Sesame Street Presents: The Body Exhibit at Liberty Science Center Provides Hands-On Fun

Liberty Science Center is no stranger to family-friendly exhibits. In fact, as the most visited museum in NJ and the largest interactive science center in the NJ/NYC metro area, more than half a million students, teachers and parents visit LSC each year.

New this year, everyone’s favorite furry monsters have found their way to LSC. Having debuted in January 2015, Sesame Street Presents: The Body is comprised of a myriad of hands-on exhibits geared to engage the curiosity of the littlest scientists. 

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The exhibit, which explores the human body and how to keep it healthy, features three education zones: Your Insides, Your Outsides and Staying Healthy.

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Your Insides explores bodily functions and weaves familiar monsters into the interactive features. Count’s Organ Organ teaches kids about internal organs with a musical twist; Digestion with Oscar keeps it real with a display that shows kids what happens after the food goes down the tubes and Oscar’s Sneeze Machine allows kids to pull a lever to irritate a big nose that actually sneezes on them.

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Your Outsides allows kids to identify body parts while learning what they do. Wonderful Hands includes puzzles sign language games shadow puppets, among other fun activities. “Your Legs and Feet” shows kids what happens when your legs are in motion and “Use Your Head,” is another interactive feature where questions can be asked and answered about the parts of a head.

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Staying Healthy overviews the importances of staying clean, making smart food choices and getting lots of rest and physical activity. Ernie and Rubber Ducky provide a fun activity with Rub-a-Dub Tub, but Mr. Hooper’s Store is the highlight for hands-on exhibit.

 

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My 7 and 3 year old quite possibly spent 2 hours in this exhibit. From learning all about how everyone poops to kicking a soccer ball to grocery shopping non-stop, The Body kept both my gradeschooler and preschooler entertained and engaged with educational content and iconic characters we know and love.

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Since we visited on a weekend, the caveat to this exhibit is the high volume of museum-goers. Museums in general can be sensory overload, even moreso when you can barely walk through a crowd of small kids. As with any museum on a weekend, be prepared to wait for interactive features and taking turns with other kids. But truly, the wait and crowds are worth it, especially for the preschool set.

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We enjoyed checking out Sesame Street Presents: The Body, courtesy of LSC and JerseyMoms Media. LSC has hosted bloggers several times, but I seem to always have the most fun when my friends from JerseyMoms Media co-host.

 

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Not only do my fellow NYC and NJ bloggers get to socialize with our families, but we get to enjoy a day of educational fun. My kids absolutely love hands-on fun—and if it was up to them, the dirtier the better. Learning how to make “blood” was one of the coolest activities I’ve seen for this age group. A big thank you to LSC and JerseyMoms Media for hosting our family.

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And speaking of hosting, LSC gave us passes to giveaway to our readers! If you’d like to check out Sesame Street Presents: The Body with your family, enter for a 4 pack of tickets below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Full disclosure: I am being compensated for my time and travel to LSC. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

77kids Gives Back with Wish-4-Snow Charity Program

IMG_2072The holidays are in full swing, and it’s certainly the time for giving.  NKT fave, 77kids, is once again in the spotlight for their charitable initiatives.  The retailer announced that they plan to keep their “Do Good” momentum flowing by giving back through a charitable initiative twice a year, once in the summer and once during the holiday season.

The Motherhood invited the kid and I, along with several of my NYC/NJ blogger friends, back to 77kid’s NYC design studios a few weeks ago to discuss their current holiday charity.  The execs from 77kids shared a lot of great details about their holiday line, plus gave us a sneak peek of upcoming lines.  But more importantly, we were on hand to learn about what matters most about the holiday season: giving back.  77kids has kicked off their holiday season with their Wish-4-Snow charity program that benefits children’s hospitals.

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Want to know why I love working with 77kids?  It’s not just because I genuinely adore their kid’s clothes and their “Do Good” mantra, but also because they enlist bloggers to spread their word.  As Betsy Schumacher, chief merchandising officer of 77kids mentioned, their grassroots approach to marketing involves moms and word of mouth.  And to me, that accounts for a lot; reaching out to the key demographic who makes the buying decisions and involving bloggers in their social media campaigns speaks volumes.  But better yet, this company continues to underscore the importance of charity, and  I like that even more.
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For 77kids’ Wish-4-Snow program, there’s a variety of easy ways you can get involved to make a big impact:

In stores

– Customers can donate 77 cents (or more) to benefit their local children’s hospital!

– Customers/kids will receive a snowflake to write their name and wish on, and then they can place the snowflake on the “blizzard wall” in the store for all to see!

– In addition to the snowflake, the customer will get a ‘you done good’ bumper sticker to take with them!

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Online

– Visit 77kids’ Wish-4-Snow microsite, featuring a fun “catch the snowflake” game and giving visitors the opportunity to design their own snowflake to help 77kids reach their children’s hospital donation goal!

– Help 77kids reach their goal to make a total of 100,000 snowflakes.

– If that goal is hit, 77kids will make an additional $25,000 donation to the children’s hospitals on top of the customer donations each store collects during the month!

– You can make as many snowflakes as you want – not just one! You’re asked to submit your contact information only after the first snowflake.

– Creating a snowflake makes you eligible to win a $77 gift card from 77kids (one gift card given away daily!) and enters you to win the ultimate grand prize: an awesome block party for you and 77 pals!!

Local benefiting hospitals include:

– Children’s Health and Wellness Center at Danbury Hospital

– Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

– Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

– Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper

– University Hospital (Cherry Hill/Philadelphia)

– Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital (Syracuse)

– WakeMed Children’s Hospital (Raleigh)

– Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (Hartford)

– Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago)

So, log on and help 77kids give back by making a snowflake or three!

Giveaway

And because it’s the season for giving, 77kids would like to give one NKT reader a $50 giftcard!  All you have to do is, you guessed it, make a snowflake! Do you know of someone that needs a warm coat or a new outfit?  Nominate them for the giveaway! ‘Tis the season.  After you make your snowflake, just leave a comment below.

Would you like extra entries?

Become a fan of 77kids on Facebook

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @jenrab and @77kids

Become a fan of NKT

Please comment below for all entries.  This will giveaway will end at midnight on December 6, so enter away!  Winner will be chosen via random.org and will be notified via email, so be sure to include a valid email address.  Good luck and have fun!

Full disclosure:  I am being compensated for my participation in this campaign, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

‘Tangled’ to Unravel at Theaters on November 24

In more movie news, maybe you’ve heard about another Disney flick that’s slated to hit screens in just a few weeks?  Y’know, the one that’s touting hair-raising adventures and quite literally, a lot of hair?  As in, 70 feet of golden hair.

Tangled, which is poised to be another Disney classic, is set to be released on November 24th, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Tangled follows the misadventures of Rapunzel, voiced by the dynamic Mandy Moore, and her “prince charming,” or rather, her unsuspecting hostage, Flynn Ryder, who is voiced by Zachary Levi, the handsome geek of NBC’s Chuck (one of my favorite shows.)

 

As an all-around Disney fan, I can’t wait to check Tangled out!  I’m looking forward to seeing the modern-day interpretation of Rapunzel, as I’m sure many of you guys are too!  I will be hitting a screening of the movie next week, so be on the look out for my thoughts and reviews, and maybe a surprise, too.
Speaking of which, Disney is spreading the Tangled excitement with a giveaway!

ImagiPlay Dinosaur Puzzle Play Merges Puzzles, Activity Fun

Puzzles are well known activities that involve cognitive development, problem solving and hand-eye coordination for children of all ages.  Better yet, puzzles are awesome activities that can engage the whole family.  Who doesn’t love an activity that promotes brain power and team work?

 

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ImagiPlay, a toy company that creates sustainable toys and games, has found a way to combine an activity set and a puzzle with their Dinosaur Puzzle Play.  The Dinosaur Puzzle Play is comprised of 13 puzzle pieces that are made of rubberwood.  When not being used as a puzzle, the pieces double as wooden dinosaur play pieces.

 

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My dinosaur-loving preschooler recently acquired an interest in puzzles, so ImagiPlay’s Dinosaur Puzzle Play is such a fitting new activity.  The kid had a fun time with dad, putting the puzzle together over and over, and then going on to exercise their imagination to play a little Jurassic Park on their own terms, with a little help of some colorful dinos.  I appreciate the quality wood pieces, colorful and imaginative design, and the very reasonable price point.  ImagiPlay toys, always a perfect addition to our toy box, has great lineup of toys that would make great holiday gifts.  Don’t be surprised if you see more ImagiPlay on the NKT holiday gift guide.

 

Giveaway

Speaking of gifts, want a Dinosaur Puzzle Play for your kids?  Please comment below and tell me which ImagiPlay product you’d love to check out.

 

Want extra entries?

Follow ImagiPlay on Twitter

Find them on Facebook

Fan The Next Kid Thing on Facebook

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to @jenrab

Please comment below for all entries

Check it

Want to do some early holiday shopping?  ImagiPlay has kindly offered NKT readers a 20% discount from their website.  Just enter Play420 to receive a 20% discount from their website.  The coupon code is valid for 30 days and is only available in the U.S.

 

Full disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

The Ultimate Block Party Set for Oct. 3 in NYC

“How you play is who you become,” is the convincing tagline for this weekend’s Ultimate Block Party in NYC.  With playful learning in mind, Play for Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to shedding light on the crucial role of play in children’s development and education, is hosting the Ultimate Block Party in Central Park this Sunday, October 3.

Described to be the first “play date” in a national education movement, the Ultimate Block Party is poised to transform the Bandshell area of Central Park on Sunday, October 3, into the world’s most innovative playground by demonstrating the power of fun and games for learning and helping to reinforce that how we play as children helps form who we become as adults.

As a champion of playtime and getting outdoors here at NKT, I was so thrilled to learn about this fun event from some of my colleagues. In fact, if our schedule permits, I’m hoping to bring our family out to the Ultimate Block Party on Sunday to take in some playtime of our own.

Play for Tomorrow, together with their partners, are inviting families with kids 12 and under to head to Central Park on Sunday to join in the fun.  The rain or shine event, which goes from 11am to 5 pm by the Naumburg Bandshell (Enter at 72nd Street and Fifth Ave), will have a myriad of playful activities and mini-master classes with leading architects, scientists, engineers, musicians, artists, inventors and business leaders from around the City.  Best of all, it’s free.

Free fun for the kids in NYC: it doesn’t get any better than that!

The sponsors and activities* that will be at this fantastic event include many NKT faves such as KaBoom!, Crayola, CMOM, Imagination Playground, Chicago Children’s Museum, Legos, Electric and many, many more.  If you’re in NYC, come join us!  If you’re not in the area, don’t worry, word is, there are already plans to launch the Ultimate Block Party in other U.S. cities and internationally.

Giveaway

One of the sponsors of the event and NKT fave, Lego, will have a LEGO imagination construction zone at the Ultimate Block Party.  And for those of you not in the area, LEGO isn’t forgetting you.  To encourage personal LEGO imagination construction zones at home, they are kindly offering one NKT reader a LEGO DUPLO Play with Numbers set.

Want to win the Duplo set? Just tell me what sort of things do you and your kids like to build with Legos.  Please comment below.

*Want to see small a sampling of the activities planned for The Ultimate Block Party?  Click after the jump.  I’m getting even more excited just reading about all the fun!  If you’re planning on going, let me know!

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NKT Fave: Chuggington Die-Cast Toys from Learning Curve

Trains, trains and more trains. Thank goodness for trains and massive train tables! Toddlerhood possibly wouldn’t have been bearable without our trusty trains. I do believe I complained about the size of the giant train table the kid got for his birthday last year, but after endless hours of play, I’ll bite my tongue.  Good call, hubs!

During our summer of displacement, the kid constantly asked for his toys, but it was his trains and train table that he begged for on a daily basis.  And because of that, our trains and the bazillion pieces and accessories that go along with it will always be an NKT fave.

I love sharing the next big thing in kid products, and of course, toys! A few months ago, we shared the news that one of our favorite train shows, Chuggington, will be releasing toys here in the U.S.  Chuggington toys will be on the shelves in early October, in time for the holidays, but better yet, you can pre-order them now at Toysrus.com.

As a Chuggington Conductor, I’ve had the chance to get the latest Chuggington news as it breaks, so that I can share it with all of you.  This time around, we were able to get the new toys in our hands BEFORE they hit the shelves to be able to share a sneak peek with all of you.  In the spirit of the next kid thing, check out our video and review of the new Chuggington toys from Learning Curve.   Apologies for the shaky camera!

 

And because it’s my boy’s birthday next week, as promised, I want to give YOUR kids toys that my kid loves. Sooooo…

Giveaway

Want to win a Chuggington prize pack? The prize pack will include a Launch & Go Roundhouse, Straight & Curved Track Pack and a few Die-Cast Engines.  (Engines may vary from what is shown in my video.)

Comment below and tell me who your kids’ favorite Chuggington character is, and why.

The kid and I mutually love Koko because she’s feisty, strong-willed and fun.

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Sweet and Silly: The Best of The Laurie Berkner Band

Parents Magazine said it best when they described Laurie Berkner as “the Pied Piper of the Preschool Set.”  With her melodic tunes and unforgettable harmonies, The Laurie Berkner Band are just as much magicians as they are musicians—at least for my music-obsessed kid.

First introduced to this well-loved band’s tunes after becoming avid fans of Jack’s Big Music Show on Nick Jr., Laurie Berkner’s song lyrics are now part of our everyday vernacular.  ‘Shaky Egg’, ‘Rainboots, stomp, stomp, stomp’… you name it, Laurie’s lyrics and music have made our entire family fans for the long haul.  Like magic.

Released last month, The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band cd is a comprehensive collection of the band’s best songs.  As their sixth cd, if you’re a longtime fan, such songs on the cd are expected, but for newer fans, this cd is a staple for your budding kindie rock collection.  Unlike the songs recorded for Nickelodeon, Laurie’s Greatest Hits cd have a softer, less processed sound.  Songs like “Shady Tree” exude the sweet, while songs like, “Monster Boogie” reinforces the silly.  But overall, the 20-track cd encompasses the folk sensibility that keeps kids dancing and singing, and their parents humming and smiling.

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Disney Pook-A-Looz are Cute, Edgy and Sweet

I’ve been reading some blurbs about the Licensing Expo that was recently held in Vegas.  Of the interesting information that was dispersed from the annual show that showcases all the hottest licenses in the industry, I was interested to see this one from Disney Consumer Products, which I’ll get into later.

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Speaking of Disney, at the Time to Play Spring and Summer Showcase, Disney Consumer Products had a diverse selection of their latest toys.  Aside from the much-hyped Toy Story and the ever-popular Princesses toys, DCP had some new, but familiar faces.

DCP recently introduced Pook-A-Looz, a plush line of their classic characters who have received a modern-meets-vintage twist.  That probably doesn’t make too much sense, but according to Disney, Pook-A-Looz were designed to capture the personalities of iconic Disney characters in an edgy, offbeat way.  They’re said to be inspired by the urban vinyl toy culture, which began in Asia a decade ago.

 

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Angelina Ballerina: The Next Step Embraces Music, Dance

Some of the fondest memories from my childhood include the years that I was enrolled in dance class.  I loved ballet and jazz so much that I took my training and lessons with me beyond high school and even danced for several years in college.  And because it’s the end of the school year, it also means that it’s recital season for many little girls (and some boys, too).

 

With recital season in full swing, coupled with my love for dance, one show that comes to mind for Music Monday is, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, which airs on PBS Kids.  The show is based on the award-winning children’s book series by author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craigre.  Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps debuted this past September in full CG animation, incorporating elements of choreography from top dance organizations from American Ballet Theatre to Alvin Ailey.

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MobiGo Review and Giveaway: VTech Introduces New Handheld Learning System

 

VTech has introduced  a new handheld learning system to its lineup of electronic learning toys.  I had the chance to get a glimpse of the MobiGo at Toy Fair, but got an even closer look at the unit this week before it officially hits the shelves.

The MobiGo is packed with features, including touch screen technology, sliding screen and is web-enabled via USB.

The MobiGo retails for $59.99, which is comparable to other handheld systems in this category.  In addition to the touch screen technology that mimics that of mom and dad’s iPhones and smartphones, what sets the MobiGo apart is its flip-up screen.  That feature made quite a few heads turn when we were toting the MobiGo around this week.

The MobiGo has a variety of game cartridges (19.99) and a carrying case (14.99).  The system is available in the blue/yellow or a pink/purple option.

Vtech MobiGo at ToyFair Read More