Here is hoping that you all are having a great summer and are managing to stay cool despite the heat!
Recently a busy mom asked me for some American-made resources for her young son. I was thrilled to be asked, but was also delighted to have an opportunity to do something for her. You see this mom and her son are doing a lot for me. They are temporarily getting by without someone they love in order to keep me (and you) safe.
At their house, Dad is in the Army and that means for the rest of the year he will be stationed in Afghanistan. He is loved and missed. He is also tremendously appreciated. So this blog full of US made toddler goodies is my small way of thanking Nathan, his mom and dad, and the thousands of families like them across the country, for making huge sacrifices to ensure the freedom and security my family and I enjoy daily.
May everyone come home safely!
Green Toys – Manufactured in USA
Not only are Green Toys tons of fun, they are made from tons of recycled plastic!
Every toy the company produces is made of 100% food-grade plastic from recycled milk jugs. The only thing added to the plastic are FDA approved colorants. This means when you see a Green Toy headed for your little one’s mouth, you can rest a bit easier. (No wonder they’ve won so many awards.)
At Green Toy’s the commitment to the environment extends all the way to the packaging. You will never have to find scissors to open the box or wind up with a mountain of cellophane and styrofoam after you liberate the toy. Each of Green Toy’s toys is packed carefully in a recyclable cardboard box. That’s it. Minimal muss, fuss and waste.
The company has lots of good-looking products so it is hard to choose, but who would not want a tool box (left for $27.99) , a recycling truck (middle for $27.99) or a tugboat (1 for $14.99)? All 3 sound fabulous.
Wee Can Too – Manufactured in USA
If these art supplies look good enough to eat, they are.
The result of one mother’s desire to give her daughter a safe, non-toxic and dye-free product with which to express herself may just be the beginning of the newest art movement — organic.
Knowing her daughter would likely taste-test any painting or drawing tools provided, Sarid Ditton headed to the kitchen in search of an alternative. After much experimenting, Ditton developed recipes for paints, crayons and chalk using common kitchen goods like beets and blueberries.
Today she and her partner, Nichole Groat, manufacture art products of organic, vegan ingredients under the label Wee Can Too. (Their products are also dairy and wheat free.) Although, the products are not manufactured or recommended as food, if they are consumed in the course of the creative process, no one need worry!
(Wee Can Too products have also been favorably reviewed for use with autistic children.)
Beka – Manufactured in St. Paul, Minnesota
Eat your heart out Picasso! The Deluxe Easel has it all:
- A top-mounted paper holder, so you never run out of room to express yourself (You can even buy the rolled paper from Beka.)
- Trays for art supplies (in wood or plastic)
- Surfaces are available in whiteboard, green chalkboard or magnet board.
- Folds for easy storage
Best of all this easel is made by the Kreisman family who has been making high quality wood products for over 40 years. This small family owned business also makes wonderful activity tables, puppet theaters and wagons.
Doodle Town Toys – Manufactured in Big Lake, Minnesota
Don’t let their size fool you, Doodle Town Toys are big fun!
Begun in response to the increasing exportation, plastic-ization (you know what I mean!) and commercialization of toys in general, Doodle Town Toys has been making wooden toys designed to inspire children’s imaginations for almost 40 years.
In addition to being non-toxic, safe, high quality and green, these toys are actually produced for small hands.
Doodle Town Toys makes it possible to operate a tractor and wagon full of alphabet blocks (right for $34.95), or your very own grasshopper (middle for $18.95) or even run your own transportation yard (left for $49.95) for the bag of 8 vehicles. (Vehicles also available individually.)
See them all. Visit www.doodletowntoys.com.
Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay – Manufactured in Seattle, Washington
Playtime has never smelled so good!
Mama K’s Play Clay is the brainchild of Kari Erickson-Valenzuela who was looking for an alternative to the artificial coloring and cloying scents that are traditionally added to the doughs and clays marked to children.
Her fabulous result is made of gluten-free flour, extra virgin olive oil, vegetable colorants and organic essential oils. In addition to providing an all-natural alternative to this popular play-time activity, Mama K’s use of aromatherapy oils can actually impact your child’s mood during his/her play.
Currently Play Clay is available in 7 scents: Bergamot – (yellow) alleviates anxiety or stress; Cardamom – (green) refreshes; Chamomile – (blue) relaxes; Geranium – (pink) creates balance; Lavender – (lavender) soothes; Lemongrass – (yellow-green) inspires; and Sweet Orange – (orange) uplifts.
(“Mama K’s Play Clay is suitable for kids with Celiac and Autism Spectrum disorders.”)
Maple Landmark Woodcraft – Middlebury, Vermont
Who wooden-t like these toys?
No one. Especially when they are so easy to buy. You would think with their focus on craftsmanship and creating wooden toys that will last generations, Maple Landmark’s website would not be too exciting. But you would be wrong.
It is exciting. Not because of bells and whistles but because it makes it easy for parents, aunts, uncles, friends or anybody else to shop their fantastic toy selection. Thanks to a menu option called “Products By Age” you do not have to be Dr. Spock to find your favorite little person an age-appropriate gift. (I know I am relieved!)
The three toys shown above are for different ages but all look like hours of fun. The pouch of dominos (left) with animals (as shown) or with vehicles for $19.00/set; the rocking horse (middle) for $289.00; and the jigsaw puzzle (right) for $20.00 are all available at www.maplelandmark.com.
CBH Studio – Manufactured in USA
Quite possibly the cutest way to carry your stuff! Ever.
Whether you need a way to get your toys to the beach, your clothes to Grandma’s or a really cool bag for the first day of school, these 3D backpacks are the solution. Your kids will love them because of the great interactive characters. You will love them because they are made of vinyl and will stand up to your little one’s abuse and sticky fingers.
CBH Studio bags are designed by Cathy Berse-Hurley and manufactured by her family-run company. “Every backpack, lunch tote and accessory from CBHstudio has been designed, cut, printed, stitched and inspected by American workers earning a fair wage.”
I hope that you will enjoy these suggestions!
Please share any other American-made toy recommendations that you have.
And, as always, if you are looking for a particular product or category of products (like this mother was) do not hesitate to ask! I would love to help.
Until next time . . .