If You’re Going To Buy Toys, Invest In Quality!

REVIEWS, REVIEWS & CONTESTS | | December 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Have you noticed how little talk there has been on MommyNiri.com about toys? Not only have I not joined the craze of holiday gift guides (not because I don’t think they are important, but because I know several peeps have done a fine job with them already) but I am again reserving my energy to do something philanthropical with Mommy Niri Cares.

But there are a few toys that are worth a shout out. You will notice some commonalities between them and features this mama, who would love to be more eco-friendly, loves for their greener leanings.

The Big-Jigs Rose Cottage

I have never had a doll house growing up. I tried creating my own several times, but was never very creative (good thing I found my calling in engineering) so it was never very pretty or sturdy for that matter. When I was about to have my 2nd child I bought a very simple doll house for my 22 month old. It was an easy way to try and get her accustomed to a new baby coming to the house. We named the baby character with my unborn baby’s name so she could get used to actually saying it and seeing the baby as part of the family. While I loved the house, the plastic nature of it bothered me. Fast forward some time later and an Autism diagnosis I became more aware of the importance of natural wooden toys. Toxic paints and plastic materials also started to bother me.

Having looked at several wooden houses before, I found they lacked the style and color I was looking for. This Rose Cottage not only had colors that were definitely not muted, but also comes with everything you would need for hours of play. The wooden characters themselves are adorable and while they serve enough sensory stimulation to my daughter (read how I recommended this toy for special needs kids too) they are totally functional for bending etc. The furniture pieces are pretty realistic with functioning drawers and doors. Pretty exciting to see how those hinges work being made totally from wood. The set comes with furniture for all rooms.

But you know my absolute favorite feature? The design of the outside. The front door opens so that is nothing new but the patio doors in the back are gorgeous and work like the real thing – slides across. Then there is the roof to the attic, it actually flips over so hands can get in to work in the attic. How smart is that design? Every window works and the shutters on it give it a true cottage like feel. I was chatting to a neighbor about wooden doll houses and she mentioned she still has hers from when she was a kid (she has 3 boys now) and that she still loved it. That made me love it even more to realize that toys become part of your childhood and that of your kid’s childhood too.

Big Jigs Princess Train

While I typically prefer toys to not be targeted to girls or boys, especially things like building blocks and trains, I loved this addition to our huge box of trains and rails. Yes, I said big box. We have been adding to that box of rails and train for a while and the good thing is we have always kept them wooden, and none from the famous name train brands. Admittedly the addition of color to that box did jazz up the play but thankfully not making it surround princesses only. That is what I love about non-electronic toys: they don’t do the thinking for you (and that they are quieter too).

My favorite part about these trains? They are multi-layered. Which means that each “bogey” (is that what you call them?) is made up of several layers which gives additional play in various combinations. They are attached either by pieces fitting together (snug like a puzzle fit) or through magnets). These are easy to put together and would not prove to be a frustration for kid as they would stay put during play. They also come with a few tracks that fit perfectly to most other tracks.

Wishbone Flip

I don’t know about you but I love versatile toys. There are so many toys I purchased, more out of fear of being a bad mom if I did not, and never used. Then there are so many toys that we used, loved and then our kid outgrew it. So I stare at that pricey product each time, wishing I had more use out of it.

 The Wishbone Flip is really a wonderful toy. Not only is it aesthetically appealing, but learning that it is made from 100% reforested birch plywood is enough to make this wannabe eco-mom happy. The sleep design appeals to my engineering mind.

Of course my kids are a little older, with the youngest being 4 (and a half she would add) so I can’t say that I would have tested the functionality but I can certainly vouch for its practicality. Starting earlier it is used as a rocker. Comparing it to the ones I had for my girls it is definitely a more gentler rocker. By just flipping the wheels layer, it is now a ride-on. The design is sleep and simple, no need for loud horns, or electronic ones at that.


I am normally not a huge fan of plush toys since they are of such inferior quality. I love Steiff because the moment you touch it you can feel the quality. Knowing that this company has been around since 1880 means that they focus on doing one thing and doing it right. The button in ear trademark  is the unique characteristic of a genuine Steiff product and has been designed in such a way that children cannot harm themselves. The beauty about giving someone a Steiff product is that they immediately know you have invested in a toy that will last and more likely be passed down for generations.

Disclosure: These products were provided for review purposes.

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