Surprising baby names on the path to popularity

So you’ve come up with what you’re sure is a unique name for your baby. A Biblical/word/animal/place name no one else has thought of using. Right? Wrong!

That special, singular, clever, utterly distinctive name that you imagine no one else has considered was actually used by as many as a few hundred other parents in the past year. Some have even already reached the Top 1,000.

Here are 20 of these surprising names on the path to popularity:

Arrow: A word name that was pretty much unheard of just a few years ago has begun shooting up straight and swift as an arrow—more than 25% in the past year. One celeb has even used it for her daughter.

Artemis: The Greek goddess of the hunt hasn’t yet reached the heights of her Roman equivalent Diana. But she might! There was twice the number of girls named Artemis in 2016 over 2014. And on the boy’s side, the god Apollo is rocketing.

Aveline: What? You’ve never met an Aveline? Or an Alaia, Ailani or Aitana? Well, be prepared—the way all of them are climbing, it probably won’t be long before you do. Aveline could join her more popular cousins Ava, Adeline and Evelyn: She’s increased 79% in the past year.

Azriel: This name of three minor characters in the Old Testament is set to join more prominent figures like Ezra and Ezekiel. Also on the rise: Ozias, Azariah and Zabdiel.

Baker: Think the occupational names category is getting stale? Here’s one that still feels fresh from the oven, rising 81% this year.

Bellamy: New parents have moved from Belle to Bella to Bellatrix to new-girl-in-town Bellamy; it was given to only 23 girls in 2006, but 10 times that many last year. Scandal actress Bellamy Young, who plays President Mellie Grant, is probably the inspiration for many of them.

Bexley: This obscure British/Ohio place name you may never have heard of was given to 275 girls last year, a jump of 215% over the last two years. Why? A combination of the cool letter X with the feminine ley ending—and the fact that 275 parents probably thought it was unique. On the boys’ side, Huxley—which has some distinguished namesake cred—is another big sprinter.

Cairo: Parents are always scouring the map for new place names, and having a trendy o-ending is definitely a plus. The exotic Cairo entered the Top 1,000 in 2015 and was given to 266 boys last year, thanks in part to its popular Ky-sound beginning.

Ember: Yes, the glowing Ember is rapidly becoming the new Amber. More than one thousand baby girls got that name last year, a 473% increase over 10 years ago.

Enoch: Long in style limbo, the biblical Noah’s great-grandfather has come out of the shadows to become among the fastest-rising boys’ names, now at Number 714 nationally and 320 on Nameberry.

Finnick: A surprise addition to the Finn, Finlay, Finley, Finnegan family, Finnick gained entrance via Finnick Odair of The Hunger Games—and he’s already #675 on Nameberry.

Fox: Just as we’ve gotten used to the sleuth (yep, that’s right) of Bears appearing on starbabies’ embroidered blankets, along comes a skulk (!) of Foxes. Perhaps inspired by the X-Files Fox Mulder character of a few years back, Fox jumped 65% last year, so for a unique animal name you now might have to look to Camel or Gibbon or Lynx or beyond.

Heavenly: Adjectives and adverbs have joined nouns and other word names, this one with a spiritual aura. After entering the Top 1,000 in 2005, Heavenly rose to 832 this year. The more worldly Royalty has jumped 165% to #532.

Kaiser: Despite its historical drawbacks, this German word for Emperor has marched ahead since its 2014 choice by a Teen Mom and is now just one place outside the Top 1,000, also thanks to its Kai beginning/nickname and er-end. Another rising ruler: Pharaoh.

Kye: More than 340 baby namers last year wanted to make sure you knew how to pronounce Kai, making it one of the fastest-rising boy names, jumping 66% in one year.

Maple: You may not have encountered any little Maples yet, but this syrupy sweet name for girls is headed for the Top 1,000. Jason and Amanda Bateman have already picked it for their little girl. Other nature names zooming up: Azalea, Juniper and Magnolia.

Murphy: Though the strong female Murphy Brown character left TV screens a long time ago, Murphy has now reappeared as a rising baby girl name.

Nori: Those parents who didn’t want to go as far as Kimye’s daughter’s name North have picked up on her nickname, which is also a Japanese appellation. Nori has risen over 250% since 2013.

Reign: Royalty is a strong sub-division of the aspirational category, and Reign works for both girls and boys. It got the Kardashian seal of approval for boys in 2014, but is now #829 for girls.

Wesson: No, not Weston, but Wesson as in the Smith & Wesson armsmaker, part of the growing gun-related category. Wesson entered the Top 1,000 last year at #993 and Remington is also on the rise.

Original story by Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


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It's my personal opinion that this belly deserves some love. So starting with my second pregnancy, I've relied on Belly Bandit's postpartum belly bands (which I own in three sizes) to help support my core, reduce swelling, and begin to activate my midsection after nine months of being stretched to the max.

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