Books are perhaps some of my most favorite gifts to give kids. They’re great as an add-on gift or a stocking stuffer, too! Though not all kids will put books high on their gift list, you really can’t go wrong with a great book or three!
Baby Love: A Board Book Gift Set
The next installment of the Next Kid Thing Gift Glossary is all about DVDs for toddler and preschoolers. I’m all about less is more when it comes to tv watching, dvds and video games, especially for the smaller kids. But a great show on DVD is often what separates me from getting dinner cooked without a meltdown. So, here are a few dvd picks for preschoolers (and even one for toddlers) that are entertaining for everyone.
As I’m finalizing my holiday gift guides much later than I hoped, I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude. With Thanksgiving just a few days away and all, I have so much to be thankful for—our health and happiness at the top of my list.
We make it a habit to start AND end our days with books. Like many of you, books will always play a huge role in our family life, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone.
Did you know that over 80 percent of childcare centers serving low-income children lack age-appropriate books? And a recent study shows that the ratio of books per child in middle income neighborhoods is 13 to 1, while in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
Over the weekend, the Yo Gabba Gabba Live tour kicked off at LA’s Shrine Auditorium. I loved following the developments on Twitter, which makes me that much more excited to hear about the show in NYC this weekend.
So, with more YGG on the brain, I thought I’d share my much overdue review on the Music is Awesome cd that launched last month.
Things have been hectic around here lately. Besides my packed schedule of events, I’ve been working on my Holiday Gift Guide (WITH giveaways!) that will be revealed next week. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a quick gift idea.
A few weeks ago, I posted about the Crayola, Lights, Camera and Color online application. I mentioned how you can access this fun feature if you buy the larger quantities of Crayola Crayon bundles, which includes the 150-count Telescoping Crayon Tower.
Via Blogspark, Crayola sent us the 150-count Telescoping Crayon Tower to test out and review. At first I was reluctant about opening up this package because my guy is notorious for destroying anything that comes in large quantities. But surprise, he proved me wrong!
Because of the cool telescoping feature, my toddler was amazed at how the tiers could collapse. It’s easy to turn and reveal the tiers and just as easy to collapse to put them away. This set, which is a nice departure from the yellow and green cardboard box that seems to break down so quickly, includes a crayon sharpener on the top tier. The $15 set also includes 118 regular crayons, 16 metallic FX crayons and 16 glitter crayons making the largest set of Crayola crayon colors ever.
I love the easy storage and assortment of crayons. And better yet, I love how this set includes a code for printing accessibility for the Lights, Camera and Color online application—what a fun bonus! Thanks to the novelty of the telescoping feature, we’ve yet to lose or break any crayons, which is quite an achievement! This set would make a perfect gift, and is suitable for preschoolers and older.
Crayola and Blogspark is offering one reader a Crayola 150-count Telescoping Crayon Tower!
To enter, just tell me your favorite Crayola Crayon color! Feel free to enter multiple times by sharing your favorite colors and/or by sharing on any social networking site!
Thank you everyone so much for participating in the My Awesome Giveaway! From the reception of the contest, it’s quite evident that NYC Yo Gabba Gabba fans are no joke!
Congratulations to Jill Walenga! Watch your email for details! Congrats and enjoy! [As with all contests, the winner has 48 hrs to email me back. If I don’t hear from them after that, I will pick a new winner.]
I wish I had more tickets to give away, but alas, there can only be one winner. Thank you again everyone for participating in such a fun giveaway.
For those still interested in scoring tickets, I just noticed that one of my good friends, Carol of NYCityMama is holding her own giveaway for YGG tickets to the 5pm show on 11/21. Her contest ends today and has different rules and regulations, so please make sure to read them before entering…and tell her Jen from NKT sent ya!
Thanks again everyone!
Do you have a budding fashion designer at home? At the Holiday Showcase, I spotted the perfect toy/activity for fashion-minded girls. Ban Dai has recently introduced Harumika, which is an activity set that allows girls to play fashionista with a dress form, stylus, swatches of stylish fabric and accessories.
With the included stylus, girls can tuck and fold fabric into the dress form and accessorize as they please. It’s so simple and the possibilities are endless. I love that here’s no cutting involved, just pure imagination and creativity. It’s such a cool idea, I wish I had a set like this as a kid. We had fashion plates growing up, but Harumika is a fun way for girls to harness their creativity, and to use their hands to cultivate their designs and fashion ideas without all the mess.
Harumika comes in starter sets that are $10.99, and sets with many more accessories and options such as the Designer Dress Form Sets for $14.99; the Fashion Show & Go Sets for $19.99 and the Runway Showstopper Set for $39.99 (which includes a USB camera).
Like many cool toys I noticed at the showcase, Harumika has an online and interactive presence. With the Harumika USB camera, you can upload images and have a runway fashion show! If your tween is all about being creative and into fashion, Harumika is definitely worth checking out!
Harumika can be found at Target and Toys “R” Us.
I have a really cute starter set up for grabs that I had the chance to check out for review! (The fabric set I have is different than pictured.)
Please comment below and tell me the name of any of the Harumika products. Each product counts as an entry. If you choose to share on any social networking site, that counts for extra entries as well!
One exciting toy that’s worth buzzing about is Battle Strikers by Mega Brands. This new toy, which was released earlier this year, is already being called a “breakout toy” by Chris Byrne, AKA The Toy Guy.
So, what is it? An updated and exciting version of the classic spinning top, Battle Strikers takes it to the next level with battery-operated launchers, unique and superfast Strikers and a tournament arena. After being launched, the lightning-fast Battle Strikers can be navigated by magnetic finger Controllers, adding even more excitement to the playing field. Battle Strikers is a simple concept that Mega Brands has revved up to offer a kid-controlled battle system
Mega Brands gave us the chance to test out the Tournament Set, so I enlisted the help of my 12-year old nephew who is no stranger to battle systems. The Tournament Set, which retails for $35, comes with two Launchers, two Controllers, two Strikers and a battle arena. Starter kits and single Strikers are also available.
Upon first impression, as a mom to a little guy, I balked at all the small pieces that Battle Strikers included. (The suggested age range is for 6 years and up) But once the actual Strikers were constructed, it all made so much more sense to me. The Launchers, Controllers and Strikers are all boldly colored and appear to be durable enough to withstand countless battles. The arena is a basic plastic square with walls that allow for enough room for the Strikers to battle, but still be controlled. There are a few great YouTube videos that showcase Battle Strikers in motion, but I love how candid this one is:
As I mentioned, the premise of Battle Strikers is simple, with new technology and engineering for a new generation. There are 12 different Strikers, which all have their own character and strengths, differing in attack, defense and control. Kids can collect and interchange the different Striker pieces to customize and enhance their battles. The Strikers easily click into the bottom of the Turbo Launchers. The Launcher, which channels a joystick of sorts, accelerates the Strikers by pushing a trigger on the handle. The Launcher releases the Strikers by bumping the opponent’s Launcher or tapping the top of your own. Once things are in motion, it’s pretty empowering to be able to navigate and strategize with the magnetic Finger Controller. (Don’t get let the Controller get too close to the Striker because the magnet will pick it up. I know this one firsthand!) The object is to keep your Striker in motion, and the last Striker standing wins.
One thing my nephew kept mentioning is that Battle Strikers reminded him of Beyblades, another battling top sort of toy. From the research I did, it seems like Beyblades has a very loyal following, many of whom seem to have mixed opinions of the new Battle Strikers. I remember buying my nephew a few Beyblades toys when he was into them, but from what I can tell now, they seemed to have fizzled since I haven’t heard much about them. With its powerful launchers and 12 different customizable Strikers and Finger Controllers, Battle Strikers will likely have its own loyal following!
Battle Strikers is a fun new game that involves imagination, competition, strategy and speed, and one that I think older boys will love. Battle Strikers is likely to land on a lot of Christmas gift lists this year, and don’t be surprised if you hear even more buzz on these soon!
In the olden days, our school supply list included No. 2 pencils, loose leaf paper, folders and maybe a few pens. Nowadays, with computers playing such a integral role in our lives—especially our students’ lives—flash drives have become so imperative. From saving papers, images and important homework assignments, transporting documents from one computer to another is at their fingertips—and USB drives. And because flash drives have become so popular, they now come in colors, designs and flavors as unique as the personalities that own them.
For those with a sweet tooth, Jazwares introduced a fun new line of Hershey’s Miniatures and sweet assortment-inspired USB drives. These USB drives are truly sweet and come in 1, 2 and 4 GB in the regular Hershey’s, Krackel, Mr. Goodbar, Twizzlers and Bubble Yum varieties.
This isn’t just for students, I found that this flash drive was fun and compact, yet its chunky size was easy to find in my computer bag that’s already littered with a collection of the stick-style flashdrives. The USB attachment easily slides in and out of the candy bar, adding to its ease of use and making it a perfect addition to any student’s school supplies arsenal. These USB drives retail in between $14.99 and $29.99, depending on memory size. The Hershey’s Yum Drives can be found at retailers like Best Buy.
I’ve got a 2 GB Hershey’s USB Yum Drive up for grabs. Comment to let me know any (or all) of the other flavors that are offered. Share about this giveaway for extra entries. This giveaway ends on 10/6. Enjoy!
With toy recalls and reports of unsafe toy manufacturing and imports creating a cause for concern, in an effort to observe more sustainable choices, naturally, some families opt for greener toys made from renewable resources. And of course, a smart and economical alternative to mass produced toys are unique, handmade goodies. Beyond whittling your own collection of handmade toys yourself, thank goodness for the treasure trove that is Etsy! I always say this, but you can’t buy the kind of craftsmanship that you find in Etsy in a mainstream store —no matter what the product might be!
Today’s Etsy find is from a toy shop that I’ve featured before—I love these toys that much. Happy Squash Toys sent us a trio of Natural Cars for review, and based on the kid’s inability to put them down for one second, it’s official: they’re a hit.
Like most boys his age, our almost 2-year old is fascinated by anything with wheels or rolls. Cars, trains, animals with wheels, bikes, tractor trailers—you name it, he loves it. The Natural Cars from Happy Squash Toys are no exception. He loves wheeling them around the floor, furniture and whatever surface that will let him mobilize these cars. The trick is always finding a way to make all 3 roll at once since his little hands aren’t quite big enough to push them all at once yet. I love the way our little guy makes his own little car sounds when playing with the Natural Cars. I’ll take those sweet imaginative noises over the loud battery-operated honks, beeps and flashing lights any day.