Show me a child who hasn’t heard of The Cat in the Hat or the Grinch, and I’ll sit that kid down with our family’s tattered copy of Dr. Seuss’ greatest works. Ever the childhood bookshelf mainstay, Theodor Seuss Geisel is the powerhouse of kid lit that makes words sing and come to life right off the page. His books are always best read aloud and only require a captive audience and a youthful spirit. (Even the greatest curmudgeon on the planet can’t resist smiling when hearing the words, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like that Sam-I-Am.”) If you happened to have newly minted fan-in-residence of the “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!” TV series, then it’s the perfect excuse to join in the festivities for Dr. Seuss who turns 107 years young on March 2nd. DVR alert: In honor of this special event, PBS Kids will air a 2-hour marathon of the animated series, including two new episodes: “Incredible Journey/Bamboozled” and “Teeny Weeny Adventure/I See Seeds.” Be sure to check your local listings to find out what time to tune in. It’s one birthday bash not to be missed.
In a Nutshell: This cat has more than 9 lives…107 to be precise. Long live the literature of Dr. Seuss!
Can one pledge love to a lip balm? I’m sure that’s just sleep deprivation talking, but my family is truly enjoying our stash of Blamtastic lip balms. Maybe it’s because they remind me of the Bonne Bell Lip Smackers of my youth that were scented like soda and tasted just as good. I was always trying to covet my older sister’s tubes (gross, I know) until I was old enough to have one of my own. I can’t decide which inventive flavor I like best: Sassafrassy Root Beer or OMG (that’s Oh My Grape). But before we go and get all “girly” on you, Blamtastic also has a Radioactive balm just for guys. Yes, even they get dry lips. All of the lip balms are SPF 15 and are made with a soothing aloe formula that doesn’t have any preservatives. So Blamtastic not only smells nice, but it’s good for you, too. Shhh…just don’t tell your kids.
In a Nutshell: If you can’t quite convince your kid to slather on the Chapstick before heading out to wait for the bus, then this balm is for you.
There’s nothing more I’d like right now than for all of this snow to melt, and for spring to arrive. Anybody with me? Part of the reason I want to get outdoors is to watch my kids try out the new glow-in-the-dark sidewalk chalk and colored bubbles from Crayola debuting next month. This is not your childhood sidewalk chalk–and your kids get to make the magic themselves. Simply mix the colored chalk powder, special “glow activator” and water and then pour into the chalk mold tray. Once it sets (about 30 minutes later), you’ve got your very own Washable Glow Chalk! I’m especially eager to see the illuminating effect on nights when there’s a full moon because we’re situated right across the street from a pond, and the moon casts an amazing glow off the water as it is. Imagine how these colors will pop in the moonlight! We’re also bubbling over with excitement for the Washable Colored Bubbles line. Available in crazy hues like Purple Pizzaz, Wild Blue Yonder and Screamin’ Green, this bubbles are begging to be blown! We think they’ll make a colorful addition to this spring’s Easter baskets. Be sure to hop on out and pick up some for your kiddies.
In a Nutshell: Drab colors of winter making you and your little ones a little blue? Here are some fun ways to inject a little color into their lives, and a wonderful way to enhance outdoor play.
Babies are no stranger to the camera (how many photos have you snapped of your little one to date? Care to venture a guess?), so it’s awfully sweet to watch them come out from the face of the camera and go behind the lens. Maybe that’s why we find the re-release of the Fisher-Price Classics Changeable Disks Camera so endearing. The rotating flash cube (remember those?) is especially nostalgic, as is the shutter button–words that are most likely not part of today’s preschool vocabulary. With your help, kids can swap out the camera’s picture disks to take a closer look at nursery rhymes, a trip to the city, Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Animals and Their Babies. Let them click over to the next picture by pressing the shutter button and voila! They’ll feel like they’re the next Annie Leibovitz…or, at the very least, an amateur photographer.
In a Nutshell: Say cheese! Your little shutterbug will love playing photographer with this oldie but goodie from yesterday’s toy chest.
It only takes one 60-degree day in February to make one’s thoughts turn to warmer weather. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and everyone seems just a bit more peppy. It makes me want to figure out my summer vacation plans already! No wonder, then, that Playmobil’s new Summer House playset has captured our attention. This house is stocked with every amenity to make your summer playdate complete. French windows open wide to let the salty sea air inside, while lush wisteria draping over the veranda is so real, you can practically smell it. Out on the patio, you can enjoy dinner al fresco as you roast up burgers and weenies on the BBQ….doesn’t food always taste better when it’s eaten outdoors anyway? You can work off that meal with a bike ride around the property before heading up to bed. Now that sounds like the perfect ending to a great summer day.
In a Nutshell: No need to have Hamptons envy; Playmobil has a pint-sized play version to ready you for summer living.
You knew it wouldn’t be long before the iPad phenomenon would result in a child-friendly version. This fall, VTech will be releasing its InnoPad educational tablet to give kids that same touch-screen thrill that you experience on your smartphone of choice. With this sleek-looking, sophisticated device, kids will be able to engage in interactive reading, gaming and other activities designed to keep them amused and occupied longer than a Zhu Zhu Pet might. The animated e-books are definite attention-grabbers, offering cutting edge graphics and special effects. There’s also an Art Studio where they can draw and paint virtually–and mess-free. Other bells and whistles that come standard include a calculator, calendar, clock with personalized voice alarm and a friends address book. Now if only we could program it to come when we call them for dinner…
In a Nutshell: An iPad-esque gadget that your kids will be saying “iWant!” Are you ready for your own Mini Me?
Have you ever been on the go with your baby and not known where you can nurse (or pump) in private? No need to wonder. Medela has come out with an app for the iPhone/iPad that gives you the 411 on nursing. Aptly dubbed iBreastfeed, this app has a Breastfeeding-Friendly Places feature that locates Medela-reviewed and approved nursing nooks across the country. Find one that hasn’t been mentioned? You can add your own 2 cents and comment on your experience at existing locations. On top of this feature, iBreastfeed has a resource guide that includes helpful tips for overcoming breastfeeding challenges and an activity log if you’re so inclined to track your baby’s sleep and feeding schedules. With so much info at your fingertips, you can’t help but feel you’re on top of your little one’s health. And what a good habit to start.
In a Nutshell: Got yourself in a feeding time frenzy? With this helpful app, knowing where to nurse in peace and quiet is just a few clicks away.
This winter being one of the colder ones in recent memory, I am insistent upon keeping my kids’ heads covered. That means hats for all, whether they like it or not: at the bus stop, on neighborhood walks, treks to the supermarket…you name it, you’ll see my family wearing the warmest head gear I can find. And if you’re like me and don’t have a family member who knits, handmade hats (made by someone else, of course) are the next best thing. Hats off to Beanie Designs for its extensive collection of hand-crocheted hats. Whether you are looking for a whimsical new baby gift (check out the organic cupcake hat) or a stylish hat for your fashionable 4-year-old (see the beanie visor with flower), there’s a hat to suit every taste. For those of you who must listen to daily rants that sound like “I don’t want to wear a hat! It’s not even cold!” or “No, it messes up my hair!,” we sympathize…but once your kiddies get a load of these creative constructions, they might feel differently. Personally, I’ve always felt that in my lowest parenting moments of toddler tantrums, meltdowns and all-out bad moods, I should at least be able to subject my child to my brand of humor every now and then. And if dressing up my 3-year-old as a blueberry doesn’t bring a smile to my face, then not else much will.
In a Nutshell: Cute, stylish and seasonally-appropriate hats for the baby in your life. Be sure to break out the camera for the perfect photo opp!
A lucky mom indeed, I was able to spend a day at Toy Fair in NYC and boy, did I get the scoop on all things fun for 2011. All week long, we’ll be talking about what’s hot for playtime as we look at some of the more entertaining playthings that caught our eye. First off, we’re especially excited that PBS Kids is launching its first-ever line of toys for toddlers and preschoolers. Don’t expect to see The Cat in the Hat or Curious George-themed items, though. Instead, the signature Dot and Dash characters that make up the PBS Kids logo are the main characters appearing among the more than 20 wooden toys. They include the Sounds of World Rhythm Set of musical instruments, Exploration Blocks and, our favorite, 3-Layer Puzzles in various themes like barnyard and camping. These aren’t your everyday preschool puzzles, but rather offer layer after layer of tactile surprises–perfect for the exploratory preschooler in your house. Speaking of surprises, stay tuned for more toy tidbits…
In a Nutshell: The educational TV brand your kids have come to know and love has entered the playroom in a whole new light. PBS Kids’ toys offer imagination stimulation without having to change the channel.
Spring is almost here! Well, maybe not just yet…But once all that snow melts, you’ll be itching to take your little one out for a stroll in a new set of wheels. Orbit Baby is holding a Valentine’s Day giveaway that enables a grand prize winner to choose between 4 Orbit Baby products, including a stroller, travel system, bassinet and sidekick stroller board. To enter, visit Orbit Baby’s Facebook page between now and February 13. Winners will be announced on Valentine’s Day, so spread the love and give it a shot.
Walnut Special: Second place winner will receive a $100 credit voucher to be used towards the purchase of any Orbit Baby product. Not too shabby…