Best Alphabet Toys & Decor: Won’t you sing with me….
First, last week I told you I’d update you when we made our final decision about our valentines. After a lot of discussion we all agreed to make the chocolate treats and use the robot valentines so the kids would be able to write their names on the cards. You can see the process here and the final product here.
They could also write little notes to certain little boys which read things like, “Dear So-and-So, I have a crush on you.” This is okay because ‘So-and-So’ made the first move this summer when he wrote Maddie a long note about how much he likes her and made her a cute little necklace. Just FYI, the first boy who had a crush on me (and expressed it) was, uh….my husband who I met when I was 20. Maddie must get her charm from her father.
But Valentine’s Day is over and now I want to show you some alphabet kid stuff. Kids like learning their letters and since learning letters is the first building block of actually reading it’s not a bad thing to encourage. Also, the world needs more kids singing their abc’s because there isn’t a lot cuter than that.
The classic ABC toy is blocks, and classic has it’s place but I found some twists on the classic. These sets offer braille, lowercase letters, sign language symbols and even a math set, but you know, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I like this set because the set will grow with your child as they conqer letters, they can conquer braille or sign language spelling. Spelling with your hands comes in handy in school, at the very least so you can communicate across your classroom without interrupting anyone. [via Baby Gadget.]
Logan gave me the links to these next two block sets both made (or inspired) by well known designers. The first set is from The Land Of Nod and designed by Michael Mabry. It includes capital and lowercase letters, numbers and adorably illustrated objects and animals, like a cat on the ‘F’ block named “Fifi”.
House Industries is one of my husband’s favorite places to buy fonts for work and I think he’s been dying for a reason to share these blocks. Alexander Girard was a textile designer from Herman Miller. These alphabet puzzle blocks were inspired by his designs and include letters, sunbursts, words and, when arranged correctly, a lovely picture. Your baby doesn’t just want to learn her letters, she wants to do it with mid-century flair.
Another classic alphabet toy is refrigerator magnets. There are always the classic plastic letters but when I saw this adorable set from MyMimi at a friend’s house and I wished my kids didn’t know how to read yet so I could buy them for our fridge. Yes, my daughter is 8….she could be in the remedial reading group or something.
I love this Animal ABCs Flashcard Ring because of the design but also the portability. I had a little girl who could not handle driving in the car for more than, oh, 5 seconds. It might have been nice to keep these in my glove box as a ‘special car ride toy’. Instead I kept a steady stream of pretzel rods flying into the backseat. Effective, but incredibly messy.
I like the vintage look of these alphabet cards illustrated by Beth Nelson. You can use them for kids to play with or as decorations in a kids room. I can see buying two sets and framing the letter side and the illustration side of the cards in one frame. Maybe just 5 or so of your favorite illustrations, or maybe your child has a ‘favorite letter’. My son, for example, likes ‘W’ because it’s “Fun to write.”
Those cards created a nice segue for me, except that I just made it very awkward by announcing the smoothness. Anyway, wall art for your kid’s room is another way to bring the alphabet into your house. Remember, we want cute kids singing their abc’s, if it’s in their room they will learn the alphabet even while they’re sleeping.
Remember Binth of the utterly lickable baby book? This poster is nearly as lickable. It’s inspired by mid-century Danish wood toys, and the color scheme is so lovely. It fit right into a Martha nursery, like the ones Hilary at Wee Wonderfuls shared months ago. If the poster is too much, Binth also offers individual letters. You can spell your child’s name if you were smart like me and went with a three letter name, if you liked a longer name, you can just do initials.
Alphabet Works offers custom painted on canvas letters. You choose the color, the font and the size you want and magic fairies deliver an custom piece of art to your house. Maybe not fairies, but if you order it, it will come and look all nice in your kid’s room.
Since we’re in your kid’s room anyway (see? Segue….unsmooth segue) let’s look at some alphabet bedding. These alphabet pillows are so cute I would love to see them on my daughter’s bed. No I wouldn’t buy the whole alphabet, I would only buy ones to spell out: “Please Go To Sleep And Stop Asking Me Questions. For The Love Of God.” Wait, that’s the whole alphabet isn’t it?
This alphabet duvet is simple, but still colorful. It doesn’t beat you over the head with the alphabet, it just sort of says, “Here, I’m laying out the letters for you and you can do what you want with them. Go to sleep under them if you feel like it.” Besides, if osmosis learning is going to work, it’s most likely going to work if your kid is laying underneath the alphabet while they sleep. Oh and it comes with a storybook.
Up next, (hopefully not published at 11:59pm Thursday) things to keep your kids busy at restaurants, or other places they need to be reasonably quiet and entertained so your kid doesn’t decide ketchup is just like finger paint.