Smart Toy Stores in NYC:
West Side Kids, Low-key with a hefty selection of creative toys, 498 Amsterdam Ave at 84th St, 212-496-7282
Dinosaur Hill, Handmade Toys & Clothes for Infants, Children & Adults, 306 East 9th St, 212-473-5850 www.dinosaurhill.com
Area Kids, six store locations in Brooklyn www.areakids.com
Bank Street Bookstore, Extensive collection of books for children, parents & teachers, Broadway and 112th St, 212.678.1654 www.bankstreetbooks.com
A Time for Children, infants and toddlers’ clothes, accessories and toys 100% of the profits support The Children's Aid Society of New York, www.atimeforchildren.org
Best Kids Cookbooks - A list of tried and true cookbooks for kids, big kids and the grown-ups who love them.
Yummy Fun Kooking - Recipes, videos and other cuisine-based fun for itsy-bitsy chefs in training.
Do you have a devoted Dr. Seuss fan on your list? Or someone who is a serious student of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRE? There are cookbooks based on classic children's literature. The GREEN EGGS AND HAM COOKBOOK is a hoot! Check your local bookseller.
And remember, in this do-it-yourself world, there are things you can put together with your own personal stamp. Get a blank notebook and start putting together a 'family' cookbook, with special recipes and stories. Get other family members to contribute. Add some photos and a shoebox full of tools for your young chef. Dollar stores are great sources for colorful measuring cups and spoons, pot holders and other implements.
Pull out the video camera, channel your inner Paula Deen, and make a cooking video - if you're a lousy cook, you can give a lesson in boiling water, making a pb&j sandwich or whipping up a box version of mac 'n cheese. For inspiration, take a look at some of the 'cooking with grandma' offerings on You Tube -- check out this one for fun, a grandma making meatballs...and notice the number of views.