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.
We also want to hear from you! Have you found a great gadget that’s helped you during pregnancy or parenting? Let me know, and we’ll share that idea with millions of our BabyNames.com readers. Email us!
The Kindle tablets can be great ways to read plenty of books — but are they appropriate for your toddler? Amazon thinks so, and has added software to its Fire tablet, Kindle FreeTime, with which parents can set educational goals for their kids, and make sure their kids have met their goals before switching to cartoons and games.
How? Just tap on “Learn First,” and all non-educational content is removed from the child’s FreeTime library until they have met their daily reading or educational goals.
Amazon also touts thousands of new educational books, apps, games and videos coming to its Kindle FreeTime Unlimited platform, including Common Core Standard-aligned books, educational apps from developers like BrainPOP and Agnitus, and movies and TV shows from Sesame Street, PBS, Reading Rainbow and more.
“We know kids spend a lot of time every day looking at screens, and we’re excited to add new tools that help parents make this time more educational,” the company says.
The Kindle Fire HD is $139 here. (Affiliate link.)
Kids can do more than just play with new electronic gadgets — they can also learn how these things work. Snap Circuits by Elanco is a series of kits with simple circuit boards on which project components simply snap into place: no soldering or alligator clips required.
The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 starter kit is $34 here. (Affiliate link.) It has 30 reusable color-coded parts to build 100 projects and experiments such as a dual-speed fan, periodic doorbell, photo sensor police siren, flashing laser light and more.
The kit has won the Seal of Approval from The National Parenting Center, as well as other awards.
The Romo Robotic Pet roves your home on a wheeled base, carrying your iPhone or iPod Touch from room to room.
“Romo is a curious digital creature who lives in your phone and explores your world on his roving base,” says developer Romotive. “Just download the app and dock your iPod Touch or iPhone. Let him explore your world and snap photos of what he sees. Program him to respond and adapt to his environment. You can even control Romo remotely via web browser or other iOS devices – from anywhere in the world.” Your kids can train him to recognize faces, dance to music, or chase a ball. You can also “invite friends and family anywhere in the world to control your Romo remotely while streaming 2-way video and audio,” Romotive adds, and parents can “go room to room to say good night while away on business.”
It can move about at a top speed of one foot per second, and runs around for two hours nonstop on a charge. “You play. Romo learns.”
The rover and apps are $150 here. (Affiliate link.) (Phone not included.)
Make better baby food
Dec 11, 2013 by Paul W.
Making healthy homemade food for your infant can be simple, says Baby Brezza: Just add your ingredients and set your steam time, and its device will do the rest, steaming and blending fruits, vegetables, meats and fish all in one bowl quickly and easily.
The One Step Baby Food Maker has a one-bowl design which means you don’t have to transfer hot foods to another bowl or blender in the middle of your cooking. The bowl and blade are dishwasher safe and free of BPA and phthalates.
“In as little as fifteen minutes, you can have a healthful, nutritious and delicious meal ready for your baby — with the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself,” Baby Brezza says.
It’s $68 here. (Affiliate link.)
We all grew up with stuffed animals — but ours weren’t stuffed with sensors. This new Tedi keeps an eye on your child for you, and sends alerts and updates to your phone.
Amidst the bear’s stuffing is also a microphone, a thermometer, a pulse detector — and even a special sensor that records how strongly your baby grips the bear!
Additionally, there’s a speaker through which you can talk to your baby from another room.
(But we’d bet many parents are tempted to use it to pretend the bear is talking!)
A TediTalk feature can help teach speech through the speaker as well, and special sounds can also play to help your baby sleep.
Tedi will sell for $99 early next year. There’s more info here.
Bounce the baby
Nov 28, 2013 by Paul W.
No question, babies sometimes just like to be bounced. Those times may not always coincide with you wanting to be the bouncer…
And so 4Moms developed the MamaRoo Bouncer, a simple device that does just what the names implies: safely provide the fun and comforting motion your child enjoys.
It’s the only infant seat with five different motions all modeled after the natural movements parents make to comfort their babies, 4Moms says.
To make sure it moves right, they first used motion sensors to measure just how real moms and dads moved about, then replicated those motions in the MamaRoo.
It’s $240 here. (Affiliate link.)