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Toys Games

Antics Ant Blocks

Add this to your rather-nice-to-look-at toy list for kids. Sixteen blocks have trails of ants on all six sides, forming loads of patterns for little (or big) ones to explore. Again, could be an excellent gift for niece/nephew/etc., as long as they are 3+.

Each set contains images of ant hills, a queen with her eggs, and a spider, the ant’s nemesis.

Purchase Information:

Price: $21.95
Available from:

Slalom Steerable Sled

Remember how this week we’ll be updating our Gifts section? Well, if you’re lucky enough to have some snow, consider this for a gift this year…

When life gives you snow, you go sledding, obviously. Made from 5/8” thick marine-grade molded plywood, this fully steerable sled will hopefully help you and/or your kids fly down the hill safe and sound (and, of course, super fast).

Purchase Information:

Price: $149.00
Available from:

Vinyl Puzzle

Somehow a puzzle is the perfect past time during holiday family gatherings. Get this puzzle for the person who loves their vinyl, and watch them exclaim over titles that should (or should not) be in their collection. Or you could just get it as a history lesson for kids that have never seen a record collection… “So, back in the day, they used to have these flat vinyl disks that music was stored on…”

Purchase Information:

Price: $28.00
Available from: Nest

Old Time Sling Shot

What do you get for someone that has everything? An old time slingshot, made from buckthorn branches, latex tubing, and a leather projectile pouch. I like that ‘female adult supervision’ is suggested in the description, though in no way do I assume adult females are any less likely to injure someone or something, on purpose or otherwise.

Dimensions: about 11″ x 4″-5″

Purchase Information:

Price: $25.00
Available from: GENERAL STORE

Blocks by Brinca Dada

Whoa, are these crazy blocks or what? Brinca Dada is usually known for their dollhouses, which are actually pretty amazing, but these blocks are fit for adults and kids alike. Instead of fitting together snugly or simply, they’re completely wonky and will encourage you to play “with the simplicity of imperfection.” Nice idea, isn’t it?


Purchase Information:

Price: $59.00
Available from: Velocity Art and Design

Gold Playing Cards

Talk about high rollin’, take a look at these gold playing cards. They’re not real gold, of course, they just look like it. Sort of fun, though, aren’t they?

Purchase Information:

Price: $17.00
Available from: Emmo Home

Space Invaders Playing Cards

If you’re old enough to remember 8-bit computer games from the 80s, then you’re allowed to give the whole ‘when I was your age’ speech at any time you want. Any time. Permission granted. However, if you were born after that decade, then you may only sit and listen to your elders with respect, and awe, if they deserve it. Space Invaders playing cards available from Art. Lebedev Studio.

-54 card deck
-Made in Russia
-Weight: 150 g
-Designers: Alexei Lyapunov and Lena Erlikh

Purchase Information:

Price: $16.00
Available from: Art. Lebedev Studio

Source: HolyCool

Grimm’s Wooden Puzzles

These wooden (non-toxic, lead-free, water based stained) puzzles are nothing short of lovely. Whether for your own amusement during a work break or as a simple gift for someone else (adult or child), each puzzle has an infinite variety of possible patterns. We all need a creative moment now and then, don’t we?

Made by Grimm’s, Germany.

Purchase Information:

Price: $28.00 - 40.00
Available from: PLASTICA

Modern Art Memory Game

Here’s a fun way to brush up on your modern art knowledge: the Modern Art Memory Game from AMMO BOOKS. It comes with a booklet identifying each artwork/artist/title, so don’t worry if your memory from Art History I in university isn’t up to par.

Purchase Information:

Price: $16.95
Available from: AMMO BOOKS

Standard Unit Blocks

I’ve always found it strange that in most relatively nice homes with soft fabrics and natural materials, you walk into a play area for the kids and it feels like you’ve been transported into an alternative universe where only oddly colored plastic is permitted. Not that there’s anything wrong with plastic stuff for kids (I’m certainly no expert on the subject), but why not add in some regular wooden blocks, just to offset the crazy colors and random imagery? Maybe with a little less visual input, a child’s imagination will have to work a bit harder. One would hope so. If you’re a new godmother/father, bookmark this for a gift idea when the little one is 3+.

Purchase Information:

Price: $69.99
Available from: Melissa & Doug

Helveticards Playing Cards

For all you minimalists, type-ophiles, and design dorks; combine your love of Helvetica with your addictive card-playing habits. Finally!

Purchase Information:

Price: $10.00
Availability: Buy Helveticards Playing Cards here

Source: Design Milk

President Block Set

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Shown above: 45 piece President Block Set, $98.00
Each cube shows the face, name, nickname, lifespan, party affiliation, term and number of forty-four U.S. Presidents.

Purchase Information:

Price: $98.00
Available from: UncommonGoods

Crystal Crayons

These are too aesthetically pleasing to pass up, even if you’ve not made crayon art for years. Actually, if you’ve not picked up crayons in years, now’s definitely the time to bring it back, with these lovely gems as motivation.

Diamond cut wax crayons.
Set of 6

Purchase Information:

Price: $8.00
Available from: Kikkerland

Source: Design For Mankind

Green Science Weather Station

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this kit, but kids (and adults) would do well to try it out. With a weathervane, a wind gauge (anemometer), a rain gauge (pluviometer) and a thermometer, you (or your kids) will be able to observe and learn about your local climate while trying your hand at forecasting the weather. There’s also space for a small terrarium in a bottle to see how the greenhouse effect works.

Purchase Information:

Price: $9.99
Available from:

Balancing Blocks from Fort Standard

Don’t think for a minute anyone is too old for balancing blocks. It would do many of us some good to spend a little time concentrating on something other than regular work, even if it is only for just a few moments (and even if it does just use a tiny portion of your brain). Of course, they’d make an excellent kid’s gift as well.

Hand made in Red Hook Brooklyn from repurposed hardwood scrap collected from local furniture shops.

Purchase Information:

Price: $70.00
Available from: Fort Standard