Archive for the ‘Toys – Toddler’ Category

Gilt Groupe KidKraft Pirate Deluxe Set

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This pirate ship deluxe set from KidKraft really is kind of arrr-some and totally puts the plastic stuff to shame.  It has 28 different parts and about 35 screws for assembly (took us about an hour, with kids “helping”) but the directions are straightforward, and the pieces build on each other so you kind of get excited about doing it as you go.  (Kind of.)

Unlike some playhouses, this Pirate Deluxe kit comes with 4 pirate figures, cannons, a treasure chest, a “gilded” throne and coffin, two sharks, palm trees, a rowboat and other accessories.  All pieces are of good quality.  The peg-legged Pirate (who our daughter dubbed “Sharkey”) doesn’t stand so well out of the box, but if you bend his upper body forward, you can get him reasonably stable.  Characters are scaled so as to fit with other KidKraft sets – we also have a pink princess castle sort of thing, so our kids now like to play Pirates and Princesses.

If you’re not yet a member of higher-end discount aggregator Gilt Groupe, by all means use our referral link so we get credit!  KidKraft items are on sale for a limited time starting today 8/3, with the Pirate Set going for $90 (sugg.retail $159.99) and “Aye!” it’s worth every penny.  If you miss the sale at Gilt, ToysR’Us carries it regularly online for $129.99.


In the weeks leading up to her 3rd birthday, our daughter became suddenly and fiercely attached to the idea of riding a scooter.  We were a bit skeptical (it was wintertime, after all, which would put the scooting mostly indoors), but she persisted, driving us to spend many late nights on-line, researching wheeled possibilities for the toddler set.

We ultimately settled on KickboardUSA’s Mini Kick scooter, and after two months’ scooting (indoor AND out) cannot recommend it enough.  Mini Kick is specifically designed for beginning riders – it’s low to the ground and features 3 wheels (2 in front!) for greater stability, yet maintains a decent turning radius for navigating the living room furniture.  It has a smooth, quiet glide, and is light enough for our 3 year old to lift and maneuver off the ground when necessary.

Scooting on Mini Kick seems completely intuitive to the child – our daughter has essentially taught herself how to scoot, steer and brake while we sat back and marveled.  The only bummer is the flexible plastic footing – while totally functional and key to this beautiful concept, it doesn’t support the weight of an adult, so we can’t get in on the fun.

Mini Kick costs $79.99 through and comes in an array of candy colors – we got orange, though I’m sure our daughter would have preferred hot pink.

Petit Collage Giraffe Growth Chart

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What a great idea for a growth chart.  Your little one may actually grow faster as she cranes her neck for a view while you mark her height on this whimsical reflective giraffe.

Made in the U.S. out of light, shatterproof mirrored acrylic, and available at for $80.

Hape Trendy Nursery Oompa Toys

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It happens to so many families…  The sky’s the limit for the first nursery, which could have been ripped directly from The Land of Nod, or the Lopez-Anthony baby boudoir…  Then baby two comes along and  *screeeeeech!* – the budget hits a wall, and everything is from IKEA, Craigslist, or grandma’s attic.

You can still dream big – just buy small with Hape’s Trendy Nursery dollhouse furniture.  It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a modern babyspace, just at 1/10th the size and pricetag.

A mere $39.99 at Oompa Toys, the Trendy Nursery is made mostly of bamboo and includes: 1 bunk bed with pillows/blankets, 4 cubby hole cylinder units, 1 rocking crib with pillow/blanket, 1 rocking horse, 1 lamp, 4 rugs, 1 road playmat with 3 cars, and 1 castle toy.  And your child will play with it long after they’ve outgrown the life-sized versions.  If you let them.

Earlier this year, the Today show ran a segment on bath toys in their series “Secret Filth Exposed.” Bath squirters – a perennial favorite – were shown to have high levels of bacteria, caked absolutely black on the insides with “sky high counts of fecal bacteria like e-Coli and strep.”

We cut one open in disbelief – yep.  Disgusting.  Really wish we hadn’t seen that.  Instant toss.  But what now?  Measuring cups and containers are good fun, but they just don’t have the personality of those little squirts.

Dano2 Ducki

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There are a few rubber duckies on the market that are one-piece, without squirt holes.  But a quick search yielded a terrific find – a rubber ducky who’s not only hygienic, but also PVC-, Phthalate- and BPA-free!  Ducki from Dano2 solves the hygiene problem with a pop-out bottom – it can be thoroughly cleaned and dried, inside and out.

Ducki retails for just $8, and is available in four bathtastic colors: citrus, raspberry, caribbean and mint.  His sassy upturned beak and tail make for great teething, too.

Olli Olbot Comforter Rabbit Oompa Toys

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GaGaGear is on the hunt for Easter treats!

Here’s a darling and functional addition to an Easter basket: the boo boo bunny.  These friendly freezer-dwellers come in many shapes and sizes, and will help take the sting out of scrapes and bruises from over-zealous Easter egg hunting or wrestling over that last chocolate egg.

Boo boo bunnies are pretty easy to make if you’re crafty, but the Olli Olbot Comforter Rabbit ($19.99 at Oompa Toys) has more personality than your typical washcloth-rubberband project.  There’s a cool pack nestled inside his furry head – you can store him full-time in the freezer (which we recommend for expediency of application – in a plastic bag for protection) or freeze just the insert.

Hop to it – Oompa Toys is offering double points today thru Sunday 3.28 at 12pm CST.

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Today I learned about the International Toy Innovation Awards from Oompa Toys’ very excellent blog (and Twitter feed), and have been having fun poking around the web site of the Spielwarenmesse Nürnberg – the International Toy Fair.  2010 marks the 61st annual fair, and seventh year of ToyAwards for “especially innovative new products” distinguished by “topicality, quality, and inventiveness” (per the official site).

An independent jury awards a shiny red rocking horse in eight categories, some functional and others more esoteric.  You can tell these were devised by Europeans – – Americans would stick to labels you can shop by: “arts & crafts,” “stuffies” and “things that go.”  Category winners and links are listed below – thanks and apologies to the Toy Fair web site for the cut & paste!

Category: Emotion + Experience
Product: Paper Jamz, Sablon Germany

Category: Creativity + Design
Product: Organeco Blocks, HaPe International

Category: Electronics + Technical
Product: Carrera RC Racing Machine, Stadlbauer Markting + Vertrieb GmbH

Category: Knowledge + Learning
Product: tiptoi, Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH

Categorie: Fun + Sport
Product: Yo-Be – Sling Disc, Manley Toy Quest

Category: Games + Action
Product: Playmobil Play World Top Agents – PLAYMOBIL / geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG

Category: Ecology + Environmental Awareness
Product: GEOlino Power-House, Franckh-Kosmos Verlag

Category: Trend + Lifestyle
Product: Barbie Video Girl, Mattel

  • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
  • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
  • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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