Behind the Brand Grapat Toys: Unlocking Imagination Through Open-Ended Play

Apr 19, 2024

What are Grapat Toys?

Grapat toys are beautiful, open-ended wooden toys specifically designed for loose parts play which gives children the freedom to explore and create without predetermined rules. Adults sometimes struggle to understand what open ended or loose parts play is because modern toys have moved away from this style of play and are made for one specific game. 

However, little ones have no problem figuring out what to do with them and this kind of play is incredibly important for development. Studies have shown that children who engage in regular open-ended play demonstrate better cognitive, social, emotional, and motor development compared to those who primarily play with structured toys or engage in highly directed activities*


four young children playing with grapat open ended wooden toys on a light wooden table

The Grapat Story: From Inspiration to Creation

Grapat founders Casiana and Jordi were inspired by their first daughter Lola who preferred to create games with household objects than ‘off the shelf’ toys. After the arrival of their son Tomas the family moved from the city to the Spanish countryside to live in Jordi’s old family home. Embracing a slower and simpler way of life they began experimenting with wood, making loose parts and watching how their children enjoyed the simplicity of free play. The company started in the family home, inspired by Casiana and Jordi’s children and created in the barn where Jordi’s parents once raised animals. 

Grapat means ‘a handful’ in Catalan and that’s the philosophy behind the brand: to carry a handful of loose parts to spark exploration and curiosity and to offer them to generations of children to come. 

Grapat has grown since conception in 2015 and gradually expanded beyond the family home but it’s still as much a family project as it was back then. It’s a manifestation of Casiana and Jordi’s vision and with each new collection the story evolves.  

Why we love Grapat: Open-Ended Play and Sustainability

Open-ended play allows children to experiment, invent, and express themselves freely. This helps them think outside the box, solve problems creatively, and develop critical thinking skills. The tactile wooden pieces invite curiosity and creativity with no set rules or game in mind so that little ones are free to play as they wish. 

Nature is the muse for team Grapat and every set playfully encourages the exploration of our connection to nature and the rhythm of life. Each piece is handcrafted using locally sourced sustainable wood and finished with beeswax and non toxic stains.  Wood grain shows through on each piece and over time they may pick up dents and marks from hours and hours of play. Team Grapat describes this as an accomplishment as the toys have fulfilled their purpose providing hours and hours of free play and memories to be cherished.

Grapat toys have been designed to combine perfectly with items found in nature such as pine cones, nuts, leaves and branches to encourage little ones to use their creativity and explore nature through play. 



Crafting with Heart: A Peek into the Grapat Workshop

Grapat is a thriving company with a small team. Every team member is valued and paid fairly for their incredible skills and artistry. Casiana and Jordi take social responsibility seriously and collaborate with foundations that provide employment to people with disabilities who assist with packaging. They are active in giving back by supporting charities and humanitarian projects with focus on childhood and families.

sink splattered with colourful paint

Every element of the toys has been carefully considered from concept, design, manufacture and packaging. Grapat Nins, Mates, and Coins were the first set we bought for our own children and we've been captivated by their magic ever since. Our collection has grown alongside our boys expanding imaginations!


hands spalttered with colourful paint holding an unfinished wooden nin peg doll by Grapat toys   


How to play with Grapat toys.

Grapat toys come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, often inspired by natural forms. Popular Grapat pieces include:

  • Rings: Stack them, create towers, or use them as wheels.
  • Coins/Discs: Perfect for sorting, counting, or building pretend worlds.
  • Cups/Bowls: Fill them, stack them, or use them as pretend containers.
  • Nins (Wooden People): Spark storytelling and imaginative play.
child in shorts and t-shirt sitting on the floor surrounded by grapat wooden loose parts from the mis and match play set

Here's how to get started using Grapat toys:

  • Provide an open space: A play mat, free lay tray, or even the floor allows for exploration.
  • Offer a variety of Grapat pieces: More options spark more creativity.
  • Let your child take the lead: Observe and avoid imposing specific ideas.
  • Join in the fun! Engage with your child's creations and ask open-ended questions.

There are no right or wrong ways to play with Grapat toys. The beauty lies in the open-ended nature, allowing your child to discover and create their own unique world.

Our best sellers from the Grapat toy collection:

Lola and Carla are the ultimate open ended play sets. For a capsule toy collection either or both sets are a great choice for building, counting, sorting and small world play. 

Playsets like Nins, Mates and Coins or an Aguamarina set containing a selection of Nins (peg dolls) and loose parts and are a great introduction to Grapat and open ended toys.

Mandala pieces can be combined with other loose parts and work well with a tinker tray or free play box to provide a space to classify, sort and present loose parts. 


child playing on the floor with the Grapat Lola wooden play set

The Grapat collection is diverse and extensive and while each set has its own story they can all be combined with each other, with elements from nature and with other toys and games. Casiana and Jordi have created a truly magical collection which includes characters with different skin tones and in all shapes and sizes. These toys are so much more than just loose parts and if you’re just discovering them then welcome! A world of wonderful, creative play awaits. 


Shop our Grapat toys collection


Study cited is "The Power of Play: A Review of Early Childhood Play for Cognitive and Social Development" (2014): This review, published in Frontiers in Psychology, analysed 46 studies and found that play-based learning can improve children's cognitive skills, including problem-solving, memory, executive function, and language development.



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