Over the years, we’ve embraced a wide variety of conventional plastic alternatives, from rubberwood to BPA-free recycled plastic milk jugs, and we’ve really loved it. My favorite material though for toys, hands down, is absolutely wood.
It’s biodegradable. If a wooden toy breaks and is absolutely beyond repair, guess what? I can still compost it, or even just toss it in the trash if it’s painted. It’ll break down, and it won’t pollute the planet in the process.
It’s paintable. Okay, so in this house, our kid has ownership over his own toys, which means he gets to color and paint them. AND HE LOVES IT. Wooden toys are amazing because we can breathe new life into them any time we want with a little sandpaper, wood filler, and a fresh coat of paint, easy peasy.
It’s sustainable. Of course, this all depends on where and how the wood is harvested, but trees are a renewable resource, and one that I feel much better about using for toys than plastic.
The line is called Eli and Mattie, and they’re Amish-made, unfinished wood toys, and positively BEAUTIFUL. So when Lehman’s said, “Hey, would your son like to try one out?”, I said, “Uh, heck yea he would, send it over!”
And YOU GUYS. We were so not disappointed. I’ve purchased a lot of wooden toys from a LOT of companies over the years, but these are the real deal.
Made of wooden blocks and hardware that’s tough enough to be safe around troublesome toddlers, this train set kept my little guy busy long enough for me to clean my ENTIRE kitchen, so yea, I’m bragging about it a little.
In all seriousness though, it’s a beautifully made toy. The pieces are set together with tiny nails that aren’t visible, so there’s no temptation to yank them apart. And even if some mischievous little boy decided he was going to try to pry those logs off, well, he totally can’t (because he tried).
The train cars link together with hook and eye closures. I was a little worried they’d be too small for my almost three year old to hook together, but to my amazement, he furrowed his little brow and stuck out his tongue, and had them together within about five minutes.
In short, it’s a great classic toy, but how the train cars hook together is also a great Montessori toy activity for fine motor skill development. The set is unfinished wood, so I’m fiercely protecting it from winding up outside in our sandbox, but worst case I might just throw a coat or two of vegetable oil and beeswax on it to help seal it.
If you’re still working on your holiday shopping, seriously, DO NOT MISS OUT on these gorgeous toys. Eli and Mattie’s line includes stuffed animals, baby doll furniture, activity sets. It’s all so beautifully designed, and is going to last through every kid you decide you can handle.
See the whole collection of Eli & Mattie toys at Lehmans.com
This time of the year there tends to be a moment for everyone, a moment that all the comfort of the holidays come rushing back. Maybe it’s the first time you hear Christmas music playing over the radio, and even though you think, “It can’t be time for this yet” you can’t help but feel a little moment of childhood giddiness. Or maybe it’s the first evening the temperate drops and you’re cuddled in a blanket sipping the newest holiday flavor of coffee or tea. Sounds heavenly right? Continue reading →
Something happened when I got pregnant for the first time. I looked around my house, with its hardwood floors and muted earth tones, and suddenly I could see clutter.
Plastic, light-up abominations littering the floors. Vinyl everything in ridiculously garish colors, threatening the warm zen I was trying so hard to cultivate in our tiny mountain home. Continue reading →
I may be a blogger here at Lehman’s, but let me assure you, I was a groupie long before. This place is TEEMING with American-made goodies that are functional, durable, and make some seriously unique gifts. Check out the ones I cherry-picked for your shopping delight: Continue reading →
What is the best holiday of the year? There are no costumes that need to be designed, no eggs to be dyed and no explosions going off next door. (Don’t get me wrong – I love Easter, Halloween and The Fourth of July as much as any teenager). Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because it can be so simple – gather your family, large or small, around the table and share a meal together. Continue reading →
I’m a solo woman farmer living in a yurt that is heated with wood. My life is a pretty idyllic one—getting to live and farm in a beautiful spot near Decorah, Iowa in the driftless region is not something to be taken without buckets of gratitude. There are some things that are hard about my life, too, as is the case in all lives. There are daily chores to be done that sometimes become a slog. There’s the inevitable challenge of creating a sustainable balance between my social life, personal life, spiritual life, and work life. But one thing that is in many ways pure joy is the chance to cut and split my own wood.Continue reading →
Are you a pie family or a cake family? What do I mean? Well, when you were growing up, what was served for birthdays? Or for dessert at holidays? When I was growing up, my mom made amazing Barbie dress cakes, character cakes, 3D elephants and more! At Thanksgiving, she’d make red velvet cake, and sometimes…SOMETIMES she would buy a pumpkin pie. We are a cake family. Continue reading →