Best local kids’ tees
Thanks to Madison Park resident Shana Perrina’s Hopscotch Tees (hopscotchtees.com), little ones can strut their neighborhood pride wearing custom-designed shirts ($22–$27). Consider the Sugar Shop tee, emblazoned with a Swarovski crystal cupcake and “[Child’s name], the sweetest thing in [your
neighborhood] since [birth year].” Perrina’s latest creation: personalized superhero shirts with detachable shiny capes.
Best online daily deals site
Bargain buys on everything from apparel and accessories to baby gear and mama wear have never been so easy to come by since Zulily.com started popping into our inbox this year. The members-only sale website sends daily dedicated e-mails with discount details, and most are for 50 to 70 percent off designer brands, plus deals on Seattle-area entertainment.
Coolest summer camp for teens
Cornish College has become a mecca for teenage artist wannabes, thanks to a fantastic summer program that was expanded this year and gave 340 youngsters a taste of life in art college. In addition to being immersed in the local arts scene, participants got to take studio classes with big-name Seattle artists, such as comic illustrator Ellen Forney and life drawing artist Jeffry Mitchell. The students came from all over the country and even overseas, a testament to Cornish's reputation. Sign-ups for the 2011 summer session begin in January; visit cornish.edu/summer.
Superior squishy stuff
There has been a surge in the number of organic play doughs on the national market, but local fave Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay (mama-ks.com), created by Rainier Beach mom Kari Erickson-Valenzuela, is looking at world dominance, with new distribution in Europe and Asia. Not too shabby for a product from a mom who started messing around with different recipes so that her kid could play with nontoxic dough. The happy result: clay made with subtle aromatherapy oils—from chamomile and lavender to sweet orange and bergamot—that smell delicious and soothe the mind.
Most versatile mom bag
If there is such a thing as the perfect carry-all bag, it just might be the Merin Designs tote (merindesigns.com), created by Bellevue mom Kea Rensch and now seen on the arms of hipster mamas all over Seattle. The extra-roomy canvas tote features a sturdy rectangular waterproof bottom, and is perfect for a day at the beach, a day on the slopes, a weekend getaway or for transporting kids’ gear to and fro. Plus, the bags’ kicky color combinations (we love the Walla Walla cab with Palm Springs orange straps) are as cool as the neighborhoods they're named after, from Magnolia to Laurelhurst to Belltown.
Most enterprising mom-preneur product
New moms, got milk? (Sorry.) If the well is running dry, grab a cold glass and sit down to this: When you eat a Milkmaker cookie or two a day, your cup size will be full and baby will be happy. Brewer’s yeast and flaxseed are said to be the key ingredients, but one might argue that a happy mom is essential to milk production, and heaven knows cookies do the trick. Whatever it is, Seattle mom and baker Emily Kane is grateful. Moms need a treat, and this one promises heaps of rewards. Now, if she could just figure out some scary warning label to keep your husband and nanny from eating these goodies.
Smartest accessory to let girls play like kids
Because little girls should be able to wear dresses and play in the dirt, we love Züpers (zupergirls.com), comfy yet durable leggings made of rip-resistant UV fabric with removable pads that protect knees from scrapes during rough-and-tumble play. Designed by Queen Anne mom Wendy Feller, Züpers ($24–$26) come in an array of fun colors and prints, and feature a secret treasure pocket.
Best boon for sports-fan parents
Huskies games just aren’t the same when you have to bring the stroller and the gear, not to mention the toddlers themselves. But no need to give up your Dawg days. Blossoming Buds Cottage (blossomingbudscottage.com), a drop-in daycare in Wedgwood, watches the kids while you watch the game ($10 an hour). So when you’re busy barking for Sark, the kiddos will be eating pizza, doing crafts and playing. Talk about a winning season.
Best Role Model for Cooking with Kids
Given these locavore times, it’s especially satisfying to see a food advocate who is preaching to little ones the anthem of fresh and wholesome. Inspired in part by Jamie Oliver’s reality show, PR maven (and mom of two) Hsiao-Ching Chou has made it her mission to teach kids about the benefits of preparing and consuming foods with real ingredients through free cooking classes at farmers’ markets and through her grass-roots organization, Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Seattle (jofrsea.com). Chou’s mantra: “If you teach the kids, they’ll teach the parents.”
Best local kids’ music
It’s been a banner year for bands that play kids’ music so cool that adults secretly listen to it long after drop-off. Seattle is at the center of the action with Caspar Babypants (starring Presidents of the United States of America front man Chris Ballew), The Not-Its, The Board of Education and others playing this summer’s first Kindiependent Music Festival featuring local “kindie” bands. But it was the spastically infectious energy (in a good way) of Recess Monkey (recessmonkeytown.com) that captured our hearts this year. A trio of local teachers—Jack Forman, first/second-grade teacher at University Child Development School (UCDS); Daron Henry, second/third-grade teacher at Spruce Street School; and Drew Holloway, a pre-K and kindergarten teacher at UCDS—plays catchy dance songs like “Haven’t Got a Pet Yet,” “Sack Lunch” and “Moon Boots” that strike just the right chord with their audience, and then some.
Best of the Decade: Kids
upscale kids’ stores
See Kai Run shoes
The Moonpaper Tent
Kate Quinn Organics clothes
Baby Loves Disco