We were gifted this book while on a trip to Maine last summer and instantly fell in love with it, and we totally believe that you and your family will too. The Circus Ship is a delightful new children’s book that captures the readers and the listener’s attention from page one. Your kids will love the vivid illustrations and the enthralling storyline and you will love reading this tale “one more time please”! Click buy below.
When a circus ship runs aground off the coast of Maine, the poor animals are left on their own to swim the chilly waters. Staggering onto a nearby island, they soon win over the wary townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. So well do the critters blend in that when the greedy circus owner returns to claim them, villagers of all species conspire to outsmart the bloated blowhard. With buoyant rhymes and brilliantly caricatured illustrations evoking the early nineteenth century, Chris Van Dusen presents a hugely entertaining tale about the bonds of community — and a rare hidden-pictures spread for eagle-eyed readers of all ages. via Amazon.com
Your kid needs a balance bike. But if mom & dad are gonna fork over a couple hundred for it, you better believe it’s gonna look good. Built for 2-6 year olds with a certain je ne sais quoi too cool for other balance bikes, BrumBrum pairs simplicity and ingenuity for a result that’s one of the best designs we’ve come across for any children’s product in any category. Sure, the puncture-proof tires, natural suspension and Baltic birch and oak plywood construction are great but the list of design awards it’s received are nothing to sneeze at either. What’s that you say? You don’t want to spend that much money on something your kids will outgrow? Well, the wheels can be moved into three positions to grow with your child (which is more than you can say for that car seat, high chair and bassinet you spent even more on). BrumBrum, indeed.
When my wife and I were finally alone in the wee hours of the morning after our daughter was born we didn’t know what to do. Was this real? There she was, this beautiful sleeping human that we had created had my wife had given birth to all day the day before. Here we were, this new family, worn out, blissful, and totally unable to calm down to sleep. So, we put on JJ Heller’s album I Dream Of You which is a gentle collection of lullabies not only for a new life but for a new family. JJ and her husband Dave have heard many such stories over the past couple of years of new families in peacefully moments, happy moments and incredibly sad moments in those early days in the hospital playing their music to help families love and grieve. Now they have started a mission to get their album into as many children’s hospitals nationwide because music is love, it is life and it brings us all a little bit closer in times of joy and need. So, for every album that you buy, they will donate one to a hospital in need. – Relevant Dad Shawn (iTunes, Amazon, or shop.jjheller.com) read more…
If your kid entered the world with perfect hair and white vans on they probably already own a Surfer Bear Onesie. For the rest of you, you can create a faux California kid by checking out this chill onesie from Headline Shirts. The slightly improved take on the California flag boasts the best of what Cali has to offer, bears, surf and a cool ride to the beach. Now that summer has officially hit your baby can ride those waves…or water table splashes in style. Don’t worry there is also a tee shirt for the older kids, we don’t want them to be left out. So, crank up the Best Coat, slip on the Babiators and have a dance on the beach. read more…
If a game called “Happy Salmon” sounds ridiculous, you’re right. It totally is. And that’s why it’s the game that everyone will be (or should be) talking about this year. Forget about all those “edgy” party games trying to duplicate the success of Cards Against Humanity. They’re a dime a dozen and few actually end up being any fun. Instead, think of something completely different that comes packaged in a fabric fish… Stay with me here. Happy Salmon from North Star Games is for ages 6 and up (though we guarantee it will make a great drinking game, too) and plays best with big groups. Each player plays the top card from their deck simultaneously and tries to find another player with a match. What’s fun is that everyone’s shouting at the same time and you have to complete the corresponding physical requirement (like a high five) before you can move on to the next card in your deck. The first person to get through their deck of cards wins. Words can’t describe how chaotic and fun it is. It’s a perfect game to buy for kid’s birthday gifts and is portable enough to go with you on all your summer vacations. Our family will be playing it over and over again for a long time.
A “Relevant Dad Toy Fair NY16″ pick – one of the best products we found at Toy Fair.
You already have Amazon Prime – but are you taking advantage of all the great, free programming on Amazon Video? Amazon Video continues to dominate the field of kids content with the addition of another six pilots (and two more for the adults) just unveiled. Little Big Awesome, Morris and the Cow, Toasty Tales, The Curious Kitty and Friends, Jazz Duck, and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters offer a mix of traditional animation, stop motion and live action for preschoolers up through school-age. As we’ve shared with you this time last year, Pilot Season is a great way to find something new for the family to enjoy and if you take the time and vote for your favorites you can even feel like you were part of the process. Check out all the new pilots here and then take the survey here.
If you have a preschooler, you’re aware of the fact that these kids have absolutely no concept of time. In our house, “the other day” means yesterday and “five more minutes” apparently means “just three more episodes of My Little Pony.” A newly launched Kickstarter (that’s already fully-funded BTW) aims to help little ones gain a better sense of time via a smartwatch called Octopus. Well, we can’t exactly call it a smartwatch. It’s an “icon-based watch that teaches kids good habits and the concept of time. It’s a watch, it’s a scheduler, it’s an assistant.” We’ve got a hunch that a kid that gets a reminder to brush their teeth on their watch is going to be a lot more excited to do so than they are when you nag them to do it. Sign. Us. Up.
A few months ago we told you it was coming, but today you can finally get your hands on one of Sago Mini’s new play sets. Jinja’s House is the awesome new portable play set from the makers of the best kid’s apps on the planet. That’s right, any guilt you’ve ever felt about letting your kids spend too much time playing on your phone has basically led to a real-world creative play experience your kids will love even more. Recommended for ages 3 and up, Jinja’s House includes two figurines of the beloved characters Rosie and Jinja, 13 house accessories (packaged in “moving boxes” which is a stroke of genius) and a high-quality, fold-out cardboard mini playhouse that your kids can take anywhere. When we handed our sample over to our little play-testers they immediately turned their backs to the TV, immersed themselves in the imaginary world, and literally cried as we packed everything back up once bedtime rolled around. Sago Mini also scored extra points with us when we found a note in the box directed at moms and dads which was a nice personal touch you don’t find from most toy manufacturers. The superior quality, thoughtful presentation and attention to detail adds up to possibly the best portable play set we’ve ever laid hands on. Check out the video and order one for your family today via the ‘buy’ button below.
Ever told your kids not to play with their food? Ever feel the painful irony immediately after saying it because you sound just like your parents? No more! It’s 2016 and it’s OK to play with your food! Well, only if you have these awesome new melamine trays from the clever folks at Fred & Friends. They know what you know – that sometimes the only way to get your kid to eat anything is to make a game out of it. Dinner Winner trays are available in four different artwork versions, each has nine areas to place food leading up to the secret covered “treat” in the final space. Regardless of how your child feels when they finish, I think we all know who the real winner is here, dad.
Dance recital season is upon us which means if you have a child enrolled at a dance studio you’re about to trade a weekend outdoors in the beautiful spring weather for a weekend in a school auditorium jockeying for an unobstructed seat position. This year we are going to eschew the traditional grocery store bouquet of flowers for a gift that will get a lot more use by our preschooler – this limited edition Misty Copeland Barbie Doll. For those dads out there who are not up to date on who’s who in the dance world, Ms. Copeland has broken barriers by becoming the first African-American Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theater. While internet comments that the doll looks a more “Barbie” than it looks “Misty” are totally valid (especially when it comes to skin color), we’re still in support of the positive message Mattel was trying to convey. What version of Barbie would you prefer your daughter was playing with? While regular Barbie is at the mall Misty’s Barbie is busy breaking glass ceilings. Get one while you can – they’re selling out everywhere.
If you are a new parent you are swimming in dirty baby laundry. Listen, guys, you just have to be better than that mesh laundry hamper that you got at Target when you were single and in your 20’s. This is your kid’s nursery we are talking about, class it up with some of these charming laundry hampers. Without them, you will quickly get lost in a pile of dirty onesies and cute little socks. Seriously, baby socks are hitting a 10 on the cute meter aren’t they?
3 Sprout Laundry Hamper – Lion ($20)
Grey Bee Laundry Hamper – Racoon ($20)
3 Sprouts Laundry Hamper – Octopus ($20)
The brand new Sesame Studios (Youtube Channel) is like the SNL Digital Shorts of the children’s television world. In short, it’s awesome. We spent some time after work with our kids and all the testers in the Relevant Dad extended family loved these videos. Your kids will continue to get the same Sesame Street quality nuggets of wacky fun and worthwhile educational tips and you as parents won’t have to feel guilty for plopping them down in front of the tube for longer episodes of tv shows. Short and sweet, Sesame Studios is sure to be a perpetual hit in your household.
The makers of Sesame Street welcome you to Sesame Studios, a brand new YouTube channel hosted by Marvie. Original stories and songs, full of new friends, all with the same educational goodness you’d expect from Sesame Street. Learn humongous words with the Puffballs, dance along to fun songs that will have you moving and grooving, and play along with Marvie: your lively host and new best friend.
The spiritual center of every kid’s bedroom is the night light. The constant radiating comfort that a night light emits calms and comforts your little sleepers but it can also send them into fever dreams of the local all you can eat buffet. Sure, you can buy a boring old night light at the pharmacy in the baby aisle but doesn’t your nursery deserve a little more…uh, pizza? Forgive us, we were looking up night lights and taking lunch orders for the office at the same time and got a little carried away. We do think, however, that you will fall in love with these night lights and so will your hungry kids.
Crispy Bacon ($25) You can’t go wrong when you blink your eyes sleepily at 3am and see some bacon frying right? So good you can almost smell it.
Ice Cream Cone ($15) The staple of Summer, this ice cream cone can glow all night in your child’s dreams.
We like products that are more than meets the eye and this line of creative play sets from CALAFANT are essentially three products in one: cardboard construction sets that become an arts & crafts project that become a toy. Designed in Germany and made of incredibly sturdy cardboard, kids can construct and build on their own thanks to the intuitive design and easy-lock-system. The four medium-sized sets also include 12 high-quality markers to color in the line art while the three larger sets are a blank canvas more appropriate for painting. After your kids have built and decorated their set, the open-ended creative play experience begins since the sets are built to scale with other common toys and action figures. Sure, you could go out and easily drop $100 on a dollhouse for your daughter, or you could spend $20 on something that she will take more pride in since she built it and decorated it herself. And if the time ever comes where she doesn’t play with dolls anymore, instead of dumping it in a landfill with all the other plastic toys, simply recycle it with all your other paper and cardboard. Available in seven designs great for both boys and girls, pick up a medium King’s Castle, Princess Castle, Pirate’s Treasure, or Three Little Pigs set for a great rainy-day, all-in-one activity or grab a large Palace, Fortress or Pony Farm for more of a hands-on, family craft project.
What’s a Shameless Plug? In the spirit of full disclosure, we here at Relevant Dad will always tell you if we’re posting a product, service or destination that we’re connected to financially or professionally. CALAFANT is a product line that is being distributed in North America by a company affiliated with one of the founders of this site. While that doesn’t make the line any more/less awesome than anything else found on Relevant Dad, we just thought you should know.
Wooden alphabet blocks are a childhood staple and our friends over at Uncle Goose are the best at making new and interesting styles of them. Check out this beautiful Bug Alphabet set, yeah, we used the word beautiful about bugs and we mean it. Just don’t tell mom, we know she gets squealy about them. These blocks are a beautiful heirloom set that is made out of sustainable wood right here in the US. You and your budding entomologists can spend hours learning about bugs, building, bonding and blocking. Your kid will become a bug expert in no time! Is there a more multifunctional toy for kids?
Further proof that there is an official “day” for everything, this Saturday, April 23rd is International Nose Picking Day. Of course, this is just an excuse for us to tell you that we’ve discovered the next big thing in outdoor fun – Booger Balls. Yes, the name will make mom’s lips curl, but we are children of the 90’s! We grew up with people getting slimed on Nickelodeon, playing with GAK, and whatever those slimy/sticky/stretchy-hand-slapper-things were called that you get from a capsule machine for 25 cents at the exit of a supermarket. Booger Balls are right up a millennial parent’s alley. The process is simple. Just measure the correct amount of water needed, pour in the powder packets, stir/shake, squeeze out some boogers then bring your bucket of booger balls out to the yard and let the mayhem begin (don’t worry, mom – they’re non-toxic, biodegradable, and will not stain clothing, upholstery, or paint). For those who are thinking this is just a “boy’s toys”, you’re wrong. After the box arrived, my daughter asked to make boogers for a full two weeks before the fickle New England weather turned nice enough to play outside with them. It goes without saying she had a blast heaving handfuls of ooey-gooey booger balls at her dad, too. After each batch was depleted, she said the words parents only hear when their gift is a hit – “let’s do it again!” Pick up the Ultimate Battle Pack (pictured) via the “buy” link below or check out the Starter Kit ($17), Shaker Maker Bottle Set ($11) and Booger Flicker Stick ($15) for more compact booger-flicking fun.
When is a book not just a book? When it’s written by Hervé Tullet, that’s when. By now you’re probably familiar with his most popular book, Press Here, where kids “magically” interact with spots of color on each page (for hardcore fans, there’s even a game that brings the book to life even more). The spiritual sequal to Press Here was then Mix It Up! which was also greeted by nearly unanimous positive reviews. Now Tullet rounds out the trifecta with his latest book, Let’s Play!, yet another book that belongs on your child’s bookshelf. Join along in the adventures of a yellow dot on “a spectacular ride of color, motion, shape, and imagination” and marvel at what’s possible with a couple spots of color and an ocean of creativity.
There are two things every kid loves: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and temporary tattoos. Everyone’s favorite temporary tattoo company TATTLY has just teamed up with The World of Eric Carle to produce a new set of eight Very Hungry Caterpillar tattoos & a copy of the board book in one exclusive gift bundle. The temporary tattoos are all made in the USA with vegetable based inks and look great on kids without any lifelong commitment. Pairs well with a muscle tee and conversation about binge eating.
Over the years, our garage has gradually turned into a parking lot for strollers: umbrella strollers, joggers, double strollers, sit-and-stand, snap-n-go, etc. All of them are a pain to travel with and they all take up space we’d like to have back to, you know, park our car in the garage. GB has designed the world’s most compact stroller and Guinness World Records confirms that claim as fact. Weighing less than 10 pounds and folding down (in two steps!) small enough to fit inside a messenger bag or backpack, it’s still strong enough to support a kid up to 55 pounds. Frankly, we’d pay twice the sticker price if it meant we never had to schlep another full-size, non-compact stroller anywhere for the rest of our life.
Maybe you feel the Bern, maybe you are with her, perhaps you like Ted, or side with Trump*. Whatever stance you choose it’s your fatherly duty to vote. What happens in this election will affect our children at some point and they don’t have a voice yet. We sometimes wish they did, but until that day, it’s up to you to get out and vote. Need a reminder of that? Parade your civic-minded youngins’ around all Summer in one of these tees from Baby Politico. Not only will you get the idea, but you can start great conversations with your kids about world events and maybe just maybe we all will be alright someday. It doesn’t hurt that 5% of each sale is donated to children’s educational charities.