The Hearthsong Catalog: Decades of Fireside Reading
by Michael Leppert
At the end of a busy day of rushing around, once the kids are in bed, what could be more fun on a cozy, peaceful evening than curling up on the couch with a hot cup of tea and a good . . . catalog of unique children’s products and toys!! Come on, you know that the Hearthsong catalog is one of those you just can’t wait to dive into! Hearthsong is unique among "toy" companies in that they develop many of their own products and have them manufactured. And the components in their kits are either developed or located by their knowledgeable staff. The products that are not developed by Hearthsong are still subject to their rigorous standards for durability and usefulness, in keeping the company’s founder, Barbara Kane. Ms. Kane believed that childhood was a special time that should be respected and nurtured and toward that end she began her company, offering well-chosen toys and educational play items of sense and value.
Many of the items offered by Hearthsong are designed for parents and children to do together or for children to do with other children, thus reinforcing the concepts of playing together and building relationships through play. This is especially appealing to homeschoolers, many of whom enjoy the spirit of peaceful, cooperative play and companionship that is often lacking in institutional school settings.
Your child can while away the play-time hours relaxing with one of the many Hearthsong kits! Among the most popular categories with homeschoolers are the Arts & Crafts. Hearthsong offers a wide selection of kits and projects. These include Soap-making, which allows you to make heart-shaped soap or "kaleidoscope" soap; Candle-making, offering "marble-look" candles or candle-decorating materials. "I Designed It" mugs, plates and piggy banks that allow your child to decorate a piece using his/her own drawing or designs -- with no firing or glaze necessary! Peel-able polymer paints allow a child to decorate a purse or plastic jewelry herself.
On the "Art" side of Arts & Crafts, Hearthsong offers a number of drawing supplies -- gel pen sets, felt tip drawing sets, "How To Draw Horses" kits and Ed Emberley Drawing books. Of special interest are the "Fashion Design Studio Kits" which allow the user to experiment with clothing design.
On the "food" side of Hearthsong’s Arts & Crafts Department, you will find a Springtime Gingerbread House that makes a great Saturday-afternoon family project. The suggested "vegetable garden" surrounding the house is made of modeling chocolate, which is also a separate Hearthsong kit. It allows you to add intricate, professional-quality detailing to your baked goods -- especially gingerbread cottages. You can craft flowers, little animals, Easter eggs, Halloween or Christmas decorations and more, using the 12 moldable chocolate squares in various colors and the included sculpting tools.
Besides having gained the continuing loyalty of satisfied parent- and children-users throughout the years, Hearthsong is the only toy retailer to have won the Parent’s Choice awards for the products they have developed. Their entire catalog and then some, can be found online at their website, www.hearthsong.com. But go ahead, feel free to order the catalog, too -- it "curls" on a cozy evening much better than your computer will. M.L.
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