New Madame Alexander Collections Debut at Toy Fair

Madame Alexander, one of my favorite doll brands, recently unveiled new toys that children will love! The hours of creative, open play mean moms will love them, too. The high quality of the dolls is the same as ever, and Madame Alexander is now offering a Travel Friends Collection including a Nascar line (yes, it’s true), plus Pixie Doodles and much more. Take a look:

Collect Connects at Toy Fair ’15

Check out Connects©, a fun toy that’s educational, too!  At Toy Fair ’15, I found these subtly colored, carefully designed chain link pieces that offer hours of creative play. Connects lets kids link pieces together to form colorful bracelets, necklaces or keychains that can be worn as jewelry, hung on backpacks, for decorating rooms and more. There’s no limit to the designs and imaginative ideas. A large tube of Connects (at a reasonable price) is perfect for a birthday party activity (guests can make and take their creation!), rainy day activity, travel and more. In various sizes, Connects tubes are terrific party gifts, Easter basket items and stocking stuffers at holiday. Available in fabulous colors at CollectConnects.com, Learning Express and Lester’s.

Let’s join #RemoveFromPlay in changing concussion protocols for student athletes

A dear friend recently introduced me to Charlie Felker and Don Carducci, two West Point graduates and combat veterans that conducted seven tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. As the mom of a West Point Cadet, I was very honored to have the opportunity to speak with these gentlemen and learn about how they are currently working to change the lives of millions of young people.

Both Charlie and Don witnessed the long-term effects of head injuries during their time in service and the need for an immediate, accurate, and objective concussion-screening tool. After leaving the military, Charlie and Don created Remove From Play Testing and partnered with the founder of the King-Devick test to change the way sports programs detect concussed athletes.

You may have heard more in the news recently about the effects of concussions in professional athletes, but did you know that nearly 4 million American athletes suffer sports-related concussions annually? Sports-related concussions are happening daily, and most of those concussions go undetected.

I’m passionate about what Charlie and Don are doing, because I have been the scared mother riding in the back of an ambulance with her son after a sports-related concussion.  I know that we owe our young athletes a better sideline treatment during their favorite games. I also know that with the help of other concerned parents we can make our voices heard and demand that our principals, athletic directors, and coaches have these sideline concussion-screening tests available.

Remove From Play Testing is leading a change in sports injury protocols across North America. The RFP Testing provides a safer sporting environment for teams with quick and accurate concussion screening that determines whether or not to remove from play. The test can be administered by parents and coaches in minutes. The test is an accurate and reliable method for identifying athletes with head trauma and has particular relevance to: football, hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, rugby, baseball, softball, cheerleading, and all other contact and collision activities.

I have created a digital toolkit, The RFP Team Mom Playbook, which will equip any mom with information about RFP Testing and tips on how to get this test for your child’s school and club sports. I encourage you all to download and share this information within your communities. I appreciate you for taking the time to read this letter and review The RFP Team Mom Playbook. I know that together we can make sports safer for our children.

You can learn more about Remove From Play Testing by visiting www.rfp2test.com and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Bicycle Playing Cards Celebrate 130 Years!

The classic Bicycle brand has been making decks of cards in the US for 130 years! Hard to believe that this iconic brand started manufacturing playing cards when Grover Cleveland was president and women wouldn’t have the right to vote for another 35 years. At Toy Fair ’15, I discovered that Bicycle cards are not just the basic red and blue decks anymore. There are commemorative decks and themed decks for almost every charity and hobby imaginable. Commemorative decks are being issued for the 130th Anniversary, the Civil War (with artwork by Jackson Robinson), decks for the Wounded Warrior Project, pink ribbon campaign and even funny themes like Zombie and Big Foot.

Check out the many themes available. You’ll find a great birthday or holiday gift for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life. Playing card games is a great family activity!

 

MoYou Nail Polishes for Little Fingers (Big Ones, Too!)

It wasn’t all toys at Toy Fair 2015. I discovered an awesome nail polish line called MoYou, featuring peel-off polishes perfect for girls, tweens and teens. Moms will love this product that’s water soluble and available in fabulous colors. Individual bottles, gift sets and nail art sets are reasonably priced. MoYou makes a great party/mother/daughter/friends activity! Cute gift idea, too! Take a look:

One World Dolls at Toy Fair ’15 #multiculturaldolls

I made some fabulous discoveries at Toy Fair ’15, including this line of multicultural dolls called One World Dolls. Prettie Girls! Dolls are available now at several online stores (Walmart.com, ToysRUs.com and OneWorldDolls.com). The new line of ‘tween dolls will be available soon. Find out more about these innovative dolls in my interview with Stacey McBride-Irby, the designer of the dolls, and company founder Trent Daniel.

 

Take the Leapfrog 20/20 Challenge! #LeapfrogChallenge

March is National Reading Month, and our friends at LeapFrog have a challenge for every family! In the continuing pursuit of making reading an activity that every child and family can enjoy, LeapFrog is hosting a “Reading Month Challenge” in honor of National Reading Month this March. They will be promoting a campaign to encourage families to take a pledge to read for at least 20 minutes per day with their kids. As I’m sure you are aware, an early introduction to reading is an important part of kids’ development.

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In fact, kids who are read to at home have a substantial academic advantage. These advantages last throughout a child’s academic career. Studies have shown that:

  • Twenty-six percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet. This is compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently.
  • According to NCES, only 53 percent of children ages three to five were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above poverty.
  • The NCESalso reported that children who were read to frequently are also more likely to:
  • Count to 20 or higher than those who were not (60% vs. 44%)
  • Write their own names (54% vs. 40%)
  • Read or pretend to read (77% vs. 57%)

As a part of the March “Reading Month Challenge,” they will be partnering with a great non-profit, Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, to donate 20 books to the foundation’s under-served classrooms for every pledge received. Through this program, they plan to donate over 350,000 books to children in need. We are very excited to be joining in the cause – and we need your help!

LeapFrog will be sharing fun reading-themed images, printables, and activities throughout the month. I encourage you to take a look at the website, take the challenge and read!

Share this information on your blog and social media sites to help a very worthy cause. I appreciate your support.

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