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Toys for Creative Kids

Read about some of our favorite creativity-inspiring games and toys for budding artists.
From our provider: FamilyFun
2animate

Software for Pre-Pixar Artists

When my 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son fight over a computer game, I know it's a keeper! Such was the case with 2Animate, a British import we recently discovered that allows young artists to create their own stop-motion animation. Kids start by drawing their picture with a felt-tip pen (the mouse), then they move it to a frame at the top of the page. When all the frames are complete, they simply click on the Play button and watch their pictures come to life, similar to a flip-book. More tech-savvy kids can also import digital images into their animations.

Windows. Ages 4 and up. $30; 2simpleusashop.com -- Arlene Schusteff
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fashion angels

Fashion Design Studio Set

To get budding stylists started, the Fashion Design Studio Set offers an oversize folder with colored pencils, markers, and notepads for sketching outfits, shoes, and purses. A booklet illustrates design details — sweetheart neckline, empire waist — and a set of swatches and rubbing plates lets kids add pattern and texture to those creations. Our favorite feature: pockets to keep track of all the fabulous finished work.

Ages 8 and up. Fashion Angels Enterprises, $25 -- Lisa Stowe
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designer's world

Designer's World

For a change of pace, enter the fast-paced universe of virtual fashion with Designer's World. The game plugs into the TV, and the clever wireless remote is a breeze to use. Players create their own line of cool clothes by selecting tops, bottoms, and shoes, then choose from a wide variety of style, color, and pattern options. For a more competitive experience, kids can enter a fashion show, create outfits, pick a model, style her hair, and even choose the music for the runway.

Ages 8 and up. Tiger Games, $40 -- Lisa Stowe
Click to buy



paper fashions

Paper Fashions

With a good pair of scissors, your child can get to work styling custom couture from the gorgeous patterned papers, funky trims, itty-bitty bead buttons, miniature hangers, and easy-to-use stencils found in Paper Fashions. The accompanying book contains a little fashion history, design tips (how to create awesome pleats with a muffin cup!), and ideas for applying the designs to gift bags and notebooks.

Ages 8 and up. Klutz, $20 -- Lisa Stowe
Click to buy



pixel blocks

PixelBlocks

My sons' favorite building materials are PixelBlocks, miniature plastic blocks in translucent bright shades and subtle grays that shimmer like jewels when put together. The uniform cubes readily lend themselves to more traditional architectural designs, but my guys spend hours constructing unusual, and impressive, flowers and creatures.

Ages 8 and up. PixelBlocks, prices start at $20 for a 550-piece set -- Sarah Buttenweiser
Click to buy




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