I wrote recently about the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (CHITAG) that was held at Navy Pier on November 20 and 21. I had the opportunity to attend a blogger brunch on Saturday where I was able to meet with several vendors and companies to learn more about what they are currently offering. A few of these vendors also provided items for giveaways that I will be posting over the next few days. As interests vary, I will be posting each giveaway separately.
There were several vendors who had items focused on younger children, and there were many that I'd never heard of before the brunch (although sadly, I never actually had a chance to eat anything - but that's a good thing when you're so busy talking to people that you don't have the opportunity to eat, right?) - and there are definitely some items that I'm excited about, not just for me but also for friends who have children of other ages when I'm looking for gifts and other things to help them out.
One new product I discovered was Belly Washers. These are juice drinks that aren't from your typical mold. First, they are 100% juice, so I don't have to worry about any fillers or sugar. They come in different sizes and shapes for various ages. The toddler juices are 50% water, as recommended by the AAP, which means you don't have to add water when you're on the go. The toddler size is also smaller than the preschooler or grad schooler size so that no child gets more than the recommended daily amount of juice. Other benefits? There is a no leak top. The sippy part of it can open but won't spill even when upside down. That does mean that to drink it, the child has to truly suck on the sippy part of the top, but that just helps build the muscles in and around the mouth - something Mister Man struggled with as a toddler. The tops of the juices are also fun collectible figures. They can be moved from juice to juice - although only with the Belly Washers brand - and come in everything from Superman to Cars figures to Hello Kitty and more, something for every child. And when the juice is gone, either refill the bottle and reused the no spill top or keep it as a toy to play with by itself. And best of all for me? The entire container is BPA-free, which is something that I care a whole lot about.
Playtex, of course, has the whole infant and toddler feeding side of things covered. I love their long handled infant spoons. They're just the right size and soft tips to not injure a baby's mouth (something that was an issue with some of our infant spoons - too sharp and hard on the sides of the spoons). Smartly, the tips of the spoons are flat instead of rounded, making it even easier to get all the food that spilled around your baby's mouth. They also shared with us their Playtex Drop-Ins bottles that are BPA-free (phew!) and are designed to mimic breastfeeding, meaning that there is less of a tendency towards digestive issues from bottles. I only wish some of the new fangled baby stuff was around back when the wee ones were infants!
Mega Blocks also had several toy options for younger kids (as well as a few for older kids that I'm including here). I love Mega Blocks that are so easy for little hands to put together and take apart. They were our first real tower building toys, and they've expanded tremendously with scenes Mega Blocks like a musical pirate ship and a train track toy. They also have a board game with a memory type aspect to it that is a great bridge from basic board games into the slightly more complex games for preschoolers.
For older children, they've introduced Dragons Universe, which is a limited edition series of buildable dragons and warriors that battle each other. These figures are aimed at the 6 and up market, and for Mister Man, it is definitely up his alley. There are very complex pieces down to far more simple ones, making it both affordable and at the right skill level for different children.
Mega Blocks also has Thomas now, and one of the fun big pieces is the Thomas & Friends Mega Blocks Adventures on Misty Island. This is a multi-level train track with Thomas and James who travel around the island through obstacles from barricades to rock slides. Although Mister Man has (finally) outgrown Thomas at age 7, Little Miss is still in love with Thomas and thinks this is awesome.
Mega Blocks gave me an extra Adventures on Misty Island to give away to a lucky reader (and yes, I'll be covering the shipping myself - yikes!). The very large toy has a value for $49.99 - and what a perfect present to put under a tree for a deserving child? Want to win it? You can!
So what do you have to do to win the Mega Blocks train set? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!
This contest is open until Wednesday December 15 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.
Mandatory Entry: What was your favorite game or toy from early childhood?
Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Win a Thomas & Friend Adventures on Misty Island train set ($50RV) from @honestandtruly http://bit.ly/dDZxUU" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a Playtex bottle and spoon set, a Thomas adventure set, a Captain Niveus Dragon Universe figure, and a Belly Washer juice bottle for review purposes. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.