• The Playful Walnut Archive

    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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    Are you as psyched for the release of the new Ghostbusters movie as we are? Just the sight of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and I start salivating for my requisite bag of Twizzlers and movie popcorn. While there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the latest incarnation of the beloved 80s blockbuster, we know there will be plenty of playthings to help kids re-create the magic once the last credits have rolled. One line already on our radar is next summer’s Playmobil Ghostbusters line. We don’t know too much about this assortment, but if the Playmobil name itself isn’t enough indication that it will be top-notch, we think it will be worth the wait. Rumor has it that kids will be able to create their own [&hellip

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    Another raindrop, another indoor afternoon. After an unseasonably cool spring, with yo-yo temperatures making us moms scurry back and forth between unearthing flip-flops and keeping heavy jackets within easy reach, I question what’s on tap for summer. If the forecasters are to be believed, we’ll be continuing this crazy dance that hovers between hot and humid and wet and wild. And that may mean the kids spending a lot more time indoors than we might like. Before you lose your cool before it actually gets hot, consider stocking up on some fun, relatively inexpensive items to keep kids entertained (and moms, sane). One new item that caught our eye this season is Calafant. Remember how much you loved to play with the box that your [&hellip

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    Do you know what you’d like for Mother’s Day? For me, it’s an easy request: peace and quiet for one whole day…(yeah, I know. Not so simple). All kidding aside, we know what great lengths our kids (and husbands) go to to make us moms feel special. But if they only realized that they didn’t have to try so hard, it might make the day a lot more meaningful. When most moms seem to crave a little more me time, maybe there’s a creative way to make that happen. I think my local library has the right idea: the current bulletin advertises a class for adult coloring, giving us the perfect excuse to sit down with a fresh box of crayons (who doesn’t love that [&hellip

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    Happy Earth Day! If your weather is as nice as ours is today, it’s the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fact that spring has finally sprung. If April showers have upended your outdoor plans, then a good book may be just the ticket. Yesterday, I had the privilege to read to a class of second graders for an Earth Day celebration, and one book in particular captivated this rambunctious crew. Critter Litter: See What Animals Leave Behind masks itself as an educational read with a hidden surprise on each page. Each photo spread is dedicated to one of 12¬†different animals and features fun facts, photos and illustrations. The biggest attraction is the lift-the-flap feature that reveals the “critter litter” this dirty dozen [&hellip

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