Etsy Gift Guide: Modern Toys for Kids

2012 Etsy Gift Guide - Modern Toys for Modern Kids

Here’s the lat­est install­ment in our 2012 Etsy Gift Guide series. Enjoy!

The count­down to Christ­mas has begun. Are you ready? Have you found the per­fect present for your lit­tle one? That’s no mean feat in this day and age, when we’re faced with so much choice and don’t always have as much money as we’d like. So, where do you look for some­thing that’s reasonably-priced and orig­i­nal at Christ­mas or at any other time of year?

Mod­ern toys for mod­ern kids in a mod­ern eco­nomic cli­mate, that’s my etsy gift guide theme today.

I think that some of the best children’s toys today have a story to tell. They may be old with a secret past, they may be new wait­ing to be trans­formed by a child’s imag­i­na­tion or they may be mod­ern recy­cled from vin­tage, and given a new lease of life for play.

Modern Toys on Etsy - Mini Jungle by Milimbo

Mini Jun­gle
Avail­able for $16 at Mil­imbo

Do you know Mil­imbo? I’m a huge fan of this Span­ish stu­dio / publisher’s work. Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of their card­board Jungling set (also avail­able from etsy), Mil­imbo have designed a smaller kit con­tain­ing six card­board ani­mals and a cut-and-make paper for­est. A novel eco-friendly art toy that would be per­fect as a stock­ing filler or a small birth­day present.

Modern Toys on Etsy - Little Little Red by Milimbo

Lit­tle Lit­tle Red
Avail­able for $19 at Mil­imbo

Mil­imbo are known and admired for their mod­ern inter­pre­ta­tion of fairy­tales. In this new pocket-sized sto­ry­telling game you will find all the famil­iar char­ac­ters of Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood. The Mother, Father, Wolf, Grand­mother, Hunter and Lit­tle Red come in a small box, roughly the size of a match­box, with a map of the for­est. Your lit­tle ones are sure to love invent­ing new sto­ries as they move the char­ac­ters around the mod­ern graphic space. This bilin­gual (Spanish/French & Spanish/ Eng­lish) game would make another orig­i­nal stock­ing filler and would be fun to take on long journeys.

Modern Toys on Etsy - Skateboard Tops by Board Games

Skate­board Tops
Avail­able for $15 at Board Games

Spin­ning tops aren’t new; in fact they have to be one of the old­est toys around, yawn… How­ever, when you give a clas­sic object a mod­ern twist (sorry!) by craft­ing it out of three dif­fer­ent recy­cled skate­board decks coated in a non-toxic shel­lac fin­ish and by mak­ing sure that it’ll spin for 30–60 sec­onds, well, it sud­denly becomes far more appealing.

Modern Toys on Etsy - Skateboard Slingshots by Board Games

Skate­board Sling­shots
Avail­able for $24 at Board Games

Kids have been play­ing with sling­shots for gen­er­a­tions but Jason Greene’s toys are just that lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent. Made from old skate­board decks and pro­tected in pouches crafted from scrap leather, each one is unique and comes with its own safety tag. Talk­ing of safety, as every lit­tle boy knows, this toy is solely intended for tar­get prac­tice using only soft ammo such as peas, raisins or marsh­mal­lows – sounds fun, right Dad?

Modern Toys on Etsy - Strong Men Stacking Toy by Watermelon Cat Company

Strong Men Stack­ing Toy
Avail­able for $37 at Water­melon Cat Company

Susana Apari­cio Lardiés & Juan Alonso design art toys for kids and the young at heart. I love their mod­ern, col­or­ful take on the clas­sic wooden bal­anc­ing toy, hand­made from beech wood and hand­painted with acrylic paints. This set is one of the Water­melon Cat Company’s Cir­cus toys and includes four strong men and a smaller wooden part. More expen­sive than my pre­vi­ous finds, it would make a won­der­ful desk toy for a toy-loving adult or an older child (the set is small and is not rec­om­mended for chil­dren under five years of age).

Modern Toys on Etsy - CircoCirco Circus Stacking Toy by Watermelon Cat Company

Cir­cus Ani­mals Stack­ing Toy
Avail­able for $37 at Water­melon Cat Company

Pos­si­bly my favourite Water­melon Cat Com­pany toy – although their new “bird­fishes” are quite inge­nious! Hand­crafted from pla­tane wood and hand­painted with acrylic paints, this cir­cus ani­mal bal­anc­ing set would look strik­ing as a mod­ern dec­o­ra­tive piece in an older child’s room, or as a desk toy. It comes beau­ti­fully pre­sented in a hand­made box. Chil­dren over five years of age will enjoy try­ing to bal­ance the seal, ele­phant, horse, bird and smaller round piece in dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions. A fun art toy for the whole fam­ily to keep for years to come!