This bilingual wooden block set from Elegant Baby may just be the ultimate baby or toddler gift wrapped-up in one! With an educational bent, these 6-sided blocks featuring delightful hand-drawn pictures, matched up with their first letter and bilingual descriptor (english: Bike; spanish: Bicicleta) provide hours of creative play and learning fun.
For the style-conscious gift-giver, these wooden blocks bring together the beauty of a traditional toy with a retro-contemporary look. We love the eye-catching patterns and unique designs – not to mention, the super-cute illustrations of everything from a Dr. Seuss-esque vase (Jarron) to a snuggly looking Giraffe (Jirafa) – printed onto each block.
And, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing these block sets were cut from natural FSC wood and printed with non-toxic ink to produce a sustainable and safe gift for any child. Really…it’s like the holy trinity of gift-giving.
If you’re looking for the simpler, english-only option, these blocks are also available from Elegant Baby in either a blue/red or pink/green design that appeal to both babies and parents.
With a price tag of $42, these wooden block sets are perfect for just about everyone’s gift-giving budget!
With babies spending 2/3 of their first year sleeping, few things are as important as a really good mattress. Nook has clearly taken this into close consideration with their line of beautiful non-toxic mattresses for babies and toddlers. The highly coveted Nook Pebble, a natural crib mattress (albeit premium at $599), is rife with features parents love: a unique pebbly and colourful surface, natural materials (organic wool and cotton), no off-gassing, and nano-level particles that make it stain and water resistant. And the bumps actually do serve a functional purpose – they help facilitate better airflow and temperature regulation, so baby sleeps better. Besides, it looks so good, you don’t even need a mattress cover!
For those wanting to spend a little less, take a peek at the recently launched Nook Lite. Lite comes with the same great look (pebbles and great colours), but a few things have changed: the materials used aren’t organic and they use a non-toxic foam core instead of natural latex. But like the pebble, it’s comfortable, hypoallergenic and washable. Dual-sided too, so it’s firm for babies, and softer for bigger kids. But the end result is a mattress that weighs and costs less!
Above: Nook Pebble Organic Mattress -$545-$599
Above: Nook Pebble Lite Crib Mattress - $295
Above: Inner Nook Pebble Crib Mattress
Above: Nook Pebble Twin Mattress -$695
Above: Nook Lilypad Playmat -$120
Looking for some helpful mattress buying tips? Check out BabyCentre.
4 moms (with 15 kids between them), is actually a five woman company who have combined their experience and incredible smarts to great effect. Simply put, they make products that make things easier for parents. Their newest addition, the Origami, is the world’s first power-folding stroller. You might have to see it to believe it, but this gorgeous little machine actually folds itself. The generator that’s stored in the rear wheels is busy at work charging the stroller while you stroll. Little luxuries abound – you can charge your cell-phone, and count mileage while you walk. Plus, the Origami has daytime running lights, pathway lights for low-light conditions, and sensors that detect when a child’s in the seat (so it’ll never fold by accident). Talk about easy.
The Mimijumi bottle is one stylish little milking package. But don’t be fooled, this is definitely not a case of form over function. Created by a superstar team: mothers, nurses, physicians, lactation experts and designers, the (very nipple-like) nipples are made from food-grade silicon and come in the three different nipple designs with various flow rates (slow/medium/fast). And mimijumi has some interesting features, like the integrated ventilation system that helps baby’s digestion. All are BPA and latex-free.
The result is an exceptionally safe and natural bottle, designed to mimic (and complement) the experience of breastfeeding.
It’s easy to understand why Tegu’s magnetic wooden blocks made our Top 10 Best Gifts for Kids this holiday. With their soft rounded corners and smooth finish, it’s hard to keep your hands off these little gems. Made from sustainably harvested solid wood (= meant to last), these blocks have little magnets hidden inside, which makes them less likely to tumble after all that time spent making that building really, really tall! There are four different shapes: a cube, a rectangle, and short and long flattened planks.
The blocks are harvested and manufactured in Honduras, an entrepreneurial effort to stimulate the local economy. And for every tree they cut down, they plant well over 100 to replace it.
Perfect for kids 3-99. This is definitely a gift you’ll feel good giving!
Guest Blogger Michelle Savin is clearly a woman of many talents: she’s an eco stylist, mom, blogger, and runs Until Kara, a company she founded in 2006, that creates eco-friendly products for the nursery. She has generously agreed to share her Top Picks for baby’s first year with the babyScoop. Of her list, Michelle says, “These products have changed my family’s way of thinking Eco, and will hopefully be helpful to yours. Here I bring you my Top Ten Eco-Friendly favorites!.”
1. Until Kara Organic Mattress
Of course my number one pick is untilKara, which is my line. We push the envelope on being one of the best organic mattresses in the U.S. We use only organic cotton and natural wool from organically raised sheep.
2. Naturepedic Organic Cotton Contoured Changing Pad
This changing pad contains a waterproof organic cotton cover that is 100% polyethylene food grade. They use organic cotton filling that is pure, natural & chemical free. This year I did a comparison versus a typical vinyl version, and this pad is so fab in comparison!
3. Little Fluffy Onesies and T-Shirts
The epitome of cuteness, each garment is 100% organic cotton and hand-printed in San Francisco using water- based inks.
4. Sophie The Giraffe
This 0+ month teether is phenomenal. It is made of all-natural rubber and is 100% phthalate free. Made in the French Alps, Sophie has been a design classic for fifty years.
5. Oeuf Cribs
Awarded best crib of 2011, Oeuf is well-known for great crib design. Made of solid birch and Eco- MDF, all their finishes are non-toxic and free of VOC’s.
6. Bla Bla Dolls
Designed by Florence Wetterwald and knitted by Peruvian artisans using only 100% hand picked cotton. Each doll has its own personality and is well worth getting to know!
7. Plan Toys
All-round great toys made from non-toxic natural materials such as organic rubber wood. Such a huge selection of must-have toys: stoves, food, stackers, car repair stations, activity sets, and dollhouses!
8. Little Twig Natural Products
These safe and mild formulas are really great for babies with sensitive skin. They are made with organic and natural ingredients. Even better: they are phthalate, paraben and SLS free!
9. California Baby Skincare
A real leader in organic skincare and bath products. Their products are beautifully scented with aromatherapy, and they only use natural, raw materials.
10. Tushies Disposable Diapers and Wipes
A great alternative to cloth diapers & regular disposable diapers. This is the only natural cotton disposable diaper that is gel free!
Amidst the sea of gorgeous toys and gadgets at the ABC KidsExpo, this was one of several products that stood out for us. Made in the USA, Topozoo playsets are completely eco-friendly and, more importantly, endlessly creative for kids.
The Safari toy set (above), includes three animals made up of 5 wooden pieces. These can be mixed and matched within each set to create over 1200 custom animals. You’ll find sets designed around themes sure to please any child: Dinosaurs, Owl, Dragons, Unicorns, Monsters, and Spring. And they each come with their own unique combination of wooden pieces, felt fabric add-ons, and color-and-cut-out layers.
And, priced from $14.99 – 29.99, you won’t have to break the bank to add any of these toy playsets to your Christmas shopping list.
Check out the video below where we were given a brief product demonstration from Topozoo.
Beck to Nature, as the name implies, is a family-owned company in North Carolina that is committed to bringing the safest, greenest kids products to the market. You’ll see from their collection, each product is beautifully simple, yet well-designed, with a decidedly modern European twist. It’s hard to walk by this furniture without stopping to stare and touch…
Their firm, all-natural cradle and crib mattresses are made from 100% renewable materials, such as coconut coir and natural latex. Incredibly durable, firm and breathable (so you can sleep worry-free). The zippered mattress covers are water-repellent too!
KOKO mattress with coconut husk
KOKO mattress with coconut husk
KOKO mattress with coconut husk
They recently launched their sixkid furniture line — it’s all about handcrafted forms, natural sustainably harvested woods, and smooth finishes. Just plain drop dead gorgeous.
sixkid rocking horse in beech plywood with walnut saddle. 2 heights
All natural and made from pure rubber, the Natursutten pacifier is molded in one piece which means it is extremely hygienic and naturally much softer than silicone. And, you can rest easy knowing that there are no artificial colours, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC or phthalates. Available in two shapes and sizes so that your baby gets the “perfect fit”.
This German based company designs fashion, living space, and papery products, but what we love most are their very cool wool felt accessories. A wool tea cozy, felt key chains, and most adorable is their egg cozy. Simple and sweet just the way we like it.
Not so much a new product as a perennially hot one. Created by a French toy company in 1961, Sophie’s bumpy head has been chewed, bitten, cuddled and safely loved for over 40 years. Her limbs are perfectly sized, allowing little hands to get a firm hold. And better still – her beauty is all-natural; she is made from 100% natural Malaysian rubber and non-toxic paint.
It’s hard to know exactly what we are putting in and on our babies bodies these days, seems only the people who make the products (or actual chemists) know for sure.
Vedababy makes products that seem refreshingly straight-forward and all-natural. Developed by pediatrician Dr. Natalie Geary, this line of bath and body products is made entirely of organic plant and fruit extracts such as — grape seed oil, aloe vera, almond oil, lavender, and green tea. You’ll recognize every ingredient in their line of products…no hidden harmful chemicals with names you can’t pronounce.
They have great products for mom, baby and the rest of the family too: Chocolate Mint Body Cream, Stretch Mark Cream, and Nipple Cream (which is apparently safe enough for your baby to eat). I especially like the look of their vedaBaby butt diaper cream – easy to apply and take off. What a novelty.
Calling all recessionista parents!! Here are three stylish and functional products that will also save your pocketbook.
iplay Garment Extenders As your new baby grows, there is always a bit of sadness saying goodbye to those cute little onesies. But, with these super-smart Garment Extenders, making your baby’s clothes last just a little bit longer is easy! Soft and sturdy, this little invention stretches wearing time by adding extra length to one-piece garments – and making your dollars stretch that much further.
Ikea Antilop Chair Face it…high chairs are usually a fairly expensive purchase. But for $20, Ikea offers a super-stylish, simple, streamlined chair that is easy to clean and store.
giggle Better Basics Organic Sleepsack Wearable Blanket Purchasing a high quality sleeping bag can be a pricey exercise. And at the $25-$30 price-point, it is next to impossible to find many options, let alone organic ones. But, thanks to the folks at giggle you can now have a 100% organic cotton sleeping bag that contains no dyes or chemicals for less than 30 bucks.
I admit it, I love to clean. I find it strangely relaxing, following my family around wiping up spills, faces and crumbs. Here are a few of my favourite cleaning products: they’re as natural as possible, smell good, are inexpensive…and they work.
Made from 100% natural wood pulp fibre, these cloths from Mabu are naturally stain and bacteria-resistant. The unique design allows close to 99% of bacteria and dirt to be rinsed out without the need for detergents or soap, and they always smell clean. I throw mine in the laundry once in awhile to keep them nice and white. Perfectly soft for little faces. $17.95 for 6.
I started using Murphy Oil Soap for my wood floors, but because it works so well, it’s become my all-purpose cleaner. It’s a naturally gentle soap with no harsh chemicals, detergents, ammonia or bleach. Dilute it with warm water and use it everywhere. Biodegradable, bottle can be recycled. $6.49 for 32 oz. bottle.
I can’t say enough about Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Dish Soap. I buy it by the box in fear that one day they will discontinue it, or run out of stock . It’s rich and bubbly so you don’t have to use very much, but does this product clean (apparently the secret degreasing ingredient is Soap Bark Extract)! Whatever it is, it’s amazing. $4.99 or $37.61 for a case of 6.
My 3 kids hate to wear shoes in the backyard during the summer months so we spend an awful lot of time washing little black feet. The Caldrea Scrub Brush is magic. It’s got a nice solid maple wood handle that’s easy to hold, and a big wide area with natural tampico bristles for scrubbing (though not too hard). Can also be used for floors, steps and more. We’ve had ours for 2 years and it’s still in great shape. $15.00
I had all but given up on the concept of buying new toys for my 3 kids. I’m sure I’m not the only parent to feel the frustration of yet another item tossed into the basement to gather dust. I was puzzled–why didn’t my kids like playing with toys? Why on earth would they rather smash the keyboard of my computer, or better yet, stumble around in my high heels? (quite a look for a 3 year old boy).
I know many of you have heard of Plan Toys, but their Wooden Building Blocks are true genius. I have been on a mission to try and minimize the amount of plastic toys in our house, and when several of my friends recommended Plan Toys, i decided to check them out. The skeptic in me chuckled a little when i read “toys designed to enhance IQ & EQ development while being thoroughly entertaining”. I thought the wooden building blocks might engage my son enough to allow me a 2 minute coffee break. The box came with over 60 smooth, preservative-free rubber wood blocks. Once it was cracked open, a funny thing happened –my son and i both sat cross-legged on the carpet mesmerized; we built castles, highways and whatever else we could imagine for over an hour. Sheer joy. My other two children (4 and 6) do the same. It has been over a month now and the blocks have remained a constant source of fun. A great gift for under $70.
This is a great find and for me a little unexpected. I was looking for mattresses for my sons twin beds, but wanted something eco-friendly that wouldn’t bankrupt us. Going completely organic was a nice thought but not an option. I was completely surprised to find that Ikea mattresses have all been PBDE free since 2002. Their Sultan Erfjord (the most expensive one at $849 for a twin) is made from 85% natural latex, silk, eco-cotton, and wool. Easy and flexible to get up to our second floor, resistant to dust mites, and exceptionally comfortable (just ask my husband who i now have to drag from my childrens’ beds each night). I think it might be time to start saving for one myself!
Ever since i bought my first Vessel product (the candeloo) 5 years ago, I’ve been hooked. An innovative company run out Boston’s South end, their philosophy is simple: offer a highly edited mix of products, make sure those products solve real life problems (and don’t create new ones). Good looking design and incredibly practical. Three new products worth checking out:
A lantern that always stays lit. It has replaceable batteries and uses warm white LEDs for a 10 hour run time. The charger has an EL panel that is always on, and the lantern lights up as soon as it’s grabbed or the power goes off. Perfect for those middle of the night trips to the loo (or in my son’s case, our bedroom).
happy cat bean bag – $249
A children’s beanbag that your little one can curl up in, or rough about and jump on with his friends. A furniture-toy. What’s most impressive is that it’s so darn good looking you don’t have to hide it in the closet when your friends come over. Functional too: the cotton fabric is wear-resistant and dirt repelling, and can be removed and machine washed. Lots of groovy colours.
hippie tipi play tent – $199
Who doesn’t love a multi-purpose fort? This tipi is stellar: it can be used in the house or in the garden, perfect for the beach. It’s made of heavy duty cotton canvas and comes in 3 different prints. I can see many hours of fun here!