Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Post: Ten Thousand Villages' Toys and Crafts

                Ten Thousand Villages’ Toys And Crafts

History Of A Vision
Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization dedicated to fair trade, handcrafted items from artisans around the world. Founded in 1946 by Edna Ruth Byler, the group now has 390 retail stores Across the US.
Founder Byler was way ahead of her time. Since she started the organization back in the 1940’s, she  was dedicated to green and sustainable products (although the concept wasn’t called “green and sustainable” back then). On a trip with her husband to Puerto Rico, she saw women making gorgeous textiles. She brought these pieces back to the US and sold them, then sent the proceeds back to the women who made them. In fact, the Fair Trade Federation cites Byler as first person to introduce the concept of “fair trade” to the United States.
Today, Byler’s vision has turned into long-term trade relationships with 35 countries and thousands of artists. Every item sold by the organization represents the employment of someone who may otherwise be living in poverty. According to their annual report, “Growth and success in our markets translate directly to improved lives for artisans and their families.”

Beautiful Toys For Beautiful Girls And Boys

The artisans of Ten Thousand Villages create unique handcrafted items for adults and kids alike. This year, the children’s offerings range from whimsical to practical. Below are our top picks for some of the most creative toys, games and crafts for a variety of ages. One of the best things about these items is that the price point is similar to what one would expect to pay at a large chain retail store, but they are handcrafted:

Crocodile Puzzle: This wooden, hand painted puzzle comes from Sri Lanka and is designed for learning numbers and letters. Painted in varying shades of green, it retails for $34.00.


Super Duck Backpack: From Bangladesh, this versatile backpack is bright and sturdy. Made entirely of cotton, it’s also easy to wash. It retails for just $13.50. This item is on clearance and quantities are limited.

Angel Finger Puppets: These adorable little knit puppets retail for $2.00 each. They’re made by artists in Peru. At such a low price point, you can collect the whole set! Quantities are limted.

“Twin” Dolls: Here’s a great opportunity and a fantastic concept: when you purchase one of these dolls (choose from a boy or a girl doll), the doll’s twin will be donated to a child in Zimbabwe, where the dolls are created. The boy doll retails for $21 and the girl doll retails for $28.

Great Gifts For The Whole Family

Six In One Dice: This stunning dice set comes in a wooden box that is a dice itself. Crafted from Indian shesham wood, this set’s appearance improves with handling because of the wood contains a significant amount of natural oils. Retails for $20.


Embrace Peace Puzzle: A great puzzle for kids and adults of all ages, this puzzle is also made from shesham wood by artists in the northern foothills of  Saharanpur. Retails for $24.


Pig Piggy Bank: Crafted in Chile, this little guy is sure to delight. He comes with a cork in his fat belly so you don’t have to break him to access your cash. Retails for $18.

Peacock Feather Xylophone: Forget those plastic xylophones! This handmade instrument is totally unique and easy to play. It comes from Indonesia and is animal-friendly: the peacock feathers are painted on. Retails for $34.

Tibetan Finger Cymbals: For the person who has everything, this item is sure to please. Made in Napal of plated brass, it’s an instrument used for meditation and prayer. Retails for $38.



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