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.

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!

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!

 

 

Tracking City Steps with the Omron Alvita Activity Tracker

As a former urbanite, I had such a great time reliving my single city life last week for Blogger Bash NYC and the festivities surrounding it. I stayed at  Yotel on the west side and traipsed around town in cabs, Uber, trains and clocked lots of steps in between. During the several days I had in the city and at the conference, I had a chance to test out the new Omron Health Alvita Activity Tracker.

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This small pedometer can be connected to a smart phone via Blue Tooth, and is able to record steps, aerobic steps, distance and calories burned, which can help with your fitness and day-to-day regiment. Being in the city for a few days for a blogging conference was the perfect chance to test out this cool new device. From morning to night, I tracked my steps and distance from my hotel to the expo hall and then to cocktail parties and outings with friends. 

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I really like how the Alvita Activity Tracker is so intuitive and is able to be connected to my phone. All of my information and data is sent to my phone, which I can then analyze for the week or month. The app is pretty straight-forward. And the device, itself, is simple to use and non-intrusive. I had a few issues getting the app and device to sync a few times, but after a few times, I was all set.

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On the day that I did the Expo all day and then went to several parities at night, I walked all over town, but didn’t over do it. I found on those days, I clocked the most steps. After returning home this weekend, I found myself getting into the car more more, and my steps significantly diminished back in the burbs. This could also have to do with the fact that I was resting a bit after a busy busy weekend. I expect my steps to skyrocket again when it comes to chasing after the kids.

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One of the main caveats of the device, I thought, was the small size and clip; I constantly felt like I was going to lose the tracker. In fact, it fell off of my shirt a few times, but I was able to find it.If there was a way to secure this small device, it would make this technology that much better!  I can now see the value of wearable devices and the popularity of activity trackers. Overall, I enjoyed testing out the Alvita Activity Tracker and plan to continue to use it, especially to amp up my physical activity and fitness goals. I love that it shows distance and calories burned and the information can be found on my phone.

The Omron Health Alvita Activity Tracker can be found at various retailers for less than $50.

 

Full disclosure: I was provided a device and compensation to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

YouTube Launches YouTube Kids App

YouTube has launched YouTube Kids, a new free app that’s tailored to deliver carefully-curated content geared to kids and families. This huge move for Google and YouTube was met with excitement and could be regarded as a game-changer. 

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YouTube is the second largest search engine, the fastest growing video sharing website and has become a staple in our children’s media landscape, so the development for YouTube Kids was an expected and heavily anticipated move from parents and tech enthusiasts alike.

 

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The new YouTube Kids app will allow kids to explore family-friendly content within safer parameters. With larger images and bold icons, the app features a fun design and easy-to-navigate interface for smaller hands.The search has a voice option, which is perfect for kids who can’t spell or type yet.

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Parents will appreciate the parental controls that will help to safeguard their kids’ usage and content they watch. The timer allows the app to shut down when their window of time is up. If headphones aren’t within reach, the sound settings can be adjusted to turn off background noise or sound effects. If you only want your kids to watch certain videos, you can shut down the search option to limit their ability to search for other videos. And, as with any new version, YouTube has allowed for an option to submit feedback.

 

As for content, YouTube has partnered with many of the most popular content creators that already provide kid-friendly videos. YouTube has aligned with Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine, National Geographic, KidzBop, Play-Doh, among other kid favorites. A few months ago, we got a sneak peek of Furchester Hotel, the new YouTube series from Sesame Street. It’s safe to say, Littles is quite smitten with this cool new series.

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Entertainment and Educational 

I was initially under the impression that YouTube Kids would be more for the preschool set, where cartoons could live freely. After further exploring, I was quite excited to find Biggie’s favorite YT channel and personality, Mr. Stampycat. Oh, Mr. Stampycat…you’ve been so kind to keep my sporty kid with cabin fever entertained this winter! Before discovering Stampycat, Biggie has clicked on way too many inappropriate Minecraft tutorials where F bombs or other inappropriate words were dropped. Another excellent channel that I’m so glad is featured on YT Kids is the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy, themselves, are a game changer in the educational video realm. If your friends are like mine, it seems so many parents are lost by the new educational concepts being implemented, it’s great that kids will be able to get help with their common core math homework thanks to Khan. (Or will they?)

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A few things to note: I did not see an option to create and upload videos to YouTube Kids, which is good. It’s important for younger kids to enlist their parents’ help before uploading any content to YT. I would love to see YT partner with smart sites such as KidzVuz so kids can easily view authentic video reviews. Like bloggers are required, I think video content creators need to disclose products that were provided for review, as well as paid placement.  And speaking of sponsored content, there are ads within videos. I noticed mostly family-friendly advertisements. I know ads make services such as this “free,” and considering the target audience, this is a slippery slope. So I think the ad presence might be my main qualm for an otherwise innovative media app for kids.

YouTube: the ultimate kid distraction

Having spent so much time in the hospital and doctor’s offices for my younger guy, YouTube has always been an invaluable resource. Whenever Littles would have to get the electrodes placed on his head for an EEG, a process that would sometimes take up to an hour because of his physical resistance, we always turn to YouTube. YouTube always has new or different videos that would distract my toddler from the medical procedure du jour.

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After we’ve run out of things to play with in the hospital’s massive playroom, Mother Goose Club and Thomas videos were our only savior. 

With the ability to search for unboxing videos before buying something or how to fix our washing machine, YouTube has already changed life or modern parenting as we know it. For families who have limited media access, free services such as YouTube may be a child’s only exposure to educational video content. The YouTube Kids app will streamline family-friendly content, a measure that any media enthusiast—young or grown up—can appreciate. A big kudos to Google and YouTube for creating something that will undoubtedly be a game changer, and for some, life-changing.

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The free YouTube Kids app is available for download at Google Play and the App Store.

Toy Fair 2015 Faves: Knit’s Cool, Snap Pets, Lego Minecraft, Plan Toys

There was so much to see and do at Toy Fair this year. Before I share about the trends I saw, I wanted to share a few of my favorites from this year’s show. Most of these toys won’t hit shelves until this summer or fall, so here’s your sneak peek at a few of my favorite next kid things:
 

Knit’s Cool
 

Spinmaster’s Sew Cool did so well last year that they’re riding the maker trend with a number of cool activity sets for Tweens. Knit Cool is an interesting set that allows kids to knit with ease, similar to that of finger/arm knitting. I can’t wait to see this generation of kids continue to make cool things with their own imagination and ingenuity.
 

Snap Pets

Selfies and tech toys were displayed loud and proud at Toy Fair. Snap Pets from Wowee is a fun selfie tool that can be used to take selfie images or as a remote. Tweens will love the small size of this cool selfie tool. 
 

Lego Minecraft

Speaking of creations, Lego, as expected, has a slew of cool new sets. Because Lego Minecraft was one of hottest gifts last holiday season, I thought I’d share a few photos of the upcoming sets in this series.

I saw a lot of new and upcoming Lego sets that encourage kids to forego the instruction manual and enjoy open-ended play. The crafting box is just one of many sets that give suggestions on what to build, but just like the digital version of Minecraft, this set capitalizes on pure imagination.

The Mine is another cool set that I loved seeing coming to life. The skeleton, creeper and spider are my favorite part of this set!

The Ender Dragon is another cool set that is sure to be huge among Minecraft aficionados.

Plan Toys
 

Plan Toys remains one of my absolute favorite toy companies, not just because they produce aesthetically pleasing goodies, but also because they’re eco-friendly and socially conscious.
Here are just a few of my favorite finds from my Plan Toys booth visit.
 
This chalkboard table set would look super cool in a playroom or classroom!

This rocket nesting toy is so eye-catching. The toys nesting inside were never-ending!

I can’t resist boat toys. This sailboat was so classic and cute!

If only NYC taxis could be this innocent and cute. Nevertheless, I love this sweet wooden taxi.

You can’t go wrong with wooden pull toys. Plan Toys owns the cute card in this category.

 More details and fun finds to come!

Meeting Cookie Monster and other highlights from the 2014 PBS Annual Meeting

Once again, I’m attending the PBS Annual Meeting as part of the PBS Kids VIP ambassadorship program.  This time, the meeting is in beautiful San Francisco, where we’re getting a chance to enjoy the local restaurants after sessions, as well as take in a few sights.

 

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The agenda for the PBS Annual Meeting serves as a preview for the upcoming year for the channel’s various shows and specials.  It’s a chance for the executives at stations across the US to engage with PBS execs, show creators and others involved in creating content for PBS’ platforms.  

Lots of great independent programs, Martha Stewart, How We Get To Now with Steven Johnson are among the highlights so far.

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Because so many of us embrace PBS for their stellar programming, it’s safe to say that we can relate to one—or all—of their current and upcoming  shows.  Like many of you, I grew up watching Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and the Electric Company.  In a home where English was my first language, yet my parents spoke a different language, these educational shows served as a supplement to my immersion to American culture, and ultimately, my version of preschool.  

 

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Of course, this was *ahem* 30 something years ago, nevertheless, this sentiment rings true today for many families of different socio-economic backgrounds.

My fellow PBS Kids VIP @urbanmama tweeted this today during an earlier session:

@PBSKids is the leader in school readiness.  For families who don’t have access to preschool education #PBSKids DOES teach #PBSam

 

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After a long day of traveling (ignore my crazy hair and loco face), yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting THE Cookie Monster and his muppeteer, Emmy nominated David Rudman.  Cookie and the man who brings him to life were so lovely in making us laugh.  But really, as if meeting Cookie wasn’t amazing enough, he answered questions for us and did personalized videos too.  I mean, really?

 

Here’s the quick chat I had with the Muppet of the hour, Cookie Monster.

A big push on the PBSKIds pipeline is Oddsquad.  It’s a little bit Men in Black, Airplane and SpyKids.  Like other PBS Kids’ shows, this new live action show embraces math concepts to solve problems.  It looks like they hope to tap into the school age demo, perhaps that 5-10 category.  Including the snappy humor and strong female leads, I personally appreciated the pronounced diversity among the characters. 

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One of the lead boys looks just like my older boy—this is huge for mixed kids who have often wondered why other shows don’t have characters that look like them.  In a few hours, we’ll be meeting Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman, the witty creators of OddSquad.  I can’t wait for this one!

 

Stay tuned for more PBS Kids updates on here or catch me on Twitter or Instagram for live updates at #PBSam

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First Look: LeapFrog Unveils LeapBand

Fitness Trackers just made a big leap, but this time, they’re tracking the kids. Educational entertainment powerhouse, LeapFrog, unveiled the LeapBand, a wearable activity tracker designed for kids. Part gaming device, part fitness tracker and part virtual pet, the LeapBand is touted as being the first of its kind.

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The LeapBand activity tracker gets kids moving and having fun with 50 different activities and challenges, tracking a child’s physical moves so the more active a child is, the more points they earn with their virtual pet. As the child earns points through active play, they can unlock additional games, challenges, levels of play and virtual rewards for their on-screen pet.  


Just like a gaming device, the kid is rewarded with play.  The wearable aspect creates a new dimension for kids who are on the go. The more activity and physical movement a kid does, the more points they get. 

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My first thoughts? As an entry level fitness tracker for kids, this thing is pretty unique.  It retails for around $40, and it’s something that can engage an active kid who also appreciates games and virtual pets.  Because the device is geared to 4-7 year olds, the LeapBand is image-based, as opposed to text and numbers often seen in the adult fitness trackers. Another difference for the LeapBand is that data collection will be geared to parents and not the manufacturer.

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The fact that we “need” a device like this is a whole different discussion.  Physical activity should begin at home; a toy shouldn’t be the sole motivator to get moving.  Ultimately, there’s nothing like playing outdoors totally unplugged.  That said, I appreciate that this technology encourages physical activity and healthy habits.

With the likes of Nike Fuel, Jawbone Ups and Fitbit catering to the adult fitness market, LeapFrog is hoping to tap into this emerging trend. According to NPD Group, the overall digital fitness device market is said to be worth $330 million in 2013. As tablets for kids are on the rise, could wearable tech be the next big thing? The reaction I’m seeing and hearing so far sound decidedly skeptical. Ultimately, it’s the consumers who determine the need and demand so, we’ll see!

 

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My older guy is at the older end of the target demo. I can see him getting a kick out of feeding his unicorn or other virtual pet.  As an active athlete, however, the LeapBand would strictly be an at-home toy.
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Between school and after school sports, I’m not sure he’d benefit from the fitness tracking.  Is this something his school and coaches would allow? Probably not. Nevertheless, having the ability to care for his pet on his wrist? That, right there, would keep him entertained at doctor’s offices or playing in the backyard.

 

At the launch event, we were able to get a quick glimpse of the LeapBand.  Here’s a quick demo:

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Weigh in: is the LeapBand something your child would enjoy? Or do you think wearable fitness trackers for kids is unnecessary?

Toy Fair 2014: The Year of the Hedgehog

For the past few years, there seems to be a few popular themes or animals throughout exhibitors’ booths at Toy Fair. Whether reflecting popular shows, songs or designs, without fail, there’s always a cool new creature that makes the rounds at the show and then all over baby in kid products. A few years ago, the owl ran rampant, followed by the fox and other animals. This year, I noticed that the hedgehog was trending all over Javits.

Be on the lookout for these cool new products featuring the fuzzy face of the hedgehog:

 

Skip Hop

One of my absolute favorite hedgehog interpretations appeared on a Skip Hop Lunchie. That sweet face, combined with the cool color combo of teal and red, will, no doubt, make for another popular extension of Skip Hop’s versatile lunch packs. I didn’t get word on when it will be released, but my guess is probably before the push for next school year.

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Prince Lionheart

Another interpretation of the hedgehog was found on Prince Lionheart’s classic Wheely Bug. The wooden toddler ride-on toy has been seen in ladybug and bumblebee varieties, so this plush version made my head turn. The softness of the hedgehog is a fun take on this popular toy and easily the cutest ride-on toy at the show. The hedgehog Wheely Bugis already out and can be found at retailers such as Yoyo.com and Amazon.com

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Hape

Another adorable hedgehog themed toy was found at Hape’s booth in the form of a Walk-a-long Toy. This toddler totable toy touted Hape’s beautiful wooden construction and kid-safe paints. It looks like it comes in a big and small size, with plenty of cuteness to go around. My friends and fellow trendspotters over at Popsugar Moms were just as smitten with this Hape hedgehog.

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Tomy and Sonic Boom
I have much more information on what’s up and coming for Sonic, but as a quick preface, the Blue Blur has an upcoming new show, Sonic Boom, and Tomy has been named as the master toy licensee.  Be on the lookout for Sonic plush, action figures, RC, role play, vehicles and novelty based on the re-imagined Sonic the Hedgehog.

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Safari Ltd.
After ogling at all the cute hedgehogs, leave it to Safari Ltd. to bring me back down to earth with their life-life figure of a hedgehog.  Safari Ltd., known for their Toobs and educational figures, has a hedgehog in their Incredible Creatures collection, which is the largest figures in any set.

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I Have a Dream Today (and Every Day): Learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For the past few years, I take this important day to share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech with J.  For me, it’s important to leverage this opportunity to chat about Dr. King’s work, his life and how his actions and words continue to elevate generations today and tomorrow. 

 

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I trust that his teacher does an adequate job introducing Dr. King’s monumental influence but, does she have a conversation that only a parent might be able to engage?  As a biracial child, my six year old doesn’t fully comprehend ethnicity yet, though he understands that multiculturalism and different skin tones exist in our world.

 

I may not have a History degree, but candor and honesty in this case are valuable—nay, imperative—teaching tools.  Even further, for reinforcement mini lessons, YouTube and Pinterest are invaluable resources.  For this convo, I turn to the tv and computer to help teach the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s wise words. This is when Apple TV and YouTube become teaching tools. After reading an excerpt of the speech on our own, I loaded some videos online and we watched Dr. King’s speech together, pausing in between to ensure J understands language.  

 

Here’s a great mini-bio that we watched this morning from the Bio Channel.  At just under five minutes, we had a great discussion about Dr. King and his children.  However you choose to engage in a conversation about Dr. King, I hope it’s meaningful and thought-provoking.  

 

 

 

 


 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!