Toys Games

Villa Julia Playhouse

Here’s a cute cardboard playhouse for the little ones. (With a little work you could make one of these, so keep that in mind.)

Villa Julia by Javier Mariscal is a cardboard playhouse for kids. It’s easiest to think of it as a game in five phases: assembly, personalization, decoration, occupation and disassembly. Villa Julia’ comes with a plan detailing the easy instructions for assembly; children set it up themselves and make it their own by coloring the drawings found on the sides.

65″l x 47″w x 53″h

$275.00, Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $275.00
Availability: Buy Villa Julia Playhouse here

Playing Cards

If you’re going to play some cards, these are a fun set to have on hand…also might be a good host/hostess gift perhaps?

54-card deck of poker size playing cards, plus one marker card. Unlimited edition. Originally executed by artist Donald Sultan in March of 1989 as charcoal and conté crayon drawings on handmade paper.

Designer: Donald Sultan, 1989
Manufacturer: A/D Gallery, New York
Materials: Paper 3.25″ x 2.5″

$25.00, Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $25.00
Availability: Buy Playing Cards here

Shirara’s Paper Blocks & Tiara

Making things out of paper is kind of a hobby of mine, so I can’t help but post these two items from the paper-crazy Japanese design collective, Shirara. The paper block kit has ‘great gift’ written all over it (and yes, the tiara is a little frou-frou-ish, but that’s what a tiara is, so deal with it).

Paper Blocks, $44.00,
Buy it here.

This 23-piece set stirs the imagination both artistically and spatially. The pristine paper blocks are a blank slate for children of all ages to illustrate with their wildest dreams. The blocks are in varying shapes to accommodate all kinds of structures. Comes flat-packed. No glue necessary: It’s self-adhesive to allow for easy assembling. Designed by Mai Miura

One Day Princess Tiara, $28.00,
Buy it here.

This tiara is among the more baroque of [Shirara's] efforts, kissed in gold and strung with a very long white satin ribbon. We love the modernity that comes from translating something so precious in idea as a tiara into something so fleeting as paper. Flatpacked and measuring about 6-3/4″ tall and about 16-1/4″ before interlocking the tabs–making it a perfectly princely coronet for all ages. by Tomitama

[posted by katie]

Mad Scientist’s First Alphabet Blocks

It’s never too early to encourage your kids to become crazy geniuses (or too late to wish you had become one).

These lovely blocks contain many carefully engraved illustrations of the equipment, training, and activities that a budding mad scientist will require, combined with a clever alphabetic introduction to the concept depicted. Each block measures 1 3/8 inches square and depicts six mad science concepts and the appropriate letters. The set includes all 26 letters of the alphabet on five blocks (six illustrations per block).

Laser engraved onto a solid block of American maple wood.

$39.95, Buy it here.

[via Make]

Purchase Information:

Price: $39.95
Availability: Buy Mad Scientist’s First Alphabet Blocks here


This looks like a fun gift for an amateur stargazer.

The Stellarscope is a personal hand-held planetarium that charts the night sky on any day of the year. Just match date and time with the adjustable barrel for an accurate display. Comes with a pocket light for nighttime viewing. Imported.

2.5″ diameter, 5.75″l

$52.00, Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $52.00
Availability: Buy Stellarscope here

Penni Helicopter & Hishoue Airplane Kits

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, keep in mind that shipping times for all online purchases are nearing the cut off times…that being said, these kits seem like a great gift for a hobbyist.

Purchase Information:

Price: $29.00
Available from: A2Z Corp

Discovery 3-Foot Ultimate T-Rex Skeleton

Am I a complete dork for wanting one of these? (don’t answer that.)

* 51 bone-like pieces
* Snaps together, puzzle-style
* Realistic, mid-stride pose captures the dinosaur’s daunting stature
* Display it on its rock-like base, or disassemble for future use
* Includes educational color poster full of fun T-Rex facts
* No messy glue needed
* Easy to assemble

Plastic and metal, 36″ L

$49.95, Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $49.95
Availability: Buy Discovery 3-Foot Ultimate T-Rex Skeleton here

Tau See-saw

How fun does this look? If you’ve got kids, now’s your chance to buy this see-saw, though I’d recommend deducting it from their allowance. It’s never too early to learn fiscal responsibility, right?

Here, clever design, playful learning and the pride of building something yourself are combined. Shipped flat, the Tau See-saw components are pieced within the sheet of wood from which the parts were cut; the parts “unclip” from the template and are easily assembled by an adult. Should your child outgrow the toy, it can be disassembled and the parts clipped back into the sheet for storage.

Materials: Birch veneer
Children 3 years+
Meets all European standards for child safety.

57″ L x 24″ W x 27″ H

Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $799.00
Availability: Buy Tau See-saw here

Wood Blocks by notNeutral

These woodblocks have some excellent graphics.

This multi-faceted piece turns the concept of traditional alphabet blocks on its head by featuring an array of multi-functional patterns and colors. Not just a set of wood blocks, but two puzzles, numbers and letters, too. A great gift for all ages.

The Letters combine notNeutral’s favorite vintage and contemporary fonts. They picked the most distinct letter forms for each letter on two of the block sides. Basic equations can be solved using the two tone graphic numbers. The Apples are a signature notNeutral pattern that create a fun puzzle. The last two sides are a combination of two Season pattern elements, the flora and fauna elements with the tree structure.

12 wood blocks, Includes wood tray
Each six-sided block is 1.75″ x 1.75″

$36.00, Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $36.00
Availability: Buy Wood Blocks by notNeutral here

XO or Mirror Tic Tac Toe

Clever interpretation…

Really simple and really well done the XO is a Tic Tac Toe game and yes, you might argue that there are a ton of them out there, but this one is special as it is played on a mirrored surface and the X and O are only half of what they should be. Why? Well, you are playing it on a mirror surface, hence no need for the other half.

Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $40.00
Availability: Buy XO or Mirror Tic Tac Toe here

Black Deck of Cards

This deck will give you that sinister/unshakable look for your poker game (or Old Maid, if that’s your thing).

“A deck of cards entirely in black. The design, particularly for Jokers, Kings, Queens and Jacks, also add another unique touch. Play cards with design and style.”

Buy it here.

Purchase Information:

Price: $16.00
Availability: Buy Black Deck of Cards here

Kidsonroof MobileHome Dollhouse

Check it. This dollhouse is made from recycled cardboard (= biodegradable) and has a handle for easy moving. Plus, it’s $35, which is entirely affordable considering Barbie’s Dream House costs at least three times that and hurts your eyes if you look at it too long.

“The first take-away home for kids on the move. For girls AND boys. MobileHome is blue outside and red inside. Easy to install. Easy to carry. With 8 secret rooms, stair openings and spy holes. And an attic for storage. For knights, pirates and princesses. For Japanese figurines and little dolls. Design, creativity, durability and play lie at the heart of the toys of Kidsonroom. For on the road, when staying over, for a day in the park, at home, or on holidays. Easy-to-assemble for hours of play. Easy-to-store: it folds down flat in its box. Earth-friendly: made from 100% recycled cardboard and is 100% biodegradable!”

Dimension: 8.75W x 14D x 18H

Purchase Information:

Price: $35.00
Availability: Buy Kidsonroof MobileHome Dollhouse here

Gnome Puzzle Set

If puzzles have gone by the wayside, this is sure to bring back a little nostalgia, or at least a few itchy fingers. (Engage your brain folks!)

“Numbered limited edition of 250. From photographer Julian Hibbard’s “Fake & Familiar” series. Archival photographic C print backed with cardboard and professionally cut into 513 jigsaw pieces.”

21″ w x 15″ h

Purchase Information:

Price: $75.00
Availability: Buy Gnome Puzzle Set here

Acrylic Jigsaw Puzzle

If you’re fond of puzzles, here’s one that will take a bit more time while you figure out what piece goes where.

“Who’s the best looking brainteaser of them all? 72-piece reflective acrylic mirror is stocking stuffer, conversation maker, mindblower.”

15″ sq.

Purchase Information:

Price: $29.95
Availability: Buy Acrylic Jigsaw Puzzle here

montessori pink tower

I went to a Montessori school when I was growing up and I remember loving the pink tower and the way the wood sounded as the blocks clinked together on the shiny pink lacquer. I also remember how someone would always steal top block.

If you do have kids, the pink tower is used for introducing children to concepts of three dimensional size variance, weight differential and intricate stacking.

Whether you have kids or not, it’s a pretty cool looking sculptural object.

Purchase Information:

Price: $140
Availability: Buy montessori pink tower here