Kathrin Kiener practically grew up in her uncle’s timber yard, sweeping floors and in the process falling in love with all things wood—so much so that she founded Kiener Toys. Today, the 30-year-strong Swiss company handcrafts clever wooden toys; from mobiles to dolls that wobble, each charming and sturdily-constructed plaything can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. We particularly like the Musikwürfel (music box) collection, some of which cleverly animate wooden scenes, like flowers or snowboarders, to the music.
While more costly than most toys (prices span $30-120), the quality and care that goes into each toy makes them heirloom pieces. Kiener also works with “Das Werk- und Wohnhaus,” a Swiss program that employs socially and mentally impaired men and women to work as carpenters crafting the toys.