Love Broadway and want to support a great charity? Then this is your lucky day!!! Buy 1 ticket and get 1 free to Broadway's IN TRANSIT performance at 7PM on March 2, and you'll be supporting Children's Health Fund! That's 2 tickets for just $149 - what a steal!! Just click here to purchase 1 ticket for $149 (they'll contact you with more details, pickup your 2 tickets at Will Call). I'm told all seats are great, it's a very unique small U-shaped theater, so don't worry! Read on for more info about the show and the charity.
More about IN TRANSIT:
From their website, "IN TRANSIT, a funny and poignant new Broadway musical, follows the intertwined lives of 11 New Yorkers faced with the challenges of city life. With a groundbreaking a cappella score by a team including the creators of Pitch Perfect and Frozen, IN TRANSIT takes you on a journey with people hoping to catch the express train to their dreams—including the stops they make along the way. Modern yet timeless, IN TRANSIT is a story about all of us, set to music that will stay with you long after the ride is over. " Performing at Circle in the Square Theater (235 W. 50th Street, Manhattan).
More about Children's Health Fund:
From their website, "Children’s Health Fund is committed to delivering high quality health care to America’s most disadvantaged children. We achieve this through:
With over 1,000 vendors exhibiting at the 2017 Toy Fair in New York City, you would be right in assuming it was an amazing opportunity to see and play with the latest and greatest toys for kids, but at the same time utterly exhausting and overwhelming! I'm sure I missed TONS, but I did my best and am excited to bring you my top picks from the show! These are the kids toys and products I fell in love with and think you will, too! I've grouped them into categories - have a look and let me know what you think in a comment at the bottom!!
Disclaimer - Amazon links below are affiliate links - you won't pay more but I'll get an itty bitty commission to help fund the blog!
BEST IN SHOW!!!
Zinc Flyte Case Scooter - suitcase & scooter in 1
A suitcase and a scooter, in one!!! They have a "mini" (2-4 years, $75), "midi" (4-8 years, $88), and coming soon the maxi for adults, which will include straps for wearing as a backpack. These suitcase scooters seem like the perfect product for jet setting families - kids can haul their own suitcases and keep up with the crew easy peasy!! They also seem like a great alternative to a traditional or rolling backpack for school (assuming school would allow it...) The scooter tucks up into the back of the suitcase when you need to simply pull it or stowe it away. You can purchase on their website (£) and Amazon for around $80~.
Best of: MOMMY'S HELPERS
Aqueduck by Peachy - bathroom helpers
Aqueduck will make life with kids easier in the bathroom and on the road! Throw the spout extender in your diaper bag or purse and never hoist your little one up to wash their hands at public restrooms again!! The bathtub set will not only help protect your little one from bumping their head on the spout, but will also keep them from turning the temperature too hot. These are amazing!!! You can purchase on their website and Amazon.
Play & Go - storage bag
Any parent who's stepped on a LEGO or matchbox car knows the struggle. Play & Go canvas bags are functional and super cute. Lay them out for a compact play space for your child, then pull the strings and tada, all the toys are contained! I'm especially loving the one with the built-in streets for playing cars and building cities, but they have loads of really gorgeous designs, so you're not stuck with an eyesore in the corner of your living room! You can purchase on their website and Amazon for about $40.
EZPZ - less mess play & place mats
EZPZ is well know and loved for their happy mats ($25) & happy bowls ($20) - they suction onto the highchair or table so your little one can self-feed with "less mess more fun" (their perfect tagline). I haven't yet tested these out but am in desperate need of them for my 16 month twin girls, who I still spoon feed because I'm terrified of what they would do with a spoon and bowl full of food... I digress... EZPZ has just launched a flower play mat ($30) - which is great for arts and crafts time at the play table!! You can browse their products on their website and Amazon.
Piggy Paint - non-toxic eco-friendly nail polish
Piggy Paint produces non-toxic, virtually odorless, eco-friendly nail polish, nail polish remover, and nail decals! Perfect for children, pregnant mamas, and even newborn identical twins / triplets / higher order multiples (because let's face it, you can't always tell them apart at the beginning, painting Baby A's nail one color and Baby B's nail another color can help tremendously)! You can browse their line on their website and Amazon.
Best of: BUILDING
Mad Mattr by Relevant Play - mess-free never-dry moldable dough
"The unbelievable dough you build with"... unbelievable is actually a perfect description. This stuff is SO SO SO SO COOL!!! Stretch it out and it becomes soft and fluffy. Squish it together and it becomes hard and shapeable. See it in action in their YouTube video! Their newest item is the block maker, that's right, you can create blocks made of Mad Mattr, so you can actually stack and build things with them! Amazing!! You can buy on their website and Amazon.
BanBao - "green" bio-based building blocks
These BanBao bio-based building blocks, in collaberation with Biopromotions, aren't even on the market yet but they're going to be huge, at least I hope so!! Produced in the Netherlands from sugarcane, the new line of BanBao building blocks is made from 100% renewable resources, includes ZERO oil-based chemicals, and will be compatible with "traditional" blocks (i.e. LEGO, DUPLO, etc). You can't purchase them yet, but stay tuned on their website and Amazon!
Magnet blocks have been all the rage for the past few years, but the next big thing is bound to be these Velcro blocks!!! One great thing about these is they're all round corners and may of the blocks are foam, which is good news for parents of kids who like to throw their blocks or leave them laying around on the floor! They come in various sets, from more traditional shapes to robots, dinosaurs, race cars, and truck kits. We got the stegosaurus kit and my 4 year old put it together all by himself in about 10 minutes. He won't take it apart, he calls it his "pet" and puts it to bed lovingly each night. LOL! Guess we need to invest in some more sets... You can buy on their website and Amazon (sets range from $20 - $50).
Brackitz - construction system
Calling mini engineers!! Kids really into building intricate designs and structures that can actually DO stuff are going to go bonkers for open-ended Brackitz construction toys. You can connect pieces at any point and any angle, so there is absolutely no limit to the type of thing you can create. Sky scrapers, ferris wheels, race cars, they even have little robotic bugs in one of their new kits! Kits range from about $20 - $300, and you can check them out on their website and Amazon, kits range from
Best of: MUSIC
Piti Pan Steel Drum by Panland
I'm not sure if it's simply the beautiful sound they make, or that hearing them transports me with a cocktail in hand to the beach of a breathtaking tropical island, but I absolutely adore steel drums!! The way Panland's Piti Pan steel drums breaks down the notes on the drum itself, anyone can learn to play!! The Piti Pan is their smallest (and cheapest) option, going for around $60. Check them out on their website and Amazon!
Loog - 3-String Kids' Guitars
There are traditional 6-string guitars, and there are 4-string ukulele's. But what Loog has done here is extremely unique. They've taken the 6-string guitar and simply removed the top 3 strings (the thicker and deeper ones)! So, a child can learn just part of all the traditional chords, which is easier for their teeny hands. Then, when older, they can graduate to a traditional guitar and their hand is already familiar with how to hold each chord, they just have to bring the 3 new strings into play. So cool!! They even have a teaching system including an app. Oh, and their guitars are beautiful, too!! Acoustic guitars are $159 and electrics range from $199 - $299. Check 'em out on their website and Amazon!
Best of: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Not your average flotation device, SwimTrainer Classic is a U-shaped tube (the open back end helps prevent tipping over forward) with a harness that keeps child HORIZONTAL in the water, rather than vertical. This way, the child is in the correct position to learn to swim, from infancy, and they start to learn the movements without even realizing it, moving themselves about in the water independently! I'm so impressed by this product, we got one and are going to try it out next time we hit the pool - stay tuned for our review!! They have 3 different types, geared toward 3 months - 4 years, 2-6 years, and 4-8 years. The difference is basically how high out of the water they keep the child, with the idea that older children should be deeper in the water so they are better able to use arms and legs for swimming. Check them out on their website and Amazon ($25)!
Henshin Bike by Vitamin i Factory - push bike - pedal bike
Already a top seller in Japan, the Henshin bike is just being launched here in the States and I have a feeling it's going shake things up in the kids' bike industry! It's pretty common to start a child off with a tricycle or push bike (balance bike), and there are a ton of products out there that actually convert from tricycle to balance bike. But the Henshin Bike actually converts from push bike to a regular 2-wheel air-tire pedal sports bike (with front and rear breaks, reflectors, and a bell, to boot)! Basically, the child doesn't have to learn a whole new technique when moving from one type to the other - it's the same bike, weight, steering, etc! No need for training wheels, either - they say a child can make the switch from balance to pedal and have it down in just 30 minutes! We have one on the way for my 4 year old, so stay tuned for our review, but I'm totally psyched about this one! It's not yet available in the US, but we'll keep you posted!
The king of seesaws if you ask me, I'd love to get this for my twins!!! The big soft balls under each seat are designed to minimize impact and maximize bounce. The base can be filled with sand to add stability, it comes with protective pads to prevent damage to your floor, and it has a maximum capacity of 55 pounds on each seat. I can't find it on their website but you can purchase on Amazon.
Best of: ART & PHOTOGRAPHY
PixlPlay - turn an old smart phone into a kid's camera
Pop in just about any old smart phone you have collecting dust in your junk drawer, connect to the headphone jack, snap the case shut, and you're good to go!! Featuring a working shutter button, camera strap, splash protective screen, and rubber grip, PixlPlay is a great way for your child to get into "old school" photography! Use your regular camera app or the PixlPlay app for added features, such as scavenger hunts!! This is likely to be named one of the TOP TOYS this year, be prepared for a fight at Christmas time!! It's not on the market yet, but if you back their Kickstarter campaign with at least $25 you'll be sent one as soon as they're out! They actually reached their $25,000 kickstarter goal in 11 days, so you will not be alone in support of this amazing toy!
Chalkboard Placemats by Imagination Starters
These flexible and lightweight reusable chalkboard placemats will make waiting at the table for meals fun and educational! Use with dust-free chalk or dry erase crayons for mess-free writing/drawing, and wipe off in a snap with a wet paper towel or baby wipe! Get a set of 4 - either blank or with designs to color, for about $15-20 on their website or Amazon.
Sidewalk Chalk Tagging Kit by Renegade Made
We love chalk, and I love funny quotes and memes, so these sidewalk chalk tagging kits (reusable stencil sheets) really got me! So fun!! Check 'em out on Renegade Made's website or Amazon (about $20-25 for a kit).
Best of: CUTE & CUDDLY
Wild Things / Cuddle Tails - animal inspired wearable blankets
Their Mermaid Tails were a HUGE hit last year, and now they're back with more wearable fun for boys and girls! Their Wild Things and Cuddle Tails lines feature cute and cozy animal-inspired blankets. The Wild Things line doesn't appear to be on their website yet, but stay tuned, they're awesome!
Woobo - interactive smart plush toy
This one's for all the curious kiddos obsessed with chatting up Siri on your phone!! Woobo is a smart plush toy designed to answer any of your child's questions (with answers carefully restricted to the PG variety). He was able to tell me how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and how tall the Empire State Building is. The voice is as adorable as the creature, which comes in several designs. They're still in beta mode, working out all the kinks, but sign up for notifications on when they'll be available on their website.
So, what do you think? Do you have any of these products? Are you running out to buy some now?? Leave me a comment below!!!
And because so many have asked... Toy Fair is a "B2B" trade show, meaning it's only open to those in the industry - toy makers, buyers, and media - they're very strict and you must register beforehand providing credentials online. If you're a consumer who would love to attend this type of event, definitely check out Play Fair, coming up in NYC in November!!
While they can be overwhelming and exhausting, I honestly love going to baby expos and trade shows to discover the latest and greatest maternity / baby / kids' products and introduce them to all of you!! Last Sunday I wandered the halls of the vast Playtime New York trade show, which featured over 200 up and coming American and international brands in children's fashion (and other related products). It is truely difficult to narrow it down to a reasonable number of "top picks", but here are 10 products and brands that really blew me away!
Disclosure: Amazon links below are affiliate links - you don't pay more if you click or purchase, but I will grab a teeny tiny cut away from Amazon, win-win!
#1. Rookie Humans: artistic crib sheets
I'm a sucker for a good photo opp, and these imaginative crib sheets hand-drawn by artists are that and then some! Great for photographing your child, and for simply watching them sleep on beautiful bedding. Made of 100% cotton sateen, each sheet costs $34.99 on their website or Amazon. Personally, I'm really rooting for them to partner up for a line with QuickZip - give them both a shoutout on social if you'd love to see this, too!!
#2. Lil' Pyar: hot air balloon mobiles
I don't know what it was about these hot air balloon mobiles, but they really caught my eye. I think they're such a fun but not babyish way to decorate a nursery! Not just cute and stylish, but also functional - you can store items in the balloon's basket (hang it next to the changing station and fill with diaper cream and loation?). They have tons of different designs, and even a blank one, which if you ask me, would make an amazing baby shower item - guests could all leave a little message or drawing for the little one!!! These mobiles retail for $60 - $64 on their website.
3. Goose Grease: fair trade wooden peg dolls
Not just cute toys and collectibles, these fair trade wooden peg dolls are hand-crafted in Colombia. They have an amazing variety of collections, from custom families to artists to superheroes to cake toppers (the only set currently available on Amazon), even pets and DIY blank dolls. A set of 4 runs for about $28 on their website, and they even have accessories such as doll houses and chess sets!
4. Chérubin: leather baby shoes hand crafted in America
Baby moccasins are huge these days. I sure love them - they're cute, easy to get on and off, comfy for the kiddos, and wonderfully flexible for new walkers! What I especially love about these shoes by Chérubin is that they're handmade by leather artisans right here in America. And oh yeah, they're also hella cute and come in tons of designs, not just the moccasins but also boots, mary janes, and matching pacifier clips! You can buy them for about $60 a pop on their website or Amazon.
5. OMY: coloring projects
From wall paper to backpacks to puzzles to pocket maps, OMY creates products with fun designs that your kids (and you!) can color! You can purchase on their website and Amazon.
6. KaiKai & Ash: toy storage boxes
These adorable 13" canvas toy storage boxes by KaiKai & Ash really caught my eye. Functional, playful, colorful, a great way to customize any child's bedroom or playroom! You can buy them for about $17-19 each on Amazon.
7. Moon + Beck: gender neutral cute & comfy clothing
Seriously cute, soft, and comfy ("moombex" bamboo + spandex blend) gender neutral clothes for babies and toddlers, designed by a mom in Tennessee. Prices range from about $16 (head wrap) to $42 (hoodie) and you can find her entire collection on her website.
8. Oeuf - creative children's hats
I knew they had amazing cribs, but I didn't know Oeuf also made great children's clothing!! I fell in love with their hats at the show, namely the floppy eared rabbit and unicorn (see above photo)!! You can shop their entire collection on their website and Amazon.
9. Ikue by Maruju - coordinating swaddles, bibs, & more
While Maruju has been a staple in Japan for over 90 years, Ikue, meaning "layered fabric" in Japanese, is new to the American market (and actually looking for a distributer, if anyone is interested!). They have gorgeous 100% cotton muslin fabric that gets softer with each wash, in a variety of products, from swaddles to bandana bibs to stroller strap covers. Buy all in the same print, or mix and match! I especially love the brightly colored animal camouflage line. You can find them on Amazon, and stay tuned as they'll be taking part in an upcoming giveaway right here on US Japan Fam!!
10. Tsukihoshi - Japanese split-toe shoes
Whether you have a lil' Ninja at home or simply dig unique international style, you've got to check out Tsukihoshi's Tabi Tabi split-toed shoes! Designed to allow ultimate flexibility of the feet as if barefoot, Tsukihoshi has been designing these traditional Japanese split-toe shoe socks since 1873. You can shop the Tabi Tabi line on Badorf Kids ($34.95 a pair) and you can also find their "regular" sneakers on Amazon ($29 - $68 per pair).
So what do you think? Loving any of my picks? Already own some? Have a product you'd like me to review?? Share in a comment below!!
Originally posted on Mommy Nearest (Jan 2015)
Whether you’re a Brooklynite or residing in another part of the city (or state!), there are countless family-friendly things to do in the borough—and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is right up at the top of the list. Babies, toddlers, school-aged children and their grownups will all have a blast at BCM. Here are some highlights of what you'll find and love:
Visit the special zone for little ones
BCM’s Totally Tots room is for children ages five and under and has tons to do. My little guy was especially crazy about their water-play section (they have smocks but you still might consider bringing a change of clothes, socks, and shoes if you have a water baby like me!). They also have a climbing structure, musical instruments, a blue sand box, a reading tent, puppet theater, building zone and more. No exaggeration—my toddler would have been content spending the entire day here.
Little ones will also love Totally Tots Art Studio Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays @ 10am – 12pm and Brooklyn Block Lab (Thursdays @ 2:00-5:30pm, Fridays @ 10am-1pm, Saturdays @ 10am-1pm, Sunday @ 10am-1pm).
Explore a kid-sized city
My personal favorite exhibit is World Brooklyn. There, visitors meander in and out of shops that teach kids and grownups about the vibrant history—and culture—of Brooklyn. Plus, each area is filled with hands-on activities to take part in. You can make play pizza in the Italian restaurant, dance along to videos from around the world in the Global Beats Theater or shop at the International Market for Shabbat or Kwanzaa.
I love that BCM has made a point of emphasizing the importance of nature and sustainable living. In fact, Brooklyn Children’s Museum is New York’s first LEED-certified green museum. Inside, you’ll find a little pond aquarium and greenhouse, and weather permitting you can take a walk through (or get your hands dirty in) their outdoor garden.
Their bathrooms feature changing tables, one lowered sink and stepping stool for children, and even a mini urinal. They welcome strollers, and have a ramp out front and an elevator and ramps inside. There’s a large cafeteria for snacks or just taking a break, and they also have a sensory room for children with special needs (open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4:45pm). BCM also hosts birthday parties, summer camps, and tons of festivals and special events, so be sure to check out their program schedule for what's coming up!
Super cool visiting exhibits
Be sure to check their website to see what temporary exhibits are there now and coming soon!
Hours, Admission and Directions
Location: 145 Brooklyn Avenue at St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn
Admission: $11, children under 1 free. There's "pay what you wish" admission on Thursdays from 2 to 5pm. Your NYC ID will also get you free admission (child and guests must pay).
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm (til 6pm Thursdays)
How to get there: By subway, take the 3 to Kingston Avenue, the A to Nostrand Avenue, or the C to Kingston/Throop Avenue. By bus, take the B43 or B44 to St. Mark's Avenue, or the B25, B45, or B65 to Brooklyn Avenue. If coming by car, take note that there is no parking lot but street parking is generally easy to find. Go here for detailed directions.
Be sure to check out our other posts on the best activities for kids in New York City!!
Sure, chocolate and flowers and jewelry are nice. But they're all about romance, and commercialism. And that's not what MOST moms really want, or need. But what do moms actually want for Valentine's Day, birthdays, Mother's Day, or any day, for that matter?? I asked and you answered, check out this hilarious montage from YOU AWESOME MAMAS!!! Turns out nothing says love like changing some stinky diapers while mama naps, has coffee, and showers in peace!
Huge shoutout to the lovely, brave, and hilarious mamas who contributed to this video!!
How about you? What do you want for Valentine's Day? What have been some awesome (or not so awesome) things you've received?? Leave a comment below!!
Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe to my YouTube channel - I do lots of fun montage videos like this as well as family-friendly travel, product reviews, and cute stuff featuring my 3 littles!!
We are excited to bring you a fun giveaway from Mommy Scene filled with wonderful prizes for your family and cute little ones!
Enter to Win these Valentine's Day Inspired Family Essentials!
This giveaway is coordinated by Mommy Scene, sponsored by the participating brands, and is open to US entries ages 18 and older. No purchase required to enter. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted through e-mail, and their name displayed on the giveaway page after the giveaway ends on February 24, 2017. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand. Have fun and good luck!
In case you're new to the blog, I should preface this post with the fact that my husband is from Japan. As in, I met him clubbing in Tokyo one night while I was teaching English in Japan for 2 years! We did a year and a half of long distance, then I moved back over there, we lived together in Yokohama for 3 years together, got engaged, married in Hawaii, moved to good ol' NYC, popped out 3 kids, and the rest is history!
Suffice it to say, raising our kids to know Japanese language and culture is extremely important to both of us. Also important is taking a family trip back to Japan every other year (we would go more often if budget wasn't an issue...one ticket costs about $1500!!)
We had decided this summer my husband would take our 4 year old son alone, and I would stay behind with the girls because we just couldn't fathom the difficulty of the 24 hour door to door journey and a week of jet lag in each direction with TWO toddlers! It was a nightmare when we took Kenzo in 2014 when he was 20 months old. Multiply that times TWO??? Ugh.... But, when hubby broke the news to his parents, apparently they weren't too thrilled, so we have decided we will suck it up and all 5 of us will be making the trek this coming summer (just before the twins turn 2, so they can get cheap lap child tickets, which cost 10% of the regular fare!!).
So, as I embark on planning this epic journey with three children, I realized I never did a blog post or video recapping our last family vacation to Japan in 2014!! So, without further ado, check out our short and sweet video montage!!
I'll be coming back and posting more articles about what to do in the various cities, tips for traveling to Japan with kids, and much more. So, stay tuned!!
Please feel free to leave a comment below with any questions about where we went, places or things you are curious about in the video, recommendations for places you've been in Japan, etc!!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!