Saturday, July 23, 2011

Favorite Things- Young Preschooler

I've come across a few new things recently that I wanted to share. Just a disclosure reminder, I get a small (pennies) commission if you click on the amazon links and put the product in your cart and then check out. However, this commission does not effect what products I add to these posts (I've never actually made any money through this program, I think they have pay out minimums that I haven't exceeded).

Kidco Peapod Plus: When Colin outgrew his pack and play I wasn't sure what the next option would be while we were traveling. At the time he was still in the crib so I wasn't sure a bed at a hotel would be appropriate. So I took to the internet and found the peapod! After reading dozens of reviews I choose this color combination which came with an inflatable mattress and pump and sleeping bag. I originally thought I should go with the self inflating mattress but others said it was less cushioned than the pump up mattress and that kids seemed to really like the sleeping bag. Colin just loves this thing and it is SO much easier to pack than the pack and play. I think it probably weighs about 5 lbs and folded it fits in a round bag about the size of the circle you make with your arms when your hands touch in front of you. Awesome. This would work great for an infant too, although I imagine a crawler/new walker might try to use it for support and cause some tipping.  Colin of course can operate the zipper but has never gotten out without permission, I like that it has the mesh sides along with the fabric flaps that can be tied open to let air circulate or zipped up to keep light out. I highly recommend it even if your little guy/girl hasn't outgrown the pack and play, it is SO much smaller to pack when you travel, even if just to grandmas house.

 Kid-Tough Travel Doodler with Light. If you know this blog, you know I'm not a fan of Fisher Price but this little product is an exception. I picked this up along with some other random things right before we drove to Myrtle Beach. Turns out I didn't really need much for the car ride (two teenage aunts were entertainment enough for the time he was awake). However, this was a huge hit in the hotel room regardless, and not just with Colin. Some of the older kids really enjoyed writing silly messages on it, and even a few 'adults' got in on the action. Colin still pulls this out at home and just this evening was drawing "dinosaurs" and "strawberries" (actually just scribbles but I appreciate his imagination!). The light while pretty unnecessary most of the time, adds one more aspect of fun, Colin likes controlling lights so pushing the button to make it go on and off is entertaining for him.

Matchbox Pop Up Playsets Ours just happens to be the Handy Manny version, but they have so many different types I made the link general. This is another random toy I picked up to have something new in the car. Colin found it one afternoon while we were in the hotel and we didn't hear a peep from him for about 25 minutes (four hours in toddler time). The key to this is limited use for us. This isn't a toy Colin has free access too, but when we need it we pull it out (like the other day while I was waiting for a blood draw at the lab. A 45 minute wait can be pretty miserable with a toddler, but between this and a bagel Colin was an angel. The best part about it is it is compact and all folds up for storage and travel. The picture shows a few cars but there is only one in the box and that is fine with us. There are just enough moving parts to keep him entertained for long stretches. It also helps that he is really getting involved with imaginative play now, he will occasionally add some dialogue so you can hear what he is thinking and it is pretty adorable. Love this toy.

Parking Pal Magnet. If you have a toddler or preschooler, you need to know about this! It is such a simple idea, I wish I had thought of it! It is a magnet you put on your car and you teach your child to put their hand on it and keep it there until you 'release' them. Colin took to it like a duck to water. No more trying to squeeze hold him between my knees while I reach back into the car for whatever random item is left behind. In NYC where we have to park on the street this is amazing... I'm actually really surprised it hasn't been stolen yet to be honest. This is going to be even more helpful with Baby Bee makes her arrival and I have to juggle getting two kids (and all our stuff) in and out of the car. I love it, and Colin thinks its fun and is so proud of himself when he uses it properly (for 3 he takes this responsibility very seriously). Obviously this is not a replacement for supervision but it isn't like I ask him to put his hand on it and then I walk away from the vehicle. Plus its a magnet so I can move it to whatever side of the car I need him to be on (depending on which side of the road I park on).  


Elaine and Brandon Carder said...

I have never seen that parking magnet---very neat idea.

The FP desk thing is a great idea when Nolan gets bigger since we take long car trips and I will need something to pass the time.

I have some friends who have used the sleeping thing and speak highly of it. I may invest in it as space is always a premium on our trip. May be good to buy to keep at the grandparents rather than lugging the pack n play around.

Keep the preschool/perhaps toddler things he may have outgrown but you found great things comin' (well when you have time).

Daisy and Ryan said...

We actually have Aiden put his hand on the car when getting the doors unlocked, etc, too - we don't have the magnet, though. We just say "put your hand on the car!" and he does it. It's been trickier w/ it being so hot now, though, of course... When it's 102 outside (which is what it is today so far - actual temp, not the heat index), a black car is pretty darn HOT to the touch! :( So, now if I have to let go of him, I tell him to put his hand on me...wherever really, just as long as he's touching me so I know he's right there! The magnet is a cute idea, though. Would be nice if they made something like this that would NOT get hot when the car is hot. I would definitely get that!!

I was looking into the sleeping tent thing and reading some reviews about it a while back. Aiden is prob too big for the pack 'n play at this point, so I guess he'll just have to sleep w/ us when traveling for the time being? We do have a pnp in our room for the little girl I watch, and he often asks to sleep in that recently (and WILL sleep in it, even though he's squished - I don't get it!). Anyway, some reviews complained about the plastic-y smell from the tent thing. Did you have that problem? The thought of it kind of turned me off, so I was just wondering what you thought about that. We haven't needed anything yet, so I kind of put it on the back-burner for a while...

Becky said...

Ooo Good question Daisy! The PVC smell is from the inflatable mattress, but not really from the tent itself which is more of a canvas material. I had also read that complaint but since there is no such thing as PVC free version and sleeping with us is not an option anymore (mainly because he goes to bed at 8 and we don't) I took a chance. When we left for xmas to go to my parents we opened it up and let it 'off gas' in our empty apartment for about a week. Since the initial opening I haven't noticed the smell at all. Since the mattress slips inside the tent Colin never actually touches it so there is no absorption risk. Now if it is off gassing all night long and he is breathing that in I can't say.. but I think once the smell is gone the bulk of the 'danger' is gone. Plus he doesn't sleep on this often enough to make it a huge issue. It is all about compromises right? I buy PVC free shower curtains, toys, dishes and bath mats so when I can't find a product that is PVC free I can feel good that I've limited his exposure is as many ways as possible.

I do want to note, that we choose this color combination because it came with the pump for the mattress and a sleeping bag, some come with a self inflating mattress but I've seen reviews that say that mattress isn't as comfortable. If PVC was a deal breaker you could likely just use some thick blankets instead of the mattress.