Wooden Baby Rattle Made In USA July 31, 2008
Mossy Creek “Wooden Baby Rattle”:
Mossy Creek use locally-harvested cherry and walnut, dried in their own solar-powered kiln, to craft their traditional American folk toys. The shape of this rattle is so nice and rounded, no hard edges. It is actually pretty light, very smart made for babies in mind. It comes in a box and looks so nice, it makes a great gift. About $18, so worth it. Support USA toy makers that make an effort to be eco-friendly, good for us all, especially the little ones!
Buy these unfinished here (the are usually finished with mineral oil, but safer unfinished):
Made In USA Wooden Eggs July 13, 2008
Camden Rose “Good Eggs”:
I must admit that I thought that these eggs kind of looked boring, but what to us jaded adults looks like boring, could be a world of exploring for the unspoiled child’s eye. At about $8, made in USA by a great company and completely non-toxic, I thought “why not”. I am so glad I got these eggs! My son not only plays with them as eggs in his kitchen, but use these in his cups to make “ice cream”. These are a staple in your toy kitchen! 6 eggs in a recyclable egg container. The eggs are sanded smooth and beeswax oil is applied to achieve the look of brown eggs.
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Made in USA Wooden Blocks June 29, 2008
Maple Landmark “My Best Blocks”:
Made from local sustainable harvested maple, these blocks are smooth and unfinished. Non-toxic, eco-friendly and made in USA blocks- these are a classic! I think as adults, we sometimes look at toys like this and think they are boring, we forget that these were actually toys we played with for hours as children and that they provide the basic need that toys are supposed to be: building blocks for children’s own imagination!
My son and I combine these blocks with others to create parking garages, roads, houses, etc. When the box arrived, he immediately started grabbing the blocks and to my amazement was entertained for hours. Today, he likes it when I start helping him build something, then he takes over with his own imagination. Starting at $48 and up.
Wooden Toy Airplane June 23, 2008
Kinderkram Wooden Airplane:
This wooden heirloom quality toy is made in Europe by Konrad Keller/Kinderkram with non-toxic materials. It’s great as a first airplane, my son at the age of almost 3 still loves to play with it. There was a period when he would not touch this plane, and suddenly he was playing with it every day. The plane comes with a removable peg pilot. The wheels and propeller spin, and it’s designed for easy grip. I like that it is so incredible well made, it has had numerous drops (crashes) and there’s not even a dent in this plane. For sure a keeper for my sons children one day. There is also a great wooden helicopter in this line of toys and they come in either red or natural color. The price is about $25.
Wooden Play Food June 21, 2008
HABA Play Food Tins:
These German made tiny metal tins are filled with wooden play food with non-toxic colors and finishes. I prefer USA made play food from companies such as Camden Rose, the problem is their small selection (let me know if you find non-toxic US made wooden play food more then eggs). You can find knitted play food at Palumba.com made in USA.
These tins are unique with that the food is so tiny. Us adults tend to think that bigger is better and when these arrived, I was shocked over how tiny they were, especially the content. When my son got to these though, it all started to make sense- these are perfect for his little hands, brilliant! He played with these three tins that entire day I got them and they are still his favorite play food items in his wooden kitchen. You see, it is way more fun for a child to mix all kinds of foods in their little pots and pans then to just fit one or two items. Try to get healthy items in these tins, like beans, mushrooms, pineapple, peas and carrots, fish and tea bags. I think it’s important to avoid cookies and sweets even in play foods since you want to install that healthy food is fun. One tin is about 2.5 inches tall and the price is around $7.
I do not recommend these to children that still put things in their mouth and they are a choking hazard for babies due to their small size. I want to put a special note here to NOT buy any play food made in China. I was surprised to find companies that claim to make natural “safe” wooden toys in China still have traces of lead, chlorine etc in their toys. Even HABA make some items in China, so watch out which items you get from them.
If I could keep only one kind of play food for my son, it would be these tins. They are his favorite and encourage such nice play. They have also been the favorite play food of any child that has visited our home.
Made in USA Toy Camera June 13, 2008
North Star Toys Camera:
Since I am a photographer, I of course had to get my boy a camera. North Star Toys make great wooden toys, but the toys are usually finished with a food-grade, petroleum-based mineral oil. I recommend buying their toys unfinished at Kidbean.com, and then just put on a vegetable oil for a vegan finish, or my favorite: Three BEEautiful organic beeswax polish. When the camera arrives unfinished, it looks dry, you’ll be amazed how it comes to life with a little oil.
My son takes pictures of me, his pretend dinosaurs, dragons and the items in our house. Very cute. Then he shows me the images on his pretend monitor on the back of the camera (just like mama’s digital camera). The shutter button pushes down, there’s a view finder, focus knob that turns, and a film advance dial. Everything is very basic, perfect for a child’s imagination. I like that contrast of the different hardwoods used. This camera is about $22.
North Star Toys is a small eco-friendly family business that use recycled paper and packaging whenever possible and reuse or recycle scraps and waste. Their saw dust is used to supplement compost and wood-scraps are donated to schools for art projects. 100% of electricity that runs their shop comes from wind and/or solar energy!