Sunday, October 16, 2011

sharing our favorite babywearing toys | international babywearing week | little free radical

So, I began International Babywearing Week with a post about my favorite carriers for babywearing as a parent in a wheelchair, so I thought I'd end the week sharing about my 5 favorite TOYS for babywearing- and do a share-away with 2 of them!!! [see the bottom of this post for your chance to enter]

#1: Haba Pacifier Clips & Chains:  
For Newborn + 
I must say that pacifier clips & chains have been a huge lifesaver for me! There is nothing like having the baby all cozy or sleeping in the carrier, then dropping their toy or pacifier and trying to reach down to get it, right?

So I found these fantastic pacifier clips & chains when I was pregnant and had to get a few! Haba products always have cheerful colors and I love that they are made of wood instead of plastic. 

We briefly did a pacifier so I used it for that early on, before using it to attach toys to my ring sling & beco carriers. It was fantastic to be able to bring a toy along everywhere without worrying we'd drop it and lose it somewhere along the way. Yes, I'm the type of person that always get a little sad for a kid when I see a lost toy out on a sidewalk, knowing it's little owner might be missing it. :'(

 I've had a hard time finding these toys locally (in Boston) but I've found these pacifier chains & clips online at stores such as Maukilo, Oompa, Moolka, and PadLilly costing about $4 for the clips & $14-17 for the pacifier chains. Check out those shops to see the awesome product variety they carry! You might have a really hard time choosing just one (which is why we have 2 chains & 2 clips at our home)!

The clips are awesome if you have a toy with a small lanyard so you can clip it to your carrier. Or you can always  tie a small ribbon from the clip to a toy. :)

#2: Haba Rattles & Clutching Toys
For 6+ Months
Around 4 months, Sophie started getting 'bored' in the carrier when we were out, so I got her these two toys to take along - Corella Clutching Toy & Nana Clutching Toy. We were working with Early Intervention for gross & fine motor issues (likely the result of a perinatal stroke) so these toys were perfect in helping her learn to use her fingers. The Corella toy's wooden segments are attached via an elastic ring so the babu can turn them and make different shape creations. The Nana has a rotating flower petal and 2 sections strung together on elastic. Both are made of beech wood with a non-toxic finish.

We have several more Haba Rattles & Clutching Toys so I often rotate which we bring out of the house with us since they can pop on the clips easily. Haba has a wide variety of similar toys - here are a few more - several of which could easily tag along on a babywearing day out!

Larum Rattle, $14; Lirum Rattle, $14; Color Snake Clutching Toy, $12;
Flower Trio Clutching Toy, $14; Jungle Caboodle Clutching Toy, $14;
Klick-Klack Rattle, $8; Trioli Clutching Toy, $8; Kastagnetta Rattle, $12;
Jingle Train Clutching Toy, $14; Magica Clutching Toy, $12

#3: FunKeys from B. toys: 
For 6+ Months

Another favorite toy - from another of our favorite toy companies - are the FunKeys from B. toys! They were one of the Christmas presents I bought for Sophie's First Christmas! 

They are a fantastic little set of keys with 4 sounds & a push button flashlight! They are super durable - made of safe stainless steel! B. toys has such an awesome website that you can go check out the sounds right on their page that the keys make! How cool is that? (sometimes playing with their website is as fun as playing with their toys!)

The lanyard attached to the "key chain" makes it super easy to attach to many babywearing carriers! Sophie has recently figured out the light - to look down inside the carrier (searching for lost cheerios on-the-go?)  

FunKeys retail for about $9 at Target. A must-have for any babywearer and a great stocking stuffer idea for kids under 3! Or you could put it under the tree since it's a self-wrapping gift! - How cool is that?

#4: Hellophone from B. toys: 
18+ Months 
As Sophie has gotten older (she's now 15 months), I've realized that to keep her entertained all day I need more then just 1 toy on the go...  so, lately we've been wandering around Boston with the FunKey's on the right side of the carrier, and the Hellophone on the left. I'll explain all the entertaining features:

Like the FunKeys, this toy also makes some awesome noises - which you can try out on B. toys website! Of course it's not as cool as the iPhone since we can't play the music video for Jai Ho (which my daughter thinks is the best song ever), BUT you can record messages on it so your child can hear your voice (or part of a song!).  How awesome is that? 

If you close the phone for a few minutes, it will randomly ring - then when you open it it either plays your recorded message, a dial tone or a busy signal (but don't worry - if you don't answer it the first time, it will stay quiet - this isn't one of those toys that will wake you up at 3am)! Of course this feature is always a conversation starter on the MBTA when people hear a phone ring and a 1-year-old "answers" the toy phone. :)

For babywearing, like the FunKeys, this phone has a lanyard too - making it easy to attach to a carrier! And, in typical B. toys style, Hellophone comes in all sorts of awesome colors!  You can find it at Target for about $8-9!

#5: Alphaberry from B. Toys: 
18+ Months 
As I said, we are big B. toys fans! They are affordable toys, come in great colors and are from a company who wants to B. nice to the planet! And for me, they are also happen to be locally-based! :)

So if you were impressed with the FunKeys & Hellophone, you'll really be impressed with the Alphaberry! I don't think there could be a cooler way to learn your ABCs then pressing the buttons on Alphaberry and watching the letter appear on the screen and getting to hear it's name! 

It also sings the Alphabet in 4 different styles! Wanna hear them? Just check out the Alphaberry Page and try the "i make sounds" buttons! Way better then listening to the "classic" alphabet song over and over and over,  right?

This is the toy we never leave home without. In fact - we now have two of them! As a parent in a wheelchair, I needed something to keep Sophie from touching my wheelchair buttons on-the-go and this was fabulous! If she tried touching mine, I'd hand her this so she could have "hers." It has buttons and a cool screen just like mom - but even cooler was the fact that it has sounds - now we never touch mom's buttons because the $13 Alphaberry is WAY cooler then the $20,000 wheelchair (cheaper is always better with kids, right?)

Right now, I'm totally sporting it with my Beco Gemini Luna Carrier  I realized after how well the Alphaberry matched our carrier! - I told you B. toys has great colors!

Hellophone & FunKeys Share-Away:

Sometimes, when you have really fantastic toys, you end up with duplicates, right? Well that happened at our house! And since we already tell our friends about b. toys, and they love them too, we haven't been to any parties where we could share our extras... So we contacted B. toys to see if a give-away was all right with them... and they came back with an even better plan: a share-away! to quote B. toys: 
We're big into sharing.  That's why our toys come not with cross-sell brochures but with kids' words of wisdom.  That's why Hellophones and Alphaberries come in boxes that can be shared with mom or big sister to store notecards or hair doo-dads in.  That's why we send 10¢ from the sale of every toy to Free The Children.
  • I have an extra brand new set of Red FunKeys & an Orange Hellophone that I want to share with 2 lucky readers 
  • PLUS: our friends at B. toys would also like to share a set of funkeys & a hellophone with those 2 readers favorite charities!!!
How To Enter:
  • Mandatory Entry: leave us a comment below telling us what your favorite children's charity is, and why that charity is important to you! 
  • Extra Optional Entry (to increase your odds) in a separate comment: Tell us about a child you'd love to give the hellophone or funkeys to - who is he/she and why are they special to you? 
Only TWO comments per person please! Each comment counts as an entry!
TWO winners will be chosen - one for hellophone & one for funkeys - but if you enter twice you have a chance to win BOTH - plus one for your favorite charity!
Live outside of the US? no problem! We are happy to SHARE with readers all over the planet - after all it is INTERNATIONAL Babywearing Week, right? ;)

Oh, and while you wait for the share-away to end, be sure to stop by the B. Quotes and read some words of wisdom from kids - or share some of your own child's quotes!

Don't forget to come back on October 24th to see who we are sharing these great products with! -
and we have a few more upcoming giveaways so "follow us" to stay tuned for future share-aways & giveaways!

Links You Might Love:
Little Free Radical: facebook | twitterblog etsywebsite

DISCLAIMER: This shareaway is open to anyone on the planet! It will begin 10/16/2011 and end 10/23/2011. The winners will be announced in a separate post and have 48 hours to respond with their contact info & choice of charity. I was not financially compensated for this review. The opinions stated are my own. 
That's all! I just wanted to tell you a few more of my favorite things when babywearing, and share our extra B. toys! I can't wait to read your comments!

PS: Did you hear about the Babywearing Flash Mob Boston Babywearers did Downtown Boston? You won't want to miss this! :)


  1. There are so many great children's charities out there but my favorite children's charity will always be The Make-A-Wish Foundation. As a former Make-A-Wish kid I am really grateful and thankful for my granted wish, now that I am now a healthy adult, I always try to give back to a charity that helped me knowing the difference a wish granted can make :)

  2. I would give the funkeys to my mischievous son Hayden. About a month ago, my son's super duper corrosive saliva got into my smartphone and fried the circuitry. We recently celebrated his birthday where friends that had heard of my tale of woe gifted my son with not just 1 but 3 phones of his very own (all a different kind of course).
    Anyhow, I haven't seen the funkeys before but other than our phones, Hayden's favorite thing to try to steal are our keys. Maybe if he had his own little set that are a little more life like (instead of the ginormous plastic ones) he'd stop taking ours :)

  3. My favorite kids charity has always been the Make A Wish Foundation. They do SO many amazing things for very ill kids (and their families!). I know several families who struggled through childhood cancer and both were abundantly blessed by Make A Wish! Of course, Wishes can go to kids with any very serious/terminal illness, not just cancer. In addition to their 'wish', they also send the whole immediate family to Disney World!!! How awesome is that?! Any family struggling with a sick child will tell you that a getaway does wonders for the soul.

  4. Well, it is a tough son Caleb would really love both things, but I bet my niece Samantha would love them too. Maybe I could split between the two of them. I am a bit scared to give Caleb the Fun-Keys though because then he might think MY keys are so fun and set off my panic alarm...yikes!

  5. I have to be honest that I have never really donated to charities except every once in a while the 1$ donations that some stores do. But if I chose one it would be the Ronald McDonald house charity....because... a majority of the kids who get sick have a hard working parent...or parents that can afford the hospital bills let alone staying somewhere close to their children who need them. The charity's motto is "Keeping families together when they need it the most"...I think it's awesome that they can provide a place for family so that, in addition to the medical help, the kids can get the much needed time with their families.
    Tessa would really be in to the phone...she's a girl.
    K.T. U :)

  6. I would love to support Reston Interfaith! They do amazing things for people in my local area who need help financially or emotionally. They run a shelter, help people with rent or utility payments, and provide gifts for kids who are from families who can't afford them for the holidays. They are run by volunteers from area religious organizations of all faiths. A wonderful local organization!

  7. I would definitely give the Funkeys or HelloPhone to my daughter Lillian! She is constantly stealing my keys!! AND, she is always pretending to talk on the phone, to anyone and everyone. To mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and most recently Barney (who knows? I don't even let her watch Barney!)

  8. March of dimes would be my Charity of choice. They are an amazing charity that does awesome work. I know they work with moms who are threatening miscarriage or issues while pregnant and that hits real close to home with me. I have donated to them in hopes that if I am ever in the situation I was in again or somebody I am close to that what the March of dimes does will help them keep their little ones alive!
    Also wanna add I have also donaated my hair to the locks of love and that would be a second choice for me. I could not imagine having to deal with cancer and being a little girl or girl of any age with no hair. So locks of love is also an awesome charity.

  9. Since my lil already has toy cell phone I would love to give her the fun keys!

  10. I would like to nominate Make a Wish Foundation. Both my children have mitochondrial disorder (mitochondria is the organelle that produces energy in our body and in mitochondrial disorder the body doesnot produce enough energy to sustain life functons, and it is usually progressive and fatal in nature). Though my kids are on the milder spectrum, I have many friends who have kids who are very sick and these innocent ones are fighting continuously for their life. Make a Wish Foundation has been great to bring a smile and cheer back in their lives. They have granted wishes as wide ranging as that of Disney trips, cruises, meeting a celebrity hero, doing a therapy room etc and they are deserving of this giveaway.

  11. The Hamilton Toy Museum is my charity. They are trying to create a community/cultural centre that provides educational opportunities in a very under-serviced community. It will also be open and accessable to everyone! There is no other toy museum in Canada, and there really should be! I support many other children's charities, but this is the first one that came to mind because it is unique in our community.

  12. Since I have two kids, I dont think it will be fair to nominate anyone of them. Like B-toys, I like the idea of share-away, so let them both share their toys with each other. I like both the products, but I think Hellophone will be so much fun to have. My two year old daughter is still not talking much, but she is interested in phones and steals my phone whenever she can. She loves to pretend to talk on the phone and will absolutely love to have her own phone. Plus I can use the recording option to reinforce my older son's speech therapy lessons (he has profound bilateral hearing loss).

  13. My favorite children's charity is March of Dimes. I always get the mailers and take time to read the kids stories. We give what we can(plus the little mailing address labels they send are super cute ;) I feel like I am really blessed to have a healthy baby and the best way I can be thankful for that is to help out other families who have sick babies. Great giveaway!

  14. I would use the prize as a stocking stuffer and they'd be great for James' little brother or sister too! ;)

  15. My favorite Charity is Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Bath.Brunswick (My local chapter) I have known many children who have found wonderful mentors through the program, and it is an invaluable resource in our community!
    bonnyejean at gmail dot com

  16. I would love to give the telephone or keys to Lainey- a little girl who had an unfortunate medical accident happen during treatment who now needs constant help and support. She would LOVE the keys!
    bonnyejean at gmail dot com

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