Nature's Purest logo

Finding new brands of organic, natural, and wooden toys is not often easy but once in a while we stumble on one and say, “Why haven’t we seen them before now?” Such is the case with UK manufacturer, Nature’s Purest.

Nature’s Purest is based in the UK, and they have their own manufacturing facility in beautiful Sri Lanka. They design and make several lines of boutique baby items, mostly for the nursery, but we fell in love with their stuffed bear, bear lovey, and dolls. Not only are they stinkin’ cute, they are made with a naturally colored cotton that grows in shades of cream, beige, and light green. While not certified organic, their cotton is 100% free of chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers, and their items carry the Oeko-Tex 100 and Garments Without Guilt certification to offer parents peace of mind when purchasing for their children.

Nature’s Purest does offer one item that is certified organic, their ragdoll, Natalie. Natalie stands about 13.5 inches with sweet braided pigtails and a darling outfit that can be removed. She is sweet and soft, and she will make a special friend for any young child.

Organic Doll Natalie

Organic Doll Natalie

Nature’s Purest has a collection of soft dolls that make up their “World Family.” Each of these charming dolls is made from scraps from Nature’s Purest’s nursery lines. Pappa is quite the hipster and Mamma lovingly carries Babba in a sling all while caring for this worldly family from around the globe. All clothing, except shoes, are removable and the children’s clothing is interchangeable as they are all the same size. Each doll is sold separately or you can purchase them as a set to make a super special gift.

Nature's Purest World Family

Nature’s Purest World Family

And for the babies, you can’t go wrong with the darling stuffed bear and bear lovey. The soft velour is made with a naturally colored cotton/poly blend and stuffed with poly-fill. They are not certified organic, but you can read about their 100% naturally grown cotton and feel good about putting either of these bears in the hands of your baby.

Nature's Purest Bear Lovey

Nature’s Purest Bear Lovey

Nature's Purest Stuffed Bear

Nature’s Purest Stuffed Bear


Petit_Collage

I’ve been receiving catalogs from Petit Collage for a couple of years now, and every time I look through them I think, “I really should add some of these beautiful items to our store.” I’ve been asked repeatedly by customers to add more mobiles and growth charts so I have added Petit Collage’s collection of bamboo mobiles and paper growth charts, along with some of their other fun toys!

Safari Mobile

Safari Mobile

The bamboo mobiles are a great choice for anyone wanting a wooden mobile but without the heavy, bulky pieces. Petit Collage offers several themed mobiles that are light and whimsical and suitable for the nursery or any other space in your home.

See our entire collection of bamboo mobiles HERE.

Giraffe Growth Chart

Giraffe Growth Chart

 

Petit Collage makes darling paper board growth charts that are easily transferable from room to room and collapse nicely for storage.

See our entire collection of growth charts HERE.

Our World Floor Puzzle

Our World Floor Puzzle

 

We are big fans of puzzles and nesting blocks here at Hazelnut Kids so we are happy to expand our offerings with Petite Collage’s heavy duty floor puzzles and stackable abc nesting blocks.

 

Animal Nesting Blocks

Animal Nesting Blocks

 

My own children had similar blocks and we spent hours talking about the pictures and reading them before stacking them ever so gently and then knocking them down in crazed delight!

 

Lastly, I couldn’t resist the sweet rolling elephant. This guy is quite large and sturdy, and is a great gift for any toddler in your life.

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Hazelnut Kids is delighted to offer these new items from Petit Collage and I will end this post with a little info about Petit Collage taken from their own website:

Started in 2006, Petit Collage is all about good design. Artist Lorena Siminovich approaches all she does including authoring and illustrating over 20 children’s books with this philosophy. With her team of designers, she creates modern wall décor and home accessories influenced by midcentury design. The studio, located in an artistic hub of San Francisco, is an incubator of new ideas, art, and illustration where creating great design and pushing the envelope on new formats is the norm. Playfulness imbues every format Petit Collage touches from mobiles and mirrors to dolls, decals and more. Striving to handcraft their goods in a sustainable way using the best-quality, most forest-friendly materials available is equally important.

Sure to delight inspired children and grown-ups alike and found in homes the world over, these goods are perfect for the nursery yet sophisticated enough for any room in the contemporary home.


Kathe Kruse Waldorf Doll - Cup Cake

Kathe Kruse Waldorf Doll – Cup Cake

Kathe Kruse of Germany is going through some corporate transitions and US retailers are unable to order many of our beloved Waldorf dolls, wooden dollhouse dolls, and organic baby dolls and animals. Hazelnut Kids does still have a broad selection of these items available, but only in limited quantities. We are unsure if and when these items will be available to U.S. retailers again so if you have intentions to purchase any of these items, we recommend you do so soon. And if you have any recommendations for us regarding other Waldorf doll makers, wooden dollhouse dolls, or organic baby dolls and stuffed animals, we would love to hear from you at info@hazelnutkids.com.


Olives and Pickles Natural ToysAttention all you Hazelnut Kids! There are a few new kids on the block and they’re a part of the Olives & Pickles family of toys. To help them feel more at home, we would like to formally introduce our new friends, so please help us make them feel welcome and loved!

Olives & Pickles is the perfect addition to our eco-friendly and kid-safe family of superstar products. Olives & Pickles is a mother-owned company that’s committed to responsibly sourcing all product materials. Frustrated and fed-up with the lack of safe, non-toxic baby products available, Olives & Pickles was created to answer the call.

Olives and Pickles Organic Toys

Shown here is Maxime, Olives & Pickles’ Organic Plush Puppy

The company goes to great lengths to take the guess work out and bring you the very best and safest products available. How could we not love such a righteous company?!

As you all know, Hazelnut Kids is one of the few places where you can shop for natural toys with peace of mind. We only sell the best, safest and most eco-friendly products available.

So with no further delay, here are the five new kids on the block from Olives & Pickles!

Olives and Pickles Organic Plush and Wood Teether - Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears (Organic Plush and Wood Teether)

Bunny Ears is a teether made of 100% organic, untreated solid beach wood with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton plush crinkle bunny ears. Plush Bunny Ears make crinkle sounds when grasped, providing light sensory stimulation for your baby. The wood teether is easily removable for cleaning.

Hand polished beach wood is perfectly smooth and free from oil, wax or ink, which makes Bunny Ears a favorite among Olive & Pickles. The organic cotton fabric is printed with low impact dyes, making it perfectly safe for your babies mouth. Great for traveling or on the go!

Olives and Pickles Organic Plush Bear - Jacques with Blankie

Jacques with Blankie (Organic Plush Bear)

Jacques with Blankie is an irresistibly soft and plush little bear. Made from Olives & Pickles standard 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and stuffing. Jacques from Olives & Pickles grasps his blankie under one arm, but he won’t mind sharing it. Babies love Jacques and he will soon become your child’s preferred snuggle toy.

 

Luc the Giraffe (Organic Plush Teething Toy)Olives and Pickles Organic Plush Teething Toy - Luc the Giraffe

Luc the Giraffe helps to ease teething discomfort and is perfectly safe for your babies mouth. The softest plush 100% GOTS certified organic cotton fabric and stuffing, make Luc the Giraffe irresistible to small hands and mouths.

Little taggies provide areas for babies to grab on to and can also be attached to a car seat or stroller. Luc the Giraffe from Olive & Pickles makes a great toy to travel with and fits perfectly into your diaper bag.

 

Elephant Louise (Organic Plush and Wood Teether)

Olives and Pickles Organic Plush and Wood Teether - Elephant LouiseElephant Louise teether is made from 100% untreated solid organic beech wood that is easily removable for cleaning. Her soft plush body is made of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton fabric and stuffing.

The ears of Elephant Louise make crinkly noises when grasped and teething knots and taggies provide texture for your child to grab on to and ease teething discomfort. The contrast of soft and hard textures not only provide surfaces to cut new teeth on and sooth gums, but also provide important sensory stimulation.

Maxime (Organic Plush Puppy) Olives and Pickles Organic Plush Puppy – Maxime

Maxime Plush Puppy is dressed up in his adorable little vest and just waiting to be adopted by your little one. He is so friendly, soft and cuddly and his number one purpose for existing is to sooth and comfort your baby. As a popular option among Olives & Pickles, Maxime Plush Puppy is a great choice for a wide range of ages.

Olives & Pickles products are always PVC, BPA and Phthalates Free, GOTS certified, 100% natural and printed with low impact dyes. You can rest easy knowing that the folks at Olives & Pickles have already done all the research for you and taken out the guess work. So you can just focus on the difficult decision of which toy to choose, they are all so adorable and unique, we’re sure you will want one of each! Olives & Pickles make wonderful baby gifts, so you can share the love with all your friends.


Easter Basket GiftsHolidays have become synonymous with waste, excess, and unhealthy behaviors. Easter is no exception with plastic grass, plastic eggs and cellophane-wrapped baskets.

With a little thoughtfulness, you can make the switch to a green Easter. And with Earth Day just a couple of days after Easter, what better way to celebrate spring than by making earth-friendly choices?!

There are many eco-friendly Easter basket gifts and fun activities that will resonate with kids, leave a lasting and more meaningful impression than a basket full of sugar. Here we will explore some fun Easter basket alternatives and Easter basket gifts that are not only eco-friendly, but are also fun, creative and engaging (leaving your kids with more than the typical sugar high.)

First, Find a Natural Easter Basket

The Easter basket is your foundation and a great place to start thinking outside the box. Opt for baskets made from natural materials over the cheap plastic variety. You can find some beautiful handcrafted baskets at natural gift stores; but if you are on a budget, a great place to look for baskets is at thrift stores.

Who said you even need a basket? Wide-mouth flower pots make for great alternatives. Or try something useful and nontraditional with your kids like a 100% certified organic cotton sack from Eco Lunch Gear. Our friends at Eco Lunch Gear offer several crafty, eco-friendly and reusable products that are ideal for Easter. Check out their Cinch Sack as a creative Easter basket alternative, in addition to the Reusable Sandwich Wrap as a purposeful gift to make school lunches a bit more fun.

Keep it Real (Like the Easter Bunny Would)

Now that you have an Easter basket, you will need to line the bottom with something. Here, the possibilities are endless!Green Easter Basket Grass

Ditch the plastic grass and grow your own. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, grass is probably one of the easiest and fastest things to grow. All you need a is a small dish, some soil, seed, water and sunlight. You can use grass, wheat, alfalfa, clover or chia seeds.

Once your grass is grown, place the dish in the bottom of your basket and viola! After Easter, your child can plant the grass outside, or use it as kitty grass for your feline friend to graze on.

Dried beans make a great basket lining as well and kids will have fun diving their hands into the beans to search for buried treasures.

Playsilks from Sarah’s Silks are another great grass alternative. Playsilks come in all the colors of the rainbow. Fluff them in your basket and tuck colored eggs and gifts into the folds. Playsilks offer limitless imaginative play. In the hands of children, they can transform from a cape to a magic carpet, a tented fortress to fairy wings and beyond.

Opt for Natural Toys & Gifts for Easter Basket Stuffers

Natural Easter Basket ToysNow that you have the foundation, what should you stuff your Easter baskets with? Instead of filling them with sugary, artificial candies, natural toys and gifts make for great Easter basket stuffers.

At Hazelnut Kids, we offers tons of natural wooden toys and eco-friendly Easter gift ideas.

  • Wooden Toys: Hape wooden jungle parade, wooden farm animals and dinosaurs, Hape little wooden vehicles or pulling animals.
  • Arts & Craft Kits: Pied Piper Crafts Knitty Kitty Kit, Pirate Map Kit, Wind Car or Sailboat Kit, Artterro Art Kits, and Ecojot Recycled sketchbooks.
  • Activity Easter Gifts: Hopstic Chinese Jumprope, Sarah’s Silks

Natural Easter Egg Dying KitPerhaps the most well known Easter tradition is egg dying. The Glob Natural Easter Egg Dying Kit uses all natural, non-synthetic dyes, making it a great choice for your eco-friendly Easter.

Making the switch to a green Easter this year is easy and a lot more creative and fun than navigating the candy aisle at your local department store for sugar and plastic products.

Do you have any awesome ideas to make Easter a bit greener? We would love to hear about your eco-friendly Easter ideas or traditions. Leave us a comment below!


Waldorf DollsFor generations, children have played with dolls across all corners of the world. Dolls are a wonderful way for children to learn about themselves and the world around them through imaginative play.

There are a wide variety dolls to choose from these days, many of which are mass produced and sold in department stores. But one doll you will not find in any department store or advertised on TV is the Waldorf doll. A growing number of savvy parents are catching on to the superior quality and benefits of Waldorf-inspired dolls and choosing them over manufactured, plastic dolls.

The Origin of Waldorf Dolls

Waldorf Inspired DollsThe inspiration behind Waldorf dolls started with a different approach to education, developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner back in 1919. A Waldorf education is based on a humanistic approach to teaching. According to the Association of Waldorf Schools of America, Waldorf education is based on a “profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child.” 

The curriculum is designed to meet the various stages of child development. Teachers at Waldorf schools strive to deliver an education that nurtures the whole child- heart, hands and head- rather than focusing on the mind only. The popularity and success of Waldorf education has encouraged and ignited the growth of Waldorf toys.

What Makes Waldorf Dolls Unique?

Waldorf DollsWaldorf dolls are different. They are made from natural, eco-friendly and organic material like wool, silk, cotton and wood. These natural materials make the dolls aesthetically pleasing, warm and comforting to touch. Each Waldorf doll is a high-quality handmade heirloom piece, crafted with love and care, to be enjoyed for generations.

The facial features of Waldorf dolls are intentionally made to be quite simple, consisting of two dots for eyes and a thin line for the mouth; similar to the way that many children start to draw faces. The simple features with natural, pleasant expressions are designed to inspire creativity and imagination. Children are free to transfer a range of emotions into the doll while playing

Children love to dress and undress these dolls. The clothing is made child-friendly to be easily taken on and off. Kids can express their sense of choice, creativity and aesthetics by playing dress up.

Where to Find Waldorf Dolls?

Kathe Kruse’s official Waldorf-endorsed dolls can be found at Hazelnut Kids in many different forms. Kathe Kruse dolls are individually crafted in Germany from natural materials. She makes a diverse range of Waldorf dolls for children ages three years and up, each doll is as individual as the child and made with care.

Waldorf Doll ClothingWaldorf dolls are safe, free from chemicals and synthetics. They are soft and cuddly and the natural wool and cotton fibers absorb heat, making them warm when held near the body. As one of the best choices of natural toys for kids, Waldorf dolls allow kids to develop many important skills, such as cognitive development, fine motor skills and self helping skills.

Children use play to understand their world, using dolls to re-enact interactions with people, practice caring and nurturing and even preparing for a sibling. Loved by children and adults alike, Waldorf dolls will be adored and cherished for years.


There are countless advertising campaigns that would like you to believe that your child needs the latest new thingamabob in order to grow into an intelligent little person. But when it comes to toys, your grandparents probably had the advantage. natural wooden toys

Traditionally, all over the world toys have been made of natural materials like wood, lovingly built by craftsmen and artisans. Natural wood is beautiful, non-toxic, and durable, making it a wonderfully suitable material to make natural toys for babies and children.

Tune Out to Tune In

Many parents buy into the hype of flashy new toys with battery operated components that produce sounds and movement. Parents are told that these high-tech toys will stimulate their children and enhance brain activity.

While stimulation is good and important for brain development, children are becoming overstimulated by the high tech society that we live in. Bombarded with lights, sounds, television, advertisements, and animated objects everywhere we go, children today are exposed to more external stimuli than during any other time in our history. All this external stimuli is precisely why the home should be a haven for creative and imaginative play, inspired by natural wooden toys.

The All Natural Argument for Wooden Toys

Wooden Dollhouses for KidsWooden toys allow children to develop cognitive and problem solving skills while engaging in play. The simplicity of wooden toys requires children to use their imagination and creativity, much more so than flashy, battery-generated toys allow.

Modern toys are designed to distract or amuse children, similar to the way television is used to distract. Rather than pushing a button and sitting back to watch the toy animate itself, the child has to be an active participant to engage in play with wooden toys, requiring them to actively push, pull, turn or connect parts. When paired with a fresh young imagination, the possibilities of solid wooden toys are endless.

Developmental Benefits of Natural Wooden Toys

There are several notable developmental benefits of playing with wooden toys. Apart from developing imagination and creativity, these include the development of: Wooden Toys

  • hand-eye coordination
  • problem solving and puzzle skills
  • spatial awareness
  • shape and color recognition
  • finger dexterity
  • movement and motor skills
  • increasing attention span and patience

The natural textures of wood against little hands and fingers also invites children to touch, feel and explore, stimulating the senses. The benefits of natural wooden toys for kids are virtually endless.

Make the Switch to Natural Wooden Toys

wooden toys for kidsIt is only within the last several decades that we have seen a switch from natural toys to toys made from chemicals in toxic plastic factories. These plastic toys do not stand the test of time, they are cheap, toxic and unsustainable.

More and more research is concluding that plastic leaches out toxic chemicals, even the so called safe plastics that are BPA free have been proven to leach estrogenic chemicals. Babies and toddlers love to put things in their mouth! Plastic is not suitable for anyone to be putting in their mouths, especially children in their vital developmental years.

All natural wooden toys are safe, non toxic and durable enough to inspire creativity and imaginative play for generations to come.


 

Hazelnut Kids is happy to offer the following promotions through the 2013 holiday season. The following codes can be combined with each other but can not be used with any other sales discounts. Check back throughout the holidays for additional promotions.

Wooden Play Kitchens for Kids

Code: KITCHEN

Purchase a wooden play kitchen from Hazelnut Kids and save 10% on all kitchen accessories and play foods.

 

 

 

castle_and_figures

Code: HOLZTIGER

Purchase a Holztiger Wooden Castle from Hazelnut Kids and save 10% on all Holztiger Castle Figures.

 

 

Wooden Dollhouses for Kids

Code: DOLLHOUSE

Purchase a wooden doll house from Hazelnut Kids and save 10% on all dollhouse accessories 

 

 

Wishbone Balance Bikes at Hazelnut Kids

Code: WISHBONE

Purchase a Wishbone Balance Bike from Hazelnut Kids and receive your choice of colored seat ($20 value)

 

Waldorf Dolls at Hazelnut Kids

Code: WALDORF

Purchase a 10 inch Waldorf doll from Hazelnut Kids and save 10% on all clothing for 10 inch dolls.


Elves and Angels

This time of year we receive lots of questions regarding our line of Elves and Angels Wooden Play Kitchens. David Smalley of Elves and Angels has done an outstanding job of creating heirloom quality wooden play kitchens that are kid friendly, earth friendly, and wallet friendly. David has made it his mission to create a selection of play kitchens that are under $200. There are a couple of deluxe versions that are slightly more expensive, but the majority of his line fulfill his mission. And did I mention they are made in the US, in the great state of Maine?

susan1

Susan’s Wooden Play Kitchen

When looking through all the different models, it can become a bit overwhelming clicking back and forth to compare them. We are hoping to make this easier by creating a kitchen comparison chart. Enjoy looking them over and if you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@hazelnutkids.com or 231-941-1901.

Julianna's Wooden Play Kitchen

Julianna’s Wooden Play Kitchen
(without broiler oven)
$179

 

Julianna's Wooden Play Kitchen with Broiler Oven

Julianna’s Wooden Play Kitchen
with Broiler Oven
$219

Christina's Wooden Play Kitchen

Christina’s Wooden Play Kitchen
$189

Sera's Wooden Play Kitchen

Sera’s Wooden Play Kitchen
$159

 

Jenny's Wooden Play Kitchen

Jenny’s Wooden Play Kitchen
$169

Sylvie's Wooden Play Kitchen

Sylvie’s Wooden Play Kitchen
$249

 

 

Jenny’s Julianna’s Julianna’s with Broiler Susan’s Sylvie’s Christina’s Sera’s
price $169 $179 $219 $199 $249 $189 $159
height (inches) 30.5 34 34 38 40 28.5 27
width (inches) 20 23 23 24 28 28 24
depth (inches) 11 12 12 12 11 11.25 12
shelves 1 on top with no back 1 on top with back 1 on top with back 2 with partial backs 2 with full backing no no
moveable knobs yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
bottom broiler no no yes no no no no
metal sink yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
4 burners yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
middle oven shelf no no no no yes yes no

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


After careful consideration we are adjusting our shipping fees. We are still offering a low $2.99 rate for orders up to $15. These items will ship first class with a 2-3 day delivery time. For orders between $15 and $75, the rate will be increased to $5.99 and depending on weight, will ship via USPS Priority or UPS Ground. Lighter packages (up to about 4 pounds) will ship USPS Priority and heavier packages will ship UPS Ground with delivery time of 1-5 days. And orders over $75 ship FREE!

More details below:

USA (Within the 48 contiguous United States)

$0.00 – $15.00    $2.99 shipping

$15.01 – $74.99  $5.99 shipping

$75.00 and up     FREE shipping

Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, APO/AFO   $14.95

International orders can be shipped by our third party partners at BONGO International.

Expedited: only available within the 48 contiguous US

UPS 3-Day Select (15 pound max)

$0.00 – $15.00      $25.00

$15.01 and up       $45.00

UPS 2-Day Air (15 pound max)

$0.00 – $15.00   $25.00

$15.01 and up    $45.00

And will still offer free Traverse City pick-up!

You are always welcome to contact us regarding any special shipping requests.

 

 

 

 



Have you ever been on the fence about an online purchase but made a decisive yes or no decision based on a product video. I have certainly had that experience more than once and would like to offer that opportunity to Hazelnut Kids‘ shoppers. I have considered producing my own videos but the idea is too overwhelming and I imagine quite expensive. So today I decided to reach out to you, my customers, and ask for your help.

I would love to showcase your children using or discussing one of our toys on camera. I would prefer the videos be close to 30 seconds long with as little camera “shake” as possible. In return, if your video is selected to be included on our website, we will put your name in the hat for a $50 gift certificate. We will award one gift certificate each month through December. You may submit as many videos as you wish, and there is no limit on how many times you can win the drawing.

To enter: choose 1 of 3 ways

1. Save your video to you tube and send us the link

2. Email your video directly to info@hazelnutkids.com

3. Record your video directly to Instagram and put #hazelnutkids as the caption. (This will require you to download the Instagram App and set up an Instagram account.)

Instagram

Fine print:

  • Please include an item that we currently carry at Hazelnut Kids.
  • This is completely experimental and we will make adjustments to the process as we go along.
  • Feedback will be greatly appreciated.
  • We will never share your videos with any other organization. They are exclusively for Hazelnut Kids use.

If you are having difficulty or need assistance, feel free to email us at info@hazelnutkids.com. We look forward to seeing your little ones in action!


Having fun

Don’t parents and childcare providers have enough to worry about these days? Chemicals in our food and water, chemicals in our homes and yards, and chemicals in children’s toys, gear, and clothes! Just when I think manufacturers are coming to their senses, a report comes out stating otherwise. This month the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States found that makers of kids’ products reported using a total of 41 chemicals identified by Washington State Department of Ecology as a concern for children’s health.

The chemical reports are required under Washington State’s Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008, which requires major companies making children’s products to report the presence of toxic chemicals in their products. The reports cover certain children’s products sold in Washington State from June 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013.

Major findings from the reports include:

  • More than 5,000 products have been reported to date as containing a chemical on Washington State’s list of 66 Chemicals of High Concern to Children.
  • Products reported so far include children’s clothing and footwear, personal care products, baby products, toys, car seats, and arts and craft supplies.
  • Toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium, cobalt, antimony, and molybdenum were reported, with cobalt being the metal most often reported.
  • Manufacturers reported using phthalates in clothing, toys, bedding, and baby products.
  • Other chemicals reported include solvents like ethylene glycol and methyl ethyl ketone, and a compound used in silicone known as octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane.

Here’s a list of the most common chemicals that may be found in varying levels in today’s conventional, plastic or painted children’s toys (and their yucky implications – which, of course, depend on the level of exposure in each case):

  • Lead
    • A heavy metal that can be used for pigmentation in paints and plastics as well as a stabilizer in PVC products (which we’ll get to later).  It also is used often in the casting of metal, namely in inexpensive toy jewelry.
    • There really is no safe level of lead for children.  It impacts brain development, which can cause delays in learning and shorter attention spans.  Even worse, these effects are irreversible.
  • Bromine
    • Used primarily as a flame-retardant in textiles and furniture.
    • These flame-retardants build up in humans and can cause reproductive problems for exposed women as well as possible birth defects.  They contaminate breastmilk and umbilical cord blood and are classified as “possible human carcinogens.”
  • PVC & Phthalates
    • PVC is a widely used plastic, very common in children’s toys.  It is not easily recycled and extremely toxic when produced and disposed of.  It is also extremely brittle, requiring additives to make it flexible (most commonly phthalates, pronounced “thal-ates”).
    • Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are most commonly used to add flexibility and resilience to plastic products.  They are easily leached and exposed to humans via ingestion, inhalation, or simply through exposure to the skin.  Phthalates are most often found in household products from toys to plastic raincoats to that inflatable pool in the backyard.  They can also be found in non-plastic items such as personal care products (by way of “fragrance”).
    • Phthalates are carcinogenic and they may cause kidney and thyroid problems.  They are also linked to increased instances of asthma and allergies.  Most notably, they can have detrimental effects on the endocrine system, altering normal levels of hormones in young boys.
  • Cadmium
    • Another heavy metal used in pigments and as a stabilizer in PVC.
    • At high levels of exposure, cadmium can be linked to cancer and can cause adverse effects on the kidneys, lungs, and intestines.
  • Arsenic (inorganic)
    • May be used as a coloring agent in plastics and textiles.
    • Inorganic arsenic is carcinogenic and may cause cardiovascular problems, skin irritations, and hormonal issues.
  • Mercury
    • Most commonly used in inks, adhesives, and coatings and most toxic during production and when disposed of.
    • Mercury can build up in the body and young children are more sensitive to it.  It affects kidney function and is detrimental to the nervous system and brain.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    • Used mainly to make rigid polycarbonate plastic (that #7 plastic with PC underneath the triangular symbol).  It’s also found in epoxy resins, which are used in the inner coatings of food cans.
    • BPA is an endocrine-disruptor; a synthetic estrogen that can cause problems in neurological development, behavior, and fertility.  It can trigger hyperactivity and attention deficit and may also lead to cancer and obesity.

So… after all of that shockingly bad news, what can we do as parents and caregivers to ensure that the children around us are not exposed to such harmful substances?  The first step has been taken care of just by reading this post!  Being aware of what chemicals are harmful and then going beyond that to avoid such nasty substances is a great start.  Then, get rid of all of the “perpetrators” in the home and choose wooden and organic toys.  Ensure any coatings are completely non-toxic.  Do your homework and purchase toys from reputable companies who have proven that toy safety is their top concern.

Visit www.HealthyStuff.org for more valuable information, then be sure to stop by www.HazelnutKids.com to get that toy box restocked!


 

What’s not to love about  R-O-Y-G-B-I-V ?

Rainbows are colorful, cheerful and even playful! We’ve compiled a few of our beloved rainbow colored wooden toys that will brighten up any room in your house and provide quality playtime for your child.

Glueckskaefer Wooden Carriage with Blocks Toskana

For the busy toddler in your life, this simple set of blocks will keep them moving. The car shaped carriage can be pulled around, blocks can be unloaded and used endlessly, and they store perfectly in the car carriage when playtime is over.

Let the stacking continue with

Grimm’s Wooden Nesting Box Tower

This set includes 6 brightly colored wooden nesting blocks, that will provide hours of fun and discovery. Teach your little one about colors, shapes, and sizes while they line-up, stack, or nestle their colored blocks. As each block is nestled inside the next – a new sound is produced, depending on the size of the block. They also make attractive storage containers.

For the musically inclined we have

Plan Toys Oval Xylophone

This colorful xylophone is made of smooth, beautiful rubberwood and has a unique shape. Playing it is an enjoyable way to exercise eye-hand coordination, while reinforcing your child’s nautral sense of harmony and rhythm

And the perfect wooden toy for any R-O-Y-G-B-I-V fan,

 

Grimm’s Large Wooden Rainbow – 12 pieces

 

This 12 piece wooden set provides endless possibilities for open-ended play for children. It will be enjoyed for years by your little one as a baby, toddler, and then preschooler and kindergartner. They can make tunnels, little homes, or unique forts. A great compliment to their existing dolls and cars.

Any of these beautiful wooden rainbows are sure to please. And your little one will be too busy to even think about that pot of gold!

If your child is a fan of rainbows, here’s your chance to surprise them with one. Simply leave a comment (top of page) telling us which wooden rainbow toy would be loved most and we will randomly select a winner on Mother’s Day (May 12th).

This contest is now closed. Congratulations Samantha! Thank you to all who participated and stay tuned for our next giveaway.


When looking to expand our offerings of wooden rocking horses we stumbled on Beck To Nature, and boy were we glad we did! Beck To Nature is just the kind of company we love to work with. They are US based, family owned, and environmentally focused. The husband and wife team are originally from Hungary and are committed to sourcing innovative and green products from their homeland.

Now back to these amazing rocking horses. The SIXKID Wooden Rocking Horse comes in a “Mini” for ages 18 months and up and a “Maxi” for 3 years and up. They are beautifully hand crafted from  beech plywood and the saddle is made of Walnut. They are treated only with natural oils and wax which make them not only fun but lovely to look at everyday!

Giddyup!

Tracy Coe – Customer Service, Owner of Hazelnut Kids, and Mother to Jackson and Ivy


As the demand for US made toys grows, so does the search for US toy manufacturers. We were thrilled to discover Roy Toy and learn that not only were they a US toy company, they made wooden construction sets that are a perfect fit for Hazelnut Kids. Roy Toy is a three generation family business that has been creating the same classic building logs since 1930. All of their Earth Friendly sets are made using wood obtained from mills that follow sustainable forest management practices. Each wood building piece is tumbled for a smooth finish and left in its natural color – free from dyes

These earth friendly construction sets come in three designs – Cabin, Farm, and Tree House. They are perfect gifts for any budding architect aged 3-5 and at $20 each, you can’t beat them!

Tracy Coe – Owner of Hazelnut Kids and mother to Jackson and Ivy


As I sat down to write the latest installment of our A to Z brands series for Plan Toys, I started browsing through the two-hundred-some products we carry and it got me thinking…  Sure, we offer everything from the smallest piece of wooden play food to the grandest wooden dollhouse and everything in between, but what exactly is behind the Plan Toys name and why does it continue to be a leader in quality, imagination-inspiring wooden toys?

Plan Toys has been around since 1981, when they opened a small factory in Thailand, making toys exclusively out of sustainable rubberwood.  Since then, their commitment to creating toys that foster imaginative play and educational growth – while being environmentally and socially responsible – has not faltered.  Today, their high-quality wooden toys are available in 59 countries and the company is as dedicated to its mission of “creating innovative toys for the development of every child” as it was when it opened its doors over 30 years ago.

So what’s the big deal about rubberwood anyway?   Well, in the simplest of terms, it’s one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable (not to mention high-quality) woods available for use in the manufacturing of consumer products.  It comes from rubber trees, which are the world’s primary sources of rubber.  Once a tree stops providing the latex sap necessary for rubber, the tree is of no use and is typically cut down and burned then replanted.  Plan Toys saw this as a sustainable opportunity and chose to use the otherwise-discarded natural rubberwood as their primary building material.  The result is a very strong and durable wood, perfect for all sorts of wooden toys.

And so what makes Plan Toys such a strong and durable brand?  I think it comes down to a few simple key things: innovation, awareness and quality.  (I might even liken Plan Toys position in the natural toy industry to that of Apple in the consumer electronics world.)

The Plan Toys catalog of products is constantly evolving.  We’ve recently seen the departure of a large portion of their offerings, many of which seemed to be Plan Toys mainstays, only to be replaced by newer, more smartly designed wooden toys that are sure to become the new standby’s of the company.  These new designs meet changing times and have adapted to the way kids learn and what’s beneficial for their physical, intellectual, and social development.

The awareness label can be described two-fold.  On one hand, Plan Toys is extremely socially aware.  On top of the wide range of baby, toddler, and children’s toys in their product line, they also have developed adaptive toys for children with special needs.  The Build-A-Robot was designed specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, helping to identify emotions, while incorporating sensory elements.  Along with this social awareness, comes an underlying commitment to environmental stewardship. Plan Toys is environmentally conscious in everything they do.  From the natural, non-toxic materials that goes into every one of their wooden toys and the recycled and recyclable material they use in their efficient packaging to the solar energy and biomass that helps run their plant, they truly do operate under a “green mind.”

And, lastly, Plan Toys means quality.  The company is veryserious about having their toys adhere to worldwide safety standards.  Plan Toys’ own standards for quality are evident in their products.  Their wooden toys are not going to chipor break after a few play encounters. They are not going to leach harmful chemicals or have their paint ruboff.  Instead, you’ll have aquality toy that child after child can play with.

So whether you’re looking for that perfect natural baby gift or a wooden version of a classic … Or if you’ve got roads and rails on your mind… Or maybe you’ve got that little one who loves to whip up a delicious meal in their kid-sized pots & pans … Or for those days when you want to mix fun with learning, try the A-Z cards.

I guess what I’m getting at is… If you can think of it, Plan Toys probably offers it and it’s gonna be good!

For more information about this incredible company, visit the Plan Toys website, then come check out our wide selection at Hazelnut Kids.

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn

 


 

Have any wooden heirloom toys in your child’s toy box that were from your own childhood?  My parents had the foresight to save a few of my favorites from when I was young and now these classic wooden toys – that were made domestically (Canada, for me!) from safe and sustainable materials – are among my two kids’ favorites as well.  Whether you currently have toys like this in your own collection or not, Maple Landmark offers plenty of options for adding to or starting your own “save and pass-down” group of wooden toys and games.

 

Each Maple Landmark product is made right here in the U.S.  Since 1984, they have been making quality wooden toys and games in their Vermont workshop, using Vermont hardwoods and locally sourced nontoxic paints and finishes.

 

They offer something for every age group.  Their intricately engraved Wooden ABC Blocks are truly a sight to see and the perfect set for your little toddler (and certainly one to pass on!).  For the young builder/craftsperson in the household, the Made By Me kits are a wonderful way for children to work on their fine motor skills and develop a sense of pride in making something of their own.  And the ever popular Spinny series (available in Critters, People, and Speller) packs enough fun to keep your youngster entertained during those road trips, visits to the waiting room, or anywhere else a little quiet time is needed!  (Also the perfect stuffer for those Easter baskets… nudge, nudge!)

 

Maple Landmark also manufactures a variety of classic wooden games.  From Wooden Tic-Tac-Toe for the beginners to the beautiful Wooden Chess Set for those true gamers, every game is made with care and safety in mind.  Who needs a computer screen when a quick game of classic Wooden Solitaire is handy?  Or when there’s an opponent or two nearby, try out the award-winning Mancala Stone Game or a good old game of Chinese Checkers.

 

Whatever game you’re after or whichever toy looks fun, you can feel good knowing that your future generations will enjoy playing with these high-quality playthings as much as you do now!

 

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn

 


When I was a kid, I was a very serious bookworm and one of my favorite responses to the question of: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was “a school librarian.”  What better job was there, than to be in charge of all of the books in the school’s library and have control over that little date stamp and ink pad?!

I was also an avid organizer (and still am!) and I spent many a rainy day organizing my books alphabetically, or by size, or whatever other pattern fit my fancy.  If only the Little Librarian Home Library Kit had been available back then!

This affordable kit will allow your child to transform his or her collection of books into a full blown library!  The Home Library Kit will not only encourage hours and hours (and hours!) of imaginative play, but it will also get kids excited about reading and teach them about responsibility and deadlines.  Lend out a book to a friend, relative or even a stuffed animal.  Then keep record of books borrowed and returned, track due dates, issue overdue slips, and present reading awards.  JUST like a real librarian!

Little Librarian kits are made and assembled in the U.S.  It’s the perfect gift for any young book lover and, hey, maybe you can have a little fun with it too!

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn

 

 


In a previous blog entry we highlighted the wonderful world of Waldorf dolls, specifically the beautifully handmade creations from Kathe Kruse.  But this German company doesn’t only produce Waldorf dolls – they offer a myriad of other natural and organic toy options as well that are designed and made in Germany.

As an accessory to the dolls themselves, they have created a line of Waldorf doll clothing, perfectly sized for the 10” Mini It’s Me Waldorf dolls.  This takes playing dress-up to a whole new level when your child’s doll can get in on the fun!

Looking to fill your dollhouse with a family of wooden dollhouse dolls?  Look no further!  Kathe Kruse offers a line of delightfully charming wooden dollhouse dolls as well as an entire selection of Waldorf dollhouse dollsEach miniature doll is handmade from natural materials and there’s everything from the wise grandparent down to the newborn baby.  With their pose-able bodies and cheerful outfits, your child’s dollhouse will come to life with countless hours of imaginative play.

We are very proud to carry a large selection of Kathe Kruse’s organic line of stuffed toys and animals.  As a parent, you can rest assured knowing that if one of these little lovelies goes into your baby’s mouth, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about!  Made from 100% organic cotton and oh-so-lovable, these toys will be quick to become a favorite at home, in the car, or anywhere. 

We carry organic towel dolls in a variety of colors and designs – perfect for those infant months during which our little ones want to constantly be clutching or chomping on something…  Instead of the mass-produced pillow pals made from synthetic materials, give your child the gift of a natural and organic pillow friend…  Or for those restless nights, provide some natural warmth and serenity with the organic cherrystone pillow and organic musical lamb.  Whatever the choice, these naturally made organic stuffed animals and towel dolls will be fast friends for your little one.

And rounding out our vast and varied selection of Kathe Kruse products are the brilliantly colorful wooden puzzle sets and wooden stacking towerThese wooden playthings will have your toddler gaining logic and fine-motor skills as well as enjoying a whole lot of fun!

Kathe Kruse is an incredible company, rich with history and a strong reputation for well-made natural and organic toys.  We hope you’ll enjoy watching your children play with them and then relish in passing them on to future generations!

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


Looking for some really great imagination-building wooden toys?  Well, look no further than Holztiger’s beautiful line of wooden dinosaurs and castle figures.  These wooden playthings are perfect for the Waldorf classroom or for your own playroom, as they will inspire whole new worlds to be imagined and stories to be told.

Each wooden figure is handmade in Germany.  Shapes are cut from hardwoods, sanded to a smooth finish, then hand-painted and finished with water-based paints and lacquers. Holztiger designs are simple, yet beautiful, allowing for open-ended imaginative play across many age groups.

For those little dinosaur-lovers you might know, Holztiger offers almost every prehistoric reptile from the Dimetrodon to the Allosaurus to the Pachycephalosaurus (now, try to say that one five times fast!).

They also offer an equally grand line of wooden castle figures, depicting the most regal of wooden kings and queens. Enjoy a joust between two sets of wooden knights on horseback or have one of them ride off to rescue the fair princess from the colorful wooden fire-breathing dragon.

The options for play with the Holztiger wooden toys are endless, limited only by your child’s imagination.  Watch the imaginary worlds that unfold!

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


We’ve been carrying a variety of beautiful Glueckskaefer nesting toys and building blocks for some time now.  Then there’s also the playground favorite, the big jump rope.  And we can’t forget about one of our best-sellers, the knitting mushroom.

 

But lately we’ve added a whole new line of Glueckskaefer playthings, perfect for the little chef in the family.  These kitchen-related toys are made especially for small hands and are the perfect addition to a child-sized play kitchen or helpful tools while helping alongside mom or dad in the real one.

This adorable miniature grater reminds us of something you might find in a Montessori classroom as little hands help prepare a snack. The wooden base keeps the grater steady and the stainless  grater gets the job done!

The classic hand beaters are quite charming as well. Also made of stainless, these beaters are functional, and if your little one is going to do all the work, we insist you let them lick the beaters!

Equally functional and adorable are the mini flour sifter, muffin mold, colander, rolling pin and stainless pots and pans. And you should have heard the “awe!”s  when we first saw the miniature wok, complete with tiny chopsticks! These made for children pieces rival any of your adult sized kitchen tools and we mean it when we say they are completely functional.

 

And speaking of kid-sized… The Glueckskaefer wooden play kitchens are at that perfect youngster-height and are, truly, some beautiful pieces of heirloom-quality play furniture.  The small stove-sink is great for tabletop kitchen play when you might not have the floor space for a freestanding play kitchen.  Or… if you do, the stove-oven-sink combo offers the basics of a real kitchen in a compact size.  If you’ve got a little extra space and want to have a play kitchen suitable to pass on to future generations, the play kitchen with top is for you.  Whatever the choice, each is made in Bosnia-Herzegovina from solid wood and will stand up to years of culinary creation by your mini chef!

From Glueckskaefer: “We are strongly convinced that through our products we are able to support children’s healthy development, love of learning, and joy in living, to respect social and ecological responsibility, and also to fund ‘Heads’ for creativity and imagination, ‘Hands’ for skill and craft, and ‘Hearts’ for honesty and for love.”

From Hazelnut Kids: “Bon appetit!”

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


 

We’re really excited about the line of cooperative board games offered by Family Pastimes. Not only are they fun and educational, they’re also handmade from eco-friendly materials, including recycled pasteboard and soy-based inks.

This family-based company has established quite the name for themselves when it comes to cooperative game play.  What are cooperative games you ask?  It’s really quite simple…  There is no winner or loser, as in traditional competitive games.  Rather, the game’s success hangs upon each player working together to reach a common goal.

There are Family Pastimes games suitable for all ages.  In Max, players aged 4-7 work together to get all of the little creatures back home safely before Max, the black tomcat, can catch them.

 

 

 

5-9 year olds will become a team of special detectives, seeking to uncover which suspect has taken a batch of top secrets in Spies & Alibis.

 

 

For the multi-aged group, Mountaineering offers a real life adventure game for 7-12 year olds.  In it, the players are part of an expedition, sharing equipment and battling challenges, as the team tries for the summit.

 

 

There are even games suitable for the teenagers and adults in the family.  Earth Game is good for ages 12 and up, where the goal is to manage resources and solve problems among nations in order to avoid war.

 

 

Or try Untrivia, a question and answer game that deals with practical issues (rather than trivial ones).  Great for teens and adults alike, this game will encourage open discussion about topics such as child-rearing, cooking, travel, health, car and home care, etc.  A really great one for the family whose kids aren’t so little anymore!

The other nice thing is that many of these games are suitable for one or more players.  Brainy Games is a great one to play alone or with a group.  It includes three separate logic games that will keep the player on his toes and have them playing over and over again.

Whatever the choice, these cooperative board games from Family Pastimes are wonderful alternatives to the Snakes & Ladders, Clues, and Monopolies of the game closet.  Next time it’s family game night, try a turn at playing with your family rather than against them!

Good luck!

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn

 


Sketchbooks sure didn’t look like this when I was growing up!  Sure, the metal coil binding is reminiscent of those on the paper notebooks I used to tote around to and from school, but that’s where the similarities end.  The ecojot sketchbooks are not your ordinary school/art supplies, both in the way they look and the story behind them.

These colorful creations come from a Canadian brother/sister duo who started the company in hopes of combining beautiful, whimsical artwork with eco-friendly stationery.  They certainly succeeded!  Each ecojot sketchbook is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper and decorated using non-toxic inks.  Even better, for every sketchbook they sell, the company’s “GIVE” program sends a notebook to a child in a developing country.

 

And then there are the fun and original designs and two different sizes to choose from.

The smaller 6×9 books come in colorful apples, popular owls, modern robots, and space & planets.

 

 

 

 

 

The larger 9×12 books come in adorable animalsflying butterflies, funky milk trucks, and the lovable monkey on a skateboard.

 

Let the creating begin!

 

 

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


Don’t we all crave a bit of the one-of-a-kind, never-been-seen-before, no-other-like-it?  Cate & Levi is a dad-founded company that can bring your child just that – in the form of a lovable woolen pal that will be unlike any other.  Each Cate & Levi creation is made from reclaimed wool (think old sweaters piling up in the closet!) and stuffed with sheep’s wool, so no two of these natural toys will ever be the same.

 

They come in all shapes and sizes, too.  The stuffed animals are big and lovable and so much more vibrant than your usual polyester plush toy.

 

 

They’ve also got a terrific line of great and goofy hand puppets and, for those sleepovers or slumber parties, the pillow pals are perfect.

 

Have a child on the go?  Turn to the backpack buddy for a fun friend to bring along to school (with no worries of having the same bag as the kid next to you!) or the purse pal for the little ladies who need something to carry all of their treasures. 

 

Cate & Levi products are all handmade in Canada and the materials are sourced as close to the production site as possible, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.  They are also a socially conscious company, which donates 10% of profits to charities for children in need.

Repurposed and whimsical and 100% unique, these woolen play pals from Cate & Levi will have you and your child smiling in no time!

Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


Learning through play is a common theme underlying many of the wonderful toys and games we carry.  The clever Beleduc puzzles are no exception.  They are intricately illustrated and each one is truly a puzzle of discovery.

Made from durable birch wood and colored with non-toxic German water-based paints, Beleduc puzzles are typically comprised of five layers.  The frog puzzle chronicles an amphibian’s life cycle from egg to frog and everything in between.  Or for those insect lovers, learn all about metamorphosis with the butterfly puzzle, which tracks its life cycle from egg and caterpillar to adult butterfly.

Beleduc also offers a multi-layered boy body puzzle and girl body puzzle, which are wonderful tools for children to discover the various vital systems and physical layers that make up a boy or girl’s body.  And the perfect gift for that soon-to-be older sibling, the mother puzzle will help explain just what is going on inside that growing belly of mom’s!

Whether learning about animals or the human body, you’ll enjoy discovering the hidden surprises of Beleduc’s beautiful layered puzzles as much as your child will!

~ Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


This past holiday season, these little guys have been flying off the shelves, and for good reason…  Anamalz combine the durability of wooden toys with the flexibility of your typical stuffed animal and, even better, they’re made of natural materials!  And the number one reason why we think Anamalz are so popular: they’re just SO darn cute!

They are small enough to fit in a pocket and there is almost every animal you can think of from baboons and buffaloes to lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  And for the budding paleontologists in the family, there is even a full set of prehistoric dinosaurs to add to the collection.

And when these adorable creatures need a place to call home, there is a treehouse and barnhouse made just for them.

Anamalz are:

  • Made from organic maple wood, cotton, wool, water-based paint, and formaldehyde-free glue
  • Animal lovers!  The company donates a percentage of profits to wildlife organizations around the world
  • Unique.  Each one bears its own code which allows the proud owner to register the animal online, name it, and print out a personal certificate

Have one look at these Anamalz and we think you’ll be as tickled with them as we are!  They’re the perfect gift for any young animal lover.  Happy playing!

*Note: No Anamalz were harmed in the writing of this blog post.  ;)

Shannon – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


We are so thrilled to welcome an incredible German company to our family of brands. Grimm’s Spiel & Holz designs and creates their lovely pieces with love and handwork in Europe. They use alder, lime and maple wood from sustainable forestrys in Europe, as well as non-toxic water-based dyes for their dynamic colors.

Their designs are clean and simple, allowing for lots of room for a child’s imagination to take flight! They also are easy to store or travel with, as the puzzles come in wooden trays, the blocks and rainbows are nesting, the wooden dollhouses are mobile, and the mosaic is magnetic in a travel tin.

A message from our Grimm’s representative:

“American children deserve Grimm’s Toys. Loved by European children for 30 years, these award winners are crafted and sanded by hand with a nontoxic, lead-free, water-based stain in eye-popping vibrant colors.  They’re earth-friendly, ultra-smooth and lacquer-free (making them easier for little ones to handle and stack). Now we’re pleased to bring Grimm’s products—artful puzzles, blocks of all kinds, baby toys, dolls, rolling toys and much more—to U.S. retailers.  You must see these toys and hold them in your hands to appreciate their outstanding quality!”

These wooden toys are of heirloom quality and can be passed down from generation to generation. The grain of the wood shows through the stain, and they are truly lovely pieces. We hope you will love them just as much as we do!

Bridgett – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service & Manager, and Mother of Jack and Isabelle

 


There’s some recent news from the capitol and it’s going to help parents (especially ones with children in school and daycare) get one step closer to breathing a little easier when it comes to knowing what their children are playing with.

In early November, over 13,000 public health professionals from across the U.S. came together at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual public meeting.  One of the key results of this meeting was the passing of a major policy resolution: Reducing PVC in Facilities with Vulnerable Populations.” In short, this resolution urges governments to take the necessary steps to stop the use of flexible PVC in consumer products (ie: toys, school supplies, lunch-box items, etc) that may be used in schools, daycares and other places with young children.  (The resolution extends to cover all vulnerable groups including the elderly and those with medical illnesses as well as the facilities in which they occupy.) This is important because it shows that one of the largest health organizations in the country now officially recognizes the ill effects that PVC and phthalates can have on a child’s health.

PVC is the world’s most hazardous (and widely-used) plastic.  It releases phthalates, dioxins and vinyl chloride.  (Check out our previous blog on the Most Common Chemicals Found in Children’s Toys. Yet it continues to be used in children’s toys and other items commonly found in your child’s classroom or daycare center.  This resolution will hopefully put additional pressure on all levels of government to look more closely at the serious dangers these chemicals present to our children and work to eventually, by law, eliminate the use of PVC altogether.

This is a huge step forward.  Although it’s not yet law, it brings some significant weight towards making it so.  In the meantime we, as parents, can ensure that any toys in our homes are PVC-free.  We can also encourage our schools and daycare centers to adopt a similar goal.  Take a few minutes to clean out that toy box or backpack, and then visit www.HazelnutKids.com to check out our vast selection of entirely PVC-free toys and children’s items!

Shannon Beery – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


Waldorf toys are becoming more and more popular lately and Waldorf schools seem to be popping up in communities across the country.  We thought we’d take a minute to explain just what is behind everything “Waldorf” and focus specifically on those infamous little Waldorf dolls that are always big hits with children.

A little history…

The “Waldorf” term originates from a school that was founded at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919.  The structure of this school’s curriculum was based upon the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner.  He advocated practical and artistic learning with an emphasis on open-ended activities and imagination, imagination, imagination!  Almost 100 years later, the Waldorf/Steiner approach to education has stuck and the term “Waldorf” remains widely used to describe a variety of high quality children’s toys and learning materials.

Waldorf Dolls

Waldorf dolls are used extensively in Waldorf education and they’ve been making their way out of the classroom and into the homes of children around the world.  They are handcrafted and made of natural materials, including cotton stockinette and sheep’s wool.  These little wonders are easily recognizable with their beautifully simple design and neutral features, which stimulate a child’s creativity and imagination.  Their arms and legs are flexible and they typically have a full head of long hair (usually made of mohair or boucle).

The cream of the crop – Kathe Kruse Waldorf Dolls


Kathe Kruse is the exclusive producer of official Waldorf dolls.  This German company has been making Waldorf dolls since the very beginning and it shows…  These dolls are individually handmade and absolutely beautiful.  They are warm and cuddly and have a realistic feel and weight to them (the natural materials contribute to this), making it nearly impossible to resist giving one a close snuggle.  A Kathe Kruse Waldorf doll is a true gift to any child and certainly one that can be passed on to future generations (which only adds to its richness).  We are very proud to carry a large selection of Kathe Kruse Waldorf dolls and clothing.  Bring a little of the Waldorf experience into your home and watch your child grow!

Shannon Beery – Hazelnut Kids Customer Service, Contributing Blogger, and Mother to Holden and Quinn


For most parents, last week’s announcement on limiting television by the American Academy of Pediatrics, wasn’t anything new. Our children’s physicians, magazines, and yes, television news have told us all that children under 2 should not be allowed to watch television or take in media on computers and phones. Many of us took this warning to heart and found other ways to entertain our children when were trying to get dinner on the table, fit in a daily shower, or accomplish any number of daily household tasks. For many parents I know, this recommendation is trumped by the daily reality of parenting small children. However, there is valuable information that comes with the recommendation.

The New York Times reported:

The new report from the pediatrics association estimates that for every hour a child under 2 spends in front of a screen, he or she spends about 50 minutes less interacting with a parent, and about 10 percent less time in creative play.

From the AAP release:

Unstructured playtime is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Children learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages through unstructured, unplugged play. Free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.

This second point is what now, as the parent of a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, I can see as the most valuable benefit to my kids being television-free as toddlers, and existing now on a very slim media diet. They have become very good at entertaining themselves. Every day after school we have some time together to read and talk about their days before I go to the kitchen to get dinner ready. They will play independently or together, take on new craft or art projects, or come help me with food preparation in the kitchen.

My kids, on average, take in about 2-3 hours of television time a week. They are old enough now to understand what they are experiencing as television viewers. I know that they learn best through playing and interaction with adults and other children, but through carefully selected programming, they see glimpses of other worlds and realities that people of all ages find entertaining, humorous, or emotionally gripping.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new recommendation is less strict than it has been in the past , at the core the recommendation is the same: urging parents to protect their children from electronic media in order to give kids the best start.

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


Plan Toys has numerous new train track sets available – just in time for the holidays! Here at Hazelnut Kids, we are very excited to offer new train track sets for customers looking to add on to their current set, or to customers looking to purchase a starter set.

Those looking to add on will love the Plan Toys – Plan City Country Track and Accessories Set and the Plan Toys – Plan City Mountain Track and Accessories Set. These track sets have something fun to offer – a bridge, stable, and horses – or a mountain tunnel with exotic animals.

Those looking to start a wooden train track collection this holiday season will love this Plan Toys – Plan City Figure Eight Train Set. With 20 train pieces, a train, and signs and bushes – this is a great beginner set.  Or maybe the 14 piece Plan Toys – Plan City Oval Train Set is just the right size!

Whether you are looking to spice up your existing wooden train track set – or get one started with a smaller sized set – you will want to take a peak at our new arrivals to see what Plan Toys has added to their line.

For even more wooden train track sets or road sets, look at our existing Plan Toys City Set category.

Happy Travels!

Bridgett – Customer Service & Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Take one look at our selection of Ball Track Sets and your head might be ‘spinning.’  But don’t ‘roll’ your eyes and move on just yet!  We’ve sorted through our selection and have created another little table for you to get on ‘track’ when it comes to selecting the perfect ball track set.  (Okay, okay… enough of my ball track puns!)

My First Ball Track Ball Track Construction Set Click Clack Roller Build N Roll Build N Spin
Brand Haba Haba Plan Toys Plan Toys Plan Toys
Ages 3 and up 3 and up 18 months and up 4 and up 4 and up
# of Pieces 44 50 1 solid track; 2 wooden balls 44 39 

 

Details The “has-it-all” starter kit for younger children; 

Includes unfinished blocks, ramps, dominoes, and marbles

More emphasis on building a structure using the various unfinished blocks, then having the marbles run through it;

Includes blocks, marbles, and a bell

Ideal for toddlers;

Stimulates visual and auditory senses;

No track building required

A colorful ball track set that is smaller in size and more easily used by older children;

Includes unfinished and painted blocks, ramp systems, windmill, and wooden balls

Not your typical ball track as it uses rollers instead of balls;

More easily used by older children;

Includes unfinished and painted blocks, ramps, and rollers

Ability to expand? Yes – with all Haba ball track add-ons and block sets Yes – with all Haba ball track add-ons and block sets No Limited – with Plan Toys Construction Set and Build N Spin Limited – with Plan Toys Build N Roll
Price $44.99 $80.99 $40.50 $55.00 $75.00

 

Haba continues to be the leader in classic, unfinished ball track systems that can start small (with a beginner’s set) and be added onto in various ways to create giant mazes of tracks and obstacles.  We often recommend these Haba ball track kits to our customers who want to have something they can have grow with the child as he or she gets older…  Start off with getting your child a basic kit, then with every birthday or holiday or special event that comes afterwards, get another compatible ball track add-on (which we carry most of) that will make the resulting track more and more complex – and more and more age appropriate too!  We promise that the adults will have just as much fun creating these ball track patterns as the kids do!

The Plan Toys ball and rolling track sets are also great.  With their colorful design, they’re a bit more modern than the classic Haba sets and the construction-like nature of their set-up makes them good options as one-time gifts for middle-aged children.

And for those little ball track beginners, the Plan Toys toddler set is ideal.  Put it in a room with a two-year old and watch the joyful discovery that will ensue.  It’s solidly built and made to delight as the balls drop over and over and over again!

Whichever you may decide upon, you can rest assured that each set is solidly made and all of the materials are completely safe and non-toxic.  Even better, each set is packed with fun and possibility (for your children and yourselves!).

Shannon – Customer Service and Research Specialist


Hazelnut Kids employees are self-professed foodies, and in fact, the owner’s husband owns local restaurants here in Northern Michigan – so it’s no surprise that we are especially interested in Plan Toys new line of food sets!

Plan Toys is known for their clever concepts and quality products, and they certainly did not disappoint this time around.

Each wooden food set has its own little detail that just makes you smile with whimsy. Such as the mushroom slices adorning the steak set, or the little cake topping with the frosting bag in the cake set.

Whatever strikes your fancy, we have a new Plan Toys food set for you! Breathe new life into that old kitchen set, or start-up a pretend restaurant.

Hmm…this is making me hungry…Happy Snacking!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

Giveaway: One lucky winner will win their choice of new Plan Toys Food Sets. To enter, simply check out our site and tell us which set is your favorite. Post a comment about it here on our blog by October 9th and be entered in the giveaway. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries.  Random drawing will be held on Monday, October 10th. We will even throw in two additional entries if you vote for Hazelnut Kids for the Green America Peoples Choice Award! Thank you for sharing the love and good luck!

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As parents, we know too well that at a certain stage of our children’s lives (namely that of my 8-month old daughter!) EVERYTHING goes into their mouths.  It’s just part of life for these little ones, so it’s our job to make sure that whatever does go inside there is safe and not going to leave any trace of chemical or other harmful substance.

Here’s a list of the most common chemicals that may be found in varying levels in today’s conventional, plastic or painted children’s toys (and their yucky implications – which, of course, depend on the level of exposure in each case):

  • Lead
    • A heavy metal that can be used for pigmentation in paints and plastics as well as a stabilizer in PVC products (which we’ll get to later).  It also is used often in the casting of metal, namely in inexpensive toy jewelry.
    • There really is no safe level of lead for children.  It impacts brain development, which can cause delays in learning and shorter attention spans.  Even worse, these effects are irreversible.
  • Bromine
    • Used primarily as a flame-retardant in textiles and furniture.
    • These flame-retardants build up in humans and can cause reproductive problems for exposed women as well as possible birth defects.  They contaminate breastmilk and umbilical cord blood and are classified as “possible human carcinogens.”
  • PVC & Phthalates
    • PVC is a widely used plastic, very common in children’s toys.  It is not easily recycled and extremely toxic when produced and disposed of.  It is also extremely brittle, requiring additives to make it flexible (most commonly phthalates, pronounced “thal-ates”).
    • Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are most commonly used to add flexibility and resilience to plastic products.  They are easily leached and exposed to humans via ingestion, inhalation, or simply through exposure to the skin.  Phthalates are most often found in household products from toys to plastic raincoats to that inflatable pool in the backyard.  They can also be found in non-plastic items such as personal care products (by way of “fragrance”).
    • Phthalates are carcinogenic and they may cause kidney and thyroid problems.  They are also linked to increased instances of asthma and allergies.  Most notably, they can have detrimental effects on the endocrine system, altering normal levels of hormones in young boys.
  • Cadmium
    • Another heavy metal used in pigments and as a stabilizer in PVC.
    • At high levels of exposure, cadmium can be linked to cancer and can cause adverse effects on the kidneys, lungs, and intestines.
  • Arsenic (inorganic)
    • May be used as a coloring agent in plastics and textiles.
    • Inorganic arsenic is carcinogenic and may cause cardiovascular problems, skin irritations, and hormonal issues.
  • Mercury
    • Most commonly used in inks, adhesives, and coatings and most toxic during production and when disposed of.
    • Mercury can build up in the body and young children are more sensitive to it.  It affects kidney function and is detrimental to the nervous system and brain.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    • Used mainly to make rigid polycarbonate plastic (that #7 plastic with PC underneath the triangular symbol).  It’s also found in epoxy resins, which are used in the inner coatings of food cans.
    • BPA is an endocrine-disruptor; a synthetic estrogen that can cause problems in neurological development, behavior, and fertility.  It can trigger hyperactivity and attention deficit and may also lead to cancer and obesity.

So… after all of that shockingly bad news, what can we do as parents and caregivers to ensure that the children around us are not exposed to such harmful substances?  The first step has been taken care of just by reading this post!  Being aware of what chemicals are harmful and then going beyond that to avoid such nasty substances is a great start.  Then, get rid of all of the “toy perpetrators” in the toy box and choose wooden and organic toys.  Ensure any coatings are completely non-toxic.  Do your homework and purchase toys from reputable companies who have proven that toy safety is their top concern.

Visit www.HealthyStuff.org for more valuable information, then be sure to stop by www.HazelnutKids.com to get that toy box restocked!

Shannon – Research Specialist


 

With so many options available for children’s’ dollhouses today, we thought we would help break down the information from our five Plan Toys Wooden Dollhouses for you.

We have dollhouses with classic or modern styles, color accents or natural wood finish only, removable staircases, printed wallpaper, furniture included, and many other varying details. Sometimes all the options can be overwhelming. We have created a table for a quick comparison of our Plan Toys Wooden Dollhouses.

Victorian Wooden Dollhouse Chalet Wooden Dollhouse Chalet Wooden Dollhouse with Furniture My First Wooden Dollhouse Terrace Wooden Dollhouse
Levels 3 3 3 2 3
Design Classic Modern Modern Simple Current
Dimensions 

in inches

29 x 24 x 12.4 30.7 x 14.2 x 23.6 30.7 x 14.2 x 23.6 24.6 x 16.5 x 22.6 22 x 18.5 x 27.6
Details Panels open and close; timeless design Two separate units and two staircases can be arranged in different ways; has colorful accents Same as Chalet, but also includes five sets of furniture Includes balcony, sliding doors, and floral wallpaper Partition, windows, and doors are moveable; has colorful accents
Price $225 $180 $225 $108 $100

 

If you are looking for a truly unique and forward-thinking dollhouse, the Plan Toys Wooden Green Dollhouse with Furniture is an eco-friendly inspired version of the classic wooden dollhouse. It has 2 levels, a contemporary, sustainable design, is 18.1 x 21.7 x 19.9 inches, and retails at $216. The features include a wind turbine, solar cell panel, electric inverter for generating electricity, rain barrel for collecting rain, biofacade (uses the natural cycle of plant growth to provide shading), a blind that can adjust the amount of sunlight and air circulation, and recycling bins.

While there are varying elements to each Plan Toys Wooden Dollhouse, one thing remains consistent – the quality. The wood is incredibly sturdy and resilient, and  extremely soft and smooth. Each wooden dollhouse was designed with little fingers in mind, and are easily accessed by children. The Plan Toys Dollhouses offer a perfect canvas for young imaginations.

Happy Pretending!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


 

 

 

 

The term “organic” seems to be quite the “in” word these days, but its significance goes well beyond a mere trend. In a time when nearly every object or procedure around us is being re-designed for convenience or simplicity, we’re losing sight of the most simple idea of all: get back to basics and grow food and crops the way nature intended… WITHOUT the chemicals.

 

It’s a frightening and vicious cycle within the present conventional farm: Millions of pounds of pesticides, herbicides and other nasty chemicals are applied to plants each year in hopes of increasing yields (and ultimately profits).  But those little bugs and weeds and other annoyances are adapting to resist these chemicals.  That leads to upping the ante and using chemical applications with higher concentrations and an increased toxicity.  Guess what happens next? Yup… those pests adapt yet again and it goes on and on.  Not to mention, the soil quality decreases with the use of these pesticides and so more chemicals, in the form of fertilizers, are applied. What are we, the consumers, left with?  Food and textile crops that are grown in contaminated soil and doused with a generous sprinkling of POISON.  These chemicals are just that – poisons.  Many are carcinogenic, others hormone disruptors… all in all, BAD stuff that can have disastrous effects on our families’ well-beings.

 

On the flip side, organic farming uses NO pesticides, fertilizers, or any other chemicals.  Nor does it use seeds that are genetically engineered or modified.  In the simplest of terms, organic farming involves planting a seed, feeding it with water and sunlight (and some good old fashioned manure!), and letting it grow.  Sounds just like your backyard garden, doesn’t it?!  And, even better, the result is often tastier and packed with more nutrition than its conventionally grown counterpart.

 

Now, it is true that organic food and textiles tend to be more costly than conventional products.  But with the recent popularity and increase in demand for these naturally-grown products, we’re seeing more reasonable prices at the grocery stores and markets.  For all of us trying to stick to a budget (while providing the best for our families), there are several options to consider when wanting to move toward organic:

 

  • Start small; think about the foods (especially fresh produce) that you eat the most and seek out organic alternatives
  • Prioritize; decide for yourself whether that organic apple might be a better choice than the organic hand towel you’re using to dry it!
  • Dig in the dirt; grow your own garden at home or at a community garden space and enjoy your own chemical-free bounty throughout the growing season
  • Go local; it’s an expensive and often daunting process for a small farmer to get the official “organic” stamp on their food, so instead, seek out those local farms who grow organically but are not able to officially label it so… take your time chatting with the farmer at your neighborhood farmers’ market, you’ll be surprised what you can learn there
  • Bigger can be better; join a local organic buying club to take advantage of bulk discounts or seek out a nearby CSA (community supported agriculture) farm to purchase a share of its large, and often organically-grown, harvest

 

We would never feed our families doses of outright poison, so why is a blind eye being turned toward all of the harmful chemicals used in conventional farming?  It’s time to put the well-being of our families first and choose organic whenever possible.  Here’s to our health!

Shannon Beery – Research Specialist for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Holden and Quinn


Many of the brands we carry, were started by parents that left the corporate world to raise their children, and do something they can feel good about. After all, that is how Hazelnut Kids was born! Kids Konserve was also created in this manner. What is so great about the two mothers that started this business, is that they really wanted to set an example for their children. They saw a need to reduce waste from school lunches, and decided it was important to actually set an example for their children on conservation. Their mission was as much about reducing lunch landfill waste as it was about inspiring and empowering their children to demand change for the future. This focus on bettering the future, through teaching our children today – is what we love about Kids Konserve’s mission.

The bonus is that they have quality, practical products to back their mission up.

 

Their insulated lunch sacks replace brown paper bags, and keep lunches cool! They also have a convenient carrying strap attached, and the exterior is made from recycled plastic.

 

 

Their nesting containers provide three different sizes to hold various foods, and nest inside each other for easy storage. They are made of food-grade stainless steel and come with a leak-proof PVC-free, BPA-free, and phthalate-free flexible lid.

 

 

 

Their stainless steel, insulated food jars are perfect to keep cold foods cold and warm foods warm. They are made of food-grade stainless steel, and hold 12 ounces.

 

 

Their stainless steel water bottle is just what you need to eliminate plastic water bottle or juice box waste. Made of food-grade stainless steel and decorated with non-toxic paints, this bottle holds 20 ounces.

 

 

These are practical, durable, and eco-friendly products that Hazelnut Kids is so pleased to add to our back-to-school supplies. They are sure to come in handy year-round, however! Thank you Kids Konserve for offering so much more than quality products – thank you for offering an example to our children, and making a difference one lunch at a time.

Giveaway: One lucky winner will win their choice of Ocean or Sky Lunch Kit which includes the insulated sack, the stainless trio, the round stainless container and matching stainless water bottle.  Check out our site and tell us which design is your favorite. Post a comment about it on our blog by September 4th and be entered in the giveaway. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries. Just remember to tell us with additional comments. One comment = one entry.  Random drawing will be held on Monday, September 5th. We will even throw in another entry if you nominate Hazelnut Kids for the Green America Peoples Choice Award! Thank you for sharing the love and good luck!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

This giveaway is closed. Thank you to all who participated. Congratulations Dena Schweitzer! 


Inspiration can come at anytime, anywhere. That’s why Hazelnut Kids is so excited to bring the whimsical ecojot line of sketchbooks to our customers. Help encourage your little one’s imagination with one of these colorful sketchbooks. Whether they enjoy drawing what they see in nature, creating their own unique creatures, writing short stories or practicing their alphabet – or whatever strikes their fancy – these sketchbooks are the perfect accompaniment for your child’s creativity.

Coming in two sizes – the standard 9 x 12″ and the ideal for travel 6 x 9″ – these sketchbooks are filled with 60 pages of blank post-consumer paper, just screaming to be drawn or written on! That’s right, ecojot uses 100% post-consumer paper, so sketching is guilt-free! Plus, they are printed and designed in Canada.

Hazelnut Kids has 4 of the large and 4 of the smaller sketchbooks to choose from, so there’s a design for everyone!

Pair an ecojot’s sketchbook with a set of colored pencils for a lovely birthday gift.

Giveaway: One lucky winner will win their choice of ecojot sketchbook along with a package of our lovely Lyra Super Ferby (chunky) Colored Pencils!  Check out our site and tell us which sketchbook is your favorite. Post a comment about it on our blog by August 28th and be entered in the giveaway. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries. Just remember to tell us with additional comments. One comment = one entry.  Random drawing will be held on Monday, August 29th. We will even throw in another entry if you nominate Hazelnut Kids for the Green America Peoples Choice Award! Thank you for sharing the love and good luck!

Happy sketching!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Jack and Izzy sportin' their Mimi lunch bags

 

As the warm days of August come and go, we inch closer to the impending season of fall. With it comes crisp air, falling leaves, and brown bag lunches! This year, here at Hazelnut Kids, we decided to help you kick the brown paper bag habit with our new line of Mimi the Sardine organic lunch bags.

 

There are so many qualities about this simple lunch bag that make it stand apart from the others available. It is extremely light-weight, so your kids won’t complain about a heavy, bulky lunch box. The organic fabric is the perfect material to keep this lunch bag light, and keep the food inside safe. The acrylic coating of the fabric (not PVC), allows for easy cleaning with a wet cloth. At the end of the week, or after a particularly messy lunch, you can throw the Mimi the Sardine lunch bag in the washing machine and dryer.

Another great thing about Mimi the Sardine organic lunch bags, are the handles. Nice and soft, and just big enough to make it easy for little hands to carry it by themselves. Plus, despite its light-weight design, it is extremely spacious and durable. We’ve had our two Mimi the Sardine lunch bags for years, and trust me – Jack and Isabelle have put them through the wringer! They continue to smell fresh and look great, even after years of use.

Also, the organic lunch bags fit much more than you might think. We have been known to pack in lunch, snacks, and a water bottle at the same time! Hazelnut Kids Earthlust 13 ounce size water bottles fit in the lunch bags beautifully – with lots of room to spare.

The zippers at the top of the bags are another noteworthy quality of the Mimi the Sardine organic lunch bags. They keep everything secured in the lunch bag, and allow easy access for kids. Kids love to be independent and navigate their lunch bag by themselves, and I appreciated this quality when my kids were very little and still getting the hang of how things work.

 

If you homeschool, or don’t send cold lunch to school with your kids – don’t worry, this organic lunch bag is still a winner! We don’t even use them for school lunches, we use them for road trips, snacks on the go, picnics, and the list goes on!

Have I mentioned how completely adorable these bags are yet?! The designs are so super cute and the colors extremely vibrant (and they stay that way!). We’ve gotten more compliments than I can count on our Mimi the Sardine organic lunch bags.

Go ahead, check out all the designs we have available at Hazelnut Kids, and never fret again about how to pack your next snack on the go!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

 

 


 

Summer is in full swing, and children are ready to grab their pails and head to the beach! Giggling children, sunshine, and sand castles – the perfect combination. Yet, one can’t help but feel a little pang of guilt as their plastic shovels and pails break under the pressure of wet sand and need to be discarded. But what are concerned parents to do? There’s never really been an eco-friendly beach toy option available, and you can’t go to the shore without castle-building supplies for your munchkins!

Solution: Zoe b Biodegradable Beach Toys. These sturdy – made in the USA – beach toys are made with Mirel™ bioplastic, and yes, they biodegrade!

Want to learn more? OK, here’s the lowdown on Zoe b Biodegradable Beach Toys:

  • Fully biodegrades in 2 to 3 years (versus 300+ years for ordinary plastics) when buried in soil, immersed in water, or composted.
  • Bioplastic is free of BPA and is FDA-approved for food contact.
  • Can withstand extreme heat and exposure to sunlight and is even dishwasher-safe.
  • Bioplastic cannot be recycled, nor will it breakdown in a landfill, so when you’re finished with the set, either pass them on, or bury them, sink them, or compost them!

At long last, the beach toy predicament is resolved! Now you can have American made, strong and durable, bright and attractive beach toys without the guilt of adding plastic to the landfills that hangs on for 500 years. Zoe b Biodegradable Beach Toys are high-quality so they can be passed on to other young ones once yours grow out of them – but biodegradable so that they will decompose within only 3 years when they are no longer being used. It’s the ideal situation, really. Plus, they are simply lovely.

So don’t delay, check out our new biodegradable beach toys today – and get diggin’!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Summer has arrived, and with it comes simple pleasures. A cool breeze, a melting ice cream cone, a glass of iced tea, or a splash in the lake. One of the most joyful pleasures of the summer season, is the sound of children’s laughter as they frolic and play!

As school lets out and we anticipate all the fun to be had, we can’t help but think about all of our lovely summertime playthings here at Hazelnut Kids. We wanted to highlight just a few for you to peruse as you prepare for the months ahead.

 

There is nothing like feeling the wind in your hair as you swing through the air! Your kids will love the fun they will have with the Original Tree Swing, and you’ll love the nostalgia it brings to you.

 

 

For those little ones that aren’t quite ready for the real thing, we have Yellow Label Kids Organic Knit Ice Cream Rattles. Just as colorful as the real summer treat, these rattles are hand knitted with 100% organic bamboo yarn, so they are just as safe as they are adorable!

 

It’s time to get dirty! This Plan Toys Wooden Dump Truck will provide hours of filthy fun for your little one this summer.

 

Get creative! What will you design on your sidewalk this summer? Mercurius Pastel Chalk has 12 vibrant colors that will inspire your outdoor artist.

 

 

Croquet anyone? Don’t let that sunny day pass you by, get out this Plan Toys Wooden Croquet Set and get ready for family fun!

 

Check out our Summer Season category for many more summer-tastic toys!

Enjoy!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


At last, we have found an eco-friendly bike, that lasts through many stages of your child’s development! It is with great excitement that we introduce Wishbone Bikes. Wishbone Design Studio is based in New Zealand, and they are an innovative bunch for sure!

Their 3-in-1 bikes eliminate the need to purchase numerous bikes through your child’s toddler and early years, and their pedal-less design does away with the need for training wheels. Instead, the child learns balance right from the get-go.

Some of the Nitty-gritty details:

  • Start with the three-wheeled trike to offer a lightweight, yet stable, design for even the littlest ones to become comfortable moving on wheels
  • At 2 or 3 years old, remove the trike kit, converting it to a two-wheeled balance bike
  • Then when your little rider is not so little anymore (4 or 5 years old), flip the wishbone-shaped frame upside down for maximum height
  • Seat adjusts from 11″ to 18″ high

Some Green Details:

  • bikes are made from sustainably harvested birch and ash
  • seats are made of silicone – a material that is completely non-toxic and fully recyclable
  • bike parts bag made from certified organic cotton
  • no plastic in packaging, and Wishbone‘s marketing materials are printed on recycled and chlorine-free stock

Wishbone is a great choice for your child’s first bike. You can enjoy that it was responsibly and sustainably made, and your little biker can enjoy the freedom it gives them, and the skills they learn on it.

We offer stylish Limited Edition Wishbone bikes (3-in-1 Balance Bike – Koru, 3-in-1 Balance Bike – Wollemi), or you can choose one of the original wood designs ( 2-in-1 Balance Bike , 3-in-1 Balance Bike) and snazzy it up yourself! Hazelnut Kids carries the Wishbone Silicone Seats in 3 colors: blue, pink, and green. We also have Wishbone Bike Sticker Sets in 2 varieties: flames and flowers.

Happy cycling!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


The Cate & Levi Collection

The Cate & Levi Collection was founded by a Dad with a vision – create environmentally responsible toys for kids, that are just as charming as they are eco-friendly. One look at these cuddly critters and you will agree: mission accomplished!

Cate & Levi resides in Toronto, where their handmade creations take shape in their local studio. Not only do they use reclaimed wool (saving oodles of old sweaters from the landfills), they also source their materials as close to home as possible – further reducing their carbon footprint.

Plus, this feel good company donates 10% of their profits to funds that help children in need. Hazelnut Kids is thrilled to offer this outstanding brand to our customers.

Currently, we carry Cate & Levi Backpack Buddies, Hand Puppets, Peek-a-Boo Puppets, Pillow Pals, Purse Pals, and Stuffed Animals. There’s an animal for every little youngster (frogs, cows, giraffes, puppies, bunnies, monkeys, butterflies, and alligators – oh my!), and they are all one of a kind. Each product is completely unique, making for a super special gift.

So checkout out The Cate & Levi Collection of reclaimed wool critters, and you will never look at a wool sweater the same!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Once in awhile a company comes along that you just want to jump up and down over. Painted Turtle Wooden Toys is one of those companies. When the owner of this eco-friendly toy company contacted us about their products – it was a no brainer! We were thrilled to add Painted Turtle Wooden Toys to our Hazelnut Kids family.

This is why:
(Quote from the owner) “Our products are made only from regionally grown hardwoods that we purchase from an environmentally conscious local sawmill. The finish that we use is certified organic, food-grade hempseed oil from a Canadian farm—thus, everything is perfectly safe for babies to chew on and embodies our commitment to reducing our manufacturing carbon footprint.

We take great pride and care in crafting each item and everything is built to stand the test of time, making them excellent heirloom pieces.”

Here at Hazelnut Kids, we surely appreciate the care Painted Turtle Wooden Toys takes in their products.

Here’s a fun fact discovered by the lovely owner of Hazelnut Kids (Tracy): the painted turtle is Michigan’s Official State Reptile! I didn’t even know that our beautiful state had an official reptile, but it’s kinda fun that we have a bit of a connection with this wonderful brand.

We invite you to take a look at this gorgeous line of handcrafted wooden baby rattles, and imagine if you can – the softest wood you have ever touched!

Hazelnut Kid, Quinn, with rattle from Painted Turtle

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


One of my favorite things to do in the Spring is dye Easter eggs! Yet, in the last few years, I have become increasingly uncomfortable using the painfully artificial dyes available to us in grocery stores. Especially since we boil our eggs with hopes of eating them later. I have had to throw away far too many eggs that have cracked, revealing neon colors on the flesh of the egg.

If you read my blog last year, you know that I finally opted to make my own natural dye. But rest assured – this was out of desperation. I could not find any natural egg coloring kits on the market.

Imagine my elation this year as Hazelnut Kids announced the arrival of eco-kids eco-eggs Easter Egg Coloring Kits! No more boiling beets for me.

Eco-kids is a lovely United States based company, created by parents that wanted to create non-toxic, natural materials for their children that inspired creativity. Mission accomplished! After starting out selling handmade art supplies at farmers markets, eco-kids has grown and become one of our favorite wholesalers.

eco-kids eco-eggs coloring kit details:

  • can create 6 colors from 3 natural dyes (color chart included)
  • ingredients – purple sweet potato, curcumin, annatto seed and blue cabbage extracts
  • can dye at least 4 dozen eggs
  • can download fun egg creature cutouts and activity sheets from eco-kids

Plus, check out this fun video by eco-kids if you want to see eco-kids eco-eggs coloring kit in action:

eco-eggs by Jack and Ella. from eco kids on Vimeo.

This natural Easter egg coloring kit offers the perfect solution for those ready to make the switch to natural dye, but not quite interested in boiling down their own colors. I cannot wait to give this a try with the kids!

“Hoppy” dyeing!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


We’re downright giddy to announce the arrival of Anamalz new line of Prehistoric Dinosaurs here at Hazelnut Kids.  These wooden dinosaurs are just plain adorable.  They are made of the same smooth organic wood that we know and love from Anamalz, and are accented with bright or muted tones to fit the personality of the dinosaur.

Their bendy limbs make them extra fun to play with, and their size is conducive to travel.  The Anamalz Prehistoric Dinosaurs each have a smile on their face, and are ready to make new friends!

In addition to the Prehistoric Wooden Dinosaurs, we have also received a number of other new creatures from Anamalz!  These include the baboon, polar bear, moose, reindeer, llama, koala, and buffalo.  Check ‘em out quick…they’re bound to go extinct in a flash!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Clementine Art makes all natural art supplies for little ones, and they do it well!  Just as the name implies, their products are fresh and natural – and bursting with “flavor.”  The company was inspired by an art teacher’s studio full of children, creating and imagining wonderful things – but getting messy in the process.  What ingredients were in the art products these children were emerging themselves in?  Were the ingredients safe?   The teacher started making supplies herself from all natural ingredients – and well, the rest is history!

Not only are Clementine’s products completely natural, safe, and non-toxic – but they are also environmentally friendly.  The company is American-based, and aims to maintain a small footprint.  They use very little packaging, so you don’t have to feel guilty when you open up a package with Clementine Art supplies!

I always smile when I pick up a Clementine Art product.  They are beautifully packaged -with a crisp, clean design, and the colors are so vibrant.  Colors that could only be found in nature.  Plus, they smell great!

Check out all the yummy Clementine Art natural art supplies that Hazelnut Kids has to offer.  Inspire your little one to create, learn, and discover!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


For 30 years now, the Long family has been making beautiful wooden toys with natural materials – and a whole lot of love!  Their priorities include sustainability and nurturing imaginative play for children.

North Star Toys are one of those brands that are hard to appreciate from just photos.  Their toys are beautifully handcrafted from  fine woods and finished with a non-toxic food grade mineral oil.  I always feel so pleased when we receive orders for these toys, because I know the recipient is about to receive a timeless, lovely, special toy that will be cherished.

Made in America in their family’s shop, these toys are built to last for generations.  Whether it’s a classic rattle for a newborn, a set of Little Rollie Vehicles for on the go, or a Dragon for a little whimsical play – North Star Toys are made with children in mind.

A message from North Star Toys: “At North Star Toys we believe that conscious parenting is one of the most wonderful and challenging responsibilities on the planet.  It is our hope to support this important endeavor by offering simple toys that stimulate creative, imaginative play.  We truly care about the toys we make and hope that they add to the nurturing experiences of childhood.”

We love North Star Toys – made in America, sustainable, and just a darn good family owned business that cares!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Isn't that a great logo?

Just before the holidays I was challenged by a loyal customer to offer an affordable, natural play castle. I was delighted that she reached out instead of just finding one herself elsewhere and I was eager to please. It didn’t take long for me to discover The Original Tree Swing. I’m a sucker for aesthetics and was drawn to their logo immediately. Well, since I’m not in the business of selling logos, I thought I better dig a little deeper and boy am I glad I did. When I realized they were practically made in my back yard (Michigan/Minnesota) and read their statement “We are committed to developing open-ended toys made from all natural materials,” I was ready to buy everything they offered. Considering my budget, I took a deep breath and stayed focused on the task at hand. As I read about their castle blocks I just had to get my hands on them.

Walnut Castle Blocks

When they arrived and I actually DID get my hands on them I fell in love! They are smooth, heavy, and so beautiful. The contrasting shades of the Walnut Castle and the simplicity of the Ash Set are equally pleasing. I couldn’t resist ordering some of their other items as well. The fencing swords, slingshots, knights and dragon sets, treehouses and of course the Original Tree Swings have all found  homes at Hazelnut Kids and we are so happy to have them. When I called Bill to ask for more slingshots and he said he needed to go find more sticks in his yard, I knew I had found a great new company to work with!

Tracy Coe – owner, Hazelnut Kids


Gluckskafer is a family-owned company that has been in business since 1945! Their toys meet the strict European safety standards, using beautiful Linden tree wood and water-based coloring.

Gluckskafer has the following message:

“We are strongly convinced that through our products we are able to support children’s healthy development, love of learning, and joy in living, to respect social and ecological responsibility, and also to fund ‘Heads’ for creativity and imagination, ‘Hands’ for skill and craft, and ‘Hearts’ for honesty and for love.”

Here at Hazelnut Kids, we offer their “Wood, Shapes and Colors” line, as well as a few other items such as their Gluckskafer – Aluminum Water Kettle.  We love the simple beauty of the natural or stained stacking and nesting toys.

It is so wonderful to find toys that are made with integrity, promote creative play, and are beautiful to look at!  If you have not checked out our line of Gluckskafer Natural Toys, it is worth taking a peek!

Enjoy!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


The Original Tree Swing - Old Time Sling Shot

For most of us, our remembrances of childhood consist of hours spent with interconnecting blocks, dolls, action figures, fantastical worlds created in our backyards, and more. Slowly over time, free and imaginary play has become more rare and difficult to come by.  I have read about free-range kids, nature deficits, and more, making me examine my parenting choices, as well as my choices in toys and activities for my children.

This article from The New York Times can provide an awakening for parents to examine how their kids play and the atmosphere provided for play in the home and outdoors. Since reading this article, I am less likely to be concerned about the use of certain toys and games, messes made, and activities engaged in. The biggest Christmas gift to my children this year was a large box full of arts and crafts supplies. I made these materials available to them on a lower shelf than they were previously. The shelf is raided every day for something different. My two-year-old daughter recently told me that she was going to use her pencil and notebook and write a story. My five-year-old son is frequently utilizing stickers, pencils, watercolors, and more to create colorful freighters, trains, and cars. Although freighters on the Great Lakes do not sport variegated colors, I refrain from correcting his color choices.

Wizard Hat, Cape, and Wand

As an employee of a children’s museum, I have read a great deal of research on the science of play and believe that young children have one job: to play. Play develops far more skills in their children than parents realize. Social skills come from controlling their own impulses, negotiating with siblings and friends; verbal skills are developed; gross and fine motor skills are developed; mathematical, science, and reading interests are heightened when discoveries are made; and much more. For my children, I know that there will be time for sports, fine arts training, and other organized activities. But right now, I just want them to play, discover, run, and explore.

So, where to start?  Here are some resources:

http://www.ultimateblockparty.com/resources.html

http://kaboom.org/help_save_play/playful_city_usa/best_practices_play

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


As parents in the 21st century, we may take the existence of Children’s Museums for granted. The Association of Children’s Museums reported recently that 44% of their over 300 member museums opened in the 1990’s. Children’s Museums exist in cities and in suburban areas across the country to provide playful and interactive learning experiences. More than 30 million people visited Children’s Museums in 2006. 1

Hazelnut Kids’ operations are located in Northwest Michigan and we are lucky to enjoy the existence of a Museum of our own. We are long time supporters of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum’s fundraising efforts and their play-based learning environment. We are happy to have provided new Plan Toys and Haba play food and a Plan Toys Wooden Market Stall for use in the Museum’s exhibits and programs.

Aren’t sure where your closest Children’s Museum is? Visit http://www.childrensmuseums.org/visit/us_members.htm.


Buying toys for your loved ones used to be a simple endeavor. However, we are all now, unfortunately, familiar with the recall notices and other alerts for toys and children’s items in the news that appear almost constantly. Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan is known for producing an annual guide (http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2010_11/Play_It_Safe2010RecallGuide.pdf) to toys and children’s products that are unsafe due to a number of factors. This guide is useful but it does not address other chemicals, such as BPA, that have given parents reason to pause and evaluate every purchase for their children.

I started shopping at Hazelnut Kids for my children for my son’s first Christmas. While I had taken great care to take care of myself when I was pregnant and change the type of food I ate, cosmetics and cleaning products I used, and clothing and diapers I purchased, I did not realize the complexities of buying toys for my son until his first Christmas and birthday approached.

Instead of toxic pull toys mentioned in the Illinois report, my son has these, which my daughter now loves. I have not had to be concerned about lead recalls years later or worry about small plastic parts falling off that could be ingested.

Plan Toys - Dancing Alligator Wooden Pull Toy

Plan Toys - Dancing Alligator Wooden Pull Toy

Plan Toys - Snail Wooden Pull Along Toy

Plan Toys - Snail Wooden Pull Along Toy

Parents of children 4 and older will remember the 2007 wooden train recall from RC2 that manufactures Thomas & Friends™. My son was beginning to be interested in trains that year and we made a choice to purchase a Plan Toys Rail and Road set like this one. I have never had concerns about these pieces and have found the paint and moving parts to work without fail for nearly three years of constant use.

Plan Toys - Road and Rail Play Set - City Transportation

Plan Toys - Road and Rail Play Set - City Transportation

Now that my daughter is older and interested in dolls, we will be purchasing a dollhouse for her and thought of no other retailer than Hazelnut to get one for her. The colors and design of this house are as exciting and interesting as other Plan Toys products are but I have no concerns about lead or other toxic materials in the paint. It is guaranteed to see a lot of use in the years to come.

Plan Toys - Chalet Wooden Dollhouse with Furniture

Plan Toys - Chalet Wooden Dollhouse with Furniture

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


As a parent of two young children, I find gift giving for my own children, my nephew, and the children of friends to be a relatively easy task. I know what my children are interested in; what is appropriate for their age, or an age they have been; what might pique a new interest; and what other children I know are excited about. However, for grandparents, especially those living far away from their grandchildren, gift giving for little ones might be a little daunting. I have seen my children’s grandparents get a huge thrill from finding the perfect gift for their grandchild after they have had high hopes that their gift will become a go-to item for their grandchild. Unfortunately, there are moments when gifts aren’t age appropriate or do not attract the child’s attention. From my own experiences, and those of friends, I find that some grandparents might need a little assistance from a third party to help them find the perfect gift for their grandchild.

Puzzles and Games

Although a child might not let out an audible shriek when opening a puzzle or a game, these toys will provide your grandchild with hours and hours of entertainment and numerous opportunities for learning. An even better way to give these types of gifts, if possible, is to give them in person and find an opportunity during the visit to work together on the puzzle or play the game. For my son’s third birthday, his grandparents had him open a game upon their arrival. They proceeded to play it with him and find a way to spend some time together and entertain my son while party details proceeded.

Beleduc - Your Body Layer Puzzle (Boy)

Beleduc - Your Body Layer Puzzle (Boy)

My children, like most, are fascinated with their bodies and the mysteries of their bones and circulatory and digestive systems. This puzzle provides a great opportunity for learning and play.

Haba Mini Bingo (in a tin)

Haba Mini Bingo (in a tin)

Bingo is a current hit in my house. We modify the rules in order to accommodate all ages and abilities and everyone has fun.

It is difficult to find quality games for pre-readers. This one is challenging, yet accessible to younger children. An extra bonus will be the conversations had around the table about food and the seasons.

Family Pastimes Cooperative Game - Harvest Time

Family Pastimes Cooperative Game - Harvest Time

Large Items

For many families, purchases of larger items might be difficult for financial reasons or it may be hard to justify the purchase of a play kitchen or piece of furniture. Buying larger heirloom pieces might provide the kind of impact a grandparent is hoping to make with their gift.

While I have already written about the tremendous usefulness of a Learning Tower, it is a great gift for a grandparent to give; particularly with one of the add-ons, such as this easel. A grandparent I know who has already given a Learning Tower to her four-year-old granddaughter will be giving the easel this Christmas and it couldn’t be a better gift. What a great way to keep your child close while in the kitchen but provide them with opportunities for creativity and exploration.

Little Partners Learning Tower with Art Easel

Little Partners Learning Tower with Art Easel

Dollhouses aren’t just for girls anymore! My son and daughter love playing with their dollhouse together, acting out scenes from our life and their imaginations. This one is sure to please any child (and parent) with its design.

Plan Toys Wooden Chalet Dollhouse

Plan Toys Wooden Chalet Dollhouse

If you think your grandchild is ready for a wooden train set, there are no others to consider than the Plan City line of track and road toys. The track is well designed, fits together securely, and the trains and accessories are visually and tactically irresistible for children, parents, and grandparents. The track is compatible with most other wooden track in the marketplace.

Plan Toys Wooden Road and Rail Set

Plan Toys Wooden Road and Rail Set

Toys for “Grandma’s House”

If you are privileged to live close enough to your grandchildren to allow for frequent visits, having a selection of fun items available during these visits is a perfect way to allow children to explore activities that might be too messy or involved for everyday life at home.

Big art and craft projects are a perfect activity for a child visiting their grandparents. Watercolors, markers, and crayons are compatible for use with this Paintable Barn.

Imagination Box Company Paintable Barn

For an older child, an introduction to a craft is a perfect activity to do together.

Artterro Natural Art Kits

Artterro Natural Art Kits

My most vivid memories of time spent with my grandmother involved playing dress up. She would let me walk to the store with her in anything I wanted, unlike when I was at home. This colorful dress and hat are a nice start.

Sarahs Silks Princess Dress and Hat

Sarah's Silks Princess Dress and Hat

And lastly, a stuffed animal to keep at a grandparent’s house for sleepovers is a great gift idea. Mom and dad won’t have to worry about forgetting a bedtime companion at home or after the sleepover. My kids look forward to sleepovers and playing with their animals that reside at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Lana Organic cotton Stuffed Cat

Lana Organic cotton Stuffed Cat

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


Clementine Art – Natural Soy Crayon Rocks

My almost five-year-old counted down the days to Halloween steadily this year beginning in mid-October. I wasn’t sure if he was more excited about wearing his grandma-made tiger costume or trekking from house to house for sweet treats. Turns out he was nearly as excited about creating Halloween decorations this year and is already planning Thanksgiving decorations for family and friends joining us at our home this year. The Clementine Soy Crayon Rocks were a fun way for my son and his little sister to draw their pumpkins, vines, and more. They love the shape of the crayons; they’re easy to hold, allow them to make thin and thick lines, and have incredible colors. Turkey hand-tracings, here we come!

Little Partners – Learning Tower

To say that our family’s Learning Tower is a current love would be incorrect; it is loved every day of the year. Our children help prepare every meal and snack, and my husband and I never have to ask them to. Whether we are spinning salad greens, chopping vegetables, mixing pancake batter, or making cookies, one or both of my children are providing some sort of assistance. Beside the obvious benefits of sharing time in the kitchen, teaching your children about how to be safe while handling food and utensils, and teaching them how to cook, I believe that my children have become fans of all types of food because of our Learning Tower. They can never resist asking for a taste of whatever fruit or vegetable being prepared and they ask questions about what is being made and what foods need to be cooked before eating. By purchasing a share in a local CSA, my children have also had a front row seat to seeing the bounty of our growing season.

Plan Toys – Parking Garage and Car

As my son gets older, I often wonder how long he will remain interested and excited by the Plan City road and rail pieces but his interest does not seem to be dissipating. For nearly a year now, he has brought out his Parking Garage every week. (It is helpful that the garage is sized well to play with popular die cast cars.) For the past week, he has been building and rebuilding railways and roads with his sister. For nearly three years I have watched his skills at building grow as well as his maturity while dealing with the difficulties of making inanimate objects respond to his wishes. It’s rewarding now to see him assisting his two-year-old sister with the same problems he had at her age and to see them play cooperatively. This week they were remembering a recent trip to Chicago by mimicking the recording on the CTA shouting, “Doors Closing!” as they played, leaving a smile on my face.

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


Thanks to advances in technology, researchers at N.Y.U. are currently studying how young and crawling infants interact with their world and move through it. Children were recently outfitted with lightweight cameras that tracked their eye movements as well as gave a child’s eye view. In early findings, researchers were surprised to see that children were able to make quick decisions about their environment and the people around them without having to stop and focus on a particular item to determine how they were going to react to it. From the New York Times:

“Quick gazes at obstacles in front of them or at their mothers’ faces may be all they need to get the information they want. They seem to be surprisingly efficient,” said John Franchak, a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at New York University.

When thinking about toys and the role that they play with very young children, this study reinforces the idea that toys for young children need to immediately appeal to their every sense.

This rattle from Haba is a favorite of young children. It is colorful, easy to hold, and makes sounds that they love to hear.

The simplicity of a natural wooden ring rattle has been appealing to children throughout the years. The varying shapes, sounds, and smooth texture of this rattle is enjoyable for little ones and will quickly become a favorite toy that they will choose again and again.

Bright and interesting blocks are a universally recommended toy for infants and children. Haba makes the simplest toy even better with the addition of small unexpected surprises inside the blocks and inviting colors on the outside.

You can read more about this amazing research here.

Katherine Degood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids


Recently my lovely neighbors (family of 7) passed on a game that had been one of their favorites when the children were younger. It’s called Harvest Time and it’s made by the Deacove family in Canada. Their company is called Family Pastimes and they specialize in cooperative games. They have been making their lovely games for 40 years but we are just discovering them. And we sure are glad we have!

I was pretty excited to receive the game because I had heard of the company and thought they may be a good fit for Hazelnut Kids. I was also excited to introduce a cooperative game to my children as my son is quite competitive and my daughter avoids any game that has a “winner” and a “loser.” Being the youngest in the family most always means she winds up the “loser.”

When we sat down to play Harvest Time I was struck by how well it had held up to years of play by 5 kids. The next thing I noticed was the nostalgic artwork. I felt like I was playing a game my mom may have played when she were a child. The game board is divided into four vegetable gardens with a traditional homestead scene in the center divided into six sections. The playing tiles are decorated with tomatoes, corn, green peas, and carrots.

As for the game, the objective is quite simple. You must plant your seeds before Autumn and harvest your crops before winter. This is accomplished by rolling a die with colored dots on each side representing each crop. One side of the die represents a change in season and when rolled, a section of the homestead must be replaced with either an autumn or winter tile (depending on whether you are planting or harvesting.) As each player completes his own garden, he may help other players complete theirs. My 7 year old son enjoyed playing it once but wasn’t very interested after. My 4 year old daughter, on the other hand, loves it! She especially likes that we help each other out rather than compete to win.

Needless to say, I contacted Family Pastimes immediately and now Hazelnut Kids is delighted to be offering several of their games representing a wide range of ages.

Ages 3-7 Harvest Time

Ages 4-7 Berries, Bugs & Bullfrogs Cooperative Game, Granny’s House, Max, Princess

Ages 5-7 Secret Door

Ages 5-9 Spies and Alibis

Ages 6-12 Farmer’s Market

Ages 7-12 Mountaineering

Ages 7-adult The Birds of Summer

Ages 8-adult Let’s Go Hiking, Search and Rescue

Ages 9-adult Then There Were None

Ages 10-adult Brainy Games

Ages 12-adult Eagle Eye Agency, Earth Game, Explorers Cooperative Game, Untrivia

For more information about Family Pastimes, click here. You can read all about their history as a family business and see all the “green” factors that made us love them even more!

And to show our excitement, we would like to give one of their games to a lucky reader. Please take a look at our new Family Pastimes cooperative game selection and comment on this blog telling us which one you would like to win. Make extra comments telling us you “like” us on facebook and “follow” us on Twitter (you have to actually like and follow us!) And please subscribe to our newsletter (homepage, bottom left) for another extra entry (but tell us in a comment.) One comment will be randomly selected on Monday, November 15 and you could win your choice of games!

Good Luck!

Tracy Coe, Owner Hazelnut Kids

For a list of cooperative games that require no equipment, click here.

This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Trixx who will be receiving Berries, Bugs & Bullfrogs.

Thank you to all who took the time to comment, follow, and befriend us!


Fall is my favorite season! Pumpkins, crisp air, tasty produce, apple cider, football – the list goes on and on. It can also be a great season to make eco-friendly crafts. There are all kinds of things you can do with nature itself – I have many fond memories of crafting with leaves as a child, for example. Just the other day, my daughter Isabelle showed me a great idea that used something old to make a whimsical Halloween decoration.

She found the fun craft idea in the American Girl magazine that she had borrowed from her school library. The material used was an old mismatched sock. I love that it gave a purpose to the otherwise garbage bound sock, and that she found the idea in a borrowed magazine – one that gets lots of use by other girls (instead of one that she bought and would eventually toss). Actually, it is the September/October 2009 copy, so it has gotten a lot of use!

How to: take a mismatched sock and fill it with uncooked rice. Securely wrap a rubber band around the sock to keep all the rice from falling out. Trim the excess sock above the rubber band. Let the decorating begin! The article showed shapes cut out of felt, and glued on with fabric glue, but Isabelle chose to use markers to draw on the face, and paper to glue on for the ears. Try our Clementine Art Natural Markers! Get creative and find things around your house to use. You could even help your little one sew on old buttons for the eyes. Make a ghost, pumpkin or cat – or anything you can think of!

Giveaway: One lucky winner will win a set of Clementine Art Natural Markers to make their own crafts with! Check out our site and tell us what product you think is fun for fall. Post a comment about it on our blog by October 28th and be entered in the giveaway. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries. Just remember to tell us with additional comments. Random drawing will be held on October 29th.

Good luck & Happy Halloween!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

This giveaway is closed. Congratulations, Sarah! And thank you friends for your comments. Be sure to check out our newest giveaway, a Family Pastimes cooperative game.


We recently stumbled upon a company called Artterro. As a long time lover of the arts, I am always excited to be exposed to new, quality products that inspire. Artterro was created by a couple of Moms who were searching for art kits that encouraged creativity, and were sustainable.

They had this to say on their website:

Kids appreciate quality art materials! Beautiful supplies inspire them to create amazing things, just like they do for adults. Children easily immerse themselves in the process, often unattached to the final product, and their enthusiasm is contagious! Works of art composed with Artterro‘s high-quality materials become treasures artists young and old proudly display.”

I was ecstatic to bring a kit home and put it to the test! My daughter chose the Artterro Collage Jewelry Kit, and I’m not sure who was more excited.


Confession: While I was very excited to check the kit out, I have to admit I actually put it off for quite awhile. I was afraid it was going to require a lot of my assistance to help my daughter, and wanted to make sure I had enough time to give her my undivided attention.

Reality: I didn’t do a single thing to help her, and she was capable of working on the jewelry projects entirely on her own. This kit has a recomended age of 7+, and at 8 years old – Isabelle was fully capable of managing the kit on her own.

Discovery: Not only are Artterro kits eco-friendly, sustainable, and open-ended – but they also encourage independent work, and promote creative confidence! Isabelle was able to create her own piece of jewelry from start to finish, without my assistance. A confidence booster and just plain fun!

The really great thing was, I didn’t need to go around finding a bunch of different supplies in different packaging, wondering if they were of decent quality. I simply grabbed one bag, and everything we needed was ready to go. No excess packaging waste – just one bag with everything needed for the project inside. Great for a rainy day or a fun birthday gift.


We Want to Share the Love!

We want to spread the word about these fun kits, and give one away to a lucky winner. So don’t miss the chance to win this wonderful prize! Simply check out our Artterro products, and tell us what you love. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries. Just remember to tell us with additional comments. Random drawing will be held on September 30.

Good luck!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

*This giveaway is now closed*


Trees are a common theme around here at Hazelnut Kids. We hug them, we try to save them, and we even plant them. Well now we display them! I would like to share a couple of pictures sent to me by Denis Chirles, Executive Director for the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. Hazelnut Kids donated several Plan Toys Stacking Trees for their lovely TREEscape exhibit. If you are in the Charleston, SC area looking for something special to do with your little people, stop in and check them out!


We love Sarah’s Silks at Hazelnut Kids, and anyone who has ever purchased their products would know why. Everything they make is just beautiful! Vibrant colors, soft textures, and elegant designs can describe each Sarah’s Silks product. They are simple enough to allow for childrens’ imaginations to fill in the blanks, yet the attention to detail speaks of the love and care that went into creating each piece. They use lovely silks and non-toxic dyes to achieve every color in the rainbow!

We are thrilled to offer so many new Sarah’s Silks products, and even more excited to offer a giveaway! Sarah’s Silks will send one lucky winner a basket of 7 playsilks.

Sarahs Silks basket of beautiful playsilks

I know in our house, playsilks have been skirts, capes, rivers, Easter basket fillers – the possibilities really are endless. So don’t miss the chance to win this wonderful prize! Simply check out our new Sarah’s Silks products, and tell us what you love. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries. Just remember to tell us with additional comments. PLUS, get another entry by following Sarah’s Silks on facebook! Which really, you should do anyway – who wouldn’t want to be in the know with all their great stuff?!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

This Giveaway is closed. Congratulations to our winner, Laura W! And thanks to all who entered!


What child doesn’t love to listen to stories?! Here at Hazelnut Kids, we decided it was time to offer some audio entertainment to our collection of inspiring toys for children.

We were pleased to discover Smart Dreamzzz, and we think you will be too! Smart Dreamzzz was created by a parent of two young children, and an expert in child psychology. Dr. Kristen Race is committed to helping families create a strong foundation that will lead to children making good decisions as they grow. Her CD’s guide children through age-appropriate meditation that help with sleep, and stress management.

Animal Dreamzzz provokes a relaxation response in the brain, making it easier for children to fall asleep. It includes 3 stories (about 15 minutes long each) about a giraffe, a baby elephant, and a cuddly bear.

Day Dreamzzz stimulates the memory, attention, and problem-solving areas of the brain. This CD includes 7 stories that help children relax during their stressful day – and is great at home, the car, or in the classroom!

Stories include The Magic Bottle, A Day Dream, The Sky Ride, The Relaxed River Otter, The Sleigh Ride, The River Ride, and Fireside

Dino Dreamzzz includes 3 stories (about 15 minutes long each) about a long neck, a stegosaurus, and a triceratops.

Each Smart Dreamzzz story begins with a soothing voice instructing your child to find a comfortable position and listen to their breath. She leads them to a state of relaxation and complete stillness. This in itself is worth the price of the CD. The bonus is a series of creative and imaginative stories that allow your child to experience adventures in their mind.

From Day Dreamzzz…. “The Magic Bottle”

“Imagine far off in the distance you hear the sounds of a waterfall. Pretend you are walking down a path in a beautiful mountain forest. As you walk, the sound of the waterfall gets louder and louder. You continue to walk down the dirt path and you start to feel a mist on your face. You’re getting closer! The sound gets louder and you find yourself coming to a clearing in the forest. Before you is a big beautiful waterfall cascading down layers and layers of rocks as the water makes its way down to the river below. You walk to the edge of the river and discover something amazing that has just washed up on the bank. It is a beautiful magic bottle!”

I play Day Dreamzzz in the car on the way home from school when I sense boredom, restlessness, or arguing between my two children. It works like a dream (no pun intended) to relax them and make them forget what they are arguing about. (Tracy)

You can find other testimonials HERE.

GIVEAWAY

So for the July 30th giveaway, simply comment on this blog telling us which Smart Dreamzzz CD you would like. You can receive extra entries by following Hazelnut Kids on facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the Hazelnut Kids newsletter. (sign-up is on the bottom left of home page) You can also tweet about our giveaway or share a link with your facebook friends for additional entries. Just remember to tell us with additional comments.

Good Luck and thank you for reading!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids

Tracy – Owner, Hazelnut Kids


EarthLust Leaf Stainless Steel Water Bottle

EarthLust Leaf Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Stainless Steel is an industrial looking material that is known for its strength and safety with food products. There is something amazing about how EarthLust has taken this masculine material and transformed it into visually delicate pieces of usable art!

EarthLust is an environmentally responsible company born out of California. The owners were inspired by the birth of their child, and quickly committed themselves to protecting his health as well as the environment.

As if their purpose as a company was not inspiring enough – the designs on their bottles are truly captivating as well. Some of the designs were even created by the owner herself, derived from family experiences in nature.

One of the favorites already is the EarthLust Elephant Stainless Steel Water Bottle. It has a vibrant green base – with a precious silhouette of an elephant parent and child.

EarthLust Elephant Stainless Steel Water Bottle

EarthLust Elephant Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Hazelnut Kids is proud to offer 13 ounce, 20 ounce, and 7 ounce (baby) bottles. We also carry the optional Sports Bottle Top for convenience.

Giveaway!

So what do you think? Take a look at our selection of new EarthLust Stainless Steel Water Bottles, and tell us which one you would love to have. Tell us about it on our blog by July 15th, and be entered to win that very water bottle!

Enjoy!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids



As Earth Day approaches I am overwhelmed by all the Earth Day specials, Earth Day sales, and Earth Day advice. As a retailer of earth friendly toys, Hazelnut Kids is obligated to take advantage of such a great day of recognition, but the girls (Bridgett and Shannon) and I have also decided to TAKE ACTION!

Tracy, Shannon, and Bridgett on One Day Without Shoes

Tracy, Shannon, and Bridgett "One Day Without Shoes"

We are each advocates for protecting the earth, we are each mothers of young children, and we each believe in living a simple and sustainable life. Is there any wonder we found each other here at Hazelnut Kids? The three “R”s have been a way of life for us since before it was “cool” so this year we are kickin’ it up a notch.

Tracy:

I am a religious composter, but I tend to teeter out as winter sets in. This year I am committing to winter composting and looking for any “words of wisdom” from others who compost in three feet of snow.

Shannon has convinced Bridgett and I to join her CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.)  We are splitting a share and looking forward to the bounty of local food that will be available all summer. I am also planning for my own vegetable garden to supplement and I will use it to teach Jackson and Ivy about seasonal eating.

Bridgett and Tracy

Bridgett and Tracy

Bridgett:
Last year, our kids were finally old enough to start going on real bike rides. So we started biking them to school. It took a little extra time in the morning, but it was great to start the day as a family – getting fresh air and exercise. The kids were proud to bike to school everyday, because they knew it was good for the earth-  and them! I would like to continue this this year, now that it has started to warm up. I would also like to bike more to other places as well though. We live close enough to the store, gym, and work to bike to all of those places, and this year I want to make the bike a first choice – and the car plan B.
Also, it seems as the kids get older, the more batteries we go through. Ipod speakers, calculators, and such require batteries that I just hate to have to replace over and over. I would like to purchase rechargeable batteries for the first time ever! In addition to rechargeable batteries, another change I would like to make in our household is purchasing energy efficient light bulbs. I can’t believe we have not done this yet, but this is the year. The next light bulb purchase we make will be an eco-friendly one. We also recently made a jar to collect pennies whenever somebody leaves a light on when they are not using it. Hopefully this will be a reminder to us all, and help us be aware of how much we use electricity when we don’t need to. I really believe it is all the little things that everybody can do that adds up. I am excited to make a couple small changes and contribute something this Earth Day.
Shannon and Tracy at The Family Wisdom Conference

Shannon and Tracy at The Family Wisdom Conference

Shannon:

My family and I live right in town, which means we are a stone’s throw from downtown as well as our beautiful bay on Lake Michigan.  And since we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a very early spring this year, I’ve committed to keep the car parked in the garage as much as possible and pull out the bike or the walking shoes instead.  This is not always easy with a 13 month old son in tow, but he enjoys the fresh air as much as I do and so he’s happy to come along for the ride in his bike carrier or stroller.  There are, of course, times when I have to put those keys in the ignition for a distant errand or to drop Holden at my in-laws’ house west of town, but I’m really making a point of keeping the car at home and making the better-for-our-Earth (and better-for-me!) choice.

So this Earth Day, do Earth a favor and commit to at least one change that will have an immediate impact. Better yet, share it with us by posting a comment to this blog and we will enter your name in a drawing to win  a beautiful Waldorf  Nature Conservation Angel by Kathe Kruse. Winner will be chosen April 30th, so start posting!

I have wanted to try natural Easter egg dying for a while now. This year, I happened to receive a recipe for it in the mail – so I decided to go for it!

My friend and I divided up the grocery list, and made plans to tag team the challenge. Between the two of us, we actually had everything we needed already at home.

We used blueberries, spinach, cranberries, and turmeric – but there are lots of recipes out there! It takes a little time to boil the ingredients down, and even longer to soak the eggs in it – but I think it is worth it!

Isabelle

Isabelle

In a moment of weakness, I will admit, I was concerned that the natural dyes were not going to do their job – and I dissolved some leftover from last year tablets. A desperate attempt to salvage what I thought might be the loss of Easter tradition for my kids – brightly colored eggs in their basket in the morning, dyed by themselves. I quickly regretted this decision, but it was a good learning experience for me. Sure, the dissolved tablets made for instantly bright colored eggs for the kids, but the eggs they put in those bowls were done too soon! There was no anticipation or excitement building up – just instant gratification. And don’t we have too much of that already?!

I was surprised to see how even with the vibrant artificial colors available to the kids, they still gravitated to the natural dyes. They enjoyed periodically checking on the eggs to see the progress they had made, and somehow appreciated the soft colors. They thought it was really cool that we had made our own colors, with natural foods. Additionally, they were able to eat the eggs that had cracked and soaked in those dyes, and raved about the tasty eggs, and how they could eat them because the “dye” was just food! No way would I have felt great about turning over a cracked egg that had soaked in a florescent pink!

our finished eggs

our finished eggs

So, as I type with green finger tips (from the regrettable moment when I took an egg out of the bowl with the artificial dye) I ponder a lesson learned. My kids did not need instantly colored eggs, neon hues, or stained skin. They just needed my benefit of the doubt that they were patient, inspired, and appreciative.

Happy Spring!

Bridgett – Manager,  Hazelnut Kids


Jackson hiding his loose  teeth and Ivy showing off that mega green bow!

Jackson hiding his loose teeth and Ivy showing off that mega green bow!

I was downloading some pictures from my camera and found the ones I took on St. Patrick’s Day for our $50 giveaway on facebook. I had never done a random drawing before and wasn’t quite sure how to take 361 fans and put them in a hat. I had a few gimmicky ideas, like finding the fan with the most letters from “Hazelnut Kids” in their name. My voice of reason, Bridgett, who had just returned from her Statistics class, reminded me that the drawing should be random and then proceeded to explain what that really meant. Well, there is not much fun about a true, random drawing, so I did the next best thing and had my six year old choose a number between 1 and 361. He chose his lucky number 8! He didn’t have a good reason for 8 being his lucky number, but I went with it! We then took our list of fans, omitted all owners, employees, and spouses, and selected our 8th fan which turned out to be Ronessa Butler of Traverse City! Ronessa was thrilled and within hours of receiving her GC code had placed her order with some lovely items for her soon to be 3 and 5 year olds. What fun! Stay tuned for future giveaways, and if you aren’t a fan on facebook yet, please consider.

Tracy Coe – Owner, Hazelnut Kids


At Hazelnut Kids, we use beautiful, 100% post-consumer recycled gift wrap. The only problem is – we are left with lots of scraps after lovingly wrapping our gift orders with this paper. As cabin fever set in at my home, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Find a use for all this leftover paper, and entertain the young, creative minds at home! I thought, what a great opportunity to test out our new Clementine Art Glue as well.

Clementine Glue and Earth Lovin Paper
Clementine Glue and Earth Love’n Paper

So, I gathered some colored paper from our art closet, got out the gift wrap scraps and Clementine Art Natural Glue I brought home from work – and we got busy! We cut the papers into small square pieces, and then used decorative scissors to cut out a slightly smaller size of the gift wrap paper. Thanks to Clementine Art, there were no overwhelming fumes as the kids glued their gift wrap pieces to the colored paper. When they got some on their fingers, I thought “oh well, it won’t hurt them!”

Jack cutting the gift cards
Jack cutting the gift cards

For the finishing touches, we used a stamp on the back of the cards that says “To:” and “From:” so they could be used as gift notes for packages. We tied scrap pieces of raffia left over from gift wrapping at Hazelnut Kids to make a nice detail at the top of the cards.

Isabelle tying the gift card
Isabelle tying the gift card

My daughter was so inspired by the project that she searched her stash of “saveables” to see what else she could use to make cards with. About a year ago, she saved every piece of gift wrap after a family member opened all of their wedding gifts. She did not want it to get thrown away, and just knew that she would find a use for it someday! She had quite a collection – and it made for some really beautiful cards!

finished gift cards
finished gift cards

I was happy to do more than just recycle our gift wrap scraps, and the kids were proud to make such lovely and functional cards. We were all happy to use a glue that was gentle on our noses, skin, and the environment! What kinds of treasures can you make with your would be trash?!

Happy creating!

Bridgett – Manager, Hazelnut Kids


Perfect Life Cycle Teaching Tool!

Now that March has hit, Spring is threatening to come. Living in Northern Michigan – we are certainly ready to welcome it!

At Hazelnut Kids, we decided to add a couple 5-Layer Puzzles that would help take advantage of the learning opportunity that Spring presents (as well as a few people layer puzzles).

We have two options available for ages 4+; the Butterfly 5-Layer Puzzle and the Frog 5-Layer Puzzle. Each puzzle takes the child through the entire life cycle – from eggs all the way to the adult life. They are made out of birch wood with non-toxic ink, and have 30 pieces.

Help your child hop into Spring and check out our new layer puzzles today!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share a photo of our homemade heart crayons. I had been looking for a reason to rid our home of all the traditional crayons that are petroleum based and replace them with some of the beautiful beeswax and soy crayons we carry at Hazelnut Kids. I just couldn’t bare to throw them out, so when my children needed to make Valentines for their classroom exchanges, I found the opportunity!

Hazelnut Kids Homemade Crayons

Hazelnut Kids Homemade Crayons

We simply melted the old ones down in glass dishes inside the microwave and poured the melted wax into heart shaped molds. We first tried mixing two colors in one dish, but after having to stir them a couple of times, the colors blended and didn’t give the “swirl” affect we were looking for. We had better results melting individual colors in their own dishes and then mixing colors as we poured them into the molds. Once they hardened, which only took about ten minutes, I had the kids carve their names into the finished crayons.

Our last batches were certainly better than the first, but they were all equally fun! And how nice for the kids to deliver a valentine that is useful and not destined for the garbage. This project only cost $10, and that was for the heart molds that we will use for many years to come.

Tracy Coe – Owner of Hazelnut Kids


As I was sitting at my computer last night, I began thinking about all the negative, selfish thoughts I had throughout the day. I started out grumpy because my six year old son woke me up a half hour early. Later in the day I complained that my husband never likes to attend social events at the school and only wants to hang out with me and our two children. I’m sure I grumbled once or twice about the weather, and I’m almost certain there was a raised voice at the dinner table over someone not minding their manners.

As I shut the computer down, gave a stretch, and crawled into my warm bed, I grabbed the TV remote and began searching for something to entertain me. Instead I was reminded of the devastation and desperation of the people in Haiti.  Suddenly my eyes swelled and all I could think was how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, two healthy children, and a husband who enjoys our company.

Tracy Coe, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys

If you would like to make a donation to the relief efforts in Haiti, here is a trusted source – Oxfam


While we have managed to avoid printing a paper catalog for Hazelnut Kids, this past holiday season I realized we may be in the minority!  Each day I checked the mail at my home, I had to make a stop at the recycling bin to drop in the 3-4 catalogs that were received that day.  The mound grew, and I realized there were many duplicate catalogs.  The cover may have been different, but the company was the same, and for the most part – so were the products featured.  I think catalogs certainly have their place – not everyone has computer access believe it or not, and sometimes you just want to be able to flip through tangible pages while looking at products – but the duplicate mailings do more harm than good when they just get tossed.

I came across a site that might be helpful.  It is called Catalog Choice, and is a non-profit corporation looking to help lessen your junk mail while also reducing the amount of natural resources used for catalogs.  You can search for the unwanted catalog on their site, and put in your information to stop receiving the catalogs or reduce the number received (depending on the company’s options).  It is an easy way to stop mailings from multiple companies, by using just one site.

Before your mailbox gets jammed with next year’s holiday catalogs – check out Catalog Choice – and stop the epidemic!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


So, as the holidays are behind us, and the gift wrap has cleared – the true test begins.  Do the kids actually play with the quality toys they received from Hazelnut Kids, or do the Legos and Barbies prevail?  As we had many new products this season, I updated my kids’ wishlists and watched as their grandparents ordered the new products.  Would they be a hit?  A break from school has allowed for much time at home for Jack and Isabelle to explore their new gifts, and I decided to describe their experience with each below to perhaps help with some gift giving decisions for our customers.

Received by Jack, 6 years old

Jack received this Kinderkram – Wooden Race Car, and I have to admit – I was skeptical.  Does it really work?  Will it be boring?  I was astonished how fast it zipped across the wooden floor!  He giggled with delight, and I am sure he will put many miles on this classic automobile!  Downside:  Jack wound it up a bit too much and the rubber band snapped.  However, it only took once to learn how much was too much, and with 3 extra rubber bands included, it was no problem at all!

Both kids have been interested in checkers lately, so I thought a Chinese Checkers inspired elf game would be lots of fun.  We gave it to Jack, but Isabelle is the one that has been playing it with me!  She seems as addicted to the strategy of the game as I am.  It is hard to pull yourself away.  As soon as we finish one game she is already saying, “let’s play again!”  It is a great game that adults can really enjoy with their children, and kids love improving on their skills.  Downside:  The pieces are pretty small, so sticking to the age suggestion of 5 + is a must.  You have to have good fine motor skills to place the little pieces where you want them to go.  Isabelle is 8 years old, and it suits her age very well.

Maple Landmark - Made By Me - Racer

My kids love creating things, so Santa was smart to but the Made by Me vehicles in their stockings.  The design is so simple, my 6 year old had no problem putting it together by himself.  He was very proud that he created the car.  Decorating is fun and easy to – crayons, markers, paint – whatever you have works on these car canvases!  Downside:    You’ll have to buy more once the kids are done creating theirs – because they enjoy it too much!

You can never have too many pieces for your ball track set!  This Basketball Hoop Set was a welcome addition to my son’s collection.  It comes with everything you need, so it makes a great set to be played on its own – but it also adds much excitement to your existing ball track.  This set scored major points with Jack!  Downside:   Do I have to find one?  Quality wood and the excitement of scoring big on a small scale – what’s not to love?

http://www.hazelnutkids.com/cgi-bin/item/KI10043b/search/Kinderkram-Colored-Ball-Catcher---Blue

My kids have received far too many cheap attempts at ball catchers, all of which have broken within minutes of use and ended up in the trash – leaving them disappointed and saddened.  It is such a fun concept to kids, yet it was always over before it started.  Well, they both received a beautiful wooden ball catcher this year – and there is no disappointment in sight!  These toys will last for years, and are a fun, challenging way for kids to have fun on their own.  I even caught Nana giving it a try!  Downside:  Keep your distance from the child playing with this toy!  Or wear a helmet . . .

Received by Isabelle, 8 years old

A few years ago, Isabelle received a Kathe Kruse Waldorf Doll.  She adores it – to say the least.  There is something special about these dolls.  I know she will have it forever.  She has since been wishing she had another doll like “Sarah.”  This Christmas we decided to give her just that.  This Mini It’s Me doll seemed just right.  It comes in its own little carrying bag, and has an adorable hat!  Isabelle was ecstatic when she opened this present, and quickly named her “Molly” – Sarah’s little sister.  She is easy to bring along, and fun to change outfits with.  Downside:   She technically does not fit our 10 inch doll clothes, but Isabelle received a set and made it work.  She rolled the pants up a bit and made the skirt into a shirt!  It’s almost better, because she has been able to get creative with it.

This was a great gift that both Isabelle and Jack can enjoy with us.  The Haba Keep It Steady! Game is lots of fun for all of us, and is great when you wanna play something fun but not think too hard while doing it.  Really great for many ages, and doesn’t seem to get old fast.  I have to say I lost many times already – which is always fun for the kids!  Downside:  Not as exciting if only 2 players play, I rather play with 3-4.  But the kids still enjoy it with 2 players.

Isabelle has her own locker at school, and is quite interested in decorating it!  This Haba set of magnetic pins was a perfect fun little gift for her.  She can’t wait to bring them to school and adorn her locker.  When school is out, they will be perfect to hang artwork on the fridge.  Downside:  I want my own set!

Second grade really vamps up the vocab!  That’s why I was so glad Isabelle was very interested in playing this game that encourages word building.  The Haba Wooden Letter Dice is a fun way to practice spelling.  It was fun to play with two players, has a few different ways to play so it doesn’t get old, and was challenging for both my 8 year old and myself!  I’m sure her teacher will be pleased that she played this over break, too.  Downside:  I may have a wounded ego as Isabelle starts to beat me at this one!

Sarah’s Silks are not new to many of you, but they are to us!  At 8 years old, let me tell you they are still enjoyed.  The possibilities are endless, and Isabelle never tired of creating new dress-up ideas with her gold silk.  She loved the texture, the color, and the many ways it could be used!  Downside:  None!  Sarah’s Silks are the best, that’s all there is to it.

Well, that’s it.  Another successful gift giving season with Hazelnut Kids toys!  I hope this helps some of you who were wondering how these toys actually fair in the real world.  My children have yet to be disappointed by any Hazelnut Kids gifts they have received.  I hope your children have experienced the same joy this holiday season!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


Artist - Jack, 6 years old

Artist - Jack, 6 years old

So my son has been using the same blue Easter egg-shaped piece of chalk on his blackboard since last Easter.  Needless to say, I was very excited to see Hazelnut Kid’s new Mercurius Blackboard Chalk come in!  I promised him that I would bring him home a set, and today I did.  He received them with a giant, “Thank you so much Mom!” and then got right to work.

The colors are unbelievable.  Yes, you pay for what you get.  What you get is a super high quality set of chalk – they blend so well, and the colors jump off the blackboard.  The smiles your child produces as they create are priceless, however.

Not only is my son thrilled at the potential he has for greatness with this color wheel of pastels . . . he is thrilled to have the means to practice his weekly spelling words with no harm done to the environment.  That’s right, no more paper.  He now has 12 colors to choose from as he writes and erases each word of the week.  The colors add fun, and the lack of paper involved makes us all feel like we are making our footprint that much smaller.

So don’t wait – get your set of 12 vibrantly colored pastels today!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids


My family and I had the pure luck of stumbling upon a fantastic Art contest in Grand Rapids, Michigan this past weekend.  ArtPrize consists of over 1,000 artists displaying their work all over the city.  It is a powerful outlet for them to speak their mind and make a statement.  One particular piece I found to be very relevant to our concerns at Hazelnut Kids.  Lisa Yarost’s work was entitled “Recyclable Container for Humans – plastic bales.”  The concept (in short) is that we consume more than we realize, not considering the resources gone into creating these items that are all too disposable.  The conatiner consists of plastics about to be recycled.  It encloses around the people that enter the structure – hopefully giving the viewer a much needed perspective of mass consumption.  A kind of ‘in your face’ visual where every turn you make you see the result of your consumption.  However, there is no roof, giving the viewer a glimpse of hope as they look to the sky.

It is easy to keep consuming in a disposable way – we’ve all done it – paper plates for pizza to avoid doing dishes, plastic baggies so we don’t have to spend money on reusable ones, or plastic bottles when we’re on the go.  It is easy to toss and forget, but standing in this maze of discarded plastics, I was forced to stop and think about how my consumption affects our environment.

You might be wondering why Hazelnut Kids would be writing about over consumption – being that we are in the business of selling products.  The answer is simply this: we work with vendors that do what they can to make each step of production as least harmful as possible to the environment, we sell only quality toys that won’t be tossed in the landfills after one or two uses (in fact, they can be handed down from generation to generation), and we use materials that have been recycled to ship our products.  The Holidays happen, toys will be bought.  I feel good though that I can be a part of providing toys with a clean conscience, and ones that have a long life ahead of them . . . one that does not include the landfill.

- Art work information gathered from artprize.org

- Concept of Art work by Lisa Yarost

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids


Green America People's Choice Award

Hazelnut Kids is proud to announce that we made top ten for the Green America People’s Choice Awards!  We are so grateful to our loyal customers for supporting us (and, of course, we would be even more grateful if you support us again and vote one more time!).

We are proud to be a company truly built on the principle of providing safe, quality, easy on the environment toys to our customers.  This recognition means a lot to us, as we are focused on making our footprint smaller – not just making our piece of the market larger.

So thank you friends, for doing your part by choosing the path less traveled, and taking steps  towards a greener life – one toy at a time!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys 


Recycled Box

Hazelnut Kids is proud to announce our decision to reuse boxes.  This has been a consideration for some time.  We take pride in how our orders are received by customers, and have always wanted to ensure safe arrival of these packages to our customers.  The time has come, however, to put cosmetics aside – and make our footprint just a bit smaller as we begin reusing cardboard boxes for shipping.  We will choose only boxes that we feel will be a safe and sturdy vessel for our orders, and when you see the “previously loved box” sticker – you’ll know your footprint has been made smaller as well!

So if you receive a less than perfect box from us, just know that it is in the name of preserving our Earth for generations to come – and that our commitment to quality remains the same.  We care about each package we send out, and that remains  true – even more so – as we take yet another step in the “green” direction!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


For awhile now we have carried Haba’s Japanese House Blocks, but recently we decided to add almost the entire line of Haba Architectural Blocks.  We of course love the smooth, sturdy quality of all Haba blocks, but we are especially fond of these sets.  We believe it is important to offer our children every opportunity to explore other parts of the world, and expand their knowledge of cultures beyond their own.  These blocks offer children a fun, tactile  way to explore other areas of our world.  Whether they are building the great ancient Roman Coliseum, or solving the mystery of how the Pyramids of Egypt were built years ago – these sets will offer a starting point for a great history lesson.  We can learn so much about a culture from their architecture, why not let your kids recreate it?!

Haba Pyramid Architectural Blocks

Just the other day, my kids’ Grandfather was referencing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and I thought, “how neat would it be for them to actually build one!”  Now you can offer that opportunity to your own kids.

Check out our new Haba Architectural Blocks, and make an investment in your child’s education.

Bridgett, Manager-Hazelnut Kids


 Plan Toys Wooden Punch and Drop

In an age where kids have everything imaginable – toys that have more lights than Vegas at sundown, and a mind of their own – it’s nice to know that the classics still have their place.  We recently went to a family member’s first birthday party.  He had received a couple gifts from Hazelnut Kids.  One was the Plan Toys Punch and Drop, and the other was the Plan Toys Walk n Roll.  Both were a big success!  In fact, Oliver, the guest of honor, was so enthralled with the Punch and Drop that he seemed slightly uninterested in some of the other gifts in its comparison.  I may be partial, but the boy lit up with that toy!  He loved punching the balls through the holes, and also enjoyed sticking them in his mouth!  It was nice to have peace of mind knowing the size and finish on the balls made it safe for him to do so.  Oliver’s mother has said that since the party, he has found some new ways to use the toy and likes to turn it on its side and try to punch the balls through that way.  Sometimes, it is the simple toys that allow kids to flourish in their creativity – what a joy to watch!

Plan Toys Wooden Walk and Roll

He enjoyed the Walk and Roll as well, but at 1 year old, that is a toy he will grow into.  It is always nice to receive a gift that he will love in 6 months!

I was happy and pleased to see our quality toys received so well!  I found myself, once again, proud to be a part of such a wonderful company that does more than just sell toys.  Hazelnut Kids inspires and encourages creativity and growth, and offers confidence in purchasing safe toys to be enjoyed for years to come!

So next time you have a party to attend or a gift to give, think about what you want to give that child, and if it is a whole lot more than just a toy visit our site and let us send a gift with love.

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


As I sit here writing my first official blog as owner of Hazelnut Kids, I am thinking of all the beautiful toys I have purchased from Hazelnut Kids over the last five years for my two young children, Jackson (age 5) and Ivy (age 3).

Plan Toys Wooden Walk-n-Roll Push Toy

The first toy that comes to mind is a wooden push toy similar to this one by Plan Toys. Jackson received his for a first birthday gift and I’m convinced he put a few hundred miles on it before he passed it to Ivy who put a few hundred more. I can still hear the “clickety-clack” across my floors, but for now it is put away for my future grandchildren.

Plan Toys Wooden Deluxe Road System

The next toy that comes to mind is the Plan Toys Road System that has grown over the last few years. Jackson started with the Deluxe Road System with a couple of cars. About the time he got bored with that, we added the Airport, and later the Fire Station and Parking Garage. By just adding a new piece once in a while, it becomes his favorite toy again and and again. I can say the same about his Ball Track.

Elves and Angels Wooden Sylvie's Kitchen

Another favorite Hazelnut Kids toy in our home is the Elves & Angels Kitchen. I love it because it’s beautiful, natural, and blends well in our home. My children love to take meal orders, prepare their “wooden entrees,” and serve them with a smile. And what great spelling and math lessons as they write out their grocery lists and calculate the costs.

The Sarah’s Silks Playsilks are a hit around our house as well. Just last week Jackson used one as a cast for his imaginary broken leg, and Ivy used one as a superhero cape and later a princess dress.

Haba Yahtzee in a Tin

And lastly, we love the Haba games and play with them almost daily. Three of our favorites are Yahtzee, Mini Bingo, and Ivy adores the Horse Memory Game.

Now that I have over indulged in product promotion, I would like to end by saying how delighted I am that Sheri trusts me to uphold the commitments she has made to parents, children, and the environment. I share the same values, and Hazelnut Kids will continue to be a trusted resource for safe and natural toys.

Tracy Coe owner – Hazelnut Kids


My son’s 5th birthday is coming up, so I have been browsing our selection at Hazelnut Kids to decide what to give him.  One item that caught my eye was the “King of Numbers” game by Haba.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t help me with Ryan’s gift because we already bought it for his older brother when he was 5, but since we like the game so much I thought I should spread the word.

Haba King of Numbers game

All of Haba’s games are unique, and quite a few of them have wooden figures that can be played with outside of the game.  The King of Numbers is no exception.  I love that the wooden king is a self-checking tool, as his feet will only fit into the holes in the cards if the child has arrived at the correct answer.  There are seven different ways to play this game, so it will be played with for a long time (as ours has been).

To read more about it please visit it on our site, and once there you will find a link to the game instructions so you can see exactly how it can be played.

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


There are certain toys that have been best sellers since I created Hazelnut Kids, so I thought I’d highlight one every so often.

Haba Triangle Wooden Baby Toy

Today’s best seller is the Haba Triangle Grasping Toy / Baby Teether.  It has a nice, simple design, and it is well-loved by babies as it is colorful, it is easy to hold, and the baby can twist it all over the place.  And parents like the low price: only $11.90 for a quality, wooden baby teether.

To read more about it and to read reviews from parents, please visit our website.  To learn about Haba including their safety standards please visit the Hazelnut Kids Toy Safety page.

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


Coastal Living magazine’s May 2009 issue featured the Haba Wooden Magnifying Glass and Tin from Hazelnut Kids in their “Tide Pool Party” article.  They wrote “Magnifying glass:  Some tide pool critters are no bigger than a grain of rice.  Make sure you can see all of them.”  We are honored to have been mentioned in such a beautiful magazine.

Hazelnut Kids in Coastal Living magazine

The magnifying glasses are fabulous, but they were discontinued by Haba (insert our weeping sounds here), so get them while you can (quantities are limited!).

Sheri Novak, Owner – HazelnutKids.com


We had such a fabulous time at our Plan Toys – Hazelnut Kids Earth Day event on April 22.  It was great seeing so many of our customers and giving everyone who came by a free recycled cardboard Eco Home 3D Puzzle.  Several of our customers have written to thank us for the homes, so we thought we’d share a few of their pictures and kind words:

Earth Day 1

Earth Day 2

“Thanks again for the adorable eco houses!  Jackson and Ivy (and I) were entertained for hours, and it led to some great conversations about alternative energy.  WE LOVE HK!”
Earth Day 1

Earth Day 3

“Thanks for a fun and cool project.  My daughter and I really enjoyed putting together this cute house.  She loves it!”

Another customer wrote:  “I wanted to tell you thanks so much for the Earth Day goodies last week!  We put the houses together as a family and had some great conversation about wind spires and solar panels and being kind to our living breathing earth!  The boys loved it!”

Thank you to Plan Toys for the wonderful Eco homes and to all of our customers for supporting the Earth through your purchases of natural toys.

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


 Stockmar Beeswax Crayons in a Wooden Box

We just received a large order of Stockmar beeswax crayons, modeling beeswax, window crayons, watercolor paint sets, and colored pencils, so we are now fully stocked again (phew!).

If you ever have any questions about any of our art supplies, we are fortunate to have a resident artist on hand (Bridgett), so feel free to contact her via our site.

Happy creating!

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


We know it’s going to be a great day at Hazelnut Kids when we receive a nice big order of North Star Toys wooden toys, and today was that day.  Aaahhhhh…

North Star Toys Wooden Pull Along Puppy North Star Toys Wooden Roadster

Because North Star Toys is a small family-owned business and they take such great care in creating their toys, it takes a little extra time to receive their toys, but they are very worth the wait.   The company is located in New Mexico so the toys are beautiful ‘made in America’ toys using American hardwoods.  North Star Toys has been creating their wooden toy works of art for 30 years and they are a green company.

Please visit our North Star Toys wooden toys page to view our full selection or visit our Toy Safety page to read more about the company.

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


This past week here in Northern Michigan we’ve had some warm weather, so my kids and I were outside and almost-sort-of-kind-of believing that we may have seen the last snowfall of the winter.  They were enjoying playing in the little house at the top of their swing set, which is similar to a tree house (but without the tree).   But, alas, Mother Nature was toying with us and will be dumping quite a bit of snow on us over the next week.

Which brings me to today’s featured toy:  The Plan Toys Wooden Tree House.

Plan Toys Wooden Tree House

When you can’t play in a real one (and even when you can) it’s a great time to use your imagination and play with a smaller version of the real thing.  We gave this to our four-year-old son for Christmas this year, and he loves it (and so does his seven year old big brother).  The tree house comes with two figures, a pulley, a table and stools, a bucket, a swing, and a rope ladder.  It’s large (almost 22 inches tall) and sturdy and a ton of fun, no matter the weather.

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


Haba Child's Wooden Magnifying Glass

Today’s featured natural toy is the Haba Magnifying Glass.  We love this toy, so we were surprised to see that Haba discontinued it after 2008, but we’re glad that we still have quite a few in stock!

This is a beautiful magnifying glass with a blue wooden fame and a flecked red rope so it can be worn around the child’s neck as he explores.  It comes in a little wooden tin to protect it between excursions.  This would make a great Easter basket stuffer, as it is only $12.90 and would arrive just in time for spring nature hikes.

Get one while you can!

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys



Museum Teddy Bear

My family and I recently visited the Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  They have a lot of their exhibits organized through the alphabet.  For example, J is for Japan (a family favorite of ours), Z is for Zoology, and T is for Toys.  When I came across that last one, I immediately thought of Hazelnut Kids.  They had many classic toys displayed, such as an original teddy bear and Tinkertoys.

Museum Tinker Toys

After taking a stroll down memory lane, I couldn’t help but think how proud I was to be a part of a business that carries “Museum quality” toys.  I could picture any number of our wooden toys or Kathe Kruse dolls, for example, in that case.  In this day and age, where we have allowed the market to be consumed by disposable toys, it is nice to know we can still have the heirloom quality toys that we grew up with.  That’s exactly what Hazelnut Kids provides us with!  I can tell you right now, my childrens’ toys from Hazelnut Kids won’t end up in the trash.  They will be passed on for generations, and maybe even one day sit next to an old teddy bear in a museum…

Museum Toy Sign

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


Plan Toys Wooden Baby Walker at Hazelnut Kids

Once again a reviewer did such a fabulous job describing one of our products that a review from me wouldn’t compare.  So, below is a portion of the Plan Toys Baby Walker review by Julie at Cool Mom Picks, but please visit their site for the full review.

“The Wooden Baby Walker from the always wonderful Plan Toys is a much better option.  Sturdier than its plastic counterparts, this walker also has an adjustable handle.  So it doesn’t matter how tall your toddler-to-be might be — when he’s ready, this walker is, too.   Plus, it’s filled with colored and natural wooden blocks, which further extends its useful life.”

Oh, and of course she said, “Find the Plan Toys Wooden Baby Walker at CMP fave Hazelnut Kids“.  Thank you for the wonderful review, Julie!

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


Recently, I had contact with a customer who had a great idea. She was using one of Hazelnut Kids wooden sets to teach primary and secondary colors to her children. Why hadn’t I thought of that? It is never too early to teach kids the basics of art, and there are many studies that show a link between kids who are involved in visual arts, and those that do well in school.

Plan Toys Wooden Cone Sorting Stockmar Beeswax Crayons in a Wooden Box

You can start with kids as young as two years old with Plan Toys – Cone Sorting set. Or, make a simple color wheel with one of our Stockmar Beeswax Crayon sets. They are easy for little ones to handle, and smell great!

Haba Cathedral Wooden Stacking Toy
You can even make a 3D color wheel with pieces from the Haba Cathedral Stacking Toy, for those textile learners!

So don’t waste another day!  Visit Hazelnut Kids and see how creative you can get!

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


We just received a voice mail message from one of our customers and it was such a heartfelt, enthusiastic message that I wanted to share it with the world :)  So, here it is:

“Good morning.  This message is for Shannon.  I was just calling to say thank you so very much for all your help.  Everything was wonderful, my daughter was tickled pink with the few little things that we sent and the babies just loved everything.  You guys are so special and it shows in the kindness and, oh, just your wonderful personalities.  Thank you so very much and I will be a frequent shopper.  I’m having my daughter look at the website again and having her sign up for whatever she wants.  So, thank you again.  You guys are fabulous.  Take care, have a great day and a wonderful weekend.”

Wow!  If you are reading this, Faith, thank YOU!  We had a lot of fun talking with you and preparing your order, and your message made our day.

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


We’ve just created a new “Deal of the Day” category at Hazelnut Kids.  Each day we’ll list a new toy at a great deal (30% off or more), but we’ll only list a limited quantity and when they sell out, the deal is over, so check back each day to see what we’ve got!

Today’s deal is the Haba Wooden Walker Wagon.

Haba Wooden Walker Wagon

Regularly $160.00, today it is only $104 (that’s 35% off!).  When you view it on our site scroll down to see the reviews.  This wagon is fabulous and the reviews from our customers prove it!

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids Natural Toys


 Haba Animal Yahtzee Game in a TinHaba Horse Memory Game

I thought things would slow down after the holidays, that we would find ourselves with much more down time at home, but alas, that is not the case! It has become harder and harder to spend quality time as a family. The weekends fill up quickly, and we’re lucky to sit down for dinner on the weeknights. It was time to do something about it.

Hazelnut Kids natural toys to the rescue! We started pulling our games from Hazelnut Kids off the shelf, and found just twenty minutes before bedtime, to spend quality time with each other. It doesn’t have to be long, and nothing is more fun than playing these great games together – cheering each other on!

A couple of our favorites most recently have been Haba’s Animal Yahtzee and Horse Memory Game. I had forgotten how much fun Yahtzee was, and had no idea it was something I would be able to enjoy with my 5 and 7 year old children. The Horse Memory Game is great fun with its delicate pieces and fun designs. It seems like every time someone turns over a horse somebody says, “Ooh, I like that one!”

Hazelnut Kids has a great selection of games for your family, including Cooperative Games such as Haba’s In the Country Educational Game.

Get family time back, and check out Hazelnut Kids great game selection – there is something for everyone!

Happy Playing,

Bridgett, Manager – Hazelnut Kids


SigiKid Organic Heat Storing Smiling FlowerSigiKid Organic Teddy Bear

Because of the CPSIA, SigiKid is reducing their catalog within the United States.  The wonderfully soft and completely safe products of theirs that we have in-stock at HazelnutKids will no longer be available after February 10, 2009, so we have put them all on sale at 30-36% off.  The good news is that SigiKid is going to focus on organic and baby products, so a new line will be available in March.  But, they won’t be at prices like these, so grab they while you can!

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


Now that the crazy-busy holiday rush at Hazelnut Kids has passed, I’ve had a few minutes to reflect on the season.  And the result?  I am in awe of how wonderful it has been.  This season (and year) couldn’t have gone any better, and it is thanks to two groups:

  1. Our customers
  2. My staff

Everyone is talking about the U.S. economy, so it would seem that the stress of that would result in stressed shoppers.  But, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, who has shopped at Hazelnut Kids this season has been wonderful.  There have been a couple of times where someone was upset about a problem with an order or a toy, but that’s understandable, and as soon as we wrote or called the customer, their frustration was gone and they were friendly and happy.  Everyone was pleasant, we were receiving kind words and positive reviews all season long, and there was a lightness in every interaction.  So, to all of our customers I send a very sincere THANK YOU.  It is one thing to be happy because we are making a sale, but it’s a very different feeling when each sale feels like it was placed by someone who is a perfect fit with our company and our products.  Every customer has felt that way to us this season.  I can’t express just how great it feels, but I feel like Hazelnut Kids has a permanent golden cloud floating over our office.

The second group to thank is my staff.  We have two key customer service representatives (both of whom are named Shannan/Shannon and both of whom are pregnant!) and one manager (Bridgett).  I can’t believe what good fortune I have had in finding them.  They are some of the nicest people I have met, which our customers can sense when they talk to them.  Because they all have families of their own, they understand how upsetting it would be to not receive the right toy when it is needed, so they are super-conscientious of ensuring that orders are correct.  On the rare occasions that a mistake is made they do everything they can to make the situation right as quickly as possible.   They are honest and dedicated.  One of them has actually checked Hazelnut Kids emails in the middle of the night because she was “up anyway with a pregnancy bathroom call”.  I don’t think I would do that, and I own the company!  They do not make it seem like they are just at Hazelnut Kids for a paycheck, they act like they are part-owners with a genuine interest in how well things go.  When Hazelnut Kids won the NASE 2008 Achievement Award earlier this year and we had to quickly move to our new facility and get ready for the camera crews to come in for a day of filming, Bridgett and Shannan jumped in to action and put in a ton of extra hours to ensure we’d be ready.  Since I do most of my work from home, I trust them with all of the daily operations of Hazelnut Kids, and I am completely comfortable, knowing that everything will be taken care of perfectly.  So a huge THANK YOU goes out to Bridgett, Shannan, and Shannon.  You are amazing women and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have you working with me at Hazelnut Kids.

I wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, and a beautiful 2009.

With sincere thanks,

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids


Although I applaud Congress for creating legislation to try to ensure fewer lead-paint toy recalls, the resulting legislation has an unexpected and unfortunate outcome: the cheap plastic toy manufacturers will remain in business while the natural toy manufacturers, the ones NOT involved in toy recalls, will be unable to stay in business. I ask you to please read the article on the Mothering magazine website entitled “Toy Safety Legislation: Good Intentions Lead to Catastrophic Results for the Natural Toy Industry” and then write to your representative right away.

One of Hazelnut Kids’ favorite manufacturers, Selecta Spielzeug, has already announced that they will no longer sell their toys in the United States because the expense of the redundant testing being required by the new legislation is too cost prohibitive. Let’s act now before more of these fabulous manufacturers follow suit, leaving us with only plastic and battery-operated toys that cause so much harm to the environment and our children. These new regulations also affect small toy manufacturers such as those who sell on Etsy, which means that more small family businesses will be forced to close.

Please help us to protect our children and the Earth by contacting your representative now. Contact information is in the Mothering article.

Sincerely,

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids



Sigg Simply Eco-Logical Water Bottle

We’ve added a new “Featured Sale Item” category at Hazelnut Kids. Every few days or whenever they sell out (whichever comes first) we’ll change the item, and the featured item will always be at least 35% off.

I just changed the item to the Sigg Simply Eco-Logical 1.0 Liter Water Bottle. Regularly $25.40, it is now on sale for only $15.24. That’s 40% off!

We’ll post the featured sale items here, but in case we’re delayed, it’s always a good idea to check the category often :)

Sheri Novak, Owner – Hazelnut Kids