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Category Archives: Toys

Toy Fair 2016: This year’s toy trends!

play food klutz food faces

Every news outlet has their own take on this year’s trends, and many of the biggest ones have already been covered: as the TIA pointed out in their report, drones, robots and other tech toys are super hot today, as well as tech toys modified to encourage family bonding, STEM/STEAM toys (“STEAM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math), ... Read More »

The best birthday gifts of 2016: happy fifth birthday!


This is an exciting year: it’s time to start kindergarten! Your five-year-old is ready to start school full-time, and that means spending a lot of time with other kids. Which is fine by them: they’re eager to make friends, and play and pretend together. So today’s guide to birthday gifts focuses on toys for kids to enjoy with friends and siblings. ... Read More »

The best birthday gifts of 2016: happy fourth birthday!

feed the woozle cooperative game birthday gift

Age four is an exciting year: kids at this age are on the runway to kindergarten, and they’re bursting with energy and creativity. They’re refining their social skills, learning to play games and share, and using their imagination to play out realistic and fanciful scenarios. If you’re shopping for your own four-year-old’s birthday, you probably already know what birthday gifts ... Read More »

A quick history of teddy bears. Plus: say hi to Steiff!

steiff kim teddy bear stuffed animal

Over the years, there have been many famous teddy bears in pop culture, and they’re not going away anytime soon (although with variations like the movie Ted, about a grown man and his favorite childhood pal, they’re perhaps a little different than you remembered).  Maybe Winnie the Pooh was your favorite, or Paddington or Corduroy. You certainly can’t forget the ... Read More »

The best birthday gifts of 2016: happy third birthday!


At the age of three, your child’s favorite play activities almost all involve pretending: immersing herself in a delightful fantasy world. Don’t worry, she knows it isn’t real even if she insists that it is (in one study, 40% of children interviewed about their imaginary friends spontaneously told the researcher that their imaginary friend was just pretend); it’s all part ... Read More »

The best birthday gifts of 2016: happy second birthday!


Play is how kids learn, and at age 2, kids are starting to explore how the world works through imaginative play. They’ll create silly and fun scenarios with play animals, action figures, costumes, toy cars and toy trucks, and other props, and they’ll love imitating what you do, including feeding a baby, or driving a car. (They’ll also develop their ... Read More »

The best birthday gifts of 2016: happy first birthday!

first birthday

That first year zooms by quickly, although those sleepless nights of early parenthood can feel like they last forever. One minute you’re recovering from her birth and falling in love with her sweet little face, and the next minute she’s saying her first words and taking her first steps. (Shopping for toddler toys for a loved one’s kid? I know ... Read More »

The 5 OTHER best toy stores in Connecticut!

magic beans fairfield toy store interior

Toy stores in southern Connecticut have really stepped up their game since my childhood down there in the ‘80s!*  Of course, the number one spot for toys today is Magic Beans, nestled into the cute downtown shopping district in Fairfield (and a stone’s throw from the Metro-North stop, making it an easy trip for our fans in New York City): ... Read More »

Games and puzzles: Highlights from our Holiday Gift Guide

2little piggies

Puzzling over last-minute gifts? We may have a suggestion… or two… or ten… or more! The Games & Puzzles  section of our Holiday Gift Guide is loaded with a variety of jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, and head-to-head challenges to delight the entire family – and even some cooperative games too! Here’s a small sampling of terrific gifts that tend to ... Read More »