Tag: heirloom toys

Meet BoyStory, cool boy dolls that kids will love. Parents, too.

If you’re excited about the new American Girl boy doll that was just announced, we’ve found a mom-run company at this year’s Toy Fair that’s already making boy dolls that are diverse, too. Created by two sisters who wanted their sons to have quality dolls that looked like them and were ready for adventure, Boy Story currently makes Mason and Billy, two fully articulated 18″ plush and vinyl boy action dolls that can be purchased together or separately, with lots of accessories, clothes, and adventure books (sound familiar?), coming soon. Related: Here are 6 of the coolest and most diverse dolls.     Related: Naturally...

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The handmade, organic Frida Kahlo doll: Art history degree not required.

The first-ever gift I gave my daughter was a beautiful handmade doll I found on Etsy, and ever since then I’ve had a thing for gifting my kids one-of-a-kind dolls. Of course, she has her fair share (and then some) of American Girl everything, but when I find a keepsake like the handmade, organic Frida Kahlo dolls made by Mexican artists Maroma + Arte, I feel compelled add to her growing collection. She certainly doesn’t need another doll, but I really want her to have this one. And a little lesson in art history and female empowerment to go along with it won’t...

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14 of our favorite small shops and online children’s boutiques to help you #shopsmall for the holidays.

Since the first November it launched several years ago, even long before we teamed up with partner American Express who is now sponsoring and championing the campaign, we’ve been staunch advocates for Small Business Saturday. And we’re still thrilled to mark on our calendars each year. In fact, supporting small businesses is the whole reason we started Cool Mom Picks in the first place. So this is very dear to our hearts. While it would be impossible to share every small business we adore (i.e. visit our archives in every single category since the beginning of our site),with the help of our editors, we’ve somehow managed to narrowed...

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Baby play gyms as beautiful as they are fun

A new baby may be small, but they all have some magical ability to fill an entire home with all of their things. So we’re always looking for those gifts and gear essentials that both baby and you will love looking at, like baby play gyms. I love all three of these wooden play gyms that I found from makers on Etsy; they’re all such beautiful alternatives to those big plastic contraptions that can be eyesores in the middle of your living room. But while these are all simple and modern in terms of shape and design, there’s still plenty of accessories and other options to keep...

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Web Coolness: How not to screw up your kids, way cool kids toys, and the craziest pancakes ever.

Here’s what we’ve liked reading around the web this week. Hope you do too.   Love this roundup of 10 of the coolest modern rocking chairs. 16 of the best organizational apps for parents. How not to screw up your kids. Good advice? Congrats to FashionABLE and their relaunch which now helps women in the US and abroad. Guess which countries offer the longest maternity leave. Surprising. What if your child doesn’t have a BFF? Tons of fun sleepover ideas. (If you haven’t gone there yet, trust us. You’ll need them.) Is Kristen’s daughter the next big Etsy artist? 15...

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6 sets of cool wooden blocks for older kids that are anything but square

Just when I think it’s time to put the baby blocks away, my kids will surprise me by building some huge creative structure on the living room floor, enhanced by LEGO men and dollhouse furniture. Still, I can tell the basic square blocks we’ve had for ten years aren’t quite cutting it anymore. In my search for some cool wooden blocks for older kids like my own, I’ve found some incredible sets that look more like inspiring works of art than baby toys. These wooden block sets might even keep my kids from asking for more screen time, and I say that’s worth...

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Candylab Toys: Our kids can’t wait to get behind these wheels

We fell so in love with Candylab Toys and their gorgeous, modern-looking wood cars when we saw them over the holidays last year, they easily made 2014 Best Toys, Dolls, and Games list. Now our engines are all revved up again to see that they are adding to their fleet of vehicles with five new styles of handmade wooden cars. Like their original cars, these new Candylab vehicles run not on batteries, but on the imagination of the kids playing with cars like the iconic yellow cab, a mini tow truck that actually tows, or a 1970’s era Woodie station wagon which comes with...

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Wood you be mine?

As I’m looking around the web for ideas for a little token Valentine’s Gift for my kids, I came across this adorable wooden stacking heart blocks toy from Natural Family Shop on Amazon and yes, I heart it. It comes with 8 natural, beautifully handmade and non-toxic wooden heart blocks for stacking and sorting, or it just looks pretty displayed up on a child’s bookshelf. Good news, Amazon Prime members–you can still get one in time for Valentine’s Day, too if you’re quick.   I see them available shades of pink too, and in rainbow sold by Magic Cabin; though you’ll have to wait a bit for delivery...

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The Mini Life: When you feel like you’ve seen every baby and kid gift out there, here’s where to go.

I’m always happy to introduce you to beautifully-curated independent web boutiques and here’s one more  new one that’s caught my attention since its launch just a few weeks ago. Mini Life is an exquisite children’s lifestyle boutique packed full of gorgeous toys, decor, home items and more, all cultivated from around the world. It’s definitely not the kinds of gifts you see in every shop in the mall. Founder Athena Rotolo has a modern sensibility I just love, and if you’ve got little ones to shop for–or maybe, splurge on–then you must look around this exquisite site. Here are just...

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The best kids’ toys, dolls, and games: Editors’ Best of 2014

From amazing dolls to cool new games and imaginative toys, there have been so many fantastic options out for kids at play this year that encourage things we love, like creativity, imagination, building, interest in STEM pursuits, defiance of gender stereotypes and more. Wow, what a year! Plus so many toys are starting to incorporate tech now, that we included some favorites from Cool Mom Tech as well. We hope our list of the coolest kids’ toys of the year includes some new favorites of your own.   This is post is part of of our annual series of Editors Picks of the Year. No...

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Gorgeous wooden toy cars that run on imagination

Some of the best toys don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, or even horns, to make them a plaything that kids will love for years. Our newest find is Candylab’s stunning, yet durable, wooden toy cars. After Candylab wooden toy cars received some acceleration from a super-successful Kickstarter campaign, six styles are ready to roll up to your house in time for the holidays for any vehicle-loving child and their mid-century-modern-loving parents. Designed in Brooklyn, made of solid beech wood, colored in water-based paints, and rolling on food-grade rubber tires, Candylab’s entire garage of toy cars are the kinds...

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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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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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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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Wooden love blocks you have to love, any way you look at them.

It’s not hard to find signs of love all around us today, like these gorgeously designed wooden blocks that spell out love in 12 different languages. And when you take a closer look at how artful these blocks are, you’ll understand why I think they’d be equally at home as a piece of room decor as they would be a plaything for the kids. House Industries makes such incredible stuff we included several designs in our roundup of the best modern alphabet blocks for kids. Similarly, their Love Heart Blocks are so intricately designed, they are truly unique from every...

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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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13 of the most outrageous playhouses: Don’t show your kids!

Every so often, it’s fun to see how the rich and famous live, especially those with kids. Should you have a spare 10, 20, or 50k lying around, check out these unbelievable kids playhouses. Or hey, if you buy one yourself? Invite us over! Related: 7 cool playroom ideas for kids that let you reclaim your living room Attention Tolkien fans: this Hobbit playhouse (above) is mindblowing, and built right into the landscape. Just get your kids some big feet. (Wildflower Turf) A Mondrian playhouse is awesome for fans of mid-century modern. Like me. (Barnes Vanzes Architects) Little astronauts would love...

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Ring, ring! Cuteness calling

Here’s a sweet phone for your little one that doesn’t require a contract, an upgrade, or even a fancy power cord. And it even rings! You know, like phones used to do? The ring ring! phone available from our pals at ROMP is the apex of heirloom toys for kids 3 and up. Handmade in Germany of cherry wood and finished only with vegetable-safe oil, it’s good for the environment and for little hands. The dial spins, the bell rings, and you never know who’s going to be on the other end of the line when you pick up. (Knowing most...

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Heirloom dolls that make you wonder why you’d even consider those mass produced ones

Cool Mom Picks readers know I have a serious soft spot for handmade dolls, which goes way back to the days that my mom taught me how to stuff an old stocking with batting and stitch the face to make a nose. But the incredible handmade dolls from Viola Studio? Well wow, she puts our amateur craftsmanship to shame. We’ve previously raved about Viola Hale’s adorable stuffed creatures. And now she’s offering simply spectacular studio heirloom dolls, meticulously handcrafted out of repurposed materials with so much attention to detail, I wonder honestly how she can make a living at...

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