• The Playful Walnut Archive

    Anticipation is as much a part of the holiday season as a nutty fruitcake is. And as any parent knows, all that waiting can also drive you nuts! For all those over-eager little ones who can barely make it to December 25th, comes a delightful new picture books that aims to stave off that holiday hunger. When, When, When will it be Christmas? answers that all-important question in a colorful countdown format that is both engaging and calming. Rather than employ a traditional 3-2-1 blast-off approach, author/illustrator Cathy MacLennan chooses fitting imagery that crescendos with excitement at the turn of each page, but in a careful, slow-build approach. From bright-red birds helping to tie festive holiday bows, to Santa’s reindeer hanging lights, each illustration gently [&hellip

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    I’m excited for my first grader who will be taking an after-school program all about STEM. If my dad were still alive, I know he’d be equally thrilled over the prospect of grooming a future engineer–and a female one at that. Because so many girl toys from my childhood were designed in pinks and purples, I’m always on the lookout for playthings that speak more to a child’s fascination with learning while having fun than toys that simply coordinate with her wardrobe. GoldieBlox has had girls’ interests at heart right from the beginning. These innovative construction kits combine storytelling with design and creative play: the stuff that imaginative kids crave. Whether it’s designing a parade flat, a spinning wheel or a dunk yank, girls get [&hellip

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    I’m finally ready to admit it: I feel old. My kids adore Minecraft and I personally can’t understand it. I’m not really sure where their fascination lies, but when they talk about it, I feel like they’re speaking another language. What is so great about Creative, and just who is this Steve guy, anyway? While Minecraft may be the buzzword of the moment, I still wish it wasn’t just another excuse for my kids to beg for more screen time. That’s why I’m psyched for what we’re expecting to be one of hot toys of the holiday season: LEGO Minecraft Creative Adventure Sets. Based on the different environments of the Minecraft world, these play sets encourage kids ages 8 and up to act out their [&hellip

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    Kids’ books are one of my most favorite things, especially this time of year as the holidays approach. But while there seem to be no shortage of great Christmas books, our stash of Thanksgiving titles always appears to be lacking. I think we’ve stumbled upon a new one worth adding to our library. Gollywood, Here I Come! is a spirited read that will tickle your funny bone and captivate even the most fidgety listener. It stars a young turkey starlet, Anamazie, who aspires to leave her small town and someday walk the famous red carpet. Her dreams are nearly crushed after she fails to earn the top spot in “Gobbleville’s Got Talent” until a better opportunity comes along. Readers will be whisked away along with [&hellip

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    The North Pole, by way of NYC, just got a little bit colder. Build-a-Bear Workshop has opened a pop-up shop in NYC’s Brill Building, well in advance of the holiday season. Among the signature stuff-your-own-plush offerings is none other than Disney’s Frozen line. (Writing this on Halloween, we’re still riding the Frozen wave, since there’s bound to be a entire slew of Elsa, Anna and Olaf-dressed trick-or-treaters out today.) If you haven’t yet had your Frozen fill, or are looking for the latest fix of Frozen eye candy, Build-a-Bear Workshop’s line-up will not disappoint. Disney’s Frozen ‘Ice Queen’ Elsa Bear looks incredibly chic in her shimmering dress and snowy cape (there’s even an Elsa wig to top off her look, so to speak), while ‘Princess [&hellip

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    I wonder if there will ever be a day when I won’t find a broken crayon somewhere. Whether lying front and center on our family room rug, covertly lodged in the backseat of my car or buried at the bottom of my handbag, these classic signs of childhood prove that either my kids are very creative or that I can’t get a handle on clutter (probably a little bit of both, actually). If you’re known to stash paper and crayons in the car or anytime you’re on the go, consider the utterly adorable Mess Eaters Crayon Roll from P’kolino. Each high-quality European crayon has its own secure spot in this frog-shaped pouch. Unroll it and your child has a world of color at her fingertips. [&hellip

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    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 ┬ádress 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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