I have been wisely advised to look up EU toy safety regulations after I had thoughts of selling anything on this site, to make sure I am complying with Trading Standards Directives. Having read through the legal documents, I can see that many of the contents of the Discovery Boxes, although not ‘toys’ at all, are legally classed as such because they are part of a collection intended (by me) for children under 14 to play with. But they are not CE certified (the toy safety mark) because they are not toys, but household objects, antique instruments, natural stones, feathers, hand made items etc! As such, they have not been tested for toy safety compliance. Although many will have been tested for other legal compliances, others (being simply objects found in nature) are not tested for anything. And almost the entire Magnet Box is defunct, due to legislation preventing strong magnets being sold for use by anyone under 14. Moreover, toys are not permitted to be flammable. So what do I do with the pieces of wood then? And (sob!) the boxes are mostly made of cardboard!
Whenever one is dealing with small children in any professional or sales capacity, any possibility of any risk, however small, has to be assessed, and if possible, eliminated. No-one wants to be held responsible for inadvertantly causing risk of harm to someone else’s child.
There are other people selling their discovery boxes and treasure baskets out there, but to comply with the law they have to aim them at children over 3 or remove all small objects, anything that could remotely be construed as a ‘risk’, flammable or unhygienic. That’s why so many children’s toys and indeed, other discovery type boxes, can be rather bland. The difference with mine is that I passionately want children to have exciting things to explore and play with, and I’m sorry but I can’t guarantee that a feather, stone, piece of wood or sheepskin is totally 100% germ-free and unburnable! And having done my own “real child” risk assessment, I do personally use many of the small objects with under-threes, who love learning to pick up, post, pour and discover little things.
It is with the obstacles provided by EU Toy Safety Directives in mind that I have now given up the idea of trying to market my Boxes here. Hence I have decided that this site will be intended for educational and ideas purposes only. I hereby state (in a really loud voice, are you listening, Big Brother?) that I am merely sharing ideas, and not advocating that anyone in charge of small children under the age of three should make a Discovery Box using my ideas, purchase my recommended books or products, make playdough or play the Slug Hunt game. I am merely airing my opinion as a Nanny, based on my years of experience with children. Let me also add loudly that henceforth, any user of a Discovery Box does so at their own risk, and strict supervison of any child should be in place at all times when playing with a Discovery Box.
However, any of you who want to discuss ideas, how-tos or feel like making your own box, I will be more than happy to chat and advise.