Happy 90 Years, Scholastic!

I can still remember those awesome days, sitting in a circle, indian-style at the library, listening to my grade school librarian read a silly story about Amelia Bedelia aloud during story time.  Or, how about those days when the latest Scholastic book club flyers went out?  I can still remember circling every awesome book on every page.  Or what about those awesome book fairs? Or how about collecting every single Babysitter’s Club book and re-reading them five times over.

These days, I practically squeal with excitement when we head to Soho, because that usually means a gratuitous trip to the Scholastic store—a trip that I wholeheartedly enjoy as a lifelong book lover grooming the next generation of book nerds. My boy embraces his Clifford classics.  And hello, a specific Pirate potty training book made life a little easier during these trying months.

Perhaps you have similar memories, or maybe more current ones of how Scholastic has impacted your life?

Today, Scholastic celebrates quite a monumental anniversary.  Ninety years ago, Robbie Robinson created the first issue of a magazine called The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic. Today, Scholastic is now the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books.

Based on the awesome microsite to celebrate this anniversary, Scholastic has had a fabulous 90 years thus far!

If you’re in the NYC area today, be on the lookout for the many ways Scholastic is celebrating their special day.  They’ll be in Times Square, Central Park, outside the American Museum of Natural History, at the Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry Terminal, and  outside Scholastic HQ at 557 Broadway and will even be ringing the closing NASDAQ bell.  A busy day celebrating in NYC will be capped off with the Empire State building glowing a bright red as a nod to Scholastic’s amazing 90 years.

To emphasize their impact on the importance in reading for kids of all ages, Scholastic also announced their latest global campaign, Read Every Day/ Lead a Better Life.  It’s so fitting, isn’t it?  Check it out and be sure to fill out the Reading Bill of Rights to take part.

Congrats, and here’s to 90 more years of awesomeness, Scholastic!



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.


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 Does BlogHer in NYC

I just spent four unforgettable days taking in the events and sessions surrounding the 2010 BlogHer conference that was held in NYC.  And guys, I had the time of my life.

I connected with so many fabulous people, many of whom do what I “do,” but in a different niche, in a different area… I’ve been truly inspired by so many women, in a myriad of ways.

Jen wishing Dora a happy birthday at the Nick Jr. booth at BlogHer

One of the many takeaways from BlogHer 2010 was a renewed perspective of the relationships I have with brands.  Afterall, without brands and relationships, The Next Kid Thing wouldn’t be the blog that it is.

At the BlogHer sessions, at private events, in the expo or at parties, I met some of the many pr reps I’ve worked with over the years.  And in some cases, I hugged and caught up with other pr reps and company reps that I already know and love. You all know who you are.  And to the people who approached me and introduced yourselves, thank you.  If you’re in the business of connecting with people, it just goes to show you how important an updated profile pic is on Twitter. Read More

Imagination Playground Debuts in NYC

Innovative design is all around us, and that often includes our kids’ playthings.

Yesterday, NYC unveiled the long-anticipated Imagination Playground, an innovative Play Space that was designed by architect David Rockwell. The Imagination Playground at Burling Slip in lower Manhattan is the first realization of Rockwell’s site-specific park concepts that can be designed and conditioned for any place or community, and includes a full set of Imagination Playground loose parts and a sculpted landscape, as well as sand and water installations.

According to the Huffington Post, the playground was paid for with $4.5 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and $3 million from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

I’ve been reading a lot of information and preliminary reviews about this playspace that’s being described as “revolutionary.”  One bit of information that I loved reading about was how KaBOOM! partnered with Rockwell Group to help distribute Rockwell’s innovative Imagination Playground to communities across the country.

I’m one of the KaBoom Summer Challengers, and, well, I love how the organization has its hands involved in so many prolific movements relating to play.

I fully expect our travels to bring us to the city to check out this playspace for ourselves, but in the meantime, check out all the cool features of the Imagination Playground.

Lego Debuts New Store in Rockefeller Center

Amidst a complex of skyscrapers and shopping, Rockefeller Center, a celebrated NYC landmark serves as a backdrop to 30 Rock, home to NBC, some of the most iconic art deco and architecture, the famed namesake Christmas Tree and now, Legos.

Lego Store in Rockefeller Center


Lego lovers, specifically the Tri-State contingent,  rejoice: Lego officially opened another retail location, this time in the heart of Midtown Manhattan in Rockefeller Center.  Overlooking the skating rink, taking over the old Brookstone location in Rock Center, the NYC Lego Store location is sure to be a tourist must-see and local resource for stocking up on Lego essentials.


This location features the largest Pick-a-Brick Wall, as well a “big apple” Lego set and I Lego-Heart NYC merchandise, which are exclusive to the NYC store.  Overlooking 49th street, the location has a Master Builder Bar, which can double as a space for birthday parties, Lego Club meetings and other events.  The midtown location also features a Shop & Ship option where tourists and locals alike can purchase items in-store and have them shipped instead of schlepping them around town and on to trains, planes and buses.


The retail location drenched with sunlight and complemented with views of the hustle and bustle of Rock Center, boasts wall to wall shelves full of the latest and greatest Lego sets, paraphernalia and accessories.  Because of the Lego Store’s unique location, Lego commissioned their Lego Masters to recreate architecture, art, mosaics and replicas that mimic Rockefeller Center.  Some of the incredible oversized Lego creations on display include a huge Atlas replica, a cityscape of Rock Center and several mini scenes that portray life in NYC.


During my sneak peek of the store the day before it opened, I was in complete awe of the attention to detail that the dioramas and custom Lego models showcased.  But it was Atlas overlooking the skating rink and the enormous and intricate Rockefeller Center diorama truly blew me away; I could have stared at the hundreds of different Lego mini people all day.  Lego Master Builders have quite an imagination and sense of humor to boot.


Lego, a true classic toy and one of, if not the favorite toy in our house, has outdone themselves yet again!  At Toy Fair, with several other bloggers and members of the media, I had the chance to check out their new Lego games (while I’ll talk about later and perhaps give one away.)  I’m truly, truly excited about this Lego store not only because it’s in NYC, but because it may just be a contender for a special birthday party/play date/ tourist outing in the future.  Take note, family.


Check it

In the NYC area?

Check out Lego’s new store in NYC and help build a giant 16-ft. Big Apple to celebrate the store’s debut. Lego is hosting a free, three-day public build in Rockefeller Center.  The build begins on June 29th with New York Yankee, Nick Swisher laying the first brick and ends with the last brick being added at 3pm July 1st.


The ‘Boom Boom Room’ Makes its Way to NYC

The Boom Boom Room, the luxe gifting suite for celebrity moms in Hollywood, made its way to NYC yesterday to showcase some of the most innovative baby and toddler gear.  The Baby Issue highlighted over 45 baby & toddler products for media, bloggers and celebrities to take it all in.












The Baby Issue event was hosted by Jayneoni Moore, who made the lavish Baby & Toddler Boom Boom Room Gifting Suites the go-to spot for celebrity moms to check out the latest and greatest in gear.  I was excited to attend the Baby Issue Event to learn and network with some of the brands that I already feature on The Next Kid Thing.  There were several brands that I can’t wait to introduce to you as well. Here’s just a few of the brands that were at The Baby Issue Event Yesterday:

Stokke, Teutonia strollers, Umi Shoes, Shutterfly, Skip Hop, Fisher Price, Plum Organics, Scholastic, Mustela, Happy Heinys, Nourish,  nursing clothing line Larrivo, Organic Kidz, Loved Baby, Goodnight Light, Aprica, Origany,  Dapple, Organic Kidz, Mabel’s Labels, Zoli Baby

And in case you missed it, I posted a few more sneak peek pictures over on the NKT fanpage.


The Baby Issue event got me thinking, too… With all the events that I’ve been attending (which is good!), but have been falling WAY behind on updating posts (not so good), I almost overlooked The Next Kid Thing’s 1st birthday! Those that know me well, probably know that I’m not big on over the top parties for first birthdays, but I wanted to do something special to mark our big 1-year celebration next week.  I have a few things lined up and will make an announcement to share with you tomorrow!

And the winner is…

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!

There’s a Party in My City Awesome Giveaway

So, you know the Yo Gabba Gabba There’s a Party in My City tour I’ve been buzzing about?  Well, there will be a party in my city!

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are three NYC shows on November 21st at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. (which are both sold out), and because they’re awesome, they added another show at 5 p.m. so more Gabba fans have a chance to hang with the gang. 

DJ Lance, Brobee, Toodee, Muno, Foofa and Plex are expected to rock out to various tunes, including some that are heard regularly on the show.  And I hear that there may even be some special guests at the shows.  Trust me, the Yo Gabba Gabba gang knows how to get down.  (Like there was ever any doubt!)

But, if there was ever a reason to do a Dancey Dance, today’s the day!


Oh yeah, friends.  That’s right!  Our friends at W!ldbrain are giving one lucky NKT reader four tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba at the SOLD OUT 11 a.m. show on November 21!  Awesome, right?

Concert tickets, in general, can get pricey—nevermind ticket prices in NYC—which is why I’m so excited about this AWESOME GIVEAWAY.  Four tickets to this show, which run as high as $75 last time I checked, is a dealbreaker for many families.  I think it was quite generous for our friends at W!ldbrain to offer this fabulous giveaway—which by the way, is definitely my favorite/most awesome giveaway ever.


So listen up friends, to win the Awesome Giveaway for four tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba on November 21, at the 11 a.m. show at Beacon Theatre, you must comment below with your favorite character, celebrity guest or Dancey Dance from the show.  Multiple entries are encouraged.

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Peace, Love and (Build-A-Bear) Hugs

This past weekend, the kid and I found ourselves on Fifth Avenue getting cozy with a bunch of bears. That’s right, bears!

The kid and I attended the “Let’s Talk About Love” Meet and Greet with Jamia Nash at the biggest Build-a-Bear Workshop in the world, which is right on Fifth Avenue in NYC. Like I knew it would, the mere sight of the Build-A-Bear storefront elicited so much excitement from my almost-2 year old. Before we even entered the store, he was signing, more, more, more!


At the event, we briefly met with other NYC/NJ mom bloggers, and said hello to the guest of honor, Jamia Nash. If you’re a huge Young and the Restless fan like me, you might know Jamia as Ana, Tyra’s daughter. If your family is a Jack’s Big Music Show fan, you might know Jamia as the spunky songstress who sang the “Bongo Bird song” when she was about eight years old. It was a pleasure to meet the super sweet Jamia, who was so nice to the kid, even though he really doesn’t “get it” yet. Extremely articulate and well-spoken, Jamia told me a little bit about her experience in singing the Bongo Bird song. If you’d like to hear Jamia’s “Let’s Talk About Love” song, it’s available to download on the site.

Jack with Jamia Nash

Jamia a seasoned performer at only 12 years old, fittingly, was tapped to be a part of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Love. Hugs. Peace Movement, which encourages kids to give back and be kind. At times like this, we can use all the love, hugs and peace we can get!

In line with the Love. Hugs. Peace, Build-A-Bear Workshop has introduced the Peace & Hugs Bear, which is intended to represent all three elements of the Movement. Like other Build-A-Bear animals, the fuzzy blue bear with peace signs can be stuffed and personalized. There’s even Love. Hugs. Peace bear-sized tees and rhinestone tanks available, which Build-A-Bear Workshop is donating $.25 to Save the Children from the sales.

Peace & Hugs Bear

Build-A-Bear kindly gave us some giftcards to create our own bear. The kid absolutely went nuts in the lower level of this gigantic Build-A-Bear Workshop. The lower level, which has several areas for exclusive parties, in addition to a few bear-stuffing stations, was like heaven for my adventurous toddler. And because the kid is obsessed with stuffed animals and baseball (specifically the NY Mets), naturally, we created a classic bear with a Mets uniform! Coincidentally, Saturday was Build-A-Bear Day at Citifield, the Mets’ new stadium, where Jamia also performed the Star Spangled Banner to kick the game off.

Jack with Buddy

In the end, though frazzled by chasing a very curious toddler around, I enjoyed the bear-making process just as much! From choosing the bear, chasing the kid, to picking his outfit, chasing the kid again, to having him stuffed, to watching the kid pick his heart and finally creating his birth certificate, our experience at the NYC Build-A-Bear Workshop though hectic, was so much fun. I can certainly see why tourists flock to the Fifth Avenue location.


Our bear, lovingly named Buddy, is the kid’s brand new BFF, many thanks to our awesome friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop. And this is just how awesome they are: just in time for theirAugust promotion, Build-A-Bear Workshop generously gave us a $25 giftcard for one lucky NKT reader!

Win it Describe Build-A-Bear’s newest bear and please comment below.

For extra entries, share this post and/or tell me one (or all) of the songs (mentioned above) that Jamia is singing, or has sung.

So the winner can take advantage of Build-A-Bear’s $29.99 August promotion, this giveaway will end August 13!  Good luck!

Yo Gabba Gabba at SummerStage…AWESOME!

What’s up with that fuzzy orange hat, those cool beats and those funky friends, like the green striped monster?  Whatever it is, DJ Lance and his friends from Gabba Gabba Land have captivated legions of fans—parents and kids alike—with the crowds in NYC at last weekend’s SummerStage show to prove it.  In this first installation of the NKT Saturday Special feature, find out who got to fistbump DJ Lance, what was my favorite song of the set and what makes us love a show with songs like, “Party in my Tummy” enough to wait in crazy lines!


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