The Collection: Vintage Creative Playthings


Hi, I’m Rachel Faucett, author of the design and lifestyle blog Handmade Charlotte. I’m so thrilled to be contributing to the Living blog! I’ll be showcasing fascinating collections and the talented people behind them. My childhood memories are filled with antique markets, artist studios, and a woman named Oz who sewed my mother’s designs. Collections are sewn deep into my heart. My mother collects everything including African trading beads, Irish lace, and vintage sterling luggage tags — she inspired my passion for seeking out undiscovered treasure.

The first collection that I will share with you belongs to my favorite person in the entire world, my husband, Jonathan Faucett. He has an incredible eye. He is working on designs for kids’ products — stay tuned!

He discovered the wonderful world of vintage Creative Playthings and Community Playthings toys when our first child was born. We became fascinated with alternative schooling and teaching methods, which led us to Frank Caplan, the founder of Creative Playthings and author of “The Power of Play.” He was a major influence on our philosophy of education for our children. We’ve been homeschooling our five children for eight years now and use many of Caplan’s principals.

We’ve collected dozens of Creative Playthings and Community Playthings toys. We love their simple lines, designed to encourage a child’s imagination. We consider the toys a shared and interactive collection, letting our children play with them as they were meant to be used. These sturdy, well-constructed wooden toys have survived decades of play in churches and schools and are still going strong.

Our kids spend hours playing with these vintage toys while their newer ones chill in the toy box. It’s not that quality toys aren’t being produced anymore — there are lots of them being created by talented designers and experienced craftsmen — but it’s more of an exception than the norm.

“Play has been man’s most useful preoccupation.” — Frank Caplan, 1911-1988

Photography by Troy Stains
Styling by Claudia Thompson

Comments (12)

  • You all are beyond crazy creative! So amazing! Can’t wait to see Jon’s collection!!!

  • What a fun family! I have always been drawn to vintage items for the living and dining rooms but had never thought of it for toys. What a concept: toys that last.

    Looking forward to seeing the next collection that you feature.

  • Beautiful pieces of vintage toys!! Love the family photo! I’m a big fan of Handmade Charlotte! They continue to blow me away with their style & pizazz! What a great asset they are for Martha Stewart. I’ve always loved Martha Stewart! What an amazing team they’ll be!!

  • I have always loved these kind of wooden toys- but never knew the story behind them, which means even more now! Thanks so much for featuring such a unique “collection” – I love that they let the children actually let them play with them which is a testament to how well they are made. I am sure Frank Caplan would be proud!!

    C Thompson

  • Love this article. I especially like the way the vintage toys were arranged. Makes me want to play with them.

  • So fun! I love the focus on play and LOVED the styling! Great to see Claudia’s touch- foward and whimsical.

  • Oh Rachel- you have such a lovely family! Thanks for sharing!

  • I remember way back in 1965 when I was 5 years old my school outfitted our classroom and playground with these basic wooden toys. We loved them then. It is somehow comforting to know our kids still love them today.

  • Beautiful! Just beautiful! How awesome is it to have all of those cool vintage toys; what a stellar collection! That is so cool. And you all look amazing. Congratulations!

  • Awesome! So unique to find an entire family with great style!!! Look forward to more! We love it!!!

  • Sooooooo wonderful! Great content, great photography, great subject! Keep it coming!

  • What a lovely post! I have been a huge fan of Community Playthings for many years, often using their furnishings and wooden toys to outfit whole schools. I love being able to catch a glimpse at their vintage models. Thank you for sharing…

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