Monday, August 13, 2007

The Price of Toys

Why is it every time I hear about a new "all natural" toy store, the prices seem just ridiculous?

Quiet Hours Toys looks really cute, but a teensy little handmade doll will run you $50. Ouch! That said, I can argue modestly higher prices for each toy we buy because we don't buy a lot of toys. Our current reasons:

  • Recent recalls have made me reconsider the necessity of plastic toys

  • He'll play happily with an empty box...why spend the money?

  • The more toys we have, the more toys we have to store

  • Less plastic toys on our floor, less plastic toys in the landfill one day. Green living isn't as much about buying "green" as it is about consuming less, so we're working on that part

  • I don't like overwhelming him with a giant pile of toys...just a few select ones at a time so he can actually appreciate what he has

  • After much thought we've come to the conclusion that a toy that doesn't have flashing lights and noise requires much more imagination creativity. That is, there is no definite answer as to how the toy is to be played with, so the sky's the limit

So even if I do spend a little more money on a well-made toy that encourages learning instead of distraction, I can argue the point because I still don't spend much money on toys.

Locally, we're lucky enough to have The Acorn Store. It's stacked to the ceiling with plastic-free, battery-free toys that make me want to sit on the floor and start playing. It's not as cheap as Target or the like, but I'm much happier with the purchases I've made there. Our last purchase was a set of unpainted wooden blocks for stacking. MetaDaddy and MetaBaby have thoroughly enjoyed stacking and knocking over their creations. I found a little video clip of Acorn and it's owner posted at "Challenge and Fun."

Since I've found some great stuff there, I don't feel compelled to go shopping online, which I usually have no problem doing ;-) However, I have found a few online stores that seem to have a fun selection of clever, natural toys for babies and kids, so I've bookmarked them in the event that...I don't know...just in case. Besides, keep in mind that if you find something you like at one of these sites, it might also be available at a discount elsewhere (e.g., amazon).

Plan Toys
Modern Mini
Magic Cabin
Barefoot Books
Vermont Country Store


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

This is such a good post MetaMommy.

I completely agree with you. Our son is so much more interested in the higher quality toys than the cheap (potentially toxic) electronic toys!

MetaMommy said...

Thanks WWFU. I guess you could's what works for us :-)

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

I hate the price of "natural" toys too - especially since my son is somewhat unpredictable in what he'll like. That's why I don't buy very many! I may have to drag him to Santa Monica to check out that store, though ...

MetaMommy said...

Hi Cathy. If you do go to the Santa Monica store, I should let you know it's tiny. Too small for a stroller, really. As for parking, there's metered parking in the area, but if you park in the public structure on 4th (there's one just north of Wilshire and one just south of Wilshire), you get 2 hours of free parking before 6PM.