Tops! They are universally mesmerizing! Regardless of age, they will definitely amuse… so imagine how my eyes widened when i came upon a huge bowl of these small wooden japanese spinning tops at Tortoise in Venice Beach… i kept going through the whole bowl ~ one by one ~ and slowly ended up buying a dozen. They were all so different! So hard to resist! And many have these floating rings carved into them that float as they spin… and they make the most amazing sounds… when still, the curvatures in your hand are just so beautiful… and then get them spinning, and it’s hard not to just watch them for ages… see the videos and more pics on the next page!
Entries tagged with: kids
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On random design inspiration ~ Playmobil seems to have evolved quite a bit since i was a kid. We had the zoo, rock climbers, fancy dressed victorians with car, the teepee, and farm animals… but definitely no disheveled stubbly striped shirt, sport jacket, sunglass, and beanie wearing safe crackers… these guys even come with graspable money, a canister with hose to freeze the lock(?), silver suitcase, keys, flashlight, and even a weighty metal gold bar… best part of all, the safe is actually lockable! You can set the combination by picking two numbers… and it actually clicks as you rotate the dials.
So for random weekend experiments, had a bit too much fun taking pics of this set on the pool table…
They are finally nearly here! Andrew Bell teased me with sneak peeks of toys in the making on his phone over lunch a few months back ~ so long as i promised to stay quiet. Well, it’s been hard! Because, we all know as fun as the Google Android phones and UI are… i’m pretty smitten with the adorable mascot. And here they finally are! A series of blind box toys bringing that adorable little Android to life!
The details? Illustrator and toy designer Andrew Bell has teamed up with a few friends at Google’s Android project to bring their green mascot to life. Presenting Android mini collectibles series 01! Each 3” vinyl figure sports one of 12 different possible designs and features a rotating head and arms. Packed in “blind boxes” so you don’t know which design you get until you open it up. Pick one up and take a chance or grab a case for a near-complete set. Available in an initial limited release later this month from dyzplastic and specialty retailers.
If you’re ready, see more details on the next page! (And notice he says “Series 01”… will there be more???)
Andy Bell is probably one of the awesomest people i’ve met in 2009 (yay, sdcc?) ~ and his red and blue sushi’s sit sadly in their boxes by my desk inspiring me daily. So you can only imagine how ridiculously giddy i’ve been photoshopping the behind the scenes pics for this feature where he gives us a look into not only how they came to be, but also a chance to giveaway one of the much coveted GREEN O-NO SUSHIs!!! Before they are even available (you can buy one in january, but you’d better be quick!)…
So if you’re ready ~ go see the making of feature as well as details on how to win one of these awesome little guys + some stickers too on the feature page!
p.s. we got a sneak peek at the green ones at SDCC
Noferin has launched their latest set of woody toys, this time a blind box set: Jibibuts! And for this Holiday feature, they give us a peek into how they are made, the full set, and even a teaser as to what those 2 super special mystery characters are… ready to take a peek? See the full story on the next page!
Also… they have sent over one full case to give to one of you! For a chance to win, leave a comment on the feature with your favorite childhood toy!
On intriguing art that just showed up in my inbox, Moss in association with Edelman Arts presents Remains by Cathy McClure. "Hands wielding scissors, McClure massacres the motor-driven robotic plush toys, eviscerating them through a Geppetto-like taxidermy until she gets down, as she says, 'into the guts of the piece'." The truly amazing part isn't that she guts these toys (didn't we all as kids?) ~ but she then re-casts the parts in bronze and reassembles them! The result is fascinating... is it now high art? is it still a toy? do they still work? Apparently the original circuit boards, batteries, gears, and voice boxes are all re-installed, but you can't help but wonder how those gears will handle the new weight... looking forward to seeing these in person, they will be at Moss in NY November 20th through December 31st, with a quick trip to Miami for Art Basel Dec 2nd through 5th... see more pics and information on the next page.
Brio Network Collection ~ first time seeing it in person, i just noticed it in a tiny kids play cubby hole in Magasin 3 in Stockholm! Between the lovely space and works i totally got sucked into photographing these very well played with and possibly chewed on little woody guys reenacting how computers work... from emails to viruses and search and more! If you recall, i've written about Series 1 here and here in the past... but this is the first look at them up close, now i'm so tempted to try to track down the full set!
for americans, i found a few at Amazon: Brio Network Toys!
On a quick look at Stockholm shopping before Absolut madness kicks in... turned a corner, saw this brightly lit store of enticing colorfulness... realized it was Brio! And proceeded to let my inner 5 year old out ~ i don't think i've ever had the chance to see all of their toys in one place (we certainly only get bits and pieces of the collections in the US lately) ~ and i had no idea they had so many amazing strollers and high chairs too! Unfortunately i didn't have my proper camera (was in shopping mode!) but did snap a bunch of cell phone pics to share with you on the next page... the walrus is just adorable... the flying bunnies are hilarious... the fake cellphones cute too (but we all know kids know better and never stand for the imitation phones when they can grab at your fully functioning one!)... and yes that pez dispenser looking walrus is totally in a hoodie (and the hood can be pulled back!)... so take a peek at some cell phone pics from the Stockholm Brio store of the Brio "My Very First" collection...
I dont think that bear with crazed eyes and spork in hand could sum up how i'm feeling today better... unless maybe he was sipping some Balvenie 21yr Portwood as well... yes, let me level with you, it is most certainly that kind of a tuesday after a long weekend. BUT, on the flipside, it makes for an awesome excuse to share pics of this adorably crazed Rocket World T.A.D. Griz Lee Bear with you. T.A.D. Gear stands for Triple Aught Design ~ and is truly some of the best designed tactical you'll find... not to mention it's the brain child of Patrick Ma alongside with my favorite Rocket World creatures. While i have much more to show you from my latest stop up at their store/studios in SF, lets start with the spork wielding Griz. Check out the fun packaging and details on the next page...
On NOTCOT favorites, SDCC highlights always including visiting the Rocketworld booth to see what Patrick/Otter X and his crew have been up to. Just as it was really fun to see how many unexpected product offerings were popping up at Dumbrella's booth ~ Rocketworld is also expanding and evolving through collaboration in some great new directions... incredibly cozy floppy plush toys (with velcro hands and skull - and a little belly button!)... super limited edition silver jewelry pieces (only 5 of some of them! i couldn't help myself)... stickers!... 2 series of new toys... mini exact replica T.A.D. Gear backpacks for the IWG... letterpressed cards... and even a peek at a *possible* animated IWG to be! In a time where many companies (esp some of the toy guys it seems) are hurting a bit, and it certainly felt like less new launches this year... the Rocketworld booth was almost all brand new products, and really expanding the line by bringing in friends who are masters at plushes and jewelry. See lots of pics on the next page!
On toys i was excited to peek at in person ~ three blind box sets from KidRobot jumped out at me at their booth. The Futurama ones of course ~ and Junko Mizuno's Pure Trance ~ and DJ Kid Acne's Rolling Stock... take a look at closeups on the next page!
While the sdcc preview night doors open in just a few minutes ~ i couldn't resist taking in the view and doing a little photoshoot on the hotel coffee table to show you Andrew Bell's amazing O-No Food Company Sushi toys that just launched with limited edition Blue 150 colorway (only 150 pieces) for sdcc... Luckily the Dumbrella crew snuck me in early, and gave me a chance to see what pre-comicon is really like (constant forklift dodging!)... BUT back to the matter at hand, while i got excited about these Sushi guys when they were NOTCOT.org #22670 ~ they are even better in person! And their stumpy little arms rotate... their eyes swap... and he's strategically placed his name on them too. Anyhow, see the pics of them on the next page... i even tried to put SOME of their tentacles back on...
Found these adorable wooden kids pull toys the other day, and the simplicity of the design, and the appeal of the adorable glossy turtles. From Maya Organic Toys in India ~ made from a sustainable wood source and hand crafted with natural dyes, it even has nice simple eco-friendly recyclable packaging! My favorite part are the details like... it looks as if they lacquered the whole sphere, THEN cut the stripes into them... and they spin simply from the friction of the little sphere "legs" rolling along! Check out the video and more close ups on the next page!
On fun eco-friendly toys i stumbled upon while toy shopping recently (and then had to buy to share!) ~ Check out this E-Racer (the name is also hilarious) ~ made from cut bamboo tubes, it's cute to see how closely it keeps its form! It claims that it is "Naturally fun" and made with bamboo, water based colors, and renewable materials (i assume they mean the metal screws and the plasticy exhaust, and rubbery wheels)... the packaging was horrible, so if i ever end up gifting one of these to a kid, will definitely unwrap it first! See an unboxing and more close up pics of these adorable eco-race cars on the next page!
I couldn't help myself. Ami and the Cool Hunting kids clearly had tons of fun with Kidlandia ~ and i had to try it too! Sure it's for little kids ~ but its like mad libs for a playful crazy MAP! Anyhow, check out NOTland ~ and close ups on the next page! According to CH - "Kidlandia, a website that lets you create personalized fantasy maps for kids, evolved from illustrator, entrepreneur and former Disney producer Brian Backus' intricate, personalized maps that he started making a few years ago."
Coming in June from IWG Sleepy Bear Series. WITH SPORK!!! "They love eating with a spork; its a very handy eating utensil. This new IWG Series includes a sleeping bear, spork, combat knife, and a human skull trophy. Price to TBA." See more pics of these new guys on the next page...
Children's books inspiring art? "Beyond the Pages" at Gallery 1988 SF that opens tonight is STUNNING ~ this post would be up sooner if i wasn't so busy deciding and buying a few of the pieces first ~ then looking up book covers and reliving my love of Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and more to help pull some of your nostalgic heart strings too. I'm sure so much of my art tastes were influenced by those book covers of my childhood. And yes, even today, i'm still prone to impulse buying books for great covers (there are some i've purchased in other countries and read possibly because the cover made them that much more enticing to me)...
ALSO noteworthy? While they never charge admission ~ "we are asking each gallery visitor to bring one new children's book, which will be donated to the San Francisco Unified School District. The gallery will also make an additional donation on behalf of the show." What a nice gesture! So ~ take a look at some of my favorites of the MANY pieces, and some of the sources of their inspiration alongside on the next page!
It's hard to squish a robot and write a post all at once. On awesome packages, Diesel Sweeties sent over this big box and out popped a SQUISHABLE Crocheted Robot (yes its a little obese an a little disproportionate, perhaps more like a baby-bot? not quite full grown to CRUSH HUMANS! yet?) ~ and his Crush All Humans! Book.... complete with a signed/illustrated CRUSH JEAN! page with tiny red markerbots flying around!
Check out the pics of these goodies up close on the next page!!!
You TOO can get the Crush All Humans! Book in signed/personalized form too!!!
I have an impulsive need to indulge my inner child... especially when shopping... like when wandering through IKEA, i got terribly distracted by the kids toys, particularly how fun these new Sandig beach toy sets are! And the 99 cent shovel/super scooper claw thing... great quality, and adorable ideas ~ i picked up three of the four 2.99$ sets with the justification that i needed to take pics of them to show you. Granted, i don't think kids should be encouraged to eat sand/dirt, i think these are quite fun for those who know better. First kit ~ Ice Cream! A little bucket with an ice cream scoop, 4 cones, and 4 cups... Second kit ~ Baking! Three pans that would be so fun to incorporate into sand castles... like a bundt cake castle? Compete with cake knife, etc... Third set ~ Bricklayer! The mold to make bricks, smooth out the cementy wet sand, etc... can you imaging the possibilities? And the Fourth set i passed on was the gardening one... usual bucket, rake, shovel... not too exciting, but still cute. Anyhow, take a peek at the pics of these sets close up on the next page ~ i was impressed with the quality and design details ~ and for the price was tempted to buy up a bunch and run around the beach giving them away to kids...
Augmented Reality ~ its a quickly growing trend currently ~ and honestly, i'm thrilled! It was such an art/research buzzword about 5 years ago when i was in college studying technology in the arts, and sure it's taken some time, but i've been absolutely fascinated how its been translating into commercial and more aesthetically interesting uses ~ particularly in the case where you have prints/objects you can hold up to webcams and cellphone cameras to see magicaly digital beings and objects appear which you can manipulate.
Metaio, out of Germany, seems to be leading some of the innovative commercial uses of this technology, and their latest project is a very fun one for LEGO! From the press release: "Munich, December 2008 - From November, the Danish toy manufacturer will test launch its "DIGITAL BOX" in selected toyshops and LEGOÂ® stores worldwide. This interactive terminal will utilize innovative technology supplied by metaio in the form of a software program specially-developed for the LEGO Group by the Munich-based experts in
augmented reality solutions. Together with a camera and display screen, the software lets LEGO packaging reveal its contents fully-assembled within live 3D animated scenes." How much more fun does that make going to the toy store? Of course even cooler would be watching it build up in your hands piece by piece in full rotatable 3D when you hold it up ~ but i know, baby steps... See more preview pics of these new Digital Boxes on the next page!
Wishbone Bike from Skip Hop ~ with thoughtful, beautiful design for such playful, fun kids products, Skip Hop has yet to disappoint! Their latest addition is gaining distribution rights to New Zealand designed: Wishbone Bike, a 3 in 1 starter bike that grows with kids... from the stable lightweight tricycle, to pedal-less running bike, to normal bike for kids up to 5! It is also environmentally sustainable design and a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association 2008 Innovation Award Winner! See more pics on the next page!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ with something space related! ENTER BY 12/21. WINNER: Kathryn in Indianapolis, IN!
This is quite possibly the coolest baby playmat EVER ~ well, if i for some strange reason popped out a kid today, this is the one i'd buy. Doesn't matter if its for a boy or a girl, it is gorgeously colorful, intriguing, and has ufos and rocketships! Part of an exclusive collection by Skip Hop for Babies'r'us ~ this is the Skip Hop Outer Space Activity Playmat. So this 33rd giveaway goes out to the babies (do we have any playmat sized readers out there?) and their parents or expecting parents or expecting aunts/uncles/etc! You can read more at Skip Hop as well ~ and more pics of these goodies, as well as my other favorites from the collection (i swear alien rattle looks like a flying spaghetti monster) on the next page!!!
For a chance to win ~ leave a comment with something space related!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ telling us what you geek out about! ENTER BY 12/21. WINNER: Mikayla in Toronto, Canada!
Well we're up to Giveaway 32! And this one's super fun! After all, who doesn't need more ninja in their life? Especially a bright red GEEKY NINJA? And some stickers and buttons and a comic book too... and that's not counting the special #1 Ninja Con comic and badge too!!! From the super awesome Shawnimals ~ for a chance to win this giveaway... tell us what YOU geek out about! We all have something...
See more pics on the next page ~ and a coupon too!
"A Young Mad Scientist's First Alphabet Blocks" laser etched wood blocks from Xylocopa ~ when first spotted as .org #16975 ~ there was that instant "OMG! Must see closer!" and then the frustration of not being able to see the illustrations for every alphabet, while teased with the list of what each letter stood for... so i bought two sets... and a "mystery item" (how can you resist?)... and it is SO AWESOME!
Granted the blocks are a little smaller than i'd pictured in my mind, the detail is incredible... best use of a laser engraver ever perhaps? And i magically ended up with an Angler necklace, as if they knew it's exactly what i wanted... SO, i've taken the time to photograph each and every letter of these blocks for you on the next page, in anal alphabetical order even... check them out, and long live the young mad scientists!
I think i've found the perfect stocking stuffer for kids!!! Or it's what i'll be resorting to when i need random little gifts, that are not only really fun and amusing but educational and awesomely packaged! Copernicus Toys is a wondrous playground of all the fun sciencey toys and gizmos and puzzles i loved as a kid, and they've recently launched this great line of Compact Curiosities! Adorable packaging ~ nice clean fonts/graphics/colored labels on the translucent 4x6" pouches... definite points for the shiny object factor...
And it gets better! Inside these packets are old favorites from Monster Balloons and Vortex devices (you know, the ones you put between two 1L soda bottles!) to dissectable Owl Pellets and Geodes to crack open! Also incredibly affordable ranging from 3$-12$ (most are 3$-6$)! See closeups of the whole line on the next page!