Tag: recycled toys

19 cool Rey Star Wars toys and gifts: She might not be in Monopoly, but she sure is here. | Spawned episode 28

We’ve been super frustrated with the lack of Star Wars toys for kids featuring Rey. Not just because she’s a woman, and all of our kids — male and female — love her, but uh…she’s the hero. How the heck do you make a Star Wars Monopoly set or a Star Wars 6-piece Action Figure set “with all your favorite characters” but not the main character of the entire movie? above LEGO Force Awakens Rey and BB-8 art photograph | Holtzman Customs Even JJ Abrams doesn’t get it. We discussed the issue on this week’s Spawned Show: Where is Rey? — especially Mike...

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4 fun paper jewelry kits for kids that make great holiday gifts

Paper jewelry kits are a pretty awesome gift, giving your crafty kids something wonderful they can make and wear — even when you’re sure you want one more little bead, button, or plastic charm strewn about your house. I adore paper jewelry kits as much as my kids because they are fun and can turn out some pretty cool-looking pieces. Plus, they can go right in the recycling bin once my kids have moved on to something else, unlike the cheap jewelry that they covet by the counters of clothing stores. So for a great jewelry-making gift that uses paper as its medium of choice, I’ve got four fun...

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14 of our favorite small shops and online children’s boutiques to help you #shopsmall for the holidays.

Since the first November it launched several years ago, even long before we teamed up with partner American Express who is now sponsoring and championing the campaign, we’ve been staunch advocates for Small Business Saturday. And we’re still thrilled to mark on our calendars each year. In fact, supporting small businesses is the whole reason we started Cool Mom Picks in the first place. So this is very dear to our hearts. While it would be impossible to share every small business we adore (i.e. visit our archives in every single category since the beginning of our site),with the help of our editors, we’ve somehow managed to narrowed...

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YOXO: Affordable gifts that build imagination. Oh, and maybe a pegasus.

With holidays coming up, we’re seeing a lot more interest in building toys and maker toys, a trend we’ve loved since, well, before it was a trend. And earlier this year at Toy Fair, when I saw the new 5-in-1 pegasus kit from YOXO I thought whoa, that’s going to be one awesome gift for the holidays. Now that it’s finally available, I’m so excited to share it because it’s one heck of a building kit. First off, everything is US-made from recycled wood pulp. This gives the Y, X and O (get it, YOXO?) pieces kind of a cardboard feel, but...

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An artist transforms Bratz dolls into real female role models and the results are amazing.

When we first discovered Tree Change dolls, our readers went wild and with good reason — mom Sonja Singh is taking one of the most polarizing children’s toys (Bratz) and refashioning them into some of the most beloved children’s toys (wholesome little girl dolls). So now we’re so excited to see that artist Wendy Tsao has found inspiration in Sonja’s own work, and credited her as the impetus for her Mighty Dolls project, an art project in which she upcycles the same Bratz dolls, turning them into a powerful and diverse collection of female role models. Take a look at her site and you’ll recognize author JK Rowling, Nobel...

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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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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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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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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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Lille Huset: The diy dollhouse kits we wish we had as kids.

We adored Lille Huset’s eco-friendly, laminated, recycled paperboard DIY dollhouses the moment we discovered them at Toy Fair  earlier this year. Founder Alyson Beaton’s mission is so wonderful: to encourage kids to build and customize their homes, not just play with preexisting ones. Besides, they’re beautiful. So we are thrilled that we are now carrying the US-made Lille Huset kits at the Cool Mom Picks indie shop, along with other wonderful handmade and indie items from makers around the world. Update: Regretfully, the great.ly shop is no longer in operation. We hope you’ll find other cool stuff you love throughout our site. Lille Huset’s houses come flat-packed so that you...

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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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Easy chalkboard paint DIY projects you can do this spring. Then erase, and do again.

Chalkboard paint is a big trend that we’re seeing everywhere lately. We love that it help you customize all kinds of things with a fun vintage flair. So I’ve been searching for the coolest easy chalkboard paint craft projects that I can DIY with my kids and came across some pretty great ones you could tackle this spring. Stock up on some chalk. You’re going to need it! Buntings fun for parties, and Delia Creates has this brilliant DIY tutorial for a chalkboard fabric bunting (at top) that can be reused for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Flag Day, or . ....

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Earth Day pick: Green Toys to help keep our oceans clean

I often talk to the kids about why it’s so important to keep our neighborhood and parks clean by recycling or picking up trash we find on the sidewalk. And this Earth Day, I love that Cool Mom Picks favorite Green Toys is reminding us how important it is to take care of our oceans and waterways too. Green Toys’ Safe Seas Sets, created in conjunction with the non-profit organization Sustainable Surf, pairs a fun biplane toy or submarine toy with the paperback All the Way to the Ocean which will get kids thinking about how little actions–like tossing a gum wrapper...

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The biggest, fuzziest balls we’ve ever seen

Writing about big, fuzzy balls makes me think of that Schweddy Balls sketch on Saturday Night Live. Except these balls aren’t salty and nutty and made by Alec Baldwin. No, they’re gorgeous and made of recycled sweaters or fleece and soft as the dickens. I especially love the giant fleece Zoo ball designed to match Alexander Henry’s popular 2D Zoo fabric– which I had in one of my nurseries, actually. At a bouncy 18″ in diameter, this ball is a striking addition to a room and a wonderful, long-lasting lovey that will take you from infanthood to preschool lounging. ...

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The multi reasons I love the Multi-box

I’ve been to enough birthday parties to have witnessed that infamous phenomenon by which the giftee ignores all the fancy toys and plays with a box instead. And while I wouldn’t recommend you wrap up a plain box, I think the recipient of Green Lullaby’s clever Multi-boxes will think you are a brilliant gift-giver for many reasons. The three corrugated cardboard boxes are made from 60% recycled content and adorably designed to look like oversized alphabet blocks. The modern shades on each facade will go with any color scheme, even those nurseries that ooze minimalist cool. And they each feature...

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MYO Princess Story

So my girls have grown to like princesses just as everyone promised me they would. It’s their genetic imperative and I am powerless to resist it. Uncle, uncle! I give in! Even so, I’m always looking out for imagination-building princess toys that don’t come ready made with a backstory involving a prince with the personality of a dishrag and a jealous mother-in-law who wants to have you murdered because you’re beautiful. That’s why the Storybuilding Playsets from Sprig Toys are such a treat. 62 printed cardboard panels, plus story blocks and character blocks featuring coaches and valiant knights can...

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Dolls for boys? Heck yeah.

Mixed in with all the stuffed animals and toy trucks, my son also had a doll that he loved to play with. His name was Alex. After all, it’s just as important for boys to learn to be loving and nurturing. While it was cool that I was able to find a decent boy doll back then, I have to say that the Custom Paxton boy dolls, by warm sugar are way cooler. Every single doll is made to order so you can customize your kid’s new “buddy.” Choose skin tone, hair and eye colors, and even what color...

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Cool felt play food – CMP does etsy

When I was young, I loved playing house. Tea parties and market shopping were two of my favorite things. I had no idea I was practicing chores I would have to do the rest of my life. Aaaaanyway, felt food is always such a fantastic children’s toy, and the handmade play food sets we’ve featured here are just adorable. So realistic and beautifully made. The pancakes (above) made by BugNikDesigns look good enough to eat. She makes versions with strawberries or blueberries or two sunny side up eggs you can plop right on top. I love this felt play...

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Pat the reclaimed wool bunny

Okay, reclaimed wool bunny with your little fair aisle ears, you are super cute. You and your little frog friend, and that’s all I have to say about that. I wish you weren’t quite so expensive, but (sigh) I do understand that you’re fairly big and very soft and completely hand-crafted in Toronto by the mom and pop team of Cate & Levi. And I do understand that you’re totally one of a kind, more like art than some mere doll. And I understand that you make a perfect gift for fancy grandmas, or super cool aunties with lots...

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Fabric scraps never had it so good

Designer Cath Young says her label Chunky Chooky is dedicated to “cool things for small people,” but I’d argue you don’t have to be particularly small to relish her adorable softies–creatures, rattles, and so-called wabbits fashioned from vintage and cast-off fabric scraps. Each one is cuter than the last, and they’re all surprisingly affordable for hand-made, one-of-a-kind creations. If all of that (and the floppy carrots each of her wabbits carry–those slay me) isn’t enough to win you over, consider this: In addition to making these guys from recycled and organic materials, Young is also active with Kiva.org to...

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