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!


 

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


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


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


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.


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!


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


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


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