Highlights from Toy Fair 2011

Part 1

The annual Toy Fair at the Javits Center in New York has all the heavy hitters in the industry like Hasbro, Mattel and LEGO, but Ohdeedoh is a friend to the little guy (and gal). We're not toy snobs (okay, maybe a little) but we'd rather use this space to share finds with parents that are unique, special or harder to locate. Here are a few items that caught my eye as I staved off hunger and blisters walking the aisles of Toy Fair yesterday.

Photos 1 & 2: It's about time someone came up with a folding play kitchen for small homes and that someone was Guidecraft. Had I only seen the Hideaway Kitchen online I would have been intrigued but skeptical that the folding would truly be quick and easy. I timed the demonstrator who folded it up and it was about 15 seconds, less time than it takes me to fold my stroller. The Hideaway Kitchen by Guidecraft also comes in a blue/pink/yellow version, will sell for $240 and is available for preorder.

Photos 3-5: You may not be familiar with French company Djeco but I know them best for the colorful toys and puzzles I come across on Euro-focused online shops like Moolka and Oompa. They're branching out a bit into kids' decor with paper mobiles, 3-D wall hangings and decals. Look for these products in the next few months online or at specialty toy shops.

Photos 6-7: What child of the 70s or 80s didn't have a potholder maker? When I touched the potholders (sold as a kit for kids) by family-owned business Harrisville Designs I knew theirs were different - made of a really soft cotton in an array of beautiful colors. The potholder kits are a bestseller for them but they had so many lovely products for kids from small needlepoint kits to actual wooden looms. Harrisville Designs is based in New Hampshire where all their products are made.

Photos 8 & 9: EverEarth is a line of eco-friendly toys from Maxim Enterprises. The whole range was beautiful and I especially liked these dino pull toys and wood treehouse - a great alternative to a dollhouse.

Photo 10: Robots have reached new heights of popularity in the last few years, but what sets Kauzbots apart is the charitable component. Each Kauzbot supports a different cause, or "kauz" if you will, from homelessness to hunger to autism. Ten precent of the retail price supports a non-profit dedicated to this cause.

Stay tuned for more good finds from Toy Fair 2011!

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Family, Baby, Elementary, Toy Fair, Toys

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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