Ten toys for ten dollars or less. In support of handmade toys, these are all from Etsy.
1. Pocket Gnomes ($7.50)
These little gnomes from lillipilli are handmade out of wool and cotton. Each gnome is about 2 inches tall, just the right size to carry in a pocket or ride in a toy truck. They are available in a whole rainbow of colors. The gnomes are made in Australia, so leave extra time for shipping. I think they are the friendliest little gnomes I've seen.
2. Felt finger puppets($8 each)
Puppets are still such a big deal for Arielle, and these ones are so festive. The puppets are made of eco-felt or rayon/wool felt. Stayawake also has a very cool space set (not $10).
3. Modeling beeswax - citrus colors ($8.20)
Twinkle of my Eye makes modeling beeswax using local (British Columbia) beeswax, organic oil and non-toxic pigment. Beeswax can be challenging for younger children who are used to working with dough, but a lot of fun for older kids. The wax has to warm up in your hand, but then it is very flexible and it smells yummy. It's really not like dough at all, but a whole different modeling experience.
4. Wooly acorns ($10.00)
Little Seedling makes a variety of natural toys and super cute clothing for Waldorf doll. But, I have a thing for acorns. I bet all the imaginary squirrels out there are thinking these look awfully tasty. The acorns are made of felted wool attached to real acorn caps.
Mamaroots makes wooden acorns ($4.00)
5. Moondrop ($10.00)
Linnea has several of these. The dolls are very very soft and very cuddly and a good grasping size for little ones (4"). They deal well with toddler love, and are available in a rainbow of colors.
Moonchild Studio also makes the absolute cutest shoes for Waldorf dolls.
6. Wooden helicopter ($7.00)
Imagination Kids makes toys in Indiana using sustainably harvested wood, AP certified non-toxic paint, and homemade natural wood polish made from beeswax, jojoba oil, and essential oils. The helicopter is 3.5 inches by 5.25 inches, and is available in seven colors. Check out the small, but very cute rainbow stacker ($13.00).
7. Felted wool hedgehog ball ($10)
These fun hedgehog balls are made from 100% wool and are about 3" in diameter, so they fill a good section of stocking. In addition to felted toys, Beneath the Rowan Tree also sells bold, bright, beautiful play silks.
The husband-wife company Finns and Flowers makes natural toys from wood and wool in Maine. These three inch diameter teethers are finished with beeswax, and the bumpy texture is great for sore gums.
9. Secret Decoder ($9 for a set of two)
When I first married my husband, my youngest step-son was nine. He loved everything to do with spies. This secret decoder would have been a big deal. It uses a Caesar cipher and comes in a pair, so a friend can decode the message. Makes a great best-friend gift for eight to ten year olds.
Wood Toy Shop also has a large selection of wood vehicles under $10.
10. Felt cupcake ($8.00)
These cupcakes are big -- cupcake size. Arielle has a couple of Sugar Chic Baby cupcakes that are a few years old. Because they are so pretty, they are a favorite with visiting little girls.
Remember that this is Etsy, so if the listing is sold out, click on the store site as the item is often re-listed. Many Etsy artisans are great about doing custom work, so if you want something slightly different, send them a message with your ideas.
I noticed that many of my old favorite Etsy artisans are no longer selling their toys. Last year, I wrote about the CPSIA. Since then, I've learned a lot about American toy makers (both good and bad) and the difficulties they face. Many have gone out of business either because they cannot afford testing fees or because the law is so convuluted, it is hard to know if one is in compliance. To learn more about handmade toys and the CPSIA, visit the Handmade Toy Alliance.