Childhood is about exploration and learning; kids curiously run around exploring their own self-made fantasy worlds while absorbing, learning and taking in anything they can. Children’s imaginations know no limits and they are eager to discover the ways of the world. A parent’s first priority is to fuel that discovery, learning and education amongst their kids.
In order to do this, the products they buy are usually a balance of physical objects and tech-powered smart devices. According to HuffPo, parents and caretakers are spending hours researching, reading reviews and blogs to find the best products, agonizing over the best choices for their children’s toys. To help you find brands that fit what parents want, we found twenty NY NOW® brands that cater to the well-informed, discerning parent.
Trend No. 1: Toys Need to Support S.T.E.A.M. Learning
We are a highly informed world and parenting has a unique place in that. With the scientific ability to see how children’s minds and bodies develop from birth, as Good Housekeeping notes, parents feel compelled to provide toys and games to foster such development. From activity sets and arts and craft to academic books and S.T.E.A.M. toys – in a world where toys have to be “smart” enough to compete with phones, if you find something to challenge and expand a young mind, it’s in! Here are some NY NOW® brands that fit this trend:
- Plan Toys: Parents start child development before they’re born, so what happens when they make their way into the world? From clutching toys to garden kits, this company offers a variety of toys designed to start stimulating the eyes, ears and brains from zero days, all the way up to six years old.
- Fat Brain Toy Co.: This innovative company likes to create unique, trendsetting toys that stimulate the gray matter between our ears. For example, their sensory rattles and brain teasers are unusual, must have solutions to get young minds growing.
- Jellycat: Have you ever seen a child without a stuffed side-kick? Whether it’s a donkey, skunk or elephant, these ridiculously soft stuffed toys will be a child’s best friend, while still being easy for mom to wash.
- Loog Guitars: This company provides an opportunity to fully embrace S.T.E.A.M. education through the physical and mathematical comprehension of musical notes. The ingenious design allows small hands to play the main chords to any song from day one.
- Petit Collage: Looking for a huge assortment of wood maps, puzzles and board books that are designed to encourage creative learning about nature? This company offers cool learning toys featuring bold colors, natural materials, and images from numerous geographic locations. What better way to learn about where things are in the world?
- Hazel Village: With vintage inspired stuffed animals and dolls, this Brooklyn-based company creates beautiful toys for snuggling, dress up play and then as keepsakes to pass along to the next generation. Buyers take note of the care instructions and overall intricacy of these dolls!
Trend No. 2: Arts & Crafts Should Fuel Creative Exploration
While not strictly academic, there are endless reasons to incorporate arts and crafts into children’s assortment of educational materials; they promote imagination, fine motor skills, and self-reliance. As Trend Hunter notes, parents are looking for activities that help children develop their creativity and develop better problem solving skills (through trial and error scenarios), while also providing kids a way to explore and express themselves in the world. And, kids of all ages love to be inquisitive, so you can’t go wrong with crafts that promote self-exploration. Here a few great NY NOW® brands that fit this trend:
- eco-kids: This company offers art supplies that are unique, all natural and fun for kids. From play dough and crayons to egg dying and sidewalk paints –– the creative ideas are countless and parents love the safe products!
- eeBoo: This boutique toy manufacturer specializes in toys and games that are colorful and feature original designs. They commissioned artwork from well-loved children’s illustrators to create unique items and products.
- Pirasta: Kids love coloring on the walls –– why not give them something to actually color? These large, elaborate wall murals feature different scenes and scenarios allowing for children to color their hearts out.
- Wee Gallery: This company designs art, board books and coloring books designed to grow with a child. As their brain develops, a child’s eyesight takes in more definition and color; these products become more complex the further along as that development progresses.
- Kid Made Modern: With a large assortment of arts and crafts, this company’s products are must-have when it comes to arts and crafts. From unusual crayons and paints to embroidery kits and comic book kits, there is something for every child.
Trend No. 3: Baby Accessories Must Be Functional and Friendly
We know who dresses our newborns, right? The adults. That being said, thoughtful parents and grandparents align those choices with their value structure and aesthetics. According to Vogue and We Connect Fashion, the clothing that parents are gravitating toward must be soft, washable, colorful and textural; accessories should be age appropriate and follow the same guidelines as clothing. According to Natural Products Insider, it’s a bonus if they are eco-conscious or sustainable as well. In terms of design, bold jewel tones and deep earth tones are actually in, especially if you add faux suede, lace, and feathers into the mix. Here are some NY NOW® brands that meet those needs in spades:
- Chewbeads: Children to the age of eight like to chew on things. Chewbeads created an innovative line of jewelry and accessories for mom, baby, and child to safely allow the chewing to commence –– in style and without the risk of choking.
- Piggy Paint: Girls love to copy their mothers, especially their beauty regimens. Non-toxic, odorless and packaged in kid-sized, kid-friendly bottles, these fingernail polishes are perfect for the little fashionista.
- aden + anais: Swaddles, blankets and sleep sacks are on every newborns’ must list, and this company is a must have from any blogger with kids. They use only the best, non-toxic muslin to create breathable, lightweight products for babies.
- The Blueberry Hill: The sheer amount of pictures shared by a new parent is staggering, and this company wants to encourage it. With the most adorable hats, headbands and photo props, every picture looks straight out of a photoshoot!
- Elegant Baby: This company offers luxurious blankets, baby apparel and towels in a host of colors and styles. Best of all, they will personalize them with embroidered patterns and lettering to make the gift extra memorable.
Trend No. 4: Kids Products Should Be Approachable and Well Made
When children come into our lives, nothing is ever the same. And one area that changes the most is our homes. Style forward design authority DEZEEN notes that designing home and lifestyle products for children is on the rise, and will only continue to grow. But with that, the approachability factor has to be considered. From worrying about outlets, corners and proper sleeping positions to the endless laundry, cleaning and picking up, mothers want safe, functional and durable goods, not trendy, poorly designed ones. Here are NY NOW® brands who aim to help bring beauty back into our homes while also offering practicality:
- Avanchy: Mealtimes are messy with kids but with this beautifully designed bamboo dishware, their plates and bowls will make the mess look good. The fact that they’re non-toxic, BPA free, lead-free and sustainable makes them easy to love.
- Leela and JoJo: Eco-friendly, recycled and natural resources are the base of this company’s line. From pillows to small quilted playthings, these eco chic products feature modern geometric designs and patterns sure to wow the younger design enthusiast.
- Little Giraffe: This company features luxuriously soft and well-made blankets that even the adults will want to wrap themselves in. These ultra soft fabrics feature unique details like hoods, cape ties to stay in place and more.
- MALABAR BABY: Every baby deserves a good night’s sleep and these crib sheets, blankets and nursery items are handcrafted for comfort. Add some bohemian flair with batik prints and paisleys –- yes, please!
- Little Unicorn: From car canopies to diaper bags, this line has everything needed to be stylishly well-equipped for new parenthood. These products are designed for on-the-go parents who travel constantly with their kids.
- Lorena Canals: From the floor to the ceiling, parents love for their kids’ spaces to look as chic as the rest of house, they just make them much more whimsical and vibrant. This company made it easy to achieve eye-popping designs while making all things in the space machine washable!
Parenting and being around children is the best ride in town and much of the fun is in buying them things. Parents love the surprise and delight when they choose a gift that suits them well. The snuggling into their favorite stuffed animal or blanket offers the parent a sigh of pleasure in their comfort. Adults adore playing games with them and watching their brains growing with every turn. Knowing that those products are safe, innovative and responsible makes that adventure even more satisfying.
Photo Credits (Left to Right)
- Collage #1: Chewbeads, Piggy Paint, Elegant Baby, Chewbeads, aden + anais, The Blueberry Hill, Elegant Baby, The Blueberry Hill, Piggy Paint, aden + anais
- Collage #2: Jellycat, Loog Guitars, Hazel Village, Fat Brain Toy Co., Plan Toys, Petit Collage, Fat Brain Toy Co., Petit Collage
- Collage #3: Wee Gallery, Kid Made Modern, Kid Made Modern, eeBoo, eeBoo, eco-kids, Pirasta, Wee Gallery
- Collage #4: The Blueberry Hill, aden + anais, Chewbeads, Piggy Paint, Elegant Baby, The Blueberry Hill, Chewbeads, aden + anais
- Collage #5: Leela & JoJo, MALABAR BABY, Little Giraffe, Avanchy, Little Giraffe, Little Unicorn, Lorena Canals, Leela & JoJo