Tag: educational kids’ toys

Collecting treasures from the garden. Hopefully not the live ones though.

I have to say that one of my proud parent moments is realizing my girls aren’t afraid of bugs or worms or things they see in the garden. Of course I can’t take credit for it at all (thanks, grandparents!) but nonetheless, I love encouraging their affection for the treasures they find and collect as the rummage through the grass. The garden treasure box at Romp is one of the most lovely little gifts for curious explorers and collectors of any age. There are little boxes for storing flowers, leaves, acorns, feathers and more, each marked with charming illustrations...

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How to build your own monster trucks without having mastered pre-calc

All of my kids–yes, even the girls–love to play with toy cars, but there’s only so much you can do with them, right? That’s why I’m in love with this new line from Manhattan Toy that lets them unleash their creativity on all things four wheeled. The new MOTORWORKS line of cars and trucks has been in heavy play rotation around my house, and I’m not surprised considering it gives kids the opportunity to build and create the vehicles they’ll race on your kitchen floor (or is that just my house?). The cars and trucks like the Monster Truck...

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Growing up with Manhattan Toy just keeps getting better

When my kids were little, Manhattan Toy’s Whoozit and Skwish were among their favorite playthings. And while they are still tried-and-true gifts for all the younger nieces and nephews in our lives, I am thrilled to find a fun and creative line of toys that Manhattan Toys has developed with older kids in mind.     Manhattan Toy’s Imagine I Can play kits are fun open-ended play and crafts kits for preschoolers and bigger kids. I appreciate that they are so reasonably priced that it’s easy to set aside a few for those rainy days that creep up all spring and summer....

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5 tech picks you won’t want to miss this week

In case you missed them, here are five of our favorite picks from this past week from Cool Mom Tech. 1. A smart, affordable gadget that makes using your iPhone as a camera much easier. And safer. 2. Here’s a helpful beginners’ guide to Minecraft for parents. Don’t let your kids play without reading this first! 3. The sky’s the limit with these amazing electronics kits for kids. 4. One of our must-have apps for parents just got even better. 5. Great news for Android users who want to drop a few pounds or just want a healthier...

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From Brooklyn, with love

I am an advocate for shopping online. As a mom, I rarely have time to visit the mall or shop at my favorite local stores. So it’s always a treat for me to come across new sites with an effortless style that’s as fun to browse as it is to actually shop. Brooklyn Makers is one of those sites. Brooklyn Makers offers a beautifully curated selection of clothes for boys and girls, creative and educational toys (like these cute ABC peg dolls, seen above), sweet hats and hair accessories. You will also find cool stuff for grownups. And if...

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A bird in this tree? Worth years of fun for little hands

Puzzles really need to pop to stand out amongst the competition these days. When you give a puzzle, it can sometimes go unnoticed in a sea of blinking lights or licensed Harry Potter allure. I am absolutely in love with this handmade Bird Tree Puzzle that your child can use for creative play or as a good old fashioned manipulative. Plus it’s so beautiful it could serve as a dinner centerpiece at a funky shabby chic affair. (Maybe?) The birds are simple and sweet thanks to the gentle colors and nontoxic dyes. But don’t get me wrong, this will be...

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Barrel of Monkeys for a new generation

Monkeys are fun, no doubt about it. I will even go out on a limb (see what I just did?) and say that watching monkeys leap from branch to branch is one of my favorite stops at the zoo. Which is why the kid inside me–along with my actual kids–loves this wonderful children’s monkey toy. This Balancing Monkeys kids’ toy from Cool Mom Picks favorite, Plan Toys, is like an updated and ridiculously fun Barrel of Monkeys except without all that plastic. In fact everything at Plan Toys is made from sustainable rubberwood with non-toxic dyes, and they were...

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The puzzles that give other puzzles puzzle envy (is there such a thing?)

One of my favorite pastimes with my kids has always been puzzles. I love the combination of relaxing and challenging. My son usually only lasts a quarter of the way through, but my daughter patiently works until the very last piece is placed. (I try to quit but she just won’t let me.) So I am thrilled to find these gorgeous, handmade wooden puzzles that I think so many parents will love. The wooden magnetic geography puzzles by Steven Mattern Design are cool to look at and so educational–what a great way to make geography more interactive than a...

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Montessori style fun in a box. Actually, it is a box.

One of the neat things about sending the kids off to preschool is seeing all the fun developmental toys they get to play with. It’s also one of the mildly guilt-inducing things. Like, uh…was I supposed to be giving them all these fun developmental toys to play with at home? I love that Little Alouette, one of the very best mom-and-pop artisans of handmade wooden baby toys and teethers, is increasingly moving into some neat stuff for toddlers. Check out this nifty sensory literacy sand tray, which looks like it could be found in any Montessori classroom, only probably...

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Wooden sweets for your sweets? Sweet!

My kids absolutely love to play store. They’ll gather up whatever small toys they want to sell, set them out, and then yell at me until I agree to buy something. (They need to work on their customer service a little.) I imagine my favorite shopkeepers would happily extend their offerings to sweets if they saw the adorable wooden candy store sets from a brand-new Etsy shop I found. Snugglebug University at Etsy is pure sweetness. The Wood Snow Cone sets (below) are amazing, but I love the two Deluxe Wooden Candy Store sets best. They’re packed with little whoopee pies, candy peach rings, money,...

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Happy 80th Birthday LEGO! Some of our favorite LEGO picks over the years, tied up with a bow

For all the complaining I do about the tiny bricks scattered all over the living room floor, I adore LEGO bricks for how much they fully engage my kids even more than the latest video game. So we’re delighted to you a very Happy 80th Birthday. Based on how much you are still loved, I suspect you’ll be as relevant in another eighty years as you are today. So today, we’re rounding up some of our favorite LEGO picks over the past years.  –Christina [see more of favorite picks and resources for cool LEGO things after the jump] [LEGO...

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A fabulous toddler game when you need a break from Candyland.

If you’ll be doing some packing before you hit the road this summer, chances are you don’t want the kids to help too much, lest you end up with six pairs of socks and no pants in their suitcases. So try channeling their I can help! persistence into a game in which you have to pack away your clothes before they spill all over the place. And it really doesn’t matter if they pack six pairs of socks into a single suitcase either. Elephant’s Trunk is an easy-to-learn game for toddlers and their parents who will be relieved to know that...

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Corolle’s potty training dolls for your whiz kids (heh)

I jumped through many hoops to get my son to finally use the potty: candy rewards, sticker charts, pleading. But I never did try a potty-training doll since I found most of them to be kind of unappealing as a doll that you’d want to snuggle at night after squeezing some liquid out of its belly. But now that one of our favorite doll companies has come out with one of these drink-and-wet dolls for both boys and girls, I’d add this to my arsenal of tricks to use when trying to transition little ones out of diapers. Corolle’s...

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Play with blocks, learn Korean. It’s child’s play!

We admit it: we’re blockheads. We love blocks. Old fashioned blocks. Presidential blocks. Chemistry blocks. Alternative blocks. So when we find beautiful blocks that look like a designer’s dream and can teach over 100 words in Korean? Our happiness isn’t just squared– it’s cubed. Korable Blocks are really kind of brilliant. Designed by a Korean dad in New York and handmade in Michigan by one of our favorite little companies, Father Goose, each set includes four beautiful, handprinted wooden blocks that can be combined to make over 120 Korean words. The enclosed booklet shows you how. So not only...

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7 of the best toys for the car (and books and games too!)

We’re about to head on one of our annual summer road trips, which means packing plenty of toys for the car. We try to avoid the DVD–and generally succeed if we’ve planned ahead. Here, some of my favorite toys for the car for toddlers and bigger kids, for when you’re tired of I Spy, and need a little quiet time in the front seat. Best of all, none of them beep or boop or require 18 AAA batteries. The only noises you’ll hear in the back are your happily entertained kids. At least until the next “I have to...

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Birthday gifts for 5-year-old girl? Reader Q&A

I need a birthday gift idea for my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter. She has tons of Barbies, tons of clothes – she is a girly girl and loves all things to do with painting nails, wearing girly stuff. I feel like we have way too many toys and clothes. What else is new and fun for a 5-year-old girl? -Laurinda I have two basic categories for kids who already have a lot of toys: consumable/craft gifts and games that inspire imagination, and then toys get them outside and active–and can hopefully be stored in the garage! Oh, make that three...

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Toys that make beautiful music

Once kids are past the age of banging on an overturned pot and wooden spoon,they can now move onto something more melodious than a simple percussion instrument. And while their fingers may not yet be big enough to tickle the ivories, they can make some beautiful music with this new and very cool toy from one of our favorite little toy companies,  B. Toys. The Symphony in B. Orchestra puts a mini orchestra into the hands of your little musician, and it is one of those toys that is so neat, I find myself playing with it all the...

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How to get your kid ready for kindergarten. And it’s fun.

Though I know some eager young children who are excited to begin their kindergarten adventure, not one of them wants to be doing flashcard drills and workbooks on a summer’s day. Which is why I love the adorable and smart monthly subscription box o’ treats from CMP favorite Education.com that disguises learning as play, and insures that you have something on hand the second I’m bored escapes their lips. {unfortunately, Wonderbox is no longer in production} Education.com’s Wonder Box* joins the growing category of monthly gift subscriptions for kids, though the treats found inside this box are all designed to help build...

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Taking tangrams to new places: Your walls

I’ve seen enough tangram activities in my kids’ math books to know that they are supposed to be great at fostering an early understanding of geometry, spatial reasoning, and design. But eh, my kids just think they are fun and make neat pictures. So when we had the chance to play with some tangrams with a twist, I knew they’d be so much more willing to try them out. (Wish they were so eager to do their math lessons.) {Keep reading for your chance to win a set for you–and sets for the school of your choice!} Walls 360...

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Sensory and developmental toys for kids on every level of the autism spectrum

I’m on a mission to find a birthday present for one of the smartest, sweetest, most wonderful little guys I know. That’s never an easy task. But Creative Kidstuff has made the process much simpler with a special new section on its website. Why? Because the awesome kid I’m shopping for has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Creative Kidstuff, in partnership with St. David’s Center, has identified the best of its educational toys for different skill and developmental categories and put them into one easy-to-shop category of toys for children with special needs. For example, if you’re looking for fun toys to...

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