In this ongoing update, we’ll fill you in on the latest in gear, gadgets, and new ideas that can make caring for your baby safer, more efficient, or more fun.
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Elenco’s Electronic Playground Learning Center 130, currently available at Amazon.com for under $35, is a comprehensive science kit for older children (ages 8 and up, with adult supervision needed for the younger end of that range) that teaches them the nuts and bolts of electricity through creative play.
The kit includes learning activities that include teaching about magnetism and physics in addition to basic principles of electricity. Projects include building an AM broadcast radio station, an electric organ, an LED strobe light, logic circuits, and a metronome.
A PDF of instructions and activities is available on the manufacturer’s website here. The Electronic Playground Learning Center 130 can be ordered on Amazon.
VTech’s Kidizoom Smartwatch, selling for around $50, isn’t just a tool to help your child learn time, but also serves as a pushbutton camera (with customizable filters and frames for pictures), a voice recorder and mini-video (60-second) recorder.
The Kidizoom Smartwatch comes with four games, voice-altering effects, and more than 50 face designs. Time displays include both analog and digital, and the watch includes alarm and timer features.
The watch includes a USB cable that lets you charge it, as well as upload pictures from the watch to your computer or tablet.
Parental controls are included for game-playing limits, and the wristband is made with endurable rubber. Games that come with the Kidizoon Smartwatch are Super Detective, Rotating Puzzle, Finger Dance, and Time Master–and parents can purchase and download more games through VTech’s website.
The Kidizoom Smartwatch is available here.
LeapFrog Toys’ Deluxe Writing Workbook with Mr. Pencil is an absolute steal at $7.99 with free shipping via Amazon Prime.
The instructional toy utilizes a rechargeable, electronic pen to guide your child through the process of learning how to write letters while following a 20-page story with 45 tracing and writing activities that are reinforced through audio responses.
Geared toward 4 to 8 year olds, the Writing Workbook teaches both uppercase and lowercase letter-writing, and includes a two-octave musical keyboard as well as 26 tracing sheets. The pen’s recognition feature can tell where a child left off and trigger audible cues to help learn correct style and form.
The Writing Workbook is part of LeapFrog’s LeapReader series, so if your child works through the activities in the Writing Workbook you can purchase or download other age-appropriate activities.
The Deluxe Writing Workshop with Mr. Pencil is available here.
Want to woo your in-utero baby with some sweet classical music, or with recordings of baby’s parents’ and siblings’ voices? Look no further than Lullabelly’s Prenatal Music Belt, currently available at Amazon for under $60.
The Prenatal Music Belt plugs into any type of portable music player–iPhone, iPod, CD player, etc.–and comes with an audio splitter and headphones so you can listen along with baby. The belt utilizes safe-sound-level technology, so that the maximum volume level never exceeds that of a normal audible conversation.
The speaker inside the belt is removable, so the adjustable belt can be washed, and the belt is made of an ultra-soft fabric and attached by a long, wide strip of velcro.
The Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt comes in a wide range of colors and is available here.