Update September 2011

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

Alanna Weissman

Natural Beauty
Indie Beauty Award finalist JOON, a natural skincare company for tween girls, is free of the harmful chemicals and animal-derived ingredients often present in skincare products and cosmetics. JOON teaches girls good skin maintenance as well as environmental responsibility. For more information, visit www.itsjoon.com.

It’s All Relative
Think the theory of relativity is too complex for kids to understand? Think again. Quantum Fun (Quantum Fun Media) by Lee McLaughlin uses humor and storytelling to explain such abstract concepts to budding scientists ages 9-12. The author follows Einstein’s journey through the world of quantum particles in an exciting way that kids can relate to. Get the book at www.amazon.com.

Songs of Hope
After his son Joey died of epilepsy, Michael Gomoll aimed to raise awareness for the disease by compiling rare and unreleased tracks from musicians including Neko Case and Matthew Ryan. The proceeds from the compilations benefit the Joseph Gomoll Foundation, a charitable organization in Joey’s honor that raises funds for epilepsy. The end result of the musical endeavor was two albums, one appealing to adults, Joey’s Song: Volume 1, and the other to children, Joey’s Songs for Kids. Have a listen at www.joeyssong.org.

Mom-and-Pop Shop
Mamas & Papas, the much-lauded British baby brand, sells all manner of high-quality strollers and related miscellany. Items by the company, which first launched at Babies “R” Us last year, now include baby bouncers, carriers, highchairs, infant positioners and toys available for order at

Easy as 1-2-3
Now on DVD, Nickelodeon’s Team Umizoomi teaches math to the preschool set. The adorable animated series follows the Umi Team as they explore early mathematical concepts such as computations and patterns, making the topics easy to grasp and entertaining. The series also utilizes pop music and features guest vocals by Jordin Sparks of American Idol. Order the educational entertainment at http://shop.nick.com.

PB&J Plus
Rather than send your kids off to school with the same old peanut butter sandwich every day, try one of the delicious recipes that kids favor in Lisa Leconte’s The Mini Book of Grandwiches (Andrews McMeel). Taking ideas from Japanese cuisine, Leconte provides instructions for sandwiches that are as fun for parents to make as they are for kids to eat. Log onto www.scrumpdillyump.com for details.

Face Your Fears
Written by 11-year-old Zosia Lisowska and illustrated by her father, Gabriel, Edgar is Scared of the Night (CreateSpace) tells the story of a pet mouse that’s afraid of the dark and runs in his wheel at night. Inspired by the author’s real-life pet mouse, the book describes how the lovable rodent eventually learns to overcome his fear. Find the book in stores and on www.amazon.com.

Warm and Fuzzy
VTech’s interactive and plush Peek at Me Bunny provides multiple activities for baby. With a day mode that brings bright lights and games and a night mode that offers relaxing sounds and little ditties for bedtime, the Peek at Me Bunny entertains and calms baby from 6-36 months. The cuddly plaything also introduces tots to colors, shapes and numbers. Find the educational toy at www.vtechkids.com.

Sweet Revenge
Los Angeles-based line Revenge Is... sells trendy activist-themed T-shirts for the whole family that are made from recycled bottles. With cool motifs and complementary phrases, such as “Kid’s Think Green” and “Eat Your Brocolli,” the duds raise awareness for causes like the preservation of the planet, endangered animals and the importance of eating healthy foods. Check out the socially conscious threads at www.revengeis.com.

Beary Good
Have a child’s birthday party to attend, but stumped about what to give the celebrant? North American Bear Co. features an extensive collection of stuffed toys, from bears and ballerinas, to ducks and dinosaurs. The online purveyor also sells soft dolls, plush purses, keychains and baby mobiles. Browse the goods and locate participating retailers at www.nabear.com.

This column appeared in the September 2011 issue.