Toys Games

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

October Playing Cards

My neighbors have their Halloween decorations up, so I feel it’s permissible to post a seasonal item. It is October, after all, and you might just need a new deck of cards to have around for games with friends and family. 52 frightfully good illustrations by Steven Noble graces this deck of October playing cards, and you’ll be appropriately spooky should you choose to carry them around for the next few weeks.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $7.95
Available from: Dan & Dave

Miller Planisphere

Most of us can recognize the major constellations (Orion, the Big Dipper, etc.) but if we arm ourselves with the flat, plastic disc of the Miller Planisphere, we’ll be able to potentially learn and locate all of them. First, find your latitudinal position (map also available via retailer), then order the correct wheel. Once you have it in your hands, spin the wheel to pick the right date and time, and you’ll see all the constellations, stars, and planets above you, simple as that.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $16.00
Available from: Best Made Co.

Sailing Ship Kite

If you plan to go outside anytime within the near future, you might just want to have a kite- you know, in the interest of having fun and enjoying the last weeks of summer and such. And, if you’re going to have a kite, have it be a sailing ship, for then you may have the opportunity to recite passages from Melville’s Moby-Dick, or any other classic literature that may feature a sailing vessel. Also, need I point out how this would make a lovely gift for a child?
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Purchase Information:

Price: $40.00
Available from: Haptic Lab

Soft Blocks

Bookmark this block set as a gift for your favorite little one, and save yourself the trauma of going into a toy store. This 30 piece set is waterproof (they float – think bath time) so kids from 3 years and up can safely throw them around without hurting anyone… or the furniture, as might be the case. And, who knows, maybe you can practice your construction skills alongside the little future architect/designer and learn a thing or two about unedited creativity. Also available in color.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $32.00
Available from: arango

Tybee Jump Rope

Jump Rope for Heart! Perhaps you participated in the American Heart Association’s program when you were in grade school*, and perhaps your older heart could be a tiny bit healthier than it is right now as you’re sitting reading this page on your computer/tablet/phone. How many minutes could you jump rope without collapsing in a sweaty mess? If you had this Tybee Jump Rope you’d be at least motivated to try, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Made from turned walnut handles, leather cord, and paracord in the USA and available in blue, black, red, or rainbow.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $65.00
Available from: General Manufacturing

SOCCKET

And you thought the soccer ball was just a soccer ball. Well, thanks to the company Uncharted Play it can be much, much more. The SOCCKET is soccer ball that harnesses and stores energy. Thanks to a pendulum-like mechanism inside the SOCCKET, a mere 30 minutes of play can generate a simple LED lamp for 3 hours. Innovative idea, isn’t it? An off-grid power source is obviously needed in many areas of the world, and by pledging $99 or more, you’ll help get more of these where they need to be- and you’ll receive your very own SOCCKET (with LED Lamp) to use. Spread the word.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $99.00
Available from: Kickstarter

MaKey MaKey

Use fruit for your keyboard! Tech-smart or not, there’s fun to be had with this simple circuit board kit. Turn almost anything into touchpads/keyboard/controller by attaching the included alligator clips, then connect to circuit board and computer. Think of it as an invention kit- might be a good way to familiarize yourself or others with electronics. See the video to see how it all works- and what possibilities await you.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $50.00
Available from: Uncommon Goods

Tatlin Color Magnets

This is getting filed under toys instead of desk accessories, as the fun potential is much higher than the somewhat boring/functional office usage. They’re simply a set of 288 cardboard magnets, to be placed on your magnetic board/wall or fridge, for making shapes, animals, landscapes or whatever else your imagination wants. Share them with the kids or keep them in your office space, up to you.
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Purchase Information:

Price: £29.00
Available from: SCP

Stick-lets

And just when you thought you were too old to enjoy the outdoors, Stick-lets comes along. Sure, they’re meant to help kids get back outside and build forts with sticks, but who says you can’t enjoy them too? Be sure to share with others (team building, anyone?), and stay away from trees and branches that don’t belong to you- that could cause some problems- but other than that, have fun. Made from 100% silicone, each Stick-let stretches to meet your construction needs, whether you use natural branches or wood dowels. On the count of three, what’s the first thing you’d build? (One..two…three) a TIPI! Other answers are acceptable, of course. Need it be mentioned that this could be an excellent gift?
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Purchase Information:

Price: $11.99 and up
Available from: Stick-lets