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 Shrunks Indoor Travel Bed, pictured left, is geared to young ones who’ve outgrown their cribs. The lightweight, portable, inflatable mattress comes with an electronic airpump, a repair kit and a travel bag, and weighs only 6 pounds.
Each side of the bed has a security rail that prevents your little one from falling, and a sheet-tuck feature that works with any crib-sized sheet.
You can use the bed for camping, travel to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, in hotel rooms, or at home as a transition bed between crib and toddler bed.
The Shrunks Indoor Travel bed is available here.
It’s an activity toy, and it’s a walker.
VTech’s Sit-to-Stand Walker, part of the company’s Infant Learning product line that grows along with your baby, offers a variety of stimulating activities for babies as young as 1 year old.
Baby can play with learning games about animals, colors, music, shapes and numbers. The music mode has a keyboard, and buttons to press for animal sounds. A play phone lets baby hear animal sounds.
As baby grows into a toddler, the activity panel can be attached to the sturdy wheeled walker frame, which is motion-activated to play melodies as sound effects as baby walks. Its rubber wheels keep baby steady while baby’s learning to navigate walking, and the rear wheels lock for stability and standing while baby’s learning to stand.
The walker runs on 3 AAA batteries (included), and comes with a user’s manual.
The Sit-to-Stand Walker is currently priced at under $35 at Amazon and is available here.
Infant Optics’ Video Baby Monitor with night vision is a compact, wireless, durable system that let’s you keep an eye on your baby wherever you are at home.
To set up the system, just plug the adaptor into the camera and monitor, then turn them on.
The monitor has a range of up to 800 feet in open areas, and 150 feet through walls and ceilings. The night-vision V mode turns on automatically, and offers a clear digital black-and-white picture of baby. (Day vision is in color.)
A voice-activation standby mode saves power by shutting down if there’s no noise for three minutes. There’s also a white-noise mode that filters out extraneous sound. You can buy additional cameras for the system too; the monitor will work with up to four cameras at once.
The system can be purchased here.
We asked educator and BabyNames partner Kate Glinsmann for her favorite apps for children. This is Part 2 of her report:
The following apps are ones that I use with my English Language Learners who are in grades pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade. I think all kids at this age would benefit from and enjoy these apps. I try to make sure they all are academic in nature, although some might not seem like it at first. The kids really love using the iPads and look forward to Fridays, which is when I bring them out.
Flow Free by Big Duck Games. FREE! I love this puzzle game where you have to connect the colors to each other. It starts out very basic, which is great for the younger kids, and the puzzles get progressively harder. There are different sized grids starting with a 5×5 block grid and up to a 9×9 block grid. A great app for everyone, whether a child or a senior. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flow-free/id526641427?mt=8
Letter School by Sanoma Media, $4.99. This app is the best one I’ve found so far for teaching young children how to make letters. I love how versatile it is, allowing you to set the alphabet for Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian or Handwriting Without Tears style. Kids can work on upper case, lower case or numerals 1-10. For each letter or numeral the child starts by tapping the button where each stroke originates, in order. The second part has the child trace the path of the strokes and the third part has the child produce the letter/numeral independently. If s/he has trouble then arrows or lines appear to help. I feel that this app is well worth the cost. http://www.letterschool.com
Kids Learning Photo Touch Concepts by Innovative Investments Limited, $.99. This is a great app for young children (2-4 years old) or English Language Learners. It emphasizes basic vocabulary and concepts like positions, colors, shapes, quantities, and other basic concepts. Adults are able to choose which concepts the child can work on so it is easily adapted to each child’s needs. There is even a setting for displaying hints. I like that this app uses photographs instead of drawings, and this makes it engaging to even the youngest child. Even though I set the age to start at 2 years old, a younger child could even benefit from this app with adult help. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kids-learning-photo-touch/id423247346?mt=8