A few months back, I came across a link for Spielgaben: The Worlds Best Educational Toy. http://www.spielgaben.com/
Looking closely, it was a marvelous mix of wooden toys and for lack of a better phrase 'odds & sods'. When I showed my husband, he commented, "Oh basically a mixture of what we played with as kids."
Essentially, you can create your own collection of 'loose parts', which is a reoccurring activity mentioned in many of the blogs I read. (or spend the $449US on the real deal, which includes activity cards and the lovely collection box.)
In fact, children collect these 'loose parts' on a regular basis, in their Nature Collections. O's 'Nature Sill' turned 'Nature Box' sits by the back door and hosts a variety of objects that can be used for craft, nature lessons, art or imaginary play. An Every Day Story