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.

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.

3 Star Wars gift ideas that will make you the greatest gift giver, ever.

With the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS combined with the end of the Christmas shopping season, we wanted to take a moment to point out three super cool Star Wars gift ideas for young kids, adults, and teens.  If nothing else, you gotta check out #3.

01: Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

Designed for ages 4 and up this is one gift that will make any Star Wars fan jump with excitement.  It’s a 20 inch toy Millennium Falcon, the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, and the coolest spaceship ever. This version gets even better as it shoots Nerf darts; so, basically Christmas has been saved.  It also comes with 3 characters, including Chewbacca.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

02: Star Wars Battlefront

We all know that once we watch The Force Awakens we are going to want to relive it. Luckily this year also brought us the super popular video game Star Wars Battlefront.

This first person shooter might be a little to wild for little kids (blasters, fighting stormtroopers, explosions, etc) but dad and his nerd friends are going to go NUTS for this. Mom too. And, with versions available for Xbox, PS4 and PC you can make sure that no-one if left out of the fun. The story line takes place during the original trilogy, so it’s a perfect mix of old-school cool and modern video game excitement.

This being Star Wars you know there are a bunch of collector’s editions too. While not needed to have the fun, they are an easy way for you to spice up this gift even more. Check out the trailer below.

03: BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

Finally, this last toy BLEW MY MIND. You need to check out the BB-8 App-Enabled Droid.

Basically it’s a mini version of the new droid BB-8 – the one with the floating head – as seen in the The Force Awakens. Why is this so cool?  Because I can’t figure out how they actually made the thing work in real life.  You can control it via your phone, it takes voice commands, and the reviews on this are astounding.  It actually works and lives up to the promise… FOR ONLY $150!

Check out the video below, and if you don’t want one after seeing it in action then check you pulse because you may be dead. If you need a gift that will blow the mind of any Star Wars fan, this is it.

Perfect for the teen in your life who is addicted to their phone, this is a great way to get them off of Minecraft and – maybe just maybe – on their feet to explore with BB-8.

Nine Awesome Toddler Toys For Your Holiday Shopping [VIDEO]

It’s nearing the end of 2015 and the holiday season is here!

As always, our lists are compiled after months of extensive research.  We talk to other parents to learn what their kids loved, we dig through internet forums and blogs, read countless reviews online and best of all… We do our Christmas shopping!


VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

The Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is a great toy for early walkers.  We inherited this toy from my niece for my son when he was just showing interest in walking and he took to it right away. The music is loud but he really loved it.  He still plays with it now that he is walking, going back to use the telephone and push the buttons to dance to the songs.

We used this walker outside on the street during a block party and he had the best time.  Less than one week later he was walking down the side walk all by himself!  I don’t know if the walker truly helped him walk, but I like to think it did. (Daddy says, “Yes, it totally did.”)


Anamalz [UPDATED]

The Anamalz toy is an eco friendly, wood/fabric animal figurine for toddlers children 3 and older. [See our video review for our updated thoughts on safety]

The toy comes as many different animals such as elephants, giraffes, lions, bears, the list goes on.  It is a cute and attractive toy that can entertain little ones from the earliest stages through pretend play.  A great addition to any toy animal collection.


Big Boom Bat & Tee

The Big Boom Bat and Tee is an inflatable tee-ball set.  Note, all parts are inflatable, making this toy great for indoor play perhaps during the winter months or hot summer days.  The bat is big in diameter and the ball is about 8″ in diameter making it virtually impossible to miss the ball.  The manufacturer recommends this toy for ages 3+, but we know of kids as young as 18 months understanding how to hit the ball off the tee.


Moluk Bilibo

The Moluk Bilibo is a classic toy for toddlers.  The hard plastic form allows children to find multiple ways to play from using it as a tote, a seat, a seat to spin or rock in, or something to wear as a helmet.  The Bilibo is a toy that is supposed to encourage imaginative play, and it will be up to your child whether they use it imaginatively or not.  If you look up reviews on this toy you will find hundreds of people who say their kids loved it, and a handful who say their kids just didn’t get it.  As an adult, I don’t really get it, but our niece LOVED this thing!  The video below pretty much shows why.


Kid O Go Car

The Kid O Go Car is a simple, slightly abstract, car great for little ones to grab hold of and push around the floor.  This toy comes in many colors, is easy to grasp, and is tons of fun for any toddler.

The car’s construction is solid and it can take a beating.    We love the rounded shape too!  You don’t have to worry about sharp angles for your kid to fall and hit his head on. If your toddler is anything like our’s random tumbles are par for the course.

The moment you see your kid crawling around the floor and driving a toy car around will just melt your heart.


Lego Duplo Deluxe Brick Box

The Lego Duplo Deluxe Brick Box is a great toy for kids starting at the age of 18 months.  It is an introduction to legos with larger brick pieces and comes with people, animals, windows, etc. as well as instructions on how to build some items like airplanes and trains. For parents who want to introduce creative play with building toys, this is a great addition to any toy collection. I know I have it on my son’s holiday list!

Bonus item: LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters 6051

The Lego Duplo Play with Letters set is a great set to include with your existing Duplo Lego pieces.  It adds blocks with letters on them to incorporate into any structure your child wants to build.  This is best for children ages 2-5 and can assist your child with learning their alphabet.


Buckle Toy

This Buckle Toy is a great toy for toddlers 1-4 years old.  It provides kids with the ability to practice buckling an unbuckling from an early age and most toddlers will spend oodles of time playing with it.  With over 200 reviews on Amazon and a rating of 4.5 stars you know this is a winner.

The Buckle Toy comes in various designs from a plush square with a face, stuffed animals, a backpack, etc, and it is a great toy to keep a child busy while traveling.


Moluk Plui

The Moluk Plui bath toy is a simple and great toy for the bathtub, or even a small backyard splash pool.  Simply fill it with water and let it rain, plug the hole at the top and it stops. I know this seems dull, but kids seem to find this fascinating and the fact that it kept coming up again and again, and again… and again as we researched awesome toys that we got the message and made sure to include it in our list.

The main complaint with this toy is that it can get moldy if not maintained properly.  Make sure the toy fully drains, and on occasion run some bleach water through it to kill off the mold that is bound to grow in any dark and damp environment.  You have to clean the tub, so it’s only fair that you need to clean a tub-toy now and again.  Otherwise it is tons of fun for toddlers!


Little Helper Broom Set

Every toddler loves helping mom and dad around the house with tasks like cooking to decorating the walls with crayons. Doh! Luckily, they also love to mimic and help clean up too. After several melt downs when we would take the broom away from our son – in an attempt prevent half the house from being destroyed by an out-of-control broom handle – we bought this broom set.  The Little Helper Broom Set proved to be  big hit in our house.  Apparently we are not alone either as this item has over 1350 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.5 stars.  Yes, a broom.

This has become one of his favorite toys.  Our son carried this broom around the entire night and for several days after he was “sweeping” just like mommy.  He definitely still goes for the bigger broom, but not as much and he is perfectly happy using his own now. Months later he still loves to sweep and he has now learned other uses like riding it like a pony. Best of all it’s become a makeshift microphone that he sings into while dancing to music.  So glad we got this for him!

Seven Picture Books about Awkward Subjects

After the popularity of our post listing 21 Must Own Board Books we started to think about what books might be overlooked.  After walking into a children’s book store and seeing the classic, “Everyone Poops” it dawned on us: Books about Awkward Subjects!

So after a lot of research and reading we curated a list that goes everywhere from farting to porn to dealing with divorce.

Please enjoy, Seven Picture Books about Awkward Subjects!



Everyone Poops
by Taro Gomi & Amanda Mayer Stinchecum

  • Age Range: 1 and up

Everyone Poops is such a classic that it inspired this list. A great way to introduce potty training to your little one, it explains to your kids that everybody poops, from elephants to mice, and it explains where creatures do the deed, what it looks like and how it smells.   This humorous book keeps children entertained and hopefully, ultimately, more relaxed about the whole idea of using the potty.  Like many parents before us, when the time comes to potty train our little guy, this will be the first book we take off our library shelf.



It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends
by Robie H. Harris & Michael Emberley

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years

It’s Not The Stork is a great book to assist in talking to your children about the inevitable Birds and the Bees. It has age appropriate information about anatomy, reproduction and even good and bad touching. It is very easy to navigate with bright, colorful illustrations that keep children engaged.

For many people this is a very taboo subject, but knowledge is power, and the more your children know the better decisions they can make later in life. This book will assist you with the uncomfortable conversations, and help you to discuss the importance of good versus bad touching, something that is so important to teach your children.

Starting these conversations early, before they can become taboo will helps make children feel more comfortable and able to discuss and ask questions as they get older.

Also check out It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families for kids aged 7-10.



The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts
by Shinta Cho & Amanda Mayer Stinchecum

  • Age Range: 2 and up

Obviously, this book is hilarious.  I mean, what kid doesn’t love talking about farts.  Beyond a genuinely hilarious text written in a frank and informal style, this book is actually informative and includes a diagram of the digestive system and other illustrations to explain the science behind digestion and… Well, farts.  Want to know what foods make gas stink? How about the amount of gas you pass each day?  I bet you do now; and, most likely your kids want to know too.



I Said No! A Kid-to-kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private
by Kimberly King, Zack King & Sue Rama

  • Age Range: 4 and up

I Said No! is a kid friendly guide to understanding personal boundaries.  This conversation is critically important and this book will help your child prepare for any circumstances he/she may encounter.

This book is told from a child’s perspective, and using child-friendly language it covers inappropriate touching, how to deal with inappropriate actions and/or threats, and when touching is appropriate and with whom.  This book is written in a flexible nature allowing it be used with older kids.

One area we like is that this book gives prompts for you to discuss specific concepts with your own children on your own terms.  For example, parents may be uncomfortable using the true anatomical terms vs. cutesy terms so the book provides a nice segue so that you can explain using your own terminology.

I would say this is a must have book for anyone looking to teach their child about the dangers of inappropriate touching.


Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids
by Kristen A. Jenson M.A., Debbie Fox and Gail A. Poyner Ph.D.

  • Age Range: School age and up

Yep.  We found it.  A book to help you talk to your kids about porn.

Written as comfortable, read-aloud story it tells the story of a mom and dad who are teaching their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it.  While this might be a book you want to read in advance to make sure it aligns with your views on sex education these are conversations you should be having in this modern internet era.

The theme of this book is that your child will eventually be exposed to porn, most often by accident. As a result they need to know what it is so that they can handle the potentially shocking images without trauma.

The thrill a child receives from viewing forbidden content can lead to addictive behavior so this book also contains detailed sections on addiction.  These self-awareness skills may prove helpful later in life when your child is confronted with drugs and alcohol.



Potty
by Leslie Patricell

  • Age Range: 1 – 3 years

Picking a traditional potty training book for this list was insanely difficult.  We decided to focus on a good entry to the topic and Potty by Leslie Patricelli answered that call. With simple text it’s easily memorizable by  your toddler, making it a great book that they can “read” while sitting on the potty themselves.  But, the secret trick is that the sparse text is spread out over 28 pages making is a nice slow process where your child can look at the pictures, giving them (and you) the time to sit and wait for something to happen.

I essence the story focuses on a toddler who has to “go potty.” Scared the child investigates what the dog and and cat do for their own potty needs. Several pages later, and after some hesitation, the toddler tries the potty where they find success.

It would be nice if this book included more about “post potty” time like wiping and washing hands, but I think the intention here is to get kids used to the idea and concepts.  Many parents report great success after reading this book at bed time for several nights before actually having their own child try the potty.



Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce
by Tamara Schmitz

  • Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Standing on My Own Two Feet is a beautifully illustrated story about a little boy who’s parents are going through a divorce. If a book can put a positive spin on a painful topic, this one can – provided you are sharing custody. The story aims to teach your child that even though Mommy and Daddy can’t be together anymore, they both still love him and the divorce is NOT the child’s fault.  It will teach your child that having two homes isn’t a bad thing and that your child can still be happy.