Yoga has enormous benefits for kids. It’s soothing which helps calm them down and it energizes so they get a boost when needed. Mompreneur Jensen Wheeler Wolfe had taught yoga for years so when her daughter’s preschool teacher needed an activity, she stepped in faster than you can say “downward dog.” First, she cut up regular adult yoga mats into four. seeing how enthusiastically the kids took to the child-sized mats, she converted her clever idea into a business: The Little Yoga Mat.
As Digital Natives grow up with everything electronic, there’s a growing trend of going backward to a simpler time. As we see a resurgence in 80s fashion and throwback cartoons have become kitschy cool (how many handsome leading men weren’t even born when the heroes they play splashed across our TVs on Saturday mornings?), organizations like Jam’n Products are riding the wave. Fostering close relationships with historic vendors like Mattel, SpinMaster and more, Jam’n has cornered the market on old-school cool.
K’NEX Brands, the US construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love®, is excited to introduce Mighty Makers; a line of construction toys designed to empower girls through creative and stimulating building ideas! Created by an all-female marketing and design team, the Mighty Makers building set line encourages girls ages 7+ to build BIG ideas. Each Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”) based set features colorful rods, connectors, panels, engaging story-based instructions that follow the life of the included female figure.
There’s nothing like the freedom and exhilaration a bike can bring, and while fashion isn’t everything, having a high-quality bike (or other wheeled ride-on) definitely adds to the biking experience, making it safer and more enjoyable. Morgan Cycle is one of our country’s premier makers of bikes, trikes and other wheeled toys. Founded 20 years ago by bicycle engineer Sylvester Yen, the company prides itself on its fine craftsmanship.
Shoppers looking to help develop kids’ creativity will relish ecologically sound, techy coloring books from Painting Lulu. The system bridges the gap between traditional coloring books — always a kid fave — and contemporary technology. The technology is simple: kids color in the book and then, with a little adult assistance, scan the QR code on the page using a free app on a smart device — it doesn’t even require a download. Presto, the coloring page appears on the device and kids can continue coloring where they left off using the special Painting Lulu Digital Crayon that has a host of unique coloring tools and features.
Many car lovers collect 1960s vehicle memorabilia, and even enjoy passing down their appreciation to their children with toy cars that sport this signature look. Candylab Toys captures the spirit of the ’60s with its line of classic collectible toy cars. What makes these cars unique is that they’re made of wood, a material growing in popularity due to its longevity and environmental sustainability.
eeBoo is a woman owned, innovative toy company from NYC celebrating its 20th anniversary of making uniquely beautiful toys and intelligent gifts for children. Twenty years ago eeBoo’s founder Mia Galison was unwilling to choose between work and family; integrating the two, she forged an original path for herself, her husband and three children. Mia and her husband put in long hours and depended on the help of neighbors, friends, families, and babysitters, and they never separated their life from work. They wanted to encourage creative thinking, open-ended play, and meaningful communication in the products developed.
Playhouses make the perfect hideouts where kids can create their own cozy kingdoms of fantasy and fun. Traditionally, playhouses have been outdoor buildings, usually small sheds or the classic tree house. Of course, not all kids have access to the type of outdoor spaces that allow for these options, not to mention the fact that tree houses and outdoor buildings can be difficult to build and aren’t the best options in bad weather. Yuhuhugs introduces children to a whole new set of options with their innovative line of indoor playhouses.
With more and more families becoming ecologically aware and moving toward sustainable living, wooden toys are experiencing a renaissance. Karl Oppen, founder of Tree Blocks, is a business owner who has put responsible forestry practices to work in his company. After overseeing factories in Europe and Vietnam, and becoming familiar with the high demands those locations place on the forestry industry, Oppen opened his first U.S. factory in Wisconsin. The off-the-grid operation uses sustainable forestry, reclaimed wood, and off-cut wood to create a fun and unique line of toys.
What’s better than a jigsaw puzzle with the design on one side? When the other side reveals a second part of the fun. That’s the idea behind Flipzles, award-winning puzzles made of thick, durable wood with vibrant images on all three layers, each a unique piece of art created by Vicki Lewis. Flipzles help kids discover spatial relationships and build hand-eye coordination, yet are compact, easy to store and a snap to take anywhere.
Maple Landmark has been making eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games and gifts since 1979 in Middlebury, Vermont. Many people know them for their NameTrains, but they craft a wide array of children’s products including heirloom wooden baby toys, toddler toys, board games and gifts. The Giggle Guide® recently caught up with Maple Landmark for a look behind the scenes of this topnotch brand:
English has become a global language that’s the lingua franca of business, science, and education, so when an author who has previously written in their native language has a book published in English, he or she can feel as though it’s one of their breaks into the big leagues. German author Frank Schmeißer’s children’s book, The Incredible Three and a Half Super Heroes, was recently made available in English through Little Gestalten. The book is a humorous look at the life of three young superheroes — and one imaginary friend — who set out to solve mysteries and save the world, but often end up getting into trouble of their own making.