Cool kids' backpacks by MadpaxThis past week, I had a dandy time perusing the 600,000* aisles of the NY International Gift Show, scouting out what’s cool in gifts and gear and design for our fair readers. I was also honored to be one of ten judges of the Best New Product Awards in the Baby+Kids category.

One of my favorite finds of the whole show turned out to be the winner in the gear category: A new set of totally funky, punky, animalistic backpacks from a new company called Madpax.

The fabulous Spiketus Rex backpacks from Madpax are going to be a huge hit with kids, including my own daughter, who fell in
love with the pink one on the show floor. (Surprise.) I love the neon, not-found-in-nature colors, but there are textured faux “skin” prints as well, for dino-crazy kids. It also comes in a small gadget bag and a lunch sac, that will hopefully show up on their site soon.

Top honors from the judges went to a new Maple Landmark rocking horse
which is quite beautiful in person. I was also glad to see kudos to CMP favorites like Tegu blocks, and an A-Z animal print for the nursery from Oopsy Daisy.

And since my daughter was there with me, I figure she gets a vote here too. Hands down, hers goes to the giant multicultural dolls from Karito Kids which she’s been begging for all week, the sparkly hair clips from Kula Klips, and pretty much every craft activity at the Melissa + Doug booth, where I think she’d like to live from now on.

Although truth be told, when you asked her for the best thing she saw at the show, she’ll tell you the free candy bowls at all the booths. Of course. –Liz

Stay tuned for more features on the fabulous items from the New York International Gift Fair where coolness abounds. If you know where to look.

*Pretty good estimate. Have you seen the Javits Center? Huge!