5 MN-Made Gift Ideas for Kids

Classic wooden toys, a colorful knit cap, and other locally made holiday shopping ideas for tots
Mod Playhouse toy ice cream truck
Mod Playhouse toy ice cream truck

Courtesy Shari Bradt

Mod Playhouse

This eco-friendly, wooden toy food truck is just one of many modular models that make up the MOD Playhouse line by Shari Bradt. This modern mama from the north woods decided an ordinary dollhouse would not do for her daughter, and so began MOD Playhouse. Let your kids roll out their own food truck—serving anything from tacos to ice cream—with these toys that fuel the mind of budding chefs and entrepreneurs. Available online at modplayhouse.com, Toy Food Truck, $65

Judy Heumann-inspired wooden pull toy
Judy Heumann-inspired wooden pull toy

Courtesy Lark Toys

Lark Toys

In the scenic Mississippi River Valley sits a magical woodshop, where the toys look as if they came straight from a storybook village. Lark Toys’ carousel beasts are hand-carved from Minnesota basswood. Here, the Gray family and their skilled staffers have been making the company’s signature wooden pull toys for over 30 years. New to the collection are a boy and girl in wheelchairs, named for internationally renowned activist Judy Heumann and a friend of the company, Michael Seifert, whose parents founded Hiawatha Homecare in Red Wing. (Don’t forget to check out the fudge, too.) Available online at larktoys.com, $45

Love Your Melon Monsters Inc. Sully neon teal beanie
Love Your Melon Monsters Inc. Sully neon teal beanie

Courtesy Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon started in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in 2012, with the simple mission of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. Today, Love Your Melon has donated over $7 million to the fight against pediatric cancer and donated over 200,000 hats to kids battling cancer. Founders Zach Quinn and Brian Keller started with a simple beanie design that has since become a full line of accessories. They have also partnered with some of the biggest brands in sports and entertainment. Available online at loveyourmelon.com, Monsters Inc. Sully neon teal beanie with pom, $55

The Yodi Bundle: "The Unabominable Yodi" book and 8-inch plush toy
The Yodi Bundle: “The Unabominable Yodi” book and 8-inch plush toy

Courtesy Christopher Straub

Christopher Straub

Christopher Straub gained attention in 2009 as a designer on Project Runway. While continuing to design, Straub, now a father himself, has also become a celebrated children’s author and toymaker. The Unabominable Yodi is about a little yeti that wants to do good things, unlike his abominable older brothers. Available online, The Unabominable Yodi book bundled with 8-inch plush toy (Straub will personalize the book upon request), christopherstraub.com, $25

Fox dress-up mask by Oh Baby!
Fox dress-up mask by Oh Baby!

Courtesy Oh Baby!

Oh Baby!

Since her first store opened in 1994, Mary Lauer has created a world of children’s fashion and home furnishings with Oh Baby! With baby couture and costumes, Lauer celebrates the power of imagination. Whether it’s soft and cozy or all frills, these clothes are all about the unexpected details, the hidden sparkles, and the power to dream. And her dress-up masks are sure to bring a bit of fancy to any child’s playdate. Fox dress-up masks available at ohbabystyle.com, $49.95

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