Tag: kids’ toys

BeginAgain toys – Simpler toys Santa’s elves would approve of

When the toy store ads appear in our Sunday newspaper, I’m mostly uninspired by all the blinky, noisy, plasticky stuff touted as The Next Big Thing. Would these really be the toys that Santa’s elves carefully assemble in the North Pole? But now, just in time for the holidays, a brand new toy maker has come riding into town, aptly called BeginAgain. And if you are looking for toys, games and activity kits that harken back to a simpler time when people actually said “harken” (heh), you must check out this line of imaginative and eco-friendly toys. {keep reading...

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Neighborhood Toy Store Day – go forth and buy toys!

Before the 24-hour carols, the jammed parking lots, and those news stories about people fighting over the latest Elmo toy, there is Neighborhood Toy Store Day today, November 12. This is one that hits near and dear to our indie-loving hearts, as a great opportunity to support your local independent retailers while getting a head start on holiday shopping. Whether you live near such CMP toy shop favorites as Giggle (save 20% with code FF11) Magic Beans (10% off all toys all weekend, even online), Psychobaby, Acorn Toy Shop, Cheeky Monkey, Area Kids, Mini Jake or have your own...

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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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The perfect baby doll for your own growing baby.

Please tell me I am not the only one with such nostalgia for some of our baby clothes, that I’ve saved them. The little peasant dress from Mexico, the smocked dress from a great-grandmother, the onesie with the swallow tattoos on the chest just like daddy has–I’m a sap for it all. So when I learned that Corolle came out with a doll sized to wear actual baby clothes, I thought, genius! What’s cool about the new Bebe Amour, is that she’s the same size as your average 3 month old baby–20″ tall–which means she’s a great way to...

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5 cool modern piggy banks

We’re so thrilled to be teaming up with our sponsor Harris Bank who’s asked us to offer up cool picks to help teach money management early. Back when I was a kid, a piggy bank was no more than a basic way to teach money savings to those old enough to dump a few pennies in the slot. These days, you might have noticed that piggy banks have come a long way in both design and style. With the holidays coming up, we rounded up 5 of our favorite modern piggy banks, which not only do the job they’re...

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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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Cool race cars and trains – hold the plastic

My son’s car obsession knows no limits, which is why we’ve got tubs and tubs full of plastic race cars and trains packing our playroom shelves. But the play life of those tiny cars seem to be pretty short, which is not at all what I can say about this new toy set from HABA that’s kept his interest (and my girls’ too) for weeks now. Meet Discover Techniks, a cool building set that allows kids to create their own moving vehicles from wooden blocks using clamps, clutches, and wheels. My near 5-year-old son and even my 3-year-old figured...

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Supercute superhero dolls

Sometimes it feels like we’re in the middle of a plastic doll takeover. Those little dudes are everywhere (pretty sure most of them are in my living room) I am more convinced than ever that the last thing the world needs is another plastic guy. These handmade superheroes just might save the day. Hand-knit with the softest cotton yarn by a mom who’s been there, these little superhero dolls by Dents de Loup are totally adventure-ready. There’s nothing artificial about them, and they remind me of Teeny Little Super Guy from “Sesame Street”–a retro superdude with lots of heart and ’70s-sass. The...

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Here kitty, kitty kitty…

I have animal-crazy daughters, a wonderful characteristic I attribute in part to awesome grandparents that think to buy them “animal things” before buying them “princess things.” So I was thrilled to see a nice partnership between National Geographic and Pottery Barn Kids, which is helping to broaden kids’ horizons and help some big, beautiful animals too. The National Geographic Pottery Barn Kids partnership is really nifty as an idea. While of course there are toys and books you can buy curated by National Geographic (I love the look of that animals activity tote) there are also online activities and...

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DIY: animal storage jars from all those figurines lying around

I am so not a crafty mom. I’ve said it a zillion times. But this here tutorial is so easy, and the results so awesome, even I can do it. The animal craft jar project idea at House to Home is literally as easy as gathering up all those animal figurines you’ve got lying around (I know you have them), gluing them to a recycled glass jar lid, and spray painting them a bright color. Let dry, then fill with all your kids’ craft supplies. I might suggest using a plastic jar (think the whopping jars of mayonnaise) and...

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Poof, you’re a leaf!

Regardless of temperature, I never believe it’s actually fall until the calendar reads October. Which…hello, October! Now that I’ve spotted this Autumn Oak Leaf Wand from one of our favorite Etsy artists, I realize I’m definitely in the spirit. It’s handcut from sustainable wood, hand-finished with non-toxic paints and natural finishes, and capable of performing as much magic as those mass-produced plastic star wands with lace tulle around them. Maybe even a little more. –Liz Find a nice selection of eco-friendly wooden Waldorf toys online at Imagination...

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Ooh la la! Quelle playhouse!

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Why it’s only the sweetest cardboard play structure I’ve ever laid eyes on. Okay, I’ve only laid eyes on it online, but still. I think my children need this thing, stat. The French Café from Little Play Spaces takes the fun and convenience of a typical cardboard play space and adds to it all kinds of wonderful interactive features that kids will love. Including my favorite, a real chalkboard for writing the daily specials. Gâteau, anyone? I love that it’s designed by a mom of an 8-year-old, who finally created a great play space for older...

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More than a dozen ideas for Talk Like a Pirate Day: YARR invited!

This  Monday is TLAPD. That’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, in case you were too busy getting keelhauled to check your calendarrrrrrr. We’ve been celebrating for years, of course and we’ve got the pirate underwear to prove it. But if you’re on board, we’ve got some great ideas for gettin’ yer grog on. Did a scurvy dog poke out your eye? You’re going to need an eye patch. And they even have hot pink. Or you can always get some from the party store and give the kids glitter pens and paint markers to personalize. Setting up a photo...

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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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Dozens of ways to turn hurricane time into fun time with kids

If you’re stuck in Irene’s path this weekend, most of all, we hope you’re safe! After that, here are a few of our favorite ways to spend your electricity-free time hunkered down in close quarters with the family. Got game? Apps and online games are no match in a storm for a good, old fashioned board game. Dust off the Monopoly, Scrabble, or if you’re lucky enough to have one, the 3D Angry Birds game. Getting crafty If your craft closet is stocked (or you can make it to a Michael’s), you’re in good shape–especially if you take 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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Your favorite silly old Pooh bear is now a soft, organic Pooh bear

The Winnie the Pooh movie hitting theaters today promises to be a sweet mix of old and new, combining classic Pooh animation with a few new voices– like Craig Ferguson as Owl. The overall idea is to charm Pooh fans of all ages with a timeless (and mercifully two-dimensional) animated trip to the Hundred Acre Wood. And we love it. So it makes sense that miYim’s new line of organic Pooh stuffed animals would have the same appeal, mixing classic style and sentiment with an eco-conscious 2011 flair.[don’t miss a truly great giveaway after the jump!] miYim is one...

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Quiet travel toys – Reader Q&A

Do you have any suggestions for fun, quiet and small toys for a looooong flight/travel day for a 2yo and a 4yo, both boys? Would love to hear your suggestions! Thanks!  -Brave mama, Melissa.  Crayons and blank paper, activity books, and coloring books are always mainstays for travel. I’m also a big fan of “grab bags” where you put a bunch of cool little goodies in a bag and “surprise” the kids with something new every few hours (or minutes if it’s that kind of day). Some other ideas:  If you’re a bit crafty, check out this PDF for...

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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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Be the talk of the neighborhood with 3 cool new ride-on toys

Our garage is filled with bikes, trikes, scooters and even one Skoooch, but I’m a big believer in “you can never have too many outdoor toys.” So, I’m always on the lookout for cool new ride-on, kid-powered things that can hold their attention for at least as long as the latest Wii game. For some of my favorite “tried and true” ride-on toys, check out our Scooter Smackdown and Second Scooter Smackdown from past years. But if you’re looking to get something that no one else on your block has yet, keep reading.  For toddlers, I’m not sure I’ve seen...

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