Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Stuff from Nico and Zoe - Store Review

Nico & Zoe is the creation of two moms, Pamela (Zoe's mom) and Stacy (Nico's mom). Their inspiration is their children. They are always on the lookout for high quality, locally made, funky toys - that don’t cost too much.

They carry toys manufactured by green companies such as Plan Toys, Voila, Sparrowkids, Anne Claire-Petit, Kathe Kruse, Chelona, Wee Gallery, Yellow Label Kids, and US designed and manufactured toys by D and Me, Mossy Creek, Maple Landmark, Lauri, Montgomery Schoolhouse, Camden Rose, and Imagination Box Co. They also have small production, hand made items by Sockadoodle Do, Zoe’s Baby Toys, Sweeter Dolls, Monkey Doodle and more.

We recently placed an order with Nico & Zoe, and we love our new toys.

Zita Zoe Felt Ravioli ($17.00)

Arielle loves eating ravioli. She says they are good because "they look like little fishies". So, Zita Zoe's handmade felt ravioli was a great addition to her toy kitchen. The ravioli is made by Pamela, and they are exclusive to Nico and Zoe's. They come packaged just like real, fresh pasta. The ravioli is made of 70% wool felt, and the packaging is recyclable/compostable. The packaging lasted for a few days of play, but then the ravioli were on their own.

Not a problem. Ravioli make an excellent lunch for bears, and you can cook them over and over again. If the bears decide they'd rather eat honey, then the ravioli make excellent pillows for sleepy Anamalz. They can also be sorted, counted and stacked.

Jungle Wall Graphics ($38.00)

This was the purchase that I was most excited about. Now that the last of our big boys is going to college, we are finally converting our computer room into a play room and I needed a way for it to say kid-space without being too childish as it is adjacent to our living and dining rooms. These Blik wall decals are perfect. What a great way to dress-up the dress-up corner.

I wiped the wall with a damp cloth (knocked down quite a few cobwebs) and the decals stuck very easily and smoothly. Repositioning was no problem. Linnea loves monkeys, so she was very excited to see the happy monkeys swinging on the wall.

I like the graphic simplicity of the black and white images. They'd work well in a nursery, and are far more sophisticated than pink bunnies or dancing sheep. Nico and Zoe's also carries Garden Wall Graphics with a squirrel, bird, bugs and worm. It was a very tough decision.

Gymnic Hop Ball ($29.00)

This was one of those toys that required no explanation. This very sturdy hop ball is made by Gymnic in Italy of non-toxic, latex-free and phthalate-free vinyl (which corresponds to the European norms and are TÜV/GS and CE marked). It inflated quickly and easily using a bicycle pump, and comes with one valve and two plugs. Arielle had no problem staying up and used up lots of energy (always a good thing). If you have the space, it can also be used indoors. It's probably a great solution to the winter blahs.

Gymnic Rody Pony ($48.00)

Linnea is too small for a hop ball (although she thinks throwing such a big ball is great fun), but the Gymnic Rody Pony is a sturdy bouncy toy made of the same Italian vinyl. It is suggested for ages two and up, and Linnea is eighteen months old. The amount it is inflated can be adjusted to fit children of different sizes (so can the hop ball). And it can be used both indoors and out.

I wanted to get a picture of Linnea happily bouncing, but it came out a blur! Again, this is a good way to use up some energy. After a week of rainy days, it is just what she needed.

The moms at Nico & Zoe's are always looking for new toys that are good for the kids, environment and health. They just added Soy Crayons ($8.00) and will soon be carrying safe-plastic sand toys by Wader, a German company.

Nico & Zoe has offered our readers 10% off their purchase with the code "nicozoefun08".

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