Best Toys for 1 Year Olds + Diapers.com Giveaway

Even on the heels of Toy Fair, we always have toys on our minds. With a friend’s baby turning 1 soon, I was inspired to create a round up of the best toys for 1 year olds. I scoured Diapers.com to curate some of our tried and true favorite toys for 1 year olds.

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

1. Manhattan Toy Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll

ManhattanToySnuggleBunnyNKTTransitioning from baby to toddler, one year olds start to change their play patterns. According to KidsHealth.org, babies go from shaking and throwing toys to understanding functions of objects as a toddler. At one year old, kids start to play pretend, so toys that allow for nurturing and modeling behavior is always a hit. Manhattan Toy makes a myriad of interactive and beautiful toys such as the Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll ($17.) This soft and cuddly doll makes for a perfect first baby doll.

2. Plan Toys Sort and Count

PlanToysSortandCountStacking and nesting toys help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination, as well as cognitive development, according to an article on Cnn.com Simple, open ended stacking toys such as PlanToys’ Sort and Count allows kids to sort and stack the various pieces. This abacus-looking toy is made of Plan Toys’ planwood, organic rubberwood, e-zero glue, water-based dyes, recycled and recyclable materials, soy and water-based ink.

3. VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker

VTechSittoStandWalkerMany toddlers are learning to walk and toddling around at a year old, so walkers make a fun gift. This VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker offers a lot of play value with its many learning tools and interactive electronic features. VTech is so great at the electronic learning toys, but they’re also masters at creating toys that grow with kids. This walker can be used for kids in a more stationary pattern, as well as for those who are cruising and walking.

4. Melissa and Doug Large Shapes Knob Puzzle

MelissaandDougKnobPuzzleAccording to Learning4kids, puzzles help toddlers with important skills such as cognitive, fine motor, hand and eye coordination, problem solving, social and self esteem. Wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug provide fun play patterns for toddlers to co-play and enjoy independence. I love the knob puzzles for toddlers, to give them extra help grasping these chunky pieces. Classic puzzles are timeless and perfect for curious problem solvers.

5. B Toys Fish Splish Boat

BtoysSplishFishBoatGood bath toys are the best for toddlers! I love the colors and creativity that B Toys inspires. This fun boat that can be used in the bath has a number of fun features that help toddlers explore bathtime and the environment around them. From the fishing pole, fish, captain and little rudder, this cool boat helpstoddlers with imaginative play while getting cleaned up.

6. Step 2 Whisper Ride II

Step2WhisperRideIIAs the winter starts to fade to warmer spring and summery days, ride-on toys will be all the craze. Step 2 are pros at the ride-on and outdoor toys, and the Whisper Ride II is one of my all time favorites. This push car is perfect for going on strolls in the neighborhood without the restraints of a stroller. Toddlers can pretend to steer while driving their ride, all the while mom or dad navigates with the handle. The Whisper Ride features a seatbelt, small storage compartment and cup holders.

 

 

 

There are so many awesome toys for 1 year olds on Diapers.com, and these are just a small sampling of their selection. Do you have a favorite toddler toy? What makes you and your kid love it so much?

Giveaway

Want to grab a few new toys of your own? We have a $50 gift certificate to Diapers.com up for grabs. Tell me what your favorite toddler toy is and why! Share your comment below.

For even more entries, check out the giveaway below to win a  Diapers.com gift certificate. This giveaway will be open for a week, so be sure to enter!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post in partnership with Nakturnal, with a gift certificate as a prize. As always, all opinions on NKT are mine. Thank you for supporting The Next Kid Thing.

Momtrends Holiday Soiree: Celebrating the Holidays in Style

The Holiday season is officially here, and what better way to kick it off than with friends and style. Last week, Momtrends hosted their annual Holiday Soiree, where, together with fellow bloggers and editors, I got a glimpse of some stylish gifts and entertaining ideas.

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Nambe offers a beautiful selection of gifts, including place settings, serving ware, jewelry and so much more. As a major silver fan, I fell in love with several of the rings. What I loved about Nambe’s offerings was that they look highend, yet at an attainable price range. I have this fun ring on my wish list!  

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Arizona Teas shared an array of 100% natural Good Brew teas. I kept going back for the delicious Lemon tea and Peach tea. The fresh taste of these teas are ideal for those who like iced tea all year round. 

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Avery as a perpetual DIYer, I loved absolutely everything that Avery was showcasing at the Soiree. While I loved the funny emoji labels that use the circle tags, I also love those square labels and gift tags. I plan on doing several DIY projects to showcase here on the blog, so keep your eye open for those fun gems.

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Mabel’s Labels is another one of my all-time faves and staples. Mabel’s Labels are the preeminent brand in personalized labels, so it’s no surprise that they have personalized gifts covered too. I’m definitely eyeing those personalized books. My little guy loves Paw Patrol, so we’ll have to ask Santa for those fun books. The stocking stuffer label set are my faves. I decided that I’m going to use those as labels for my nephews this year. Fun and functional!

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American Girl Doll has a beautiful lineup of classic dolls. Wellie Wishers are a popular segment that features a diverse cast of sweet dolls. I personally fell in love with the Asian doll, Emerson. Like the other gorgeous Wellie Wishers, Emerson is a lower price point at just $60.

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Avon always has a fantastic variety of makeup and other beauty products to pamper yourself or to save for gifts. Aside from Avon’s gorgeous palettes, these wonderful products are a great option for a home-based business. I loved learning how some people sell Avon to offset school expenses and other expenses.

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Armigami is a glamorous multi-function shawl that comes in a variety of fabrics and textures. It can be worn as a shawl over the shoulders, a cape, a bolero, a skirt and so much more. This unique shawl would be ideal for nights on the town to traveling to use in lieu of a blanket or coat. I was so fortunate to win the gorgeous black sequined Armigami which I can’t wait to wear to my community holiday party!

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I loved learning about Pearhead, a fun gift company that offers so many unique novelties, many of which can be personalized. IMG 2206In addition to baby  handprint gift sets, Pearhead offers pet gifts, ornaments, fun signs and even photo prop sets, which we had a blast trying out ourselves!

 

 

A big thank you to Nicole and the rest of the Momtrends crew for throwing another fabulous Holiday Soiree! Thank you to the sponsors for the generous gift bag, many of which were mentioned. Keep your eye out for my gift guide which will feature more items from these companies.

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Bridget Jones’s Baby: Tea with Renee Zellweger and Sharon Maguire

Bridget Jones is back, and this time, she’s having a baby. Finally, her career is on track, but her love trials are as interesting as ever…and now, there’s a baby on the way!

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Bridget Jones came into our lives several years ago when Helen Fielding’s popular books became a pop cultural sensation and inspiration for the movie franchise. In the films, we watched a 30-something Bridget (Renée Zellweger) struggle with her career, love life and, well, life in general. Her self-loathing and bigger than life adventures are realities that so many of us—30 and 40 something moms, especially—have endured ourselves.

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I’ll always remember Bridget’s love triangle with Darcy and Daniel, and how she wanted nothing more than to be loved and to love someone else. As a 20-something, working as an editor in NYC when Bridget Jones’s Diary first came out, the film resonated with me and became the Rom Com anthem of my life. And now, as Bridget’s life reaches a parallel to my own now that I’m in my 40s, the latest installment is as endearing as ever.

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Bridget finds herself in quite the predicament when she literally falls for an American math/love guru named Jack. Their romance was quick and spontaneous, but progressed into something sweet and dreamy. Around the same time, Bridget kept bumping into Darcy who was on the verge of a divorce, but still very consumed with his work. After a sweet connection, Bridget and Darcy found themselves together again. The rest of the story is cunning and hilarious, and kept us laughing and guessing. I was laughing so hard at some scenes, I’m almost positive I snorted at the premiere! That would’ve been so Bridget!

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This week as part of their promotional tour, I had the chance to participate in an intimate blogger roundtable with director Sharon Maguire and Renée Zellweger. These roundtables are always so exciting, but this one was especially lovely. With the London NYC as the backdrop, Maguire and Zellweger sat with us for afternoon tea.

Zellweger arrived in a stunning Reem Acra tea length dress and Maguire had an equally elegant outfit as well. Their demeanor was as gracious as one would imagine, and I remember that I couldn’t stop smiling.

 

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On playing Bridget Jones again

Q: So, what was it like to come back to this character after all these years?

 

Zellweger: It was exactly like you said.  When they sent the script, it felt like this fantastically happy reunion, and it’s reminded me how much I love her.

I love her friends and her parents and her world, and then, I got really terrified because I thought, “Oh God.  I really–I don’t want to mess this up” because, I mean, I know that like–like myself, you know, who, when I discovered her in the books, like so many other people, you know, we fell in love with her.

It was so much fun to be back in her shoes or her boots and her walk and her laugh and her voice and her not quite altogether wardrobe and, you know, and back with her friends.  

 

 

During our roundtable, we talked about a lot of things, but I particularly loved our conversation about being creators. Zellweger and Maguire had so many deep answers to all of our questions, but this was one of my favorites:

 

On Women in Hollywood and Being Creators

Q: Sharon, since the first one 15 years ago, as a female, as a working woman, as a working mother in Hollywood, how has it changed in terms of getting the type of movie made that you wanted?

Maguire: I kind of took time out after I made the movie really because I needed–I felt I needed to go away and breathe.  And so, that’s what I did.
And so, then, I kind of got hooked on that.  You know, I kind of thought, “Oh, okay.  I don’t need to be on the runaway train of work and, you know, define myself just like that.  You know, I can live a life.”
All I know is that I don’t understand why there aren’t more women directors in Hollywood.
I really don’t understand because I can’t believe the whole movie industry is sexist.  But, you know–so, the only thing I think that we need to do is I think we need to make–there needs to be a stronger thing about–in the curriculum for schools, there needs to be storytelling.  

And I think part of storytelling is by film or by novels or whatever, and if we all learned storytelling from the roots up, I think there would just be more women filmmakers.  You know?

I think probably Hollywood goes with what’s worked before.  And if a man’s directed it before and that’s worked and it’s made money, we’ll go back with a man, you know, because people put a lot of money into these things.

But, I know loads of women directors in TV everywhere.  You know?  So, I don’t know why they haven’t translated it enough to Hollywood, you know, yet.  I really don’t understand it.  

 

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Zellweger: I do think it’s changing because women are creators, and the things that are being put out there are becoming recognizably financially viable.

And when there’s a financial incentive to do something, people come running and sexism takes a backseat to–to, you know, capitalizing on somebody’s work.

And also, on this tour, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting ladies like–no offense–ladies like you in the room.

Ladies like you who are not waiting to be invited by the establishment to express yourselves.  You’ve created forums for yourselves to share with likeminded people, women, who will share your interests and gives you an opportunity to express yourselves creatively, to exercise your creativity as writers, producers.  You’re editors.

You are basically your own channel.  You’re your own, you know, entertainment entities.  Young women on AOL have their own channels, and they develop the content.

And they edit it, and they get, you know, access to whomever it is that they’d like to speak with because it’s effective.  People are interested in what they have to say.

They’re not waiting, again, for that invitation.  And, again, when there is a recognizable response, then people have to change and–and–and adapt and embrace that, “Oh, you know, we’ve been wrong.  The conventional way of doing things is kind of passé, and we should start to recognize that all of these women have something to say and it’s valid and it’s important.”  I loved it.

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On Motherhood and Friendships

Q: What is a scene that you can relate to or one that resonated in your life?

Maguire: I kind of probably relate most to the jump around scene.  Probably that. You know, sitting alone at home thinking, “I’m in my forties, none of my fantasies have come true.  Great.  Great birthday.”  

Zellweger:  Well, I guess more than a scene maybe a theme in the film that her friends have kind of moved on.  And they have families, and they have partners.  So, their lives have changed.

And I believe that with–from what I’ve experienced with the people that I’m closest to, you evolve when you become a mom.  You become a bigger version of yourself.  You become a more powerful version of yourself, a fully realized version of yourself.
 

And I’m watching all of my friends and my, you know, family members evolve in this way.  And I’m a bit of a late bloomer, and so, it’s interesting to kind of be chronologically in that place, but not have–not experience that same transformation at the same time as your friends and the people closest to you.

It’s very strange, and it’s–it is a very unique kind of loneliness.  It’s a bit of–yeah.  It’s–it’s very unique because then it means defining your growth in a different way and insisting that it happen despite the absence of this thing that makes it happen naturally.

 

 

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This roundtable with Sharon Maguire and Renee Zellweger will do down in the books. What a lovely conversation; I wish we could’ve chatted even longer. We did, however, get to hop in the photo booth with Renée and Sharon after the roundtable. What a surreal experience!

Bridget Jones’s Baby is, perhaps, my favorite film from the series, and definitely the most hilarious of the bunch. It’s a great film for date night with the husband, but an even better night out with the girls! Bridget Jones from Universal Pictures is in theaters now.

Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones and Emma Thompson Writers: Helen Fielding, Emma Thompson, Dan Mazer Directed by: Sharon Maguire Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward

 
Full disclosure: I was invited by Universal Pictures to participate in this roundtable interview. I did not receive compensation. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Watch: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Deleted Scenes

I don’t know about you, but we’re still basking in the glory and excitement from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

We just learned that the digital HD version comes out on April 1 and the Blu-Ray Combo Pack is out on April 15.

On the heels of this news, they just released The Force Awakens deleted scenes, “Finn and the Villager”, “Jakku Message”, “X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed”, “Kylo Searches The Falcon”, “Snow Speeder Chase,” and “Finn Will Be Fine” on Digital HD and Blu-ray Combo Pack, plus a special bonus deleted scene, “Tunnel Standoff” only on Digital HD or by redeeming the digital copy included in your Blu-ray Combo Pack.

We’ll be here re-watching this until April 1st!

Toy Fair 2016 Round up: Lion Guard toys and more

Toy Fair 2016 has, once again, come and gone. As always, I love seeing and enjoying all the awesome new and upcoming toys. As video continues to gain so much momentum in the blog/vlog world, I was sure to upload videos over there while I was at Toy Fair. One of my videos has gotten so many hits already, and of course, it’s one of the poorer quality videos. I think I uploaded it at 2am after walking the show floor all day. In my haste and exhaustion, I uploaded the non-HD version. boo.

But as promised, I wanted to share some better quality photos of Lion Guard toys from Just Play. This playset was one of my absolute faves.

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From the looks of it, Lion Guard toys is one of the more popular toy lines, as well as Paw Patrol and Shopkins. All the new toys are so fun, but according to the searched items on YouTube, those were the things people were searching for most. 

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and blind bags are always awesome! Too cute.

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I’ll share more photos as I upload them, but be sure to check out my Toy Fair videos on YouTube in the time being!

 

First Look: Verizon GizmoPal 2 and GizmoPal Gadget

Just in time for the official launch of their new wearables geared to kids, Verizon offered us a first look at the GizmoPal 2 and GizmoPal Gadget.
 


The LG GizmoPal 2 is the next iteration of the wearable that launched last year. The GizmoPal 2 can be programmed with several numbers with the use of the GizmoPal app. A child can call the numbers with a single button. Parents can also call the child on the GizmoPal 2, and can also track them since the device is GPS-enabled.
 The devices come in kid-friendly colors and can be personalIzed with stickers.
 

 The other new device, GizmoPal Gadget is a very sleek smart watch with the same premise, but with more sophisticated features. The GizmoPal Gadget has a touchscreen and is loaded with several cool games and activities in addition to the calling and tracking features.
 

 This neat gadget has really impressed us, right from the first swipe. I love that I’ll be able to track my son after he leaves school to make sure I make it in time for pick up. Better yet, if I get caught in traffic, I can call him or text him to let him know.
 

 And while he’s waiting for me, he can play with the nifty voice changer to keep him occupied. I can’t wait to share a more thorough review of these cool devices.
 
 

Family Fun: The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo

One of our most favorite places to go around Halloween time is the Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo. Not-so-spooky, the Boo at the Zoo is a fun family affair, where there is something for everyone. This year’s theme is aptly named, Mystery & Mischief.

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Boo at the Zoo is a fabulous time of year when with festive costumes and thrilling decorations converge with special events at the zoo in celebration of Halloween. The Bronx Zoo is currently featuring a myriad of events and festivities on the weekends until November 1.

My kids adore the zoo and get all into the decorations. It’s so fun to see the usual sites at the zoo, all decked out for Halloween. From pumpkins to spooky backdrops, the Bronx Zoo knows how to get into the Halloween Spirit. The bug carousel is one of my kids’  absolute favorite things at the zoo; the boys love being in their costumes and showing off and just riding around and around as many times as we can.


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During Boo at the Zoo, in addition to checking out all the animals, there are so many fun tricks and treats to see. Throughout the zoo, there are treats for the kids and a fun costume parade. The Alice Farley Dance Company will lead the way again, decked out as snakes, bats, butterflies, and more.  

Among other highlights for Boo at the Zoo include:  the Jack ‘O Lantern Illumination, music, magic shows, giant pumpkin carvings and much much more!

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photo credit: Bronx Zoo

If you’re not in the Bronx, stop by another borough for their version of Boo at the Zoo. Queens Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo both have Halloween activities to let visitors get up close with animals, from the creepy to the cute. And for those who prefer an aquatic take on the holiday, the New York Aquarium’s Ascarium is back this year.

More details and tickets for Boo at the Zoo are available here: http://bit.ly/1OXdXsw

Full disclosure: I received tickets to the zoo to share about my experience. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Disney’s Beach Club Room Tour at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

During this week following Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I’ve been doing my best to catch up and take in all the fun things that I learned.

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I have so many stories and details to share about the trip, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a quick room tour at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This was the first video we did when we arrived at the resort, so we were exhausted, excited and overwhelmed.

 

In essence, the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts were the perfect backdrop for this year’s DSMMC. We enjoyed glorious views, convenient access to Epcot and basked in the deluxe accommodations that Disney offers at this level. To say that this resort is my new favorite is quite the understatement. The pool, Stormalong Bay, is enough to want to return for future vacations. It’s, quite simply, the most beautiful sand-bottomed pool I’ve ever seen. (And the only one at that!) The resort, itself, is breathtaking. 

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So, back to the rooms at the Beach Club: they’re beautiful, spacious enough for 5 people and comfortable for a luxurious stay. The rooms feature two queen beds and one day bed. The beach decor is beautiful and classic, but from what I’m understanding, they’re in the process of updating some rooms. Here are some stats on the standard rooms with garden views at the Beach Club:

At 380 sq. ft., most rooms at the Beach Club will sleep up to 5 adults.  All rooms come with an alarm clock with mp3 player, mini fridge, ceiling fan, coffee maker with tea and coffee setup, hair dryer, ice bucket, safe, iron and ironing board, pool towels, desk and chair, telephone and television.

We absolutely enjoyed staying at the Beach Club and were so fortunate to do so during DSMMC. I’ll be sure to share a more thorough review of the resort, but for now, check out our room tour!

LEGOLAND Hotel Set to Open Next Month; New Land Heartlake City Unveiled

As many families are in the middle of their Spring Break excursions, we’re starting to think ahead to summer vacation. In fact, last week, we got a sneak peek Legoland’s latest updates, which is sure to thrill kids of all ages. 

 

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Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort is slated to open on May 15, which is just steps away from the park entrance. The hotel will enhance the Lego experience for budding Master Builders with the newly announced exclusive Master Model Builder Workshop. Guests will be able to learn and build with Model Builders daily at the workshop.

 

In addition to the anticipation of the Hotel’s opening, Legoland also revealed that a new land, Heartlake City, will open this summer. Based on the sweet line of LEGO Friends toys, Heartlake City, will boast a colorful and vibrant backdrop, perfect for families who know and love these toys.

 

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According to park executives, Heartlake City will feature a horse-themed disc coaster called Mia’s Riding Adventure and an interactive show, “Friends to the Rescue, as well as new shops inside Heartlake Mall.”

 

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At a media event in NYC, my boys and I had a chance to take photos and sneak a peek at mock up of the hotel rooms. With the kids jumping and playing on the bunkbed for hours, suffice it to say, the Legoland Hotel rooms will be a hit with the kids. The details and fun Lego theme throughout will be family pleasers for sure.  As huge fans of the Legoland Experience Center in Westchester, NY, my kids have had a small taste of the awesomeness of the Legoland experience. With a trip to Florida planned next month, I’m hoping we get to visit Legoland firsthand!

 

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Until then, be sure to check out Legoland Florida and California online!

Stokke Strolls with Style into Spring

As the monochromatic shades of winter are starting to transition to a more vibrant color palette, baby and kid gear on the shelves and showroom floors are looking brighter and bolder. One of my all-time favorite baby brands, Stokke, per usual, is a leader when it comes to baby gear fashion and design.

 

The other week, Momtrends and Stokke hosted a blogger and editor event in NYC to showcase strollers that have a bit of Spring in their stroll. Nicole, the preeminent trend-spotter for all things fashionable for mom and kids, underscored the importance of researching and reviewing baby gear responsibly. As bloggers and editors, we get to see, and sometimes, experience the latest and greatest in gear.

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At this Spring event, we had the chance to check out fabulous new fashions for the Xplory, Stokke’s signature stroller.

 

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From softer pastels, polka dots to modern prints, Stokke’s fabrics for Spring and Summer are fresh and fashion-forward. I especially love the cool colors in the summer kit. My favorite Stokke Stroller, the Crusi, was out on display at the event as well. As a fan of this stroller’s open basket and ability to add a second seat, Crusi looked beautiful all decked out in the lighter palette. 

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The Scoot, known for its smaller stature and ability to collapse easily, looked chic in the pink and complementary polka dots.

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As a parent and consumer, well-designed and durable products have the most value in my home, especially when it comes to big ticket items such as furniture and strollers. Before my oldest was born, we invested in a Stokke Sleepi and have been super fans of the brand ever since. For more information about Stokke strollers and their latest fabrics, check them out online.

All photos are courtesy of Momtrends. A big thank you to Stokke, Nicole and the Momtrends team for having me at yet another beautiful event. 

Full disclosure: I received a generous gift bag for attending this event. However, all opinions on NKT are my own.