Reviews for 1-3 years old

Sabu & Me: 7-Year-Old Author’s Children’s Book About Her Dog

Sabu & Me

$11.95 at Amazon.com

Sabu & Me has great appeal as a children’s book because its author is a child. 7-year-old Maura Lane tells of her relationship with her dog Sabu — from the day Maura arrived home from the hospital until now — in very simple terms and style. Since Sabu was a rescue dog, Maura has decided to donate profits from the book sales to PAWS Chicago, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets. Kids and their parents will appreciate Maura’s expression of unconditional love for Sabu. Kids and family members who have dogs (or who have had dogs in the past) will identify with the story of how Sabu has always been there for Maura. Regardless of whether or not they have pets themselves, young children seem to universally enjoy stories about them. As we all know, animals, especially dogs, are adored — simply for being themselves. Sabu & Me’s one-sentence per page format allows for the book to either be read to a very young child, or for early readers to read it themselves. It begins with “When I arrived home from the hospital Sabu sniffed me,” and goes on to explain how from that point on, Sabu was right by Maura’s side as she learned to crawl, talk and walk, and how he has hugged her goodbye as she leaves for school, kept her company when she is sick, and snuggled with her at bedtime. The cheerful full-page illustrations by Hazel Mitchell nicely complement the story. Sabu and Me is an everyday kind of story that is easy to relate to and touches one’s heart.

 

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Goosie Cards — Personalized Custom Flash Cards that Teach and Bring Family Closer Together

Goosie Cards

$16 and up at Amazon.com

Goosie Cards are a great product for several reasons. First, they’re extremely high quality. Large, durable, glossy lamination enables them to withstand a fair amount of bending and biting (it happens occasionally). Next, they’re educational. Using a combination of visual images and printed words, they help babies and toddlers with speech development, preschoolers with pre-reading skills, and young school-aged children with early reading. But what makes Goosie Cards most interesting is that you can personalize each card with your own family photos, thus creating your own custom set of memorable photo flash cards to present to your grandchild. Since they are high quality, in addition to providing a fun learning experience, a set of personalized Goosie Cards have the potential to become a keepsake of sorts, that grandchildren can use to remind themselves of you and other family members, friends, pets, vacation memories, etc. Of course, we love the simple yet effective way Goosie Cards help to strengthen intergenerational family connections. It’s easy to upload photos to their website, and Goosie Cards are produced and delivered quickly. And, if you don’t want to personalize your set, Goosie Cards has a fantastic library of stock photography to choose from to design what they call “Chic” flash cards. Or, you can even purchase a gift certificate so parents can make their own set for your grandchild. You may also appreciate the fact that Goosie Cards were invented by a new mom who saw a unique opportunity to enhance early learning — as well as the fact that they’re made in the USA. Another classic product with a new twist, and executed perfectly!

 

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New Personalized Kids Plate and Placemat Set by Olive Kids: Great Colorful Nostalgic Themes!

Personalized Meal Time Plate Sets

$29.99 and up at Olive Kids

Personalized gifts are fun to give — and kids love seeing their names on anything. These personalized melamine kids plate and placemat sets make great gifts and are super functional! The plates and placemats (also sold separately) are a newer product line offered by Olive Kids, a New Hampshire-based mom and dad company that, in addition to designing kids tableware, offers kids bedding, clocks, floor pillows, and other kids room decor items. Olive Kids’ design themes are simple and nostalgic, from “Flowerland,” “Mermaids,” and “Tea Party,” for girls, to “Under Construction,” “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” “Dinosaurland,” and “Out of this World,” for boys. As you may know, all kids tableware sets are not created equal. These sets are of exceptional quality — the plates are solid and the mats are well-laminated to withstand washing. And, because the many themes Olive Kids offers are carried throughout the product lines, you can continue to purchase gifts from the same theme — for instance, sheets, comforter, clock and tableware — all with the “Out of this World” space theme. Or have fun and mix up the themes. There are plenty to choose from!

 

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Whistlefritz Adentro y Afuera Total Immersion Spanish DVD for Kids Ages 2-7

Whistlefritz Adentro y Afuera

$19.99 at Amazon.com

By now it’s well known that the best time to learn a second language (such as Spanish) is during early childhood, and that the best method of instruction is total immersion — with no English spoken and no translation used. Developed by a mom who wanted to teach her children Spanish effectively, Whistlefritz Adentro y Afuero (Inside and Out) is the latest in a series of total immersion beginning Spanish DVD’s for kids ages 2-7. Extremely well-produced and instantly engaging, these DVD’s could compete for airtime against any existing educational TV show for young children. Whistlefritz uses a proven Blues Clues-like style, placing an engaging live host against a backdrop of simple animation, with Fritzi, a mischievous mouse, as her sidekick, and live (adorable) children to interact with them. The actors speak slowly and clearly, and, when appropriate, representations of the word or phrase being taught are shown on the screen. Your grandchild will learn the words for many common foods, the numbers 1-10, etc., not to mention the phrases that make every day simple interactions possible. For instance, Donde Esta (Where is)?, Muy Bien (Very Good), and many more. A bonus — the real children throughout the DVD, in scenes shot at a playground and eating various common foods, are familiar for kids, helping them realize that even though their native languages are different, they all enjoy the same kinds of things. And, with superbly entertaining and educational instruction such as this Whistlefritz DVD, it’s entirely possible for them to communicate with one another! In addition to Adentro y Afuera, Whistlefritz offers two other beginner DVD’s — Los Animales (Animals), and Vamos a Jugar (Let’s Play).

 

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The Money Mammals Financial Literacy DVD: We’ll Share & Save & Spend Smart Too!

The Money Mammals DVD

$19.99 at Amazon.com

Young children may not understand exactly how currency works, or even be able to tell the difference between a quarter and a dime. But they should be able to grasp simple financial literacy concepts… as long as they’re presented in an engaging age-appropriate way. The Money Mammals is a DVD produced especially for younger children, to teach them some basic concepts about money. These concepts are reflected in the DVD’s title, “We’ll Share & Save & Spend Smart Too.” The story’s characters are cute new puppets, including Joe the Monkey, Piggs the Bank, Clara J. Camel and Marmoset the Monkey. The content is presented primarily using catchy original songs to get the main points across. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along with your grandchild! The animals first learn that they need a certain amount of money to buy a certain thing. Piggs the Bank and Joe the Monkey realize they can use 1 coin to buy the trading card they want — the corresponding song is “One Coin (for the Coconut Card).” They then learn their friend Clara wants a red straw hat and decide to buy it for her birthday — but they soon realize they need to save 4 coins in order to buy it. This means they must make a choice not to buy more trading cards in order to save up to buy the hat for Clara. These “sharing,” “saving,” and “spending smart” messages are backed up with songs such as, “Reasons to Save,” and “Let’s Make the Right Choice,” which are, again, likable tunes that drive the points home in a fun, non-preachy way. The Money Mammals DVD has clear learning objectives and we believe it achieves them. But we’re guessing your grandkids won’t even realize they’re supposed to be learning!

 

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Teethers You Can Trust: DANO2 Circus Teethers Made from Non-Toxic Medical Grade Materials

DANO2 Circus Teethers

$13.99 at Amazon.com

We wash infants’ clothing in special detergent and boil baby bottles and pacifiers before use — in order to protect our littlest kids and grandkids. But as we’ve learned in the past few years, we often don’t know what chemicals are used in the manufacture of many children’s products, including everyday baby gear. DANO2, a new toy designer and manufacturer, has eliminated this anxiety, at least when it comes to baby teethers. Their Circus Teethers are made with non-toxic, medical grade materials that are free from harmful substances such as Lead, Phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA). They are tested by independent, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) laboratories to ensure compliance with all U.S. and EU safety regulations, and are made right here in the U.S.A.! DANO2 was started by pop-art toymaker, Daniel Monahan (for his daughter) and his entrepreneur father, and the company is advised by a top-notch pediatrician and chemist. Monahan’s designs are slick, yet practical. Three teethers come in a handy round carrying case, which can fit in any diaper bag, or purse, for that matter. The yellow “monkey” teether is flexible, the blue “seal” is firm, and the green “lion” is tough — all easy to grasp, and, thankfully, easy to trust.

 

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Snack & Play Travel Tray Keeps Kids Independent and Entertained

Star Kids Snack & Play

$19.99 at Amazon.com

We recently took our first long car ride with the Snack & Play Travel Tray by Star Kids. Our trip was more relaxed than usual because our 4 year-old daughter was able to entertain herself without as much reaching, dropping, and asking for help. The Snack & Play Travel Tray was created by a entrepreneurial mom who wanted to address a problem recognized by most parents — how to keep young children occupied, self-sufficient and happy, with toys, snacks, etc., during extended travel in the car, plane or stroller. What’s novel about this tray is that it is just firm enough to color or roll toys on, yet is still soft and comfortable on a child’s lap. It can be used with any car seat, booster or stroller, and has a mesh pocket hanging from each side so your grandchild can store toys, cups, snacks, etc. This, in conjunction with the fact that the tray itself has a border around it, means a lot less reaching back to hand-over or pick-up hard-to-reach toys. The Snack & Play is manufactured in accordance with European standards, the strictest regulations in the world, and has been crash tested by a federally recognized testing facility — the tray system’s softness makes it much safer than other trays in the case of an accident. The fabric wipes clean and is certified lead and phthalate-free.

 

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Handcrafted and Heirloom Quality: Fine Wooden Toys, Games & Puzzles Custom-Made for Your Grandchild

Bearded Seal Woodcrafts

$vary at Bearded Seal Woodcrafts

Recently my kids and I have had the pleasure of playing with some of the wooden toys handcrafted by Tom Seal, of Bearded Seal Woodcrafts. We especially appreciate fine handcrafted wooden toys, and these are some of the finest we’ve seen. Tom custom-makes each product entirely by hand. He received his earliest inspiration as a child wandering the forests of his native Pacific Northwest. By high school he was crafting wood, and then honed his skills studying fine arts in college. He applies this appreciation of wood, as well as his knowledge of how to expertly craft it, into each of his products — from vintage wooden cars to classic wooden tangram puzzles. My kids have been vroom vroom’ing around non-stop with a gorgeous classic Ford mustang crafted from Makore & Bolivian Rosewood ($32). The tangrams set is crafted using American Black Walnut, and comes packaged in a decorative silk travel pouch, along with plenty of suggested tangram puzzles ($17 for domestic wood or $22 for exotic). We love tangrams, and what a treat it is to be able to play on such a beautiful set. If you and your grandchild enjoy logic puzzles (and also have some pretty good fine motor skills!), Tom also sells several other logic puzzles, such as a Sword puzzle and 2 Ring puzzle (both $7), as well as games, such as Marble Solitaire ($18). Tom’s signature pieces are his line of beautiful handcrafted wooden rocking horses. The Rocking Thoroughbred can be custom-ordered and made with any of the woods Tom uses (average price is $460). Or choose from various designs crafted from Pine and stained as light Golden Pecan to dark Walnut colors ($134). For a small fee, Tom can add a personalized inscription on many of his pieces. All of Tom’s wooden creations make fantastic kids gifts and, incidentally, are sure to delight all of us grownups, too!

 

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Personalized Music CD’s – Great Birthday Gifts for Kids

You Are My Friend Personalized CD

$14.95 at My Playtime CD's

Personalized music CD’s are always a good gift idea for kids, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Young kids love to hear their names mentioned in songs, and if the tunes are catchy and they can sing along with them, even better! My daughter is enjoying her “You are my Friend” CD, which includes 8 personalized songs, from “Let’s Spend the Day Together” and “Let’s Pretend,” to “I Spy” and “You’re Special.” This particular collection of songs emphasizes positive self-esteem and simply having fun. As an adult, you may find yourself humming or even singing along! This CD makes a nice birthday gift, and you can also order “Hip Hip Hooray It’s Your Birthday,” specifically intended for birthdays. Also choose from sports themes, holiday gift cd’s (for Christmas & Hanukkah), nursery rhymes, and more. You can have a personal message printed directly on the CD, which makes the gift more special for you and your grandkids. And, especially nice is the under $20 price. Here’s to finding a high impact, sure-to-please personalized kids gift that’s easy on the pocketbook!

 

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Myself Belts for Boys & Girls: Young Kids Can Fasten Themselves!

Myself Belt

$14.95 at Amazon.com

Do you find yourself constantly pulling your grandkid’s pants up? If so, there’s a belt that can help with the droops, while also promoting independence and boosting self-esteem. Myself Belts (for both girls and boys), enables young kids to fasten the belt themselves and keep their pants up — and make a fun fashion statement to boot! Once the belt is secured, young boys and girls will need only one hand to fasten and unfasten their Myself Belt, making trips to the potty a breeze. Myself Belt also works well for kids who are still in diapers, since parents, grandparents and caregivers don’t have to wrestle with traditional buckles during diaper changes. Here’s how this patented belt works: Secure the Myself Belt by snapping the end of it around the front belt loop on the child’s left, keeping the velcro facing out. Then slide the rest of the belt through the remaining loops. Then join the ends together and secure the belt using the velcro patches. All your grandchild will need to do is manipulate the velcro, which should be a snap… or a peel, since we’re dealing with velcro! Myself Belt’s signature product is intended for kids ages 2-8 (see size chart) and comes in many designs to suit the pickiest and most fashion-conscious boys and girls. Our daughter loves her pink corduroy belt, shown here. This small gift could make a big difference in a little kid’s wardrobe!

 

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