Brand Spotlight 36
When it comes to baby toys we all know they’re going to be EVERYWHERE. In fact, I swear I’m already trying to plan where I can hide mine and where I can add some extra storage for baby stuff. These days brands are taking this into consideration when they create our ‘necessities’ and I’m LOVING what they’re coming up with. I’ve narrowed down a few great options that could go with any decor. Why not invest in something that you don’t have to worry about leaving out. Here are three brands that are killing it when it comes to baby items that are practical and pretty.
JONATHAN ADLER BY FISHER PRICE
This line is a little more contemporary than the others. You’ll find black and white patterns in this collection that would look great in any space. if you’re not afraid of pattern then this is definitely the collection for you. Let’s start with the high chair. This combination of black and white is stunning. It’s the little details that make this such an incredible piece for your home. The legs have such a unique shape. I love the thin profile and the fact that they are black. Keep in mind, this high chair disassembles to fit on most kitchen, dining room and restaurant chairs. Now that’s practical! It’s also incredibly wipeable including the rubber safety straps, making clean-up a breeze (a must in my books). If you’re looking for an item that has a contemporary style and will entertain your baby for hours…. let me direct you to the Jonathan Adler Deluxe Bouncer. This activity centre has a whole lot of style and it matches the high chair! BONUS: if you’re living room and dining room are side by side these will help pull the spaces together. Who would of thought your baby items would become part of your decor? Maybe your family room is open to both of those spaces? You might want the sensory gym to complete the set. Newborns can lay and play while exercising their developmental skills and you can rest assured that your family room looks pulled together.
Being a new mom to be I’ve been hearing about the ‘word on the street’ items that I know I’ll be looking to purchase. The MamaRoo has definitely been one of them. To be honest, I didn’t realize there were so many colours and patterns to choose from. Myself, I’d choose the MamaRoo 4.0 in the silver plush. This magic wonder bounces up and down and sways side to side making for a great side kick for mom and dad. Also, if you’re looking for a little extra cushion for baby or maybe you just want more options check out the infant insert. Ok, we have got to talk about the 4Moms High Chair. Before reading the reviews, watching the videos and learning about the specs from this first look this was so completely my style. I’m definitely going to have to add this to my registry. I love the sleek white frame, how easy the tray pops on and off (but seriously…. watch the video here) and it’s quite impressive to see the magnetic plates and bowls that go with it. WOW! I’ve never seen anything like this (I also don’t normally shop around for high chairs haha). The top also comes off and can be thrown directly into the dishwasher. Can you tell that I love this thing already!? If you’ve got one please let me know in the comments below.
This line is bright and colourful. When I see they’re incredible foam floor mats I instantly think nursery! What a fun way to get some cushion on the floor AND they’ve got some amazing neutral options.The grey and cream is my favourite. I’ll be adding that to my registry. The high chair is absolutely adorable. I love the wood elements with the sleek shape. In fact, I bought this exact high chair for my best friend who is due just weeks before I am. It was on her registry and I can completely understand why. It’s it’s going to be in your kitchen… might as well have something that’s really nice to look at. PLUS it converts to a toddler chair and it’s super wipeable. Win win! My last point about this high chair is the fact that the peg legs are extremely in style. I love a peg leg chair or lamp and this is just an extension of the trend. Great job by Skip Hop for making something so stylish. The Skip Hop activity gym is super bright and colourful. If you’re looking for a mat that’s going to grasp your babies attention and keep it… this could definitely be the one. It plays music with two light modes and provides an amazing light show for baby.
I really enjoyed looking into these brands and these items for you guys. If there’s something you’re not sure about please let me know in the comments below.
Jackie is a Southern-Ontario based TV Host, Interior Stylist and first-time mom due in October. Follow her journey through pregnancy and into parenthood weekly through this series “Baby Talk” with Jackie and check out her Nursery planning tips and tricks in her blog “Nursery Style” with Jaclyn Colville.
With the heavy influence of social media and the internet in our lives, we are now bombarded not just by our mother-in-law’s advice on parenting but also with an entire digital panel of experts who know how to raise your kid better than you do. There is a ton of mom shaming, mom guilt (and some for dads too, but us mamas seem to take it harder) and non researched or backed up “facts” about what you should and shouldn’t do in order for your child to grow up and not be a serial killer. Screen time is the devil, non organic food is poison, plastic toys are toxic, and to top it all off, your child is going to get hip dysplasia from your baby carrier. Whether you choose to believe or subscribe to any of these theories is up to you, but I tend to live by the mantra ‘everything in moderation, even moderation’. In short, be sensible about strategic about what you do with your children, but you can occasionally throw it all out the window and live like it is 1979 again.
To combat some of my mom guilt that my daughter watched a little too much Paw Patrol or that I didn’t feed my son more than five brain boosting super foods today, I look for other play based ways to stimulate and teach them while still allowing for fun. I am very selective about the toys I buy for my children because: a) I despise seeing a toy used once and then thrown onto a pile as clutter that gives me hives b) they get all kinds of other random toys from their relatives, and c) stepping on tiny toys in barefeet is where murderous thoughts originate. My criteria for a good toy purchase is that it must be well made, be something that will grow with them, or be of interest for at least a year, and should have a learning aspect to it in some capacity.
With that in mind, here are the top 5 toys in our household right now that make me feel like a better parent:
- A-Z Upper Case Magnatab – This is a great way to teach both fine motor skills and introduce writing letters. We have had this toy since last year and it was great practice for my daughter before starting kindergarten. She still uses this toy every day and loves the way the magnetic beads pop up as she writes her letters and then pop back as she uses her fingers to erase. This one will be passed down to my son and will be durable enough to last the years in between.
- Wobble – A simple but superb toy. The weighted bottoms spin and always end upright so smaller babes can easily grasp and enjoy. Watching this little toy wobble around in all kinds of directions and speeds is captivating (maybe even for some adults too..) We love this size for travel as it is easy to pack and also can be played with virtually anywhere.
- Kid O Myland Horse and Myland Car – The Myland line of toys by Kid O employ STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) so they are educational and fun but in completely unique ways. Each toy is triggered by the colour coded character associated with it to make different sounds and actions. The Myland Car comes with two characters that activate lights and driving noises, while the sweet horse gallops and neighs. These toys are loved by both my 5 year old and one year old and are made to take a lot of abuse. They are played with at full speed for hours at a time but I know they will stand the test of time.
- Magnetibook Crazy Face – I had been eyeing this toy for a long while before actually bringing it into our home and I am so glad I finally did. The Magnetibooks are an awesome toy to drive creativity and matching skills and are the perfect road trip companion. With magnets holding each piece in place, it makes it easy to use on the go and my kids love looking at all the silly faces. Janod also makes a version with vehicles to match up and I can see us adding this one to our collection in the not too distant future.
- Shapesorter – A classic children’s toy to learn shapes and hand-eye coordination, this wooden version is so much nicer to look at and play with than many of the plastic options out there and the shapes are nice and chunky, making it easier for tiny hands to grasp. This is one of those toys that gets played with for a few years, starting with banging the shapes together and progressing to identifying each and putting them in the corresponding slots. This one gets bonus points too for being pretty on the shelf!
So, these are some of the toys we have been playing with in our house in between our screen-time and non-organic strained pears to make me feel just a touch more virtuous. While these toys may not actually make me a better parent, the kids love them and the mom shamers have stopped giving me the side eye, so I think I may just be winning this whole parenting thing….for today anyway.
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
Building on its tremendous success “Down Under”, Australian company Valco Baby has now established their brand all over the globe and we are excited to bring these products to Canadian families nationwide.
Designed not only to look great, Valco Baby strollers have outstanding performance features as well. Their strollers are able to meet the needs of your growing family as they are infant car seat compatible*, offer a double stroller option in each of their series and the X series even has the option for a third toddler seat!
*specific models only with adapter
Lightweight Convenience – Snap 4 and Snap Duo
Valco Baby’s urban strollers, their Snap series, are known for being lightweight. In fact, their Snap Duo is the lightest full featured double stroller in the market today. Weighing just 21.5 lbs., the Snap Duo combines an ultra lightweight frame with individual canopies, adjustable footrests and roomy comfortable seats.
If you’re in looking for a convenience stroller boasting first-class features, the Snap4 is the ideal one for you! Coming in at only 14.5 lbs. the Snap4 sets the benchmark for comfort, manoeuvrability and portability in compact strollers.
Elegant Versatility – Snap Ultra & Snap Ultra Duo
The Snap Ultra series establishes a new level of style in addition to function for parents looking for a lightweight ride from birth & beyond without sacrificing on features. The Snap Ultra and Snap Ultra Duo not only makes a fashion statement, but incorporates great features such as an ultra-lightweight frame, super extended canopy, adjustable footrest and reversible, roomy, comfortable seats. YES! Both seats are reversible! And as a bonus feature, the strollers INCLUDE beautiful luxe boot covers!
Rugged meets Luxury – TriMode X and Trimode Duo
Valco Baby’s all terrain stroller options are the TriMode X and TriMode X Duo. Both strollers in the TriMode X series folds compactly allowing you to take it anywhere and the full reclining seats allow children to sleep anywhere. The pram seat also has no contact with the outside when folded so it stays cleaner for longer so you don’t have to be afraid to take it wherever you go.
Like what you’ve read? Want to test-drive one for yourself? Come to any of our Snuggle Bugz store locations between April 24th and 30th to test out a Snap Ultra or a Snap Duo and enter to WIN one for yourself!
Have you heard of Stonz? They’re a great, made in Canada line that I’ve wanted to try forever, and so I got my hands on a pair of the new Toddler Booties! At first the boots are a little weird and take some getting used to as they’re much different than other boots on the market. First off, your toddler can wear their shoes inside if they like, so they’re a much softer boot than the general hard boot you’d find out there. If you do want to use their shoes inside, you need to buy with that in mind. Then they have liners (“linerz”) for warmer winter use and you can remove them for fall and spring. How versatile is that? As you can see I opted for the most exciting colour/pattern around: all black (although they come in 14 different designs).
These ones are “new” in the Stonz line because they have a new waterproof sole on them – it’s more durable and slip resistant than previously and you can RECYCLE THEM when you’re done. I’m a huge fan of that! You can find the new sole on the medium, large or x-large booties. The soles contain something called PLUSfoam so I took a swing by their website to learn a bit more about the product. It’s nice to know I own a product that is made with responsible manufacturing processes in mind, and these are no exception – they claim their products produce no manufacturing waste and zero post-consumer waste. Sounds good to me!
One of the best things is that they’re SUPER lightweight so your kid isn’t lugging around a giant pair of boots that weigh close to what they do. The two drawstrings are great on the boots as they keep them on in two places (and prevent the surprise of arriving at your destination to a toddler in barefeet).
I’ve long been a lover of Nook for their approach to making products with both the health of babies and the planet in mind. While I was never lucky enough to own one of their mattresses, I loved the idea that they are built with breathability and a lack of toxins as the foundation of their design. When I heard that Nook also makes a playmat, the LilyPad, I thought this may be just my opportunity to give them a try. Aside from his crib, my son spends the majority of his awake time on the floor on a blanket/carpet/mat and I started to really think about what toxins he was being exposed to on some of these surfaces. Given his limited ability to keep his face off the floor, he is breathing in (and chewing on) that surface more than anything else in the house, so it should be a safe one!
We began using the Nook LilyPad when he was just over two months old and have loved it from the start. This is not your traditional ‘covered in wild juvenile designs and filled with fire-retardant foam’ kind of playmat. The LilyPad texture can best be described as feeling like a gel insole for your shoes. A cushiony, comfortable solid colour surface that is perfect for babies to lie on both their back and tummy, it is as stylish as it is functional. This item remains out and on the floor at my house on a regular basis, and unlike other mats and baby blankets, it is not overly juvenile and can complement your homes aesthetic instead of tarnishing it.
At four months old he is now practicing his great first move to independence, rolling over. I feel safe that while he is on his LilyPad he can roll, kick, push up, face palm, chew, drool, and cry in frustration at the whole process in utter comfort and safety. The mat is round and has clips to fold it up into a flat package and is also very easily ported from one room to the next. Made with a water resistant cover, it is super easy to wipe clean and for anything that does stain, the entire thing can be thrown in the washing machine! I always give major bonus points to any baby gear that can be machine washed.
- Non-Toxic, breathable, hypoallergenic, no off-gasses
- Made from recycled plastic water bottles, a planet friendly product
- Ultra Comfortable, tummy time lasts longer than on other surfaces
- Water resistant, wipes clean and machine washable
- Easy to transport and travel with for use anywhere
- Raised pebble surface allow breathability and airflow to baby
- Stylish and simple design
- A little on the small side. Once baby rolls a few times he is off the mat.
- Pricier than some other mats.
Overall, I love this playmat almost as much as he does! I see this lasting us well beyond the tummy time, infant stage and taking us into toddlerhood as a great place to play with toys, read, and relax.
For those who are interested in trying the Nook LilyPad out, Snuggle Bugz and Nestled are Nook’s retailer of the month for February and all Nook products are 10% off until February 28, 2017. The LilyPad can be found online and is also available in the newly renovated Nestled store at Snuggle Bugz’ flagship location in Burlington, Ontario. If you haven’t been to the new store yet, it is a must see. With over 20 complete nursery rooms to inspire your dream nursery, a design centre, and exclusive furniture and accessories for your baby, it is a destination you can get lost in for hours.
The Nook LilyPad is a winner in my books and I am still discovering alternative uses for it everyday (I can’t wait to take it to the beach in the summer!). Take advantage of the sale now if you are looking for a great place for baby to play and discover that is both comfortable and safe.
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