I popped into Learning Tree (7648 N. Western; 848-1415) recently to look for something for my niece (because I feel it is my duty to randomly send her gifts, thereby solidifying me as the favorite), but ended up ogling something else entirely. Perfect for back-to-school, Learning Tree is stocking LockerLookz.
I’ll overlook the misplaced “z” — barely. LockerLookz are completely girly, over-the-top decorations for lockers. I’m talking patterned wallpaper (like plaid and polka dot), shag pile locker carpet in super-bright colors like teal, purple and lime and — I kid you not — a motion-sensor, black-beaded mini-chandelier with LED lighting. Seriously. When I was in school, we didn’t even have lockers. We had to hollow out rocks and hope the hill people didn’t steal our stuff.
I love Learning Tree for its high-quality toys, games and dress-up costumes, but I was especially excited to see Brain Quest. It’s a flip-book of questions and answers for future Trivial Pursuit champions with titles for different age ranges (Learning Tree has them for ages 6 to 11).
You guys, I loved Brain Quest as a kid. (Surprise, surprise.) I used to needle my mom into quizzing me — for fun — on long walks. And just think: With Brain Quest, you, too, can shape your child into an incredible nerd.Now we go from trivia nerds to organic dorks. Green Bambino (5113 N. Shartel; 848-2330) has a fantastic collection of back-to-school lunch supplies for the eco-conscious kid.
Check out the recycled cotton handled bags by Kids Konserve (jeez with these misspellings). The adorable satchels come in cool, unbleached, patterned cotton, and hold a cloth napkin and stainless-steel food containers. The pieces are also available as separates.
I also loved the Lunch Bots stainless-steel food containers in different sizes and topped with bright lids.
For smaller kids — as in those getting teeth — the TweetBaby Designs cloth-covered “chomping” beads are hands-down cool necklaces. The large beads are covered in fun, patterned cloth and tied with a pretty ribbon. They’d make great necklaces for Mom when she isn’t being slobbered on.
There are always terrific finds at Green Bambino, but there soon will be even more when the shop moves across the street to 5120 N. Shartel. There will be double the retail space and a lot more room for inventory, which means they’ll be able to carry more.
The owner hopes to have the new Green Bambino open around Labor Day, and the new space also will hold a classroom (there’s going to be hypno-birthing classes) and an art gallery featuring local eco- and baby-themed art.