Monday, October 12, 2009

Product Review and Giveaway: Eco-Friendly Toys from Challenge & Fun!

Is it too soon to think about Christmas and holiday gifts?  Maybe not for me ;) This shopaholic mommy is always on the lookout for special gifts for Green Organic Girl.  Here are three fantastic products that we were given a special opportunity to try out, and your chance to enter to win these for your own children to enjoy!

This year, we're very pleased to see more and more green and eco-friendly toy options out there.  The wonderful people at Challenge & Fun have put together an amazing assortment of products -- toys with lasting quality and entertainment value.  This company prides itself on making safe, smart, all-natural toys  and products available  to everyone, all the while supporting their own commitment to the environment.

Challenge & Fun sent us three fabulous products to review, and we were having so much fun, I had to stop just long enough to write this.  LOL!

Labyrinth Balance Board

The first is this amazing, engaging, and "not-as-easy-as-it-looks" Labyrinth Balance Board.  Call it an "unplugged", manual version of the Nintendo Wii Fit ;)  This is one of Challenge & Fun's own line of products, made entirely of wood, and manufactured right here in the USA.  I have to say that I'm truly impressed with the workmanship and quality of this product.  This is a hefty toy, and certainly made to last.  The bottom of the board is fitted with a smooth wooden ball, so no worries about damaging your floors.  Still, just for safety, I didn't want Green Organic Girl potentially wiping out onto our terrazzo floor, so she played with this on a rug.  No assembly required, and very few instructions.  Just take one of the three included wooden marbles (one each of red, blue, and yellow), and place it in the middle of the board.  Stand up on the board, placing your feet on the footprint outlines on the opposite sides of the board.  Then, using your feet only, tilt the board back and forth, maneuvering the marble through the labyrinth, all the way to the little marker on the outside top edge of the board.

This toy is recommended for ages five and up, but four-year-old Green Organic Girl had no problem getting the hang of this!  Mommy had a turn on this too, and wow, is it ever fun!  LOL!  Once you master one marble, add another, and then another.  Then start trying to work the marble(s) from the outside in.  This is a great toy to play by yourself, or challenge your family and friends.  However, I do recommend supervising younger children with this; especially if it's their first time trying it out.  Also, keep the wooden marbles away from the mouths of younger siblings.  Store them some place safe and out of reach, when not in use.  This is truly a wonderful toy, and I know we'll get years of use out of this one, and we'll probably still be able to pass it on to younger relatives so they can enjoy it, too!

WHERE TO BUY:

The Labyrinth Balance Board is available from MuseumTour.com.

I Cherish Planet Earth



The second item in our package is all about teaching our children about caring for our planet Earth. "I Cherish Planet Earth" by FocusBloom, is a combination book and memory matching game that the whole family can enjoy together. The book is full of beautiful illustrations, showing images of nature, animals, and children doing their part each day to help the environment. The book is easy to follow, and the tasks are easy for children and families to do (turn off the water while you brush your teeth, take things out to the recycling box, turn off lights, etc). After reading the book, a memory game is included, with 48 cards featuring the same lovely images from the book, with short descriptions, as reminders of things we can do every day to help the planet. What a great way to reinforce what was just read.

This would make a lovely gift for younger children, serving as a teaching tool, and as an eco-friendly toy. FocusBloom is a member of "1% For the Planet", and the book and cards are all made from 100% recycled paperboard, and printed with vegetable inks. Included is a cloth bag for the cards, and the entire set is made in the USA. I Cherish Planet Earth also recently won the 2009 Dr. Toy "Best Green Product" award. I think it'd be a great addition to the classroom as well. We'll be taking ours to school to share with Green Organic Girl's preschool class.

WHERE TO BUY:

I Cherish Planet Earth is available from My Little Green Room.

"I'm Me!" - A Collection of Songs for Children by Charlie Hope



We love music in this family.  Green Organic Dad is classically trained in brass, he's played bass guitar for several classic rock bands, and he stays very busy as a tropical destination wedding DJ here in the Florida Keys.  Needless to say, we listen to a lot of music ;) 

We are in love with the CD that came in our package.  Charlie Hope is a female singer/songwriter, who also grew up in Toronto, Canada, like me!  This is a wonderful collection of songs -- almost like Raffi (okay, now I'm dating myself... LOL!).  Charlie has a sweet, cheerful, yet soft voice.  Listening to her songs, you can just imagine her strumming on a guitar, surrounded by a circle of children, happily singing along.  The songs are very easy to listen to, and ones that I wouldn't mind listening to over and over again (and you can't say that about most kids music).  Our favorite has to be the Frog Song.  I burst out laughing when I heard it the first time.  It's about frogs, and toast with jam, and Edamame.  What else can I say?  LOL!

The CD has 20 songs, and some of them are familiar favorites, like "Mr. Sun" and "Pop Goes the Weasel".  It also comes in a paperboard case, with a lyrics book that doubles as a coloring book.  They're both printed with vegetable inks, on Certified Green components.  I highly recommend this CD for your kids.  It will put a smile on your face, too :)

Charlie Hope was also recently awarded the 2009 Silver award from Parents' Choice!  Congrats to Charlie!

WHERE TO BUY:

The CD and downloadable MP3s are available from Amazon.com.  Click on the image above to listen to sample tunes :)



ENTER TO WIN:

Thank you to everyone who entered! This giveaway has come to a close. Please click here to see the results of our Random.org drawing and to congratulate our winners!


Now here's your chance to win your very own Labyrinth Balance Board, I Cherish Planet Earth book and game, or an autographed Charlie Hope - 'I'm Me!' CD!  At the end of the giveaway, I'll be picking three numbers from Random.org, and awarding one prize to each corresponding commentator!

Please be sure to read the complete rules:


To enter this contest, first leave a comment, telling us what you and your family do to live greener.  Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so I may contact you if you're the lucky winner. 


For additional entries, please first leave a comment about what you and your family do to live greener, and then do any of the following, for a maximum of 28 (twenty-eight) total entries in this giveaway contest [please be sure to come back and leave a follow-up comment for each of these completed tasks, in order to be counted as an additional entry]:


  • FOR BONUS ENTRIES: Earn up to one additional BONUS entry each day, between now and 4:59PM EST on Saturday, October 31, 2009, by Retweeting this giveaway daily! Remember to come back and leave a comment and a copy of your new Retweet each day, in order for your daily Retweet to be counted. [Maximum of one bonus Retweet entry each day, for a maximum of 20 for the length of the contest.]
By entering this contest, you have read and understand the rules and fine print of this contest:
  1. Contest ends Saturday, October 31st, 2009 at 5:00PM EST
  2. Contest open to U.S. residents.
  3. There are three (3) giveaway prizes in total, consisting of one (1) each of the following
    • Labyrinth Balance Board
    • I Cherish Planet Earth book and game set
    • Charlie Hope "I'm Me!" autographed CD
  4. Three (3) winning numbers shall be chosen from the pool of valid comment entries, using Random.org, with the possible outcome that one person may be the winner of all three prizes, depending on the actual numbers drawn.
  5. Winner(s) will be contacted via e-mail, and will provide a U.S. mailing address, which will then be provided to the giveaway sponsor, Challenge & Fun, for the purpose of directly mailing one giveaway prize to each corresponding winner.
  6. If a winner does not respond via e-mail within 48 hours of the prize drawing, another winner will be selected via Random.org, and the new winner will be awarded the corresponding prize.
  7. Approximate retail value of the prizes: Labyrinth Balance Board $79.95 USD, I Cherish Planet Earth book and game set $16.95 USD, Charlie Hope "I'm Me!" CD $14.95 USD.
  8. Giveaway sponsor, Challenge & Fun,  reserves the right to modify the prize package offering and quantities.
  9. Winners will be announced here on this blog, and on Twitter, and on FaceBook.
  10. No promotional consideration was paid for this post. One of each product reviewed above was provided for free for review. No monetary compensation was received.
A big thank you to Challenge and Fun for allowing us the opportunity to try out these awesome products!  How often do you find quality toys, that are educational, engaging, good for the environment, and so much fun?

Good luck to everyone!! :)


Click here to be taken to the comments form to place your entry/entries.



Toy images courtesy of ChallengeAndFun.com.

39 comments:

  1. we recycle everything! we no longer buy bottled water and we started a compost

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  2. We are enjoying being green by gardening, recycling, conserving electric and water and our new favorite--walking places! :)

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  3. And lastly, I have your badge on my blog!
    http://www.moorethanamom.blogspot.com

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  4. It is a very nice and good post. Keep up the good work.

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  5. I love that Labyrinth Balance Board! I really want one for myself. Maybe I would stop being so clumsy then! :D

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  6. The Labyrinth Balance board looks like a lot of fun! Looks like I've picked out one holiday gift for my little one. Thanks Faye!

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  7. That Labyrinth board looks like fun. Noodle is a little too young, but we have lots of kiddos over that would love to play with it! Maybe mama, too! As for living greener, we of course recycle and use cloth bags. I also do a lot of shopping at consignment/thrift shops. Thanks for the chance!

    makinglemonadeblog at gmail dot com

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  8. We try to conserve energy,use paper instead of styrofoam,take short showers and recycle
    hollow_sins@yahoo.com


    the balance board is so neat!!

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  9. twitter follower
    hollowsins
    hollow_sins@yahoo.com

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  10. I switched to cloth diapers with the baby!

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  11. became their fan on facebook

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  12. following them on twitter twoofakind

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  13. following on networked blogs

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  14. We take our own bags to the grocery store!

    tiggeraj at yahoo dot com

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  15. We use our own fabric (they're sturdier) grocery shopping bags (my store gives bonus points for that too!)
    I would love to get a green vehicle, but ya know...we can't afford a new one right now.

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  16. I Follow Challenge & Fun on Twitter =)

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  17. I follow you in google reader!

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  18. I'm a google friend connector!

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  19. Gotcha on Twitter too! @MommyImHungry

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  20. and I share your blog button on my blog here:
    http://ldylvbgr.blogspot.com/2008/09/favorite-links-bloggers-and-such.html

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  21. I tweeted! http://twitter.com/MommyImHungry/status/5110917662

    Ldylvbgr AT hotmail.com

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  22. we try to use our reusable totes while shopping

    P.S. Do hop by and enter my blog giveaways too- http://energizerbunnysmommyreports.blogspot.com/2009/10/weekly-giveaway-summaryupdated-on-1023.html

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  23. I follow on twitter as ebmommy

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  24. My family has room to grow to live greener, but a few things we do are:

    1. Buy used whenever possible (recycle). I try to reuse products and buy used whenever possible. This means anything from reusing plastic containers that we purchase food in to buying household items such as clothing, etc.

    2. Use energy efficient bulbs. We have replaced all of our light bulbs with energy efficient kinds.

    3. Annually plant more trees in our yard and support the Arbor Day Foundation

    4. Participate in our state recycling plan.

    We still have far to go as a family to live greener, but we have started and are trying!

    girlygirlugh at gmail dot com

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  25. I am a facebook fan. My screen name is Jessica Hendrickson

    girlygirlugh at gmail dot com

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  26. I follow on Google Friend connect

    girlygirlugh at gmail dot com

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  27. I follow your blog with an RSS feeder

    girlygirlugh at gmail dot com

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  28. We recycle, replaced all of our lightbulbs with energy efficient ones, use energy efficient appliances, use our own grocery bags and just try to use less, period!

    I love your blog, Faye...you're doing so well!

    That labrynth board is excellent!

    nance720@cox.net

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  29. I tweeted again Faye! http://twitter.com/MommyImHungry/status/5322158886

    ReplyDelete

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