Green Toys Tea Set Review

My son, who helped to inspire our book The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, just turned five. Did he request reclaimed wood toys or organic cotton garments for his birthday? Nope. He’s in the midst of a feverish obsession with monster trucks, which are just about as ungreen as you can possibly be.

On the other end of the gender spectrum is my two-year-old daughter Jovi who must wear the finest dresses available (purchased at thrift stores), jewels, and purses on a daily basis. For her brother’s fifth birthday party (which included “pin the wheels on the monster truck”), Jovi received one special gift: A Green Toys Tea Set.
(more…)

Secondhand Toys: Which Ones Should You Pass Up?

In the March issue of ShopSmart, put out by the publisher of Consumer Reports, experts analyzed used baby gear to determine “when you can gratefully say yes and when you should gracefully say no thanks.”  I am devoting several posts to discussing their findings.  (I’ve already written about baby bath tubs, car seats, cribs, and high chairs.)

Here’s what ShopSmart had to say about used toys:

Safe: Stuffed animals and most children’s books make fine hand-me-downs. In the case of lead contamination in used toys, there are many home lead inspection kits which can be purchased for under twenty dollars which will tell you whether the toys are safe.
(more…)

Natural Pod Review and Wooden Toy Giveaway

Rebecca and I were delighted to discover Natural Pod, a website full of quality, eco-friendly toys.  If we had endless baby budgets, we might find ourselves purchasing everything on their site—from the wooden oven to the fully waterproof suits for Oregon winters.  The toys and gifts are truly beautiful and heirloom quality.

Roscoe tried out the plates and cups from Natural Pod and has been enthralled with them for weeks.  He uses them to feed blocks to his stuffed squirrels and carefully carries then around the house with perfect balance.  Besides training him to be a waiter one day, I find that the simplicity of the cups and plates makes them wonderful for creative play.   He uses them as hats for his animals, builds block towers on the plates, and uses them to prepares several imaginary meals. 

(more…)

Using Everyday Objects as Toys

Lately, Roscoe spends all of his time running around our house, hitting a ball with his “ockey tic”  (hockey stick).  He can’t go anywhere without it and even has it by his side when we lay him down at night.  It is his most cherished possession.  It also happens to be a wooden spoon. 

Roscoe also uses his “ockey tic” as a drumstick, a “scooper-dumper” (shovel), and a  cell phone when he can’t be reached on his land line.

A few weeks ago we went to grandma’s house, two hours away.  Roscoe spent the car ride talking on his phone and beating his drumstick along to the songs on the radio.  Upon his arrival we went down to the beach where he used his spoon to dig in the sand, ladle seawater into his mouth, and pack down the exterior of the sandcastle he then quickly destroyed.  One toy sustained all this activity for the entire day.

(more…)