That stuff we all worry about.

Now that summer’s heat is here, it feels like a good time to remember that leaving your child (or pet) in the car can be deadly (not that you should ever be doing this anyway).

In the U.S., 9 children have died this year already because of heat stroke.  These figures come from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  NINE KIDS!  That’s crazy sad to me.

MyChamplainValley.com posted a short news story about this and interviewed David Grass, the Environmental Health Surveillance Chief of the Vermont Department of Health.  He had this to say about leaving your kid in the car:

It’s particularly dangerous because the internal temperature of a car [can] increase as many as 20 degrees in 10 minutes. So it can really take minutes for conditions where heat stroke can occur.

When in temperature inside a car reaches 87 degrees, you are 8 times more likely to go to the emergency room because of a heat related illness.

 

Free Movies Coming to Amazon Prime in June

Some great kids programming is coming to Amazon Prime this June.

  • The Black Stallion (1979)
  • Wayne’s World (1992) …Perhaps this one is best for teens!
  • Lego Ninjago: Season 1

If you don’t already have a Amazon Prime subscription you can sign up for a free trial.  We love our Prime subscription.  Besides tons of great video content, you get free 2 day shipping on thousands of items.  We buy a LOT of diapers and wipes this way.  🙂

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/2016/05/coming_to_amazon_prime_in_june.html

Coming to Netflix this June: Dinosaurs

Attention Mom and Dad, June 2016 will see the addition of three movies super popular with young adults and kids: JURASSIC PARK!

Available June 1:

  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  • Jurassic Park III (2001)

Other kid friendly series hitting Netflix are:

  • LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship – Season 2 (June 10th)
  • All Hail King Julien – Season 3 (June 17) This is based of the hit movie franchise Madagascar.

SOURCE: http://www.whats-on-netflix.com/coming-soon/june-2016-new-netflix-releases/

Does a late dinner lead to Childhood Obesity?

Here is an interesting story reported by FoodNavigator.com

Researchers at King’s College in London have not been able to establish a significant link between eating dinner after 8pm and obesity in children. These findings contradict published research that believes circadian rhythms are impacted by meal times, which interfere with metabolic processes within the body.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), estimates of the number of overweight infants and children in the WHO European Region rose steadily from 1990 to 2008.

This is important because more than 60% of children who are overweight before hitting puberty will be overweight in early adulthood.  That’s a crazy high number!

Research had currently suggested that eating late dinners could contribute to obesity in adults and children – until now.

7 Educational Toddlers Toys. [w/ video review]

It seems like all the kids we know are all turning 2.  With that in mind, here are 7 educational toy ideas for toddlers.  Most of the age ranges on these toys fall within 1-3 years. We worked to keep these gender neutral as well.

Sesame Street Elmo’s On the Go Letters
24 months – 4 years

This toy is a great option for little ones to help them learn their letters.  The toy is a puzzle where the letters fit into their designated slot, and below each is the image of a word that starts with the corresponding letter.  At the bottom of the board is a slot that can fit 3-4 letters to spell simple words.  All of the letters fit back into their spots and the whole case fold closed with handles for easy on-the-go transport.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
12 month – 3 years

This is a very interactive toy for ages as young as 12 months.  The chair can be programmed to match the age of your child, from the simple concept of “up and Down” at 12 months, to more imaginative play from 24 months and up.  It has songs, a remote, says phrases, and includes a book to flip the pages.  The fact that this chair grows with the child and adapts to their new abilities, makes it a great option for any toddler.

VTech Little Apps Tablet, Black
24 months – 5 years

This toy tablet offers 8 activities for your toddler to play with.  From a keyboard for playing music, to learning letters, numbers, and matching this toy packs a lot of options into a smaller package.  We always have mixed feelings on these digital noise making button pushing toys – but this has always proven to be a popular best seller so we wanted to include it.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench
24 months – 4 years

All toddlers love to hammer (our little boy does, at least!) This toy offers them endless hammering fun, teaching coordination and colors.  As you hammer down one peg the opposite peg begins to rise. I love this idea as it helps to avoid the meltdowns we have encountered on similar toys that need to be manually reset.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car
6 month – 3 years

This car is a great toy that grows with your child.  Starting out early at 6 months it teaches the most simple of concepts (open/close) and grows to pretend play (let’s drive to the zoo!) From sitting/crawling, to walking/climbing, this toy really is fun for all ages.  We wrote a full review of this when our tyke hit one year and it’s still a winner now that he’s two.

First 100 Words (Board Book)
by Roger Priddy
1 to 3 years

This is a fun book with 10 pictures on each page for you to teach and then quiz your child.  Photos are of everyday items that they would see outside (animals, vehicles) to inside (bath time, mealtime, toys.) Something your child will have fun flipping through and pointing out the pictures they know.

Make sure to also check out Roger’s other bestseller books in this series: First 100 AnimalsNumbers Colors Shapes.

 

Fisher-Price See ‘n Say The Farmer Says Toy
18 months – 4 years

The good Ol’ See ‘n Say.  This toy has been around for ages and stays a great classic.  Kids love to pull the lever handle and see the cause and effect of arrow spinning in the center.  Which animal will it land on? What sound does the animal make? Tons of fun for toddlers and nostalgic for adults.

Alex Jr. Bop and Roll [VIDEO]

We received the Alex Jr. Bop and Roll as a gift, and I will admit, as a new mom wanting all the newest and greatest things for my kid, I wasn’t impressed. But, it was for ten months and up, and he got it around 6 months of age so I wasn’t able to see its full entertaining potential.

My son is now 22 months old and it’s still one of his go to toys. We put it back on the shelf all the time and the next day it’s been pulled down again. Wooden toys win the day with this one! And believe me, now that I’ve been going through the first phase of toddlerhood, the less noise these damn toys make the better!! I will take a ball slowly circling around a hole for 30 seconds over a singing VTech toy any day!

In any case, this toy has turned out to be a favorite. It’s so simple, but my son loves it. It came with a hammer and three balls, which we still have, somewhere. One is usually always around at least, and that’s really all he needs.

My only complaint is that when one of the balls got wet the paint peeled. He isn’t using that one at the moment, so we are down to two, somewhere.

I give this toy 4 out of 5 stars for peeling paint. But it’s still a great toy!

Green Toys Review [VIDEO]

My son has three of the Green Toys brand vehicles in his ever expanding toy collection. As he’s becoming more and more interested in cars, trucks, and planes, these toys are becoming a bigger hit in our house.  The construction is really solid with no sharp burs or ragged slicing edges.  They had held up extremely well to drops, smashes, silly ride-on attempts, sticky fingers, angry meltdown hail Mary passes and more.

Airplane
The Green Toys Air Plane is so much fun. My son walks (or runs) around the house with this toy, making it fly through the air. He sticks one of his animal figurines in the pilot seat (although not always successfully) and flies it around the house. He’s only 21 months old right now so the play is limited, but this is a favorite and I can see him playing with this for many years.  Watching him awkwardly pilot it is adorable as our the whooshing sound effects he makes.

Tug Boat Bath Toy
The Green Toys My First Tug Boat bath toy is something we use in the bathtub occasionally. It’s fun to fill it with water and let it sink, then dump the water and let it float. My son hasn’t quite gotten into playing pretend with this one just yet, but I’m sure as he grows up this will be more fun. Right now he just ignores it. It also doesn’t help that we don’t have a tub, so baths consist of about 1-2 inches of water in the bottom of our shower. We got this boat thinking it wouldn’t need a deep bathtub and it doesn’t really, but ultimately baths aren’t baths without a tub!! Someday, I hope!

Truck and Race Car
The Green Toys Truck and Race Car are lots of fun for my son. I will admit that these weren’t as popular as the plane at first but he’s recently been playing with them more. Technically he doesn’t play with them together much yet. The car he drives around the floor and the truck he tends to sit on and tries to ride. This is rarely successful but leads to lots of entertaining tumbles! Recently his animal figurines have been hitching a ride on the back of the truck.  One of the things we love about this set is that you get TWO toys for the price of one. Vroom-Vroom!

The Green Toys are great fun. They are well made and they have so many different options. It’s hard to resist the Space Rocket we saw at the store a few weeks ago, but it can wait… his birthday will be here soon enough!

6 Great Toys for Travel

Sticker books
It didn’t occur to me to introduce stickers to my toddler until I thought of the long car trips we’d be taking at the holidays. Once I ordered some, he immediately took to playing with them.  He puts them in a sketch book, or all over the furniture, but no matter where they go he loves picking out which ones to peel off and it never gets old.  We purchased the Melissa and Doug Sticker Collection-Blue for Jr, which had a ton of stickers and lasted us quite a while. We have since bought another book. We also tried the Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Books, and I think this one will be great for when he is older. Right now he wants the stickiness of a real sticker versus the static cling of the reusable ones (they don’t stick as well to Mom’s pants!), but I still like them a lot and I think he will too, in time.


 

doodlePRO
Fisher Price makes a mini version of the old classic Magnadoodle called doodlePRO Trip. My sons LOVES this toy. He loves drawing on it and scribbling away and he loves being able to erase and start over again. The best part about it is that it doesn’t make a mess! No fear of crayon ending up on the seat and the in-flight television screens. It still provides the satisfaction of creating a drawing.  This was the best item I’ve bought for traveling. Works great in a car or on the plane.


 

Puppets
You can never go wrong with a puppet, not with my son at least.  Playing peekaboo or making the puppet draw or dance leads to long stretches of entertainment. We have particularly liked the Folkmanis brand of puppets with their realistic animals. Our most recent favorite is the Folkmanis Baboon Hand Puppet whom we have named Chester. Our son loves it too. We can get him belly laughing with a single look.  😀


 

Magnet toys
Magnet toys are great on trips for obvious reasons, the pieces stick to the pages!  The Mickey Mouse Magentic Zoo set is a fun little toy, compact, with lots of magnets and little scenes for your tykes to set up and move around. There are many options out there for tons of playtime fun, and if you live somewhere where you own a car (unlike us in Brooklyn,) keeping this in the back seat is a great option for your child’s entertainment when you’re on the go day to day.


 

Shape Sorters
Melissa and Doug K’s Take-Along Shape Sorter is a great option for a car trip. This toy is exactly as it’s named, a shape sorter, something Jr loves playing with and it helps him practice saying his shapes; “Dar!”  “Owoval!” (Star and oval.)

This might work on a flight too, but just thinking about parts dropping to the floor might become a bit of a headache. In the car you at least know it’s there to be found when you get to your destination, as opposed to a flight where it might travel down the aisle….
With a convenient carrying handle and a compact case this will pack away nicely in luggage or a carry on bag. Great for any trip you have coming up!


 

Buckle Toy
The Bizzy Buckle Toy has proven to be a winner on trips with our little guy. He loves trying to snap the buckles together, and though it can be frustrating for him at times, it is great practice. He is still a little young to have the dexterity of fitting the buckles together without help, but he has never gotten so frustrated that he hasn’t wanted to play with it. The Bizzy Buckle Toy is simple, easy to pack and has proven to have longevity.

First Toy Store Tantrum!

I recently went browsing at a local children’s consignment shop for a spring coat for my son. While we didn’t find a coat, my son found the Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm on a shelf.  This is something he has played with at our local library, and he has recently become very interested in the Little People toys.

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Well, he started in on a major tantrum when we tried to move the toy from the shelf to the floor so he could play with it.  When I asked the lady how much it was she said, “8 dollars.”  …Um, SOLD!

After several more tantrums we finally pried it from his tiny, yet surprisingly strong fingers.  He didn’t understand the concept that we needed to actually take it to the register and pay for it before bringing it home.  My husband contributed by taking photos of the meltdown as it happened and saying, “To show him when he’s older.”

Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm

While we paid close to nothing for this toy, but I would have paid full price now that I see how much he loves it. If your child likes pretend play with doll houses or toy people/animals, this is great for them!  Our life has basically become a rotation between this and his kitchen set.

I haven’t put batteries in it yet, and I may not, but I know it makes animal noises when the fences and doors are opened. So far the sounds are not necessary for us to have fun. The Little People Fun Sounds Farm has given us hours of play and we highly recommend it.

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Great Kitchen Set for Small Spaces

The Step2 Cozy Kitchen was an early Christmas present to my son.  After realizing that he was obsessed with playing with a pretend kitchen set at a family members house, we decided he needed his own, but we had the predicament of living in a Brooklyn size apartment with a toddler who already has a lot of toys, and we don’t have any space to spare!

In my search for the perfect kitchen, I found the Cozy Kitchen by Step2.  It was small, compact, and came with the perfect amount of play dishes for my 17 month old. At 17 months, I didn’t think size would make a difference and I was right.  My son played with this kitchen non stop for two days straight.  All other toys were forgotten and he concocted all kinds of “delicious” meals for Mommy and Daddy.  Especially for Daddy.

I recommend this kitchen for anyone who lives in a tight space and can’t spare much room for a large kitchen set.  Of course it would be wonderful to have more doors to open, some drawers to hold the utensils, and a microwave, but beggars can’t be choosers and my son loves this kitchen more than any other toy in the apartment.

I give this five stars out of five for its perfect fit in our tight apartment and because my son loves it to no end!

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(We have also included links for larger units below. While we do not own these these, we feel comfortable recommending as they are either similar enough or we have used them at grandma’s house and other various play spaces.)