Archive for Preschooler Product

Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer for the Germaphobic Mama – Giveaway!

So, okay.  Remember back when Bean was a baby and I was all, like, “I’m the craziest germaphobic Mommy out there, I’m such a raging germaphobic germaphobe…”?  Yeah, well I still kind of am.

But I’m trying to be Zen about it.  The number of days of school Bean missed in Kindergarten versus Pre-K?  Let’s just say the number declined dramatically.  Ergo: children get exposed to germs as small children.  Children develop immune systems.  It appears to be true.

However.  That said, I still want to minimize the days my sweet girl is laid up with a sore throat and stuffy nose and heaven knows if we can dodge that stomach bug bullet I’m ready to go all Matrix on your… well, you know.

And yet, it bothers me that the hand sanitizer that you buy in most drug stores, is painful if applied to cracked skin.  Or skin with a bit of a cut.  Before I give Bean a spritz she has taken to asking “Is this the stingy kind?”  And when I first developed eczema (aka my mange), I was using a substantial amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer every day to try to avoid catching a co-worker’s cold.  A co-worker I had to kiss in a play, that is.  Yeah I slathered the stuff on.  Many hand sanitizers are alcohol-based.  They strip the natural oils on the skin, leaving it germ-free, yes, but also potentially pretty dry.  And irritated.  And stingy.

So when the folks at safeHands offered us a sample of their non-alcohol based hand sanitizer to try, I was awfully eager to do so.

I’ll get to the fun stuff like the colors and scents in a minute, but the active ingredient in safeHands is Benzalkonium Chloride and not alcohol.  OK, so I have just performed an extremely un-scientific experiment.  I sprayed some of the safeHands foaming hand santizer directly on the small patch of mange on the third finger of my left hand.  And it did not hurt.  I repeat, it did not hurt.  So if you are a hand-sanitzer user.  And you or your children have sensitivity to or allergy to alcohol based hand sanitizers, I can say that in my experience safeHands is not painful. Like other non-alcohol based hand santizers, the liquid doesn’t evaporate instantly.  It is a little wetter and leaves your hands feeling slightly sticky. But like I say, I don’t find it to sting or irritate my sensitive skin.

Furthermore, safeHands comes in several fun colors and fragrances–including Bubble Gum (pink), Cool Blue (blue), and Tooty Fruity (green).  Needless to say they are not to be ingested, merely smelled.

That said, the active ingredient in safeHands is Benzalkonium Chloride, which is indeed a chemical.  But it is generally recognized as “safe” at the concentrations used in hand sanitizers.  If you’re concerned, obviously, do a little reading and come to your own judgement about it.

I’m still a big fan of thorough hand washing as the best way to eliminate those pesky germs.  But if  you’re looking for a non-irritating alcohol-free, non-stinging hand sanitizer to supplement, I’d definitely check out safeHands.

SafeHands is available at many Target retail stores around the country and on their website.  And thanks to the folks at safeHands we’re giving away a safeHands germ-free kit filled with essential hand sanitizers including our Classic and safeSquirts line for children  just in time for the onset of cold and flu season.  Want to enter?  Just use the handy Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were sent a sample pack of safeHands free for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are strictly my own and were in no way influenced by anyone.

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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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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A Disney Princess App Even a Tomboy Can Love

Ok, here’s the thing.  I was the biggest tomboy you can imagine.  Not just literally (although I did stand about a foot taller than the tallest boy in  my preschool class…) but the holes in your toughskins, non-matching garanimals, Star Wars card collecting in a tree kind of tomboy.

And yet.  I had one of those Barbie heads where you can style the hair.  And I loooooooved it.

Cut to the girliest of the girly girls.  My daughter, Bean.  I do not quite know what to do with the swirling collection of girlyness that is her.

This is how she posed for the first day of school today:

And no, I didn’t tell her to stand like that.  I can’t even convincingly stand like that.

So, give this little bedazzling creature an app that lets you pick a Disney Princess, choose a fancy event she is attending, style her hair (yes the app kind of miraculously lets your kid style a cartoon character’s hair as if she is touching it), pick her clothes, the color and fabric of her gown, choose accessories, and then save the photo in an album–and she is in heaven.  The new Disney Princess Royal Salon App (I know, the name makes me want to barf too) does just that.

Bean loves it.

And honestly, I think it’s pretty fun too.

What is most fun, is the seemingly inexhaustible combination of options for creating your character’s look.  You choose if you want to dress Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle or Ariel.  The characters look pretty much like they did in the movies too–not all grown up and ultra-busty.  Then you can choose from a number of events.  And then the options for fabrics and dresses and hair and accessories just go on and on. And if you’re wondering how you can possibly style an animated character’s hair, I just have to say, trust me.  It’s like the Barbie head times a thousand.  Except that pretty much every choice you make actually looks good. More often than not my poor Barbie head looked like a zombie drag queen.

Look, I am the first person to try to de-princessify my daughter’s life.  I want to keep her young.  I want her to get muddy (and not track it in my apartment…).  I want her building and climbing and racing and singing.  But I know that styling hair has its joys.  And that curiosity about how changing one’s look changes one’s sense of self, is part of growing up.  And fashion design is actually an amazing thing.  And some enchanted storytelling can be wonderful.

So I am happy to see how much Bean enjoys the Disney Princess Royal Salon.  And I am super glad we got to review it.  It sure takes up less space in the apartment than the Barbie Head would.

Thanks to Disney for sending us the Disney Princess Royal Salon to review. As always, all opinions are mine and the Bean’s and you better believe were not influenced by anyone.

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Flying Fun with Disney’s Planes: Storybook Deluxe

We have reviewed a number of the Disney Storybook Deluxe apps, and Planes is our favorite by far!  It is flying high above the rest!  Children can choose from 3 activities: Read and Fly, Race and Fly, and Scan and Fly.  In Read and Fly mode, children can read the story of the film and activate animation and real film clips as they read.  The child can read it himself or have it narrated! Or, you can record your own narration…what a great way to encourage early readers!  They love listening to themselves read.


In Race and Fly mode, the “tilt-and-play” technology allows children to race along with Dusty and the other planes!  In this mode, children can choose a plane and then guide it through the race by tilting your device.  CW loves this mode.  He enjoys the interaction of the tilt-and-play technology, especially adding altitude.  And I love that it gives him enough chances to make it through each “level” without leading him to be frustrated.  He also loves selecting different scenes (the train tunnel is his favorite).  Kids can earn the ability to be other pilots (they start as Dusty) and they can earn new scenes as well.  They can also choose to be a Trainee, Pilot, or Captain (sort of like Easy, Medium, and Hard).


In Scan and Fly mode, children can collect “planes cards” for a planes album containing their favorite characters!  You simply scan any Disney Planes logo.  Each logo unlocks a new plane!

The animation and interaction are the best we’ve seen from the Storybook Deluxe apps, and CW found the racing game particularly engaging!  Race into the fun with the Planes Storybook Deluxe App, available on iTunes!


photo10 150x150 Get Patched in to A World of Wonder: Mirari Baby & Toddler ToysKristin 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 Disney Planes Storybook Deluxe App 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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Drive Away with Toystate’s Caterpillar Construction Motorized Iron Diesel Train

Here at Babies Gotta Have It we love trains! Kristin and her boys reviewed the new Toystate Caterpillar Train and here’s what they had to say! Thanks so much to Toystate for sending it along for them to check out!


In case it has not been completely apparent, my boys love trains.  They love Thomas the Tank Engine and GeoTrax trains.  They love real trains, steam engines, monorails, and subway trains.  So to say that they were excited when Toystate’s Caterpillar Construction Motorized Iron Diesel Train arrived would be an understatement.  They were thrilled.  Amazed.  Ecstatic.  Overjoyed.  To top it off, the train is a Construction train!  A Caterpillar Construction train!  Some of you may not see the significance in this, but it is like handing keys to a brand new car to a sixteen year old.  They went wild!


And since we recently moved to a new house in a new neighborhood that is still under construction, the boys love it even more.  We wake up to Caterpillar cranes, excavators, backhoe loaders, and bulldozers.  They watch them out the window all day long. Now, we can play with them all day long too!


The train includes a 7’ track, which can be configured in a few ways (although an oval seems to be the simplest) and five unique train cars.  The motorized engine pulls a trailer carrying two Caterpillar construction vehicles, a shipping container crane, a side-dumping trailer, and a caboose.  It is scaled to play with CAT mini-machines (which we already have) and the Mine Builder Playsets (for which now the boys are asking).  Both boys enjoy the train, although MD is a little too young to get it lined up on the track quite right.  CW, at age 5, has it figured out and loves to load the shipping crane and take the other CAT vehicles on and off.  The only negative is that the coupling of the trains is a little too loose, so the train cars come uncoupled too easily.  If they were able to snap together or if they were magnetized that might be better.  BUT, for $15.62 on, you really can’t go wrong!


What a great gift!  We will be digging up fun with this train for months to come!


photo10 150x150 Monsters University Storybook Deluxe: An Education in ScaryKristin 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 this app for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s and her boys’ and weren’t influenced by anyone. Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon affiliate.





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Monsters University Storybook Deluxe: An Education in Scary

When asked to review Monsters University Storybook Deluxe app, CW and I were thrilled.  We have many of the Disney Storybook Deluxe editions and love them!  CW has never watched “Monsters, Inc.” and with the upcoming release of “Monsters University,” he was thrilled to learn the “story behind the monsters.”

As a scare student, CW took his own photo with the iPad to create his student I.D. card!  Then, he was able to add funny “monster” features such as extra eyes, bat-like ears, and etc.  He loved hearing the story read to him and tapping the screen for animation and surprise monsters!


Just as Mike Wazowski once did, CW went through monster training, which includes avoiding “toxic obstacles” like books, kids’ toys, and lamps.  Once he clears all of the obstacles he must roar at the screen to gain extra points.  CW finds this part to be his favorite and enjoys making up new “scary” sounds!  We have not managed to clear the first level and unlock Sully as the player yet, but CW is already excited to try out the next monsters and their games.

Personally, I found this Storybook Deluxe to be a little less satisfying than some of the others but CW has not lost interest at all.  I felt like the game versions were all the same exact thing but in different locations.  Still, I love the book aspect of it, and I think once we clear Mike Wazowski’s level that we will get to some more interesting games.  On the other hand, CW doesn’t mind the repetition, and begs to play the game nearly every day.  So, for us it is a win!

The Monsters University Storybook App is available on iTunes and is on sale today for $.99!  ROAR!

photo10 150x150 Mike the Knight is on a Mission and a GiveawayKristin 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 this app for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s and her boys’ and weren’t influenced by anyone.



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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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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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