Category: Toys + Other Playthings

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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Eco play food for kids that happens to smell delicious. Not in a pretend way.

In my part of the country, it is definitely more hot-cocoa time than ice-cream weather. But not according to my kids who know that any day is perfect for ice cream. Which is why this sweet-smelling six-pack of cones would be a welcome addition to their playtime, no matter what the temperature is. Created by Colorado’s eco-friendly BeginAgain, this Scented Scoops ice cream toy for kids consists of six ice cream cones with removable scoops that can be carried around using a special beechwood tray. Coffee, tea, or ice cream? But there is some very new technology at use here...

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The Sbyke: the best gift your tween or teen will get, period.

The siren song of electronics has a huge pull on my tweens this holiday, so if I’m going to ask Santa to bring them something that doesn’t begin with an “i” it’d better be something pretty cool. I found something pretty cool. No…really cool. The Sbyke is the rad offspring of a scooter and a BMX bike with a whole bunch of skateboard attitude thrown in for fun. I love that ever since my kids got their hands on one, they’ve been running outside–in the cold–to ride on it. For them, it’s been a pretty natural transition from a...

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Modern Nativity scenes you won’t mind the children touching

When you consider that most nativity sets include a couple of sheep, some people, an angel, and a stable, is it any wonder that most kids can’t wait to get their hands on them? But after my three were finished playing with the set I had growing up, I understood why my mom had kept it on the high shelf, away from our hands. Most Nativity sets are definitely for looking, not touching. But not these three sets I tracked down which would make great gifts for new parents, or for young children on Christmas. They are all made...

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A Paris-pretty tea set guaranteed to be loved. Even if the macarons are pretend.

What little girl doesn’t love tea parties? Well, I sure did. Some of my fondest childhood memories are making my grandfather sit down for nice cup of my make-believe tea. He was always the best sport about it, which meant the world to me. So I have a sweet spot for sure for this special little tea set. The Moulin Roty Parisian Tea Party Set from My Sweet Muffin is seriously adorable. Each set is decorated with the cutest Parisian illustrations and comes in a matching cardboard box with a handle. Made from durable metal and a perfect size...

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The perfect gift for the kid whose power is super-coloring

If you–like me–have a little one who has become so devoted to all things “super” that you have to call breakfast “super-Cheerios” and explain that bedtime is the only way to recharge super-batteries, then I guarantee this is a truly super present. These personalized superhero crayons at Cio Prints are the perfect way to a) indulge your kiddo’s penchant for all things super and b) do so without any licensed characters to speak of.  What I really love about the crayons–besides the fact that you can get both super boy and super girl versions–is that they’re personalized in lots...

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Great baby dolls for boys, in honor of Free to Be You and Me, and William…40 years later.

We’re so happy to wish a happy 40th anniversary to Free to Be…You and Me, that groundbreaking collection of songs and spoken word pieces that introduced me to the concepts of equality and tolerance at such a young age. For instance, take the song William’s Doll. The story about a little boy who just wants a doll to love and hold—and the mocking, teasing chorus—came back to me years later in playgroups when I’d hear parents worrying that their sons wanted a doll, or (gasp) a kitchen set. Wow, 40 years later, we’re still worrying about this? So in honor of...

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Yarn Wars: Crochet your own galaxy of stars

Expensive plastic figurines? A Jedi craves not these things. Grab your lightsaber-shaped crochet hook and get busy creating your own galaxy of bite-sized Jedi, Rebels, Empire, and, well, giant squid guys. Trust us– it’s not a trap. You know we love it when geekery and crafting come together, and we’re big fans of the adorable Star Wars amigurami in this set of PDFs from lucyravenscar on Etsy. For $37, you receive complete instructions to make 14 different characters, each about four inches tall. All you need are yarn, stuffing, eyeballs, a tapestry needle, and a crochet hook. No advanced Jedi...

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New blocks on the block: awesome LEGO alternatives to get kids building

We’re not saying you need to leggo your LEGO (like your kids would ever let that happen). We’re huge LEGO fans! But this holiday season, we just want you to know about some really cool alternative building systems out there that’ll get little hands playing and little minds working. As a bonus, some of these blocks and things are a little softer than LEGO bricks. Which might matter to you if you have a knack for stomping on them barefoot, like I do. Just sayin’. Like wooden blocks gone through a major makeover, Twig blocks come in vibrant colors and cool...

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