deep into the forest game

For Small Hands Review and Giveaway ***CLOSED***

Regular readers of this blog know that I do relatively few sponsored giveaways, and I’m pretty choosy about what sponsors I’ll accept.  I have said no to reviews numerous times, but when I heard from Ann over at For Small Hands, my answer was an emphatic yes. As a teacher, I was recommending their company and products long before I started blogging, and have ordered and linked to a number of things from the For Small Hands website and its companion Montessori Services since. I had the pleasure of learning a bit more about the company from Ann, and as a result am even happier than before to recommend them as a small, caring company started by a mother and teacher who wanted to stay home with her own young children. Something many of us can relate to! With all that in mind, I’m thrilled to be offering you the giveaway of a wonderful toy, and to share our experience with it.

Enjoying the snowy backdrop.

For this review, I chose the Deep Into the Forest Play Theater Game and I’m so glad I did. It is recommended for ages 3-7, but I felt it would be enjoyable for Annabelle, even at her younger age, and this has proven true. I can see it being well-loved even beyond the age of seven, too. Stay tuned to the end of the post, because you’ll have a chance to win one, too!

The first thing I noticed when the toy arrived was its neat and sturdy, reusable packaging. This is important to us, since we rotate toys in and out, leaving many things in the closet for long periods of time. It’s wonderful to have a toy that is not only enjoyable to play with, but also stores well. The endless potential of this toy, however, will keep it on our shelves far more than some others.

The toy itself includes a wooden “stage,” a piece of wood with several slats to hold the various play pieces depicting forest flora and fauna. The detachable backdrop allows the child to choose between two different scenes, one wintery and the other with a grassy hill. When not in use, this lays flat, making the whole thing compact to store. The sixteen different wooden play pieces feature realistically painted forest animals, trees, and shrubs and come with a sturdy cotton storage bag. The various slats allow pieces to be placed in a variety of positions, and the length of each slat lends itself to imaginative or dramatic play, as the animals can be made to “walk” across the scene. At 22 months old, Annabelle simply enjoys naming the play pieces and placing them on the stage. Already, I am seeing the language value of the toy in Annabelle’s chatter as she plays. I overhear her saying things like, “Put deer next tree,” and “Pheasant in front raccoon.” This is a great way for her to develop her language skills, and experiment with prepositions especially. It’s also a great fine motor exercise, as getting the play pieces into one of the slats, while easy to do, requires careful movements and hand-eye coordination.

Annabelle, excited to have matched the raccoon play piece its picture on the card.

In addition to the stage and play pieces, the toy comes with 12 sturdy, 2-sided cards. Each one shows a scene created against one of the backdrops, with two or more of the play pieces. At Annabelle’s age, I didn’t expect these to be useful at all yet, but they will certainly be wonderful as she gets older and begins learning more complicated matching skills and the recreation of patterns. I did want them in our photos, however, so I had them out one of the first times Annabelle and I looked at the game, and she was very taken with them. She actually loved to find the pieces corresponding to the ones in each scene, and place them on top of the cards themselves. Delighted with herself, she would grin and declare, “MATCH!” The cards are smaller scale than the play pieces themselves, so I’m sure this wasn’t what the designers of the toy had in mind for the cards, but Annabelle sure enjoyed it, and she loves to carry the cards around. I’m sure each one would make a great story-starter all on its own!

In an effort to be completely honest in my reviews, I typically include a blurb about the things I don’t love about a product, or describe why I wouldn’t recommend it for certain age groups or people. I have really tried here, but I honestly love this toy, and I can’t think of a single way to improve it.

The versatility of this toy makes it well worth the investment for any young child. Not only can it be used, as it is for Annabelle now, for individual play, but it can be used throughout the years to come, as a matching activity and as aplay theater. It would be great for simple games where a child and adult, or two children take turns giving commands and following them: “Put the fox behind the rock.” It can be used by an adult or an older child as a wonderful storytelling prop (more interesting than even the most intricate of felt boards!), or by a child alone as an inspiration for a great many stories, and for so much more. The possibilities are endless! My favorite thing about many of the toys For Small Hands sells is that they can be used in a variety of ways, and they grow with the child. This is absolutely true of the Deep Into the Forest Game, which is quickly becoming one of the most loved toys in our house!

Buy It

Image from For Small Hands' website.

If you’d like to buy your very own Deep Into the Forest Game, you can visit For Small Hands on their website. While you’re there, I definitely encourage you to look around at their other offerings. You’re sure to find many other products to love, from cooperative games to great books to tools and household items that help young children foster their independence, and so much more. You can also request a catalog for easier browsing or call them at 800-214-8959 and reference item number Y99.

Win It

For Small Hands has generously offered one Deep Into the Forest Game to a lucky reader in the US (to include Guam!) or Canada. For your chance to win, see the directions below.

Mandatory Entry: Visit For Small Hands and report back with your favorite item (aside from the Deep Into the Forest game).

Bonus Entries

  • Subscribe to Vibrant Wanderings in a reader or by email (1 entry for each).
    (Thanks to Amanda for pointing out that these two links are having intermittent issues with loading. Hopefully it’s a temporary glitch, but for now copying and pasting this link to subscribe in a reader: http://feeds.feedburner.com/VibrantWanderings and this one to subscribe via email: http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=VibrantWanderings&loc=en_US  should do the trick!)
  • Post this giveaway on your Facebook page or wall and leave a comment with the link. You can use this status update: Enter to win The Deep Into the Forest Play Theater and Game from @For Small Hands on @Vibrant Wanderings. Giveaway ends February 9 and is open to US and Canada residents.
    Be sure to attach the URL for this post to your update: http://vibrantwanderings.com/2012/01/for-small-hands-giveaway.html
  • Follow @NewMommyFiles on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Tweet about this giveaway (up to 5 times total, at least 24 hours apart). You can tweet this text:  #Win a beautiful wooden toy from For Small Hands on Vibrant Wanderings http://bit.ly/zK5hqm {2.9; US & CAN} @NewMommyFiles #Montessori
  • Follow Me/Vibrant Wanderings on Pinterest, StumbleUpon, or Networked Blogs, or add me to your circles on Google+ (1 entry for each action). Be sure to leave a separate comment for each action, and let me know what your profile name is.

Rules

  • This giveaway is open to US and Canada mailing addresses only.
  • You must leave each entry as a separate comment. I will count each comment as one entry only.
  • The winner will be chosen via random.org after the giveaway closes and notified via email. Be sure to use a valid email address when you comment so that you can be contacted if you win! Giveaway closes at 11:59pm PST on February 9th.

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Disclosure: I received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was promised or provided All opinions expressed are my own, and I don’t benefit directly from purchases of this or any other item on For Small Hands. I strive to choose only items I think my readers will enjoy, from sellers I can recommend with a clear conscience. See my full disclosure on the About page.

80 thoughts on “For Small Hands Review and Giveaway ***CLOSED***

  1. Jennifer Smith

    My favorite item from For Small Hands is the Window Washing Activity. I have a little one that I homeschool using the Montessori method and this would be great for her. Thanks!

  2. Amanda M

    I already like For Small Hands on FB Amanda McClary
    ps- I could not get the reader or the email to work???

  3. Kim

    I wasn’t familiar with For Small hands, but have quickly become a fan. Their sewing and woodworking items are wonderful.

  4. Rose Witteveen

    I “like” For Small Hands on Facebook (Rose Witteveen) and my current favorite item from the catalog is the: hard wood clothes line stand—it gets so much use in our classroom.!

  5. Discovering Montessori

    I love this company! I drool over the catalog all the time. My favorite item is definetly the woodworking bench and everything that has to do with woodworking. My son and I have been saving for this for a long time now. The forest game always looked interesting to me as well.Thank you so much for this opportunity.

  6. Michelle

    I love For Small Hands!!! My favorite thing right now is the hammering shapes, I have it on my daughters wish list!

  7. Nichole

    I think my daughter would enjoy many toys and activities on their site! I could see myself purchasing the bolt block and the color sequencing game. I also really want a tower so she can more easily help me in the kitchen! :)

  8. Melissa V

    I like the peg loom best! My boys want to learn to crochet but it is proving difficult; most kits come with pink and purple yarn but this kit is gender neutral: BONUS!! =)

  9. Elsie

    I like the small size Wooden Mini Maracas …for “big sister’s” little hands.
    Music is so important and this set would be fun and not too frightful for the new baby in the house…big sister would have a great time, dancing and moving with the maracas, too!

  10. giveaway hound

    So happy to find your blog and this giveaway! We try to follow the Montessori method at home, so I really love For Small Hands — so many great things there. If I had to pick one favorite item right now, it would be the gardening tool set. I’m hoping to start a garden this spring, so I’d love to get it for my son. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. giveaway hound

    Post this giveaway on your Facebook page or wall and leave a comment with the link. You can use this status update: Enter to win The Deep Into the Forest Play Theater and Game from @For Small Hands on @Vibrant Wanderings. Giveaway ends February 9 and is open to US and Canada residents.
    Be sure to attach the URL for this post to your update: http://vibrantwanderings.com/2012/01/for-small-hands-giveaway.html

    done: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=273543426042404&id=100002819689896

  12. Karen F.

    I love the Twig Building Blocks…my son would have a blast with those. @Fritzemama, and following you on Pinterest (fritzemama)

  13. Molly L

    Sooooo many things I like there but I could pick the Bead Sequencing Set as one of my top choices!

  14. Holley

    I liked For Small Hands on Facebook. I’m happy to have found you!

    My facebook name is either peacecat or Holley.:)

  15. Holley

    Am following you on Twitter. Can you tell how much I love the play theater? Thanks for your blogging. It inspires me as a newer Montessorian.

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