• The Playful Walnut Archive

    Last weekend, we had our first taste of winter for the season: enough snow to pile up for making snow angels and going sledding. And then just like that, it was gone! Fluffy mounds of powdery white quickly turned into muddy puddles, with only dirty, wet tire tracks as proof of their existence. Temperatures soared into the balmy 50s, threatening to turn this winter on its end. So, what’s a snowstorm-loving kid to do without a winter wonderland? Create her own, of course, and we have just the magic touch to get the snowball rolling. Seedling’s Create Your Own Snowflake Fairy Wand puts the power of pretend play into your child’s hand–literally–by providing all the essentials to fashion a decorative wand. From white felt and colorful ribbons, [&hellip

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    If you’ve been putting off trying to find a gift for the tween/teen in your life, we feel your pain. Gone are the days of cuddly stuffed animals,  fashion dolls and action figures…now it seems like all your kid cares about is his phone! If you refuse to resort to a token gift card (good for you!), but don’t exactly want to go to the end’s of the earth either, consider this creative choice that just begs to be played with. Seedling’s Design Your Own Marble Maze gets big points in our book. First, it takes the puzzle concept to another level (literally) by letting kids construct and design their own tabletop-sized maze. They can position walls, add traps and designate stop and start points to [&hellip

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    The clock is ticking, and you still haven’t found that perfect gift for the kid in your life. (Yes, it’s officially time to give up on those Hatchimals arriving any time soon.) If you’re looking for something unconventional, that doesn’t involve batteries and that you don’t even have to wrap, we’ve got the gift for you. Introducing Little Passports Science Expeditions, the all-in-one curiosity kit that will intrigue and fascinate budding scientists on a regular basis. Available as a monthly subscription, this series provides all the tools necessary for kids ages 9 and up to perform themed experiments right in their own home. For starters, they will receive a science case and lab notebook to keep tabs on their experiments in progress. Then, each month, [&hellip

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    The clock is ticking and if you’re like me, you’ve put off your holiday shopping for as long as humanly possible. (I’m usually not a procrastinator, but the annual Christmas rush can bring out the worst in even the best of us ). If you caught that emoji, then you’ll appreciate the latest crafting craze that truly lets kids speak their own language. Creativity for Kids Emoji Bracelets is a fun, inexpensive gift for the hard-to-please tween or tween-to-be. This kit comes with colorful gel cord that’s perfectly stretchy to show off the 70 emoji-faced beads: enough to make five unique bracelets to suit your kid’s mood du jour. It works just as well as a sleepover party crowd pleaser as it does for a [&hellip

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    You know it’s almost Christmas when supermarket pumpkins and mums are being swapped out in favor of wreaths, miniature trees and bags of red and green candies. Seeing those holiday Hershey kisses reminds me that, once again, I packed away our advent calendar in a box that I can’t get my hands on in time for December 1st! It’s one of those kinds with pockets for each day that you can fill with small toys, candy or other trinkets…but it seems to have lost its original allure (in my house, at least). If your family is in the market for a new way to countdown to Christmas, consider one of the latest trends in collectible toys to mark the season. The Disney Tsum Tsum Advent [&hellip

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    I remember that Christmas like it was yesterday. I had asked Santa for the Barbie Dream House, but instead received a Barbie Townhouse. I wasn’t entirely disappointed that I didn’t get exactly what I had written in my letter to him, but more because the house didn’t seem to work as I thought it should. The elevator didn’t go up without banging from side to side, and my dolls kept falling out. Some of the furnishings weren’t three-dimensional, but instead were printed onto the walls (seriously, how’s a girl supposed to hang up her sparkly evening gown without a real closet?). That might have been the very year that I began to lose interest in playing dolls, but looking back, I don’t begrudge Barbie for [&hellip

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    If you have a theater kid, then you must know all about Hamilton. In our house, it’s the perennial soundtrack that my 12-year-old lives and breathes–and she hasn’t even seen the show…yet. While it can be a bit much sometimes, it’s great to see how this musical theater obsession can easily pique a child’s interest in U.S. history. Such is the thinking over at Cobblestone magazine which is hosting the Rap Into History Challenge. To determine what other figures in American history might inspire future Broadway lyricists, Cobblestone is inviting kids ages 9-12 to create and submit original raps that intrigue them. Selections will be judged by a panel of Broadway producers and Cobblestone editors, and winning selections will be featured online and in print. [&hellip

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    With the start of a new school year comes the promise of making new friends. Depending on your child, that may–or may not–come easily. (If you happen to have a daughter, you know exactly what I’m talking about.) Because friendships tend to ebb and flow, kids may not always feel that their BFF of today will hold that same spot tomorrow. Remember when an impromptu tea party with a teddy bear could reverse the effects of a playdate gone bad? If your kid has outgrown her beloved bear, but longs for a new companion, check out Gift’ems. These collectible mini dolls, aimed at girls ages 5-10, are all the rage this season. Packaged in their own gift box, each doll hails from a different city [&hellip

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    TGIF! With the first week of school under our belts, the weekend can’t come soon enough. After figuring out how to make umpteen binders fit in one backpack without busting the seams, working out the kinks in an illogical bus route and filling out all that bloody paperwork, I’m ready to head back to the beach and pretend that it’s still summer vacation! No one ever said navigating the long and winding road of parenthood would be easy, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had some sort of road map to get you over some of those bumps all the way? Since that won’t be happening anytime soon, we think we’ve found a handy ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts that can cover some of that [&hellip

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    There aren’t too many baby toys that also appeal to toddlers. (Have you ever seen a 2-year-old shaking a rattle? Didn’t think so.) When these kids have a captive audience, they love to show off their strength, as if to say, “Hey, someday when you’re older like me, you’ll be able to do this, too.” Imagine, then, if the tables were turned and it’s the infant who’s proving his prowess as a playmate. Enter OgoSport’s Bolli, a tactile and sensory ball that’s as safe for little ones as it is cool for bigger kids. This bendy, stretchy ball helps build muscle power for developing infants, and also provides the perfect platform for tough toddlers to flex their own muscles. (And we know this toy is [&hellip

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