Category: great finds

Bold and Positive Girl Shirts!

By , September 19, 2013 10:58 am

My 13 year old  daughter is not a “girly-girl.”  She does not like pink.  She does not like purple.  She does not like sparkles.  She even complains that the little cap sleeves on “girls’ shirts” are not as comfy as the “normal” sleeves on boys’ clothes.  My daughter reads a lot, runs cross-country, and is determined to get her private pilot’s license on her 17th birthday.  She is the perfect customer for Girls Will Be, a store for “girl clothes without the girly.”

Here you can find unique shirts in sizes 4 through 12 with positive messages.  No “Princess” or “Spoiled Brat.”  No images of boy pop bands, Angry Birds, or teenage TV “role model” actresses.  There is also a noticeable lack of glitter, sparkle, ruffles, and spandex.

My daughter chose an airplane shirt (the plane image is actually a flock of birds) and a bold but cute dog shirt. We have a “Bold Daring Fearless Adventurous” tee on pre-order!

If you visit, be sure to read the “About” page.  The store was recently founded by two sister moms (of “non-girly” girls) and their artistic brother who designs the shirts himself.  They write:  “We hope Girls Will Be helps empower young girls to be themselves and never feel like they need to conform to the increasingly narrow definition of “girl” reflected in far too many of the clothes (and other products) marketed to them.”

I also like that this cool family maintains a blog where they showcase clothing and accessories from other stores that meet their non-girly standards.

Fortunately for the Girls Will Be team, demand is high for their products (which are all made in the United States) and you might have to pre-order and wait a bit to get the shirt you want.  The wait is worth it though since the quality and comfort-level are excellent and, most importantly, my daughter loves her unique shirts and wears them often.

There is nothing wrong with being feminine, but it is important that girls have a clothing choice.  My daughter and I wish the Girls Will Be team lots of success in their very worthy enterprise!

 

Great Magazine Find! “Tessy & Tab Reading Club”

By , March 9, 2010 1:36 pm

I get tons of offers to review all sorts of odd things: snack foods (no thanks), prenatal vitamins (not pregnant), infant video games (did you read the title of my blog?), celebrity this and celebrity that (my interest in celebs = ZERO).  Do any of these marketers actually READ my blog first? I rarely accept a review offer.

Well, a while ago I got a very nice email about a publication that sounded pretty good and well-matched to Unplug Your KidsBlue Lake Children’s Publishing wanted to know if I would be interested in reviewing their bi-monthly “magazine” (really more like a little book) for 2-6 year-old pre and early readers.  The magazine is called Tessy & Tab, and after checking out their website, I decided that my 4 year-old and I might like to give it a try.

The verdict?  We love it!

As I mentioned before, Tessy & Tab is more like a small stiff paperback book than an actual magazine. This is helpful if you have destructive little-ones!   But as Heather of Blue Lake explained, “kids like the word ‘magazine.”  Your preschooler will love getting their own “magazine” twice a month in the mail.

The main characters of Tessy & Tab are a duck named Tessy and a kangaroo…obviously named Tab.  Each 14 page issue features Tessy and Tab doing fun things that children will enjoy learning about, or are perhaps familiar with.  My packet included issues about flying kites, ice skating lessons, learning to write, making pizzas, a yoga lesson, and crafting jewel mugs.

The subject matter was very interesting to my 4 year-old and the bright and simple illustrations were fun for her too.  The text is basic and the font is large, dark, and easy to read.  My daughter was pleased that she could sound out some of the words herself, and LOVED the part where she got to do an “I Spy” finding different pictures and words that appeared throughout the story.  I think she sat quietly on the sofa for at least half an hour working on her packet of Tessy & Tabs.

From a parent point of view, I like the following:

  • I can do more than just read the content aloud.  There are also a few activities, some of which my 4 year-old can do on her own.
  • The featured letter and number are useful bi-monthly teaching tools that might especially be helpful for homeschoolers.
  • There are three “Story Questions” at the end of each issue.  The questions check to see if your child remembered and comprehended the story (there are visual hints too).  A good introduction to the idea of “reading for comprehension” which they will face for many, many years to come in school.
  • Twice a month is ideal in my mind for publications geared to children so young.  Although it flies by for us grown-ups, a full month’s wait is a Very-Long-Time when you are 4ish.
  • The website has printables, learning games, and activities that go along with each issue.

And last, but DEFINITELY not least!!!

  • Tessy & Tab has no advertising.  I don’t have to endure tortured requests for Disney princess fruit snacks or Sponge Bob sneakers after we read an issue.

I have subscribed.

If you decide to subscribe and like this magazine, please tell your friends about it.  If you have a blog, please write about it.

Blue Lake Publishing is a low budget operation and it does not accept advertising.  I really respect this attitude and I wish them well.  I also thank them for bringing Tessy & Tab to my attention!

LINKS:  How does the Tessy & Tab Reading Club Work?

Unplugged Toystore $50 Giveaway and Discount – Bright October!

By , October 25, 2008 8:07 am

I was very excited to receive an email the other day from Courtney at Bright October asking if I would be interested in hosting a giveaway.

Well, yes!!  Bright October is one of my favorite Unplugged Toystores so I knew that whatever Courtney wanted to give away to a reader would be wonderful.

At mom-run Bright October, there are no mass market, licensed character toys.  All the toys they offer are excellent quality, safe, open-ended, and simply beautiful.

In addition to popular, high-quality brands such as Haba, Selecta, and Kathe Kruse, you’ll also discover some that are less well-known (here in the U.S. anyway): Blabla (Peru), Sevi (Italy), and Vilac (France) for example.  I personally love the totally cute organic stuffed animals!

Courtney is very generously offering a $50 Bright October gift certificate to a randomly selected Unplug Your Kids reader, as well as a 10% discount for ALL Unplug Your Kids readers.

To enter, all you have to do is:

1)  Visit Bright October to pick what you might want to buy with your gift certificate (this is hypothetical, if you win you can still change your mind and pick something else).

2)  Leave a comment here on this post saying what you picked.  To enter, leave your comment here at Unplug Your Kids (not at Bright October).

3)  That’s it!

I’ll leave comments open until next Saturday, November 1st at 8PM Pacific Time.  After all comments are in, I’ll pick a random winner and announce it here on Sunday morning, November 2nd.  (I wish I could enter too, but I guess that wouldn’t be very fair!)

Even if you don’t win, you can still take advantage of the 10% off coupon.  Just enter unplug at checkout to get your discount.  The code will be valid until the end of the year, December 31st, 2008 so you can do a little Christmas shopping with it.

Thank you Courtney and good luck to all!

“Forgotten Neighborhood Games,” by Scott Strother (Review)

By , June 5, 2008 10:06 pm


How many of you know the game of Hopscotch, Red Light Green Light, or Monkey in the Middle? I would guess that most of you parents know these games. But what about your children?

Do you or your children know how to play Exchange, Sardines, or Hot Box? Perhaps not.

That is why every family interested in getting their children outside for some good old-fashioned play NEEDS this book in their library.

Author Scott Strother’s preface reminded me of how much fun I used to have playing spontaneous neighborhood games with my friends.

Two experiences inspired Mr. Strother to write this book: 1) Coaching 6 to 16 year-olds in tennis, and realizing that they had no idea what he was talking about when he referred to some of the very common games from his childhood; and 2) A paper that he wrote about childhood obesity and today’s children’s sedentary lifestyles.

Here are the highlights:

  • Games are classified and organized according to activity level. The first section is Activity Level V, “…games that require the most exercise. These games mainly entail constant running or movement and are highly active.” Each section decreases in intensity until the final, Activity Level I – “…games where mostly walking or limited physical exercise is required. These games are still active and outside, but are not as physically demanding as the others.”
  • There is only one game per page and the information is complete, and very clearly presented. Each game description specifies number of kids, ages, time allotted, space/area, equipment, description (startup, object, and play), and the author’s personal comments.
  • Many of the games require children to determine who is “it.” Do you remember doing that? Well, I suspect that choosing who is “it” might be another lost art. Fortunately Forgotten Neighborhood Games also has a section entitled “Picking the ‘It'” which includes a description of the process, and a few rhymes from which to choose.

When I first began this blog in February of 2007, I had planned on having a “Children’s Games” page where I would write up the rules for various outdoor, neighborhood games. Like the author of this book, I had noticed that most children today are too focused on video games and TV to spend much time outdoors playing active and social games like these. I did write a few game posts which I later eliminated. The task was just too daunting.

Although it is sad that a book like this might be necessary to teach today’s children how to play this way, I am so thankful that Mr. Strother took the time to write this very comprehensive, yet easy to use book. The blog equivalent of Forgotten Neighborhood Games is precisely what I had in mind in back in “the old days” when I first began Unplug Your Kids.

My advice would be to use this book as a reference to find a few games to teach your kids. Or better yet, if your children read well enough, have them explore it on their own. As the author says:

It might take a little effort at first, learning the games and getting other children to play, but once kids start learning these exciting games, they will not want to stop. Do not be afraid to go find kids and coerce them outside for some fun. More and more children from the neighborhood will start to get involved. Everyone will begin looking forward to playing and will meet more often. Instead of sitting around inside, kids can meet each other, make friends, get exercise, and have a ton of fun! This is what childhood is all about. Kids need to get back outside, exercise, and love it…and this book is the guide!

Forgotten Neighborhood Games: Get Kids Back Outside and Loving It! is another useful tool for parents to help get children away from “The Box” and back outside. Deserves to become a classic.

Get Ready for Winter: Mitten Clips

By , November 14, 2007 8:14 pm

I am feeling uninspired this evening, so since most people seem to be landing here at the moment from a Google search for “mitten clips,” I think I’ll move over a February post from my Children’s Stuff I Wish I Had Invented page (which I am gradually merging with this main page and phasing out).

If you are searching for mitten clips, here’s my sage advice:

(First written 2/14/07) This snowy Valentine’s day in Arizona’s White Mountains makes me think of mittens…lost mittens.

I used to sew a mitten on to each end of a ribbon and thread it through the coat sleeves. This hi-tech device used to have the now non-politically correct name of “Idiot String.”

But, one day while searching the internet for kids’ suspenders, I found these. If you are too lazy or busy to sew mittens onto ribbons, then check these out.

They are really easy. You just clip a mitten onto one end and attach the other clip to the end of the sleeve (clips are like those on suspenders). Mittens stay hooked onto coat sleeves!

Those in the photo come from Rugged Bear . Most online suspender stores seem to have these. Suspenders Online has a huge assortment of patterns and colors.

In researching this blog I also found a one-piece variety which looks a pretty good option too. It is like my idea, but instead of a ribbon, it is a long, adjustable length suspender with a clip on each end. See SuspenderStore.com and look for the “Snoggles.”

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