• Monthly Archive:: September 2011

    On a day off from school, my girls and I spent the morning at our favorite destination: the public library. One of the playrooms was converted into a mini theatre, with a makeshift stage–complete with sweeping, velvet curtains!–dress-up clothes and props. I get a kick out of watching these little ladies put on a show, trying to outdo the other one’s dramatics. But what I find most refreshing is watching them enjoy some good, old-fashioned play–away from the gaming consoles and other battery-powered toys that seem to deplete their energy faster than I can keep up with. Watching my kids use their imaginations reminds me that they are still young and that the days of make-believe are numbered. It’s why I’m always on the lookout [&hellip

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    My 3-year-old is learning French in her preschool. (When I was 3, the only French I could master was in the form of fries.) Today, exposing a child to her diverse, multicultural surroundings has become the norm, beginning well before the school-aged years. And since research shows that younger children demonstrate a natural aptitude for learning a second language, it helps to look for entertaining ways to cultivate this love of learning for your little one. Any parent who’s already familiar with the Little Pim line of educational DVDs will find the brand-new board book line to be a natural extension. And even if you don’t know the charming little star of this series, you’re bound to find a new learning partner for your preschooler. [&hellip

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    There comes a certain time during childhood when kids suddenly love the idea of being grossed out. When I was in third grade, if a boy touched you, you suddenly “got COOTIES!” Although we squealed and screamed at our male classmates, we secretly loved the attention (even if we didn’t realize it). No wonder then that a new collectible toy dubbed ICKEE Stikeez has such broad appeal. Joining the latest trend in miniature vending machine-sized playthings, these characters are getting lots of attention for their yuck factor. Aside from loving the name alone (say it aloud and you’ll see for yourself), kids love that these portable pals can find a place wherever they can stick: an iPod, lunchbox or locker. Plus, they travel light and [&hellip

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    Today, as I looked out my daughter’s bedroom window, I noticed some yellow leaves at the top of a tree on our front yard. Before long, those colored leaves will multiply and then we’ll be seeing signs of Christmas in store windows. That can only mean that winter isn’t too far off, and that means I need to start tracking down those mittens and snow boots sooner rather than later. If you have a baby or toddler, you can appreciate the usefulness of a snowsuit during a blustery day of outdoor play. But what happens once you’re back inside, you’ve gotten your little one fully dressed yet again…and before you know it, he’s having a field day pulling off his socks over and over? Baby [&hellip

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    Whether or not I choose to admit it, summer is officially over. No matter what the calendar says, I refuse to put away my flip flops, suntan lotion and shorts¬† in case Indian Summer decides to stick around for a while. While our kiddie pool may have been deflated, that doesn’t mean we still can’t savor those last warm weather days and still mild nights with some fun playthings, like FyrFlyz. This is not your average spinning toy, but one that’s cleverly disguised as a mini lights show. If you’re a wizard with a yo-yo, then you’ll want to get your hands on this very hands-on toy. Somewhat difficult to explain, but easy to play, FyrFlyz works by swinging two strings while pulling them tight [&hellip

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    When you’re looking to buy something for a girlfriend and her little one, you inevitably wind up making more than one trip to the mall. Now that school has begun and we moms are more time-pressed than usual, we can appreciate a shopping destination that has it all. Enter Layla Grace, an online boutique that recognizes your discriminating taste for gifts that make lasting impressions. Stocked with everything from baby bedding to bubble bath, you’ll find no shortage of ideas for new arrivals, new moms in need of pampering and new homes that beg to be outfitted in style. In our quest for quality merchandise, we were particularly pleased by the Matteo line of linens for the nursery and the dining room (those linen napkins [&hellip

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    My 7-year-old has just started getting the hang of Hangman. I knew that day would be coming once coloring books and makeshift games of Tic Tac Toe on restaurant playmats quickly lost their allure. Now that she’s become a solid reader, it’s a great way to build on her growing vocabulary and keep her motivated to read for pleasure. For kids who love a good game of words, but may not be ready for Scrabble, comes Flip to Win Hangman, a portable game that works just as well while waiting for dinner to arrive, as it does traveling to Grandma’s. I like that kids can turn over each letter possibility as they fill in the corresponding answer on the dry-erase board; having the alphabet front [&hellip

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    One crisp, fall morning at the bus stop is all it takes to have me start freaking out about the impending winter. Aside from the bone-chilling wind that whips down our street, a short walk from the Long Island Sound, my hands despise the cold weather more than I do. Doused with a recurring bout of seasonal eczema, I slather on more hand lotion from December-March than a masseuse. But enough about me…I can’t help but wonder what the mom up at the bus stop at the top of the hill will do. She’s got a newborn in tow every morning her third grader boards the bus, so she may just have to put that stroller away once the cold hits. Either that, or invest [&hellip

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    When I was about 7 or 8, Strawberry Shortcake was one of my best playmates. Yes, there was a time when Barbie was pushed aside in favor of this sweet-smelling lass. My younger cousin and I asked Santa for her one Christmas and oddly enough, she received 2 dolls and I none. Clearly, Santa was having a senior moment, so my cousin graciously passed one doll on to me. And what a good mommy I was to Miss Shortcake:¬† I combed her hair, changed her clothes and took her on all sorts of adventures, from bike-riding to playing out in the backyard. (She could never truly be herself in that cramped-up strawberry, anyhow…) One of the things I never got around to doing with my [&hellip

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    At a time when SpongeBob is making waves for influencing poor attention spans in preschoolers, I feel the need to dust off some of my childhood classics, crawl back under the covers and remember a time when no one griped that Cookie Monster was responsible for making us eat too many chocolate chips. One of my favorite friends was Babar, the elegant elephant whose only flaw was making me want to learn French before I could master the English language. Nevertheless, the antics of papa elephant, Celeste and their adorable family was my first taste of sophistication and one that I can appreciate even more today as I read to my children. Picking up from where the story lines leave off are newly released twin [&hellip

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