Style

Edible clay? Cool, affordable buys for kids

Summer isn't over yet and there is still plenty of fun to be had before the kids head back to school. With that in mind, TODAY style editor and Bobbie.com's Bobbie Thomas highlights fun finds for all the little ones in your life:

Handy helpers
While there is no lack of ingenuity when it comes to innovative items for kids, every once and a while you'll stumble across something that makes you wonder “how did I ever live without this?” The mamaRoo infant seat is one of these finds and may just be the perfect cure for tired arms everywhere. While most rocker seats and swings bounce and bobble, the mamaRoo mimics the natural movements that a parent makes when holding an infant. With five motion settings including Car Ride, Kangaroo, Tree Swing, Rock-a-Bye and Ocean Wave, the seat aims to make babies feel safe, calm and soothed ($199-239;).

If you've ever spent the better part of a weekend slipping on toy cars or pulling Legos out of your vacuum, the Swoop Bag is for you. The bag is equal parts playmate and storage, providing an area for kids to spread out all of their tiny toys and as well an easy method for you to pick them all up in one fell... swoop. The bags come in five fun colors and are made of sturdy cotton canvas that is machine washable ($45; ).

Fashionable finds
What would Bobbie Buzz be without a little style? Starting younger than ever before, kids today are finding new and unique ways to express themselves through style. Fashion Playtes clothing line allows young girls to be real fashion designers, creating their own clothing items from start to finish. Choosing everything from the silhouette to the colors to designs, the kids are in complete control — from the dream to your doorstep. And with hundreds of combinations — plus readymade pieces and accessories — the line offers everything a young fashionista could ever want, up to and including matching couture for their dolls ($10-60; ).

For the tween set eager to adorn their school lockers, look no further than Locker Lookz. Gone are the days of magazine tear outs and scotch tape, this company offers an array of wallpaper, accessories, flowers, rugs and even motion-detecting "ceiling" lamps and chandeliers. Girls can easily express their personal style with unique mix-and-match designs ($7.99-$25.99; ). And for all of the little princesses out there, the Moxie Girlz Magic Makeover Torso serves as a safe canvas for kids to experiment with hairstyles on someone other than little sister. Brush and braid, add glitter or put in streaks of color that are also safe to try on yourself ($29.99; or )

Marvelous messes
Let's be honest, they're going to play with their food and run around with grubby hands anyway, so why not encourage creativity with products that add a little extra to the ordinary? Food Face Plates are a brilliant way to get children to join the clean plate club, and their inherent fun cannot be overstated. They feature a plain face, begging to be adorned with your dinner. Add noodles for hair, carrot eyebrows, or make your own veggie accessories — the sky is the limit ($11.99; ). And if you're still desperate for help getting your kids to eat healthy, try a Lickety Spoon. The silly tongue shape will make children of all ages eager to shovel it in ($9.99; ).

While most little ones have, at one point or another, tried to eat that delicious looking (but inedible) clay or Play-Doh, now they have a safe and tasty alternative in Yummy Dough. When mixed with water, the powder turns into moldable dough that can be shaped into various creations then baked and eaten also safe consume raw ($9.99; ). Lastly, a twist on the old chemistry set, Disgusting Science Kits help children learn all about bacteria, germs, and how to conduct experiments in a fun new way. Kids can make fake blood and mucus, as well as learn what grows in a nose or on their toes ($18.95; ).

Fresh air fun
Last but not least, between video games, iPads, and Facebook, kids rarely get fresh air and exercise. But there are plenty of items out there aimed at helping them reembrace the outdoors. Potting Shed Creations encourage children to take their favorite tall tales one step further by involving themselves in the story. With options including Jack's Magic Beans, The Princess' Pea, Cinderella's Magic Pumpkin, Secret Garden and Stone Soup, kids can learn the simple joy of gardening and have something special to show for it when their efforts begin to bloom ($9-$28; ). For all the bug-loving tykes, Uncommon Good's Butterfly Puddler is a shallow well of recycled glass that holds sand or rock salt along with water. When the water evaporates, the colorful creatures are attracted straight to your yard by the minerals left behind ($40; ). For a twist on the traditional playhouse or fort, try Card Table Playhouse Covers by MissPrettyPretty on Etsy.com. The covers come in an array of colors and designs that will transform your table into a Spaceship, Pet Shop, Fire Station and more ($100 and up; ).

Or, forgo turned around chairs and blankets in favor of a Fort Building Kit that comes with everything you need to build an amazing fort including fabric panels, ropes, clips, and suction cups to affix to door knobs, mirrors or walls. It's great for outdoors or even rainy days when you want to encourage your kids to unplug ($29.89; ).



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