Ways To Play Grimms Houses – Uncovering Their Magic

Grimms Houses - Houses

I feel these are not one of the most famous Grimms toys, but they have been around in our house for almost four years, and they are lovely. The Grimms houses have a lot to offer during your playtime at home.

If you have them and they’ve been sitting around on the shelf for some time, I hope we’ll be able to show you their potential. So, I’ve put together a list of different ways we’ve come up with playing at home with them. I hope they will spark some inspiration!

About Grimms toys

Grimms toys

Grimms Spiel und Holz Design (or Grimm’s Wooden Toys) is a sustainable wood German manufacturer located at the foot of the Swabian Alb. They produce lovely natural, high-quality, safe toys from alder, linden, beech, and maple wood. Each toy is uniquely hand-made with its unique footprint from nature.

They are guided by the principles of Waldorf education and other reform pedagogical approaches such as Montessori when designing their toys.

They are famous and beloved worldwide because of their beautiful wooden toys, especially their large Rainbow. It is a fantastic versatile toy that we adore at home. You can check out ideas for playing with the Rainbow here.

About Grimms houses

Grimms Houses - Houses details

These tiny houses come in a set of 15 on a base frame to keep them organized. The houses are made from lime wood that has been stained with a non-toxic water base and has a non-toxic plant-based oil finish. The finishing touch, some silver little windows are hand-painted by Grimm’s artists.

The frame has a length of 22cm, and the house blocks have a height of 8 cm, and their width varies from 2cm to 10cm.

They are safe for children above one year old, but they are recommended for 2-year-olds and older children.

How we play with open-ended toys

Grimms toys - Stacked Houses Tower Deconstructed

Open-ended toys are toys that leave a lot of room for the imagination. When people first look at them, they are those toys that might invite asking, “and what do you do with this?”. The less a toy does, the more you have to do with it, and they are beautiful invitations to get creative and let fly our imaginations.

At first, I’d hand it to them, let them explore, and let them come up with ways to interact with it. You’ll be surprised – because your children will possibly come up with ways to play that you would not have ever thought of. That is the beauty of open-ended toys. There is no right or wrong; there is just discovery and play.

And if they need a little nudge to get their imagination flying, show them pictures of other ways other children have come up with playing with it. Looking at how other people play has inspired me to replicate and then come up with new ways of interacting with it. We’ve had lots of fun, and I hope that you will too.

7 ways we like to play with Grimms Houses

Let me share the things we have come up with during playtime at home.

Puzzle

We play with them as a puzzle, finding new ways to place them on the board. After taking them out the first time, we discovered the board is not entirely square, so depending on the orientation of the pieces, they do not always fit. So we took it as a challenge, and we always tried to make it work on our first attempt.

Stacking

The possibilities are not as endless as the Rainbow (check here for Rainbow ideas), but you can build some magnificent stacks with it. Some are less obvious than others, but the fun is guaranteed when making with them. Stacking is our favorite way to play with them.

Also, can you stack the houses on Grapat cones or other loose parts? We like a good challenge at home – if you’d like to see more, check out this post with other fabulous stacking toys that we love.

Small world play

Of course, these houses are, well, small houses. So, they are fantastic for little city planners. They fit perfectly in any scene where you want to build towns or create modern cities. Use them to decorate waytoplay roads, train sets, landscapes; they fit perfectly and add the colorful touch that all cities and towns need. Create small worlds with roads, animals, and little dolls, letting your imagination go free.

Color matching

As it happens with Grimm’s toys from the rainbow color scheme, it will match many of their beautiful toys, like the Rainbow, the cones, or the friends. But, since there are 15 houses here, three extra colors do not match the rest. So bear it in mind when playing. At first, I used to keep the three houses that had no match on the side to make things easier. But now, they discard them on their own.

Grimms Houses - Matching Rainbow and friends

We have also used them for color sorting activities. Here you have some ideas to visualize what I mean.

Grimms Rainbow ideas - Color Sorting Clouds

Counting games

You can also use them to encourage counting. These are just a few ideas that you can try out with them:

  • You can simply put them on a row and count up to 15.
  • On washi tapes mark them with different numbers, and also add numbers to the peg doll friends and ask them to match them.
  • Group them in bunches and ask how many there are in each “town”.
Grimms Houses - City Planning

Ball Runs

We are not experts in this area (yet), but we have come up with a simple ball run you can create with the houses, some wooden boards and some Grapat coins (or other wooden bits like other boards or Kappla. It is very simple, and I hope they inspire you to create many more.

Grimms Houses - Ball run side view

Arrows for treasure hunts

Need to point directions on a mysterious treasure hunt at home? Use the tiny houses! The thinner, the better in this case, but you can have them around pointing to the next activity or clue. 

Grimms Houses - Arrows

How to clean Grimms toys

The following advice has been directly taken from the Grimms’ website:

TIP: If you want to remove dirt from our products, wipe it off with a damp cloth and a little soapy water (if necessary). Please do not place it on the heater when drying; otherwise, cracks may appear in the wood, but allow it to dry at room temperature. Please do not clean our products with disinfectants, hot water, or the like under any circumstances!

Where to buy Grimm’s houses?

You most likely will find them in wooden toy shops or Waldorf and Montessori-style stores. However, you might have some in your city that you can explore and will probably be captivated by everything they have in there.

If unfortunately, there aren’t any stores like this nearby, there are plenty of online stores where you’ll be able to find it. Aside from Amazon, I am sharing other web pages I have bought from while living in the UK and Spain (some are local, but others have international deliveries). Additionally, although I haven’t been there, I will also recommend stores from Australia based on IG accounts of people living there (based on their comments and opinions).

Store with International deliveries

  • Amazon – check out the sister site of your region.
  • Oskar’s Wooden Ark – Based in Australia, they also provide international shipping to selected countries (New Zealand; United States; Canada, Singapore & South Korea) using Australia Post.

Store with delivery in the UK

  • Consciouscraft.co.uk – I usually buy on Babipur when I’m in the UK, but they do not have the houses in their portfolio. I’ve found them here instead (although I’ve never bought them from this site).

Stores with delivery in Spain and Portugal

  • Jugar i Jugar – Their toy portfolio is beautiful. It’s a fantastic option if you are local. Their customer service is excellent. If you purchase before 2 pm, you get your delivery the next day.
  • Aupali – It is a store in Barcelona, located in the neighborhood of Sarrià, filled with surprising toys that you’ll love. If you are ever in town, I suggest you make a stop. They also have an online store that delivers to the whole Peninsula and the Islands.

Store with delivery in the USA

  • Bella Luna Toys – You’ll find the houses (although they call them the Village Building Block set) and an extensive range of Grimm’s toys. I’ve never ordered from them (I haven’t been in the US for years), but they seem very nice, have a lovely online store, and have excellent customer reviews.

Store with delivery in Australia & New Zealand.

  • Oskar’s Wooden Ark – Based in Australia, they also provide international shipping to selected countries (New Zealand; United States; Canada, Singapore & South Korea) using Australia Post.
  • Little Toy Tribe is currently shipping orders within Australia through their website. If you are from New Zealand, contact them through email with the list of what you’d like, and they’ll send a shipping quote. 

Store with delivery in Malaysia

  • Bueno Blocks – They are the Malaysian distributor for Grimm’s toys and have an impressive range of toys from them. They are a very kind family-owned business that wishes to bring these toys to families in Malaysia.

Grimms houses – for city planners and open-ended play

Grimms Houses - Chaos

The houses are simply lovely. To be honest, they have not been played with as much as other open ended toys (like the Rainbow, the semicircles, the friends, or Grapat loose parts), but it is a wonderful toy as well. We had it a bit forgotten and I took it out during playtime and they enjoyed rediscovering it. It’s fun to see how their play has evolved and how it keeps getting more complex.

If you have it in your house forgotten like we did, take it out and give it another shot. I hope these ideas will help you see it’s potential. It has been a favorite toy lately, and it was all because we put it in the middle of the playroom and we let the magic happen.

Happy playing!

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