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FAMILY

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Vintage-Inspired MP3 Player for Kids

vintage mp3 player kids music

Most kids don’t have any difficulty finding their way around tech devices, yet we probably wouldn’t let them out of sight with our phones or tablets.

Handcrafted from non-toxic wood and materials in Germany, this modern music box – hörbert – has all the functionality of an MP3 player combined with the charm of a vintage toy, yet it’s tough enough to withstand life with kids.

vintage mp3 player kids music

Since small children can’t read, 9 buttons on the front encourage them to explore different sounds and content via color. Old school switch and volume controls are easy for small fingers to grasp.

A secure back panel houses a 2 GB memory card, batteries and any necessary wiring – no cords or cables for little hands to disconnect, or little mouths to chew on.

vintage mp3 player kids music buttons

hörbert can also be personalized for gift giving with custom wood engraving on the front, and is a lovely way to promote some music appreciation among the little ones in your life.

SOURCING:
+ hörbert MP3 Player, € 239.00

FAMILY KIDS products

Woon’s iPod Dolls

woon pax doll with boy

Look at the adorable rock chic doll that I bought this morning for my son Zack. Pax will be a nice addition to his hip and soft doll collection. When I shown him a picture of Pax on my iPhone, he laughed and he appeared to love him. Plus, I got an awesome deal. I bought the last one in stock at half-price at Indigo. I can’t wait to put Pax in my son’s arms.

What sold me Pax is the fact that Woon transformed a couple of quirky little dolls by adding music inside. You safely tuck away your  iPod (and I assume your iPhone) or a MP3 player inside the doll’s torso pocket. The doll comes with built-in speakers. As a mom on the go, I love that I can attach Pax to a stroller or my bag.

woon kids lulu and ipod pocket

I bet that little girls would love having Lulu as their friend. Both dolls exhibit a hint of British eccentric flair. I found them absolutely adorable.

SOURCING:
+ Pax ou Lulu iPod Doll by Woon
+ click here for the list of retailers

 

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Personalized Wall Art Prints for a Nursery or a Playroom

personalized wall arts

personalized wall arts

Here is a new source that I discovered on Twitter for alphabet wall art prints. This is from a Canadian Fellow. Grace Announcements offers a vast selection of design. I like the variety of style that she offers from the typical nursery illustrations up to modern geometric compositions.

As expected, her art prints will fit in the popular IKEA RIBBA. A framed personalized wall art print make an awesome baby shower gift. Simply inform you before buying about the nursery design theme and colors.

SOURCING:
Personalized Wall Art Prints by Grace Announcements $12 for an 8×10, $25 for a 12×16

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

DIY Dollhouse with Ikea Expedit

diy modern dollhouse ikea expedit

diy modern dollhouse ikea expedit

They may have fallen somewhat out of fashion, but dollhouses are one of those sweet vintage-y children’s toys that always look at home in a little girl’s room. Unfortunately, old-fashioned dollhouses tend to be large and, when kids outgrow them, a pain to store and even pass on to others.

We loved this easy DIY version spotted on the Dutch blog 101 Woonideeen, which uses a small Ikea Expedit unit and wallpaper to create a modern version that doesn’t sacrifice charm. Not only is the unit sized perfectly for play, you can customize the look to coordinate with the décor in your child’s room with a vibrant wallpaper, removable decals or even just a different shade of paint on the wall. Best of all, the unit easily returns to its original purpose as a bookshelf or storage unit once your wee one outgrows her dollhouse.

The full instructions are written in Dutch, but the project is so straightforward you probably won’t need them. As we posted this, I noticed that their Website doesn’t respond today. It is good that you couldn’t read the instructions anyway. Let’s hope that their site will be back soon.

SOURCING:
+ DIY Modern Dollhouse from 101 Woonideeen
+ Ikea Expedit Unit, $39.99 USD/$49.99 CAD

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Meet Duck Harry, which is Not a Rubber Ducky

duck harry

duck harry

Don’t be fooled by what you see at first sight. I was thrilled when I thought that they modernized the rubber duck that is the companion of every child’s bath time. But it is not the case. Duck Harry can’t float! Instead, Icelandic designer Hlynur Atlason created it as a multi-purpose item. Intended usages are a a toothbrush/toothpaste tube holder when you put it on the side, a doorstop or a paperweight. I wonder if we could use it as a bookend.

So, what your verdict? Would you give Duck Harry a chance? Or, are you disappointed, like me, that it can’t float? Having said that, Duck Harry would look great as a doorstep for a nursery or a bathroom.

SOURCING:
+ Duck Harry, in yellow or black $28 USD at Kontextür

FAMILY KIDS rooms

DIY Kid’s Climbing Wall

diy climbing wall kids indoor

diy climbing wall kids indoor

If cabin fever has your kids climbing the walls, this cool DIY might be just what they need to make it through another six weeks of winter.

Nikkala at the Crafting Chicks embraced her son’s climbing instinct by building an indoor rock climbing wall for their small playroom. All it takes is a sheet of plywood, colorful climbing holds and basic tools to make this afternoon project.

Best of all, the holds can be rearranged to keep things interesting (and challenging) for kids.

Get complete instructions on the Crafting Chicks blog.

SOURCING:
+ DIY Kids Climbing Wall Instructions
+ Climbing Holds, Atomik Climbing Holds, from $19.99 (pack of 10)
+ Via Apartment Therapy

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Modern Mobiles from Puka Puka

mobile modern nursery colorful

mobile modern nursery colorful

Art doesn’t need to hang on the wall to impact your space, and these handcrafted mobiles from Australia’s Puka Puka Design are a perfect example.

Handmade from ethically sourced, high quality materials, each mobile is unique and designed to bring a bit of nature into your space, with designs inspired by the sky and sea.

We love the organic shapes and contemporary color pairings, and that the mobiles add visual interest without adding visual clutter. We can see these in almost any room of the home – from the corner of the living room to an entryway or office – so think beyond the nursery (though they’d look lovely there, too).

SOURCING:

+ Puka Puka Modern Mobiles, $80 and up

 

FAMILY KIDS party

Safari-Inspired Young Explorers Birthday Party from The TomKat Studio

safari birthday party theme for kids

safari birthday party theme for kids

We’ve long been inspired by Kim Stoegbauer, designer and founder of The TomKat Studio Etsy shop. Creative, colorful kid’s party goods are her specialty, but she regularly offers gorgeous free printables for holidays and special occasions on her blog.

Recently, Kim’s been collaborating with Pottery Barn Kids, sharing her expertise and providing free downloadable party guides, invitations, DIY décor, and even delish drink and dessert recipes.

We loved her most recent creation, a safari-inspired birthday party that works for any kid who’s obsessed with animals. The party is ideal for outdoors – where kids can run wild –, but it’s easily adapted for inside the house.

tomkat studio pottery barn kids birthday party

The party suite uses a neutral palette of zebra stripes and animal prints, which makes it adaptable for both girls and boys. Maps, elephants, rhinos and other exploration gear are all incorporated in the printable materials – which include invitations, cupcake wrappers, food flags thank you cards and favor bags.

tomkat studio safari birthday party kids printables

You’ll also find recipes for a decadent chocolate peanut butter cake and instructions for making layered cupcakes in a jar – a sweet send-off for little explorers.

tomkat studio safari birthday cake cupcakes kids

Don’t miss Kim’s other recent collaboration to the Pottery Barn Kids Design Studio: a modern grey and yellow themed baby shower with printables that are easily re-purposed for brides-to-be and spring weddings.

SOURCING:
+ The TomKat Studio
+ Young Explorers Party Guide via Pottery Barn Kids

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak is a prototype that Ayu Larasati created as her graduate thesis project. She analyzed what is going in a kindergarten classroom with the aim to improve the tidy-up task by making it a more fun experience for the kids.

Her solution integrates play and chores into one activity that goes hand-in-hand. Choochoo-stak functions as a free-standing shelf, a table, a seating area and a ride on toy and during tidy-up time, all the carts can be connected for ease of collecting play materials. For its multi-function capabilities, I believe that many urban parents would welcome a Choochoo-stak in their home.

Ayu Larasati will present one of her project at the Prototype exhibit of IDS 12.

SOURCING:
+  Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Design for Kids: Puzzle Playhouse

modern playhouse puzzle kids wood

Any parent will tell you that toys, books and gear have a way of taking over the home, and that there’s a constant battle to find clutter-busting solutions.

Small and versatile, this puzzle playhouse by Modern Playhouse was created by industrial designer Svend Nielsen with design-savvy, eco-conscious parents in mind. Made from sustainably-sourced natural maple wood, the playhouse assembles (or disassembles) in less than 10 minutes without any tools, so you can set it up for the day and store it away when kids are on to something else.

modern playhouse puzzle kids wood

And since kids have a style their own, Modern Playhouse offers a couple of other models. Though they won’t disassemble quite as quickly as the Puzzle Playhouse, their Circle Playhouse was a finalist for design in the Play category at the 2011 Dwell Modern World awards.

modern playhouse circle wood kids

Though they’re built to last for generations, these well-designed playhouses aren’t for everyone’s budget. Modern Playhouse also offers accessories like playhouse furniture sets and sustainable felt storage options.

SOURCING:
+ Puzzle Playhouse from Modern Playhouse, $650

 

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Happy Baby: Will It Be Day Care or a Babysitter?

babysitter daycare

babysitter daycare

Many questions came to my mind before I took my decision. What would be the best for my baby? What about the development of his social skills? Where can he interact with other kids if he doesn’t go to day care? How much schedule flexibility do I really need? What are the costs associated with each option? Can I find a vacancy at a good day care close to my home?

I experienced the typical guilt and worries of working moms when it’s time to return to work. Ideally, I would like to spend time with my son in the morning and to send him to day care in the afternoon. On the other end, I wonder if kids under 2 years old are not too young to go to day care. I worry that he will not get enough attention from the caregivers if he goes to day care. Many parents that I know sent their kids to daycare around 1 year old. Their kids enjoy it and they are well-adjusted. Maybe that my fear comes from the fact that I never went to day care. I couldn’t decide what to do.

As it turned out, the final decision came from medical reasons. My son’s neonatal pediatrician suggested to delay day care until next spring, if we can. This is a precautionary measure to avoid the flu season. So what would I do? I want to return to work this winter. Babies and toddlers that go at day care benefit from being with other kids and from being outside the house without their parents. And I read that kids who do not attend day care could be more shy around kids. Can he catch up later? To find the answer, I investigated the impact for a baby of not having daily social interactions with kids of his ages.

I wanted a professional opinion. So I asked the occupation therapist who followed my son when he was at the hospital. She reassured me when she told me that developing proper parents-baby relations are what really count up to 1 year old. If he needs to stay away from day care for a little bit longer, say until 2 years old, he should be able to catch up later.

I do not know yet when I will be ready to send him to day care. I just know that he will at some point. In the meantime, I am looking for baby and toddler activities where he can socialize with kids of his age. Who knows, it might be him that tells me when he’ll want to go to day care?

My Conclusion

A part-time babysitter will take care of him for now. After considering all factors, this is what I am the most comfortable with at this point. It’s a smooth transition that addresses his and my needs. The babysitter will allow me to work for a set numbers of hours per week, without baby distractions. I will be able to attend meetings and events, like I used to do.

There are still many unanswered questions. How do I set the boundaries between my work and my family life? Is it feasible to maintain those boundaries while working mostly from home? Time will tell if and how long I can manage being a mom and running my business from home with the help of an in-house childcare provider.

I am curious to know how you did it? Which childcare arrangement worked best for you and your baby/toddler: a babysitter, a nanny or day care?

SOURCING:
+ photo: Zoo Packs by Ship Hop $20 USD