Snowy Days Mean More Game Play

Have you had enough of the snow and cold already? I think we’re tired of the work and obstacles that snow brings with it, but “sleighing” down our hill certainly doesn’t get old. Like most of you, because we can’t get outdoors as much on snowy days, we’ve got a little bit of cabin fever going on.

Being indoors much more than we’d like has meant we’ve had to adjust our normal routine. I monitor and limit tv and screen time throughout the day, and so, we’ve found ourselves playing more games, doing more crafts, cooking, reading and just playing whatever comes naturally. Here’s are just a few activities, crafts and toys that’s been keeping us busy.

LeapFrog Interactive Map

I’ve said it before, but LeapFrog, to me, is one of the frontrunners in innovative, educational toys. The LeapFrog Tag Interactive Map is no exception. The Interactive Map, paired with a Tag Reader, has been keeping us busy on these snowy days, teaching us cool facts about states we’ve visited, where our relatives live and helps us visualize where we hope to visit! After locating cool spots on the map, we like to try to put our new geographic knowledge to good use and and find the same locales on our globe ($1 garage sale find.) The Interactive Map is a great way to engage imagination, curiosity while throwing a bit of geography into the mix.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Who doesn’t love puzzles? Puzzles are a great activity for kids and parents to interact. It involves logic, teamwork and patience, characteristics that have surely been put to the test with all this cabin fever! Our favorite jigsaw puzzle right now is this Super Why Hidden Word puzzle. This puzzle is a fun way to enjoy one of our favorite shows and their characters, and not having to stare a screen to do so! The Why Finder (magnifying glass) to help locate hidden words is a very fun added element that gives even more engagement after the last piece of the puzzle is put into place.

Crayola Color Wonder

Crafts, especially drawing, has been one of the best ways to pass time these days. The kid loves markers; my new area carpet and furniture does not. Our compromise is Crayola’s Color Wonder markers and paints. If you’re not familiar with the awesomeness that is Color Wonder, the geniuses at Crayola have created a line of products that only color on special paper. The markers, paintbrushes and paints only show up on the Color Wonder paper, which means no mess all over your stylish white couch. Santa was so kind to bring the boy Toy Story and other Disney themed Color Wonder coloring books. I will probably never buy another kind of marker again–we love these things so much! No mess=happy family!

WonderForge What’s in the Hat Game

Here we go-go-go! Do you guys watch Cat in the Hat on PBS? We sure do! So, when WonderForge told us about their new Cat in the Hat games, we were all about them. The What in the Hat game, though, is THE funniest game to play with preschoolers, espcially the ones who don’t know how to keep secrets. It’s a simple guessing game that involves hiding everyday items within the Cat’s hat, but it never fails, we get big laughs from this game!

What are your favorite snowy/indoor activities?

Full disclosure: Select samples were provided for editorial review. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

NKT at CES 2011

Howdy from Las Vegas, everyone!  As everyone was gearing up for the New Year and packing up their Christmas decor, I was fielding emails, setting up appointments and mentally preparing myself for the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest technology conference.

What’s a blogger—more specifically, a blogger who focuses on kid stuff—doing at a tech conference?

I’m doing what most other members of the press are doing: checking out and reporting on the latest innovations in technology.  Most importantly, what I’m here for, is to learn about all this new technology and how it intersects with families and kids.

This holiday season, I noticed that more and more handhelds for kids and gadgets lined the shelves of big box electronic stores.  In the age of iPads and smartphones, apps help our kids to read stories, tablets are being harnessed for educational purposes and moms…well, we’re still doing most of the buying decisions, especially when it comes to technology throughout the entire house.  It’s more than evident that technology is embraced by the entire family, with mom and kids influencing a good portion of the techy marketplace, now more than ever.

With CES officially opening today, I be on the look out for a superfluous amount of #CES tweets, my pictures on Flickr, and of course, some blog posts all about the family friendly tech gear that I find on the showroom floor.

Time to Play Announces Holiday Must Haves

It’s October, and fall is officially in full swing.  (How did that happen so quickly?)

Even though the season is just now starting to change, media and bloggers alike have had the holidays in mind for months now.  In fact, I think I went to my first holiday preview back in May?

Nevertheless, I’m excited once again to curate—what I consider—cool new kid gear that would make fun gift for the holidays.  But this week, to get the season started right, I had the chance to attend Time to Play magazines Holiday Showcase here in NYC.


The pros, Chris Byrne, content director, and Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of unveiled Time to Play’s Most Wanted list, the 16 toys they predict will be the “must haves” for the upcoming holiday season.  And once again, NKT was onhand to check things out and tweet all about it.

And here they are,’s Most Wanted List for the 2010 Holiday Season:

    (Spin Master/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
    (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)
    (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
    (LeapFrog/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $69.99)
  • LEGO Games – LEGO Systems
    (LEGO/Ages 7 years & up/Approx. Retail Price $29.99)
    (Mattel/Ages 7 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)
    (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $16.99)
    (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)
    (WowWee/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
    (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
    (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)
    (Mattel/Ages 3 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $12.99)
    (Blip Toys/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $6.99)
    (Hasbro Playskool/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99)
    (VTech/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99)
    (Spin Master/Ages 4 years & up/ Approx. Retail Price: $4.99)

They also highlighted three family-friendly video games, which include:

  • Kirby’s epicYarn
  • Epic Mickey
  • Dance Central


Most of the toys at the showcase were toys that I’ve had the chance to check out at Toy Fair, at media previews or have even been dubbed NKT faves, so some of the “must haves” were no surprise.  They’re all great picks, but I have several more on my radar that I think should’ve made the mark.  I’ll be sure to share those in my holiday gift guide, which is coming soon.

Do you guys see any toys that you think might be the “it” toy this year?

Whatever you think might be hot, put it on your radar NOW.  Time to Play’s sage advice for consumers and industry insiders alike:  “If you see it early, grab it early.”

Celebrate and Share: Tag.Give.Read with LeapFrog

It’s my boy’s birthday today, and I’m happy to report that we enjoyed our mini-party this weekend.  Of course, a birthday party wouldn’t be complete without fun gifts, which is why I’m sharing about yet another NKT fave, LeapFrog.

Reading has been a huge, huge part of being 2.  LeapFrog’s Tag Jr. has been a staple in our reading routine since we were introduced to it last summer.  Tag Jr., which is geared to 2-5 year olds, has been such a hit for the kid, that for holidays like Easter and Valentine’s Day, in lieu of excess candy, I’ve made sure to gift the kid with Tag Jr. books to bolster our library.

Watching the boy’s chubby toddler arms plop the equally chubby Tag Jr. on the graphics of his little books are memories that I’ll always embrace.  And the quality time that dad gets to share with the kid while reading with Tag Jr. during the bedtime routine? Irreplaceable.

One of the many fantastic aspects of LeapFrog is that they’ve done a genius job of developing an array of products that grow with kids, and I envision Tag being a huge part of the preschool phase.  While we haven’t officially graduated from Tag Jr., the kid has had a fun time exploring more titles with LeapFrog’s Tag Reading System, which is aimed to 4- 8 year olds.  Superheroes are the favorite phase du jour, so, reading about Spiderman with LeapFrog Tag has offered a great new perspective to Spidey’s adventures.

Tag’s library is constantly evolving, and titles such as Toy Story 3 is one of the new ones that will no doubt find its way into our home.  Oh yes, and how can I forget staples such Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat, which came with our Tag Reader, and for good reason: it’s been one book that’s read endlessly for bedtime.

Check it

LeapFrog has certainly helped cultivate the joy of reading at a young age in our home, and they’re aiming to touch even more lives.  Announced last week, through a partnership with, LeapFrog’s new Tag. Give. Read. program is aiming to help more U.S. children embrace the love of reading by donating $100,000 to match donations made to teachers requesting Tag School Reading systems.

To learn more about the Tag. Give. Read. program, logon to All projects that are eligible for the LeapFrog match are searchable by teacher name or geographic area. Once a teacher’s goal for Tag School systems is half-met by donors, LeapFrog provides the rest.  Awesome, no?

And Those who don’t have money to give can make a difference, by becoming a fan of LeapFrog on Facebook. For each new “like,” LeapFrog will give a Tag book to a Kindergarten teacher, up to 25,000 books.  As if we needed another reason to love LeapFrog!


And because we’re still in celebration mode over here on NKT, here’s another gift for you:  LeapFrog has offered to give one NKT reader a LeapFrog Tag Reading System.

Want a LeapFrog Tag for your kids?  Simply share about LeapFrog’s Tag.Give.Read program.  Leverage all social media outlets and share about this fantastic program. Tweet, Share on Facebook, email your friends and family…  Share: give more kids a chance to celebrate the love of reading.

(actual book in giveaway may vary from photo.  This photo was taken at the LeapFrog media preview)

Please comment below for each way that you share.  Multiple entries are encouraged, so please share away.

Interested in another extra entry?  Become an NKT fan on Facebook and/or “like” this post.  Who knows, maybe I’ll give away something else very soon.  *cough*tomorrow*cough

This giveaway will end October 11 at midnight. Winners will be chosen via, and will be notified via Facebook fanpage and email.

MobiGo Review and Giveaway: VTech Introduces New Handheld Learning System


VTech has introduced  a new handheld learning system to its lineup of electronic learning toys.  I had the chance to get a glimpse of the MobiGo at Toy Fair, but got an even closer look at the unit this week before it officially hits the shelves.

The MobiGo is packed with features, including touch screen technology, sliding screen and is web-enabled via USB.

The MobiGo retails for $59.99, which is comparable to other handheld systems in this category.  In addition to the touch screen technology that mimics that of mom and dad’s iPhones and smartphones, what sets the MobiGo apart is its flip-up screen.  That feature made quite a few heads turn when we were toting the MobiGo around this week.

The MobiGo has a variety of game cartridges (19.99) and a carrying case (14.99).  The system is available in the blue/yellow or a pink/purple option.

Vtech MobiGo at ToyFair Read More