Toys Games

Simus the Rhino and Hattie the Elephant

From our archives (originally published February 23, 2010), for your gift list consideration… to see more, visit our Gift Guide.

You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate these posable animals. Their hardwood frames and elastic-band muscles will remain durable whether it’s you or a two year old playing around with them. Available for pre-order, with a ship date of around 5/15/2010.

Designer: David Weeks
Material: Sustainably Harvested Beech Wood

Hattie the Elephant, 17 x 8 x 6 inches, $125.00
Simus the Rhino, 12 x 5.5 x 4 inches, $110.00

Purchase Information:

Price: $110.00
Available from: Areaware

Modern Chess Set

From our archives (originally published on September 1, 2010), for your gift list consideration… to see more, visit our Gift Guide.

Designed by Lanier Graham, this modern chess set is notable for its minimal interpretation on traditional pieces. The shape of each piece mirrors its function (Knights have L shapes, Bishops slope diagonally, etc.) and the scale indicates importance. All pieces interlock neatly into a rectangular puzzle for storage.

Purchase Information:

Price: $65.00
Available from: MoMA Store

Eames House of Cards

From our archives (originally published October 2, 2007), for your gift list consideration… to see more, visit our Gift Guide.

I’ve been a fan of Charles and Ray ever since I first saw their designs. And, man, if you even like the Eames’ a little bit, you should take a look at the film ‘901: after 45 years of working‘ that their son, Eames Demetiros, did of their workshop being packed up for the Library of Congress. It’s pretty amazing.

Small Cards, $25.00
Medium Cards, $45.00
Giant, $50.00

Purchase Information:

Price: $50.00
Availability: Buy Eames House of Cards here

NewWave Chessboard

From our archives (originally published July 15, 2008), for your gift list consideration… to see more, visit our Gift Guide.

This is super smart and so inexpensive it’s ridiculous.

Daniel Young, a New York-based inventor / designer…discovered that simply by cutting slits into the fluting of corrugated board he could harness its extraordinary capacity to hold and release inserted flat objects, like chess or checkers pieces. New Wave Chess comes with a carrying case and pouches for the pieces.

$12 plus shipping, from Paradoxy Products.

Purchase Information:

Price: $12.00
Availability: Buy NewWave Chessboard here

Slingshot by Christopher Jarratt

What do you get the person who has everything? Well, a $75 handmade slingshot by Christopher Jarratt, of course*. 5 different distinct colors were chosen exclusively for (the-ever-so-exclusive) Moss, and each slingshot is made from a found tree branch in Epping Forest, England.

From a numbered and signed limited edition of 30 slingshots.


Purchase Information:

Price: $75.00
Available from: moss

Chalk Chess

Fans of chess can now draw up their own chess board wherever they want, thanks to this Chalk Chess set by SUCK UK. Each piece is regulation sized, though obviously once you draw enough boards, your pieces will change slightly as you use them (but that won’t matter, will it?).

Also available through SUCK UK’s shop for £10.00 and Useful Thingsfor $19.95

Purchase Information:

Price: $15.00
Available from: UMA

Naef Colorem Cubes

I know I posted the Optical Mixer by Naef Toys last week, but I can’t help but feature these varnished blackboard paint cubes as well. 5 water-soluable chalk crayons enable kids (or yourself) to decorate the cubes with imaginative artwork, with only a quick wipe of a wet sponge to make them ready for another memory game or masterpiece.

12 piece set: $59.99
25 piece set: $99.44


Purchase Information:

Price: $59.99
Available from: Naef Toys

Optical Mixer by Naef Toys

The Optical Mixer (Optischer Farbmischer) can demonstrate aspects of color theory when spinning the top with one of the seven interchangeable discs. So, you can buy it for color teaching purposes or buy it just for fun (which is what I’m tempted to do).

Seven interchangeable cardboard discs included with info describing the phenomenon.
Designed by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack.

Purchase Information:

Price: $49.00
Available from: fawn&forest

Mysterious Mushroom Puzzle

I guarantee you’ve never solved a puzzle like this. The Mysterious Mushroom Puzzle is a set of engraved mushrooms that fit together in a six inch birch square. Each mushroom is unique and based on a real species of mushroom. How fungi.

Designer: Xylocopa Design
Material: assorted hardwoods; maple, cherry, mahogany, padauk, bloodwood, finished in all-natural tung oil.

Purchase Information:

Price: $38.95
Availability: Buy Mysterious Mushroom Puzzle here

Molecule Building Set

Whether you’re learning about molecular structures or you just like the way they look, this set of 24 molecules is certainly one learning tool that doubles as a cool decorative accessory.

Each set consists of 24 molecules made of wood (6 colors, 4 of each).

Purchase Information:

Price: $79.95
Available from: fawn&forest

Koma Spinning Tops

If the Walnut Top Set by Herman Miller was a bit too rich for your wallet, these carved wooden tops from Japan will be a welcome alternative.

Designer: Saikai, Japan
Dimensions: 1″ diameter, 1.5-2″ tall
Price per top: $8.50

Purchase Information:

Price: $8.50
Available from: Rare Device

Phoyo Playhouse

Check out this playhouse designed by architect Robin Hannah. It stores flat and slots together for easy set up. Since it’s made in New Zealand (with sustainably grown pine, fyi), you’ll have to email to get a price for shipping. Keep in mind that it could get expensive with shipping, but if you’re crafty enough maybe you can make your own.

Clear Varnished $499.00 NZD
Bare Sanded Finish $429.00 NZD
International shipping prices available on request.

Assembled size 1200mm x 900mm x 1100mm.
Stored size 80mm x 1200mm x 900mm

Purchase Information:

Price: NZD429.00
Availability: Buy Phoyo Playhouse here

Geemo Building Toy

Toy? I’d classify this thing as more of an awesome-strange-plaything-slash-art-object, because ‘toy’ doesn’t quite cover it. Each piece has three flexible arms with magnetic tips, so you can build all sorts of shapes and structures by attaching the arms to other pieces. The picture of it as a sort of room divider (shown above) sealed the deal for me, but take a look at the extra pictures below showing it as a weird artscape and toy/jewelry thing. So, yeah, it is a toy, but it could be ever so much more with a bit of creativity.


Purchase Information:

Price: $45.00
Available from: UncommonGoods

High Art Kite

For those of you that want a cooler kite to fly when the weather is nice, this little nylon fabric guy will do the trick. Each kite has a different/unique screen printed design with a ribbon tail. Makes you wish for proper spring/summer weather, doesn’t it?

shown above: “little winged demon” by Jan Kallwejt

Purchase Information:

Price: 10.00
Available from: twentytwentyone

One Deck of Cards by Tauba Auerbach

I remember emailing back and forth with Tauba Auerbach back in December of 2008 after seeing her amazing deck of cards as a prototype in Wallpaper* magazine. At the time, she was saying that she was looking into production, so I’m terribly pleased to see that they’re finally available for sale because I was wanting to purchase them as a gift for my father, a mathematician.

Here’s a rundown on the final product: It’s two different decks of cards, one with symbols of mathematical functions instead of the usual hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds. On the other deck, instead of the usual symbols there are geometric shapes.

Purchase Information:

Price: $175.00
Availability: Buy One Deck of Cards by Tauba Auerbach here

Source: notcot