Tag: wooden toys

Baby books for busy beavers

Those board books start out so cute and shiny, don’t they? And then Baby Bookivore gets very interested in gnawing the corners, splitting the pages, and seeing what a slice of banana will look like sandwiched between B is for Broccoli and C is for Carrot. But now you can invest in an adorable book that even the earliest teether can’t destroy. This adorable wooden baby book of Garden Vegetables by just hatched on Etsy is guaranteed to entertain and last… unless you raise termites and beavers. The pages are solid oak, wood-burned by hand and burnished with beeswax...

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Three cheers for the Handmade Toy Alliance!

We’ve been fans of the Handmade Toy Alliance since this organization formed in 2008 in response to Congress’s [expletive deleted] Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act. This ill-conceived (and ironically named) law is the impetus for launching our Save Handmade campaign, which we still try to keep updated as often as we can. This week, we’re honored to be joining other bloggers and editors to let you know about some of our favorite HTA members. When we support them, it doesn’t just help a small business owner, it helps to insure that our kids–and their kids–grow up with have access...

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A crib mobile that doesn’t eat its weight in batteries

I’m all for low-tech crib mobiles, because who wants to get their newborn hooked on all that music and blinking lights at bedtime? I’m more about getting them used to something mellow and manual, as with Plan Toys’ new Rattle Crib Mobile. Despite the name, the Rattle Mobile doesn’t really make noise–it gets its name from the three removable handheld rattle-and-grasping toys that your baby can play with when the mobile isn’t in use–nice bonus. When attached to the side of a crib though, the three toys gently sway above or spin if you give the mobile a little...

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Pegs are not just for legs

If bobblehead dolls have taught us anything, it’s that adults can now play with toys in public. Hence my complete lack of shame in adoring the simple yet amazing hand-painted peg dolls from mooshoopork on Etsy. Especially the sassy pirates. And girl pirates too! Sure, your kids would love to have a charming trio of ninjas or rainbow girls. But I suspect the mother-daughter peg dolls, the Victorian couple, and the nesting circus clowns are subtly aimed at grown-ups who never got over the cuteness of tiny things. Sure, they’re all hand-painted and varnished with water-based, non-toxic materials and...

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Tegu blocks build way more than imaginations

You know, you think a block is a block is a block. Then something like Tegu comes around and suddenly those regular blocks your kids play with just seem you know…like regular blocks. If you haven’t heard of Tegu, they’re the eco-friendly, Honduran-made building blocks with magnets inside. Which means your kids can be creative as they want to be, unhindered by either boring gravity or 90-degree angles. The blonde hardwood cubes and planks themselves are simple and beautifully smooth and the appeal is remarkable–my three year-old is as captivated as a seven year-old friend. They’re not cheap–prices are...

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Breakfast in bed, minus the crumbs

In theory, I love getting breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, but nothing sends my nerves into overdrive like seeing a toddler wobble into my carpeted bedroom with a tray full of orange juice, sticky syrup and things with crumbs. Instead, I think I’ll leave the carrying of messy stuff in the hands of my capable Significant Other, but love that the littlest ones can still get in the act with Plan Toys’ Breakfast Menu play set.  The adorable tray of food comes complete with eggs, bacon, and even salt-and-pepper shakers. And if your toddler bellies up to “eat”...

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Car games. Remember those?

Long ago when my parents would drag us on a 10 hour family road trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, my brother and I would occupy ourselves with all sorts of fun travel-friendly activities, none of which included a DVD player. Imagine that! While I definitely pack our player whenever we attempt a long road trip, I’m all for finding alternative ways of in-car entertainment other than the shiny bright screen. Take this adorable handmade car bingo game from pi’lo. The owner, a Toronto-based artist, originally created this game for a magazine shoot and is now actually making it...

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Save the Planimals in honor of Earth Day

My kids are pretty sensitive souls, but trying to explain to them the plight of the arctic fox is a little less real to them than the plight of the Massachusetts spider they are carefully rescuing from the bathtub. But now Plan Toys’ new Planimal Series of endangered animals will help bring home exactly which animals might not be around if people don’t give them a hand too. Smartly grouped into four different playsets representing different parts of the world, the Planimals endangered animal toys are fashioned out of natural rubberwood. While lacking some of the details you’d find...

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A basket of Easter gift ideas all under $15

Easter is coming up fast, landing on April 4th this year, meaning there may be quite a few collective gasps when the calendar is flipped to the next month. I know you may not have the time to leisurely shop for the perfect Easter basket items, so I’ve done a little hopping around to some of my favorite shops for you.   KangarooBoo has loads of neat Easter basket treats for little ones like the too-cute Skip Hop Funky Farm See Me Bunny Mirror and the wooden Threading Animal Rabbit by Estia (at top). If you are a game-loving...

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Smite those locusts!

Passover isn’t exactly the giftiest of holidays, although if you were invited to join us in devouring my mother’s matzoh ball soup, you’d think that was gift enough. Still, I’m intrigued with this adorable little 10 Plagues Bowling Set which comes in its own little drawstring bag. It could be a fun reward for finding the Afikoman, or simply an engaging way to help bring the Passover story’s big climax to life at the table, and keep the kids distracted if your Seders are on the long side. I’d imagine little kids (reco is 3+) will enjoy smiting those...

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The best nest for your toy chest

I spent so long reading the instructions on a card game yesterday that I finally gave up and took my kids to the playground, where they invented a game that involved dumping sand on each others’ heads. This morning’s bath was grittier than Paula Deen, but I was reminded that sometimes the best toys don’t need an instruction manual. Our friends at Natural Pod have a sweet new toy for spring that runs on pure imagination and would be perfect in an Easter basket. It’s called simply: Birds Nest. A cute little bird’s nest of reclaimed wood holds three...

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Another hour of daylight? Tell them to MOOV it.

I really hate losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings Time, but I’m also thrilled beyond belief that the season of Throwing the Children Outside to Play is nigh. And I’m pretty sure they will stay out even longer if they have something as cool as MOOV to keep them occupied. MOOV had me all a-flutter when I saw their booth this past February at Toy Fair. Kind of like a giant Erector Set of wood and rubber, MOOV goes from a pile of pieces into super cool-looking kid-sized toys like the coasting bike in the Starter Kit...

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Eco-friendly play gym? Reader Q&A

I am in the market for a cool, eco-friendly baby play gym for my 5-month-old boy. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I am willing to spend around $100. Thanks much.   -Jennifer C. Finding what we would call a cool play gym takes a little searching—most of them are loud, battery-hogging plastic monstrosities—but we think you and your babe will like some of these options which are all close to, or well under, your budget. First, we like this simple, eco-friendly play gym from Cariboo which blends in nicely with any decor. It’s shown here in...

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Blockhead! And I mean that totally in the best possible way

I’m not very good at math, so I can’t tell you precisely how many different forms and figures your child can create out of 25 wooden blocks, but I’m going to say it’s approximately a gazillionthousand. The ShapeMaker wooden block set by Miller Goodman is made of eco-friendly rubber wood and hand-printed with vibrant, non-toxic ink. So it’s no surprise that this cooler-than-your-average-blocks set is not just delighting kids, but style gurus as well. It was given a gold Practical Pre-School award in 2009 (whatever that means), and just a few weeks ago was named one of the top...

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Goodbye Quiet Hours Toys, hello 40% discount

It breaks our heart when our favorite shops go out of business, for whatever reason, as with Quiet Hours Toys which is shutting its doors this spring. We’ve featured them so often over the years, always a fan of this mom-run shop’s exquisite taste in children’s toys, and commitment to supporting natural, handcrafted, and fair trade playthings of beauty. But the silver lining to the closing is amazing discounts on everything in the shop right now – if it’s in stock it’s 40% off. You’ll find kids’ dress up clothes like hand-embroidered crowns and stunning tutus, wooden blocks, teethers...

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Taking a bite out of love

Our love for the creative handmade wooden teethers from Little Sapling Toys runs deep, and this adorable American Sign Language “I love you” teether is no exception. And just in time for Valentine’s Day to boot. Using reclaimed or FSC certified hardwood that’s sanded smooth and finished with local beeswax and organic jojoba oil, all their teething toys have love written all over them, even without the sweet ASL sentiment. So surprise your favorite baby with one of these on February 14. Just don’t forget the big box of chocolate for her mama. -Kristen Visit Little Sapling Toys for...

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Plush explorer friends, beyond Dora

We love wooden toys, but let’s face it, there’s often more room in our kids’ hearts (and hands) for those that are cuddly, plush and less likely to leave a mark when you fall asleep on top of one. Evidently the eco-minded designers of Noferin agreed, and adapted their sustainably-made wooden toy collection called Pecanpals into a series of colorful Pecanpals Plush dolls. I don’t know exactly how sustainable they are, but each one has a clever backstory on a little tag to get imaginations started. The characters include Periwinkle the Wildlife Rescuer (my daughter’s favorite), Jac Jac the...

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Editors Best of 2009: The coolest toys, dolls and baby toys

You don’t need us to tell you about the latest Elmo toy or Hannah Montana guitar, so we work hard to point you towards toys and other playthings from small companies or independent artists that you might not know about yet. After a year of so many amazing entries, here are a few real standouts from 2009. Kristen: The gorgeous wooden wagons (at top) from the mom and dad team behind Kaiku Design give “pimp my ride” an entirely new meaning. Liz: The new-to-the-US wooden learning bike by TykeRider is so mind-blowingly awesome, only in part because they’ve made...

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For a child’s first bike, skip the training wheels, and go right to Tyke Rider

I’ve long been a fan of the wooden, pedal-less early rider bikes which get kids more confident and more able to ride a real bicycle than anything I ever had back in the Stone Age. But the prices? Holy heck. And by heck, you know – I don’t mean heck. Well praise the gods of affordable fabulosity for the new learning bike from Britain’s Tyke Rider which starts at around half the price of the $300+ LIKEaBike, and is now available in the states. Right in time for Christmas, yes! They were kind enough to send me over a...

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Automoblox Minis deliver big fun

Automoblox have taken over more than a few toy chests in the last few years, and it’s not surprising – these modular, creativity-inspiring toys cars and trucks inspire imaginations, while still delivering the joy of vrooming a car around the living room floor and terrifying the pets. We like them so much, we even featured them in our 2008 Safer Toy Guide. But excellent design and heirloom quality construction don’t come cheap. Each car runs around $36, while the limited edition Automoblox like the T9-SE can cost as much as $45. So the company did the smart thing and...

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