We recently saw the new movie, The Muppets (Loved It! Grown-ups and kids alike!). I am really hoping that this movie sparks a craze for all things Muppet.
If you, or someone you love, is crazy for a particular Muppet did you know that you can have you very own plush version? My longtime favorite, Animal, is pictured above. But of course there is also Kermit The Frog
Fozzie Bear (wakka wakka)
Gonzo (“What is Gonzo anyway? He’s a little like a chicken, but not much”)
and many more. They range in size from 15 inches (Fozzie) to 19 inched (Miss Piggie – she wears some serious heels, you know).
Muppets make everything better.
Our kids love hexbugs. We have had the bigger spider like hexbugs, but they never get played with as much as the little hexbug nanos. ANd the only way I can think of to make the hexbug nano even more fun is to make it Glow In The Dark!
I think what makes the nano so much more fun is the way it moves. Since it’s only method of locomotion is through vibrating, it moves in an unpredictable path. You can buy play sets with paths and ramps for them to move along or race through. There are even glow in the dark “habitat sets.”
There is a small starter set
And a larger Hexbug glow in the dark habitat set.
I have to tell you that the best play space we have found for our hexbugs is one of those flying saucer style sleds.
We discovered this last year on Christmas morning, when the hex bugs were put in the saucers to keep them from getting lost and because of the concave shape of the sleds they automatically went around and around in circles. Very fun to watch, actually.
Blocks are such a basic toy that I think they get overlooked. But they are, in my humble opinion, the most versatile toy there is and crucial for proper development. If there was a law passes that every baby came home from the hospital with one toy, I would vote for that toy to be blocks. We have a huge basket of wooden blocks and they are, at this very moment, being used as a castle for a couple of princesses and a mermaid. Even in a house with two one year olds and a four year old they get played with all the time.
I do love a good set of plain blocks like the Bag O’Blocks seen above by Ryan’s Room. However, I am awfully tempted by pretty things and there are some lovely sets of blocks.
This 25 piece set of Organeco extra-large, lightweight blocks are just lovely. They are made of bamboo (hence the lightweight part), the artwork is done in water based inks sealed with beeswax. You couldn’t ask for a more lovely or eco-friendly toy.
Haba, one of my favorite toy companies, can be relied upon for lovely block sets. To name just a few there is the Haba fantasy blocks
The Haba eeny meeny miny zoo blocks
And the Haba fantasy land building blocks
And for a classic alphabet blocks set, there is nothing prettier than this French alphabet block set by Uncle Goose.
They are handmade in Michigan from solid basswood. There are 32 blocks in the set and they include all letters, numbers and 32 different animals and their named in french. Perfect for introducing a little french to your little one. Or for building princess castles, whichever.
I adore doll houses. I can’t get enough of them. We have two and I would have more if I could justify the space they take up. I just saw this one, The Tutti-Frutti house by Le Toy Van and I am coveting just a little.
It is wooden, just about two feet tall and comes fully painted and furnished.
Yes, it comes with all the furniture, so it is a perfect play with it right away kind of present. Move in ready, so to speak.
I like that it opens so wide – dollhouses are much easier to play with when there is full access to the inside.
If you are looking for a doll house or just something that will be declared the Best Present Ever, you really can’t go wrong with this sweet tutti-frutti doll house. It doesn’t come with dolls, so you might want to get some to go with it. I love this set of seven bamboo dolls by Hape,
They are a little crazy looking but I can’t resist the wild red hair.
I know. There are never any viking toys around when you need them! It may seem odd for a kid to be into vikings, but really, it’s no weirder than pirates. And pirate toys are everywhere!
So say hello to Sven the viking.
Hello Sven! He is mostly wood and is about 4” tall. Doesn’t he look ready to conquer and pillage?
Le Toy Van (which, by the way, wins for best name of a toy company as far as I’m concerned) also makes a Viking Fort.
It is wooden, with a magnetic winch, a rope ladder, a secret trap door and a large prison door, so you can hold as many pirates captive as possible. (Did I just invent a pirate – viking rivalry? Sorry about that.) It doesn’t come with the figures in the picture, so you will have to order Sven and his buddies to run the place.
Not just toy storage bins, but the most beautiful toy storage bins I have ever seen. And they are organic, did I mention that? Beautiful, organic toy storage. It is like a non-denominational holiday miracle.
They are made by 3 Sprouts, a small company made up of people with serious design street cred, and it shows. There are three different shapes and sizes, the Bin, the Box and the Caddy. The canvas is 100% organic cotton and the felt animals are made from recycled soda bottles.
The fox bin is pictured above, the raccoon bin below, but there are 8 different animals to choose from. The bins are are 17″ by 17″ and they are great for stuffed animals, laundry or dress-up clothes.
Next we have the 3 Sprouts storage box. Love the peacock!
The storage box is 13″ by 13″ by 13″. Perfect for LEGOs, cars, little dolls and action figures. Any little thing that you would like to scoop up and put on a shelf.
And then the caddy.
Oh caddy, I think I love you most of all. If you have a 3 or 4 year old you know about their love of putting things in bags and carrying them around the house. The caddy is perfect for anything that will be carried around like books, play food, hair accessories or doll clothes.
I am going to ask you to remember Christmas morning and all the new toys and the feeling you get every year when you look around and wonder where the heck you are going to put all these toys. My advice? Get a bunch of toy storage bins now and be prepared. Or give them as gifts to friends who are going to end up with more toys than they have places to put them. You will be their hero.
I haven’t checked in with our favorite scooters in a while – our Kickboard USA mini-kick scooters are still, years later, in great shape and they see plenty of use. But I happened to notice that they now come in some awesome new colors. The mini-kick scooters are really the best scooter for little kids (2 to 5 year olds) because they have an ingenious turning mechanism that makes them very difficult to tip. When you lean the handles right or left the wheels curve very gently. No sudden turns means far fewer skinned knees and elbows!
I am in love with the bright green mini-kick scooter pictured above, and don’t you think it would be perfect with this Bell Dragon helmet?
For the Pinkalicious in your life you can go with the super cool pink scooter
and this adorable Bell pink ladybug helmet.
Other fun colors include aqua, orange and the original blue. Seriously, I think this is the best scooter you can by for younger kids. Our kids (and all the kids who have ever played at our house) have loved ours and they are in shockingly good shape considering the abuse they have taken over the past 6 (6!) years.
So we ordered the boys Star Wars LEGO advent calendars a while back because they always sell out before October (although you can still get them for the actual price, so they must have made a whole lot more this year or something). But what to get for The Princess who, while she can swing a light saber as well as any older brother, isn’t actually as enamored of Star Wars as they are. I searched for the perfect girly toy based advent calendar and I found it: The Playmobil Unicorn Fairy World advent calendar. Seriously you say? Yes, seriously. Behold the Unicorn Fairy World awesomeness:
It is practically a Double Rainbow in a box right there and she will love it. It comes with 24 little boxes, each containing a Playmobil piece. It also comes with a backdrop that can be played with once all the toys have been open or hung on the wall with the toy boxes attached and ready for opening.
I considered getting the Playmobil Christmas in the Forest advent calendar because I think all the little animals would be great to play with once the set is all open.
But then Remo reminded me that the other one is a Unicorn Fairy World and I knew that was the only option.
I can’t say enough great things about the How to train your dragon books by Cressida Cowell. They are funny books sure to please any kid interested in dragons or adventure. And since I always like to give books and toys together, they make perfect gifts. There are a bunch of playsets that go along with the How to train your dragon movie.
There is a Dragon attack set
and a Flying dragon set
and my favorite, the bucket of dragons set.
There is also a really adorable mini talking plush night fury dragon.
It is only 5 inches tall and it talks, which would be a deal breaker for me (I have issues) but isn’t a problem for most people. I actually kind of appreciate it when great books are made into movies because then I can count on matching toys to go with the books as presents.
Looking for a little something spooky for Halloween? Have a LEGO obsessed kid with an October birthday? This is a custom set made by Ender’s Ark. They ordered all the pieces directly from LEGO and then put together this charming headless horseman set.
LEGO also has a variety of Halloween themed minifigs, always a popular choice.
My favorite is the zombie minifig.
I love that he looks worried, like he feels relly bad about wanting to eat your brains.