Hugs just make the world a better place! That is why B. Toys has recently introduced the new Hugs 🙂 Links to their line of kid-pleasing educational toys! 24 individual links feature a rattle inside for little teethers and droolers, and older toddlers will enjoy linking them up to make a huge, 3-foot chain! Shake, rattle and roll the Hugs 🙂 Links – they are colorful and practically indestructible – kids ages 3 months to 3 years will love to play with these entertaining links!

Mom’s” little one loves to take them all out of the container and put them back in again, providing curious fingers a lesson in dexterity and coordination! Features of the new Hugs 🙂 Links include:

  • 24 clickity, colorful links
  • Each is a happy rattle
  • String together a 3-foot long chain!
  • Smooth plastic loves little hands

We are lovin’ the new Hugs 🙂 Links at “Mom’s” house, and hope we never run out of hugs! To locate a store near you that carries Hugs 🙂 Links, or other entertaining toys by B. Toys, visit justb-byou.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

 

Eco-Friendly Games for the Whole Family

The green living movement, defined by environmental responsibility and sustainable living, has swept the nation in recent years, becoming an integral aspect of everyday life for many Americans. Today children can participate in going green by playing one of the many eco friendly games designed which are designed for the whole family. While the standard manufacturing practices of many family games still rely on environmentally harmful products like plastic and rubber, these eco-friendly games are comprised of 100% recycled and biodegradable products and their production causes no damage to the natural world around us. By taking the time to research environmentally sustainable games for your family, you can easily provide amusement and entertainment in a package that is beneficial to the environment.

A quick online search will provide curious parents with a wealth of eco friendly games that are designed for the whole family. For example, the PlanToys Plan Preschool Eco Recycling Game, Game and Puzzle set is a fun filled game that teaches kids the value of recycling in a simple to play format. Coming complete with a pair of dice, four playing figures and 16 recyclable waste tokens, this game promotes the concept of recycling to children and rewards the player who recycles all of his tokens the fastest. PlanToys is a leading manufacturer of eco friendly games and they utilize only biodegradable, chemical free and recycled materials in all of their products. Another recognized figure in the eco friendly game market is Late for the Sky, a company which produces the popular Garden-opoly and Earth-opoly games. A sustainable take on the classic Monopoly game, Garden-opoly enables children to purchase and stock their own greenhouses, protecting them from dandelion outbreaks and aphid infestations. The Late for the Sky line of Monopoly-themed nature games teaches environmentally sustainable lessons to children in a fun and accessible format.

While the concept of eco-friendly games may be a relatively new one, many of the most environmentally sustainable games for children are actually classic versions which have been played for decades. An old fashioned game of hide and go seek is interactive, challenging and exciting for a group of youngsters, and yet the game requires no parts or set-up and does not contribute to environmental degradation in anyway. Tag, duck-duck-goose and red rover – red rover are all examples of simple games for children that require nothing more than an active imagination and the seemingly limitless energy afforded by youth. For parents seeking eco friendly diversionary activities for their children, a visit to the park and a bit of creativity will result in a fun filled day that poses no threat to the environment. Identifying eco-friendly games that are fit for the whole family is a matter of keeping an open mind. If you are willing to try new things and keep an adventurous spirit, you will soon find that environmentally conscious games can provide your children with entertainment while still upholding your family’s responsibility to preserving the natural world.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for Download Games Free where you can find games like 18 Wheels of Steel and many others.

Things are getting whacky around “Mom’s” house! B. Toys sent over their Whacky Ball game for children ages 1 to 3 years old, and this little game has been providing quite a bit of action the past few days! The hammer squeaks as the balls are hit into the hole successfully and down they come – one by one into the tray at the bottom. Developing hand and eye coordination is fun with this toy that provides hours of entertainment! Get the whole family involved in a “whacking” session – pun intended, of course!

Features of Whacky Ball include:

Four beautiful balls
Mirrored background
Hammer squeaks, wheels spin, balls bang
Pretty tray catches balls
Etched patterns & sensational colors make B. toys a work of art. Don’t hide this toy away when company comes!

To learn more about B. Toys and their entire line of educational and just plain fun toys for little ones, visit justb-byou.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Have a toddler or preschooler who wants to do homework just like their older siblings now that school has started? Check out the new H2-Whoa! from B.toys! This reusable, two-sided drawing board uses pens filled with water to write and draw – with absolutely no mess! The water just dries and disappears for your little one to draw a new picture or practice letters & numbers! “Mom” loves how the pens slip easily into the four holders on the side of the drawing board when not in use, and there is a convenient handle to carry it when on-the-go, making it an excellent, mess-free option for car trips! Did we mention that there is no mess to clean up?!

The drawing board features two sides to draw on, so your child has a choice of color for their masterpiece, and the pens can be easily refilled with water when dry, whether at home or away. H2-Whoa! will be your child’s favorite pick for drawing and writing, and you will love that there is absolutely no clean-up involved! Long trips to Grandma’s, here we come!

To locate a Target retailer near you that carries H2-Whoa!, visit justb-byou.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

 

Spark creativity and bring out the ooh-la-la in your children as they make and design their own fashionable jewelry with the help of Pop-Arty! by B. toys! This fabulous jewelry design kit was made for children 4-10 years of age, and includes 500 pieces of snap-together jewelry for endless combinations! With 12 rings and 6 bracelets, plus pieces that can be strung together to make necklaces of any length, your future fashionista will delight in making new jewelry to match outfits or dress-up clothes.

The 500 pieces are packed in a reusable container with a tag containing instructions and inspiration made from recycled paper. This all-in-one packaging makes gift-giving a breeze, too! What “Mom” loves is how easily the pieces snap together and come apart for little fingers. There truly is no end the amount of beautiful creations that your child can design – this is a toy that will grow with your child, as well!

What will your budding artist or fashion designer make using Pop-Arty!? For more information on B. toys, or to locate a retailer near you, visit justb-byou.com.

*Company generously provided images and samples for this review.*

Kids Animal Croquet Set

Throwing a birthday party for your little wild child? Set up this charming wooden animal croquet set in the backyard or at the park for some excitement and fun! Featuring six hand-painted wooden wickets in the shape of different animals, such as a cow or parrot, four wooden mallets and four wooden balls, the set is perfectly sized for tiny hands. On rainy or snowy days, it can even be set up indoors on carpet for some entertainment and to beat the wiggles! “Mom” thinks this set is just too, too cute! It is easy to set up and take down so little helpers can assist, as well!

The Animal Croquet Set includes:

•6 hand-painted wood wickets with indoor/outdoor stands, 4 wood mallets, and 4 wood balls
•Animals include: frog, cow, leopard, turtle, alligator, and parrot

To learn more, or to order, visit www.onestepahead.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Be a ‘Cool’ Mom: Entertain Your Kids with Eco-Friendly Outdoor Activities, Water Sports, and Games

Perhaps you’ve realized that the family vacation, summer camp, and vacation bible school are over, but you’ve still got a lot of summer left, and the kids are whining, “What can we do now…we’re so bored?” Be the cool Mom and entertain them with eco-friendly outdoor activities, water sports, and games!

1. Traditional Outdoor Activities and Water Sports Can’t be Beat.

• Spend the day ‘camping’ by a mountain stream. Take your tent and all of your basic camping equipment, and visit a national park, or watering hole. If hard core camping isn’t for you…gather up blankets or sleeping bags, and ‘camp’ out in the park, for the day. Take plenty of water and snacks. If you’re near a brook or stream get out the water shoes and search for turtles and tadpoles.

• For suburbanites, check with your local fire station to see if firefighters will open up a hydrant. If not, head to your local recreational area, college campus, or park, and play a round of Frisbee golf.

• Don’t forget kayaking, tubing, rafting, or wading. This free activity will keep everyone cool and refreshed. Announce that you are ‘going on an adventure.’

2. Make a Hit with Geo Caching.

• Geo Caching is a modern day scavenger hunt/treasure hunt. Go to the geo caching website, and enter your zip code. The website directs you to geo caching in your area.

• Use this official Geo Caching link: http://www.geocaching.com/

• To download a smart phone app go to : http://www.geocaching.com/live/default.aspx

• The fun for your kids is in the ‘search.’ The benefit for you is that your kids may use logic, science, sleuthing, math, reading, and perhaps even GPS technology, to locate the geo cache. If your kids enjoy this activity, help them write the clues and hide their own geo cache. This is good, clean, addicting family fun for all ages!

3. If You’re Stuck at Home, Try These Cool Water Sports and Games:

• Go Fishin’: Get a large bucket or tub. Put marbles or smooth rocks in the bottom of the bucket. Partially fill the tub with water. Add ice cubes for a cool refreshing treat! Form teams or run a stop watch for a set time period, and see who can pick up the most marbles or rocks with their toes!

• Balance the Bucket: Have two or more kids, who are wearing water shoes, lie on their backs, with their feet up in the air, so that they are touching and making a ‘platform.’ Place a plastic bucket, containing water, on top of the ‘shoe platform.’ See how the kids work together as a team to try to remove their shoes, without upsetting the bucket of water.

• Sponge Tag or Sponge Dodge: Go to the Dollar Store and buy big car washing sponges. Wet the sponges and play ‘tag’ with the wet sponges, or play sponge dodge, like ‘dodge ball’, exchanging balls, for sponges. After the games, recycle the sponges by using them when doing chores.

• Ice Cube Architecture: Freeze water in ice cube trays and grab a salt shaker. Allow your kids to make castles, buildings, bridges, or other art forms, by shaking a small amount of salt on an ice cube which will cause it to melt slightly, and re-freeze when pressed onto another ice cube.

Enjoy the outdoors while you can, when winter arrives, you’ll think back on all the fun you had this summer with eco-friendly outdoor activities, water sports, and games!

About the Author

Susan Cobb Singleton is a freelance writer and mom. She is also a staff writer for rangehoodhq.com, a site with advice on ACH (air changes per hour) and make-up air.

* Image: think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Modern-Twist Kidz Placemats

New from Modern-twist! This ABC’s inspired Kidz Placemat is perfectly packable, roll-up-able and folds out flat in seconds – ideal for keeping little hands busy while waiting for their meal! Why not make mealtime a learning experience!? Each mat is made from silky food-grade, hand silk-screened silicone, which means that they will not rip or crease when being used. “Mom” loves how easy they are to wipe clean – whether your child is eating or simply coloring on them, they wipe off with ease. For little ones who are just learning their ABC’s, the new design is sure to spark creativity and keep those wiggles at bay at mealtime if needed! Modern-twist offers a variety of playful designs that were made to be colored over and over again, which is great for use by siblings. Each mat comes ready for action with a set of 6 markers.

All Modern-twist products are free of BPA, latex, and toxic chemicals, which is important for any eco-friendly home. See all of the creative styles, such as City Transportation, Animal Blocks (pictured above) and Cat in the City at www.modern-twist.com, just in time for back-to-school!

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Mom” has finally found the perfect blend of rock and pop music designed for baby that is not cheesy or way overdone with cuteness. Baby Blanket Music is like a lullaby for grown-up’s ears too – everyone in the family will ultimately be soothed!

Designed to soothe while enhancing the enjoyment and cognition of music, Baby Blanket Music features familiar baby sounds like vibraphones and music boxes paired with a full medley of rich, classical instruments including strings, woodwinds, pianos, harps and soft percussion. Together, these instrumental arrangements create gentle textures that are calming and enjoyable to ears of any age.

Baby Blanket Music has just released two new albums, which include Soothing Lullaby Arrangements of Songs Made Famous by Madonna and Michael Jackson. The two CD’s join the current collection of Baby Blanket Music releases featuring unique, soothing lullaby arrangements of favorite songs from favorite artists. Six albums are presently offered in the collection which includes music from Elton John, Billy Joel, John Mayer and Simon & Garfunkel in addition to the new Madonna and Michael Jackson releases. “Mom’s” favorite? Hands down – John Mayer!

Hits found on the Baby Blanket Music albums are Billy Joel’s Piano Man and Uptown Girl; Elton John’s Tiny Dancer and Your Song; John Mayer’s Daughters and Why Georgia and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Mrs. Robinson.

Baby Blanket Music is available at specialty juvenile product retailers in the U.S. and Canada, select online retailers including iTunes and at www.BabyBlanketMusic.com.

About Baby Blanket Music

Founded by Josh Rutt, New York-based Baby Blanket Music offers a collection of albums featuring soothing lullaby arrangements of songs made famous by well-known artists. A graduate of Duke University with a major in music, Rutt, a teacher, composer and performer selects popular music and arranges it with care on each Baby Blanket Music album. For more information, visit www.BabyBlanketMusic.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Stave off the wiggles and inevitable crankiness on a stormy day this summer with some fabulous finds for rainy day fun! “Mom” has selected her top picks for helping kids stay busy and entertained when inside this summer. No TV required!

Top Picks for Rainy Day Fun

Moon Dough Magic Zoo

Perfect for sparking creativity and engaging children ages 3+ on a wet, rainy day this summer, the Moon Dough Magic Zoo will definitely be a hit! Wheat-free, which is great for those with allergies, this magic dough never dires out! Soft, squishy and easy to mold into any shape, the animals actually walk right out of the Magic Zoo with their self winding feet!

It’s simple – just place the Moon Dough into the magic molding zoo and watch as the animals magically come to life and walk out!

The Moon Dough Magic Zoo Package includes:

• 1 Magic Molding Zoo
• 2 Winder Walkers
• 3 Animal Molds
• 1 Fence Mold
• 3 Colors of Moon Dough

Moon Dough refill packs are also available. Visit www.moondough.com.

Animal Planet™ Cahootie

How about a little trivia fun? Filled with wild questions about animals & creatures and cool fortunes to uncover, Animal Planet™ offers 4 versions of the Cahootie, including Endangered Creatures, Sea Creatures, Cats Rule and Dogs Rule.

Cahootie is a reinvention of the beloved classic cootie-catcher games (remember making them out of paper?) and encourages kids to unplug the computer, turn off the television, put away the video games and get their imagination going. The Cahootie is great for car trips and airplane trips, too!

Available in local retailers and online, the Animal Planet™ Cahootie is a great way to get your kids chatting and learning all about the animal kingdom this summer. Check out www.cahootie.com

Growums

Get kids excited about eating vegetables and herbs by planting their very own garden with Growums! Plant the seedlings while inside on a rainy afternoon, and as soon as the weather clears, head outside to put the mini garden in the sun.

Kids can choose from six fun kits including Herb Garden, Pizza Garden, Salad Garden, Stir-fry Garden, Taco Garden, and Ratatouille Garden to grow a real garden with virtual world fun. Each garden kit features unique, magical coco or peat pellets that make planting and growing practically foolproof.

How to start?

It’s easy! Kids start by going to www.growums.com to register their garden and follow the colorful characters in a virtual garden world that shows them how to care for their vegetables. This animated step-by-step series of mini videos are updated every ten days with tips on what to expect next and how to care for the seedlings.

With a little help and information from Tomicio the tomato, Frank Cilantro, Belle Peppa, Ice Berg the lettuce wrapper and, of course, Elvis Parsley and more; in a matter of weeks kids will be able to harvest fresh vegetables and herbs to create nutritious meals. Weekly emails also alert children to next steps and explain topics including watering, weeding, growth cycles and more.

Growums are available online and at independent garden centers across the country. Learn more at www.growums.com.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article.*