Need an exciting last-minute gift for a special little one this holiday season? Any of the brilliant subscription services below for kids will make an excellent stocking stuffer, and can be ordered today or even tomorrow for easy peasy gift-giving.

GIRLS CAN! CRATE

I’ve got a strong, fearless 6 year old daughter… and I want to encourage those traits as she grows. One awesome gift idea for girls ages 5-10 is GIRLS CAN! CRATE, a subscription box that celebrates bold, fearless women who have helped to make our world a better place. I love that each crate teaches my daughter that if she puts her mind to it… she can do & be anything!

Each GIRLS CAN! CRATE includes a 20-page GIRLS CAN! Activity Book telling her unique story, 2-3 hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities related to her field, a creative play prop, a featured character trait that helped her succeed and 2-3 practical tips for parents to easily foster that trait.

What makes this an even more throughful gift is that GIRLS CAN! CRATE donates 10% of the proceeds from every crate purchased to nonprofit organizations working to empower women and girls.

Any gift subscription ordered now through the 31st will start with the January CRATE. You can order a gift subscription to GIRLS CAN! CRATE at https://www.girlscancrate.com/.

Little Passports

Perfect for ages 3-12, this subscription service brings the world home to your child! Encouraging the love of travel and opening their eyes to the world around them, Little Passports has been a favorite in our home for a few years now. With 4 exciting, unique and creative ways to explore the world, there is something for everyone!

Choose from Early Explorers (3-5), World Edition (6-10), USA Edition (7-12), and Science Expeditions (9+)… all come with creative, hands-on activities to encourage learning. We have tried both the Early Explorers kits and the World Edition kits, and both have kept my little ones busy for hours.

Little Passports be ordered now and you will get a printable gift certificate to place in a stocking or under the tree. Visit https://www.littlepassports.com/.

KiwiCo Crates

For difficult to shop for teens, KiwiCo launched a new line of monthly projects called Eureka Crate. Getting kids off of their screens and devices, Eureka Crates are designed to inspire them to think about the engineering behind the objects all around them. Made for ages 14+, each Eureka Crate engineering project is functional upon completion including a desk lamp, electric pencil sharpener, and working ukulele. Check out Eureka Crates here.

There is something for everyone from KiwiCo from ages birth on up! My two year old loved creating an adorable farm & vegetable garden with his Koala Crate… and keeps calling it his ‘farmo.’ Additional DIY ideas can be found for each crate on the KiwiCo website.

My six year old is into anything craft-related, so the Kiwi Crate is perfect for her! She loved making the Arcade game with her crate! While she did need a little assistance from Mom & Dad, she was able to read the directions with ease.

KiwiCo’s crates are subscription-based and you can choose 1, 3, 6, or 12 months of deliveries. These make excellent gifts for anyone, whether for the holidays, a birthday, or just because! Learn more at KiwiCo.com.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

Tiny Green Mom’s Top Toys for 2018

We’ve searched high & low the past few months to compile the latest and greatest toys for a variety of ages… from toddlers to elementary school-aged children. These our our top picks… and yes, some are still available to order in time for Christmas!

bbluv Mülti Reversible Playmat

Super-soft, cushioned and big enough to grow from baby to toddler, the Mülti Reversible Playmat is an ideal playspace for your little one. Roll it up for on-the-go or leave it open for hours of fun at home. It is waterproof, reversible and made from non-toxic and easy-to-clean material. My two-year-old LOVES this mat… he can stretch out and play with all his vehicles on the roadways for hours.

Veggie Farm Sorting Set

Encourage a love of vegetables (and growing them!) through this adorable Veggie Farm Sorting Set! From Learning Resources, this educational and engaging playset encourages the development of matching, color recognition, sorting, and early counting skills. My daughter loves to help her little brother sort and count through the vegetables… such a cute and educational activity. It’s not too big, so can be tucked away easily, too! Order today on Amazon.com and it will arrive before Christmas!

1,2,3 Build It Rocket, Train, Helicopter

Have a little one obsessed with vehicles? Then this toy is perfect! Best for ages 2+, the 1,2,3 Build It Rocket, Train, Helicopter helps to develop fine motor skills as your child builds and rebuilds three different vehicles with a kid-sized wrench. Colorful and easy-to-handle, the set encourages both creativity and matching skills. This set is just adored by my son, who needed a bit of help at first to use the wrench and put the pieces together. Once together, he likes to play with the helicopter the most! Order today on Amazon.com and it will arrive before Christmas.

Green Toys™ Ambulance & Doctor’s Kit

Eco-friendly, imaginative play… what’s not to love!? The Green Toys line is a must-have in our home, especially since the vehicles are incredibly sturdy and durable! So much to our excitement, this popular line recently introduced an Ambulance & Doctor Kit that comes with everything needed to play doctor, nurse, EMT – or all of the above! Made in the USA from super-safe, 100% recycled plastic, this 10-piece set encourages motor skill development, imaginative play, and pro-social behavior, while also helping to ease anxiety about doctor visits by making the components of a check-up familiar and fun. The ambulance has the features, size, and durability of a classic Green Toys truck, as well as lights that flip-up into a handle to create a unique carrying case. All the pieces included in the set – a stethoscope, reflex hammer, syringe, forceps, thermometer, and otoscope, as well as a doctor’s notepad and two sheets of assorted stickers – can be stored in the back of the ambulance for quick, eco-friendly transport to the next emergency. No BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Dishwasher safe. Packaged with recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy inks. For ages 2-8… and definitely popular with our 2 year old son. Best part? Order today on Amazon.com and it will arrive before Christmas!

Green Toys™ Elmo & Friends Dough Activity Set

What’s not to love about dough? For your Sesame Street obsessed little ones, the Elmo & Friends Dough Activity Set comes with everything needed to create your favorite furry faces – out of dough! Use the tools to create the shapes and figures, then finish off your creation with the pop-out features. The safe, non-toxic dough is made in a food-safe facility from organic flour (which we love!), and easily wipes off the activity card. This 12-piece set promotes sensory exploration, develops fine motor skills, and encourages creativity and imagination. The set includes 1 star extruder, 1 spaghetti extruder, 1 scraper, 1 knife, 1 roller, 1 rolling cutter, 1 scissors, 1 two-sided activity card, 1 pop-out features sheet, and 3 dough tubs. This set is simply adorable and we love that the dough is made from better-for-you materials! Want it before Christmas? Order on Amazon.com.

Lakeshore Take-Along Train Station

So… Lakeshore really gets it right with this Take-Along Train Station! Whether you fold it up for on-the-go or set it up for play at home, this durable wooden set boasts all the features of a lively travel town! From a bank and post office to road signs and trees, your future engineer will adore this train station! My son loves any and all things that have to do with trains, so this is a tried & true favorite currently!

Lakeshore Precious Ponies Playset

Have a budding equestrian on your hands? Here’s everything your little one need to feed, groom and train 2 show horses, including a feeding trough, a grooming brush and 2 jumping gates. Exercise the horses in the corral, or put them in stalls with real-working doors. All 13 pieces even fit inside the stable for on-the-go fun! This set is just too cute… and my 6 year old has been really enjoying it!

Clicformers 25Pc Set h

Do your kiddos love to build and create? Then Clicformers is a neat option for truly endless building possibilities! The Clicformers Car 25Pc Set racecar lets you design race cars and trucks with the 18 building blocks and 7 accessory pieces… or simply come up with your own designs! All Clicformers sets are compatible. When playtime is over, we love that you can simply stack and store!

Kanoodle Head to Head Game

My 6 year old daughter is obsessed with games… and winning! So, to challenge her a bit, we checked out the Kanoodle Head to Head Game where you go head to head with friends or family in the Kanoodle puzzle challenge for two! Challenging for her… but fun for mom and dad to get in on the action, the game enhances problem solving skills, develops spatial reasoning, and encourages critical thinking. For the ultimate check-mate, with the simple press of a button, you can launch your opponent’s pieces! We love that this packs up easily for travel, too!

PlayFoam Pals

Voted as one of Amazon’s Top 100 Toys of 2018, it is no secret why PlayFoam Pals are super popular! Kids get to dig and search through foam material to discover a tiny hidden collectible inside! Then, you can play with the foam, molding new shapes and designs. With so many sets, your kiddos can create a collection of figurines pretty quickly! Best for ages 5-10. These are a hot item right now for my 6 year old daughter! The Snowy Friends set is perfect for the holidays, and is still available on Amazon.com with delivery in time for Christmas!

Break Away Ballz™

From Alex Brands comes a new take on the ‘surprise inside’ trend! With Break Away Ballz™, each 5” ball consists of 8 identically sized foam pieces that break apart when thrown against a hard surface, revealing a 2” bouncy ball surprise inside. We know how much kids love bouncy balls! The identically sized pieces allow your child to easily piece everything back together…and even hide something else inside! There are 6 available to collect. Amazon.com still has some available to ship in time for Christmas.

Cupcake Surprise Series 3 Minis

Like the regular sized doll, the Cupcake Surprise Minis transform from cupcake to a tiny beautiful doll. They are available in many new styles and 6 different delicious scents, such as strawberry, vanilla, and lemon… and come with their own hairbrush! Your little one will want to collect them all! They are perfect companions to the regular sized Cupcake Surprise dolls. Ages 3 and up. There are a variety of Cupcake Surprise Dolls available on Amazon.com with delivery before Christmas.

Razor Berry Kick Scooter

So… my daughter made the cutest little video for Santa and she said she didn’t want much, just a skateboard and a new scooter! The skateboard threw us for a loop, but she’s in luck because The Razor Berry, with its skateboard-style plastic deck and vibrant color combo, will be making an appearance under the tree this year! Available in a variety of bold colors and at a price point that is extremely affordable, this is a hot ticket item this year!

Razor Jr. Lil Kick Scooter

Now little brother can kick it with his big sister! For junior riders, Razor Jr. Lil Kick Scooter offers larger urethane wheels and a wider deck, made especially for little riders learning to balance and steer. The Lil’ Kick Scooter is designed for stability, and will give your little one hours of fun in style.

Cuddlekins Unicorn Plush

Plush & adorable, your unicorn-obsessed child will love the latest addition to Wild Republic’s popular Cuddlekins line. Irresistibly soft, the Unicorn is perfect for snuggles and cuddles. The plush is available in two designs, white starsor pink hearts.

Li’l Fairyland Cuties

These make an ultimate stocking stuffer…especially since they are already wrapped so beautifully! Another super cute take on the surprise trend, Li’l Fairyland Cuties, is a line of cute collectible fairy dolls wrapped in three layers of shiny foil for the ultimate “surprise” fairy fun. Your little one will love unwrapping each layer of foil to reveal all-new surprise accessories to decorate the fairy doll. There are 14 fairies to collect and trade with friends. Discover the 7 surprises featured in each Fairyland Cutie, including the doll, wand, gemstone stickers, fairy hair accessory and collector sheet with stickers. Appropriate for ages 4 & up. Want it before Christmas? They are available on Amazon.com!

The World of Eric Carle Let’s Feed The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game

A bright, beautiful board game based on Eric Carle’s best-selling book, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, children ages 3 & up will love to transform their caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly with this fun game of counting, collecting, and building! For 2 to 4 players. There is still time to order this educational game on Amazon.com in time for Christmas delivery!

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

Yellow Label Kids - Finger PuppetsLooking for creative, imaginative and inspired play this summer with your little ones? Look no further than Yellow Label Kids, a fantastic company offering fair-trade, earth-friendly and hand-crafted toys, puppets and animals that don’t need all the bells and whistles to engage little ones! It’s time to turn off the TV, iPads, iPods, computers, and more, and let your children perform an impromptu puppet show with these oh-so cute hand puppets! The finger puppets are lovingly stitched and have sparked the imaginations of “Mom’s” little ones countless times since they arrived to play. The tiny details of the finger puppets are absolutely darling, and what we love is how easy to they are to pack due to their size! The little puppets can be placed in a pocket, purse, diaper bag and more for fun on-the-go – perfect for a backseat comedy routine!

Yellow Label Kids - Lion Friends Rattles

Founded by entrepreneur Hillary Sciarillo, Yellow Label Kids is fast becoming one of “Mom’s” favorite earth-friendly toy companies! The knit toys are all made with bamboo yarn, and are extremely soft for little hands. The rattles make an excellent baby shower gift for the eco-minded parent!

In addition to the finger puppets and rattles, beautiful handmade dolls, toys, hats, and more are available. To see the entire collection of clothing and toys available at Yellow Label Kids, please visit YellowLabelKids.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Peaceable Kingdom Great Cheese with game open_HREarth Day may be over, but taking care of our planet is important the whole year through! Peaceable Kingdom turns ordinary moments into teaching moments through cooperative play. Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative games (many of which are 100% green) have players work together as a team against the game, not against each other. To “Mom,” this means more fun and less aquabbles! For little ones who are exceptionally strong-willed and like to win, this provides an opportunity to learn the value of teamwork. Players win as a team or they lose as a team: it’s that simple. As players work together, they help each other, and learn the valuable lesson of what can happen when everyone comes together to address a problem – all while having fun, of course!
 
Green games, such as The Great Cheese Chase, can help open up a dialogue with your children about living a sustainable lifestyle. Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative games are just the thing for starting this conversation! All of the games listed below are made with soy-based inks on FSC paper and include game parts made with corn-based plastic and FSC wood. 

Cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom include:

•The Great Cheese Chase
•Hoot Owl Hoot
•Count Your Chickens
•Stone Soup
•Lost Puppies
•Mermaid Island
•Race to the Treasure
•Seeds for the Birds
 
Mom” absolutely loves the concept of a cooperative game where children learn to work together to solve a problem – all under the guise of play. The Great Cheese Chase is entertaining, easy to learn, and fun for the entire family. “Mom’s” little one loves to play this game where all of the mice must get to the cheese in the attic before Tiger the Cat!

To learn more about Peaceable Kingdom, their many cooperative games, or to locate a retailer near you, please visit peaceablekingdom.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

NogginStik 1What’s the hottest new educational toy for the youngest learners? The NogginStik™! It has a quirky name but will help your little one master major developmental milestones in an engaging and interactive way! “Mom’s” little one has been playing with the NogginStik™ for 2 months now, and it still entertains, amuses and teaches her new skills!

The NogginStik™ promotes healthy brain development and bonding with your child. With interesting textures to delight the sense of touch, the NogginStik™’s handle is easy to grip for tiny fingers, and helps your child master grasping. The head lights up in three different colors – red, blue and green – to help stimulate your baby’s eyes and encourage visual tracking. In addition, the base of the  NogginStik™ makes a soft rattle sound to help develop listening skills, and features a mirror on the underside, as well.

Our littlest green member of the family just giggled and giggled the first time the NogginStik™ was introduced! Now, she can grasp it with ease and loves to shake it like a maraca to music!

Created by an early intervention therapist, the NogginStik™ is the recipient of the 2012 Top Toy Award by Creative Child Magazine. To learn more about the developmental benefits of the NogginStik™, please visit smartnoggintoys.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

7 Tips for Buying Non-Toxic Toys

With the input of experts at Healthy Stuff and a brain trust of mom bloggers who share their knowledge with Healthy Child Healthy World, here are the top 7 tips from Margie Kelly of Natural Child World for buying non-toxic toys to consider before you head out to a store this season!

1. Buy less. Do you really need to buy a new toy? Depending on the age of the child, she may prefer a book you promise to read out loud to her. Another special kind of gift is an experience; a trip to the zoo or amusement park or a tour of the local fire station. Sometimes getting “stuff” is less interesting than other options only you can create.

2. Buy used. Before heading out to a toy store, check your neighborhood for a swap or store that sells second hand items. Often you can find toys that have been hardly touched for a fraction of what they would cost new. Be sure to check for recalls, however.

3. Avoid plastics. Vinyl plastic is the worst plastic for the environment and your child’s health. Vinyl itself is toxic and it’s loaded with chemicals like lead and phthalates that cause real damage to human health. Vinyl is junk that is toxic throughout its lifecycle: production, use and disposal. If you can’t bring yourself to abandon plastics entirely, choose safer plastics labeled 1,2,4 or 5 in the symbol usually found at the bottom of the product.

4. Choose natural materials. Choose unpainted wood toys or cloth or plush toys instead of plastic. Watch out for painted wood toys unless it is certified that the paint is non-toxic and lead-free.

5. Just say no to metal jewelry. Lead is a big problem in jewelry. Tests by HealthyStuff.org found over half jewelry tested contained chemicals of concern, including cadmium, a known carcinogen, and lead. Bottom line: steer clear of cheap bling.

6. No batteries. Here’s a great rule of thumb. If batteries are required for a toy to operate, leave it on the shelf! Unless you’ve pre-cleared it, parents of young children will thank you for leaving at the toy store loud toys that whoop, talk, or blare sirens.

7. Choose high quality toys. Buy toys built to last. High quality toys can take a beating and still last long enough to be handed down to a younger sibling or friend or even sold to a second hand store once your child has outgrown it.

About the Publication

Natural Child World Magazine is a sophisticated, sustainable lifestyle magazine for the modern family. Natural Child World is a multimedia platform that addresses the needs of the modern family. It is the #1 resource for parents who want to make better choices for themselves and the people they love the most, without sacrificing the things they like the most. From design in Copenhagen to fashion in New York, to lifestyle and well-being around the globe, Natural Child World offers a global look at parenting in the modern world. Natural Child World is sold nationwide at top retailers including; Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Target, and many more. (For the digital version, please visit: http://naturalchildworld.com)

Awesome new toy alert! If you have a child who is musically inclined or loves to sing and dance, the new Symphony in B from B. Toys will be their favorite before long. This new musical toy lets your child be the conductor while learning all about 13 different instruments as they orchestrate their own inspired musical combinations.

To play, your child can choose up to 5 different instruments to place in the orchestra pit, which will be played together. Your little one can choose from 15 songs and classical symphonies and even change the tempo as the instruments play. Instruments include the clarinet, flute, tuba, trumpet, xylophone, drums, cymbals, piano, accordion, koto, guitar, violin and sitar, and each instrument is labeled with its proper name. Plus, each instrument has a distinct shape on the bottom so your child can also reinforce their knowledge of shapes as they place each instrument back into place after playing.

Unique features of Symphony in B include:

Lights teach the sections of an orchestra
Beautiful, rich, professionally recorded sounds
Included playbill teaches composers, writers and lyrics
Auto-off.

Mom’s” toddler absolutely adores Symphony in B, and has already gone through one set of batteries as she composes symphony after symphony. The music is not cheesy or annoying, as some children’s toys can be, but beautiful and classic. We could listen to the various symphonies for hours, and even older children will enjoy it. (yes, parents too!) This is one fabulous musical learning toy!

To learn more about Symphony in B, or to locate a Target retailer near you, please visit justb-byou.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Your little back seat driver is going to love having their own steering wheel – no drivers ed classes needed! (at least not yet!) B. Toys’ latest educational toy for children is the ultra cool YouTurns, a steering wheel that doubles as a pillow for long car rides. Just flip it over, and little ones can nod off on the way to Grandma’s.

The bright red wheel sits neatly in your child’s lap, and can be steered left or right with real engine and horn sounds. Plus, tiny tots will love that they can shift into forward, reverse or neutral as they cruise along, and the screen even lights up for night driving! With LED blinkers and a music button that plays lively tunes, YouTurns will spark your child’s imagination while beating the backseat blues.

Another great use for YouTurns? It makes an excellent gift for children who have an extended stay in the hospital. It can be used for playing or sleeping while confined to a hospital bed, and is much more exciting than a teddy bear!

To learn more about YouTurns, or other B. Toys, visit justb-byou.com. B Toys can be found at any local Target store, as well.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

You will go wild for Skip Hop’s Alphabet Zoo line, the newest collection to be introduced from this innovative and modern company! This zoo-rific collection includes four boldly-colored, whimsical pieces featuring modern graphics and beautiful colors. The soft baby toys are developmental with a designer twist and allow your little one to play and engage in a myriad of ways.

Mom” adores the super-soft Stack & Stick Animals, which has been safety-tested to meet or exceed ASTM, CPSIA, EN71 and applicable safety standards. 3 lively animals, including a zebra, owl and elephant, attach together with velcro or can be pulled apart for sensory fun! The elephant’s ears crinkle and features a chime inside his plush body, the zebra rattles, and the owl has many different fabrics embroidered on his body for tactile exploration.

In addition to the Stack & Stick Animals, the Alphabet Zoo collection includes:

Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym – The graphic activity mat, which includes a Tummy Time pillow, offers irresistible multi-sensory play for baby at every stage of development and brings new life to ABCs. The Activity Gym features 17 developmental activities for ages 0+ months and up.

Alphabet Zoo Activity Mirror – Baby will have tons of fun learning to recognize himself while playing with a monkey friend that sticks around the mirror. Large and baby-safe, the mirror is surrounded by a soft and friendly elephant.

Alphabet Zoo Unfolding Activity Book – Filled with tactile activities, this book opens up to become a fun-filled play center with five friendly animals all in a row. Packs neatly in a diaper bag, too!

The Alphabet Zoo Toy Collection is available online and at select retailers nationwide. Learn more at SkipHop.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Bathtime struggles will cease when these educational and exciting bath toys are brought into play! BPA-free and just plain FUN, little ones will once again love their bathtime routine!

Wonder Waterway

Engage your little one with this eye-catching Wonder Waterway from Munchkin! For ages 6 months and up, this adorable toy can be stacked to create a fun waterway, or taken apart to be played with individually in the water. This cute little find is a fabulous toy to help your baby build hand-eye coordination with ease!

White Hot® Super Safety Bath Ducky

“Rubber ducky, you’re the one… you make bath-time so much fun!” Your child will be singing this tune while splashing and playing with this rubber duck which boasts a special “White Hot” disc at the bottom that tells you when the water is too hot to handle, and then lets you know when it’s just right to bathe your baby. But your little one won’t know the difference – she will be having too much fun making up games with one of three ducks – a firefighter, police office or mermaid! What “Mom” loves is that the ducks are watertight, so no mildew will build up inside, which is often the case with water toys!

Octopus Ring Toss

It’s a water sprinkler and ring toss game in one! Your baby will love to watch as water poured into the octous’s head trickles down his arms, or play an exciting game of ring toss while in the tub! Easily mounted onto the wall, the Octopus Ring Toss by Skip Hop is made of soft, no-bump material.

Starfish Stay-Put Stacker

Every child loves this classic toy – which Skip Hop has brought to the bath for added enjoyment! Your little bathing beauty will love to stack and re-stack the rings as the Starfish Stacker stays firmly attached to the tub floor. For an added dexterity challenge as baby gets older, let the stacker float on top of the water while your child tries to stack the rings! Plus, kids will love discovering that the rings stick and cling to the tub wall when wet.

*Companies generously provided images and samples for this piece.*