Friday, June 11, 2010
Walking down the toy aisle in any retailer, we are bombarded with shelves full of the same thing. Licensed characters like Elmo and Dora sprawled across plastic toys with strobe lights and noisemakers. While these toys are indeed stimulating and entertaining, Mommy can only handle them in small doses. I appreciate the simple, unique toys that encourage my son to use his imagination rather than toys that do everything for him at the push of a button. I also look for eco-friendly varieties that won't leach wanton chemicals. Which is precisely why I was so happy to come across Cate & Levi.
When dad, Josh Title, was awaiting the birth of his first child in 2008 , he discovered there were no responsibly made yet beautifully designed products for children. So, he set out to create a unique collection of products that would be intricately crafted and environmentally friendly. Thus, Cate & Levi was born.
Cate & Levi offers handmade puppets, pillows, stuffed animals - even wall art! - using reclaimed wool. Their materials are sourced as close to their Toronto studio as possible so as to (1) lower production costs and reduce demand for new materials, and (2) reduce their carbon footprint by cutting down on shipping. Each product is handmade by the owner and production team. But perhaps the greatest thing is that no two Cate & Levi items are exactly alike; all colors and textures from the reclaimed wool are individually selected for a one-of-a-kind creation made just for your child.
Check out some of these adorable pets from the Cate & Levi collection:
I love the vivid color combinations and uncommon animal choices such as the stingray or the platypus. You don't see those everyday!
We were sent the Walrus hand puppet to review. As soon as I opened the package, I knew this was something that had been made with love. The construction and composition are so attractive and well done. The details are impeccable. Looking at "Wally", you can't help but smile.
When I first introduced Nate to "Wally", he couldn't take his eyes off of him. He especially loved the long teeth, which endured endless tugging as he inspected them thoroughly (maybe we have a future dentist on our hands?). "Wally" would sing, dance and make faces, to which Nate would try and imitate. I loved watching the wheels in his brain work as he figured out all the ways we could play with our new toy.
"Wally" loves to chomp on Nate's chubby arms and legs to elicit giggles. Sometimes he'll even sneak a kiss on the neck or peck on the cheek. Nate's favorite thing though is when "Wally" tickles Mommy. (She's so silly, that Mommy!)
Overall, I have been very impressed with our new friend from Cate & Levi. This is a quality toy that is not only good for the environment but for your child's language and cognitive development. Since Nate is a bit behind on his speech for his age, I plan to use "Wally" to stimulate vocabulary as well as inspire creative play. He will also come in handy during storytime or playdates, as puppets tend to raise toddlers' attentiveness.
And when your child is grown, his/her puppet can be passed down to future generations or kept as a keepsake.
I can't wait to adopt some new pets from Cate & Levi. I think "Wally" would love a Moose friend. What do you think?
BUY IT: Love what you see? You can purchase Cate and Levi hand puppets (ARV $35) and other handmade products online at www.cateandlevi.com. They are also sold on Amazon.com! If you would prefer to see them in person, just email the company for a complete store list.
And as if the company isn't appealing enough already, they donate 10% of profits to children's charities! So, you can feel good about your investment.
WIN IT: Cate & Levi is generously offering one lucky winner the hand puppet of their choice!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Visit Cate & Levi and tell me which puppet you would choose if you won. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!
1.) Follow my blog and/or subscribe via reader or email. Comment telling me which method you chose. If you already follow or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry each)
2.) Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the following tweet or come up with one of your own:
Encourage creative play with an adorable, eco-friendly handmade puppet from Cate & Levi @kris10chumley ENDS 6/30 http://bit.ly/czh19R
Just leave me a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)
3.) Add my button to your site and comment with a link where I can find it. (1 entry)
4.) Become a fan of Cate & Levi on Facebook. (1 entry)
5.) What is an animal you would like to see from Cate & Levi that is not currently offered? (1 entry)
Giveaway will end on June 30, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. and Canada. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: I received the puppet above free of charge from Josh at Cate & Levi to facilitate my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed are purely mine. Your experience may differ.