Tag: outdoor toys

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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10 of the most fun, most creative pool games for kids to play this summer beyond Marco Polo

If your aim is to get the kids to spend as much time in the pool as possible before summer ends, we’ve got you covered with 10 of the coolest, most creative pool games for toddlers to teens. Not only are these ideas a whole lot of fun, but they also help kids become more comfortable and confident in the water, something that’s so important to us, since we want those little tadpoles of ours to be safe when they’re playing in the pool. Especially when they are swimming with a bunch of their giggling, shouting, jumping friends. Related: Pool safety: 11 top tips for keeping kids safe this...

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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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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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Handmade kid-sized hammocks that rock. In both senses.

When my kids try climbing onto the huge woven rope hammock in their grandparents’  back yard, it inevitably flips over and leaves them dangling inches above the ground, hanging on underneath for dear life. It’s so hilarious. I mean…awful. Right, it’s awful. Either way, it’s not nearly as relaxing in awesome kid-sized hammocks from Sluice. This Etsy shop-turned-small-business out of North Carolina (where they know a thing or two about getting outdoors and enjoying nature) creates handmade hammocks that hold up to 400 pounds. Just in case the whole family wants to enjoy an al fresco nap together. But what I like is the Hammie, a kid-sized hammock, which makes it easier...

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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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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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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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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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Bunzi: A first balance bike for toddlers that doesn’t break your budget

If it’s not yet clear from the pages of Cool Mom Picks, the holiday season is upon us. And for a lot of us, that means time to come up with a standout holiday gift for the little guys and gals on our shopping list will be a hit without breaking the bank. You may know we’re big fans of balance bikes here, from the Y-Bike that grows with your child, to Christina’s top pick, the Micro-Mini 3-in-1 scooter which transforms from balance bike into a mini-scooters to grow with your child. Now there’s one tailor-made for the youngest biking enthusiasts, and get this: this awesome first balance...

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The best gifts for a 4 year old? Tons of fantastic ideas.

Buying a special gift for a four-year-old is so much fun since this is the age that kids really start to show their preferences and interests. Plus, they aren’t sticking every little piece into their mouths (phew) and can play independently for a lot more time than their younger selves. So if you’re looking for the best gifts for a four year old in your life, skip the stuffed animals. This BTDT mom has a lot of cool ideas for you that are extra special. Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 4-year-olds: The ultimate birthday party gift guide   OUTDOOR TOY...

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The coolest scooter ever, coming to a sidewalk near you

Those iconic handmade wooden crate and roller-skate-bottom scooters from the Great Depression have been retooled and re-imagined to form the fierce-looking Skate Crate, hopefully coming soon to a sidewalk near you. At least if you ask our kids. Currently about halfway through its Kickstarter campaign, the Skate Crate combines the scrappy ingenuity of a previous era with 2014 technology and craftsmanship to make a sturdy ride-on toy for both little and big kids. Created by Blockhead Skateboards’ founder Dave Bergthold, it shows off some serious style with cool artwork, gorgeous wood construction, and smooth-rolling wheels that will get kids flying down the pavement.   I...

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Scooter Safety for Kids: 7 smart tips for a safe scoot to school and back again

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean kids will be hanging up their scooters anytime soon. In some neighborhoods, we’re even scooting to school and hopefully safely. Our partner Micro Kickboard (we love them so much!) is a brand we all have trusted and loved and owned for years, which is why we are thrilled to work with them again. (And apologies to our kids, but no, this doesn’t mean “we can get another one.”) Micro Kickboard also knows a thing or two about scooter safety for kids, because they really care about them. Hey, a lot of them are parents...

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What are the best gifts for a two year old? We’ve got tons!

Choosing the best gift for a two year old from among ride-on vehicles, construction toys, dolls and more can seem overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed it down to some favorites that our own boys and girls have loved. Because that first birthday party may get more hoopla, but we know the second is where you get to buy the really fun gifts for a toddler who is just getting ready to, well, toddle everywhere. And, possibly, remember your gift in the first place.   RIDE-ON TOYS FOR TWO YEAR OLDS   You probably don’t have to worry about a two-year-old getting enough exercise, but the challenge is to...

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Our favorite safe, cool bike helmets for kids. Whether or not they’re future Tour de France riders

It can be a struggle to get kids to remember to wear their helmets, but when their bike safety gear looks as good as these cool  bike helmets for kids–they’re much more likely to use one. So since it’s July, and in our house the Tour de France is on TV every morning (meaning between stages, my own little cyclists are out on the driveway doing their own time trials) we’ve put together our favorite bike helmets for your kids. Because I’ve seen the falls in the race, and I want to be sure my kids are really safe when they’re out on our street...

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5 of the newest, coolest kid-powered ride-on toys. No batteries, no motors.

With ride-on toys like the Skoooch, the CycoCycle, and the Explorer Go-Kart in our garage, our own driveway is often the most fun place to be in the summer. And if you’re looking for something totally different to get your kids out and riding this summer, here are some of the newest, and coolest, ride-on toys I’ve seen lately. The cool styling of the Mobo Tot cruiser gets a Disney Planes makeover (shown at top), and I happen to love the result. With its modern color combination, Mobo’s kid-powered vehicle looks ready for some serious summer cruising. And I appreciate the safety flag that will...

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5 fun new beach toys for kids that beat regular shovels and pails

Tis the season for playing in the sand (yay for summer!) so we’ve rounded up some of the most fun and coolest-looking new beach toys for kids. If you’ve got a seaside trip planned,we hope these help you amp up the standard buckets and shovels. Because it’s good to keep them busy when they aren’t dodging waves or asking if they can bury you up to your neck in the sand.   SAND MOLDS FROM EDUCO Why build a regular ol’ sand castle when you could create the seaside Taj Mahal or Parthenon? I love Educo’s sand molds that come in famous shapes including the Great Wall...

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Stick-lets help build forts. And imaginations. We happen to like both.

My kids love to build clubhouses and can turn anything into a fort—our playground, the shady spot under the deck, you name it. So with summer here, I was pretty excited discover Stick-lets, a new toy that lets them do that very thing. Stick-lets are thick pieces of silicone with holes cut out, so you can slide them over the end of two sticks and build a structure with them. They call them “silicone lashings” but that sounds like something out of Game of Thrones, to us. They stretch pretty well (although it takes some strength to pull the heavy-duty silicone),...

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Tree + Me

We missed the boat on a big fancy modern swing set for my kids–maybe because we live in the city and don’t have a yard? Yeah, that could have a little to do with it. But their Grandma and Papa put up a handmade swing for them which made me realize that once again, the basics can make kids perfectly happy. Especially when it’s one that will last–maybe until the next generation? That’s why I got all “awwwww” when I saw the gorgeously handcrafted old fashioned wooden tree swing from Minnesota’s The Original Tree Swing on Etsy. Pricy? Yeah. But built (from...

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The new G-Bike balance bike: For kids who can’t wait for their own wheels

We love balance bikes here at Cool Mom Picks because they do such a great job of teaching young kids how to get around safely on two wheels. I was sold on them after learning the hard way how challenging it is to wean a fearful child off of training wheels (oy, my back) and now I’m particularly smitten with the new line of G-Bike balance bikes made by my kids’ favorite scooter maker, Micro Kickboard.   Micro Kickboard’s brightly colored, toddler-friendly G-Bike balance bike is created for kids as young as two who are eager to hit the open road–or more realistically, the driveway and sidewalk.  I dig the look...

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