• The Playful Walnut Archive

    With the start of a new school year comes the promise of making new friends. Depending on your child, that may–or may not–come easily. (If you happen to have a daughter, you know exactly what I’m talking about.) Because friendships tend to ebb and flow, kids may not always feel that their BFF of today will hold that same spot tomorrow. Remember when an impromptu tea party with a teddy bear could reverse the effects of a playdate gone bad? If your kid has outgrown her beloved bear, but longs for a new companion, check out Gift’ems. These collectible mini dolls, aimed at girls ages 5-10, are all the rage this season. Packaged in their own gift box, each doll hails from a different city [&hellip

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    TGIF! With the first week of school under our belts, the weekend can’t come soon enough. After figuring out how to make umpteen binders fit in one backpack without busting the seams, working out the kinks in an illogical bus route and filling out all that bloody paperwork, I’m ready to head back to the beach and pretend that it’s still summer vacation! No one ever said navigating the long and winding road of parenthood would be easy, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had some sort of road map to get you over some of those bumps all the way? Since that won’t be happening anytime soon, we think we’ve found a handy ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts that can cover some of that [&hellip

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    There aren’t too many baby toys that also appeal to toddlers. (Have you ever seen a 2-year-old shaking a rattle? Didn’t think so.) When these kids have a captive audience, they love to show off their strength, as if to say, “Hey, someday when you’re older like me, you’ll be able to do this, too.” Imagine, then, if the tables were turned and it’s the infant who’s proving his prowess as a playmate. Enter OgoSport’s Bolli, a tactile and sensory ball that’s as safe for little ones as it is cool for bigger kids. This bendy, stretchy ball helps build muscle power for developing infants, and also provides the perfect platform for tough toddlers to flex their own muscles. (And we know this toy is [&hellip

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    Are you as psyched for the release of the new Ghostbusters movie as we are? Just the sight of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and I start salivating for my requisite bag of Twizzlers and movie popcorn. While there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the latest incarnation of the beloved 80s blockbuster, we know there will be plenty of playthings to help kids re-create the magic once the last credits have rolled. One line already on our radar is next summer’s Playmobil Ghostbusters line. We don’t know too much about this assortment, but if the Playmobil name itself isn’t enough indication that it will be top-notch, we think it will be worth the wait. Rumor has it that kids will be able to create their own [&hellip

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    Another raindrop, another indoor afternoon. After an unseasonably cool spring, with yo-yo temperatures making us moms scurry back and forth between unearthing flip-flops and keeping heavy jackets within easy reach, I question what’s on tap for summer. If the forecasters are to be believed, we’ll be continuing this crazy dance that hovers between hot and humid and wet and wild. And that may mean the kids spending a lot more time indoors than we might like. Before you lose your cool before it actually gets hot, consider stocking up on some fun, relatively inexpensive items to keep kids entertained (and moms, sane). One new item that caught our eye this season is Calafant. Remember how much you loved to play with the box that your [&hellip

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    Do you know what you’d like for Mother’s Day? For me, it’s an easy request: peace and quiet for one whole day…(yeah, I know. Not so simple). All kidding aside, we know what great lengths our kids (and husbands) go to to make us moms feel special. But if they only realized that they didn’t have to try so hard, it might make the day a lot more meaningful. When most moms seem to crave a little more me time, maybe there’s a creative way to make that happen. I think my local library has the right idea: the current bulletin advertises a class for adult coloring, giving us the perfect excuse to sit down with a fresh box of crayons (who doesn’t love that [&hellip

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    Happy Earth Day! If your weather is as nice as ours is today, it’s the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fact that spring has finally sprung. If April showers have upended your outdoor plans, then a good book may be just the ticket. Yesterday, I had the privilege to read to a class of second graders for an Earth Day celebration, and one book in particular captivated this rambunctious crew. Critter Litter: See What Animals Leave Behind masks itself as an educational read with a hidden surprise on each page. Each photo spread is dedicated to one of 12¬†different animals and features fun facts, photos and illustrations. The biggest attraction is the lift-the-flap feature that reveals the “critter litter” this dirty dozen [&hellip

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    The first time I took my baby daughter to the beach, I made sure to pack all the essentials: sunscreen, bug spray, a towel and, oh yes, a book. Yes, she loved to dig in the sand and unearth shells, dead crabs and other “treasures,” but that’s not what I remember most about her first experience with the sun and surf. The beach is where she made her first connection with words and reading. After pointing to a picture of a child in Busy Beach, she proudly touched the top of her head and announced “har” (which I took to be “hair.”) I think my smile outshone the sun that afternoon; wow, I must be doing something right, I thought to myself. As a new [&hellip

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    Have you made your Easter basket store run yet? I was at CVS this past weekend, and from the looks of the nearly-empty shelves, the Easter Bunny has already come to town! Whether you are a seasoned pro or an admitted newbie at filling baskets, it’s always fun to include a variety of options (including the sugar-free kind) for kids of any age. This spring, we tracked down some alternatives to all those Peeps, jelly beans and chocolate eggs worth making room for. For baby’s first Easter or for a younger child comes the adorable Kaloo Les Amis Chick. Super-soft, this cuddly plush chick is the next best thing to the real deal (and incredibly low-maintenance). He comes decked out in a sweet baby bib [&hellip

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    Calling all taste testers and lovers of jelly beans: Just how well do you know your favorite flavors? With Easter just one month away, there’s no better time to whet your appetite than with the latest version of a well-loved game that will put your taste buds in a tizzy. The BeanBoozled 4th Edition features two new flavor pairings that may perplex even the most seasoned palettes: Dead Fish with Strawberry Banana Smoothie and Spoiled Milk with Coconut. Sure, these beans may look like their counterparts, but can you really tell which one is the better half? Kids continue to love tempting their friends and family into sampling these eye-catching confectionaries…but most admit, it’s the yuck-inspired names that keep them coming back for more. With [&hellip

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