Tag: educational kids’ toys

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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7 cool art museum store toys under $50: Supporting the arts through shopping!

We all know that art and design museums are magical. Where else can kids feast their eyes on important paintings, goof around with hands-on exhibits, and giggle at naked statues (come on, you know that’s true), all before dinnertime? And with a lot of us nervous about major reported cuts to NEA funding, we love how shopping through museum stores are another way to help support the arts. Museum shops are often where we find some of the best toys — whimsical, unusual, and often educational. So if you’re looking for a birthday gift or just a “this made me think of you!” kind of present, check out these...

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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 courageous action figure that helps kids with cancer. Now that’s super!

This fierce, courageous action figure does something pretty amazing: She helps kids fight the toughest battle of their lives. For each Courage Core Power action figure purchased, one is donated to a child affected by cancer who could use a little courage. That’s her real super power. But she can also run, stand, and sit on a My Little Pony without it getting awkward, thanks to 30 points of articulation. And we like her rad accessories — check out that flaming energy sword and her awesome courage shield — and the fact that she has the body of a fit, strong woman (no...

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The STEM building sets that empower girls to engineer their futures.

A few years ago, my now 9-year-old daughter had an epiphany while wandering the toy aisles at a discount superstore. She eyed a pink toy vacuum cleaner with suspicion, then asked to go to the boys’ aisle instead, because she wanted to be where the bulk of the cool building sets were. In the last few years, there have been serious strides in STEM toys geared toward girls, but it’s this one that I wish had been on the market on that fateful shopping day. Related: 12 cool STEM gifts for girls (and hey, for boys too)  Wonderhood Toys is the brainchild of two business-school...

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This gift for the classroom will keep on giving. Yes, more than a Starbucks card.

Very little in life is as terrifying as being handed a wad of cash by desperate parents asking you to find a group teacher gift that’s meaningful, memorable, and not a lifetime supply of Best Teacher Ever mugs. This year, you can forego the stack of Starbucks cards and present your kid’s classroom teacher with a gift that keeps on giving: a beautiful game that helps teach empathy and problem solving, all in one. Consider it the Venti Mocha Frappuccino of classroom gifts. Related: 6 DIY holiday gifts for teachers from the kids that will get an A+ The Empathy Toy was...

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Bitsbox: The fantastic STEM gift idea that taught my 4 kids to code their own apps.

It’s no secret that parents love finding tech gifts for kids that we can justify as being both fun and educational, but the true test isn’t whether we think they’re cool — but rather, whether our own kids play with them. Over and over again. That’s why we we’re so thrilled to have partnered with our newest sponsor Bitsbox. (And you dedicated Spawned podcast listeners already know just how thrilled!) This clever subscription box gift masterfully and clearly teaches kids how to code their own apps that actually work on smartphones and tablets. Like my 9-year-old son’s Burping Obama app. (Not coming to an app store near you,...

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The subscription box for kids that ships pure imagination

In a world where a quick Google search can answer even the toughest question in just seconds, we love the delicious act of waiting for a surprise in the mail. But while most subscription boxes give you a pretty good idea of what to expect (makeup and books, hooray!), we found one very unique subscription box for kids ages 9 to 14 that remains just as magical and enigmatic as the Loch Ness Monster, right up until they open the box. Thanks to the geniuses at Wonder and Company, every few months, your child will receive a Kids’ Mystery Box delivered right to...

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We found them! 15 seriously awesome preschool birthday party gifts under $15

When you’ve got a little one, you probably know that means you have a whooooole lot of preschooler birthday party gifts to look for over the course of the year. One gift for each party for each kid in your child’s preschool class? Yeouch. That’s a whole lot of gifts. And it definitely adds up. While every family has a different birthday party gift budget, it can be tough finding ones that cost in the $15 range or less. So we did the work for you! We all put our heads together around here and came up with a great list of...

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16 essential skills kids learn from LEGO, and fantastic resources to help get them going

Of all the toys that have passed through the hands of my three kids over the past dozen or so years, there is no question that LEGO bricks have been the most enduring and versatile. From their first little plastic bucket of mixed bricks, to those 1000+ piece architectural kits that require hours of concentration, LEGO remains a favorite toy — for all of us — even up against the siren song of video games. But even more than just being fun, I love the important skills that LEGOs can teach. I’ve seen so many of them firsthand as a...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Immerse your kids in Chinese culture without the super long plane ride

We love finding new ways to teach our kids about the big, diverse world that extends far beyond the boundaries of their neighborhood and town. And while nothing can replace actually going to the countries themselves, playsets like this one from Whole Wide World Toys may help even our littlest jet setter hopefuls learn all about different countries in a way that is fun and educational. And their first stop? The huge country of China. What makes Whole Wide World Toys’ World Village China Playset so neat is how it incorporates a ton of age-appropriate information along with the toys themselves. Each playset comes with...

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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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It’s time to make some fun family memories. Are you game?

This is a sponsored message from SimplyFun board games With Thanksgiving break coming up this week and Hanukkah and Christmas not far behind, it’s a great time to be thinking about getting a few family game nights on the calendar. You probably have your own childhood memories of the one relative who always cheated at backgammon, or the younger sibling who whooped the whole family that one time with some amazing beginner’s luck. Now it’s time to make some memories for your own kids. SimplyFun board games is on a mission to make families stronger through collaborative gameplay. They offer more than 100 award-winning games around educational concepts from reading to math, to critical thinking,...

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