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The Whole World In Their Hands

Natural Kids: The Whole World In Their Hands

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Whole World In Their Hands

A friend recently gave Eva, my four-year-old, a gift from Toys-R-Us. I felt bad returning it because it was given with love. But I have made a concerted effort to have only natural toys in Eva's room that I either make myself or purchase from natural toymakers, like those made by Etsy's Naturalkids Team members. But these were plastic items from China. I just didn't want them in my home, and Eva didn't mind my exchanging them. But what would I find in the mega toy store?

What hit me first as I entered the door, was the smell of plastic off gassing. It was palpable and made my throat dry. How fast could I get in and out? I wondered. I asked the cashier, who automatically handed me a plastic card with my refund money on it, where the natural or wooden toys were. She shrugged ever so politely and offered that I look around. I took a tour of what seemed like a hostile faraway planet full of scary things. Dolls named Bratz, avengers of evil with guns that could obliterate a creature instantly and remorselessly. Palm sized computer games, infant toys that never stopped making noise, plastic junk food for pretend play, all packaged in plastic...Ok, if you've been reading my posts, you know where I'm going with this...Yes, there were bikes and carseats, but otherwise, it was a store 98% filled with "toys" that over stimulated, promoted a culture of fierce competition or violence, applauded unhealthy eating, and were in and of themselves toxic on one level or another, and polluting.

As the wonderful "Earth Ball" creation above by Cozycottagecreations, depicts, our children have the whole world in their hands. By choosing to fill those hands with natural, handmade toys and other items, a true reverence for our planet can begin and with the open ended nature of these toys, perhaps the imaginations of our children will be free enough to help them survive and revive the planet we have handed them.

Below is a discussion of some natural options for parents looking to choose more natural items for their children. All photos are courtesy of my fellow toy maker/artists from
Etsy's Naturalkids Team.

This sweet lamb by
Woolies , and

Little Love Blue's adorable elephant are hand made from pure wool, while
Mosey's "Henny Penny" is made from upcycled wool.

These toys don't light u
p, but what they offer children is a tactile sense of safety, warmth, goodness, with a gentle appreciation of the natural world.

Who or what will the child discover behind Beneaththerowantree's harvest fairy door?

Perhaps this little pixie:
forest elf with bird suggests a mischievous and humorous aspect to the mysteries of the natural world without cynicism. A child may interpret her expression as an impish, irresistible invitation to play... or will they just sit and chat together?

Perhaps she lives here. Or does the mouse rule this needlefelted domicile by Chimera? How sturdy, this wool home is; how beautifully crafted, and what a connection in makes to the nature world from which its materials came.

Instead of supplying and fast-triggered arson of weapons to save the world, Faerierebecca's autumn nature table set is motionless, a simple gesture of sharing some of nature's harvest. Is it an acorn, a leaf? The child can decide that, and the identity of this lovely needle felted creature. She has no moniker created by marketing companies, only an open face.

Wonderwull's "Peace Angel" replaces the mechanical or computerized warriors against evil, with a quiet icon for peace. What hope she inspires in her silence. Out of that stillness, perhaps the small voice could still be heard.

What magical stories from the child's own imagination could be written in the pages of Whimsomehollow's felt book with moveable pieces?

Perhaps they are stories the child will retell to his or her "baby" while lulling it to sleep in Bellawinter's beautiful handmade, upcycled sling.

Whimsicalmom offers children an alternative to mass-produced art supplies. Together with her children, she created these "Sprite Scribblers-Vibrant Earth" upcycled, non toxic crayons in surprising color combinations, sure to ignite the imaginations of little ones as they draw a world they'd like to inhabit.

When children are provided with open-ended toys, from nature about nature, their imaginations grow, life skills are born and honed...who knows what they'll create? Unwaveringfaith's 12-year-old son crafted this: Fairy furniture; A gift back to the natural world.

Freedomrainbow's shop provides lots of natural "reike" dolls for children, while her sister shop, Rainbowlotusnaturals offers parents choices which literally surround children in natural goodness and the opportunity make creative decisions. In her own words, this "cloak is a dress, sweater, jacket, and poncho all in one! All natural and recycled, it is so healthy for your little pixie and the planet she is from!"

In the morning or after a long day of play, Truevineherbs bath soap surrounds children with nature in a different way, cleaning their little, growing bodies with natural, safe and gentle soaps, like this one, made from natural ingredients from the earth.

What lovely alternatives to the megabranded megadistributed products. These are all items your children can breathe around and breathe life into.

After an hour of wandering the aisles of Toys-R-Us, searching for something I could bring home that supported my values, I finally found a little wooden train set, which Eva was thrilled to have. But I hope to never have to step foot in another one of these chain stores again. I looked at the other parents roaming around, trying to buy toys that would do right by their children, but unwittingly purchasing toys which would pollute their homes, the planet when they are thrown away and potentially the very minds of their children. I am fortunate to know there are natural alternatives to the products found there and the messages they convey. I am blessed with the ability to create the lovely wool items which I both give my daughter and provide to others through my shop (,) as well as have the variety and high level of craftmenship available to me through shops I referenced here, as well as other
Naturalkids Team shops. Now, perhaps, there will be a growing number of parents who will know they have natural alternatives and share this information with their friends.

All of the
Naturalkids Team artisans strive to create toys, clothing, soaps and other items for children that are good for this generation and generations to come, because when these things go back to the earth, they are simply returning to the natural world from which they were made.

We do have options. Let's keep the world we place in the hands of our children natural, healthy, lovely and fun, just like the world we strive to live in.

Thank you for reading. 'Til next time!

Rebecca Varon-Remstein


Blogger Woodmouse said...

What a fantastic post, Rebecca! I loved reading your story of going to the store, I've been in that same situation and can really relate...and considering my son has a birthday coming up, ugh, I know I'll be heading back there again to exchange some plastic, noisy, blinking monster of junk.

August 15, 2008 at 4:02 AM  
Blogger FairiesNest said...

Lovely post! Natural toys are wonderful on so many levels good for the planet and good for kids and I think you said this beautifully!

August 15, 2008 at 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many gorgeous, natural toys here on Etsy. I wish we could all give and get Etsy gift certificates--maybe NaturalKids gift certificates? Wouldn't that be a lovely present to find!

August 15, 2008 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Cary said...

lovely article! the pictures are all so beautiful and the toys so special:)

August 15, 2008 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

That was one of the best articles I have ever read! So well said:)

August 15, 2008 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Rebecca V said...

Thanks, gals! I only wish I could have stayed awake to include more fabulous creations!!! (Woodmouse, you know who you are! I will find you next!!!) Every example supports the argument of natural is better because they aren't just natural, but so beautifully made!

August 15, 2008 at 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was a lovely read! i am honored to be here. i'm amazed i figured out how to comment. duh. ok! thanks Nushkie for that magical walk through beautiful naturalkids team treasures. And its nice to know i'm not the only one who feels like they need a gas mask when they enter toys r us!

August 16, 2008 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger germandolls said...

Yay! Nushkie, great article. I recently went to Toys-R-Us. My son loves Lego...That's the only type of plastic toy I will allow in the house. They are not made in China either. The package said can imagine what is going on in that factory...
But at least they are creative and open-ended.
Other than the Lego I saw nothing I wanted my kids to play with. My brother in law from Germany was with us when we entered the store. He and my sister have the kids in a Waldorf school in Germany. They are very strict about what toys enter the household.
He just kept shaking his head in disbelieve wandering the aisles...

August 16, 2008 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

lovely article and well said.

August 16, 2008 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger cozycottage said...

Beautiful article, Rebecca! Thank you so much for featuring so many of us! I've had the same Toys R Us experiences - all I can think of when I'm in that place is "run away - fast!"

August 16, 2008 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger woolies said...

wonderful article! Just LOOK at all these fabulous toys - I want to be a kid again and play with fairies and gnomes in their little houses.
Thanks for putting my sheepie in here!

August 16, 2008 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger TheSingingBird said...

Rebecca, Every one of the toys and artists you've featured here deepens my commitment to make our world better for our children and future generations! Thank you :)

August 16, 2008 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger katy said...

a truly beautiful article! all of the images look so lovely...i am constantly amazed by all the beauty in this group of artists!

August 16, 2008 at 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, we haven't shopped in an actual retail store in I don't know how long. I have been buying wooden and natural toys through catalogs for many years now and last year and this year, only through Etsy! That was a great post!!

August 17, 2008 at 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. HOW COOL that you included my son's fairy furniture. We thank you!!

August 17, 2008 at 11:31 PM  

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