Admittedly, for many years I never once considered who owned the stores I was buying from — and that's a problem. Yes, I did my best to
shop small, but I wasn't doing my due diligence to make sure I wasn't shopping in a bubble. That's why I'm making it a priority to find and shop for the best Black-owned toy brands for kids this year and every year from now on.
The sheer variety of goods that these stores offer is amazing. It doesn't matter if you want jewelry, toys, clothing or cookware — there is a Black-owned store that is selling it. The wonderful world of Etsy has really helped smaller businesses flourish, and there are a ton of Black sellers on the platform. Hopefully these small businesses can grow with booming sales and expand their operations, giving them the opportunity to hire more (Black) workers to help everyone thrive. Buying holiday gifts for your kids is also a great way to help small businesses because it's reliable income for stores as kids' tastes and desires shift from year to year. But buying from Black-owned stores and Black-owned toy brands for kids is putting your money, trust, and reviews right into the hands of a business owner who hasn't had the privilege that many other stores have had as they open. You're doing more than just shopping small and helping a specific person rather than a corporation — you're helping to build a foundation for them so they can be on the same footing as everyone else. It's a big deal.
So if you're looking for a special gift, try one of these items. The gifts I've chosen represent a variety of what's available, in differing price points. Make sure to order soon so that everything arrives on time.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Donut Earrings
Whimsical and remarkably realistic, these donut earrings are just the thing for the sweet tooth in your life (be it a kid or an adult!). They're just under $11, and they're sure to be your child's favorite pair of earrings they own. Even better? Your child doesn’t have to have pierced ears to wear them. They come in stud, dangle, and clip on, so you can choose the best option for your child. Plus, you can also select their favorite flavor from five options including chocolate and strawberry. Handmade from polymer clay, note these are not edible. They're just so sweet.
2 Lookit These Sneakers
Emojis are great. A shorthand for so many thoughts and feelings, thanks to texting and social media, kids pick up on emoji language quick. So they’ll probably get a kick out of these hypercolor socks. Made in wild psychedelic pinks, blues, and greens, they’re covered in emoji happy faces. Talk about socks to perk you up, any kid would love putting these on in the morning before heading off to school. And they can work as casual or sports socks too. One reviewer says they’re “Great quality,” as well. You’ll never lose your kid when they’re rocking these loud and proud stockings.
3 A Hand Carved Mobile
Your baby will be mesmerized by this sweet and simple crib mobile hand carved by artisans in Rwanda that’s in the hues of yellow and natural wood. Making it even more special is the fact that it’s crafted from the Jacaranda tree, a native to Rwanda that’s also a renewable resource. Sourced from Azizi Life, the company is a fair trade organization dedicated to partnering with skilled Rwandan artisans in their vision to lift their families from poverty. So not only are you giving your baby one of the sweetest additions to their nursery, you’re also supporting a fantastic organization and the hardworking artisans behind it.
4 Love A Good Science Kit
Want to give a STEM-loving kid a great Black-owned toy brand? Here you go. You'll be surprised at how much comes in this
kit from Fun Weird Science. There is a base of five experiments with two bonus projects, keeping kids interested for hours and hours of STEM play. Packed with seven different experiments, the kit is designed to touch on chemistry, aerospace, engineering, and sound. We’re talking fun with slime, a marshmallow catapult, and noisy balloon activity. For kids who can’t get enough of science, there’s no better gift this holiday season. Plus, with kids out of school for the holidays, here’s a gift that will keep them busy and entertained for hours and parents can get involved too helping them complete each experiment. 5 Orijin Bees Coco Belle Doll
Representation matters. And that includes dolls. That’s why Orijin Bees is such a great Black-owned toy brand. It was created to give Black, African American, Latino, Biracial, Caribbean, and all other black and brown girls with curly hair dolls that reflect them. How cool is that? This sweet example is Cocoa Belle, a doll that comes in an Ankara tulle dress. Twelve inches from head to toe, she’s compact and perfect for a child to carry under their arm. The lifelike features are made from non-toxic, eco-friendly soft vinyl PVC body so it’s a relatively soft toy.
6 Extra Comfy Pants
If your kids are all about cool comfort, they will love these
joggers from Breuklyn Threads. Ultra soft and also stylish as heck, the bold color invites parents to throw caution to the wind and really step up their kids' clothing game. Made out of French terry cloth, the design is unisex and sporty so your kid can look fly while they run around the neighborhood or the playing field. Most importantly, these pants are machine washable and just need to be thrown in the wash with like colors. Tumble dry on low and you’re good to go for another wear. 7 Amazing Dolls
These dolls are roughly the same size of the other popular dolls that appear similar, but instead, they're made by a small, Black-owned company called The Fresh Dolls that puts diversity first. The detail on this
Malik doll is spectacular for $40, down to the tiny braids that cascade past the doll's shoulders. Grab a few, and they'll work with play sets, toys, and other accessories you already have for 11" fashion dolls. Plus, this doll comes with a fun backstory kids will love. “Malik loves developing software. He’s a member of the Fresh Prep Computer Science Club. His favorite class is math.” How’s that for a super cool Black-owned toy brand? 8 A Serena Williams-Approved Doll
If this doll is good enough for tennis great Serena Williams’ daughter, than certainly it’s good enough for all kids. The star shined a spotlight on the adorable
baby doll in an Instagram post and it’s huge hit ever since. That makes sense given how charming the doll is. Wearing a darling Goat tutu, and with big round eyes and a soft body, babies and toddlers alike can carry this infant everywhere. CHildren will also love how Qai Qai can stand on her own and strike a post as well. Also, the little paper mailer she arrives in can be decorated by kids too, so they can personalize the packaging. 9 A Book For Bedtime , the sequel to the popular Zara's Big Messy Bedtime Zara's Big Messy Day was written by Rebekah Borucki, a Black woman who owns her own publishing company. The book, just $15, deals with the stresses of bedtime in a way that's more helpful than Go The F*ck To Sleep. Plus, kids absolutely adore Zara and her antics. And in keeping with the importance of representation, here’s a brown character children can relate to, a kid with her own struggles and unique challenges just like every other unique child’s challenges. It’s great addition to any kid’s children’s book collection, no matter their background. 10 Rhyme Antics
Have a kid that is a future hip hop star in the making? Do they love to rhyme and come up with their own lyrics? Have they never heard a song they don’t bop their head to? Then they need to play Rhyme Antics. This Black-invented game from challenges kids to try their hand at freestyling. Naturally, it comes with a microphone and a timer, players are given a rhyme prompt and have to turn it into verses to outwit their opponent. Can you see how this would be mega fun at a family reunion or birthday party? Who has bars in your family? Find out with this hilarious game.
11 Pretty Please Teethers
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful teething ring than this. Pretty Please Teethers look like pieces of artwork. But they’re completely functional. Made of soft silicone beads and a beechwood ring, children can gnaw on them to their heart’s content and still come away with a gorgeous toy. The idea for the company came to founder Kelli Urley while she was on bedrest with her youngest. Rather than watch TV or stare into space, the entrepreneur used the time to come up with her own baby brand offering a line of natural and eco-friendly baby products parents love.
12 Uzuri Kid Kidz
Have a budding ballerina on your hands? Is your child completely caught up in the world of dance and doesn’t want to leave the house without a tutu on? Then they’ll love this little doll with a matching aesthetic. Soft and plush, the doll sporting two buns wears a pink tutu and a sweet smile. She comes from Uzuri Kidz, a company founded in 1997 after Melissa and Blanche Perkins became frustrated by not being able to find decorative materials that suited the African-American culture. In response, they decided to make their own and today the company sells cups, plates, napkins, gift bags and totes, all in the African-American style as well as dolls and t-shirts.
Make gift giving extra special by supporting Black-owned businesses with these bold and beautiful products and toys for children.
13 A Barber Shop Puzzle
Puzzles are such a great timeless toy. Kids get to use their critical thinking skills while also honing visual techniques. When it’s a fun image to look at, that makes puzzling all the more fun. This puzzle featuring a barber shop is great because it’s a relatable image kids can understand. It comes with 48 pieces and is appropriate for children 4 and up. The pieces are extra large to make it easier for small hands to manipulate. And, for the puzzler on the go, the box comes with handles so kids can tote it wherever they want, Grandma’s house and beyond.
14 Vegetable Garden Kit
Start a child’s appreciation for the natural world at a young age with this kid-friendly gardening kit. Packed with everything they need to make things grow, this kit contains four terra cotta pots, 4 biodegradable liners, eight soil pellets, four vinyl saucers, 4 organic seed packets (cucumber, tomato, carrot, and basil), one mixing stick, four plant labels, one paint strip and a paint brush to decorate the pot. All they need to get started is a little adult supervision, some water, sunlight, and some general curiosity. Just imagine the look on your child’s face when they see the first sprouts coming up out of the soil and the thrill they’ll experience when they take a first bite of a veggie they grew all on their own.
15 Paper Dolls
Paper dolls have been sparking children’s imaginations since 1812 when Boston-based J. Belcher's published “The History and Adventures of Little Henry.” For hundreds of years, kids have had fun dressing up their little characters in simple paper outfits. Let your child have fun with this classic pastime by giving them a paper doll set that’s more representative of what our world looks like today. This kit is available to print at home (card stock is recommended) and features 8 dolls with a name and story and a set of clothing kids can clip out using their own scissors (or with help from an adult).
Make this season extra bright by supporting Black-owned businesses and enjoying the wonderful gifts they have to give.
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This article was originally published on
Dec. 10, 2020