Category: Toys + Playthings

So smart! A new board game subscription box to keep family game night fresh.

My kids’ playroom has a bookshelf with piles of board games taller than me. So yeah, you could say we’re fairly avid tabletop gamers at our house. But, even so, we’re still always on the lookout for fun new games. If they’re really affordable, even better. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Hasbro just announced their first-ever board game subscription box service. Subscribe, and every three months you get a crate with three new board games right to your door. Choose from either a family game option and an adults-only option for $50 a...

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The new Ken dolls are here, some with big muscles in case you’re thinking of mocking their man buns.

In light of last year’s big launch of the curvy Barbie dolls in three curvalicious body types, Mattel is following suit with a whole new series of next gen Ken dolls, A.K.A. “The Fashionistas.” Let’s just say, they’ve come a long, long way from the pale, scrawny original Ken doll of the early 60’s, let alone the vapid Valley Dude looking Ken doll of my youth who always appeared ready to burst into Jessie’s Girl at the drop of a hat. The 15 new Ken dolls come in 3 different body shapes (all of which look good in slim-fit...

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A fun board game for summer that our kids can’t stop playing.

Last week, my son and I visited the Innovator’s Fair here in Philadelphia and discovered our newest board game obsession: Maze Racers. It combines creativity and building with mazes in a super fun way. Let’s just say, we’re all addicted. Including me. Related: The best board games for summer travel.  The game comes with two magnetic boards, a bunch of small magnetized foam pieces in various shapes and sizes, and marbles. Using the pieces, each player creates their own maze (like a Labyrinth, if you ever played with those), then passes their board to their opponent. The goal is...

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Everybody in the pool! 10 of the coolest pool floats for the whole family that are sure to make a big splash.

Sure you can bring out the boring inner tubes at the pool this summer, but we say go big with one of the coolest pool floats around. Sure, some of these are a bit spendy, but these 10 inflatables offer fun and lazy lounging for the whole family. Plus, they’re totally Instaworthy. Everybody in the pool! CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: Life saver! 8 super cool swimsuits for picky tweens and teens that their mothers will approve of too. Chocolate Donut Pool Float ($20, Big Mouth Inc.) The good news is that this super sweet Chocolate Donut float won’t melt...

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The best family board games for summer travel…because good things come in small packages.

My family loves to play board games. I’m talking, big, involved, takes-three-hours-to-play board games. And what better time to play than when we’re on summer vacation? But, it can be tricky to travel with big boxes full of a zillion pieces. Luckily, we have found a few games we love that come in boxes small enough to easily toss in a backpack or tote bag. So, if you’re looking for some offline family fun that you can take with you, wherever you’re headed this summer, check out these 5 family board games for travel. In fact, these are the ones I’m packing for our trip...

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4-in-1 playfort: The only one you’ll ever need.

It’s a camper. It’s a theater. It’s a food truck. It’s a playhouse. No, it’s… All of those things! Seriously. Buy one fort, get four. It is truly the only playfort your kids will ever need. Which is why we are so obsessed with the amazingly cool, brand new 4-in-1 playfort from Bell Station Kids on Etsy. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: The most adorable cardboard playhouses for animal-loving kids. Founders Amanda and Matt Whited were inspired by their own kids and constructed the idea for the playhouse with their insanely creative interior design and woodworking skills. Not only is the...

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A printable fidget spinner game gives new life to this year’s breakout toy

If your kids remain obsessed with their fidget spinners, like mine are, here’s a new way to put them to use that won’t drive you crazy: play with them together. And not at the dinner table, either. Thanks to artist mom Amanda Farnum and her clever kids, they’ve created a printable fidget spinner game available in her Etsy shop for download. Essentially up to 5 players try to move across a grid by using your fidget spinner to complete tricks, like challenging another player to a spin-off, or spinning it on one finger while raising it over your head. Just be sure that...

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No way: Custom plush animals that look just like your actual pet.

A few years ago my kids tried out the cool service Budsies, which turns kids’ drawings into stuffed animals. They were so excited when their creations arrived, and they still have them in their beds today. So, when we heard that Budsies was launching a new company called Petsies, which creates a stuffed animal for you based on a photo of your pet, we were intrigued. Yes, it’s an interesting way for some people keep a memory of a pet around after they’ve gone to “join the circus” or “moved to the farm” or went to doggy or bunny heaven. Maybe you think that’s creepy, maybe you think...

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The cast of Hamilton gets bigger and cuddlier

Of our entire 2016 holiday gift guide, by far one of the most popular gift ideas were the genius handmade Hamilton dolls by Christina of Etsy’s Bobeena Shop. What can we say, you all have good taste in artists — and game-changing Broadway musicals. Now she’s out with a few brand new characters to help round out the most adorable founding fathers (and mothers) around: John Laurens and Hercules Mulligan. Add them to favorites like the Schuyler sisters and Alexander Hamilton himself and you’ll have the most enviable pop culture doll collection on the planet right now. Related: The best Hamilton party theme ideas: Decor, invitations, treats, and...

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The danger of fidget spinners: Miniature death traps! Or…not.

THE DANGER OF FIDGET SPINNERS is appearing all over our newsfeeds and splashing across subject lines flooding our inboxes. Hm, why are we not shocked? It was inevitable that the number of articles about the fidget spinner craze (hey, our kids are fans too), would be followed by an equal number of fidget spinner backlash articles. It started with all the reasons the toys could be distracting in classrooms (wait, a toy can be distracting?) and now we’ve moved onto full-on imminent danger. In case you’re starting to panic about the danger of fidget spinners,  I’ve put together what I think are some common sense suggestions as to how...

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7 of the coolest, most covetable fidget spinners. Because OMG, kids are obsessed.

Cool fidget spinners and fidget cubes are absolutely taking over the world these days. In fact we’ve compared notes here on team Cool Mom Picks and yep, kids across the country are collectively losing their ever-loving minds over these fidget spinners. Stores are sold out and kids are spinning obsessively. All. day. long. For some kids who have trouble staying still or need to redirect all that physical energy to help them stay focused, the original KCHKUI fidget cubes can be truly fantastic. A few of the moms here have seen some great results with our own kids, and some of...

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How your princess can win her own set of wheels! White horses not included. | Sponsored Message

This is a sponsored message from Dynacraft In celebration of #PrincessWeek, Dynacraft will be giving one lucky little princess her own Disney Princess Carriage.  This way she can hit the road in royal style, whether she’s racing around to save the world, or just heading back from the magical forest to the castle, when her royal parents call her in for dinner. To enter the Dyncraft Princess Contest, all you have to do is create a 15-second video answering the question What does it mean to be a Princess? and submit it on the Dynacraft contest page any time between now and Sunday, May...

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Keeping little hands busy without a screen in sight

While you’re getting those Easter basket toy ideas together for the kids, we’ve shared a ton of fabulous ideas, including plenty of non-candy Easter basket gifts if you’re trying to go easy on the jellybeans. And now we’ve got one more: This fab little French Woody the Sheep knitting toy. Isn’t it just adorable? Related: The coolest gifts for five year olds for 2017 It’s a sweet way to teach kids problem-solving and patience (ahem) as they wrap him up with the organic wool yarn that comes included. I love this toy for keeping little little hands busy instead of screens, whether the kids stuck...

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A penny for your thoughts? This new card game helps kids process those hard emotions.

When I look back at some of my biggest parenting fails, most of them have occurred when I haven’t taken the time to consider my kids’ emotions or help them process their worry, anger, fear, or whatever else it is they are experiencing right in that very moment. That’s why I’m loving the beautiful new card game illustrated by Jaime Letourneau, A Penny For Your Thoughts, created to help kids talk about emotions. I spent some time this week playing this game with my most passionate — read: unpredictable — child at bedtime, and I saw an almost immediate positive impact in his (or her,...

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10 sweet first Easter gifts for the new baby in your life

If the new spring season also means a new baby in your family, don’t miss these 10 sweet first Easter gifts we’ve found at some of our favorite indie shops and makers this year. From keepsake ornaments to baby wraps so cute you won’t be able to resist Instagramming them, these are our favorite first Easter gifts for babies this year. As if you needed an excuse to spoil them any more, right? CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 15 cool bunny gifts to fill up your baby’s Easter basket Every kid needs their own Easter basket, and I love these handmade custom...

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15 of the coolest bunny gifts for all your kids’ Easter baskets

Are you ready for Easter yet? It’s coming soon. And we’re here for you! I’ve spent hours browsing my favorite indie shops for the coolest bunny gifts for Easter and I’ve found 15 of the most adorable ideas for kids’ Easter baskets. Pick one or two of these gift ideas for their baskets, add a couple pieces of candy or a delicious homemade Easter treat, and you’re done. So, hop to it! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: Need more ideas? Here are 20 more awesome bunny gifts for kids I’m a big fan of the natural, creative play of Waldorf toys,...

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15 non-candy Easter basket gifts so sweet, kids will surely forget about sugary treats. Well, maybe.

Without question, kids expect the Easter Bunny to deliver marshmallows, jelly beans, Cadbury creme eggs, bunny gummies, and what seems like a gazillion other sugary treats. Which is why we love the idea of non-candy gifts so sweet our kids might actually forget about chocolate. At least, for a little while. Here are 15 of our favorite non-candy Easter basket gifts (many are under $10!) that your kids are sure to love just as much as those foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: Tons more non-candy Easter basket gift ideas! We just love that The Trendy Tot makes sassy-meets-sweet ribboned bunny necklaces like this one with...

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3 cool non-LEGO building sets, just to keep things interesting around the playroom

My kids are all about their LEGOs, but I’ve also been keeping my eye on some cool non-LEGO building sets to keep things interesting around the playroom. These three allow kids to build things they can’t with their LEGOs, and I have to say, I’m very impressed. If you’re looking for a gift that’s a little more unexpected than another LEGO set (although, this will never disappoint), then try one of these. We think the kids in your life will give them two thumbs up too. CMP is an rstyle affiliate At top: Brackitz Driver set Related: Tegu’s massive 130-piece magnetic wooden blocks set are a...

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The Wipebook dry erase notebook: One random office supply gift your kids will absolutely love.

My kids are obsessed with their dry erase boards (it’s the little things, you know?). In fact, my daughter has figured out she can use the dry erase markers on her glossy coloring book covers and wipe those down too. Now, they’re playing games like teacher and student whenever they can, with their markers and books in hand. So when I spotted the reusable Wipebook dry erase notebook over at The Grommet, I instantly knew this would be a huge hit with my kids. Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 7 year olds This notebook has 20 reusable pages that can be written and drawn...

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LEGO and tape had a love child, and your kids are going to freak!

If LEGO and tape loved each other very very much (as we might say to the kids), this is what you’d get: Nimuno Loops. It’s a genius, colorful, flexible roll of LEGO tape that’s compatible with LEGO bricks and all the other building blocks. Whoa. That means virtually anything, from your walls to your kids’ dressers to the fridge can become a base for LEGO creations. I’m thinking bike handlebars, headbands, necklaces, the bathtub — even the sides of your kids’ sneakers soles. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, let’s all go collectively hide our dogs. Related: The cool LEGO add-on...

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5 fun travel toys for preschoolers who need to stay busy on long flights

I dreaded air travel when my girls were little. Between the two of them, I had a seat kicker, a non-napper, and an impatient whiner. Yeah, I was that parent. So I learned what works, and what doesn’t, to keep my little ones happy and occupied on long flights. Besides packing lots of snacks and lollipops, which helped with hunger pains and air pressure changes, I always brought along toys that were easy to use, not messy or awkward in small spaces, and ones with few parts to avoid missing pieces and ensuing tantrums.   Related: The handiest travel bag for parents? Found it. And...

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7 cool art museum store toys under $50: Supporting the arts through shopping!

We all know that art and design museums are magical. Where else can kids feast their eyes on important paintings, goof around with hands-on exhibits, and giggle at naked statues (come on, you know that’s true), all before dinnertime? And with a lot of us nervous about major reported cuts to NEA funding, we love how shopping through museum stores are another way to help support the arts. Museum shops are often where we find some of the best toys — whimsical, unusual, and often educational. So if you’re looking for a birthday gift or just a “this made me think of you!” kind of present, check out these...

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A Hamilton Musical LEGO set: Do not throw away your shot to vote for this!

We are big Hamilton Musical fans around here, with my son rapping Guns and Ships in his sleep and weaving lines into his school papers, so when I saw this Hamilton Musical LEGO set up for voting on the LEGO Ideas site, I just had to share it. Especially since he’s a huge LEGO lover too. Now, this set is not for purchase yet but rather, it’s a submission created by LEGO Ideas community member doniazade. The whole set has been reconstructed with LEGOs, including the staircase, even the turntable in the middle. And of course, all the cast of characters...

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Three cool LEGO add-on sets that make your builds even cooler

I’m not so sure my kids could ever get bored of the LEGO sets that are currently blanketing the floor of our playroom, but just in case, I found three cool LEGO add-on sets that will make their builds even more exciting. These sets are for kids who are able to follow the directions of a basic LEGO build themselves. In other words, your 5-year-old who’s a major LEGO fangirl would probably love these too, but will need help putting them together. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 16 essential skills kids learn from LEGO, and fantastic resources to help get them going...

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The courageous action figure that helps kids with cancer. Now that’s super!

This fierce, courageous action figure does something pretty amazing: She helps kids fight the toughest battle of their lives. For each Courage Core Power action figure purchased, one is donated to a child affected by cancer who could use a little courage. That’s her real super power. But she can also run, stand, and sit on a My Little Pony without it getting awkward, thanks to 30 points of articulation. And we like her rad accessories — check out that flaming energy sword and her awesome courage shield — and the fact that she has the body of a fit, strong woman (no...

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Meet BoyStory, cool boy dolls that kids will love. Parents, too.

If you’re excited about the new American Girl boy doll that was just announced, we’ve found a mom-run company at this year’s Toy Fair that’s already making boy dolls that are diverse, too. Created by two sisters who wanted their sons to have quality dolls that looked like them and were ready for adventure, Boy Story currently makes Mason and Billy, two fully articulated 18″ plush and vinyl boy action dolls that can be purchased together or separately, with lots of accessories, clothes, and adventure books (sound familiar?), coming soon. Related: Here are 6 of the coolest and most diverse dolls.     Related: Naturally...

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Why the awesome new Wonder Woman doll from Mattel is worth waiting for.

The Wonder Woman movie isn’t out until June, but the new Wonder Woman doll from Mattel will give little girls plenty of fierce dreams until then. Ahead of this weekend’s New York Toy Fair (which we’ll be covering, of course!), Mattel unveiled several Wonder Woman figures to support the film (as one does these days) exclusively through Entertainment Weekly, and you have to check it out. Based on Gal Gadot’s arse-kicking depiction of her in the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman (whoo, more girl power!), you’ll find  Diana in training gear, a party dress disguise, and fantastic armor. There are also majestic horses,...

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It’s a boy! Finally, the first boy in the American Girl Doll line.

Finally, after begging for years, we’re pleased to learn there’s going to be a boy doll from American Girl Doll this Thursday! His name is Logan Everett, and he plays drums alongside his friend, Tenney Grant, a female singer-songwriter from Tennessee. It’s actually not clear just yet if he’s the “sidekick” or they’re trying to market them as an equal team, but we will see. Logan is part of the 2017 collection of new American Girl Dolls (can we even call it that anymore? Is it now just AG Dolls?) — which happen to include several more diverse figures, including Girl of...

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Indoor playhouses so fun, your kids will wish every day was a snow day.

We live in New Mexico, which means our kids look forward to playing in winter’s cold air and occasional snowflakes so much, they’ll dart outside without jackets, socks, or shoes, and — on one memorable occasion — pants. Still, their cold tolerance is low enough that it’s not long before they’re back inside, looking for something else to do. That’s where these genius playhouses come in. From make-it-yourself to buy-and-install, hallway hangouts to interactive hideaways, each one of these fun indoor playhouses for kids can help turn your house into its own kind of wonderland this winter. Related: The most outrageous playhouses around CMP is an rstyle affiliate Handmade cloth card table playhouse...

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A brilliant new maker box that combines digital and real-world play for kids. And wow, the possibilities.

To my nieces, screen time is like water. Without it, I think they’d go all limp and cockeyed. So I love discovering apps for them that encourage both tech literacy and imaginative play. The two come together together beautifully thanks to the brand new Get Qurious Maker Box, which we think parents will be really happy to discover. Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 4 year olds | The Ultimate Birthday Gift Guide You may have heard about its super successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and now that the box is finally out, I think that Get Qurious is going to be a fantastic gift...

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