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Kids toys go old school

14 Dec 2017

Sisters Alesha and Jenna are bringing old school back, ditching the plastic toys for handmade wooden pieces for kids – some left natural and finished in Resene Aquaclear, others painted in fun Resene colours. Selling through their store Expressions of Winter, the pair's creations include rainbow bookends, colourful building blocks and alphabet block sets. Alesha tells us more. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your products.

We provide a natural alternative to the plastic toys of today's world. Inspired by our years of teaching within the Early Childhood sector, we provide handmade, fun, open ended toys that allow for various learning opportunities.

Play is the fundamental area for children's learning and we are here to help provide natural resources for those valuable learning experiences. As our products are handmade, each piece is unique, just like the little ones we make them for.

How has the style of your pieces evolved? 

When we first began we had more of a variety of toys and decor. However, as we evolved we realised education is the direction in which we wanted to go.

We are continuously looking to create unique items that are engaging, challenging and most of all fun. We understand the way in which children learn and we like to foster children's development through the use of our products. 

What has influenced your work?

Being teachers we were able to see what natural resources were available in New Zealand and it was quite limited. We wanted to provide options for parents and educators to be able to help children learn with beautiful, handmade New Zealand resources.

The birth of Jenna's Daughter (my niece) Braxton, inspired us to develop more toys that she could play and learn with and then in turn share with our beautiful Kiwi kids.

How do you incorporate Resene products and paint into your work?

Everything in our range that we paint, we use Resene paints and love the Resene KidzColour range. They are all lead free, water based paints which is perfect for us and the children who explore our products (as we know a lot of things end up in mouths).

We also use Resene Aquaclear for some items for extra protection. 

Do you have a favourite piece?

One of our favourite pieces would be our original block sets as we can customise these to any colour or design and are a great open ended resource.

And a favourite colour?

As our resources are quite natural and minimalist, we do use a lot of Resene Black, Resene White and Resene Shady Lady.

We are also fans of Resene Yabbadabbadoo and Resene Gobstopper which make regular appearances on our numeracy blocks. 

See Alesha and Jenna's handmade toys and other products at