We like wooden toys in our house. We like colorful. We like our fun and learning rolled into one.
The toys and products at Mama May i are all that and more. They are an excellent alternative to all the cpc (cheap plastic crap) out there. A bit more spendy, but then that's what you'd expect with beautiful wooden toys that will last and last and are a joy to handle.
Jessica, the owner of Mama May i, and one of my blog sponsors, sells handmade learning toys that "blend the best of developmental psychology and design to offer a unique learning through play experience." In this post, I'll share one of her products that I bought (the balancing birds) and one that she sent me for review (the space matching game).
I was attracted to the balancing birds right away —colorful, wooden birds that provide a challenge for any age. And they do provide a challenge. My seven year old managed to balance all six, but there were some tumbles along the way. My three year old was consistently able to balance three, but that fourth one would send them all tumbling down and she would have to start all over again.
She eventually decided to just play with the balancing birds, having them kiss...
...lining them up as a bird train (when I said "chug-a-chug-a-tweet-tweet", though, she said, "No, silly goose. It's chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo!"), and generally just playing with them.
When the birds aren't kissing or being balanced, they provide for awfully attractive decor.
We love a good matching game, and the space make-a-match set that Jessica sent us to review was no exception.
Maia is an old pro at matching games and has a better memory than I do for where the pieces are. Daphne is still learning the ropes, though (and would really rather keep going until she finds the match for the piece in her hand).
Regardless (of a little cheating), the thrill was just as great each time she found a match. Besides using the game as memory building exercise, it was a fun way to learn new words and images. She knew some of them of course —sun, moon, and "space monster" —but asked about the astronaut, the space satellite, and the planets.
One of the nice things about this particular matching game (and Mama May i's other make-a-match sets) is it's portability. The carry pouch and compact size make it perfect for taking on trips or just to a restaurant or doctor's office.
Plus, of course, they would fit just right in the toe of a stocking... :)
Mama May i is full of similarly awesome, high-quality educational toys. A couple of my other faves are her story starter set (which I bought as a Christmas gift for Maia —Shhh...), the chick-a-dee play sets, and her alphabet and number art prints.
By the way, I just learned that Hurricane Sandy devastated Jessica's entire stock of wooden toys, but, thanks to the help of friends and family, she's been able to restock in time for the holiday season. As a small business owner (and mother of little children), I'm sure that was no mean feat.
I highly recommend you check out her Mama May i shop if you're on the lookout for children's gifts and learning products. Jessica is offering 10% off orders for Artful Parent readers with the coupon code "ARTFUL" AND she says that if folks spend $50 or more in the shop using that code they will be entered to win a $100 shop gift card that can be applied retroactively to their purchase.