Shop Sundays, and a word about our toys

Wow! What a busy day! It was great to see so many shoppers out enjoying the warm-ish weather and holiday spirit. Kelley (aka Dad, aka Mr. Pufferbellies) and I darted out for a few minutes early in the day to visit the new Staunton Art Supply. On our way back, we came across a lovely lady selling handmade wreaths near Beverley Street. You can now view two of those wreaths on Pufferbellies’ front door!

Tomorrow is Sunday, so you can Shop for a Cause at Pufferbellies. 10% of our Sunday sales in December will go directly to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge. They do great work for our community, and we welcome this opportunity to support them.

I haven’t taken up too much space here to talk about the issue of recalled toys, specifically toys made in China, but we do spend a lot of time talking about toy safety in our store, and helping our customers find toys that they feel confident purchasing. Here are a few things I’d like you to know about the toys in our store.

1. To the absolute best of my knowledge, our toys are safe for your children. We do not personally test toys for lead content; both the CPSC and the EPA have made public statements to the effect that home lead test kits are unreliable (often giving false positive and false negative results) and that consumers and non-professional-testers should not rely on them. We do deal with reputable companies, who provide us with information on how they test their toys and what the results of those tests are. That information is in a binder at the front counter and available for all our customers to peruse. We opened our store to serve children and families. We count our customers as friends. We would never do anything to hurt our friends.

2. We strongly suggest that parents read and heed the age recommendations on toy packaging — in particular the “ages 3+ recommendation.” If you see “ages 3+” on a toy, that means that in all likelihood it has small parts that could present choking hazards. These toys should not be given to children under 3, or any child who mouths or swallows non-food items.

3. If you are choosing not to purchase toys made in China at this time, we respect and support that decision. I have done my best to stock our store with many toys made in the USA and in Europe, alongside toys made in China. Here’s a sample of what we can offer you:

  • Lego (Most Lego products are manufactured in Europe. Some are made in Mexico. A few are made in China. The packaging will reveal where a particular item is made)
  • Playmobil (Nearly 100% of Playmobil items are made in Germany)
  • Fractiles (USA)
  • Whittle Wooden Railway (USA)
  • Gamewright games (many made in USA)
  • Briarpatch games (USA)
  • Ravensburger games, puzzles, and art supplies (most made in Germany and Czech Republic)
  • Faber-Castell art supplies (many made in Brazil, India)
  • Plan Toys (made in Thailand from eco-friendly rubberwood)
  • HABA (most wooden items made in Germany)
  • Just Jump It jumpropes & bucket stilts (USA)
  • Paricon snow shovels, snowball makers, etc (USA)
  • Yomega yo-yos (many made in USA)
  • Harrisville Designs craft kits & supplies (USA)
  • Thames & Kosmos science kits (most made in Germany)
  • Selecta baby/toddler toys (Germany)
  • Flensted mobiles (Denmark)
  • P-Sharan pinhole cameras (Japan)
  • Flying Pig paper models (UK)
  • Helga Kreft mobiles (Germany)
  • Uncle Goose wooden blocks (USA)
  • GeoMags magnetic building sets (Switzerland)
  • Domus banks (Denmark)
  • Chelona puzzles (many made in Greece)
  • Challenge & Fun balance boards (USA)
  • Sina musical blocks (Germany)
  • Plantarium seed kits (Italy)
  • inflatable Rody Horses & hop balls (Italy)
  • ImagiPlay play sets (Sri Lanka)
  • Nyokki seed kits (Japan)
  • Model plane kits (Japan)
  • Lauri puzzles, games & lacing toys (USA)
  • Roy Toys [coming soon!] (USA)
  • Kathe Kruse soft baby toys and dolls (Germany)
  • Quercetti marble runs (Italy)
  • Nature Fun kaleidoscopes, “looking eyes,” magnets & prisms (Germany)
  • Buki activity books (Israel)
  • Slinky (USA)
  • Dunecraft seed kits (USA)
  • Lana organic plush (Turkey and Lithuania)
  • Sophie the Giraffe (France)
  • Ceaco pieceless puzzles (USA)
  • Bruder tractors, trucks, and heavy equipment (Germany)

It’s important to us that you feel happy and confident about the toys you give to your kids. We want your holiday shopping to be fun and exciting — not scary or nerve-wracking. We’d love to help you discover brands or styles of toys that you didn’t know about. Come give us a try.

Thanks for your support.

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