Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where childhood is not mini-adulthood

Wooden toys and unstructured play, handwork and fairy tales... traditional childhood is making a huge comeback. Nevermind Baby Einstein—the human species seemed to survive just fine for millennia without DVDs that teach children how to do trigonometry by the age of five.

In Linden Hills' thriving little business district, you may have noticed Wonderment. It's a delightful toy store that was created by three mothers from City of Lakes Waldorf School. While it sits just across the street from what might seem like an arch-rival—Creative Kidstuff—the two stores actually complement each other nicely. That's especially true if you find yourself vacilllating wildly between post-modern parenting ("Teach those kids how to surf the net before they can walk; it'll be a helluva lot more important as a life skill!") and pre-modern parenting ("Screw the TV and the computer; age five is a little young to be worried about the meritocracy and hot pants!")

If you want to buy gifts for that hipster baby shower or that little niece who's always bedecked in Hannah Anderson and Boden, Wonderment is your store. Recent purchases: a wooden crossbow with ingenious kid-safe bolts, a wool felting kit, and a knight's visored helmet.

Wonderment, www.wondermentshop.com, 4306 Upton Avenue South, 612-929-2707

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