WOODEN TOYS

August 18th, 2013 | Natural Toys, Play, Sarah's Silks, Sunday With Sarah, Waldorf Dolls, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (27)

I am often asked by parents who are waiting to transform their child’s playthings from commercial plastic toys to more natural Waldorf toys for my recommendations of the most essential Waldorf toys. This week on “Sunday with Sarah” I share five of my top picks and discuss the play value of each.

Keep in mind that if you are limited by budget some of these toys can be handmade or built oneself!

Video Highlights: 

1:00  Heavy Baby Waldorf Dolls
2:30  Play Silks (Playsilks)
4:00  Ostheimer Wooden Toys
5:16   Waldorf Play Stands (Playstands)
6:35   Wooden Play Kitchens
7:23   Waldorf Rocker Board
10:09 Upcoming Giveaway – Win a Waldorf Rocker Board!

Giveaway!

Mark your calendar and be sure to come back next Sunday (August 25, 2013) for a chance to win a Curvy Board Waldorf Rocker Board from Bella Luna Toys.

Do you or your child have a favorite Waldorf toy? What would be on your top five list? Anything you think I’ve omitted? Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions here!

 

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February 10th, 2013 | bella luna toys, Easter, Sunday With Sarah, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (156)

As many of you know, I was in Germany last week attending the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg.

Not only was I ecstatic to discover many wonderful new wooden toys and Waldorf dolls to introduce this year at Bella Luna Toys, but I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with the presidents of several of the lines of European toys we carry, including Grimm’s Spiel & Holz, PlanToys, Käthe Kruse, HABA, and Ostheimer.

I had a long and wonderful visit with Wolfgang Schühle, the president of Ostheimer in Germany, and met Stephan Zech, the company’s current designer. I was able to share with them my love of Ostheimer figures and tell them about the joy they have brought my family over the last 20 years.

Wolfgang was able to share with me some of the history of the company, founded by Margarete Ostheimer in Stuttgart, Germany nearly 60 years ago. Fortunately, I was able to record some of my talk with Mr. Schühle and am happy to share it with you here!

GIVEAWAY: Win a Five-Piece Collection of Ostheimer Wooden Animals for Spring!

I want to share my Ostheimer love with you, so Bella Luna Toys is giving away a set of these beloved wooden figures, perfect for a child’s Easter basket!

Set Includes:

  • 1 Sheep
  • 1 Sitting Rabbit
  • 1 Picking Brown Hen
  • 1 Brown Chick
  • 1 Yellow Chick

Click on the link below for details and to enter for a chance to win:

Ostheimer Wooden Toys Giveaway

We’ll announce the winner next Sunday. Thanks for tuning in, and good luck!

Thanks to all of you for your many wonderful comments. Congratulations to Toby Rolf who won the Ostheimer Set Giveaway!

Toby wrote: “We are pretty new to the Waldorf world so I would really LOVE to have these for our daughter! She would especially like the beautiful bunny! Thank you for the opportunity!!”

I hope that this set brings many years of enjoyment and fond childhood memories for your daughter, Toby. Enjoy!

~Sarah

 

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November 27th, 2012 | Natural Toys, Play, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (17)

Dear Friends,

Meet ImagiPlanks!

Natural Wooden Outdoor Construction Play Set

I don’t think I’ve been as excited about introducing a new toy since I introduced our Waldorf Rocker Boards at Bella Luna Toys almost two years ago.

I have long been on the lookout for great Waldorf outdoor toys to add to our collection, but, like everything offered at Bella Luna Toys, they must be beautiful, all-natural, and encourage open-ended play and creativity. Further, outdoor toys should invite large-motor movement like jumping, climbing and building. The pickings have been slim.

So imagine my excitement when the inventor of a new wooden outdoor play set contacted me about partnering to offer his yet-unnamed construction set at Bella Luna Toys.

Once I saw this video of the newly-monikered ImagiPlanks in action, I knew this was a match made in heaven! 

As you can see, kids can use ImagiPlanks to build an infinite variety of fun and cool structures:

•  Bridges
•  Tunnels
•  Towers
•  Forts
•  Houses
•  See-Saws

ImagiPlanks - Natural Waldorf Outdoor Toys

Made in the USA of sustainably harvested Ponderosa Pine, the 20 pieces in this set are finished with an all-natural unique blend of pure Linseed Oil, Tung Oil, Pine Rosin, Orange Oil, and Beeswax.

Best of all, ImagiPlanks can also be used indoors—a boon for those of us parents in northern climes who are facing a long winter ahead.

Oh, had only ImagiPlanks been invented when my boys were still young! Guess I’ll have to wait for grandchildren.

 

Tell me what you think. Are you as excited about ImagiPlanks as I am? Share your thoughts here.

 

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July 23rd, 2010 | Childhood, Inspiration, Natural Toys, Photographs, Play, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (5)

Right now I am spending every free moment working on the new Bella Luna Toys website, about which I’m all aflutter. I can’t wait for you to see it! As a result, I’ve had very little time to write blog posts.

So here today, inspired by SouleMama, I am sharing Amanda’s Friday ritual. A single photo, no words, capturing a moment. (And, in this case, a sneak peek into what I’ve been working on!)

Wooden Toy Train from Bella Luna Waldorf Toyscopyright Sarah Baldwin, all rights reserved

Wishing you a wonderful summer weekend full of play!

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June 23rd, 2010 | Archives, Handmade Toy Alliance, Handmade Toys, Natural Toys, Toy Safety, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (9)

One year ago, I was ready to take a break from teaching. I felt a need to spend more time at home with my family (ever hear the expression “Waldorphans?” Those are the children of Waldorf teachers), and I was yearning for a way to put my knowledge and experience to work in a new way. I made the bold decision to resign from my position as a Waldorf early childhood teacher, not knowing what would come next.

It seems that no sooner had I made the decision than I learned that Bella Luna Toys was for sale. I had long been aware of Bella Luna Toys as a wonderful online resource for wooden, natural and handmade toys, inspired by Waldorf education. The idea of working from home, selling the kinds of toys I loved and believed in would be an ideal situation for me. I was excited by the possibilities of using the website, not only to sell beautiful and unique toys that would inspire creative play, but also to share my experience and knowledge.

Then I got cold feet. I learned about the recently passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which in its noble mission to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US, was written in such a limiting and restrictive way that it threatened to put many small toymakers in the U.S., Canada and Europe out of business. Since most of the suppliers of the toys sold by Bella Luna Toys are made by indvidual woodworkers, crafters and small businesses, I worried about whether I would be able to sell the kinds of toys I wanted to. I nearly abandoned my dream of becoming the new owner of Bella Luna Toys.

Before I raised the white flag, someone suggested I call Dan Marshall, founder of the Handmade Toy Alliance and owner of Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care in St. Paul, Minnesota. I called the store and Dan picked up the phone. He spoke to me for a long time. I learned about the important work that the HTA is doing to amend the language of the current laws in order to allow small batch manufacturers of handmade toys to continue producing the heirloom, natural and handcrafted toys that we all believe in and love. Dan probably doesn’t remember our conversation, but he convinced me that this is a great business to be in, in spite of the challenges. Knowing that there were such committed, caring business owners like Dan and the other board members of the Handmade Toy Alliance gave me the courage to follow my heart and take a chance with Bella Luna Toys.

Dan Marshall, Handmade Toy Alliance

Dan Marshall, Founder, Handmade Toy Alliance

The week of June 21 is the first annual Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA) Blog Week and I am happy to be participating. Here is some further information on the history and mission of the HTA from their Website:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public’s trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small parts, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number. All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toy makers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007. Toy makers won’t be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children –in essence– the entire children’s industry will be as well.

The authors of the CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public’s trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade and small batch children’s products will no longer be legal in the US. The Handmade Toy Alliance represents these toy makers, manufacturers, importers and retailers. We actively lobby the House of Representatives and the Senate for CPSIA reform and also serve as a collective voice to the CPSC. Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let’s amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!

Handmade Toy Alliance

Bella Luna Toys is proud to be a business member of the Handmade Toy Alliance. Please become a fan of the HTA on Facebook, and visit their website at http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org to learn how you can support their work to keep handmade toys legal in the U.S.

Do you love handmade toys? Leave a comment here professing your love! Do you have a blog? Then please join me in spreading awareness of the Handmade Toy Alliance and add a post to support HTA’s first annual Blog Week!

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