I had such a great time discovering so many cool new picks at the NY International Gift Fair this weekend. But what was maybe more interesting, was letting my 7 year-old daughter tag along so I could see her own favorites from the show that are now making the great birthday gift list in her head.
With zero censoring from me whatsoever, here are just over a dozen gifts and toys that captivated her 7 year-old imagination.
Color Your Own Placemats by Modern Twist
More than two years ago, I discovered the Kidz Placemat collection from Modern Twist and now there are plenty of new designs. I could hardly tear my daughter away from any of them. “If you don’t like your design you can always redo it,” she says, “and you always have your own placemat so you can always color it and you know it’s yours. You will never get bored of your placemat!”
Evidently placemat boredom is a huge deal. Who knew.
Superhero Masks from Zutano (at top)
For fall, a long-time favorite of ours, Zutano, is launching an entire line for boys and girls themed (sometimes loosely) around the idea of “Super.” My daughter took right to the fabric superhero glasses that stay on with Velcro. They also happened to be the only thing in the booth for kids older than about 2. Keep an eye out here for info on the fun new designs.
These safe magnetic blocks, sustainably made in Honduras, caught on like wildfire since the launch a few years ago, and now there are so many new kits and colors, I’m not surprised this was a top pick.
“Ohhh I loooove those,” she said about the booth I had the most trouble dragging her from. “I really love them because you can build swimming pools or anything you want and then even put LEGO people on and make it a game the way you want it.” So there ya go.
Woodmobiel from Oots
When my daughter realized that the vanity table, the play helicopter, the pulley contraption and the ride-on car in the booth all came from just one building kit from the cool little indie company Oots, she was enthralled. “You can build your own vehicle and then put like nine dolls in it, it’s so much room!”
It’s true, these are some big kits–with a big price to match. Think Tinkertoys on steroids.
“I wish I had one,” she asked me to add. Subtle.
Parachutist Toys from Brinca Dada
This nifty little company makes beautiful, creative toy block sets for babies and some very cool modern dollhouses. But it was the display of high-quality wood and fabric parachutists (formerly known as “Stunt Brothers”–good change!) that my daughter was pining for.
“You can have a race with your friends and see who comes down first, and put the target down and see who gets closest to the 50 points.” She loooooves competition and I think this would bring it out of her in a good way. Provided she’s not dropping them off the roof of our building.
Shimmer Glitter Tattoos
It’s hard for a kid of any age resist a booth full of adorable young women beckoning you in for some free glitter tattoos. I had to forcibly pull her away before she covered her entire arms with them.
However, my daughter wanted me to warn you: “The product is great but the commercial is horrible!” In other words, turn down the volume on your computer before clicking over to the site. Also, this mama has her own warning that while these will be the hit of any birthday party, if you use them indoors, there will be a lot of very fine glitter dust all over your home for the next three centuries. Still, the results–at least on skin–are pretty great.
Related: The 2016 holiday gift guide: More than 350+ cool gift ideas for every kid and adult on your list.
Dabbawalla Bags Lunch Purse
Dabbawalla makes fantastic neoprene backpacks and lunchbags that are not only adorable, the ones we’ve owned have lasted us several years and are going strong. The lunch purse is a new offering in two styles, that’s really originally There’s no zipper or closure so it’s probably not great for a child’s actual lunch; the truth is, she’ll probably use it to carry her ballet clothes to class on the weekends, knowing she can tuck in a cold water bottle and it will stay cold.
“I love this bag because it’s not totally straight, and so it has more style than other bags,” my daughter said. (I swear she said these words. Where does she get it?) In fact, they sent us home with a sample and the first thing she did this morning was figure out what to put in it so she could carry it to school. Winner: Glee Club song sheets and a gift for her teacher.
AREAWARE Cubebot in new colors
As you can tell, building, construction, and creating are big themes with second graders and my daughter was entranced with the new colorful cubebots. She’s always liked the wooden Cubebots, but the colors add a little something special. “Since they’re magnetic you can put them in any shape you want,” she explains. And mommy likes that since they’re magnetic, there’s only one piece to get stuck between the couch cushions and not 50.
Zoli Insulated Food Jars
You think kids are just attracted to toys and accessories? Not so. My daughter went right for this Thermos-like vacuum insulated jar from Zoli (makers of great sippy cups too), with visions of hot mac n cheese for lunch every single day. The hardest part was choosing one to take home to try out: “I like the purple. No wait, the blue. No…wait, the green. Yeah. The green is cool.”
eeBoo Waste-Not Craft Kits
My daughter loves anything having to do with art or crafts, so no surprise, she made a beeline for the new display of craft kits from eeBoo. These happen to let you make use of recyclables like used water bottles, plus the materials in the kit, to make cool creatures like a chameleon, hedgehog, or this fox which I think she liked best. We’ll make sure to check them out for a proper review but they look promising.
Junior Backpacks from SoYoung
The durable toddler backpacks we’ve featured from SoYoung are such a hit, that the label is coming out with the same structured, coated linen style, only in a larger size for those kids who have to carry more to school than a lovey and a snack. This purple flower design is far and away my daughter’s favorite, although I’m glad to see the gray robot backpack is coming back too. Keep an eye out for them in the coming weeks.
Shug Love Bon Bons
Yep, it’s candy. Well duh, right? This cool company makes gourmet gummy bears (green apple narrowly edged out pineapple) and other sweet treats, packaged in beautiful little reusable glass jars that are perfect for parties and favor bags. But the sweet she liked best might have been the one she was calling “those amazing things” that she insisted her sister try the second we got home. Turns out they’re meringue puffs. I have yet to indulge myself, but they are both smitten.
Tattly Temporary Tattoos
Evidently my daughter is an equal opportunity temporary body art appreciator, and it doesn’t have to glitter to make her list. Tattly tattoos have been a favorite around our house for a while–they’re so great for classroom birthday treats, in lieu of cupcakes and candy which aren’t always allowed. I think this YAY! burst tattoo pretty much summed up how she felt to get one on her hand.
Keep an eye out for more posts of our faves from the 2013 NY International Gift Fair. So much great stuff!