About Our Products
How do you play with Uncle Goose blocks?
We don't need to tell you how to play with blocks. You already know.
If you can't figure it out: give them to a child. They'll show you. Children often think of things to do that you've long since forgotten. Let a child show you the path back to yourself.
Uncle Goose toys are the building blocks of creativity. In a child's hands, Uncle Goose blocks can become anything. Use them to inspire your imagination.
Why are Uncle Goose products so pretty?
Uncle Goose blocks look beautiful. Some people buy them as office or home decorations. That’s great.
But don’t be surprised when you or your guests start fiddling with them. They’re touchable and lovable, and people of all ages long to play with them.
In part, that’s because design and layered thinking goes into every set. Children learn all sorts of fundamentals through block play. Adults use blocks as metaphors to represent complex topics.
Further, Uncle Goose blocks are made by hand. Talented craftsmen and women have personally touched and labored over each block in your set. You can probably feel the love and care that went into making each block.
So, yes. Uncle Goose blocks will please the discerning eye. Go beyond surface aesthetics, though. Look deeply. Play hard. You’ll find thoughtfulness and care in each sturdy block.
And that’s by design. Our products are pretty, but they’re meant to be handled. Have fun.
Are Uncle Goose products safe for children?
Yes, they’re safe. Uncle Goose blocks are a timeless classic. Remember, generations have thrived by playing with wood blocks.
All of our blocks are too big to be a choking hazard. The wood we use is natural and uncoated.
We buy our inks from an American manufacturer that doesn’t use heavy metals. To keep everyone honest, we third-party test our ink.
To give you some perspective, most overseas companies do only in-house testing. And their standards for safety are lower.
We recognize that cognitive bias is a real phenomenon. It’s why we insist on third-party testing. It insures the integrity of our products and processes.
Yes, we’re really picky about making sure your blocks are safe. We go way above and beyond the CPSIA (Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act) requirements for safety for every last one of our products.
Why Age 2 and up?
Blocks make great baby gifts. Need a baby shower gift? Uncle Goose blocks are it. They look terrific as on-the-shelf decorations in baby’s nursery.
And that’s where we’d like you to keep them for two years. On the shelf, away from baby.
That’s because babies aren’t able to fully appreciate playing with blocks until they’re two or older. Here’s why:
From ages 0-2 babies put things in their mouths. It’s how they learn about the world. Biting is pretty much in their job descriptions.
Blocks won’t hurt baby, but Uncle Goose blocks aren’t teething toys. Leave block play to the 2+ crowd, please.
Until then, use your blocks as decorations or as props in baby pictures. Bring your Uncle Goose blocks down from the shelf as a special toy for baby’s second birthday party.
What does Made in the USA mean?
Uncle Goose toys are hand-manufactured in Michigan. We don’t use any non-USA materials or labor.
The wood, the ink, the packaging? It’s all Made in the USA. We support USA businesses and employees.
This means Uncle Goose pays a living wage, right here in Michigan. The people who work here are highly skilled. Some have families here who have been in woodworking for generations. Many are designers or craftspeople. And all of us can feel good about the work we do.
Other than our foreign language blocks, there’s absolutely nothing foreign about our blocks. When we say Made in the USA -- we mean it in a hand-crafted and artisan kind of way.
Oh -- the wheels on our wagons? They’re lathed in Maine. That means you can still own a vehicle that’s 100% Made in the USA, as well. Fancy that.
How eco-friendly is Uncle Goose?
Renewable resources. Eco-friendly. All natural. For us, these aren’t buzzwords. It’s who we are and how we work.
At Uncle Goose, we make our toys out of fast-growing American basswood trees that grow in the Great Lakes area. These trees are a renewable resource.
Environmentalists call it sustainability when we re-purpose our scrap and wood dust. Our customers seem to get a kick when they learn that real-live horses bed on our wood curls. Or that our wood salvage is used to heat homes. We produce little waste.
Our packaging? We use recycled paper for most of it. Our brochures and letterhead? Same deal.
Doing right by the environment is embedded in our processes and products. It’s the only way we know.
Our home state of Michigan is filled with trees. So why did we choose to make our toys out of the American Basswood or Linden Tree?
So many reasons. Linden is a hardwood, so it’s sturdy. And yet, it feels soft and pleasant to touch. The light color makes it easy to read the words and see the images we print on the blocks. Basswood grain is more delicate than other woods -- you can see it, but it often fades into the background.
Some say the American Basswood is odorless, but take a whiff. It’s a light, pleasant, and unobtrusive smell.
Further, basswood is a renewable resource. It grows fast. Its often harvested along with other trees like maple and oak -- without being as dense or heavy for small hands.
If you’re in the Midwest or Great Lakes region, you’ll often see basswood growing in yards as a shade tree. Some of your favorite musicians may have guitars made out of basswood.
Ah, the American Basswood. Tillia Americana. The Linden Tree. It goes by quite a few names, but it’s the tree we know and love.
Why no coatings?
Uncle Goose toys are untreated. No varnish, no polish, no sheen, no gloss.
In part, this is for your safety. If a curious child licks or chews a block - the child will discover that plain basswood tastes bland and uninteresting. Since Uncle Goose blocks are not coated, they’re literally dull to put in the mouth. A child is likely to discover that licking our blocks isn’t nearly as fun as playing with them.
Further, the lack of coating actually contains a little bit of magic. As you play with your blocks, the oils in your hands will slowly penetrate the wood. Over time, you’ll create your own soft sheen, with your own DNA. We like to think that when you pass these heirloom toys down to the next generation, your unique DNA will be passed down to the next generation, too.
Over time, you may see and feel-worn sides on your untreated toy. You may even see scratches and dents. This is evidence of love. We hope you’ll use generational wear and tear as an opportunity to create a story that will help preserve your unique family history.
What is - and isn’t - a defect?
If you look closely at your block set, you’ll see wood grain. You might even see pinholes or mineral streaks.
These aren’t defects. They show the unique nature of wood. Blocks provide you with a wonderful way to talk with children about nature and the beauty of individual differences.
Grain, pinholes, and streaks make your block set truly one-of-a-kind. Unlike plastic toys, no two wood block sets will ever be identical.
Wood has a naturally imperfect and beautiful character. We wouldn’t dream of replacing a perfectly imperfect wood block. However, if your block is cracked or damaged, please let us know. We’ll replace it.
To the left: normal mineral streaking and pinholes.
To the right: abnormal streaking and knots.
How do I care for wood toys?
As an adult, you’ll need to instruct children to pick up their toys and put them away in a special place. Those who have failed to caution their children have learned that blocks are no fun to step on.
Blocks aren’t missiles to hurl at the cat, either. If you fling a block and it hits someone, it’s going to hurt. Don’t do that.
Keep the blocks out of your mouth. They aren’t teething toys. If you lick or bite a block, you’ll be fine. So will your children.
However, untreated wood and drool don’t mix together well. Water warps wood. You can clean your blocks lightly with a damp cloth and mild detergent, but avoid getting the embossed sides wet. Moisture is more likely to cling to the crevices, making them more susceptible to damage.
As you might imagine, untreated wood blocks don’t make the best bath toys, either. Keep your wood toys clean but dry.
When you play with your blocks, keep them away from food. If you touch your blocks after eating, you may pass on a scent that seems irresistible to dogs. Your pets may start licking the blocks. You can imagine what happens next: licking leads to biting, and biting leads to gnawing. Dogs love to destroy any blocks you may leave laying around.
Take good care of your toys. Put them away when you aren’t playing with them. Keep them out of your mouth and away from food. Clean them only when absolutely necessary. They’ll last generations.