Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just Ask Baby: Development from a Baby’s Perspective

Have you ever wondered what your infant is thinking, feeling or seeing? Well, a new company called Just Ask Baby is offering some insight into the inner workings of your baby’s mind. Just Ask Baby is a new online video membership service for parents with young infants. Their professionally produced, science-based videos are designed to help parents understand their baby’s developing skills and abilities, and provide suggested tools and methods to support their baby as they move from milestone to milestone. What a child experiences in the first years of life sets the course for the whole life cycle! With Just Ask Baby, parents get a unique baby’s perspective on how to effectively nurture their infant’s full developmental potential during the critical early years.

I’ve had a chance to watch several of the videos and one thing I appreciate about them is that they are categorized not only by the baby’s age, but also by different aspects of development. There are video series for thinking, seeing, feeling, saying and doing. All aspects of babies’ development are covered. Also, the Just Ask Baby videos provide a scientific understanding of babies’ development in an easy-to-understand way. They have really done their research and have a top developmental scientist on their team.

Check out this short introductory video for a good overview of what Just Ask Baby is all about.

They also offer a free 15 day trial with unlimited access for parents to try before they buy.

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Reviewed by Amy, The Thoughtful Parent

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Book Review: A Practical Guide to Dragons

Did you know the best place to find a red dragon is the smoldering, fiery depths of a volcano? Or that blue dragons are much more talkative that black dragons? If you have a tween that enjoys fantasy, they can learn these dragon facts and more in A Practical Guide to Dragons by Lisa Trumbauer.

This guide is beautiful illustrated a will provide hours of entertainment for your little dragon lover. Inset paintings, labeled anatomical sketches, and maps decorate the pages, which are shaded to look like parchment.

This guide accompanies The Dragon Codices which chronicles the adventures of the ten dragons listed in the guide. From the fiery, evil red dragon to the playful copper, each dragon's tale is unique.

For example, the Red Dragon Codex chronicles the story of Mudd, the red dragon, who lives a peaceful life in his small town, tinkering with the mill and any mechanical devices that he can find. But his peaceful life soon changes when, out of nowhere, a red dragon attacks, burning the town and kidnapping Shemnara, the village seer. Only one clue is left behind--a cryptic note telling Mudd, "Seek the silver dragon."

In the Brass Dragon Codex orphaned baby brass dragon Kyani ventures out into the desert to find something to eat, and finds a gnome named Hector instead. Hector is not so sure he wants a chatty, hungry brass dragon following his every move. But several groups ready to go to blows over the marvelous invention Hector guards with his life, he may need the help that only a fun-loving brass dragon can provide.

My daughter loved these books. She snatched them up immediately and it wasn't long before she was spouting dragon facts at the dinner table. These books are perfect for tween/teens who enjoy reading fantasy.

Reviewed by Melissa, From Melissa's Desk Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be Big In Your Community: Scholastic & Clifford

Clifford is a pretty big dog and he is encouraging children to BE BIG, too! Clifford's Big Ideas include Share, Play Fair, Have Respect, Work Together, Be Responsible, Be Truthful, Be Kind, Believe in Yourself, Be a Good Friend and Help Others. These are great values to instill in our little ones that help them develop into independent, amazing children. Today, at the start of National Volunteer Week, Scholastic Media has announced the next step in its Clifford BE BIG initiative..."The Be Big in Your Community" contest! What a great way to encourage our little ones to extend those values into the community.

Scholastic Inc. has launched “
The Be Big in Your Community Contest” in support of CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG® and the BE BIG™ initiative. The contest calls upon kids, parents, teachers, and community leaders to submit their BIG ideas for creating positive change in their communities by demonstrating Clifford’s Big Ideas; Share, Play Fair, Have Respect, Work Together, Be Responsible, Be A Good Friend, Help Others, Be Truthful, Be Kind and Believe In Yourself. The BE BIG Fund will help bring the winning BIG idea to life by awarding one (1) Grand Prize $25,000 community grant and ten (10) runner-up $2,500 community grants to implement the winning BIG ideas via HandsOn Network local affiliate organizations. Submit your idea at Clifford's BE BIG site. And remember....IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE TO BE BIG!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Contest starts April 20, 2009 and ends on June 26, 2009.

Contest Details brought to you by Amber, Because Babies Grow Up

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Bobble Bee Review and Giveaway (Closed)

I was recently given the opportunity to let my youngest son try out the Bobble Bee by Munchkin. As soon as we received it, we tore open the package. Peyton, who is 11 months now, gave me the biggest smile and reached for the Bobble Bee.

The Bobble Bee is so bright and colorful and caught the attention of my little guy in no time flat. What I find to be the best feature is the suction cup base. I put Peyton in his high chair as I was cooking dinner and stuck it on the tray of his high chair. He sat in his high chair and played while I was able to cook dinner. Usually when I put anything on the high chair for him to play with, it ends up on the floor. He throws it down, I pick it up. We repeat that a few times, and then I give up.


There is so much built-in entertainment with the Bobble Bee. From the bobbling head, to the rolling eyes, and the spinning wings it keeps baby amused and happy.

Munchkin’s colorful and creative interactive toy builds motor skills as children make the head bobble up and down, spin the wings, roll the belly, and listen to all the different sounds that this whimsical toy creates. The Bee can even be attached to a high-chair or become a hand-held activity toy!

Smart Giveaway:
One lucky reader will win their very own Bobble Bee. All you need to do to enter is visit the Munchkin website and let me know in a comment what other products interest you. Click here to find out how to increase your contest entries. Contest rules apply. Entry deadline is May 8, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Subscribe to Cool Baby Kid by RSS or email for an extra entry and to receive updates on this contest including an announcement of the winner. Winner must contact us via email within one week in order to claim their prize.

Review and giveaway brought to you by Crystal, Simply Being Mommy.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

eeBoo Candy Matching Game: Fun for All Ages

I was excited to be given the opportunity to let my children play this adorable game from eeBoo. When we received it in the mail, my daughter thought she had hit the jackpot, a box filled with candy. Little did she know that the box she thought was candy was a matching card game. When she opened the box she was just as excited to find the game as she would have been finding candy. The box is beautifully illustrated and appealing to little eyes.

As a parent I love that the cards are heavily laminated and thick to withstand the destructive capabilities of younger children. If your children are like mine, most toys don’t last that long. This game allows children to sharpen their memory skills while enjoying playing a fun game at the same time.

The game includes 48 pieces for 24 matching sets and is suggested for ages 5+. Having said that, my 3 year old son loved playing just as much as my 5 year old daughter. While he might not fully understand the game, he is still making that little brain of his work.

We give this game two thumbs up!

Reviewed by Crystal, Simply Being Mommy

Smart Tip: eeBoo's Candy Matching Game is suitable for children of all ages.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Introducing the Smart Baby Kid Editorial Team

Discriminating SBK readers may have already noticed new members of the Smart Baby Team. Welcome Amy from The Thoughtful Parent, Crystal from Simply Being Mommy and Amber from Babies Grow Up. Each brings a unique perspective to the site focusing on educational products and resources for babies and kids. In the coming months Smart Baby Kid will be undergoing some changes (for the better!) to help meld it with the other Baby Kid Blogs, Cool Baby Kid and Ask Baby Kid and having Crystal and Amber on board will most definitely improve not only the frequency of posts but the overall quality of the blog. So welcome...glad to have you on board Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Friday, April 10, 2009

Read With Kids Challenge

Reading Is Fundamental has teamed up with US Airways to create the Read With Kids Challenge 2009. The challenge is for participants to collectively log 5 million minutes of reading with children between April 1 and June 30, 2009.

Why read?

According to Jim Trelease, "We read aloud to children for the same reasons we talk with them: to reassure; entertain; bond; inform; arouse curiosity; and inspire. But reading aloud goes further than conversation when it:
  • Conditions the child to associate reading with pleasure;
  • Creates background knowledge;
  • Builds “book” vocabulary;
  • Provides a reading role model." Jim Trelease, "Why Read Aloud to Children" brochure
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) has been providing free books and literacy programs targeting underserved children for over 40 years! Last year 4.5 million children participated in RIF programs and selected 16 million books to add to their home libraries.

Join in the challenge and help kids discover the joy of reading! You can register individually or join a team. All participants are eligible to win a Walt Disney World Resort® vacation and more great prizes.

Reviewed by Amber of Because Babies Grow Up

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

3 Ways to Use Poetry with Kids: A Mirror to Nature Review

A Mirror to Nature by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple was a resource I used recently to teach my 8th grade Language Arts class poetry unit. The book's theme, reflection, fit nicely with the driving force behind our lesson of introspection and creating art using words. Poems such as "A Solitary Cockle" are accompanied with beautiful pictures from nature which lent itself toward a study of art in various forms. There are even facts scattered throughout the book about the various animals depicted making A Mirror to Nature a perfect resources for interdisciplinary study, or just as an enjoyable book for anyone who enjoys poetry or photography.

3 Ways to Use Poetry with Kids

1. Simply read them to help children appreciate works of art in its various forms as poetry is a medium they will be less intimidated by if exposed at an earlier age.

2. Sing poems as songs. My toddler loves anything with rhyme and poems which employ end rhyme are perfect for this purpose.


3. Recite poems as bedtime stories. I often use lines from Shakespeare sonnets as "ditties" during our pre-bedtime routine.


Smart Giveaway: Enter to win a copy of Mirror to Nature by searing for it on Google and commenting back here about what details on the book you can find. Click here to find out how to increase each extra contest entries. Contest ends 4/21/09.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Imaginary Garden: Book Review

The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher passes the ultimate children's book test. If you want to know if a toy or book is good, give it to your caregiver. I sent it with my own kids and was told when picking them up that afternoon, "Your book was a hit!" We're talking multiple genders and age groups (recommended age 3-7) which is why this is the ultimate test. The Imaginary Garden is about Theo whose move to an apartment building makes it impossible to keep a garden, so she and her Poppa created an imaginary garden. "Stroke by stroke, stone by stone, Poppa built a wall...above the wall, Theo painted a soft blue sky." And when Poppa left for a holiday (vacation) Theo cared for the garden all by herself. With illustrations my artist mother-in-law would be proud of and a story as heartwarming as the main characters, The Imaginary Garden is destined to become one of our favorite children's books and hopefully yours too!

Cool Giveaway: Win one of two copies of The Imaginary Garden by checking it out on Amazon and commenting on your thoughts. Click here to find out how to increase each extra contest entries. Contest ends 4/19/09.

Subscribe to Cool Baby Kid by RSS or email or an extra entry and to receive updates on this contest, an announcement of the winner & a special discount for all entrants. Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin
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