Tag: kids’ toys

A rainbow of handmade sorting games bringing beautiful, old-school play to kids

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...

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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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Building a better bear with Bears for Humanity

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...

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A LEGO Hogwarts that’s not to be believed.

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...

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6 wooden blocks crafts to make those old toddler toys new and fun again

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.  ...

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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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Tree Change Dolls: Turning trash (i.e. Bratz Dolls) into treasure.

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...

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Custom dolls from your kids’ drawings. Now that’s a keepsake.

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...

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LEGO goes to the birds

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...

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The top Cool Mom Picks posts of 2014

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...

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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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Connect Four, only in wood. And gorgeous.

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...

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Four of the best multiple-solution puzzles for kids. Because there’s no one right way to play.

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)...

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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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A gift for kids who believe fairies are real. Aren’t they?

I may not allow Elf on a Shelf in my house, and Peter Pan is definitely not welcome to fly through my kids’ bedroom window, but having some magical fairy visitors would be just fine. Especially if it means my kids go eagerly to bed in the hopes that one will stop by while they are sleeping. The Dreamland Fairy Kit is just the kind of place a fairy may want to visit and would make an awesome fairy gift for kids who believe that fairies are real. Developed by moms Cassie Slane and Ami Van Dine after their six-year-old daughters proposed the...

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15 of the most gorgeous printable holiday crafts for kids and families. Better get those printers warmed up!

Each year, I love rounding up the best printable holiday crafts that so many amazing designers, artists, and all-around crafty people develop so that people like me can create beautiful things with our kids. In fact, they make it so easy for me to print out not only holiday paper crafts, but also beautiful gift tags and vibrant wrapping paper, I never have to make a night-before-Christmas run for those things anymore. (If only I could print tape.) So I’ve put together 15 of my favorite printable holiday crafts to do with the kids this season. And with three kids, you...

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Venice Beach-worthy skateboards for your little shredder

On a recent trip to Venice Beach, I wandered through skate shops and hung out at the skatepark. What can I say — I’m still a skatebetty at heart, even at my age. But unlike the old days when bumper stickers proclaimed Skateboarding is not a crime!, skateboarding has gone mainstream, which makes a skateboard a pretty rad holiday gift for just about any kid. Here are two cool models I got a chance to check out, and why I think each one could be a cool gift this year. First there’s Sunset Skateboards, which was started by two California skaters who’d been...

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8 fun Hanukkah gift ideas for kids, one for every night. Shopping done!

Compared to last year (holy Thanksgivukkah!), it may seem like we have tons of time to prep for Hanukkah, but I have a feeling that the time will fly. Quickly. Before we know it, we’ll be on the hook for eight crazy nights of festivities and, probably Hanukkah gifts for your kids, too. Of course, all of the toys and gifts in this year’s Cool Mom Picks gift guide make great options, especially our ideas for Baby’s First Hanukkah if you have a new baby or toddler. But for older kids, I’ve tracked down these great Hanukkah gifts for kids...

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Well Lottie da, the newest Lottie doll is a boy

We’re big fans of the Lottie doll line here at Cool Mom Picks. She looks like a real kid, has cool adventures, and encourages girls to be themselves, whether they dream of being pirates, soccer pros, or lighthouse keepers. So you can imagine our excitement when we learned about her new pal Finn, the first boy doll in the line. Lottie boy doll Finn is all set to join Branksea Festival Lottie dressed in a Kite Festival outfit, or dress him up in a Gone Fishing outfit for next year’s Shark Week. What’s refreshing to me as a mom is that Finn comes with no guns,...

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6 reasons why Micro Kickboard could be the best first scooter for your kids

Like many of you parents, I wanted to purchase the best first scooter for my little kids when they were old enough, but was overwhelmed by all the choices in the stores. But after reading a review of the Micro Kickboard Mini Micro scooter by our associate editor Christina ages ago, I purchased them for my own kids back in 2010. They even still have the pink and orange scooters I bought after they had outgrown the trikes and toddler bikes that kept them limited to our driveway. The second they hopped on these scooters, I was amazed at how quickly they could ride....

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