Why choose organic cotton for babies and kids?

Of all the materials out there, organic cotton has to be one of my favorites.  On laundry day, in a sea of freshly laundered t-shirts, without even looking, I know exactly when I’ve pulled out my favorite organic cotton Quicksilver t-shirt to be folded—there’s that much difference in softness!  But besides the super soft texture, many companies and manufacturers are adding and increasing organic cotton options to their existing lines. In some cases, new companies are emerging altogether because of this trend that’s here to stay.

cottonSo, what’s with organic cotton anyway?  What makes it so special and oh so soft?
Organic cotton is the version of its conventional counterpart grown without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers or any other chemicals, making it an ideal textile for baby and children’s products.  Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically-dependent crops, sucking up 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals and 25 percent of insecticides on 3 percent of our arable land; that’s more than any other crop per unit. That adds up to 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to produce enough cotton for a t-shirt, and 3/4 of a pound for a pair of jeans.  Organic cotton on the other hand, uses agricultural methods designed to help sustain the land it grows on, the people who grow and harvest it, and the planet in general.  (via Treehugger)

Once again, like with other greener alternatives, organic cotton products tend to cost a bit more—for now.  As the demand for organic cotton products continue to increase–and organic products in general–prices will begin to balance out.  In 2006, organic fiber linens and clothing sales in the United States grew by 26 percent over the previous year, to reach $203 million, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2007 Manufacturer Survey.

Because of its healthier composition and sustainable aspects, organic cotton is a great option for baby and kids’ products.  It certainly helps that organic cotton goodies are super soft and always hard to pass up.

To read more about organic cotton and its benefits check out these resources
Gaim on organic cotton
Cleaner cotton
The difference of organic cotton
The case for organic cotton
Organic cotton fact sheet

Happy Earth Week!

loveyourearthAs Earth Day approaches this Wednesday, The Next Kid Thing will be focusing on green kid topics all week. When Earth Day began 39 years ago, times were much different, but the environmental movement as we know just started to gain momentum. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts. Today, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide.
As the Earth Day celebrations continue to grow, as does the environmental awareness. It might be easy being green one day a year, but 365 days of green-living make much more of an impact. What’s even more important is fostering our kids at an early age to be more socially responsible. Stay tuned for lots of ideas on how kids can help protect Mother Earth and ways to go green too!

(photo via mlumograph17)

Get your green on at Go Green Expo

Even though being green should be a year-round mentality, it’s always nice to see Earth Day celebrations grow bigger every year. Just in time for Earth Week, the Go Green Expo in NYC is opening its doors to consumers this weekend. The boys and I are headed in to the show to explore and learn.gogreenexpo_cmyk The Expo, described as an eco-focused, green-living showcase, will feature earth friendly products, services and ideas. Speakers like Mariel Hemmingway and big name exhibitors such as Dell, Honda and Home Depot will be worth checking out. While Disneynature, a division of Disney, will preview the new film, Earth. There’s a whole lineup of family-friendly activities, panel discussions and exhibitors on the agenda, but the Kids Zone, which is sponsored by Disneynature, is something I’m sure we’ll be checking out and talking about later this week!  I have all kinds of green goodness and yes, giveaways for Earth week, so be sure to check it out!

Go Green Expo – Open to the Public
Saturday, April 18th – 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 19th – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Hilton New York
1335 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019

Tickets:
Adults – Weekend pass for Saturday & Sunday, April 18 & 19 – $10
Children under the age of 12 – Free
Senior citizens (65+) – Free

Spotlight: Regal Lager, gr8x, Diaper Dékor

Regal Lager is a distributor of great baby and children’s products, many that we all know and love. The Georgia-based family run company distributes brands that offer practical, stylish, well-designed, and safe products, including Diaper Dékor, gr8x and Lascal Buggy Boards, among others.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend the Big City Mom’s Biggest Baby Shower event. Clearly, I’m not pregnant, but instead, I went for this baby, this new blog here. I have never seen so many pregnant women together in one location, but better yet, it was the biggest collection of awesome baby and kid gear. It was total chaos, what with wall to wall shopping fanatics, enthusiastic city moms, food and mocktails. But, it was pretty cool to learn about so many new products, including those from Regal Lager. Coming home with bags of swag isn’t too bad either (much of which I’m giving away here on NKT!)

But one of the few items that I’m keeping deserves a review: the gr8x messenger diaper bag . You see the same brand of diaper bags hung on strollers around here, but the gr8x messenger bag diaper bag is one that I’d never seen or even heard about.

messenger-black

On first impression, I knew this bag was meant to be mine—it was black, durable vinyl, didn’t look too diaper bag-ish and had pockets galore. I mean, all the pockets and compartments a girl could ever want. In one of those many pockets, on the side, we discovered an insulated bottle pocket, or in our case, sippy cup holder. In addition to all the handy dandy pockets, we found that it included a waterproof changing pad in its own pouch. It also has its own adorable detachable pacifier pouch. gr8x didn’t miss a beat on this one!
dreamtime-bottle-compartment
Read More

That Baby DVD and CD review + giveaway

Every time our silly, but catchy cable tv commercial comes on, it makes me laugh to see the excitement it brings to my kid’s heart. He squeals, claps and then the dancing begins. Above the cuteness of the dancing, it’s the love of music and the rocking out at such an early age that truly brings a smile to my face.
As much as our family loves music, I love giving music-related gifts, too. I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate the gift of rocking out? So if you’re on the market for a unique baby gift, I recommend checking out That Baby DVD and CD.

dvd_and_cd_rgb72dpi

I had the chance to check out That Baby DVD and it was such a hit with the kid. That Baby DVD and CD both feature acoustic cover versions of songs made popular by great artists like Fleetwood Mac, The Pretenders, Bob Marley, 10,000 Maniacs and more. In addition to various eye-catching graphics and cool animations, That Baby DVD showcased other music-loving kids who dance away to the tunes, thus making my kid dance and squeal along.
Read More

Click this: Kids off the Couch

Are the kids on spring break this week?  Have you run out of ideas on how to keep them from climbing the walls and everyone involved sane?  If this is you, it’d behoove you to check out Kids off the Couch.

Kidsoffthecouch

When I ran across the website, Kids off the Couch, I immediately thought, ‘what a great resource!’  Kids off the Couch is a free weekly e-newsletter that offers insightful suggestions on family-friendly activities.  The e-newsletter and its accompanying site and blog were created by moms and targeted to other parents, especially those with big kids.  It features a laundry list of creative ideas and activities for families with kids of all ages, including tips for movie ideas, cultural activities and staycation suggestions that are relevant all year long, not just for spring break.  As I browsed through the adventure archives, it was one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.  Well, thanks to the moms at Kids off the Couch, here’s a resource that takes the guesswork out of finding that next family adventure! As someone who appreciates culture and local adventures, this is the kind of newsletter that is a great addition to my inbox.

Go on, after you sign up for their newsletter, unplug yourselves, get off the computer and get the kids off the couch!

Toys “R” Us introduces $1-$2-$3 Fun

Fellow barganistas, behold: Toys “R” Us has set up a new shop with us in mind. Toys”R”Us has introduced a new concept within their stores called $1-$2-$3 Fun!

1-2-3-fun-low-resThe feature shops are located in the front of its stores nationwide and are aimed to provide affordable fun.  In this economy, you can’t go wrong with inexpensive and fun goodies.  In the same vein of Target’s Dollar Spot and other discount store concepts, each shop features around 100 items for $1, $2 or $3. The shops will showcase different themes such as dinosaurs, games and fun toys, princess dress up, musical instruments, art supplies and party favors. The goodies found in $1-$2-$3 Fun would be ideal for party favors, stocking stuffers and other daily events where inexpensive goodies are appreciated!

Who says you can’t get anything for a dollar anymore!?

LeapFrog introduces iPhone app, Number Rumble

LeapFrog upped their game with the introduction of a new iPhone app, a learning game called Number Rumble. Number Rumble, the first of several iPhone App learning games that LeapFrog plans to release, is a math game that puts the fun in function by helping players ages 6 to 10 gain a better grasp on math basics.

numberrumble

The game, which can be download at the Apple App Store for $2.99, allows kids to practice for quizzes, challenge friends and replay games to sharpen their math skills.

It features three modes of play, including a “Learn It” mode that lets kids choose an operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division), spin the number wheels to create a math problem, then tap the equals sign to see and hear the answer; the “Quiz Time” mode in which kids test their skills by spinning the number wheels to create a problem, then shake the iPhone to select an answer; and a “Random Quiz” that lets kids practice all four operations at once, shaking the iPhone to see “fill-in-the-blank”-style questions, such as “12 + 8 = ?” or “? ÷ 9 = 11.”

With LeapFrog’s Number Rumble, it’s like math to-go with an emphasis on fun (like most LeapFrog products) to keep kids engaged. It’s definitely not your dad’s (or mom’s) iPhone anymore! Learning is involved, so who’s complaining?

Welcome to the Next Kid Thing!

This week marks the official launch of the Next Kid Thing, a blog that is dedicated to the latest and greatest in kid gear.  As the juvenile products market continues to evolve, the Next Kid Thing will showcase great gear and all the good stuff in between.  As many parents know, as soon as you have a kid, it seems like the next month, brand new gear hits the shelves.  It seems that way probably because the baby and kid market continues to grow at an exponential pace–even in this economic climate.  A report by Kids Today said that infant gear reached $1.62 billion in sales in 2007, while another report forecasts that the baby durables market will increase to $6.9 billion by 2015.  Add big kids to the mix, and that’s a lot of gear and gadgets to be bought.

Many of us have waited to start our families to focus on careers, and in turn, this generation of new parents are willing to spend more on high tech, eco-friendly and safe baby gear, insisting on the best for our kids.  With all that stuff out there, it’s my hope that this website will serve as a resource to sift through the excess to profile the must-haves and find the best deals.  From babies to big kids, the Next Kid Thing will feature reviews, interviews, profiles and awesome giveaways!

logoNKT is most definitely a labor of love.  In addition to chasing around my mischevious toddler all day, with thanks to the most encouraging husband ever, I can finally say (again) that I’m doing what I love.  With a journalism background and 8 years of experience as a mag editor under my belt, I’m happily putting my research and reporting skills back to work.  With all the research I did prior to my son’s arrival in 2007, sharing my finds makes so much sense.  These days, it’s all about maximizing your dollars while observing green habits and smart consumerism.  With an appreciation for great gear, a fervor for research and green-living, the Next Kid Thing was born.

Join me as I share great finds, profile cool companies, unearth great deals and of course, roll out some pretty awesome giveaways.  As a way to celebrate this week-long launch of the Next Kid Thing, I will have giveaways galore all week!  Be sure to comment on this post for an opportunity to win some fabulous door prizes!
For additional entries, tell all your friends and family:  blog, tweet, stumble or share the news of the Next Kid Thing’s official launch on any social media site.   Please comment to add additional entries.

I’ll be back later with the first official giveaway and more!

Read this: Easter basket books

With the Easter Bunny hopping around this weekend, surely he or she might need some last minute alternatives to the 15 lbs. of jelly beans and ultra-glow Peeps.  It’s my thinking that if the Easter Bunny fills up our guy’s basket with cool books, that will only leave enough room for 5 or 6 Mini-Eggs. (The way I see it:  the less chocolate that find their way into the basket means less chocolate to find their way into my mouth.)  There are so many classic books for the Easter Bunny to choose from, but there are also some newer books to check out too!  Here are a few suggestions on some fun treats of the book variety.

Duck! Bunny! By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
The eye-catching illustrations make Duck! Bunny! one of my new favorites.   With the use of fun optical illusions, this book debates whether the animal in question is indeed a duck or a bunny.  It’s a short and sweet story that kids of all ages would find funny.  Is it a duck or a bunny?  What do you think?
Check out Chronicle Books’ YouTube teaser for the book and you decide!

DuckRabbit

Orangutan Tongs: Poems to Tangle Your Tongue By Jon Agee
Orangutan Tongs is a witty book filled with tongue twisters and play on words.  It’s a fun collection of phrases and silly subjects to entertain kids and parents alike.  If you love clever kid reads, how could you not be a fan with text like, you know New York’s unique, but did you know that unique New York’s also pretty chic?

orangutan

The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter By Dav Pilkey
The Dumb Bunnies are at it again!  This time, they’ve got their holidays all mixed up!  On December 24th, they’re cutting down their Easter tree–wait a minute!  Check out the Dumb Bunnies’ ridiculous adventures and find out why they’re for the Easter Bunny to drop eggs down their chimney!
Here’s the thing:  the Dumb Bunnies books by the same hysterical author that brought us Captain Underpants has a gift for making kids laugh with his book.  Some parents may not be fond of the “Dumb” descriptor for these silly bunnies, but c’mon, it’s harmless fun.  On his site Pilkey says it best:

The only thing that all human beings have in common is our endless capacity for doing dumb stuff.

dumbbun

All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant (Author), Nikki McClure (Illustrator)
By the Newbery Medal-winning author, Cynthia Rylant, this book has a simple but very important message–to make the most of each day.   The illustrations, cut-paper art and text are equally appealing to both parents and kids, making it a perfect read for any age.  At times like this, isn’t it all about living life to the fullest while embracing what each day has to offer?

allinaday

Where are Baby’s Easter Eggs? By Karen Katz
Karen Katz’s books are a big hit in our house.  So much so, they’ve been read and flipped through so much, the pages have become so tattered from all the page-flipping excitement.  The colorful and sparkly surprises that can be found when flipping the flaps is what keeps these books at the top of our reading regimen.  Where could those Easter eggs be?

Baby