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!