Through elaborate light displays, graphics and life-like robotic dragons, How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular dazzles kids and parents alike. The show, which ran around two hours, was both mystifying and electrifying with shots of fire and a fantastic storyline that paralleled the original animated movie from Dreamworks.
It was Hiccup and Toothless’ bond and camaraderie that captivated the audience the most, with their ability to bond over differences and similarities. The vikings and dragons were fun supporting characters that complemented the innovative set of this live show.
My family celebrated my 5 year old’s birthday at the opening of the first show at the IZOD Center. Since we surprised the birthday boy with the show, he was a bit taken aback by the scale of the dragons and the dark elements overall. It took him almost half the show to truly get into it, with periods of him burying his head into dad’s shoulder. Judging from the sounds of the audience, families enjoyed the show as much as we did, but other toddlers and preschoolers seemed scared at times too. My suggestion: this show isn’t as appealing to toddlers and preschoolers, but is more geared to the kids who can understand reality vs. staged show.
Overall, Dreamworks How to Train a Dragon Live Spectacular was a hit for our family who adored the original movie! My husband and I were amazed by the light show and graphics, that we’ve YET to stop talking about it! The five year old’s favorite part? Hiccup and Toothless flying all over the place. This is a must see if it comes to your area. And if you’re in northern NJ, the show is at the IZOD Center until Sunday with tickets still available!
Dreamworks fans and How to Train Your Dragon enthusiasts, brace yourselves because the dragons are about to descend upon the NYC area. In fact, the live show interpretation of the popular movie, How to Train Your Dragon, is set for several shows next week, September 27-30.
Join Toothless and the other dragons fly, breathe fire and excite the audience, and find out whether or not, Hiccup, Astrid and their gang can, in fact, tame the dragons on their own terms in Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular.
There are various shows going on in the U.S., but, as I mentioned, Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular is in East Rutherford, NJ next week, September 27-30, at the IZOD Center. And because this show is local for me, here are some specials they passed along :
1) SAVE 25% on weekday performances (select premium seats), including Friday night, by entering the code MOM in the promo box which says “Promotions and Special Offers” Get great seats for a big discount! (This offer of 25% off weekday performances, select seats only, is good at shows NATIONWIDE
2) NJ Friday 11am show offer: $20 tickets. To take advantage of this offer call 201- 460-4370 and use code SCHOOL
Prince Lionheart recently added the bebePod Basix to its line of baby and kid products. With a safety belt and chair harness, this plastic infant seat/booster seat combo provides a multi-function seating solution for babies. The seatbelt and chair harness give this seat added security to prop baby up onto a chair for feeding time, offering a viable alternative for a high chair, which is often known to monopolize precious kitchen space.
The seat is a basic plastic seat that provides just enough back support and form in the front and sides to help even babies who aren’t quite sitting yet the opportunity to sit upright for dinner.
We’ve been testing out this seat for a few weeks now, and it hasn’t been until recently where we’ve actually been able to enjoy it. Baby’s muscle tone seems low and he can’t quite sit up on his own yet, so the bebePod Basix helped him sit upright and enjoy playtime from a different angle. We have two high wooden highchairs that I’ve talked about in the past, so we never really had a need for a booster seat, except when we travel. But what I love about this seat, is that it can be used anywhere, just as Prince Lionheart suggests. We’ve enjoyed using it while Biggie and I are in the playroom, as well as outside while we’re playing outside.
It’s a versatile infant seat and booster, and one that is a better option than foam seats that have been in the news for yet another recall.
Speaking of that recall, I wanted the uproar to simmer a bit before sharing my two cents. The thing is, it’s not always parents using a seat incorrectly. Sometimes, it’s just the way it is…
(coming soon! Im having wifi issues, so I’ll upload this as soon as I can!) Here are my thoughts on a vlog I did today on the bebePod Basix. I’m going to try to share my thoughts more regularly on products, parenting and beyond—all while baby is napping. So, here’s my first installment of Nap Chat:
There’s a new kid in town, and Daniel Tiger’s his name. With his vibrant stories and fresh perspective on things, Daniel Tiger is set to bring new smiles to preschoolers and their parents. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood offers young viewers a kid’s-eye view of his life, while exploring social and emotional topics.
A spinoff of everyone’s favorite neighbor, Daniel Tiger is a new dimension of sorts of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. This new animated series, which debuts on PBS Kids, September 3, is the brainchild of Angela Santomero (who brought us Super Why and Blue’s Clues) and produced by The Fred Rogers Company.
At this year’s PBS Annual conference held in Denver earlier this year, I sat with my fellow PBS Kids VIPs and learned about Daniel Tiger firsthand from the creator. As the son of the original program’s Daniel Striped Tiger, Daniel Tiger is an homage to Santomero’s childhood hero. I remembered just how significant Mister Rogers was to me, too, as I got the chills listening to Mrs. Rogers speak of her husband’s legacy, and got teary-eyed from a montage of memorable shows that helped shaped childrens’ media as we know it.
Recent research proves what Fred Rogers knew all along: social and emotional competencies are the building blocks of doing well in school and in life.
Daniel Tiger explores topics that are relatable to the preschool set, often emotions that young kids can’t quite understand, such as disappointment. The show uses a musical element in the form of cute songs to reinforce the theme.
With Biggie being a preschooler and having experienced our fair share of emotional ups and downs this year, the introduction of Daniel Tiger couldn’t have come at a better time. Even before our screener arrived Biggie discovered Daniel Tiger on the PBS Video Player app and has been watching Daniel Tiger nonstop. Life’s little lessons as discussed on each episodes truly influence my preschooler who has been having anxiety issues. Since he can relate to Daniel Tiger, we’ve used his smart advice as conversation starters and also to reinforce certain lessons during some more trivial times. When Biggie was asked to try something new and sleep with his bedroom lights off, like a big boy, at first he resisted. But when I asked him what he thought Daniel Tiger would do when he was asked to try something new, he said Daniel Tiger would probably say, “Calm down and give it a try.”
As someone immersed in children’s products and media every day by choice, there’s nothing I love more than seeing something awesome and educational come into fruition as a parent and as a part of the media. And the fact that this show is heavily influenced by Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, a show that helped shape my own childhood is purely amazing, and being able to enjoy his legacy through the eyes of my kids is surreal. I can’t wait to watch more of Daniel Tiger and to report back on the other episodes, apps and site!
In the meantime, be sure to catch the debut of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS Kids on September 3 with a special one-hour block of two back-to-back episodes. The series will air daily following its Labor Day premiere. Be sure to check out this cool infographic about the show.
There are a few types of baby gear: the kind that will do the job for now, and there’s the kind that works well AND makes things a little easier.
And then, there’s 4moms, the baby gear company that’s shaking things up with products that are changing the marketplace. Their latest innovation, the Breeze play yard, is shifting the whole paradigm…with just a push of a button.
Parenthood, at least for me, isn’t about the most stuff, or even the flashiest stuff. For me, it’s about well-designed products that are safe, efficient and are built to last. Throw in a little innovation and I’m sold!
By now, you may already know that our family is quite fond of 4moms. We’re continually dazzled by the Origami’s power folding abilities and super cool dashboard. And without getting the waterworks started, the mamaRoo is just as functional, as it is special to us. I’m fortunate enough to see and experience the latest in kid products, but when it comes to merging efficiency and innovation, 4moms is absolutely making their mark.
And when I think of convenient and efficient baby gear, rarely does a play yard come to mind. Otherwise known as a Pack n Play or playpen (if you’re old school,) 4moms has redefined the play yard concept with the Breeze. After unfolding, the Breeze is put together in less than 30 seconds. With a simple push, the entire play yard locks into place and is ready for baby’s nap, or if you’re my kid, roly poly time up and off of the floor where cat hair and dust breed before my eyes.
The Breeze is so Easy my 4 Year old Can Do it(?)
I wanted to say that the Breeze play yard is so simple my 4 year old could do it, but A) the kid willingly helps with the laundry after watching me all the time B) his arm isn’t long enough to reach into the Breeze and C) the 4 year old thing just isn’t a good example at all. Nevertheless, the Breeze is so easy, people; all baby products should be this breezy.
And speaking of 4 year olds, he was my director and camera man while I filmed these videos. We did quite a few takes, so you might be able to hear him saying “cut,” many thanks to my awesome editing. We had fun chatting it up about the Breeze, so be sure to check us out in action! Please excuse the shakiness, a sometimes crying babe and my child begging to go to the beach.
I’m so excited for the Breeze! I’ll let the video do the talking, but just a few things I love about it that I don’t think I mentioned are, the sleek aesthetics, clean lines and cool aqua/black color scheme. It complements my modern/classic decor without being offensive. I used to swear that baby and kid products wouldn’t overrule my living room, but to be quite honest, the Breeze may take up a good amount of space, but thankfully, goes beyond cutesy patterns. As for the overall physical presence of the Breeze, the frame is solid once its locked into place, yet its not too rigid. I love the convenience of the bassinet feature and changing pad; it’s streamlined without becoming a bulky addition.
As with any product, there are always a few caveats, and the same goes for the Breeze. At about 30 lbs, the Breeze is heavier than what I was expecting. And because it’s so new, sheets aren’t accessible yet, but thank goodness for the waterproof padding. I tried to use a Target brand pack and play sheet, but it didn’t fit. Having used their other products, I’m certain 4moms products are safe; however, because the Breeze is still so new, like all most products newly released to market, safety ratings aren’t available right away. (Reminder: I’m not a safety professional) And finally, pricepoint is something I can’t not include. At $299, the Breeze is more expensive than mid-range play yards, but it is true when they say, you get what you pay for, and the Breeze would most certainly last for multiple children, whether it’s siblings or passed down to friends and relatives.
What do you get when you mix toys, Times Square, tons of treats and girl time? Well, that would be Sweet Suite 2012, which preceded BlogHer in NYC. Hosted by The Big Toy Book, the third installation of this hot ticket party was held at the Lodge in the Viacom Building, home to MTV and Nickelodeon—the sweetest venue yet.
Sweet Suite wasn’t all fun and games, it was about socializing and seeing many of my blogging friends, some of whom I only get to see once a year. But as for the fun and games? Yeah, The Big Toy Book assembled some of the best names in toys, books and games.
Of all the fabulous brands at the event, here’s just a sampling of the goodies that caught my eye:
LeapFrog LapPad 2
Unfortunately, I missed LeapFrog’s holiday preview because baby was in the hospital. So, it was fun getting a good look at the LeapPad 2, LeapFrog’s hard-to-get tablet.
Among the many fun features, I particularly loved that the LeapPad 2 has a faster processor, more memory, as well as front and back cameras. Mark my words, this WILL sell out again for the holidays. If you see it and need it, I’d suggest you buy it. It’s highly rated and constantly in demand!
I’ve been a long-time admirer of Alex Toys, specifically their craft and activity sets. While their little hands line of puzzles and arts and crafts will be on our Christmas list this year, I had SUCH a blast crafting at their table.
I made a few bracelets, headbands and necklaces. Their area was the most crowded because of all the fun happenings. I even spotted Jill of Scary Mommy fame in the mix! I love me some Jill!
As a family who games together, Xbox has been on our ongoing want list. We already own two video game consoles, but have been waiting for just the right time to invest in the Kinect. We already know all about the Xbox’s fun family factor, and how everyone can join in the fun without having to pick up a controller. Since we’ve been eyeing and studying the system as far back as when it was still referred to Project Natal, I’ve enjoyed seeing their lineup of games and console features grow. And as huge Sesame Street fans and supporters, I loved hearing that they’re introducing 2-way TV experiences with Sesame Street and National Geographic. I’m thinking our time is near!
Charm It by High Intencity was, by far, one of my favorites. These cute charm bracelets lured me in with nostalgia and their collectibility.
Ideal for the tween set, these charm bracelets are fun and funky. Browsing at all the adorable Kawaii-looking charms, channeled my inner girlie girl and reminded me of the plastic charm necklaces we used to collect in grade school. I miss my roller skate charm with that tiny bell. I can’t wait to check out even more of these charms at The Gap and Nordstrom.
But beyond checking out fabulous toys and games, the highlight was definitely sitting down with the girls and chatting over Pinkberry. I may have had two servings because it was so delicious but, hey, life is too short not to savor the sweets.
With the Olympics wrapping up last night, I’d be remiss without giving an update on Biggie’s swimming progress and how it coincided with the games, and actually, our community’s latest festivity.
As I previously mentioned, this summer will forever go down in history as the summer that Biggie officially learned to swim, and we’re so thankful for Swimways for helping to make that happen. Of all the fun products we’ve been enjoying all summer, it’s the Sea Squirts Swim Assist vest that has helped Biggie build his confidence and skill in the water.
Together with swim lessons from certified instructors and daily trips to the lake, the Sea Squirts has given him the boost to learn his ability on his own.He can jump into the deeper swim lanes to swim laps, as well as play around in the shallower water without hesitation. He’ll take off his vest to swim freely and confidently, but he still knows his limits, and when it’s time to put the vest back on. I like that it’s lightweight and buoyant, so the vest doesn’t do all the work, or make him stay floating up top. And, not only has it been a fun teaching tool, the clever blue shark fin has garnered so many cool compliments from other parents, the lifeguards and friends.
We loved watching the Olympics this summer, now that Biggie is a swimmer. We enjoyed watching all the different swim styles and watching history be made right before our eyes! Biggie had the chance to meet Olympic Gold Medalist Aaron Piersol at an event for Auro-dri last summer, but to see this latest batch of athletes excel in their craft, was something truly special.
Of all the swimmers, like many other kids, Biggie was mesmerized by Michael Phelps. As we watched him collect even more medals to become the most decorated Olympian in history, Biggie had some words to say to him.
Dear Mr. Phelps,
Thank you for helping kids to like swimming. I like swimming and watching you is cool. I like how you practice hard and win your races. Keep helping kids so they can be happy and exercise too. I like all of your medals! Good job!
Biggie is a boy of many words, as you can see! But, as a family, who has spent most of their summer in the water, we’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics, and especially witnessing Phelps’ trials and triumphs. I admire his work with kids and the influence he has on the importance of water safety. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
On a related note, our lake community has a roster of fun activities for families throughout the year. This past weekend was Royal Weekend, which is a long tradition that has been passed down generations, and one that Biggie was so excited to be a participant. The Olympic-themed event was held all weekend, honoring a duo of high school students and their achievements, before they go off to college and start their lives away from the lake. It’s a quirky tradition, but still so fun to see and take part in. The “royals” are both lifeguards and fixtures at the lake, so, to see the little kids look up to them is so fun.
What a fun, fun summer this has been!
Full disclosure: I received product samples as part of the SwimWays Swim Team program, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.
Together with 4,000+ other women bloggers, we descended upon NYC to chat all things blogging, network, and in some cases, interact with brands of all sizes at BlogHer12. And because I write mainly about products and services geared to kids, I had a chance to meet up with friends and reps in the kid space. My time wasn’t just spent talking toys, it was spent dancing, too!
With its recent release of Master Moves Mickey, Mattel orchestrated a pretty cool flash mob in Times Square. Professional kid dancers, as well as adult dancers convened with bloggers like me to shout “Mickey, Mickey” while pop and locking for an unsuspecting audience.
I loved how the pro dancers truly made the sequence come to life, especially in such a short time frame. It was so cool to witness a flash mob of this scale come together and admire all of the dancers, especially the kids and the breakdancers. My friend, Eddy of Dancing Hotdogs and Daddy Uprising, hung out in the back but contributed our spins and shouts! Regardless of my inability to dance like the pros, it was super fun.
Master Moves Mickey, aka M3, was one of Biggie’s favorite toys that we saw at a recent Holiday Disney preview, so it was super cool that I was invited to participate in such a unique promo. As my friend said, now we can cross that off of our bucket list.
Review of Master Moves Mickey to come, as well as other fun toys from BlogHer 12!
Master Moves Mickey is available in stores now and retails for $69.99
Ready or not, here it comes! As summer starts to wind down, the back to school frenzy begins…just like that. All summer however, I’ve been checking out the latest and greatest in back to school trends. I’ve seen a lot of looks ranging from retro, classic and edgy. But of everything that’s new for the season, the best look we’ve found, ultimately, is the one that lets kids be kids.
A brand that gets it right by offering a myriad of styles while remaining age-appropriate and affordable is The Children’s Place. And so, when TCP, one of my favorite retailers, asked me to take part in a back to school promo that involved styling Biggie, it was a no-brainer.
As I studied their back to school lookbook, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic about The Children’s Place. I remember my mom perusing the racks when shopping for our back to school outfits. And so, being tasked to style my soon-to-be school age son for a promo for TCP, I must admit, it was supremely surreal, considering I wore their clothes as a kid and a vast majority of my childrens’ basics are from this same brand.
Back to school looks for everyone
The back to school looks, as I mentioned, seem to assuage all tastes, shapes and kid sizes. The girls’ pieces, though strikingly pink, retro and sparkly, also offer classic and more subdued styles as well. As a mama of boys, I usually have tunnel vision for the more rugged and edgy styles. The Children’s Place tasked me with styling my boy for some back to school looks. They gave me about a $150 price range to work with, which was more than enough to pick and create many looks.
I had a fun time picking out styles that I thought suited Biggie. He’s an outspoken four-year old, and one who just happens to have a penchant for clothes. It doesn’t matter what it is, this kid loves clothes. He’s obsessed with cool pjs, wearing sporty clothes for playing outside and even, getting “fancy” when we go out. This could be my doing, but hey, you can’t fault a boy who appreciates being well-dressed.
The pieces I chose were a mix of preppy and classic, with navy blue as the dominant hue. I try to buy timeless and durable clothes that would potentially be in style and in great shape four years later for baby bro. I like to layer because the weather in northern Jersey is very unpredictable in the fall and because he’s a boy. Hello, ketchup on the top shirt. Thank goodness for that undershirt! As for accessories, I went with items that Biggie loves: a skateboard bookbag since he loves skateboarding; a striped tie because they make him feel “fancy”; and classic navy sneakers. The sneakers, by the way? They look like they’re regular laces, but they’re not! They’re actually elastic, which makes them easy to slip-on–perfect for kids who can’t tie their shoes yet!
I love the way his looks came together! Biggie was such a great sport, considering it was 80 degrees on the day I took these pictures, and according to Biggie, he had “too many clothes on,” yet he still managed to cheese it for every photo! We shot these pictures at this tiny red school house in Florham Park, NJ, as suggested from a friend.
Getting him all dressed for this mini photo shoot got me all excited and anxious for the first day of school! Do you guys like this time of year as much as I do? What sort of clothes do you buy?
As part of their Mom Knows Best back to school campaign, Biggie will be featured on TCP’s FB page! If you feel so inclined be sure to vote for us and the styles I chose! I’ll be sure to link when it goes up.
LEGO has released several fun new additions to their much-loved line of building bricks. But it’s their latest combo of goodies–books and LEGOs–that have my boys playing and discovering new things together! We absolutely enjoyed reading and reviewing the Let’s Go VroomLEGO DUPLO Read & Build title.
With biggie starting school in just a few short weeks, we’ve, no doubt, been practicing our letters, sight words and reading routines. And so when I was asked to review LEGO DUPLO Read & Build, I loved the impeccable timing of this assignment. Like many families, we try and read several times a day, but since we returned from the hospital, we try to read with both Biggie and Baby as much as possible.
There’s much to be said about unplugging while bonding over books. Add some LEGOs and an interactive storyline, the Read & Build are truly a fantastic set. I enjoy watching Biggie figure out how to build the plane by himself, unlike the DUPLO sets where he still needs help. The packaging is much different than the usual boxes that LEGOs come in; these sets come in plastic shells, where you can clearly see everything you’re getting! Because of the easy-to-create and imagery within the story, the Read & Build sets give him a sense of independence and accomplishment. I’d love to see these sets grow in size, and perhaps, even, age groups.
As usual Biggie and I have a lot to say, so feel free to check out our video featuring the LEGO Duplos Read & Build storybooks.
Want to win a LEGO Read & Build for yourself? Be sure to email me your son or daughter’s favorite book! Jen @ nextkidthing dot com
For extra entries:
Tell me the title of this LEGO Duplo Read & Build storybook.
From the video what do I like about the packaging? (hint around the 1:25 mark)
Become of a fan of The Next Kid Thing!
Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @jenrab
comment below with extra entries
Giveaway ends 8/10 at 10 pm. Winners will be chose by random.org
Full disclosure: This post is sponsored by LEGO DUPLO in conjunction with the BabyCenter Blog Network. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review
LeapFrog, always at the forefront of kid-friendly technology, is about to launch a new mobile learning device. Like many of you, we’re huge fans of LeapFrog. In addition to offering great products that I love as much as my kid, LeapFrog was one of the first big brands to reach out to me right after [...]