Nestled in the heart of Northcote, Melbourne, our shop is a curated hub of handmade and vintage. A unique collection of ethical treasures for play, your home and to gift.
Founders and sisters Kim and Donna are collectors and makers of beautiful things, with their own range created for an unhurried childhood and the wonder of play.
The small Birch and Bear team of makers collaborate together to develop original designs from a range of skills, including felting, crochet, knitting, sewing, embroidery, woodwork and pattern making.
We use natural materials and love to recycle……….to re-purpose and upcycle objects and materials, creating something new and unique.
Our dolls are influenced by traditional Waldorf Steiner doll making techniques and are designed to be loved for their softness and gentle features.
Our wooden toys are made from recycled and ethically sourced timbers and handcrafted by small independent makers and artisans with care and attention to detail.
Our range draws inspiration from many educational/learning philosophies including Rudolf Steiner, Maria Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Forest School and Play Based learning.
To nurture the whole child, we need to appreciate that children learn deeply through play. Unstructured play in-particular provides opportunities for the child to naturally investigate and engage with the world.
More green time and less screen time has never been more relevant, and nature is the ultimate classroom. Play based learning connects children to nature, to each other and their immediate environment. Child-directed learning builds resilient, resourceful and creative thinkers.
When we create safe and inviting play spaces inside and out, where children are free to initiate and explore at their own pace, we set the intention that we value the child’s imagination and mindfulness, curiosity and creativity.
Choose toys and materials that lend themselves to freedom in play. You will be amazed by the rich and diverse ways in which children interact, construct, imagine and engage, when the play is self-directed.
It’s good to choose……
Quality over quantity
Handmade over mass produced
Local over imported
Open-ended over close-ended
Imagination over screens
Unplug, unhurry, connect and embrace a more simplified natural childhood and family life..……your children will thank you for it!
Please note that product images are examples. We use pure wool felt, mostly hand dyed, and upcycled fabrics, so no two items will be the same.
Unless stated otherwise, we do not recommend our toys for children under 3 years old. Please use your discretion when choosing toys for your children and see the ‘Baby and Toddler’ section for appropriate options.
Our online store does not carry our full range so if you see items of interest via other platforms………..just ask!