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The Acorn Store Brings All-Natural Toys to Young Children of Santa Monica

By S. Mathur

Children's games, often dismissed in the phrase "child's play", are actually a serious endeavor which encourages creativity and problem solving skills that will become the foundation for a lifetime. Heather Hamilton, Owner of the Acorn Store, believes that wooden and handmade toys in particular invite children to be creative: "Toys without batteries invite open-ended play. The type of play that fosters creativity. These toys often hold the interest of the child as the child develops and are played with for many years."

Hamilton bought the Acorn Store from the original owner Ellen West, and recalls explaining the reasons for her interest: "I have three children and I love living in their world. Ellen your store is every child's dream and it would be an honor to keep the dream alive." The toys are all made from natural materials that are safe for children as well as the environment.

The store has a wide collection of toys and books for the early childhood years. Equally beguiling to children and adults are the playsilks, wooden toys, dolls, doll houses, dress-up clothes for boys and girls, and art supplies. Wooden castles, train sets, farmhouses and animals, and wild creatures from polar to tropical regions inspire children to create their own adventures and stories. There's even an eco-friendly "green" dollhouse with solar panels, a windmill and recycling bins.

It's the wooden toys that attract the most attention, and these are also her favorites, Hamilton says: "From the pirate ship to the rabbit hutch these items are loved by the Santa Monica community and beyond. People come to our store from all over the world to admire our collection and to add to theirs. Children play with these toys for years and they become part of their richest childhood memories - memories that live within the pages of their hearts."

For parents, it's important to know that all materials used to make the toys, including paints, are non-toxic and completely safe for their children, as are the art supplies. Natural beeswax in rich colors is a safer choice for kids than playdoh. In keeping with its green and ecofriendly commitments, the Acorn Store supports fair trade and local craftspeople.

Hamilton believes that Santa Monica is a great place for a green toy store because it is "a vibrant city with a community that is truly engaged in the well-being and development of children. It is heartwarming to see the families, friends and educators that come to the store to seek out the very best toys to meet the needs of the children."

Parents love the store as much as kids do, as this review shows: "I have been back to this store AGAIN AND AGAIN to buy gifts for my kid's school mates...there is like a birthday party almost every weekend. Parenting... OMG!! Seriously, this place has special magical enchanted gifts that I don't see other places...lots of natural things, great little dresses, polished stones, special books, etc. I could hang out in there all day if I had time."

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