Usually, I don’t like to copy/paste reasons for doing anything from a manufacturer. However, these reasons just...
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It’s almost always a good idea to shop used, especially for kid stuff, since they grow out of it so quickly. However,...
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Review: Kimochis

Author
Eric Cooper
I had gotten an email about reviewing a toy called a Kimochi (kim-mo-chi) – I had to look the word up, because it sounded vaguely familiar. It turns out it is Japanese for “emotion” and my years upon years of watching anime meant I had come across the word before, probably several hundred times. Of course, I also learned that watching anime is not a good way to learn Japanese, considering I had to look up the word! You can choose from 5 characters to buy: Cloud, Cat, Hugtopus, Lovey Dove, Bug. Each one comes with the character and 3 smaller kimochis – the kimochis have an emotion on one said (happy, sad, angry, loving, etc.) and a face on the other side depicting that emotion. The...

Gay Dads – New Frontier?

Author
Eric Cooper
Well, I guess that depends on how you define “new” – gay men have been having children with women since the beginning of time (that’s a figure of speech before someone flips out and goes all crazy in the comment section). As far as two men fostering and adopting children go, that’s not necessarily a new thing, but it is still not allowed in some states; Florida just recently ended their ban on gay adoptions within the past few weeks. Arkansas and Utah have laws on the books that, while not expressly aimed at gay people, restrict them from adopting, since both “ban anyone ‘co-habitating outside of a valid marriage’ from being foster parents or adopting children.”...

Review: Mega Blocks (80 pieces)

Author
Eric Cooper
Do you know whatMega Blocks are? I didn’t; well, I could infer from the name what they were, but I hadn’t seen them before. Why? Because they weren’t around when I was younger and I tend to gravitate to what I know when I buy toys. One of the perks of this job is getting to try new things and letting you know about them. Mega Blocks are like ginormous Legos. I hated making the comparison, as Lego has had a problem with Mega Blocks for awhile now (including lawsuits based on the design). I’ll include a link to more information at the end of this review for your reading pleasure. If you know the basic concept of the aforementioned “big name” building toy, then you get...

HABA: Large Basic Pack Vehicles

Author
Eric Cooper
Ok, it’s true…I’m a HABA fanatic. These German-made wooden blocks are unsurpassed in quality. The very first review I wrote was for HABA and I still think they are the best toy around. Then again, as you all know, I’m a sucker for open-ended toys – ones where you must use your imagination in order to play with them; there is no script, there is only the limits of what you think you can do. In the sturdy box with a handle (even the box reeks of quality), theHaba Large Basic Pack of Vehicles contains 12 building block clamps, 8 wheel clamps, 3 building block clutches and 26 building blocks. And according to the website: “For unlimited building and vehicle fun, the building...

Review: Dinosaur Train All Aboard Game

Author
Eric Cooper
We’re a board game family. There, I admit it. In an age of family Wii games and the internet, there is something soothing about turning off the electrical hum that surrounds most of the day and playing a game (one with physical pieces, no less!). With more and more games coming out geared toward younger people, you have to separate the “just for fun” games from the “fun and educational” games. I prefer the latter with a smattering of the former for good measure. Sure, a game should be fun, but when it comes to youngsters, you might as well incorporate some learning time while you’re at it. If more adults played games like Trivial Pursuit and less Act Like an Idiot (I’m...

Playmobil: My Take Along Puppet Theater

Author
Eric Cooper
Ok, so you’re going to see some of the snark that I mentioned earlier pop on out (later on in the post). I actually got theMy Take Along Puppet Theater before I got the Dragon Castle. There are a lot of wonderful things about this toy and at least one not-so-great ones. Firstly, I think the toy overall is great. As a lot of you know, I really like open-ended play. It makes the child think and interact with the objects in front of them. The parent(s) can also throw different scenarios at them or create “problems” that the child has to solve. I love doing that. There’s nothing better than telling your child “Oh no, the poor man fell down a broke his leg! Now how is...

Review: Playmobil Dragon’s Land: Great Dragon Castle

Author
Eric Cooper
I’m back – which means I’ve got a lot of reviews in me and, boy, has the snark really built up. Just kidding…kind of. I’m starting out with a few good products, hoping they will ease the sleeping snark-dragon back into hibernation. Speaking of dragons… I got a few products from Playmobil. On the box, their products look like the standard Lego-esque type of toys. Having been disappointed by cheap-looking toys lately, I opened the box with only minor enthusiasm. Well, it turns out, Playmobil products are way better than they look on the box. TheGreat Dragon Castle was like the toys of yesteryear – built solid, great detail, and with a lot of “extras” built...

Avoiding Sports Injuries (Video)

Author
Paul Banas
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Nurse Mark visits DadLabs to let parents know how to recognize sports related injuries and when to take your child in for a doctor visit. Learn what kinds of injuries to watch for in youth sports like soccer, baseball, swimming and gymnastics.

College Savings Nightmare(Video)

Author
Paul Banas
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Daddy Troy and Daddy Clay offer a few strategies on how to pay for college tuition and other school expenses. Learn about options including savings, financial aid, and 529 plans for financing higher education.

Five back to school health tips

Author
Paul Banas
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Back to school time usually coincides with health notices, increased awareness of lice, and for some, a reminder to get a flu shot. If you’re not on the way to the doctor’s office this fall, here is a list of things your doc still wishes were on top of mind for your preschooler: 1. Don’t make the doctor out to be the bad guy. If you warn your child all year long that he’ll “have to go to the doctor and get a shot” when ever you are trying to enforce a rule, your child will be extra worried about those doctor visits, making them unpleasant for everyone. 2. To avoid sickness, use soap and water. This little trick, that even your grandmother knew,...
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