Making open-ended toys in the UK

Rebecca Black is the owner and founder of Black’s Toys, a British wooden toy brand focusing on open-ended play. Rebecca lives in Lancashire with her husband of 14 years, Edwin, her 4-year-old son, Isaac, two dogs, two chickens, five rats and a fish!

“The idea and focus for our collection has always been small world play. This type of imaginative play is something I was very fond of as a child myself. Open-ended toys are toys that are limited only by the child’s imagination. They don’t have instructions, or an end goal; it is for the child to explore and experience however they see fit and this will change daily. 

Inspired by German wooden toy brands like Ostheimer, and driven by her desire to work flexibly around family life after their son was born, Rebecca created Black’s Toys in 2017.

She saw a gap in the market for creating realistic scenery toys that could be used flexibly, as both toys and decorations.

“As each design is developed you can start to see the inspiration for our collections; they all come together to complete a full world for a child to explore,” explains Rebecca. “I also wanted to add an element of learning and designed the forces of nature collection for this purpose. The Glacier, Volcano and Wave (tsunami) have been designed with the help of diagrams so real elements are present in the design such as the wave length and barrel on the Wave, secondary shoot on the Volcano.”

Most of the toys are designed and hand-made by Rebecca and Edwin themselves. “Manufacturing in the UK is more expensive, but it reduces carbon footprint and supports the local economy, so for us it’s worth it.”

“At the beginning, it was a lot of trial and error as we are self-taught. But three years on and we’ve really perfected the process and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. We don’t make much profit but it means I can work from home and be with my child, which was the reason I set out to create a business.”

“Seeing pictures of our toys in play makes it all worthwhile and we are so lucky with the support we’ve had from people on our journey. People really enjoy our designs and that it worth so much for me, it’s priceless.”

You can buy Black’s Toys on their website -

Rebecca, Edwin and Isaac Black

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