Stuff for Kids

LeapFrog Text and Learn - Did Toy Rotary Phones Seem Strange In 1930?


(This post from Engadget is about a year old, but I hadn't seen it before. I found it by following a link from Dave Caolo's Twitter Feed. Apparently it looks a lot like the new Microsoft "Kin".)

My kids take their toy phones and pretend to text and take pictures, so it shouldn't be any surprise LeapFrog figured this out and made something they can really type text into. And the fact that it kind of looks like a Blackberry is kind of funny.

But it looks like just another toy with a horrible monochrome screen and lame "educational" games. Why haven't kids' electronic toys progressed much past Speak 'n Spell? It would be way cooler if they came in pairs and you could send messages back and forth.

Besides, my 3 year old uses my wife's iPhone so much, I'm not sure she'd recognize this as something she was supposed to have fun with in the first place.

Modern Day Dad At CES 2010. Oh. And Lady Gaga Too.


Well, I did the quick calculation this morning, and this is officially the 7th CES I've been to, and while some were fun (the first few) and some were really underwhelming (last year), this year's is proving to be a little better, if only for the fact that I pretty much kicked it off by going to a Lady Gaga press conference at the Polaroid Booth.

You see, she's now a Creative Director at Polaroid for a special line of New Imaging Products or something. In the conference she made it very clear (while she tried her best to hide her face with her bizarre hair-hat), that this wasn't a typical endorsement deal, and that she and "The Haus of Gaga" (I couldn't make that up if I tried) were going to be very involved with new products.

Hey, that's great I suppose, and I know that Polaroid who haven't had anything exciting going on with them in about, oh, twenty years or so, are probably thrilled with the association. But all that stuck out to me during the whole thing was, there's a guy who works for Polaroid, one of the last great brands in photography, up on a platform saying "Lady Gaga" as if it were the most normal thing anyone ever uttered. Maybe I'm old or something, but it was kind of funny to me.

So anyway, if you're interested in my posts about stuff I'm seeing at CES this year, check out my posts over at's product blog, Droolicious.

Blogging at ABC 2009 - The All Baby & Child Product Expo

ABC Show Floor. This image only shows about a quarter of everything at the show.

2009 is year-two for me at the ABC Expo, and even though the economy is not what it was last year, you'd hardly know it from attending the show. There seems to be just as many booths and products as last year, and once again I'm trying to blog about all of them.

Well, not all of them exactly. Just the products and companies that have something new or interesting to show. And even then there's absolutely no way I'm going to be able to get to everything. So if you're interested in what I'm writing about, go over to this page at's gear blog Droolicious (where I blog about products for parents and children).

And fair warning to companies showing stuff at the show

- if your product has "Mom" or "Mommy" in it's name and it isn't something that ONLY someone female could use, then chances are I'm going to pass you by.

The highlights so far:

A fairly big write up of the new Orbit G2 stroller.
The Bugaboo & (RED) promotion and brand new (RED) Cameleon in black denim.
Jennifer Garner's favorite stroller, the Maclaren Grand LX Custom.
New Paul Frank designs for Clek Olli car booster seats.
An awesome infant bath tub called the Puj Tub.
A genius camera accessory designed to get infants to look up at the camera - the Shutter Buddy.

Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, Boy-rettes and a Pink Plastic Octomom Sculpture


Even though last week was my kid's spring break from school, I've managed to write about some pretty interesting stuff over at Babble in the last month or so. Some of my favorites are:

The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. The Empire Strikes Back's favorite beast of burden made into a kid's sleeping bag. And I thought they felt cozy on the outside.

Boy-rettes. Alterna-hipster boys with long hair need something cool to keep their long hair out of their eyes. And while I know I shouldn't have a problem with this, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that this didn't rub the wrong way.

The Kata 3N1 Camera Bag. Easily the best camera bag for parents I've ever tried. If you've got a DSLR and kids then you need one.

The Snuglette. It's the Snuggie - the blanket with arm holes - for kids. With an equally bizarre television commercial.

Octomom Scultpture (pictured). This is just nuts. And creepy. And funny. And art?

Modern Day Dad at CES 2009: The Consumer Electronics Showcase.


So tomorrow I'm heading out to my sixth (can it really be six?) CES - the consumer electronics gadget extravaganza here in Las Vegas. And like last year I'll be blogging about a lot of what I see over at In fact this year I even got a special "Blogger" pass which, as far as I can tell, gets me free lunch in the blogger lounge (while supplies last), extra attention from exhibitors, and the slightly condescending looks from those holding orange "Press" badges.

Oh, and I got a free bag which, even though it says "CES" all over it, is pretty sweet.

I'll be looking mostly for anything related to children, parents, parenting or (of course) dads. If you've heard about anything that I should check out, please leave a comment and let me know. This show is so massive, it's going to be hard to even get to the stuff I'm planning, let alone find stuff I never even thought of before.

Wish me luck.

[Check out my posts from CES 2009 over at Droolicious on]

Modern Day Dad at the ABC Kids Expo 2008 in Las Vegas

This year I'm attending for the first time the ABC Kids Expo convention here in Las Vegas. Basically, imagine every baby/toddler/child/parent related product you've ever seen in your whole life, and then imagine all of them in two giant convention hall floors. Today was my first day, and I have to say that after the first few hours it was all a little overwhelming.

I'm there primarily on assignment from, where I blog about products and other cool stuff for kids and parents. If you're interested in what I'm writing about, check out my Babble feed (upper right hand corner) or click this link to see all the posts.

Babble Live at the ABC Kids Expo.

Top Ten iPhone Apps to Distract Your Kids With


[UPDATE: Looking for my favorite iPhone Apps for children and parents? Check out this new feature on Modern Day Dad - iPhone App of the Week. I'll be reviewing and sharing my favorite iPhone and iPad Apps for children and parents.

iPhone App of the Week on Modern Day Dad]


Over at I just posted something that I want to promote here too - Ten Best iPhone Apps for Distracting Young Children. Throwing my keys or random pieces of paper in my pocket to quiet a toddler in a shopping cart is nothing new to anyone, but with the new iPhone there are a lot of new and interesting diversions to throw at them. Provided of course you make sure they don't actually throw your phone back at you.

Read it over on Droolicious at

Jennifer Lopez's Nursery and Other Recent Posts On Babble

Casablanca Cribs in Jennifer Lopez's Nursery
Jennifer Lopez has a (typically) ostentatious nursery and published pictures of them in People Magazine. But the crib is actually quite nice if that kind of decor is up your alley.

Audible Launches New Kids Site
Download audio books for your kids and stop putting Spongebob on their iPods.

7 Days of BPA-Free Plastics: CamelBak Water Bottles
Something to check out when you reach post-sippy cup nirvana.

Jessica Alba Gives Tastybaby
Jessica Alba gives baby food as a party favor for her shower. Seriously.

Mariah Carey Has a Hello Kitty Boo-Boo on American Idol
Mariah Carey is obsessed with Helo Kitty apparently. And she wears the same Band-Aids on American Idol that my kids wear.

Big Deal: FLOR Carpet Tiles for Kids On Sale
FLOR has a couple of child themed carpets on sale now.

"Disney" wrist bands with "USB Flash Memoring."

Wristband_flashmemorySometimes when your chocolate gets in my peanut butter, it doesn't really make a better product. According to this post at the Inventor Spot, kids love to wear wristbands, and kids love computers, so a wrist band / USB thumb drive must be a home run. I realize my oldest is only in pre-school, but do kids need a USB thumb drive so often that they need to wear one on their wrist? Do kids even use USB thumb drives?

But even more bizarre than the product itself, is the "Disney" characters they use to decorate them. Is this really a product approved by the Walt Disney Corporation? Am I supposed to believe they approved the use of their trademarks on a box that says "USB Flash Memoring"? Or maybe the company that made them figured as long as they put "Disney©" in small letters on them it would cover it.

Disney© USB Wristbands Mix Fashion with Function []

Nintendo's Wii - probably the best video game system for families.

Wii It's no secret I'm a big fan of the XBOX 360, but after playing with my new Nintendo Wii for a week or so, I have to say that it is much better suited for families. Although it's missing some features in my opinion, it's got the other systems beat in a few key areas.

First is the price. If you can find one in the stores, it's only going to cost you $250, which is $100 cheaper than the standard XBOX 360 and $250 cheaper than the standard Playstation 3. Sure it's not going to play BlueRay DVDs (or even regular DVDs) but for a next generation video game system (that plays great games) it's a bargain.

Next is the interface or "usability" of the system itself. Everything is based around using a remote control (or "Wiimote") and everyone that's tried to use it in my house - from my 3 year old daughter to my parents - understand how to use it immediately. Not only does the game know you're pointing it at the television, it also knows if you're rotating, tilting or moving it around anywhere. Personally I think it's easier to use than an XBOX 360 controller and way more approachable to kids and novice video game players.

And let's be honest, the biggest reason it's probably best for families is - it's Nintendo. Nintendo did something smart and didn't try to create a system that would be all things to all people. Instead they created a great little console that plays games (that are challenging but easy to play) with some of the most classic names in video game history like Mario, Zelda, Metroid and all the rest. One of my personal favorite things is that you can download via an internet connection old-school Nintendo games like Temco Bowl, Super Mario Brothers, Punch Out, and Wave Race 64 right to your Wii.

There are a few things I wish were different. You can view pictures on your Wii, but unfortunately you can't connect it to another computer in your house to view photos or listen to music like you can with an XBOX 360. I was able to download a web browser and view pictures on my flickr page, so it's kind of possible, but not as simple. The web browser (which the 360 doesn't have) is pretty useful - my aunt uses the web browser to listen to her Sirius Satellite Radio online through her home stereo, which works out well.

So if you're starting to think about a video game system for the family for Christmas this year, I'd definitely give the Wii some serious consideration. If you can find one.

Shop for Nintendo Wii stuff on

My new favorite gift for a boy.

Superhero_kitI've got two girls, so when it comes to finding gifts appropriate for boys I'm not always the best. But I found this little gem the other day when shopping for a birthday party Madame was attending, and I've used it twice so far this summer.

It's the Super Hero Starter Kit from the "Klutz" people (the same people who taught me to juggle when I was 13 actually). It's simple and fun. It comes with a cape, masks that you can punch out of the book, emblems you can put on your chest and all sorts of suggestions about what kind of superhero you can be. And like the princess dresses my daughter is so fond of these days, it encourages creative play. Which is better than a Dora video any day.

Get the Super Hero Starter Kit for $14.99 from

Wheeled board update.


[UPDATE: Looking for info on the Bugaboo Wheeled Board? Check out the updated post on all wheeled boards for strollers:

The Best Wheeled Boards for Bugaboo and Other Strollers |]

Now that my six month old is almost out of "the bucket" and in a normal car seat, I figured I should give an update as to how Madame (my two year old) is doing with the Bugaboo Wheeled Board. At first I wasn't too sure it would be that useful, but I'm happy to report that it's working great. As she's fully in her two-year-old "I do myself" phase, it can be hard wrangling her sometimes, but that wheeled board has come in really handy. Mostly we use it for moments when we know that they'll be a long walk ahead of us, like from the car to the mall or to the doctor's office or the park. It's hard keeping her standing on it in a store or somewhere else there is a lot of distraction, but if she was sitting in a stroller I don't think it would be much easier.


As for safety, it's really not too bad - she stands up and holds on to the arms of the stroller and stays steady without a problem. And her sister really loves looking at her face to face when she's in it. The best part from my perspective is it doesn't take up any extra width (like a double-wide stroller would) and keeps the whole operation pretty compact. Which, when you're navigating a crowded mall or sidewalk, is pretty great.

Get the Bugaboo Wheeled Board for $79.95 from Amazon at the new Modern Day Dad Store.

Best toy of Christmas 2006

FisherpricecameraChristmas has come and gone, and my girls got a lot of great stuff from Santa. But in the interest of blogging, I have to say the best thing this year was the Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera she got from her Madrina.

You can pretty much guess what it does, but what it does it does well. Even though she's only two and a half years old, after we loaded the batteries Madame instantly started running around the house with it, taking pictures and then looking at them on the little screen. It holds 30 pictures in internal memory (but you can add an SD memory card) and at 640x480 the image quality is pretty good. I even made a flickr page for her to share them - all of these pictures of things from her perspective.

They're sold out in a lot of places (including Amazon at the moment), but if you're child is at all interested in cameras, this is the gift for them.

[Note: Now you can get the camera for $99.95 from Amazon at the Modern Day Dad Store.]

iPod case for the kids? She's not even in elementary school yet.

TadpoleThe Tadpole is a protective, kid-friendly case that turns an iPod into a "portable entertainment device for your child." The brand new dad in me two years ago probably would have found a way to knock this, but the father of a Dora addicted loving two year old in me now thinks this is pretty cool. The problem with it of course is you have to buy an iPod for your kid, or offer up yours.

But having a case that turns it into a kid-friendly movie player would come in pretty freaking handy on a plane or long car ride.

Check out the Tadpole from (shipping November 1st). [via TUAW via Sean.]

Jack's Big Music Show merchandise scuttlebut.

Schwartzman_quartetMany of us are big fans of Jack's Big Music Show on Noggin, and I've written about it more than once in this blog. Because of that I get a lot of people leaving comments and contacting me about how much they also love the show, and a lot of them (myself included) are wondering when we might be able to get some merchandise. You know, a puppet or a DVD or something. Well, MDD reader [name removed -ed.] just might have some inside info for us. She posted this the other day in a comment to one of the JBMS posts:

OK, I have good, reliable info for all of you.  #1 - me, my husband, and our 14-month old son are huge fans.  We have all of the episodes TIVO'd and I LOVE Bongo Bird!!!!  #2 - my dad is on the production crew of JBMS and that is how we discovered the show when my son was itty-bitty.  My "source" (dad!) told me that they are striking a deal with one of the big-box giants (I don't know if it's ok for me to say the name of the place...??) and that they will have videos, music, toys, dolls, & the whole marketing caboodle.  I think they are working on the line right now.  My dad has told me that I (meaning you, too) will not be able to find any of the JBMS stuff online or anywhere else until it is available at this store.  Also of interest is that they are shooting new episodes right now - they started a few weeks ago and crank one out every few days or so.  I got to go to the set one day and it was waaaay cool to see Jack, Mary, and Mel "in person."  They were rehearsing and setting up the scenes, but it was still cool.  I can't wait for the new ones to come out.  Hope this helps all of you other JBMS fans!!

"Big box store"? Target maybe? And I wonder when it might be. Christmas '06 would make sense, but who knows how long this stuff takes. Thanks for the info.

To the gate father. And step on it.

TrunkiI was all set to blog about this new high-tech crib some over-zealous design students in England came up with - the IntelliCot - but typically Greg from DaddyTypes beat me to it. So go read his post - he's right on the money.

But while I was perusing Shiny Shiny I saw this new kind of luggage for kids - Trunki. I guess the idea is you let your kids pack their stuff up, and then once you get to the airport you can tow them to the gate via the tether. It's an interesting idea, but it looks like more of a distraction that might actually make things more difficult in the long-run. Am I the only one who's tried to pull one of those old-school 80's suitcases with the four wheels on the bottom through an airport only to have it topple over constantly? And that was without a wriggling kid. I'd love to see one in action sometime though.

More kid's luggage on MDD - Student designer update.

Trunki by Magmatic Design [via Shiny Shiny]
The Intellicot post at Shiny Shiny [via Sean - thanks!]

Bugaboo wheeled board.


[UPDATE: Looking for info on the Bugaboo Wheeled Board? Check out the updated post on all wheeled boards for strollers:

The Best Wheeled Boards for Bugaboo and Other Strollers |]

Even though we've already got a ton of baby/kid gear, this new baby we're having in July does present some twists to the kid-gear needs. The first and foremost in my mind is (of course) - how will this affect my Bugaboo?

So the Bugaboo only will stroll one kid at a time (obviously), and by the time the new baby arrives Madame will be barely two years old. Short of getting a new double-wide stroller there aren't many options.

Bugaboo does offer this "wheeled board" attachment (pictured).

The idea is the kid stands on it, in front of you and facing forward; and kind of rides while holding on. I've never seen one used, and right now it's pretty hard to imagine Madame standing still on the back of a stroller while it's moving.

Has anyone used this attachment (or even seen someone who was using it)? Please leave a comment if you have. I'd be really interested to know.

Get the Bugaboo Wheeled Board for $79.95 from Amazon at the new Modern Day Dad Store.

Next on MDD - if the older kid is being strolled around in the normal non-bassinet seat, where is the new baby going to sleep?...

CES 2006: Kid's keyboard

GooglboardWhy haven't I seen this product before? The Googolboard is a kid's keyboard, with colorful, over-sized keys. It's a pretty simple idea with a beautiful execution. I spoke with the inventor, who explained to me that the keys are mechanical (non-membrane) and very durable. They remind me of those IBM keyboards back in the day that clicked with every keystroke.

The problem with it is the price-point - $69 for the keyboard and another $49 if you want the numeric keypad (this was what they quoted me - their web site lists it at a whopping $99). The price is so high I can't imagine anyone actually getting one (they priced me out of getting one). At $20 or $25 I think they'd sell a lot, but I suppose the marketplace will be the one to sort this out.

Check out the Googolboard from DS International. (They also have a left-handed keyboard with the numeric keypad on the left-hand side which I thought was pretty cool.)

MDD at CES 2006

Sorry for the lack of activity last week, but I was attending (for the third year in a row actually) the Consumer Electronics Showcase here in Las Vegas. This year - and maybe it was because I was getting used to it - was the most underwhelming of them all so far. I've got some things related to kids and parenting that I'll share in the next week, but here are some quick thoughts about it all off of the top of my head.

  • Blu-Ray vs. HDDVD. The big thing this year (if you can call it that) was the battle between who will win the next home video player format wars. After hearing the long (and again, underwhelming) Microsoft spiel in Wednesday night you'd think it was all about HDDVD. But after walking the floor, it seems more people are behind the Blu-Ray. Whatever. Just tell me which one wins when it finally gets sorted out, because there's no way in hell I'm going to buy two separate $500 players.
  • More kid's stuff than ever before. Maybe I was just looking for it, but this year there was a lot more products marketed towards children. Some good, some bad, and apparently I didn't even see all of them.
  • The Canadian dudes who run the Harmony Remote division of Logitech rule. My universal remote - the one I love so much - the one that I've recommended to countless friends decided to die the night before the convention started. I brought it to their booth and after getting some expert technical advice (including a phone call back to the home office), the guy said he'd replace it for me. I cannot recommend these remote controls enough.
  • Electronics convention attendees + Porn convention attendees = An interesting lobby. This year CES had one of it's convention spaces in the Sands convention center, right next to the Adult Entertainment Expo. And in the lobby some had pocket protectors while others had ginormous breasts. But hey, it's all business.