It wasn’t too long ago when children’s television and family sitcoms were full of teachable moments. Nearly every episode featured the characters encountering a situation that required them to make a moral or ethical decision of some kind. Soon, those lessons cloaked in humor faded out and “very special episodes” became a trope associated with the past. The new generations of kids were thought to be too savvy to be preached to; they wanted sarcasm, attitude, and chaotic comedy. But is that what kids really need? The Principles of Our World is a book series designed to help children develop a strong sense of character and ethics.
As long as there are little girls there will be dolls for their enjoyment. For the ultimate in handcrafted beauties that work as collectables, keepsakes or just treasured toys, show off the ultimate in high-end dolls from Miss Kiki of Cherry Blossom Lane. Everything about these dolls says luxury, starting with the Certificate of Authenticity that accompanies every one of these petite charmers and continuing with exquisite attire. Dolls from Miss Kiki are all handmade, embroidered with care and love by a small team of artisans and filled with sustainable corn fiber.
Budding entrepreneurs and the grown-ups who help nurture hands-on business skills will make a “shark” frenzy about these activity kits from Bizainy. Not strictly toys, these creative kits offer a way for kids to learn useful life experiences about business and money management. The three activity kits include projects for hands-on learning-as-fun, including DIY banners, books, decorate-your-own money boxes, stickers, sales pads, postcards and more.
Toys don’t always have to be large, noisy, expensive or digital. Some of the most entertaining options are right at your fingertips… in this case, quite literally. With Finger Puppets Inc., this notion is all too true. Kids will love the creative designs of these unique Peruvian puppets. Parents will appreciate teaching their kids about different places around the world and enhancing their social skills. Crafted in the high plains of Peru by local families, these puppets are a tribute to the ancient ways of entertainment. Lessons can be learned and remembered through fun stories.
In today’s world, many daily interactions are quick-paced and short-lived. As electronics and screen time take over lives, occasionally kids forget the most basic, natural part of childhood: play. Germany takes us back to the basics with wonderful, traditional toys that rely on brains, not batteries. HABA has branched out from its classic wooden toys to create modern versions with heirloom quality. sigikid takes its cue from children’s need for cuddling, and creates developmentally appropriate toys. Ravensburger produces puzzles that will forever change how people think of putting pieces together. Hape Toys focuses on wood toys made from natural materials.
Given today’s educational climate, many shoppers want a fun way to encourage kids’ interest in science, but so many games on the market are ultra-complicated and few appeal to all ages and generations. There’s a new brand, na2ure, bringing games that are gorgeous to behold, PhD-vetted and eco-conscious –– a triple positive whammy. The na2ure library includes three beautifully designed games that will fascinate your customers: the Ani-gram-it board game, Ani-gram-it To Go and ferret.
Cindy Cohn understands how much one meaningful gift can affect someone’s life. When she was 11 years old, Cindy received a gift of a shirt with her name spelled out in cute, colorful characters across the front. It quickly became one of her favorite possessions. Decades later, she still owns that shirt, and cites it as the inspiration for her company, Poseys People in Poses. The company, casually known as Poseys, offers a wide selection of keepsake apparel and accessories with unique, personalized touches. These t-shirts, pullover shirts, pillow cases and canvas bags are meant to reflect the hobbies and interests of the owner.
By Laura Vaillancourt - Friday, September 26th 2014
A few years ago, Majorie Labrèque Lepage was asked to sew a stuffed toy for a friend’s new arrival. At once, she received copious praise from everyone for her furry creation. She soon realized the joy she felt for creating these unique creatures. As a daughter of an entrepreneur, she could not help but start her own business –– Velvet Moustache. The brand has a number of lines, including cushions, soft toys and fashion. The cushions are square-shaped animal and people-like characters with wide eyes and over-sized ears. Their furry fabric makes them a great accessory for beds and playrooms.
By Stephanie Hanlon - Thursday, September 25th 2014
School is back in session and some of that summer brain drain is showing up in full force. As kids struggle to adjust to new schedules and schools, your store can help bring them back to basics with NumbersAlive! After more than 30 years of working with and teaching about numbers, Dr. Rebecca Klemm founded NumbersAlive!, an innovative framework for demystifying numbers and math. Presented as fun and friendly characters rather than complicated facts and figures, numbers come alive outside of math in areas like art, science, architecture, sports, nature, culture, and folklore.
By Laura Vaillancourt - Monday, September 22nd 2014
Over thirty years ago, Becky Cannon asked herself how she could provide natural care both inside and out for her future family. She spent the next three years studying and teaching young children about natural foods in Japan. There she had her daughter Emi. After moving back to the States and preparing for the birth of her second daughter, Mari, she missed the unique baby products she discovered in Japan. Soon, Cannon started importing diaper covers from Japan to make them available for other parents. Today, Cannon and her daughters are the mother-daughter owners of i play.®, as they continue to focus on creating the best baby-friendly products.
By Laura Vaillancourt - Friday, September 19th 2014
After traveling the world attending toy fairs, Michael Sellinger noticed there were no contemporarily designed, open-ended toys in the U.S. market. So, he created Sound of Fun to “correct the situation.” Sound of Fun offers two lines: the Kiddimoto — a wooden balance bike, and the Roomii — a ride-on toy chest. Both Kiddimoto and Roomii are awarding-winning English brands that represent the best in UK design, while meeting all American and European standards.
By Stephanie Hanlon - Wednesday, September 17th 2014
The Made in USA label has always meant durability, local design and processing. Now it can also indicate stylish, modern and organic designs unique enough to be featured in your store. Beautiful beasts come out of Brooklyn with Snuggly Ugly dolls and décor that add flair to nurseries. Clever child nicknames gave birth to nini & pumpkin and their moon cocoon wearable duvet. Young ladies get the royal treatment with the Ecoprincess line of makeup and bath products by Organic Beauty Now. Take note of Tree by Kerri Lee for a handmade movement in music that will replace plastic music boxes forever.