Mr. Dad Seal of Approval

Congratulations to these fine products, which were awarded the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval for Father’s Day 2016. The Seal recognizes products that facilitate father-child relationships by getting dads and kids engaged and having fun together.

We’re now accepting submissions for our 2016 Fall and Holiday seasons.

Apps

Lucky Kat WorldLucky Kat World (Lucky Kats)
As with many edutainment apps, Lucky Kat World has a wide variety of kid-friendly games that both teach and engage. The LK World includes a number of elements (Katalina island, a cruise ship, an amusement park, and more), each of which has numerous challenges that require hand-eye coordination, memory, and critical thinking skills. There are also plenty of opportunities to earn rewards. Lucky Kat also includes another component that’s harder to deliver in most apps: good character, and they manage to do it in a way that feels natural to kids and not too sappy for adults. Ages 5-10. $5.99. luckykatworld.com  @LuckyKatWorld 

professor astro catProfessor Astro Cat’s Solar System
One of the cool things about science games and apps is that dads (and moms too) can learn a lot from them too. Did you know, for example, that if the earth were the size of a cherry tomato, Jupiter would be as big as a watermelon–and the sun would be about 13 feet across? Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System app is filled with fun games and is designed to teach kids (and parents) about the wonders of space in a way that’s both memorable and fun. $2.99. http://apple.co/1mHC0l8  @ProfAstroCat

 

Building

brackitzBrackitz Inventor 44-Piece Kits (Brackitz)
We love all things building, and we’re always pleasantly surprised at the number of new systems that are being developed. Brackitz uses a number of unique—and very versatile–pieces and connectors that can be put together in an infinite number of ways. And unlike traditional block systems, Brackitz can go together at any angle and in any combination. They’re great for dad to teach (or learn) about design, engineering, and collaboration, and to become more involved in his child’s play. Ages 3-300. $29.99. http://brackitz.com/  @BrackitzToy

kamigami robotsKamigami (Dash Robotics)
Kamigami are app-controlled robots you build and program. Start with putting together the robot’s body by folding a flat sheet of thin cardboard (hence the “-igami” in the name, as in origami). The robot’s insides snap together without tools. Kamigami look like giant Hex-bugs and once they’re built, you control them with a free app. They play nicely with others and they’re practically indestructible. Race them, play laser tag, or just have them run around and smack into things. Two features we especially loved about Kamigami: First, there’s zero intimidation factor: lots of other programmable robots can be overwhelming, but you don’t need to be a techie or a coding expert to get your Kamigami up and running. Second, you and your child will want to play with your robots over and over—and play is one of the best ways to build a strong dad-child relationship. Ages 6 and up. $99. www.kamigamirobots.com  @KamigamiRobots

kardtectsKardtects Building Cards (Kardtects)
If you remember building houses of cards, you also remember that they looked like they were made of, well, playing cards. Kardtects has elevated the art of card-house building to a new level. They come in several styles: stone, dessert, and jungle, so you and your fellow builder can create amazing, slightly more realistic structures. But that’s not all. Since part of the fun of building a house of cards is knocking it down in the most spectacular fashion, Kardtects kits include Destroyer Disks, so you can create your very own Angry Birds-like scenes of doom and destruction. Now the big question for you, Dad, is what do you want to build next? Ages 3 and up. $19.99. http://kardtects.com/  @kardtects

BuildandImagine pet+marinePet Portrait Studio and Marine Rescue Center (Build & Imagine)
If you have a child who loves animals and building, these two new kits from Build & Imagine are just the ticket. With Pet Portrait Studio, your child and you can help get shelter pets ready for adoption by dressing them up in wacky outfits and snapping picture-perfect profile pics. With Marine Rescue Center, the mission is to save endangered sea animals, rehabbing injured dolphins, feeding baby seals, and patrolling the coast for other wildlife. Both sets feature illustrated, magnetic building panels and dozens of magnetic accessories. The opportunities for storytelling and design are endless, and so are the opportunities for creating strong dad-child bonds. $49.99. www.Buildandimagine.com  @buildandimagine

 

Dolls and Huggables

poo-poo fairyThe Poo Poo Fairy (WB Publishing)
The Poo Poo Fairy is a book/plush figure combo, similar in a way to Elf on a Shelf and Mensch on a Bench. Although changing diapers is an underrated dad-child bonding experience, most parents would like to get past that stage as soon as possible. But between diapers and big kid clothes there’s the dreaded toilet training period. Some kids breeze through the whole thing, others take an unbearably long time. The Poo Poo Fairy (it took some real guts to come up with a title like that) is designed to make an inherently unpleasant process less stressful (and, hopefully, shorter) for reluctant poopers and their pops. $34.99. https://www.poopoofairy.com   @poopoofairy

 

Games

dr eurekaDr. Eureka (Blue Orange Games)
This is a brain-teasing puzzle game that will give your manual dexterity and problem solving skills a good workout. Pick a challenge card—each one has an image of three test tubes and six colored balls arranged in a “formula.” Now it’s up to the players to replicate the formula, but without touching the balls with their hands or dropping them on the floor. You’ll find yourselves cycling back and forth between serious concentration and just as serious giggling. You can play it by yourself, but it’s a lot more fun to do with other people. For 1-4 pretty coordinated, patient people. $19.99. http://blueorangegames.com/  @BlueOrangeGames

 

Music

charity and the jam bandEarth, CD by Charity and the JAMBand
It’s been four years since Charity Kahn and her JAMband released an album, and we didn’t realize how much we’ve missed them until we fired up her latest CD, “Earth.” Featuring 10 new songs, the emphasis is on peace, love, spirituality, mindfulness, and celebrating the beauty of our planet. If that’s a little too much for you, not to worry: the music is sophisticated and layered and will get you and every human within listening distance up and dancing in no time. $17. jamjamjam.com  @jamband

 

aaron nigel smith reggaeOne, CD by Aaron Nigel Smith
In his new reggae-infused album, musician, educator, and entertainer Aaron Nigel Smith talks a lot about peace and love. The album is theoretically for children, but the lyrics are thoughtful enough to keep dad and mom interested. And the music? Well, whether it’s one of Smith’s original tunes or a classic like “If I Had a Hammer,” it’s nearly impossible to listen to reggae without dancing. The album features other well-known musicians, including Ernie Smith and Father Goose. About $17. www.aaronnigelsmith.com  @aaronnigelsmith

 
 

Outdoors

sky viper drone3Sky Viper Drones (Skyrocket Toys)
Skyrocket’s Sky Viper series includes a number of quad copter/drones: the Nano Drone (which you may want to use indoors), Stunt Drone (which features one-touch barrel rolls and other stunts), and two video drones (one records video, the other streams it to a smart device). Cool new features like GPS, auto hover, and auto landing make controlling your drone a lot easier, meaning you’ll be able to spend more time flying and less time retrieving your drone from your roof or your neighbor’s tree. $30-$80. Available at www.ToysRUs.comSky Viper Drones (Skyrocket Toys) Skyrocket’s Sky Viper series includes a number of quad copter/drones: the Nano Drone (which you may want to use indoors), Stunt Drone (which features one-touch barrel rolls and other stunts), and two video drones (one records video, the other streams it to a smart device). Cool new features like GPS, auto hover, and auto landing make controlling your drone a lot easier, meaning you’ll be able to spend more time flying and less time retrieving your drone from your roof or your neighbor’s tree. $30-$80. Available at www.ToysRUs.com  @SkyrocketToys

rocket ship tentClassic Space Ship Peach Skin Pavilion with Wings (Pacific Play Tents)
Gone are the days when a tent was just a tent. Pacific Play Tents has a growing line that encourage kids’—and parents’—imagination. Our most recent discovery is their Classic Space Ship Pavilion with Wings (sounds more complicated than it is). It’s spacious enough for dad and at least one medium-sized child to fit inside. The Ship comes with mesh windows (you’ll probably want to close them in deep space) and has a waterproof floor, so you can set it up on the lawn and not have to worry about grass stains or mud. Speaking of setting it up, it’s a breeze to do—and so is the all-important putting it away part, which is made even easier with the included carry bag. Just grab a snack, your space suit, and you’re ready to go. All ages. $159.99. www.pacificplaytents.com  @PacPlayTents

Puzzles

janod observation horsesGalloping Horses Observation Puzzle (Janod)
Putting together a puzzle is a terrific way for dads and kids to spend time together. The same is true of this beautifully crafted 208-piece puzzle from Janod. However, the real entertainment starts after the puzzle is complete. The chaotic horse theme offers dads and kids a Where’s Waldo type find-it experience where—cooperatively or competitively—they can spot a watering can, a sandwich, horseshoe, or any of the 51 items hidden throughout the puzzle. Dads can encourage their kids to use their critical thinking skill by organizing the objects by color, animate vs. inanimate, or any other way. Comes with a poster of the competed puzzle. About $20. http://www.alexbrands.com/  @Janod_US

 

Safety

safehead babySafeheadBABY (Safehead, Inc.)
Babies and toddlers spend a lot of time smacking their head into things, whether it’s the corner of a table, the floor, or the underside of a chair they’re crawling under. And while the resulting bumps and bruises are usually pretty minor, they hurt and can quickly turn laughter into tears (and yes, sometimes parents are the ones crying). SafeheadBABY has a solution: soft, adorable headgear. It’s kind of like a helmet, but is very comfortable and lightweight, so your baby won’t want to take it off. SafeheadBABY is made of non-toxic materials and is designed to protect the forehead without interfering with baby’s vision. Ultimately, the SafeheadBABY will give your little one freedom to roam and will give Dad one less thing to worry about. $49.00. http://www.safeheadbaby.com/  @SafeheadBABY