**GIVEAWAY CLOSED** My winner was Anne, with comment #113! Congrats Anne!
It’s pretty safe to say that I heart EcoMom. Lots of EcoMom products have found their way into our daily routine–from stainless steel straws and tiffins to our bamboo compost container, and even the eco-friendly decorations that brighten up my bland beige cubicle at work. And now, my son is an EcoMom devotee, too! Check out his new Melissa & Doug Wooden Make and Serve Apple Pie Set!
This fun toy is especially appropriate for my little man, because I spent the day before my induction baking apple pies. I had gestational diabetes, so apples were my go-to sweet snack during pregnancy, and I wanted to use the rest of my bag up before I went into the hospital. So, I baked and baked and baked to help ease my nerves on that long day (I found out later that my mom was doing the very same thing!)…and fresh apple pie will forever remind me of that day I spent peeling and slicing, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my precious baby boy.
The Apple Pie Set includes a pie crust, a segmented apple, a pie plate, pie server, wooden knife and oven mitt. All the ingredients to make a perfectly lovely little pie! I immediately fell in love with it because 1.) It’s just super cute! and 2.) It’s not a traditional “boy” toy. (I get really, really annoyed when kitchen toys are seen as “girls only.” )
All the pieces fasten together with a very sturdy velcro, so each piece stays put. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pieces…I’m sure this set will stand up to lots of hours of playtime.
Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?
I wasn’t the only one who thought so! (Little Man is very into pretend eating and sharing lately…)
Nom nom nom…
So, needless to say, the Apple Pie set is a big hit. But the more we play with it, the more I realize how much potential it has for different types of play:
- It can teach real vs. pretend.
- It allows my son to model what he sees Mommy do in the kitchen.
- It helps refine motor skills with cutting action and assembly of pieces.
- We can make a game out of putting a piece of apple in one slice, and having him guess which one it’s hiding in.
- The pie can even serve as a lesson in fractions, addition or subtraction for older children.
I have to be honest: When I first considered reviewing a toy from Melissa & Doug, I wasn’t sure it was the right fit for us. I strive to provide the safest toys for my son, and I’ve heard a lot of talk about Melissa & Doug not being quite as “eco-friendly” as they claim to be. Most of what I’ve heard seems to center around the fact that some of their toys are made in China, which strikes a chord of fear in many parents (me included) due to the lack of testing and regulations on materials and manufacturing procedures there. But I do trust EcoMom to choose their products carefully, and I like the fact that this toy does not contain any plastic, so I wanted to keep an open mind. So, I raised the question with EcoMom and asked them if they could provide any information.
Here are two excerpts from the responses I received from M&D’s Chief Products Officer:
Melissa and Doug started as a mom and dad team wanting to make different toys for their kids. They grew into a large company and are still very invested in their company. Not everything is made in China, either. Unfortunately China has gotten a really bad name for manufacturing, but Melissa and Doug’s facilities are managed by a hands on team, and all of their products have received certification based on rigorous testing. They believe in transparency, so if there’s ever a concern, they welcome questions and the opportunity to respond!
No matter how carefully we design our products, we believe there’s no substitute for TESTING, TESTING, and MORE TESTING. The key to assuring the safety of our products is not simply insisting our factories follow our instructions, but to go one step further and AUDIT, INSPECT, AND TEST, not only once, but at various phases of the production process. This is something we’ve always done.
Additionally, we specifically test our paints and coatings very frequently, to be sure our toys meet or exceed government recommendations limiting heavy metals and lead in children’s items. We have cabinets full of thousands of passing test reports, and these passing results have been verified by 3rd party independently accredited testing laboratories, considered by many to be the best scientific laboratories in the world.
My conclusion: The reps from Melissa & Doug were very forthcoming in addressing the China and safety issues. I’m sure they’ve heard my questions before. My concerns have to do with adequate testing and safety standards – M&D seems to fully understand the concern, and they stand firm in their commitment to upholding high safety standards. Ever the skeptic, I might limit use of these toys if my son were still chewing on anything and everything, but at this age, I feel comfortable with this toy in his toybox.
So, it’s TOO cute, right? BUY IT!
You can buy the Melissa & Doug Apple Pie Set at EcoMom for $19.98.
DEAL ALERT! Place an order before February 28, 2011 and save 15% on your total purchase using this exclusive promo code available only to ABCGP readers: SBBL663
EVEN BIGGER DEAL ALERT! If you place an order of $50+, shipping is FREE!
While you’re there, be sure to sign up for EcoMom’s Daily Deal (a daily promotion that features one great eco-item at an irresistible price!) and sign up for their newsletter!
One lucky winner will win a $15 gift certificate to EcoMom’s online store!
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