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

Baseball and Build-A-Bear

In honor of opening day, check out the fun selection of MLB-themed gear Build-A-Bear has to offer.  My fave, of course, is Curly Teddy in Mets gear.*

metsbuildabear
Build-A-Bear Workshops has teamed up with MLB once again to offer a families another way to cheer for their favorite baseball teams with Build-A-Bear Workshop Day at various ballparks, in addition to new team-branded merchandise.  On Build-A-Bear Workshop Day at the Ballpark, fans will receive exclusive team-branded stuffed animals while supplies last. Each furry friend comes with a free virtual gift redeemable at buildabearville.com, the Build-A-Bear Workshop virtual world.


Check your favorite team’s website for dates and details, but here are a few scheduled Build-A-Bear Workshop Game Day Giveaways:

Pittsburgh Pirates
Sunday, May 17 at 1:35 p.m.
Sunday, September 20 at 1:35 p.m.
New York Mets
Saturday, August 1 at 7:10 p.m.
Kansas City Royals
Sunday, May 17 at 1:10 p.m.
St. Louis Cardinals
Sunday, August 2 at 1:15 p.m.
Chicago Cubs
Saturday, May 30 at 3:10 p.m.
Friday, July 24 at 1:20 p.m.
Cincinnati Reds
Sunday, August 30 at 1:10 p.m.
San Francisco Giants
Saturday, May 30 at 6:05 p.m.

Goodies:
Score your own Curly Teddy or get one for your little baseball fan with this $5 off coupon.  Expires April 19, 2009

(Fellow Mets fans:  the choking hazard warning to the right of Curly Teddy is referencing small pieces included with the toy–NOT the game 😉  It’s a brand new year, a brand new ballgame…and a brand new stadium!)

Jack Black on Yo Gabba Gabba

jbToday’s the day we’ve been waiting for…at least in our house!  Funny guy Jack Black visits DJ Lance, Muno, Brobee, Muno, Plex and Foofa in Gabbaland in today’s new episode of  Yo Gabba Gabba.  The all-new episode called “New Friends”, premieres on Nick Jr. today, April 3rd at 1:30pm!

Seriously, what other kiddie shows teach you how to beatbox and tout guitar solos AND have awesome guest stars like Mark Mothersbaugh, Biz Markie, Mates of State, The Shins, The Aquabats and the Ting Tings?

In case you can’t get over YGG’s obscure-looking monsters, check it out:  Yo Gabba Gabba has a cult-like following because of its eccleticism, music choices and especially its appeal to cool parents and their kids.  Hmmmm…post-punk musicians or the Wiggles?  It’s definitely a show that we’ve grown to love!
Break it down!

Goodies:
Yobloggablogga– Yo Gabba Gabba Blog
Yo Gabba Gabba friends, crafts and more!
Yo Gabba Gabba video

Coming Home: Sesame Street Primetime Special

Set your DVRs for PBS at 8 p.m. tonight.  Yes, I said tonight!  At 8 p.m., tonight, April 1, PBS is airing a primetime special called, Coming Home.  In honor of the Month of the Military Child, the Sesame Workshop tapped big stars, Queen Latifah, (my boyfriend,) John Mayer and Elmo to help convey some very special stories. The half hour special will share stories about service members who return home with injuries, visible and invisible, and also explore the heroic struggles their families face in discovering a new way of finding a “new normal.”

johnandelmo

Sesame Workshop has spent the past two years creating outreach materials to help military families with young children cope with deployments, homecomings and changes. In 2007, the Workshop produced a PBS primetime special, When Parents are Deployed, with Cuba Gooding, Jr., which was honored with an Emmy nomination.  Even though my dad is now retired and was thankfully kept out of harm’s way while in the service, I know firsthand about deployments and missing dear old Dad while he was out to sea. I applaud Sesame Workshop’s efforts in continuing this specific outreach to military families, specifically the many children who are directly affected in so many ways.

La La Love You Poster

All I’m saying pretty baby

La la love you don’t mean maybe…

lalaloveyou{Sigh.} The Pixies will always take me back to the simpler, carefree and wilder days of my youth, which is exactly why I adore this homage to one of my favorite bands ever.  Like the song, this poster’s message is short, but oh so sweet and oh so perfect for your little love’s room–or in my case, a future “big boy” room.  It’s simplicity and sweetness, mixed with a bit of nostalgia for way back when.

I first eyed this gem over at Oh Dee Doh and then again over at Coochicoos.  It was pretty serendipitous when I saw a tweet by @petitelephant mentioning her latest giveaway–this exact poster that I’ve been coveting.  (Check out Allison and co. over at Petit Elephant, they have a fantastic blog.)

This La La Love You poster can be found over at SparklePower’s Etsy shop and is also available in various colors!  Oh, and those that heart mixtapes, this one’s for you. La La Love it!