled to make the top spin.

Kirsty, the project co-ordinator, was delighted with them and they were distributed at the beginning of August. There’s a professional photographer attached to the project who’s documenting it. So I’m looking forward to receiving photos of the custom made wooden toys in use. I also hope to hear stories of kids learning top whipping skills from their grandparents.

Being able to make objects that fulfilled a real need in these strange times was really rewarding. It reminded me that toys have an important place in children’s lives, not just to provide fun and education opportunities. They’re also a means of connecting with those most important to them and creating positive, loving memories.


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