Is It Summer or Not?

In some parts of the country, summer can’t seem to decide whether it’s actually here or not. Hot, cold, hot, cold. Here are some great ways to spend time whether you’re outside or in.

please and carrotsPlease and Carrots
Please and Carrots is a subscription service that quarterly or monthly delivers a box of cool toys and books specially selected for your baby (ages 0-36 months) by child psychologist Dr. Susan Bartell based on their development stage. There’s also an online portal where you can find more info on child development, milestones, and age-appropriate activities to do with your baby. Everything on the portal is approved by an advisory board packed with pediatricians, psychologist, nutritionists, and other experts. If your kids are already out of the baby stage, this makes a great baby-shower gift. Prices vary.

cloud b frankie the foxFrankie the Fox (Cloud b)
So, what does the fox say? This one doesn’t say a thing, thankfully. But he’ll help your little one drift off to sleep. Frankie is one of the latest from Cloud B, maker of delightful bedtime buddies. He’s super soft and snuggly, part stuffed animal, part soothing sound machine, but 100% calming, routine keeping, and rest inducing. Frankie loves traveling and with the strap on his back, you can easily secure him to the crib, bed, or carseat/stroller easily. He plays four sleepy-time melodies and has a timer that shuts him off at either 23 (odd choice) or 45 minutes. Requires 2 AA batteries, but they’re included. $31.95.

razor delta wingDelta Wing Scooter (Razor)
Let’s face it: some kids who want to ride on scooters don’t always have a great sense of balance. That, in turn, can leave them less-then-completely confident in their ability to ride. Here’s where the Razor Delta Wing comes in. It’s sort of a V-shape and the rider puts one foot on each of the wings and holds on to the handlebars that are on a post that comes out of the apex of the V (it’s easier to see this in the picture to the left). You don’t need to be able to balance, and you move it by wiggling your booty side to side. Yes, you’ll look a bit odd, but it’s a hell of a workout for the legs, thighs, and butt. One of our young testers loved, loved, loved the Delta Wing—more than his bike, his scooter, or his roller skates. The Delta Wing handles well, brakes quickly and easily, and is a smooth ride. Does it get any better than that? Always wear a helmet and other safety gear. $90. Age 6+.

razor ground force drifterGround Force Drifter Fury (Razor)
Your kids don’t have a license but they still want the coolest wheels in town? No prob. The Razor Ground Force Drifter Fury is the most awesome go-kart-on-steroids that you’ve ever seen, with speeds up to 12 miles per hour (so don’t forget your helmet). The Fury comes with rechargeable batteries that last up to 40 minutes of continuous use. It also has a flag, spark bar (how cool is that?), and hand operated rear brakes. Once you get the hang of it (which isn’t hard), you’ll be able to do some very cool tricks with the Fury. And by “you,” we actually do mean “you”—but only after you’ve given the kids a turn. There’s supposedly a 140-pound weight limit, but we’ve seen full-grown adults doing just fine. You and your kids will have an incredible amount of fun with this thing. Just make sure your camera or phone is fully charged because the Fury is made to be shared on social media. $350. Ages 8+.

What’s New, Baby?

parents@play rocker

As parents who spend a lot of time reviewing and playing with toys, games, and other kid-of-all-ages-related paraphernalia, we often find ourselves wondering how (and, sometimes, why) people keep coming up with new products. This year, we discovered a number of new baby items that are innovative enough to make new parents excited, parents of older kids jealous, and grandparents wonder where all these things were when they were raising their own babies.



parents@play journeybThere are plenty of travel cribs out there, but the journeyBee cribs from ParentLab are the first we’ve seen that are actually light and flexible enough to satisfy the portable-crib needs of families that are always on the move. Weighing in at just 10 pounds and easy to carry on your back, you’ll need only one trip to move the crib from home to car or vice versa. And they’re sturdy enough for road trips, hotels, camping, outdoor play, or bringing along to friends’ and family’s homes for easy nap- or playtime. A breeze to set up, recommended for 0-18 months. If you’re looking for something a little more petite and you’re not in a hurry, the company is planning to release a bassinet version that weighs only 4.3 lbs and folds up smaller than most purses.


Twilight Turtle

parents@play twilight turtleOkay, Twilight Turtle (along with cousin Sleep Sheep) has been around for a while, but there’s definitely something new here. Don’t worry–those amazing blue, amber, or green constellation projections aren’t going anywhere. But Cloud b has added a Twilight Turtle Tunes app (free), which uses Bluetooth to allow moms and dads to choose from a pre-set mix and match of melodies and sounds to play on the Twilight Turtle Tunes’ speaker box. There’s also a premium app ($1.99) that gives parents the option to access their personal music libraries to create totally unique mixes for as long as 24 hours. If you prefer not to use or you don’t have Bluetooth, Twilight Turtle Tunes comes with one default nighty-night melody that can be set for 45 minutes.


Three from Tiny Love

parents@play rocker These creative, innovative makers of all things baby have an amazing lineup of soon-to-be must-haves for parents and baby-shower registries everywhere. First up is the new Magical Night projection mobile, which is a crib mobile, projector, music box, and toddler nightlight (that looks like an adorable bedside lamp) all in one. Given that traditional mobiles have to come down once the baby can stand up and start yanking on them, an item that can last from birth through the toddler years offers real value for the money. Plus, since it grows with your child, it will also be a familiar part of bedtime routines, which experts agree help children fall asleep more easily—and stay that way longer. Due to start hitting stores in April.

Next, speaking of value for the money, keep an eye out for the 3-in-1 Rocker Napper. As a rocker, the seat can be used to entertain or soothe your baby, complete with baby-activated mobile with soft and happy buddies to play with, and a music box that plays nine melodies. Detach the mobile for an inclined feeding seat. And at naptime, raise the sides and you’ve got a rocking bassinet. And you can move from position to position with one hand.

Finally, there’s the Take Along Bouncer, an easy-to-fold, portable bouncy seat that will be out in the Spring. For info on all these Tiny Love products,