Tag - toys

Fun Summer Activity for Indoors and Outdoors

Our Summer break has begun and we are in full-force entertainment mode. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. The, “Mommy, I’m bored” can start as early as half a second after the last moment of school and I like to be prepared.

We have lots of lists for the Summer, I keep them put away until Summer break comes and then voila! they magically appear in our family command center (aka the place we keep our monthly calendar, chore charts, etc).

You may have already seen my post on Summer Schedule – Summer Rules but if not click the link HERE to get some ideas to a semi-relaxed semi-scheduled Summer that will help your household run more smoothly.

Another way we combat Summer boredom is by playing creatively. We always try to mix some old games/toys/activities with some new ones and this Summer we had the opportunity to check out the All-New Laser X – Laser Tag set

My girls usually opt out of playing laser tag at amusement venues because they aren’t sure what to expect and being highly sensitive, it can be intimidating with the loud noises and dark unfamiliar place. So when it comes to being able to play laser tag in the comfort of our own home and/or backyard, they were super excited.

Laser X features sophisticated electronics and optics that give players pinpoint blasting accuracy up to 200 feet. You can purchase sets of 1 or 2 and play with friends. Players can
choose to be on teams or select “rogue” mode where it’s every player for his or herself.

All Laser X sets work together, so games can have as few as two players – or the whole neighborhood can play. Advanced sensors in the Laser X blaster know when players are blasting, being hit, running or hiding. An interactive “coach” uses this information to give players tips and tricks throughout the game. Players can even plug headphones (not included) into their chest receiver and play music.

We tried out the Micro Blasters, but you can also purchase Original Blasters, Gaming Tower, and Long Range Blaster depending on the kind of play experience you are looking for. We highly recommend these as a fun summer or year-round toy for hours of fun (and a definite way to get rid of summer boredom!)

Sets range from around $29.99 to $49.99 and are sold online and at retailers nationwide. Get yours at GetLaserX.com before they are sold out for the summer!!

Thanks to Element Associates for sending a sample for review.

Ways to Encourage Creative Play

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Child’s Play Communications. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Whether you have a child who is naturally creative or one who needs some encouragement in that area of play, enriching our child’s imagination is beneficial to them in so many ways.

It helps them to become problem solvers.

It encourages them to be dreamers and share their ideas.

It helps them understand who they are as a person.

It teaches them to be bold and proud of their accomplishments.

Creative play is incredibly rewarding so why wouldn’t we want all these things and more for our children while also letting them be kids and have fun?!?

Just as children can be naturally creative or not, so can the big kids, the adults. If creative play doesn’t come easy to you, that’s ok. The Schleich brand brings inspiration to you with their carefully hand-painted figurines.

When you encounter a brand that was founded over 80 years ago and is sold in more than 50 countries you know it’s a business your family can trust. When we first unboxed the adorable animals we noticed the incredible details right away. There is no doubt these figurines are very high quality as they look like the real animals rather than a cartoon version.

The Schleich Farm World set and Wild Life Starter Set (sold separately) feature easily recognizable animals, not to mention there are so many other sets they offer including a unicorn set, and Marvel comics! Both my girls would be in heaven. I personally love the elephant the most.

Of course you’re thinking my child can play with these animals and make believe, but what else?

Although ideas are endless, here are a few ways we thought would be fun to play with the figurines:

Grouping and Sorting – Using the figurines (and other toys too) group them into different categories.
{The Schleich website has scientific AND fun facts on each figurine/animal.}
  • Group by letter in the word
  • Sort by where the animal might live
  • Sort them by most furry to least furry (or another describing word)
Use them for storytelling starting with one animal and introducing each to the story line until the ending.

Play hide-and-seek or use them for a scavenger hunt. Clues could be things the animal eats or sounds the animal makes.
Ask your child to pick a figuring and draw their own rendition of it. It will be neat to see how they view the animal from their point of view.

 

What other ideas do you have to get creative with your kiddos? Thank you for sharing your ideas for other parents and caregivers.

 

American Girl – Girl of the Year 2018 – Luciana Vega

We are excited to share with you the incredible, empowering, and sweet American Girl Girl of the Year for 2018, Luciana Vega.

This 11-year-old dreams of being the first person on Mars.

Luciana celebrates being a natural-born leader who puts her whole heart into making her dreams a reality.

Cool fact: American Girl worked with NASA, including a task force of advisors (scientists, astronauts, and more below) who helped ensure the accuracy and authenticity of Luciana’s world—from her story and products to a STEM-based educational program in partnership with Scholastic and Space Camp.

Looking beyond her cool line of space-inspired products (like a Mars habitat and flight suit!), American Girl’s purpose behind this character is what it means to be a girl of strong character this day in age. Celebrating creative thinking, collaboration, and STEM literacy providing opportunities for meaningful growth and development.

My girls love science and exploration and this doll is the perfect fit for encouraging learning and allowing for creative play. It’s really great when toys can meet several needs of the child and I feel that really makes it a worthwhile addition to our toy collection and isn’t just gathering dust on the shelf because of that. If you’re anything like me you don’t want to just have a bunch of toys just to have them, and this is one that your child will enjoy playing with for years to come.

Luciana and her story help kids to learn about their infinite potential to change the world. How empowering is that?!?!

As you’ve probably noticed from our other American Girl posts that we really love how inspiring American Girl Dolls can be. Miss C was so excited that she read this entire book in a day and a half. We love the thought that was put into Luciana’s life changing story.

To find out more about Luciana Vega head to American Girl’s website: Girl of the Year 2018

 

 

Thanks to American Girl for sending us Luciana, this is not a paid post, all opinions and thoughts are honest.

Go!Go! Sports Girls – Toy Review

Be inspired, be a dreamer, think BIG!

We have some lofty goals for our girls, but feel that instilling future thinking qualities in them now will help them to aspire to greatness. We want our girls to love God, love others, and work hard to accomplish their goals in life.

I remember as a kid I wanted to be a ballerina, pediatrician, architect, mommy, teacher, and in different ways I’ve achieved some of those dreams through being a mom. Ever since they were little our girls have had dreams too. Since she was a toddler Miss C has wanted to be a fashion designer for people and pets, and Miss A has wanted to be a Little Gym instructor and has loved science and art/music since I can remember.

I’m thankful that my girls life in today’s world. While I’m not naive to the fact that in most cases women are still not being treated as equals to their male counterparts, I do know that there has been some progress and I’m excited to see what the future holds for them and their children.

Aligning with the ideals of empowering girls, Jodi Bondi Norgaard and Kara Douglass Thom have combined their talents to create Go!Go! Sports Girls. This unique line of dolls and books inspires girls to be strong, fit, smart, and adventurous to name a few qualities.

What we love about Go!Go! Sports Girls

In a world of dolls that often times are encouraging girls to grow up quickly, these dolls are refreshingly age-appropriate. Instead of focusing on hair and makeup these dolls and their stories emphasize what their bodies can do.

We were able to check out Go!Go! Sports Girls Read and Play Sets where dolls came with their very own stories. Soccer Girl Cassie and Cheerleader Girl Roxie were a big hit in our house as Miss C has been involved in both sports.

 

Go!Go! Sports Dolls are soft bodied, easy to clean and are also great to sleep with since they’re not hard like other dolls and toys. {Having the soft body does make them a little hard to sit up on a shelf though.} I also love that their hair isn’t easy to tangle.

Miss C really loves the books that come with the dolls. Cassie comes with a book about teamwork and Roxy’s book talks about being a leader, both great life skills for growing girls to learn.

The kit description mentions that they come with doll accessories, but our two dolls didn’t come with anything other than the doll, book, and the sports uniform the dolls were wearing. **Other dolls may include these items.

In having a chance to speak with creator Jodi Bondi Norgaard, I told her how, as a multiracial family always love when brands have girls of different ethnic backgrounds. While at this time the dolls are pretty light-skinned, Jodi mentioned they were hoping to add more dolls to their collection.

Current dolls include, Cassie – Soccer, Maya – Gymnastics, M.C. – Dance, Suzi – Swimming, Ella – Running, and Roxy – Cheerleading. Which doll do you think your child(ren) would like?

What qualities do you think are important for little girls to have??

Go check out their website for coloring pages, more information about creator, author, and illustrators, and their fun app! gogosportsgirls.com

 

Click on the link below to buy or check out dolls, books, and sets, or head to a local retailer.

This is not a sponsored post, we received product samples in order to test out the product. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are honest.

Gabriela McBride, American Girl’s First African American Doll of the Year 2017

Exciting news folks! One month ago American Girl announced and started selling their Girl of the Year for 2017. Meet Gabriela McBride, American Girl’s first African American Doll of the Year.

Gabriela is a true talent who uses her passion for the arts—specifically spoken word poetry—to overcome personal obstacles and create positive change for her community. Gabriela launches with a beautiful 18-inch doll, plus several performance-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys. We’re also happy to share that, unlike past Girl of the Year characters, Gabriela will be available throughout 2017 and beyond.

And, to connect students with Gabriela’s inspiring message and to bring awareness to spoken word poetry, American Girl is partnering with Scholastic to create and distribute Express Yourself, a program for classrooms that empowers students to use the arts as a tool for self-expression. Available in March 2017, the classroom resources give teachers the tools to encourage students to find their creative voices, just in time for National Poetry Month in April.

As a multi-cultural family we love celebrating the uniqueness in the world and in our own home. We are so excited about Gabriela and love everything about her.

 

  • Her passion to inspire others and fight against the adversity of her stutter.
  • Her beautiful skin tone and soft curly hair
  • Her adorable athletic wear and fun style

 

It’s always great for your children to be able to see role models that can remind them of themselves. I am thankful for the virtues woven throughout Gabriela’s story that will inspire my girls to want to stand up for what is right and push through hard times.

Can you see the smile on this girl’s face???

 

We encourage you to take a look at American Girl’s first African American Girl of the Year, celebrate diversity, and inspire others around you. Head to American Girl’s Website for more details on Gabriela McBride, other great dolls and accessories.

 

We received Gabriela McBride as a product review. All opinions in this post belong to MommyB and her sweet, sweet children.

Kids Marvel Dreams Come True – Holiday Gift Idea

It’s no secret that my girls LOVE superheros thanks to their dad and uncle. While they like DC comics they will tell you they like DC but they love Marvel. When I received these Marvel themed gift products I had a feeling the girls would be excited, but I didn’t realize how excited they would be.

Miss A being the artist that she is loves the Marvel – The Amazing 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book, and by love I mean I have to practically pull her away from the book to eat dinner, do chores, {fill in with anything other than dot-to-dot}. I don’t blame her though this book is definitely something I have not seen on shelves, is very calming {which I love}, and isn’t something she’s going to finish in a day and be done with, so the value is pretty high as well.

 

Lil C as you may know is my little fashionista {since she was 3}, and has been working on hand and machine sewing with some great teachers. When she opened her eyes and saw the Marvel Universe Crochet Kit she was so excited to get into the box and get started. She’s waited patiently so I could take pictures and I’ll have to help her a little because she’s never crocheted before, but I’m excited to help her out. This kit comes with the materials to make two superheros, Spiderman and Captain America. There are also instructions to make 12 Marvel Super Heroes. The instruction booklet has lots of colorful pictures and easy step-by-step instructions. We can’t wait to create our first super hero!

I’ll be sure to share our work on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat so be sure to follow!

If you want to grab these up for your kiddos {or yourself, I won’t tell}, you can get yours through my Amazon affiliate links*.

 I know these are presents that will make your Marvel loving child happy!!!

*{Using my affiliate links means you are helping keep MommyBKnowsBest.com running while not spending any additional $.}

American Girl: WellieWishers – Learning Important Values

I’d like to introduce you to WellieWishers. American Girl’s newest content & doll lifestyle brand.

The lively group of WellieWishers friends–Willa, Kendall, Ashlyn, Emerson, and Camille–imagine and play in an enchanted neighborhood garden supervised by Aunt Miranda. Through their heartwarming and humorous adventures, the WellieWishers help a girl to learn how to “stand in another person’s wellies” to discover the skills of empathy, kindness, and compassion that will help her be a good friend.

WellieWishers World Doll Set-HR

 

Available through American Girl channels, the line includes their first-ever animated series based on the WellieWishers characters, plus digital play experiences, early chapter books, and a line of adorable 14 1/2-inch dolls (retail $60) and garden-themed accessories that help bring the characters and their stories to life for young girls.

Like a lot of friends and girls around A and C’s age, we like the American Girl brand. Admittedly, we don’t have many American Girl products, not for lack of a great brand, it’s just not something we’ve been really into. We have a doll we purchased from a friend, some accessories from the Grand Opening at SouthPark, and have bought some books for our girls that came highly recommended from other bloggers and parents (I love, “The Care and Keeping of You” younger girls version). What we are HUGE fans of however are great values shared in a way that our kids can relate to. This is exactly what the newest addition to the American Girl family represents.

I let Lil’ C choose which of the WellieWishers she wanted and she chose Camille. C, our aspiring fashion designer (for people and pets) said, “I like her sense of fashion.” Camille is indeed dressed adorably, she, like her fellow WellieWishers each love different things and Camille’s favorite thing is the ocean. Of course her ensemble reflects that with her ocean colored top and skirt coordinate and her Wellie boots stand out as cute fish.

 

Camille-HR

The girls were ecstatic to see Camille in her box and couldn’t wait to open her up. I love how neatly the doll was packaged and back story of the WellieWishers that is included.

 

Wellie Wishers MommyB

 

As a mom of biracial girls I love that the dolls are different ethnicities and can totally see the WellieWishers expanding even more because of how inclusive American Girl seems to be with their other products. I think in general it’s great for kids to play with lots of different dolls to highlight how different our world is.

Along with Camille, we also received three books for review, Ashlyn’s Unsurprise Party, The Riddle of the Robin, and The Muddily-Puddily Show.

 

Wellie Wishers Books MommyB
My favorite aspect of the books is that it’s inspiring our kids to not only play with these adorable dolls, but that it’s okay to love nature and getting dirty, it’s not always a bad thing to change plans to include a friend, and also how to get along with friends when situations don’t turn out as planned. To me, these lessons are so valuable for our children to learn at a young age and I love that American Girl recognizes this need and is addressing it in a fun way.

The illustrations and storyline in the books are easy to follow and really engage the reader. I also love the Parent section at the end of the book with words of advice, a quick note about the story, and activities and crafts to expand on what your child has read.

Lil C who is 6 really loved these books and was easily able to explain to me what happened in the books and how the WellieWishers solved the problems they were faced with.

 

Overall, we really love the WellieWishers brand and love that the line has a lower price point. It definitely helps when you are encouraging your children to pay half or full-price for the things they want as well. Not to mention the positive messaging and age appropriateness that I think American Girl always instills.

 

How about you? Who is your child’s favorite character? Do you have a WellieWisher? Which one??

 

We received review product in order to give our honest thoughts and opinions, this is not a paid or sponsored post.

Keep Your Sanity During Holiday Travel

As an ambassador for Rayovac I have been compensated for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions on the products are my own.

Travel during the Holiday season can be a bit overwhelming. Add some children (maybe even a bitty baby), maybe a pet, inclement weather, traffic, construction, and the stress level can be almost unbearable. Trust me, I’ve been there!

Here are some tips on how my family stays sane during Holiday travel, {hope they come in handy!}:

Keep Your Sanity During Holiday Travel MommyB

It’s electric! Boogie Woogie.

{great now I have that song stuck in my head} Seriously though, we’re not HUGE screen time parents on your average day, but a 4+ hour trip, especially those longer than 10 hours call for some sort of electronic play, at least in our car.

This can be tricky though for several reasons, but here are a few tricks to keep a handle on the situation.

1. Charge EVERYTHING up before you leave. The night before or the day of your trip get your charge on.

2. Bring extra batteries. I recommend Rayovac Alkaline batteries because they’re a trusted brand name AND hold charge just as long as their competitors plus they’re a lower price, great for energy sucking travel toys. **

3. Set time limits on electronics (don’t let the kiddos play on screens for several hours on end or you’ll have crabby kiddos).

** Rayovac has some great coupons available for even greater savings on their already low priced products! Head to the Rayovac Facebook page to unlock them!!

Rayovac Coupons

 

MommyB Happy Traveling Baby

Baby Love

1. If possible, it’s best for someone to sit next to baby. It’s easier (and safer) than stopping the car or trying to reach back.

2. Plan for several stops for feeding and changing.

3. Consider buying a car-safe musical toy or mobile to keep baby entertained on the ride. Bring some extra batteries just in case!

Keep Sane During Holiday Travels MommyB

Game Plan

Decide ahead of time what games and activities you’ll bring or use to keep the kiddos occupied.

1. Of course this varies by age, but we like to bring mini dry erase boards for them and us to write words, draw pictures, and do math problems {bonus points for fun learning}.

2. Other great activities for kiddos are counting cars (choose a color and get counting), car bingo (find great printables on Pinterest), I spy, and any versions of animal, mineral, vegetable (we use nouns – person, place, thing).

3. Plan to stop at interesting places along the way. It can be planned (preferably) or impromptu, but this will give the whole family a break and if it’s an activity something fun to do, and if it’s just a beautiful scenic rest stop something to talk about on the rest of your trip.

 

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your sanity during Holiday travel?

 

Whatever you come up with for your family’s travel plans, just make sure you enjoy it. Not every second will be the most fun or memorable, but taking the good from what can be mundane is what truly builds up our family time.

Safe travels this Holiday season!!!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of my partnership with Rayovac. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

Grand Opening of the NEW American Girl Store Charlotte Sneak Peek

The NEW American Girl Store at the Southpark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina opens this weekend, Saturday, October 11th – Sunday, October 12th.

The B girls and I were invited to the store today for a sneak peek before opening day. Here are some photos of our visit:

American Girl Charlotte Sneak Peek MommyB

NEW American Girl Store Southpark Charlotte Visit MommyB

The new 12,000-square-foot retail site, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, features a fun, casual environment where girls and their family members and friends can shop for their favorite American Girl products, browse a great selection of books in their bookstore, enjoy lunch and dinner, or an unforgettable dessert in the Bistro, treat their doll to a new ‘do in the Doll Hair Salon, and celebrate birthdays or other special events.

American Girl Store Charlotte Salon MommyB

 

American Girl Charlotte bitty baby & Bookstore MommyB

 

American Girl Charlotte Beforever Collection

 

American Girl Store Charlotte Bistro MommyB

 

Details for the Grand Opening can be found on their website: American Girl Charlotte. If you’re interested in attending this weekend I highly suggest being prepared ahead of time and plan on spending hours at the mall. If you make it a day-trip it will definitely make you and your kiddos a little happier, bring activities, and plan to visit other locations in the Southpark Mall to make the time pass quicker.

 

American Girl Charlotte Grand Opening on MommyBKnowsBest

 

American Girl Store is at Southpark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28211. The best entrance to park next to is the Macy’s wing of Southpark Mall and you’ll find the store as you walk to the Mall entrance on the second level. {You won’t be able to miss it.}

In all we loved learning about the history of American Girl, enjoy the wholesome values and character that this brand brings to keep our daughters young as opposed to some products available on shelves today. While the cost of an American Girl doll can be higher than some customer’s budget there are options to purchase accessories, mini versions of their favorite dolls, or a great incentive {like my girls are doing} to save up their money by doing chores and birthday dollars.

Have you ever been to an American Girl store? Will you visit the NEW American Girl store in Charlotte, North Carolina? 

 

 

This is not a paid post, I attended a media event upon request from American Girl. All opinions and thoughts are my own honest words. Your experiences may vary.

How to Show Your #disneyside Princess Style

It’s no secret that we love to have parties and playdates, but having two girls a princess party is a must! We’ve thrown a Sofia the First Princess party, and a Princess Birthday party for Lil’ C and of course many princess dress-up parties in our time.

Realizing that all of our #disneyside attendees were going to be girls, {we wish we could have invited millions of friends but with the party limits and space inside our house, only Disneyland could have held us all}, our obvious choice for party theme was a princess party. Don’t worry though, we had plenty of Mickey, Minnie, and the gang too.

How to Show your #disneyside Princess Style MommyB

Here’s our recipe for a great #disneyside party:

A Spoonful of Beautiful Princesses:

#disneyside princesses MommyB

and some Disney pals, including one of the new Disney Princess Palace Pets exclusively from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Pumpkin, who is Cinderella’s Palace Pet friend can now be made at Build-a-Bear Workshop and you can win a Build-A-Bear gift card at the end of this post to make your own!

Disney Princess Palace Pets and #disneyside friends MommyB

A Heaping Helping of delicious drinks and snacks:

Heaping Helping of Delicious #disneyside Drinks & Snacks MommyB

Our snacks included:

  • Disney Princess Fruit Snacks and “Snow White” bunny gummies
  • Pepperoni and Ritz cracker Mickey heads (with cheese because every mouse loves cheese)
  • Pink Princess Punch {aka strawberry lemonade} in our Mickey-fied Aladdin mason jar.
  • Mickey themed cupcake liners filled with Craisins
  • Hidden Mickey kid-friendly snacks and veggies in black round bowls
  • Hidden Mickey cupcakes*
  • Mini Mickey cupcakes*
  • #Disneyside Mickey cookies*
  • Mickey chocolate cake pops *

* Thanks to Cupcrazed Cakery for providing the delicious baked goods, the moms and princesses loved them and even got to take their cake pops home, some of them shared with siblings too! These treats were amazing!

A dash of decorations, crafts, games, and goodie bags:

#disneyside princess party mommyB

Our guests got their photos taken in front of the Mickey and Gang Step and Repeat, chose their favorite Disney Princess tattoo, made Disney inspired t-shirts from Hanes brand, {of course most of the shirts featured Mickey and favorite princesses}, listened to the Disney Frozen soundtrack, played Disney trivia and Disney Bingo, and of course left the party with some pretty cute purple and pink princess swag including headband crowns, star wand lollipops, and a variety of Disney goodies.

We had so much fun with our friends and had a blast showing our princess #disneyside. I can’t wait to take the girls to Disneyland as a part of the Disney Social Media Moms Conference in April. They will be beyond excited to visit and DaddyB and I can’t wait either.

We want to know, how do you show your #disneyside???

As promised, here’s your chance to show your #disneyside with Build-a-Bear Workshop, enter to win a $25 gift card and be sure to check out their new Disney Princess Palace Pets friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to BSM Media, Walt Disney World Resorts & Parks, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Cupcrazed Cakery, SmartFab, Aladdin for helping us with our #disneyside celebration and share it with friends.