Things to do with BOYS in Paris

I have been discovering lots of BOY friendly activities here in Paris — a far cry away from the usual shopping and coffee-drinking that you normally associate with this city. I reckon our Babyccino Boys Theme week is the perfect opportunity to share them with you…

The Argonaute at the Parc de la Villette: The Argonaute is a 1950′s submarine that was taken out of commission in the ’80s and is now moored in the Parc de la Villette, right beside the Cité des Sciences, Paris’ science museum. It is fascinating. The submarine has been kept exactly the way it was and you get a real feeling of what it was like to live and work in such a confined space. The motors are completely exposed and the audio tour (available in several different languages), describes the life on a submarine really well.

Dinosaur exhibition at the Grand Palais: All the boys I know are going wild about the Dinosaur exhibition at the Grand Palais. The exhibition is not too big to be overwhelming but it is a great way to get to know this species that fascinates so many boys. The animated models are VERY realistic, so small children might be slightly scared. Children discover how dinosaurs lived and ate and there is even a replica of a dinosaur poo (somehow poo never fails to get a rise out of the under-18 crowd).

Play area at the Parc de Belleville: This play area is our favourite place to go at the moment. It has been built specifically for city kids to get them to use their imagination and get to know their physical capabilities better. It is such an unsual structure that every kid interprets differently: for some it is a boat, for some a village, for some a jungle and for some just a great place to let go of some steam.

- Emilie

Parking Garage by Plan Toys

I actually bought this lovely little Parking Garage (or car park..if you will) to make sure I wasn’t completely succumbing to gender programming.  I also wanted something for the boys to play with when they came over to visit   The garage itself has an elevator and ramps to run cars up and down – not to mention plenty of parking spaces!   While most of us know that the quality of Plan Toys is unsurpassed –  they do tend to suffer from my greatest complaint… as in… “I love the way it looks but will my kid actually play with it?”.  In this case, I am happy to report that they did play with it quite a bit and the boys were always happy to see it.  In the end though, it doesn’t really matter — it’s just so sweet looking that even if it does sit on a shelf collecting dust, it looks impressive.

-Dina

Estella stripey onesies for baby boys

Aren’t these stripey onesies just the cutest? I love all the different colours — the bold ones and the more muted ones. They’re just so perfect for the summertime when all your little one needs is a onesie.  I also love the Estella t-shirts — so cute and so summery, and like the onesies they are extremely soft and have a really nice fit.

Estella is a cute children’s boutique located in NYC (Greenwich Village), but they also have a webshop and will ship worldwide.  They carry loads of international brands as well as their own label — a collection of onesies, tees and leggings which are all made in the USA.

-Courtney

Big Boy Pop-Up Book

Pop-Up books today are not like the ones I grew up with, that’s for sure. Last year I picked up this Matthew Reinhart Star Wars pop-up book for one of my friend’s sons who happened to be obsessed with Star Wars and I was simply blown away by it. The book itself is packed with the most artistic, intense and downright amazing 3-D pop-ups I have ever seen!  It’s the type of book that a child could sit with again and again as it also has a bunch of hidden flaps to explore and tons of information. 

You should check out the Matthew Reinhart website to get a sense of what lurks inside and be sure to check out his full collection if pop-ups as they are all pretty incredible.

-Dina

Cool Click-Clack Cars for Boys

Not only are these Australian-made little cars produced in the most environmentally friendly way, they also challenge our little children’s young minds a bit more than your conventional cars. They come in three different parts, which are easily clicked together to become a race car, or a police car, or a garbage truck. There’s also a click-clack police station, hospital and fire station, to let the kids build there own little town — the best ingredients for hours of fun.

Through Mudd Kids.

xxx Esther

Wall Stickers for Boys

We’ve mentioned the Love Mae wall stickers before here on Babyccino Kids, but I don’t think we ever pointed out just how cute the boys designs are. My boys have the Dinosuars on their bedroom wall and they love them.

The Love Mae wall stickers are not vinyl like most wall stickers, but fabric, so they are extra special in design. They are also completely reusable, so you can remove them and re-stick them on your walls as often as you like and they won’t lose their stick (or damage your walls).

They’re available from the UK-based webshop, Quick Brown Fox of Dulwich, who specialise in bedding and other fabric products.  And they ship worldwide for only £6.95.

-Courtney

Win! A Monster Bedset from Little Baby Company

My little boys are completely enthralled by monsters. They talk about them all the time… sea monsters, dragon monsters, bone-eating monsters, etc. It’s not that they’re scared of them, but more that they’re really interested in the idea of ‘monsters’. Must be a boy thing.

So, in celebration of boys and monsters, we’re giving away this Monster Bedset by Kideko from the kind people at Little Baby Company. We’re also giving away the matching drawstring bag, perfect for toy storage.  What little boy wouldn’t be thrilled with that?!

Just leave a comment below by next Wednesday, June 30th, and we’ll pick one winner at random. Good luck!

P.S. Check out Little Baby Company for more cool toys, bedding, clothing and decor pieces.

P.P.S. Congrats to Shalene who won the Eva & Oli  Maternity Bag!

Blabla — dolls for boys (and girls)

In the same line of thought of getting our daughter a train track for her second birthday, we recently got our 3-year-old boy his own doll. I mean, we don’t want to be forcing a love of trains or dolls on our children while they’re possibly equally inclined to play with the other, do we?
After some research I found him this adorable boy doll to play with. It came with a terrific set of cool looking clothes, so cute, and of great quality (I would dress my baby into them would they fit).
Both are from Blabla, a lovely company not yet very known in Europe, but hopefully not for long. Blabla has a wonderful selection of dolls in different shapes and sizes (all equally lovely), mobiles, clothes and blankets. All the products are hand knitted by Peruvian artisans and absolutely adorable in their design. Take for instance this guy Watson, how cool is he? Perfect for a little boy’s bedroom. Or these darling backpacks — my boy would LOVE that lion!!

xxx Esther

For the cool boys about town

It’s not always easy finding the right balance of ‘cool’ and ‘classic’ for my son.  He has strong ideas about what he likes to wear, which still surprises and amuses me — he is only 4 after all! Apparently ‘grey’ is cool but anything neutral is ‘so not cool Mum’. Enter Sudo, a hip Melbourne brand for girls and boys aged 2-12 that we both like. It is ‘cool’ enough for him — he likes to sport the rebel rocker vibe which I am not so partial to ( I am still not sold on skinny jeans for boys but Sudo’s rocker boy jeans, my son’s favorites, I can just about cope with). But also, much of the collection still retains a ‘classic’ enough look for me — lovely lightweight linen shorts and fine muslin shirts!  Think ‘preppy’ with a rocker edge! Practical and durable too. One particular pair of unfortunate grey marle shorts has been subjected to multiple rounds of Napisan and survived. Completely intact. A big plus in my books.

Sudo is available at retailers throughout Australia and internationally at many online retailers — just click here.

- Sara

Books for Boys

Categorizing books by gender is really tricky business. I mean, who’s to say that girls won’t like books about trains or that boys only like books about diggers? We all know this is not the case.

My boys tend to like books about animals and sea creatures, but they’re happy to read anything (including the more ‘girlie’ books). This being said, I’ve just scanned the books on their bookshelf and many of their favourites feature a boy as the central character. Here is a list of our favourite ‘boy’ books:

1.)Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
2.)Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
3.)When You Were Small by Sara O’leary
4.)The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
5.)Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson
6.)The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg
7.)The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
8.)Alfie and the Big Boys by Shirley Hughes
9.)Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
10.)Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
11.)Who’s Driving? by Leo Timmers
12.)How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
13.)And the Train Goes… by William Bee
14.)Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman
15.)Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion
16.)The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio
17.)Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
18.)Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
19.)Who’s Hiding? by Satoru Onishi
20.)A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino

Do you have favourite ‘boy’ books? Please share!!!

-Courtney

Goki Racing Cars

The more I have researched for our boys theme week, the more I realize that there are some great boy toys out there, most of which I had never noticed! And so I have discovered the Goki range of toy racing and pedal cars. I simply love everything about these cars — their look, their design and their playing potential.

I can completely imagine children spending hours zooming around on one of these, as they are super easy to steer and push. It must be impossible not to feel like Lewis Hamilton on one of these.

Goki also make some great pedal cars; my absolute favourite is the fire truck, which comes with a ladder, a hose and a bell! The Goki cars are available from Madame la Marchande, a brilliant online toy shop.

- Emilie

Cute tees for BOYS!

Have you caught the J. Crew fever yet? I’m so in love! Up until recently, J. Crew was only an American novelty (I always stocked up when I went home). But now… even net-a-porter is stocking J. Crew women’s wear, and I am seeing it everywhere — each piece cuter than the next.

And the cuteness factor on their children’s wear is seriously sky-high. Check out these t-shirts for boys. Darling! I’m not usually one for logos, but of course I just cannot resist that happy camper tee — wish I had that for my boys while we were camping in Australia.

You can now buy J. Crew, as well as a whole host of other cute brands, at the recently launched Tada! Shop — a one-stop children’s shop for brands big and small. So many great products all in one shop — such a great idea.

-Courtney

Win! Play-Doh Fun Factory

If my son likes a gift, he takes it to bed with him. No matter how big, small, soft or hard it is, it must spend the night on his pillow. When he recently received the Play-Doh Fun Factory Spin ‘n Store set, he took it to bed for three nights in a row. Meaning, this was a particularly good gift!
I’m pretty sure this toy will be a hit with most little boys (and girls), as it has been proving itself to be very popular for the last 50 (!!) years. And to make it even better; the Fun Factory has recently been completely re-designed, making the squeezing, moulding and extruding even more fun.

If you would like to try your luck AND the new and improved Play Doh Fun Factory Spin ‘n Store, then please leave one comment below by Wednesday, June 23rd, as we’re giving away 5 Fun Factories to 5 lucky Babyccino Kids readers. Winners will be picked at random. Good luck!

xxx Esther

This give-away is now closed…

I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur

When I became a mom, I always knew I wanted to create a household centered around learning, and what better tool than a book? I have books for the kids to peruse in each room of the house for whenever they get the urge, and I’ve tried to supply them with a wide mix of books from basic picture books to classic story books to educational books.
Of course many of our children’s books are on every parent’s reading list — Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Mo Willems (who doesn’t love Knuffle Bunny?!), the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child, H.A. Rey’s Curious George, etc.
Recently I found some serious “boy” books that have interesting multi-media elements in their illustrations that I believe stimulate a different type of creativity in boys.
One of our favorites is I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur by Stella Blackstone and Clare Beaton. This book is about rough-and-tumble dinos in prehistoric jungles, but the original illustrations are made not with pen and paper, but with hand-embroidered fabrics and trims. Toby Pteradactyl is a flying pink dino with a button for an eye, and dip-dyed lace for scales! Shells, tiny seed beads and sequins adorn the dinosaurs, volcanoes, and prehistoric plants. My favorite are the gorgeous trees on the inside jacket made from frayed cord and string. (more…)

A week devoted entirely to BOYS!

While it wasn’t intentional, we have noticed that the past few months on Babyccino have been heavily girl-oriented — girlie shoes, dresses, dolls, prints, etc. — and we’ve received quite a few emails lately asking for more emphasis on the male gender.  So, we’ve decided to make up for it and devote an entire week to boys!!!

This week we’ll be digging up some cool new boy products, our favourite books for boys, and other fun ideas.  But before we launch into the new tips, we thought it was worth re-mentioning some of our favourite boy products already reviewed here on Babyccino Kids.

1.) The Bonz Construction Kits from Curious Toys (still one of my boys’ favourite toys).
2.) The cool gingham shirts from Bobinette (so Dutch, so cool).
3.) The robot dish set from La Chaise Longue.
4.) Cool shirts designed especially for boys from Two Blue Cars.
5.) The Rubbabu toy car — squishy and bouncy and perfect for littler boys.
6.) The TomTect construction set for little future architects.
7.) Babysusu — a darling clothing brand devoted entirely to boys.
8.) The PlanToys Wooden drum — for pleasant-sounding banging.
9.) The super cool Automoblox cars (collect all of them!).
10.) The entire Plan City set-up from PlanToys.
11.) The beautiful, wooden streamliner cars from Playsam.
12.) The wooden toys from top German toymaker Fagus.