The Running Wheel

A wheel on a stick? Could it really hold a child’s attention for more than a few minutes? Polish product designer Grzegorz Cholewiak and
German artist Lena Hensel answer with a resounding yes in their newest invention for the littles: Toll’s Toy.

Grzegorz first created the running wheel for his daughter. She was too small to ride a bike with her friends, but longed for something mobile that she could have under her control. Like any parent, Grzegorz listened to his daughter and set to work finding a safe, engaging compromise. Thus, Toll’s Toy – a running wheel – was born.


“The first prototype of the running wheel became an instant hit among friend’s children,” Grzegorz writes. “Small children don’t need to be stimulated by many complicated toys. The natural world and the children’s surrounding is in that time the most fantastic thing to be explored. Our running wheel really is just a good companion on the first walks through this world.”

I often attempt to look at the world through Bee’s eyes and have found so much truth to this. The toys of this world are already present in the trees and the foods and the textures, and I often wonder if the toys I surround her with are distracting her from a truer sense of play: the world around her.

“If kids are not distracted by too much given design, they will find their own solutions how to create imagination,” Grzegorz writes. “And what children imagine by themselves is what will be remembered and loved. That’s how they develop a deeper connection to the world and its things.”

I couldn’t agree more. I used to cut paper dolls out of my mother’s discarded magazines and catalogs as a kid, and oh how I would play with my creations for hours and hours and hours – sifting through more magazines to find props and settings and places for my dolls to interact. With little more than scissors and paper, my imagination and creativity were honed and my attention was captured.

I’ve often played with the idea of a toy-free home, and perhaps it’s in our future. Any toy-free parents out there? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Image Credits: Drache & Bar

p.s. Paper dolls, the next big trend.

  • What an interesting toy! While not quite the same, I’ve noticed my little one is fascinated by her wooden lawnmower toy. Whether it’s the clicking of the wooden balls going round and round or the act of pushing the holds her attention day after day!

  • I just cleared out the majority of my kid’s toys out of the house (still plenty around, unfortunately, even after filling two massive bins) and it helped Jocelyn’s attitude so much. She seems to crave order and a clear space. Miles? He’s a nutty professor who loves to have all sorts of doo dads around to play with imaginatively. It’s quite a balancing game to make a harmonious world for these two. Definitely less is more!

    • Ha – that’s adorable! Total nutty professor over there – and man, I remember learning to coexist with my sisters was SOOOO tricky. Cheers for separate rooms! Hugs to your darling two. :)

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