Tag: kids’ toys

My Big Art Show: the fun family card game that might turn your kids into art history whizzes.

Two of my kids have now outgrown some of my own favorite childhood board games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders — classic versions only, please. (And yes, I admit I do like Candy Land. Don’t ask why.) My kids are now into the kind of strategy board games that take 30 minutes to explain the rules and another 30 minutes to set up the board. They can be a lot of fun, but I don’t always have the time or inclination. So I like to have a few games on hand that we can all play quickly and easily. This week we’ve been binging on My Big Art Show by Susie Hodge....

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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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Target removes boy and girl toy signs, Internet implodes.

Geez, Target! Change a few signs in your store and you blow up the whole entire Internet! In the past, we’ve discussed our issues with labeling girls toys vs. boys toys,  as opposed to just calling them, oh…you know. BLOCKS. And DOLLS. Well, apparently Target has been listening to our podcast (ha) because when they revealed their plans to remove gender-based signs from Target stores, the bigger surprise was some of the negative response. Aw, Internet Outrage. You’re so entertaining. Catch our thoughts on the oddly controversial news, plus more fun chat on this week’s SPAWNED with Kristen and Liz. You’ll feel like you’re hanging out right here around...

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6 ways to entertain kids in restaurants without (gasp) pulling out a screen.

The very first thing my son does when we sit down to eat at a restaurant (well, after ordering both ice water and milk) is ask for my iPhone. I’ll admit that I’m often tempted to hand it over because it’s such an easy way to keep him entertained while we’re waiting for our food in restaurants. I mean, I always have it on me, and he can play any number of kids’ apps, watch a movie, or find kid-friendly clips on YouTube. But, he’s four. I know doesn’t need all that extra screen time. (Do any of us, really?) Plus,...

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Oribel PortaPlay, a baby activity center that lasts beyond the baby years. Really.

When that baby of yours hits the 5 or 6 month mark, so many things begin to change. Suddenly your baby is way too big for hanging out in the swing, but too little to sit and play in the pack n play, and this is where the exersaucer can save the day.  Not like we need a ton of new gear around our home, but we are bouncing up and down for the new Oribel PortaPlay convertible baby activity center design from Oribel which, in addition to having a great design for play and development, can transition into a play table as your child grows, making it a smart value. (Editor’s note: We’re receiving security warnings when...

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Trend alert: Donuts are everywhere! (What? You don’t have a donut pool float yet?)

I keep being told that donuts are the new macarons, which used to be the new cupcakes, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m seeing them everywhere. And my kids are clamoring for them. They are emblazoned on stationery, tote bags, t-shirts, even toys and cosmetics, making them perfect for birthday gifts, or to tuck into a camp care package for a donut-deprived child of yours. I will say that though my favorite donuts are more simple cinnamon sugar or glazed, the frosted variety with sprinkles definitely seems to be winning out in the kitschy donut gift category. Hey,...

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Great party favors for 3 year olds? Reader Q+A

If you could do a post on cool favor ideas, that’d be great!  My daughter’s third birthday is coming up this fall, and I like to get children’s party favors for 3 year olds that won’t be thrown away when the guests get home! -CMP reader Monique, via email Monique, I feel the same way exactly. The hardest part of birthday party prep for me has always been buying the party favors, because I tend to think the party itself should be the big treat. Especially if I’ve already dropped some money renting out the gymnastics studio or hiring a balloon artist, not...

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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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