Tag: construction toys

Build your own LEGO fidget spinner, await the gushing praise.

With the massive popularity of fidget spinners, it was only a matter of time before we found a DIY project for making your own. Fortunately this one doesn’t require an engineering degree or even a 3-D printer: Just some basic LEGO pieces. The very clever Sarah at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls (F.K.A. Frugal Fun for Boys and my girls in particular thank her for the name change!) has put together a terrific tutorial on how to build your own LEGO fidget spinner. Click over and find detailed photos, step-by-step directions, and even links to purchasing the right round tiles and...

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3 cool non-LEGO building sets, just to keep things interesting around the playroom

My kids are all about their LEGOs, but I’ve also been keeping my eye on some cool non-LEGO building sets to keep things interesting around the playroom. These three allow kids to build things they can’t with their LEGOs, and I have to say, I’m very impressed. If you’re looking for a gift that’s a little more unexpected than another LEGO set (although, this will never disappoint), then try one of these. We think the kids in your life will give them two thumbs up too. CMP is an rstyle affiliate At top: Brackitz Driver set Related: Tegu’s massive 130-piece magnetic wooden blocks set are a...

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LEGO and tape had a love child, and your kids are going to freak!

If LEGO and tape loved each other very very much (as we might say to the kids), this is what you’d get: Nimuno Loops. It’s a genius, colorful, flexible roll of LEGO tape that’s compatible with LEGO bricks and all the other building blocks. Whoa. That means virtually anything, from your walls to your kids’ dressers to the fridge can become a base for LEGO creations. I’m thinking bike handlebars, headbands, necklaces, the bathtub — even the sides of your kids’ sneakers soles. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, let’s all go collectively hide our dogs. Related: The cool LEGO add-on...

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A Hamilton Musical LEGO set: Do not throw away your shot to vote for this!

We are big Hamilton Musical fans around here, with my son rapping Guns and Ships in his sleep and weaving lines into his school papers, so when I saw this Hamilton Musical LEGO set up for voting on the LEGO Ideas site, I just had to share it. Especially since he’s a huge LEGO lover too. Now, this set is not for purchase yet but rather, it’s a submission created by LEGO Ideas community member doniazade. The whole set has been reconstructed with LEGOs, including the staircase, even the turntable in the middle. And of course, all the cast of characters...

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Three cool LEGO add-on sets that make your builds even cooler

I’m not so sure my kids could ever get bored of the LEGO sets that are currently blanketing the floor of our playroom, but just in case, I found three cool LEGO add-on sets that will make their builds even more exciting. These sets are for kids who are able to follow the directions of a basic LEGO build themselves. In other words, your 5-year-old who’s a major LEGO fangirl would probably love these too, but will need help putting them together. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 16 essential skills kids learn from LEGO, and fantastic resources to help get them going...

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The Disney LEGO castle that has us all wishing upon a star.

We all know that there are some pretty amazing possibilities when it comes to LEGOs, from the skills they develop to the fantastical forms they can take. But the new LEGO Disney Castle is honestly pretty jaw-dropping. Disney fans, this is no glorified plastic silhouette of the castle. It’s incredibly detailed, with over 4,000 pieces (yep, you read that right) for your kid’s construction pleasure, along with a few of their favorite characters. But before you get lost in a Fantasia-like stupor looking at these pictures, know that the asking price is definitely a little steep ($349.99) for a...

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Braille Bricks: the coolest new toy for kids with visual impairments

If you know us at all, you know we geek out when we find cool toys or kids’ gear that promote inclusivity. So when we discovered Braille Bricks, the LEGO-inspired building blocks that help visually impaired kids can learn to spell through play, we thought they were absolutely brilliant. And now they’re trying to bring these toys to all kids, everywhere, and we want to help. It’s so easy and doesn’t cost a dime. But first, you’ve got to watch the video of these kids getting their first sets of Braille Bricks. Grab the tissues. It’s heart-meltingly sweet. It’s so, so smart too. These moveable blocks gives kids so...

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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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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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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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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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Unique gifts for creative kids that I haven’t seen before? Reader Q&A

Hi Cool Mom Picks! Can you put together some unique holiday gift ideas for creative kids that go beyond the same craft kits I see everywhere? Thanks so much!   Ooh, I love this question. We know that all kids have creativity in them, so Cool Mom Picks is always filled with the kinds of toys and gifts that really help kids harness that innate creativity and imagination. While there’s no shortage of gifts out there for kids who love crafts, art, making stuff, or good old-fashioned imaginary play, I’ve combed our recent holiday gift guides, toy guide series, birthday...

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14 of our favorite small shops and online children’s boutiques to help you #shopsmall for the holidays.

Since the first November it launched several years ago, even long before we teamed up with partner American Express who is now sponsoring and championing the campaign, we’ve been staunch advocates for Small Business Saturday. And we’re still thrilled to mark on our calendars each year. In fact, supporting small businesses is the whole reason we started Cool Mom Picks in the first place. So this is very dear to our hearts. While it would be impossible to share every small business we adore (i.e. visit our archives in every single category since the beginning of our site),with the help of our editors, we’ve somehow managed to narrowed...

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14 of the best educational toys for kids of every age: 2015 Holiday Toy Gift Guide

If you could use a little help picking out toys for the kids on your list this holiday, we’re about to make things a lot easier for you with a mini holiday toy gift guide, starting with the best educational toys for kids. This is the first in a three-part series dedicated to great toy gifts for kids, brought to you by the amazing folks at Fat Brain Toys. If you’re a long time reader of our site, you know how thrilled we are about this, because we’ve been recommending the carefully curated collection of toys from this family-owned business for years...

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YOXO: Affordable gifts that build imagination. Oh, and maybe a pegasus.

With holidays coming up, we’re seeing a lot more interest in building toys and maker toys, a trend we’ve loved since, well, before it was a trend. And earlier this year at Toy Fair, when I saw the new 5-in-1 pegasus kit from YOXO I thought whoa, that’s going to be one awesome gift for the holidays. Now that it’s finally available, I’m so excited to share it because it’s one heck of a building kit. First off, everything is US-made from recycled wood pulp. This gives the Y, X and O (get it, YOXO?) pieces kind of a cardboard feel, but...

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A paper block city that’s ready to travel with your kids

If your kids like building blocks as much as mine, you’ll want to check out Paper Punk’s new Urban Fold paper blocks which allow kids 6 and up to build a sprawling metropolis without the bulk and weight of traditional blocks. This is such a great toy to toss in the car when you’re headed out for a few days at the beach, or to keep on hand for one of those hot summer days when just dragging out heavier wooden blocks is more work than anyone can imagine doing. Related: A creative activity book that could make your kid a future Duchamps or Dali Instead...

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A LEGO Hogwarts that’s not to be believed.

I am always a little proud of myself when I help my kids with a difficult LEGO design, or find just the piece they’ve been searching for in our big bin, but my accomplishments pale in comparison to what one dedicated mom in Seattle did with those little plastic pieces. She made an entire LEGO Hogwarts. Alice Finch’s labor of LEGO love took 18 months and more than 400,000 bricks. The finished version of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is so detailed and accurate, Hermione Granger herself would approve.  You can read the full story and see more of...

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6 wooden blocks crafts to make those old toddler toys new and fun again

I’ve been cleaning up and paring down lately, and that includes some of the wooden blocks my kids got as gifts when they were young. So I started thinking about upcycled wooden blocks craft ideas that might breathe some new life into them. While a fresh coat of paint (with a non-toxic finish!) is an easy fix, there are so many neat ideas out there from talented crafters to help you take those basic wooden blocks your child may have gotten as a baby, and repurpose them to make them fun for toddlers, kindergarteners, or even puzzle-solving big kids.  ...

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The Mini Life: When you feel like you’ve seen every baby and kid gift out there, here’s where to go.

I’m always happy to introduce you to beautifully-curated independent web boutiques and here’s one more  new one that’s caught my attention since its launch just a few weeks ago. Mini Life is an exquisite children’s lifestyle boutique packed full of gorgeous toys, decor, home items and more, all cultivated from around the world. It’s definitely not the kinds of gifts you see in every shop in the mall. Founder Athena Rotolo has a modern sensibility I just love, and if you’ve got little ones to shop for–or maybe, splurge on–then you must look around this exquisite site. Here are just...

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LEGO goes to the birds

It’s going to be a while before I can look out my window and see anything bright and colorful fluttering around my yard, so I’m especially pleased that LEGO has chosen to release LEGO Birds, a brand new set of feathered friends that is so realistic, I may just gaze at them instead. The set features detailed models of a hummingbird, blue jay, and robin, each standing between 5 and 7 inches tall and perched on its own stand with its Latin name in front. There’s even a pamphlet more more info on the species inside. It all adds up to a certain sophistication which means I...

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