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Category Archives: Dolls & Make Believe

The possibilities of playtime: 40 years of Playmobil

playmobil knight sets

For over 40 years, the diminutive, smiling people of Playmobil have been inspiring children’s imaginative adventures. In memory of company founder Horst Brandstaetter, who passed away last week, here’s a whirlwind tour through Playmobil sets both old and new. Designer Hans Beck considered the figurines to be the most important part of the Playmobil formula. From Wikipedia: “Beck spent three ... Read More »

What’s the difference between dolls and action figures?

This vintage G.I. Joe has a terrific hipster beard.

The word “doll” is weirdly fraught for a very straightforward concept: Dictionary.com defines a doll as “a small figure representing a baby or other human being, especially for use as a child’s toy.” Which is to say that while not every doll is an action figure, every action figure is, by definition, a doll. But while I was reading about a new truck-and-action-figure playset from Learning Resources, I found myself wondering: what makes a ... Read More »

Green Toys: Better for kids, better for the environment!

green-toys-rocket-blue-with-red-top-RKTR-1040

Kids put things in their mouth. It’s completely normal behavior, since it’s part of how they discover and expand their world, but it can get kind of gross. The amount of times I fished a pebble out of my niece’s six-month-old mouth would be concerning if she wasn’t the happy, healthy, and too-smart-for-her-own-good eight-year-old that she is today. And while ... Read More »

It’s not just for Halloween! Dress-up play is fun every day

elsacostume

Who doesn’t love Halloween? The kids love the opportunity to play at being a superhero, a princess, or a spooky monster for an evening (not to mention trawling for sugar), and we love how adorable they look in their costumes. The tradition of Halloween dress-up is fun for all ages, and the historical roots of the practice are also fun ... Read More »

Role Models

role

Kids learn about the world by watching the adults around them, and they love to put their observations into action (even when you wish they wouldn’t). That means it’s important to set a good example for your children with everyday kindness and generosity, and by including them in the activities you enjoy the most. Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Role ... Read More »

Giveaways Day 4 – My Backyard BBQ Set

Happy 4th of July! We loved this wooden grill when we saw it at Toy Fair this year, and we knew that it would be a must-have for all bbq-loving families. Including mine. It is a very well-constructed toy with a lot of details to really enhance the make believe play. The grill lid is designed so that there’s a ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 6 – Corolle Calin Doll

The Corolle booth at Toy Fair is my husband’s favorite stop each year. Not because he likes to play with dolls, but because he likes French champagne (and really, who doesn’t?). It’s become an annual tradition for him to lounge at a table, happily sipping champagne while I (usually either pregnant or breastfeeding) circulate through the product displays choosing dolls, ... Read More »

Shop & Roll

Zev steals a turn with the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Grocery Cart while his older sisters are otherwise engaged. We brought lots of merchandise with us to the Cape to photograph for this year’s holiday catalog, but this has been the most popular by far – even with our smallest toy tester. Read More »

The Circus is back in town

This is my 14th summer with Sheri’s family in Cape Cod. There are a lot of indications of the time that has passed these many summers – we’re not teenagers anymore. We’re married, we have kids of our own. And Sheri’s littlest sister, just a baby that first summer, is 15 now. In those early years, Sheri’s parents collected some ... Read More »

One heck of a cardboard box

Making environmentally friendly toys has become a priority for a lot of toymakers, but one is taking that to a whole new level. Cardboard Design has come out with a line of sturdy, foldable cardboard play environments that are beautifully done and incredibly kind to the planet. My favorite is probably the Lemonade stand, coming later this year, but even ... Read More »