1. Haba Master Builder Set Coliseum
I so love Haba toys! These high quality wooden toys are always worth the money. Now that my children are getting older, I am especially enamored with the Master Builder Sets. Replicating ancient wonders of architecture, children really have to think when using these wooden blocks. In addition, they can create their own unique structures with these unusual wooden pieces.
One of my favorite Master Builder Sets is the Roman Coliseum, which some day I hope to visit in person.
In classic Haba style, you can recreate the splendor of the Roman Coliseum! This block set allows you freedom in feats of architecture and engineering with unique pieces of the highest quality beech wood. A great block set to diversify your current collection. Custom cut to form and fit together in fantastic construction combinations. Part of the Master Builder Block System, you’ll have all the tools you need to build as complicated or as simple a structure as you like. Not simply for young children, the Haba Master Builder System appeals to people of all ages. Mix block styles from Haba to make structures, villages, civilizations distinctively your own. The Coliseum Set contains 110 blocks in 7 distinctive shapes.
Would I buy this product? Absolutely yes! At about $40, I think the price is right for these high quality wooden beech blocks. Plus, I know from experience with our Haba Egyptian Pyramid blocks, that the Master Builder Sets are a big hit with the kids. Besides, I whole-heartedly trust Haba!
2. Mother Goose’s Picture Puzzle iPhone App
Classically-illustrated Mother Goose rhymes are brought to life with puzzle pictures containing a hidden object. Children of all ages will enjoy these early 20th-Century illustrations, delightfully simple rhymes, and playful melodies.
Children are not exposed to nursery rhymes like they used to be, and Mother Goose actually does aid in early cognitive development. This iPhone app has all the classics, but I found it to be a little buggy. There were a few times it read the rhyme over itself twice, and I had trouble with the picture puzzles. Just reading the rhymes was the best way to use this app, in my opinion.
I always feel like I have to explain why I include apps in our green product reviews. I embrace some forms of technology for young children, and good quality, educational apps are something I personally use. Having only one gadget the family can share that can do so much to me is greener than having Leap Frogs and other forms of edutainment.
Would I buy this app? Probably not. I find the music annoying, and the picture puzzles are too hard.
3. Fix-it and Forget-it Christmas Cookbook: 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes
It may seem a little early to be thinking about the winter holidays. I’m not ready, but slow cooker recipes are good anytime of year. There is something special about slow food, especially when it takes little time to prep and cooks for eight to ten hours!
Phyllis Pellman Good has compiled 600 slow cooker recipes. This cookbook reminds me of ones that booster clubs produce featuring favorite family recipes.
“You absolutely can make holiday meals with ease and with pleasure,” says slow-cooker champion Phyllis Pellman Good. Her latest collection, Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook: 500 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes, will fill your head with menu ideas, give you gentle guidance with each recipe, and deliver dishes that your friends and family will love.
“Stop your fretting. Put an end to the nightmares. Get out your slow cookers!” Good urges. “Whether you’re making late suppers, family brunches, or amazing holiday meals, these 500 recipes from home cooks across the country will allow you to feast with your loved ones without being exhausted and frazzled.”
Would I buy this product? No, I find some of the ingredients questionable and processed, such as Little Smokies (I don’t even know what these are) and cocktail weiners. I’d definitely prefer a whole foods, organic, vegetarian version of this book, although there are many vegetarian recipes in Good’s collection. I really think I need to buy a slow cooker. We often use our woodstove for this purpose, but it would be nice for the warmer months too.
4. My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?
This is a really cute picture book about a little girl who dreams of doing great things and pretending to be amazing women from history. The book begins with her mother waking her up, and Isabella replies, “My name is not Isabella….I am Sally, the greatest toughest astronaut who ever was!”
From Sally Ride to Rosa Parks, Isabella pretends to have the same strength and integrity of these famous women. The back of the book provides further biographical information on each woman, as well as useful links to resources on the internet.
This book has the sweetest ending. The last great woman Isabella pretends to be is her mother. “I am Mommy, the greatest, sweetest mother who ever was!”
Would I buy this book? Yes. There is nothing green about this book, e.g. recycled paper, soy ink, FSC paper. I do really like the story. It is empowering to young girls and very positive.
5. Tegu Magnetic Wooden Building Blocks
Tegu blocks are really cool! These high quality blocks feature magnets inside that take wooden block building to a whole new level.
- Sustainably sourced, eco-friendly Honduran wood
- Tegu provides for tree planting, child education, and holistic employment in Honduras
- Premium, heirloom-quality toy that will last for generations
- Safe: no lead, no plastic, water-based lacquer finish
- Perfect for those seeking toys supporting open-ended and unscripted play
Tegu is truly a sustainable company that prides itself on being able to make 1,000 sets of blocks from a single tree! That’s pretty amazing, plus they plant over a 100 new trees for every tree they use. Given all these green company characteristics, I just wonder why they shipped our blocks wrapped in plastic bubble wrap.
Would I buy this product? Probably yes. The only reason I hesitate is the price. I know sustainability and eco-friendliness come at a price, but I have a hard time spending $100 for 52 blocks. On the other hand, these blocks are so unique and of heirloom quality that they would be around for many generations. Plus, they are a big hit with the kids. As I’ve said before, it is much better to spend money on a few high-quality green toys than have a household of plastic junk toys.
Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples, unless noted differently in the review. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.
yes, Haba toys rule! We currently have but two of them for our 7 month old Anjali:
and the kringelring: http://www.amazon.com/Habermass-1121-Kringelring/dp/B0002HYCMI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1283827649&sr=8-1-spell
These are wood toys–safe and durable. Anjali loves them and has gotten great use from them so far.
Wooden Baby Toys says
My son absolutely loves the Haba Coliseum set. This is one toy that will seemingly keep him entertained for hours. In my opinion you can never go wrong with Haba toys!