I have to admit; I get as excited (if not MORE excited) than my kiddos when I see the Holiday Land of Nod catalog arrive each year. Land of Nod is super crafty; they come up with and market toys aiming not only for kiddos, but also for the adults who love them. They don't take themselves too seriously. These are TOYS after all! If you can't have fun here, where can you?!
And, yes, as a rule, I try to stay away from "big box" stores. I am still passionate about supporting local stores and buying from the artist when I can. But sometimes you just can't. Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of the season gets to be a little too bustle-y to enjoy any more. And it's okay! Don't beat yourself up about it.
I feel that Land of Nod is sensitive to this sentiment. Their motto(s) is/are: "Batteries Not Required, Vintage Reimagined, Quality and Safety, Artist Designed, Design for the Family". And that? Sounds about right to me. Both my preschool teacher and mama sides are COMPLETELY on board. I hope you (and your favorite tiny) enjoy these as much as I do!
Top LoN Toys: Stocking stuffers--all fun and games
Looking at these again, I see that these gifts are perfect for the "big kids" in your life too! Trucks? Yes. But a miniature food truck? So right now! And hair wraps. I have so so many wonderful memories of days spent in summer camp wrapping, unwrapping, wrapping friends and my hair. A rite of passage for sure. The absolutely BEST part of these is that they are quiet. No blaring horns or canned music. Good toys that don't drive you insane.
Top LoN Toys: Stocking stuffers--artistically inclined
I am of the opinion that you can never go wrong with art supplies. Boys, girls, young, older. Perfect.
Outer Space Coloring Roll: this is great. Imagine sitting in a restaurant (or holiday table!) waiting for food. The dreaded waiting. But hold on! Pull this beauty out and you're set. Perfect size to throw in a purse or backpack.
Left-Right Crayons: I've always considered myself sensitive to lefties as a teacher. But it wasn't until I became a mama of one that I saw how truly difficult it can be to insert yourself into a rightie-oriented world. The great thing about these crayons? They go both ways AND teach little ones how to hold them with a better grip. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Triangle Colored Pencils: um, Jen? What's so special about these? Oh, the shape. Without the triangle shape? Imagine countless games of "pencil fetch" for you. They go everywhere. These. Stay. Put. Relax and enjoy art time.
Travel Spirograph: this one is completely a sentimental pick for me. I had one of these when I was younger and spent what felt like HOURS drawing, doodling, making beautiful designs. Heck, I'd LOVE getting one of these now! For the type A people out there: easy, SYMMETRICAL designs at your finger tips.
Top LoN Toys: Stuffies and cuddles
Corduroy fox: in case you missed the memo, foxes are HOT! They're at once cuddly and a bit devious. And orange. How can you not love orange? This fox also has the added benefit of corduroy. See if you can actually give this guy/gal away once you've given it a cuddle. I dare you.
Sloth! I add the exclamation point because sloths are popping up everywhere! In fact, not that I am in charge of this sort of thing, but I declare 2016 the year of the sloth. Possibly 2017, to be seen. They so cute. And smiley. And if you don't believe me? Just try seeing this and not smiling. Just a little. You know you wanna. And naps. They're huge fans of naps. Sold!
Emoji Baby Play Mat: sure, it's cute. And different than the 10,000 jungle themed play mats (Not judging! I had one too!!). But! But but but! Each of the emojis also has a different texture/sound that it makes. Perfect for tiny ones just beginning to explore their world. See? Just as good for learning as it is irreverent
How Do You Zoo Sleeping Bag: (see what I mean about the fun they have with their products?) Why, hello, Mr. Fox! It's nice to see you again! Fancy meeting YOU here. But seriously, how cute is this sleeping bag? Built in pillow. Cozy bag. Rolls up easily. I see no downside here! Also, for a bit more, you can throw your kiddos' name on there. You know, in case foxes really ARE everywhere.
Top LoN Toys: Must reads!
Books. Books, books, books. I remember as a child, after the frantic opening and paper tossing bonanza that was Christmas morning, that there would be a calm. A pause. As everyone sat and read the books they'd received. Granted, my mama is a librarian, so we got books. But it instilled a life-long love of books in me. One I hope to pass on to my boys. Needless to say, there were way too many books to show you all my favorites. In fact, view them ALL here. But here are three that particularly jumped out to me.
"Trains Go" is perfect for any little one who is vehicle inclined. It's also great for kiddos just learning to talk. Reading involves making sounds of the different trains on each page. Fun to hear and fun to repeat. Fun!
"Colors" by Orla Kiely. Orla Kiely. I was sold there. But it is such a beautiful book. Her graphic designs are perfect for kiddos learning their colors. Engaging for them; beautiful to look at for you. (Also available in Numbers)
"Charley Harper Coloring Book Vol. 2" is part Frank Lloyd Wright and part kids' coloring book. What more could you want? And yes, foxes!
Top LoN Toys: Go where your imagination takes you!
It truly warms my soul to watch and listen to a kiddo play "pretend". To them, there are no boundaries. Nothing is impossible. And it's so crucial to child development to have these times. I know you're convinced, so I'll tell you what's so great about these three.
Mail Call Play Set: I feel like there are the evergreen pretend sets out there. Doctor, teacher, firefighter, construction worker. But how often are the men and women of the good ol' USPS given their day in pretend land? Today. Today they are given a day. Because kiddos LOVE giving things. And delivering things. And in today's world of electronic mail and cyber everything.....isn't it great that they can still pretend this? It is. In my mind, it is.
Metro Line Train Table: this is great for a couple of reasons. Reason 1: there are no pieces to be lost!!! I cannot tell you how many times I have had sad kiddos because we cannot find part of a bridge or the right "S" curve. No problem here! Plenty of twists and turns to be had and the track is permanently put together. Reason 2: it's a table topper! No need to buy the complete table set (which, it can be argued is NOT something kiddos entirely need, but that's for another blog). Not in use? Slide it under a bed or at the back of a closet! It takes up zero space if you don't want it to.
Carry Home Rocket Ship: another great toy! Make your kiddos space dreams come true (space......where your imagination is TRULY the limit) with this portable play house. All the fun doodads and aliens they need that can be folded away when not in use. Possible sanity saver: a perfect toy for restaurants. Keeps them busy AND is blessedly quiet. Yes? Done. Sold.
Okay, so now I want to go play. You know what? I'm going to. And you should too. These are just a few of the terrific toys out there this season. Go explore for yourself!
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