Tag: educational kids’ toys

Starting solids with sushi

While I wouldn’t recommend handing a baby a spicy tuna roll to keep him entertained in the stroller, I might if it’s made out of cardboard. The brand new sushi touch-and-feel stroller cards are beyond adorable (more so than the box would make you think), and comes on a soft stretchy clip-on ring for the stroller bar. Beyond cuteness, they’ve actually got some developmental benefits for babies. From crinkly seaweed to smooth shrimp, and squishy salmon, each one features a tactile little piece like in baby’s favorite touch-and-feel board books. I even love that the sticky rice (on what...

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Journey to Africa for Black History Month and beyond

Black History Month is rolling to a close, but it’s never to late to share new learning resources with your kids. Along with some great books, movies and music picks that honor African American culture and history, I have recently come upon some more terrific books and media that help expose kids of any skin color to the diversity and wonder of the continent of Africa.  –Christina We have long owned a copy of the African folk tale Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears in our home, but I love hearing James Earl Jones narrating it on the Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD version. Like...

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Hail to the chiefs

Today is a great day to spend a few moments talking to the kids about our U.S. presidents and their important contributions to society. But with these cool presidential blocks, you can have that conversation all the way to Election Day and beyond. Amazingly detailed, colorfully patriotic, and even educational, Uncle Goose’s fine Presidential Blocks are a great edu-toy and keepsake for kids way too young to vote. The 45 blocks include all 44 U.S. presidents, with one block holding the “Oath of Office”, so your future politico can get started memorizing that early. Older kids can test their...

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A portable easel for whenever inspiration strikes

My kids are what you might call serious artists. No they aren’t selling their paintings for thousands, they just can’t leave the house without a bunch of arts and crafts stuff–just in case inspiration hits in the minivan, I suppose. Fortunately, one of our favorite brands for neatly-designed, high-quality kids’ toys has come up with a portable easel for an artistic playspace on-the-go Long-time CMP favorite B. Toys’ Take it Easel—gotta love their creative product names—pops up to be a two-sided magnetic easel with a whiteboard on one side and blackboard on the other. Hooray for families with two...

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Creativity inside the box

I love living in Boston, but every once in a while something so great comes along that it gives me serious New York envy. The Moomah NYC creative arts cafe is one of those things. But for those of us not within taxi distance of their organic cafe, cool classes, and drop-in kids craft station, they’re offering some of their craft projects now in handy kits just in time for holiday gift-giving. These kits include everything — down to the kid’s scissors — so you can bring the arts home, or really, anywhere you go.  I love the Imagination Creation Do-It-Together...

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Eight Crazy Nights. (Not to be confused with Crazy Eights.)

Let’s face it people, good Hanukkah items are hard to come by. Fortunately Emily Sper, creator of those clever Hanukkah activity books is back and I’m especially pleased to find a fresh pick from her for 5772. Emily’ new collection of Hanukkah card games will be a fun way to educate the kids about the details behind the Hanukkah story outside of Sunday school. The set comes with 3 decks of beautifully illustrated playing cards themed around the holiday and intended for classic games like Rumy, Go Fish and Crazy 8s. Also included in the card designs are language...

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Blocks with substance

Here at CMP, we’re total blockheads. We’ve brought you classic blocks, magnetic blocks, and amusingly subversive blocks. But this is the first time we’re taking it old school, all the way back to the periodic table. Yes, friends, you’re not just building towers.  These are the very building blocks of matter. Whether you’ve got a chemistry teacher friend with a Bunsen burner in the oven or your cousin the chemical engineer has a new miniature assistant, these Periodic Table Building Blocks are the perfect shower or holiday gift. As Sherlock would say, it’s elementary. And as Beaker would say, MEEP!...

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Sew up some quiet time with vintage lacing cards

When my kids were younger, they adored lacing cards, though I can’t say any of them had illustrations quite so adorable as the Lacing Cards from House 8810. What I do remember is how quietly and intently they would sew their cards, and how pleased they were with the final results. Unlike heavier wooden lace-up cards, this set of six cards is made of thick cardboard so it is lightweight enough to take it with you wherever you go. And with two needles and six cards in this set, a pair of kids can keep busy without having to...

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Kiwi Crate: Surprise! Supplies!!!

If you’ve seen our posts about Birchbox for beauty junkies, Foodzie tasting box for gourmands, and most recently, the Umba box for all kinds of mamas, you’ll recognize that monthly subscriptions are all the rage. And now, there’s one meant just for our kids, that you’re going to love as much as they do. Welcome to the world, Kiwi Crate! Kiwi Crate, just launched this week, is a wonderful new subscription service for kids, created by parents. Each month, you’ll receive at least two inspired activities and materials designed to get them to create and explore. Just in time for winter....

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Cool educational toys, hold the batteries

When we’re running out the door on one of our million weekly errands, it’s way too easy to just grab the iPad or a handheld electronic game to occupy the kids. But in my ongoing quest to “unplug” a little more often, I’ve discovered a neat line of hand-held edu-toys that will keep preschool-age kids entertained without a single beep, bell or whistle. Twisterz is a handheld tube with moveable rings in the center that young kids can spin around  to practice letter sounds, spelling or beginning story telling, depending on the version you choose. I love that each...

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McSweeney’s is turning little book lovers into book writers too

After our local Border’s bookstore closed, I became a bit “woe is me” about the future of books. I’m one of those people who just can’t imagine sitting down my kids for a bedtime story with my iPad in my lap. So, I’m rejoicing over this excellent “read it and then create your own” book bundle from Dave Egger’s own McSweeney’s Books, which is doing its part to keep the genre vibrant, exciting and, most importantly to me, paper. The McMullens Bundle includes three beautifully illustrated hardcover picture books, as well as The Author-Illustrator Starter Kit of blank books....

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One little two little three ballerinas

As a homeschool mom, I’ve got plenty of creative ways to teach numbers and counting to my littler ones. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t more creative options out there, like this one from artist and mom CarrieSue Gustafson who I recently discovered on Etsy. I’m completely smitten with her clothespin number dolls, which she handpaints as adorable ballerinas complete with leotards, tights, and teeny pointe shoes. They’d be such a sweet addition to your daily math lessons, or just for good old pretend play, which might be just as important for the little ones. Maybe even more. -Kristen...

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The march of the marionettes

On a recent trip to Prague, I fell in love with the town’s infamous toy shops. Somehow, I managed to squeeze into my bag a set of 6″ marionettes for my kids, along with a small puppet theater. Who would know it would turn out to be the best-loved guilt gift I ever brought home from a business trip. The sweet Marionety shop is up a cobblestone street near the Prague Castle, and is filled with everything from inexpensive mass-produced wooden puppets, to hand-carved antiques that ring in over $1000. I grabbed a few of the small Marionettes and...

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The Doodle Roll unrolls before your kids unravel

My handbag is sort of a Mom’s Swiss Army Knife. Need a Band-Aid? Got it. Hungry? I’ve got some mints in here somewhere. But when we get stuck waiting somewhere and the kids are threatening to mutiny out of sheer boredom, it turns out that drawing on the back of old receipts isn’t all that much fun. Enter a cool new coloring kit that all three of my kids can use at once, doesn’t take up more room than my wallet and stays neat and easy to reach when the doctor’s office is running 45 minutes behind. {keep reading...

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Pop art for tots

If you know kidrobot, then you know its team of artists create masterpieces of culture. Lots of words have been used to describe the appeal, and I love all of them: quirky, pop-art, Warholesque, cartoonish, comical….the list goes on. There are even a few of their toys on display at MOCA in NY. Well, now it’s your child’s turn. My kids dig Dunny, kidrobot’s creature (monster? robot? animal?) that absolutely takes on a life of its own once the artist gets her hands on it. Now there’s also Munny, Dunny’s friend with smaller ears. With some markers and a...

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The Breast Milk Baby Doll – Because not all babies take bottles

You may have already gotten wind of the world’s first Breast Milk Baby Doll, now available in the US. And of course, it’s stirring up all sorts of controversy. As hard as my husband and I tried, we could only get my older three breastfed kids take a bottle a handful of times. It seemed only natural, then, that when they’d play with a baby doll, they’d pretend to breastfeed it. So you can imagine how curious I was to learn more about this doll. At first glance, the Breast Milk Baby Doll looks like any other cute little...

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A puppy for your future veterinarian

I am a sucker for stuffed animals. I love the fact that they are gender neutral (mostly) and don’t have an “on” button, which means you are putting the creative power into your child’s hands. If you have a wannabe vet in the family, this kit I recently discovered takes dramatic play to another level completely. Patrick, the adorably sweet and cuddly puppy needs your help. As part of the sweet toy veterinary kit, he also comes with medicine, shots, and a stethoscope to aid you. Oh, and a bone, which is a must have for every dog owner....

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Spend-and-save piggy banks? Reader Q&A

My daughter is 4, and we would love to get her a piggy bank that has the spend, share, save theory, but we can’t find any that fit that bill. We’d also be willing to just get a regular piggy bank, but then we would like one that is a little cooler than your average ceramic pig. -Melissa Ooh, good question! We think it’s great to start teaching kids the value of saving and sharing early. One of our favorite options for this type of saving/spending bank, Learning Cents, is unfortunately no longer available, but we did find some...

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Hail to the finger puppet

We’d never recommend you give our forefathers the finger (especially on President’s Day!), but in the case of these adorable knit finger puppets from Wee Knits, we’ll make an exception. Their Patriotic collection of finger puppets includes George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, along with Uncle Sam and a bald eagle to round things out. Use them for a mini history lesson, or to reenact the Washington/cherry tree story and to teach them about Honest Abe. Maybe they’ll then be more apt to tell the truth the next time you ask if they really washed their hands before dinner. -Christina Find wonderful handmade finger...

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Lift a leaf and learn about a tree

I have a soft spot for good quality wooden toys. I like them so much I find myself decorating my daughter’s room with them, and these handmade, wood puzzles from Just Hatched are no exception. They’re much too pretty to keep in a drawer with a variety of lovely colors and themes like leaves, moon phases, hearts (for Valentine’s Day), simple shapes and more. The Wooden Leaf Puzzle won Etsy’s Earth Day Voter category and it’s also my favorite. Lift each leaf and see the name of the tree the leaf comes from. With the Moon Phases Puzzle, kids...

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