If you are the architect of your child’s future, and developmental toys are the building blocks, we suggest hiring Manzanita Kids as the contractor.
The Seattle-based venture, launched by David and Adrienne Minnery, turns walnut, cherry, and maple woods into modular building sets, stackers, puzzles, and blocks. The husband-and-wife duo draws upon their backgrounds (his in woodworking, hers in education) to create age-appropriate, ecofriendly, and safe toys for kids.
Our favorite pieces include the building walls and extender kits that let littles construct forts, castles, and underwater seascapes big enough for tushies to plop down in the middle and play. The modular stacking puzzle is designed to teach spatial relations to toddlers, but we think it’s intriguing enough to place on the living room coffee table.
After all, the family that plays together stays together.
Available online at etsy.com, $14-$148.
Photo: Courtesy of Manzanita Kids
The Great Album Trade-In
What: Haul in old photo albums — especially ones with sticky pages — and Koloists will help you arrange pictures into a new sleek book ($18-$59); plus, get $5-$10 off each one.
Why: Have them scan deteriorating pictures onto archival paper (because that one of Dad with an Afro is too priceless to lose).
When: Thru Mar. 15. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m.
Where: Kolo Shop, The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill (617-581-6300).
What: Search for animal tracks and birds, and then head indoors for stories and games (ages 3-6).
Why: Say see ya to Old Man Winter.
When: Every Thurs., 10:30 a.m.-noon.
Where: Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. To pre-register (recommended), call 617-983-8500. Adults, free; children, $7.
What: The gravelly voiced musician leads kids in a free sing-along.
Why: Keep an ear out for renditions of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger’s folky tunes.
When: Fri., 5-6 p.m.
Where: Henry Bear’s Park, 685 Mass Ave., Arlington (781-646-9400).