Tag: handmade toys

The 10 coolest finger puppets, one for every finger

I’m such a huge fan of finger puppets for kids, which inspire all kinds of creativity and good thinking. I’m thinking about tracking down a finger puppet theater this holiday, so we can have a more formal stage for all that tiny entertainment. If you don’t have access to the guy on the street in SoHo who sells adorable knit ones cheap from Peru, here are some of the incredible finger puppets I’ve come across online. Some of them even for kids!  –Liz An arty and eco-friendly option that I just discovered: the fabulous Finger Dolls by Loopy Dolls...

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Teething rocks

Ok so maybe teething doesn’t really rock. In fact, it can be pretty painful for all parties involved. I recall more than my share of sleepless nights when my son’s teeth were coming in. Not fun. But maybe the teethers can be? I only wish I had known about this solid organic wood guitar teether from perennial CMP favorite, Little Alouette. The Gibson-shaped teether is made from locally-sourced Ohio hardwoods. The finish is as smooth as your baby’s bottom and you can feel safe knowing that any treatment on the wood is only certified organic flaxseed oil. I am...

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Rockin’ Blocks

Whenever I go shopping for baby toys, I am dismayed at how many toy developers design their blocks in sherbet-y pastels  even though babies prefer the colors high contrast and vivid for the first few months. (I am also wondering who decided babies love jungle themes) And then I saw these! maternalNEST’s Modern Heirloom Soft Blocks are all about visual stimulation, with a bright, modern, contrasty prints and sharp black text. They also make noises – each handmade polyfill block contains either a jingly bell or some fabulous crinkly cellophane (a house favorite, for both kids and puppies) to further...

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Martha Stewart wants your input on what’s cool. Seriously.

It’s like Miss America for crafters, and you’re a judge. But there’s no Miss Congeniality. This one’s all about looks, and you only get one vote. Actually, it’s the competition for Martha Stewart’s annual Holiday Craft Fair at her company headquarter in NYC. Vendor spots are highly competitive and you can vote for your faves. Of course, we’re always excited to see handmade, gorgeous crafts in the limelight, but we’re especially proud to know that two of CMP’s favorite mom-run businesses are among the finalists. There’s perpetual craft crush Little Alouette, who makes gorgeous wood toys and teethers in...

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These sweaters must have been very good in a previous life.

Once upon a time these little critters were cozy woolen sweaters, but thanks to the imagination and ingenuity of Laura Ray, they have been reincarnated as Pogos. Made with upcycled wool and stuffed with sustainable bamboo fiber they are as eco-friendly as they are adorable. But the best part is reading each one’s clever backstory. Go to Pogoship, Laura’s Etsy website, and you’ll learn that Adeline is heading to a party, and Woody is trying to overcome his fear of jumping over the stream in the forest where he lives. And what kid wouldn’t love to have a Pogo...

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When you wish upon a star

Just when I thought my daughter had sort of outgrown the wand phase, a few days ago I watched her snatch up a tulle covered one and attempt to pawn off a pointer to her younger friend. You can be the “teacher fairy”, she said. Not bad, huh? But with that in mind, I might just have to grab one of these beautiful handcrafted wands by mom Emily Bilbrey from Uff Da! Designs. It’s just so hard not to imagine the endless creative possibilities that the bright felt and ribbon combination invokes. I love the handmade flower and star...

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I hereby pledge to get crafty and go shopping!

Every month, each of the CMP contributors pick our favorite pick of the month and write a quick blurb on it for our monthly newsletter. Out of dozens of amazing posts in September, four of us nearly had a cage match over who got to squeal about Cubebot, the handmade wooden robot from Japan. Clearly, we all have a thing for handmade toys here. In honor of American Craft Week this week, our friends at the Handmade Toy Alliance are rallying moms like you and me to take the Handmade Pledge and promise to buy at least one handmade...

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Fabu finger puppets, now with extra Halloween awesomesauce

I want to give a hand to WeeKnit on Etsy: they’ve brought together the coolest collection of finger puppets I’ve ever seen. Where else can you find a vampire, a mummy, Frankenstein, a pirate, and a ninja in one place? And would that not be the best high five ever? I think it would. Especially with Vlad, Imhotep, Frankie, Smee, and Sneaky Lee splayed out over tiny, pudgy fingers playing peek-a-boo. Of course, if the classic Halloween finger puppet favorites don’t float your finger puppet boat, WeeKnit also offers a the original freaky line-up with a witch, pumpkin, spider,...

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Adorable families, custom made to look just like yours

The list of things my 3-year-old daughter doesn’t love is a lot shorter than the list of things she does. But if there’s one thing she digs more than anything else right now, it’s dolls. Specifically, dolls to whom she can assign the personalities of her family members. (We’ve lost count how many times her stuffed pig has been directed to act like Daddy.) So these Star House Custom Wooden Families–which are specially made to look just like us!–are about as perfect as the world can get. Like Star House’s Wooden Easter Egg Set, these wooden figures are exquisitely handmade. But each...

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Fairy tale houses–they’re not just for fairy tales anymore

When I first saw pictures of the amazing, whimsical and unbelievably detailed fairy tale houses and furniture by Mike and Debbie Schramer I simply marveled. This brilliant husband and wife team use real flowers, branches, roots, and moss, to create these breathtaking fairy furniture masterpieces. You have to click over to appreciate the detail. But they’re not just meant to be looked at, they’re meant to be enjoyed. Why buy pink plastic doll furniture when you can have a hand crafted tea party set? Add little forest people and animals and your child’s imagination is sure to run rampant....

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Doughnuts just for babies. Homer Simpson approves.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, now six, rattles that were actually cute, functional, and not made completely of plastic were just starting to make it onto the scene. Well it seems that now cuteness and a bit of hilarity abounds at every shake, like with these new Yellow Label doughnut rattles. We’ve long admired the funny and creative minds behind Yellow Label Kids since back when we drooled over their sushi rattles. And so not surprisingly, the new doughnut rattles are a hit with us too. Modeled after their popular pretend donut toys, these fair trade hand crocheted rattles transitions from fantastic...

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Baby books for busy beavers

Those board books start out so cute and shiny, don’t they? And then Baby Bookivore gets very interested in gnawing the corners, splitting the pages, and seeing what a slice of banana will look like sandwiched between B is for Broccoli and C is for Carrot. But now you can invest in an adorable book that even the earliest teether can’t destroy. This adorable wooden baby book of Garden Vegetables by just hatched on Etsy is guaranteed to entertain and last… unless you raise termites and beavers. The pages are solid oak, wood-burned by hand and burnished with beeswax...

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Three cheers for the Handmade Toy Alliance!

We’ve been fans of the Handmade Toy Alliance since this organization formed in 2008 in response to Congress’s [expletive deleted] Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act. This ill-conceived (and ironically named) law is the impetus for launching our Save Handmade campaign, which we still try to keep updated as often as we can. This week, we’re honored to be joining other bloggers and editors to let you know about some of our favorite HTA members. When we support them, it doesn’t just help a small business owner, it helps to insure that our kids–and their kids–grow up with have access...

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PDFs for DIY PB+J

This is one of those times when I find myself wishing I owned a sewing machine. And that I had a single crafty bone in my body. Check it out: Gulf Coast Cottage, a wonderful shop filled with soft toys, has an entire category filled with nothing but PDF patterns for felt toys you can make yourself. Many of the patterns are food–like the PB&J lunch set or the toaster set shown here (ah, so kids can play with the toaster!), but there’s also a doctor’s kit, tools, a child’s tea set, and even a retro robot plushie. If...

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Yo Gabba Gabba finger puppets, aka There’s a Party on my Fingers

These so-called “friendly monster finger puppets” bear such a striking resemblance to the Yo Gabba Gabba characters that I had to break down and buy them for my YGG-obsessed daughter’s third birthday. I mean, that striped green one does look a whole lot like Brobee and that one-eyed red monster really could pass for Muno, right? It’s not just me? Find them on Etsy from Utah’s WeeKnit, who does a fabulous job with superhero finger puppets, the Wizard of Oz characters, Star Wars finger puppets and assorted cute barnyard animals, bunnies and fairies too....

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It’s Memorial Day – get out the linen!

Memorial Day is here which means goodbye wool, hello breezy, beautiful linen. Even when it comes to your kids’ playthings. Have you ever loved a doll so much that you wanted to hug it? Wait, that’s ridiculous, even for a rhetorical question. Of course you want to hug dolls. But have you ever loved a doll so much that you didn’t want to hug it, so that it would last forever and ever? That’s how I feel about these linen dolls by Leilalou just into CMP fave, DC area boutique The Pajama Squid. Especially the Little Prince. Each vintage-inspired...

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Save Handmade – CPSIA Update

We’ve been following the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and its negative effect on the handmade products and small businesses we love, ever since the very beginning. And so, we wanted to pass along some updates, so that you can help us save handmade – and protect the interests of hundreds of thousands of craftspeople, parents and shoppers like us, who will suffer if this misguided act passes. After all, if only the big made-in-China toy companies can afford to comply with the CPSIA, those are the only toys that will be available for your kids to play...

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Exercise baby’s memory, crave fudge ripple

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… well, okay, I lied. I didn’t scream over these adorable soft ice cream-festooned beanbags, but I did squeal just a little bit. The Baby Gardner brings us Lisa Bacigalupi’s exclusive hand-stitched take on the traditional memory match game: 16 beanbags, 8 different pairs of matching cones, 1 muslin bag to store it all in, 100% chance of delight. This one is pretty to look at, soft and interesting for little fingers, and guaranteed to last longer than a flimsy deck of cards. This isn’t the item to grab when you need...

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Car games. Remember those?

Long ago when my parents would drag us on a 10 hour family road trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, my brother and I would occupy ourselves with all sorts of fun travel-friendly activities, none of which included a DVD player. Imagine that! While I definitely pack our player whenever we attempt a long road trip, I’m all for finding alternative ways of in-car entertainment other than the shiny bright screen. Take this adorable handmade car bingo game from pi’lo. The owner, a Toronto-based artist, originally created this game for a magazine shoot and is now actually making it...

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Baby loves sushi

You may already know how much we love Shokay, the little e-shop that put yak hair on our collective radar. Soft, cashmere-like, and socially responsible (the shop supports struggling Tibetan yak farmers), this luxury fiber makes some of the most beautiful clothes, accessories and toys we’ve ever seen. And they’ve just relaunched their site, making it much easier to navigate. Lucky for me, because that means I just happened upon their new collection of hand knit baby toys. Made of yak hair fiber (of course) the little Sushi Rolls are going to be a perfect baby shower gift for...

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