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...Read More
Tag: kids’ toys
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....Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
Ever in search for more colorful playthings to brighten up the dreary northeast weather, I am so happy to discover Laughing Crickets, an Etsy shop creating the most beautiful, bright, happy-making handmade toys for kids, with a focus on handmade sorting games. The shop overs brightly beautiful natural sorting games featuring the likes of giraffes, hearts, birds, lady bugs, and rainbow clad peg dolls in their own little wooden beds. Plus, Easter eggs which should be a big hit in the coming weeks.I love that they’re painted with non-toxic paints and finished with natural beeswax and olive oil, by makers who clearly...Read More
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...Read More
It’s pretty easy to find a teddy bear that my kids will love. Cute and stuffed? Check. But finding one that I love for them is a bit trickier. Bears for Humanity is a winner for all of us. My favorite thing about Bears for Humanity is their buy one, give one business model which husband and wife team Vijay and Renju Prathap modeled after TOMS. Each purchase means an equal bear—not some cheaper facsimile–goes to one of their U.S. partner organizations, like Toys for Tots, pediatric cancer org Expect Miracles, and Save the Children, all to brighten up another child’s day. Beyond that, Bears for Humanity hits so many of my...Read More
I am always a little proud of myself when I help my kids with a difficult LEGO design, or find just the piece they’ve been searching for in our big bin, but my accomplishments pale in comparison to what one dedicated mom in Seattle did with those little plastic pieces. She made an entire LEGO Hogwarts. Alice Finch’s labor of LEGO love took 18 months and more than 400,000 bricks. The finished version of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is so detailed and accurate, Hermione Granger herself would approve. You can read the full story and see more of...Read More
I’ve been cleaning up and paring down lately, and that includes some of the wooden blocks my kids got as gifts when they were young. So I started thinking about upcycled wooden blocks craft ideas that might breathe some new life into them. While a fresh coat of paint (with a non-toxic finish!) is an easy fix, there are so many neat ideas out there from talented crafters to help you take those basic wooden blocks your child may have gotten as a baby, and repurpose them to make them fun for toddlers, kindergarteners, or even puzzle-solving big kids. ...Read More
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...Read More
Like many parents I know, I have never been a fan of the pouty-lipped, heavy-lidded, overly-made-up Bratz line of dolls. But after I saw what this mother-daughter team has been doing to “rescue” the discarded toys, I was totally charmed by the sweet little dolls who it turns out were were hiding behind all those false eyelashes and lip injections. Renamed Tree Change Dolls, from an Australian phrase that refers to a move from urban glitz to a more down-to-earth style, these repurposed dolls aren’t even recognizable as their formerly wide-eyed selves. Their eyebrows are repainted to be more natural, their lips look less injected, and even their hair is reconditioned...Read More
My three-year-old son brings artwork home from nursery school by the armful — if you consider a couple of paint drops on construction paper to be art, that is. Every so often, however, he creates something that actually resembles a person, place, or thing, and I want to save it forever. The coolest way I’ve discovered to immortalize a child’s doodle is to turn it into a custom doll. We’ve covered quite a few impressive artists who make custom dolls from drawings that kids make and now there’s one more. Enter Yaela, a designer and mother of two. She runs an online studio called Dolls ‘n’ All...Read More
It’s going to be a while before I can look out my window and see anything bright and colorful fluttering around my yard, so I’m especially pleased that LEGO has chosen to release LEGO Birds, a brand new set of feathered friends that is so realistic, I may just gaze at them instead. The set features detailed models of a hummingbird, blue jay, and robin, each standing between 5 and 7 inches tall and perched on its own stand with its Latin name in front. There’s even a pamphlet more more info on the species inside. It all adds up to a certain sophistication which means I...Read More
As we say goodbye to 2014 and remember to start typing 2015 on all our correspondence, we wanted to take one last look back at our posts. Specifically, the top posts written in 2014 that caught the attention and imagination of our readers–aside from our our very popular 2014 holiday gift guide and Mother’s Day gift guide. Some of these are surprising, some, not so much. Let’s just say you guys sure like to make things, you sure like to eat, and you sure like to party. Three traits we like in our friends! 10. 8 easy donut recipes so...Read More
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...Read More
My husband comes from a family of players. Game players, that is. The next time we host a family dinner, I’d love to pull out this gorgeous four in a row wood game to engage in a bit of healthy competition. (Spoiler alert: I’ve always been awesome at Connect 4.) This wood game from Monkey Pod Games still requires strategy, just like the plastic version we all grew up playing. It’s still fast paced, and it still, I imagine, makes a satisfying “clink” when you stack one wooden disc atop another. Didn’t you just love that sound when you were a kid? The fact that this four...Read More
If you’re still puzzled (yes, I went there) over what to get some of the kids on your list, keep reading. Whether it is a small wooden puzzle for little hands to manipulate, or something larger and more complex that gets the entire family involved, a well-made puzzle is a great plaything that will never require batteries or a wi-fi connection. And if your kids prefer their play to be more open-ended, we’ve found four options with multiple solutions so that their finished product doesn’t have to look the same way twice. Nene Imagination’s Puzzles Without Borders: Penguins and Friends (shown at top)...Read More
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