When I found Mama May I’s Etsy shop, I was beyond excited. Her toys are obviously well-made and have a Montessori and Waldorf feel to them. I love the open-ended play that her toys have. It’s so rare to find in today’s mainstream market. While many stores carry the latest Elmo toy or play phone gadget, not many carry toys that can be enjoyed for years to come. The batteries fail, the sounds or lights quit working, and the plastic wears out. But the wonderful toys that are found at Mama May I’s shop? These will last for years.
Before we gush about the beautiful toys that we were graciously sent to review, here’s a little from Jessica, the mom behind Mama May I, about how she started…and what keeps her inspired.
I started taking my ideas from paper to reality at an early age, sewing and looping together my creations with the help of my mom. I never thought my passion for creating and designing things would find such a wonderful outlet. As a stay-at-home mom and principle designer at Mama May i, I love having the opportunity to share the work I am doing not just with my children, but with so many little ones around the world. I have two daughters, and between feedings, changings, and chasing my little explorers I find a little time to indulge in making crafts. Both Layla at 3 years old and Lily at 6 months have rekindled my imagination and sparked my creativity. I am so thankful to have a haven for my handmade pieces.
Mama May i started out in May of 2009 with most of my toys being handmade ribbon blankets and sewn playthings. As my first daughter grew, I had to find new ways to challenge my little scientist, and I started expanding into other handmade learning toys (wooden toys, counting play sets, and colorful gadgets). Since I believe children make sense of their worlds through sensing their worlds, and have always been inspired by Montessori and Waldorf methodologies, it seemed a natural progression. All of my products for Mama May i are designed for education and learning through play. Creating with this philosophy in mind, I strongly encourage folks visiting my shop to dive in, make a splash, a scribble, or an inquisitive fiddle on the memories your little ones!
I just love her enthusiasm not only for her product but for creating memories and engaging our children in their world. While I often make the excuse of too tired, it’s in remembering that my little girl is only little for a short time that makes me want to do more with her. To enjoy dancing to a song on the radio or waking up with her and playing with her instead of sitting around. I love that Mama May I definitely encourages moments like that.
I was so excited about the chance to review something from Mama May I. Everything in her shop is so beautiful, and exactly the kind of toys I want my children to own – classic, open-ended, and high quality.
Like all children, my children love packages, so they were watching me in anticipation when I opened the package when it got here with our review items. It was really challenging getting any pictures before they swooped in to play with the toys!
One of the items we were able to review is pictured above – the Bambino Bamboozles. This toy is perfect for babies! Both the peg and egg fit down inside of their respective pots, and babies can have a blast taking them in and out, banging them together, and sometimes just throwing them! Nehemiah is ten months, and he adores these. I pulled them out of the package, and demonstrated the in-and-out process for him a few times. Then I let him play!
I wasn’t sure if he would be able to master the “in” part of the puzzle, but he was actually able to do it, if he concentrated – as you can see him doing in the picture above!
I know he’s not smiling here, but it’s because he was so deep in thought! I love the way these fit in his hands – they are the perfect size for him to grasp. We haven’t had the opportunity to purchase many wooden toys yet, so I was a little concerned about rough spots. I didn’t need to be though – these are silky smooth, and with none of the potential harmful chemicals in plastic toys!
I should also mention that even though these toys are intended for infants, my three year old loves them too.
Speaking of my three-year old, he is over the moon in love with the second item we had the honor of reviewing – the colored cups and balls set.
This set comes with six wooden balls and pots in six beautiful colors, and a wooden scoop and bowl. Pictures can’t do justice to how pretty the colors are on these! They are also nice and smooth, just like the Bamboozles.
So, what do your children do with this set? Whatever they want! My three year old, six year old, and seven year old spent a solid thirty minutes playing a “game” right after we received it. They’ve each played with it a bunch since then, especially my three year old and six year old. They will spend at least thirty minutes in one sitting just scooping the balls up one by one, pouring them into the corresponding pot, and then pouring each ball back into the big wooden ball. Over and over and over! They love it! And while they are playing with it, they are developing attention, and working on their fine motor skills and thinking skills. Sounds like a win-win to me!
The only drawback I’ve experienced with this set is that I have to remind them frequently to be sure they put all the balls back into the bag when they are done playing with them. The balls are small, and my house is large, so I keep being afraid they will get lost somewhere! So far we’ve had a few misplaced here and there for short periods of time, but they’ve always turned back up. That is the nature of toys with smaller pieces, of course, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Overall, I’ve been so impressed with Jessica and her store. It is obvious that she truly loves inspiring children to play and learn, and that shows up in every aspect of her products. If you are looking for quality toys for your children, or as gifts for friends or family, I definitely recommend Mama May I!
Browsing through Mama May I’s store made me giddy. I love quality toys that last, and all of hers are made for the use of more than one child. After narrowing my choices down to ones that aren’t choking hazards (Abby still loves putting everything in her mouth, and thankfully the toys are carefully marked with which ones to avoid), I finally decided on the My Big Little People. And when I saw the picture of them that Melissa sent to my phone, I knew I had made the right choice for Abby.
These two little people are big enough for Abby to grasp them easily but small enough for her to play with them well. And what was the first thing she did with them? Put their heads in her mouth, of course! While they are made of wood, these little people are smooth enough that I don’t worry about Abby getting splinters in her teeth or gums. They’re also resilient to teething. She hasn’t made any marks with her teeth after an entire week of gnawing them almost nonstop!
While we were at Thanksgiving this past week, my cousin’s 2-year-old daughter saw them. Her first question was, “What do you do with them?” I tried to answer, but I only came up with a few ways myself. I hope that Abby can teach her (and me!) a lot more. Right now, she mostly enjoys using them to soothe her gums, but I’m excited to see how she’ll play with them in the months and even years to come!
Sadly, Abby lost her girl doll (her favorite!) while we were traveling for Thanksgiving. While they are by no means small, these dolls can blend into their surroundings. Especially when they’re being manipulated by an energetic 9-month-old! Though we looked high and low for her, she is currently still missing. At least the “boy” doll is being played with now!
You can buy these or many wonderful toys at Mama May i’s Etsy shop. The Bambino Bamboozle sells for $12, the Colored Cups and Balls set sells for $23, and the My Big Little People sells for $9. In case you didn’t need another reason to browse for a while, as a special discount to all Sisters ‘N Cloth readers,a 10% coupon code SNC2011 will run for the month of December 2011.
One of our readers will win their own set of the Colored Cups and Balls, which again sells for $23! This will make a great gift for a child on your Christmas list! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!