• The Playful Walnut Archive

    My daughters have finally settled on their Halloween costumes: the 6-year-old will be Pikachu from Pokemon (what, no Frozen?) and the 10-year-old is going the traditional route as a bat. While each girl purposefully planned to be something that had no relationship whatsoever to her sister’s (good old-fashioned sibling rivalry), as a mom I know far too well that whatever one kid has, another wants. (It’s why when one gets a present from Grandma, you can best be assured the other will be asking what she brought her.) If you’ve got a set of your own competitive kiddies at home, then you know firsthand how true this is, especially during the holidays. Right up our alley then is PLAYMOBIL’s Duo Pack Vampires, a twin set [&hellip

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    One of my friends is expecting her first baby this winter, and so naturally, I’m shopping for that perfect gift. She’s a city girl and someone who can appreciate the finer things in life. What do you get when you want to distinguish your baby shower present from a sea of adorable outfits, cuddly teddy bears and other baby basics? While I may turn to her registry for something she has already requested, I’d love a gift topper that speaks for itself. Well, after stumbling upon a new line of NYC-themed rattles from Estella, I think my search may be over. These hand-knit first toys are like nothing we’ve seen before. Designed in a variety of urban motifs, including a taxi cab, salted pretzel (of [&hellip

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    What’s Halloween without a good ghost story? Before my husband and I had kids, we made our yearly trek to Tarrytown, N.Y., where “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was reenacted by a local theater troop. Held within a stone’s throw of a dark cemetery through which the Headless Horseman was said to make his nightly ride, this was the ideal experience to get us into a spooky state of mind. Because my kids are still a bit too young to experience this terrifying, but terrific tale, we’ll have to settle for some other festive fables. If your own brood’s Halloween style is more Henry Hugglemonster than Headless Horseman, we’ve found a new book worth checking out with you this season. Monster Party! is the best [&hellip

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    Is Frozen fever still alive and well in your house like it is in ours? Amazing how much staying power sisterhood and one cool snowman truly has (sigh…). And with Halloween just a few weeks away, we can only imagine how many Elsas and Annas will be storming the castle–and our neighborhood–later this month. If your kids aren’t ready to give up their thrones anytime soon, but you’re looking for a Halloween costume that’s a little slight departure from the traditional fare, may we present the latest addition to trendy dress-up wardrobes everywhere? The sparking Enchanted Ice Princess ¬†dress is in a class by itself. Its icy blue satin skirt boasts a frozen glittery pattern that will be the envy of the entire kingdom. A [&hellip

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    October begins next week, and that means Halloween will be here before we know it. I love everything about it: the decorations, the candy, the costumes…did I mention the candy? This is one holiday that my entire family adores, including the grown-ups. (Last year, my husband made a coffin for a skeleton that was part of our front lawn display…I kid you not!) So since Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore, we’re on the lookout for Halloween goodies that have grown-up appeal, too. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty celebrates the season with two new squishy putties begging to be played with. Jack O’Lantern is a orange and gold-speckled squishy putty that sparkles when the lights are dimmed. Witch’s Brew Putty Creature boasts a purplish hue that [&hellip

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    On my kids’ first day of school, I included a handwritten note in each of their lunch boxes. It was the first time I’d done anything like that, but thought it was a nice way to start off the year. Despite my efforts, my missives were met with mixed reviews. “Why did you send me a letter?,” inquired my first grader, who then went off to play without waiting for an answer (clearly, my gesture was lost on her). “Thanks for your note,” my 10-year-old offered later that day, and then told me about a classmate of hers whose mom packs a note everyday. “But it’s not written by his mom; it’s like a fun fact- kind of thing.” Hmmm, maybe that’s something I could [&hellip

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    I consider myself to be a person who’s big on words. I can appreciate the choices different writers make in their work, and can sympathize with their struggles to perfect their craft into something that is both informative and engaging. Oh, and spelling counts. OK, in all seriousness, I know that all word play should have some element of fun in it. And what better way to maximize that fun factor than with Jenga Giant, a game that let takes the fine art of careful balancing to an entirely new level–and builds on it with the addition of word play? The life-size version of the tabletop game can stack as high as 3 feet and weigh up to 17 lbs. And what’s more, you can [&hellip

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    It’s the first rainy day we’ve had in weeks, and somehow, it’s oddly comforting. Staying indoors practically forces me to hunker down, brew a cup of tea and watch the raindrops fall. And yet, when you add kids to that equation, it suddenly becomes a different story. Lucky for us, my 6-year-old had a puppet-making class at our local library this morning that helped save the day. On our way out, we stopped by a table of books featuring kids’ crafts, an ideal way to extend the creative experience back at home. While we perused several noteworthy recommendations, nothing comes close to the recent book I received for review. The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes and Dances for Young Children is teeming [&hellip

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    Tis the season to pack up the kiddies and hit the road. Of course, traveling with little ones is never as carefree as one might wish (just thinking about having to schlepp¬†all that baby gear is exhausting enough!). If for some reason or another you find yourselves staying close to home this summer, your little one can still have fun and see the world. Ella Lou’s Wanderlust City Playmats are the passport for playtime in some of your favorite urban settings. Designed in a road map motif, these organic cotton mats let tots toddle their way through the streets of Los Angeles, New York City or San Francisco. The crawl-friendly surface is gentle on tender knees and is also ideal for tummy time. Older kids [&hellip

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    In our house, losing baby teeth means big business…and I’m talking about the Tooth Fairy making sure she has enough funds to satisfy the expectant child! Imagine how much easier life would be if a kid would rather forgo his cash reward and hang onto his lost tooth as his prize. Such is the premise of The Tooth Fairy Wars, a picture book that challenges kids to think outside the mouth, so to speak. The story revolves around a young boy named Nathan who’s determined to keep his missing teeth, no matter what the Tooth Fairy says or does. Page after page, he attempts to outsmart her with a series of seemingly clever antics…but is only met with disdain as she manages to one-up him. [&hellip

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