Simple Toys, Endless Joys

House of Marbles

With the unblinking glow of screens just about everywhere, many families are turning towards simpler times… and simpler means of entertainment. Simple toys like marbles and wooden cutouts encourage creativity. Simple craft projects inspire kids to explore their artistic senses and then utilize their personalized artwork in imaginative play. Classic games are a lot like classic books: they call to our better natures through every generation. This is why chess appeals to tweens and their grandparents, and why puzzles lure both elementary school students and their parents. The attraction of simple toys lies in the ability to gently challenge, bring people together, and entertain. Companies like Maple Landmark Woodcraft, House of Marbles, eeBoo, and Seedling New Zealand are bringing some of the best in children’s products to generations of families.

Maple Landmark Toys: Natural Fun

Maple Landmark Woodcraft
“We do have quite a number of tours,” noted Barbara Rainville, Marketing Manager at Maple Landmark Woodcraft; the company proudly offers tours of its shop to the curious. With its red, white, and blue craftsmanship, Maple Landmark has been providing customers with the very best in children’s products since 1979. It’s easy to see what brings in the crowds. Natural, eco-friendly toys are on-trend, and any company that can marry charm with design creates winners.

Maple Landmark Woodcraft creates custom products, including engraved train whistles and yo-yos (these would be great party favors), that bring nature into the home. Beautiful pieces are just the beginning. Child development experts have highlighted the importance of manipulating puzzles, and Maple Landmark has a range of fun products in this line. The beautiful 12-piece Earth jigsaw puzzle puts the world in perspective for children. Little ones will be able to bird watch with the Peterson’s Backyard Bird puzzle; the 8 pieces are laser-cut from birch plywood and are easy for tiny hands to manipulate.

Other hot items include Maple Landmark’s portrait props, pine blocks that help pictures speak for themselves (no more trying to remember when that shot was taken!). “The portrait props have been well received,” added Rainville, who also touts the popularity of the larger ABC blocks that let customers spell out their own personalized messages.

Earth-friendly, fun, and innovative:

House of Marbles Brings Fun Home

House of Marbles
“I really believe good toys and games which offer high entertainment value can stand on their own no matter what,” notes Alan Romano, National Sales Manager for the US at House of Marbles. “Our best selling items like marbles, kites, pick-up sticks, and tiddlywinks are best- sellers because they offer the consumer products that are just plain fun. Our goal as a company is to continue to offer products that do just that, over and over again.” House of Marbles has been wowing customers since 1973, providing toys that help make warm childhood memories.

Push-along animals provide hours of active fun, and House of Marbles offers four different designs (cow, frog, bee, and pig). The enormous Tub of 50 Marbles is a customer favorite. The Mini Kaleidoscope and Wooden Train with Floating Ball Blower would make great party favors or stocking stuffers. Kids and adults can try their hand at trying to catch the ball with the House of Marbles Cup & Ball.

Families will appreciate the wide range of travel games available. From Magnetic Ludo and Sea Battle to Snakes and Ladders and Chess, there’s something fun to keep everyone occupied on long journeys. Older children can enjoy the Color-In Posters and other creative products.

Classic toys, pure fun:

eeBoo Has Fun for Everyone

Fun and innovative, eeBoo has been expanding its reach through independent retailers and has a strong customer base. The company is known for its unique, wholesome approach to children’s products and creative items. The wide range of diverse products appeals to a universal audience, and has been awarded Oppenheimer Toy awards for its work.

A good example of the company’s line is the I Never Forget a Face Matching Game. Designed for 5-8 year olds, players match tiles beautifully decorated with an international line-up of cute kids. The company’s Waste-Not Animal Recycling Kits are a fun, unique way to transform leftover plastics into adorable forest friends. Little ones will get a grip on the 20-Piece Up and Away Puzzle. The puzzle features a variety of animal astronauts piloting spacecrafts among the stars.

eeBoo’s Pull Puppets will delight with the nostalgic warmth of yesteryear, available in four kid-friendly designs (owl, chipmunk, lion, and bear). Each puppet comes designed with its own passion, from stargazing to gardening. Four strings manipulate the arms and legs.

What about those tough-to-reach tweens? Cait Kennedy of eeBoo offers insight into what’s fun and educational: “I would recommend the What Do You Know Bingo, which teaches you natural history facts as you play.” The game is derived from 90% recycled greyboard and sports full-color illustrations from Melissa Sweet. Tweens will say “Oo-la-la” in Spanish and French with the Spanish or French Bingo games.

Education and learning should be enticing:

Seedling Grows Fun, Creativity

Seedling NZ
With over 250 unique products, New-Zealand-based Seedling is dedicated to raising a generation of creative learners by providing high-quality products that stimulate. Phoebe Hayman started the company in 2006 in order to offer parents the opportunity to find kids’ products that inspire and develop creativity. With a commitment to the environment (all packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable) and kids, Hayman hit on a winning combination.

Best-selling products include the Make Your Own Snow Globe, which allows children to develop their own figures to frolic in their personalized winter wonderland. The My Princess Crown is especially appealing for the pink-and-purple market: little ones can put all their creative energies into developing the perfect tiara. Who doesn’t want to be a hero? With Seedling, kids can start on their own custom look. The Become Your Own Superhero kit includes a range of materials to get crafty kids up to super speed so they can save the day.

Hot new products for 2014 include the Let’s Make Mini Mermaids kit, which lets girls dream of fun oceanic adventures. Getting everyone involved at a party can sometimes be hard, but the Make Your Own Party Piñata is definitely an ice-breaker that will be a hit! Party-preppers can create their own personalized piñata for fun memories with the glitter, tissue paper, ribbon, and cutouts that come with the kit. The Design Your Own Butterfly Wings lets imaginations soar with a set of wings just begging to be decorated (a great idea for an outdoor kids party).

Seeding creativity, one child at a time:

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