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Baby Tech

Gadgets and new innovations for babies and their parents.

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A homework helper for younger spellers
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The Franklin KID-1240 Children’s Talking Dictionary & Spell Corrector, currently available for under $50 at Amazon.com, offers personalized greetings, phonetic spell corrections, a rhyme finder, and 5 word-building games that include different skills levels.

Geared to children ages 6 and up, the unit runs on 4 AAA batteries (not included) and comes with 44,000 vocabulary words, as well as a guide to writing cursive for little hands. A parent can create customized spelling lists and have a child learn those words through the unit’s games.

Reviewers on Amazon are particularly pleased with the Talking Dictionary & Spell Corrector’s help in aiding children who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and for children for whom English is not the primary language.

The Children’s Talking Dictionary and Spell Corrector is available here.

For your budding Buddy Rich
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Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 3.20.51 PMVTech’s Kidibeat Drum Set, available on Amazon.com for under $20, provides little ones with hours of jamming, fun and learning.

The drum set works in three modes: free-style, playing along with nine pre-set songs (the drums light up as a learning guide to the songs), and learning about letters and numbers through structured play.

Geared to ages 2-5, the Kidibeat Drum Set runs on two AA batteries (included) and weighs two pounds. It includes a volume control for sound-sensitive parents, and comes with two drumsticks (but tiny hands work as well).

You can purchase the VTech Kidibeat Drum Set here.

Everything a mom-to-be needs in one place
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WebMD’s Pregnancy app, which is free foScreen Shot 2015-04-02 at 12.44.37 PMr downloading and runs on iOS, has just about everything you need to guide you through your pregnancy. The app comes with 626 pregnancy-related articles, 129 quizzes, 104 tips, 23 videos, 10 tools, and five slideshows.

After you download the app, take the video tour to show the app’s features, then navigate the simple-to-use home-page menu, which includes checklists for you and your doctor, an appointments calendar, a symptom tracker, a contraction time, a kick counter, and entries for your vital statistics throughout your pregnancy. There’s also a journaling feature and a section to store your weekly belly pics.

Its Pregnancy 101 section is what makes this app stand out among pregnancy apps; it includes articles on nutrition, exercise, labor and delivery, prenatal testing, high-risk pregnancies,  and health and safety.

The WebMD Pregnancy app runs on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch and is available here.

A science kit for future electrical engineers
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Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 4.17.46 PMElenco’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.

Smart Watch for Smart Kids
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Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 1.18.52 PMVTech’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.

Write On: Penmanship for Little Ones
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Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 12.53.02 PMLeapFrog 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.

 

Making music-lovers in the womb
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Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 2.45.26 PMWant 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.

Fit and fun, all in one
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Leapfrog’s LeapBand fitness tracker, available at Amazon for under $25, makes it fun for kids to be fit.

Geared toward children ages 4 through 7, the LeapBand can be preloaded with 50 different activity challenges, from wriggling like a worm to marching like an elephant.

There’s a built-in reward factor, in which activities garner points and prizes once completed. And kids can choose a pet mascot from among an array of eight, name the pet, and use rewards for challenges to feed their pets or simply help their pets thrive through the children’s physical activities.

The LeapBand also functions as a digital or analog watch, and helps children to learn time through verbal cues. It runs on a rechargeable battery that can be charged via a USB port, and includes parental controls.

Leapfrog’s LeapBand is available here.

A bathing tub for even the most wriggly babies
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Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 3.00.37 PMPriced at under $20, the First Years Infant-to-Toddler Tub is a great deal with great Amazon reviews from parents who use it. As its name says, the ergonomically designed tub grows along with your baby. It comes with a soft mesh netting and a padded headrest that cradles baby during bathtime in either tub or sink, and both the mesh and the headrest are mildew-resistant.

The drain plug changes color and alerts parents when the water is too hot, and the well at the base of the tub holds bathingsupplies and toys. The angle is adjustable from a slight slant for young babies to a straight back once baby can sit up.

Reviewers notes how the mesh hammock keeps baby in place during the slippery proceScreen Shot 2015-02-22 at 3.00.46 PMss of bathing, and the sturdiness of the tub. They also love the fact that it props newborns for beginning sponge baths, but is just as handy for immersion bathing once baby grows in size.

The tub fits both single- and double-wide sinks, and easily drains out the dirty water when you’re done bathing baby.

Reviewers point out that once baby reaches toddler size and mobility, it’s sometimes easier to just place baby in the bathtub, especially if baby moves around a lot. But most agree that for newborns and babies under 18 months, the tub provides unbeatable stability, ease of use and convenience.

The First Years Infant-to-Toddler Tub comes in blue or pink, and is available here.

 

Stroller organizer for busy parents
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Parents on the go will lovScreen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.29.49 PMe ZenKid’s stroller organizer, currently on sale at Amazon for about $25. The collapsible and durable velcro-attached bag includes room for a few large bottles, keys, wallet, cell phone, wipes, diapers, snacks and other miscellany and keeps your hands free from purses and bulky diaper bags while walking baby or using a jogger.

The organizer comes with an insulated cup or bottle holder, which keeps temperatures stable, and both a zippered and mesh mini-compartments. The velcro straps are long, and adjustable, so the organizer fits even the bulkiest strollers.

Amazon reviewers love the organizer bag and have rated it 5 stars. They point out that it’s easy to clean, holds as much as far-bigger diaper bags, and is a lifesaver on family outings where you’d bring a stroller.

The organizer weighs only 8 ounces, and measures 13 x 4 x 6.5 inches. ZenKid offers a no-hassle money-back guarantee and will provide you a full refund if you aren’t happy.

Buy it here.