Toys Games

Free Universal Connector Kit by F.A.T.

What the heck is this? Good question, because it’s sort of silly but also brilliant. If you happen to be the owner of a 3D printer, then you’ll be able to download this Free Universal Connector Kit by F.A.T. (Free Art & Technology Lab) to make these connectors. Connectors to what? Everything. Okay, well, almost everything: LEGO, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Bristle Blocks, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob. Formerly closed systems are now up for combinations. The eighty pieces in the kit will marry modules from one system to another, so you can join your LEGO to your Lincoln Logs and add in some Tinkertoys…etc. Use that imagination of yours and see the possibilities extrapolate.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $Free!
Available from: MODULE R

Tegu 42-piece Block Set

Now, I’m no expert on kids, but I do know blocks are a mighty fine toy to have on hand when little ones are around. Wooden blocks are the best, of course, and if you add in magnets, well, then you’re set for time-consuming activities until they’re teenagers. Right?

Tegu Blocks have magnets embedded within their surfaces to make building easy and enjoyable. Each piece is built around a 30mm unit (that’s around 1″), so all blocks are compatible with the next. Start out with small kit or go big with the large 42-piece Set shown above, and have fun building cars and all sorts of architectural wonders with your kids, nieces, and/or nephews.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $65.00 - 110.00
Available from: Tegu

Swoop Storage Bag

Sadly, the retailer (spoonsisters.com) we originally linked to when we posted this Swoop Storage Bag back in 2011 has closed its virtual doors. Not to worry, we found another place that carries it, with other colors and sizes, no less.

With the thirtysomethings now having kids en masse, the complaint of toys taking over an entire home is more often heard than not. How in the world to curb this crazy emesis of plastic mess? Perhaps this storage bag/play mat could help. You simply ‘swoop’ up everything into the bag by pulling the nylon cords and store it away. Also, if you’re thinking you need a larger version, it should be noted that the Knapsack by Fatboy could work. Just be careful to remove the kids before tying it up.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $48.00
Available from: Vault

Loll Swing

If you can’t beat the heat, at least try to enjoy it a little. This one inch thick 100% recycled plastic swing is paired with a 100% recycled PET rope to make sure you get some sort of breeze by using your own pair of legs. Plus, you might have a little fun while you’re at it. Bit of info to note: the swing contains about 46 reclaimed milk jugs.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $250.00
Available from: DWR

Fredericks & Mae Star Dominos

Is $80 too much for dominos? Probably. Does that keep me from wanting this set? Nope. Fun fact: the name ‘domino’ from the pieces’ resemblance to Venetian Carnival masks known as Domini, which were white with black spots. There’s also plenty of other games from Fredericks & Mae, ranging from $44 (darts) to $320 (bocce!).

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Purchase Information:

Price: $80.00
Available from: Fredericks & Mae

Moon Dominoes

Moon Dominoes! I’d guess almost all ages could play this game, though don’t let any small children/toddlers get anywhere near this lovely painted wood set, or else you’ll have small bite marks all over them. Designed/made by Fredericks & Mae, who also happen to have some new products that are very notable and will no doubt be featured soon (Bushel Brushes? So very fun). There’s also other games available at Fredericks & Mae: Darts, Bocce, Backgammon, Checkers, Dominoes (Flag, Moon, Star), Beach Tennis, Marbles, Foosball, and a game called Hallelujah (I can’t be bothered to find out what that’s about).
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Purchase Information:

Price: $80.00
Available from: Fredericks & Mae

Famous Playing Cards

Larger numbers and symbols with more whitespace- plus a few lightning bolts- make these playing cards a sight for sore eyes. The easy-to-see cards will be especially handy if you’re playing a game around a dimly lit table, as it never hurts to have an edge over your competitors.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $8.00
Available from: Best Made Co.

Typeblocks

However will you teach your children (or nieces and nephews) your favorite typography? With these blocks, of course. A different typeface whose name begins with the letter is carved upon each block (“A” for Avant Garde), with a large upper and lowercase example along with the designer(s), date, and classification. These could also be a thoughtful gift, so keep them in mind the next time a graphic designer friend has a new offspring.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $85.00
Available from: Typeblocks

Haptic Lab Signature Kites

What should you do on a windy, sunny day? Go fly a kite, of course. Should you not already be in possession of a semi-wonderful wind instrument, Haptic Lab will set you up right with one of their Signature Kites. Traditional/semi-tradional shapes made from patterned nylon fabric will keep your eyes entertained, while the removable hardwood spars give structure. Each kite is slightly different, as they are handmade, yet all feature one (or two) of Haptic Lab’s signature ten-foot-long patchwork kite tail. Use it as a wall hanging when you’re stuck at your desk.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $38.00 - 46.00
Available from: Haptic Lab

Pieces N Play Domino

Do you like dominos? How do you feel about a color-based set of simplified dominoes? Perhaps the game won’t need the same amount of brain power, but it’s hard to argue with such a nice set of colorful plywood tiles. All ages would be able to enjoy, whether for actual game play or just playing around. By Danish design duo Lee Storm for HAY.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $57.00
Available from: Huset Shop

Stack and Scare Block Set

Monster blocks! And done very well, I might add. This set of blocks with vibrant patterns of feet, hands, and heads will keep you and the little ones around you busy building all sorts of non-scary creatures. Should I be embarrassed that I want a set, and I don’t even have kids? Because I’m not. High five to whomever designed the illustrations. Bookmark it for your kid’s/niece’s/nephew’s next gift.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $48.00
Available from: Uncommon Goods

Minim Playing Cards

How minimal can you get? Turns out you can go super minimal even when it comes to your playing cards. The Minim Playing Cards by Joe Doucet are regulation playing cards that reduce hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades to their simplest geometric forms. A diagonal line marks the back.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $12.00
Available from: Areaware

OGOBILD Kit

If one of these kits were within my arms’ reach, I’d be building my own geodesic dome, no matter if there were kids around or not. It looks fun, doesn’t it? A bunch of 24-inch polypropylene tubes plus 12 SEBS (non-toxic, latex-free material) OgoBild balls gives you the ingredients to construct large, lightweight structures. Throw a sheet over it and you have a fort. Like I said before, fun, right? Now on sale at MCA Shop, but you can also purchase directly from OGOStore.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $22.98 - 49.00
Available from: MCA Shop

Bare Bones Domino Set

Dominoes, anyone? Yeah, yeah, I know you’re hard at work now that the holidays are well and truly over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still look forward to your down time, where you’ll hopefully be playing games with friends and loved ones rather than staring at a wall wondering where it all went wrong. The classic “double 6” domino set has been re-designed by The Principals (in collaboration with lifestyle brand Billy Reid) so that you’ll have a pleasing shape and weight to each piece as well as a thoroughly modernized numbering system. Permission to feel smug when you bring this game to any gathering is now granted… only for a few minutes, though, don’t be annoying.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $60.00
Available from: The Principals

Geno the Giraffe Toy Kit

Excuse me while I geek out a little bit over this cardboard Kinetic Creature. You build it from a simple tab-and-slot kit, and, when you turn the wire handle, the Giraffe (or rhino) walks along thanks to a simple mechanical motion. While it’s recommended for ages 11+, I think most everyone will find it a little fascinating. And, if you like the idea, be sure to look into Theo Jansen’s more advanced Strandbeest. There’s even Miniature Beast kits available for purchase on the Strandbeest web shop ($75); they’re slightly more complicated than these cardboard toys, but the reward looks to be worth the effort.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $50.00
Available from: Rare Device