From fairies to dragons, mystical creatures of all types will captivate children of every age (including you!) and inspire hours of creative play. Get ready to be spellbound this year.
Movie-Time Magic: Flicks like Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, Rapunzel, and Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil will have kids believing in the unbelievable.
Fantastic Fashion: Clothing gets charmed with motifs such as unicorns and spookalicious owls adorning tees, pj's, and more.
Bewitching Bedtimes: Read your kid a modern-day version of a favorite fairytale. New for 2010: Jacques and the Beanstalk, Thumbelina, and Mirror, Mirror.
If your kids aren't psyched about their snack selection, then customizable food is a trend they'll really sink their teeth into. Raisins in the cornflakes a no-go? Click to mojamix.com, and let them create their perfect morning cereal. Or veto the nuts and add more chocolate chips to their granola bars at elementbars.com.
This year, family time will be packed with sweaty good fun. Kids' gyms, such as Fitwize 4 Kids, are popping up across the country. If running is your family's thing, log on to active.com for a list of kid-friendly races in your area. And Zumba, the popular Latin-rhythm-infused aerobics program sweeping the adult workout world, just launched a DVD routine for the younger set ($35; zumbatomic.com).
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Netbooks for Kids
These mini laptops that connect to the Internet wirelessly were all the rage with grown-ups last year. Now companies are catering to kids. Disney's Netpal ($350) and Convertible Classmate PC ($500) are two created specifically for children ages 6 and up. They come loaded with kid-friendly features. Even traditionally adult companies, like Samsung, are drawing in parents who want a first computer for their child with a durable design, lower price point, and splashy colors.
Green Potty Products
The next eco frontier: diaper duty. The baby aisle will be, er, flush with that are better for the earth -- and your little one's bum. Look out for:
A Kinder Clean 100% compostable and biodegradable wipes, Elements Naturals baby wipes, $6; diapers.com
A+ Accident Protection Training pants made from non-chlorine material, $12 per pack; earthsbest.com
The White Idea All-natural, no-talc powder, One Planet Baby Powder, $6.50; Rite Aid stores Soft and Safe Paraben- and fragrance-free diaper cream, $14; tinytillia.com
It's a Keeper One-size-fits-all reusable diapers, free of chemicals and other irritants, $15 each; smartipants.com
Planet-Friendly Potty This biodegradable seat is made from bamboo waste and rice husks, bECOpotty, $13; trendykid.com
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The Daily "Do"
The about-to-explode obsession: moms and dads giving themselves a daily challenge. We've found a few cool parents who have chronicled their adventures online: a mom who spent a year testing out slow-cooked meals (crockpot365.blogspot.com) and another who sends her kindergartner off with a different bento box lunch every morning (wendolonia.com/blog). Whether you want to blog about it or not, here's our Parents challenge to you: Pick a passion, get your kids involved, and take a daily time-out for fun and learning. What to do?
A few ideas: Commemorate 2010 with a daily family photo, chill out for ten minutes every morning and learn a new yoga pose with your toddler, or commit to a daily act of kindness (visit givingchallenge.ning.com). Whatever it is, just "do" it!
Fashion fever has hit the 8-and-under crowd. Sites like bykidsonly.com let tykes design their own tees; people vote and the winners get made. Is there a Project Runway Jr. in the future? At verymeri.com, kids choose a charity and donate a portion of the proceeds from their tee sales.
Many grown-up gadgets will resemble something you could pull out of your kid's toy box. Check out three of our favorites coming to an electronics aisle near you:
FreeTalk Buddy Cam: You can bend this Skype Webcam into different poses. $20; skype.com
Robot Flash Drive: These colorful mini robots with movable arms double as a memory stick. $30; amazon.com
Sayonara, bad Mommy and befuddled Dad .. 2010 is the year of the relax-and-trust-your-instincts parent. Out: helicoptering, multitasking, and freaking out about, well, everything. In: a Zen take on raising kids and the belief that we know what we're doing. There will be books to guide us.
Due out this year: Intuitive Parenting: Listening to the Wisdom of Your Heart; Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids; and Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.
Baby Stuff from Grown-Up Brands
Companies renowned for their made-for-adults products are tapping into their maternal (and paternal) instincts to come up with über-cool new baby- and child-friendly gear.
OXO: The smart-gadget guys are making parenting easier too with their Tot line, out in the spring. Whale Pail, $25
ARM & HAMMER: The fighter of stinky smells is teaming up with Munchkin to tackle the nursery. Fresheners, $6; munchkin.com
RUSSELL AND MACKENNA: Brighten up baby's bedroom with the furniture company's new smaller styles. Changer, $2,594
RESTORATION HARDWARE: Classic pint-size décor debuts with the Baby & Child line. Tricycle, $179
Originally published in the January 2010 issue of Parents magazine.