I don’t know if there’s a more perfect gift for a baby than a great set of modern alphabet blocks. (Besides maybe a great alphabet poster.) They start as decor in the nursery, become a great toddler toy, and eventually you get to watch as your kid turns them into towers, cities, fortresses of all kinds. My grade-schoolers still play with a set they got as babies — I’d call that a great shower gift. Here, I’ve put together some of the coolest modern alphabet blocks. I especially love how each one is perfectly gender neutral. Modern indeed. ...Read More
Tag: wooden toys
Yeah, they’re too young for chocolate hearts. But if you’re the sentimental type like me, Valentine gifts for babies aren’t entirely out of the question. Here are some ridiculously cute ideas. Bonus: You won’t mind having these items around for a long time after February has come and gone. 1. Baby hat with tattooed heart Since it’ll be a while before he can scrawl an “I Love You” card of his own, let him wear his heart on his sleeve — or head — this Valentine’s Day with this super-cute, crocheted winter hat with a tattoo-style MOM on the...Read More
Just in case you didn’t know, it’s National Puzzle Day. And we like puzzles! So I’ve put together 8 of the most creative jigsaws, blocks, stackers, wooden, handmade, felt and letter puzzles for toddlers that are perfect for kids just starting to get that pattern recognition and small motor skill thing down. And they all have the added benefit of looking great on a shelf. Just don’t lose those pieces! This sweet and chunky 9-block animal puzzle encourages kids to build 6 different animals — and maybe create a few hybrids of their own. (Hape, $14.99) Is this...Read More
You know we are always on the lookout for fabulous resources to support our goals of easy, beautiful, and natural living, but our latest one-stop shop find, Willo Baby, impressed us beyond expectations. We are totally kvelling over their collection of affordable, original, and thoughtful indulgences for baby and mama. Willo Baby’s wonderful new online shop of eco-friendly family items is curated by an L.A.-based husband-and-wife team who clearly know what they are doing — and most importantly, what they like. The finds at Willo Baby include sweet baby bibs and swaddles in stunning prints and fabrics, clever mobiles and wall...Read More
A packable, portable mini kitchen play set for small spaces. Can you smell the Play-Doh burgers already?
If you’re looking for the “to go” version of a kitchen play set or one to suit a smaller space, we think you’ll love this adorable toy set that packs into itself for easy transport. Pull it out for all the pretend pancake flipping you can handle, then slide it right back under the bed. Yeah, I wish I could do that with my real stove. The Mini Stove Top Play Set available at the MoMA Store has beautiful, gender-neutral design and just enough details to make it fun without being twee. With a pot, a skillet, two utensils, and...Read More
Want to round up those toy horses and ponies scattered around the playroom and put them into a proper stable? Whether your kids own one of the coveted, gihugic American Girl Doll horses or something a bit smaller, we’ve rustled up a few options for all kinds of ponies. Including one you crafty parents can make yourself. It can be tough finding nice play stables, but we feel great about all 7 of these options. Breyer Wood Horse Stable I coveted a couple of my BFF’s horses from her huge Breyer collection several decades ago, and little collectors today...Read More
There are always so many of the coolest kids’ toys from small companies for us to discover each year and 2013 was no exception. In our Editors’ Best of 2013 series, we offer you our very favorites of the year, each of which was chosen for its originality, craftsmanship, great design, and low wear-out factor. They’re not all the toys you’ll find in the big stores, and that’s in part what we love about them. The Rainbow Loom As our editor Liz said on CNN this year, 2013 was the year of the Rainbow Loom! Girls...Read More
I remember one of the first times I was interviewed by a media outlet, and they surprised me with an off-topic question: What’s the best safe toy for a child? I paused, then stammered, “Uh…blocks.” Not my finest moment. But the truth is, I do love giving blocks to kids. They’re perfect for toddlers, they grow with their imaginations as they hit kindergarten, and now even my young grade-schoolers can spend hours creating fantasy lands, stories, and made-up games with them. I’ve been a long-time fan of Uncle Goose Blocks, which not only have some incredibly creative and educational...Read More
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. But do you know Reba? You should. She’s a great gift for the little person in your life who likes handmade wooden toys on wheels. Reba the Wooden Reindeer comes to you from Imagination Kids, a mom-and-pop Etsy shop that pays careful attention to child-safe materials, and sustainably harvested wood. She’s about 5.5 by 8 inches and painted in non-toxic paint, just in case she ends up on the business end of a gnawing baby. The only caveat? You need to order by December 9 (that’s tomorrow!) to ensure delivery by...Read More
It’s alive! And it’s adorable. And you don’t need any pesky lightning to bring it to life. In fact, all you need are a few eye stalks, some munchy teeth, and possibly some adorable chevrons and stripes, because of course monsters come in chevrons and stripes. It’s 2013, after all. If you love eco-conscious, kid-safe blocks as much as we do, you won’t want to miss this collection of adorable monster body parts that can be stuck together in creative ways. We’ve covered Mad Scientist Blocks before, but these Stack N Scare wooden blocks from My Sweet Muffin really take...Read More
Once you enter the land of American Girl, it’s not easy to come by real estate that can accommodate dolls of her stature. But we’ve found a doll house on the market that is just the right size for her and a couple of friends. And you won’t even need to take out a second mortgage to afford the closing costs. This isn’t your regular little ol’ doll house with itty-bitty rooms. Our Generation’s Wooden Dollhouse is three-and-a-half feet tall and over three feet wide. Think of it as the McMansion of doll houses, minus the four-car garage. I know more...Read More
I admit it: I am obsessed with wood toys, despite the fact that, cost-wise, I can get a gazillion plastic toys for one fab wooden toy. Wood is a little more mainstream now in the world of baby toys, but I find the prices haven’t decreased much. But CMP fave Skip Hop has been introducing affordable wood toys to the market…and I couldn’t be more enamored. The latest Skip Hop wood toys, the Giraffe Safari line, have totally captured my heart. For starters, I am crazy in love with the origami-esque Fold & Play Book and want it for myself. And the little Flip...Read More
On my now frequent visits to Manhattan, I’ve become smitten with many adorable kids’ boutiques that I’m unable to share with you (boo!) since they don’t yet have online stores. But that’s not the case with this lovely shop, which just launched a new online shop full of some of my favorite brands for kids (and some new-to-me discoveries). Amechan Bubbles Set Originally a Lower East Side dress shop founded by style maven Ashley Hanosh, Honey in the Rough now caters specifically to parents with well-curated high-end gifts and goodies for that special little one, plus cool stuff for...Read More
If you’re looking for a unique nursery decor idea, sometimes the best inspiration can be found right in your grandparents’ attic–if you’re lucky. I love the look of vintage toys framed as cool artwork for a baby’s room, or placed on bookshelves as striking accent pieces. But if you don’t have a relative who has saved every family heirloom for decades, then, hey, at least you have Etsy. Here are 16 favorite finds (from zillions) that would make for great baby and kids’ room decor staples. Happy decorating! Vintage Walkie Talkies; Vintage Toy Clock; Vintage Metal Airplane Toy; 1958 Vintage Toy Sewing...Read More
We’re always on the lookout for wonderful wooden, eco-friendly kids’ toys as an alternative to the plastic stuff that seems to be eating up the toy store aisles more and more each year. Etsy is always a great place to turn, and this wonderful new shop is doing some nifty things that aren’t your average wooden building toy. Cubiciti makes some super funky modular block sets in both natural unpolished maple, and gorgeous painted wood–all non-toxic, water-based paints, of course. The blocks have pegs that fit into on a small plastic base, allowing your kids to configure the cars...Read More
Want to blow away everyone at the baby shower and give the parents a handmade keepsake as unique as their baby will be? We’ve never seen a rattle like this before. The Custom Cameo Wooden Baby Rattle from Uncommon Goods is handmade by artisans in New York based on profile images provided by the parents. You order it, and they send you a beautifully engraved wooden block that comes with instructions and a prepaid shipping envelope. Mail the block to the artists and supply them with silhouettes. In four to six weeks, the new parents will receive a beautifully...Read More
We have always had a fondness for wooden toys for babies. There’s something so satisfying about them in every way, and they really hold up as heirlooms years later–I’ve got my own from 8 years ago that still look amazing on a shelf, and I couldn’t say that about anything plastic. These handmade wooden cars are so adorable, especially at just $14. I’d get both the triangle and the half circle, which together makes for an awesome little first birthday gift. They’re made from 20 kinds of wood and the finish is a natural linseed oil, so no worries about curious...Read More
If you love the idea of toys that represent kids of all sorts, we think you’ll dig the way one of our favorite indie companies is Kickstarting some even more fun mix-and-match block sets. And the higher-level rewards might just blow you away. Our pals at Olliblocks/Mixmates have a Kickstarter going through August 3 that takes the next step in evolution: instead of just buying a PDF and making the blocks yourself, you can grab some extra special, artisan-made sets of beautiful blocks. (Edited to add: Olliblocks are now available for sale at the Caravan Shoppe Site) We loved these blocks...Read More
Though we are still waiting to hear if the royal baby is a he or a she, we can’t help but help fuel the rumors that it will be a little princess that makes her royal appearance any day now. And because we know in this day and age that princesses are about more than tiaras and ballgowns, we offer up a few baby gift ideas for strong princesses–and knowing Will and Kate and their own amazing parents, we imagine she’d be nothing less. Strong Princess Posters A princess who can save herself while riding her own steed? That’s...Read More
Every so often, it’s fun to see how the rich and famous live, especially those with kids. Should you have a spare 10, 20, or 50k lying around, check out these unbelievable kids playhouses. Or hey, if you buy one yourself? Invite us over! Related: 7 cool playroom ideas for kids that let you reclaim your living room Attention Tolkien fans: this Hobbit playhouse (above) is mindblowing, and built right into the landscape. Just get your kids some big feet. (Wildflower Turf) A Mondrian playhouse is awesome for fans of mid-century modern. Like me. (Barnes Vanzes Architects) Little astronauts would love...Read More
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