Is that stuffed Angry Bird doll really necessary? Does my kid really need that child-sized replica of the classic Eames 1950′s lounge chair and ottoman in his bedroom? No and no.
With the overwhelming amount of kids products in stores and on the Web, it’s almost impossible to sift through all of the junk in search of the quality items that are really necessary or actually contribute to the overall well-being and development of your child.
Mamiverse sought out Francine De La Rosa, owner of Give Wink, a cutting edge Miami-based baby and kids store.
Thankfully, she did much of the sifting for you. Here are Francine’s recommendations:
Best New Educational Toy: Uncle Goose Language Alphabet Blocks
“Blocks have been around for centuries. They are basic, timeless toys that can provide hours of learning entertainment for kids of all ages, and stacking is a milestone for toddlers. Classic blocks are commonly manufactured from solid wood and have letters and basic designs carved into them; and older children can use the blocks when they are learning to identify letters and create words as well.” But De La Rosa says these blocks go a step further. “They are available in over 10 languages including Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, Greek, Italian, and French. In addition, they have specialty blocks that include number blocks, which are great for math skills, as well as sign language blocks for those who want to learn how to sign. The Egyptian Hieroglyphic blocks can provide hours of entertainment for kids interested in history and archeology.”
Most Practical Newborn/New Mom Product: Hobo Diaper Bag
Diaper bags are a must for any new mom, but keeping everything organized and accessible can be a challenge when on the go. “The unique design of these diaper bags keeps everything in its place,” De La Rosa explains. “Its clear pockets with interchangeable Velcro labels make this bag a fantastic new standout, and it’s available in a variety of styles and colors.”
Best Soother & Stimulator: Mamaroo
De La Rosa says this modern day infant swing is the “mother of all swings.” It was created by four mothers with fussy babies, who attached sensors that recorded the movements they made to sooth their babies. The Mamaroo was engineered to mimic those movements. It has five different swinging motions and five different speeds. It also has built-in sounds that mimic those found in nature (ocean waves, waterfalls, and even sounds of the womb). You can also simply attach your iPod or MP3 player to play your own selection of music.
Best Books: Worry Woos
This imaginative and playful series teaches kids about feelings and how to handle them. From Fuddle, the Monster of Confusion, to Nola, the Monster with no Friends, the WorryWoos show children the power of their own emotions. “Super Sprowtz is also wonderful for the picky and fussy eater,” says De La Rosa. “This series will get the most skeptical child eating their veggies.”
Best Mealtime Product: Babycook
The debate of store-bought versus homemade food is always in the back of a mother’s mind. The Babycook makes it easy to make fresh food for your little ones anytime. It is hassle-free, portable, and suitable even for those who can’t cook. The small contraption steams, blends, thaws, and reheats.
Coolest Designers of Kids/Baby furniture: Bloom
According to De La Rosa, this earth-friendly company has the coolest and most practical nursery furniture in the industry. Their cribs require no assembly and fold shut in two simple steps.
Best Sleep Catcher: Nap Nanny
This portable infant recliner is ideal for improving baby’s sleep. According to De La Rosa, “it is made of the highest quality foam and covered with a soft and washable cover.” And since sleep is something new parents lack, they will long be raving about the benefits of this wonderful baby lounger.