10 Hot New Toys for Kids 2-4 [With Buy-It-Now Prices]

The holiday toy books are out, and this year’s crop of fun-looking new toys can be overwhelming. Which will get played with? Which should you skip?

What makes a good toy?

Good toys have certain things in common. They

  • Can be used in more than one way as kids grow and learn.
  • Let kids be creative. They allow kids to create imagined worlds and scenarios.
  • Encourage extended attention. Kids play with them for more than a minute.
  • Foster  skill development. The best toys help kids build language, motor, social or problem solving skils while they play.
  • Appeal to the senses. They’re fun to look at, touch, and listen to.

I’ve pored through the biggest of the books and chosen toys appropriate for tots two to four years old that could easily be contenders for future Toys that Get Played with Lists.

I’ve linked to the toys at Amazon so that you can learn more and read customer reviews. I’m also including Buy-It-Now prices.

“Buy-It-Now” (BIN) prices are what I consider “very good” prices on the item. They’re the best sale prices you can expect to find fairly regularly, based on records of previous sales. Don’t confuse these with the “lowest price ever” price or the current price. You may be able to  beat this price if you happen onto a unusually great sale.

The Toys

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Tomorrow: 12 Hot New Toys for Kids 5-7 [With Buy-It-Now Prices

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Best New Baby Gear 2013 [Part 2: Strollers and Carriers]

Welcome to part two of BC’s Best New Baby Gear posts.

Below you’ll find the most interesting new strollers and carriers hitting the market. Some came out in late 2012 and some will do so later this year. In addition to the MSRP and availablility date, I’m also including useful snippets from reviews and press releases along with links so that you can read more, see the specs, etc.

And if these prices seem especially high to you, remember than these are MSRP or list prices. Expect to be able to save 15% or more on these items within the first year they’re on the market depending on brand.

Strollers

  • BOB Motion (shown). $349. BOB’s first four-wheel stroller, “the MOTION’s lightweight aluminum frame represents the company’s most compact design and  complements the BOB joggers as a daily stroller.” Press release. Holds kids up to 65 lbs. Available now at REI.com.
  • *Quinny Yezz.  $279. Holds kids up to 40 lbs.”The Quinny Yezz is the newest addition to the company’s stroller line. The umbrella-like stroller only weighs 11 pounds and comes with a carrying strap, making it great for travel.” LilSugar.com. JPMA Innovation Award winner. Available in March.
  • Chicco Liteway Plus. $179.99 at Amazon. Holds kids up to 40 lbs. “The Liteway Plus functions as both an infant car seat carrier and a lightweight compact stroller offering extended use. As a carrier it offers a canopy, compact fold, and  “click” ICS attachment. As a stroller it offers a full recline, adjustable leg rest, and parent cup holder.” ChildrensProductNews.com. JPMA Innovation Award winner. Available now. Chicco is also debuting the Echo, which runs $99.99 and holds kids up to 40 lbs. It’s available at Target.
  • Baby Jogger Summit x3. $429 ($649 double). “Wider and taller than its predecessor, the stroller features more headroom for older tots. It also has a remote swivel wheel lock” LilSugar.com. Available in May.
  • Mountain Buggy Mini. $349.99. “Ultra Lightweight, Ultra slim single hand fast fold stroller… Perfect for city parents on the go, you can quickly fold it and stand it up (because it stays!) when on public transportation or to store it at your home. It’s full-size tires make navigating the city a cinch and its full swivel front wheel is designed for city focused maneuverability.” Bump Club Chicago via ABCLocal. Available now.
  • Valco Zee. $329.99. Holds kids up to 45 lbs. “The Zee is not only much more durable than you’d think, it’s 18 lbs and 21 inches wide—which means it’s about 2-3 inches more narrow than many strollers in its class.  The fold is AMAZING and I can actually remove the wheels and store it on a shelf in my closet” BabyGuyGearGuide.com. Available  now.

Carriers

  • Ergobaby Stowaway travel carrier. $115. “The Stowaway Carrier is compact and lightweight and can fold into itself as a pouch that is easy to take everywhere you go. “ThriftyandChicMom.com. Availble now.
  • Ergobaby Urban Chic travel carrier. $115. “More masculine and tailored than its typical carrier, it is made from recycled plastic” LilSugar.com. Available now.
  • JJCole Agility Wrap. Around $50. Stretch carrier, eliminates the worry of a traditional wrap with its unique back panel design that distributes baby’s weight evenly with multiple secure and comfortable carrying positions. Press release. Release date unknown.
  • JJCole Medley Carrier. Around $90. Three-position infant carrier cradles baby in an ergonomic hug that is best for baby’s hip position. Features easy-adjust buckles, thick straps and seat extender. Press release Release date unknown.

See more new gear for 2013See Part 1: Car Seats | Part 3: Boosters, Breast Pumps and More 

 

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A Beginner’s Guide to Baby Carriers

This roundup of the five major types of baby carriers  was written by Baby Cheapskate Facebook page admin Nava. If you’re not a fan of our FB page, you’re missing out on her great tips. If you’re reading this on the main BC page or in your feed, be sure to click “Read More” to see the whole article.

Wrap

I learned to wrap the two year old I babysat for a few years ago. While I learned on a stretchy wrap (the most common type, but not as supportive as kid gets bigger), the non-stretchy wovens (much more expensive, slightly harder to find) give you more mileage in the long run.

I’ve heard many people say they’re scared to use a wrap because of the learning curve. In essence, its pretty simple. I had my friend show it to me 2-3 times and it was easy from there. I then stopped using it for a good few months and picked up right where I left off when I had a different job babysitting a newborn. Wrapping is pretty intuitive and when using a woven wrap the possibilities are endless! The color-range is limitless and the fabrics range from wool, to silk, to sweat-wicking athletic material. Breastfeeding is easy in a wrap.

  • Popular brands (stretchy): Moby (shown), Sleepy, Baby K’Tan (semi wrap)
  • Popular brands (woven): Girasol, Neobulle, Didymos, Storchenweige, Wrapsody (GypsyMama)
  • Popular brands (water): Wrapsody (GypsyMama), Baby K’tan Breathable Breeze, Mother’s Helper Solarveil wrap

Mei Tei

A mei tai (Asian-type) carrier is almost like a wrap, but you have a few less steps in tying it on. The body of the carrier is pre-formed, and you get to adjust the wrapable straps around you for a very personalized and supportive fit (ties around your waist and crosses over your shoulders).

A spin-off is called a buckle-tai (and half-buckle). Instead of wrapping the fabric waist around you, it’s a clickable buckle and pre-formed, usually with a padded waist belt (think hiking backpack) and shoulder straps. With a half-buckle, its exactly like it sounds, only one part is buckleable, the other you wrap/tie. BF is easy in a mei tai too.

Then there’s also the wrap conversions– which seem to be the best of both worlds (and most expensive of them all). You can send your woven wrap in to specialized seamstresses (usually WAHMs that know what they’re doing), who will convert it for you into a mei tai! Strong, supportive and beautiful!

  • Popular brands: BabyHawk (shown), Kozy, CatBirdBaby, Ellaroo, Freehand
  • Popular brands (Mei tai wrap conversions): Bamberoo, Kimimela
  • Popular brands (water): Octi Mei Tai (OMT) Solarveil

[Read more...]

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Poll Results: What’s Your Favorite Baby Carrier / Sling for Infants?

New or soon-to-be parents often find choosing a baby carrier confusing given the dozens of options out there. One of the best ways to get a feel for what might be right for you is to see what other parents are wearing.

A while back I asked fans on BC’s Facebook page about their favorite baby carriers or slings. You’ll find the most popular answers in the poll below. What’s your favorite baby sling or carrier for infants? If your fave isn’t listed, feel free to add it in the comments. (photo by stans_pat_pix’s via flickr)

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