Archive for Preschooler Product

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, Amazon.com.  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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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 Catybean.com!

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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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Get Outside AND Plug In with Ranger Rick Apps – Giveaway!

Spring has sprung here in the Northeast.  Are your kids as eager to get outside as my little Bean is? There are some pretty ingenious folks out there inventing super cool interactive kids’ apps to integrate technology with the great outdoors, and I think it’s a fantastic idea.  I firmly believe that the ultimate goal is to have our little ones outside getting their feet wet and their hands dirty.  But if we can supplement that outdoor play with educational technology then I’m absolutely all for it.  And on those rainy days, your kids can still get their outdoor fix by exploring nature digitally!

We were given a few apps to try out by the lovely folks at the National Wildlife Federation and we’re definitely  fans!  The Ranger Rick’s Treehouse app is a neat new digital magazine your kids will love to explore.  Though it is designed for kids ages 7-12, my little 5 3/4 year old has been having a fantastic time reading it and she loves earning the badges!  This iPad magazine (available on Newsstand) has articles organized by rooms in a tree house!  Each room is packed with real-life animal videos, comic adventures, multi-level games, goofy jokes, nature crafts, wildlife mysteries, and opportunities for kids to earn badges.  We read one issue together and she had a ball answering the questions about each article to earn her badges.  Additional badges are earned by spending time in the great outdoors and recording your activities in the journal in “Rick’s backyard.”  She opened the second issue on her own in the car and was able to read the section on grizzly bears, answer the question, and earn a badge all on her own!  The games are fun and age appropriate. And Bean loves all of the jokes!

We also received the Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures app which is designed for preschoolers and kids ages 4 – 7.  It isn’t compatible with my old school first generation iPad–so we downloaded it to Daddy’s newer device and haven’t had a chance to explore it fully.  But if it’s anything like the Backyard magazine I know we’ll love it.  This new iPad story app lets young kids use cutting-edge technology to explore, create, and play their way through incredible animal adventures. Every Appventure includes an interactive photo story, engaging games, and creative play activities—all centered around a specific animal. The first one in the series opens with a ROAR as mascot Ricky Raccoon and his friend Lars the Lion take children on a trip to the African grasslands. There they discover how lions spend their days, raise their young, and much more!

Digital nature apps for kids that encourage them to get out and explore the world! That’s something kiddos definitely gotta have.

These apps are available on iTunes and will actually be on sale for $1.99 a piece from April 22 – 29 in celebration of Earth Day.  Also, thanks to the awesome folks at the National Wildlife Federation we’re giving five readers the Ranger Rick Jr. Appventure for iPad 2 or higher, absolutely free!  Want to enter!  Just use the handy rafflecopter entry below!  Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the Ranger Rick’s Treehouse and Ranger Rick Jr. Appventure apps free for purposes of review. As always, my opinions are entirely my own and you better believe weren’t influenced by anyone.

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A Toy To Make Your Little Girl Squeal

 

It’s one of the reasons we have children, don’t you think?  To be the person who gives them the big beautiful present that makes them scream like, well…like little girls.

With the Our Generation I Think I Canter playset, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll do absolutely that. Don’t believe me?  Check out the video above.

Our Generation is Target’s version of the 18″ doll world, and I think it’s a pretty big success for the price.  Especially if you want to give your preschooler an 18″ doll but you don’t feel like spending a fortune on it…because let’s face it.  You know your three-year-old’s dolly will end up in the sandbox and fingerpainted (oh I’m sorry that’s “makeup!”) and probably get a haircut at some point.  And Our Generation really has a nice collection of toys.  The I Think I Canter set, for girls ages 3 and up, comes with a LOT. The doll is very pretty–nice hair and a sweet face.  The horse is absolutely gorgeous.  And then there are a ton of accessories.  You know, if your little girl is into that.

Check out the video.  Check out the Our Generation sets at Target.  I also love the Off the Beaten Path camping set–because I’m totally into camping toys for girls.  That’s the one I would have chosen.  But I knew my Bean would flip for the pony.  And she did.

Our Generation play sets. Girls gotta have em.  And Mamas, you’re gonna love the price.

Thanks to Our Generation for sending us the I Think I Canter Playset to review.  As always all opinions are absolutely my own and my daughter’s and you better believe were not influenced by anyone.

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A Glowing Review for the Global Glowball

When the box with the B. Toys logo arrived at our front step the other day, the boys and I were elated.  We have a ton of B. Toys (B. Wheeee-ls, B. Zany Zoo, B. Doctor to name a few), and they never fail to entertain us.  Well, B. Toys has done it again (and this one just might be our favorite of all time).

The Global Glowball is a globe, it’s a nightlight, it’s a music player, and it’s a ball.  Each of the continents can be pushed to play music, or you can use the compass-dial to select music, music and lights, or just lights.  If you want to use the Global Glowball as a nightlight, then select lights and it will rotate through all of the continents with a subtle, colorful, and beautiful glow.  Or, you can select music and lights to receive a 20-minute musical tour of the world as colorful lights glow on and off to the tempos! As usual, B. Toys has thought of everything.  There is a volume control, and the “B” can be pushed to stop the music and lights at any time (they suggest global freeze tag…not a bad idea)!

 

Designed for kids ages 8 months and up, the Global Glowball even comes with a little booklet that describes each of the songs that are played.  Perhaps, we could suspend our own notions about each continent, and allow our children to enjoy the cultural differences of others.  Perhaps, we could enjoy a little “African Sunshine” or “Banjo Matilda.”  My kids love the “Music from the Ice” that plays from Antartica!  They are excited to hear the penguins, wind, and ocean sounds.  The Global Glowball has even been known to take up residence at our dinner table to give us “mood music.”

 

CW and MD are still fighting over who gets to play with the Global Glowball (maybe I should order another).  CW (nearly 5) asks probing questions about each of the continents, the types of music, and what the terrain is like.  MD (nearly 2), on the other hand, loves to make the music start and stop, dance to the beats, and roll the globe around.  Luckily, it is made with just that kind of play in mind (it is both sturdy and fun)!

 

And, for the parents, you can be satisfied that you have bought a B. Toy which represents the world accurately, and is also made with the world in mind.  All B. Toys are packaged in 100% recyclable/reusable materials!  So, you can save the planet while you play!

 

Buy one.  Or two.  It is a learning tool disguised as a fun ball!  Your kids will love it, and so will you!

photo10 150x150 Nine Naturals: Pampering for Pregnancy and BeyondKristin 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.

Thanks to B. Toys for sending Kristin and her boys the Global Glowball  to review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s alone and weren’t influenced by anyone.

Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon Affiliate.

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Bike Baskets Even the Easter Bunny Will Love

Looking for ways to make this Easter even greener? Consider filling a basket that is itself a gift!  Check out Kristen’s review of Basil Bicycle Baskets for a great option!

With Easter around the corner, and the temperatures back on the rise, my thoughts are definitely turning to Easter Preparations.  Easter is early this year!  But even though we’ll be making baskets before Earth month in April, it’s a great time to start to think about strategies for going green this Easter.  Basil bicycle baskets make perfect Easter baskets.  And when the chocolate eggs are all opened, the baskets are ready to roll!  Basil offers a Junior Bicycle Basket in lime or red that is perfect for your little girl’s bicycle (or tricycle).  What a perfect spot to put her favorite doll or stuffed animal to take them for a ride.  And, you can all go on a picnic with the lovely wicker basket for your bicycle.

I originally thought that CW would love the bicycle basket, but the lime is definitely more of a girl’s basket than I had anticipated (with flowers on it, even CW noticed). He was hoping for a place to take his cars for a ride (or store his “binoculars” and water bottle).  But, he suggested that we give the basket to his cousin LC, and I think she will love it.  So, I filled it with (eco-friendly) Easter grass and an American Girl Doll craft kit, and I’m sure she will love putting it on her bike!

 

 

In the meantime, MD loved the basket, and filled it with magnetic letters, Easter eggs, and toys of all sorts!

What a great, creative, and fun gift to encourage Springtime bike rides and outdoor fun!  Hop out and get one for your favorite niece, daughter, or friend!

Thanks to Basil Bicycle Baskets for sending Kristen the lime basket to review.  As always, all opinions are Kristen’s and her boys’ and have not been influenced by anyone.

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Because Raffie Really Needs a Bath

A few years ago I posted a video about lovies.  About how essential they are.  How snuggly and wonderful.  How even grown ups need something to cuddle.

So…cut to five years later.  Man oh man do those lovies need a bath.  And so do the stuffed rabbits. And stuffed monsters.  And of course the teddy bears.  Because not only do those animals get dragged through the mud.  Turns out they are absolutely crawling, quite literally, with bacteria and dust mites.  Have I mentioned the fact that I’m a raging germaphobe.  Ew.

So now.  More than ever.  Teddy really needs a bath. So a mom invented a special stuffed animal washer/dryer bag to do just that.  Teddy Needs a Bath is high-quality, large, eco-friendly cotton bag designed to help busy Mamas restore those nasty old animals to their fresh-off-the-shelf glory.  Now, many of your toys may say “surface wash only” on the care tags.  But the Teddy Needs a Bath bag protects your animal and your washer.  How does it work?  Put Teddy in the bag, zip it up and wash on gentle with mild soap (take out any sound devices or boxes before you do this!).  Then when it’s done, just pop the bag right in the dryer on low and Teddy comes out clean and fluffed dry!  Be aware that Teddy may need a few rounds in the dryer to get him totally dry, but boy is he warm and cuddly when he emerges!

I received a Teddy Needs a Bath sample at Toy Fair.  And one of the features that the lovely woman I spoke with touted, was that the Teddy Needs a Bath bag, combined with the cute board book, gets kids excited about participating in washing their stuffed animals and lovies.  I was skeptical.  Though my kid has a penchant for cleaning that would rival June Cleaver, she has always seemed worried in the past when I put her beloved “Raffie” in the old washer for a bath.  Pretty sure it’s because she thinks he will come to life at night and will complain about the procedure to all of his friends.

Well, no joke, when I showed Bean the special Teddy Needs a Bath bag, the book and the cotton candy scented dryer sheets (oh yeah you heard me), she immediately went into her room and started searching through her animals to determine who was the most in need of a wash.  It absolutely worked.  The animals came out clean and fresh and completely unscathed by the whole process.  And I especially love how the zipper tucks under a small elastic band so even it won’t bang up the inside of your washer.

And how did the animals enjoy it?  Well, guess you’ll just have to ask them…when they come to life in the middle of the night.

You can buy all the Teddy Needs a Bath product online at their website or at our affiliate Amazon.com.

Thanks to Teddy Needs a Bath for the bag, book and dryer sheets to try out!

 

 

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Home Grown Super Heroes for Your Kiddos


The question really seems to be, how had I NOT heard of Super Sprowtz before I discovered them at Toy Fair a few weeks ago!? The Super Sprowtz are in our classrooms, in an app, on the television, on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, even on TV in New York City cabs, and they are on a super hero’s mission: to use the educational power of media to help children learn about nutrition, wellness and the environment!  Now that’s a mission Babies Gotta Have It can squarely get behind!

I walked away from Toy Fair with an adorable plush Suzy Sweet Pea puppet which Bean has taken to both animating and using as a pillow. And also the Super Sprowtz Origins: Picture/Adventure Book which traces the beginnings of the Super Sprotwz as they transformed from well-nurtured rooftop garden vegetables to actual super heroes on a quest to defeat Pompous Pollution.  The story is unique and whimsical, the book is made in the USA of 30% post-consumer waste and the art is a beautiful.  It looks like a combination of a dark and gritty super-hero comic and a fairy tale–just right.

Look, nutritional education is getting the short end of the stick in our schools.  But in some ways, helping our children choose what to eat, where to get that food, and how to care for this Earth that nourishes our food sources, is just as important as Math and Reading.  And I applaud initiatives like Super Sprowtz that are out there presenting nutrition education in a fun, accessible and vibrant way using every media available.  And even for those of us who consider ourselves kinda snotty, local sourcing, farmers-market, composting foodies…well I need help encouraging my kid to choose more colorful, healthy foods.  Her school is about to start a school lunch program and the choice of what she eats for lunch will be up to her.  I hope, that when it’s time to pick what she puts on her little tray, that the image of Suzy Pea’s smiling face may come to her mind, and she may mix a little green in there with the beige.

A lifetime of healthy eating habits starts young.  How many of us had to un-learn the habits we picked up in the high school cafeteria?  Let’s start our kids out right.  So check out the Super Sprowtz website for fun activities, recipes, games, videos and more.  And make a commitment today to make healthy eating fun for your kids.

Super Sprowtz! That’s something babies definitely gotta have.

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