Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Toys Made in the USA for Christmas 2008

It’s unbelievable that the holidays are already just around the corner. Last year, the focus for Christmas was on safe, quality, American-made toys for the children…avoiding potentially lead-tainted Chinese-made products at all cost. But what about this year? With financial times so challenging, budget is definitely a major consideration. It’s tempting to run out to the nearest Target or Wal-Mart and buy all cheap plastic toys to make sure there are lots of toys and gifts under the tree, while still keeping to the budget. But what is that teaching our children about quality vs. quantity? And how long will that Chinese-made plastic toy really last? Are you certain of its safety? It is still important to remember the many reasons for buying American-made items wherever possible. Here are a few reminders:

1. Safety – American-made toys and products have much stricter safety requirements than many foreign made toys. The recalls for lead paint last year are still fresh in the minds of parents, and when it comes to our children…safety trumps all.

2. Quality – American manufacturers have a high standard of quality, and as many are still smaller, family-run operations, the focus on the quality of the products remains top priority.

3. Supporting our Country and Economy – Any shopping money that is dropped into our economy at this time will be helpful, but when you spend your money on products that are made in the USA, so much more of your hard earned cash is going directly to Americans, instead of supporting huge US corporations that pour the money in foreign economies.

4. Your Child's Development – Have you noticed how much noise those plastic toys of today make? American-made toys are typically more classic, and yes, quiet, toys…just like the ones you grew up with. How much more freedom does your child’s imagination have if they are not being “told” by a toy exactly what to do and how to play? So many skills can be developed by a simple set of blocks or a wooden train set: creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, collaborative skills, science skills, math skills, motor skills…just to name a few! And the time YOU spend interacting with your child and their “quiet toys” has so much more developmental impact than any songs or lessons a talking toy can teach.

So how can I make this a classic, quality holiday season for my children and myself, and still stay within my budget? It may not be practical to think that every item you place under the tree this year will be American-made, but you might be surprised at the wonderful, reasonably-priced gift ideas that are out there! Here are a few suggestions. Many of these items can fit in a variety of categories.

Holiday Gift Ideas from All-American Baby:

Train Sets
Floor Cars
Floor Trains
Building Blocks
Alphabet Blocks
Boy Rag Doll
Art Easel

Puppet Theater
Personalized Books

Tea Set
Cooking Set
Stuffed Animals
Play Kitchen
Art Easels
Puppet Theater
Music Boxes
Personalized Books

Wood Rattles
Plastic Rattles
Stacking Toys
Pull Toys
Soft Blocks
Soft Knit Dolls
Soft Knit Animals
Bonding Dolls
Hats and Blankets

Remember that with American-made gifts all the batteries, blinking lights and loud sounds are NOT required… but IMAGINATION is!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And so it begins...

I am trying my hand at blogging...once upon a time in a life long ago, it seems, I actually enjoyed writing! Then life happened...teaching, master's degree, marriage, baby, new business, and so on. Recently, the desire to put my experiences into words has been reborn. I just want to share with myself and anyone who is willing to listen. Hopefully I can vent, entertain, teach, and share ideas that may not be far from others' thoughts as well.

Many people have asked my reasons for starting my retail business, All-American Baby. The reasons are many! When I took time off from teaching elementary school to raise my daughter, I found that being a mother is the most fulfilling job I could have ever imagined! I feel like my heart is walking around outside of my body each and every day! I want only the best for my daughter; the highest quality, safest products, whether they are toys, blankets or clothing. With recent safety concerns and recalls of toys and other children’s products, I found myself wanting to get “Back to Basics” for my daughter’s sake. I wanted her to have toys that would challenge her mind and encourage developmental growth (that’s my 15 years as a teacher coming out!). You remember from your childhood, the toys that don’t require batteries, but instead use imagination, creative thinking, and problem solving. I also wanted the quality and safety of these products to be unquestionable (that is definitely the mother in me!). These ideals became my beacon. At the same time, I have become even more aware of the importance of social responsibility, and the need to support our own nation, the workers, and the economy. Gone are the selfish days of my youth, replaced with a feeling of wanting to do my part, and an urgent need to protect not only my child, but other children as well. I searched and researched for products that I could feel good about sharing with my child, ones where I didn't have worry about the origins and the repercussions. My search for the perfect products was long and frustrating, and I wished for one place where I could find a variety of safe, American-made toys, and quality American-made baby products. So the idea for All-American Baby was born. I've done all the hard work! I’ve searched for and found everything you need for your baby and toddler...toys, clothing, skin-care products, blankets, diaper bags, books, bedding, furniture and accessories...All Made in the USA.