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Fun and Games 

A guide to toys for all ages

FRANK! I AM DOING THIS %$&*#%&$ BY HAND!! Photo #1 (blue sapphire ring to be scanned from slide/ Aucoin Hart)

Treasure hunt -- What could be more fun than giving your best girl a treasure box of jewels? Receiving the thank-yous for your gift, of course. Wrap up a Precious Stone Gift Box containing a combination of loose emeralds, rubies, sapphires or diamonds and give her the thrill of meeting with Aucoin Hart Jewelers' award-winning designers, who will create the special piece of jewelry she's dreaming of. Pictured is an award-winning sapphire ring designed by Aucoin Hart. Prices vary according to stones and designs chosen. Available at Aucoin Hart Jewelers (1525 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9999).

Photo #2 (Puppet theater/ Magic Box)

Imagination builder -- Let their minds wander and develop through interactive play and storytelling with a tabletop puppet theater that comes with felt prince and princess hand puppets by Alex, $51.95; and add a three-headed dragon stuffed puppet to the adventure, $19.99; all from Magic Box (5508 Magazine St., 899-0117).

Photo #3 (pillow, book, videos/ Teacher's Stop)

Watch and learn -- Show them how much fun learning can be (for both children and adults) with Rock 'N Learn videos such as "Telling Time" and "Fractions and Decimals," $14.99 -- and don't be surprised if you find yourself singing along. The "Meet Paddy Pillow" set helps adults talk to kids about feelings. It comes with a decorative Paddy pillow, a book and music CD in a carrying case, $29.95; all from Teacher's Stop (4315 Bienville St., 483-7867).

Photo #4 (motor scooter/ Scooter Ria)

Retro active -- Make the holidays extra special this year with a motor scooter styled in tribute to the European bikes of the 1950s but updated for the new millennium. The 50cc Twist 'N' Go Venice model has an automatic transmission, is easy to park and goes about 100 miles on a gallon of gas, $1,595, from Scooter Ria (1933 Sophie Wright Place, 522-8665).

Photo #5 (duck and pinball toy/ Big Life Toys)

Classic diversions -- Adults like these toys as much as kids do: a colorful tin, wind-up duck on a bike with a propeller hat that spins when the duck pedals, $12; and a classic wooden tabletop pinball game with metal balls and a spring-action pull, $17; both by Schylling, from Big Life Toys (5430 Magazine St.).

Photo #6 (knife, clock, silver square/ Aidan Gill)

Grown-ups' toys -- We all know men love great gadgets, so here are some to make his eyes twinkle with excitement: a sleek stainless-steel bottle opener that adheres firmly to the fridge with a powerful magnet by Suck UK, $40 (exclusive to Aidan Gill); or better than a Swiss Army knife is this German design that looks great and has the right tool for every job, including a knife, bottle opener, corkscrew, scissors, picnic fork, and when you lift the handle you'll find a mini four-piece screwdriver set by Klassiker von Morgen, $65; then there's the weather-station table clock that tells you the time, temperature and humidity with a stylish design by Bai, $75; all from Aidan Gill For Men (2026 Magazine St., 587-9090).

Photo #7 (fire pit, urn with plant/ Plant Gallery)

Playing outdoors -- For those who love to be outdoors but also love style and convenience, there's a large, solid copper fire pit with an iron stand and grill and a subtly domed lid with a brass bird handle, $225, from The Plant Gallery (9401 Airline Hwy., Metairie, 488-8887).

Photo #8 (two ties, two watches/ Press Menswear)

Fashion time -- Let him practice his knot-tying in a timely fashion with a blue silk tie with interconnecting circles and purple flower center or a mauve tie with powder blue and cream diamond shapes, both by City of London, $39.50 each; then bedeck his wrist with a stylish timepiece, such as one with a wide black leather band and large silver-framed face with hours and minutes marked out in sexy stripes and an inset second hand, $110; or an orange-brown double-strap band with a square, silver-framed blue face, $80; both by Puma. All from Press Menswear (7621 Maple St., 862-9908).

Photo #9 (ballet costume layout/ Humbug)

Tiny dancer -- Outfit the ballerina on your gift list with a violet brocade-look dancing backpack with bright purple ballet slippers appliqued on the front pocket by Dance, $16.99; pink microfiber tights by Danskin, $8.50 to $11.50; a crystal-encrusted tiara with combs to keep it in place, $23.99; a light pink leotard with sheer sleeves and skirt decorated with a glitter flower design by Capezio, $36.99; a ceramic trinket box with a ballerina sitting on top, $15; and white leather soft dance shoes by Bloch, $17.99; all from Humbug Dance & Costumes (2707 Williams Blvd., 469-3339).

Photo #10 (lots of makeup & soap/ Make-Up Art)

Lookin' good -- Help her look and feel great all the time with a variety of cosmetics and body products such as (back left to right) silky nectarine milk bath in a 15.5-ounce jar by Fresh, $30.50; effervescent, crystallized lemon sugar cubes for the bath by Fresh, $26.50 for 6.3 ounces; nail polish in Star Daisy red by Delux, $11; black leather, zip-top cosmetics bag with pink lining, silver grommet embellishments and a heart logo by Lola (Lust Often Love Always), $55; (front left to right) a bar of Hesperides soap luxuriously wrapped in green paper with a stone embellishment by Fresh, $11.25; a bar of nectarine milk soap, $11.75; a shimmering red ball of loose glimmer powder by Lola, $35; a "Quickie Compact" of four lip glosses and four eye shadows by Paula Dorf, $25; a "Gloss Menagerie" of 12 mini bottles of lip gloss in a range of shades by Lola, $45; all from Make-Up Art (7736 Maple St., 862-0005).

Photo #11 (book cover to be scanned/ Rodrigue Gallery)

Playful knowledge -- The Art of George Rodrigue (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 2003) is a large-format book chronicling the 40-year career of one of Louisiana's favorite sons. Written by Ginger Danto, with a contribution by author Michael Lewis, the book includes 245 full-color illustrations of Rodrigue's varied artworks, including pop art from his early years, Cajun paintings, Blue Dog portraits and his newest hurricane paintings. The text explains the thought processes and life transitions behind the creations of this prolific artist, $50, available at Borders, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Photo #12 (two drums/ Mona's)

Beat it! -- Kids of all ages enjoy drumming out tunes on pedestal drums in varying styles; a blue ceramic base has a skin stretched over the top, $33.95; or choose a taller version with a leather-covered base and a blue vinyl top, $74.95; both from Mona's Cafe & Deli store (3901 Banks St., 482-0661).

Photo #13 (jpeg of guy golfing/ Fore Kids)

Swingin' pastime -- If you've got a golfer on your gift list, here's the perfect gift: an HP Classic Holiday Pack, which includes a pair of 19th Hole badges good for admission to the HP Classic of New Orleans April 26-May 2, 2004, as well as access to the 19th Hole Tent, $25 worth of 19th Hole bucks, and a parking lot pass, plus a round of golf at four different clubs in Louisiana and Mississippi. Best of all, proceeds benefit the Fore!Kids Foundations and the charities it supports. Package cost is $89 and is available by calling 831-GOLF.


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