Christmas has come and gone. It was a crazy event for little Darah, who was basically assaulted with presents! Don’t get me wrong; we are extremely grateful for the generosity of our family and friends. But Darah is going to be re-discovering her toys all year long as we have put most of them away, and on the suggestion of my BFF, will be pulling them out one at a time on “rainy days” when we could use something new and exciting.
The toys that got put away first were the annoying ones. Anything that made noise is just not in rotation for now. I can see where some of these toys do have their place (Darah does continue to LOVE her battery-operated drums), but overall, I think all the noisy toys are just that: noise.
That’s why I’m drawn to the online toy store, Oompa. Their tag line is, “NO BATTERIES. NO BLINKING LIGHTS. NO CARTOON-THEMED TOYS. PERIOD.” The founder, mompreneur Milanie Cleere, started Oompa because, “I felt there was something unnatural about surrounding my daughter with so many disposable toys. I wondered if she dreamt of copyrighted characters or if her first words would be ‘Dora’ or ‘Mickey’. I wondered if she would ever learn to use her imagination. She did, after all, play with toys that with the push of a single button did and said everything for her.”
But finding a good selection of toys that were designed to last and that weren’t covered with characters from television wasn’t exactly easy. She finally found what she was looking for in Europe, where they seem to know what they are doing when it comes to making high quality toys that inspire creative play.
While I was researching Oompa, I was especially impressed with the statement they make about how they ensure that they pick truly safe toys to sell. Their process includes extensive interviews with company representatives and annual onsite tours of manufacturing facilities where the toys they offer are made. That’s some serious quality control, and as a parent, does give me some confidence that the toys at Oompa are totally safe.
Speaking of the toys at Oompa, let me tell you about the one we got to try out. It is the Twisterz Toys Alphabet Matcher. Basically it works like this: “A child twists the rings on the toy to choose a letter, then attempts to find the five objects on the ring that start with that letter! Alphabet It contains three extra sets of rings, covering 24 letters and 120 images!” It is recommended for children ages 3 and up, but Darah is already enjoying it now. While she can’t yet match up images and letters, she can name some of the pictures and some of the letters independently. And she really likes moving the rings around.
One thing I really like about the Twisterz Alphabet Matcher is that it is really portable (especially if you aren’t bringing along the extra rings). It can very easily fit in a diaper bag or a purse. I think it is going to be an especially helpful toy to have on long car rides, as it can occupy a child for quite some time, all without making obnoxious noises that the driver has to endure!
The other thing I like about this toy is that it engages a child in so many different ways. As your child plays with the Alphabet Matcher, s/he will work on motor skills, logic, problem solving and spelling.
My first experience with Oompa was a very positive one. Now I’ve got my eye on the Caterpillar Box as a second birthday gift idea for little D!
Win it!: One lucky Stuff Parents Need reader will get your very own Alphabet Matcher, courtesy of Oompa! The contest will run until January 19th at 11:59pm EST when a winner will be selected via Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning notification before the prize is forfeited and a new winner is selected. Open to residents of the United States. Limit one entrant per household, please.
Mandatory entry: Tell me an item that Oompa Toys sells that is really catching your eye. Their selection is HUGE, so just look in the What’s New section!
My answer: This bird puzzle. Darah really loves birds right now, and it coordinates with her room! Perfect!
Be sure to enter my other current giveaways, found on the sidebar of my home page.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary item for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This post contains affiliate links.