The 4 best video baby monitors in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

I grew up believing my parents had eyes in the back of their heads, but, sadly, I didn’t immediately sprout an extra pair of eyes after donning the title of mother. Video baby monitors are the next best thing. While there’s no substitute for being in the room with the baby, these monitors allow parents and guardians to to keep eyes and ears on the baby from another room.

A good video baby monitor answers questions that a simple audio monitor cannot, like, When did the baby fall asleep? Just 10 years ago, these monitors were clunky gadgets that played constant audio and offered a pixelated picture of the crib. Now they can send a detailed sleep analysis to your smartphone, play white noise, and even track breathing.

Keep in mind: Some of those features of smart monitors may not be as great as they seem. The AAP and pediatricians we spoke to emphasized there is no evidence that smart monitors prevent incidences of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Read more about smart monitors, sleep safety, and what our experts had to say at the end of our guide.

While features vary by model, video monitors typically come equipped with a night mode to see the room in the dark, a thermometer to measure the temperature in the room, and two-way audio to talk to the baby (or tell the toddler to get back in bed). Some baby monitors are fixed in place, while others have cameras that can be controlled remotely to pan around the room. With smart baby monitors, the list of potential features is even longer.

I tested nine of the top-ranked video baby monitors with my now 1-year-old. Each monitor that made the top of our list was tested for at least one month, including naps and nighttime snoozes.

Here are the best video baby monitors in 2021

The best video baby monitor overall

Vava video baby monitor camera and parent unit positioned on a dresser
The Vava is a standalone video baby monitor that offers clear audio and video

With excellent picture and sound, the Vava is an affordable video baby monitor that has everything you need. 

Pros: Clear video and audio, easy setup, remote panning and tilt, affordable

Cons: No VOX

Although the Vava lacks the fancy features of a smart monitor, it’s easy to use and offers clear audio and video, with a few extras including two-way audio.

Most standalone video baby monitors use a low-resolution fixed camera that doesn’t show the finer details, but the Vava’s video quality is so good that I could often see my son’s chest rise and fall as he slept. The handheld unit’s 5-inch screen is what really allows you to see the detail picked up by the Vava’s 720p resolution camera. The monitor’s night vision is also better quality than other units I tested.

With the controls on the parent unit, the Vava can be turned 270 degrees and tilt up or down 108 degrees, offering a view of almost the entire nursery except. The remote pan and tilt are preferable to using a wider lens because you can get a closer look at the baby while still being able to see if, say, a pet is accidentally locked in the nursery.

The Vava’s solid video quality is also paired with excellent audio. There’s no voice-activated alert (VOX) option, but the volume settings are varied enough that the fan in my baby’s nursery, while slightly audible, wasn’t annoying.

The 900-feet range didn’t once drop a connection in my house or even when I went out to the porch. Because the Vava doesn’t use Wi-Fi, hacking risk is low. The parent unit battery lasted for two daytime naps before needing a charge.

There are a few features that I would have liked to see, such as VOX, but the Vava had better video and audio quality than similarly priced monitors. Smart monitors like the Nanit and Miku offer more features and budget monitors like the VTech, a better price. But, ultimately, the Vava checks all the must-haves without a high price tag, making it our top pick.

The best smart video baby monitor

The Nanit Plus video baby monitor mounted on a wall
The Nanit Plus is a smart video baby monitor that offers sleep tracking and insights

The Nanit Plus video baby monitor offers excellent video and audio, along with extras like sleep tips.

Pros: Sleep tracking and tips, contactless breathing monitor, quick alerts, reliable app, good video and audio quality, two-factor authentication

Cons: Pricey, sleep insights require subscription after first year

Many smart monitors deliver late alerts or poor audio, but the Nanit Plus doesn’t skimp on the basics in order to deliver the smart features. 

The monitor’s audio was free of white noise, and I could turn the volume down enough not to hear the fan in my son’s room but still hear his cries. Picture quality is excellent, even for the night camera. 

The Nanit was the most reliable smart monitor that I tested. It never crashed while livestreaming, though it can run few seconds behind depending on internet speeds. The one time the app stopped working (while using push notifications, not the livestream), it alerted me. For added security, it offers two-factor authentication, which Nanit says is continually audited for security compliance.

Unlike many breathing monitors, the Nanit Plus also doesn’t require extra devices. With a patterned fabric band, swaddle, or sleep sack, the camera detects pixel-level changes in that pattern to monitor the rise and fall of the baby’s chest. Even without the wearable, the monitor can still recognize movement to track sleep. False alarms can cause unnecessary worry, but I didn’t experience any.

The app’s interface is easy to navigate. It charts sleep times, duration, and time it takes to fall asleep. Using that data, Nanit Insights offers personalized sleep tips developed by a certified infant sleep coach. I shared these tips with Dr. Fern Hauck, professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia, who said they provided reasonable advice about establishing sleep patterns. However, these tips can also be found in inexpensive parenting books and are not the solution to every sleep problem.

Outside of the downsides of app-based monitors, like quickly depleting the smartphone battery, I have very few complaints. One minor inconvenience is that you need to go into the app and start a session in order to monitor breathing.

The Nanit Plus is one of the pricier smart baby monitors, although the wall mount option is less expensive than the floor stand. Insights also requires a paid subscription after the first year. Still, it’s $100 less than options like the Owlet and Miku.

Smart monitors are not for every family. Solid-performing, less expensive audio and video monitors are available, and breathing tracking isn’t studied for SIDs prevention (read more about this at the end of the guide). But, out of all the Wi-Fi connected monitors that I tried, the Nanit Plus delivered the best experience with the most reliability.

The best wearable-free smart baby monitor

miku smart baby monitor mounted on a wall
The Miku smart monitor can track a baby’s sleep and breathing without a wearable

The Miku accurately tracks breathing and sleep patterns without any wearables.

Pros: Sleep tracking, contactless breathing sensor, simple to use, plays lullabies or white noise, reliable app

Cons: Slow push notifications, white noise during livestreaming

With a radio-wave sensor built into the camera, the Miku tracks sleep and creates a color-coded chart that illustrates how well the baby slept. The well-designed app tracks data such as how long it took for the baby to fall asleep, sleep quality, and average bedtime, which may be helpful for new parents establishing a routine.

This monitor narrowly missed beating out the Nanit, largely because the audio had constant white noise detectable even at the lowest volume. (Audio performance could possibly differ based on the smartphone you are using — I tested using an iPhone 7.) The notifications were too slow to be a suitable substitute. However, if you’re looking for easy sleep tracking without any form of wearables, the Miku is a great option.

The app never crashed during testing and it can send push notifications that the baby has woken up. In order to avoid false alarms simply because the baby rolled over, there’s an intentional delay on those alerts. Unfortunately, the alerts are also delayed for cries. For that reason, I preferred streaming the audio. 

Video is also easy to review with an option to watch the feed from any time the app detected motion or noise. The Miku also has a built-in sound machine — you can play white noise or lullabies and control them from the app. 

Simple setup requires pressing a physical button to start a new connection, which feels a bit more secure. The Miku also has a built-in crypto security chip and includes features like two-way authentication. 

Like with the Nanit, smart monitors are not a necessity. For some families, tracking breathing  can lead to more worry and distraction. The AAP cautions parents that breathing monitors have not been studied for reducing SIDs. But, for families that want that extra tracking, the Miku offers those added features without the need to attach anything to the baby. 

The best budget video baby monitor

VTech RM5754 video baby monitor camera and parent unit positioned on a dresser
VTech’s RM5754 video baby monitor includes a parent unit and Wi-Fi tracking

The VTech RM5754 video monitor proves you don’t need to spend a lot to keep an eye on the baby, from anywhere.

Pros: Parent unit and Wi-Fi app, affordable, movement alerts

Cons: Lower night-camera quality, buggy app

The VTech RM5754 is a good monitor for those on a budget. It is unique because it’s a standalone monitor that also offers app access via Wi-Fi and VOX so you don’t have to listen to annoying background noise. The parent unit is the most convenient way to monitor, but the app allows you to watch the baby from anywhere.

The camera has a higher 1080p resolution and the parent unit a large 5-inch screen. The 100-degree wide-angle lens means you can see much of the nursery, but it doesn’t provide the close-up detail of some of the other monitors. While the night vision camera is low quality, it’s enough to see.

Audio isn’t the greatest. There were some audible static noises from both the parent unit and the app, but turning on VOX — my favorite feature — meant I only heard the static when there were loud noises in the room. The feature wasn’t explained in the user manual and is hiding in the menu, so it takes some tinkering to set up.

The VTech monitor also provides movement alerts, something uncommon with standalone monitors. From the parent unit, you can play white noise or lullabies through the monitor and turn on the night-light.

The app performance is inconsistent — it kept crashing on my iPhone 7, but ran much smoother after I updated my phone. The static is worse on the app and VOX isn’t available on a mobile device.

While I preferred the Vava’s better picture quality and sound, the VTech costs less and includes app access and VOX. This makes it a decent option for caregivers on a limited budget or families who can’t decide between a standalone camera and a Wi-Fi enabled one.

Our testing methodology

I tested nine video baby monitors over the course of several months with my now 1-year-old. The top picks were tested for at least one month. During that time, I evaluated the following features.

  • Audio quality: Parents will listen for a baby’s cries more often than watching the video screen, which means audio quality is still a major consideration. I listened for annoyances like static and white noise, as well as how sensitive the microphone was to both soft sounds and loud noises.
  • Video quality: Baby monitors don’t need cinematic 4K, but I looked for footage that was detailed enough to tell if the baby’s eyes were open or closed. Ultimately, I wanted a monitor that would cover the entire crib while still showing enough detail to see if the baby is awake or simply rolling over in their sleep.
  • Smart monitoring: For smart monitors, I also used the breathing tracking and sleep tracking. Thankfully, I never experienced what happens when a baby stops breathing. I did, however, research what I could into how the alarms work (including this Nanit and Miku comparison from Dad Verb using a robotic baby). I also noted any false alarms and eliminated options that caused more worry than it prevented. As noted throughout this guide, APA does not endorse breathing monitors for infants. Studies have not shown whether or not the devices have any effect on reducing SIDs.
  • Connectivity, battery life, and overall usability: Throughout my testing, I noted any app crashes and difficult setups. For Wi-Fi based monitors, I noted the battery life and range of the parent unit, including taking the unit outside. For smart monitors, I considered how simple the app was to use and whether or not the extra smart features were actually helpful.

What else we considered

Cubo A.I. Baby Monitor positioned over a baby in a crib
The Cubo A.I. uses facial recognition to monitor waking babies and rollovers

  • Levana Mila: The Mila would be one of my top picks, except it’s not available yet. Originally expected out in June 2020, its release is now delayed indefinitely. I was impressed by its mode that turns the screen and audio off when no noise is detected in the room, which preserves battery life. The same mode also works with two cameras to display footage from the room when noise is detected.
  • Pampers Lumi: In addition to monitoring sleep, the Lumi uses a sensor on the baby’s diaper to track wet diapers, though it’s not recommended to wake a baby just to change a diaper. It simply wasn’t the best because anytime the sensor stops moving, the Lumi labels it a nap. The camera’s wide-angle fish-eye lens makes it difficult to see details, and audio is inconsistent across devices — on my iPhone, it generated constant white noise, but the iPad app didn’t have that issue.
  • Angel Care 3-in-1 AC337: This unique standalone monitor uses a sensor placed under the mattress to monitor breathing. To make sure an alarm is heard even if the parent unit has a dead battery, the alarm also sounds in the nursery so false alarms could wake the baby. I got a few false alarms and stopped using the breathing pad because I was worried about waking the baby up with those false alarms. The camera lens also isn’t a wide enough angle.
  • Cubo A.I. Baby Monitor: The Cubo uses facial recognition to alert you if the baby’s face is covered by a blanket or if the baby rolled over, while “detection zones” alert you if the baby enters a preset area. While this feature worked great, when I followed safe sleep tips, I just got notifications for rolling over and placing a hand over his face. The Cubo did have one feature I wish the other smart monitors had — push notifications are a chirping sound instead of the default, which means you know it’s a baby monitor alert and not an alert from any other app.
  • Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo: Unlike the Miku and Nanit, the Owlet Smart Sock tracks oxygen levels and heart rate — neither of which are recommended by the AAP. It doesn’t, however, track sleep data or send push notifications when noise or movement is detected. The smart sock is difficult to put on, and I don’t like placing electronics directly on my baby’s skin. I also had to try three different socks before getting one to work properly, suggesting some quality control issues. But, for what it’s worth, excellent customer service.

Standalone vs. smart baby monitors

Video baby monitors used to be simply a camera that allowed you to see and hear your baby, but the tech now falls into two major categories.

Stand-alone baby monitors are the traditional monitors that come with everything you need in the box. These monitors have both a camera and a parent unit with a screen that displays video.

Smart baby monitors come with only a camera; the rest is done via an app on a smartphone or tablet, connected via Wi-Fi. Because these app-based baby monitors are essentially running on a mini-computer (the smartphone), this type can include a lot of features that standalone monitors lack. Smart monitors can track sleep patterns, send push notifications for sound and movement, and some even track breathing. 

With the Wi-Fi connection, smart monitors are never “out of range” like a traditional monitor. That means you can check in on the baby while you are out and the baby is with another caregiver, or you can work outside in a big yard and still use the monitor. 

The downside is that these monitors rely on an internet connection. If your home internet is slow, the video will lag behind and occasionally freeze up, and when the internet is out, so is the baby monitor. App-based monitors can also fail if the app freezes. If that happens overnight, parents could potentially miss baby’s cries. Smart monitors will also drain your smartphone battery faster and granting access to the app to a babysitter can be a hassle.

Safety considerations for smart baby monitors

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not endorse breathing monitors for infants because studies have not shown whether or not the devices have any effect on reducing SIDs. “There are no data that other commercial devices that are designed to monitor infant vital signs reduce the risk of SIDs,” the AAP states. Every smart monitor that I tested came with a legal disclaimer that the monitor is not a medical device for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While we like features like sleep tracking, we don’t recommend buying a smart monitor exclusively for the sleep tracking. It’s unproven and often adds another item to the already too long to-do list.

Dr. Justin Smith, a pediatrician and the medical advisor for digital health at Cook Children’s in Trophy Club, Texas, told Insider Reviews: “There is no evidence that wearing a monitor will prevent or allow a parent to act in order to prevent SIDS. Parents should assess whether using a monitor would give them peace of mind or cause them stress and anxiety. False alarms are common and can lead parents to seek medical care for normal babies.” He emphasized that parents should adhere to safe sleep practices above all.

Dr. Fern Hauck, a family medicine doctor and University of Virginia professor that focuses much of her research on SIDS, echoed similar thoughts. “Some parents may feel more comforted by the home monitor and, at other times, monitors cause distress because of false alarms,” she said. “As a safe sleep expert, the bottom line is that we don’t have evidence that these monitor’s prevent infant death. There may be more evidence in the future.”

While our medical experts stressed that there is no evidence that monitoring breathing at home reduces the risk of SIDs, both pediatricians noted that parents that find more peace of mind from a smart monitor can choose to do so with a few safety guidelines in place. A smart monitor should never be an excuse not to follow safe sleep practices — for example, just because a monitor is watching the baby breathe doesn’t mean it’s okay to load the crib up with loose blankets, bumpers, and stuffed animals. Infants should be placed on their backs on a flat, firm sleep surface with no loose bedding. Hauck also cautions against moving the baby to their own room before the AAP recommended 6 to 12 months, even with a smart monitor.

Parents should also ensure the monitor itself doesn’t pose a hazard. Wearable sensors can also pose a choking hazard if a sensor becomes loose or comes off, according to Smith. “In addition, any sensor with a cord could cause strangulation. Battery-powered devices could cause skin sensitivity or a burn injury if it malfunctions,” he said. Monitors placed over the crib could be safer if the device isn’t able to be pulled into the crib or can’t fall off. 

Because the last thing new parents need is to spend money on a device that will make them more anxious, we quickly eliminated the options that sent a lot of false alarms during testing. The Nanit Plus ended up being my favorite smart monitor because I still loved it even after discontinuing use of the breathing band. It has excellent features worth paying a little more for, like sleep tracking and clear audio and video. Parents, however, shouldn’t feel like they have to spend so much on a monitor to keep the baby safe because there’s no evidence that smart monitors are actually safer.

How does AI Sleep Monitoring work, and is it worth it?

Smart Baby Monitor App

Both the Nanit and Miku monitor the baby’s sleep, offering stats like how long the baby slept and when. The Nanit goes a little bit further and adds sleep tips, delivered once a week based on the infant’s sleep data.

Those tips are developed from a certified infant sleep coach, according to Nanit. The AI determines which tips to send based on the sleep data and the baby’s age, but the tips themselves were written by actual baby sleep experts. Essentially, using Nanit is like having someone tell you which chapters of the baby sleep book to read first for your particular baby.

The tips that Nanit Insights sent during my testing were similar to what I’ve read about establishing healthy sleep habits, such as a consistent bedtime. I shared Nanit’s tips with  Dr. Fern Hauck, professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia, they provided reasonable advice about establishing sleep patterns. 

You can find similar tips in a $15 baby book without spending $300 on a baby monitor. But, if you need to buy a monitor and prefer one that is Wi-Fi-based, having sleep tips tailored to your baby’s age and sleep habits is a nice extra. Don’t impulse buy the Nanit Plus at 2 a.m. while holding a wide-awake baby out of desperation, though. 

Baby monitor security

Wi-Fi enabled monitors have another downfall: As with any Internet of Things (IoT) device, they are susceptible to hacking.

According to Deral Heiland, the IoT research lead for cybersecurity management company Rapid7, there’s no actual internet connection to hack into with a stand-alone monitor, and any hacker would have to be within range of the camera. Radio monitors don’t have the same encryption measures, but a hacker would still need to be within a few hundred feet of the monitor.

Wi-Fi based monitors have more risks, but they can be mitigated through a few best security practices, Heiland told Insider Reviews.

“Just like any camera-based technology, there’s some risk, but there are ways to mitigate that risk,” he said. “Most of the risk on camera-based technology is password reuse. Don’t reuse passwords. Don’t use the baby’s name, a phone number, or a home address, or anything that people can easily guess. Create a complex password that is not used on other accounts.”

If you choose a smart monitor, Heiland recommends looking for one that offers two-factor authentication, which requires a code to be sent to your phone anytime a new device tries to log in. The home Wi-Fi network should also have a hard-to-guess password that’s a series of random letters and numbers rather than a known phrase.

Brand matters, too. A well-known brand will quickly patch up any vulnerabilities to maintain its brand reputation. Off-label brands sometimes have known vulnerabilities that are never patched. 

But a total lack of vulnerabilities isn’t necessarily a good sign. All technology has vulnerabilities, Heiland said, so with any IoT device, choose a company that has patched security issues before and provides a place to report them.

Unlike hacking into credit card data, there’s no monetary gain to hacking a baby monitor (unless your monitor has a paid subscription) — the outcome is just shock and fear. While you can find stories dotting the internet about baby monitors being hacked, Heiland said that in almost every case, it was a simple target of opportunity with a weak or default password.

Read the original article on Business Insider

47 gift ideas to make new dads feel appreciated this Father’s Day

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

gifts for new dad
  • Father’s Day is the perfect time to show a new dad you care with a unique and useful gift.
  • These gifts ideas for new dads will give them time to unwind and more time with their new baby.
  • For more gift ideas for everyone in your life, check out all of Insider Reviews gift guides.

Being a dad is tough, but for a new dad, it can be even harder. It’s like the first day of a job that they know nothing about. From midnight feedings to car-seat installation, new dads can feel overwhelmed and forget to come up for air, so this Father’s Day couldn’t be a better time to send in some support.

We rounded up thoughtful 47 gift ideas for new dads, ranging from a mug that keeps coffee warm long enough for him to finish it to a duffel bag that will get lots of use on upcoming family road trips.

Here are 47 of the best gifts for new dads:

A portable speaker

JBL Clip 3 Portable Speaker on backpack

JBL Clip 3 Portable Speaker, available at Amazon and Walmart, $49.95

The JBL Clip 3 is the ultimate bluetooth speaker for new dads because it comes in a variety of colors, has an integrated carabiner to clip onto a stroller, car seat, or backpack, and most importantly, it is totally waterproof. Just pair the speaker with a smartphone and let dad relax with no worries of their phone getting lost while blasting “Baby Shark” for the hundredth time.

A convenient sling bag

person wearing moment fanny sling bag cross body

Moment Fanny Sling, available at Moment and B&H Photo, from $53.99

Moment is known for making smartphone-oriented products, but within the past few years, the brand has moved into mobile lifestyle, and if anyone is living that, it’s the new dad. This sling can hold a wallet, keys, phone, camera, snack bar, and other necessities.  It’s perfect for running errands or a day traipsing around a theme park. It is made of Kodra nylon with a waterproof coating, which means it’s easy to clean.

A smart coffee warmer

two ember 2 coffee mugs

Ember Mug², available at Target, Best Buy, Overstock, and Bloomingdale’s, from $99.95

Hot sauce

bottle of bushwick kitchen spicy honey

Bushwick Kitchen Bees Knees Spicy Honey, available at Amazon, $14.99

New dads don’t have time to be in the kitchen preparing gourmet meals with made-from-scratch sauces. Bushwick Kitchen brings to the table some sweet and spicy options like a wildflower honey mixed with habanero peppers or sweet options like Meyer lemon honey. Dad will be taking breakfast to the next level in no time at all.

A duffel bag

Blue Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel

Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel 40L, available at Amazon and Eagle Creek, from $51.94

A duffel bag is a versatile gift because it can hold whatever dad wants. It could be a diaper bag, workout bag, or carry-on, and this duffel has packable backpack straps for hands-free carrying. It’s water-repellent, thanks to sustainable use of old windshield plastics from landfills, and it compresses down nearly flat for easy storage.

A waterproof tote bag

veer tote

 Gift the Veer Tote, available at Adventureon, $89

New dad life can be chaotic and frustrating, which is why the Veer Tote makes a great gift. Not only does it have padded handles and an interior water-resistant zip compartment, but the entire bag is made of coated waterproof fabric. That means dads can get it as dirty as they want and simply hose it down to make it good as new.

Comfortable running socks

darn tough running socks

Gift the Darn Tough Stride Micro Crew Ultra-Light Running Sock, available at Amazon and Darn Tough, $18.95

For many new dads, some form of exercise is crucial to maintaining mental health, but they can’t afford to get sore feet, or worse, blisters. This Stride running sock is made from merino wool for quick moisture wicking, provides arch support to reduce fatigue, and has seamless stitching to to prevent blisters and chaffing. Another plus is Darn Tough’s no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee. If dad starts having problems with the socks, just send them back and they’ll send a new pair.

Polarized sunglasses

sunski puerto polarized sun glasses

Gift the Sunski Puerto polarized sunglasses, available at REI and Sunski, $48

Some dads worry when they welcome a child into the world, their style will cease. Thankfully, a new pair of shades is a quick way to shake up the routine. These sunglasses come in navy slate or black forest, are made from lightweight recycled material, and feature polarized lenses that eliminate glare and are easier on their eyes. Bonus, Sunski offers a warranty that if the glasses break under normal conditions, they will replace them or fix them.

Comfortable slide sandals

hunter slide sandals

Gift the Hunter Original Lightweight Moulded Slides, available at Hunter Boot and Nordstrom,  $45.00

Summertime is sandal time. Hunter’s EVA slides fit the bill for easy, lightweight, and durable footwear. The perforated uppers and contoured footbed keep dad’s feet cool and comfortable and you can’t beat the ease of simply sliding them on and off for the pool, errands, or even around the house. Unlike dad’s new shirt that just got some baby spit-up on it, these sandals simply wipe clean and good to go. 

A compact flashlight

coast hx 4 flashlight

Gift the HX-4 LED Flashlight, available at Amazon and Coast, from $14.99

Fumbling for diapers in the middle of the night, remembering to take the trash out at 2 a.m., or looking for that tiny clip from baby’s teething toy that fell between the seats in the car — these are all reasons to have a great flashlight. This one is small, has a clip and a magnet to attach the light nearly anywhere, features a powerful LED in either white or red light, and can be rotated 180 degrees to make sure it’s exactly where dad needs it.

A travel mug for coffee time

gift for new dad: travel mug for coffee

Gift the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug, available at Stanley and Bed Bath & Beyond, from $15

New dads rarely have both hands free, so eliminating the need to twist, pop, flip, or open their coffee container makes life so much easier. They can simply add their coffee, screw on the top, and pull the trigger to open up the world of caffeine goodness.

Comfortable shoes that slip on

slip-on shoes for new dads

Vasque Satoru Moc, available at Backcountry and Vasque, $99.99 

As any parent will tell you, getting out the door is rough. And getting your shoes on can be downright annoying when you’re holding the baby, diaper bag, keys, and much, much more. Thankfully, footwear brand Vasque has a new dad’s back…or their feet. The sock-like upper and memory foam footbed means they’ll probably just wear them all day, but the easy on and off makes them infinitely versatile.

A portable white noise machine

new dad gift: white noise machine for baby

Marpac Portable White Noise Machine, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $28.54

The compact Marpac produces impressive volume, has a variety of white noise options, and offers a small nightlight. It also comes with a clip for connecting to the stroller for a walk (remember the outside?), in the car for an errand, or on the carrier as they bounce baby to sleep.

Instant pourover coffee

coffee gift for new dad

Kahawa 1893 Coffee Box, available at Kahawa 1893, from a 12-pack for $18

Restless nights and uncertain mornings may have dad missing their morning pourover coffee ritual. Turns out they can still have that rich flavor thanks to third-generation Kenyan coffee farmer Margaret Kemunto Nyamumbo. Kahawa has created a single serve coffee that looks more like a tea bag, is ready in five minutes, and 100% compostable. Bonus: You can send a tip directly to the women who picked the coffee.

A fitness app with extras

fitness gift for new dad

Centr Fitness App Subscription, available at Centr, from $20/month or $120/year

Built by Thor and his legion of trainers, Centr is a one-stop-shop for workouts ranging from yoga to full gym routines as well as guided meditation and delicious meal recipes. The app includes short, effective workouts that are perfect for that new dad schedule and the guided mediation will slow dad’s anxiety.

A wireless charging station

nomad base station

Nomad Base Station, available Nomad, $99.95

If the secret to success as a new parent is organization, the Nomad’s beautiful wireless charger fits the bill. It’s slim, sleek, and able to power two devices simultaneously while also allowing for a USB-C and USB-A cord to be plugged in for a total of four devices at once. Mom and dad’s phones, AirPods, and the portable white noise machine will all be full and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

A device to keep track of everything

tile essentials

Tile Essentials 4-Pack, available at Amazon, $65.70

This grab bag of Tile options lets new parents rely on technology instead of their overtaxed brains. New dads can attach tiles to their keys, diaper bag, and wallet in order to make sure those items never stay lost for too long. And if they have their keys but not their phone, they can double tap the tile to make it ring. 

One tool for almost every job

leatherman wingman tool

Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool, available at REI, $59.95

There’s something about being a dad that really brings out their inner handyman. The Leatherman Wingman is loaded with 14 tools, including a knife, screwdrivers, bottle openers, and even a 1-inch ruler, so they can fix just about anything and pop open a cold one when they’re done.

Comfortable underwear

saxx quest underwear

Saxx Quest Boxer Briefs, available at Amazon, from $39.99

The right underwear makes everything go so much smoother. The lightweight material is soft and breathable, and the patented BallPark Pouch keeps everything in place, whether they’re getting up for an early morning feeding or pushing a stroller around the park on a hot summer day.

A hammock

newdora camping hammock

Newdora Garden Hammock, available at Amazon, $16.99

Stealing away for a midafternoon nap in a hammock is an incredible way for a new dad to take a break from diaper changes. The Newdora Garden Hammock is easy to set up, adjustable, and packs down small enough to take anywhere.

A diaper backpack

Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack

Bag Nation Backpack Diaper Bag, available at Amazon, $54.95

Made with the same look of a commuter bag, this 14-pocket backpack is durable and carries all the essentials, from diapers to bottles and everything in between. There’s even a foldout changing pad.

A new set of sheets for parents and baby

new dad fathers day gifts 3

Gift the Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set, from $109

Brooklittles Crib Sheet Set, available at Brooklinen, from $32

Sleep, when it does happen for both dad and baby, is so much better on a set of soft sheets that make them feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud. These are great for delicate skin and hot sleepers, too, and they come in a variety of colors and prints.

A comfortable pillow

Coop Home Goods body pillow

 Coop Home Goods Original Pillow, available at Amazon, $59.99

A comfy pillow might be the most important ingredient for a restful night. The adjustable fill on the Coop pillow means it works for every kind of sleeper, and a 100-night trial means they’re not stuck with it if they don’t like it.

Stroller phone mount

skip hop universal phone mount

Skip Hop Stroll and Connect Universal Phone Holder, available at Buy Buy Baby, $14.99

Made with tough plastic and rubber grips, the Stroll and Connect mounts easily to a stroller or shopping cart and won’t fall off in crowded aisles or on bumpy terrain. It lets a parent keep their hands free in case they need to use the phone on the go.

A quick hang

metolius project board

Metolius Project Board, available at Backcountry, $64.95

With a variety of holds, from jugs to crimps to pockets, the Metolius Project Board is great for releasing tension with a quick upper body workout. It can go just about anywhere inside or outside, and the fine texture is easy on the skin.

A funny book about fatherhood

Man vs. Baby  The Chaos and Comedy of Real Life Parenting

Man vs. Baby: The Chaos and Comedy of Real-Life Parenting, available at Amazon, $16.49

Nothing will fully prepare him for the chaos and confusion of being a new dad. However, Matt Coyne’s sleep-deprived take on parenting will give him a hilarious and honest reassurance that he’s doing alright, no matter how stressful it seems.

A shaving kit

Harry's

 Harry’s Truman Shave Set, available at Harry’s, $15

This essential shave set includes a razor with a comfortable handle and textured rubber grip, three German-engineered blade cartridges, foaming shave gel for a rich lather, and a travel cover to protect the blades.

A cold brew maker

Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, One Quart, Black

Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $21.84

Dad will love a cup of cold brew coffee, with less acidity and a smoother taste, when they need a pick-me-up after sneaking in an afternoon nap. The Takeya Deluxe makes up to 1 quart of concentrate. Plus, it’s easy to use and an incredible value. 

An Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo 6qt 7 in 1 Pressure Cooker, $99.99

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 (6-Ot.), available at Amazon, $89

The Instant Pot makes cooking dinner for the whole family a breeze. It makes soups, meats, yogurt, and pretty much everything else, even baby food. Easy cleanup means more time to spend with the little one too.

A meat or seafood box

crowd cow 4

Crowd Cow Gift Box, available at Crowd Cow, from $39

Give a new dad something delicious to cook with a gift box of meat or seafood that’s sourced from independent producers that practice sustainable farming and ethical treatment of animals.

Single-origin coffee beans

COLECTIVO Sumatra Highlands Hero

Colectivo Coffee—Sumatra, available at Colectivo, from $14.25

If they’re a coffee fanatic, they’ll love a bag of single-origin beans. Grown in the volcanic soil in the rugged mountains of the Indonesian island Sumatra, this rich, complex blend has notes of molasses and pineapple. And for those mornings where there’s no time to hassle with a French press, don’t overlook instant coffees, which have caught up in quality to the whole bean version.

Super soft lounge pants

tommy john loungers

Tommy John Second Skin Lounge Pants, available at Tommy John, $68

New dads will love a pair of comfortable pants for sleeping or lounging around the house that won’t embarrass them when the in-laws show up announced. These soft, light micromodal pants from Tommy John are perfect, and they hold up nicely wash after wash.

A play kit of curated toys

new dad fathers day gifts 7

Play Kit Subscription, available at Lovevery, from $36/month

Make those long hours playing on the floor count with a subscription to Lovevery curated age-appropriate toy kits. Delivered every two months, each one includes guides that show how each toy helps with a child’s development. They’re also a lot of fun.

A pair of chinos

bonobos

Bonobos Chinos, available Bonobos, from $99

Unfortunately, a new dad can’t wear lounge pants all the time. But just because they’re leaving the house for a bit, doesn’t mean they’ve got to sacrifice comfort. Bonobos chinos come in multiple fits and sizes, and the signature curved waistband give them an unobtrusive fit that makes them great for the office, a trip to the store, or a playdate in the park. 

An interactive photo journal

artifact uprising baby book

“The Story of You” Baby Book, available at Artifact Uprising, $99

A phone full of pictures and videos is great, but they’ll want something to capture and hold onto the most special moments. This photo book, featuring a fabric cover and foil stamped title, lets him write down his memories and the details of each milestone.

A lightweight button-up for a put-together look

tie bar short sleeve shirt

Tie Bar Short-Sleeve Shirt, available at Tie Bar, from $27.95

It’s nice for dad to feel put-together sometimes. The light, 100% cotton button-ups from Tie Bar are perfect for a rare night out or day at the office.

A shaving set

dollar shave club

Dollar Shave Club Complete Shave Gift Set, available at Dollar Shave Club, $35

This set comes with a razor handle and four four-blade cartridges that make for a great shave for when dad needs to clean up a little. It also includes a gentle prep scrub, shave butter, and hydrating post-shave cream.

A durable water bottle

Hydro_flask_lifestyle

Hydro Flask Wide Mount Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, $37.95

When life gets as hectic as it does for new fathers, it’s easy to forget to drink water. This durable insulated metal bottle keeps water cold and within arm’s reach.

A basketball jersey for baby

nba jersey

NBA Baby Jersey, available at NBA Store, from $29.99

It’s going to be a while before baby gets into it, but it’s still a lot of fun for a new dad to watch the game with his progeny decked out in their very own jersey.

An adjustable baby carrier

Omni_Baby_carrier

Ergobaby Omni 360 All-in-One Carrier, available at Buy Buy Baby and Ergobaby, $179

Whether you’re running errands or spending a day in the park, a good baby carrier makes it so much easier. Made with 100% premium cotton, the Ergobaby Omni 360 is super soft and easily adjustable to fit waists and shoulders of all sizes. It works in multiple positions, too, front or back, face-in or face-out. 

A foam roller

TriggerPoint_foam_roller

TriggerPoint GRID foam roller, available at Amazon, $39.95

Knots and tight muscles go hand in hand with parenting. He’ll appreciate the textured surface pattern of this foam roller to roll away the aches and pains of being a new parent.

A tool kit

CARTMAN Orange 39 Piece Tool Set

Cartman General Household 39-piece toolkit, available at Amazon, $19.99

There’s just something about being a dad that turns everyone into an overnight handy man. This tool kit includes all the basics he’ll need for assembling or repairing all that new gear in the nursery and beyond.

A soft cooler

Clevermade_cooler

CleverMade SnapBasket Soft-Sided Cooler Tote, available at Amazon, $34.78

Dad is going to need a good cooler for bringing food home from the store or packing up milk and baby food for a road trip to see the grandparents. This one has a 50-can capacity, but it still folds up small enough to stash under the seat when they don’t need it.

A delicious baby blanket

tortilla

Tortilla Baby Blanket, available at Uncommon Goods, $48

This blanket is made of breathable cotton/polyester blend fabric that will keep baby comfortable and cool. And the flour tortilla print that makes them look like a bundle of burrito joy is impossibly adorable.

A custom print of baby’s footprints

baby footprints personalized art

Baby Footprint Art Print, available at Etsy, from $18

It’s always hard to believe how little they used to be. This is an attractive, thoughtful piece that fits nicely anywhere in the home.

A smart speaker for baby’s room

echo dot

Echo Dot, available at Amazon, $44.99

A smart speaker is a nice addition to baby’s room. It can play lullabies or classical music at bedtime, or dad can use it to listen to the game while they’re playing with toys. 

An REI membership

REI Membership

REI Co-op Membership, available at REI, $20

Getting active and outdoors is great for kids, and something a new dad can do right from the start. With an REI membership, they’ll get annual dividends, exclusive offers, and more to get the gear they and their family will want. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best baby bibs in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Baby bibs often aren’t given much thought, but a quality one will make feeding your baby easier.
  • We surveyed parents and spoke to a pediatrician and a feeding expert to narrow down baby bibs to test.
  • These are the best baby bibs we tried with a 1-year-old, including silicone, cotton, and bandana bibs.

Let’s state the obvious – feeding babies can get real messy. If ensuring they eat a well-balanced meal isn’t enough, you also have to make sure fruit and yogurt don’t spill all over your kitchen floor. Luckily, a quality baby bib will make life much easier.

For this guide, I put 11 baby bibs to the test with my 1-year-old niece, Julianna Grace. Between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I tried a variety of bib styles with her, from bandana and cotton designs to silicone and apron-style bibs.

I also surveyed 20 parents and caregivers, all of whom said they look for a bib that’s easy to clean. More than 40% said the biggest issues they run into are bibs not staying in place, irritating the baby’s neck, and not catching foods and liquids well. I kept this in mind while testing and choosing the top picks for this guide.

While testing, I took notes on how comfortable each bib was, how effective the design was at picking up food, and how it held up in the wash. You’d be surprised at how many bibs didn’t make the cut – and how impressive the top five were during feeding time in the high chair.

I also also spoke with Judy Delaware – an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and certified lactation counselor – for more information on bibs and best feeding practices. Dr. Sarah Fleet, attending physician at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, also provided her expertise in our FAQs section.

Here are the best baby bibs in 2021

The best baby bib overall

Toddler wearing pink babybjorn bib

The Babybjorn Baby Bib has a convenient bottom pouch to catch food and spills and only requires a wipe to clean.

Pros: Keeps food from falling to the floor, adjustable neckband, easy to clean, BPA-free, made of food-safe plastic, quick to dry

Cons: Hand-wash only

Before I tested these bibs on my niece, my sister mentioned she swears by bibs with a catch pocket at the bottom to prevent messes. Though convenient, I didn’t think it was a necessity — until I tried out the Babybjorn Baby Bib.

It really does catch everything and also makes it easy to assess how much the baby is eating per meal. It was also one of the most comfortable bibs, thanks to the lightweight, thin beaded neckline that’s adjustable and prevents irritation to the baby’s neck.

The Babybjorn bib is made of durable, nonflexible silicone that doesn’t stick to the baby’s clothes like less-structured bibs. Julianna ate a chicken meatball, grilled zucchini, and roasted sweet potatoes for dinner while wearing the Babybjorn, and after removing some leftover food in the pouch, all it took was a wipe to clean. 

The best cotton bib

Toddler wearing nuby teething bib

The Nuby Reversible 100% Natural Cotton Teething Bib is perfect for all stages, particularly for its comfort, ease of cleaning, and unique teething tip for the baby to chew on before or after feeding.

Pros: Textured tip is great for teething, super soft, BPA-free, reversible, made of natural fibers

Cons: Doesn’t capture all food and spills

Julianna is in the notoriously brutal teething stage, which means she chews on just about anything to soothe her gums as baby teeth are erupting. When I discovered that Nuby makes a teething bib, I was intrigued.

The textured tip at the bib’s end is what sets it apart from other bibs, but it’s not the only feature that makes Nuby a standout. The material is extremely comfortable and the bib is the ideal size for feeding time. The reversible designs are also a nice touch.

Julianna ate her favorite chicken meatball again, with sauteed mushrooms, and though the bib didn’t catch every bit of leftover food, there wasn’t an unbearable mess. The best part: After feeding, I could toss it in the washing machine and dryer for a quick tumble.

The best bandana bib

Toddler wearing Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib

The Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib is the most effective bandana style we tested, thanks to its wide, catch-all design.

Pros: Didn’t bunch up around the neck, comes in many unique patterns, wide design protects from spills, soft and comfortable, adjustable snaps at the neckline, easy to clean

Cons: None

After testing a few bandana bibs, the Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib proved the most practical because it laid flat on the baby to prevent spills, instead of bunching up around the neckline.

The designs are beyond cute (and though style is subjective, there’s a pattern for every taste). Copper Pearl is made of 100% absorbent cotton on the front and 100% polyester fleece on the back, so it’s plush and comfortable to wear. 

Julianna ate French toast, bananas, and strawberries for breakfast, and the bib was impressive at absorbing drool and preventing spills. After feeding, a quick tumble in the washing machine and dryer made it ready for the baby’s next meal.

The best apron-style bib

Toddler wearing panda ear short sleeve bib

The Panda Ear Short Sleeve Bib has an adjustable tie back, covers the baby’s shoulders to prevent spills, and the repel-tex material absorbs any small residue.

Pros: Short-sleeve design provides more coverage, great at absorbing drool, BPA-free, easy to clean, comfortable

Cons: May be too large for babies younger than 12 months, though the tie-back is adjustable; didn’t capture all food and spills

Apron-style bibs are great because they’re more like a smock rather than a chest covering. The Panda Ear Bib made the cut because of its short-sleeve design, which effectively covered the baby’s shoulders during mealtime.

Though the repel-tex material is super absorbent and easy to clean in the washing machine after meals, some of Julianna’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich slid off into the high chair seat. This wasn’t a dealbreaker, however, given the bib provides more coverage than others we tested. 

Panda Ear makes fun patterns, too, and the tie-back feature was comfortable, caused no irritation, and enabled Julianna to enjoy her meal with a more precise fit. The bib runs a bit large, so I wouldn’t recommend ordering if your baby is less than 12 months old.

The best value bib

Toddler wearing green sprouts bib

For less than $20, you can purchase 10 comfy Green Sprouts Stay-Dry Infant Bibs with an oval design, perfect for preventing food from sliding off. 

Pros: Food and spills remained on the bib, oval design covers some of the baby’s shoulders, easy to clean, 10-pack is great for multiple uses per day

Cons: Material isn’t as soft as others, but is still effective for feeding

The Green Sprouts Stay-Dry Infant Bibs are smaller than most, but have a unique oval design that acts as a shield on the baby’s shoulders to prevent spills. After Julianna ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, strawberries, and formula, most of the food bits remained on the bib’s surface, so the post-feeding cleanup was a breeze.

In our survey of parents and caregivers, nearly 40% of respondents said they use three bibs per day, with just over 10% using double that amount. That said, this 10-pack of quality bibs is an excellent value for those who just want something that will easily slip on.

Though I found the material not as soft as others, the bibs got the feeding job done without irritating my niece’s neck. When finished, the Green Sprouts bibs can be tossed in the washing machine and dryer.

Our methodology

Collection of baby bibs

In order to narrow down what types of bibs to test for this guide, we surveyed 20 parents and caregivers to better understand their baby bib preferences. Here’s an overview of the results:

  • 85% of respondents care for babies between 4 and 11 months of age.
  • 100% of respondents look for a baby bib that’s easy to clean, with durability being a close second.
  • Most parents and caregivers use three baby bibs per day and wash them daily.

What’s more, silicone baby bibs are the most popular type. Multipacks were overwhelmingly preferred, with 90% of respondents purchasing baby bibs in a two-pack or more, rather than a single bib.

When asked what issues parents and caregivers run into with baby bibs, the three most common problems include the bib not staying in place, irritation to the baby’s neck, and the bib not catching foods and liquids well.

With our survey results in mind, we tested each bib according to the following criteria:

  • How it held up while feeding: This includes how much of a mess was left over after feeding, how effective the bib was at absorbing drool and catching food, and the overall design of the bib.
  • How comfortable it was: This includes if the bib caused any irritation and the softness and durability of the material.
  • How simple it was to clean: While most bibs were washing-machine safe, we paid special attention to those that weren’t and how simple they were to clean when using a different method.

What else we considered

Toddler wearing loulou lollipop bib

Below are the bibs we tested that didn’t quite make the cut:

FAQs about baby bibs and best feeding practices

We spoke to Feeding Littles cofounder Judy Delaware, OTR/L, CLC — an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and certified lactation counselor — and Dr. Sarah Fleet, attending physician at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Both provided their expertise to answer commonly asked questions about what to look for in a baby bib and what to know while feeding.

What should a caregiver look for in a baby bib?

“I would recommend something easy to clean, comfortable to wear, and long enough to protect the clothes underneath,” said Fleet.”Being dishwasher or machine washable would also be useful.”

It’s great for a baby bib to tie around the baby’s body and not the neck for both safety and comfort, added Delaware. She also appreciates quick-dry fabrics and waterproof designs. Keep in mind that choosing a baby bib remains entirely up to preference, however.


What should I know about cotton and bandana bibs?

“The bandana-style bib is typically made from cotton and, in my experience, these bibs are used for both feeding and drooling but don’t hold up to the wetness that can occur during these activities,” Delaware said. “This bib can feel soft to the touch, but many caregivers quickly find the bib and clothing may have to be changed.”


What should I know about silicone bibs?

 “The silicone bib is a caregiver favorite, but the front pocket may act as a place to pour or store things,” said Delaware. “The adjustable snaps may be irritating to tiny necks and many kids find silicone irritating to their skin.”


What should I know about repel-tex bibs?

“Repeltex is water-repellent and prevents the baby’s skin from feeling clammy or irritated,” said Delaware. “Look for a bib that secures around the body and not the neck.”


How often should I wash a baby bib?

Delaware recommends rinsing a bib after each use and running it through the washing machine one to three times a week. Fleet agrees, adding that food and saliva can become embedded on the bib’s surface and attract bacteria and pests.


What are safe feeding practices for babies?

“Each baby is unique in their skill development, and needs to be introduced to foods when they are developmentally ready,” said Fleet. “Solid foods should be introduced to an infant when they can sit unsupported in a high chair, with good head control, and are showing interest in solid foods.”


 How can I encourage mealtime if a baby is fussy?

 “Mealtime should ideally be free of distraction or screens and children should sit in a high chair or at the table,” said Fleet. “They should be allowed to feed themselves, and should not be fed against their will, as babies and toddlers generally eat when they are hungry and stop when they’re full.” Force-feeding may make them resistant to eat in the future, she added.

Fleet also recommends adding spices and flavors to infant and toddler foods. Toward the end of infancy, they may start refusing bland purees and prefer blended family meals, as they are more flavorful.


What should a baby’s diet contain for each life stage?

Below, Fleet provided a sample diet, unique to each month grouping. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician about any specific concerns.

  • 0 to 4 months: Only breastmilk or formula should be given.
  • 4 to 6 months: Single food purees can be given once daily along with breastmilk or formula.
  • 9 to 12 months: Beyond 6 months of age, breastmilk and formula don’t contain enough iron, so solid foods are recommended more than once daily. The baby can try dissolvable solids, like puffs and veggie straws.
  • 12 months and up: Three meals of solid foods and two snacks are encouraged, including puree, soft foods, or dissolvable solids. Bottles can be offered as snacks between meals.
Read the original article on Business Insider

32 companies that give back all year long – not just around the holidays

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

companies that give back cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation.

  • Giving back is woven into the business and operations of these 32 companies.
  • If you shop from the following brands, you’re also supporting several charitable initiatives.
  • Need more gift ideas? Check out our ultimate gift guide.

Aside from volunteering with or sending direct donations to nonprofits that make our world a better place, one way you can do your part throughout the year is to support businesses that give back. During these tumultuous times, giving back to those in need has never felt more urgent and necessary.

If you’re gifting your loved ones, it’ll only benefit more parties if you buy from companies with a social and environmental conscience.

When you buy a gift from these 32 companies, you’re also helping to plant a tree, improve livelihoods in underserved areas, save an animal, and more.

Shop at these 32 brands that give back all year long:

TOMS

TOMS slippers

Shop gifts from TOMS

Popular shoe brand TOMS has expanded from its original shoe design and is now offering sneakers, sandals, heels, and even slippers. Philanthropy remains important to the brand, which continues to commit 1/3 of its profits to supporting various grassroots efforts.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Thinx

Thinx leggings

Shop gifts from Thinx

Thinx offers a wide collection of absorbent underwear and apparel and donates a portion of its profits to support puberty and reproduction education and grassroots activism.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold  coffee

Shop gifts from Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold, a newly certified B-corporation, prides itself on prioritizing giving back as much as making a profit. The company donates 5% of its profits to supporting at-risk youth and works with over ten organizations with various missions to improve the lives of kids across the country.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods can flannel

Shop gifts from Uncommon Goods

Combine unique and fun finds with giving back through Uncommon Goods’ Better to Give program. Not only are you supporting small businesses by shopping with Uncommon Goods, but once you select a Better to Give partner, you’ll also be supporting the causes most important to you. Uncommon Goods currently works with organizations that focus on issues including forest conservation, supporting those whose lives have been impacted by conflict and natural disasters, and more. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Bookshop

The Vanishing Half 1200x900

Shop gifts from Bookshop

Bookshop allows customers to support local bookstores from afar by allowing readers to purchase books directly from their favorite bookstores. If you would like to support a specific bookstore, use Bookshop’s store locator and your pick will receive 100% of the profit from the sale. Bookshop’s mission is to support independent bookstores by connecting them with potential customers. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Everlane

companies that give back everlane

Shop gifts from The 100% Human Collection at Everlane

Everlane donates 10% from every purchase in this collection of tees, sweatshirts, face masks, and tote bags to the ACLU and has raised over $1 million to date. 

Learn more about the initiative on each individual product page in the collection

Bombas

companies that give back bombas

Shop gifts from Bombas

Whether you’d like to gift athletic socks, hiking socks, or dress socks, Bombas has you — and the feet of someone in need — covered. For every pair purchased, it donates a specially-designed pair to a homeless shelter. It has donated more than 43 million pairs to more than 3,000 giving partners in the US. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

STATE Bags

companies that give back state bags

Shop gifts from STATE Bags

When you buy a STATE bag, the company fills another with school supplies and gives it to a local student in need at a “Bag Drop” rally. It also shines a light on issues like mass incarceration, the Flint water crisis, and Black Lives Matter through its #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Leesa

leesa foam

Shop gifts from Leesa

Leesa donates one mattress to a nonprofit for every 10 sold and has donated more than 37,000 mattresses so far. The gift of a better night’s sleep for your recipient (plus someone in need) comes in the form of four different mattresses

Learn more about the initiative here.

AUrate

companies that give back aurate

Shop gifts from AUrate

Fine jewelry startup AUrate finds beauty in honestly priced, ethically sourced gold jewelry — as well as the power of reading. Every year, it donates thousands of books to students in need in the US. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Cotopaxi

companies that give back cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation.

Shop gifts from Cotopaxi

For colorful outdoor and travel gear they’ll be proud to carry, shop at Cotopaxi, the B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. So far, it has awarded 42 grants in six countries. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Cuyana

companies that give back cuyana

Shop gifts from Cuyana

In line with its “Fewer, Better” philosophy, Cuyana encourages shoppers to clean out their closets by providing shipping labels to thredUP. Send in a box of high-quality apparel they no longer need, and they’ll receive a credit to shop at Cuyana. When that credit is spent, Cuyana donates 5% of the profit to H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma). 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Skylar

companies that give back skylar

Shop gifts from Skylar

Skylar is a natural, eco-friendly fragrance company that makes candles and perfume perfect for gifting. It donates a portion of proceeds and time to Step Up, a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship for girls. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Thrive Market

Thrive Market

Shop gift memberships from Thrive Market

Thrive Market, a place to shop natural and organic products for less, offers a one-for-one membership program. That means that every paid membership gives a free one to someone in need, like a low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Parachute

companies that give back parachute

Shop gifts from Parachute

For every Venice percale bedding set sold at Parachute, it donates one malaria-prevention bed net in partnership with the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Alltrue

companies that give back alltrue

Gift a subscription from Alltrue

Alltrue (formerly Causebox) stands out among the bevy of beauty and accessories subscription boxes by only featuring socially conscious products and companies that give back. Its main areas of impact are women’s empowerment, supporting disadvantaged producers, education and skill development, and poverty alleviation. The company itself also helps various charity partners raise funds and awareness. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Wildfang

companies that give back wildfangjpg

Shop gifts from Wildfang

Wildfang, a female-founded and women-run clothing and accessories brand, donates a percentage of profits from full-price goods to a rotating monthly charity. Charities have included Planned Parenthood, Black Girls Code, and Girls Inc.

Learn more about the initiative here.

JUDY

judy emergency kit review

Shop gifts from JUDY

Judy’s bright and expert-informed emergency preparedness kits empower you to get your safety plan in place. It just launched earlier in 2020 but plans on donating 1% of sales annually to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides essential equipment and training to supplement city resources. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Love With Food by SnackNation

companies that give back love with food

Gift a subscription from Love With Food by SnackNation

Better-for-you snack subscription service Love With Food by SnackNation nourishes both stomach and soul by donating at least one meal to a family in need — through Feeding America — for every snack box purchased. Thanks to its subscribers’ healthy appetites for organic and all-natural snacks, it has donated over 1 million meals. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

ThirdLove

companies that give back thirdlove

Shop gifts from ThirdLove

ThirdLove partners with Good360, I Support the Girls, and more organizations to donate its comfortable bras to women in need. It has donated more than $40 million of bras to date, and in the past, it has also donated a bra to a California wildfire victim for every bra purchased. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Warby Parker

companies that give back warby parker

Shop gifts from Warby Parker

If this were like any other year, Warby Parker would distribute a pair of glasses for every pair sold in two different ways. The first helps train adults to administer basic eye exams and sell glasses for affordable prices, while the second gives vision care and glasses to students in need. Its partners include VisionSpring, the Department of Education in New York, and the Department of Health in Baltimore

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Warby Parker is only distributing glasses where where it can safely. In the meantime, it’s providing PPE and preventative health supplies to healthcare workers and communities in need for a portion of glasses purchased.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Allbirds

companies that give back allbirds

Shop gifts from Allbirds

Lightly used shoes from this popular startup known for its use of unique materials are sent to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that donates shoes to people who have been affected by disasters. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

United by Blue

companies that give back united by blue

Shop gifts from United By Blue

The conservation-minded outdoor brand pledges to remove one pound of trash from the planet’s oceans and waterways for every product sold. It has removed more than 3.5 million pounds of trash through organized cleanups, while also using more responsible materials like recycled polyester in its products. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Ethique

companies that give back ethique

Shop gifts from Ethique

Gone are the days of wasteful plastic haircare and skincare bottles. Ethique packs the essential ingredients into a concentrated bar that’s equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo, then donates 20% of profits to conservation, animal welfare, and environmental groups and “adopts” animals to pay for their care. It has worked with over 170 organizations worldwide and has ongoing partnerships with Rainforest Trust and HUHA, among others. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Avocado Mattress

companies that give back avocado mattress

Shop gifts from Avocado Mattress

These eco-friendly mattresses are made from materials like natural latex harvested from sustainable tree-tapped sources and organic cotton. The company donates 1% of revenue to environmental nonprofits like Plastic Oceans International and Big Green

Learn more about the initiative here.

Tatcha

companies that give back tatcha

Shop gifts from Tatcha

Every purchase from this Japanese beauty-inspired brand helps fund girls’ education. Tatcha’s Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Future program with nonprofit Room to Read has funded more than 4.6 million days of school for girls in Asia and Africa.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Patagonia

companies that give back patagonia

Shop gifts from Patagonia

Since 1985, Patagonia has donated $89 million to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups. It also donates to nonprofits through its Employee Charity Match program, invests in socially and environmentally minded companies through its own venture capital fund, and donates new and used clothing. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Yoobi

companies that give back yoobi

Shop gifts from Yoobi

Yoobi partners with the Kids In Need Foundation to donate a school supply to a classroom every time you buy one of its products. We’re fans of its sturdy notebooks and weekly calendar planner pads. So far, it’s donated supplies to more than 4 million students.  

Learn more about the initiative here.

KitNipBox

kitnipbox $74.97, 3 months

Gift a subscription from KitNipBox

Each month, this cat toy and treat subscription service donates a portion of proceeds and products to shelters, rescues, and other feline welfare causes. It supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

BarkBox

companies that give back barkbox

Gift a subscription from BarkBox

BarkBox has thousands of rescue and shelter partners that benefit from each subscription purchased. Be on the lookout for custom codes from your favorite organization. When you use the code, BarkBox donates $25 to that rescue or shelter. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Sand Cloud

companies that give back sand cloud

Shop gifts from Sand Cloud

Anyone who loves spending time at the beach should be more invested in protecting marine life. Sand Cloud, which makes Turkish cotton beach towels, donates 10% of profits to organizations that protect and preserve beaches and oceans. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Natori

companies that give back natori

Shop gifts from Natori

Natori’s giving program is unique in that it’s customizable and gives you the power to support a cause you care about. When you add one of its bras or lounge products to your cart, you can choose the nonprofit org that will receive 1% of your purchase. There’s a whole directory of organizations but some featured ones include The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Equal Justice Initiative

Learn more about the initiative here.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 11 best places to shop for kids clothes in 2021

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • When shopping for kids clothes, consider upcoming growth spurts, seasons, and sales
  • We did the testing to find the best kids clothing stores and brands for kids of all ages and needs.
  • We also rounded up our favorite pieces for the summer, including rompers, shorts, tees, and dresses.
best kids clothing

Both new and seasoned parents know the struggle of buying kids clothing. Whether it’s for a baby’s first birthday or a teen’s school dance, it’s difficult to avoid spending too much on clothes that almost immediately get stained, torn, or outgrown.

Even though I love and work in fashion, my daughter spent most of her first year in hand-me-down onesies. Now that she is approaching her second birthday, I’m itching to dress her in cuter clothes. But it can be daunting to sort through the variety of kids clothing online.

Quality and prices vary widely, and finding the time to navigate a retailer’s website is no easy feat. Add to that kids often-changing preferences and the struggle of finding functional yet on-trend clothing. To help guide you, we’ve looked at many retailers. For each one, we considered the range of styles, sizing inclusivity, quality of materials, and prices.

Here are the best places to shop for kids clothes in 2021

The best baby clothes

Places to buy kids clothing_Janie and Jack

Janie and Jack baby clothes make every day a special occasion with their fun prints and high-quality fabrics.

Janie and Jack’s clothing run true to size, which makes online ordering easy and fast. The brand offers a large selection for infants and a variety of pieces, including bodysuits, sweaters, dresses, and swimsuits, as well as accessories like shoes, hats, socks, and bows.

The colors and fabric look new even after repeated washing, though we do recommend line-drying the garments because cotton can shrink in machine dryers. My daughter lived in her Janie and Jack swimsuits this past summer, and the material did not droop or fade in the sun. 

What we like:

Baby Embroidered Romper (small)Baby Floral Smocked Romper (small)Baby Raglan Lobster Jumper (small)Baby Button Strawberry Button Romper (small)
The best baby clothes on a budget

Places to buy kids clothing_Carter's

Carter’s offers a large selection of affordable baby clothes that hold up well after repeated washes.

For everyday staples, Carter’s is a reliable brand with value packs and simple styles that are great for babies who may cycle through several outfits in a day. There are cute bodysuits and sleep sets, as well as hoodies, jackets, shoes, and other accessories. Carter’s runs frequent sales, but even pieces that are full priced are budget friendly. 

I have a variety of Carter’s pieces that have been handed down from at least two other parents, and the garments are still in good shape. The cotton does shrink a bit after a while and some pieces run big, but there have been no noticeable tears or holes. 

What we like:

Zip-Up Cotton Sleep & Plays (2-pack) (small)Organic Cotton Gauze Bubble Sunsuit (small)Little Planet Organic Cotton Overall Jumpsuit (small)Floral Linen Tank (small)
The best toddler clothes

Places to buy kids clothing_Tea Collection

Tea Collection offers everyday and special occasion toddler clothing in unique prints and patterns on soft fabrics.

Tea Collection pieces are some of my favorites for their distinctive prints and patterns. The quality of the fabrics, buttons, and seams on the garments is on par with adult clothing, and the designs are practical, modern, and inspired by global styles. With the exceptional quality comes a higher price tag, however. 

Though items are machine washable, using a delicate cycle and skipping the dryer will help them retain their shape and color. The brand also donates 10% of their profits to charitable organizations like the Global Fund for Children and the Homeless Prenatal Program in their home city of San Francisco, California.

What we like:

Pocket Printed Tea (small)Print Mix Skirted Dress (small)Tie-Waist Shorts (small)Plaid Camp Shirt (small)
The best toddler clothes on budget

Places to buy kids clothing_Old Navy

Old Navy is a budget-friendly one-stop shop to outfit your toddler and the whole family.

The quality of Old Navy clothing exceeds expectations when considering the brand’s ultra-low prices. The patterns are fun and cheery, and the versatile pieces have great value. For example, toddler pajamas come in fun prints for just $10. Its vast inventory includes basic sweats and tees, jackets, blouses, button-downs, dresses, jeans, pants, shorts, and swimwear as well as accessories like socks and shoes.

I’ve found that their sleepwear runs small, but other pieces are true to size. While the clothing won’t hold up as well as our top pick for toddlers, Old Navy runs frequent sales, so stocking up for the entire family is budget friendly.

What we like:

French Terry Tie-Dye Sweatshirt and Shorts Set (small)U-Shaped French-Terry Shorts (2-pack) (small)Printed Tie-Sleeve Romper (small)Printed Oxford Shirt (small)
The best kids clothes

Places to buy kids clothing_Maison Me

Maison Me is Maisonette’s in-house label with classic everyday designs that hold up to wear and tear.

Maison Me garments are made to last with pieces constructed from thick and sturdy fabrics that won’t wear out. The classic designs include traditional polos, plaid dresses, lots of striped pieces, and adorable florals. One of my favorite pieces that I tested with my toddler was a pink two-piece track suit that was ideal for play. I also found the leggings and drawstring pants were comfy and well-made.

The brand recommends machine-washing its clothing on cold and tumble-drying on low for optimal care. In my experience, this preserves both the quality and size of the garment.

What we like:

Pearl Lace Collar Dress (small)Clay Zip Hoodie (small)Reese Ribbed Legging (small)Gunnar Drawstring Pant (small)
The best kids clothes on a budget

Places to buy kids clothing_H&M

H&M has a diverse selection of organic clothes, all at bargain prices. 

H&M‘s environmental consciousness, budget-friendly prices, and diverse selection make it a great option for rapidly growing kids. The colorful prints, fun details, and prices are hard to resist. I started shopping there when my daughter was a baby, and as she grew, I continued to buy their affordable eco-friendly clothes. 

H&M offers kids clothes up to age 10 and a more sophisticated line for ages 8 to 14. They also sell accessories like tights, hats, shoes, and hair clips. If your child is Frozen-obsessed like mine, you’ll also love H&M’s partnerships with Disney, among others. The offerings are well-made, true to size, and wash easily.

What we like:

Patterned Jumpsuit (small)Cotton Henley Shirt (small)Sweatshorts (small)T-Shirts (5-pack) (small)
The best adaptive kids clothes

appaman adaptive kids clothing

Appaman’s Adaptive line caters to kids who have challenges with dressing, thanks to thoughtful and unique design features.

Appaman’s Adaptive line features accessible versions of its most popular clothing to empower kids to dress themselves. An ideal line not only considers accessibility but also style choices that are on par with nonadaptive lines, according to Debbie Stone, founder and executive director at Pop.Earth, a nonprofit committed to providing wellness options for people with autism and developmental disorders.

Garments have Velcro closures, magnetic zippers, and internal pant loops for dressing one-handed. Velcro ankle cuffs allow for prosthetics, orthotics, and other medical devices. The selection is somewhat lacking, with 42 pieces at time of publication, but the garments wash and wear exceptionally well. Though on the pricier side, the quality is unparalleled.

What we like:

Rhodes Shorts (small)Hot Dog Playa Shirt (small)Naxios Dress (small)Dockside Shorts (small)
The best adaptive kids clothes on a budget

cat & jack target adaptive kids clothing

Target’s Cat & Jack line includes clothing with abdominal access, snap closures for easy dressing, no tags, flat seams, and thumbholes to keep sleeves in place.

A major retailer like Target can broaden the range and accessibility of adaptive clothes. “At Pop.Earth, a charity for autism and special needs, I hear from numerous parents how important it is that clothing lines pivot to include these people,” said Stone. Cat & Jack is a favorite of the parents I polled, and while its adaptive offerings are somewhat limited, the prices are unbeatable. 

Cat & Jack makes leggings, pants, polos, tees, dresses, swimwear, jackets, and more. Like Carter’s, the clothing wear and wash well despite their lower price point. Garments also come with a one-year return policy with receipt if you’re not satisfied.

Toddler Abdominal Access 4th of July Dress (small)Dinosaur Woven Button-Down Shirt (small)Adapative Chino Pants (small)
The best tween clothes

nordstrom tween clothing

Nordstrom has a wide variety of tween clothing from popular brands and one of the best return policies.

Nordstrom is one of my favorite places to shop as an adult, and the options for tweens are just as impressive. There are well-known brands like Ugg, Hannah Banana, and Steve Madden, and a variety of other lesser-known brands that are equally cool among the tween set. Prices run the gamut, and offerings include everything from Nike and Adidas sweatshirts to sparkly, formal dresses. If you’re looking for a deal, there are great sales around the holidays as well as during its annual July sale.

Quality depends on the brand you buy, but I’ve found that pretty much everything I’ve purchased at Nordstrom withstands wear and tear. The product pages include recommended care instructions if you want to know before you buy. Nordstrom also offers free shipping and returns as well as local curbside pickup.

What we like:

Breathe Swoosh T-shirt (small)Crossback Jumper (small)Twill Shorts (small)The Markie Mid Rise Shorts (small)
The best tween clothes on a budget

Places to buy kids clothing_Kohl's

Kohl’s has tons of affordable brand-name clothing, and Kohl’s cash can get you even more savings.

Kohl’s is a go-to for tweens, thanks to its reasonable prices on brand-name items, including clothing from Levi’s and Under Armour. You can shop by price on the website, with thousands of offerings from $6 to $20. You can also sort by age range, occasion, and size, including extended size options.

Many pieces have printed designs or phrases, but there are basics as well. Some of the lower-cost clothing may be a bit thin and flimsy. Though they won’t last multiple seasons, they are great for messy art classes or sports practice.

Short Overalls (small)Logo Graphic Tee (small)Cameo Maxi Dress (small)Tech Cargo Shorts (small)
The best teen clothes

Places to buy kids clothing_American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters has an excellent selection and range of size options, and its rewards program is budget-friendly.

American Eagle’s basics and on-trend styles make it our top pick for teen clothing. It also beats out the competition in terms of affordability, thanks to its rewards program and sales that often include savings of 25%. Between AEO and Aerie labels, the selection is vast. Denim styles include the brand’s bestselling high-waisted jeggings and straight fit jeans. You’ll also find tees, sweatshirts, blouses, dresses, joggers, comfy loungewear, swimwear, and accessories like socks and shoes.

American Eagle has a rewards program, which offers cash rewards, members-only sales, a birthday coupon, free shipping, and returns. Garment construction can sometimes be irregular — crooked seams or an uneven hem on a dress, for example. However, the jeans last for years and get more comfortable after multiple washes.

What we like:

Tie-Dye Lettuce Edge Baby Tee (small)Super Soft Tri-Blend T-Shirt (small)Floral Tie Strap Midi Dress (small)AirFex+ Patched Denim Short (small)
What else we like

gap teen clothing

While the following stores and brands didn’t quite make the cut, if you haven’t found what you’re looking for among our top picks, consider the following.

Gap Teen: Through its new eco-friendly initiative, NXT Gen Gap, Gap offers quality basics with an ethical backstory. However, its inventory and deals fall short of our teen pick, American Eagle Outfitters.

Mori: Mori makes excellent sleepwear for babies and toddlers, but it doesn’t have much of a selection for everyday clothing.

All The Babies: This organic, vegan line is mostly limited to cozy sweatshirts and cotton bodysuits. It runs a program that donates used garments to families in need.

T.J. Maxx: We love T.J. Maxx for great deals on name-brand clothing, but it doesn’t offer a large variety of sizes online. Shopping in-store also takes time and is hit or miss. 

J.Crew: J.Crew has high-quality, well tailored pieces for the whole family. While its children’s clothing lasts a long time, the garments are quite expensive.

Read the original article on Business Insider

20 fun travel toys to keep toddlers busy on long road trips

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Travel toys for toddlers: 20 fun toys for kids

  • Travel toys for toddlers aren’t just good to have, they’re an absolute necessity.
  • To keep a toddler busy while traveling this summer, you need engaging toys that aren’t too challenging.
  • Travel toys should also be easy to carry and difficult to lose – the fewer pieces, the better.

Travel provides a lush breeding ground for boredom. Since many families will be hitting the road this summer, every caregiver needs a reliable selection of mobile distractions when traveling with a toddler. As a parent of two young children and a specialist in early childhood development, I have been fine-tuning my stash of travel toys over many years.

A good travel toy is quiet enough that it won’t bother other people, and simple enough that you won’t lose or need to pick up a ton of pieces. It should also be something a child can safely handle on their own. Finally, you want them to work for you for as long as possible.

Here are 20 travel toys for toddlers, with age-appropriate pro tips.

Sensory sticks to settle tiny hands

sensory toys

Bunmo Stretchy Things, 6-pack, available at Amazon, $8.24

These discreet sensory sticks are designed for restless hands. My kids love using one or more of them at a time, and I also appreciate the stress relief they can provide. Even better, they are designed with neuroatypical people in mind, so if your child has autism, ADD, or ADHD and benefits from sensory stimulation, give these a try. 

A toddler twist on an old classic

toddler playing with bright starts links

Bright Starts Lots of Links, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $4.99

As young kids, when my sister and I had to sit through temple during long High Holy Day services, my aunt always gave us and our cousins a handful of paper clips. It was so simple, but so effective. These plastic rings are basically the young toddler version. Plus, they can double as teethers, and you can incorporate different sets. 

Reusable stickers that are great for window seats

Melissa & Doug Play House! Reusable Sticker Pad and Reusable Sticker Pad My Town Bundle

Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad, available at Amazon, $5.99

These reusable stickers are perfect for travel because they can go on and off any surface, and the pad is small enough to fit on your toddler’s lap. They’re especially good if your child is seated by a window and the scene outside provides a dynamic backdrop.

Letters and words, delightfully bound

my abcs ring flash cards

Mudpuppy Alphabet My ABCs Ring Flash Cards, available at Amazon, $12.99 

R is for ring! I like playing cards as a toy in general, and these have the added benefit of being attached to a ring for easy use while traveling. These flash cards are brightly designed, and toddlers of all ages can engage with the illustrated animals, letters, and words.

A magazine just for them

highlights hello magazine for toddlers

Highlights Hello Magazine, 1-year subscription, available at Amazon, $39.99

These practically indestructible booklets contain miniature stories, poems, and/or songs, plus a find-it game in every issue. The content is geared toward 0- to 2-year-olds, but they’re also great for when your big kid wants to practice reading or storytelling. You could also try Highlights High Five Magazine for 2- to 6-year-olds, which has excellent content but is considerably less indestructible.

A soft busy board with carry strap

child playing with montessori busy board in car seat

Kenley The Original Toddler Busy Board, available at Amazon, $25.99

Traveling with more than one toddler? Try this wool sensory activity board. It is similarly engaging to the Buckle whale but includes more variety in the fine-motor activities and has space for at least four tiny hands. It comes with a carry strap but could also fit into a small backpack or carry-on

Travel-themed magnets that are easy to carry

travel toys

Magnetic Fun Cars, Planes, and Trains, available at The Red Balloon Toy Store, $9.99 

This breaks my small pieces rule, but it gets a pass because the magnets are contained in a compact tin. Most importantly, the magnets offer many variations on a theme, and because it mirrors the toddler’s travel experience, it’s easier for them to stay engaged longer.

A stuffy that comes with distractions

buckle blu whale

Buckle Toys Blu Whale, available at Amazon, $21.99

The Buckle Blu Whale is bright, soft, lightweight, and engaging. It keeps hands busy and provides lots of number and color learning opportunities. 

A busy bag they can customize

stephen joseph llama purse

Stephen Joseph Crossbody Purse, available at Amazon, $14

Encourage your toddler to make their own busy bag to bring on the go. These purses are adorable and durable. The zipper is easy for little hands to maneuver, and little kids love carrying around small domestic items (think: pretend keys). This one also breaks the few-pieces rule, but it’s perfect for car rides with a toddler since everything will remain in your car.

A travel-themed coloring roll

child coloring on mudpuppy air land sea coloring roll

Mudpuppy By Air, By Land, By Sea Mini Coloring Roll, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $6.99

These roll-up coloring sheets from Mudpuppy are each a whopping 10-feet long but still convenient for travel. Older toddlers, especially, will appreciate all the different items to color. Unroll a small bit at a time while you’re on the go and unravel to display it all at your final destination.

A mess-free paint pad and pen

water coloring book

Melissa & Doug Water Wow!, available at Amazon, $5.99

Fill the pen-brush with water and watch as your toddler intently “paints” the pages over and over again with almost no muss, and certainly no fuss. These work everywhere and are available in multiple designs as well as single or multi-packs.

A very fun activity for older toddlers

lacing cards for toddlers

The World of Eric Carle “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” Lacing Cards, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $14.08

From Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” come these 10 lacing cards, perfect for older toddlers. Not only are they a beautiful way to travel with illustrations from the classic story, but they are perfect for keeping hands busy while fine-tuning those fine motor skills

Books that distract without disturbing

crinkle books for toddler travel

Coolplay Baby’s First Non-Toxic Soft Cloth Crinkle Book, set of 8, available at Amazon, $13.99

We got these four years ago when my daughter was an infant, and she still enjoys them and can share the excitement with her baby brother. The books make a crinkling sound, and the set features themes such as color, number, and animal. They are small, light, and fall easily to the bottom of our backpack, making them the perfect clutch surprise when we’ve run through the rest of our options.

Durable headphones for toddlers

kids headphones

LilGadgets Connect+ Wired Headphones, available at Amazon, $14.95

Plugging your kid in for the trip? LilGadgets Headphones are light and flexible but can handle a little rough play. The cord is encased in nylon, and the audio volume maxes out at 93 db, which is safe for limited use. Perhaps the most attractive quality of these headphones is that they have a port on each side, so you can link more than one pair together to watch and listen on a shared device.

Familiar travel buddies

child playing with sesame street playskool figures

“Sesame Street” Playskool Collector Figures, 5-pack, available at Amazon and Walmart, $9.84

It feels almost foolish to try to pitch the benefits of keeping a “Sesame Street” character or two in your travel bag, so my only advice is this: occasionally rotate the characters.

Easy-to-hold sketch pads

up up mini notebooks

Up & Up Spiral Memo Pads, 3-pack, available at Target, $2.19

I cannot recommend mini notebooks enough if your child can be even marginally entrusted with crayons or pens. They can be used for scribbling, tracing, learning, taking pretend food orders, and so on. Suggest prompts that align with your current travel and watch their imaginations take off. Pro tip: Carry one in each bag you’re traveling with. They’ll all get used.

A long-lasting memory game

memory game for traveling with a toddler

Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win Memory Game, available at Amazon and Target, $9.99

Great for older toddlers, this memory game comes with 14 themes for repeated rounds of play. The cards slide into the back, and most importantly, the memory pieces aren’t detachable.

Slow and steady wins the ride

magnatab travel toy

Kid O Free Play Magnatab, available at Amazon, $19.99

The Magnatab’s strength as a travel toy is how slow it is. Creating on it requires deliberate action and occasionally correcting errors. It also works surprisingly well as a group toy because each child’s level of concentration is practically contagious — I once watched four pre-kindergarteners patiently take turns.

A 2-in-1 learning toy

mickey mouse board book for car rides

Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Learning Board Book, available at Amazon, $12.99

Older and younger toddlers alike will appreciate this two-in-one toy. At top, there is an erasable drawing pad with a conveniently attached pen. On the bottom is a board book with simple corresponding games.

A classic set for pretend play

battat play phone keys

Battat Cell Phone and Key Toy Set, available at Amazon, $14.94

Pretend phones are an old standby in my house, and this combo set has the added bonus of pretend keys so you don’t accidentally lose yours. They are chunky but light — great for tiny hands — and make just enough sounds to keep toddlers interested without bugging your seat neighbor with aggressive songs. Throw them in your purse, or theirs!

Read the original article on Business Insider

42 unique gifts that will make new dads feel appreciated this Father’s Day

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

gifts for new dad
  • Father’s Day is the perfect time to encourage new dads and remind them how much they matter.
  • This Father’s Day give a new dad some major backup in the way of a helpful gift.
  • With summer coming, we’ve also got gifts to get dad get outdoors.
  • For more gift ideas for everyone in your life, check out all of Insider Reviews gift guides.

Father’s Day is only a few weeks out, and for many dads, it’s their very first one. Being new to fatherhood might have them feeling overwhelmed with schedule changes, sleep deprivation, and a feeling like it may never end. Thankfully, with the right gifts, dad’s life can be a lot easier and more manageable.

These 42 gifts cover everything from coffee to tech to style and will have dad the envy of the neighborhood playgroup in no time. Of course, nothing beats a simple word of encouragement, so pro tip: Send a little note along with the gift.

Here are 42 thoughtful gifts for new dads:

A waterproof tote bag

veer tote

 Gift the Veer Tote, available at Adventureon, $89

New dad life can be chaotic and frustrating, which is why the Veer Tote makes a great gift. Not only does it have padded handles and an interior water-resistant zip compartment, but the entire bag is made of coated waterproof fabric. That means dads can get it as dirty as they want and simply hose it down to make it good as new.

Comfortable running socks

darn tough running socks

Gift the Darn Tough Stride Micro Crew Ultra-Light Running Sock, available at Amazon and Darn Tough, $18.95

For many new dads, some form of exercise is crucial to maintaining mental health, but they can’t afford to get sore feet, or worse, blisters. This Stride running sock is made from merino wool for quick moisture wicking, provides arch support to reduce fatigue, and has seamless stitching to to prevent blisters and chaffing. Another plus is Darn Tough’s no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee. If dad starts having problems with the socks, just send them back and they’ll send a new pair.

Polarized sunglasses

sunski puerto polarized sunglasses

Gift the Sunski Puerto polarized sunglasses, available at REI and Sunski, $48

Some dads worry when they welcome a child into the world, their style will cease. Thankfully, a new pair of shades is a quick way to shake up the routine. These sunglasses come in navy slate or black forest, are made from lightweight recycled material, and feature polarized lenses that eliminate glare and are easier on their eyes. Bonus, Sunski offers a warranty that if the glasses break under normal conditions, they will replace them or fix them.

Comfortable slide sandals

hunter slide sandals

Gift the Hunter Original Lightweight Moulded Slides, available at Hunter Boot and Nordstrom,  $45.00

Summertime is sandal time. Hunter’s EVA slides fit the bill for easy, lightweight, and durable footwear. The perforated uppers and contoured footbed keep dad’s feet cool and comfortable and you can’t beat the ease of simply sliding them on and off for the pool, errands, or even around the house. Unlike dad’s new shirt that just got some baby spit-up on it, these sandals simply wipe clean and good to go. 

A compact flashlight

coast hx 4 flashlight

Gift the HX-4 LED Flashlight, available at Amazon and Coast, from $14.99

Fumbling for diapers in the middle of the night, remembering to take the trash out at 2 a.m., or looking for that tiny clip from baby’s teething toy that fell between the seats in the car — these are all reasons to have a great flashlight. This one is small, has a clip and a magnet to attach the light nearly anywhere, features a powerful LED in either white or red light, and can be rotated 180 degrees to make sure it’s exactly where dad needs it.

A travel mug for coffee time

gift for new dad: travel mug for coffee

Gift the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug, available at Stanley, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon, from $20

New dads rarely have both hands free, so eliminating the need to twist, pop, flip, or open their coffee container makes life so much easier. They can simply add their coffee, screw on the top, and pull the trigger to open up the world of caffeine goodness.

Comfortable shoes that slip on

slip-on shoes for new dads

Vasque Satoru Moc, available at Backcountry and Vasque, $99.99 

As any parent will tell you, getting out the door is rough. And getting your shoes on can be downright annoying when you’re holding the baby, diaper bag, keys, and much, much more. Thankfully, footwear brand Vasque has a new dad’s back…or their feet. The sock-like upper and memory foam footbed means they’ll probably just wear them all day, but the easy on and off makes them infinitely versatile.

A portable white noise machine

new dad gift: white noise machine for baby

Marpac Portable White Noise Machine, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $28.54

The compact Marpac produces impressive volume, has a variety of white noise options, and offers a small nightlight. It also comes with a clip for connecting to the stroller for a walk (remember the outside?), in the car for an errand, or on the carrier as they bounce baby to sleep.

Instant pourover coffee

coffee gift for new dad

Kahawa 1893 Coffee Box, available at Kahawa 1893, from a 12-pack for $18

Restless nights and uncertain mornings may have dad missing their morning pourover coffee ritual. Turns out they can still have that rich flavor thanks to third-generation Kenyan coffee farmer Margaret Kemunto Nyamumbo. Kahawa has created a single serve coffee that looks more like a tea bag, is ready in five minutes, and 100% compostable. Bonus: You can send a tip directly to the women who picked the coffee.

A fitness app with extras

fitness gift for new dad

Centr Fitness App Subscription, available at Centr, from $20/month or $120/year

Built by Thor and his legion of trainers, Centr is a one-stop-shop for workouts ranging from yoga to full gym routines as well as guided meditation and delicious meal recipes. The app includes short, effective workouts that are perfect for that new dad schedule and the guided mediation will slow dad’s anxiety.

A wireless charging station

nomad base station

Nomad Base Station, available Nomad, $99.95

If the secret to success as a new parent is organization, the Nomad’s beautiful wireless charger fits the bill. It’s slim, sleek, and able to power two devices simultaneously while also allowing for a USB-C and USB-A cord to be plugged in for a total of four devices at once. Mom and dad’s phones, AirPods, and the portable white noise machine will all be full and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

A device to keep track of everything

tile essentials

Tile Essentials 4-Pack, available at Amazon, $64.95

This grab bag of Tile options lets new parents rely on technology instead of their overtaxed brains. New dads can attach tiles to their keys, diaper bag, and wallet in order to make sure those items never stay lost for too long. And if they have their keys but not their phone, they can double tap the tile to make it ring. 

One tool for almost every job

leatherman wingman tool

Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool, available at REI, $59.95

There’s something about being a dad that really brings out their inner handyman. The Leatherman Wingman is loaded with 14 tools, including a knife, screwdrivers, bottle openers, and even a 1-inch ruler, so they can fix just about anything and pop open a cold one when they’re done.

Comfortable underwear

saxx quest underwear

Saxx Quest Boxer Briefs, available at Amazon, from $32

The right underwear makes everything go so much smoother. The lightweight material is soft and breathable, and the patented BallPark Pouch keeps everything in place, whether they’re getting up for an early morning feeding or pushing a stroller around the park on a hot summer day.

A hammock

newdora camping hammock

Newdora Garden Hammock, available at Amazon, $16.99

Stealing away for a midafternoon nap in a hammock is an incredible way for a new dad to take a break from diaper changes. The Newdora Garden Hammock is easy to set up, adjustable, and packs down small enough to take anywhere.

A diaper backpack

Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack

Bag Nation Backpack Diaper Bag, available at Amazon, $54.95

Made with the same look of a commuter bag, this 14-pocket backpack is durable and carries all the essentials, from diapers to bottles and everything in between. There’s even a foldout changing pad.

A new set of sheets for parents and baby

new dad fathers day gifts 3

Gift the Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set, from $109

Brooklittles Crib Sheet Set, available at Brooklinen, from $32

Sleep, when it does happen for both dad and baby, is so much better on a set of soft sheets that make them feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud. These are great for delicate skin and hot sleepers, too, and they come in a variety of colors and prints.

A comfortable pillow

Coop Home Goods body pillow

 Coop Home Goods Original Pillow, available at Amazon, $59.99

A comfy pillow might be the most important ingredient for a restful night. The adjustable fill on the Coop pillow means it works for every kind of sleeper, and a 100-night trial means they’re not stuck with it if they don’t like it.

Stroller phone mount

skip hop universal phone mount

Skip Hop Stroll and Connect Universal Phone Holder, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $14.99

Made with tough plastic and rubber grips, the Stroll and Connect mounts easily to a stroller or shopping cart and won’t fall off in crowded aisles or on bumpy terrain. It lets a parent keep their hands free in case they need to use the phone on the go.

A quick hang

metolius project board

Metolius Project Board, available at Backcountry, $48.71

With a variety of holds, from jugs to crimps to pockets, the Metolius Project Board is great for releasing tension with a quick upper body workout. It can go just about anywhere inside or outside, and the fine texture is easy on the skin.

A funny book about fatherhood

Man vs. Baby  The Chaos and Comedy of Real Life Parenting

Man vs. Baby: The Chaos and Comedy of Real-Life Parenting, available at Amazon, $16.49

Nothing will fully prepare him for the chaos and confusion of being a new dad. However, Matt Coyne’s sleep-deprived take on parenting will give him a hilarious and honest reassurance that he’s doing alright, no matter how stressful it seems.

A shaving kit

Harry's

 Harry’s Truman Shave Set, available at Harry’s, $15

This essential shave set includes a razor with a comfortable handle and textured rubber grip, three German-engineered blade cartridges, foaming shave gel for a rich lather, and a travel cover to protect the blades.

A cold brew maker

Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, One Quart, Black

Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $20.93

Dad will love a cup of cold brew coffee, with less acidity and a smoother taste, when they need a pick-me-up after sneaking in an afternoon nap. The Takeya Deluxe makes up to 1 quart of concentrate. Plus, it’s easy to use and an incredible value. 

An Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo 6qt 7 in 1 Pressure Cooker, $99.99

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 (6-Ot.), available at Amazon, $89

The Instant Pot makes cooking dinner for the whole family a breeze. It makes soups, meats, yogurt, and pretty much everything else, even baby food. Easy cleanup means more time to spend with the little one too.

A meat or seafood box

crowd cow 4

Crowd Cow Gift Box, available at Crowd Cow, from $39

Give a new dad something delicious to cook with a gift box of meat or seafood that’s sourced from independent producers that practice sustainable farming and ethical treatment of animals.

Single-origin coffee beans

COLECTIVO Sumatra Highlands Hero

Colectivo Coffee—Sumatra, available at Colectivo, from $14.25

If they’re a coffee fanatic, they’ll love a bag of single-origin beans. Grown in the volcanic soil in the rugged mountains of the Indonesian island Sumatra, this rich, complex blend has notes of molasses and pineapple. And for those mornings where there’s no time to hassle with a French press, don’t overlook instant coffees, which have caught up in quality to the whole bean version.

Super soft lounge pants

tommy john loungers

Tommy John Second Skin Lounge Pants, available at Tommy John, $68

New dads will love a pair of comfortable pants for sleeping or lounging around the house that won’t embarrass them when the in-laws show up announced. These soft, light micromodal pants from Tommy John are perfect, and they hold up nicely wash after wash.

A play kit of curated toys

new dad fathers day gifts 7

Play Kit Subscription, available at Lovevery, from $36/month

Make those long hours playing on the floor count with a subscription to Lovevery curated age-appropriate toy kits. Delivered every two months, each one includes guides that show how each toy helps with a child’s development. They’re also a lot of fun.

A pair of chinos

bonobos

Bonobos Chinos, available Bonobos, from $99

Unfortunately, a new dad can’t wear lounge pants all the time. But just because they’re leaving the house for a bit, doesn’t mean they’ve got to sacrifice comfort. Bonobos chinos come in multiple fits and sizes, and the signature curved waistband give them an unobtrusive fit that makes them great for the office, a trip to the store, or a playdate in the park. 

An interactive photo journal

artifact uprising baby book

“The Story of You” Baby Book, available at Artifact Uprising, $99

A phone full of pictures and videos is great, but they’ll want something to capture and hold onto the most special moments. This photo book, featuring a fabric cover and foil stamped title, lets him write down his memories and the details of each milestone.

A lightweight button-up for a put-together look

tie bar short sleeve shirt

Tie Bar Short-Sleeve Shirt, available at Tie Bar, from $45

It’s nice for dad to feel put-together sometimes. The light, 100% cotton button-ups from Tie Bar are perfect for a rare night out or day at the office.

A shaving set

dollar shave club

Dollar Shave Club Complete Shave Gift Set, available at Dollar Shave Club, $35

This set comes with a razor handle and four four-blade cartridges that make for a great shave for when dad needs to clean up a little. It also includes a gentle prep scrub, shave butter, and hydrating post-shave cream.

A durable water bottle

Hydro_flask_lifestyle

Hydro Flask Wide Mount Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, $37.95

When life gets as hectic as it does for new fathers, it’s easy to forget to drink water. This durable insulated metal bottle keeps water cold and within arm’s reach.

A basketball jersey for baby

nba jersey

NBA Baby Jersey, available at NBA Store, from $29.99

It’s going to be a while before baby gets into it, but it’s still a lot of fun for a new dad to watch the game with his progeny decked out in their very own jersey.

An adjustable baby carrier

Omni_Baby_carrier

Ergobaby Omni 360 All-in-One Carrier, available at Buy Buy Baby and Ergobaby, $179

Whether you’re running errands or spending a day in the park, a good baby carrier makes it so much easier. Made with 100% premium cotton, the Ergobaby Omni 360 is super soft and easily adjustable to fit waists and shoulders of all sizes. It works in multiple positions, too, front or back, face-in or face-out. 

A foam roller

TriggerPoint_foam_roller

TriggerPoint GRID foam roller, available at Amazon, $39.95

Knots and tight muscles go hand in hand with parenting. He’ll appreciate the textured surface pattern of this foam roller to roll away the aches and pains of being a new parent.

A tool kit

CARTMAN Orange 39 Piece Tool Set

Cartman General Household 39-piece toolkit, available at Amazon, $18.99

There’s just something about being a dad that turns everyone into an overnight handy man. This tool kit includes all the basics he’ll need for assembling or repairing all that new gear in the nursery and beyond.

A soft cooler

Clevermade_cooler

CleverMade SnapBasket Soft-Sided Cooler Tote, available at Amazon, $36.04

Dad is going to need a good cooler for bringing food home from the store or packing up milk and baby food for a road trip to see the grandparents. This one has a 50-can capacity, but it still folds up small enough to stash under the seat when they don’t need it.

A delicious baby blanket

tortilla

Tortilla Baby Blanket, available at Uncommon Goods, $48

This blanket is made of breathable cotton/polyester blend fabric that will keep baby comfortable and cool. And the flour tortilla print that makes them look like a bundle of burrito joy is impossibly adorable.

A custom print of baby’s footprints

baby footprints personalized art

Baby Footprint Art Print, available at Etsy, from $18

It’s always hard to believe how little they used to be. This is an attractive, thoughtful piece that fits nicely anywhere in the home.

A smart speaker for baby’s room

echo dot

Echo Dot, available at Amazon, $49.99

A smart speaker is a nice addition to baby’s room. It can play lullabies or classical music at bedtime, or dad can use it to listen to the game while they’re playing with toys. 

An REI membership

REI Membership

REI Co-op Membership, available at REI, $20

Getting active and outdoors is great for kids, and something a new dad can do right from the start. With an REI membership, they’ll get annual dividends, exclusive offers, and more to get the gear they and their family will want. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

24 fun gift ideas for toddlers in 2021

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register

  • Finding gifts that toddlers will love more than the boxes they come in can be a challenge.
  • I’ve already gone through that process with my toddler and have rounded up 24 of the best toddler gifts.
  • You can check out all of Insider Reviews gift guides to shop for everyone on your list.

Toddlers can be picky little humans. You know this if you’ve ever seen how long they’re entertained by a cardboard box or bubbles, only to leave a pricey toy sitting by the wayside day after day.

I would know – my 2-year-old has a big personality. But I’ve become a pro at buying gifts that she plays with longer than the packages they come in. That’s why I’ve rounded up 24 gifts that will be a hit with any toddler. Many of the gifts on this list have also been tried, tested, and well-loved by my own child.

Check out 24 of the best gifts for toddlers below:

Their first toolbox

child playing with hape wooden toolbox

Hape Fix It Kid’s Wooden Tool Box and Accessory Play Set, available at Amazon, $19.59

Toddlers can fix things up around the house with this 17-piece toolbox. The small set is just the right size for toddler hands and includes a hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, and more.  

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Educational place mats

little tikes educational placemats

Little Likes Kids Educational Two-Sided Place mat Variety Pack, available at Amazon, $14.99

Even as they refine their eating skills, toddlers still often make a mess. Keep your table clean and your toddlers entertained with these three double-sided place mats.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Books to build their library

baby goes to market

“Baby Goes to Market,” available at Amazon, $14.56

“The Rainbow Fish,” available at Amazon, $9.99

“The Snowy Day,” available at Amazon, $4.95

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” available at Amazon, $4.59

“I Like It When . . . /Me gusta cuando . . .” available at Amazon, $7.41

There’s nothing quite like cuddling up with a good book at bedtime. From simple board books to narratives that encourage kindness, toddlers will ask to read these books again and again.

Animal-themed bingo

banana panda bingo

Banana Panda Let’s Play Animal Bingo, available at Amazon, $17.92

Toddlers can get in on the action with this simplified version of bingo. Each bingo card features animals in a different habitat, and the boards and tokens are made of thick cardboard that will hold up to rough play.

Recommended ages: 2 years and up

A World of Eric Carle puzzle

mudpuppy eric carle puzzles for toddlers

Mudpuppy World of Eric Carle Brown Bear 4-in-A-Box Puzzles, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $14.99

Four-piece puzzles are a step up from peg puzzles, another toddler favorite. This set of four puzzles is inspired by the popular book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” As a former English teacher, I can’t resist a toy that encourages reading. Even if you don’t have the book at home, these puzzles will still be engaging and challenging while simultaneously exposing toddlers to color matching.  

Recommended ages: 2 years and up

The ultimate racetrack

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower, available at Walmart and Target, from $29.82

This quickly became our family’s favorite Go! Go! Smart Wheels track after the company sent us a review sample a few months ago. It can be configured into one tall spiral or two smaller spirals for racing. You’ll get one race car, and the track includes a switch track, hazards, and a trap door. Five different locations along the track prompt the car to play various sounds, songs, and phrases. If you already have other Go! Go! Smart Wheels tracks, you can connect them to the tower.

Recommended ages: 1 to 5 years

An interactive thinking chair

blues clues chair

Blues Clues and You! Play and Learn Thinking Chair, available at Walmart, $49.44

If you have a Blues Clues fan, this real-life thinking chair will be a big hit. It comes with a mailbox, letters, and an interactive handy dandy notebook. The chair can detect when kids sit down or get up, and there is even a storage space under the seat. We’ve been testing it for a few months, and my daughter hasn’t let it leave our living room since. 

Recommended ages: 2 to 5 years

A color-changing bath book

Color Me: Who's in the Water? (Wee Gallery Bath Books)

“Color Me: Who’s in the Water?” available at Amazon, $12.95

Toddlers will think this book is magic when it changes color in their bathwater. The illustrations are the central focus with just a few words on each page. This creates an ideal environment for reluctant readers to pick up a book. Use it for some water painting fun out of the bath, too. 

Recommended ages: 1 to 3 years

A dump truck made of recycled plastic

Green Toys Dump Truck

Green Toys Dump Truck, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $18.86

Whether you have a sandbox, a dirt pile in the backyard, or a bunch of toys that need to be moved around the house, toddlers will enjoy loading this truck and dumping things out. The brightly colored toy is made of 100% recycled plastic. An added bonus: After this truck spends a long day hauling materials for your child, you can throw it in the dishwasher. 

Recommended ages: 12 months and up

Reusable mess-free coloring pads

Water Wow! 3 Pack - Dinosaurs, Adventure and Space

Melissa & Doug Water Wow! 3-Pack, available at Amazon, Target, and Kohl’s, from $10.99

If you have a toddler living in your house and you haven’t yet discovered the magic that is Water Wow, you’re missing out. Each pad comes with four reusable boards that change color when they make contact with the water pen. They make absolutely no mess and are some of our favorite travel toys for toddlers. We keep one in the car and always bring them along to places like the doctor’s office and restaurants. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A picnic play set and shape sorter all in one

LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket, available at Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, and Amazon, from $20.99

 This picnic play set is one of our favorite toys for 1-year-olds. It teaches toddlers concepts like shapes, colors, manners, and sharing. The basket includes a shape sorter, two cups, two forks, two plates, six food items, and a picnic blanket. 

Recommended ages: 6 months to 3 years

A doll to love and care for

wee baby stella

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella, available at Buy Buy Baby, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Amazon, from $16.99

This doll can grow with children as they move through different developmental stages. Toddlers can practice caring skills and strengthen their fine motor skills by removing and replacing the doll’s binky as well as changing its clothes. At 12 inches tall, Wee Baby Stella is also a great size for toddlers. 

Recommended ages: 1 year and up

A starter dollhouse

child playing with melissa and doug wooden dollhouse

Melissa & Doug Fold and Go Wooden Dollhouse, available at Amazon and Walmart, $50.14

Dollhouses can keep toddlers entertained for hours as they imagine new scenarios and practice everyday skills. The set comes with 11 pieces of wooden furniture and two dolls, which is a big plus as many dollhouses don’t come with dolls. 

Recommended ages: 3 to 6 years

Toddler-size crayons and coloring books

My First Toddler Coloring Book

My First Toddler Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $4.10

Crayola Jumbo Crayons, available at Walmart, $2.97

Crayola Multicultural Large Crayons, available at Amazon, $4.19

This is a simple yet exciting gift for young toddlers who are just learning how to color and develop their fine motor skills. The large pictures, numbers, letters, and shapes have thick lines, and the pages are durable. These are all characteristics that make coloring easier for toddlers. Thicker jumbo and large crayons are designed for toddlers to have success coloring. This book was one of the first coloring books I bought my toddler over a year ago, and it’s still going strong. 

Recommended ages: 1 to 3 years (coloring book); 3 years and up (crayons)

A push car with all the bells and whistles

step 2 whisper ride on car

Step2 Whisper Ride II Ride-On Push Car, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $74.99

My neighbors can’t help but smile when they see my toddler roll by in this push car. Step2 sent a review sample that we’ve been testing since the beginning of the summer. It’s still in great shape and handles hills and bumpy roads well. Some standout features include a storage trunk, a working horn, cup holders (for you and your toddler!), and a seat belt. 

Recommended ages: 18 months to 4 years

A cuddly version of everyone’s favorite Star Wars character

Star Wars Mandalorian The Child

Star Wars The Mandalorian The Child aka Baby Yoda Plush, available at Target and Kohl’s, from $19.89

Toddlers can cuddle up with quite possibly the cutest Star Wars character ever. Toys based on characters like this one give kids just enough inspiration for imaginative play scenarios without doing all the work for them. Even if you haven’t seen “The Mandalorian,” it’s hard to resist this endearing little creature.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A cleaning set so they can ‘help’ around the house

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set

Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set, available at Buy Buy Baby, Kohl’s, and Amazon, from $26.99

My daughter loves to “help” me clean around the house and this set is the perfect size for her. It comes with a pint-sized broom, mop, duster, brush, dustpan, and even a storage rack. My toddler has consistently used it for more than a year, and it’s still in excellent shape. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A doctor’s play set

B. Dr. Doctor Toy

B. Toys Toy Doctor Kit, available at Target and Amazon, from $19.99

Doctor visits can be scary, but role-playing with a play doctor kit makes them more approachable and even fun. This 10-piece kit comes with a stethoscope, otoscope, blood pressure cuff, syringe, scissors, thermometer, mirror, a pair of tweezers, a beeper, and a carry case to keep it all organized. The pager beeps and lights up, and the stethoscope makes a heartbeat sound. 

Recommended ages: 18 months and up

A Lego set for learning the alphabet

lego duplo alphabet truck

Lego Duplo My First Alphabet Truck, available at Amazon and Target, from $15.99

This Lego Duplo set encourages hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as toddlers stack blocks and move the truck around. It comes with 36 Duplo pieces, including 26 letter bricks, a truck, and 10 other bricks and figures. 

Recommended ages: 18 months and up

A customized tricycle

Radio Flyer Trike

Radio Flyer Custom Build-A-Trike, available at Radio Flyer, from $55

There’s nothing quite like a classic red tricycle. Radio Flyer sent this tricycle for me to test, and I’m impressed by its quality. Depending on how you customize it, this tricycle can grow with your child from 9 months to 5 years old. Available customization options include a classic bell, a canopy, and a footrest. What I appreciate most about it is the push handle — I use it to help my daughter learn to steer and make sure she is safe while learning to ride. 

Recommended ages: 9 months to 5 years

A set of musical instruments

B. Toys Drumroll Please Instrument Set

B. Toys Drumroll Please Instrument Set, available at Amazon, $35.99

This musical set inspires imagination and creativity. It includes a drum, two drumsticks, castanets, a whistle, a tambourine, and a shaker egg. All of the instruments fit neatly inside the drum so toddlers can take it anywhere.

Recommended ages: 18 to 36 months

A cash register with play food and money

LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register

LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register, available at Target, $19.99

My daughter and I have played many hours of “grocery store” with this set. It comes with a working cash register, eight pieces of play food, 10 coins, and a credit card. Prompts encourage kids to count coins, and buttons on the display correspond with the play food.  

Recommended ages: 2 to 4 years

A stylish play mixer for the budding chef

KidKraft Baking Set Modern Metallics

KidKraft Modern Metallics Baking Set, available at Kohl’s, $19.99

This stylish mixer can be an addition to an existing play kitchen, but it’s also ideal if you have limited space. The set comes with a mixer, a bowl, eggs, flour, sugar, milk, a baking sheet, cookies, and a working rolling pin. Toddlers can’t help but imitate daily life, and this set let my daughter “make” cookies without making a mess. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Everything they need to complete rescue missions

Paw Patrol Rescue Rev Up Vehicle with Mystery Dinosaur Figure

Paw Patrol Dino Rescue Rev Up Vehicle with Mystery Dinosaur Figure, available at Amazon, $10.29

For less than $15, this toy comes with a figurine, a vehicle, and a surprise dinosaur egg. Choose from six different Paw Patrol characters: Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Skye, and Zuma. Each vehicle has a rev-up motor and a working tool.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Read the original article on Business Insider

20 fun travel toys to keep toddlers entertained on long road trips

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Travel toys for toddlers: 20 versatile toys for kids

  • Travel toys for toddlers aren’t just good to have, they’re an absolute necessity.
  • To keep a toddler busy while traveling, you need engaging toys that aren’t too challenging.
  • Travel toys should also be easy to carry and difficult to lose – the fewer pieces, the better.

Travel provides a lush breeding ground for boredom, which is why every caregiver needs a reliable selection of mobile distractions when traveling with a toddler. As a parent of two young children and a specialist in early childhood development, I have been fine-tuning my stash of travel toys over many years.

A good travel toy is quiet enough that it won’t bother other people, and simple enough that you won’t lose or need to pick up a ton of pieces. It should also be something a child can safely handle on their own. Finally, you want them to work for you for as long as possible.

Here are 20 travel toys for toddlers, with age-appropriate pro tips.

Reusable stickers that are great for window seats

Melissa & Doug Play House! Reusable Sticker Pad and Reusable Sticker Pad My Town Bundle

Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad, available at Amazon, $5.99

These reusable stickers are perfect for travel because they can go on and off any surface, and the pad is small enough to fit on your toddler’s lap. They’re especially good if your child is seated by a window and the scene outside provides a dynamic backdrop.

A toddler twist on an old classic

plastic links for toddlers

Bright Starts Lots of Links, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $4.99

As young kids, when my sister and I had to sit through temple during long High Holy Day services, my aunt always gave us and our cousins a handful of paper clips. It was so simple, but so effective. These plastic rings are basically the young toddler version. Plus, they can double as teethers, and you can incorporate different sets. 

A magazine just for them

magazine for traveling with a toddler

Highlights Hello Magazine, 1-year subscription, available at Amazon, $39.99

These practically indestructible booklets contain miniature stories, poems, and/or songs, plus a find-it game in every issue. The content is geared toward 0- to 2-year-olds, but they’re also great for when your big kid wants to practice reading or storytelling. You could also try Highlights High Five Magazine for 2- to 6-year-olds, which has excellent content but is considerably less indestructible.

Travel-themed magnets that are easy to carry

travel toys

Magnetic Fun Cars, Planes, and Trains, available at Deseret Book, $9.99 

This breaks my small pieces rule, but it gets a pass because the magnets are contained in a compact tin. Most importantly, the magnets offer many variations on a theme, and because it mirrors the toddler’s travel experience, it’s easier for them to stay engaged longer.

A stuffy that comes with distractions

buckle blu whale

Buckle Toys Blu Whale, available at Amazon, $21.99

The Buckle Blu Whale is bright, soft, lightweight, and engaging. It keeps hands busy and provides lots of number and color learning opportunities. 

A soft busy board with carry strap

montessori busy board for toddlers

Kenley The Original Toddler Busy Board, available at Amazon, $28.99

Traveling with more than one toddler? Try this wool sensory activity board. It is similarly engaging to the Buckle whale but includes more variety in the fine-motor activities and has space for at least four tiny hands. It comes with a carry strap but could also fit into a small backpack or carry-on

A busy bag they can customize

stephen joseph llama purse

Stephen Joseph Crossbody Purse, available at Amazon, $14

Encourage your toddler to make their own busy bag to bring on the go. These purses are adorable and durable. The zipper is easy for little hands to maneuver, and little kids love carrying around small domestic items (think: pretend keys). This one also breaks the few-pieces rule, but it’s perfect for car rides with a toddler since everything will remain in your car.

A travel-themed coloring roll

coloring roll mini

Mudpuppy By Air, By Land, By Sea Mini Coloring Roll, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $6.99

These roll-up coloring sheets from Mudpuppy are each a whopping 10-feet long but still convenient for travel. Older toddlers, especially, will appreciate all the different items to color. Unroll a small bit at a time while you’re on the go and unravel to display it all at your final destination.

A mess-free paint pad and pen

water coloring book

Melissa & Doug Water Wow!, available at Amazon, $5.93

Fill the pen-brush with water and watch as your toddler intently “paints” the pages over and over again with almost no muss, and certainly no fuss. These work everywhere and are available in multiple designs as well as single or multi-packs.

A very fun activity for older toddlers

lacing cards for toddlers

The World of Eric Carle “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” Lacing Cards, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $14.08

From Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” come these 10 lacing cards, perfect for older toddlers. Not only are they a beautiful way to travel with illustrations from the classic story, but they are perfect for keeping hands busy while fine-tuning those fine motor skills

Books that distract without disturbing

crinkle books for toddler travel

Coolplay Baby’s First Non-Toxic Soft Cloth Crinkle Book, set of 8, available at Amazon, $13.99

We got these four years ago when my daughter was an infant, and she still enjoys them and can share the excitement with her baby brother. The books make a crinkling sound, and the set features themes such as color, number, and animal. They are small, light, and fall easily to the bottom of our backpack, making them the perfect clutch surprise when we’ve run through the rest of our options.

Durable headphones for toddlers

kids headphones

LilGadgets Connect+ Wired Headphones, available at Amazon and Walmart, $16.95

Plugging your kid in for the trip? LilGadgets Headphones are light and flexible but can handle a little rough play. The cord is encased in nylon, and the audio volume maxes out at 93 db, which is safe for limited use. Perhaps the most attractive quality of these headphones is that they have a port on each side, so you can link more than one pair together to watch and listen on a shared device.

Sensory sticks to settle tiny hands

sensory toys

Bunmo Stretchy Things, 6-pack, available at Amazon, $9.49

These discreet sensory sticks are designed for restless hands. My kids love using one or more of them at a time, and I also appreciate the stress relief they can provide. Even better, they are designed with neuroatypical people in mind, so if your child has autism, ADD, or ADHD and benefits from sensory stimulation, give these a try. 

Familiar travel buddies

sesame street figures

“Sesame Street” Playskool Collector Figures, 5-pack, available at Amazon, from $9.84

It feels almost foolish to try to pitch the benefits of keeping a “Sesame Street” character or two in your travel bag, so my only advice is this: occasionally rotate the characters.

Letters and words, delightfully bound

flash cards for toddlers

Mudpuppy Alphabet My ABCs Ring Flash Cards, available at Amazon, $12.99 

R is for ring! I like playing cards as a toy in general, and these have the added benefit of being attached to a ring for easy use while traveling. These flash cards are brightly designed, and toddlers of all ages can engage with the illustrated animals, letters, and words.

Easy-to-hold sketch pads

up up mini notebooks

Up & Up Spiral Memo Pads, 3-pack, available at Target, $2.19

I cannot recommend mini notebooks enough if your child can be even marginally entrusted with crayons or pens. They can be used for scribbling, tracing, learning, taking pretend food orders, and so on. Suggest prompts that align with your current travel and watch their imaginations take off. Pro tip: Carry one in each bag you’re traveling with. They’ll all get used.

A long-lasting memory game

memory game for traveling with a toddler

Melissa & Doug Flip-to-Win Memory Game, available at Amazon and Target, $9.99

Great for older toddlers, this memory game comes with 14 themes for repeated rounds of play. The cards slide into the back, and most importantly, the memory pieces aren’t detachable.

Slow and steady wins the ride

magnatab travel toy

Kid O Free Play Magnatab, available at Amazon, $20.61

The Magnatab’s strength as a travel toy is how slow it is. Creating on it requires deliberate action and occasionally correcting errors. It also works surprisingly well as a group toy because each child’s level of concentration is practically contagious — I once watched four pre-kindergarteners patiently take turns.

A 2-in-1 learning toy

mickey mouse board book for car rides

Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Learning Board Book, available at Amazo, $8.99

Older and younger toddlers alike will appreciate this two-in-one toy. At top, there is an erasable drawing pad with a conveniently attached pen. On the bottom is a board book with simple corresponding games.

A classic set for pretend play

battat play phone keys

Battat Cell Phone and Key Toy Set, available at Amazon, $14.94

Pretend phones are an old standby in my house, and this combo set has the added bonus of pretend keys so you don’t accidentally lose yours. They are chunky but light — great for tiny hands — and make just enough sounds to keep toddlers interested without bugging your seat neighbor with aggressive songs. Throw them in your purse, or theirs!

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The 6 best diaper bags in 2021, including stylish totes, backpack styles, and travel options

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Parents use diaper bags to organize and carry every essential their child needs.
  • These diaper bags in a variety of styles have plenty of insulated pockets, changing mats, and more.
  • Our top pick is the Skip Hop Forma because it’s comfortable and easy to organize.

For new parents and parents with toddlers, a great diaper bag is a must-have item. Plus, the best diaper bags can last well beyond the diaper years and continue to be a handy overnight or travel bag to hold all those extra kid essentials.

The ideal diaper bag holds all the general staples: diapers, wipes, toys, bottles, snacks, a change of clothes, a changing pad – plus, parents’ keys, cellphone, and wallet – with room to spare. It also needs to be easy to organize so parents don’t have to dig around to find something and it should be comfortable to wear while on the go.

We’ve included a variety of styles, from backpack options to standard totes to bags made just for traveling.

Keep in mind that though many diaper bags come with clips or straps to attach to the handle of your stroller, this feature isn’t safe and should never be used, as it can make your stroller tip over.

Here are the best diaper bags

The best diaper bag overall

Skip Hop Forma
Features two packings cubes for maximum storage.

The Skip Hop Diaper Bag Backpack is surprisingly lightweight, comfortable to carry, and has plenty of room to easily organize all the essentials.

What we like: Packing cubes, cushioned changing pad, lightweight, easy-to-clean, double zippers

Even when this multi-functional backpack is packed to the gills, the Skip Hop Forma won’t weigh you down. It features two handy storage cubes for bottles and snacks, which leaves the main compartment completely free for diapers, wipes, and more. With nine pockets of varying sizes, you won’t have to worry about losing any items into a bottomless abyss.

This bag also features a changing pad and is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth. The padded straps add comfort and the thick material and double zippers ensure it’s durable. As an added bonus, this bag is chic enough to easily transition into a normal backpack for years of extra use.

The best diaper bag on a budget

 HaloVa Diaper Bag Multi Function Waterproof Travel Backpack
Holds up to 40 pounds.

You can’t beat the price of the HaloVa backpack diaper bag — plus it has insulated bottle pockets and two different ways to access the main compartment.

What we like: Water-resistant material, multiple pockets, durable, double zippers

Don’t let the low price tag fool you — this diaper bag is the real deal. The HaloVa has 14 total pockets including three insulated bottle pockets; a discreet back pocket for phones, credit cards, or other valuables; and a small pocket specifically designed for wet clothes. You can also get to the main compartment via a second back zipper for extra easy access.

Its water-resistant material makes it extra durable and that coupled with a special interior liner make this bag easy to wipe down, though you can also throw it in the washing machine for bigger messes.  

The best travel diaper bag

Skip Hop Weekender Travel Diaper Bag Tote
Features a drawbridge compartment for quick, easy access.

The Skip Hop Weekender Travel Diaper Bag Tote makes traveling with the family a breeze thanks to its sleeve that easily slips over suitcase handles.

What we like: Roomy main compartment, wide drawbridge opening, packing cubes, handy luggage sleeve, changing pad, double zippers

Sized just right for family getaways, the Skip Hop Weekender Bag easily holds all of baby’s essentials, with room to spare for parents’ travel accessories too. The extra-large tote bag features a spacious main compartment framed by a wide “drawbridge” pocket that unzips two ways for easy access.

Like the Skip Hop Forma, the Weekender adds on two packing containers to help optimize space. The handy back sleeve easily slides over luggage handles making it easy to maneuver through airports. Plus, it has an adjustable, removable shoulder strap that can be worn as a crossbody.

The best oversized diaper bag

Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
Vented padding on the back and shoulder straps add comfort.

The Bag Nation Diaper Bag offers hands-free comfort, fits all the essentials and then some, and comes with a removable changing pad, Sundry bag, and more.

What we like: Vented padding, changing pad, water-resistant material, storage capacity

If you’re looking for a bag that fits everything you need without taking a toll on your back, the Bag Nation Backpack is a great option. It features padded, ergonomically curved straps and a breathable mesh-padded back panel for extra comfort even on hot, sticky days.

Organization is a breeze with this bag too thanks to its 14 pockets, including insulated pockets for bottles. The special wipe pouch makes wet wipes easily accessible and it also includes a changing pad and a Sundry bag. Water-resistant material, reinforced stitching, and sturdy zippers ensure this bag will last, and Bag Nation backs this up with a lifetime warranty.

The best diaper bag for easy organization

 Diaper Bag Backpack, RUVALINO Multifunction Travel
Features an easy access “parent” pocket for keys, phones, and wallets.

The RUVALINO diaper bag backpack features two big compartments and a whopping 16 pockets so every item can have its own specific space. 

What we like: Large storage capacity, tons of pockets, changing pad, dual zippers, water-resistant material

For the parents who like everything neat and tidy and in its place, the RUVALINO diaper bag is for you. Its two big zipper-closure compartments and 16 pockets ensure easy organizing without the bag ever feeling overly stuffed. Even so, its strong twill polyester and non-fray stitching ensure that no amount of bulk will break this sturdy bag.

Its thick, padded shoulder straps give comfortable all-day wear and the easy-access “parent” pocket keeps items like keys and phones safe and easily accessible. Insulated bottle pockets hold a variety of bottle sizes, while a separate mesh diaper organizer allows means you have more room in the main compartment. This bag also comes with a waterproof changing pad that’s easy to wipe down.

The best diaper bag with a changing station

Happy Luoka 3 in 1 Diaper Bag Backpack
Charge your phone anytime with the backpack’s convenient charging port.

Change diapers on the go is a breeze with the Happy Luoka 3-in-1 Diaper Bag‘s expandable changing station that fits babies and toddlers. 

What we like: Expandable diaper changing station, charging port, multiple pockets, mesh backpack straps, double zippers

Based on how lightweight this bag is, you’d never know the back expands into a huge, portable changing station. The privacy cover on top is held up by magnetic bars, which quickly fold up. When closed up, the back privacy pocket stores personal items from keys to credit cards.

The bag’s back ventilation design and the wide shoulder straps make it extra comfortable. As an extra perk, it also features a strategically placed USB charging port to keep your electronics fully charged even when out and about. 

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