Christmas is a wonderful time to support those small business families around us. Here is a list of our favorites! It is our JOY to support them and cheer on in their good work!
- You’ve heard me go on and on about them a thousand times, but just in case you are one of our new readers, check out The Green Ember series by SD Smith. Not only are these books a childhood favorite for my boys, but in reading them they feel like they are part of a bigger movement of kids being inspired to create and make and remember. SD Smith and his whole crew work hard to publish these books and ship them out to families. They were just working in the warehouse this week, packing up the latest book “The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner” for families across the country.
- Treasures from Jennifer
I first met Jennifer on a small facebook group years ago that sold Montessori Materials. I remember saving up for months to buy her old set of wooden geometry cards for my boys ( It was right around the time I first started this blog!) Since then we have invested in her work over and over again! Every piece I have ever purchased from Jennifer and her family has held up beautifully and is used by my children and children that come to visit our home. Her tracing boards, geometry boards, maps, shape boards, calendar, early writing boards, multiplication boards, etc are such a big part of our classroom set up that there is not a single day that goes by where we don’t use SOMETHING from Jennifer and her family. Purchasing from this wonderful family business also helped me buy way less in general for our classroom. I bypassed buying dozens of flimsy or cheaper materials throughout the year and saved my money so I could buy just ONE long lasting tool from them. Its been wonderful to have less clutter and tools that don’t need replacing at the end of every year.
3. Raddish Kids
These monthly culinary kits have brought so much growth and learning and self sufficiency to our home. We have enjoyed learning new recipes from around the world, connecting with families across the country and letting our kids take over certain meals during the week. Their cooking skills have greatly increased and their appreciation for the things I make has also increased! We love the Sam, the wonderful woman behind Raddish cooking and her mission.
4. Twig and Moth and Tanglewood Hollow
Everyone always asks where we get our cards and posters for our science table and nature table. Well, these are the two talented artists we choose to support! Both of these lovely ladies have poured their hearts out into making beautiful, practical, affordable and educational aids accessible in our homes. Their little touches have added so much beauty to our learning! We love Alice Cantrell’s lovely lichen series and plant series. We love Allyson’s exquisite anatomy charts and life of a snowflake series. Check out their shops!
5. Read Aloud Revival
I’m sure you just did a double take on that one. Small business? Yes! I know Read Aloud Revival has grown tremendously over the years but this is definitely still a family business! Membership over at Read Aloud Revival has been a great gift to us over the years. Its always on my personal Christmas list. We love the work Sarah Mackenzie is doing and we believe that it is important both in our home and in the world. A membership to RAR is a gift you can enjoy all year long through Author Access Events, master classes, drawing classes and so much more.
6. Letters From Afar
One of the biggest days of the month over on our farm is the day the mailman drops off a letter from our friend Isabelle. “ANOTHER LETTER FROM AFAR!” someone shouts and everyone comes running to the library so we can read it together. Then we pull out our map and find where she is and we listen as someone reads it aloud. Inevitably we hear about something that catches our imagination and the boys are off opening books and looking into another atlas and asking questions. I’m amazed at how much they have learned from Isabelle this year. I love all the curiosity these letters have stirred. $6 a month and a portion of the proceeds go to Pencils of Promise. When we finish with a letter we pin it on the wall so we can keep enjoying the beautiful illustrations.
7. Hortus Wild
We’ve been using a few pieces from the Hortus Wild Shop this past year. We have tried natural bean bags from a few different makers and they inevitably fall apart within the space of a month. (My sensory seeks is pretty rough with bean bags!) The beautiful plant dyed bean bags from Hortus Wild have held up all year. They are beautifully soft and he loves holding these while he works, when he sleeps and when we go on car trips. We’ve also really enjoyed their leather tangram pieces! My second born has one of their journals and it has become very special to him. He always calls it “my grown up journal” and he loves to write stories in it. Justine, your work is just lovely!
8. Story Weaver Mercantile
Read her story here. Read her partner stories here. Shop all the beauty and goodness here. She says it so well, there is little left for me to say other than thank you, Calli! We love you and the great work you are doing. Readers, one of my all time favorite purchases is this shopping bag from Bangladesh. We take it everywhere!
9. Mirus Toys
Suba has been working hard this year making maps, life cycle models, and other wooden science materials. One piece we have used constantly in the last few months is her fractions and music notes board, what beautiful bridge between music theory study and mathematics. We love it! The boys are currently learning how to use the Bohr Atomic Model. Keep an eye on her shop for new maps posting soon. The workmanship is lovely!
10. YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES AT HOME!
Friends, drive out to your local farms, craft fairs, markets, ma and pa shops, family restaurants, etc. and show them some love and support!
2 thoughts on “Small Business Christmas Guide”
What do you think about the Spielgaben (www.spielgaben.com)? I just saw someone talk about it in the THGP Facebook group, and considering how much you love Treasures from Jennifer and the Grimm’s puzzles and wooden animals and such, I wondered why I’d never seen you mention it before… You’re literally the only blogger I’m subscribed to, so it’s true I don’t get a ton of exposure to other kinds of manipulatives besides what you recommend, but are these Spielgaben’s a niche or an oh-so-wishful wishlist item for most Charlotte Mason + Montessori-ish type homeschoolers? We’ve loved the tracing boards and wooden animals you’ve recommended in the past, so if you say that they’re awesome and start saving, I probably will. If you think “not so worth the investment”, then I will heed that well also (although yes, I know you firmly believe every homeschool and family and child is different and will need/appreciate different items).
Thank you so much for this round-up of beautiful learning tools and homemade things. I am always looking for those – obviously as it’s April!