Update April 2013

All the gear infants, tots, children and parents need.

Melissa Marciano

Sibling Love

Introducing a new baby into the family and need the perfect gift for a soon-to-be big brother or sister? Pick up Leslie Kimmelman’s Hello, My New Baby (Blue Apple Books), designed as a way for your little one to create a story and share feelings about becoming an older sibling. Through activities, drawings, the use of fun stickers and crafts, children create new playthings for the arriving baby, while having a blast expressing themselves. Visit www.amazon.com to purchase the book and www.lesliekimmelman.net to learn more about the author’s other exciting reads.

Encouraging Kids’ Lit

Looking for children’s books that are empowering and entertaining? Look to the Fuzzwippers series by Marilynn Halas. The storybook collection shows kids the power of being good people, not superheroes or celebrities, by boosting life skills like listening and playing fair. Along the way, the Fuzzwippers characters assure children they “are loved, no matter what.” The recently published Fuzzwippers Play Fair (4 Sunflowers Media ) concludes with this message being spread by fireflies, one of nature’s wonders. As your family appreciates nature this Earth Day, remember to take stock in your kids and allow them to do the same with the Fuzzwippers.

Loving Literature

Put an interesting spin on the literature your kids read in school with Providence eLearning iBooks. The company presents a fun and educational way for students in secondary school levels or higher to interact and engage with classic literature they might usually find boring. Users also enjoy video lectures, audio narration and quizzes to increase participation in classroom discussion. Find them at the Apple iBookstore.

Game Changer

SpecialNeedsWare launches its new iPad app AutisMate, which is designed to help those with autism improve their social, behavioral and language skills. It provides a way for children on the spectrum, their families and friends to interact through the use of pictures, personal images, videos and audio clips. The application includes a GPS element that enhances personalization.

Childcare App

Stork Apps presents Cherish, a new addition for the iPhone and ipad. The secure babysitting application delivers peace of mind to parents who are concerned about leaving their children with a sitter. Cherish enables parents to create a personalized checklist and select intervals for the sitter to check in, giving mom and dad a chance to enjoy alone time without worry. Download it for free at http://itunes.apple.com.

Kiddie Crafts

Give your children the chance to bring their imaginations to life with Wearables by Kid Constructions. While sharing quality time with the family, children create, construct and decorate their own wearable plane, fire truck, butterfly and more. The company encourages youngsters to use their minds through design. Suitable for children ages 4 and older. Find details at www.kidconstructions.com.

Capturing Nature

As the warmer months approach, kids gear up for outside play. Have them explore and learn about nature with Stephen Joseph’s New Critter Collection. With the Critter Catcher, kids experience and catch butterflies, fireflies and other interesting creatures. The collection is popular among celebrity moms like Sarah Jessica Parker and Tori Spelling. For more information, see shop.stephenjosephgifts.com.

Goodbye Bake Sales

Savvy Source recently announced an exciting and innovative new way for schools to raise money. Presented as a Groupon-style program for education, www.schoola.com gives moms, dads, PTAs and PTOs an online platform to partner with local businesses in the community to make deals and raise funds. More than 10,000 schools across the country have already signed up. Visit the website to register or to find out more.

Bedtime Stories

Trueberry Books features a creative way for parents to make a children’s book based on their family’s story. Personalize pages and design a tale to share. Trueberry allows moms and dads to take those special moments and events and record them for their children to cherish forever. Get started at www.trueberry.com.

Keep Mom Stylin’

Mother’s Day is on the horizon. For those looking to shop for an early gift, check out Kalencom’s diaper bag collection, which offers fashionable yet practical bags that fit all mom’s needs. Each durable carryall includes a changing mat and an insulated bottle holder. Further, they’re easy to clean and come in a variety of styles, patterns and colors. Explore all the company has to offer at www.kalencom.com.

This column appeared in the April 2013 issue.