Playrooms these days seem to be filled with flashy toys that light up on their own, play an array of children’s songs at the touch of a button and even move around the room in a seemingly magical manner. Ironically, the kids seem to tire of these toys rather quickly. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that babies are fresh human beings to whom the world that you and I have known for many a year is totally new. They don’t need flashing lights and electronic sounds when a simple ray of sunlight hitting a shiny kitchen spoon is a mesmerizing and novel concept to them.
That’s why we were thrilled to find Smiling Tree Toys. This is a children’s toy company that understands toys are most stimulating when they bring out a child’s natural curiosity, rather than doing the stimulating for them. Their beautiful hand-made wooden toys are specifically designed to put the child at the center of play and learning while providing some of the safest and most natural materials that we have found in any toys.
We love Montessori learning as it views children as naturally curious and looks to conduct learning by engaging the interests that they already have. Smiling Tree Toys gets this.
One of our favorite toys is their Picture Alphabet Block Set. The blocks are made in three distinct shades which allows for a Montessori-style discovery of categorization and color recognition. Children can stack the blocks according to color or create any other setup that comes into their little imaginations. On each of their 26 hand-cut wooden blocks is the lowercase and uppercase version of a letter, a word that starts with that letter, as well as a picture that the word represents. For example, the “K block” has “K”, “k”, the word “key”, along with the picture of a key. We have found these a helpful tool for teaching our baby the ABC’s and a great way to help him hear the sounds of letters as we pronounce them for him. Of course, we find that our little guy also likes to tap them on the floor to discover their unique sound as well as create little sculptures of blocks of his own creation. At this stage, playing is learning, and these beautiful wooden ABC blocks are a great way to do it!
ORGANIC WOOD FINISH
Commercial toys can contain synthetic materials that are harmful to the human body such as plasticizers, flame retardants, colorants and fragrances. As any parent knows, one of the ways babies learn about things is by putting them in their mouths. So, little humans are more prone to getting these toxic substances in their bodies than the rest of us. Since their bodies are rapidly developing, what they put into their bodies may be of concern to you.
Smiling Tree Toys designs their products to ensure that playtime and learning is safe for a growing child. They use a total of two ingredients (that’s right, only TWO ingredients!) to finish their wooden toys. Both of these are organic and as safe as the food in your kitchen: organic jojoba oil and organic beeswax. Also, all of the wood used in their products is raw, untreated and doesn’t splinter. This means that these toys are quite safe for babies to put in their mouths and can even be used as a teething aid. We love to see our little guy playing with his wooden abc blocks knowing that these materials are safe for his body and beneficial to his cognitive and emotional development.