Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hape Eco-Friendly Toys—Sustainable Play for a Sustainable Future

Hape Eco-Friendly Toys
Hape Eco-Friendly Toys

In every realm of our lives, there has been an increased push to move towards more sustainable choices. From the food we buy to the clothes we wear to the places we shop, more and more, we make our choices with sustainability in mind.

And it doesn’t need to be any different when it comes to toys. In fact, I believe this might be the easiest place to go green as eco-friendly toys are often some of the most interesting and engaging around. They come with a few added benefits for mom and dad as well. Sustainable materials tend to have a more aesthetic look, allowing the toys to fit in better with the overall décor. They also rarely come with annoying voice boxes, saving the sanity of all adults in the house.

Today, I am focusing on eco-friendly toys from Hape. Why Hape eco-friendly toys? Well, first of all, Hape is one of the largest manufacturers of toys made from sustainable materials in the entire world. Secondly, they work hard to focus their efforts beyond just caring for the environment. Social responsibility is a large part of their focus. This means looking at their impact on the education of children worldwide and partnering with organizations that focus on early childhood development. Finally, all of their products are really just incredible toys. 

For example, take a look at the Hape Tunnel Mountain. This is a truly classic toy, like those that you no doubt played with when you visited the doctor’s office as a child. For many, just seeing these rollercoaster bead toys makes them feel warm and nostalgic. And for the little boys and girls in your life, the Hape Tunnel Mountain is the perfect way to create fond memories of their own while working on their hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

One thing I love about Hape is that they take toys you will find in nearly every home with kids and put their own spin on them. The Hape Master Workbench is the perfect example of this. Most young kids adore their workbench set and use it to mimic their parents as they work around the house. With 32 pieces, this workbench has everything your little handyman—or woman—might need and is far more complete than most workbench toys. And it is height adjustable, allowing it to grow with your child.

If, however, you are looking for a toy completely unlike anything you might find in other playrooms along the block, the Hape Discovery Spaceship and Lift Off Rocket is for you. This is the perfect green toy for children who have an active imagination and love story-telling and role-playing. With four distinct levels and an incredibly detailed design, this is a toy kids can lose themselves in for hours at a time. And as is true with all Hape toys, it is designed to build important physical skills that are vital to all children’s development.

Finally, I would like to share the Hape Gourmet Grill with Food. This toy falls somewhere between the typical and the unique. Most homes have a play kitchen where the children pretend to prepare meals; however, few homes have toy grills, making this item the perfect twist on the typical. It is excellent for any home, but especially those where grilling is an essential part of dining. 

So, if you are looking for some green, eco-friendly toys, take some time to browse our Hape offerings for your little girls and boys at AKidPlace.com. These wooden toys all ship free and are sure to delight the kids in your life. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Children’s Vanity Tables Bring Magic to Dress-Up Play

Children's Vanity Tables
Children's Vanity Tables

Dress-up time is wonderful all on its own—getting the chance to become someone else for a little while, dancing and twirling in a costume or dress that feels like it is the fanciest thing you could ever own, and piling on the jewelry. It is so easy to get lost in your imagination.

And isn’t that something we want to encourage in children? Adults often mourn the loss of the wild and creative imagination they had as a child. So shouldn’t everything possible be done in order to foster it?

One way you can make dress-up play even more magical for your little girls is to purchase a child-sized wooden vanity table. Like a true princess or movie star, she will get the chance to primp and prep in front of her little mirror as she transforms into the character of her choosing. And there are many options available to fit her style. Elegant and classic? Sleek and chic? Perfectly princess? There is certainly a children’s vanity table to suit.

Take the Kidkraft Medium Diva Vanity Table and Stool. This wooden vanity table is very classic in its design. With its white finish, it blends well into any décor, and the simple curves of the design are very elegant. The mirror is plexi-glass, making it a completely safe piece of furniture to keep in a child’s bedroom or playroom and the drawer provides storage space for jewelry and make-up kits—whether real or just pretend. It feels like a little bit of classic Hollywood right in your own home.

Another classic piece is the Guidecraft Classic Espresso Vanity and Stool. The dark, rich color of the wood makes it feel incredibly elegant while the three-sided acrylic mirror makes it quite practical—you might even want one in your size! While it is certainly beautiful, perhaps the best feature of this wooden vanity table is the amount of storage it has. The table itself has a drawer for storing smaller items while the stool opens up to reveal a larger space. And really, doesn’t hidden storage always make something feel that much more special? Who knows what treasures she will keep there.

Sleek and chic? Well, that is what you get with the Teamson Kids Bouquet Vanity Table & Stool Set. The clean lines of this child’s vanity table set make for a nice, simple look and the fold down mirror helps to tuck everything away. However, it still comes packed with plenty of princess factor. The pink and white color scheme is ultra-feminine and the delicate floral patterns brighten any room. There is plenty of storage as well; two small drawers are perfect for brushes while the mirror folds down to conceal jewelry. And since it is hand-painted, the product you receive is beautifully unique—just like your little princess.

Speaking of princesses, some little girls simply won’t stand for understated—they want as much pink, purple, and glitter as they can get. And for those pint-sized divas, you simply must get the Levels of Discovery Princess Vanity Table & Chair Set. With a pink, purple, and cream color scheme, this children’s vanity table is as girly as it gets. And there are plenty of gold accents upping the glitter factor. Adorned with hearts and crowns, this is a table that any princess would be proud to call her own. 

To purchase one of these children’s vanity tables or to browse more, simply visit AKidPlace.com.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wooden Activity Tables for Children's Playrooms

Activity Tables
Activity Tables

When it comes to designing the perfect children’s playroom, I am a big fan of activity tables. They take many different toys and keep them in one, neat place. Kids are naturally attracted to them, which helps cut down on the chaos. Also, most activity table manufacturers are mindful of designing these tables to help facilitate the physical and intellectual development of children, making them a guilt-free play option.

There are many quality activity tables on the market. We currently sell 30 different ones in our store and are always expanding our inventory. My preference is for wooden tables as I feel that they are the best choice when you are looking for a toy that will last. Today, I would like to share four wooden activity tables with you that I happen to think are particularly awesome.

First up is the Kidkraft 2 in 1 Lego and Train Activity Table. I love this table because it helps keep Legos off the floor—if you have ever stepped on one, you know how important that is. However, its benefits go beyond saving your feet some pain. This wooden table is designed so that the Lego side is divided into four spaces, making it easy to prevent arguments when sharing the space. Flip the board over and you have a fun backdrop for the included thirty piece train set. Best of all, there is plenty of storage space underneath the board, allowing you to store the blocks and train set.

Next, I’d like to share the Nilo Wooden Multi-Activity Table. This table is easily the most versatile on the market. Designed to be compatible with multiple toy sets and able to grow with your children, you will certainly get your money’s worth out of this one. The edges of this solid wood table are rounded for safety and the raised border keeps toys where they need to be. Don’t let the simplicity of this table fool you—it is a real powerhouse. 

The Hape Spaghetti Legs Table is a bit different than the previous two tables. This table comes with toys built in, making it even easier to keep organized—just like those you have no doubt seen in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices. The design of this table leads kids to work on their hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills as they work to move the beads throughout the maze. It is impossible to resist this table—even I can’t resist playing with it. 

Finally, I simply must share with you the Anatex Mini Circle of Fun. This wooden table comes loaded with four different ways to play. Each toy station can be hooked to the others or used separately. And all the items are connected to the table, so there is no worry that things might become lost. It is the perfect way to keep children engaged and focused. 

To learn more about these activity tables or to browse more options, visit AKidPlace.com today.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kidkraft Wooden Dollhouses - Fine Living for Barbie and American Girl Dolls

Kidkraft Dollhouses

Even once we are grown, most of us women can remember the excitement we felt when we got our first dollhouse. Our dolls finally had a home and our play fantasies were finally complete. There was certainly something magical about it.

While I cannot speak for everyone, the dollhouse of my childhood—with all its magic and wonder—hardly compares to some of the dollhouses on the market today, especially Kidkraft’s wooden dollhouses. They make a wide variety of dollhouses that fit various dolls—including Barbie, Bratz, and American Girl. Today, I would like to share four wooden dollhouses from Kidkraft that little girls (and big girls too!) will love—three sized perfectly for Barbie and fashion dolls up to 12 inches tall, and one that is made to fit American Girl dolls.

The Kidkraft Savannah Dollhouse is pure elegance. Throughout its four stories and six rooms, it is designed to make your little girl get lost in her fantasy. The designers have given incredible attention to detail, creating a home that I would love to live in myself! It comes with 13 different furniture items, allowing the girls to organize the house as they see fit. And one of its greatest benefits, in my opinion, is that it is large enough to allow multiple children to play with their Barbies at one time.

Now, the Kidkraft Sparkle Mansion Dollhouse looks exactly like a house would if you let a little princess decorate. This four story dollhouse has a working elevator that transports dolls between the first and second floor, and a curved staircase to reach the third floor. Filled with pink, pink, pink and accented by black details, this house feels modern, fun, and extremely girly. With 30 pieces of furniture, there is still plenty of decorating to do. When Barbie is done decorating, she can make herself something yummy on the outdoor barbeque grill, and then relax by the pool in her chaise lounge. Barbie will definitely approve of these digs. 

While both of the previous dollhouses are big enough to share, my favorite dollhouse for multiple girls is the Kidkraft So Chic Dollhouse. This house is meant to sit away from the wall so that play can take place on all sides. While it has one level less than the previous houses, it comes with ten different rooms for play, and 45 pieces of furniture. Set on casters, this contemporary dollhouse turns, making it easy for an entire sleepover to play at the same time—or a few sisters who are close in age.

Finally, I want to share with you the Kidkraft Elegant Doll Manor. What sets this house apart is that it is designed to fit 18” dolls. In other words, American Girl dolls finally have a home of their own. The house stands five feet tall and is filled with beautiful, fanciful designs. And it isn’t just the house that is oversized—the 12 pieces of furniture are also designed to accommodate larger dolls. All the girls in the neighborhood will be clamoring to get their chance to bring their dolls over and play.

To purchase one of these wooden dollhouses or to browse our other offerings from Kidkraft, simply hop over to AKidPlace.com.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hape Quadrilla Marble Runs—Fun for Kids of all Ages

Hape Quadrilla Marble Runs
Hape Quadrilla Marble Runs

If you are looking for the perfect gift for the young person in your life, you should consider Quadrilla marble runs from Hape. These marble runs keep children engaged, get them to use their critical thinking skills, and create play that is fascinating to both kids and adults alike. They are loved by children well into their school years and are durable enough to pass down to the next generation.

Imagine the excitement of opening one of these marble run toys on Christmas morning and the joy of assembling it with the family. No matter which model you choose, you can opt to either follow the guide and create the specific style of run as it appears on the box or you can create a run that is unique to you. All Hape Quadrilla marble runs can be connected to each other, which allows kids to create more complex designs as their collection grows. This inspires creativity within the child and can lead to moments of great learning.

One of our favorite models is the Hape Quadrilla Roundabout. Who could possibly resist that spiral? It is similar to coin and marble runs you have likely experienced at children’s museums, except you get to have it in your own home. There are plenty of adventures boys and girls can dream up as they play with this marble run. 

To add another dimension to the play, consider Hape’s Music Motion model. This set incorporates musical sounds into the play, which will no doubt delight the child in your life. As the marbles run over certain pieces, chimes will ring out. Children can use these pieces to mark the start, the finish line, or any important area in their marble run design. It really helps take the play to the next level.

The Vertigo model really kicks it up a notch by adding multiple spirals and accelerators. There isn’t a child alive that won’t be excited by this model. It is perfect on its own or as an addition to your current marble run collection. It will certainly challenge the builder to come up with exciting, new combinations. If you are looking to add even more drops and loops, then you might want to consider adding the Loop de Loop model to it. It would certainly make for an exciting Christmas morning.

All of the Hape Quadrilla marble runs are made from solid wood and each piece is incredibly durable. They are designed to challenge kids to really think about their designs and troubleshoot any problems that arise. There are few toys that really bring out creativity in the way that these toys do. To purchase, visit us at AKidPlace.com. We have all of these models and more available and they all ship for free.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Anatex Wall Panel Toys - Perfect for Everywhere Kids Go

Anatex Wall Panel Toys
Anatex Wall Panel Toys

If you are looking for toys that can withstand being in a high traffic area, or just one that will last more than a few years, you may find that your search is a bit difficult. You want to be certain that you purchase the absolute best—something that can engage a child for hours, teaches vital skills, will last for a long time, and isn't going to come apart or have pieces that will easily become lost.

There are plenty of toys on the market that can grab the attention of a child for a few minutes. Some of them hold educational value; others, not so much. Most of the toys you can buy are not very durable—certainly not enough to hold up to years of constant play or multiple children. And many of them come with numerous pieces that are difficult to keep track of.

Anatex wall panel toys are the solution to your problem. These toys, made in the U.S.A., have long been a favorite of kids. Often found in the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices, you have no doubt seen at least one child so engaged by an Anatex toy that he or she was unwilling to go home—perhaps even one of your own kids. Take, for example, the Anatex Mirror Sculpture Maze Wall Panel. The back panel of the toy is lined with nine concave mirrors, which produces of fascinating visual effect images growing larger and smaller as the child moves naturally while playing. In front of those mirrors are beads on four different tracks—much like the rollercoaster bead and wire toys you are familiar with, only this time they are mounted on the wall! Who wouldn’t want to spend hours with this toy?

When Anatex designs a toy, they do so with educational value in mind. They firmly believe in the power of play to teach. One of their wall panel toys that clearly demonstrates this commitment is the School House Wall Panel. This wall-mounted, wooden school house has an abacus for practicing counting skills, alphabet learning game for letter recognition, and spinning gears. The abacus will encourage the youngest of children to count the beads, while older kids might use it to practice their addition and subtraction. The letter blocks come not just with the letter, but a picture/word which starts with the letter, helping children recognize both the visual letter and the sound it makes. The gears introduce children to the fundamentals of mechanics and physics of motion in a fun manner.

If you are planning to use toys in a high-traffic area, or you like the idea of passing down heirloom toys, you need to be certain that you purchase a highly durable toy. All Anatex wall panel toys are made from quality materials. Take, for example, the Anatex City Transportation Wall Panel. Each of the transport items—a boat, a school bus, fire engine, and more—are crafted from wood, just as the panel itself is. Children’s hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, and sensorimotor skills will be challenged as they navigate the vehicles around the panel.

Many toys require that you keep track of various pieces—without all the pieces, the toy no longer functions. Anatex wall panel toys are self-contained. Look at their Busy Train Activity Panel. This toy is designed for multiple children to play with at once and it has many moveable pieces. However, none of these pieces can be detached from the panel itself. That means no searching for pieces. It also means that your toy will forever be functional. 

If you would like to purchase an Anatex wall panel toy for your classroom, office, or home, visit AKidPlace.com. We have a wide selection of Anatex items for you to choose from, most of them shipping for free within the United States.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Guidecraft Dress-up Storage Solutions

Guidecraft Dress-up Storage Solutions
Guidecraft Dress-up Storage Solutions

As a child, I enjoyed dressing up for pretend play. I inherited the costumes, and I treasured them as some of my most beloved possessions. I can remember being excited to come home from school where I would find my dolls waiting to have a tea party with me. For me, this type of play was pure magic.

When my daughter was born, I was incredibly excited to share this type of play with her. Whenever I found an interesting dress or costume, I picked it up and added it to her collection of dress-up clothes. Sometimes, I even picked up something for myself so I could join in on the fun. All of these items—her dresses, my dresses, jewelry, fairy wings, feather boas, and more—were stored in a storage container under her bed. The storage container did its job, but there was nothing special or whimsical about it. Plus, the clothes always came out wrinkled and the jewelry tangled.

When I first came across some of Guidecraft’s dress-up storage solutions for children, I was instantly taken back to my childhood, and wished I owned something like their dress-up centers when my daughter was little. Their storage solutions feel like something a movie star would own and easily make dress-up time for kids all the more magical.

The Guidecraft Dress-up Storage Center is just one of their products that helps you keep all of your children’s  pretend play costumes organized. It provides a bar to hang all of your child’s special clothes on and helps avoid wrinkling. The upper storage area is the perfect place for larger accessories while the fabric bins provide a space to organize the smaller items, including jewelry cases and shoes. It even comes with a child-safe mirror for your little one to admire him or herself in. The chocolate version is well suited to a more neutral décor and for those who want to continue to use the item even after their child outgrows the dress-up stage. The white dress-up storage center is perfect if you are trying to complement a princess theme.

The Guidecraft Dress-up Carousel is whimsical enough that it can get any little one excited about dramatic play. In fact, I kind of want one for myself right now. Perfect for smaller spaces, this wooden storage solution spins to allow maximum storage in minimal space. Despite its small footprint, it has everything your little one needs—from jewelry storage, to hanging storage to mirrors. The natural finish easily blends into any bedroom or playroom and is gender neutral, making it perfect for boys or girls. If your little one is a true princess, the pastel version will work well for her.

If you are looking for something that keeps everything clearly visible, yet still organized, the Gudecraft See and Store Dress-up Center is for you. Made from solid wood, this storage center offers open shelving as well as hanging storage to keep all pretend play items organized and accessible. The version in a natural finish is gender neutral and suitable for most décor. The pastel version works well for little girls who simply cannot resist the color pink.

To browse Guidecraft’s large selection of wooden furniture and dress-up storage solutions, visit us at AKidPlace.com. All Guidecraft products sold here are offered at the lowest prices authorized by Guidecraft, and most qualifies for free shipping.