Saturday, September 6, 2014

Button Tree Kids Review

Button Tree Kids is a local store located in Worcester, MA that carries a wonderful selection of clothing, shoes, accessories, books, toys, educational games, and even natural skincare products! Their products are suitable for newborns all the way to pre-teens! They carry a huge list of name brand products from companies such as Melissa and Doug, eeBoo, Hape, Lottie and many more! To our delight, we were sent a mystery package full of eeBoo products to review!

It wasn't until after my children were born that I discovered eeBoo, but I am so glad we did! We have loved eeBoo ever since! They make really lovely products that encourage creativity and imaginative play. Their products include flash cards, arts and crafts supplies, puzzles, board games and so much more!

Our package contained an art book, a set of flash cards, a set of story cards and paper dolls! My kids were so eager to open them up and play with them! We packed them up and took them along to a picnic at our local park. We met up with other children from our neighborhood and enjoyed sharing our snacks and taking turns using these products. The older kids loved playing games with the story cards and drawing in the art book, while the younger kids played dress-up with the paper dolls and learned about the environment with the flash cards. 

Drawing Book from eeBoo is illustrated by award-winning Melissa Sweet and intended for children ages 5+. This art book includes simple activities to explore light, form, type, portraits and more! Children will be able to create their own designs, color in pictures, and experiment with artistic techniques. Some of the creative activities include: creating your own patterns, inventing your own alphabet and mapping out your neighborhood! My children especially loved drawing scenes from nature, designing buildings in a city and drawing vehicles in motion!

Price: $5.99

Respect the Earth Flash Cards from eeBoo introduce eco-friendly ideas to children in an easy-to-understand way. Children will learn that they are part of a larger community and have responsibilities at home that protect nature. These cards will also teach children about personal responsibility (honesty, safety and good hygiene) and social responsibility (manners, cooperation and respecting the law). Children will learn simple ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! 

To use the cards, place the cards face up (the side with no border). Read the card aloud and prompt your child to answer. Let them know that there are many right answers. After they answer, turn the card over and read the answer aloud. Compare their answer to the card. Your child will learn more as you talk to them about environmental responsibility. 

Some examples are:
"When shopping for food... Shop at farmer's markets. Buy things produced nearby. (Less energy to get it to market.)" 
"When you write or draw... Use both sides of a piece of paper!"
"If you want fresher air... Don't use air fresheners containing chemicals. (Try natural fresheners like lavender.)" 

A child's answer might be: "When you notice a leak that wastes water..." Let mommy know so she can fix it!

These cards are great to begin learning about nature and environmental responsibility! Encourage your child to ask questions and research ways to help the environment. These cards provide a stepping stone for life-long learners to love and care for their environment! Be sure to involve your child in tasks they can complete that reinforce their understanding of environmental responsibility, such as recycling, cleaning with natural products, and turning off the lights when they leave a room. 

Price: $11.99

Poet and Astronomer Paper Dolls from eeBoo is a Platinum Best Toy Award Winner! These Thoughtful Girl paper dolls are simply beautiful! Each set includes a double-sided play scene, two paper dolls and two sheets of re-usable clothes and accessories. These dolls are great for creative storytelling activities!

The paper dolls are made out of heavy board and the clothes and accessories are made out of electrostatic vinyl. The stand-up scene is sturdy and provides a background for dramatic play. Both girls come with four complete outfits and accessories that match their hobbies, so there are lots of options for these girls to mix and match their outfits. Some of the paper doll sets even include a cultural outfit! Be sure to save the box for easy storage of the dolls and accessories! 

On the back of each package you can find the names of the girls and a brief description of their hobbies. This set includes Iris the astronomer and Phoebe the poet. The background scene is inspired by their favorite place to be. In this case, Iris's background is the balcony outside her school's observatory. She enjoys watching the stars and having friends over for a party. Phoebe works at a stable where she takes care of the horses. After class, she meets her friends at the stable and they go for a ride. She also enjoys writing poetry at the stable on quiet afternoons. 

Price: $14.99

My daughter and her friends had so much fun dressing up the dolls and setting the stage for interesting conversations and adventures!

Robot's Mission Tell Me a Story from eeBoo are illustrated by Saxton Freymann. They are creative cards that encourage imaginative storytelling! These cards can be used for early-reader activities and games. It is not necessary for your child to know how to read, as the cards only feature futuristic pictures! This card game will engage your child with fun pictures of robot people and their pets, fascinating buildings and unique locations. Your child can use these cards to build on their literacy knowledge by listening, speaking, reading and sometimes even writing! Storytelling is important for building your literacy skills and this is a great product to engage your little learner!

There are three ways you can use these cards or you can make up your own option. The first way is to have your child tell a story. Let your child choose a card to begin the story. Choose additional cards when you need to build on the story. An easy way to do this is to spread out the cards so they can see them all or let your child pick out certain cards ahead of time. There are recurring characters, places and objects throughout the cards, which makes it easier for children to connect the story. Your child will naturally learn how to create a plot by creating their own unique stories. They will develop sequencing skills along the way, which will help them create more stories in the future! When your child is finished, you can retell the story to them or you can write it down for them to keep. 

Another way to play is to create a Silly Story Game. Have the youngest player go first and choose the top card from a stack of shuffled cards. They will begin the story by describing the card. Take turns drawing cards and adding new events or characters. This will make it easier for younger children to stay engaged. It will be interesting to listen to the story, since it will be told by people with different literacy skills. Ask questions about the story afterward to test memory skill. 

We typically play this way by handing each person four cards. They are allowed to play any number of cards on their turn, but if they decide to pass, they have to draw a card. You do not have to draw a card at the end of your turn if you played any number of your cards, however you can if you choose to if, for instance, you run out of cards. If you run out of ideas, you can pass to the next person. Interruption is not allowed, but you can request to go next if you are suddenly inspired by the current plot or a card. This usually does not upset people, because everyone is comfortable with taking turns and sharing. 

And lastly, you can tell your child a story. Sometimes children want a story told to them, rather than them telling it. This can be a fun way for parents to tell creative stories that involve pictures of characters and places that their children love. Tell a story you already have in mind using pre-selected cards, or let your child choose the story cards and you can improvise the story. You can also work together to tell a story with your child. 

Price: $9.99 

We played this game at the park with a few friends. Everyone took turns telling part of the story. One girl wanted to be surprised by her cards, so she lined them up face down and turned one over on her turn. It was a great activity that promoted improvised storytelling! At the end of the game, each child told another unique story using only the cards in front of them.

One great feature of eeBoo's products is that they come in nifty packages that can be used to store the items, such as the pull out drawers for the flash cards and story cards and the heavy board packaging for the paper dolls. The packaging is also not bulky, which means it's so much easier to store everything (not to mention, better for the environment), and it's super sturdy, so you'll never have to replace it!

I love supporting local stores, so I know exactly where I'll be shopping for Christmas and birthday presents! Be sure to check out their website for more great products or stop by their store if you're a local, too!

Check out their blog at:

Disclosure: I received these products free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not swayed by the free products. All opinions are my own. 
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