Learn Through Play: The Story of Peter Handstein

Learn Through Play: The Story of Peter Handstein

Written by: Hape

Every childhood is unique. Some of our early experiences are so rich and impressive that they go on to be the shaping force of our lives. Peter Handstein, also known as the founder of the Hape wonderland, has built one of the world-leading toy companies for children. To understand his story and how he became what he is today, we have to travel back to an experience from Peter’s childhood…

Peter was born in the 1960s into a low-income family in a small village. Toys for Peter then meant sand, stones and sticks. But that wasn’t going to stop him from playing! When Peter was four years old, he built a beautiful sandcastle in his backyard. After lunch, Peter came back out and saw that his castle had been destroyed. Peter was filled with anger and pain. "The boy who lives down the street must've done it!", he thought and burst into tears. It was then that his great aunt Marie consoled: "Don’t worry. The next one will be even better! There’s always someone destroying things, and there’s always someone rebuilding things. You make your own choice.” And with this simple saying, Peter's life was changed forever. Just as great aunt Marie had predicted, the many “castles” Peter went on to build would far outshine that first little sandcastle in the backyard.


A thing can be destroyed. But the drive to create and the will to rebuild can never be broken. This is a truth that Peter learned and took to heart at a very young age. Thanks to his great aunt’s guidance, Peter developed a big heart under this positive condition and gained a lot through the simple act of play, and this infused within him the deep wisdom that every child can attain truth and knowledge through playing and practicing.

Raised with a deep-rooted respect for family, honesty, compassion and a love of nature, a seed was planted deep in Peter’s heart. In 1986, Peter founded a company that would strive to be the most influential children’s products enterprise in the world. Hape®, a brand dedicated to children was soon known by all. As a reflection of Peter’s lifelong values, Hape® has been welcomed into the homes of millions of families across the globe. Today, he continues to blend his great aunt's belief with nature and love and to share his philosophy with others in order to help as many children as possible achieve a positive outlook and lead a healthy life.

Peter was lucky to have his great aunt to set him on his way from a very young age, and this was how he learned about the power of play. Every child’s talents are unique. A condition of learning and growing through the experience of play must be provided at an early stage. By taking “Love Play Learn” as the slogan, Peter has and will always continue to support children by keeping a childlike mind and holding on to his innocence. And Hape® has and will always offer high-quality, educational toys to facilitate children’s growth and learning through a more meaningful play experience.


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Hape Holding AG

Hape, (“hah-pay”), is a leader in designing and manufacturing high quality baby and children’s wooden toys made from sustainable materials. The eco-friendly company formed in 1986 by Founder and CEO Peter Handstein in Germany.

Hape produces the highest standards of quality through stringent control systems and a world class production facility. Hape brands are sold through specialty retail, toy stores, museum gift stores, school supply stores and select catalog and internet accounts in over 60 countries.

Hape has won numerous awards from prestigious independent toy testing groups for toy design, quality and safety. Find us also on Weibo or “like” us at facebook

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