Viewing category ‘Toddler gear’

Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at

Games we can bear to play with children

Categories: Crafts and activities, Gifts, Keepsakes, Learning activities, Toddler gear


I am breathing carefully and calmly through my nose as I think of playing board games with children: Monopoly, which goes on forever and makes children cry; CandyLand, which seems like it’s about to end and then someone gets sent back to the beginning.

I do have a few, a very select few, that I am willing to play. I look for a game that is fun for me as well as for the kids, and that doesn’t require me to hold way back in order to avoid trouncing my opponents.

Wits & Wagers Family (photo from I prefer the grown-up version, which I first encountered at my brother and sister-in-law’s house, but the kid-friendly game is nearly as good. I am timid and suspicious of games, but this one won me over: it’s like Trivial Pursuit except you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO know the answers. The idea is that everyone will be guessing. The guesses are laid out in a row, and then everyone can bet on the likelihood that the guesses are correct; in this way, you can win points even if you didn’t know the population of Vatican City, or how many points an athlete scored in his best game. It ends up being a lot of fun and a lot of laughing, and as soon as I got home from that game night I ordered the family version to play with the kids.

Set (photo from This game was recommended to us by one of the kids’ teachers, who had the kids make their own small decks to practice with. The point of the game is to find three cards that make up a “set”: the three cards can be different colors but the same shapes, or different shapes but the same colors, or all different colors/shapes. It took me a little while to catch on, but after that it was simple and addictive.
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Gift ideas for a 1-year-old

Categories: Baby gear, Books, Gifts, Toddler gear, Toys


My nephew recently turned one, which is hard for me to believe but the evidence sits before me. Recently there were requests for gift ideas for a one-year-old, so I took notes at his birthday party.

Pewi YBike Walking Buddy and Riding Toy (photo from This is a very stylish looking riding toy. And if the child stands facing it, it’s also a sturdy walker.

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Gift ideas for a 2-year-old

Categories: Gifts, Toddler gear, Toys


We were recently invited to a birthday party for a 2-year-old, and you know what I don’t remember? What 2-year-olds like. It’s funny how that was only three years ago and yet I had to go back into my journals to find out even what KIND of toy the kids were playing with at that age.

One idea we considered was musical instruments. Several of our kids were invited, so it seemed like a good way to bring a gift from each child: maybe one could bring this cool percussion toy (photo from, and one could bring bendy bells, and one could bring a harmonica and a kazoo.

Or maybe one kid could bring an instrument and one could bring a set of helping/digging garden tools (photo from
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Musical instrument toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers

Categories: Baby gear, Music, Toddler gear, Toys


Tara writes:

My daughter is OBSESSED with music (and noise in general), and currently her instruments of choice are two metal mixing bowls she drums on with bamboo spoons, but she also really loved a little piano at a friend’s house. We are celebrating her in June (when she’ll be 18 months), and I’ve been thinking about getting her some baby/toddler instruments! Any ideas (preferably that won’t cost me $1M)?

I bought a set of Schylling Musical Hand Bells for my niece for Christmas, and they have been a success. Each bell makes an actual note (the note is labeled on the handle with a sticker, which may need to be replaced by permanent marker), so an older child can use them for reals after using them for just-shake-those-bells-any-which-way play as a younger child.

My brother is very musical (I am more the sort who gets completely stumped as soon as flats/sharps are introduced), and I remember him asking for Music Eggs one Christmas. They’re a….rhythm instrument, I think.
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