Category: Toys + Playthings

An adorable doll carrier for future babywearers

I’m a veteran babywearer, so it’s no surprise that the first thing my daughter thinks about when she wants to take her dolls for a walk is putting them into a carrier. We’ve always had cute little doll pouches for her babies, but with whyknotmom’s Reversible Doll Carrier, she finally has one that looks like the Ergo her little brother used to pretty much live in, and she couldn’t be more excited. These adorable customizable doll carriers come in a variety of colorful fabrics with black on the reverse to better simulate mom’s or dad’s carrier. With adjustable waist and shoulder straps, they’ll...

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TBT: Throwback teethers

Perhaps thanks to Sophie the Giraffe, teething toys have gotten way more fun than the rainbow plastic rings we used to rely on. That drooly baby stage now has its own array of accessories from chic teething jewelry for moms to handmade organic wooden teethers. And now there’s another fun option in the vintage character teethers by Oli & Carol which would be a great add-on to a big baby registry gift, or a thoughtful baby shower gift all on its own.   These adorable, pastel-shaded vintage animals–my favorite is the dusty blue seahorse–were created by two young Barcelona-based sisters from 100% natural Hevea latex. Plus they’re...

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Train the next adorable generation of baristas to spell your name right

Okay, so maybe my eight-year-old daughter already knows how to use a coffee maker. And maybe she has her own hand-painted Goblet of Fire mug, in which she begs for a sip of the steaming hot ambrosia of morning. But still, what if I’d gotten her started even earlier with cappuccino? That’s why this adorable wooden Babyccino Machine from Djeco at Little Citizens Boutique is so brilliant. Forget the wooden birthday cakes and felt donuts and give my future barista a cappuccino maker toy as pretty as it is fun that comes with real working parts, just like a Nescafe machine....

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How fun are these number blocks? Let us count the ways…

With so many amazing modern building blocks out there, it’s not hard to find a set that I’d love to give to my kids. But I’ve just discovered SumBlox, the most incredibly original set of durable beech wood blocks that mixes math learning and block play together in such an interesting way, I think they’d be just as valuable in our kids’ classrooms as in their playrooms. Related: 6 cool sets of wooden blocks for older kids that are anything but square What makes the cool-looking SumBlox number blocks so unique is that each block has its value represented by its height so that kids can...

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DIY Board Games for kids gives family game night a creative twist

Playing a board game with the kids can be fun, but it’s bound to feel a lot more special when your kids get to put their own finishing touches on the games themselves, like they can with DIY Board Games. And, don’t worry: The “DIY” doesn’t mean they get to make up their own rules as they go along. DIY Board Games are a set of semi-finished games that let kids flex their creative muscles by customizing their boards and game pieces with tons of stickers and markers. Kids who are handy with the safety scissors can even assemble the pieces...

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Talk Like a Pirate Day: Avast, me hearties, it’s time for the cutest pirate treasures for kids!

Ahoy mateys, it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, one of our favorite should-be-a-real-holiday days of the year. And though my “pirate speak” is a little rusty, my ability to find some of the cutest and coolest pirate-related treasures is right on the mark. So keep reading for six of the best pirate-related gifts for the little landlubbers and scallywags in your crew. Hopewell Creek Designs’ 9-piece felt pirate set (at top) has everything to get your buccaneers started: a handy treasure map, a compass, gold doubloons, a bottle of Pirate Rum, and the Jolly Roger flag to fly proudly on the mast...

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Gorgeous handmade toys you’ll be tempted to play with yourself

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and say it: The holidays are creeping up. I know that means half of you hate me, and the other half are like “whatever, my list is already done.” In which case, I bow to you. But if you’re starting to think about  special gifts for kids for any reason at all (I won’t use the “H” word if it makes it easier for you), we’ve got a slew of ideas in the Cool Mom Picks Indie Shop. And one of our favorite new finds has been the exquisite handmade toys from Abby...

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The best gifts for a 4 year old? Tons of fantastic ideas.

Buying a special gift for a four-year-old is so much fun since this is the age that kids really start to show their preferences and interests. Plus, they aren’t sticking every little piece into their mouths (phew) and can play independently for a lot more time than their younger selves. So if you’re looking for the best gifts for a four year old in your life, skip the stuffed animals. This BTDT mom has a lot of cool ideas for you that are extra special. Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 4-year-olds: The ultimate birthday party gift guide   OUTDOOR TOY...

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The coolest scooter ever, coming to a sidewalk near you

Those iconic handmade wooden crate and roller-skate-bottom scooters from the Great Depression have been retooled and re-imagined to form the fierce-looking Skate Crate, hopefully coming soon to a sidewalk near you. At least if you ask our kids. Currently about halfway through its Kickstarter campaign, the Skate Crate combines the scrappy ingenuity of a previous era with 2014 technology and craftsmanship to make a sturdy ride-on toy for both little and big kids. Created by Blockhead Skateboards’ founder Dave Bergthold, it shows off some serious style with cool artwork, gorgeous wood construction, and smooth-rolling wheels that will get kids flying down the pavement.   I...

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Game closet refresher: Doodle Quest challenges grown ups, too

It’s not always easy for us to find a game for kids that is doable, yet challenging, and that the entire family can play. What can we say, we have high standards. However cool-game maker Blue Orange’s new Doodle Quest is giving my family a run for our money, just in time for us to refresh the game closet as the weather starts to cool. And parents: Don’t get too cocky. You may find that this is one game you don’t have to pretend to lose. Doodle Quest is easy to start playing, something this impatient mama appreciates since nothing grinds my game-playing mojo to...

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I am Groot. Well, these cool, sprouting pencils are.

Thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy, a sentient tree who can only say three–fine, four–words is this summer’s coolest superhero. And when I think of how cool these plantable, sprouting pencils will look once they bloom in a pot of soil, all I can think about is baby Groot, dancing. Which means your kids can do their homework with Groot. Sprout pencils are made of sustainably-grown cedar with a special, water-activated seed capsule where the eraser should go. Once your pencil is too short to write with, just follow the included directions to plant it. Soon you’ll have a pot...

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Scooter Safety for Kids: 7 smart tips for a safe scoot to school and back again

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean kids will be hanging up their scooters anytime soon. In some neighborhoods, we’re even scooting to school and hopefully safely. Our partner Micro Kickboard (we love them so much!) is a brand we all have trusted and loved and owned for years, which is why we are thrilled to work with them again. (And apologies to our kids, but no, this doesn’t mean “we can get another one.”) Micro Kickboard also knows a thing or two about scooter safety for kids, because they really care about them. Hey, a lot of them are parents...

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Lovely literary pencils for your favorite young writer

Why settle for #2 pencils when these literary pencils are bound to be #1 on any bookish kid’s school supply list? Whether you’ve got a tween into Harry Potter and Ramona Quimby or a teen with a soft spot for Alice or a hankering to be Divergent, those plain yellow wood pencils on the school supply list are  yesterday’s news. Bouncing Ball Creation on Etsy hand-rolls #2 pencils with book pages to create pencils that will please the most persnickety teacher and amuse the writer. Each set includes five standard pencils, pre-sharped and ready for the first day of school,...

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What are the best gifts for a two year old? We’ve got tons!

Choosing the best gift for a two year old from among ride-on vehicles, construction toys, dolls and more can seem overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed it down to some favorites that our own boys and girls have loved. Because that first birthday party may get more hoopla, but we know the second is where you get to buy the really fun gifts for a toddler who is just getting ready to, well, toddle everywhere. And, possibly, remember your gift in the first place.   RIDE-ON TOYS FOR TWO YEAR OLDS   You probably don’t have to worry about a two-year-old getting enough exercise, but the challenge is to...

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A natural wooden dollhouse so adorable, an elephant couldn’t forget it. Especially in this case.

We’ve seen just about everything in the  dollhouse world, but we’ve never seen an elephant you could live in. The natural wooden dollhouse called the Ele Villa (“elephant house”), from natural, sustainable toy company Rock and Pebble definitely brings something new to the world of imaginative play, and I love the underbelly parking as much as I love the well-dressed people who live there. Don’t miss limited time free shipping below! The Ele Villa dollhouse is made of birch and is totally sustainable, natural, and non-toxic. With two floors standing 16″ tall and eight rooms that can be painted or decorated to your heart’s content, it’s as...

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Our favorite safe, cool bike helmets for kids. Whether or not they’re future Tour de France riders

It can be a struggle to get kids to remember to wear their helmets, but when their bike safety gear looks as good as these cool  bike helmets for kids–they’re much more likely to use one. So since it’s July, and in our house the Tour de France is on TV every morning (meaning between stages, my own little cyclists are out on the driveway doing their own time trials) we’ve put together our favorite bike helmets for your kids. Because I’ve seen the falls in the race, and I want to be sure my kids are really safe when they’re out on our street...

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5 of the newest, coolest kid-powered ride-on toys. No batteries, no motors.

With ride-on toys like the Skoooch, the CycoCycle, and the Explorer Go-Kart in our garage, our own driveway is often the most fun place to be in the summer. And if you’re looking for something totally different to get your kids out and riding this summer, here are some of the newest, and coolest, ride-on toys I’ve seen lately. The cool styling of the Mobo Tot cruiser gets a Disney Planes makeover (shown at top), and I happen to love the result. With its modern color combination, Mobo’s kid-powered vehicle looks ready for some serious summer cruising. And I appreciate the safety flag that will...

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9 garden toys and gifts for kids that will help get their hands dirty.

If you have yet to get your kids into gardening, you’re in for a treat – kids are naturals. Last year my husband built us a small garden box in the back yard, and my kids and I planted some seeds and watched them grow into tomatoes and squash and peppers, which became spaghetti and casseroles and fajitas. It was such a fun process for them to see how their dirty fingers and hard work produced something so wonderful.  Let alone teaching them that no, tomatoes don’t come “from the store.” To get your kids excited for gardening, try some of...

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Pop culture dolls: Ridiculously hip, surprisingly cuddly.

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own David Bowie to snuggle, we’ve got good news: These pop culture dolls by French artisan My Name is Simone are just as much for you as they are for kids. Whether you’re into Ziggy Stardust, the King of Pop, or a certain fabulous fashion designer named Karl, they’re all based on her favorite style icons who will look equally as posh on the couch or on a shelf in a mod nursery. There are five dolls available now from Little Collector, each made of 100% organic, sustainable materials. Along with the three you...

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7 fantastique French gifts for kids in honor of Bastille Day

Even if our plans today don’t include a French military parade on the Champs-Elysées, in honor of Bastille day today, we’re giving a special nod to our fashionable friends on the other side of the pond by featuring some of our favorite French gifts for kids, or at least French inspired. Especially good for kids not old enough to watch Les Miserables on Netflix yet. Even if your kids don’t have one drop of French in them, we think they’ll love to receive some of the playthings here, that have us longing for Paris.     Each of the soft, squishy Paris-themed pillows from A...

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Lille Huset: The diy dollhouse kits we wish we had as kids.

We adored Lille Huset’s eco-friendly, laminated, recycled paperboard DIY dollhouses the moment we discovered them at Toy Fair  earlier this year. Founder Alyson Beaton’s mission is so wonderful: to encourage kids to build and customize their homes, not just play with preexisting ones. Besides, they’re beautiful. So we are thrilled that we are now carrying the US-made Lille Huset kits at the Cool Mom Picks indie shop, along with other wonderful handmade and indie items from makers around the world. Update: Regretfully, the great.ly shop is no longer in operation. We hope you’ll find other cool stuff you love throughout our site. Lille Huset’s houses come flat-packed so that you...

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5 fun new beach toys for kids that beat regular shovels and pails

Tis the season for playing in the sand (yay for summer!) so we’ve rounded up some of the most fun and coolest-looking new beach toys for kids. If you’ve got a seaside trip planned,we hope these help you amp up the standard buckets and shovels. Because it’s good to keep them busy when they aren’t dodging waves or asking if they can bury you up to your neck in the sand.   SAND MOLDS FROM EDUCO Why build a regular ol’ sand castle when you could create the seaside Taj Mahal or Parthenon? I love Educo’s sand molds that come in famous shapes including the Great Wall...

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Stick-lets help build forts. And imaginations. We happen to like both.

My kids love to build clubhouses and can turn anything into a fort—our playground, the shady spot under the deck, you name it. So with summer here, I was pretty excited discover Stick-lets, a new toy that lets them do that very thing. Stick-lets are thick pieces of silicone with holes cut out, so you can slide them over the end of two sticks and build a structure with them. They call them “silicone lashings” but that sounds like something out of Game of Thrones, to us. They stretch pretty well (although it takes some strength to pull the heavy-duty silicone),...

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Tree + Me

We missed the boat on a big fancy modern swing set for my kids–maybe because we live in the city and don’t have a yard? Yeah, that could have a little to do with it. But their Grandma and Papa put up a handmade swing for them which made me realize that once again, the basics can make kids perfectly happy. Especially when it’s one that will last–maybe until the next generation? That’s why I got all “awwwww” when I saw the gorgeously handcrafted old fashioned wooden tree swing from Minnesota’s The Original Tree Swing on Etsy. Pricy? Yeah. But built (from...

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X is for Xantus and M is for Modern with these vibrant animal alphabet flash cards

Okay, so M is actually for Monkey in this set of flash cards for kids, but X really is Xantus–Xantus’s Hummingbird, to be exact. We’re stunned by the modern, gorgeous, high design illustrations on these Animal Alphabet Flash Cards by illustrator Paul Lee. Hey, we’re just impressed that someone finally found a real animal that starts with X. Lee, a father of two, originally designed the cards for his own kids, but we’re so glad he made the pack available for the rest of us. Whether you want posh cards to teach your own little monkeys the alphabet, need a stunning gift for a...

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Summer camp care package ideas so cool, the kids might even miss you. Maybe.

If your kids are headed to camp this summer, sending them a cool summer camp care package will make their day. Or week. Even if they didn’t even look back to wave when you dropped them off. We’ve got a whole bunch of fun ideas for care package goodies that, according to our own kids, will make yours proclaim you the best parent in the world to all of his or her bunkmates. Short of sending a life’s supply of candy. Just be sure to check with your camp before sending one out–they all have different care package rules, especially when it comes...

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Sponsored Post: Generation Grit retro-inspired action figures that come from history, not cartoons

This is a sponsored message from Generation Grit Mom of four, Laura Hale, was looking for action figures for her sons that would offer some of the wholesome, creative play accompanied by thoughtful storybooks that so many girls had already discovered with their own line of popular dolls. That’s why she set out to design Generation Grit, a new line of retro-inspired action figures, which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign. The series will kick off with Mac Mason, an adventurous fourteen-year-old boy from 1943 who loves ciphers, camping and baseball. An accompanying book describes his courageous adventures with his British cousin William back in...

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The new G-Bike balance bike: For kids who can’t wait for their own wheels

We love balance bikes here at Cool Mom Picks because they do such a great job of teaching young kids how to get around safely on two wheels. I was sold on them after learning the hard way how challenging it is to wean a fearful child off of training wheels (oy, my back) and now I’m particularly smitten with the new line of G-Bike balance bikes made by my kids’ favorite scooter maker, Micro Kickboard.   Micro Kickboard’s brightly colored, toddler-friendly G-Bike balance bike is created for kids as young as two who are eager to hit the open road–or more realistically, the driveway and sidewalk.  I dig the look...

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Cool custom family dolls, because everyone needs a mini-me. Or a mini-us.

We have a thing for personalized dolls at Cool Mom Picks, but I am legitimately swooning over these sophisticated (but still adorable) custom family dolls, handmade by Liliana Tijeras of Citizens Collectible on Etsy. They may be made in Spain, but the couple with the square glasses could have stepped right off of the sidewalks of Brooklyn or Los Feliz. They may even be two dads–hard to tell. Liliana perfectly captures personality in felt and canvas, customizing every doll’s hair color, facial hair, skin tone, and any of more than a dozen hair styles. You can also choose from a slew of fabrics for their outfits, and even...

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Awesome action figures for girls that are actually for girls.

I have always said that I’m not anti-princess, just pro-choice. When it comes to my daughters’ toys, I’ve always wanted them to have a variety, which is why we don’t limit ourselves to “girls’ aisles”  in toy stores. And now IAmElemental comes along and gives us actual action figures for girls–a phenomenal option to inspire creative play right alongside their action movie-themed LEGOs  and rag dolls and American Girl Dolls and everything else in the toy chest. Still in the midst of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, this mom-run company is reinventing the female action figure, with a series made for actual girls to play with–instead of adult collectors to ogle. You...

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