Tag: educational kids’ toys

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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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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Plants vs. Zombies, now on your windowsill

There’s a zombie on your la-awn… and on your windowsill, thanks to this fun new Zombie Plant Growing Kit from our pals at TickleMe Plants. Since I kill most of the plants I try to grow, I’m intrigued by the idea of a plant that is actually supposed to die when I touch it. And my kids will get a major kick out of watching it come back to life, which that tomato plant from NASA definitely didn’t do. Please don’t tell Bobak Ferdowsi. The Zombie Plant is actually Mimosa pudica, which was common in the wild where I...

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Learning dishes for kids and other educational tableware that sneak some brain food in with the vegetables

Mealtime is the one time my busy kids sit still for a little while, so I love that smart people are creating such interesting learning dishes for kids, educational placemats, and other housewares that let kids do more than doodle at the table. Or uh, play Candy Crush. Whether or not your kids will actually review math facts or practice cursive over the mashed potatoes, they’re likely to absorb some of the information presented in front of them, which I think is kind of neat. ALPHABET PLACEMATS For little ones, Brinware’s brightly colored, easy-to-clean silicone alphabet placemats (above) make for a...

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Tinyme custom letter blocks have your name written all over them

We have featured piles of cool wooden alphabet blocks for kids over the years, from modern design blocks to steampunk science blocks, to Storyblox‘s “build-your-own” wooden blocks. And now there’s a cool set of custom name blocks on the, er, block, that’s perfect for a baby shower gift or child’s birthday gift. Australia’s Tinyme, whose puzzles, labels, and fun printables have been CMP favorites for a while, has put their creative stamp on custom name blocks. In order to get these beauties into our hands (which they will), they’ve got a Kickstarter campaign in the works to raise production dollars. And...

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16 of the most adorable Easter basket gift ideas for kids: It’s raining bunnies and chicks!

Make your kids’ Easter baskets a hundred times more adorable by adding some playful chicks and bunnies to your list of Easter basket gift ideas for kids–of course along with some of our favorite Easter candy and Easter-themed gifts. Our recos are almost entirely indie-made, and we promise that none of them include a five-foot purple stuffed rabbit. Though we can’t guarantee that won’t be the grandparents’ pick.     Wee Gallery’s new set of 12 animal kids’ animal tattoos makes a nice alternative to more candy in the basket. Featuring a bunny, dog, and cat, they may end up on the...

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Wooden learning toys in every color of the rainbow

If you asked my daughter what her favorite color is, her answer would be “rainbow.” I can’t agree more, and its bright and cheery vibe makes the sweet rainbow learning toys for toddlers so perfect for spring. This acorn sorting game is a perfect activity for the toddler set. Found among the wooden learning toys at Etsy’s Almost Crunchy, it is a wonderful application of the simple Waldorf teaching method of learning through play–the best way, if you ask me. The handmade set comes with 18 brightly colored acorns and 6 matching bowls to engage sorting, color matching and counting skills. It...

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Tegu’s new 130-piece magnetic block building set lets kids build to infinity and beyond.

We have played with Tegu and drank the KoolAid. From their mind-bending explorer sets to mobile toy kits, they simply rock the block. Our favorite eco-friendly block-makers have just rolled out a super tricked out magnetic block building set for the master builders out there, and we want it (for our kids) bad. This 130-piece classroom set is the ultimate for kids who want to get serious about their Tegu construction. We can only imagine what creations could come of out this totally souped-up box. If you are looking to kick up the playroom, add to your home school set-up, or...

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Stylish, fun wooden doctor’s kits for your own little medic

Based on the number of awesome-looking, well-made wooden doctor’s kits we saw at Toy Fair, we expect that a lot of kids will have fun taking care of all their new patients. Here’s a recap of some of the nicest doctor’s kits for kids that we saw, all of which should be available soon. Crafted in beautiful shades of hardwood,the Soopsori Wooden Doctor’s Kit (at top) includes the cutest stethoscope I’ve ever seen. And even if toddlers try to “eat” the wooden pills which, thankfully, are affixed to a larger wooden base, the natural linseed oil finish is non-toxic.  ...

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DIY building kit from Brooklyn, for your architect in training

Maybe you have a kid at home like mine, who is always asking about how buildings stand up, or “Mom, who made that bridge?”  This great Water Tower DIY building kit  that we found at our hometown favorite Brooklyn Makers is a creative way to take his curiosity about architecture hands-on. Brooklyn Makers curates a rad and high quality collection from local artisans and entrepreneurs, with a soft spot for super cool kids’ clothing, gear and toys. We discovered this little craft project at the perfect time, as my NYC child is currently fascinated by the structures that fill this concentrated area, including...

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Smart toys for girls that defy the pink aisle. In other words, no princesses, ballerinas or “fashionistas,” whatever career that is.

This week at Toy Fair, I must say a progressive mama like me had a much harder time than expected scoping out smart toys for girls that defy the pink aisle. In other words, the girl dolls and figures were wearing something beyond princess garb or sparkly pink lace tulle. To be clear, I have no problem at all with ballerinas or fashion design kits or or traditional little baby dolls swathed in pink gingham–we feature plenty of them here But I have always wanted my daughters (and all the boys out there too!) to have choices. And if...

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PlayableART: Just as it sounds

At the NY Toy Fair this week, one of the finds I’m most excited about so far is a toy that I can’t say is entirely for kids. The gorgeously German-designed collection from playableART is designed to help get minds going and help you find your inner artist, whether you’re a four-year-old planted in front of a magnetic easel or refrigerator door, or a 40-something looking for a little moment of zen at your desk.   I am especially taken with the all new Magnet Relief art which allows you to explore design, shape, space and color with magnetic wooden...

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Happy National Puzzle Day! 8 irresistible puzzles for toddlers that make fabulous little gifts

Just in case you didn’t know, it’s National Puzzle Day. And we like puzzles! So I’ve put together 8 of the most creative jigsaws, blocks, stackers, wooden, handmade, felt and letter puzzles for toddlers that are perfect for kids just starting to get that pattern recognition and small motor skill thing down. And they all have the added benefit of looking great on a shelf. Just don’t lose those pieces!     This sweet and chunky 9-block animal puzzle encourages kids to build 6 different animals — and maybe create a few hybrids of their own. (Hape, $14.99)   Is this...

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A packable, portable mini kitchen play set for small spaces. Can you smell the Play-Doh burgers already?

If you’re looking for the “to go” version of a kitchen play set  or one to suit a smaller space, we think you’ll love this adorable toy set that packs into itself for easy transport. Pull it out for all the pretend pancake flipping you can handle, then slide it right back under the bed. Yeah, I wish I could do that with my real stove. The Mini Stove Top Play Set available at the MoMA Store has beautiful, gender-neutral design and just enough details to make it fun without being twee. With a pot, a skillet, two utensils, and...

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Our favorite gift subscriptions for kids, from toddlers to teens

There’s still time to give a special child a special gift that keeps giving each month with one of these awesome subscription boxes. We’ve recently rounded up our picks for the 10 best subscription gifts for adults, but kiddos get their own choices too! With hours of activities packed into each box, they are perfect for rainy — or snowy — days. And coming in 3-month, 6-month, or even annual subscriptions, gift subscriptions for kids extend the excitement of Christmas longer than the lights will stay up on my house, which is saying something. Who says Christmas comes but once a...

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The building blocks of our nation. Way more fun than that sounds.

I remember one of the first times I was interviewed by a media outlet, and they surprised me with an off-topic question: What’s the best safe toy for a child? I paused, then stammered, “Uh…blocks.” Not my finest moment. But the truth is, I do love giving blocks to kids. They’re perfect for toddlers, they grow with their imaginations as they hit kindergarten, and now even my young grade-schoolers can spend hours creating fantasy lands, stories, and made-up games with them. I’ve been a long-time fan of Uncle Goose Blocks, which not only have some incredibly creative and educational...

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Best gifts for 8-year-old boys: ideas that will get a big “wow.” Reader Q & A

What are the best gifts for an 8-year-old boy? I’m looking for a big gift, in the $50-$100 range. —CMP reader, via Twitter   Oh, you mean the kind of gift that makes a child pause while unwrapping, shout out with glee, and rush over to give you a big hug? Well, small gifts can do that too, but on the splurgier side, here are some of our favorites according to our own sons — and by the way, according to our daughters, all these cool kids’ gifts would be great for girls, too. Just note we stayed away...

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Petit Collage puzzles that are in no way petit

It’s true: we’re Petit Collage fangirls. So it’s only natural we think these new floor puzzles are pretty grand. With lovely artwork and big ol’ pieces for petite hands, these new floor puzzles from Petit Collage are right up our alley. Each one is two feet wide, with 24 pieces about five inches square.  Each of the four designs comes packaged in a cute box with a rope handle and is geared for ages 3 and up. And you don’t have to worry if your bebe chews on the pieces–they’re printed on recycled paper in vegetable inks. Petit Collage,...

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A car seat for dolls: Safety gets more fun

Ever since the AAP changed the car seat recommendations for children, kids are staying in rear facing car seats and eventually, booster seats, even longer. So I’m happy to find a car seat accessory for dolls, which can help kids understand car seat safety by taking care of their own little babies.  The new Car Seat for Dolls by German company Gotz, is perfect for dolls up to 16.5 inches, like a Corolle Baby Doll–but not quite an American Girl Doll, which might have been your next question. It even has a retractable top, should the baby doll need a little protection from the...

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The Best Toys for Kids winners of 2013: We have to agree.

featured partner If you’re looking for a list of the Best Toys for Kids, we’ve found a great one featuring tons of the smaller brands we love, curated by the indie retailers who actually sell them and interact with parents and other customers day to day. In fact, I’m really excited to be working with ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association, which is the nonprofit that supports those community retailers, bookstores, and smaller children’s toy brands. I’ve always had a heart for mom-and-pop stores that are such an important part of their communities, like the toy shop 3...

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