HearthSong and Magic Cabin Urge Consumers to 'Make Something More of the Holidays'

With the Right Materials and Motivation, There Are Endless Opportunities

for Joyful, Creative and Imaginative Play to Help Celebrate the Season


Nov 15, 2007, 00:00 ET from HearthSong and Magic Cabin

    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