There are plenty of topics that seriously divide parents, but manners usually isn’t one of them. Who wants to be the parent watching their child chew food with a wide open mouth while simultaneously flinging bread across the table? Or worse, using their shirt as a napkin (something my son has mastered). Well, there’s help to be found.
Table Manners, by golly-gee-pers, is a clever set of cards I’m pretty sure even French children, with their impeccable etiquette, would find fun. The game comes neatly packed in an unbleached cotton pouch with 15 cards depicting good and bad manners (thumbs up = good job, thumbs down = oops). Each child gets 4 cards and exchanges cards with others at the table based on the manners being used.
What I most appreciate (aside from the fact that I no longer have to police mealtimes), is that the game encourages good manners while being motivating at the same time. Gentle reminders include: “hat off at the table, eating too fast, one bite at a time”. They even include 4 customizable cards for those times when you need to improvise. At the end of the meal, players who have earned only thumbs up cards are given the “Ready To Dine Out” card.
Aside from the fact that my kids are now nagging me about my manners — the cards have worked!
Laminated cards are made from 100% recycled material. Good for ages 4+.
Wandering around a small garden store in Toronto, I spotted these cool paper placemats from Cake Kitchen Table & Home. The founders live in the heart of Nashville with their three young sons and were inspired to design a collection with a distinctively vintage feel. Their creations are all sweet illustrations and whimsical colours with 30% recycled paper.
Just perfect for my three little busy bodies at mealtimes this summer….
A Nashville artist's rendition of vintage chairs adorns this color placemat -$22
25 placemat sheets featuring paper disguises to color-in, punch-out, and wear. $27
The stage in between a highchair and proper chair can be slightly frustrating for both kids and parents. And what parent isn’t delighted to finally get rid of the bulky (or plain ugly) stain laden seat? Welcome to the stylish and (very sweet) SweetSeat, the brainchild of a couple who live on a working farm in San Antonio Texas.
The handcrafted booster seat was born out of their desire for kids products that were long-lasting, high quality and low-impact (and yes, good-looking!). And what they couldn’t find, they decided to make for themselves. The SweetSeat team paid clever attention to the details: stable and sized to sit on any chair, the booster height is just right, so little legs can be safely tucked under the table when the chair is pushed in. The cover is made from an easy to wipe laminated cotton, which means its both super durable and child-safe (BPA and PVC free). And don’t forget the gorgeous designs – full of fresh and retro colours.
And lest you need any more encouragement to check these sweeties out – each and every seat is still handmade on the farm.
The Mimijumi bottle is one stylish little milking package. But don’t be fooled, this is definitely not a case of form over function. Created by a superstar team: mothers, nurses, physicians, lactation experts and designers, the (very nipple-like) nipples are made from food-grade silicon and come in the three different nipple designs with various flow rates (slow/medium/fast). And mimijumi has some interesting features, like the integrated ventilation system that helps baby’s digestion. All are BPA and latex-free.
The result is an exceptionally safe and natural bottle, designed to mimic (and complement) the experience of breastfeeding.
This product is so handy and well designed, it easily made it onto our list of Top 10 new products for 2012. The idea of being able to eat with your baby and not have food strewn across the table is more than appealing. The Bambinos! Tidy Table Tray + Flexi-Diner™ is a clever little invention – it has a flexible non-toxic rubber lip which molds and bends with your baby, catching spills that fall between your baby and the table. It clips easily to tables, has an on/off insert for two in one use, a flexible lip to catch spills, and comes with a carry bag (for your favourite restaurants!). Dishwasher safe and non-toxic. Check the bambinos! website for availability in December.
Now that we’re right in the thick of that glorious (and sometimes not so glorious!) summer heat, there is no better way to embrace the season than with a frosty, delicious homemade popsicle. The good news, there’s no more waiting hours upon hours for those luscious frozen lollies to set. Now, with the ZOKU Quick Pop Maker, you can freeze those ice pops in as little as seven minutes, right on your countertop without electricity. All you do is store the compact base in your freezer, and voila!, you can please a party of little ones (or even big ones!) with an instant treat before refreezing the unit again.