Cityspots Museum|Frank Lloyd Wright Backgammon Set Backgammon Sets Galison 157296 2400x 2000x2000 E898dadf 0eb4 41dc Bb55 53be0db5bd30 1512x|Kaws|Kids Desk|Cardkits Kids 2

Metropolis Gift Guide 2020: Play

This holiday season, Metropolis’s editors are highlighting our picks for the best design-minded gifts.

The best toys aren’t just for kids. They’re for the young designer in all of us. The following selection of games, puzzles, and toys will add playfulness and good design to your holiday season.

Frank Lloyd Wright Backgammon Set Backgammon Sets Galison 157296 2400x 2000x2000 E898dadf 0eb4 41dc Bb55 53be0db5bd30 1512x
Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Frank Lloyd Wright Backgammon Set $36.50

Backgammon is believed to be one of humanity’s oldest games. Archeologists have found remains of the classic triangle-festooned boards and similar table games throughout ancient Mesopotamia. This set, adorned with Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature geometric patterns is hardly a relic, but it still has the power to transport. For fans of the flamboyant designer, the gold foil game box and board can add a bit of Prairie School style to any living room or card table.

Courtesy MoMA Design Store

KAWS Jigsaw Puzzle-1,000 pieces $65

The right puzzle can help while away the long, socially distanced evenings of this holiday season. This one, designed by Brian Donnelly who is known professionally as KAWS, may also inspire some cheer. The original featured an unconventional pattern and shape that references street art, public sculpture, painting, and brand partnerships. It has appeared in the world’s great museums, street corners and as consumer objects. Now it’s also a fun challenge for the whole family, with 1,000 pieces and no corners. A screen-free way to stay busy that pays you back when complete, as a work of expressive, pop-culture-inflected art.


Cityspots Museum
Courtesy Cityspots

The Museum Tour Playset: Modernism Edition $45

Can’t take the little ones to a museum this year? Bring the museum to them with the Museum Tour Playset. The kit is available in “Modernism” and “Classics” editions, which have the added benefit of teaching kids about great works of art using an engaging and educational game. The board and book highlight works by Frida Kahlo, Piet Mondrian, and Vincent Van Gogh.

Kids Desk
Courtesy Chairigami

Kids Remote Learning Desk Set $195

Frank Gehry wasn’t the only one to see the potential of a cardboard box. With kids around the country logging into school from home, the folks at Chairigami have developed a clever easy-to-assemble desk that kids can set up themselves virtually anywhere. The remote-learning desk is available in two sizes: small for kids 6–9, and large for kids 9–12. Made of cardboard, its also lightweight and easy to move. Best of all, the fast furniture can be decorated with young scholars’ own drawings and paintings.

Cardkits Kids 2
Courtesy Cardkits

Cardkits $9 and up

Houses, cars, trains, cities, fish and whole suburban subdivisions. With Cardkits, it is possible to build a complete tabletop community. The company’s paper cutouts recall the paper dolls of yore, except they’re three dimensional resemble toy towns. The kits provide a satisfying reward to dexterity, focus, and time spent offline.


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