No matter how organized a mom you consider yourself, I know I can become quite incensed when I can’t seem to get to the bottom of my bag to retrieve some crayons for my daughter. Even when I remember coloring books and other gear to keep her occupied while we’re dining out, those pesky crayons are always tough to unearth from my sea of used tissues, chewing gum wrappers and the like. That’s why I really like the Art-To-Go-Roll . It’s a roll-up cotton holder with 14 soft pockets that hold all the art essentials–plenty of space for crayons, markers, colored pencils or your little artist’s medium of choice. The spacious pockets make it simpler for little fingers to retrieve and return their art supplies themselves, and yet it stores easily in my ever-bulging bag. Now I don’t have to replace as many broken crayons as before and my own pint-sized Picasso can finish her latest masterpiece before the food arrives.
In a Nutshell: When you’re ready to roll, don’t forget to grab the Art-To-Go-Roll before heading out the door. Your waiter will thank you, too.
Once you’ve passed the milestone of getting your child to sleep through the night, you must contend with the pitter-patter of little footsteps that come in to greet you a lot sooner than you’d like (yes, the words “weekend” and “sleep in” aren’t part of a kid’s vocabulary). If you’ve got an early bird living under your roof, you might try putting the Good Nite Lite in her bedroom. This is a great way to show pre-readers that it’s not quite time to start the day, even if they think otherwise. The lite can pre-set with a wake-up time, almost like a mini alarm clock minus the sound. When it’s time to wake, the face of this nightlight will change from an illuminated moon to a smiling sun–and one that’s not too bright to awaken a still-sleeping tot. There are no numbers to read or remember, so kids who haven’t mastered telling time won’t be at a loss.
In a Nutshell: Just because the sun’s up doesn’t mean your son–or daughter–needs to be up and out of bed. This clever kid-friendly lite just may buy you a few more precious zzz’s.
Still haven’t mastered the act of closing your baby’s stroller with easy maneuvering? Don’t feel bad; I still have trouble–and I’m on my second child. What makes it especially tricky this time of year is when you’re wearing sandals or open-toed shoes, and you feel as though you’ve dented your foot. Ouch! The Britax Blink Stroller aims to make this experience a little less painful. Thus umbrella stroller has a fold-and-release feature that lets you collapse the stroller without scuffing your shoes in the process. Amen to that. While some strollers skimp on storage space, Britax offers plenty of room to tuck in those essentials; I know I’m always trying to get my hands on that bag of Cheerios to calm a crying toddler. Blink accommodates riders up to 55 lbs., so know you can hang on to this model long after your little one has graduated to Goldfish. And in a whimsical retro-looking flower print, we love this fashionable, functional model.
In a Nutshell: Don’t flip out if your flip flops can’t protect your feet. Maintain your Manolos with a stroller that has all the right moves.
I don’t think there’s a more telltale sign of summer than seeing a child joyfully enjoying an ice cream (or ice pop) on a hot day. Conjure up the image, if you will, of a smiling, stained face, dripping with a grape, orange–pick your favorite flavor–juice down his chin. It’s one of those childhood memories most of us have experienced and now savor as adults. Naturally, it’s why I’m perturbed by another one of these products aimed at parents that errs on the side of caution by robbing kids of the simple bliss of enjoying an ice cream. Pop Pals Ice Pop Holders are billed as an insulated pop holder designed to keep hands warm and ice pops cold. But are they truly necessary? For ice pops that come in plastic wrap and not on a wooden stick, the pop holders slip over them so kids can still enjoy their treat without complaining of icy fingers. To this I beg the question: are we coddling our kids a bit too much by addressing this complaint as something they can’t learn to tolerate? Yes, as a parent, it can surely be easier to find solutions for anything that resembles even a slight discomfort for our kids, but in the end, it’s not the best way to teach them. As the saying goes, into every life a little rain must fall. Or, perhaps more relevant to the season, yes, you’ll get sand in your shoes at the beach and those ice pops might be cold to the touch. But it’s also part of the experience, and if you miss out on that, well, you just might miss out on a great memory.
In a Nutshell: Boon, makers of Pop Pals and widely known for their high-end feeding and bath products, strikes out this time. Skip this product and use the money instead on an economy pack of ice pops. That way, you too can enjoy a taste of the season with your child and show them what summer is all about.
Chances are, you and your family will be hitting the road at some point this summer for the annual vacation. And if you’ve got a little one in tow who’s not yet sleeping in a bed, you know what a fuss it can be to give them a comfortable place to rest their weary head. When a Pack ‘n Play just won’t do, the Alma Urban Cot/Crib by Bloom is the way to go for posh tots. This wooden folding crib doesn’t require any tools for assembly and stows away easily. Because of its sleek design, it’s also a practical, year-round choice for urban living where space can be tight. Don’t relegate this crib to the attic for overnights to Grandma’s; its $400 pricetag can be a bit steep for the thrifty shopper. But if you’re one for style and making your baby’s furnishings blend in with the rest of your home decor, this is one model to proudly showcase. Alma is available in coconut white or gala green. It’s available in Giggle stores .
In a Nutshell: Fashion and functionality come at a price, but this crib is one worth shelling out the extra bucks for.