Thursday, August 6, 2015

creating play: the man behind our 'parker' rattle

"Family comes first!" says David Minnery. He lights up as he talks, having just come from a post-dinner stopover with the kids to play at Golden Gardens Park. 

David, along with his wife Adrienne, is the owner and creator of local toy line, Manzanita Kids. Not only does David make all of the handcrafted wooden toys, he's also a stay-at-home dad. He slips off to his garage studio nights and weekends to create these simple but beautiful toys. "I shoehorn in Manzanita Kids in all other hours! It's not nine-to-five, it has its own sets of challenges, but it works for us. My commute is just a few steps!"

Their North Seattle home houses both a busy little garage studio and a busy little family. Both require lots of creativity and attention. For David, putting family first isn't just a happy coincidence, but a full-time credo for his vision of Manzanita Kids. With Adrienne, David makes gorgeously polished and thoughtfully produced wooden rattles, puzzles, and other toys, all of which are inspired by their own children: Thomas, 5, and Isabel, 3.

David wants to make something that lasts in a phase of life when children are constantly outgrowing everything — clothes, toys, moods and tastes. He makes playthings with limitless possibilities for a durable experience that will last throughout childhood. 

"As kids go through different developmental stages, they're going to find different ways to play with the same toy, " David says. "As they age and grow, they'll keep rediscovering the same toy, but find something new about it each time." Because Manzanita toys are simple structures, they allow for the imagination to spark complex, cognitive fun. As David explains, "our toys unlock creativity and free play for kids, and are still safe, durable, and special enough to become family heirlooms." 

And that's our hope for our new Parker Posey rattles. David makes every Parker rattle by hand, featuring Parker's silhouette (inspired by Molly’s real-life Frenchton pup) in a range of natural wood stains. The smooth finish is irresistible to curious toddler fists! 

David and Adrienne's commitment craftsmanship and sourcing sustainable materials was the perfect fit for a custom Molly Moon's toy. "This partnership is exciting because it's all local," David says. "Molly's approach to business is all about sustainability and being a part of a local community." 

Manzanita Kids toys harken back to a simpler time of childhood, offering a charming, nostalgic feel of quality, but designed with a modern mindset for modern kiddos. As for David's own kids, he gets to watch his toys unfurl the imagination in real time, in his own family room. "Right now, at their ages, our modular building walls are a hit. They'll build cities, rocket ships, whatever they can imagine…and occupy the entire floor of the room," David laughs.

"You'll spend a lot of time designing a toy to be played with in a certain way, but kids end up approaching the toys in so many different ways—they're designing their play, too."

The Parker rattle is available in our shops and online.