Category: Toys + Other Playthings

The Misty Copeland Barbie is back and ready for orders. Yes!

The internet’s been all atwitter about the re-release of the Misty Copeland Barbie doll. Can we blame the buzz? It’s Misty Copeland — brilliant prima ballerina, African-American trailblazer, and all-around girl crush. Apparently we’re not the only ones who feel so strongly about a doll representing her. As part of Mattel’s Barbie “Sheroes” collection, made for adult collectors (but coveted by kids too), she sold out within an hour of its original release. So the fact that Target and Amazon are getting more in stock in a few days is fantastic news, especially since the Misty Copeland Barbie dolls I’ve been trolling...

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Your kids will fall in love with these mini dolls on a big mission

You may remember Cuddle and Kind’s beautiful hand-knit dolls, which we featured last fall. We gushed over how cute the line is, and even more impressive, their amazing mission to feed hungry kids with ten meals donated to major hunger-fighting charities with the purchase of every doll. And, wow, did our readers ever respond: This remarkable company has already donated over 200,000 meals to kids in need in just over half a year. Now, Cuddle and Kind’s Little Collection — a new line of the same sweet dolls, but mini versions of their originals — is matching the mission. For every Cuddle and Kind doll purchased, whether it’s their original 20″ or their new 13″ doll,...

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A reusable tablecloth our kids can draw on? Yes, please.

With family picnics and outdoor parties on the horizon, I’m loving Jaq Jaq Bird’s Chalk Board Table Runner that gives kids — and adults, if we’re being honest — a creative canvas on which to doodle while they (cough) patiently wait for their food. It’s a much better way to keep kids occupied and in their seats than playing with their utensils. At 6-feet long, this portable table runner offers ample space for an entire group of kids to draw side-by-side. Or, hang it on a wall for some space-saving art opportunities. I even love that this table runner can be used to deliver...

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13 awesome, affordable gifts for kids who love horses

While I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of horse racing, I do usually pour myself a mint julep and watch the Kentucky Derby (without the hat) each year. My kids and I are fascinated by the sheer beauty of the stunning horses — an interest that, for me, began when my Mom gave me a classic Breyer horse — Black Beauty, of course — when I was 7 years old. From that point on, I was hooked on horses. So, moms and dads, whether your child heads to the stables every day after school or just dreams about it while they...

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May the Fourth be with you as you fly one of these cool Star Wars kites!

You don’t need to live in a galaxy far, far away to grab one of these cool inner-space worthy Star Wars kites from Think Geek on May the Fourth or any other day. And you won’t even need the force to get one of these babies into the air — just a decent breeze and an open field. Made of nylon sail material, they’ll be durable to withstand just about anything except for enemy fire and power lines, so keep them free from both. Related: More than 40 cool Star Wars The Force Awakens birthday party ideas! Word at the cantina...

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13 amazing superhero gifts for girls who can (and will) do anything

I love that it’s become par for the course these days to raise our girls with the knowledge that they can do whatever they want and be whomever they aspire to be — astronaut, organic farmer, singer, plumber, President. And we’re all hoping they use their undeniable powers for good, which, if you think about it, is kind of the essence of a superhero. So, in honor of National Superhero Day (yes, that’s a real thing!), we’ve rounded up some of our favorite superhero gifts for girls who can do, well, anything. (Top image: superhero capes from Lovelane) From dolls and capes to books and artwork, I think these are some wonderful gifts that...

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Melanites: The brilliant new doll line celebrating brown boyhood

I am so happy to discover Melanites, a new line of dolls created in a “celebration of brown boyhood,” thanks to the wonderful mind of Boston entrepreneur and minority youth mentor, Jennifer Pierre. While we’re always on the lookout for cool dolls for boys, as well as multicultural dolls that represent the varied ethnic and racial identities of our kids who want to play with them, this is one toy line that aims to accomplish both. Related: Target removes boy and girl toy aisles, Internet implodes. Jennifer’s goal is to take on the normalization of hypermasculinity, and help more boys of color to feel valued and empowered in society through a...

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Doll carriers that prove babywearing isn’t just for grownups

When both of my big kids became older siblings for the first time, they wanted to take over most of my mothering duties for me. Feeding the baby, changing diapers, and of course, babywearing. I eventually passed an unused baby sling down to my daughter, and she carried her dolls around the house — and to the grocery, the café, church, Target — with pride, just like I carried her baby brother. While we’ve seen baby doll carriers for kids on Etsy for a while now, we love that our favorite companies are making carriers for kids that match the ones we’re...

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7 of the absolute coolest new ride-on toys for kids. Let’s get cruisin’!

With a hint of spring in the air, it’s time to take stock of the cool ride-on toys out there so that our kids can stop hibernating with their handhelds and enjoy the great outdoors instead by pedaling, gliding and zooming around our sidewalks and driveways. And if your kids shot up a few inches this winter, you may have a good excuse to consider some new wheels. Here are some of the latest and greatest new ride-on toys that have zoomed into our view that we are certain will make our most adventurous young riders very, very happy. Related: Best gifts...

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Fisher-Price hires Jonathan Adler, and wait until you see what’s coming for babies and toddlers

This post has been updated with corrections. Fisher-Price is of course the brand behind many of our favorite childhood toys like that now iconic telephone and the little gumball machine looking push-toy. So their big announcement this week that Jonathan Adler — yes, that Jonathan Adler — has signed on as their new creative director in charge of baby and children’s items is huge news for those of us fans of his modern, clever design work. And those of us fans of modern, clever children’s gifts and gear that won’t break the bank. It’s not a totally shocking move for him considering he’s got...

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Disney LEGO minifigures are released, but look who’s missing.

Now that they’ve been revealed, I’m looking at the new Disney LEGO minifigures with great interest. I mean, I doubt there’s a kid on this planet who doesn’t imagine an array of 18 Disney characters transformed into LEGO minifigures and know right away that there will be at least one they absolutely have to have, please Mom, I’ll do anything, pleeeeeease….!  Related: 19 cool Rey Star Wars toys and gifts, from LEGO to tees to wall art It’s a fairly diverse selection, with characters ranging from classic Mickey and Minnie, to Pixar faves, and even less blockbuster-ish characters like Stitch, all available in May in those $3.99 surprise packs. But looking...

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Have bike, will travel: The super cool Durban bikes

Anyone who has seen my garage knows that we do not lack for bicycles. But, I always wished for a bike small enough to just toss into the trunk of my car alongside the kids’ scooters for weekend rides in the park or on the boardwalk. Which is why I was extremely excited to try out the Metro Special Edition foldable bike from Durban (yeah, the one seen on Ellen), a snazzy looking set of wheels that folds down to a portable size. What could be cooler? Made primarily for urbanites who may not have room to store a big bike in their apartments,...

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A toy that’s as magnetic as the man himself; Happy Birthday Mister Rogers!

To commemorate what would have been Mister Rogers’ 88th birthday today, we’re going to get him all dressed up for the special occasion. How about a purple cardigan and a pair of roller skates? Or maybe a fireman’s hat, sunglasses, and a bowtie? With the Hello Neighbor! Mister Rogers magnetic dress up set, you can dress up one of your childhood favorites in a whole host of getups — iconic smile included. Related: Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Mister Rogers sticky notes The magnetic wardrobe and props, which include King Friday XIII, Lady Elaine Fairchild, and X the Owl, come...

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Over 20 of the best bunny gifts for Easter, whether you’ve got toddlers or tweens

Ready for Easter? We weren’t either until we started searching the web for ideas, and got excited when we found so many totally adorable bunny gifts for Easter out there! And there’s no chocolate, Peeps, or jelly beans in this bunch — not that there’s anything wrong with those. We just thought it would be fun to find some cool, non-candy gifts for Easter baskets, for babies all the way up to our not-too-old-for-Easter-gift tweens and teens. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Shaped like those iconic Peeps candies we can’t stop eating despite ourselves, these Easter bunny crayons from Custom Crayons by...

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Creative kids can now design their own dream dollhouse and take it everywhere they go

We’re big fans of toys that inspire creativity in our kids. And if they’re small enough to fit in a backpack, even better. The Dollhouse Book by Rock and Pebble is perfection. This house-shaped cardboard-cover book is a 30-page blank canvas, literally, for your child to custom-create their own dream house. They can design at home or on-the-go. No more impatient waits for food to arrive at the table or for a sister’s dance class to be over. And once they’ve designed every room of the most amazing home ever, they can set it up to play — anywhere. Which they totally cannot do with that...

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Beating boredom with cool wooden toys inspiring art, design, engineering and imagination.

Walking the toy aisles of most big discount stores can make any parent feel dizzy, to use a polite word. Where are all the cool wooden toys? Where are the toys that inspire imagination? Why does it seem like every toy made for kids these days is some beeping, flashing, plastic monstrosity that isn’t built to hold a kid’s interest through the year? Well, not all…but lots of them. So I’m always reassured when I find smaller toymakers doing really special things. Like my latest discovery, the innovative company Once Kids, which makes cool wooden toys that help our children get in touch with their inner artist, designer, or engineer. And...

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Creative toys for an 8 year old — no beeps, boops or batteries

My daughter loves her screen time, that’s for sure, but lately I have been keenly aware of the other creative toys that she, as an 8 year old, really gravitates to, without any prompting from me. Or really, the toys that I realize I’m always telling her to put away, 16 times in a row before she listens. So maybe I’ll stop asking her to clean them up. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who secretly — or not-so-secretly — loves that quiet time when I’m reading or working, and the kids are next to me playing quietly, without...

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The ultimate awesome gift: Your own custom box of Crayola crayons.

I still remember how special it would feel to get a brand new box of 64 Crayola crayons just for myself — and that was before Crayola My Way, a super cool new way to create a box of totally custom Crayola crayons. Not only can you personalize the outside of the box with photos and a short message or name, but you can also choose which colors go inside. Does your child only color with Cornflower blue? Always run out of the metallics first? Love everything purple? No problem. Best birthday gift ever! Related: Ultimate Birthday Party Gift Guide It’s super simple to personalize...

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Naturally Perfect Dolls: A standout at this year’s Toy Fair

There’s something special about getting a doll that looks “just like you.” It’s one of the many reasons Cool Mom Picks loves companies like Corolle who make baby dolls of color as well as boy dolls for our sons to love. Of course it’s partly why American Girl Dolls became so beloved. And it’s the reason I was stoked to stumble upon Naturally Perfect Dolls at this year’s Toy Fair this week. The idea for the Naturally Perfect Dolls line, created by parents Angelica and Jason Sweeting, was inspired by their young African-American daughter asking for yellow hair and white skin — for herself — so she...

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Oh boy, Oh! Toys: The cool kids’ gifts you just can’t find anywhere else

Since Cool Mom Picks started a decade ago, we’ve made it our mission to find small, independent stores that sell unique, eco-friendly, hard-to-find toys for your kids so that all you have to do is scroll and shop. My newest favorite, Oh! Toys, goes to great lengths (or maybe I should say great distances) to find beautifully made toys that encourage open-ended play. Just think of the airfare they’ve saved you! Here are just a few of the really special, creative gifts there that you simply aren’t going to find at your local mall or big toy store chain. Related: The ultimate birthday fift guide: Coolest gifts for...

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Treehouse Kid & Craft: A cool indie toy shop that makes you want to buy everything.

If you’re the type willing to seek out creative, responsibly made, well-designed gifts for your kids — or for one of the endless stream of birthday parties they get invited to — then you have to check out Treehouse Kid & Craft. We just discovered this little gem of an online shop which features tons of the kinds of cool toys for kids of all ages that we’ve always loved supporting. And the prices are surprisingly decent, too. What I’m drawn to most is their drool-worthy DIY section of toys and gifts which are inspired by the hands-on workshops for kids they host at their brick-and-mortar stores in Georgia. If you’re lucky...

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A look at the brand new curvy Barbie: Will you buy her? | Thinking: Parent

Well, after oh, only sixty years or so of women complaining about Barbie’s unrealistic figure, Mattel has decided to get with the 21st century zeitgeist and the changing look of the world, today releasing Barbies with three brand new body shapes — curvy, tall and petite. And you know, looking at them? They actually are curvy, tall and petite. Yes! Interestingly, they’re called the Barbie Fashionista line, which I suppose is a smart marketing move as opposed to calling them something like Barbie Body Shape. Or Bootylicious Barbie which I imagine was off the table immediately.   Of course we had to have...

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15 of the coolest indoor playhouses for kids, from DIY to a few splurges

As someone living in Massachusetts, I’ve always gotten the appeal of having a great playhouse for kids. For many of us, our kids’ primary playtime through the winter will take place indoors where it isn’t 20 degrees and icy. So if you’re looking for ways to make your indoors as fun as possible for your kids, a cool playhouse can give them endless hours of imaginative fun that doesn’t involve bouncing off the walls or jumping on your couch. So we’ve rounded up 15 cool DIY and ready-to-buy playhouses for kids that can be put in a playroom, bedroom, or even a corner of...

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19 cool Rey Star Wars toys and gifts: She might not be in Monopoly, but she sure is here. | Spawned episode 28

We’ve been super frustrated with the lack of Star Wars toys for kids featuring Rey. Not just because she’s a woman, and all of our kids — male and female — love her, but uh…she’s the hero. How the heck do you make a Star Wars Monopoly set or a Star Wars 6-piece Action Figure set “with all your favorite characters” but not the main character of the entire movie? above LEGO Force Awakens Rey and BB-8 art photograph | Holtzman Customs Even JJ Abrams doesn’t get it. We discussed the issue on this week’s Spawned Show: Where is Rey? — especially Mike...

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Telestrations: Like Telephone meets Pictionary meets so much fun

Kudos to my sister-in-law who scored with arguably the biggest hit of all the gifts this holiday season, Telestrations. Or actually, credit may go to my 9-year-old niece who saw it in a store and said, “hey, that looks fun” which was the understatement of the year. Related: 8 of our favorite family board games for 6 or more players of all ages. Essentially Telestrations like a game of telephone with drawings — you sit in a circle, and each player gets a different word or phrase to write down on a dry-erase flip pad. Then, you flip the page and illustrate that word...

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The 22 best kids’ toys of the year (and other playful gifts) : Editors’ Best of 2015

When you think back to the best toys of the year (and other playful gifts for kids) you probably think about tech, tablets, and things that require cords and batteries. And yet there’s so much more, from wonderful board games, to handmade dolls, to decidedly unplugged toy that inspire tons of creative play and imagination. While we’ve got all the cool tech toys covered for you over at Cool Mom Tech, here are 22 of our favorite new toys of 2015 that captured our — and our children’s — attention. Most are from small brands that really value all the attention they get, but...

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Sesame Street + Tattly = Best stocking stuffer ever. For the kids, too.

I have a longstanding love affair with Sesame Street, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that our friends at Tattly recently teamed up with the Sesame Workshop to create a Sesame Street character set of temporary tattoos. Yes, I understand that they’re for kids, and don’t get me wrong, I know a few kids who will be finding these in their stockings this year. But I’m digging them for myself, too, which is why I’m excited they’ve got a Sesame Street Nostalgia set for us old people. I can’t be the only one who secretly wanted a Grover tattoo. Or…...

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Sponsored Message: Flare Play gaming platform streams kid-friendly video games and educational content, right on your TV

This is a sponsored message from Flare Play Kids love video games, but understandably, parents can justify the gaming time better when kids are actually playing something educational. That’s where Flare Play comes in to make everyone happy. This new gaming platform gives kids a huge variety of age-appropriate video games, with lots of parental controls and no clutter of discs or cartridges. Be sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance win your own gaming console!  With more 150 educational games and interactive ebooks designed just for kids from LEGO, Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers, even Hooked on Phonics, the compact Flare Play console easily plugs into your TV’s...

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The Ultimate Star Wars Guide: Dozens of geeky gifts, party ideas, DIY projects, recipes, and random Force-inspired insanity.

Okay, so the world is obsessed with Star Wars right now in light of the premier of The Force Awakens. And hey, we count ourselves among you all. Now we can’t exactly say we’ve covered Star Wars “since before it was cool” because 1.) no such thing and 2.) we were not blogging in 1978. But we have put together an awesome Star Wars guide, filled with so many fun finds from over the years — gifts, guides, party ideas, recipes (Chewbacca donuts!) and just random awesome stuff. It’s so fun seeing them all here in one place. Or, you can always...

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The Originals: Brand New Noise handmade recording gadgets make everyone smile

My kids were in a museum gift shop with friends this summer and of everything in the store, all four spent the entire time fighting over (I mean, taking turns with) what’s best defined as a handmade voice  or music recording gadget from a cool little Brooklyn company called Brand New Noise. And while you might have seen something like their nifty sound boxes, nothing tops the original, which is why we’re happy to include them in our series on original makers, thinkers, and artists. These recording toys are like the best of tech toys meets the best of low-tech toys,...

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