Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tea Time!

For us, one of the hardest to find toys (and the one that gets the most use) has been a tea set. There are some absolutely lovely tea sets out there, but most of them are made in China or out of questionable materials. And, a certain little girl I know likes to throw things, so a beautiful porcelain tea set is going to have to wait a few years.

We started with wood. This wooden tea set ($28.99) from Erzi is cute and teeny tiny - perfect for little dolls or hungry bears. But, in the past few years, I've re-glued every part possible and it seems awfully expensive for two tiny cups and saucers and a tea pot. Also, since the parts do come off, they may be a choking hazard to children who put things in their mouths.

Our next tea set was a lovely enamel tea for three set ($44.95). It was a birthday gift, and the pieces are child-size rather than bear-size. But, unfortunately, it is made in China and is now sitting on a high up shelf looking pretty rather than being played with.

I was very happy when I found this Safe Plastic tea set from Gowi ($35.00).

It is made in Austria of phthalate-free, PVC-free plastic. It's just the right size. And, because it is plastic, it is perfectly fine with being used in the bath tub or in the sand box. In the picture, Arielle is making "sand tea" for the Arielle Cooking Show. She also loves being given a bit of bubble bath in a tub, so she can "wash dishes".

And it is great that there are so many uses for tea sets, because then we had a chance to review the recycled plastic cook set ($39.95) from Green toys. Green Toys also makes a smaller tea set, and ours is on its way.

We love Green Toys. The recycled plastic is PVC, BPA and phthalate free and it is made in the USA from recycled plastic bottles. The frying pan in the cook sey is a big favorite with both Linnea and Arielle, as is the pot which has a nice lid. I will update with action pictures very soon. This is our absolute favorite and I can't think of anything negative to say at all.

Other options

Another non-breakable option is this Crochet tea set ($30.00 - on sale) from Down To Earth Toys. It is made in the USA from 100% wool.

There are some great porcelain tea sets for older girls. I love the German tea sets at A Toy Garden.

Large Rose-Fairy tea set ($98.95)

Strawberry tea set ($74.95)

But my absolute favorite, the tea set of my toy dreams, is the Toadstool tea set ($140) which is handmade by artist Giana Eden. It is available at Mahar Dry Goods. I can just picture Mama Gnome serving tea to her fairytale guests. But, it not for us -- not for a long time.


Sarah said...

That toadstool set is so wonderful!! I also love the Reutter Porzellan sets, we have one put away (gift from a grandpa) for another year or two I think.

In the meantime, what we went with was vintage Creative Playthings -- all aluminum and made in Italy, and using vintage is of course a form of recycling. A teaset is easy to put together on ebay, the cookware not so much. But still, a worthwhile option, I think!

Sara said...

Definitely worthwhile. I'd say the tea sets/cook set are the most played with toys in our house. And they come up with such great ways to play. Today, there were stuffed penguins napping in tea cups and rabbits carefully tucked into bowls.

Tina said...

I think once a child is ready for a china/porcelain tea set, a good option is to just go to Goodwill or a flea market and put a hodge-podge collection together. You can find so many tea cups in those places, and the kids don't care if they match or not. And, then if they break, you didn't spend a ton of money either. And of course, re-purposing is a great thing too!