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Category Archives: Toys

2014 Holiday/Christmas Gift Guide: Best toys for babies

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Baby’s first year is an exciting and precipitous one: he starts out tiny and completely helpless, unable to control anything aside from eating and crying. Over these 12 months, he begins to learn to grip and grab, how to roll, sit, crawl, stand, and toddle. He also learns to understand some words, and may be saying his first simple words. ... Read More »

Family game review: try Telestrations!

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Telephone was always one of my favorite schoolyard games: the end result was always so funny! You remember how it went: you’d come up with a phrase and whisper it into your friend’s ear, who would whisper it into her friend’s ear, who would whisper it into her friend’s ear, until it came back to you as a completely new ... Read More »

2014 Holiday/Christmas Gift Guide: Best toys made in the USA

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There are so many reasons to shop American this year: not only does it support the companies that employ your neighbors and enrich your community, but it’s eco-friendly! Less shipping means less fuel used, which means less emissions. And of course, these terrific companies make innovative, beautifully designed products that your kids will love. Gamewright Scrambled States of America Game, ... Read More »

2014 Holiday/Christmas Gift Guide: Best construction toys

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In a celebrated anecdote from his autobiography, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright credited his childhood maple wood blocks (similar to these Standard Unit Blocks) for sparking his creativity. Wright wrote, “The maple-wood blocks are in my fingers to this day. These primary forms and figures were the secret of all effects which were ever got into the architecture of the ... Read More »

2014 Holiday/Christmas Gift Guide: Best new toys of 2014

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While designating a toy as “new” can suggest all sorts of tech bells and whistles, most of what’s new is actually what’s old: variations on play themes that have kept kids busy and happy for time immemorial. The latest top picks from Magic Beans are mostly what Harvard’s Susan Linn describes as “90 percent child and 10 percent toy.”  This ... Read More »

Building skills with LEGOs: the developmental benefits of bricks

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LEGOs have changed a lot since we were kids, haven’t they? Along with all the basic City and Creator series, and the open-ended LEGO and DUPLO building sets, we have zillions of licensed characters (Star Wars and Disney and hobbits, oh my!) and even LEGO original licensed characters, including the LEGO Movie, LEGO Friends, and Ninjago. Kids can’t get enough of those irresistible bricks, ... Read More »

New game review: Battle Sheep from Blue Orange

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Battle Sheep from Blue Orange is a strategy game in which two herds of sheep try to conquer the most territory in a new pasture. It’s easy to play, and it’s surprisingly addictive: my husband and I got it down pretty quick and kept playing for hours! Part of the reason I couldn’t stop, I think, is because I wanted ... Read More »