Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Smiling Tree Toys

Children have the most incredible imagination. With simple blocks, they can turn your living room into a safari, NYC, even a jungle. I am always preaching about the value of heirloom toys for good reason. I love watching my daughter play with the wooden village I had as a kid. We strike a balance in our home, and our daughter often combines her wooden and plastic toys to have 2x the fun!

A new favorite in our home is the helicopter from Smiling Tree Toys. Parents, Justin and Kathleen began their toy-making business in 2010 when they returned to the U.S. after serving two years with the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. They now call rural southwestern Minnesota home, and enjoy nothing more than creating toys for your family and theirs. Smiling Tree Toys donates to the Peace Corps international youth projects for every toy sold. They use gorgeous maple and finish projects with organic flaxseed oil and local beeswax. They have everything from wooden vehicles to teething toys and blocks.

My daughter really digs her helicopter. I cannot get her to sit still long enough to even snap the picture. All of my attempts look like blurs because as she explained to me, "I am trying to fly my friend to the moon." The quality is outstanding and knowing these pieces are handmade makes them all the more special.

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