So much fun, playful wooden design shown at 100% Norway by the Bergen Academy of Art and Design at Tent London this year! Everything from an adorable elephant stool/sorting system to a collapsible playhouse, beautiful stool, canned hiking happiness, and more. See my favorites on the next page!
Entries tagged with: kids
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Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw ~ in addition to her other Top Drawer finds, we LOVE these semi DIY cards that use Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint.
Launching in September 2013, Butler Overboots are adorable, amazingly soft, pliable booties for kids that go right over their current shoes. In fact, grown up versions would probably be pretty fun even… Adorable branding and packaging (love that penguin logo!), made in the USA (in a military boot factory in TN!), and when i walked past their booth at OR, i had to touch them. While there currently isn’t much info on their website, you can get peeks into the progress at Facebook and Instagram. Whether puddle jumping, sloshing around in the snow, or just making a mess in the garden… these overboots look/feel incredible, and as soon as i started poking at them, i thought of my mom. These definitely fall under her “lucky you guys aren’t kids anymore” category of products that she would have surely bought us if they were around when my sister and i were little! Take a peek at the details, brochure, and more pics on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
Spotted at ICFF, these Kamina & C Stools designed by Takeshi Sawada are too cute ~ pictures really don’t do them justice. They are ADORABLE! And fuzzy and cute and perfectly little kid sized. Coming in Bambi, Sheep, and Cow variations, Bambi is by far the cutest, sheep at a close second… take a peek at the pics on the next page!
On amazing projects at ICFF this year, i’m smitten by metaproject 03 - between RIT School of Design and Areaware. As they describe, “Each student will be required to explore the properties of wood and its use as a primary material in object construction. They will be required to research examples of cuturally specific historical and contemporary toys and to define the meaning of Universal Toy. Ultimately each student will select and research a specific object typology in the domestic sphere and a specific cultural / situational context and respond with an inventive proposal that explores the meaning and notion of how toys integrate into contemporary cultures and lifestyles.” It was hard to ignore the pull of the MANY playful/modern wooden toys on pedestals in the center of the floor… the students did an incredible job bringing the “universal toy” motif to life, and i hope some of them have the chance to become real products! Take a peek at some of my favorites on the next page.
We’ve been tracking shipping container architecture for years now, and it has become more prevalent than ever… you can even get doll house versions now! These Model Container Homes at Module R are such detailed examples of designer modern living down to the art, tvs, plants, furniture and more! See more details on the next page!
Adorable! Papafoxtrot Space Fleet! With gorgeous packaging too! Designed for Papafoxtrot by Postlerferguson - “We have selected the 5 most iconic unmanned spacecraft circling the earth and transformed them into Papafoxtrot`s iconic design language which we developed with our series of wooden cargo vessels a year ago. From an interplanetary garbage collection to a future commercial spacebus to Mars these amazing machines are making the world go round day and night. The satellites are made out of maple as well as laser etched stainless steel parts with polished natural wood, matte white and glossy red finish.” Take a peek at Spektr-R, GEOTAIL, Cygnus, Dragon, and ORS-1 on the next page…
It’s no secret that Justine and I both grew up Montessori kids and it’s stuck with us. In fact, i’m sure the design aesthetic apparent in so many of the gorgeous, glossy woody learning tools was an early influence on us. I’ll never forget learning my letters and numbers on the sand paper tiles where you run your finger along the sand paper to learn the shapes and how to write them…
Well, Bobby and June George, founders of the Baan Dek Montessori School in Sioux Falls, SD have been actively taking Maria Montessori’s philosophies and principles into the next generation with their beautiful, intuitive Montessorium iPad apps! With Intro to Math, Intro to Letters, Intro to Geography, and Alpha Writer they have been off to an amazing start… and have just released two board books: Letter Work and Number Work. While mainstream tablets haven’t evolved to let you feel textures quite yet… these board books bring back the sand paper letters of my childhood into a new format. On the cover as well as inside the books you can trace the sand paper textured letters and numbers! You learn the sounds and shapes before learning what they are called… and beautiful illustrations by Alyssa Nassner accompany them. Beyond the nostalgia ~ these are definitely going on my go to list of presents for little ones! Take a peek inside the books on the next page!
Magis’ Me Too collections always have such awesomely playful pieces… this year’s addition launched at Milan is Marc Newson’s Rocky. A rocking horse of course! The official info - “The second of Marc Newson’s designs for Children, Rocky is a modern take on a traditional object, a pop version taking its character loosely from medieval jousting horses. The parallelogram motion mimics the movement of a traditional rocking horse. It is made from rotationally moulded polyethylene chosen for both its durability and recyclability.” Adorable isn’t it? See another pic on the next page…
Toys (specifically Lego, Lincoln Logs, Duplo, Fischertechnik, K’nex, Krinkles, Tinkerytoy, Zome, Zoob, Gears Gears Gears, etc) + 3D printer + Free Universal Construction Kit = MORE ways to play with your toys! Picture the crazy structures you (or your kid’s) wildest imagination can flourish in as every piece can connect to every other piece… or how many more toys you will need to buy to fully utilize the Free Universal Construction Kit’s capabilities…
While the monster of a Universal Adapter Brick was quietly launched at Golan Levin’s Eyecode solo show at UCI’s Beall Center for Art + Technology a few months ago, it’s exciting to see the rest of the kit finally available! So, freshly launched this morning from Golan Levin at F.A.T. Lab and our own head of NOTlabs, Shawn Sims comes the Free Universal Construction Kit. It is “a collection of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to mate with any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems — enabling radically hybrid Constructivist play and the creation of heretofore impossible designs.”
You can see the full chart of all pieces, download the full .stl pack, find just the piece you need on Thingiverse, and even watch the 80’s style advert for Free Universal Construction Kit on the next page!
Next… if you have a 3D printer, and have fun toys, AND print out some pieces… i’d love to see what you (and/or your kids) create with them!!! Please share pics!!!
While i’ve seldom had the traditional “family vacation” as a kid ~ talking to NOTlabs director, Shawn, i found out that he knows HomeAway well! Apparently his mom’s been booking everything from houses in the Rockies, French Quarter in New Orleans, and Utah Ski trips on the site ~ and they often associate family vacations with insane jigsaw puzzles and toys… so when HomeAway asked us to share some awesomeness around family travel… adventures at the NY International Toy Fair seemed like a perfect fit! There were SO many random toys in every genre you can imagine, so to narrow it down, here’s a selection of our favorites that are perfect to keep kids (both actually young and young at heart) occupied in the car/plane en route or curled up by the fireplace/dining table when just hanging out! Ready to see some crazy puzzles, fun magnetic building toys, turtles, mazes, paper animals, electronic experiments and more? To the next page!
This season Areaware is launching this series of adorable new beech wood animals by Karl Zahn (who was also behind Areaware’s animal boxes. The new selections include a set of dovetail animals as well as stackable crocodiles! Each of the dovetail animals is composed of three segments, so you can mix and match parts from the five styles: dog, llama, elephant, horse and crocodile. More photos and a video of the new wooden animals on the next page.
So, you’ve seen the AMAZING video of the dutchman in the woods introducing Cubelets (if not, you must). Well, i finally had a date with Modular Robotics Cubelets ~ and got to explore and create with them over beers and bruschetta while at CES. Fun part? Building autonomous robots that can drive themselves, run away from me, run to me, spin lights around, and beep away… all while navigating around the place settings and deliciousness. There’s something undeniably satisfying about the way the magnetic blocks snap together and just start DOING things! And their natural ability to pique the curiosity of people of any age to just get lost exploring the possibilities… truth is, you definitely need a table full to properly explore the overwhelming amount of options… and i love that it feels like true object oriented programming ~ in that you literally connect blocks that have various functions… like the light sensor block to the inverse block to the flashlight block and add a battery block and things just start happening!
Anyhow, these fun robotic cubes have been getting written up everywhere ~ but are you ready to take a peek INSIDE? When popping by the booth the next day, the Modular Robotics team broke out the leatherman and let us take a peek inside an inverse block ~ granted it’s one of the less filled cubes ~ but I love the design of how it opens (and is held together with two little screws!)… also if you ever want to hide things in your robotic cubes……… see more pics on the next page!
Remember the Crumpled City Maps we first found at Selfridges? Now Palomar have created a new series of Crumpled City Junior Maps featuring illustration from Alvvino and designed by Emanuele Pizzolorusso! The soft, light, waterproof maps for young urban explorers currently come in 5 cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, London, New York and Paris… what does that mean? These maps have lots of fun young must see destinations from monuments and parks to circuses and more! See more photos of these great crumpled maps on the next page!
Animals. Cars. Amazing illustrations. Ok i’m pretty much swooning already. Just in the inbox, Zoom Zoo from Mike Yamada, a designer/illustrator, artist at Dreamworks Animation, and an Art Center Graduate. These flashcards are his take on the classic Richard Scarry’s animals piloting retro 60’s type vehicles. (Anyone else picturing that worm driving an apple?) While sure these could be for kids to learn the alphabet, what adult wouldn’t have fun dreaming up the stories and worlds behind these creatures in their fantastic automobiles while teaching kids the alphabet? As adorable little works of art ~ they are playfully inspiring! I can’t wait to see the full alphabet… You can buy the Zoom Zoo Flashcards here. Take a peek at more details on the next page!
I couldn’t resist buying German toys at the Munich airport on the way home. Even if they are for toddlers and up… i was fascinated by the way the connectors work on the Mic-O-Mic building systems and when i couldn’t decide which to get to try it out, i bought four - a little boat, car, helicopter, and seaplane. And they are awesome! Solid plastic. Ok to toss in the water. They are connected by little plastic pegs that perfectly fit and rubbery eye mask like pieces that allow a nice flexibility to connections. They even come with a tweezer like tool made of the pieces themselves to pinch-remove or push-hammer in the pegs with. Nice simple graphical pictures to diagram how to assemble each as well, and for the more creative ones, they have extra pieces and are all modular enough to mix and match. Take a peek at the sets on the next page!
p.s. yes, i built these on the bed in my jetlaggedness…
IAA is one of the biggest auto shows in the world ~ quite fascinating besides the car are the luxury automakers “style” stores ~ filled with goods they are selling outside to complement their cars. Increasing trend? Toddler Cars! A great way for junior to be just like mommy and daddy? Nice way to start the brand loyalty young? And some really are SO cute. So take a peek at ones i found wandering the show floor over at Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Hyundai on the next page.
p.s. While many others have variations of these push/walk cars as well, these are the ones i actually saw today on the show floor!
After quite the day running around lusting after a time when cars were so so so much more than just cars… and before getting to the most incredible dinner at Cassanova in Carmel ~ when parking on Ocean Ave, we ended up right next to these windows! And as hungry as i was, simply had to stop and take pics! Adorable window display celebrating “Concours on the Avenue” in Carmel with kids’ outfits made of maps! Very well done, and quite the contrast to what you’d find actually IN the store… and of the all the windows we wandered past, it was certainly the most interesting. Others simply added ferrari posters to their jewelry displays and such, whereas these guys went all out! Take a look at the details on the next page ~ the pockets, the shoes, so cute ~ and so much attention to the details!
On delayed San Diego Comic Con adventures ~ one of the last things i imaged writing about was Disney’s Phineas and Ferb booth. But it was massive. Had impressive branding… and a converted trailer that was turned into a HUGE Platy-BUS. Seriously, how impressive and eye catching is that thing? Making of video of it on the next page is surreal. While i must admit i’ve caught a few of the cartoon episodes, enough to at least make sense of what was going on… visually, the booth was like entering a crazy cartoon world, and they definitely took it above and beyond. Inflatable tree… with karaoke, guitar, and little platypus stools beneath it… large purple “evil incorporated” blimp flying above… and food truck like trailer serving up limited edition blind box toys of Perry the platypus pet that turns super spy… Then there’s the bizarre branding overload, with nice display cases showing off everything from the Kraft Mac & Cheese version of the characters and fruit snacks to band aids and toothbrushes… as well as other toys. It looked less like they were pitching those to kids and parents, but like a brand display to show off how far they can reach. Anyhow, it was quite a world they created… So things design worthy to note? The Platy-BUS and making of, the platypus stools, and the packaging details… check it all out on the next page!
My first reaction was “omg. super hipster plush toys?” ~ then when i couldn’t seem to close the tab and kept flipping through the pics, the adorably illustrated and reversible Patrice and Beatrice grew on me. And i secretly want them both… with their hipster glasses wearing serious fronts, and their beach ready, summer loving backs (or vice versa, on which is front and which is the back) This pair of plush toys over at Smallable are an exclusive collaboration with My Name Is Simone, aka French designer, Caroline Castagna-Suarez. “Caroline Castagna-Suarez, aka Simone, finds that Sometimes, growing up stinks. Therefore, she spends her free time battling against Seriousness, in every way she can.” See close ups of these two… as well as Super zéro, Suzanne, Simon, Daisy, and Jean-Louis on the next page!
Taking what may be my first actual full on “break” in a few years this week… it should come as no surprise that my life became filled with silliness and toys… so let’s kick off this catch up post with: Xploderz and their H2GROW Ammo - after having them on NOTCOT.org, when i ran across these new age water guns in person, i HAD to get one. So, here’s an unboxing of the Xploderz Xranger 2000 and a peek at how the pellets become the ammo you see. On first impressions, LOVE the concept, but the execution does leave quite a bit to be desired. The balls are actually more Tapioca/Boba/Bubble tea like… think jello jiggler marbles that smoosh on contact. You won’t really be hurting each other with these, but they do shoot impressively far and straight. Be warned though, if you’re preparing for a full on war, prep early, it takes over 4 hours to have a fresh set of ammo soak up its full potential… experiments to try later: can these become jello shots? can you use other similarly sized pellets? Frozen pellets? And to mitigate the disappointment, these are all about the novelty of the ammo… the gun doesn’t let you actually pull the trigger and the plastic/design of the gun leaves something to be desired. To launch, you pull and release, essentially launching the pellet… you also have to reload between each shot. But ~ on to the details to give you a better feel of this Xploderz Xranger 2000 and it’s jello shot like pellets, check out the next page!
This post is part of a NOTCOT series on inspiring, independent design thinking, brought to you by Saab. At Saab, we believe in independent thinking. It’s in everything we do. Learn more here.
Doesn’t that picture just scream: HAPPY? I bet you’re smiling right now. (If not, what’s wrong with you?) As you may have noticed, we’ve got a soft spot for swings. So imagine our delight at discovering the crazy swing installations from Jeff Waldman and the Awesome Foundation’s LA chapter. For Waldman swings are a way of “finding pure joy were from our childhood” and he picked some pretty incredible locations for his swings. Waldman’s been tracking the awesome swingification across the globe in his facebook gallery. And for a peek into some of our favorites ~ as well as videos ~ take a peek on the next page!
p.s. Can’t wait to get back to LA to go hunt a few of his down, add more of our skateboard swings around, and swing to our heart’s delight!
As a new mom, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of baby stuff out there. Skip Hop is a favorite of mine for their refreshingly playful and modern designs, and for their affordable prices. I got to go to their offices to check out their Fall 2011 preview, where there were lots of new additions to the Skip Hop collection. I also got a behind the scenes look at Skip Hop’s design space, and met their lead designer (who is seven months pregnant!). Check out some photos from my visit on the next page!
Just in from the UK ~ Justine just checked out Clerkenwell Design Week!
Nostalgia just hit ~ remember those pin art toys from the… 80s? Just lost a little time ending up on searching for the old ones! Found info on it on Wikipedia - random fun fact? “The pinscreen was popularized in the 1985 music video for the Midge Ure song “If I Was”, which included a giant body-sized version.” They are even still available on Amazon!
But i digress… this installation from Clerkenwell Design Week is “Be a Pin Up!” from Lulu Guinness, there she is with it above (pics from her blog). The giant frame of pins is situated in front of the iconic London landmark, St John’s Gate and lets the public create full body sized portraits using the 6,000 chromed capped aluminum pins. Here are a few pics of the images created by passerbys. Check out the pics on the next page!