How to play: In the easiest version, the youngest player rolls the both dice. Everyone looks at the cards, and finds the the one with the child wearing the matching colors. For instance, if the dice show pink and red, you look for the card that shows a girl with a red shirt and pink pants. The person who finds the card first, gets to keep it and the first person to keep five cards wins.
We had to change the rules a bit. Some mommies are pretty good at searching, and I wanted Arielle to win. Instead, only the person who rolled the dice could look for the card. If the color had already been rolled, that person's turn was skipped. This change allowed Arielle to win fairly most of the time.
This game offers two more variations that make it a little more challenging for older players. I wouldn't suggest this game for elementary age children, but it is perfect for the 3-5 year old crowd.
Picco Duetto is available at Hazelnut Kids. Hazelnut Kids sells safe, Earth-friendly, wooden and organic cotton toys for babies and children. They sell no plastic, no lead, no batteries, and no pthalates. Brands include Haba, Plan Toys, Holztiger, Selecta, Kathe Kruse, North Star Toys, Under the Nile, Sarah's Silks, and Anamalz.
Their logo is the super-cute Selecta Ellina snail ($6.90).
Very clever! As soon as I saw the snail, I knew that I "needed" a few as stocking stuffers. It is even cuter in real life. I have the Christmas gifts hidden in the laundry room, and occasionally, I've had to take the snails out and play with them. I'm going to need to buy a few more. They'll make an excellent and inexpensive gift for play group friends, nieces and nephews (with some play silks), and I can even see sending a few to the school gift exchange.
I also purchased the Plan Toaster ($19.90), so we could replace the Melissa and Doug toaster with the chipping paint. It is smaller than I expected, but just the right size for a play kitchen. Arielle is really enjoying pushing the button to make the toast pop - I've eaten a lot of pretend toast this week! And, I'm enjoying not having paint chips in the play room.
My final purchase was Picky the Waddling Penguin ($4.90). When my older children were small, they loved wind-up toys, but wind-ups are usually made in China out of plastic. This penguin from Plan Toys is a nice alternative.
Hazelnut Kids has a really nice selection of inexpensive stocking stuffers.
While you are browsing Hazelnut Kids, check out their page about the benefits of natural play. And, my favorite page - the safety information. Every brand sold by Hazelnut Kids is listed. For each brand, they list both staff and customer's favorite toys, the country where the toys are made, the materials used, the safety standards met, awards received, and manufacturer statements. I wish every store showed this level of concern.
In addition, Hazelnut Kids offers a loyalty program which offers points for shopping and for reviews. Be sure to sign up to get their newsletter and to enter drawings for free toys. Finally, one percent of the profits are donated to land conservancies, and a tree is planted for each item purchased. Yay! for environmental responsibility.