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
J’s Art Studio Summer Camp
What: Aspiring artists (ages 5 and up) experiment with watercolor, jewelry making, and more.
Why: Way more sophisticated than the craft cabin.
When: Book now for sessions starting June 4.
Where: 17630 Davenport Rd., ste. 102. To register, call 972-931-1933. Cost is $175-$190.
Books ’n’ Bugs
What: Busy bees gather for crafts, snacks, and a reading of Waiting for Wings.
Why: It ends with a butterfly release. How’s that for a finale?
When: Thurs., 11 a.m.-noon.
Where: Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fair Park (214-428-7476). Pre-registration (recommended) online at texasdiscoverygardens.org. Adults, $8; children, $10.
GO (and SEARCH)
The Peter Rabbit Trail
What: Go for a spin on the mule train ride, visit the petting zoo, and hunt for the floppy-eared fellow.
Why: Practice bunny hops at the bounce house.
When: Sat.-Apr. 15. Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m.
Where: Country Critters Farm, 3709 County Rd. 617, Alvarado (817-477-3060). Adults and children, $8; under 2, free.