Category: Toys + Other Playthings

What to buy a 7 year old girl: 13 gift ideas according to mine after the NYIGF

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.   Related: The coolest gifts for 7-year old boys and girls   Color Your Own Placemats by Modern Twist¬† More than two...

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Humble wooden blocks get a beautiful makeover

Whether you are looking for a stunning first-birthday gift for a special child in your life, or your preschooler just loves to build, this beautifully designed set of colorful blocks is one toy they’ll treasure. Especially when they are building the Land of Lollipops or whatever they dream up in their imagination. Land of Nod’s It Makes a Village Building Set would create the village (or previously mentioned Land of Lollipops) of my kids’ dreams, with swoopy arches, wavy roads, and even little shapes that could become anything from a rock wall, to a cluster of bushes, to a...

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The perfect first dollhouse

I still remember taking my girls to a friend’s house for a playdate, and realizing that my youngest daughter, then about two, could lose herself for an hour or more with the little girl’s dollhouse without making a peep. I knew from then on that imagination-building toys would rule her world and the hunt for the perfect dollhouse would begin. If you have a boy or girl in the same boat–or house–I’ve found just the one to get them started. This new child’s dollhouse, simply called “Playhouse,” is the perfect first dollhouse. With just three floors, enough furniture to...

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This personalized set of pins will bowl them over

Growing up, I used to love spotting my name on keychains, toothbrushes, shoelaces, and whatever else happened to be hanging on those spinning racks by store cash registers. Kids today–well, my weirdly named kids, at least–don’t always have the same fun name-spotting opportunities as I once did. That’s why I always get excited when I find great customizable gifts for kids, especially keepsake-worthy ones like this. These Personalized Wooden Toy Skittles (no, not the candy) from KeepsakeToys fit the bill perfectly. Durable and plenty of fun for indoor play, this 10-pin wooden bowling set can be personalized with up...

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Barrel of Monkeys for a new generation

Monkeys are fun, no doubt about it. I will even go out on a limb (see what I just did?) and say that watching monkeys leap from branch to branch is one of my favorite stops at the zoo. Which is why the kid inside me–along with my actual kids–loves this wonderful children’s monkey toy. This Balancing Monkeys kids’ toy from Cool Mom Picks favorite, Plan Toys, is like an updated and ridiculously fun Barrel of Monkeys except without all that plastic. In fact everything at Plan Toys is made from sustainable rubberwood with non-toxic dyes, and they were...

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Better than a sled. Better than a plastic saucer. It’s a Zipfy.

It only takes about 3/4″ of snow to get my kids begging to go to the sledding hill in town. They used to bang a big plastic sled up and down the hills, arguing over whose turn it is to lug the awkward thing back to the top, but this winter they have something new, super portable, and very cool to get them to the bottom. Zipfy Freestyle Mini Luge is a lightweight plastic sled like nothing else we’ve owned before. Instead of the typical saucer shape, Zipfy has a handle right in the middle which gives kids some...

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The puzzles that give other puzzles puzzle envy (is there such a thing?)

One of my favorite pastimes with my kids has always been puzzles. I love the combination of relaxing and challenging. My son usually only lasts a quarter of the way through, but my daughter patiently works until the very last piece is placed. (I try to quit but she just won’t let me.) So I am thrilled to find these gorgeous, handmade wooden puzzles that I think so many parents will love. The wooden magnetic geography puzzles by Steven Mattern Design are cool to look at and so educational–what a great way to make geography more interactive than a...

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Montessori style fun in a box. Actually, it is a box.

One of the neat things about sending the kids off to preschool is seeing all the fun developmental toys they get to play with. It’s also one of the mildly guilt-inducing things. Like, uh…was I supposed to be giving them all these fun developmental toys to play with at home? I love that Little Alouette, one of the very best mom-and-pop artisans of handmade wooden baby toys and teethers, is increasingly moving into some neat stuff for toddlers. Check out this nifty sensory literacy sand tray, which looks like it could be found in any Montessori classroom, only probably...

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The best handmade American Girl Doll clothes on Etsy: Should you succumb?

I caved. After years of avoiding the store and hiding the catalog, I finally gave in and bought two American Girl Dolls for my daughters for Christmas. But in doing so, I swore that I’d support Etsy artists and crafters by buying as much handmade clothing for American Girl Dolls as possible. With help in part from Grammy (thanks Grammy!) who helped find so many of these great designs, here are a few shops to keep your eye on should you be looking to style Kit or Kaya or McKenna in something a little off the beaten path. And...

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A DIY LEGO Star Wars Clock: a better way for kids to ring in the New Year than champagne

You have to love any DIY tutorial that includes among the instructions “print out Death Star from the Internet.” And I especially love it when it combines two of our favorite things–LEGO and Star Wars. I love this tutorial for a DIY Star Wars LEGO Clock at Instructables. I wouldn’t say it’s quite for beginning crafters, but it could be a lot simpler if you buy a ready-made wooden clock and just get out the glue. The best part is that, being LEGO, the minifigs are interchangeable. So if you would prefer, say, a LEGO Friends clock, you can do that too. Just maybe...

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