Miriam Y. Cohen is a Manhattan mom of two whose pregnancy insomnia kicked off her obsessive research on all things baby and kids. She shares her best product finds, tips and mom hacks (as well as a glimpse into her hectic NYC life) on Instagram and The Very Best Baby Stuff. She has also built vibrant Facebook communities for parents who love deals and for NYC moms.
As a mom of an almost five year old and a 1.5 year old, I've spent a lot of time observing my kids play. I'm always fascinated seeing each child evolve over time in how he or she plays with the same toy. I know a toy was a particularly good buy when both my kids enjoy it despite their 3+ year age difference! Open-ended toys are great for encouraging imaginative play and also for your pocketbook and the environment -- as kids can potentially play with them for years. In this gift guide I focussed on “giftable” (nicely packaged) toys that inspire endless imaginative play across a range of ages — whether through tinkering, building, playing with sounds or pretend play!
Dough It Yourself
One of our favorite classes in NYC is The Dough Project Sensory Kitchen, which invites babies and caregivers to “pretend cook” using organic, food-grade ingredients and real kitchen utensils. The Dough Project recently introduced this DIY (Dough it Yourself) at home dough cooking kit, which includes pre-measured ingredients and an easy to follow recipe for making play dough. It's all packaged adorably, which makes it extra giftable! I love that play dough is developmentally beneficial across a large span of ages -- it's great for building fine motor skills and hand strength, working on the alphabet in a fun way and endless imaginative play.
Brand New Noise Player One
There are endless toys for encouraging littles to create and tinker with their hands. This Noise Player encourages kids to experiment with sounds in their environment and their own voices.
Everyday Play Deck
This deck is about generating ideas to help families repurpose materials for play. It's a small purchase that will generate endless opportunities for play!