Kid toys made in Minnesota
Photos by Caitlin Abrams (Cooper & Kid, Wundercub); Becca Sabot (Hi Little One); Courtesy of Tug and the Tooth
Tug can carry a baby tooth in his backpack.
Tug and the Tooth. When her oldest daughter announced her first loose tooth, Wayzata mom Heidi Whitaker went looking for something to ease her fears. In the process, she discovered a hole in the market. Enter Tug, the tooth-shaped plush who is friends with the Tooth Fairy. Each Tug doll comes with a storybook (written by Whitaker; illustrated by local design shop, Replace) intended to help kids navigate the worry and excitement of losing a first tooth. Launched a year ago, Tug is sold at select Nordstrom stores and nearly 50 boutiques nationwide, including Uptown Minnesota at Ridgedale Center. tugandthetooth.com
Hi Little One. Sisters Maggie Allen and Nell Lindquist were having a hard time finding newborn gifts that were cute, but not too cutesy. Allen, a Deephaven mom, has a background in merchandising; Lindquist is a Denver-based graphic designer. With the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, they developed a modern collection of shirts, totes, and cards. They just launched a varsity line celebrating hometown sports teams. Bonus: 10 percent of profits go to organizations fighting pediatric cancer. hilittleone.com
Wundercub. When your toddler is slow to talk, you use whatever resource you can to encourage him. For Lindsay and Anthony Lane’s son Nigel, that was temporary tattoos. Unimpressed with the design and subject matter of the ones they found in stores, the St. Louis Park couple saw the potential for tattoos to be a learning tool. Lindsay has a degree in art education; Anthony is a graphic designer. Together, they created Wundercub temporary tattoos. Each pack has a theme. They’re printed in the U.S. with non-toxic ink. wundercub.com
Cooper & Kid. This subscription box for dads and kids was inspired by remote villages of Africa, where founder Nichole Smaglick spent time observing the importance placed on fathers playing with their children. She thought men at home could use some tools. Each themed box—there’s magic, aviation—comes packed with experiments, games, and recipes to engage with kids, ages 5 to 11. cooperandkid.com