Tag: kids’ toys

Little Passports’ new gift subscription now lets younger kids get in on the world travel adventures too.

Even before she had made her first trip out of the country, my daughter loved the subscription her aunt bought her to Little Passports when she was in grade school. Each month, she’d receive a packet of information and little trinkets about a new country that she could tuck safely into her small blue suitcase. If you have younger kids, you may be happy to learn that even they can take a virtual trip around the world now, with Little Passports Early Explorers. It comes with specially designed materials and items for kids between the ages of 3-5, no real passport needed. Or expensive tickets to Egypt or France....

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Fight boredom with the huge, and hugely fun, coloring poster from Pirasta

I’ve been fighting boredom this summer with a bunch of magic markers and one really huge (like, seriously huge) and cleverly illustrated coloring poster for kids from a new company called Pirasta. And the beauty of these posters is that there’s room for everyone to get in on the action. The recycled-content paper is sturdy enough to let it take over the dining room table for a while, spread it out at a birthday party, or hang it on the wall. And at a whopping 63″ x 36″there is plenty of room for multiple people to color together. We’ve even rolled up...

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Letting kids make beautiful music with Compose Yourself. Now this is cool.

It may take special talent and years of study to compose music for a symphony, but we’ve discovered a fun shortcut with Think Fun’s new Compose Yourself, a creative, musical card game which lets kids 6 and up — and even adult neophytes like me — create beautiful music in minutes. You don’t even have to be able to read a note of music. Which is why I like it too. Related: How to foster a love of music in your little kids The system was created by Philip Sheppard, an accomplished composer and musician who has recorded with David Bowie, served as music director...

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7 great new beach toys for kids to make sand play even more fun

Before you pack up the kids and head to the beach (yay summer!), take my advice and do a quick inventory of last year’s beach toys. Between missing shovels, broken pails, and maybe some toys that are no longer in the best shape, it may be time to add a few new sand toys to the kids’ collection. We’ve dug up (haha) a bunch of new sand toys for our kids to play with when they aren’t burying our feet in the sand or chasing waves. And since many of these toys make great playthings for their sandbox too, they...

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8 tips for bringing even more imagination and creativity to store-bought toys.

We talk a lot about toys that inspire creativity and imagination, and the thing is, in a kid’s world, pretty much everything is a source of creativity and imagination. (See also: Pillow forts, scarves that become hula skirts, and monsters under the bed.) So as much as we’re all for handing a kid a blank sheet of paper and saying, “here you go, kid,” of course they like getting new toys as much as anyone. So I’m always looking for ways to help make my kids’ toys more fun for them — that is, if they don’t beat me to...

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The Swurfer: Not your grandma’s backyard swing

When I first saw a picture of The Swurfer in my local toy store’s summer catalog, I thought that it looked like a nice wide swing for those of us who can’t quite, ahem, cram ourselves into our kids’ smaller swings. And while it can definitely be used like a traditional swing, it wasn’t until I a YouTube video of the Swurfer in action that I realized that this swing really, really rocks. As the name implies, The Swurfer combines the motion of swinging with surfing so adventurous kids, teens, and even adults can surf through the air. My kids saw...

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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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A paper block city that’s ready to travel with your kids

If your kids like building blocks as much as mine, you’ll want to check out Paper Punk’s new Urban Fold paper blocks which allow kids 6 and up to build a sprawling metropolis without the bulk and weight of traditional blocks. This is such a great toy to toss in the car when you’re headed out for a few days at the beach, or to keep on hand for one of those hot summer days when just dragging out heavier wooden blocks is more work than anyone can imagine doing. Related: A creative activity book that could make your kid a future Duchamps or Dali Instead...

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5 of our favorite new baby products at the New York Baby Show

This past week I was fortunate to attend the New York Baby Show as a guest of New York Family Magazine. In the past, we’ve found some of our favorite new baby gear there (Ubbi Diaper Pails!), and there is a lot. I’m talking both products and and services that range from the basics to the genius to, okay, the ridiculous. But you won’t see those here, because my job is to weed all those out for you. I had quite a few favorites but here are my top five picks of new baby products that stood out from the rest, and that I think new...

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Play tape road rolls that let kids bring imaginative play on the road

With three vehicle-loving children, there was a time when I feared my living room would be overrun with sections of train tracks and makeshift “roads” built out of blocks. I wish I had known about InRoad Toys; clever  play tape road rolls which turns any flat surface into a road or train track without creating an obstacles should you need to walk from one side of the room to another. Plus, it’s just fantastic for summer travel. The self-adhesive paper tape road rolls makes it so easy for kids to roll out and stick to a hardwood floor, coffee table, flat-pile carpet, bookshelf —  really...

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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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Little Bellwoods toys: The smaller the creatures, the bigger the awww…

My kids have a penchant for falling in love with tiny things. I can’t blame them; I’m the very same way. The smaller and cuter a toy happens to be, the more we all adore it. So how could we resist the heart-meltingly adorable creations over at the Little Bellwoods Etsy shop? Short answer: We can’t. Every little stuffed animal is cuter than the next. Skunks, foxes, and, well, the cutest toy birds I have ever seen in my entire life. And every little one is made by hand –and obviously with love, too– by a Canadian mom. (Toronto, represent!) I’ll...

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Please and Carrots – a baby toy subscription box that’s all about developmental milestones.

You buy all sorts of toys to fill the nursery while prepping for baby, then they start to grow and you find yourself wondering which toys are right for them and for which developmental milestones. Those long aisles full of very brightly colored toys at the store can be a little overwhelming, which is why I’m liking the new Please and Carrots baby toy subscription service, which helps take out the guesswork for new parents. – Don’t miss an exclusive discount for CMP readers below –  Curated by team of expert advisors including pediatricians, psychologists, educators and parents, each box is designed to engage...

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A colorful toy mail bag for kids that’s ready to deliver fun

Since most of the mail I get in my own mailbox is junk or bills, I’d love to see my kids playing mail carrier and delivering me something really special using Miss Pretty Pretty’s colorful felt mail bag. Perhaps delivered to this cute printable mailbox we shared a while back? Coming from Julie the same Etsy artist that has given us the most creative and well-made handmade playhouses we may have seen, ever, Miss Pretty Pretty’s child-sized mail bag is ready to go to work. Or play. Through rain, sleet, snow, or just across a messy playroom. She can even customize it in whatever color combination your...

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A toy to help kids with autism (and without) understand more about their moods

Whether you call it Autism Awareness or Autism Acceptance like one of my good friends, April is a great month to learn more about autism and how to make our world more supportive to those families living with it. That’s one reason we’ve long supported Creative Kidstuff’s partnership with St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development to identify some of the best playthings for kids with autism. And it is on their special month-long Autism Awareness Celebration Sale page that I discovered a toy that could help kids on and off the autistic spectrum learn and understand more about their moods....

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Piki Piki: It’s a bike! It’s a trike! It’s the new top of your toddler’s wish list.

Vroom vroom! That’s the sound of one very happy 21-month-old zooming around in my living room on the Piki Piki from Gallo and Spence Toys, a great new bike-trike hybrid for toddlers and preschoolers. And with my own toddler (and soon-to-be toddler, eek!) am so happy to have found this! Made in the USA and created by a mom and dad who grew up in South Africa where they still get that independent play is more important than hovering over your kid every moment, the three-wheeled Piki Piki offers toddlers the independence they crave– while reassuring slightly nervous parents like myself with its solid...

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11 of our very favorite travel toys and books for kids to help make those miles pass quickly

If Spring Break or Easter has you heading out by plane, train, or automobile, you may be wondering how to keep your kids happily occupied beyond the iPad, as you travel from Point A to Point B. And since we all know how hard it is to hear “are we there yet?” for the 200th time, I’ve pulled together 11 of the most portable, fun, and quiet travel toys for kids that we can all vouch help make the miles whiz by. CMP is an rstyle affiliate   Related: Road trip help for families: Tons of sanity savers, tips and our favorite essential products    Magnetic Toys I...

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19 very (very) special non-candy Easter basket gifts kids will love.

Between school parties and Easter baskets from their grandparents, my kids will be coming home with chocolate bunnies and cream-filled eggs to last us till the Fourth of July. So I’ve been looking for some extra special Easter basket gifts for kids that go beyond what you might find on your drugstore shelves. They’re perfect for those of you who want to ease up on the sugar; or for kids like ours, who are already going to have more than their fill from other sources. Mix them in with some traditional Easter fare (it is hard to resist jellybeans after all), or limit...

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The Easter Bunny is coming to town. And he’s naked. For now.

This is the time we start thinking Easter for you all, and as always, we love finding special little treats for the Easter baskets that aren’t necessarily your typical drugstore-shelf chocolate bunny. So I think this Easter Bunny painting kit is just perfect, especially considering it’s under $15. It’s not only a great craft in itself, but makes a cool keepsake that kids will proudly display when they’re done. And while it’s recommended for kids 6 and up, I’d imagine that preschoolers would do just fine with a little parental supervision. Coloring in the lines is overrated anyway. Related: 14 easy Easter crafts...

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Cardboard food truck playhouses for kids just not satisfied with the same old cottages and castles.

We’ve seen lots of awesome cardboard playhouses over the years, from European village squares to castles to pirate ships. We even featured OTO’s gorgeously designed ice cream truck playhouse when it was a mere Indiegogo fundraising campaign, and now we’re thrilled to see that that dream became a funded reality. What’s more, the line has recently expanded to include an absolutely clever cardboard taco truck playhouse. Austin, Brooklyn, and Silverlake parents? You’ll totally appreciate this one. Related: 12 awesome toys you can actually make from cardboard boxes The design is amazing, with really beautiful non-toxic offset printing. I also love that these cardboard food truck playhouses are made in...

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