If you’re looking to bring joy to kids and parents, check out our curated selection of best gifts for kids, babies and parents.
We know how special Baby’s first holiday season is and we have lots of award-winning toys to spark imagination and build creativity for the special little one in your life.
5 vibrant silicone bubbles in varying sizes and colors provide a sensory adventure. $12.95, 6+ months, www.fatbraintoyco.com
Learn & Groove Shakin’ Colors Maracas
Includes three play modes that introduce colors, numbers and music in English and Spanish. $14.99. 6+ Months, www.leapfrog.com
Violet the Fawn Cuddle + Kind Doll
A stylish, handcrafted doll with a big impact. Each doll provides 10 meals to children in need. $70, www.ca.cuddleandkind.com
Lovevery Play Gym
Thoughtfully designed by child development experts to provide years of learning fun. $140, Birth-2 years, www.loveverybaby.com
Lovevery Play Kits
An innovative early childhood subscription learning program delivering staged-based developmental toys to your door. Starting at $36/per month, Birth-24 months, www.lovevery.com
Lights & Stripes Zebra
Features upbeat music and playful sing-along songs. $14.9, Birth+, www.vtechkids.com
Whimsical Wheel High Chair Toy
Capture baby’s attention with spinning wheels, cascading beads and bright colors. $9.99, 6+ Months, www.target.com
Create a story by pressing colorful icons from various sections such as “hero”, “adventure” and “happy ending.” $29.99, 12+ Months, www.amazon.com
Fisher Price Corn Popper Ride On
Forward and backward motion activates popping action. $24.99, 1-3, www.jakks.com
Mirari Pop! Pop! Piano
Flip the switch to go from piano tones to hearing fun sound effects. $29.99, 12+ Months, www.playmonster.com
Learn & Groove Dancing Panda
Shake, dance and spin around to the music while learning numbers and letters. $34.99, 9+ Months, www.leapfrog.com
Kleynimals Toy Keys
Innovative stainless steel toy keys that are eco-friendly, non-toxic and American-made. Can be personalized. $35.00, Birth+, www.kleynimals.com
Tiny Love Magical Tales Black & White Gymini Deluxe
A chic black & white design with adjustable arches and musical melodies support the 7 developmental stages. $47.99, Birth-12 Months, www.tinylove.com
Butterfly Counting Pal
Buttons play a variety of songs to teach colors and numbers. $17.99, Birth+, www.leapfrog.com
Do-Re-Mi Textured Tunes
Dance along to three fun melodies. $9.99, Birth+, www.sassybaby.com
My Peek-a-Boo LapPup
Learn rhymes, shapes, colors and numbers with Scout or Violet. $14.99, 6+ Months, www.leapfrog.com
Spin & Chew Ring Rattle
Easy to grab featuring a spinning ring and ball to stimulate senses. $6.99, Birth+, www.sassybaby.com
Scout’s Learning Lights Remote Deluxe
Hear more than 100 phrases, sounds and music while building fine motor skills. Includes Spanish, music and weather channels. $12.99, 6+ Months, www.leapfrog.com
For more holiday gift ideas, visit NAPPA Awards. #holidays #giftguide #playlearnconnect
We know kids have the best sense of humor, so give them some laughs with these Wild & Wacky NAPPA Award winners.
Pop Pops Snotz Slime Slammer Hammer
Mashing, smashing fun featuring 60 collectible gross Snotz characters. $14.99, 4+, www.yulutoys.com
An ax-ellant, new soft foam game bringing the latest trend home in a fun and safe way. Sticks to any flat surface like walls or windows. $9.99, 4+, www.zing.toys
Fast-paced skill and action game, where you can play as the Ninja Master and use the HUGE Karate Chop SLAP to defend your precious coin or play as the student trying to tap the coin in the Ninja’s hand to defeat him. $19.99, 9+, www.jakks.com
Bananagrams The Furglars Game
A dice rolling family game that takes game night to a strange and mysterious place, where players take turns rolling an ever-changing quantity of dice hoping to capture Furgles. $14.99, 7+, www.bananagrams,com
Toilet Paper Blasters Sheet Storm
Rapid-fire pump action lets kids splatter the competition. $39.99, 8+, www.jakks.com
Chocolate Poop Maker
Get ready for some giggles and laughs with this reusable chocolate maker. $9.99, 6+, www.jakks.com
Hank’s Twisted Challenge
Twist, bend and turn your body in crazy ways while you race to get the ball off the end of the wire. $19.99, 6+, www.wickedcooltoys.com
Kids Against Maturity: Card Game for Kids and Humanity
A fun game with lots of toilet humor for the whole family to enjoy. $32.99, 8+, www.amazon.com
For more gift ideas, visit NAPPA Awards. #holidays #playlearnconnect
We know it can be hard for parents to send their kids off to camp, but this time, you can go too. It may feel like it is way too early to be thinking about next year’s summer plans, but many popular camps start selling out as early as January! The sooner you plan, the better you can book, and the more fun you can have. Let’s look outside of the box, and outside the mainland, at these island getaway family adventure camps.
Camp Fox, Catalina Island
Catalina Island, only 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, is home to a plethora of family-friendly activities. Camp Fox, run by the YMCA of Glendale since 1926, hosts five camps jam-packed with adventure. Ignite your summer camp nostalgia at their three-day Labor Day Family Camp, a perfect getaway that attracts visitors from around the world. Hike up to Bible Peak, fish off the dock, challenge the ropes course and lead a song at the nightly campfire for a taste of what the island has to offer. The 2018 Family Camp had attendees ranging from 11 months to 86-years-old – Camp Fox really is fun for the whole family!
Sandy Island’s Overnight Camp for Families, hidden on the breathtaking Lake Winnipesaukee, is run by the YMCA of Greater Boston. Bring along your family and friends as you explore the surrounding woods, go tubing, learn glass blowing or try stand up paddle board yoga on the crystal blue waters. With five different activity programs for children ages 3-19, parents will have time to take a break and enjoy the fresh air. After your family crushes the competition in the Sandy Island Triathlon, make some new friends at the Talent Show and Sandy Dances. If you’re worried about the cost, the camp offers scholarships, so there’s nothing in your way of a weekend of excitement.
Camp Abnaki is another YMCA Labor Day Camp packed full of island fun. Located on North Hero Island across from Alburg Dunes State Park, you can participate in the family programs or rent out the whole camp. Return to nature with a weekend in a cabin, try your hand at archery, get out on the water or just enjoy some downtime. For some extra special bonding, join Camp Abnaki for Father/Son weekend. Prices range from $75 – $95 for kids 5-15, and little ones 4-years-old and under are free. Check their website for the upcoming 2019 deadline, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Campers’ Paradise is a family owned, family-friendly, island destination. Sheltered by one of Minnesota’s many lakes, you and your family will be truly immersed in the summer camp experience. This unique campground boasts sugar-sand beaches, a fishing bridge, mini arcade and solar-heated washing amenities (so your kids can play in the dirt as much as they’d like). Although you may never want to leave the island, the local towns have tons of extra activities like amusement rides, pig races and music festivals. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a Bald Eagle flying over Lake Belle Taine!
For more inspiration for family fun, visit NAPPA Awards. #playlearnconnect
As you gather together with your family, put on some great tunes and sing and dance together. Music is one of the best ways to connect.
Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Holidays: Songs and Stories That Celebrate Global Light
A wonderful new album of 13 songs and a collection of stories and facts about how people around the world celebrate various holidays. $13.99, $9 digital, www.hunktabunkta.com
Under the Tree
A unique and engaging compilation of holiday favorites, as well as new original winter songs. $10, www.staceypeasley.com
Run Along Home: Sing With Me
The whole family will want to sing and dance to these infectious and whimsical tunes by Tracy Newman. $14.99, www.RunAlongHome.com
Get ready for a Louisiana dance party with Cajun, Dixieland jazz, New Orleans R&B, brass band and Isleño original tunes. $10,www.johnetteandscott.com
Under the Big Umbrella by Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could
A Vibrant album celebrating individuality and kindness. Inspired by and written with students, teachers and families and enriched by a handful of classic pop songs that underscore the message. $14, www.bradyrymer.com
Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees: Lullabies and Nursery Rhyme from West Africa and the Caribbean
An enchanting collection of 23 songs that pays homage to the cultural heritage and multilingual communities of West Africa and the Caribbean. $16.95, www.thesecretmountain.com
Ditto Kiddo by Stephen Michael Schwartz
Nine original songs – always with a child’s perspective and a grown-up’s sensibilities. $12.98, www.stephenmichaelschwartz.com
A Cheerful Little Earful
A jazz album for kids by a charming real-life singing fairy featuring a fun collection of songs. $12.99, www.dianapanton.com
For more gift ideas, visit NAPPA Awards. #holidays #playlearnconnect
Our gift giving series continues with more toys that build imagination.
Pump up these cute animals and watch them go for hours of unplugged play. $14.99, 3+, www.educationalinsights.com
Magical Castle Bed Tent
Now kids can rule the kingdom from the comfort of their own bed. $89.99, ages 3-8, www.lakeshorelearning.com
Sweet Meadow Horse Stable
A modern farmhouse and a cozy abode for dolls and their equine friends. $79.00, 3+, www.kidkraft.com
Play and picnic for hours. $69.99, 3+, www.schleich-s.com
Disney Princess Style Collection Play Suitcase
Features real working wheels, a retractable handle and storage for included travel accessories.
$39.99, 3+, www.jakks.com
Latches & Doors Busy Board
Slide, press, twist or turn while learning numbers, letters and animal names. $24.99, 12 months-36 months, www.vtechkids.com
Disney Princess Ariel Music & Lights Vanity
Includes a vanity, Flounder jar with lid and foam pad, play perfume bottle, tiara, earrings, play curling iron, dinglehopper brush, comb and four bands. $59.99, 3+, www.target.com
PLAYMOBIL Tiny Paws Pet Hotel
Set includes three figures, eight dogs, two birds, two doghouses, bench, seesaw, wheelbarrow, dog food, birdseed, and other accessories. $69.99, 4+, www.playmobil.us
Rock Around Wobble Disk
Hold on tight for a rock, wobble and 360 degree spin adventure. $39.99, 2+, www.simplya3.com
For more gift ideas, visit NAPPA Awards.
Kids Against Maturity Card Game
Are your kids bored with Apple 2 Apples, and too young for Cards Against Humanity?
Kids Against Maturity fills that empty gap with age-appropriate toilet humor for the whole family to enjoy. Poopy fart humor for the kids… and funny innuendos for the adults. It truly is the best game for both worlds! $32.99, ages 8+, to purchase, visit Amazon.com
Are you ready to make family game night great again!?
Sponsored by our 2019 NAPPA Award winner Kids Against Maturity Card Game
Kids learn and grow through play. This holiday season, give the gift of imagination with these fun friends.
Disney Junior Minnie Walk & Dance Unicorn Feature Plush
Press Minnie’s hand to see Penelope dance. Attach Minnie’s hand to Penelope’s back and watch them walk together. $39.99, 3+, www.JustPlayProducts.com
2019 Girl of the Year is a Chef-in-training who loves to gather everyone for dinner. Comes with paperback book. $140, 8+, www.americangirl.com
Pinkfong Baby Shark Song Puppets with Tempo Control
Move the mouth of your Baby Shark puppet to hear it “sing” the entire Baby Shark song. Available in 3 characters. $19.99, www.babyshark.wowwee.com
JoJo Siwa Singing JoJo Doll D.R.E.A.M.
Sporting her signature double bow, this 10-inch doll sings her newest hit song, “D.R.E.A.M.” $19.99, 6+, www.JustPlayProducts.com
Harry Potter Hedwig Interactive Creature
This owl makes 12 unique sounds and responds to sounds by turning her head. $19.99, 4+, www.jakks.com
She is beautiful and 32-inches tall. Lightweight and easy to carry around. $59.99, 3+, www.jakks.com
Juno My Baby Elephant
With over 150 lifelike movements and sounds. $99.99, 5+, www.junomybabyelephant.com
Squad includes Lola, Aspen, Dawn, Yuki, Echo and Izzy. Use app to glam up your doll and share with friends on social. $14.47, 5+, www.snapstartworld.com
For more holiday gift ideas, visit NAPPA Awards. #holidaygifts #giftguide #playlearnconnect
A Sweet Southern Treat
Our favorite foods often make us think of “home,” especially near the holidays. Catarah Coleman and Shoneji Robison both grew up in Florida. After moving to L.A., Coleman founded Southern Girl Desserts, head-quartered in Baldwin Hills, and was soon joined by Coleman. The two brought their childhood with them.
In their homes, “Thanksgiving is a smorgasbord of desserts,” Coleman says. This means overflowing tables of cakes, trifle, banana pudding, ambrosia – and sweet potato pie. These southern girls, like most southerners, have their own take on this classic. “Everyone does their sweet potato pie a little different,” Coleman says. “If you like sweet potato pie, you’re going to love this recipe. It’s really easy to make. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients.”
Coleman recommends using foil to protect the edge of your pie crust when par baking, and says the crust shouldn’t be cooked all the way through and should still be warm when you fill it.
The sweet potatoes or yams (they can be used interchangeably) are boiled whole because it’s easier than peeling them first. “Once the yams are soft and have boiled all the way through, the skin literally peels off,” Coleman says. “That’s the best way to get your yams cooked and peeled really quickly.” Finish the pie while the yams are still warm so all the ingredients come together easily.
The finished pie will hold at room temperature for a day, 3-4 days cooled and refrigerated or 8-10 weeks frozen (well wrapped).
Southern Girl Desserts Sweet Potato Pie
- 4 medium size yams or sweet potatoes 1 stick butter, melted
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 medium eggs
- 1 9-inch pie crust, your favorite recipe or ready made
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit your crust into a pie pan and par bake no more than 10 minutes, or according to package instructions.
Boil the yams or sweet potatoes (unpeeled) until soft (usually 30-45 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel them. Whisk the yams together with the butter, sugar, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice.
Add three cups of this mixture to a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 eggs and mix until smooth (approximately 3-5 minutes). Remove any stringy pieces of yam from the mixture and discard.
Beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water. Brush this over the par-baked crust. Mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and sprinkle this over the crust. Pour in the filling.
Bake the pie at 350 degrees for one hour. Allow to cool for one hour, then cut and serve.