Play with this! The 10 best American-made toys

It's never too early to instill a sense of patriotism in your kids. In honor of TODAY's Made in America Week (July 2-6,) TODAY has been highlighting companies dedicated to making products in America each day. Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht shares stimulating playthings, that are made right here at home:

Kid Constructions once created structural corrugated displays, but has taken its expertise to the world of creative and activity play for children. Their Wearables line takes construction play to the next level, with role play: kids can make a plane, then step inside and wear it to become the pilot. The Wearables run between $25 and $30. It’s a clever approach to classic construction and craft play. The Wearables line is eco friendly, biodegradable, and recyclable. All Kid Constructions products are proudly designed, produced, and packed in the USA. (www.kidconstructions.com)

Crayola has inspired creativity in children for more than 100 years. After noticing a need for safe, high quality, affordable wax crayons, the first box of Crayola crayons rolled off the assembly line in 1903. Every Crayola crayon shows American pride — even if it isn’t red, white, or blue — because each one is made in Easton, Pa. by a dedicated workforce of 1,200. In addition to being American-made, Crayola’s crayons are also green. A solar farm in Forks Township, Pa. provides enough power to make 1 billion of the 3 billion crayons that Crayola produces each year. (Price runs $0.99 and $12.99; www.crayola.com)

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K’Nex toys may be available in more than 30 countries, but each one is produced in America. As a company that believes in behaving in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, K’Nex ensures that all of its toys are safe for children as well as the earth. Celebrating its 20 anniversary, this toy has made an impact on the way children channel their creativity, and the way manufactures make their products. The K’NEX classics 50 model building set is a 700 piece set that encourages kids to build just about anything and comes with a guide for 50 building ideas ($34.99; www.knex.com)

Little Tikes has been an American favorite since the 1960s. Each year, in the town of Hudson, Ohio, the company works to produce active and imaginative toys and play sets for its littlest fans. From the iconic American made Cozy Coupe to the more recent products like the TikeStix Clubhouse where kids can create great clubs and forts that they build, instead of using mom's chairs and sheets. And it's not just forts, little ones can build just about anything with these interlocking pieces. (Large set, $49.99; www.littletikes.com/made-in-the-usa-toys)

Artterro is all about creativity. Using natural materials like wool felt, recycled handmade paper, and cotton fabric, kids can create beautiful, eco-friendly works of art. As an added bonus, lines like the Bubble Wand Kit are made at Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee, Wis. by people with special needs. ($19.99; www.Artterro.com)

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It’z Purple entered the toy market a year ago when it noticed a need for a different kind of dollhouse. Last winter, the company introduced the American Dollhouses, a “collapsible” dollhouse that acts as home for 18” dolls. Originally, It’z Purple intended on outsourcing the production to China. However, after realizing the lack of American-made products on the market, the company decided to produce the item itself and American Dollhouses was born. Currently, It’z Purple offers three different dollhouse sizes, and all are made at the headquarters in Chicago, Ill. The price for 1 room is $75, two rooms are $90 and four rooms are $105.www.americandollhouses.com

Vermont Teddy Bears began in 1981, when John Sortino saw his son playing with his collection of teddy bears. Surprised to see that every one of the bears wore a tag identifying it as foreign-made, Sortino was inspired to bring this American tradition back to its roots. Soon, he began handcrafting bears in Vermont, and eventually formed the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Since then, the factory has grown, and it even offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee, which means that if anything should ever happen to a bear, customers can send it to the Bear Hospital where is will be fixed at no charge. (Bears start at $49 and up; www.vermontteddybear.com)

The Spooner was invented by accident in San Diego, Calif. when Randy Putland was cleaning up the back of his surf shop. The first board was created when he was cutting up a plastic dog igloo to throw it away. The first cut out resembled a skateboard deck in the shape of a spoon and later became the template for the first mold and the start of the Spooner Board Toy Company. Every board is hand built in San Diego with the molds built by local carpenters. The plastic comes from Pennsylvania, the griptape from Alabama, and all the packaging from San Diego. When demand overtakes production capacity the company creates more molds and hires new local staff. Last Christmas when things got crazy they hired an entire baseball team and worked around the clock. (The Spooner board comes in two sizes, and the original costs $44.95; spoonerboards.com)

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Green Toys believes in making the world a better place, and it starts by making toys from environmentally friendly materials. The company, which manufactures its toys in California, puts a modern twist on classic children’s toys by using recycled plastic and other environmentally friendly materials. This helps reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improving the overall health and happiness of the planet. Its Salad Set helps promote healthy eating and is made from recycled plastic milk containers. ($19.99; www.greentoys.com)

Poof-Slinky has been made in the USA since its inception in the 1940s, in the same town, Holidaysburg, Pa., where the first Slinky was made. The company manufacturers many other toys in their product line there as well, such as Sno-Toys and “Our America” game. The iconic Slinky comes in many sizes, colors and materials, including the original to a 14k gold plated collector’s piece. Prices range from $5 to $150. The company also has roots in Plymouth, Mo., where it manufactures POOF foam balls. (www.poof-slinky.com)

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