Play Right: Kids Puzzles Inspire Educational Fun

At New Jammies, we love those special quirky holidays that help us celebrate the obscure.

Like National Bubble Wrap Day on Jan. 26 every year, where popping bubble wrap all day to relieve stress is perfectly acceptable. Or Strawberry Day on Feb. 27, when strawberry shortcake is sure to be enjoyed across the nation. Grammar Day on March 4 is the sure to be the day when grammar fanatics can go around correcting people’s use of your vs. you’re and their vs. there. Improper punctuation is also fair game for correction on Grammar Day.

As January comes to a close, we celebrated National Puzzle Day with a fun selection of some of our favorite online finds for helping kids learn about everything from shapes to the United States. This unofficial holiday, always celebrated on Jan. 29, is a tip of the hat to games enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. Puzzle celebrations and events are hosted at venues nationwide including community libraries, art centers and museums. Whether they are jigsaw, crossword, word scramble, Sudoku or memory games, puzzles are fun and educational.

Here are a few of our favorite kids’ puzzles available online. We suggest kids snuggle up in a warm pair of New Jammies and let their minds do the rest:

©Manzanita Kids, LLC

©Manzanita Kids, LLC Train Puzzle

Manzanita Kids
Manzanita Kids heirloom quality toys are handcrafted in Seattle and feature simple, durable, tactile and imaginative designs, quality materials and fine craftsmanship. The company’s eco-friendly philosophy features American hardwoods purchased from local source enhanced and protected with beeswax and organic jojoba oil, applied and polished by hand. Manzanita Kids products are featured at the Museum of Modern Art and the Dia Art Foundation in New York, Kidspace Children’s Museum in California and Kohl’s Children in Illinois and can be purchased online. Manzanita’s wood puzzles help children develop problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning and confidence. We love their fun five-piece train puzzle, as part of the transportation series, made from maple, cherry and walnut with a homemade organic jojoba oil/beeswax finish. Order online at http://www.manzanitakids.com/puzzle/train-puzzle.

My First Green Toys® Shape Sorter

My First Green Toys® Shape Sorter

Green Toys
Made in the California, Green Toys are classic children’s toys made from recycled plastic and other environmentally friendly materials. The company uses food-safe, 100% recycled milk containers, reprocessed into clean plastic, and formed into kids toys and hands-on puzzle play including the My First Green Toys Shape Sorter is a puzzle that helps develop recognition of shapes and colors and builds eye-hand coordination, problem-solving, and fine and gross motor skill development. The two-part elliptical Shape Sorter features eight colorful shapes (two stars, two circles, two squares and two triangles), has no BPA, phthalates, PVC or external coatings, and meets FDA food contact standards and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The puzzle is recommended for six months and up and can be ordered online at http://www.greentoys.com/my-first-green-toys-shape-sorter.html.

© 2015 Melissa and Doug

© 2015 Melissa and Doug Alphabet Sound Puzzle

Melissa and Doug
Headquartered in Connecticut, the Melissa and Doug toy company was founded more than 25 years ago in a garage of the owner Doug’s childhood home. Today, the company offers more than 2,000 innovative products for children of yttrium all ages. Melissa and Doug puzzles range from simple wooden jumbo knob puzzles to complex 500-piece cardboard jigsaw puzzles to help build fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problems-solving skills. We love the Melissa and Doug alphabet and number puzzles, featuring activities where kids can play and learn, hands-on. The 26-piece Alphabet Sound Puzzle pronounces the correct name of each letter when placed correctly. Pieces are slightly raised above the puzzle board for easy grasping. Colorful pictures under each piece reinforce the relationship between letters and their sounds. Buy at: http://www.melissaanddoug.com/alphabet-sound-learning-puzzle.

Play Right: Eco-friendly kids toys for the holidays

169457_471059246265576_1802608079_oFrom perching elves on shelves to building train tracks around the tree, the holidays are a perfect time to share in the fun of kids’ toys. At New Jammies, we love toy manufacturers, specialty shops and online retailers whose goals are to improve our communities and the lives of our children.

Play time is an important part of a child’s development and we love that we can help make it a little better. As the holidays draw near, we’ve found these eco-friendly products that help us meet our mission of developing a healthy lifestyle for our most precious resource – children.

happy_hybridWe start off with one of our New Jammies founder’s son’s favorite toys. He loves this little car, which she purchased at an arts festival in New Jammies Colorado hometown, the Carbondale Mountain Fair. From North Star Toys, the Happy Hybrid all-natural toy car  is made with alder and birch and non-toxic paint is five inches long. The toy features a compact, easy-rolling design with five rainbow passengers (also comes in natural).

North Star Toys, based in New Mexico, has hand-crafted quality, non-toxic wooden toys out of walnut, oak, alder and other fine woods at affordable prices since 1979. With a commitment to environmental sustainability, the company’s durable designs feature non-toxic oils paints and oils to allow the wood’s natural beauty to shine and recycled materials when possible.

We also love North Star Toys’ Baby’s First Animals and Creative Play Sets, perfect for dollhouses, sandboxes, bathtub, car or anywhere. Learn more and shop online at www.northstartoys.com.

From wooden toys including oversized domino sets and horse rockers to train sets and stencil kits, the Magic Cabin, found online at www.magiccabin.com, encourages open-ended, creative, imaginative play with simple, natural toys an135952_471059472932220_556832310_od crafts.  Popular holiday toys include a 100% pure Holiday Beeswax Candle Rolling Kit for fun gift-making with the kids and the Margaret Wise Brown Treasury by the beloved “Goodnight Moon” author.

Educational and eco-friendly kids’ toys can also be found at growingtreetoys.com, where the store’s goal is to teach children the importance of environmental consciousness while providing the same fun and play as other toys. The company discovers products constructed in ways gentler to the environment and from manufacturers committed to helping the earth. The Green Toys Tea Set is a cute 17-piece pretend play toy with made from eco-friendly materials in the U.S. for two years and up.

Kids three and up can learn about gardening and the environment with DuneCraft’s Desert Biodome Terrarium on growingtreetoys.com. The kit recycles water and thrives with minimal care, showing curious kids how to grow 25 varieties of unusual cacti and succulents in a biodome terrarium with natural gravel, sand, and stones.

Arts and crafts, early learning toys, fantasy and dress-up clothes, youth musical instruments, and old-fahioned toys are a few of the popular natural organic toys available at ourgreenhouse.com. A few of our favorites are the Natural Finger Painting 5-Piece Set, great for bath time, and Eco-friendly Stocking Stuffers including aromatherapy bubble bath, wool finger puppets, and felted coin purses.

My Little Green Shop is a hip e-boutique geared for eco-conscious families offering online shopping for eco-conscious toys, puzzles, and games we love. Maple Landmark Environment Memory Tiles  are made in the USA and feature images for recycling, renewable power sources, the seasons and even a hybrid car to exercise kids’ memory skills in a green way. There are also wooden matching,  alphabet, and peg puzzles perfect for fun and education with the kids.

Bunnies Picnica family-owned e-boutique specializing in iteme for babies, girls, and tweens, has a variety of cute toys and doll clothing, donating a percentage of their profits to buy new clothing for foster children in the United States. Bunnies Picnic toys that kids will love to unwrap this holiday season include Hazel Village organic ragdolls such as Annicke the Mouse BallerinaOwen the Fox in Green Waistcoat and Ragtalew Primrose the Pig Mini Ragdoll.

We know Santa would approve.

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