When moms look for toddler toys, they want it all: fun, well made, developmentally appropriate…adorable doesn’t hurt, either. Hallmark Art Director Amy A. drew on her perspective and insight as a mom to guide the development of the play mats and toys in our new learn+play+discover line. Every toy is designed to foster happy, healthy growth and development. She talked to us about the thought that went into the collection—and the benefits little ones get out of it.
A new collection of toddler toys
I had a 2-year-old and was newly pregnant with twins when I started developing the learn+play+discover line. At the time, we hadn’t offered anything specifically for toddlers (12 months to 5 years), which is a really exciting time for a little one’s development.
I asked myself what I would want for my 2-year-old, and the answer was something low-tech or no-tech that could keep him engaged and didn’t take up a lot of space. Something cute that also tied into his developmental needs but that was made of really high-quality materials. Toys built to last are important to me: I know that what I buy for my older child, my younger kiddos will play with someday, too.
It was so great to collaborate with a few of the talented artists at Hallmark—Amber G., Tuesday S., and Colin W.—to make such an incredibly fun line of products. The play mats are made of cotton with an anti-slip back and are thick and durable enough to be used as rugs in a bedroom or play space…and they’re cute to boot. We created fun environments to inspire play: the park, the city, and the farm.
The artists used vibrant colors and provided so much opportunity for interaction and imaginary play. The wooden toys are darling and include a diverse range of people and sweet animals. Some of my favorites are the buffalo, beaver, and llama, which aren’t animals we often see for kids, but Tuesday made them so adorable. The wooden toys were designed to live well on all of the mats so mixing and matching can be part of the fun.
The packaging on each toy calls out the developmental goals and age group it’s targeting. These particular toys were designed for children over 18 months old, so the wooden pieces are thick and chunky to make them easy for small hands to grasp.
The paint is nontoxic, just in case these toys find their ways into little mouths, and some of the chunkier pieces are hollowed out to make them as safe as possible for excited little hands.
I spent a lot of time at toy factories helping to develop products that would be worthy of parents who want the very best for their kids.
Now my twins are 2.5, and they love playing with these toys. My daughter is obsessed with the school bus, and my son loves running off with all of the vehicles. Everyone loves being on the floor, playing together. This line of products didn’t just come from a need within our stores…it came from a need within my life. It makes me happy and feels so fulfilling to see my kids enjoying something that I’ve worked so hard on and that’s been so long in the making.
See all the toddler toys in Hallmark’s new learn+play+discover line.