Tag: wooden blocks

Fisher-Price hires Jonathan Adler, and wait until you see what’s coming for babies and toddlers

This post has been updated with corrections. Fisher-Price is of course the brand behind many of our favorite childhood toys like that now iconic telephone and the little gumball machine looking push-toy. So their big announcement this week that Jonathan Adler — yes, that Jonathan Adler — has signed on as their new creative director in charge of baby and children’s items is huge news for those of us fans of his modern, clever design work. And those of us fans of modern, clever children’s gifts and gear that won’t break the bank. It’s not a totally shocking move for him considering he’s got...

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Beating boredom with cool wooden toys inspiring art, design, engineering and imagination.

Walking the toy aisles of most big discount stores can make any parent feel dizzy, to use a polite word. Where are all the cool wooden toys? Where are the toys that inspire imagination? Why does it seem like every toy made for kids these days is some beeping, flashing, plastic monstrosity that isn’t built to hold a kid’s interest through the year? Well, not all…but lots of them. So I’m always reassured when I find smaller toymakers doing really special things. Like my latest discovery, the innovative company Once Kids, which makes cool wooden toys that help our children get in touch with their inner artist, designer, or engineer. And...

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Creative toys for an 8 year old — no beeps, boops or batteries

My daughter loves her screen time, that’s for sure, but lately I have been keenly aware of the other creative toys that she, as an 8 year old, really gravitates to, without any prompting from me. Or really, the toys that I realize I’m always telling her to put away, 16 times in a row before she listens. So maybe I’ll stop asking her to clean them up. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who secretly — or not-so-secretly — loves that quiet time when I’m reading or working, and the kids are next to me playing quietly, without...

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Oh boy, Oh! Toys: The cool kids’ gifts you just can’t find anywhere else

Since Cool Mom Picks started a decade ago, we’ve made it our mission to find small, independent stores that sell unique, eco-friendly, hard-to-find toys for your kids so that all you have to do is scroll and shop. My newest favorite, Oh! Toys, goes to great lengths (or maybe I should say great distances) to find beautifully made toys that encourage open-ended play. Just think of the airfare they’ve saved you! Here are just a few of the really special, creative gifts there that you simply aren’t going to find at your local mall or big toy store chain. Related: The ultimate birthday fift guide: Coolest gifts for...

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The 22 best kids’ toys of the year (and other playful gifts) : Editors’ Best of 2015

When you think back to the best toys of the year (and other playful gifts for kids) you probably think about tech, tablets, and things that require cords and batteries. And yet there’s so much more, from wonderful board games, to handmade dolls, to decidedly unplugged toy that inspire tons of creative play and imagination. While we’ve got all the cool tech toys covered for you over at Cool Mom Tech, here are 22 of our favorite new toys of 2015 that captured our — and our children’s — attention. Most are from small brands that really value all the attention they get, but...

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7 unique nativity sets for families with young kids. So basically, not glass.

Now that it’s officially December, I will soon unpack and set up my childhood nativity set, even if our holidays are largely secular nowadays. However after three kids who turned my nativity into a sort of dollhouse toy each year, it’s time for me to consider something new. Which is why I have been looking around the web for a beautiful and unique nativity set for families that won’t be easily destroyed, should the kids get a little handsy with the Wise Men. In other words, no $800 porcelain figurines painted with 14k gold leaf. So I came up with seven nativity sets I really...

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14 of the best educational toys for kids of every age: 2015 Holiday Toy Gift Guide

If you could use a little help picking out toys for the kids on your list this holiday, we’re about to make things a lot easier for you with a mini holiday toy gift guide, starting with the best educational toys for kids. This is the first in a three-part series dedicated to great toy gifts for kids, brought to you by the amazing folks at Fat Brain Toys. If you’re a long time reader of our site, you know how thrilled we are about this, because we’ve been recommending the carefully curated collection of toys from this family-owned business for years...

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Tegu blocks, now customizable. And adorable. And possibly covered in pink dinosaurs.

Since their launch, we’ve been huge fans of Tegu, makers of the smart, high quality, sustainable wood and magnetic block sets that have just blown up over the years. While their collection of choices has gotten bigger, now Tegu has a wonderful new offering that’s going in the other direction. The adorably creative  Tegu MyBLOCKHEAD wooden block sets are little customizable block sets that let you add a whole lot of personality to an existing set of their blocks, or just create a fun little toy for a kid all on its own. Whether your child is a soccer star, likes everything to be pink, pink, pink, really digs Nyan...

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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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Handmade baby gifts with an Australian accent. (But no, they don’t talk.)

It’s not often I discover a new Etsy shop and automatically think okay, every single thing in there is adorable. But that’s the case with Babee and Me, which I can forgive for being based in Byron Bay, Australia, considering what beautiful work is coming out of the shop. From soft handmade baby toys, to funky teething rattles (oh, those cameras!), and tons of gorgeous personalized wooden blocks in all kinds of styles, everything just has a wonderful sensibility about it with terrific typography, and modern color combination. I like that the selection also includes lots of black and white gifts,...

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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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8 of the coolest Year of the Sheep baby gifts for your little lamb

I’ve always loved the Chinese Zodiac and not just because I’m a Chinese American. I am fascinated by the history of the signs and their meanings. So with the Chinese New Year just a couple of days away, we thought it would be fun to round-up cool Year of the Sheep baby gifts. If you happen to be expecting a little baby lamb (we’ll go with the lamb instead of the ram) in 2015 or know someone who is, here are some wonderful Year of the Sheep baby gifts to help celebrate. Kung Hei Fat Choi!   The beautiful knit dolls from BlaBla Kids have...

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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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How fun are these number blocks? Let us count the ways…

With so many amazing modern building blocks out there, it’s not hard to find a set that I’d love to give to my kids. But I’ve just discovered SumBlox, the most incredibly original set of durable beech wood blocks that mixes math learning and block play together in such an interesting way, I think they’d be just as valuable in our kids’ classrooms as in their playrooms. Related: 6 cool sets of wooden blocks for older kids that are anything but square What makes the cool-looking SumBlox number blocks so unique is that each block has its value represented by its height so that kids can...

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Talk Like a Pirate Day: Avast, me hearties, it’s time for the cutest pirate treasures for kids!

Ahoy mateys, it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, one of our favorite should-be-a-real-holiday days of the year. And though my “pirate speak” is a little rusty, my ability to find some of the cutest and coolest pirate-related treasures is right on the mark. So keep reading for six of the best pirate-related gifts for the little landlubbers and scallywags in your crew. Hopewell Creek Designs’ 9-piece felt pirate set (at top) has everything to get your buccaneers started: a handy treasure map, a compass, gold doubloons, a bottle of Pirate Rum, and the Jolly Roger flag to fly proudly on the mast...

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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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Tinyme custom letter blocks have your name written all over them

We have featured piles of cool wooden alphabet blocks for kids over the years, from modern design blocks to steampunk science blocks, to Storyblox‘s “build-your-own” wooden blocks. And now there’s a cool set of custom name blocks on the, er, block, that’s perfect for a baby shower gift or child’s birthday gift. Australia’s Tinyme, whose puzzles, labels, and fun printables have been CMP favorites for a while, has put their creative stamp on custom name blocks. In order to get these beauties into our hands (which they will), they’ve got a Kickstarter campaign in the works to raise production dollars. And...

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Tegu’s new 130-piece magnetic block building set lets kids build to infinity and beyond.

We have played with Tegu and drank the KoolAid. From their mind-bending explorer sets to mobile toy kits, they simply rock the block. Our favorite eco-friendly block-makers have just rolled out a super tricked out magnetic block building set for the master builders out there, and we want it (for our kids) bad. This 130-piece classroom set is the ultimate for kids who want to get serious about their Tegu construction. We can only imagine what creations could come of out this totally souped-up box. If you are looking to kick up the playroom, add to your home school set-up, or...

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Smart toys for girls that defy the pink aisle. In other words, no princesses, ballerinas or “fashionistas,” whatever career that is.

This week at Toy Fair, I must say a progressive mama like me had a much harder time than expected scoping out smart toys for girls that defy the pink aisle. In other words, the girl dolls and figures were wearing something beyond princess garb or sparkly pink lace tulle. To be clear, I have no problem at all with ballerinas or fashion design kits or or traditional little baby dolls swathed in pink gingham–we feature plenty of them here But I have always wanted my daughters (and all the boys out there too!) to have choices. And if...

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