Toys that capture the imagination - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Toys that capture the imagination

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It's a winter wonderland in Newbury for the Dodge family

But head inside and that's where the real fantasy land is. Where gnomes and woodland animals run free -- along with Jessica Dodge's imagination.  "It's so fun to think of little people living inside a mushroom," she said.

Dodge creates handmade toys for her business Zooble. It started two years ago when she made blocks for her daughter and all the playground moms loved them. The rest is a fairy tale.
"I was wondering if you looked back in my ancestry if you would find that Santa Claus is one of my great grandfathers because I really love making toys," she said.

And the Zooble workshop is busy. With some help from her parents, Dodge is filling orders non-stop and shipping them around the world. "At this point I think I've hit almost every country around the world," Dodge said.

Reporter Gina Bullard: What are you working on now?

Jessica Dodge: This is the Gnome Home, one of the biggest sellers -- I've sold 50 in the last month.

Each mushroom Gnome Home with removable roof comes with a play mat, tree and of course three little gnomes to let your imagination go wild. Dodge creates everything from rainbow ninjas to princesses like Rapunzel and Snow White -- all with non toxic paints and sealers.
By design her toys are simple, yet detailed, so they can stand the test of time. Her characters only have eyes -- letting kids be creative.  "Being a kid is all about being bright and vibrant and happy -- I want to capture that," Dodge said.
And what might be the most impressive is that besides Zooble being a full time job, Dodge is also a wife, mom of two and has a pet pig. "It takes a lot of nighttime work," she said.

Her toys range in price from around $2 to $50. She keeps toys affordable so everyone has a chance to play.  "I don't want just the rich kids to play with the toys, I want all kids to play with the toys," she said.

Letting kids enter a land of imagination with Made in Vermont toys made by a super-mom.

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