Building with Better Blocks

Monday, September 28th, 2009

While building this, er, temple thingy to use in our next commercial, I remembered how much I love building blocks.  In the span of only a few minutes, I had to resist at least ten times the urge to dump out the bag and build a complete city. 

When I look at, hold, and smell these blocks, the word definitive comes to mind.  Do you remember the blocks of your childhood?  Inferior were the foam and plastic blocks; unpleasant were the blocks whose cheap paint, soon chipping, was intended to distract from the fact that they were made of shoddy lightweight wood. 

But these are the good blocks that you remember.  They are large solid shapes that have just the right amount of heft in your hand, and just the right high-pitched “clunk” when you knock them together – the multiplied “clunks” that are so satisfying as you destroy your creation, and you know you will because demolition is such an integral part of the building block experience.

HABA Basic Building Blocks, Large Starter Set, 60 pieces. $100, Recommended for ages 1-8

HABA makes several block sets: large or small, many or few, color or natural wood.  For storage, they come with a big canvas bag with a cute mischievous kid printed on the side.  Even holding the bag makes me feel like a child, and I want to drag the thing all over the store!

Prices and availability may vary – call store for current info.

Cool Trends 2009: Robots

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Beep Bup!  We’re receiving lots of requests for gifts for kids who want robots.  For older kids we have a very cool assortment of tin wind-up robots and things you can build yourself.  But what about the under five crowd?  Here are some good finds for little ones who are hip to the droid rage.

Robot Pencil Sharpener – Fun meets function in this awesome wind-up.  The robot cranks up when you sharpen your pencil. If your pencils are already sharp, you can use the included key winder.  $6.50, Ages 3+


Build It Big – This super-sized construction set has more than 40 pieces, enough to build a robot, a truck, or a silly-looking dog. $35, Ages 2+


Robot Tee by Orange Heat – Rockin Kids wear, designed and hand-screened in Austin, printed with eco-friendly ink on US-made cotton (American Apparel – Sustainable Edition). $28.50, sizes 2, 4, 6.

Prices and availability may vary – call store for current info.

Anti-Gravity? Awesome!

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

This week we got our first shipment of what will probably be one of our best-sellers this fall.  The toy is called an Anti-Gravity R/C Gecko, but it’s not a lizard.  It’s a small car that drives up the walls, the ceiling, even the underside of your table!  Any smooth flat surface is fair game for this sub-sub-sub-compact stunner.

The car can achieve these magical feats for a few reasons: the construction is super-lightweight, a very powerful fan provides excellent grip, and it has no batteries to drag it down.  The batteries are stored in the controller – just plug the car cord into the controller for a few minutes to charge it up, and off you go!  It’s fast, fun, and jawdropping. 

Available in red, black, or blue.  $40, ages 5+.  We have a store demo that we play with all day – come by to try it for yourself!

Sweet and Comfy New Clothes

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

For the jubilant daydreamer, we have new fall pieces from Hopscotch Designs.  The inspired mix of vintage, reproduction, and new fabrics make for super fun and funky fashion.  I love the juxtaposition of large and small prints, and the colors are lush and compelling.  The boys’ tee up top is reminiscent of Cosmo Kramer.  The dress at left has lots of light and airy layers to keep it flouncy and bouncy but not stifling.

We have all of these, and several other adorable dresses from the fall line. Hopscotch Designs are made in the USA, and are 100% cotton, so they’re breathable, comfortable, and durable.  Well-made cotton will survive several hand-me-downs.

Clockwise from top:

Martini Tommy Shirt $42.50

Tweet Maddie Dress $42.50

Autumn Charlotte Dress $74

Each available in sizes 18-24mo, 2T, 4T, 6

Availability may vary – call store for current info.