Archive for Toddler Product

Lion Around with Wild Friends – A Stuffed Lion Giveaway!

On our recent trip to the beach, we decided to take a morning and go to the nearby zoo (the Cape May County Zoo).  The boys loved it, and MD fell in love with the giraffes and the lion.  CW was a little more hesitant about the lion…the large, muscular creature that was roaming around chuffing and roaring.  But my 2 year old was fearless.  He loved imitating the lion, and actually became quite adept at the sounds.

A week later, International Playthings LLC sent us an adorable plush lion to review.  MD was so excited.  The Lion has become a permanent fixture in his new big boy bed!  The lion is super soft and has a great tail for carrying.  He is part of their new line by the German company Nici called “Wild Friends” which includes mugs, banks, pillows, wallets, and stuffed animals.  There are giraffes, leopards, tigers, birds, and lions.  And they are some of the cutest, softest, cuddliest creatures out there!

If you need the perfect present for a little one, at under $20, these Wild Friends make a great gift!    Make Wild Friends a part of your zoo experience, or find a great book to go along with them like “Tawny Scrawny Lion” which my boys love.

You can find all of the Wild Friends on the International Playthings website.  In fact, if you buy one today and use the code LION20 at check out, you’ll receive a 20% discount on your purchase.  In addition, thanks to the wonderful folks at International Playthings, one lucky Babies Gotta Have It will win a Wild Friends stuffed lion of their very own!  Want to enter?  Just use the handy rafflecopter form below!  ROAR!

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photo10 150x150 Flying Fun with Disney’s Planes: Storybook DeluxeKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Babies Gotta Have It received the Nici Wild Friends Plush Lion free for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s and her boys’ and weren’t influenced by anyone.

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Get Patched in to A World of Wonder: Mirari Baby & Toddler Toys

From the creators of Patch, the family-owned company who developed “Buzzword” and “Farkle,” comes a new line of preschool toys called “Mirari.”  Taken from Latin, “mirari” means “wonder,” and the toys were created to inspire a sense of wonder.  Thank you to Patch Products, Inc. for sending us three of their new toys in the Mirari line to review!


We received the myPad, Busy Buddy, and Pop! Pop! Piano.  The myPad is a hit with both my 5 year old and my 2 year old.  Made for 12 months and older, the myPad features 20 colorful light-up photos and 40 sounds and phrases that activate when children press the arrow buttons.  MD loves that he has his very own learning tablet to play with while CW plays on my iPad.  And CW loves helping MD get to the image he wants (which is usually the piano).  They will both dance to the music, imitate the animals, and repeat the phrases.  Definitely a great gift for a first birthday!


Busy Buddy is “geared” toward ages 9 months and older.  In the shape of a sweet teddy bear, children will love the removable shape-sorting and color-matching gears.  When the gears are in place, children can turn the easy-to-grab knob and cause Busy Buddy to blink his eyes and wiggle his ears!  MD loves the shape sorting aspect of Busy Buddy.  Although I think it may be difficult for younger children to do by themselves, it certainly promotes finger dexterity and sensory development, while fostering an understanding of cause and effect.  A great gift idea for a little one to “grow into!”

Our favorite (both boys constantly want to play with this one) is the Pop! Pop! Piano.  For 12 months and older, the piano has created many new tunes in our house.  There are two modes of sounds (classical tunes and funny sound effects), which you can choose by flipping the switch on the bottom.  As the key is pressed, a star pops up into the air. With the clear, removable arch on top, children can watch the stars pop from one pipe to the next as they play.  Or, you can remove the arch for your child to attempt to catch the stars.  MD and CW were having a blast doing this today.  They took turns playing the piano for one another and catching the stars.  The best part is that there is an off switch for days when you don’t want loud piano plunking.


Mirari offers a number of other products for ages 6 months and older, including Wee Keys, Zig-Zag Xylo Train, and Roll & Return Ball.  All of the toys in this line are engaging and educational.  My only complaint is that I feel like they are all a little too loud.  Thankfully, they have off switches, but I wish there were volume controls as well.  Still, you cannot go wrong with Mirari as a gift for a new baby in your life!


photo10 150x150 Drive Away with Toystate’s Caterpillar Construction Motorized Iron Diesel TrainKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Babies Gotta Have It received these toys free for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s and her boys’ and weren’t influenced by anyone.



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Mo Willems and a Seriously Silly Exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum

Mo Willems has reached celebrity status in our house.

This is Mo.

Haven’t heard of him?  Rest assured your kids have.  Mo lives in Brooklyn.  He created Knuffle Bunny…and the Pigeon who wants to drive the bus…and Elephant and Piggie…  Yeah that Mo Willems.  He’s a genius.

Bean will even correct grown-ups who call him Mo Williams.  We had to have a conversation about correcting grown-ups after she pulled that one with the parent of a classmate.

So up in Amherst, Massachusetts (coincidentally where I went to college), there is a museum dedicated to the brilliant children’s book writer Eric Carle called the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  Once upon a time on this blog I made a video about Eric Carle.  Remember when I used to make videos with my very compliant baby?  Me too.

We visited this museum with family  when Bean was teeny, and we were blown away.  It is light and airy and inspiring and beautiful.  There are activities and displays and to quote my favorite book as a child… there’s infinite “scope for imagination.”  And right now, on display, there is a wonderful new exhibit all about Mo Willems called Seriously Silly: A Decade of Art and Whimsy by Mo Willems.

According to the museum, the exhibition, curated by The Carle’s chief curator, Nick Clark, will show preliminary drawings that give viewers a glimpse of Willems’ process, as well as other finished illustrations that fully reveal his comedic genius and the influence of his early work as an animator for Sesame Street. Willems’ own work is accompanied by a selection of work from his private collection by the comic book artists and cartoonists who have inspired him most, including Charles M. Schulz, William Steig, and Saul Steinberg. Like the masters who came before him, Willems makes a powerful message look simple. “Writing, especially funny stuff, involves touching your own heart,” says Willems. “But to get there you have to rip open the rib cage and squeeze past the lungs. It can’t help but be messy, shocking, and painful.”

I have a friend who uses the Elephant and Piggie books as scripts for his Intro to Acting classes.  I think this says something rather profound about the books and about Mo Willems as a writer.  The stories are active.  They get at something essential about relationships–about conflict and action and reaction and resolution.  They open the rib cage, squeeze past the lungs, and touch the heart which is pretty much mandatory for actors.  And they are wonderfully open to dramatic interpretation.  My new reader is never more expressive vocally than when she is reading an Elephant and Piggie book aloud.

So in these dog days of summer, if you are looking for a fabulous adventure with your children, and you are within striking distance of Amherst, Massachusetts, by all means, GO!  Walk the campus of beautiful Amherst College and take in dinosaur bones at the Beneski Museum of Natural History.  Get a chocolate croissant at The Black Sheep.  Check out the Ko Theater Festival. Piggie out on a pizza from Antonio’s.  And of course, spend many hours at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Seriously Silly is on view now through February 23, 2014.  Thank you to the Eric Carle Museum for sending us four passes to visit!  Hope we can use them very very soon!

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Mike the Knight is on a Mission and a Giveaway

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Come one, come all to the special appearance of Mike the Knight at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, NY on June 23rd for a brand-new live performance!  He will appear in two FREE live interactive musical performances of Mike the Knight and the Mission for Hidden Treasure at noon and 2:30 pm!

Mike will be joined by his dragon, Squirt, and according to the official press release, they will be available for “meet and greets, photo opportunities, giveaways, and a preview of the first Mike the Knight toys from Fisher-Price!”  Young knights will have a chance to tell Mike what “knightly deeds” they have been doing and participate in a special knighting ceremony!  Guests are also encouraged to dress in knight and princess attire!!

We love the Mike the Knight books in our house, and cannot get enough of Squirt the dragon.  If you want to read more about our thoughts, click here.  If you live in the NYC area, I highly encourage you to take your knights and princesses to this amazing musical experience.  For more on the Broadway Mall, please visit here.  And if you can’t make it to Hicksville, don’t despair!  Mike the Knight will be making appearances in several locations around the US as part of his Mission for Hidden Treasure tour!  Just click here for more info!

 And that’s not all!!!  Babies Gotta Have It is hosting a giveaway of the brand new Mike the Knight DVD “Knight in Training” and The Mike the Knight Sword and Shield Dress Up Set pictured above!  Want to enter?  Just fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below!

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photo10 150x150 Mike the Knight   A Great Book HeroKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Babies Gotta Have It received these books for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin and her boys and weren’t influenced by anyone.  Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon affiliate.

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Dirty Toes Call for Fresh Feet

This post originally appeared on my new site,–a site for girls who read, play and dress up, and the Mamas who love them! Check it out!


The Bean in Keens


I refused to wear sandals for years.  As a teen I became convinced that my feet were hideous and should be hidden from the general public for fear the sight of the space between my toes would cause apoplexy.  And then I guess I came to the realization that really my weird toes were the least of my problems, and it was nice to have cool feet in the summer.  And somewhere around that time they invented Tevas and Keens and this tomboy jumped all over that sport sandal trend.

I am pretty certain that Keens are miracle shoes.  We’ve been passed down Keens for Cate in every color and almost every size.  They go from boat to beach, from mud puddle to spray park–and then you wash them and throw them in the dryer…and they look better than the day you were handed them down.  (I want whatever is in Keens to slather all over my face.)

The same cannot be said, however, for the feet which inhabit those sandals.

You know what I can’t stand?  Going to bed with dirty feet.  I have been known, on a dusty summer night, to sit on the side of the tub and indulge in a foot washing.  Too lazy to bathe my entire body.  Entirely refreshed by the simple act of cleansing the tootsies.

But sometimes, when tiny toes have been splashing in the somewhat stagnant puddles of a New York City Sprinkler (don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think about it) it’s prudent to wash those feet before entering the apartment.  Or even before leaving the park if you think there’s a chance those toes will end up in the mouth two blocks from home.  Because I am committed to the idea that girls should get dirty in the park.  And I am equally committed to the idea of cleaning up afterward.  And for that purpose, I was so very excited to try out the new Fresh Feet Wipes for Kids (and grown ups) by Jasmine Seven.

We were sent the Fresh Feet Wipes for Kids and Fresh Feet Wipes for Grown Ups to try out, and we are in foot pampering heaven.  For Mamas, the adult Fresh Feet wipes are durable, soft and peppermint scented.  They are antibacterial, alcohol free, 99% natural, made with aloe and vitamin E, and so refreshing.  I absolutely love them.  The Wipes for Kids can be used for feet and hands and are grapefruit scented.  Like the grown-up version they are natural and free of all those nasty chemicals and incredibly soft, smooth and durable.  So much more suited for the job than regular old baby wipes.  Bean says they smell “delicious” and feel “great.”

So girls (and boys), get out there and splash in those puddles this summer.  Wear your sandals in the mud.  Spend long days barefoot in the sand, knowing you can quickly, easily and refreshingly clean those feet before you fall asleep with the windows open.  And that’s kind of what summer’s all about…don’t you think?

Thanks to the folks at Fresh Feet Wipes for sending us a sample to try. You can find Fresh Feet Wipes on their website, at Walmart or online at our affiliate


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Joanie Takes June


Babies Gotta Have It favorite Joanie Leeds is dropping a new CD on June 25th (like my fancy music biz lingo?).  We got a sneak preview of “Bandwagon,” and just like her previous CD “I’m a Rock Star” this one is a big hit at our house!  This totally delightful collection of songs mixes musical styles and themes, all while exploring kid-friendly ideas with parent-enjoyable melodies and lyrics (I especially love the Ferris Bueller reference in “Back to School”).  Bean’s favorite is “Are We There Yet” – a rocking tribute to that oft-quoted road-trip mantra.  I love “I Love New York” for obvious reasons…but also because along with the familiar landmarks, this super cool rap/chanting/groovy song mentions such insider destinations as the opera, the High Line, MSG, the Central Park Carousel and SOHO.  And it kinda reminds me of that 1980s anthem “Mickey.”  Which is enjoyable.  Also love the beautiful song “My Family Tree,” a lyrical tribute to the beauty of family.

Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live Program Director Mindy Thomas has said that “Joanie Leeds is that cool babysitter who would let you try on her lip gloss once your mom left the house. You idolized her, and your mom knew she could trust her. That’s Joanie. Only she’s also likely to completely ROCK THE ROOF OFF YOUR HOUSE!”

Want to get to know Joanie for yourself?  Well, you’re in luck!  Starting on June 2nd, Joanie will release 14 new videos on her YouTube Channel.  Each video is inspired by a song from “Bandwagon.”  The series kicks off with “I Love New York” so that’s cool. Check out Joanie’s Facebook page for updates and keep a look out for all 14 music videos on her YouTube channel, with new ones added on alternate days.

You can find Joanie’s CDs on her website or on our affiliate,  And if you’re lucky you can catch Joanie in concert in your hometown soon!  Keep an eye on her upcoming events and facebook page to see when Joanie and the Nighlights will be in your area!

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Yezz We Can…For Free! Quinny Stroller Giveaway!

In New York, nothing comes for free.  We pay more for a monthly parking space than most people pay in rent.  And don’t get me started on sandwiches.  It’s a ridiculous place to live, let alone to try to raise children.  There’s an ad now for Manhattan Mini Storage on all the bus shelters:


That’s pretty much it.

But then a little miracle happened.  Quinny decided to try to make our urban lives just a bit easier.  First, they designed and made a new stroller, the Yezz (not to be confused with Yaz…that’s TOTALLY different) which is an 11 pound, easily foldable, durable stroller that comes with a carrying strap.   Thank you for understanding that light and sturdy are essential qualities in folding strollers.  Because you better believe you gotta collapse that thing when you get on the bus.

And then yesterday they gave it away.  Yup.  Just handed ’em out for free.  400 New Yorkers stood in line at stores like Giggle and Albee Baby and walked away with a fab new stroller. For nothin’.

Here are photos to prove that this unbelievably nice thing actually happened right here in New York City.

And, Quinny is so eager for folks beyond our great dirty city to get a chance to test-drive the Yezz, they’re giving me one to give away to you!  Yup.  Also for free.

Here’s another pic so you can see what you’ll be winning (color subject to availability).  Yeah, you so want this stroller.

So thanks Quinny.  For bringing some civility to the city that never sleeps.  At least now we know our babies will be sleeping in their awesome new strollers!

Want to enter to win a brand new Quinny Yezz for babies ages 6 months to 40 pounds?  Just fill out the handy Rafflecopter form below!

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Babies Gotta Have It is an affiliate.

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Peg + Cat are Coming to PBS Kids

Peg + Cat New PBS Series for Preschoolers


I think a new PBS Kids series is kind of always a cause for celebration. But one that is produced by the Fred Rogers Company, stars a spunky little girl and her cat, and teaches early math skills through hilarious adventures? Maybe that’s cause for a Wednesday morning party!

Peg + Cat, coming in October 2013 to PBS Kids was co-created by folks who previously worked on “The Wonder Pets” and Broadway’s “Rent.” Not a bad pedigree! It introduces a new heroine for our little girls, Peg, and her sidekick Cat. The two pals embark upon crazy adventures to such locales as purple planets, Radio City Music Hall and even Romeo and Juliet’s 16th century Verona. Peg and Cat inevitably end up in a jam and have to use their smarts and some math skills to solve a challenge and save the day. The show will premiere with a one hour broadcast of two episodes on Monday October 7th, but you can already find Peg and Cat online. Play some games. Spend the summer getting to know them. This is one little gal who I think could become a very good friend.

This post originally appeared on!

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Mike the Knight – A Great Book Hero

Looking for a great book series for your preschool boy? Kristin and her sons received the new Mike the Knight series from Simon & Schuster to check out…here’s her review! Thanks Mike!

Have you dreamt of being a knight or a lady, living in a castle, casting magic spells, and playing with dragons?  Have you had visions of long flowing dresses, and men on horseback?  My son CW frequently pretends he has his own pet dragon…that is when he’s not being a pirate.

Right on cue, the brand new Mike the Knight books and coloring book arrived at our house!  In a period of time where my just-turned-five-year-old boy is excited about dragons and pirates, knights and trolls, this book series could not have arrived soon enough!  CW was ecstatic when he saw what was in the box.  And, he has been “reading” the books to himself ever since.  We read them together, our babysitter read them to him, his grandparents read them to him, and now he sits and “reads” them every morning.  I call that a win!


The books highlight Mike’s good deeds (like in “Mike the Knight and the Good Deed”), which has CW looking for ways to be a good knight too.  This means he attempts to make his bed, carry his plate to the sink, and be nice to his brother.  There is even a great board book for his little brother, “Mike and the Dragons” which introduces Mike, Squirt, and Sparkie.

“Mike and Trollee in Trouble” (a Level 1 Reader perfect for my new reader) teaches the importance of friendship and teamwork.  Mike and his dragons, Sparkie and Squirt, work together to get Mike’s friend Trollee out of trouble.

 The coloring book went with us to the doctor this past week, and kept both boys happy for our 45-minute wait and appointment.  The app is now loaded and ready to go on the iPad, and we may even buy some of the Mike the Knight figures with our birthday gift cards!  You can even buy a mini set of the books here for $6.29!

When your child is begging you to read, “reading” to himself, and playing knight, you will be so happy you picked up some of these amazing books!  And if you want some great computer activities, check out Mike the Knight online!  At $3-$7, you can’t go wrong with a few Mike the Knight books for birthday gifts or “just because!”


photo10 150x150 A Glowing Review for the Global GlowballKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Babies Gotta Have It received these books for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin and her boys and weren’t influenced by anyone.  Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon affiliate.

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Disney Storytime Apps – A Library of Fun!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Disney Story apps.  I love the Disney Classics Storybook apps for the extended playtime and quiet storytelling.  Well, we recently had a chance to review the new Disney Storytime app, and it is a great addition to the Disney apps collection.

The Disney Storytime app is a virtual bookshelf of Disney picture books for your child containing the largest collection of Disney stories to date.  And a neat function allows your child to choose the books you purchase to add to your collection.  So how does it work?  When you buy the app ($1.99 on iTunes, for iPhone and iPad) you receive three stories: Toy Story: Starry Night, Tangled: Rapuzel’s Story and  Monsters, Inc.: Always Time for a Laugh.  Once it has downloaded, Mom and Dad can go into the app and purchase credits which kids can use to add more stories to the bookshelf.  Two stories for $2.99, 5 stories for $4.99, or the remaining 17 stories for $8.99.  Your kids can then choose books they’d like and download them for the credits you have purchased.  Pretty cool!

The stories themselves are pretty good, and range from retellings of the movies to simple tales containing those movie characters you know and love.  The art is lovely, of course.  Each page will play a sound effect when you tap on the picture–the qualities of those range from really neat to a little baffling.  And as in all of the Disney story apps, your child can choose to have the story read to her, or to read it herself.  And of course my favorite feature…have you always dreamed of recording audio books?  Well, with these apps, you can record your own voice reading the whole book.  Really fun for you, and especially neat for your kid if you’re away on business or out of town for the weekend.  Or maybe even have Grandma record a few when she’s in town for a neat surprise.

The new Disney Storytime app–a nice addition to the Disney apps collection, and a must have if your little one is a diehard Disney fan.

Thanks to Disney for providing us with this app to review.  As always, all opinions are my own and my child’s and you better believe weren’t influenced by anyone.

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