Eco-Friendly Felt Toys for Children, Teachers and Therapists

In 2011, I made a set of play food out of felt for my then 3 year old grandson to use in his new play kitchen. It was important that he could use this play food to learn shapes, colors and about different types of food. I didn’t care for the plastic food available and thought the wood food was potentially damaging (kids throw things!). His reaction was immediate joy and engagement.

I was inspired to share my lovingly made items with others.

In order to be earth conscious, I found a felt that was made from recycled plastic bottles. The benefit was immediately obvious when I washed and dried the pieces. They hold their shape and color perfectly for a long life.

After designing about 30 different food items I began the process of making these toys for children and toddlers, some by hand and some by machine. We bought dies and a hand die cutting machine so that it wouldn’t take so long cut each part. There was a lot of experimenting to be able to sew these beautiful food items in the shortest amount of time. Some items, such as the Kiwi fruit, must be completely sewn by hand.

I care about each piece I make. I design the patterns, sew the pieces, design and assemble all the packaging —all with quality and fun in mind. When I need help I hire my sister and a couple of friends to meet my deadline.

The rule is “have fun making them”.

We decided to offer some pieces in individual packages and to put some pieces into groupings such as our tea party set or our lunch items set.

One of my customers made me aware of the potential benefit of Noshkins toys to teachers and therapists. Noshkins can be more than just a toy. Noshkins employs visual and tactile stimulation through their texture, color and easily recognizable food shapes. They can be self soothing while acting as symbolic tools for parents, teachers and range of professionals to aid both typical children and those with special needs. Children can learn colors, shapes and food names, practice fine motor skills and nutritional choices while playing.

Noshkins go beyond toys. Some collect or display them. They’re also fun to use in craft projects. One customer used the carrots as part of her spring wreath!

Each piece is designed, packaged and handmade with detail and affection by me in Tustin, California in a pet and smoke free environment.


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