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George Pfister Shapes Wood into Special Experiences for Special Children

To me toys are not something to be sold, toys are to be given, to be shared like friendship, like adventure.

My license plate is TOY GEO, So many Toys So little Time. I am known as the toymaker here in Laguna Woods Village, Calif. It is a niche no one else occupies.

When John or Cynthia tell me my toys are beautiful I shrug and say thank you. When Amanda  from the Chicago Education Project tells me my toys are beautiful I am energized to make more and better toys. I know then, I am helping.

I make my toys in the hope that a young person will embrace it and allow their imagination to transport him or her to another time or place.

In the film, “Field of Dreams”, James Earl Jones tells Ray, “baseball has been a constant throughout the years.” I feel that toys too are a constant. A toy has that special power to transport a child to a different time, escape an abusive parent or a chance to share a special moment with a friend.

Do I do this because I did not have many toys of my own? Is it because I saw in my students a void in their background? I don’t know! What I do know is that a well-made toy is cherished, if even for a given time. Some become “heirloom toys”, those that flow thru generations of children.

As you can see (below), the children in Africa develop a special bond with a simple little car with wheels. A toy is universal, transcending politics, time and travail. My work has been shown on Rivera and ABC Chicago but I have no access to that tape or even know if it still exists.

Since my retirement I have made and distributed about 2500 toys, most of which are articulated, meaning they move in some fashion: legs, head or tail. I have the good fortune to work other residents with exceptional talents and often receive their cut-offs of Walnut, Maple, Bubinga, and Mahogany woods. They tend to be my sincerest critics and the first to try the toys when I am finished. I also make trips to a special lumber yard in Santa Ana, California, when needed.

Do I do this because I did not have many toys of my own? Is it because I saw in my students a void in their background? I don’t know! What I do know is that a well-made toy is cherished, if even for a given time. Some become “heirloom toys”, those that flow thru generations of children.

I dearly loved working with kids.

As a teacher I had a student named Cecilia. She wrote a letter for my Retirement Book. She asked. “Do you remember how you used to sing to me “Does your mother know you’re out, Cecilia?”
I’ll always remember that.

You were my favorite teacher.” I was the first and only teacher who went to Cecilia’s home. They lived in the seediest part of town, but they worked hard and they were poor. The fact that she remembered me 30 years later impacted me. My first 20 years in education were as if I were in Camelot - I loved it! Then I became an administrator. Need I say more? We lose that close contact with the very thing that motivated us to education in the first place.

Thank you for your interest in reading my story. You humble me.

- George Pfister

George uses ToymakingPlans.com wood toy plans as a starting point for creating genius take-apart educational toys for exceptional children. Above Left: George articulates toy Dinosaurs from the book Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures Scroll Saw Patterns. Above Right and Below Right: George articulates cars from the book Rockin' Rollers Scroll Saw Patterns. Below Left: George builds the interactive Super Crane

Go to the next page to see George's Photo Gallery of toys.

Noah's Animal Cracker Ark Wood Toy Plan Set
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