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?

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

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