Founded by Margaret and Rob Wilson, a mother and son team, in 1998, Challenge & Fun is a leading supplier of natural toys and furniture to the consumer and educational market.
Through the years Challenge Fun has worked with various European manufacturers of beautiful toys and furniture, and was one of the very first companies to introduce organic cotton soft dolls and stuffed animals to the American market.
While Challenge Fun was originally based in the Boston area, then in beautiful coastal Maine, it is now situated on the scenic California coast. Still, no matter where it is, we strive to stand out from the pack - to do things a little bit differently so that you can know that you have found the very best products with outstanding service to match.
Margaret is the Founder and President of Challenge & Fun. While Natural parenting has taken off in the last 10-15 years, this is something that has always been innate in Margaret’s approach to children.
Even in the 1960’s when her first children were born, and childbirth had become cold and sterile, Margaret insisted on a natural childbirth, despite derision from the nurses. She also bucked the overwhelming philosophy of the day by shunning “modern technology” in favor of the age-old goodness of nursing.
Her child rearing approach has followed a similar path, insisting on open-ended activities that encourage creativity and imagination, using natural materials where possible.
She was a master of children's psychology (without the degree) - for instance a conversation might go something like this:
"Son do you want to go to the corner store and get yourself an ice cream cone?"
"Sure thing!" replies the son.
"Great, there is some money, oh, and while you are there, do you mind getting these items at the store?"
Both mother and son were pleased.
She always understood the value of open ended play - with natural materials. Her youngest children still remember the Christmas they received a set of wooden posts of different sizes, with holes and nuts and bolts, which they could use to build almost anything their imagination could come up with. It was basically a life-size building set, which they used for hours on end building playhouses, forts, etc., which then turned into countless hours of imaginative play.
Or there is the time that she had Dad draw a town on an old bed-sheet, which we could use with our cars and Fisher Price buildings (which were much more cool back then).
Mid-Summer Celebration in Sweden
She was introduced to the world of European toys and Waldorf Education, through her second husband, as he previously lived in Sweden near the hotbed of the Waldorf world and his sons also attended the Waldorf School in Toronto.
Margaret studied Early Childhood Education, and has taught courses on this topic from time to time.She worked for many years as a sales person for a teaching supply company in Canada. Through these various experiences, and her exposure to the wealth of natural children’s products in Europe, she felt the need to introduce more natural products to the North American market…hence Challenge & Fun was born.
Rob Wilson is the Vice President of Challenge & Fun. Father of three young children, Rob is also keenly aware of the need to provide children with quality, natural products, which encourage creativity and enrich the imagination.
Rob brings 18 years of experience working in the natural toys and furniture business, including 2 years working for a retailer of Waldorf toys. He has lived in Canada, Thailand and Austria; he speaks fluent Thai and a little French and German. He has an MBA from McGill University in Montreal.
Erika Wilson is our product selection and marketing guru. As a mother striving to practice "natural parenting" she has a keen eye for natural children's products that meet our criteria of being simple, natural, and adorable. Her commitment to the environment and quality toys gives her the enthusiasm needed for developing marketing ideas, writing copy and speaking with customers. Erika speaks French fluently, and has diligently spoken French with each of her children from birth.
NAEYC 2002 - New York City
Natural Products Expo East 2007
New York Gift Show 2008