Read Across America Day: Tips for Reading with Kids

Happy Read Across America Day and Dr. Suess Day! Today marks what would have been Dr. Suess’ 112th birthday.

In honor of his birthday, many families, schools and libraries across the nation are celebrating by reading, and doing lots of it. In fact, in a few, I’m off to the kids’ school to read to the kids’ class.

There’s so many wonderful ways to engage with kids to help them develop a love for reading, books and literature. Here are just a few helpful tips that have help me and my guys along the way.

1. Let them see you read

Kids model behavior, whether it’s good or bad. If they see you reading, even if it’s a few minutes a day, this model behavior will undoubtedly provide a foundation for a love of reading. Because I have a print background, I still love magazines and newspapers. Admittedly, I don’t read the physical paper as much as I’d like, but I read the New York Times daily and various magazines. We’ve become a society that thrives on fragmented, viral news. Why not help the kids embrace a well-crafted story in kids’ magazine of their choice. J’s learning the basics of writing and we’re big on pointing out descriptive words in feature stories. Ranger Rick and Sports Illustrated for Kids are popular picks for my guys.

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2. Read together

I know a lot of families who love reading together. After a long day of school and work, it’s often the only way that some kids get to bond with parents on weekdays, before starting the cycle again. Our board books are tattered from all the love they’ve received, but man, are those always the best books! If your kids are older, pick a few chapter series that get them excited and take turns reading aloud every night. The Magic Tree House series is my older guy’s favorite series right now. Next up is the Harry Potter series!

 

3. Enjoy the Library

One of our absolute favorite weekly dates is our trip to the library. I feel as though we’re on a first name basis with librarians these days, not just because of our hyperlocal site, but also because the library is our happy place.

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With Little’s significant speech delay, he’s in therapy 5 days a week. He gets to play a lot at school, but there’s still so much structure in his rigorous special ed preschool schedule. Weekly story time at the library is a way for us to engage with other young readers. Our librarians are so enthusiastic and encourage imagination with their varied stories and fun crafts.

  

4. There’s an app for that!

If you know me, then you must know that I love technology and the way it helps make our lives as parents easier. While I will always choose a physical book or magazine first, apps for reading are an excellent way to encourage reading. With intuitive reading apps such as ABC Mouse, Speakaboos and MeeGenius, my preschooler is able to enjoy books at his pace, and in a fun kid-friendly format. For my 8 year old, we’ve been using the Kids’ Kindle Fire and enjoying books on the Amazon platform. With the Kindle Fire, it’s helpful when my son needs to look up words or wants to search for a new title. His classroom uses an app called Raz-Kids, which is an interesting app that tracks activity and encourages comprehension and reading aloud.

 

However you choose to read with your kids, make it fun!

NYC Vlogging Challenge Week 2

It’s my turn to host the NYC Vlogging Challenge, and I came up with some prompts that will hopefully continue the conversation we started!

Last week, Divina started the conversation by sharing her prompts over on DancingHotDogs.com. Now it’s my turn to continue the dialogue.

NYC Tri State Vlogging Challenge

 

So, please, join my co-hosts, one of my dearest blogging buds, Divina of DancingHotDogs.com and BrillanteMedia.com

 

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and the lovely Lisa of AtypicalFamilia.com

 

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How can you join the conversation?

Each week, one of us will host the challenge and we ask you to join us on Youtube, Vine, Instagram or your blog with a response video. That’s it! 

 

My vlogging topics for this week are:

1. How do you stay organized?

2. What’s your creative outlet?

3. How do you involve your family in your vlog/blog/social channels?

4. What’s your favorite dessert?

5. What are you most looking forward to this Spring?

 

Film a vlog and link up with us!

 

What to See and Do at Play Fair in NYC + ticket giveaway

For the first time ever, kids will be heading to Javits Center in NYC for Play Fair on Saturday and Sunday, February 13-14. Presented by Nickelodeon and Lego, Play Fair will allow kids and families to experience the latest and greatest toys, as well as meet fun characters and YouTube personalities. 

Play Fair, hosted by Toy Industry Association and Leftfield Media, will be taking place alongside of the International Toy Fair, the annual trade show for industry professionals. Because it is a trade show, kids are not allowed to walk the showroom of Toy Fair. Play Fair, however, was designed for kids and families to experience new toys and then some. Hasbro, Mattel, Marvel, Cartoon Network, Crayola, Bandai, Toys R Us and Warner Bros will be onhand at Play Fair showcasing the coolest toys.

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My family will be onsite with me on Sunday to check out all the goodies! Though we get to check out cool new toys regularly, fun experiences like this excite my guys to no end. My 8 year old will likely be in amazement of his favorite YouTubers. While my 4 year old will most likely go nuts over the entire thing! As for me, I can’t wait to let loose and check out the fun. Toy Fair is work for me, so I’m taking videos, tons of photos and taking notes. Play Fair with kids and families will most certainly add a totally different perspective to Toy Fair itself!

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So, here’s what you’ll get to see and do at Play Fair:

•       Check out the new Batmobile from Warner Bros. Pictures’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in theaters March 25, 2016

•       Slide down the exclusive PAW Patrol slide, snap photos with PAW Patrol costume characters Chase, Marshall, Skye and Rubble, and get an exclusive look at the newest PAW Patrol pup, Tracker, who will join the series this fall

•       Join Hasbro for the ultimate lightsaber training session! With the help of the Empire Saber Guild, get a hands-on learning experience about lightsaber forms and techniques

•        Build a LEGO car and race it down a ramp against other LEGO builders

•        Explore the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tunnels and mimic their favorite Turtle moves with Magic Mirror technology

•        Gross out with an epic booger battle, experience the slimy, gross play of Booger Balls for the first time by picking and flicking them at Booger Ball targets

•       Enjoy the interactive Thomas & Friends experience by Mattel

•       Create their own toy review videos and have chances to win Toys“R”Us gift cards

•       Test out the latest from NERF in the NERF arena

•       Test out the newest Razor rides, like Jetts, the new sparking Heel Wheels, and other awesome Razor rides like the Power Core E90, Crazy Cart and RipSurf

•       Purchase exclusive collectible toys

•       And every attendee will receive a gift bag with toys and fun goodies from event sponsors

 

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Play Fair’s live performances and appearances include:

•       Meet and take photos with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shimmer and Shine, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Miraculous Ladybug and Cat Noir, Chase and Marshall from PAW Patrol, Dora, Saban’s Power Rangers Dino Super Charge, Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, and more

•       The cast of Nickelodeon’s hit show Game Shakers – Cree Cicchino (Babe), Madisyn Shipman (Kenzie), Thomas Kuc (Hudson), Benjamin Flores Jr. (Triple G), and Kel Mitchell (Double G) – will host a panel on Saturday to debut their new app, Nasty Goats

•       Jon Scieszka, best-selling author behind The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, will read from his Frank Einstein science book series

•       All-ages comic creators Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani, Abby Denson, Dave Roman, Matt Loux, and Misako Rocks! will sketch and sign their books for fans

•       Meet Toys“R”Us mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, enjoy story time and participate in fun birthday-themed activities

•       Take in episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors, We Bare Bears, and Teen Titans Go! on a massive movie screen

•       Take photos with Shopkins mascot characters, including Strawberry Kiss and Lippy Lips, and color your favorite Shopkins characters

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•       LEGO Master Builder Erik Varszegi presents insider tips on creating LEGO masterpieces 

•       The girls of Make it Pop will reveal their new fashion doll series on February 14. Join them on the Toys“R”Us stage at 11:30 a.m. for an exclusive interview, live performance and a chance to meet the cast

•       YouTube personalities including DisneyCarToys, Mommy and Gracie Show, and KittiesMama will meet with fans and host toy unboxings live on the Toys“R”Us stage

Buy Tickets

Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at PlayFairNY.com/tickets Family packs with a small discount are available online as well. Morning sessions run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and afternoon sessions are open from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

 

Giveaway

And thanks to my friends at KidzVuz, I have a family four pack of tickets for Play Fair to giveaway! Make sure you visit my awesome friends at KidzVuz at booth #156 at Play Fair!

Enter below! Good luck! This giveaway will end on Friday night 2/12 so the winner can be notified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to follow my coverage of Toy Fair from Saturday February 13 to Monday February 15! I’m @jenrab on Twitter, Periscope and Instagram. I’ll have photo and vids up on the Next Kid Thing Facebook page, and I will snap some Snapchat photos too! I’m jen_rab on Snapchat

 

Coolest Star Wars Toys from Hasbro

Like so many of you, we are in total Star Wars mode these days. In honor of the long awaited debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought I’d share some of the new Star Wars toys from Hasbro. Back in September, my family was invited to the Global Day of Play where bloggers and other media were invited to play with all of the newly released Star Wars toys. I can’t even begin to describe how excited we all were to geek out with these awesome toys.

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Hasbro has a huge selection of Star Wars-branded toys, ranging from toys for preschoolers in their Playskool line to board games to role playing games to cool items for collectors. Because there’s something for Star Wars fans of all ages, my entire family loved being among the first ones to get a look at the Next Kid Things from Hasbro.  

 

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There was so much to see and try out, but our favorites include:

Playskool Heroes Star Wars Series

I love the Playskool Heroes Star Wars Series because of its chunky characters and easy to handle vehicles and accessories. Preschoolers like my little guy love these Star Wars sets because they’re more age-appropriate and perfect for open-ended creative play. ($4.99-39.99)

Blade Builders
My older Star Wars fan loved creating his own powerful Lightsaber with the Blade Builders set. By connecting and twisting various different weapons, young Jedis can create their own custom Lightsaber that boasts realistic sounds to be used in battle. ($49.99)

Play-Doh Can Heads

My Play-Doh fanatic can’t get enough of the Star Wars themed Can Heads. I love the way the cans become characters and can be included in open play patterns. Little Padawans can mold and sculpt their favorite Star Wars shapes with these fun sets. ($9.99-19.99)

 Kylo Ren Black Series Lightsaber
This super sleek lightsaber is geared to the collectors and die hard fans. It has solid features, light effects, movie sound effects, 3 blades and metal hilt. ($199.99)

Star Wars Mr. Potato Head
What better way to introduce Star Wars to the toddler and preschool set than with the iconic Mr. Potato Head toys. Mr. Potato Head takes on the Dark Side with all the coolest Star Wars accessories. Choose from Frylo Ren, Darth Tater, Spud Trooper and more. ($9.99-19.99) 

BB-8
Ok, so, like everyone else, we want BB-8 for ourselves. Biggie loved maneuvering the RC BB-8 and had a great time navigating the Dark Side obstacle course. This BB-8 boasts movie-accurate sounds and expressive droid sounds, just as one would imagine.

We absolutely loved getting our hands on all of these fun toys. To say we were over the moon with excitement at the Global Day of Play was a total understatement. Check out the highlights from the Star Wars Global Day of Play to see these toys and more in action! Biggie was so giddy to train with a Jedi and Littles, my Play-Doh fanatic, LOVES Can Heads!

 

 

 I truly can’t pick a fave, the whole day was such a treat. If you’re Star Wars fans like we are, I have no doubt that some of these fun goodies are on those wish lists. 

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Thank you to Hasbro for hosting us at the Star Wars Global Day of Play.

Smart Toys and Fun Gifts from PBS Kids

My friends at PBS Kids always have fun things happening. Between fantastic programming that consistently wins awards and accolades to aligning really great collaborations, PBS Kids undoubtedly has a wonderful presence in our lives.

And since it’s gift giving season, I thought I’d share a few fun gifts that are part of PBS Kids’ Collaborations.

 

Plan Toys PBS Kids

As a long time fan of Plan Toys, I absolutely LOVE this collaboration with PBS Kids. Like all PlayToys, the line of PBS Kids toys are sustainable, educational and safe. The toys range from play cameras, play boats, a pull alligator, music instruments and toy banks. I’ll share a video of my kids playing with some of the toys. I can’t tell you how much we love this line. Everything in this line is under $30, making them an ideal gift for babies and kids on your list. 

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One-hundred percent of net proceeds from the purchase of the toys in this holiday partnership will support PBS KIDS’ mission to empower children to succeed in school and in life. Additionally, Whole Foods Market will donate 1 percent of total sales, up to $25,000, to Whole Kids Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving children’s wellness and nutrition. The toys are available at Whole Foods nationwide and vary in price.

 

PBS Kids Party App + Moff Bands

No stranger to technology, PBS Kids has tapped into the wearable technology space by collaborating with Moff Bands. Moff is the maker of the award-winning Moff Band, the world’s first wearable smart toy.

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The Moff Band enables kids to play sounds and games through movement. Powering the Moff Band is a cloud-based motion and position recognition platform that analyzes and learns users’ real-time behaviors and patterns. PBS Kids partnered with Moff Bands to release the new, free PBS KIDS Party App. The app can be played with a mobile or tablet device, and is enhanced with a Moff Band. Be on the lookout for a video on our YouTube Channel!

 

PBS Kids Scratch JR.

We are so into coding, so PBS KIDS ScratchJr is really exciting. With Scratch Jr., kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite characters from Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat! Designed for kids ages 5-8.

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By combining programming blocks, kids can make characters move, jump, dance and sing. In the process, kids will learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively. PBS KIDS ScratchJr allows kids to not only learn to code, but also code to learn. If you love STEM and coding as much as we do, be sure to check out this app! You can download the app for free on the App Store and Google Play.

 

Full disclosure: As a PBS Kids VIP, I received this information and samples to help promote the brand and the properties. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Unique Gifts at Target for the Holidays

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to get a preview of holiday gifts at Target. As usual, Target’s gifts and exclusive collaborations don’t disappoint, so I thought I’d highlight just a few of my favorite finds for this holiday season.

 

1. Tapas Entertaining Set

This very cool Tapas Kit would make a great hostess gift or a delicious alternative for friends who are foodies. 

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2. Wing Sauce Set

In our home, we are geeks about a lot of things, and that includes Buffalo wings. Almost every Friday night, we head to a local restaurant and indulge in this fried bar staple. It’s hard to find a sauce and consistency that appeals to all of us, so I especially loved this wing sauce set. How fun would this be for fellow wing aficionados or friends who love spices and sauces! And for about $12, you can’t go wrong!

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3. Archer Farms Turtle Snack Bites

Okay, so I should totally keep quiet because I may just want these truffles all to myself. Archer Farms always has a great selection of delicious treats, and these Turtle Pecan Snack Bites are no exception. They combine the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness with the taste of a rich pecan Turtle confection. At under $5, you should definitely buy a few of these for stockings or stash them away for the winter. Whichever works.

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4. Project MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit

When I first learned the premise behind this cool lab kit, I was immediately smitten. The Project MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit is inspired by Project MC2 which is a show on Netflix about 4 smart girls who love science and use their spy skills to go on missions for a secret organization. This kit includes a working microscope, 30 pieces, such as a funnel, beaker, safety goggles and more. At $45, this science kit would be great for any budding scientist spy!

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5. Unicef Kid Powerbands
This was, perhaps, one of my absolute favorite gadgets at the Target Holiday Preview. A fitness tracker for kids, the Powerband is described as one of the first wearables-for-good. The more active kids are, the more power points they earn, which, in turn, becomes a charitable donation of food for less fortunate kids around the world. There’s an app that pairs with the Powerbands where you can track your fitness activities, as well as navigate the different global missions and learn about different countries. For every band sold, Target donates $10 to the United States Fund for Unicef. The bands are available on Target.com for $39.99.

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Kicking off the Holidays in Style with Momtrends

It’s been a yearly tradition to kick off my holiday season with my friends at Momtrends their Annual Holiday Soiree. This year, they celebrated their 5th annual event!

Nicole Feliciano, the trend-spotting and style savvy founder of Momtrends, has a true knack for gathering the most influential voices in the Tri-State and beyond. Every event is filled with fabulous brands and amazing products, and this year’s Soiree was no exception.

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Momtrends’ Holiday Soiree featured a myriad of brands who help make the season brighter, ranging from Cabi to Pom Wonderful.

Epson showcased their Ecotank printer that boasts high quality prints and photos, and an impressive printing capacity. Apparently, with this printer, you don’t have to change the tanks for 2 years! My blogger pals and I had a blast posing in the backdrop and we even took some Epson prints home!

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The Cabi fashion show was a highlight of the night. It was so lovely to see Cabi’s functional styles on real women, including my friend, Divina of DancingHotDogs.com. The cape and tailored skirt makes for a polished look for the holidays!

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Telaflora once again showcased their beautiful flowers, which would be perfect as centerpieces or hostess gifts. Among the beautiful red and white arrangements, I really loved the Peanuts collection!

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While hanging out with friends, we noshed on the various snacks dipped in Tessemae’s sauces and sipped on Pom-tinis. The all natural sauces from Tessemae’s has quite the back story. Some brothers began bottling the salad dressing upon realizing the true demand of their mom’s delicious recipes. Many years later, these dressings are available at Whole Foods, among other retailers.

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With pomegranates in season right now, it was great to taste various cocktails with this delicious fruit. After learning how to open this delicious fruit, I’m excited to include it in more recipes and snacks!

What are delicious beverages without containers to serve and transport them? I loved learning all about Igloo’s latest products, including that very cool party tub! As a major sports family, we use those Igloo coolers and containers incessantly!

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On to the baby and kid stuff:

I always love seeing my friends from Hasbro showcases their awesome toys. Hasbro was in the house and had their classic games to highlight. They have so many fun toys and games this holiday season, but it’s the classics that make family time so fun.

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I loved learning all about Bedgear and their very cool textile technology. This company makes waterproof crib sheets, wicking pillowcases, among other cool products. They were super cozy and perfect for napping after Turkey dinner.
 

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Perhaps one of my favorites of the night was Mudpuppy! As a kid product enthusiast, I loved the aesthetic and range of innovative books, games and other stationery product from Mudpuppy. IMG 0105

From the cool chalk board posters to the magnetic puzzle kits, I am totally smitten with this fabulous brand. And as luck would have it, I won a very generous prize kit from Mudpuppy as part of the evening’s raffle. Though I’m unlucky in so many other aspects, somehow, my luck balances out whenever I attend Momtrends’ events. So, thank you to the Momtrends team and to Mudpuppy for this awesome prize kit! After sharing a separate review on the products, I will be making a donation to the children’s hospital for kids to enjoy while receiving treatment.

Thank you, as always, to the Momtrends team for including me in such a lovely event. It’s always an honor to be included with so many smart and savvy women! Be on the lookout for more thorough reviews of more products spotted at the Holiday Soiree!

Healthy Snack: Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

One of our absolute favorite snacks around here are smoothies. Smoothies for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, an after school snack—it doesn’t matter the time of day, we love our smoothies. We’ve been known to listen to the blender demo people at Costco, watching them blend entire carrots at a time. I’ve been swooning over high power blending technology for quite some time, so imagine the thrill it was to get a first hand demo of Panasonic’s MX-ZX1800 high power blender. 

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This blender has the capacity to chop, cream, blend, heat, grind, churn—pretty simplify things in the kitchen. 

For our first foray with this amazing appliance, we gave a tried and true smoothie recipe a whirl with a bit of a seasonal twist. The mango pomegranate smoothie is a tart but sweet snack and makes a great complement for breakfast. 

 

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The citrus and Vitamin C provided by the mango and orange juice is ideal for prime cold and flu season. The pomegranate, which is in season, is such an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber and more Vitamin C. The seeds not only add a little color, but also a sweet juicy flavor. The kids love digging into this smoothie and crunching the seeds.

A few pointers for opening the pomegranate: slice one end, score the fruit from top to bottom 3-4 times around and then wiggle a knife on the end where it was sliced to pop open the fruit. Place the opened fruit in a bowl and scoop out seeds with a spoon.

 

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If I do say so, this tastes even better than my local smoothie shop! My favorite part of this recipe is the ease and minimal effort for such a creamy treat.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. I like putting the mango at the bottom to ensure it gets chopped just so.

 

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When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture.

 

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Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Serve with a handful of pomegranate seeds and enjoy!

 

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Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

 

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 cup frozen mango cubes

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture. Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Top Toys of 2015

From Toy Fair in February to recent holiday media events, I’ve been scouting toys and trends all year for The Next Kid Thing. I have several lists in the works, but before the biggest shopping day of the year kicks off, I wanted to share some of the coolest toys that I think might be the big sellers this season.

I put this list together based on the play value, my kids’ reaction, price point as well as accessibility. I’ve been checking out the toys’ popularity online and in person and have compiled, what I think, might be some of the hottest sellers this season. Some obvious picks did not make my list because the supply is more accessible or the price is out of reach for many people.

Keep an eye out for more of our picks. Until then, I present The Next Kid Thing Top Toys for 2015.

 

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1. Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train

 This is the latest version of Vtech’s popular Alphabet Train. The multi-phase toy is intuitive and is perfect for tots who are sitting, toddling or already on the go. I love that this toy grows with kids and offers so many different types of educational play and function. On sale, I’ve spotted this great toy in the $40 range.

 

2. Bright Beats Dance and Move Beatbo

Beatbo first caught my eye at Toy Fair because of its bright and simple aesthetic. Beatbo dances, sings and has engaging educational games, perfect for curious toddlers. Beatbo can be found at major retailers for $35.

 

3. Paw Patrol Interactive Mission Chase

 Chase has all kinds of features, making him quite the hot commodity. Chase is bigger in size and has cool details for making missions easier. Paw Patrol toys, in general, are popular, so make sure to pick up Chase before he becomes hard to find later in the season. This Chase is #1 on my little guy’s list.

 

4. Paw Patrol Patroller

This Paw Patroller vehicle holds 3 vehicles when closed and several more when opened, making it an ideal gift for Paw Patrol mega-fans. This cool vehicle has multiple functions and landed on several top toys’ lists, and will certainly be another popular toy this season. Head’s up: Target currently has a 20% off Promo on toys. Head to their site to take advantage of this deal.

 

5. Shopkins

Just like it’s been all year, expect anything Shopkins to be super popular this holiday season. Right now, playsets and blind bags are in stock, but expect anything Shopkins to be a must-have for kids who appreciate these super cute collectibles. I love this Ice Cream Truck!

 

6. Clever Keet

Little Live Pets have been a favorite for animal lovers, and Clever Keet is no exception. This clever guy can chat and respond to your voice. He dances and even rides his little cart. 

7. American Girl Grace Thomas

The 2015 Girl of the Year Grace Thomas encourages savvy kids to pursue big ideas and embrace the business world. Available for only one year, the Grace collection includes an18-inch Grace doll featuring long dark-brown hair and blue eyes, plus several French-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her interests, such as the premium French Bakery Set with more than 60 pieces.

8. Girl Scouts Cookie Oven

The very cool Girl Scouts Cookie Oven is making quite the buzz this holiday season. With this fantastic toy, kids can bake their favorite Girl Scout cookie flavors at home while learning how to bake. 

9. Interactive R2-D2

With the upcoming release of the latest installment of Star Wars: the Force Awakens, it’s no surprise that Star Wars toys will be among the hottest toys this season. One toy that made our list of hot toys is Thinkways’ Interactive R2-D2. He projects images, turns his head while he talks, is voice-activated, among other cool features. With over 1000 programmable action combos, this smart toy will be a favorite for kids and adults alike.

10. BB-8 Sphero

BB-8 Sphero has been a hot Star Wars item since Force Friday earlier this year. This interactive droid is app-enabled and has voice-recognition, and has been dubbed the coolest Star Wars Toy by various outlets. Another toy that’s expected to be a popular multi-generational gift, this guy might be hard to find later in the season.

11. Lego Dimensions

Lego Dimensions joins the market as the latest toy to life video game. But this time, this video game has the clout of its beloved Lego franchise and characters to back up its foray onto consoles. From fun characters from the Lego Movie to classic superhero and cartoon figures, Lego Dimensions is already popular for kids and families. Since spotting it at the Kidz Vuz Back to School party, this game is #1 on my older guy’s list!
Head’s up: Lego Dimensions is featured on Target’s Cartwheel for 35% off for two more days, which makes it around $65. Combine this with an additional 5% off if you have Target RedCard. To compare: Toys R’ Us has Lego Dimensions on sale for $64.99 on Black Friday at 7am. 

12. LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum

LeapFrog’s latest LeapPad Platinum has some of the coolest features yet. It features a faster processor and crisp screen. In addition to the popular LeapFrog games and easy-to-navigate interface, the LeapPad Platinum features the unique and cutting-edge ImagiCard technology. My preschooler is obsessed with ImagiCard and I appreciate how reinforces counting, colors, alphabet, as well as tactile manipulation.

As of today, all of these toys are available in stores and online. Be sure to take advantage of pre-Black Friday sales and coupons which are proving to be cheaper than schlepping out to stores in the wee hours later this week.

Stay tuned for more gift ideas with all of my NKT Holiday Gift Guides!

 

 

Odd-tober and Halloween Shows on PBS

We’ve been busy getting ready for Halloween over here. As we finish carving pumpkins and all the usual fun stuff, I wanted to share some cool stuff that’s been going on at PBS.


Earlier in the month, in honor of Odd Squad, PBS kicked the spooky season with a one-hour special and the return of Halloween-themed family favorites from various series! The premiere featured “Odd Squad: Against the Odds,” which will included five 11-minute stories with Olive, Otto and the rest of the gang as they solve the community’s strange problems.

 

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“Odd-tober” will continue on PBS KIDS this week with the return of family Halloween favorites, including “Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.” Favorite episodes from series such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, PEG + CAT and Dinosaur Train will also air throughout the week. Don’t forget to check out games and stream the Halloween-themed episodes free on pbskids.org and the PBS KIDS Video App.

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We’re all about that crazy Curious George and his silly shenanigans. What are your favorite Halloween shows on PBS?