Take Five with Buildme Wooden Toys
Imagine creating big smiles and even bigger memories with your child or grandchild by simply building a toy racing car together. This is what motivated Melbourne Dad Darryl Thompson to create Buildme Wooden Toys, a range of eco-friendly modern wooden toys that encourage a hands-on bonding experience between parent and child.
Buildme quality wooden toys are fun, robust and designed for children to build with the parent’s help and supervision. These educational wooden kits allow the child to take the lead in doing the construction, promoting a building process that boosts confidence and self–esteem, whilst developing some good old-fashioned woodwork skills. Each Buildme kit includes; pre-cut components with pre-drilled nail holes for safe, easy hammering (no sore thumbs!) and all nails, screws, wheels and axles. All that the budding tradies need is a hammer, screwdriver, glue and sandpaper.
Buildme Wooden Toys are proudly made in Australia from sustainable (PEFC certified) Jelutong timber. We wanted to find out more about Darryl and Buildme, so we asked him if he’d answer some questions in our Take Five feature.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your family and where you live?
I grew up in Albany in the south west of Western Australia. I left home at 15, joined the Australian Navy and that’s where I developed my woodworking skills as a shipwright. After the Navy, I studied graphic design, then moved to Melbourne working in advertising before setting up my own corporate design business. I now live in Sandringham with my wife Alison, who is an artist and architect, three of my children (one has flown the coop), two dogs and three chooks.
2. Tell us about where the idea for Buildme came from and how you got started?
Buildme came about when I had my design business. I was coming home on the tram thinking about what I could do with my six year old twin boys on the weekend. I decided to cut up some timber and make components for them to build their own wooden aeroplanes. They had so much fun hammering, gluing and painting I thought it would be a great thing to develop.
3. Why is sustainability so important to you when creating your Buildme kits?
Sustainability and low environmental impact are issues that we incorporate into our daily life and it’s also an important component in Alison’s architectural practice. Most of the machinery I use for Buildme is vintage. I have restored these machines back to their original working condition. These old machines are extremely well respected for their quality of manufacture and durability, and are a joy for the machinists to operate. I drive a 21 year old Landrover which I have had since new. If something goes wrong I fix it or get it fixed, I object to the disposable attitude of our society. It is very hard to educate our children in this area because the marketers excel in connecting the latest (possession) with the owner’s sense of self-worth. When I started Buildme, it was important the child could build something that would last, hopefully develop character (like a 21 year old Landrover), be passed on and not become landfill. An alternative to the plastic offerings and an equaliser to the electronic grip.
4. What is your current favourite model in your collection?
The Tow Truck is my favourite because of the interactivity the winch provides and the colour the rope injects.
5. What are your future plans for Buildme Wooden Toys?
I am working on some new models that will provide more interaction with moving parts, to help stimulate skills and imagination. We are also developing some products which will encourage more girls to pick up a hammer, not that they can¹t already build a car or truck.