Tag: handmade toys

It’s here! It’s here! Our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide has arrived.

We are so SO excited to present our 2014 holiday gift guide, our biggest and best yet, if we do say so ourselves. You’ll find 20 pages of absolutely amazing holiday gift ideas (over 200 to be exact) for everyone on your list in every price range, all scoured from the ends of the earth by our intrepid Cool Mom elves. (Okay, from the ends of the Internet. Same thing these days.) As always, when you shop from our guide, you’re supporting a whole lot of small brands and indie artists, including our absolutely awesome sponsor, Micro Kickboard. They...

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Our new favorite spot for printable toys: Smallful

One of our great joys with this site is supporting small businesses and fellow indie publishers. (Hey, we still have a blogroll. Remember those?) And now one of our favorite bloggers and friends, Mari Richards of the fantastic design site Small for Big, falls squarely into both camps with her new shop Smallful, which is all about printable toys and other playthings for kids. Mari is a toy designer and graphics artist by trade–with phenomenal taste, I might add–so it’s no surprise that the printable toys in her shop are exquisite. Right now she’s transitioning from Halloween (though masks are good for any...

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Super nerdy blocks for super scientists

There aren’t many wooden toys for toddlers that I can imagine an older kid would love too, but these super nerdy ABC blocks from Uncommon Goods are a major exception. They’re made from locally sourced wood and printed with non-toxic inks, featuring letters, illustrations, and scientific vocabulary words. They’re safe for toddlers to gnaw on, sturdy enough for preschool architects, and offer such cool reading material that middle schoolers might use them as a study reference for science class. Or hey, maybe your kindergartner will wow her teacher with talk of buckyballs and the water cycle. It’s never too...

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Gorgeous handmade toys you’ll be tempted to play with yourself

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and say it: The holidays are creeping up. I know that means half of you hate me, and the other half are like “whatever, my list is already done.” In which case, I bow to you. But if you’re starting to think about  special gifts for kids for any reason at all (I won’t use the “H” word if it makes it easier for you), we’ve got a slew of ideas in the Cool Mom Picks Indie Shop. And one of our favorite new finds has been the exquisite handmade toys from Abby...

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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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What are the best gifts for a two year old? We’ve got tons!

Choosing the best gift for a two year old from among ride-on vehicles, construction toys, dolls and more can seem overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed it down to some favorites that our own boys and girls have loved. Because that first birthday party may get more hoopla, but we know the second is where you get to buy the really fun gifts for a toddler who is just getting ready to, well, toddle everywhere. And, possibly, remember your gift in the first place.   RIDE-ON TOYS FOR TWO YEAR OLDS   You probably don’t have to worry about a two-year-old getting enough exercise, but the challenge is to...

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Pop culture dolls: Ridiculously hip, surprisingly cuddly.

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own David Bowie to snuggle, we’ve got good news: These pop culture dolls by French artisan My Name is Simone are just as much for you as they are for kids. Whether you’re into Ziggy Stardust, the King of Pop, or a certain fabulous fashion designer named Karl, they’re all based on her favorite style icons who will look equally as posh on the couch or on a shelf in a mod nursery. There are five dolls available now from Little Collector, each made of 100% organic, sustainable materials. Along with the three you...

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Tree + Me

We missed the boat on a big fancy modern swing set for my kids–maybe because we live in the city and don’t have a yard? Yeah, that could have a little to do with it. But their Grandma and Papa put up a handmade swing for them which made me realize that once again, the basics can make kids perfectly happy. Especially when it’s one that will last–maybe until the next generation? That’s why I got all “awwwww” when I saw the gorgeously handcrafted old fashioned wooden tree swing from Minnesota’s The Original Tree Swing on Etsy. Pricy? Yeah. But built (from...

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Cool custom family dolls, because everyone needs a mini-me. Or a mini-us.

We have a thing for personalized dolls at Cool Mom Picks, but I am legitimately swooning over these sophisticated (but still adorable) custom family dolls, handmade by Liliana Tijeras of Citizens Collectible on Etsy. They may be made in Spain, but the couple with the square glasses could have stepped right off of the sidewalks of Brooklyn or Los Feliz. They may even be two dads–hard to tell. Liliana perfectly captures personality in felt and canvas, customizing every doll’s hair color, facial hair, skin tone, and any of more than a dozen hair styles. You can also choose from a slew of fabrics for their outfits, and even...

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Cool Mom Picks opens an indie shop and we couldn’t be more thrilled

Update: Regretfully, the great.ly shop is no longer in operation. We hope you’ll find other cool stuff you love throughout our site. We are so pleased to announce the launch of the Cool Mom Picks Boutique at the wonderful new website Great.ly. This makes us so happy, you can’t imagine; if we could have designed a retail experience ourselves, this would be it–filled with wonderful handmade and indie items from some of the most talented makers around the world, all curated by top tastemakers into boutiques. And we’re honored to be among them! Update: Regretfully, the great.ly shop is no longer...

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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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Handmade crocheted baby toys that could make you want another baby. (Or at least one to give them to.)

We are talking about getting a dog, which makes it official: No more babies for this household. And I’m pretty much okay with that fact until I see a store like YarnBall Stories. This absolutely adorable Etsy shop has safe and soft crocheted baby toys and decor that stop me in my tracks with the cuteness. And you know how much of a soft spot we have for cool crocheted toys and gifts like crocheted baby booties here at Cool Mom Picks. The YarnBall Stories crocheted baby mobiles come in themes like the solar system, colorful hearts, or just pretty pastels. I...

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6 of the coolest dollhouse kits that promote building, design, and imaginative play. We want to live in them.

Dollhouses have always been a common feature on the floors of Toy Fair, but Liz and I noticed more and more options this year with dollhouse kits that add building and design, and sometimes even circuitry, to the act of play. Future architects and designers of the world, we’ve found the toys for you.   Roominate Dollhouse Building Kits Combining building, engineering, and design, Roominate’s clever dollhouse building kits come together in so many different ways, kids can conceivably construct a totally different house every time they sit down to play. And I love the many ideas on their...

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A custom photo gift for babies too young to make one themselves

We all know how much babies and toddlers love to look at photos of the people they love, and so a custom photo gift can be a wonderful baby gift. But if you are like me, those puffy, plastic photo albums aren’t your idea of great nursery decor. And framed pictures in glass? Well, we all know how that is going to turn out. Enter BéBé Blocks. This great shop, started by a stay at home mom and her own dad, takes your favorite digital photos to create beautiful custom photo blocks to display. Don’t miss an exclusive offer for CMP...

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8 extremely cool sets of modern alphabet blocks

I don’t know if there’s a more perfect gift for a baby than a great set of modern alphabet blocks. (Besides maybe a great alphabet poster.) They start as decor in the nursery, become a great toddler toy, and eventually you get to watch as your kid turns them into towers, cities, fortresses of all kinds. My grade-schoolers still play with a set they got as babies — I’d call that a great shower gift. Here, I’ve put together some of the coolest modern alphabet blocks. I especially love how each one is perfectly gender neutral. Modern indeed.  ...

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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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Elephants on Parade

We know personalized baby gifts are supposed to show you gave it more than two seconds’ thought choosing a special keepsake. These cozy pachyderms, an exclusive offering from Baby Gardner, do just that. This little baby elephant parade wall hanging is a a great find for anyone looking for a sweet, unique baby gift. The vintage vibe of these hand-stitched friends make them a darling accessory to any nursery. There is a tenderness to these softies with the interlocking of the trunks and tails of the family, very comforting indeed. We also couldn’t love more how these don’t scream safari theme —...

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12 awesome toys you can actually make from cardboard boxes. (Because we all know the best part of the gift is often what it comes in.)

With all the empty cardboard boxes that may still be around your house post-holiday, don’t throw them out! Take a lesson from my kids, who have never seen an empty box they didn’t turn into a playhouse, a race car, or a doll cradle. Since we all know the boxes are often more fun for kids than the stuff inside, here are a whole bunch of toys you can make from cardboard boxes — and I promise, they’re actually doable, unlike some of the ridiculous things I’ve seen on Pinterest. (No offense crafters, but I don’t have six days...

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Woodland critters invade your child’s bedroom. No exterminator needed.

Whether you need a snuggly pal for that first camping trip or the perfect prop for colorful fall family photos, we just can’t leaf this Etsy shop alone.   We seriously want to snuggle all the critters in the Savage Seeds shop on Etsy, also home of this adorable handmade kids’ hoodie we covered a while back. Everything at the shop designed, cut, sewn, and packaged by hand in the USA, with most products handmade of wool felt, eco-felt, and bamboo Nature-Fil fiber. Plus there are no buttons or tiny parts, so your own little savages should be safe.  ...

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Natural handmade wooden block sets for kids, ready to become the city of their dreams

We’re always on the lookout for wonderful wooden, eco-friendly kids’ toys as an alternative to the plastic stuff that seems to be eating up the toy store aisles more and more each year. Etsy is always a great place to turn, and this wonderful new shop is doing some nifty things that aren’t your average wooden building toy.    Cubiciti makes some super funky modular block sets in both natural unpolished maple, and gorgeous painted wood–all non-toxic, water-based paints, of course. The blocks have pegs that fit into on a small plastic base, allowing your kids to configure the cars...

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