With Christmas less than a week away (huzzah!) we caught up with Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz, owners of Norman & Jules in Park Slope. Their obsession with rooting out the most vibrant, creative and inspired artisanal toys from around the world (plus a sharp design eye) means you won’t find any ordinary Toys R Us fodder at their chic 7th Avenue store. Expect wooden knitting mushrooms from Gluckskafer, Brooklyn-sewn upcycled dolls, marshmallow-soft “pebble” cushions from Peru and a host of other temptations. For our little pals around the age of five though they’ve picked out the very best the store has to offer. Happy Shopping XO
The (DIY) mini village
Machi Magnetic Chalkboard Town ($51) from Kukkia, is as beautiful as it is entertaining. Kids can draw their own roads (on chalkboard panels) and construct tiny towns using trees, mountains, traffic lights and cars; all fashioned from European beech wood.
The hipster masks
Frida Tierchen’s whimsical masks ($38), are a timeless addition to any dress-up box. Choose from superhero, owl, bird and fox faces all made using pure wool and recycled plastic bottles.
The ultimate cog box
Cherrywood Gears and Pegs ($103), makes our list because of its incredible handmade aesthetic – each gear is made from solid cherry wood and finished with a non-toxic low friction mineral oil – and its high educational value.
The friend for life
Each Snuggly Ugly Tutu Rag Doll ($160), has been handmade in Brooklyn using up-cycled cashmere and wool sweaters and comes with red hair, ballet shoes and gold tulle tutu.
The best $25 you’ll ever spend
Makedo Playhouse ($25) is a wonderfully open-ended toy that lets you turn cardboard boxes into cozy hide-aways (with the help of Makedo’s plastic Safe-Saw, Re-Clips, Lock-Hinges and stickers).
Norman & Jules Toy Shop,158 7th Ave, Park Slope; 347-987-3323; normanandjules.com