Moms, try not to bear a grudge over this one. You can now send Teddy abroad with Unagi Travel, a Tokyo, Japan, tourism agency catering to your child’s plush pal. That’s right: You can book that special stuffed animal for a tour through Tokyo or Kyoto—or send it to a “mystery” location—and you and your child can follow the toy’s worldly adventures through photos on Facebook. No passport needed. $35 to $95 per tour; unagi-travel.net
This contest has now ended. Congratulations to our winner, Heather D. of Beavercreek, OR!
As promised, we’re unveiling five of the Fab 15 toys selected by Kmart Toys and Rico Rodriguez of “Modern Family”! We’ve collaborated with Kmart Toys to present one grand prize winner with a bundle that includes the five toys below:
(1) Simon Flash ($29.99) (1) I Am T Pain Mic ($39.99) (1) Lalaloopsy Treehouse ($39.99) (1) Redekai Championship Battle Tin ($29.99) (1) WWE Crashdown Arena ($42.99)
These five toys (total retail value of $182.95) will certainly bring a smile to any child’s face for the holiday season.
To enter, share your favorite holiday memory in our Comments section below between Mon. December 5 to Fri. December 9. One grand prize winner will be selected randomly to win the bundle of five toys. Come back to this post again after Mon. December 12 to find out the winner. Read the full contest rules here.
For this week’s installment of toys, eBeanstalk’s is going geek chic. These brainy playthings are a great way for your kid to explore the world around him. Check out what made the cut.
Kids will bug out for Educational Insights’ GeoSafari Talking Microscope, which comes with 12 pre-made insect slides and interactive factoids. (5 years+, $40; click here to buy)
It’s easy being green with this Young Scientist Club set that includes experiments and activities for teaching kids about Mother Earth. (6 years+, $20; click here to buy)
Awesome Online Kit:
Go stargazing from your living room with SLOOH! from Blue Storm. The coolest thing about this activity pack is that it lets kids control pro telescopes around the world for their search. (6 years+, $38; click here to buy)
Give your child a lesson in life cycles–and responsibility–with Insect Lore’s Butterfly Garden. The neat habitat comes with a certificate for butterfly larvae that she can hatch and take care of. (4 years+, $20; click here to buy)
Come back next Tuesday for another round of toy picks. And don’t forget to stop by our new Parents Toy Store!
Gene Tests Label Kids Sports Stars Scientists have identified several genes that may play a role in determining strength, speed and other aspects of athletic performance. Marketers have begun to sell genetic tests based on these findings online for up to $200. Some customers say the test results help them steer their children to appropriate sports. But skeptical doctors and ethicists say the tests are putting profit before science. [MSNBC]
Hot-to-Trot Ponies? Dolls That Wax? Toys Get Tarted Up
Toy manufacturers began following the marketing strategy “Kids Getting Older Younger” when they realized that toys marketed towards kids between the ages of 8 and 12 were attracting kids who were in the 3-year-old to 8-year-old age range because they wanted to emulate their older brothers and sisters. [Today Parenting]
Anesthesia For Kids Necessary, But Cognitive Danger? An estimated 4 million children receive anesthesia every year, but little is known about their effects on the developing brain. A growing body of data from studies in animals suggests that these drugs could adversely affect neurologic, cognitive, and social development of neonates and young children. [Medical News Today]
Mexico Puts Its Children on a Diet By all measures, and the obesity starts early. One in three children is overweight or obese, according to the government. So the nation’s health and education officials stepped in last year to limit what schools could sell at recess. [The New York Times]
This year’s annual Toy Fair, held at the Javits Center in New York City, didn’t disappoint. Parents.com and Parents magazine editors saw everything from a life-sized Lightning McQueen of “Cars” built out of LEGOS to the original Power Rangers striking a pose to a court jester juggling fuzzy toys.
Walking the floors, we came across some unique and wonderful new toys and games, plus updates of childhood classics. Here are some standout new toys and products for toddlers/preschoolers and big kids:
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Learn & Laugh Baby iCan Play Case (Fisher-Price; $14.99; Age 6-36 months) – Now you can entertain your tot with the iPhone without worrying about it being drooled on, dropped, or damaged. This rubber, colorful case locks the iPhone in place while covering it with a protective plastic film.
Hideaway Country Kitchen – (Guidecraft; $240; Age 3+) What parent wouldn’t want a kitchenette that folds easily for storage? This wooden kitchen folds up to a depth of 6” and still has functioning knobs, a removable sink, and a pull-out oven rack.
Brush with Genius (Colorforms; $14.99; Age 3+) – Invented by a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this unique brush allows kids to make colorful drawings that then comes to life with sounds.
Figit Friends (Mattel; $49.99; Age 6+) – These squishy, voice-activated dolls easily captivate. They dance, sing, respond to commands—and are much cuter than Teletubbies. Figits come in four colors with distinct personalities (see picture above).
Glow-in-the-Dark Hexbugs (Innovation First; $11.99 each; Age 3+) – While these are estimated for ages 3+, their small size seems more appropriate for older kids. These entertaining racecar-like bugs have a glow-in-the-dark Galileo theme and constellations on their backs. They entertain kids who love fast-moving toys while also teaching them about astronomy.
The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy (Klutz; $19.99; Age 8+) – Perfect for summer nights, boys and girls can chart constellations, explore the moon’s surface, and learn about meteors. The guide also comes with a collapsible cardboard telescope, a special flashlight, a map to steer the stars, and more.
Unique merchandise from the theme park is now being sold in their new online store, and there is something for every Potter fan in your house. Along with the requisite t-shirts, tote bags, scarves, and mugs, you can buy a Sneakoscope from Dervish and Banges, a Pygmy Puff from Zonko’s, the Sorting Hat and Mad-Eye Moody’s staff from Filch’s Emporium, the Elder Wand from Ollivander’s, and Hedwig from Owl’s Post. There’s something for fans of every Hogwarts House…even something for fans of the Dark Arts.
Skip the Black Friday mall madness and take a virtual Hogwarts Express to buy Harry Potter gifts quicker than you can say, “Wingardium Leviosa.”
Are tablets the smartphone killer? - This very new dilemma begs the question: Are we at the dawn of an age in which tablets will become the jewel in your gadget crown, eclipsing the mighty smartphone only a few years into its reign? [CNN]
Gay benefit shapes debate about HPV vaccine for boys – From the start, arguments about whether to inoculate males against HPV have centered mainly on the benefits for women — and the desire to stop men from transmitting the most common sexually spread infection. The vaccine is approved, but not recommended, to prevent genital warts in males. But now, growing evidence shows that the vaccine also may prevent anal cancer, particularly in the high-risk groups of homosexual and bisexual men, who are about 20 times more likely than heterosexuals to develop the disease. [MSNBC]
1 in 10 kids in U.S. has ADHD, new study says – Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. children has ADHD, a sizable increase from a few years earlier that government scientists think might be explained by growing awareness and better screening. [MSNBC]
6 things to consider for your baby’s nursery – Preparing for a baby can be an overwhelming process. Before you enter the later stages of your pregnancy (when it might be difficult for you to move around), start putting together your newborn’s nursery. From paint colors to furniture, there is a lot to consider. We highlighted six important factors. [Fox News]