By peoplestaff225
Updated December 15, 2008 01:30 PM

It’s an age-old phenomenon—regardless of what you spend on the contents children will invariably play with the box. The very clever people at Kidsonroof, a Dutch toy company that specializes in play structures and toys made from recycled cardboard, have found a way to delight parents and kids with a box that is the present. What arrived at our home was a flat, rectangular package a few feet wide and high. The kids eyed it with curiosity and disbelief, “Really, there’s a house in there?” And with very little effort (it’s a breeze to set up), that’s exactly what it became. The cardboard playhouse, $52, is tall enough for our (tall) five-year-old to stand in, has enough windows and doors (and a mail slot!) to keep our three-year-old busy, and is spacious enough on the inside that our 20-month-old can sit right in the middle of it taking in the antics and play.

Click More for the rest of Danielle D.’s review, including an exclusive deal for CBB Readers!

Our box was white and just begging to be colored on (you can also doodle on the other colors it comes in). What? A wall you can color on? Now the kids have reached a near frenzied state of joy as they simultaneously try to open and close the cut-out windows and doors and mark up the outside with their graffiti.

The multicolored, multi-medium house now lives in our playroom and has been the locale for countless Transformer summits, hours of “let’s play family!” pretend, secret clubhouse meetings—and initially a great place for hide-and-seek. What was once just their three markings and stickers now features the artwork of their friends and cousins.

Kidsonroof, started in 2005, also has a line of toys for girls and boys made from the same 100% biodegradable cardboard. Squares with slits fitinto other squares and shapes to build fantastic bugs and planes and animals. Printed with beautiful designs, they’re fun to play with and are food for the brain.

What excites me most about their line as we approach the holidays isthat Kidsonroof products require no batteries, no hideous-to-remove plastic ties, they don’t make noise, fall apart and even without buttons and beeps are never boring. It reminds me of the simpler toys I played with (nevermind when!) that engaged the imagination more than alot of toys today do.

These are toys you feel good about giving—they’re eco-friendly andproceeds from the purchase of each house goes to a Dutch Unicef projectthat supports HIV and AIDS inflicted children in Russia.

Kidsonroof products are available through The Crimson Company—an online store committed to the same philosophies. Their toys are eco-friendly, safe, solidly built, foster imagination and while simple in design, rich in pretend play and imagination building.

— Danielle D.

CBB Deal: Save 10% on your order with code CRIMSON, plus free shipping on all orders over $150.