Holiday Gift Guide: Cooking in the Mini-Kitchen

November 24th, 2007

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This little kitchen is perfect for people who have a small space or don’t want a huge kitchen set taking up half of the room. It is sized perfectly for the toddler/preschool set at 31″ tall x 21″ wide x 12″ deep.

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Set comes with 23 pieces of wooden cookware and food. (Pots with lids, a skillet, utensils)

I also bought this wooden food groups set and the little wooden crates fit perfectly inside of the mini kitchen and keep all the food items organized. You can see them inside the “oven” section.

Mini Kitchen for sale at Hearthsong for $99.

Fruitless Quest?

November 24th, 2007

Just interrupting the Holiday Gift Guide for a moment to react to this article I just read at msnbc.

The reporter attempted to boycott all goods made in China. And in the end determines that it is a “fruitless quest.”

I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently. The majority of the things that I pick up to purchase are made in China. And an even greater number are manufactured outside of the USA, even the beloved American Girl dolls. Say it ain’t so!

But to call it fruitless and toss your arms up in the air and give up seems the equivalent to me of not recycling anymore because you see other people throwing away their plastic bottles. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, there are times when it might be impossible to buy the item that you desire because it is only made in China. Hello iPod I am talking to you.

But for me, and I hope for others, it is not so much saying I will never buy anything ever again that is made in China, as it is examining whether or not I honestly need that item. Is there a different item that would do? Can I buy a different brand? Can I buy it someplace else? And probably most important of all, can I do without it?

Being an informed consumer is never fruitless in my mind.


cross posted at Handipoints

Holiday Gift Guide: Punch and Drop

November 22nd, 2007

hammer

In the comments of another post Chrissie asked for recommendations for her 19 month old son.

We used to have this toy and the kids loved it. It is a rather loud toy, what with all that hammering of wood on wood, but my boys all loved it. Especially if I was willing to sit across the room and roll the balls back to them after they came shooting out the hole.

It sells for $14.95 on the Plan Toys website. And like I mentioned in the previous post, I am a huge Plan Toys fan.

Holiday Gift Guide: Plan City

November 22nd, 2007

garage

I don’t have my own photo of this toy because it is wrapped up waiting for Miles. I had seen Plan toys online and liked them, but never really looked at them in person. Last week I went to the small specialty toy store specifically to look at this little garage. It was so nice and so well made. All the little kids at the store were excited to play with it.

On the Plan Toys website it says:

We are strongly committed to manufacturing fine-quality and safe educational toys under environment-friendly conditions. The timber we use is plantation rubberwood (Hevea Brasiliensis), which is recovered from old rubber trees after they no longer generate latex and are due for burning. We process and kiln-dry the timber, in a chemical-free environment.

How can you not want to support a company like this? It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Plan City Garage. (But I only paid $59 for it at my little toys store, so it might be worth looking around a bit for it.)

Holiday Gift Guide: Wooden Cupcakes

November 21st, 2007

cupcakes

Erzi Wooden Cupcakes are one of the play food items I purchased to give my almost 3 and 4 yr olds for Christmas. When they came in the mail I of course took them out to inspect them. They are absolutely adorable. Definitely not for houses with small children who still put things in their mouths since the little gumdrops on the top come off. But for slightly older kids who like to have tea parties, these are sure to be a hit.

Holiday Gift Guide: Animal Rummy

November 21st, 2007

Animal Rummy


eeBoo
uses only the original art of well-known and well-loved children’s book illustrators to create completely original and vibrant toys and gifts with a classic fair.

(Disclaimer: I think that eebo makes some of their products in China. I am unsure. But we love these cards anyway.)

Holiday Gift Guide: Parquetry Block Super Set

November 20th, 2007

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A pattern block set. All wood pieces, sturdy cardboard pattern cards, and a nice wooden box to keep it all stored together.

Holiday Gift Guide: 3D Feel and Find

November 20th, 2007

This is a great little game for the preschooler set. There are twenty tiles with matching wooden shapes. For the younger age range I lay the tiles out and they try to find the pieces to match. For the slightly older one I’ll lay the tiles out one at a time, but put all of the wooden pieces inside the cloth bag. Then they reach into the cloth bag and try to figure out just by touching which piece belongs to the individual tiles.

Holiday Gift Guide: Dominos

November 20th, 2007

Dominos are easy for even the littlest kids to play. My 2.5 yr old can play this with his siblings. My 6 yr old will play this with his younger siblings, but I would say that this game is good for ages 2-5 yrs old. It goes quickly enough that I don’t want to gouge my eyes out when I play it either.

I can’t locate Little Bear dominos, but did find a Thomas the Tank Engine set that is also made by the same company.