by Christine Osborne, Owner,
WonderWorks Toys in Charleston, South Carolina
The Plum Sand & Water Play Table from B4Adventure is perfect for playing and learning outdoors. It’s made from sustainable timber so it’s sturdy and environmentally friendly. Its teal color looks pretty in a backyard. And play time can become snack or lunch time – the wooden lid converts it to a picnic table.
FinGears from Blue Orange Games are multipurpose and one-of-a-kind. They’re a quiet fidget/stress-relief gadget, and a toy that can be played with by multiple people together. Snappy magnets are encased in vibrantly colored rings that have a multidirectional spin. Kids can do tricks with them, stick them to surfaces, and slide them like hockey pucks.
Crazy Aaron’s Mindfulness Collection is the newest SCENTsory Thinking Putty. Fragrances like mint, lavender and rosemary combine with the softness of the putty to provide a calming sensory experience.
Waboba’s REWILD footballs in two sizes are from the world’s first line of beach toys and sporting goods made from plants – jute and rubber. They can be played with wet or dry. The company donates a percentage of the proceeds to organizations that protect and restore \the environment. The packaging is recyclable!
Squirmles from Nowstalgic have become a teen obsession here. The fuzzy chenille ‘worm on a string’ has taken the internet by storm. They sell best when you have the video monitor and a clerk who masters the trick!
The Starry Night AirFort glows in the dark!
KaBlocks Blast from Mindware is so fun! Kids as young as 3 can send foam blocks flying 6 feet into the air! This new take on the KaBlocks construction set comes with a silicone launch pad, an easy-to-stomp lever and 22 lightweight foam blocks.
Masks and neck gaiters from Top Trenz have been flying off the shelves because they’re stretchy and super comfortable. There’s space inside for a replaceable carbon filter. They’ve been voted #1 for breathability even with their snug, secure fit.
Buildzi from Carma Games is our new favorite family game! Players race to be the first to build their tower without letting it tumble. It’s fast paced and fun for ALL ages!
With the ICEE Slushie Maker Set from iScream, kids can have an icy cold drink at home anytime they want. It looks and operates just like the ones you see in a store, and includes cups, straws and the flavor syrup.
Ellen Joy of Alakazam Toys gave a shout-out to Washington, D.C.-based company Little Likes Kids. Begun two years ago by a mompreneur, the educational puzzle, game and placemat publisher is known for its joyful scenes that feature a diverse mix of people.
“Specialty toy retailers have an opportunity to shed a light on inclusivity, both in our marketing and in the merchandise we offer,” said Ellen. “Products from companies like Little Likes Kids – which has great holiday materials in which Santa isn’t white – support conversations that need to be had.”
If racial diversity in products and vendors is something you’re looking for, also check out Puzzle Huddle (puzzlehuddle.com). “The company (rightfully) insists that by creating ethnically diverse imagery on its puzzles, children have the opportunity to be affirmed and the imaginary play then becomes very personal,” wrote Loryn Stone for SyFy Wire.