Local Toy Christmas: Play From Scratch

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“Hey, guys?  Ever been to a toy factory?”  Jeff Freeland Nelson of Play From Scratch asked my boys as we walked into the warehouse.

“Scratch?”  Jack said.  He had been referring to “Scratch” all day and was excited to finally be there.  But a toy factory was way beyond all he had ever hoped and dreamed.  Jeff is an Eco Friendly Santa and his toy factory is a bit different than the big guy at the North Pole.Play From Scratch

Here’s how Jeff and Santa differ:

  •  Play From Scratch has all eco-friendly toys i.e. recyclable.  Green and non-toxic are essential in this toy shop. (You can eat all of these toys.  Although I wouldn’t recommend it)
  •  While Santa must change with the trends, Jeff is going to change the trend.  Play From Scratch is not a new concept, but it is a creative return to our toy roots.
  • Santa gives kids what they think they want.  Play from Scratch gives kids what they really want.
  • Santa’s toys do everything for themselves.  Play from Scratch’s toys inspire creativity and insist our kids do everything instead.

On November 11, 2011, Jeff started Play From Scratch because as a dad of a 3 year old boy and a 9 month old girl,  he thought we can do toys better. There had to be a better way to play than with just piles of plastic.  While working at Minnesota Public Radio,  he started designing toy conceptions and consulting with his wife.  His wife suggested recyclable toys, and at the time, he brushed her off.  Weeks later, Jeff had this spark of brilliance.  What if we made them recyclable!  And Play from Scratch’s journey began.

Play from Scratch started as

One-Giant-Box-Play1-380x380 One Giant Box ($24.99),





Box-of-Boxes-Contents-380x380the World Famous Box of Boxes ($19.99–10 boxes in different shapes and sizes) ,





Tube-of-Tubes-Contents-380x380the Enormous Tube of Tubes ($19.99–14 tubes nested inside each other), and





Play From Scratchthe non-toxic tape stack ($14.99-5  different colored rolls).





Production began December of 2012.  They also combined these products into different packages.  The Creativity Party Pack is $49.99 and it includes the tape stack, the World Famous Box of Boxes, and the Enormous Tube of Tubes.  The Everything Box includes everything in the Creativity Party Pack and a pack of Go Creative Cards.

In less than a year, they have added

Play From Scratch Go Creative Card pack ($12.99),






Play From ScratchInstant Superhero Downloadable Game ($1.99)–more about this in little bit– and





Play From Scratch and YOXOYOXO (different sets:  Mega Builder $59.99, YOXObot Orig $19.99, YOXO to Go $12.99).





Daily Candy, a national online publication, was quoted to say that YOXO is the Eco friendly LEGO.  Spot on!  YOXO has launched Play From Scratch into the toy market.  You can find YOXO in stores in Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and more.  (And of course all over Minnesota: The Red Balloon, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Kid Spark, Creative KidStuff, Peapods, Moss Envy, and more)

Let me tell you what I’ve discovered in the one short day of playing with Play From Scratch toys.

  • My son is very sensitive.  He may have some sensory thing, maybe not, but either way we deal with a lot of out of control behavior.  He doesn’t know what to do with himself.  Two times during our first day of play, he got really upset.  I found him with the YOXO, pulling apart  the pieces, back under control.  That in itself is worth the $19.99 for the robot!
  • When we went home with One Giant Box, at first I thought, it’s just a big refrigerator box, but it really is so much better than that.  With the various-sized  punch out rectangles and circles, you not only have cool doors and windows, but you have various canvases for artwork.
  • Even though our house is small, we were able to be creative with One Giant Box by creating it into another room.  Our boys share a room and our girls share a room so if both boys or both girls need to take a break, we don’t have another room.  So on the inaugural Play from Scratch Day, we were able to separate the boys.  One on his bed, the other in One Giant Box.  It’s what we in the parenting world call success!

Play From Scratch - YOXO


Jeff has really done his homework.  He has researched toys, been to toy expos, become acquainted with the toy community in the Twin Cities, tested his toys on his own children and the neighbors!  He is a playful guy who is passionate to inspire creative kids and to do it in a way that doesn’t leave a lump of plastic in a landfill!  Because no matter what they are made out of, toys break.  They might as well be made out of  something that won’t harm the earth.

Now, let me tell you about the newest game from Play From Scratch.  Instant Superhero.  It’s a downloadable game meaning the pieces are downloaded and assembled to create a superhero with a special power and a mission.  You roll the dice to learn how you are going to communicate this to your fellow players.  Tell your epic story, draw your car, etc.

And Play From Scratch is offering our readers the EXCLUSIVE chance to try Instant Superhero for FREE!

That’s right!

When you checkout, use the couponcode familyfuntc .  It’s as easy as that.

Thanks so much, Play From Scratch.

Play from Scratch is where it’s at!



If you are interested in seeing YOXO or other Play From Scratch Toys, they will be at the Minnesota Toy Fair held at Peapods on

Saturday, November 16, 2013

 noon -4:00 pm.

Local Toy Companies–Wood from the Hood, Doodletown, BEKA, Original Tree Swing,  and Mindware –will be represented as well as Play From Scratch.

Play from Scratch

941 Bradford Street
St. Paul, MN 55114


Phone: 651-842-8418
Email: mail@playfromscratch.com
Media inquiries: media@playfromscratch.com
Wholesale inquiries: customerservice@playfromscratch.com




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About the author

Gianna Kordatzky

I am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. We have four kids–Ranging in ages from 5-10. You can learn more about my life as a mother and wife at www.giannaraekordatzky.blogspot.com .

I love to throw parties and be with friends. I love to read my Bible and grow closer to God. I love to eat and exercise. I have learned to love coffee.
And I could really use a nap.

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