This Toy Will Teach Your Baby How to Code

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Coding is all the rage and there are more jobs for computer programmers and in the tech space than there are people who can fill those positions. Now, parents can start molding their tots to be able to work in the tech space with Fisher Price’s Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar.

The toy teaches the basics of coding, like sequencing and programming, with segments of the caterpillar’s body. Each of these eight segments is labeled with different symbols and colors. Kids put them together, attach them to the caterpillar’s smiling, blinky-eyed, motorized head, and press a button to get the whole toy to move.


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The child can cause the toy to move different ways. Here’s how it looks.

Fisher  Price also sells three expansion packs at $15 each, allowing kids to add additional features like turning 180 degrees, or making different sounds or lights.

The caterpillar also works with a free companion app on iOS and Android that teaches counting and patterns.

 Order one for your baby! It debuted last January for $50, retail but is available for under $40 at Amazon.com.
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This Very Smart, Savvy Mom Consignment Shopping Secret in MD just got BIGGER – HUGE!

  
Okay. This luxury baby products consignment extravaganza hosted in Maryland twice each year has to be one of the most innovative things around!

The schtick: Get savvy, sophisticated, smart and eco-conscious moms who love and value quality designer clothes, baby goods and products together to upcycle items they and their children no longer use and fit and earn some extra cash in the process.

And for those who don’t have much to sell  or are brand new moms or mega shoppers, invite them to come shop for FREE and stock up on durable top brand merchandise and gently-worn clothing for their brood at a tiny fraction of the cost of buying new!


That’s the idea behind Wee-Sale of Maryland which is going on this weekend. The organizers outgrew one of their old locations and have decided this fall to combine their Anne Arundel, Charles and Prince George’s County sales they host each year into one mega sale at the Wayne Curry Sports and Learning Complex in Hyattsville, Maryland.

“If you loved any of our sales in the past, this mega sale promises to be the best yet ,” said Mimi Shea, founder of the Wee-Sale. “We simply outgrew our old locations and are thrilled to now work in the most spacious of venues yet! The Sport and Learning Complex is ideal to display the thousands of kids/baby items our consignors bring season after season. It is centrally located for most of our past consignors and shoppers and we hope to add some new fans of the Wee-Sale too! We are so very excited about the Wee-MEGA-Sale!!”

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Gymboree, Baby Gap, Ralph Lauren, Janie and Jack, Wheat, Peg Perego, Graco, Fisher Price, Pottery Barn Kids, a wide array of boutique fashions and much more to fit newborns to kids size 16 – all will be available.

And, I love the fact it has a New Mom day for brand spanking new moms or those who have recently adopted a baby. For $10, they get to come a day ahead of the 4-public days and shop first.  Sadly, space for that day is already sold out this year, but isn’t it a great concept?

Those who donate must give a minimum of 30 items to sell but with no max, tho there are max limits for clothing for space purposes. The hosts keep 45% of the sales but those who donate clothes can earn a higher commission on their items by volunteering!

So, for example, if you work three 4-hour shifts, you can keep 70% of your sales and get chances to shop early yourself.

It’s a super ingenious way to staff the event without having to incur added overhead costs of hiring sales staff.

And it pays. The creators say the average consignor pockets about $250 in cash. Sweet!

But what if you’ve got too much going on and don’t have time to sort, wash, prep and price your stuff? Don’t sweat it!

You can pay a $30 drop off fee and give up a small percentage of your consignment commission to a “Busy Mom” associate who will do all that for you! So smart!

At the end of the weekend, all unsold merchandise get donated to charity so it’s a win-win-win situation!

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Public sale hours are Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24-25 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept.26 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (25 percent off day) and Sunday, Sept.27 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (half-off day). Admission and parking are free. Due to safety concerns with a high volume of shoppers on opening day, no children are allowed at the sale on Thursday, Sept. 24.

The Fall Wee-Sale will take place Sept. 24-27 at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Hyattsville, MD. More than 800 consignors will bring over 80,000 items and 75,000 square-feet worth of children’s clothing.

Apps can’t teach babies, consumer group says, asks FTC to investigate developers

The consumer advocacy group that essentially shut down  Disney-owned “The Baby Einstein” videos and got the Federal Trade Commission to slap a $185 million dollar settlement against the creators of “Your Baby Can Read” are after developers of apps that target babies.
In a complaint filed at the FTC yesterday, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said smartphones don’t make babies smart and urge regulators to look into the marketing practices of Fisher-Price‘s “Laugh & Learn” mobile apps and Open Solutions games like “Baby Hear and Read” and “Baby First Puzzle.”
The Boston-based group said it targeted those companies because they had the most downloads among companies that it says tries to dupe parents into thinking the apps teach babies when in fact for that age they are more entertaining than educational.
“Everything we know about brain research and child development points away from using screens to educate babies,”  director of the group Suan Linn said in the complaing. “The research shows that machines and screen media are a really ineffective way of teaching a baby language. What babies need for healthy brain development is active play, hands-on creative play and face-to-face” interaction.
It points out that the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any electronic “screen time” for infants and toddlers under 2 altogether and suggests 1-2 hour limits on older children. The complaint went on to point to at least one study that found infant videos can delay language development, and warns that no studies have documented a benefit of early viewing.
The apps have gotten great views, according to a rep from Open Solutions, who also agreed that apps should not be a substitute for personal interaction with a baby.
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“We also don’t say ‘get this game and let it teach your child everything,’” the Slovakia-based company told the  Associated Press in a written response.“We assume (the) child is playing the game with parent/sister/baby sitter. We think we have apps that can help parents with babies, either by entertaining babies or help them see new things, animals, hear their sounds, etc.”
Meanwhile, Fisher-Price’s senior director for child research Kathleen Alfano said in a statement that  the N.Y.-based company relies on extensive child development research  “to create appropriate toys for the ways children play, discover and grow” and that is has used its 80 years of research to apply to “play patterns into the digital space.”
Linn’s group alleges that the companies violate truth-in-advertising laws when they claim to “teach” babies skills. 
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Editorial: I did not know that the Babies Can Read folks got sued. I have a friend whose daughter learned to read at about 18 months using the system and my two youngest kids learned to read by age 4 watching the videos and going through its cards, occasionally. Screen apps and videos don’t work for all children but I’m not certain that they have no positive effect at all. There must be supplemental interaction and limits but exposure to screen stimuli may not necessarily be that bad. 

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Review: Fisher Price Servin’ Surprises Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen and Table

Guest Post by Melissa Braunstein
Earlier this year, I became intrigued by the voice that seems to serenade us from so many of Fisher-Price’s toys and contacted the company requesting an interview. Unfortunately, the woman’s identity is a trade secret, but the company offered to send us one of their new toys gratis as a consolation prize. Knowing Lila as I do, and imagining what she might like going forward, I selected their Servin’ Surprises Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen and Table.
I’m glad I did. It has quickly become one of Lila’s favorite toys. Many mornings recently, Lila has demurred my offer of breakfast, preferring to play with her kitchen first.
This is a well-conceived toy that will literally grow with Lila. The table’s height is adjustable. Right now, we have it set low, so that Lila can easily reach everything while she stands and moves around it.
As an 18-month-old, Lila loves the noises of the boiling water and the sizzling frying pan, just as she is intrigued by the oven light. She hasn’t yet connected those sounds to the frying pan included in the set, but she will. She’s excited to examine the cups and assorted kitchen utensils – especially the pizza slicer, which she’d never seen before.
The plastic plates, cups, flatware, and cookware are colorful and sized appropriately for toddler hands. Lila enjoys pretending to drink from the open-top cups (as she still uses a sippy cup at meals) and using the forks (since she typically eats with her hands and spoons). All the pieces can be conveniently stored in the table’s center, making clean-up easy.
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