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GAMES and Toys


Holiday Gift Guide: Children

christmas gift ideas for kids :: stacking blocks :: crayons :: felt crown

christmas gift ideas for kids :: stacking blocks :: crayons :: felt crown

With 10 children on my Christmas shopping list, I’ve been scouring the Web looking for unique gifts that won’t get tossed aside the instant they’re opened. Here are ten finds that have me re-thinking my own wish list.

Maple and Walnut Stacking Set

Stacking toys are perfect for infants and toddlers, and this well-designed set from Little Saplings Toys won’t look out of place in your decor. What’s more, for every toy sold, Little Saplings plants a tree through Trees for the Future.

Kitty Egg Crayons

Crayons are a classic Christmas gift, whether tucked in a stocking or as a gift topper. These non-toxic Kitty Egg Crayons are ideal for small toddler hands. Handmade to be long-lasting and durable, these non-toxic crayons are free of paper wrappers for non-stop creativity. Choose from 20 shades to create a customized pack of 6.

Wool Felt Crown

Perfect for pretending, little princesses will love these soft and sweet felt crowns. Check out the options for little princes too.

Wooden Fruits & Vegetables Deli Tray Set

Discoveroo Wooden Fruits & Vegetables Deli Tray Set

Budding foodies can hone their kitchen skills with this 12-piece deli set painted with non-toxic water-based paints. Kids can chop and slice the fruits and vegetables; velcro tabs put them back together.

Animal Softies:: wooden pram :: Rhinocerous

Bookhou Animal Softies

Known for their beautiful handprinted textiles, Bookhou’s sweet animal softies feature original drawings of animals in vibrant colors.

Wooden Pram

Handcrafted from alderwood and cotton-linen fabric, this charming wooden pram features a carved moon and cloud on the side and is sure to become a treasured family heirloom. For ages 3 and up.

Bubynoa-Best Friend – Rhinoceros

Made from upcycled vintage wool and felt, this Rhinocerous is just one option in a menagerie of animal choices. Toys can also be embroidered with a child’s name for a personalized touch.

Stacking Construction Vehicles :: sophie and lili fabric dolls

Stacking Construction Vehicles

Melissa and Doug toys are my go-to for the little ones in my life. The wooden toys in particular have a vintage feel, but are also educational and interactive. A few little boys on my list will be receiving these stacking construction vehicles.

Sophie and Lili Dolls

Colourful, customizable and washable Sophie and Lili dolls are made to order, so you can choose each doll’s hair colour, fabrics and specify their name when ordering.

Sirch Olga Rocking Horse

Sirch Olga Rocking Horse

Design-purist parents and their little ones will adore this gorgeous ergonomic rocking horse with a comfortable red saddle. For 2 to 5 years old.

+ Maple and Walnut Stacking Set from Little Saplings Toys $30 USD
+ Kitty Egg Crayons from Kitty Baby Love $18 USD
+ Wool Felt Crown from Dream Child Studio $18 USD
+ Discoveroo Wooden Fruits & Vegetables Deli Tray Set $29.95
+ Animal Softies from Bookhou $20
+ Rhinoceros from bubynoa $100 USD
+ Wooden Pram from Dreward $299 AUD
+ Stacking Construction Vehicles from Melissa and Doug $19.99
+ Selma doll from Sophie and Lili $25 USD
+ Sirch Olga Rocking House 132 €


Christmastime Block Puzzle | Etsy finds

Christmastime Block Puzzle tree and owls

Christmastime Block Puzzle tree and owls

Last night, I had to refrain myself from buying these awesome Christmastime Block Puzzle by Tiny Giraffe for my baby to-be. The tree and owl theme goes well with the nursery bedding I bought this weekend. But since we will be in the middle of our renovations, there will be no Christmas decorations for us this year. My husband suggested that I wait until next year. Although it breaks my heart, I know that he is right.

Christmastime Block Puzzle :: christmas tree and rudoph

It’s something to put on your Holiday shopping list if you need a cute educational and inexpensive toy for toddlers. The 4 blocks will produce 6 bright, festive images. The set arrives inside a ready-to-give packaging. For $4 more, add a personalized drawstring bag to store the block puzzles.

Christmastime Block Puzzle :: bird by tiny giraffe

You may recall that I introduced two adorable block sets by Tiny Giraffe earlier. I still plan to order mine once the renovations are completed. Especially now that a reader, who received the two sets of Zoo blocs that she ordered, told me that the blocks are super cute.

+ Christmastime Block Puzzle by Tiny Giraffe $14 USD on Etsy


Tiny Giraffe’s Wooden Baby Blocks | etsy finds

mod retro wooden baby blocks by tiny giraffe

mod retro wooden baby blocks by tiny giraffe

I discovered the amazing work of Amy of Tiny Giraffe while researching a post on Halloween (more on the next post). For now, I want you to have a look at her personalized baby blocks.

They would nicely decorate the nursery until your baby grows enough to play with them. And if you are looking for an awesome baby gift, this could be it. They arrived in sweetly packaged ready for gifting. Each block is hand-sanded to achieve a well-loved look & feel, and for baby’s safety.

zoo wooden baby blocks for tiny giraffe

In fact, these are the type of toys that you will not mind if they were lying around your living room. Amy designs several patterns. You will not be surprised when I tell you that I have a thing for her Mod Retro Personalized Wooden Baby Blocks. I bookmarked her shop for when I am ready to decorate my baby boy’s nursery.

+ Jumbo Mod Retro Personalized Wooden Baby Blocks by Tiny Giraffe $30 USD for 6 on etsy
+ Jumbo Personalized Zoo Wooden Baby Blocks $30 for 6, $15 for 3


Creative Coloring Sets for Kids

creative coloring sets :: facebox zoobox and robobox by worldwide co

creative coloring sets ::  facebox zoobox and robobox by worldwide co

When I saw the Facebox set at Paper Source this week, I thought it was a cool idea. So, I had to visit the manufacturer’s Web site to see what else they make. I found out that the UK-based distributor Worldwide Co also makes a Robobox, a Zoobox and a Dinobox, which all share the same principles.

Each set comes with creative stencils and pens. The kid first chooses a head shape, then add hairstyles, features, sunglasses, facial hair or hats! They could draw more than 100,000 face combinations. It’s something to let them occupy at the restaurant or when you visit people who don’t have kids.

Mathematical Art

hypotrochoid drawing art set by worldwide co

Another fun set is the Hypotrochoid Art Set. This is a small version of what we know here as Spirograph. The Kenner Spirograph used to be one of my favorite drawing art games as a kid. Hypotrochoid is the mathematical term for a line traced by a fixed point in a circle (your pen) which is rotated around the inside of a larger circle.

+ Creative Coloring Sets by Worldwide Co
+ Facebox: Creative Stencil and Pen Set $11.95 USD at Paper Source
+ Hypotrochoid Art Set $8.55 at [affiliate link]


Modern Playhouse Brings a Cool Factor to a Toy

wedge house by modern playhouse

wedge house by modern playhouse

I showed you cardboard play houses before, but what if you want a bigger, durable play house? This is what Modern Playhouse is doing. The concept is from Gitane Royce, a construction professional and mother to a three year-old. Made of locally-sourced recycled materials or plywood, her modern style play houses are suitable for an indoor or outdoor usage.

furniture for your modern play house

Two Modern Styles

Their play houses look so much more stylish than the plastic play houses you typically find at toy stores. But with a price tag starting at $1250, you expect that. The play houses are available in two designs. The square Wedge house and the Circle house, which was inspired by Scandinavian fishing cottages. I like the look of the different openings on the walls. The concept doesn’t stop with the play houses. You can decorate their play houses with furniture and pillows. Your kids could host a tea party, play board games or do their art projects sitting at a table with two detached benches.

modern playhouse models

Some assembly is required. They say online that the assembly takes about half a hour and require two persons.  All play house and furniture orders placed during their Pre-sale event (Aug. 15th to Aug. 31st) receive a 20% discount.

+ Modern Playhouse
+ Wedge Playhouse $1250 USD – with Furniture $1425
+ Circle Playhouse $1450 USD – with Furniture $1625


MoMA Modern Play House

MoMA Modern Play House

MoMA Modern Play House

At last a modern architecture play house that is affordable. In partnership with Chronicle Books, MoMA designed a set of sturdy cardboard boxes that you assemble to build the interior walls of your play home. Many items are reversible to expand your decor options.

MoMA Modern Play Family

The Modern Play House set contains 6 nesting boxes, 8 mix-and-match furniture pieces, and 12 removable vinyl clings. The 5-person play family comes with a cat, a dog, a doghouse, different hair styles and over 150 mix-and-match vinyl cling clothes! Both sets are for age 3 and up. It is a good toy if you wish to teach good taste to your kids or let them explore the world of architecture and interior design.

+ For Canadians: MoMA Modern Play House + MoMA Modern Play Family $31.84 CAD (play house: $17.29, play family: $14.55) – affiliate link
+ For  Americans: MoMA Modern Play House $13.25 USD – MoMA Modern Play Family $10.39 – affiliate link


The Dwell Studio’s Learning Books

orange bus bookshelf and go book by dwell studio

orange bus bookshelf and go book by dwell studio

I just noticed that Dwell Studio partnered with Blue Apple Books to produce a book collection for infants and toddlers. You get the graphic design associated with Dwell Studio. I like it since you teach your kids good taste at the same time.

count and what colors :: learning the basics with dwell studio books

From learning the basics from numbers, animals and colors.

+ Count book $6.99 USD at – in Canada $7.99 CAD
+ What colors? book $8.99 USD at

discovering where food come from with dwell studio infant and toddler books

To provide a way to talk about where are food comes from

+ Touch & Feel Farm book $8.99 USD at
+ Eat book $6.99 USD at  or $7.99 CAD at

Up to books and even a bookshelf that go with Dwell’s Transportation bedding collection

+ Orange Bus Bookshelf $124 USD at Dwell Studio
+  Go book $6.99 at or $7.99 at

There are more titles but I think that you get the idea. I will remember those for when I visit parents with a newborn child or to bring as a gift for a first or second birthday party. Some of the Dwell studio books are suitable up 5 years old.


Essential Toys to Bring when You Travel

discovery tote a day in the city by helicopter studios

Parents will ensure a peaceful holiday season if they plan ahead which toys to bring when visiting family and friends. This discovery tote cars designed by Helicopter Studios is amongst the best toy to bring. The tote comes with two cars but there is room to add more cars. Also look at A Day in the City tote that comes with 3 wood dolls and 3 skyscrapers. When folded, a 3 to 4 years old kid can carry it around.

activity cards by usborne children\'s book

A deck of activity cards can occupy kids whether you travel by plane, train or car. It also keeps your kids busy when you are at at restaurant. I saw those in actions last summer when the cousin of my husband brought a deck to a chic restaurant. It occupied her boys until they get their plates. Usborne Children’s Books, a British publisher, carries a wonderful collection for different age groups.

crayon roll by BloomWoosie

Lastly is the reliable pencil or crayon roll. I cannot imagine a parent not having at least set. Etsy is a great place to shop for rolls with unique patterns. Do not forget to carry an unlined notebook; it eliminates the need to ask for paper.

+ Discovery Tote Cars
+ Discovery Tote – A Day in the City $60 USD
+ 100 things for little children to do on a train £5.85
+ 50 things to do on a journey £5.85
+ Christmas doodles £5.85
+ Little Artist Crayon Roll 12 counts – Best Friends pattern $14 by BloomWoosie on etsy


Sportive Indoor Spaces for Kids

indoor climbing activities playrooms

If you live in a colder climate, you understand the practicality of indoor park where your kids can be active. Some parents took this idea further and integrate indoor climbing ladder, a slide and even a sliding pole in their house. If more kids were having those, maybe they would play less video games. I would have love to have that as a kid.

+ photos: Slide by London archiutect Alex Michaelis, climbing ladder photographed by Louis Lemaire
+ via Moco Loco and Remodeslista


Tschutschu by Dominik Lutz Could Be a DIY Toy Project

tschutschu kid furniture by dominik_lutz

If you are handy working with wood, here is something that you may consider doing for your kids. I feel it would be a wonderful Christmas gift. If you do, make sure to adapt the project to your child favorite games and activities. You could cut a window to suit the needs of a puppet theater.

I suggest to you a DIY project because Tschutschu by Dominik Lutz seems to be only available in Germany for the moment. This is kind of the ultimate multipurpose kid furniture as it integrated a bench, a train table, and a chalkboard. By standing on a different side, it serves a different purpose. You could fix a wooden train track on the train table. This way, there will be less mess across the home and no arguments with your kid to store the train set.

+ Tschutschu at Magazin 179 €
+ via ohdeedoh


Adorable Owls by Kenana Knitters

large owl by kenana knitters

You will feel double pleased of yourself if you buy a knitted owl by Kanana Knitters as a Christmas gift for a kid. These adorable dolls are fair trade. They are handmade by a knitting cooperative aimed at improving the living conditions of rural women in Kenya. Right now, 300 knitters from nine different tribes export their products to many countries around the world including Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The 15″ tall adult owls have a loosely looped knit coat. They come in several color combination. I photographed the 2 owls at Teatro Verde in Yorkville, Toronto. If I recalled well, they were around $85 CAD.

+ Giant Hoot Owl baby $24, adult $64 USD at Kenana USA