Toys + Other Playthings

Getting All Felt Up

I love watching my daughter’s imagination in action. She sets the table for five so her imaginary friend can eat too, and there’s no end to the litany of cool animal pals that she describes as stopping by for a visit at bedtime.

Gnome-in-the-Box

I always loved jack-in-the-boxes as a kid, but you’ve got to admit, there was something about that original "Jack" that was pretty creepy. Clowns are generally a little questionable anyway, come to think of it, let alone one intended to scare the bejeezus out of a preschooler by design.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

I hadn’t flown a kite since I was a littlekid at the Jersey shore, but on a beautiful windy day at the beach last year, my daughter and I spent hours watching our little kite fly — until it broke and we had to retire it way too soon.

Art You Can Climb All Over

A rocking horse is one of the essential staples of the traditional American nursery. But what if you don’t have the traditional American nursery? If you’ve taken the time to pick out the perfect Oeuf dresser and Svan table and chairs, those little ponies with the synthetic manes just may not cut it in the junior bedroom.

Mini Queens of Mod

Once upon a time, a doll featuring huge eyes, long lashes and skimpy skirts wouldn’t call to mind tasteless mass produced slut dolls that enrage millions of moms; but rather hip 60s-era fashion icons.

Shopping With a Conscience

I simply can’t say enough about HandCrafting Justice, a partnership in which women from developing countries have an opportunity to better their lives by making and selling handmade items under decent working conditions for fair wages. The organization absolutely stole my heart with their mission of economic justice for women – to say nothing of the fantastic items they offer on the website.

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You

With the abundance of battery operated musical instruments out there screeching out some bizarre electronic form of "Twinkle Twinkle," I find it totally refreshing when I stumble upon some really great instruments that kids actually have to play themselves.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Barbies

Thanks to my mother-in-law, that 36-22-36 blonde doll made an unwelcome entrance into my toddler’s toy gallery this holiday season. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving in to all future Barbie requests so fast. It just means I’m going to have to find something ten times cooler than her royal plastic majesty.

I Dream of Genie

Let’s admit, there’s been quite a bit of dvd-watching over the last few months. How else are you supposed to get the gifts wrapped, the holiday cards sent, and the cookies baked–or at least ordered through a handy toll-free number?

Stop: Hammer Time

When I was in middle school, I should have failed Home Economics. I burned my banana bread in cooking class, and the blouse for my final sewing project might have fit had my head been the same size as my arms. But woodshop–now that, I aced. And Aunt Ginny loved her new birdhouse.

Rock The Boat, Baby

One of the downsides of our charming New York apartment – our toys outnumber our square footage. I fear any holiday gift for the kiddo bigger than a breadbox is going to have trouble finding a permanent home here–except for maybe a breadbox itself. Then at least we could store other toys in it.

Dollhouse Meets 2006

I know my daughter would love a dollhouse, however, I just can’t give in to buying a huge pink plastic house with frilly shutters and a white picket fence. Just thinking about it gives me a weird sugar high. Plus, I’d love my next child (perhaps a son?) to be able to enjoy playing with a cool house without having to endure all the oozing girliness.