CARLE PLACE, N.Y., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- While there is no denying
the joy of seeing little ones light up as they unwrap their presents, the
holidays can also enlighten our children with experiential "gifts" that
will last a lifetime. So say the directors of HearthSong and Magic Cabin,
two companies that are encouraging adults this year to "make something more
of the holidays."
HearthSong (www.hearthsong.com) and Magic Cabin (www.magiccabin.com)
specialize in products that inspire active, imaginative and creative play,
all of which contribute to a child's healthy development, sense of self and
relationship to others. The holidays offer abundant opportunity in these
areas. From dressing up to retell the stories of Christmas, Chanukah or
Kwanzaa to earmarking time for building, drawing or playing together, the
season adds rich traditions and innumerable opportunities to enrich a
child's already inquisitive and rapidly expanding mind.
Beverly Fries, Vice President, Merchandising for HearthSong and Magic
Cabin, offers the following suggestions for how adults can keep kids active
and imaginative while sharing experiences and celebrating with them this
Make time for down time but make sure it's fun time. Last-minute
shopping, family visits, neighborhood parties and the annual holiday photo
are all important traditions of the season and provide many opportunities
to spend time together. When it comes to a child's healthy development,
however, Fries says that perhaps the most important activity to put on the
holiday schedule is open, imaginative play, especially when you can make
time to join in on the fun.
Embrace traditions that inspire creativity and encourage family
togetherness. With its religious and cultural traditions and its historical
significance, the holidays offer context for imaginative play unsurpassed
by any other time of the year, adds Fries. From laying out a make-believe
holiday feast, to cooking up real holiday treats like popcorn or
gingerbread houses alongside adults, to recreating crafts that recall
celebrations from times long past, to learning how to play a holiday tune
on a musical instrument, quality holiday time offers parents and kids more
than just memories.
Remember the "active" part of "activity." Especially as the days get
shorter and weather gets cooler, the lure of idle indoor activity such as
videogames, computers and TV increases. But there are many opportunities
for active indoor and outdoor play that can help develop children's bodies
and minds. "In wintry climates," says Fries, "children and parents can
engage in active outdoor fun ranging from building igloos or snowmen to
flat-surface kick-sledding around the block, or stay inside and give shape
recognition and fine motor skills a workout by piecing together puzzles,
setting up domino courses, building with linkable toys and blocks, or
making art or handmade crafts. In warmer climates, play activity from
dress-up performances to easel painting to erecting tents and teepees may
offer the options of indoor or outdoor play. The important thing is to
encourage kids to get active."
Built for safety. Built to last. Year after year, parents lament
spending endless hours assembling toys that will come apart or run out of
power about as quickly as they lose a child's attention. Recent news
stories about recalled products have added product safety to their
concerns. Magic Cabin and HearthSong products may hearken back to earlier,
simpler times, notes Fries, but they nonetheless are subject to the most
sophisticated and modern-day quality assurance measures, including Federal
regulatory standards for lead in paint and toy safety.
"Our mission is to offer products people can feel good about giving,
not only because they're safe and sturdy but also because they inspire
constructive and -- of course -- fun-filled play that provides a sense of
accomplishment and awakens a love of learning," says Fries. "We hope that
by being selective about what we put in our catalogs, we'll inspire
parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts to be equally selective about the
gifts they give and how they and their children spend their time together.
The holidays and childhood are both fleeting times in our lives, and we
hope everyone will make the most of them."
About HearthSong and Magic Cabin
HearthSong (www.hearthsong.com) was founded in 1983 by Barbara Kane
based on a growing conviction that children need more time to explore the
world around them and to engage in joyful, creative and imaginative play.
Drawing on the philosophies of child psychologists, parents, toymakers and
educators -- especially those from the Waldorf school of thought --
HearthSong markets children's products that build skills, provide a sense
of accomplishment and awaken a love of learning. With a circulation of some
19 million copies, the HearthSong catalog features carefully selected,
caringly developed and rigorously tested "Toys You'll Feel Good About
Giving(R)," all of which carry an unconditional guarantee. Many items
additionally bear the Parents' Choice(R) seal, which is given to products
that meet and exceed standards agreed upon by educators, scientists,
performing artists, librarians, parents and children.
Magic Cabin (www.magiccabin.com) began in 1989 as a home-based business
making natural-fiber Waldorf-style dolls, and expanded to offer doll-making
kits and classes before founder and former stay-at-home mom Sara McDonald
mailed her first catalog in 1990. Today the company develops and markets
Childhood's Purest Treasures(R) -- heirloom-quality, environmentally
friendly products that are fun to play with and inspire good-old-fashioned
make believe. The products run mostly on imagination and inspire children
to stretch their minds, learning while they play and create.
Conscientiously selected, they are beautiful and enchanting, sturdy and
safe. All products carry unconditional guarantees and undergo extensive
safety testing to conform to the strictest Federal safety standards in
addition to the company's own stringent standards for quality.
SOURCE HearthSong and Magic Cabin