Not ready for your little one to cook with you in the kitchen? A play kitchen encourages budding culinary skills along with hours of imaginary play. These play kitchens are seriously cool, transforming any corner into a really exciting play area that even moms will love. Instead of being made from breakable plastic, all of these play sets are constructed out of wood with moving parts and functional doors and cabinets, making them stand up to busy tots. Introduce stirring, cutting, and whipping up tasty pretend treats with a play kitchen made with your lil one in mind.
If you've got a lil shutterbug at home, we've got cameras for budding photographers of all ages. From baby's first camera to some that print pictures minutes after they've been taken, all of these cameras are made for little hands — and lots of rough and tumble. While all of these gadgets don't actually take pictures, they are perfect for introducing your tot to the excitement of photography and how taking pictures can share a story, feelings, and emotions. Click through for a fun roundup of cameras for budding photographers.
Halloween may still be a month away, but retailers are hoping moms and dads are getting ready for the holiday season. With their holiday season orders placed and ready to go, they've placed their bets on what your kids will be asking for this year. Sure, the list includes the LeapPad 2 Explorer and Lego Friends, but it also includes some new finds (or some '80s and '90s brands that are making resurgences) that your lil ones may love. This morning, Time to Play, a toy industry magazine, released its 2012 Holiday Most Wanted list, identifying the products it believes will be the hot items of the year. Take a look and tell us which ones you're adding to your shopping lists!
If you're the proud parent of a growing boy, you've seen it happen. One minute he's playing with a stick, turning it this way and that, and the next there are serious sound effects and shotgun action. And it's not just boys that are curious about guns; girls are exploring imaginary play with bow and arrows and other play weapons. With Halloween right around the corner, and kids excited about dressing like their favorite superhero, is it OK to allow tots to play with pretend weapons?
There's no denying that watching a little one point a pretend weapon at another child and pull the trigger is unnerving. Many are quick to point a finger at the connection between allowing the playful behavior to school shootings and other early-adolescent violence. Over 40 percent of US homes house guns, which are hopefully being kept locked away from kids with ammunition stored separately. So do pretend weapons desensitize kids to the reality of real ones?
With pretend weapons popping up all over the place this time of year, do you allow your kids to play with them? Are they harmless or hurtful?
Kids love banging on pots and pans, so giving them cool musical toys and instruments that actually make music is a treat. If your child has unique musical flair, these toys hone skills from playing the accordion to vocal training. Learning how to play an instrument encourages your child's fine motor development and introduces math concepts and musical techniques. Rocking a steady beat and staying in tune takes talent — and parents with a high tolerance of the path to instrumental mastery. Click through for some musical toys made just for kids.
Did you know that your computer is a great source of free, creative toys? These fun paper playthings, all favorites of Circle of Moms bloggers, are made from printable downloads. Simply print, fold, and tape or glue, and voila! Boredom begone!
Not all fairy tales are about princesses, as a new toy for girls is out to prove. Goldie Blox, a construction toy and book series for girls, is ready to show little ladies that engineering and fun aren't mutually exclusive. The story's star is a young inventor named Goldie who fashions a belt drive out of pegs, axles, wheels, and ribbon, right alongside her readers.
As an engineering student at Stanford, Debbie Sterling observed a startling deficit of women in her department. Over 89 percent of engineers were male, due in no small part to the construction toys, like Lego and K'Nex, that targeted boys and fostered their early interest in engineering and science.
Trying to make sense of why there are so few females in the field, Debbie discovered that, generally, girls like to read and boys like to build, so she combined the two to create a toy, Goldie Blox, that uses girls' natural verbal skills to teach the important spatial skills that engineers need. The project has yet to reach its Kickstarter goal of $150,000, so, if you're interested, consider contributing to its campaign.
For more details on Goldie Blox from the creator herself, watch what Debbie has to say about her project after the jump.
We know lil ones love to cuddle with cute stuffed animals, and these special toys are more than just a soft snuggle. Some stuffed animal serve as baby's introduction to textures and colors, while others are perfect for helping toddlers learn how to express feelings and hone fine motor skills. Educational stuffed animals are beneficial for kids of all ages, making this roundup a helpful guide for picking out a special new friend for the tots in your life. Click through to find the perfect new snuggly for your lil one.
Introduce your lil one to the wonders of science with a really cool kit that you'll enjoy exploring as much as your child. From learning how volcanoes erupt to the exciting (and tasty!) science of making sweet candy, these toys are perfect for introducing basic science concepts and encouraging inventing and experimentation. These kits are made for budding learners, with easy-to-use instructions and tried and tested materials. Click through for a scientifically cool collection of kits ready for experimenting.
Kids love toys, and these are even more lovable because they are good for the Earth as well as your tot. They're made from green materials that are great for kids and the environment, so your lil one will spend hours zooming with a car made from recycled materials or building with the blocks made from sustainable wood. The toys are so fun that kids won't even realize they're building important developmental skills during their playtime. Click through for a collection of eco-friendly toys the whole family will enjoy!