What’s better than a tutu? A tutu you design yourself! At this cool website, girls create their dream twirls, choosing colors, designs and sleeve length (tutus are attached to comfy cotton tops) — everything, right down to the ribbons! The best part: One-third of the proceeds go to benefit Children’s Hospital in Boston. From $34; Tutu Pour Mondeaux.
No, literally: Hang on! This ingenious new tote — the Reisenthel “Mother child” bag — is like a third hand; just tell your tot to grab onto the sturdy handle on the side. Bag is solid and roomy, with a fold-out bottom, strong webbed straps and zippered pockets. The price is right, too — $19.99 — and part of the proceeds support German day care centers. Available at Touch of Europe, search “mother child.”
Bring the glitter
Like the coolest goody bag evah, this little clutch of shimmery stuff will send your tween girl into a swoon. Each bag contains mini bottles of lotion, gel, nail polish, lip balm, stickers, flip-flops and more! Super-delicious, and socially conscious, too; bags are assembled by mentally and physically challenged adults. From $14.95; Herban Renewal.
Everyone who’s laid eyes on this little 4-pack-o-cuteness says the same thing: Awwwww! Really, this little bakery package — which includes four darling onesies and four baby washcloths, all done up to look like cupcakes — is a sweet, ingenious shower gift. Local-mom-run Little Britches Bakery makes diaper cakes, too. Cupcake 4-packs, $30.
Let your home tots reflect your inner hipster with these adorable designs from Zootie Patootie. I just can’t decide: Will it be the funky monkey or the Katy Perry shout-out? So many randomly cool options! Onesies from $24.
Got a crispy critter at home? Keep ‘em covered this summer with these cute zippered sun-guard shirts. Created by a local mom, SwimZip shirts are made with UPF 50+ rash guard fabric, flat seams and a tagless neck. Best of all, they’re easy to take off of wet, sand-coated, struggling kids! $34.95.
Seattle artist Kate Endle’s creations — collages of decorative papers — already have a huge following on Etsy; now, you’ll find them in two charming board books for tots. In What Is Green?, colorful cutouts of everyday objects guide little ones in color recognition. Who Hoo Are You? combines folk-art critters with sweet alliteration (“I’m a tipped over turtle.” “I’m a playing spraying elephant.”). Adorable! $8.95; Sasquatch.
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If you’ve got a tween adventure fan, and you don’t yet know about Daniel X, score one of his books for your child’s summer reading pleasure! This month marks the release of the third book in James Patterson and Adam Sadler’s wildly popular series, Daniel X: Demons and Druids. It’s Daniel X’s job to hunt down and eliminate intergalactic criminals on Earth; this time, his parents are in peril, too! Best for ages 9–12; to be released on July 26. $16.99; Little Brown.
Older and wiser
On top o’ my nightstand pile right now: The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind by Barbara Strauch, a fascinating new book about the middle-aged brain. (Wait — “middle age” starts when?) Turns out, your brain is not decaying! Science writer Strauch cites research that finds that older brains are better able to recognize patterns, make judgments and find unique solutions — skills that peak in middle age. For a full book review, check our staff blog. $26.95; Viking.
—Kristen Russell Dobson