What IS the fascination with toddlers and pull toys? It seems that in the absence of one, my daughter will create it. Lately, the object of her devotion is a completely deflated balloon on a string that she pulls behind her and calls “Little Tiny Balloon.” She demands to take it with us places and frets when she can’t find it. I kid you not. The balloon started its life as a wonderful, helium-filled, pink and beautiful gift from her grandparents. As it slowly deflated, her fascination seemed to actually increase. After one or two walks outside with it, during which she pulled it on the string behind her like a puppy on a leash, it obtained a large hole and completely deflated. It now looks very sad and mangy. I debated about sneaking it into the trash during nap time, but, quite frankly feared the response this might provoke later. I put it away in a drawer a couple of times, in the hopes that she’d forget about it, but not much time passed before she asked, “Mommy, where’s Little Tiny Balloon?” Sigh.
Today, she was looking through a Pottery Barn Kids catalog that came in the mail and chirped with delight when she saw a picture of a pull toy in the background of a nursery scene. I asked her if she liked it, and she actually said, “Yes. Bring it to Jenna’s house.” I checked, and the pull toy wasn’t listed on sale or noted as to where to find it. We needed to go to Target anyway, so I told her that we’d look for a pull toy there. She was thrilled. Weirdly, once at Target, the only pull toys we found were of the electronic (read: NOISY), plastic variety that had multiple teaching things included with sounds and lights. Jenna didn’t even seem impressed. We just wanted a somewhat simple but classy, “traditional” wooden pull toy. (In case you’re wondering, the trip was not a total disaster for her (or me) because I let her choose a Schleich animal to come home with us, and she chose a charming Kangaroo she’s already named “Hop.”)
After she went to bed tonight, I started searching online for wooden pull toys. Here are the favorites I found, all through the LivingPlaying website, which has fantastic stuff. (They also use an easy to follow coding system for all their products using symbols to indicate what skill sets they encourage – gross motor, fine motor, social & language, sensory or cognitive. What a great way to guide shopping!)
And, for a little more money:
They’re all beautifully crafted by Plan Toys, which are made from organic rubberwood that is not chemically treated and finished with water based dyes and inks. They also use a non-formaldehyde glue and have a great “green” philosophy. Their mission statement says that they are “committed to minimizing (their) impact on nature.” Sounds great to me.
I think the Sit n Walk Puppy might be finding a new home here……… Bye bye Little Tiny Balloon. May you rest in peace.
Update: Sit n Walk Puppy has been joyfully welcomed into our home. I can’t say enough good things about LivingPlaying. Shipment was prompt (and how!), and opening the package was like Christmas in June. My order was beautifully wrapped in turquoise and lime tissue paper, and the business card of the owner/founder of the company (Jen Grinnell) was included with our receipt. I emailed Jen to thank her and express my pleasure with the service I received, and she promptly responded. What great customer service! Hmm… can you get a sense of a person via email? Because I don’t even know Jen, and I’m pretty sure I like her……. I’ll be doing business there again, I can assure you. Head over and give them a peek yourself! You’ll be glad you did. Oh, and Sit n Walk Puppy is gorgeously crafted as well. He has lovely felt ears and a charming wobble when taken for a walk. Little Tiny Balloon seems to be forgotten.