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KIDZGEAR: BLOG-ETTE

Reviews, ramblings & more on the latest family & kids' gear.

What's a BLOG-ETTE? It's our version of the blog, with tidbits and commentary on the latest in KidzGEAR. We'll archive the old stuff, and write when we have something to say. Bookmark this page!

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June 25, 2009:

Summer.... NOW!

Kineyse KINeSYS SPF 30 Girl Sunscreen Spray & FUNSCREEN KINeSYS has created cutting-edge performance sunscreen for professional athletes: products tough enough for the most demanding applications, yet uniquely formulated for even the most sensitive skin. The company’s unique microSPRAY® mist makes sun protection a snap; its easy-to-use spray application, ensures a silky, even coverage for users of all ages. Now KINeSYS has come out with KID appealing sunscreen - pink for girls, and yellow for generic kids.

Providing photo-stable broad spectrum UVA and UVB coverage, KINeSYS Skin Care products are designed to both protect and rejuvenate. The SPF 30 Girl Sunscreen Spray is rich in Vitamin E for maximum complexion protection; sprays on light with an unbeatable vanilla and green tea scent. The FUNSCREEN Sunscreen Spray is a Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) award winner. We had our Rippin' Riders test the SPF 30 Girl Sunscreen, and this is what they had to say. "This suncreen rocks. I wore it during spring break in Florida, and I didn't get any sunburn at all - and man was I white! I want to get more - where do I find it?" Actually you can order it online at www.kinesys.com . It's not cheap - but the spray version lasts a long time, and REALLY is effective. Smells good too!

B is for Bob B is for Bob Bob Marley songs for kids! Remastered to be family friendly, these tracks are something that both you and your child will enjoy. Enter to win a CD HERE OR Buy it now.

Go Play Circus Star Wii The circus is in town, and you're the star! Go Play Circus Star lets you step into the shoes of a circus performer whose job is to wow the crowd with death defying stunts, animal tricks and sleight of hand. This is a motion-based experience that the whole family can enjoy together! Buy it now.

Go Play Lumberjacks Wii Go Play Lumberjacks pits a cast of wacky lumberjacks in four-player competition as they climb, chop, saw and logroll their way to victory! Use your Wii Remote as the all-in-one timbercutting contest tool. Saw dust will fly from your chainsaw in the Hot Saw; test your balance on the waterlogged Log Roll, ascend towering tree trunks in the Pole Climb and much more!! Buy it now.

July 22, 2008:

Summer Fun!

Splat the Cat Backyard Baseball: The 2009 version is the seventh in the best-selling youth baseball video game series and the only one to hold the coveted Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Baseball Player's Association (MLBPA)licenses. The game features animated kid versions of top MLB pros like Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter and cover athlete David "Big Papi" Ortiz. Though we would rather have kids outside playing baseball, the game is a great rainy day activity - or try out the Wii version. Our testors gave the game "two-thumbs up"! Buy it now.

Don’t Touch That! The Book of Gross, Poisonous, and Downright Icky Plants and Critters (Chicago Review Press, June 2008, ages 7-9) by pediatrician Jeff Day, M.D. Just in time for long, sunny days of outdoor play, "Don’t Touch That!" arms parents and their young outdoorsmen with the information they need to avoid getting bug bites and stings, rashes from poisonous plants and other unpleasant side effects of exploring nature. "Don’t Touch That!" offers quirky drawings and diagrams for quick plant and insect identification, as well as instructions for treating rashes, bites and stings just in case kids or parents accidentally come into contact with poison oak, wasps or other harmful wildlife. Our pint-sized testers liked the information, but found the "quirky" drawings to "annoying" rather than helpful. Good resource! Buy it now.

Splat the Cat We love Splat the Cat! Like any student facing his first day of school, Splat is worried - What if he doesn't make any friends? Does his hair look okay? Does he have any clean socks? Splat's pal, Seymour, to the rescue. Ages 3 - 7. Buy it now.

Hint Water: Water with just a "hint" of flavor, such as hibiscus vanilla, peppermint, blackberry, lime, pomegranate-tangerine, and more. No sweetners, perservatives or calories, it is a very healthy alternative to soda or sugary juices. Did our testers like it? "Sort-of", was the concensus. "I wouldn't buy it, but for a healthy drink, it's OK." "I would rather just drink water." For more see DrinkHint.com .

June 1, 2008:

What's new for summer?

Orbee-Tuff Okabashi Kids: What color shall we wear today? Chartreuse? Hot pink? Poppy red? Someone was really thinking when they designed the Okabashi Flip Flop for kids. Flexible, comfortable and breathable, Okabashi shoes are made with MicroPlast, a lightweight material that is anti-microbial and machine washable (wow!). Our testers tried the flip flop and LOVED them. "They bend with my foot." "These fit more like a running shoe than a flip flop. The arch support is great." "I can just hose them down after a day in the dirt." "I like all the colors, I can wear a different pair with each outfit." And they can. Suggested retail is just $12.99 a pair. Go shopping at Okabashi.com.

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? Do you think you’ve got the smarts to compete on the hit TV series? Prove it with this electronic touch screen game featuring 13 subjects with more than 2,500 questions. Partner up with friends over the summer and use the "cheat" option to try to win one million dollars. Pocket-sized and fully portable, this illuminated, easy-to-read and simple-to-use touch screen includes volume control and a cool pencil stylus. SRP: $19.99. Ages 8+. Available now at major retailers.

Rubik’s Revolution™ The first electronic era follow up to the orignial Rubik’s® Cube. One of the hottest games in recent memory, Rubik’s Revolution was named 2008 "Game of the Year" by the Toy Industry Association. The dynamic, electronic cube tests both speed and smarts with six built-in games that feature voice, lights and sound effects. With multiple levels to unlock, the new interactive cube challenges both your mind and dexterity, offering exciting multi-player gaming the whole family will love. SRP: $19.99. Ages 5-105 Available now at major retailers.

April 30, 2008:

What's new for spring?

YoCrunch: Smooth yogurt, crunch toppings! YoCrunch has been on the market for a while, but they have added a new YoCrunch Naturals all-natural yogurt featuring such wonderfully appealing crunch toppings as Back to Nature Granola and Sunspire Dark Chocolate Baking Chips. We found the candy topped yogurt be too high in sugar for a snack, but they make a perfect dessert, containing live active Acidophilus and Bifidus cultures.

ZakLand : The Shiny Surprise DVD: Grammy nominated Zak Morgan takes you on a magical journey into a musical world called ZakLand. Kids learn the power of imagination and that anything is possible if you try hard and believe in yourself. We find that message relevant in today's fast passed world. DVD is fun and entertaining for kids under five.

Orbee-Tuff Planet Dog Toys: Orbee-Tuff Balls rock. We had our 2 year old "puppy" Elvis test out the Orbee-Tuff balls. Prior to testing, we hadn't found a dog toy that Elvis couldn't destroy. We love the "Chew-o-meter" rankings on Planet Dog toys. We tested a variety of Orbee-Tuff balls. Elvis LOVED them, tossing them around the yard, chewing, chewing, chewing. His favorite was the Orbee-Tuff tennis ball. It didn't have the staying power of the Orbee-Tuff Earth ball or Glow for Good ball, though they were rated five out of five on the chew-o-meter. Another favorite is the Soccer ball (he really does pass it with his paws), as well as the Zoom flyer, a frisbee for dogs. The Zoom floats and is perfect for retrieving in the lake. Kudos for Planet Dog for making such great dog toys, plus giving a percentage of purchases to the Planet Dog Foundation. Buy online at PlanetDog.com.

April 30, 2007:

What's new for spring?

High School Musical: The Concert CD + DVD: Stars of Disney Channel's original move - Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale - perform songs from the number one album, plus add more. Our tween testers LOVED this addition to the original High School Musical CD. Just can't get enough. Filmed in Houston at the start of the sold-out 42 city arena tour, this two-disc set features every song from the movie soundtrack, plus bonus tracks performed live in concert by the stars. Available May 1 at stores nationwide.

T-Squad: New album from hip hop tween band T-Squad. T-Squad's self-titled ablum features 13 tracks, including the hit song "Vertical" which orignially was released on the Jump In! soundtrack. Additonally kid- positive tracks range from the get-up-aand-dance beats of the upcoming single "Flip" and "me Likey" to the laid-back grooves of "No Sleep 'til Summertime." Look for the new CD now at stores nationwide.

Let's Get this Potty Started! New DVD makes learing to use the potty fun.... available May 22. The delightfully animated "Go Potty Go" introduces Paige and Parker, twin pandas, along with their friends, who show kids thatn everyone and everyone uses the potty. Songs, rhymes, animation and cute characters guide children through this important milestone. See BigKidsVideo.com for more.

Floam Floam: We love Floam! Squish it, squash it, mash it, mold it... Floam is clean, decorative, and kids love it. Gone are the days of boring clay, silly play dough.. enter Floam in bright dayglo colors. Tested by KidznFun... and voted "must-have" for toddlers through teens. I got a Floam heart for Valentine's Day!

Starfly Flashing Soap: Can't get the kids to wash their hands? Try this new flashing soap - pretty cool. The round soap, made of pure gentle glycerin, is topped off iwth a cute, squishy rubber starfish toy. Pressing the starfish activates the red, yellow and blue lights, wich blink for fifteen seconds, long enough for a good scrubbing. Check it out at DrFresh.com .

April 1, 2007:

New products a-go-go! Spring is the time to break out and try something new. Ideas...

Fruit Ripples: Dried fruit snacks that are actually yummy! Fruit Ripples snacks are made from dried apples and are available in two flavors; Strawberry Apple and Cinnamon Apple. Containing only 50 calories per serving and no fat, Fruit Ripples come in a small pouch - perfect for school or camp snacks. Partnering with Target, Fruit Ripples is offering the "Apple of My Eye Sweepstakes", which will award a Grand Prize winner a trip for four to the Big Apple (NYC), a Family Portrait Collection from The Studio at Target, $500 in cash and a year's supply of Fruit Ripple snacks. Visit Target by May 31 for details or see FruitRipplesSweepstakes.com . We give this product an "A+"; KidznFun tested... kids love it!

Tarma Designs - Jewelry: Very cool jewelry for active women and girls. Think Mother's Day on this one. Choose earrings for the Running Woman, Hiking Woman, or a necklace with a road or mountain bike. I'm partial to the Skier or the Warrior Woman. It's jewelry that brings your favorite outdoor activities to life. The bling without the bother. Check out TarmaDesigns.com .

Cooking with Max: Cookbook especially for the little chef in your family. Max Nania has been creating new recipes for more than half his life. At age seven, that's over three years! He decided to put all his favorite recipes into a cookbook. The result? Cooking with Max includes "45 Really Fun and Kind of Messy Recipes Kids can Make." We had a look, cooked up a few, and found some great successes. The kid-friendly recipes work best for kids under 10. The book is available in May at bookstores nationwide. Can't wait? Order Cooking with Max now.

December 1, 2006:

Book Bushels Check out Storyopolis Book Bushels. Storyopolis is a renowned children's book, music and art destination in Southern California, famed for its vast celebrity clientele. Storyopolis will design a unique book bushel just for you. We had them do one for a 10-12 year-old and LOVED it! Selections of science books, reading books, crafts and age appropriate toys. We totally recommend Storyopolis for holiday, birthday and other occassion gifts.

Activision has introducted a whole bunch of new video games for various platforms. Here's a peek:

X-MEN: THE OFFICAL GAME
Co-written by Zak Penn, the co-screenwriter of the movie X-Men: The Last Stand, and legendary comic book writer Chris Claremont, X-Men: The Official Game immerses players in an original storyline that provides the back-story for the upcoming X-Men: The Last Stand feature film. For the first time, the game enables players to truly command the powers of popular characters from the X-Men movie universe by allowing players to assume the roles of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman as they wield and upgrade their signature powers and maneuver through unique environments designed to showcase their superhero abilities. Assisted by other X-Men characters, players will use an advanced control scheme to master and control the characters as they unleash Wolverine’s combat rage, experience Nightcrawler’s acrobatics and teleportation powers, and glide through the air on Iceman’s ice slide. PLATFORMS: XBOX 360, PS2, XBOX, NGC, Windows PC, NDS, GBA - from $29.99. RATING: E-10+” (Everyone 10 and older – fantasy violence)

TONY HAWK’S PROJECT 8™
Reengineered from the ground up for Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, Tony Hawk’s Project 8™ immerses players in the definitive skateboarding experience using ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics and extremely responsive controls that simulate the feeling of skating with every trick and bail. The game challenges players to experience the intensity and pressure of skating against some of the world’s top pros in true to life competitions as they aim to become the no.1 skater and establish their town as a skateboard destination. Delivering continuous skating action in a free-roaming living environment, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 incorporates the series’ most popular features, all of which have been enhanced with next-generation technology. PLATFORMS: PS3, XBOX 360, PS2, XBOX, PSP - $49.99 and up. RATING: Not yet rated.

MARVEL™: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE™
All-new action/RPG where players create their Marvel dream team from the largest roster of Super Heroes™ ever in an epic quest that will determine the fate of Earth and the Marvel universe. For decades, Earth’s Super Heroes have opposed evil in their own cities, and on their own terms. But now, Dr. Doom and a newly reformed Masters of Evil – the greatest collection of Super Villains ever assembled – have plans for world domination, and the heroes must band together to defeat them. Playing as some of the most revered Marvel characters, gamers will embark on a dangerous journey across exotic terrain and well-known comic book locations like Atlantis, the Shield Heli-Carrier and the Skrull home world in an attempt to defy the world’s most notorious Super Villains. Created by Raven Software, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance lets players control the most powerful Super Hero alliance the world has ever known. PLATFORMS: PS3, XBOX 360, Wii, Windows PC, PS2, XBOX, PSP, GBA - $29.99 and up. RATING: Not yet rated.

OVER THE HEDGE
When a housing development intrudes on their woodland habitat and an opossum is kidnapped by an evil exterminator, three wise-cracking rodents and one very neurotic reptile invade the ’burbs in a quest to rescue their friend. Battle the exterminator and his army of mind-controlled mammals, and save the forest (and your own hide) from the world’s peskiest critter—man. PLATFORMS: PS2, XBOX, NGC, Windows PC, NDS, GBA - from $19.99. RATING: E (Everyone)

We received a sample of Vermont Soapworks foaming soap. Lavender Ecstasy Foaming Hand Soap is made from renewable vegetable and botanical sources including organic coconut and olive oil, pure essential oils, organic aloe and rosemary extract. We found the scent a bit strong, but love that it is completely natural and free of artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives, and animal by-products. Offered in both the new Lavender Ecstasy and original Lemongrass Zen varieties, the SRP for the 16-ounce Refill is $9.99, and the SRP for the 1-gallon Refill is $49.99. For details see VermontSoap.com.

Fikloo - The Game of Crazy Commands: A new party game for children and adults teaches patience in the face of the unknown and ridiculous situations. The goal is to let kids (and adults) know it is OK to face an silly situation, and how to react with humor and tactfullness. Shake your hips, touch your nose, point to the ceiling, wiggle your toes, pucker your lips, lift your left elbow above your shoulder, and touch the doorknob with your left thumb all at the same time … or else you’ll be eliminated! Some kids may not rise to the occassion... but you can try! See OikosGame.com.

November 18, 2006:

Got your PS 3 yet? No, we didn't either. But the good news is that many new games still come in the traditional XBOX or PS2. We've got some new games coming in. We'll do our review thing and let you know.

Pollyworld DVD: Just out. And guess what? We're giving some away. Check out our contest to win a copy. If you have an aversion to contest, order POLLYWORLD online now.

New book, "Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder." First we had to understand what "Sensory Processing Disorder" was, and then how to cope with it. The book is comprehensive, but narrowly targeted to families with sensory-sensitive children. You can get it at Amazon now.

More on KidzGear here.

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