Jana Beauchamp


Earth-friendly Toys, Products for Families With Kids to Enjoy This Earth Day

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April 22 is officially Earth Day but every day is a day to invest in our planet. These earth-friendly toys, games, and products are a great place to start to influence change while having tons of fun.

LOL Surprise Earth Love Dolls

Celebrate Earth Day by unboxing the new LOL Surprise Earth Love Dolls. We love that the company will begin to produce L.O.L. Surprise! spherical packaging using sustainable materials, like bamboo, wood, sugar cane and other natural materials, in place of plastic. The new spheres are compostable and do not include plastic wrapping.

Launching with the first of these sustainable spheres is the all new L.O.L. Surprise!​ Earth Love, just in time for Earth Day, featuring two new characters, Earthy B.B. and Grow Grrrl. Both Earthy B.B. and Grow Grrrl are on a mission to protect the planet and make our world a happier and healthier place for all the B.B.s (including us!) to live in. $11.88

Wind Power 4.0

Build a realistic wind turbine to harness power out of thin air with Wind Power 4.0 from Thames & Kosmos. Assemble a wind turbine complete with electric generator and adjustable rotor blades. Use the wind turbine to light up an LED and charge a rechargeable battery.

Convert the generator into an electric motor and assemble a small electric car to demonstrate a tangible application for stored solar electricity. We love that you can discover how the sun makes the wind, providing us with an endless source of energy, and read about different types of wind turbines and windmills, the history of this technology, and how wind energy can be used to power homes and electric cars. $44.95

I Care Bear

I Care Bear is here to remind us just how important it is to take care of the Earth. He encourages us to recycle, reduce waste, and walk or ride our bikes when we can. He’s always there to make sure his friends care for the environment. For this nature-loving bear, there is no greater joy than keeping our Earth clean for generations to come. We love that I Care Bear is made of approximately 94% recycled polyester, and his box is made from 100% recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly soybean ink. $14.99

Dabble & Dollop Droplets 100% Natural Bath Bombs

Dabble & Dollop Droplets 100% Natural Bath Bombs take bath bombs for kids to the next level. A 100% natural, clean & safe way to make bath time fun and encourage creativity. Set includes 12 bath bombs in four fresh smelling, all-natural scents (3 Strawberry, 3 Tangerine, 3 Honeydew and 3 Vanilla).  Each Droplet is “kid-sized” at 1 inch, making them perfect for a gentle, moisturizing, sweetly scented bath experience. We love that in addition to being 100% natural, the Droplets are vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and made in California, USA. $25

Wild Republic’s Monsterkins

Wild Republic’s Monsterkins are Earth’s creation to help eat the plastic water bottles from land and sea.  It may take almost five hundred years for plastic bottles to decompose, but Monsterkins can digest them in only two hours.  They thrive on your plastic trash. Whether it’s in the rainforest, on a beach, or trash thrown on the ground, you can rely on a Monsterkins to eat it up and clean it up.  There’s a Monsterkin for every environment. We love that the Monsterkins line includes a fun selection of animals and all plush are fully sustainable, not just carbon neutral, but positively affecting the Earth.

Stasher Bags Ocean Forest Collection

Stasher bags are a healthier alternative to plastic: reusable and made with food-grade silicone, every Stasher prevents plastic bags from entering oceans. Their new Ocean Forest collection features rich hues and sea-inspired tones that aim to bring additional awareness to the vibrant habitats in our kelp forests.

Stasher will contribute funds to SeaTrees to restore approximately 8,000 square feet of kelp in Palos Verdes, California – home to a kelp forest that provides a habitat for 700+ species of marine life!  We also love that they are inspired by the rich hues and vibrant habitats of our kelp forests; the new colors in the collection include Kelp (Green), Deep Sea (Deep Blue), Sea Urchin (Purple), Coral (Peach), and Tidepool (Light Blue).

For the full list of Earth-friendly products, visit NewYorkFamily.com.

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Fun, Educational Fall Toys For Your Children

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Educational and Fun Toys Perfect For Fall

These picks are perfect for kicking back the summer slump and transitioning back to school since learning is more fun when accomplished through play. Check out some of our favorites, as we have toys that fit all budgets!


Tech Toys That Teach

Pixicade is as simple as Draw, Snap, and Play with their exciting new app-based video game design system that provides a unique play experience for kids to turn their artwork into playable video games and then share them. Families will love that it was developed in part by an NYC public school teacher; that the three colorful interactive books have over 100 game examples and 30 learning activities for hours of fun instruction offline; and there are seven game types teaching a variety of skills, including literacy, problem-solving, rapid prototyping, and logic. $24.99

Inspire a Rainbow of Creativity with Toys

Rainbow High Art of Fashion Doll Collector’s Edition features Jett Dawson, a fashion major at Rainbow High, with her first couture fashion design. Kids will love creating their own fashion institute at home with Jett and her two complete one-of-a-kind doll outfits, trendy shoes, fashion trunks, and collector fashion accessories. To add more endless hours of creative play, families will love the Rainbow High Deluxe Fashion Closet that includes a rainbow of beautiful doll clothes and accessories that kids can mix and match to create 400+ glamorous looks. Kids will love that it’s not just a closet for storing; it’s also a fun Playset that includes a Vanity Chair & Mirror. And Jett and friends can pull up to Rainbow High in style with the Rainbow High 8-in-1 Light-up Color Change Car. It’s fashion-forward fun! Starting at $49.99



Green Games

Family-owned Adventerra Games teach kids real-life tips for how to help our environment with fun and engaging games like Hungry BinsRecycle RallyPowerHausWaterGame, and Global Warming. Families will love that they are made from eco-friendly products and teach about the environment through play! Kids will love learning while having fun through STEM games like PowerHaus that teaches kids they have real power to fight climate change by moving through the game and deciding which habits to change and which appliances and home improvements are better for your wallet and the world. $19.99

Fun and Game Toys

Throw Throw Avocado is the standalone sequel to the Throw Throw Burritothe world’s first dodgeball card game. Families will love that Throw Throw Avocado can be played on its own or combined with the original game to create an all new combo game. Just like the first game in the Throw Throw franchise, it provides a unique twist to traditional gameplay by combining dodgeball and card-based play and giving players of all ages the chance to dodge squishy avocados at their friends and family. $24.99

We have some new, favorite games from the hit game creator of Exploding KittensExploding Minions, the Minions-inspired edition of the original Russian Roulette-style game, and Exploding Kittens: Recipes for Disaster, the ultimate Exploding Kittens collection in one, customizable box. Exploding Minions includes new card types and fun illustrations of Minions as imagined by The Oatmeal. It’s easy to learn, quick to play, and fun for kids and adults to enjoy together. Recipes for Disaster combines 121 of the best cards from the Exploding Kittens and players can use the game’s 13 Recipe Booklets to create their ideal game experience by altering the level of competition, number of opponents, and more. Starting at $19.99

For the full list of toys, visit NewYorkFamily.com.

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5 Greatest Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids

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Summer Snacks for Kids!

When fresh fruits and veggies and whole foods aren’t on hand or just aren’t handy for your kid’s tastes, try these new and healthier snack options that are sure to be your new go-tos. We love these nutritious and delicious summer snacks for kids of all ages for a super snack for lunch, after school, at home, on-the-go, and all the places you’ll go!

Chloe's ice pops
Chloe’s Pops

Chloe’s pops are the perfect cool treat for a hot day! Parents will love their healthy, better-for-you options and kids love getting these popsicle treats in many delicious flavors. Chloe’s recently launched its first No-Sugar Added Strawberry Pop and it passed our taste test with flying colors. Parents will love that they are made with simple, all-natural ingredients, looking to address the void in the market for no-sugar frozen treats made without artificial substitutes. Kids also love Chloe’s Oatmilk Pops in the non-dairy frozen novelty space and the three new varieties of their Oatmilk Pops – especially the Cookies and Cream. They won’t be able to get enough of these fun frozen treats!

GoGo squeeZ is a fan favorite for their portable pouches packed with flavor and they just introduced the first plant-based pudding in a pouch and it is delectable! Parents will love that it is non-dairy and gluten free. Kids will love all four of the yummy, new pudding flavors, including chocolate, banana, cocoa-hazelnut and vanilla. The GoGo squeeze AlmondBlend pudding has an admirable nutrition profile while still being a tasty snack that will delight kids and leave families feeling good about their snack choice. Parents will also love that the innovative pudding has 5 grams of protein per serving, 30% less sugar compared to traditional dairy pudding, and requires no refrigeration.

Justin's almond butter
Justin’s Almond Butter

Justin’s is an ever-popular, tasty and good-for-you nut butter snack! Parents will love that the new Justin’s Refrigerated Almond Butter Protein Bars are delicious protein-packed bars you can enjoy chilled or on-the-go and are made from Justin’s delish, signature almond butter. Kids will love that these bars come plain or with chocolate chips on it and in flavors they love like classic almond butter, honey almond butter and chocolate chip almond butter. We also love Justin’s Almond Butter Squeeze Packs, especially the new cinnamon and coconut almond butter varieties, for the perfect on-the-go nutritious treat to perfectly pair with your snack of choice.

BHU Keto Bites
BHU Keto Bites

BHU Foods swaps all the sugar and unhealthy ingredients traditionally baked into cookies, bars and bites, with ultra-healthy, plant-based, nutrition and clean ingredients. Parents will love that they are vegan, organic, low-sugar, low-carb, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, high-fiber, and non-GMO to support healthier snacking and dietary restrictions, without sacrificing delicious, kid-approved taste! Kids will love that the Keto Bites, bite-sized cookie dough deliciousness, come in in flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie Dough. Kids will also love the Protein Cookies with all the greatness of a chocolate chip cookie with nutrition in every bite!

BHU Foods Vegan Cookies

Sabra Kids Snack Kits are new snack duos made with plant-based ingredients, in fun combos for kids to savor. Kids will love Sabra Kids’ Brownie Batter Dip and Graham cracker sticks, a perfect match of  crispy, crunchy graham cracker sticks and smooth, brownie batter dip, full of rich chocolatey taste! Parents will love they are portable, convenient, and made with chickpeas grown on family owned farms in the Pacific Northwest and specially blended tahini from around the world.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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21 Awesome Spring and Summer Toys for Kids

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Spring and Summer Toys for Kids!

Kids all over Long Island are more than ready to spring into action for some outdoor fun and spring playtime! We have you all set with these fun items to get out and move, enjoy water and bubble play, create and build, and relax and de-stress.

Get Out and Move

Schwinn will have kids of all ages revved up and ready to go out and bike ride! Little kids love the Schwinn Krate EVO with its tons of color options and fun features. Parents love that it has a SmartStart frame, tool-free seat adjustments, and removable training wheels. Big kids will love the Schwinn High Timber and that this 21-speed mountain bike is perfect for exploring every corner of the great outdoors. Parents will love its strong steel frame and alloy linear-pull brakes that promise precision stopping. They will also love that it comes in both a step-through frame design and a standard straight top-tube orientation and the step-through frame allows for shorter riders to get their leg over the bike. Starting at $169

Razor is our long-standing go-to ride for city kids and they are sure to flip for the Electric Party Pop Scooter. Kids will love that it is lined with fun, bright lights, bringing the party with them wherever they scoot, turning every ride into a celebration thanks to the multi-color LED light on and below the deck and a light-up front wheel. It’s a ray of light! Parents will love the safety features from the brand they know and trust. $44.78

The Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Dump Truck is built for hauling! This sturdy, steel construction vehicle is ready for the toughest loading jobs Kids will love the endless fun of this realistic dump truck, moving the bed up and down to trigger its unloading action! Parents will love that it is constructed Tonka tough with real steel and is guaranteed for life! $29.99

Goliath – Phlat Ball is a unique sports toy that transforms from a 9″ flying disc to a 6″ fun ball when thrown – it’s like a Frisbee ball! Kids will love that they throw a disc and then catch a ball, adding a new twist to their traditional game of catch. Parents will love that it packs flat, so it’s easy to slip into a backpack or suitcase, and that if it happens to land on a sloped roof, it pops open and rolls right off!  $12.99

Get your body moving and amp up your hula hoop game to the next level with the Light Up Designer Hoop by Kess. Parents will love that it is made with a fashionable mesh to create a cool but functional grip. Kids will love that it is made with light-up technology that allows for colorful play with enhanced visual effects.

Or get hopping with the Ultra Light Up Ice Hopper, a glitter-filled, light-up take on a classic toy. Kids will love that as it spins around, the toy sparkles with liquid glitter providing for colorful play with a fun shine effect. Parents will love the active play and endless fun! Starting at $7.99

Water and Bubble Play

Have a bubble blast with the Maxx Bubbles Flower Pot. Kids will love this adorable bubble blower where the center of the pretty, pink flower is a super big bubble blower! Kids will also love extending their pretend play with the bonus watering can to feed their flowers and two leaf petals and two flower wands. Parents will love that they just fill the pot with bubble solution and the flower bubbler projects big bubbles for kids to chase and play with, and that it includes bubble solution for hours of bubble fun! $17.99

Lilly Tikes Sand & Sun Ami (also Lilly and Tommy) is a cute and cuddly doll always ready for a day at the beach (or playing pretend beach day anywhere). Kids will love that she’s water safe, so they can play with her in the bath, pool or by the ocean. Parents will love that in addition to water play, when she’s not bathing or swimming, she loves to make sandcastles and starfish with the included bucket, shovel, moldable sand and starfish sand mold. $19.99

Create bigger and better bubbles with Glove-A-Bubbles! Kids will love making 1000s of bubbles just by waving their bubble glove through the air. They will also love Glove-A-Bubbles eye-catching colors and favorite character designs like PAW Patrol. Parents will love that each Glove-A-Bubbles packet contains a re-sealable bag filled with bubble solution that is 100% recyclable  $1.99

For the full list of spring and summer toys, visit NewYorkFamily.com.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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6 Best Snow Sleds For Some Winter Fun

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Best Snow Sleds for Winter 2021

Some things are just a perfect match. Like milk and cookies, unicorns and rainbows, and of course, snow and sleds! We are here to help you get the best sled for kids of all ages, so your family is ready for that next big snow day! Sledding is sure to be extra fun with any one of these fab six sleds for your adventure down any mountain or hill for the perfect winter thrill! To get an affordable sled as soon as possible try in-person picks ups at Target and Dicks Sports Goods where you can find affordable sleds to enjoy some snow fun from our first snowstorm of 2021!

Psst..check out Guide to Long Island’s Coolest Sledding Spots!

GoFloats Winter Snow Tubes are the ultimate sleds, and the fun designs are sure to turn heads as you sled down the hills. Kids will love the adorable animal designs like flamingosdragons, and unicorns decked out in their winter sledding gear. It is perfect for sledding down snowy hills in style. Parents will love that it is cold weather treated to it both fun and functional and that the unique GoFloats valve inflates in seconds, so you’re ready for the snow in no time. $29.99


Lucky Bum Torpedo Sleds are fun for kids of all ages, lightweight, and virtually indestructible for the best snow day adventures. Kids will love that the sleds come in red, green, or blue and that it works. Super-slick plastic and grooved channels create a fast ride and excellent carving as the grooves bite into the snow. Parents will love that it is strong and durable, has built-in handles for kids to grip, and is made in the USA with BPA and Phthalate free construction. $30

Slippery Racer Downhill Pro Saucer Disc Sled is fun for everyone and built strong for a sled ride down any snowy terrain. Kids will love the cozy disc design in red, green, or blue. Parents will love that it is coated with Slippery Racer’s exclusive IceVex cold-resistant treatment, has molded hand grips, and is made with heavy-duty, flexible slick-coated plastic. $27.99, buy a 3 pack on Amazon.

GeoSpace LED Ski Skooter is sure to have that extra wow factor! Kids will love its 3-mode LED light to guide them as they go “snowboarding” on the snow, riding like a scooter on snow. They will also love fun colors like green, blue, purple, or red. Parents will love that the adjustable-height handle helps maintain balance and assists with steering, and it folds up (the handle folds down) for convenient storage. It is sure to be “snow” much fun! $49.95

Flexible Flyer sleds are traditional sleds for little tykes, featuring a padded seat and a tow rope. Kids will love being cozy in the molded seat while on their snow day adventures, and parents will love the rope for pulling their little loved ones back uphill. $14.99

Promises Fulfilled sleds that are beautifully decorated and designed with free personalization. Kids will love that the sled is customized with their very own name! Parents will love that the sled features a foam seat pad, tow rope and is good until 4 years old. They offer free personalization on all items. Call 212-472-1600 to order and arrange delivery or pickup. $38

Related Story: Guide to Long Island’s Coolest Sledding Spots

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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10 Family Traditions For The Holiday Season

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No matter what or how you celebrate the magic of the holiday season, traditions make this time of year extra special. Year after year we look forward to family holiday traditions and this extraordinary holiday season we are looking forward to them more than ever. We are happy to be sharing some of our favorite holiday traditions with you to enjoy and even make your own.

Something Fun for Everyone (even for holiday mashups Chrismukkah)!

Family Pajamas

Nothing says holiday spirit than our favorite tradition of wearing matching family pajamas! There are sweet sets for every holiday and every type of family. Calling all the moms, dads, grandparents, kids, babies, dogs, and even crazy uncles to coordinate –just call it the Fam Jam tradition! We are cozying up this holiday season in PJ Salvage’s first-ever set of family jammies in the Festive Fair Isle design. It is the ultimate holiday classic jammie set in their super-duper soft, peachy jersey. This combo is sure to be a family favorite, leading to great family photos and memories to match.


Elf on the Shelf

One of the kids’ most favorite family Christmas traditions ever is the Elf on the Shelf. This Christmas, the adventure continues with a new original story: Elf Pets: Santa’s Reindeer Rescue Animated Special DVD and a new twist on a holiday classic, The Elf on the Shelf’s Night Before Christmas. There are so many new, fun adventures to have with your Scout Elf like riding the North Pole Advent Train and enjoying Santa’s Enchanted Cookie Plate. Straight from the North Pole, Santa and his Scout Elves and Elf Pets also deliver new play experiences with the Christmas Cabin Playsetthe Soaring Snowflake Set and much more!  They also have a new immersive kids’ website and on the site, kids can explore a fully realized 3D world and play more than 30 interactive games and activities.


Hanukkah Pocket Banners

Hanukkah Pocket Banners by Memory Threads NYC serve as a unique counterpart to advent calendars and stocking. Jenna Fox, a local mom, created these unique and beautiful banners composed of 8 flags; each with a pocket to stash toys, treats, gelt, or clues to where a present is hiding. There is one pocket flag for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. We love the idea of hanging two banners; one for fun and one for giving. The giving banner holds ideas for helping others (whether drawing cards for seniors, baking cookies for your local firefighters, or making a donation to your family’s favorite charity). We also love that this one-of-a-kind item is easy on the environment since it’s made from reclaimed and repurposed textiles that no longer function as they were intended.


Modi Toys Mantra Singing Plush Toys

Cuddle up with Baby Krishna from Modi Toys, makers of the first-ever mantra-singing Baby Ganesha, Baby Hanuman, and Baby Krishna plush toys. These are sure to be a favorite tradition when they appear every Diwali! They spark curiosity about Indian roots through play. Each one of their plush toys plays mantras respective to the deity, and are sweetly sung by child artists based in India. They are sure to be a child’s new best friend during Diwali and every day.

For the full list of holiday traditions, visit NewYorkFamily.com.

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8 Screen-free Educational Toys For Children

I’m sure many of us have lost count of how many times we have heard these are unprecedented times and some may have lost count of the hours of screen time children are having. With kids spending more time at home, having anything but a traditional school experience, and attention spans decreasing, there is a stronger than ever need for educational, screen-free toys. Many toy companies have debuted new products to engage kids at home and here are some of our favorites:

Combining the magic of origami, the ease of building blocks, and the power of magnets, Clixo is the essence of modern, minimalist play that offers limitless creative possibilities. Clixo allows children to transform lightweight, flexible pieces from 2D into 3D, clicking inventive ideas into infinite possibilities that can be worn, stuck on the fridge, or even tossed like a ball. The colorful, twisting and interlocking shapes comprised of reinforced paper and durable magnets encourages improvisation, experimentation, and out-of-the box thinking. Parents will love that Clixo encourages kids to be as imaginative as possible and all Clixo Packs come in eco-friendly recycled bamboo packaging that is biodegradable and compostable. Kids will love the endless entertainment of the creative process as well as the fun of playing with their unique creations. 

Circuit Explorer by Educational Insights helps curious kids learn how to engineer simple circuits with these off-the-board space-themed circuit playsets, including a Rocket, Rover, and Deluxe Base Station. The sets combine creative imaginative play with STEM fundamentals. Circuit Explorer’s kid-friendly, 3D design makes it easy to snap the pieces together in the correct order to instantly receive feedback and interactive results to know they are on their way to a galactic journey, such as light, motion, or sound, championing a child’s creativity while encouraging STEM learning and honing problem-solving skills. Parents will love that they all feature real-working, kid-friendly 3D circuit pieces designed specifically with safety in mind and kids will love that each set also comes with friendly astronauts, robot figures, and stickers, so they can customize their sets and launch into hours of space-age adventures. 

Young explorers can travel the world and see everything in it with Leap Frog’s Magic Adventures Globe. Using the stylus, children can tap on the interactive learning globe and experience new places, languages, cultures, animals, geography, habitats, and more through high-quality BBC videos. Featuring an integrated video screen, animations and live-action videos fully immerse kids in the curriculum to provide a better understanding of the world through more than 5 hours of videos. They can also play three interactive games called Around the World, Quiz Show, and Where in the World to explore the globe, challenge a friend and solve mysteries. Parents will enjoy all the fun kids have while learning about the world and kids will enjoy great fun exploring the world while staying at home.

Put Me in The Story uses the power of books to bring people together. Through stories, we can dream and discover, make and share memories, and connect with those we cherish the most. From first steps to birthday parties to graduation, we want to inspire those oh-my-gosh, can’t-stop-smiling moments that create lifelong memories. By putting growing readers in the middle of the action, Put Me In The Story creates an instant, profound connection to the story, the moment, and the grown-up who made it possible. When kids see themselves in the middle of the action, when their favorite super heroes ask them to join the team by name, when the princesses they pretend to be during playtime ask them about their dreams for the future, children feel an instant, profound connection to the story — and reading in general. We work with bestselling authors, award-winning publishers, and blockbuster brands to shape each personalized story into the best reading experience possible.

Snap Circuits MyHome is designed to inspire kids of all backgrounds and interests to learn about how electricity in their home works. Kids ages 8+ can build a house or city building with real, working, 3-D circuits, just like they use every day. With colorful base grids to spark creativity, kids can make their structures their own, all while learning how electricity travels and powers their home. Learn about security systems, automatic lights, alarms, motors that power appliances, and more! MyHome answers questions like: How does the electric company get power to my home? How does power travel inside my walls? What happens when I turn on a light? What happens when the power goes out.  Parents will love that these educational STEM toys will have kids learning by doing and having fun, too.

Thames & Kosmos CREATTO Light-Up Crafting Kits are a simple yet versatile building system that consists of just two primary components that can be woven together into countless 3D creations. The plastic tiles interlock quickly and easily for all skill levels. Each Creatto kit includes assembly instructions for four different configurations, but the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Add strings of colored LED lights to illuminate your works of art from the inside out. Creatto is available in three fun sizes: mini, medi, and maxi. Kids can choose to build a Moonlight Elephant Safari; Magical Moose & Forest Friends; Starlight Kitty & Cutie Crew; Shimmer Shark & Ocean Pals; or Sparkle Unicorn & Friend. 

Crayola STEAM Science Kits are not only educational but fun. Each kit is designed to teach kids various science experiments behind four different themes: Paper Flowers, Space, Liquid, and Gross using water-based experiments. We especially enjoyed the Paper Flowers Science Kit where colors bloom before your very eyes! Using the magic of physics and capillary action, this hands-on educational toy lets kids learn about the science of water “wicking” as they create colorful paper flowers. $19.99

Botley 2.0 helps kids as young as 5 learn to code through 100% screen-free play. Botley 2.0 is a friendly coding robot that has all-new tricks and functions that provide endless hours of screen-free STEM fun, helping kids learn hands-on coding and critical thinking skills without the need for a phone or tablet. Botley 2.0 knows multiple ways to code right out of the box— code him to move in six directions, play music, and even put on a light show! Discover Botley 2.0’s 16 fun interactions— transform him into a train, police car, ghost, and more! You can even test your memory with the lights and sounds of a game of Botley Says! Your little coders can build coding sequences of up to 150 steps, and go on adventures with a built-in sensor that lights up Botley in the dark! Kids will be solving their first coding and STEM challenges in just minutes!

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com
For more education coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/education
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How To Throw A Pandemic-Friendly Kids Birthday Party

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Fall birthdays are not canceled but instead are back and better than ever thanks to birthday party businesses working tirelessly and pivoting to bring happiness and joy to kids!

We found some special birthday services for virtual celebrations, small, in-person socially distanced celebrations, or however you choose to celebrate your child’s quarantine birthday. These businesses are bringing the birthday magic! 

Birthday Party Love

Jars By Dani, delicious handcrafted cake jars, look amazing and taste even better! We simply adore these treat jars! Jars By Dani are especially perfect for quarantine birthdays because they are individually packaged already so there are no worries about cutting a cake and everyone touching things since you have your own. The most popular flavor for kids and adults alike is the cake batter, but all of the chocolate varieties like cookie dough and cookies and cream are especially popular as well as the really, really delicious fruit flavors like lemon bar and strawberry shortcake. We also love that most flavors are nut-free and there are gluten-free and vegan options as well. The sky is the limit with customization of the lids to say happy birthday with the birthday child’s name, photo, or whatever you wish. Jar By Dani makes variety packs so party people can pick and choose their flavors and customization and then ship nationwide for special occasions or any ordinary day to bring someone a smile and decadent treat. Celebrate your birthday or any day in sweet style using the 10% discount code NYFamily at checkout on JARSbydani.com  

STREB Remote takes virtual birthdays to the next level through physical fun! We are all in need of some movement now more than ever during these staying-at-home times. Even if this is our “new normal,” that doesn’t mean that birthday party fun has to be compromised. STREB is now offering new ways to infuse extreme energy, enthusiasm, and creative physicality into your virtual kids’ birthday parties. Kids will have tons of fun participating in physical activities, PopAction and Circus Arts @Home, special games, “Zoom-ography,” and more! If this sounds perfect for your kids, email [email protected] for more info or to book a special event party!

Balloon Saloon brings the fun to any and every occasion with their joyful balloons. This family-fun business has been bringing happiness for 39 years and counting! Everyone is always delighted by balloons and Balloon Saloon’s beautiful and celebratory creations will make a big day extra special. Balloon Saloon has been bringing joy throughout Manhattan and now they are offering curbside delivery as well as delivery service to the outer boroughs and suburbs like Long Island and the Hamptons. You can even arrange a socially distant pick up by having Uber pickup and deliver your bunch of balloons. Even through all the craziness, Balloon Saloon continues to bring the happy. Balloon names, clusters, age numerals, and organic columns are ever popular. We especially loved a balloon column with a giant, magical unicorn on top with rainbow balloons throughout. It made the birthday child and every onlooker and passerby smile from ear to ear! They do an expert job to customize creations to clients’ likes and colors. 

The Craft Studio is offering socially distanced outdoor as well as virtual birthday and special occasion parties. They can do any of the individual crafts from the shop and if virtual, ship materials for the main craft with special paper goods and party favors to each individual guests’ home, so they can have a virtual party with all their friends! The party hosts choose the guest list, the craft, and the theme, and then they do the rest! We especially love making their fluffy and glow-in-the-dark slime! To add extra birthday cheer you can even start with mini crafts like decorating little wooden birthday cakes! After crafting is complete, the party finishes with one of their signature dance parties. The Craft Studio can also do a party using craft materials everyone would already have at home, and create a project based on those materials (which brings the cost down to just the flat fee for the Zoom date)! Bring the energy and cheer of The Craft Studio to your next celebration! 

Thanks to BCake, “birthdays are not canceled!” BCake creates stunning, custom cakes in a variety of shapes, designs, and sizes to meet any vision and serving size. Throughout the pandemic, people were going out of their way to show their support for people in isolation by sending treats and the more custom and the more thoughtful — the better.  BCake NY’s most popular custom kids cakes are thematic and fabulous and perfect for smaller gatherings. They also offer an incentive for “celebrating safely,” which is all 6” cakes are over 30% off. Their new line of online custom cakes is simply stunning and fabulously fun! They have two types of custom cakes for online order which all feed up to 16 people: Kids Birthday Cakes and their Signature Celebration Cakes.  The Kids Cakes are thematic and include edible designs, a number topper and a custom banner message. There are four types of Signature Celebration Cakes in both Fondant and Buttercream styles. You can select your color scheme, create a custom banner message, and choose from four toppers. The options are absolutely endless. You can have your cake and eat it, too!

An American Girl Birthday “Take-Home Celebration”

American Girl is offering a way for kids to party at home with “Take-Home Celebrations” – it’s an all-in-one kit to celebrate birthdays! This fabulous and fancy kit includes the brand’s signature pink and white birthday cake, deluxe-themed goody bags, crafts, digital invitations, doll crowns for party guests, and of course a crown for the birthday girl. Currently available for curbside pickup at the NYC store, this makes every little girl’s American Girl birthday dream come true. Thanks to AG, kids will love having their dolls celebrate their special day in every way alongside them. There are extra sweet touches like doll birthday shirts and balloons with amazing attention to details, as well as cute crafts and fun games to play for an extra special AG themed celebration.

For the icing on the AG cake, gift your birthday love the newest American Girl, Courtney Moore! Courtney joins American Girl’s popular line of strong historical heroines whose stories impart important life lessons to build confidence and character in girls. Courtney teaches girls that people — especially girls and women — can be, do, and love more than one thing, and taking risks to follow your passions is always worth doing. We also love that American Girl has a charitable partnership with Girls Who Code, which leans into Courtney’s story of encouraging girls to put themselves out there and be bold.

Fun Little Gifts and Favors

The sweet and sentimental Make a Wish Adjustable Bracelets are the perfect party gift or favor right now. Wish Bracelets are a fun, fresh way to offer a loved one your wish for Health, Peace, Adventure, New Beginnings and eight other special sentiments. Pick your sentiment (or favorite color), tie it on, and when it breaks, your wish comes true (fingers crossed!). Little ones will love the colorful stones and tying them on to make their wish. Then they just have to wait for the birthday wish to come true! 

The L.O.L. Surprise! Present Surprise Doll has eight surprises to unbox and is the perfect gift or party favor for any occasion with L.O.L. Surprise! Present Surprise! Each doll is dressed to the nines in festive fashion inspired by a birthday month of the year. She comes already wrapped just like a present in a fabulous gift package with a bow and tag and includes party-themed accessories and a party hat. Every birthday girl will love them all. Continue the par-tay with L.O.L. Surprise! Deluxe Present Surprise! This birthday-themed unboxing is the perfect gift and features the limited-edition Sprinkles doll and her pet, Sprin-claws. Each package comes already wrapped in a fabulous gift package with a bow, tag, and the unboxing is filled with fashions and accessories hidden in colorful confetti! Kids will also love the party accessories for the doll, like a party banner, party game, and party invitation. 

Special Videos Messages

Cameo is the new greeting card! Imagine getting a personal birthday greeting from Snoop Dog or Michael Rappaport! Cameo has 40,000 talents around the world and delivers personalized video messages, live Zoom calls, direct messages, and more. Kids’ favs include personal greetings from the famous animals on Cameo, Coyote Peterson, David Henrie, and Fiona the Hippo. Since kids are following their favorite people on social media without being able to interact, this is a special way to get a personal message, interaction, and birthday satisfaction. Simply find your perfect star match, check the price, and fill in the recipient and occasion (use the text box to put in a message with relevant info) and ask for the shout out. To make it extra memorable, add as much color as you can to ensure the recipient gets the most out of it! Cameo features every type of talent and is sure to give the birthday kid major bragging rights! 

One-Stop Party Shop

With gatherings going digital, Party City makes it easy to have an extra special celebration over platforms like Zoom or FaceTime. Check out Party City’s Virtual Party Guide for easy step-by-step instructions on how to make your digital celebration a success. Pick up virtual party kits that are easy to drop off at guests’ houses in advance, with fun themes like Dream Crazy Big with JoJo Siwa (we love the photo props!), Disney Princess, and PAW Patrol. And don’t forget to deck out the background of the guest-of-honor with scene setters and balloons to complete the frame! Whether you are sending love from afar or bringing the party home, new convenient same-day delivery saves families time and stress by having the party delivered straight to the birthday kid’s door.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com

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How To Manage Kids’ Screen Time

Online tutors are here to help kids stay on track during the coronavirus school shutdown. (Getty Images)

When it comes to screen time and online content, what is age and content appropriate is different for every family. Families must figure out what is in their wheelhouse of comfort. To help parents navigate this, we spoke with Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media’s parenting editor, to get her insights and expertise and learn salient steps to help protect our kids’ safety, sanity, and overall well-being online.

Screen Time Can Be Many Different Things

Caroline Knorr shared with us that, “The idea we have identified at Common Sense Media is that parents and everybody have been indoctrinated to think about screen time as this monolithic block of something and we have been working toward a model to tell parents that screen time can be many different things. Everyone has learned in the past few months that it is so many things and some of it is really good. It can be educational and they can learn a lot and they can do self-directed learning. There’s social connection which has been so important to kids. Not a perfect substitute but it allows kids to have social connections. There’s play time and games. There’s family time with media. Some of the best moments can be media moments with kids. I think one of the best ways parents can approach this is to be really clear about the different categories and talk about balance and trying to achieve balance. So to some extent, we want to give the different types of screen time different weights in your mind.”

Create Your Family Rules and Routine

If you are a family that really enjoys doing contracts then get it all down on paper. Sometimes that can work in different formats. Ms. Knorr said, “I feel like it’s really dependent on your family. Kids like to have rules and we are in such an amorphous time so having a routine is good for parents and kids and it helps with the issue of creating boundaries around their work time.” Create boundaries around work time as a parent. Prioritize, incentivize, and motivate your kid. For older kids doing more hybrid learning you can give them a digital learning pledge. She added that we have to take this responsibility as parents since we have to take so much ownership over this and make sure there are clear boundaries. And check in to make sure how kids are feeling around the technology.

Technology is Manipulative So Always Monitor Activity

Technology is manipulative. It manipulates us to spend more time than is good for us. Ms. Knorr noted, “It’s really hard for kids to stop and parents to stop and kids have trouble saying no. We need to teach them to self-regulate and achieve balance for themselves by trying to tap into how they are feeling at a certain time.” It seems that a lot of parents are allowing kids to have access to social media at younger ages than previously the norm and she added that the tech companies are perfectly happy to have parents break the rules. Ms. Knorr flagged Facebook Messenger as a good example of a good social media program designed just for kids under 13. Parents are in charge of the whole platform. And TikTok also does that and parents can also have a physically adjunct account for their kids’ TikTok. She reminds us that it is very controversial but kids use it and the point is that “the social apps kids are using have built in settings on the app themselves so encourage parents to explore that. Do your own research on it and find out why they want to use the app and keep the account private to protect your kid from being contacted by strangers.” However, this doesn’t completely eliminate the potential since they are social apps and the company pushes potential contacts. For example, you can have a private account but it still might say you may want to be friends with so and so since they consider that opting in. And she doesn’t know of any apps that completely eliminate that.

For the full version of this story, visit newyorkfamily.com

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5 Educational Games For Summer Staycation Fun

Photo via Crayola

While a new version of summer fun is in the air and things are starting to open up, we still plan to have a lot of time safe at home. 

Here are some favorite resources and fun and games to help make summer staycations extra enjoyable while avoiding the summer slide:

Carnegie Hall introduced an ongoing series of free concerts and activities for kids and families. Families can sing and move to music from around the world, listen to the soothing sounds of lullabies, get creative with coloring pages, and learn about the instruments of the orchestra in an interactive game. 

Crayola developed an At-Home Creative Hub in which parents, teachers, and kids can visit for easy access to educational and crafting resources. It houses hundreds of craft tutorials with complimentary how-to videos and craft recipes, providing families with fun, clever and easy creative activities, in addition to a varied supply of Free Coloring Pages. 

Mattel Playroom is a free online resource that offers play-from-home activities, games, expert advice, and content from its iconic brands, including American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, Thomas & Friends, and more.

My Fairy Gardens’ Fairy Light Garden is an enchanted fairy mushroom home that doubles as a nightlight! Creating your own magical oasis has never been easier thanks to the easy-to-follow guide that takes children through each step on how to plant and water the seeds, while also teaching valuable STEM lessons. 

The Story Pirates offer screen time that parents can trust: live improv performances, educator-approved writing and music classes, and a variety of interactive musical and sketch comedy entertainment for young people, refreshed each and every day, along with free streaming content via StoryPirates.com

For more educational games, visit NewYorkFamily.com

Related Story: The Best Online Tutoring Resources For Kids During COVID-19 Pandemic

For more education coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/education

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