Open Ended Toys: The Grimm’s Rainbow

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What are open ended toys?

Open ended toys fit their description. They are toys that don’t have a specific goal or outcome to the child is meant to achieve.

Grimm's Rainbow Activity

The main, most noticable component, of open ended toys is that they don’t do anything. They require the child to do all of the thinking and all of the doing, from start to finish.

Some examples of open ended toys are blocks, climbing structures, many STEM toys, kinetic sand, peg dolls, and anything your child finds to play with in nature. And, of course, the Grimm’s Rainbow, which is one of our favorites.

Grimm's Rainbow Activity

There are some toys that can be open ended if you omit giving your child the instructions or the box featuring a picture of the desired end product.

For example, you will notice many building toys come with instructions for building a certain structure and only the pieces needed for that specific structure are included in the set.

 Grimm's Rainbow Activity

Simply repackage or removing the instructions can take the structure out of their use.

Why open ended toys?

Open ended toys provide kids with the opportunity to make the decisions about what they are going to create.

 Grimm's Rainbow Activities

The absence of an assigned outcome takes away the pressure from a child’s play. They feel free to experiment and there are no “mistakes”, just opportunities to figure out better ways to do things.

When kids play with open ended toys, they really get into it. They are emersed in concentration, trying to make the things in their imaginations come to life.

 Grimm's Rainbow Activity

Also, open ended toys, when played with in a group setting, provide an opportunity to share ideas, learn social cues, and learn to compromise and work as a team. Along with this social aspect of open ended toys, comes language and conversation skills.

Open ended, independent play with the Grimm’s Rainbow

I am an advocate of independent, open ended play. So, I could go on and on about open ended toys. The problem solving skills they foster, the attention spans they build…what’s not to love!

Grimm's Rainbow Activity

Right now, though, I want to shout the praises of one of our favorite open-ended toys, the Grimm’s Rainbow!

Grimm's Rainbow Activity

This toy is so versatile. I’ve seen my children make “cloud castles”, habitats for their miniature animals, ramps for toy cars, mazes, and… sometimes I have no idea what they are creating, but they are working hard and having fun!

I would definitely recommend this for your children! And if the 12 piece stacker is a bit more than you were hoping to spend, there is a 6 piece stacker that I have heard people rave about!

There are cheap imitations available online, but I urge you sincerely to steer clear of those. The original Grimm’s Rainbow is cut from a single piece of wood. Wood vs plastic in this case, is crucial. This is because wood (unpolished, as Grimm’s Rainbow’s come) is stackable. Plastic slides…pointless.

Quality built toys will last a lifetime

Basically, there is no replacing the Grimm’s Rainbow! Grimm’s also has other open ended toy options of impeccable quality for you to choose from. They have Peg Dolls, Building Blocks, Baby Rattles, Nesting Bowls, Pull-along toys, and other quality, well-built items that will inspire your child and get their mental juices flowing!

These are built with quality in mind. Our Grimm’s Rainbow has withstood three children and will be in great shape to pass on to another family!

Bells and Grimm's Rainbow sorted by color

I want to add that this is not a Montessori material. It is considered by most to be a Waldorf material. It is a lot of fun and it helps to build critical thinking skills, creativity, and attention span, though. And there is nothing anti-Montessori about that!


As usual, along with information, there may be sponsored link throughout the post. Ordering from these links costs you nothing extra, but I do receive a very small commission for each purchase to help me keep my website afloat. Each item I recommend I personally vouch for, as my kids are little Montessorians, themselves!

Happy Grimm’s Shopping!


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