Tag Archives: easter

Hopping Toward Easter

Are you ready for the Easter Bunny to hop into your house? Fill your little ones’ baskets (and tummies) with these fun, spring items.

Shakin Eggs (HABA USA)

Haba EggsThese eggs are perfect for baskets and never go bad. The kids will love them—not only for their bright colors, but also for the fun sounds they make. Each box contains a set of five colored beech wood eggs (and yes, the paint is safe and non-toxic, since we all know kiddies are going to try to put them into their mouths). Each egg makes a different sound (one jingles, another rattles, and so on), so your little bunny can make plenty of seasonal music. Recommended for ages 2 and up, but we think they’re okay for younger kids as well, since they’re too big to fit in the mouth and there are no small parts. About $20 at a retailer near you or at http://www.habausa.com

Cheekeez Bunny and Lamb (Aurora)

Aurora plushNo basket is complete without a sweet, fluffy toy, and Aurora makes some high quality plush toys that kids of all ages will want to cuddle up with year round. Among our faves for this season, though, are the Cheekeez Bunny ($9) and the oh-so-soft Lamb ($15.50). Available at gift stores like Hallmark or at http://www.auroragift.com/

Limited Edition Easter Toys (Skylanders)

Skylanders limited editionFor your gamer, Skylanders has released two limited edition, exclusive Easter themed toys for the Skylanders SuperChargers game. Spring Ahead Dive Bomber ($14.99) is a new vehicle that the Skylanders have disguised as an Easter egg to protect their bounty! The Skylanders figures can also interact and ride inside the Bomber within the game, adding a new layer of fun. Also out for the holiday is Eggcited Thrillipede ($12.99) who, with an extra set of arms, is the reigning Dragon Egg Toss Champion. Maybe this year, he’ll defend his title with Easter Eggs. Available at Game Stop, Toys R Us, and other stores that carry video games.

Gift Baskets (GourmetGiftBaskets.com)

Easter-Bunny-Gift-Basket-ClassicIf you’re not in the mood to create your own basket, you ran out of time, or your little chicks live far from you, not to worry! You can send your hugs and chocolate kisses by mail and if you order soon, they’ll get there in time for Easter. GourmetGiftBaskets.com has a huge selection of pre-made baskets that will please any gift-ee. For example, there’s the Gift Basket for Men, Premium Wine Spa Gift Basket, Sugar Free Gift Basket (for the diabetic in your life), Happy Easter Brownie Cake, and lots more. For families with more than one child, check out the Double-Bunny Easter Basket, which comes with two of everything: candies, chocolate bunnies, and, of course, stuffed toys. Prices vary. Visit www.GourmetGiftBaskets.com

Inspiring Ideas (Tastefully Simple)

tastefully simpleIf you want to make sure your special Easter celebration comes off perfectly, but you maybe aren’t the whiz in the kitchen you wish you were, you’ll find plenty of ideas, menus, recipes, and packages that will ensure that everything goes according to plan. You’ll still need to pick up the ham (or whatever you’re making) and the fresh items, but Tastefully Simple will guide you through every step of the planning, shopping, and cooking process. They’ve got plenty of inspiration, tutorials for making amazing-looking food that you’re definitely going to want to share on Instagram—even if you’re no Martha Stewart—and lots of time saving mixes for brownies, truffles, and more. You’re going to love the way your food turns out. https://www.tastefullysimple.com

Making Spring Clean and Colorful

When Daylight Savings begins, you know that Spring can’t be far behind—and neither are Easter, Passover, and Spring cleaning. This week, we review some Easter bunnies, outdoor art adventures, and a decluttering marvel.

3d sidewalk chalk3D Sidewalk Chalk (Thames & Kosmos).
The folks at Thames & Kosmos can’t help themselves: they include a really fun, educational component in everything they make. Their new 3D Sidewalk Chalk is no exception.  The kit comes with plaster power, dye, mixing cups, molds, and 3D glasses. The fun starts by making your own chalk by mixing the plaster powder, dye, and water (not included). Then, pour the slurry into the molds. When it hardens, you’re ready to start creating art. Here’s where the science comes in: when you put on the 3D glasses, your drawings seem to jump off the sidewalk. The instruction manual explains how and why that happens and includes directions for making rainbow chalk, and more chalk science experiments. Ages 8 and up. About $15. http://www.thamesandkosmos.com/

crayola sidewalk chalkSidewalk Chalk Mega Pack (Crayola)
Crayola’s sidewalk chalk doesn’t have much science behind it, which means it can focus on what Crayola does best: giving kids tools to make colorful art. The Mega Pack includes 12 large chalk pieces: 3 neon, 3 glitter, 3 tie dye, and 3 basic bold colors. No instructions required. The chalk itself is especially easy to clean up—just hose it off—a big plus if your neighbors are persnickety about their sidewalks. Unlike most other sidewalk chalks, these pieces aren’t cylindrical, which means they won’t go rolling down your driveway into the street—with your child running after it. Ages 6 and up. http://www.crayola.com/

 


alex washable bunnyColor & Cuddle Washable Bunny (Alex Toys)

How many times has your child “decorated” a favorite stuffed animal with a Sharpie? If that sounds familiar, you’ll love Alex Toys’ Color and Cuddle line. The idea is pretty simple: make a toy that’s snuggly, let kids draw on it, and allow them to change their mind whenever they want. And that’s exactly what happens: color, wash, repeat—as many times as you’d like. The only rule is that your young artist needs to use the included markers. The Washable Bunny is perfect for Easter. Other options include a bear, a doll, and a pony. Ages 3 and up. All are about $21. http://www.alextoys.com/

 

funshine easter bearFunshine Easter Bear (JustPlay)
This 16-inch, soft, cuddly, plush gets your child’s best Care Bear ready for Easter too. Cleverly disguised as a bunny—complete with Easter Bunny ears—Funshine is a great addition to any Holiday basket. $24.95 at Amazon and elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

fujitsu ix500 scannerScanSnap iX500 Scanner (Fujitsu)
When we think of “spring cleaning” the images that come to mind usually have to do with sweeping and mopping and maybe reorganizing the garage. But what about all that stuff in your file cabinets? Worse yet, what about all the stuff—including those boxes of old photos—that should be in file cabinets but is sitting around in piles? The ScanSnap iX500 can help. It’s incredibly easy to install and even easier to operate. Drop in a stack of documents, press the button (there really is only one), and in seconds all that paper is transformed into pdfs or Jpegs. Then you can save it to your computer or upload directly to Dropbox and other cloud services. The ScanSnap handles everything you can throw at it, from business cards to long (up to 34 inches)  documents. Put it in crooked? No problem. ScanSnap straightens is out. Upside down? It’s rotated automatically. A great way to keep those important family documents and memories organized. $499.  http://www.fujitsu.com/us/products/computing/peripheral/scanners/scansnap/

East of Easter

How is it that giving candy and chocolate to kids has become such a major part of so many holiday celebrations? Every one of those holidays has its own, special, traditional sugary treat. In the case of Easter, of course, it’s eggs and bunnies. But these days we’re hearing from more and more parents of very young children who are looking for two things: reduced-sugar treats for the kiddies, and toys that aren’t too big for their little ones to pick up and play with. Here are some of our spring Easter-basket-stuffing faves that satisfy both of those requirements.

bunnies tomy cloud bBubbly Bunny and Glow Cuddles Bunny (Cloud b)
These two adorable bunnies are perfect for baby’s first (and maybe even second) Easter morning. Bubbly Bunny plays four soothing sounds, including giggles, wind, waves, and a cute lullaby. The selection and volume are set by mom and dad. There’s also a variable sleep timer (23 or 45 minutes). Comes with a Velcro strap to secure Bubbly to baby’s crib.

Cuddles Bunny adds sight and touch to the infant bedtime experience. The slightest hug makes Cuddles glow and activates a vibrating heartbeat (easily be disabled by a parent), which are designed to help your baby learn to calm herself.  The light is dim enough to not interfere with sleep, and shuts itself off after 23 minutes. Both bunnies come with batteries and retail for $30 (Bubbly) and $33 (Cuddles) at http://cloudb.com.

Lil’ Chirpers Sorting Eggs (TOMY)
These cute, festive, brightly colored eggs are perfect for a child who is becoming more mobile. Six eggs come in a handy carrying/storage case that includes two different matching games. “Break” open an egg to discover a chick of the same color. Press the chick’s head to make him peep. Great for building manual dexterity and leaning colors, shapes, sorting, and patterns. $12 at http://tomy.com

Lamaze Bella Bunny and Giggle Bunny Ball (TOMY)
Bella Bunny lets your baby use almost every one of his senses: The colors are vivid and engaging (vision), there are a variety of fabrics and textures (touch), and the ears crinkle (hearing). Plus, Bella is made of completely non-toxic materials, so your baby can gum and gnaw away to his heart’s content. Lamaze color codes all their products to make it easy to find the perfect toy for your child’s age and developmental range.

Giggle Bunny Ball is another a great toy for babies and has been tested safe for birth on up. Like Bella, Giggle is colorful, crinkly, and multi-textured. But what sets her apart is that she giggles when shaken (and yes, there’s an on/off switch). One of her ears is a loop, which makes it easy for baby to grab on to and even easier for ma and pa to attach it to a crib, stroller, or car seat. Bella Bunny retails for $16 and Giggle Bunny is $10, both at http://tomy.com

Jelly Bean Racer (Little Tikes)
jellybean racer from little tikesIf you’ve got a budding Kyle Busch or Danica Patrick on your hands, he or she will love these racers which, as you might guess from the name, really do look like giant jelly beans on wheels. They come in four colors: pink, red, green, and orange, and sport two antennae-like “handles” to keep kids secure on top. By using their feel to pedal or push off the ground and to steer, kids can cruise around the house or any relatively smooth outdoors surface. Best for kids 12-24 months). Retails for $20 at http://www.littletikes.com

The Basket Case

easter basket gund calico critters hog wild toysWhat’s an Easter basket without a few stuffed animals? Most young kids love something soft to snuggle up with, and Easter is a great excuse to give them cuddly toys. But, honestly, do you really need an excuse?

Bunnies and More (Gund)
Gund is definitely on our list of favorite stuffed-animal brands, and they’ve got such a huge variety that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find the perfect addition to your little one’s menagerie. At this time of year, of course there’s no shortage of traditional rabbits, but they also have plenty of other soft and snugglies. Let’s start with bunnies. “Floppy” is a large, white rabbit that, as you might guess from the name, is actually floppy. But he’s also wonderfully plush and makes a great cuddle companion. Floppy comes in two sizes, for $15 or $25. “Ditter Bunny” is velvety smooth to the touch, and the perfect size for small hands. He is available for $12, and his sweet face will bring smiles to yours on Easter morning. A fun new addition to the Gund family, “Li’l Sprout Bunny,” is available in four fun and festive spring colors: white, yellow, green, and pink. He’s got a great, cartoon-ish face, complete with rosy cheeks. He’s also a little flatter than most stuffed toys, which makes it all the more interesting. Li’l Sprouts retail for $12 each, and can be a nice addition to your Easter décor. But you should have a Plan B, since your kids or grandkids are going to make off with them as soon as your back is turned. Gund has tons of other Spring toys, including even more rabbits, chicks, ducks, and lambs. You can find them all at gund.com or your local specialty stores.

Bunny Popper (Hog Wild Toys)
Bunny Popper isn’t quite as cuddly as some other Easter toys, but he’ll definitely add a little pop to your holiday. Put one of the six included soft foam balls in Popper’s mouth, squeeze, and it can fly as far as 20 feet. The harder the squeeze, the further the balls go, so you need to be the judge of whether you want to risk your fine crystal or send Popper and the kids outside. Popper is available for $10 on http://www.hogwildtoys.com/, or at many other retailers, including Amazon.com and Fatbrain Toys.

Character Eggs (Playmobil)
What’s Easter without eggs? Playmobil’s alternative to those high-calorie chocolate ones pack a lot of fun into a small package. Each one contains an entire scene, complete with characters and props. Scenes include race car drivers, knights, fairies, unicorns, and more. After playtime, all the pieces fit neatly into the egg, which is small enough to take anywhere your child goes. If you’ve got other Playmobil play sets, the eggs will fit in quite nicely. At $8.95, they’re a great value.

Hazlenut Chipmunk Family (Calico Critters)
Speaking of play sets, for kids who love Calico Critters (and most do), the new Chipmunk Family will be a hit. Each member of the family (mother, father, sister, and brother) has a distinct personality and works with the Calico Critter World theme, where everyone has a special job, and they’re all friends with each other. These cute toys are great for teaching social skills, stimulating imagination, telling stories, and learning about what makes a community. The Chipmunks and plenty of other families (bunnies, elephants, and more) run $23 and are available at http://www.calicocritters.com/.

Break out the Bunnies

Easter is an often-underrated family holiday, and making Easter morning special for your kids by putting together the perfect basket from “The Easter Bunny” is always fun. To help you celebrate the occasion, here are some great toys that you’ll love doing with the kids.

disney matching game, parents@playDisney Matching Game. We’ve all played the classic matching game—where you and your child turn over cards, trying to find matching pairs. Now, the old classic comes with your favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell, Donald Duck, and others—all decked out in their Easter best. Besides helping with memory (yours and the kids’), pattern recognition, and problem solving, this game is a great way for the whole family to spend time together. Ages 3 and up. http://wonderforge.com/

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Clash Alley Game. They’re baaaack…. A lot of toys, games, and even TV shows from the 80s are making a comeback—and today’s kids are loving those headband-wearing reptiles as much as you did when you were a kid. In this strategy board game, you and your child work together in 3D to beat the bad guys and rescue April, complete missions, and battle the evil Krang and Shredder. Oh, and there will be plenty of pizza breaks—after all, turtles (and humans) do have to eat. Ages 6 and up. http://wonderforge.com/

egg o'bunnies, parents@playEgg O’Bunnies. This adorable game gives the classic Barrel of Monkeys a cute, springtime twist. Kids will love trying to string together a long line of bunnies by the ears. See who can make the longest bunny chain, or tally up how many you can get within a set time limit. The Egg is a great take-along game, small enough to put in your purse or carry in your coat pocket. While waiting for dinner at a local restaurant, we played this game and had a great time. Meanwhile, every other child in the restaurant had his or her face buried in a smart phone, tablet, or DVD player. Increasing family bonding time and enjoying each other is incredibly easy—if you’re willing to unplug once in a while. Ages 3 and up. http://www.patchproducts.com/

Silly Egghead. This is another clever twist on a classic toy—in this case, Egghead replaces Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Insert the interchangeable parts into the holes and you can make a bunny, pig, chick, or a wacky mashup and the three. You and the kids can flex your imaginations even further by creating an Easter or spring story to go along with your creation. Silly Egghead’s top is removable for parts storage and easy take-along fun. Ages 3 and up. http://www.patchproducts.com/

easter costume, parents@playEaster Costumes. Costumes and dress up are more than just fun for kids. Children mimic what they see and hear, and their role playing helps foster creative thinking, socialization, sharing, cooperation, and even problem solving. Oh, and all of that helps build their vocabulary and confidence. Hey, that Easter Bunny has a lot of work to do, painting all those eggs and baskets and delivering them all over the place. You and your little bunny (or chick, duckie, or other spring creature) can do it together. All you need is a well-stocked dress-up box. Let your child’s creativity run wild, and the two of you (or more) will be making memories in no time. If you need a little inspiration or direction, check out:  http://www.wholesalehalloweencostumes.com/easter/