“You’ll Want to Play With These, Too” Holiday Gift Guide & Book Giveaway!

Usually I let my kids do the fun stuff; the reviewing, the taste-testing, and the experiencing. Not today. I’ve gotta tell you- as soon as these gems arrived on my front porch, I knew that not only were these the kind of toys I wanted to play with, but that this season seemed to be ushering in a renewed love of free play with never-ending options. How awesome is that? (Disclosure: Although I’ve been compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and toys with original accessories are entirely my own.)

Lollygag Blog Gift Guide


The Caravan Village Play Mat from ImaginOak


I knew there was a reason that I’ve kept my trolls, ponies, and dolls all of these years– it was so I could play with them on a “big kid” spot like ImaginOak’s gorgeous play mats. While most toy mats on the market feature graphics aimed at the preschool set, ImaginOak’s three scenes richly depict a Caravan Village, a Quest Realm, and a Horse Haven. We chose the Caravan Village, with its winding paths and multitude of homes, for a multitude of reasons- not the least of which is because, on the outskirts of town, is a beautiful little gypsy encampment. (My people!!)

You really need to take a look at the details on each heavy-duty, easily cleaned mat. Sure, your kids might love the windmill and the town square for a tiny animal meeting, but I love the fact that these big mats (did you see me scrawling across one?!) roll up for an easy storage yet still lay fully flat the next time your kids need some good, open-ended, wholly creative play. Available in large (4’x5′) and small (3’x4′), all three mats have paths and roads which can connect to subsequent mats. Which you should totally buy right now because a) these lovely mats are a really, really cool gift for the kiddos in your home who have a town’s worth of people, cars, trucks, animals, and otherworldly creatures, and b) for a limited time, shipping is absolutely free. (Use discount code FREE-SHIPPING!)

Water-proof, indestructible, and intended to grow with your child’s toys and interests, ImaginOak’s play mats are roomy enough for everyone- your kids, their collections, and their big, big imaginations.


Trio of Monkey & Seth Restaurant Menus & Wedding Planner


When I was a little kid, my sisters and I used to play this ongoing game called “The Starlight Café.” We were the proprietors, the chefs, the waitstaff, and the demanding customers. And I’m telling you right now, we would’ve gone bonkers for these three menus, each showcasing a different type of cuisine– all with kid-friendly listings and even funnier descriptions. Like Italian? Ambroselli’s Ristorante (“when the kitchen is open, we’re open!”) has some pretty great specials, but my fave is the Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti (“just one looooooooong noodle”). Steph’s Roadside Diner is decidedly more casual- and closes briefly for naptime- and swaps out chicken fingers for chicken toes, because “chicken fingers are so 2016.” If breakfast is your most important meal of the day, then you’ll definitely want to dine at Your First Meal Café & Eatery. I highly recommend Josh’s Fried Egg Sandwich (“Josh makes a mean fried egg sandwich. But don’t worry, sandwiches can’t talk”). These superbly cute menus can be bought separately or as a trio, and feature plastic covers as tough as the pint-sized customers who’ll be holding them. 

If wedding hoopla is more your kid’s thing (and with an upcoming royal wedding, it may just be everybody’s thing), Monkey & Seth’s take on a dry-erasable wedding planner is sheer fun. Obviously, you have to write in info about the bride and groom (and how in love they are, on a sliding scale), but what about ring choice? (Diamond, ruby, or ring pop.) Theme? (Farmhouse formal or underwater wedding?) And what wedding could go off without a DJ “may not play these songs” list? Don’t worry, there’s also plenty of room for “notes” because, as anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows, you need to leave a lot of room for opinions.

And because Marlowe Stone, the gal in charge of Monkey & Seth’s adorable line, is so awesome, she’s provided us with the code LOLLYGAGBLOGROCKS for 10% off everything in the entire shop! Go! Go go go!


The Trucks & Diggers Tuck Me In Quilt by SAGO Mini


Inspired by the massive success of the original Tuck Me In Quilts- and their wildly popular Trucks & Diggers and Fairy Tale apps, SAGO Mini (purveyor of our favorite play-based, ad-free apps and beyond adorable toys) has created two new blankies that you’ll want to borrow for your own cuddly nap. We (cheerfully!) played with the Trucks & Diggers one because that’s Jasper’s absolute favorite app- and category of toys. Aaaaaanything with a digger. And, I’m sorry, Harvey the pup’s wearing a hard hat? In his own dedicated pocket? Hurt my heart, why don’tcha?

Designed to “play by day and sleep at night,” there’s a whole trove of activities for Harvey (and friends) to enjoy on both sides of the super soft blanket, and even room for a pal or two to be cozily tucked in at bedtime. Each Tuck Me In Quilt comes with a 47 x 56.25in puffy blanket, a plush pal, and a box which transforms into a puppet theatre (with props!) for your favorite SAGO character. And yes, I had planned on inserting myself into the photo shoot for this one, but had a little help from our resident punk kitten. Then I decided that the trifecta of a puppy, a construction site, and Arthur kitty would really bring home the fact that, at least for almost 4 year-old Jasper, you really can have it all. (With a nap, too!)

Check out their store locator for a quilt near you, but I’m also stoked to tell you that Amazon has a few left, available for prime shipping! Merry Quilt-mas!


TAPE by Buildr


Sometimes I have an unreasonable amount of fun with reviews. Like when P.J. came out of his home office to see why I was crunching around in my kids’ blocks bin and giggling like a loon. I had just finished wrapping three strands of Buildr TAPE around our fave wooden wagon to see if it was sturdy enough to host a troop of people- upside down. IT TOTALLY WAS. Do see what’s happening up there in that photo? There’s marching, there’s an errant horse, there’s a cheerful mountain climber, there’s some sort of battle over a bunny in a party hat, and there’s at least three girls doing the rollercoaster wave as they aim their heads at the floor. So yes, these can be used upside down.

These flexible, wrappable, cuttable, stickable (and reusable!) pieces unleash a whole new world of creativity for the builders in your household. Besides the obvious upside-down path of craziness, there’s the wearable option. The room decor option. The surprise on the morning mug of coffee option. (For example.) Compatible with most major building block brands, the Basic Pack comes six strands of two stud-wide tape in three colors (red, blue, and green), each one 3.2 feet in length. This one’s a must-have for brick-lovers, visual joke aficionados (Elf on the Shelf inspiration, anyone?), and creative powerhouses. Your kid, perhaps? Or you? (It’s cool.)

And right now you can use code KFLYNN10 for 10% off of your order! You’re welcome. Now go get building.


‘Kisses for Later’ by Kaitlin Morse Creedon


This is exciting on so many levels. My very first childhood pal, when not taking the magazine world by storm or raising her three ridiculously cute sons, has somehow managed to find the time to pen a book for children; it’s sweet, comforting, and one thousand percent addable to your bedtime (or school or work trip) routine. It’s called ‘Kisses for Later’ and has the adorable tagline “Because love never leaves…even when Mommy has to.”

Inspired by- and dedicated to- her boys, Kaitlin has been doing the oft-dreaded work/life dance for years and really know her stuff. And this encouraging book, published by Archway Publishing (a division of Simon & Schuster) features gentle rhymes, cute illustrations, and comes in sturdy hardcover form- making it perfectly giftable for the kiddo in your life who might need a little reassurance…or maybe even the Mama who’s heading back into the work force in the new year?

Good news: I’m teaming up with Kaitlin to give one lucky reader a hardcover ‘Kisses for Later’ of their very own! Enter the (easy lemon squeezie) Rafflecopter below to win one…

…And then go call your Mama.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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