SKANEATELES, NY – When it comes to wooden toys, the Germans have been masters of the art for centuries, and HABA, formed in the German forests in the 1930s and still headquartered there today, is a leading progenitor of that Teutonic mastery. And while HABA has branched out into creating some exquisite toys and games from cloth and other non-wood materials, wooden toys remain the toymaker’s heritage and a mainstay of it offerings. No wonder, really, in that education and development of children through creative playthings is at the heart of the HABA mission and wooden toys have been fulfilling that role since antiquity. Indeed, archeological evidence suggests that ancient peoples since even before the time of the classical civilizations used wood to fashion playful artifacts for their children that mirrored, in miniature form, the tools and the skills they would need in life. Digs at ancient sites in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have revealed child-sized spears, bows and arrows, and cooking utensils made of wood so children could “play” with the very things their own parents used for daily survival. Today’s children most likely don’t have to master the skills of hunting and gathering, but toys still play an important role in their development almost right from the start of life. Creative toys teach hand-and-eye coordination, motor skills, and problem solving skills, among other things, and hand-crafted wooden toys haven’t lost their prominence in leading such skills training in spite of the growing popularity of plastic toys and electronic gizmos in recent years. For very young children especially, wooden toys still offer the best chance to boost a child’s own innate curiosity and imagination, just as they have for centuries. Besides, wonderful wooden toys like those from HABA are heirloom quality and will be played with by today’s children’s own kids 20 to 30 years hence; not many from the plastic/battery toy chest can make that assertion. Two of the best examples of the wood toymaker’s skill in the HABA line are the Color Fun Pegging Game and the Rainbow House Pegging Game. Both games offer endless possibilities of fun and education for the pre-school set, with plenty of colorful blocks and pegs to attach to a board and each other. The extra special part of these games is that both are made of beech wood, and are colored with water-based, non-toxic stains. The wood in each is harvested from forests certified as Sustainable Forest Management areas by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PECF), an international non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The HABA Color Fun Pegging Game features a peg board with 16 holes, and then 35 brightly-colored pegs and blocks that are interchangeable and offer endless possibilities for fun and imaginative play. The HABA Rainbow House Pegging Game has 19 interchangeable parts, all brightly colored and featuring pieces painted to resemble house parts where the child can stack his or her own unique house. In either case the play is totally up to the child, and both offer easy stacking that will enthrall the very young child as well as more complicated maneuvers that will delight the preschooler. In other words, these are wooden toys made to be played with, and learn from, for quite some time in a youngster’s life. And they will be there when that youngster grows up and treats a future youngster to the delightful experience. HABA toys are available at finer toy shops throughout the country. To find a retailer visit our Store Locator page on the website. HABA prides itself on the fact that children love playing with its toys, blissfully unaware of how this fosters their development, so we are sure parents will love them too.