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Mom-To-Be? We Made A List–You Check it Twice!

Hygiene

1) Believe it or not, you will need a newborn toothbrush from day one. Most folks let this basic hygiene fall by the wayside because, well, newborns don’t have teeth! However, your baby’s gums need cleaned once a day to wash away any bacteria that’s accumulated throughout the day. It’ll cut down on sickness, and as the teeth start to push through, a bacteria build up can cause pain and damage to the brand new teeth! Newborn toothbrushes look a lot like a rubber thimble that slides onto your index finger, with super soft silicone bristles. Rinse the brush thoroughly, and gently wipe baby’s gums clean, and rinse again. You can find amazing, high-quality and super safe baby brushes at Target. ($4–$8)

2) This one is simple, but you don’t want to be caught without it! Cotton balls. That’s right, your average cotton ball is imperative to proper infant hygiene. In the first few weeks, moisten a cotton ball with warm water to gently wash your baby’s face, eyelids, ears, neck and chin. Cotton balls are also useful during bath time for cleaning your baby’s genital areas safely and gently.  Even if you’ve got some on hand, please go grab a bag or two more–you’ll go through them fast. (Remember, standard washcloths are slightly too abrasive for baby’s skin, so until your child is about a month old, use cotton!)

Feeding

1) Breastfeeders, this one is important–milk storage bags. We know you’ve probably grabbed a top-of-the-line pump, but don’t forget that you’ll need someplace to store your breastmilk, and a Ziploc just won’t do. Breastmilk bags are the best way to preserve and store your milk (according to the CDC, you can store your breastmilk in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for a year–having a safely-stored supply is a life saver). Parents have agreed, unanimously, that Kiinde offers the best, most parent-friendly breast milk bag ever. Pre-sterilized, BPA free, completely leak-proof and with a huge variety of specially designed extras (Kiinde has a bottle and adapter that works with your bag), we love this thing. Target has the whole Kiinde storage and feeding system to suit your needs. (Various kits can run anywhere from $7.99 to a single bottle all the way up to $99.99 for the complete packaging, storage, feeding and sterilizing kit.)

2) Formula-feeders, we’re here for you. We know you’ve got places to go–the store, church, maybe to pick up your other kiddos or you’re just spending the day with your own mom! No matter where you go, you’ve got to think about feeding baby–and that can mean lugging around a can of formula, those annoying little scoops, and a bottle. We can’t tell you how many ways we’ve tried packing our formula and hitting the road–all with less than stellar results. But now there’s the B.Box Essential Bottle.
We. Love. This. Thing. The base of the bottle holds a special, waterproof compartment for storing just the right amount of dry formula–but that’s not all. Once you’ve filled the bottle with water, just push a button and bam–the powdered formula is dispensed into the bottle. With a few shakes, you’re ready to feed anywhere. (This innovative new bottle runs about $20 at Target, Amazon or eBay.)

Miscellaneous

1) A common problem for parents…your baby scratches their own face. It sounds silly, but we’ve seen it first hand–turns out, baby gets a little irritated when it happens, too. Even if you cut their nails regularly, they still manage it. You may want to invest in some super-soft scratch-free mittens for baby. These slide over your baby’s hands so that those pesky arms and hands (that they can’t quite control) don’t attack them anymore! We’ve found that the best mittens–the ones that are soft, don’t fall off, and are made from the best organic cotton–come from the trusted Burt’s Bees. That’s right–Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Essential Mittens are incredible. What’s better? One pair will only set you back $5, so you can grab a high-quality “just in case” set without breaking the bank. And if you never end up needing them, that’s great–send them along to your local Pregnancy Center or other child-friendly organization!

We know you’ve got a long road ahead, but don’t worry–with just a few super inexpensive additions to your nursery, bringing baby home will go that much smoother. Good luck, and congratulations, Mama-to-Be!

Preschool TV–The BEST Shows For Your Preschooler!

Creative Galaxy–this unique and colorful children’s show is jam-packed with goodness. Since 2013 Creative Galaxy has been enchanting preschoolers as they follow friendly aliens Arty and Epiphany around the galaxy, using art to solve problems! Creative Galaxy includes great lessons about caring, sharing and helping. This fourth-wall breaking show invites children into Arty’s world to help solve problems by thinking far outside the box. And to top it all off, your kiddos will get some basic art history mixed in to the plot. We give Creative Galaxy two thumbs up! You can find it now on Amazon Prime.

       

Super Why–first airing in 2007, PBS Kids classic Super Why continues to dazzle young viewers! Whyatt, Red, Princess P and Alpha Pig become super heroes that dive into your kid’s favorite books to solve super problems. Why do we love it? There are strong themes of friendship, teamwork, communication and compassion within the diverse gang of main characters. Super Why focuses heavily on problem solving as a team, by utilizing each character’s unique abilities and talents, proving that everyone has value. On top of that, kids get huge doses of early literacy education–things like letter identification and simple spelling are specially formatted to help children practice the skills they need to start reading! We super love Super Why!

        Doc McStuffins–created by Chris Nee (writer and producer for Blue’s Clues), Doc McStuffins changes everything! Heralded as one of the most progressive and positive children’s shows on the air, Doc McStuffins is based on a six-year-old African-American girl who can communicate with–and heal–her stuffed toys. The Doc is an amazing role model for any child, with her can-do attitude and independence. Doc takes kids on a journey of compassion and caring as they problem-solve together, as well as show audiences that there’s nothing scary about going to the doctor! Also in this amazing show, Doc teaches children about cleanliness and hygiene, and promotes a healthy lifestyle (proper diet and exercise, etc…). But above it all, Doc McStuffins is a highly respected program, which has an ongoing relationship with the Artemis Medical Society, which is an amazing group of female physicians of color–they promote both racial and gender diversity among medical and STEM careers! You can check it out right now on Disney Junior.

       

Team Umizoomi–speaking of STEM, we can’t get enough of Team Umizoomi. Beloved children’s show host Donovan Patton voices Bot–the friendly robot sidekick to six-year-old Milli and her eight-year-old brother Geo. These “mighty math superheroes” use the basic concepts of numbers, patterns, counting and math to help the children of Umi City! Critics love this early introduction to the world of mathematics, but more importantly, parents can’t stop raving! With true, real-world knowledge and problem solving, Team Umizoomi is a sweet and clever show that your little ones will want to watch again and again! What’s more? You can head over to nickjr.com to play Team Umizoomi games, and put all that practice to the test!

       

Nina’s World–some would say that Nina’s World doesn’t carry much in educational value, but they couldn’t be more wrong! Nina’s World exposes children to the concept of celebrating multiculturalism and diversity. As children are introduced to Nina’s family and explore her neighborhood, kids embrace new situations and challenges, solve problems and are taught to build strong bonds with people who may be different than them. In a world which is increasingly divided, Nina’s World shows us that our differences don’t need to separate peoples, but should be celebrated and used to unify. Our Latin-American protagonist is a wonderful, strong, female role model for children that seeks out solutions and shows compassion for those around her. Last but not least, children aren’t just exposed to English, but also Spanish and American Sign Language–it’s a well-rounded experience that every kid will adore! You can watch it right now on Sprout!

       

The Octonauts–last but not least, we have The Octonauts! A spunky, plucky gang of eight animal problem solvers, each with a different personality and talent, are led into adventure by an intrepid polar bear named Captain Barnacles. Kwazii, Dashi, Peso, Shellington and Tweak all help pilot and undersea craft, rushing to the aid of marine animals in need! Among the crew, we see teamwork, cooperation and problem-solving and compassion for one another as they think up new and creative ways to rescue the ocean’s most diverse creatures! Kids will learn fun facts about aquatic animals–whale sharks, squids, seahorses and more–all while singing and dancing along with their favorite characters! For your animal-lover, pick The Octonauts on Disney Junior!

No matter what your child loves, there’s a show that’s perfect for them! Your artist, your tinkerer, your math whiz and your wild child won’t even realize they’re learning so much with these incredible shows–and they’re all waiting for you right now!

Rock this Christmas with the Top Toys of 2016!

Toddlers (ages 2-3)

1) Fisher-Price Dance & Move Beat BowWow
We love this for little ones! From the trusted Fisher Price company, this adorable robot dog comes fully loaded with colorful LEDs and super soft ears. When kids press the overlarge, brightly-colored buttons, Beat BowWow teaches numbers, letters, colors and sounds! You can find this on Amazon for about $25.)
2) ALEX Toys Little Hands “Ready, Set, ABC”
Give your child a head start with this fun, thirteen page book. Each two-sided page sports a different letter of the alphabet, with colorful, attention-grabbing illustrations and an interactive element for your child to touch. This is an amazing introduction to reading, and will making learning the alphabet a blast! (You can find this on Amazon for around $8.)

Preschoolers (ages 4-5)
1) Hello Kitty Car
We can’t get enough of this thing! This white car, from Dynacraft, is shaped like the adorable cat herself, complete with two white ears popping up on top! This thing has it all, with a pink interior, a Hello Kitty licence plate and working horn. To top it all off? The bow on the hood is a speaker, and your child can listen to all their favorite tunes straight from an iPod or MP3 player! This Hello Kitty car only goes about two and a half miles per hour, which is perfect if ever you need to chase down your little speed racer. (MSRP: $299.99)
2) My Friend Pikachu
For upwards of twenty years, Pokemon has enchanted kids of all ages! Now your child can be a Pokemon trainer with their very own plush Pikachu! This little yellow Pokemon has been a crowd favorite, and every kid dreams of catching a Pikachu on their road to becoming a Pokemon master! Now TOMY is making that dream a reality with this ten-inch, super soft toy. When you give Pikachu a squeeze, his ears move, his cheeks light up and he says one of ten adorable little catchphrases. Trust us, your child will be taking this thing everywhere. (MSRP: $29.99)

3) VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX
This watch is genius–the second generation of learning watches from VTech, it’s slimmer, sleeker and comes with so many new features! It comes with more memory, so your little photographer can take loads of pictures and video with the watch, as well as a voice recorder with voice changing capabilities and new games and challenges! And of course, there’s an alarm, timer, stopwatch, and brand new calendar and calculator features! Even better, it’s splash and sweat-proof, to protect against the elements. You can choose royal blue or hot pink, depending on your child’s tastes. (Find it on Amazon now for about $45.)

Primary (ages 6-9)

1) Scientific Explorer Disgusting Science
Perfect for fans of all things icky! From Fat Brain Toys, your child can scientifically explore all things nasty–make some fake blood, collect bacteria samples from around the house, and grow a collection of molds! This well-designed, super organized kit comes with kid-friendly supplies and durable equipment. You can’t go wrong with this–it’s a great way for your little scientist to explore the world around them! (You can find it on fatbraintoys.com for less than $20)
2) Edible Chemistry Kit
Cooking is science and vice versa with the Edible Chemistry Kit from Fat Brain Toys! Your little cook can make sixteen amazing edible experiments with this super fun kit–from fizzing drinks, color-change jelly and so much more! The kit comes with everything you need to make all sixteen recipes, all stored in an organized and durable case. This is perfect for little scientists, chefs, or kids who just love sweets–they’ll be having so much fun making their own treats, they won’t even realize they’re learning, too! (You can find it on fatbraintoys.com for less than $20.)

Elementary (ages 10-12)

1) Easy Bake Oven
A new spin on an old favorite–and guess what!? No. More. Lightbulbs.These stylish new ovens come in red, purple, or black to match the tastes of aspiring chef; they’re made of high-quality, food-safe materials and are a burn-free alternative to the older models! The oven comes with a pan, pan tool and delectable chocolate-chip cookie recipe…but you can find additional recipe kits and tools online for $7-$20 each. (You can find it on amazon right now for $40-$55!)

2) 14-In-One Solar Robot

You’ve hit the solar-powered engineering jackpot with this awesome kit from Fat Brain Toys! Your young tinkerer can build a dog, turtle, scurrying beetle or real sailing boat (and of course, much more) with the high-quality pieces, all made of safe, child-friendly materials. The 190 piece kit comes with directions for building all fourteen robot types in both basic and advanced building levels. With no batteries required, and the power to build, disassemble and build again, this toy is years of fun in one box! (You can find it now on fatbraintoys.com for $35)

Tween (ages 13-15)

1) U818A Drone With Camera
Drones are so in right now–you can grab a pretty amazing one right now for that tween/teen in your life! Our chosen model comes fully loaded with an HD camera for snagging crystal clear footage and photos from the sky; the multi-axis gyro ensures a smooth, stable ride with almost no crashes and the ability to pull of amazing tricks like 360 flips and more! (You can find it on Amazon for $79.99–an absolute steal!)

2) 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen
This thing is so cool–we’re super tempted to buy one for ourselves…this pen comes in five different colors and with fifty plastic strands so you can start 3D drawing right away! Don’t limit your imagination to 2D any more–draw up, down, sideways and backwards; build buildings, jewelry, or just sketch 3D images of your favorite fictional characters! Hobbyists and amateurs alike will love the 3Doodler–even more, you can add on a wide variety of plastic strands to take your drawing to the next level. Get glossy, matte, clear, glow, flexible or glittery plastic in over sixty five colors!


We’re coming upon the season of giving–so give something grand this holiday!