Without a doubt, in 2009 I researched, tested and reviewed more baby and kid products than I could comprehend—truly. Some of the products I wanted to share with you just didn’t make it on to the blog because of time, especially with the madness of the holidays and wrangling an active kid. And because of this, I wanted to do my roundup of innovative gear, gadgets and goodies of 2009. These are all products that I thought made an impression to me and certainly companies that I will watch in 2010.
I’ll post the products in the following days in no particular, with a few giveaways to boot.
Happy Monday and happy 2010, everyone. I hope you had a lovely holiday break and are recovering/transitioning ok! Our family enjoyed a very nice Christmas and quiet New Year; it was just the right amount of family time. After a hectic fall and holiday season, I took a much needed break from blogging and writing. Apologies for the lack of posts, but things will be back to normal this week.
Way before tracking trends and kid’s products even became a blip on my radar, I stumbled upon Putumayo Kids music at a local gift store. A huge advocate for diversity and lover of all things music-related, falling in love with Putumayo Kids was a given.
There are children’s music compilations and then, there is Putumayo Kids. Putumayo’s various cds, which are geared to entertain, educate and inspire cultural curiosity in children, boast upwards to 3 million cds sold and stands apart from other children’s cds. The compilations are well-thought out and enjoyable for both kids and adults—a must for our music-loving family.
This fall, Putumayo released A Family Christmas, which I found to be one of the best recent kid-centric Christmas music collections. Putumayo’s A Family Christmas is a melodic departure from all the character-based songbooks, shows and cds that seem to monopolize the storeshelves, especially this time of year. The songs on this cd are ones that we know and love, but the artists featured are none that I can recognize aside from Big VooDoo Daddy, (though you might recognize a few) which makes it even more appealing. Can you think of a better way to enjoy the songs you hear a billion times over during the holidays than with a new fresh take on the classics for kids?
From Johnny Bregar’s acoustic take on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy retro-swing version of Louis Armstrong’s song, “Is Zat You Santa Claus?,” to The Christmas Jug Band featuring Angela Strehli and Maria Muldaur’s “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” Putumayo’s A Family Christmas covers all the music genre on one fun collection. This compilation truly appeals to music lovers of all ages and from all walks of life! My only complaint is that I can’t seem to locate Putumayo on iTunes. Maybe the next one?
My personal favorite on the cd is definitely Mele Kalikimaka by Debbie Davis & Matt Perrine, which I consider a kind reminder and shout out to one of our family’s highlights of the year—our trip to Hawaii this summer to celebrate the kid’s Godmother’s wedding!
Be sure to check out the Putumayo Kid’s site to check out their other award-winning cd collections. Also, head on over to Amazon to give a listen to A Family Christmas, which is where I sampled this cd myself. Music is a wonderful gift for everyone, especially cd compilations that have garnered awards like, Parents’ Choice Awards, National Parenting Publications Gold Awards, iParenting Media Award and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.
Without a doubt, after I pick up this cd from Barnes and Noble, Putumayo’s A Family Christmas will be blaring from our speakers on our drive back to Virginia for the holidays. Putumayo is so cool, they’re offering a free MP3 download! Just sign up here to receive your free download of the song “Jolly Old St. Nick” by Brave Combo from the new Putumayo CD A Family Christmas.
A Family Christmas can be found at retailers like Barnes and Noble, as well as online.
In the video game sector, titles and technology are constantly evolving. With many new handheld titles and fun family titles to choose from, I had a tough time narrowing down NKT picks. I could go on and on with this exhaustive list for great family video games, but I chose many of the ones below because I had the unique chance to experience them first hand. For the ones that I didn’t try out myself, I felt that their family-friendliness and entertainment value coincided with NKT’s scope. And as far as giveaways go, this is a biggie! Enter for a chance to win these recently released video games and NKT picks!
So, here they are:
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!
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 a huge fan of Jim Henson, naturally, I love all of the quirky characters, including Emmet Otter! Moms and dads, do you remember Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas from the Muppets? I sure do! Who could forget Emmet and his Ma and their take on the “Gift of the Magi.” This holiday season, especially in these economic times, Emmett and his Ma’s story hits home even more.
And how cool is this? The Goodspeed Musical Theatre is now featuring A Goodspeed Christmas, their theatrical adaptation of Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter. The Goodspeed Theatre is located in East Haddam, CT and the Goodspeed Christmas is playing now until January 3.
Over on Twitter, it’s Emett Otter Day on the Jim Henson Company’s feed, so be sure to check them out for cool updates and giveaways! My guy is loving Emett Otter and friends because of the cool music; I can’t wait to watch it again with him!
Finally! I’m just now getting all caught up and posting my much delayed Holiday Gift Glossary! Over the next few days, I will be unveiling my favorite top picks for the NKT Holiday Gift Glossary. And oh yeah, I’ll be giving away a few goodies, too!
Today’s installment of the Holiday Gift Glossary is all about games! Check them out here or under the Gift Glossary tab above!
Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of excitement in the air for the holidays, but there’s another important celebration–the Celebration of Lights– that starts next week.
In 2009, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 11th. For those that don’t know, according to the interwebs, Jews have given Hanukkah gelt to friends and family since the 17th century, but the custom of giving more elaborate gifts has only been around since the 19th century.
Gift-giving goes hand-in-hand with fabulous kid gifts, of course. One of my lovely Jewish friends mentioned this site, and I was hooked. They had me at Jonathan Adler!
Over in the kid gift ideas, I spotted the Jewish Holiday Puzzles. Not only does it include a Hanukkah-themed puzzle, but this set includes Shabbat, Passover and Rosh Hashanah Puzzle as well. By Kid Kraft, the puzzles feature diverse shapes and comes with a puzzle rack for convenient storage. And thank goodness, all paints used are lead free and non-toxic.
Wooden puzzles are definitely a favorite for us, and for many other families. The fact that four puzzles come in the Jewish Holiday Puzzles set, combined with its entertainment, educational and cultural value make these puzzles an ideal Hanukkah gift! These puzzles are in the $30 price point (not bad for 4 wooden puzzles!) and can be found on sites like Modern Tribe.
Zoobies are a plush 3-in-1 concept: Each pet is a stuffed animal, a pillow, and a blanket all in one. The velcro latches on each Zoobie is child friendly and can be easily unfastened to transform the animals into the pillows. The zippers at the bottom unzip to reveal the blanket inside. Each blanket can be detached from the pet for machine washing.
Aside from the vibrant colors, great selection of animals and that they’re appropriate from babies to big kids, Zoobies make a practical gift/toy/lovey and are ideal for traveling. They’re durable and truly cozy and soft. Our Tama is often involved an various toddler accident and spills and has had his fair share of baths in the washing machine. A year later, he still looks just like Santa brought him to us.