Summer is finally here! And we’re ready to get the fun started. Check out our latest Summer Fun & Travel Guide filled with amazing products for you and your kids to enjoy. It includes over 90 NAPPA Award winning products that have been tested and evaluated. It features water toys for fun in the sun, games and puzzles to challenge your mind, books for summer reading, music for a rockin’ playlist and travel gear for comfort on the go. Check it out for everything you need this summer!
It’s probably been a while since you actually sent your kids off (as in out of the house) to school. All signs indicate that it could be a while longer until you do, but any school day, even a day of distance learning, should start with the right breakfast fuel.
In 2015, Catherine McCord realized that wasn’t happening at her house. That’s a surprise, since she is the mom behind Weelicious, a website devoted to simple and healthy recipes for the whole family. Her son, the oldest of her three kids, was experiencing unexplained headaches, nausea and fatigue. McCord eventually identified breakfast as the culprit. The family was eating a super-healthy diet the rest of the day, but in the morning, she was letting the kids have the pancakes, waffles and toast they requested.
She realized that these foods weren’t giving her son what he needed to start his day. Smoothies became the family’s new breakfast, her son’s health problems disappeared and McCord wrote “The Smoothie Project,” a cookbook with almost 100 smoothie recipes to fuel healthy eating.
“The idea is that all the smoothies have fruit and vegetable and protein, and that they’re keeping you full and energized,” says McCord. “Having a smoothie a day means you’re replacing a meal that might not be as good for you.”
To get your family in the smoothie-a-day habit, McCord’s book proposes a 28-day plan: Have a smoothie for one meal a day for 28 days and you’ll notice a difference in your body, she says. “Then you have two paths. You can have mac and cheese or chocolate ice cream later in the day and feel less guilty because you know you had a good meal already, or you can feel so good that you want to keep the feeling going, and you’ll make better choices,” says McCord.
The book has smoothies to suit every flavor preference, including coffee- and chocolate-based smoothies, tropical, berry heavy and seasonal options. There are also chapters to help simplify smoothie making, a bit about blenders, nutritional information and a thorough guide to the types of “super boost” ingredients you’ll find in the supplement aisle at Gelson’s. “There’s something for everyone, depending on your flavor preference and what you’re trying to get done in your body,” says McCord.
Through the online community McCord built using #smoothieproject, she has heard how smoothies have helped parents with picky eaters, parents trying to minimize their kids’ processed-food intake, people trying to lose weight and even senior citizens. One Potato, McCord’s family meal-subscription service, recently added smoothie kits to its menu of options.
Want a taste of what it’s all about? All you need is a blender (a high-powered one, if possible, and McCord suggests borrowing a friend’s rather than buying one if you’re just getting started).
A great gateway is this Blueberry Cherry Lemon smoothie, which McCord says is an “antioxidant bomb” with tons of nutrition and flavor.
Blueberry Cherry Lemon Smoothie from ‘The Smoothie Project’
¾ cup (111 grams) frozen blueberries
¼ cup (38 grams) frozen cherries, pitted
¼ lemon (with peel and pith), seeds removed
2 tablespoons coconut yogurt
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon honey or blue agave
¾ cup (180 milliliters) almond milk or milk of choice
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Ready for some family fun! Check out these new NAPPA Award winners!
A super-fun game about YOU and your people–and your likes and dislikes. How well do you know each other? Can your teammate guess your RANK? $30.00, ages 8+, storyastic.com
Like paint-by-numbers, but with stickers! A great activity for the whole family, maker spaces, community-building events, reading challenges, and more! $36.00, ages 5+, letsticktogether.com
The first player to successfully place all of their ice blocks and their fox pawn on the sculpture wins the game. The blocks are slippery so be careful or the sculpture may come tumbling down. $36.00, ages 7+, simplyfun.com
A fun three-dimensional game that will have players practicing their planning skills and adapting to new conditions. Race around the track, planning which paths to take in order to get ahead. $38.00, ages 7+, simplyfun.com
Addresses every day teachable moments that aim to normalize conversations around safety and flexible thinking through the medium of a board game. $19.99, ages 4+, gameplangame.com
For more award-winning products, visit NAPPAAwards.com
This summer will be different, but as parents we need to do all we can to create fun and a sense of calm for our kids. So this summer, turn your backyard into the FUN ZONE! Our NAPPA Awards Guide to Summer Fun is here to help you bring that carefree vibe home. We have toys, family games, music, recipes and much more. Happy Summer!
Maya Warren has a job title that would get most kids’ attention. She’s an ice cream scientist. Translation: Warren is senior director of international research and development/tastemaster at Cold Stone Creamery, and has a doctorate in food science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in frozen desserts. After being introduced to food science through the Food Network show “Unwrapped,” she decided to combine her passions for ice cream and chemistry to create a career that lets her do what she loves every day.
While her favorite ice cream flavor fluctuates between cookies and cream and a double-buttered candied pecan that is her own creation, the L.A.-based flavor maker finds inspiration for new flavors everywhere. “Whether it is at a fine dining restaurant, the candy or yogurt aisle at the grocery store or just following up-and-coming food trends across the globe, creativity is always around us,” Warren says. “It is really fun to push the envelope with ice cream flavors.”
Honey, cornbread and blackberry jam? Thai curry, peanuts and lime? Why not! “The flavors you can make are totally endless!” Warren says. “Now, not everything will taste amazing, but you never know when you might develop an amazing flavor that will leave people wanting more.”
What does she eat when she isn’t eating ice cream? “I love a great plate of veggies,” Warren insists. “I pretty much add spinach and broccoli to anything and everything … except ice cream. I’ve definitely not tried spinach or broccoli ice cream!”
The recipe this ice cream scientist has shared is the no-churn variety, which means you can make it without an ice cream maker. She says both varieties are very tasty, and that the main difference is in the process. No-churn recipes involve whipping the cream separately to create foam and give the mixture lightness, which wouldn’t be efficient for large-scale production. Ice cream that is churned freezes a prepared mixture and uses the machine to incorporate air during the freezing process.
Using this no-churn recipe, you create the base, then let your creativity loose to create your own flavor combinations. “Layer in whatever your creative mind and taste buds desire!” says Warren. Want more inspiration? Follow the ice cream scientist on Instagram, where she hosts live “Ice Cream Sundays with Dr. Maya,” demonstrating her recipes so that families can follow along.
The No-Churn Ice Cream Recipe:
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, chilled
1¼ cups of sweetened condensed milk (approximately one 14-ounce can)
¼ cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Inclusions of your choice – broken/chopped cookies, sprinkles, caramel and/or fudge sauce, etc.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla extract.Gently mix with a spatula until homogeneous, then set aside.
Pour the heavy whipping cream into a smaller mixing bowl. Starting on the lowest speed to avoid splashing, then gradually increasing to the highest speed, whip with a hand or standing mixer until whipped cream forms stiff peaks, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to over-whip the cream or it will turn into butter.
Using a spatula, scoop and gently fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture until all of the cream is folded in. This now becomes your ice cream base – set aside.
Grab your storage container and a ladle. Using the ladle, scoop a layer of ice cream base into the container. Spread a layer of inclusions on top. Add another layer of ice cream base, followed by another layer of inclusions, and alternate until all of your ice cream base and inclusions are in your container.
Place a lid, plastic wrap or parchment paper over your ice cream. If using parchment paper or plastic wrap, gently press down until it lightly touches the ice cream. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight. Remove the container from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 5-7 minutes if the ice cream is too hard to scoop. Enjoy!
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
Summer is filled with so many great memories — family vacations, beach days and fun with friends. Now you can easily and securely share all your favorite photos and videos with these NAPPA Award winners.
FamilyAlbum allows you to simply and securely share family photos and videos with only the friends and family members you invite. With free and unlimited storage, users can upload as many photos and videos as they like. FamilyAlbum keeps memories organized and creates collages to make look backs even more special. The app also includes special features to make communicating with the entire family easy and fun. Free.
Nixplay Seed 10.1 inch Widescreen (Wi-Fi)
The Nixplay Seed is the easiest way to share and enjoy your photos and videos. Using WiFi connectivity, instantly display photos and videos sent from anywhere in the world directly to your Nixplay frame using the mobile app keeping all your favorite memories, right at your fingertips.
For more product reviews, visit nappaawards.com
Summer is a great time for music and we have wonderful new NAPPA Award winners to share with you. Listen and Enjoy!
This Is Our Time
“This Is Our Time,” by Sir Dapp & The Paw Prints, embraces meaningful messages for kids about self-image, kindness and respect, and the power of words while providing toe-tapping, dance-worthy fun! The album incorporates multiple music genres the whole family will enjoy. The real-life singers on the album are Eli Jacobson (“Sir Dapp”), of NBC’s “Sing-Off” and the popular acapella group VoicePlay, and Rachel Potter (“The Dollie”), of Broadway and Nashville’s Steel Union band. $9.99, ages 3+
Marsha and the Positrons clever lyrics about science and how the world works, positive messages and catchy sound will definitely entertain kids and grown-ups alike. This 12-track album skillfully weaves science with themes of friendship and kindness, underscored with an infectious rock beat. Playful, educational, and engaging, this record features collaborations with other children’s musicians such as Barry Louis Polisar, Lori Henriques and Billy Kelly. Produced by talented indie rocker, TJ Lipple. $15.00/physical or $9.99/digital, for the entire family.
For more award winning music, visit nappaawards.com
Summer means outdoor fun and what’s better than water play! These NAPPA Award winners are perfect for hot summer days.
Baby Spring Float Splash Station
The Baby Spring Float Splash Station is a part of the SwimWays Swim Steps program, designed to provide a fun and secure first-time water experience for babies. It includes adorable whale and starfish interactive water toys that squirt and spray water. It also features a patented inner spring around the outside edge for added stability, removable sun canopy with UPF 50+ sun protection, soft mesh seat with secure leg holes and mesh sippy cup holder. $29.99, ages 9-24 months.
X-Shot Fast Fill
The X-SHOT Fast-Fill allows you to refill your blaster in 1 second and get back to the water blasting action long before your opponents. Just dunk, fill and close with rapid sealing technology. It shoots up to 30ft/10m and you can fill it anywhere, because a Fast-Fill is everything. Up Your Game this summer! $12.99, ages 5+
PAW Patrol Swim Trainer Life Jackets
The PAW Patrol Swim Trainer Life Jackets are U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices for kids. Permanent flotation in the arms and chest provide greater mobility and the out-of-reach adjustable back buckles are convenient for parents and more secure for kids. The life jackets feature soft fabric and fit most children weighing 30-50 pounds. Available in PAW Patrol 3-D Chase & Skye characters (Chase & Skye sold individually) and PAW Patrol non-3-D character graphics. $18.88-$24.99 each, fits most children weighing 30-50 pounds.
For more award winning products, visit nappaawards.com