Welcome to the NEW Pure Play Kids!

Thank you for your patience! After purchasing the site in October (read about my journey here), I made it through my 1st Holiday season. Then I shut the site down in January while I traveled, and worked on switching website hosts to make my site more mobile-friendly & user-friendly from my end. This took much longer than I had hoped, but finally, here we are mid-March & it is fully back online, better than ever!

With Easter ~1 month away, I hope you’ll make me one of your 1st stops for shopping. I have all-natural egg dye kits, and many other fun items for your Easter baskets. I also have unique items for your kitchen, home, and self-care. Without your support, little shops like mine aren’t able to survive in this world of Amazon convenience. I promise to do my best to keep my prices as low as possible, and most orders ship same day, or next, after I receive your order!


Smiling Tree Toys Review


Review of Smiling Tree Toys located in Lamberton, MN: Educational, developmental, eco-friendly toys for baby, toddler, and preschooler – Waldorf and Montessori inspired!

I have to say, I love EVERYTHING about this “company”. I put that in quotes because this is truly a mom/pop operation, and exactly the type of family business I want to support, and encourage you to support! Please browse through these few pictures to meet Justin, Kathleen & their little girl, and view the beautiful location where they lovingly make their toys: (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.183624011683796.38574.183542891691908&type=3). Compare what you just saw, a true family operation, to Melissa & Doug, or any toy, made on an assembly line in China, and tell me which you feel is more worthy of supporting with your hard earned money….

Every, single one of the 177 items in their Etsy shop are simply adorable, and I’m very impressed with the selection- here are some of the categories of offerings, but you have to take a look for yourself: cars, rattles, alphabet blocks, wood teethers, personalized toys, baby’s first ornaments, stackers, nursery decor, wooden stools, personalized gifts, and other educational learning toys: www.SmilingTreeToys.com. I feel their prices for these beautiful handcrafted toys are very reasonable, with most of them ranging from $10-$30!

Here’s some info from their site about their products and the materials used: “Sustainably harvested, American grown hardwoods — homegrown organic finish – expert and caring craftmanship — we love what we do and that shines through in every aspect of our family business!” (it TRULY does). Also, as former Peace Corps volunteers themselves they “donate to Peace Corps youth development projects for every toy sold – you help us circle the earth with smiles ;) ”. What’s NOT to love?!? They have feedback from 1885 transactions on Etsy and 100% of it is positive (which is saying a LOT)!!!

They very graciously sent me a personalized lacing toy for my son to enjoy, and I have to say, he’s had a LOT of fun with it. He recently turned 2, and is really into puzzles. I love this alternative to a standard puzzle, and it has many different fun aspects: numbers, shapes, tracing, and it helps develop motor skill coordination while having fun. The only shape he knew before using this toy was the star, however, within a few times using it he was both saying, and identifying the hexagon (hearing hexagon in a 2 year old voice is just SO cute). Sometimes he laces using the shapes, sometimes he just laces without the shapes, he loves poking & pulling the laces through. This gorgeous toy retails for $24 personalized, that seems incredibly reasonable to me!!

Receiving and opening the package was a feel-good experience in itself. The product comes in a cute white cotton drawstring bag with the Smiling Tree Toys logo, and the first thing I saw was a handwritten note from Kathleen hoping Orion loves his toy. Then I saw the shoelace with the sticker saying made from: “100% recycled soda bottles with a non-toxic dye” (I confirmed it is also made in the US). Then the beautiful toy itself, with my babes name engraved beautifully on it. What’s it finished with? “We’ve lightly coated this toy set with our very own blend of homegrown organic camelina oil and beeswax, both fresh off our family’s land. (Camelina is a relative of flaxseed.) Our finish is completely organic, safe, and non-toxic. Eco-friendly AND local?! It just doesn’t get any better than that.” NO, it really doesn’t. Have I mentioned I love everything about this family-run business

More about this particular product, the set includes: + one circular base 5.5″ in diameter (holes numbered 1-12) with your choice of personalization + six shapes (in varying colors, each measures approximately 1.75″ and is engraved with the shape name) + one 36″ shoelace (made from 100% recycled soda pop bottles and non-toxic dyes), USA-made + USA-made drawstring bag for storage and travel

**Our Green Guarantee** We do everything we can to be kind to Mother Nature. We use local and/or sustainably sourced hardwoods, recycled packaging materials, natural cotton bags, and other earth-friendly materials. Every Smiling Tree toy arrives with Mother Nature’s blessing and is radiating with GOOD VIBES and HAPPY THOUGHTS, we guarantee it! Learn about more ways we keep our eco-footprint small and green:http://www.etsy.com/shop/smilingtreetoys/policy.

I know Christmas is over, but next time you need a birthday or baby shower gift for that special child in your life, or maybe your babe is now teething, or needs some educational toys (doesn’t have to be a special occasion), please remember the wonderful selection made by this beautiful family on their small Minnesota farm!

FACEBOOK // www.facebook.com/smilingtreetoys TWITTER // www.twitter.com/SmilingTreeToys PINTEREST // www.pinterest.com/SmilingTreeToys BLOG // www.smilingtreetoys.blogspot.com GIVING BACK // http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.stories SAY HI // SmilingTreeToys@ gmail.com

Bannor Toys


Bannor Toys is  one of the toy companies on my Made in the USA safe toy list. One thing I really like about doing reviews is it gives me an opportunity to learn more about the business and the products they make. Here’s a little bit about their family-owned & operated business located in my neighboring state of Iowa.

Bannor Toys is a small family-owned company that believes in education and development through quality, safe, and fun toys. Where do they get their wood: “All of our products are made in IowaAll of our wood is bought from two local lumber yards.  Both of the companies we buy from offer FSC certified domestic hardwoods (maple, walnut, oak, cherry, etc.)  We do buy a small amount of exotic wood (purple heart, yellow heart, etc.) for our “Woods of the World” building blocks and a few other toys.  We buy our exotic wood from the same two local companies that we buy the domestic wood from.  Most of our exotic wood is grown in forests in Central and South America.  We have been assured it is harvested and replanted responsibly. None of our products are made in China, me and my wife personally build every single item we sell here in Des Moines, Iowa.  None of our wood comes from China, and 95% of the toys we build use domestic woods grown and responsibly harvested in the U.S. All of our wood is hand-picked one board at a time to ensure quality and all of our finishes and paints are non-toxic and safe to be handled by children. Every product is inspected for safety. We believe that wooden toys are not only beautiful in any home; they also stimulate a child’s imagination. Their fabric rattle balls are handmade with a variety of fabrics including vintage chenile, broadcloth, flannel, minky and other textures that babies and kids love.

As with several other small family-run businesses I’ve done reviews for, these generous entrepreneurs donate a portion of every, single purchase to children’s charities such as Toys for Tots, and the Make a Wish Foundation! I love the spirit of giving back that I’ve encountered!

They sent me the 2 super cute cars that you can see in the attached photo, which arrived in a very cute fabric bag that can be used for storage or travel. My toddler (who recently turned 2) has had lots of fun pushing these cars around the house, and now that Spring has arrived, they’ve made it outside to the driveway with us. They are ffinished with Bannor Toys own beeswax and flaxseed oil finish, which is 100% organic and 100% non-toxic and it looks beautiful. You are able to choose between walnut, maple or cherry wood. These cars are very well-made & durable, and I have no doubt they’ll be around for many years for my next child to play with, and then to pass on to another family when we’re done with them! I absolutely love simple toys such as these that do exactly what this business has set out to do: help stimulate development through quality, safe, and fun toys.

They don’t have a huge line, but as I always state: quality over quantity is what’s important, and there surely is something for every babe/toddler! Categories of offerings include: Wooden Toys (several different stackers, a balancer, driving set, building & alphabet blocks ranging from $28-$45), Cars & Trucks (several makes & models ranging from $12-$38 for a set of 4), Baby Rattles (several great wooden ones, and several soft balls, ranging $10-$23 for a set of 2 balls), Block Sets with several great options (ranging $15-$45), Baby Gift Sets (love this category, great for your registry $24-$50) and Maple Teethers in many cute shapes & sizes ($12).

Please visit their website & FB pages for more info and to browse these quality, hand-crafted products yourself:

Website: http://www.bannortoys.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MyBannorToys?fref=ts