It’s almost the time of the year in which sleds are put to good use! I really like these Walrooz Connectable Sleds. They come in two sizes, Small and Large, are lightweight, and connect for family fun! The large one is supposed to be adult-sized. It is said that the more sleds you connect, the faster they go. To test them yourself, visit Giggle.com, where the large sled sells for $12 and the small for $8.
This GeoSafari Jr. Talking Bug Net can tell which bug your child has caught! Simply choose a bug and drop it into the net to hear 100 amazing bug facts and quiz questions. Then listen as the Talking Bug Net asks your child creepy, crawly questions using the facts she’s learned. Recommended for grades Pre-K and up, this interactive bug net comes with 6 bugs and sells for $29.99 at EducationalInsights.com.
Kids love to learn about the weather, and this weather tracker by Backyard Safari Outfitters helps them do just that. It lets them check wind speed, temperature, rainfall, hail and sleet. Kids can use the compass to aid in finding true north, and use the water gauge to collect and measure rainfall. The temperature gauge indicates current air temps and the extendable legs offer support on a flat surface. The weather pod comes with the Storm Chaser collectable patch and pop guide, and is portable. It sells for $19.99 at SummitToyShop.com.
This Teaching Cash Register is a great way for your child to have fun this summer while running that lemonade stand in the front yard or helping with the family’s yard sale. Recommended for ages 3 to 9, it rewards transactions with lights, sounds and voice messages; holds actual-size money and includes play coins and bills, coupon and credit card; features a built-in scanner, scale and coin slot; helps children practice coin recognition, addition, subtraction and place value with 4 engaging games; and best of all for parents, it comes with volume control! It takes 3 C batteries (not included) and sells for $54.99 at LearningResources.com.
What child wouldn’t love to have his or her own playhouse? This 1 Two 3 Playhouse by Chicco USA is made of soft fabric, decorated inside and out, and even has a mailbox pocket and a working door! It is also the winner of many awards, including “Toy of the Year” by San Diego Family Magazine and “Best Pick” by Dr. Toy. You can purchase this cool playhouse at ToysRUs.com, where it’s currently on sale for just $29.98 (regularly $54.99).
Kickboards are great tools for kids just learning to swim or who need a little more practice before going solo. I like this Dart Dolphin Kickboard Pool Toy by Melissa & Doug, not just because I trust the brand name (which I do) but also because of its great price ($6.99). Unfortunately, it’s such a popular item that it’s currently out of stock on the Melissa & Doug website. However, if you’re willing to pay just a little more, it’s selling at Amazon.com for $7.44 (with free prime shipping if you’re a Prime member).
My son has been clamoring for a pogo stick for as long as I remember, but I was afraid that it wasn’t a very safe toy choice. Recently I saw this Hop and Squeak Pogo Jumper, a foam bouncer that is safe for kids ages 3 and up. It’s made of soft, durable foam and designed to hold up to 250 lbs. A built-in squeaker squeaks every time your child bounces up and down on the stick. The pogo stick, designed for indoor and outdoor play, sells for an affordable $14.99 at Shopatron.com.
Want your child to help out more in the kitchen? Designed for ages 6 and up, this Playful Chef Cooking Set comes with five delicious, easy-to-follow laminated recipe cards and an overview of how to teach your child in the kitchen. It also has kitchen scissors, a sand timer, a whisk, a wooden spoon, spatula, and pastry brush, along with measuring cups and spoons, a kid-sized baking pan and mixing bowl, and a kid-sized Playful Chef backpack. The red tool belt provides for easy storage of these kitchen tools. The apron is adjustable for all sizes. This fun and unique gift idea is on sale at Organize.com for $28.49 (was $37.99).
Parents are always looking for creative ways to help their children pass the time while waiting in a grocery store line, at the doctor’s office, or anyplace where a child is apt to whine, “I’m bored!” Alex Toys has a great iPhone app for that. Called Moody Monster Manor, the app consists of four games and 20 different monster stories children ages 3 to 6 can create. These engaging, interactive games are not only fun and great time-passers, they also are said to promote emotional intelligence development in children. The free app can be downloaded from itunes. To read more about Moody Monster Manor, visit AlexToys.com.
Do you love the comfort of beanbag chairs, but hate the small size? Yogibo Yogi Max is so big, it can be shared by up to four people at once! Yogibo Max conforms to your body and supports you so well, even very pregnant women can lay down on it, on their bellies, with no problem. It can function as a chair, recliner, couch or even as a bed! Available in several colors, the Yogibo Max weighs less than 20 lbs and is easily moveable. It takes up just 4 square feet of space. Check it out at Wayfair.com, where it sells for $229 with free shipping.
My son (who would spend all day on his laptop if I let him) recently had the opportunity to try out Chatman. Chatman is unique in that it is the first and only artificially intelligent computer friend designed to make online chat sessions, web surfing, games, and homework more fun, creative, and safe for kids. Simply plug Chatman into a computer with the built-in USB cable, download the software CD, and log into MyChatman.com with the provided access code to get started. This cool, smart and funny friend sits by a child‘s computer and interacts with him via direct chatting or by responding to their internet chats with friends. Your child can ask Chatman questions and he will answer them or, if he doesn’t know the answer, your child can search with Chatman and/or teach Chatman the answer. Recommended for kids ages 6-12, Chatman is currently on sale at ToysRUs.com for $49.99 (regularly $79.99). My son’s review of Chatman? “It’s cool, it’s neat and it’s fun!” Check out MyChatman.com for more information, and don’t forget to sign up on Chatman’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/MyChatmanFriend for special promotions, new product introductions and more.
Today is my son’s 8th birthday. I can hardly believe he’s that old, and his interests have changed accordingly with his age. All of a sudden he’s into anything having to do with Star Wars, especially the Lego Star Wars sets (which he received almost exclusively at gifts at his birthday party this past weekend). Since these sets come with many small parts, they aren’t safe for children under six. For the younger set who might be interested in Star Wars, I found this Crayola Star Wars Giant Coloring Pages set. It contains 20 pages based on the Clone Wars for kids of all ages to color. My 8 year old would even enjoy this set, which sells for $18 at Amazon.com. Take it from a mom of a son who’s now almost considered a “tween” – cherish every moment you spend with your little ones, as they go by so fast!!
Are your children into Veggie Tales? Do you want to give them something fun and free to do while waiting in line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, or anywhere where they might start whining, “When are we going home?” Amazon.com is currently offering the Veggie Tales Spotisode Collection as a free download for Android devices (so if you have a Kindle Fire or Android phone, you’re in luck!) These video clips and games help to develop object recognition skills, teach valuable lessons and keep children entertained. Once downloaded, you can use the collection with or without an internet connection. Check it out at Amazon.com, where you can download it for FREE!
Here’s a novel idea for a Christmas gift for the kids, especially if you have more than one. This Rhythm Band 15 player Instrument Set features sand blocks, tom-tom w/ mallet, maracas, guiro tone block w/ mallet, cluster bells, cymbals, jingle taps, handle castanet, wrist/ankle bells, mounted bell set, cymbal w/ mallet, rhythm sticks, tick tock block and triangle w/ mallet. What a great way to start your own family band or neighborhood band, or just to introduce your child(ren) to the joy of music! The set sells for a reasonable $69.99 at S&S Worldwide.
Apple has recently released a “Danny the Dragon” app for the iPhone and iPad. This app is based on the popular and award-winning book series “Danny the Dragon,” by multi award-winning children’s author Tina Turbin. Not only that, but Apple featured “Danny the Dragon” as the first ever children’s picture book app for the iPad with sign language. The book has won 3 prestigious awards last year: Mom’s Choice Award, Purple Dragonfly Book Awards and an iParenting Media Award (Disney media group affiliate). Check out this innovative app at DannytheDragon.com.