Archive for the 'play' Category

eco-friendly play spaces

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

If July 31st wasn’t my daughter’s first birthday, I would make my way to Colori in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Colori is an eco paint boutique and on July 31st they are hosting an all day, hands-on workshop focusing on creating beautiful green play spaces for kids.

I have used Mythic paint, a brand of eco-paint they sell, and it is wonderful.  It has no VOCs, is very durable and is competitively priced.  I honestly can’t think of a good reason NOT to use this paint.

Michelle Quaranta is the owner of Colori Eco Paint Boutique and is a color therapist/consultant.  Friends and I have relied on her eye for color and have been thrilled with the results.  She can consult with you right in the store or can make a house call to really help to refine your color vision.  Really, if you’re going to make an investment in paint for a room or entire house, shouldn’t it be right?!

new iphone app for nyc parents

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Navigating NYC with kids just got a whole lot easier.

iKidNY is the must have app for savvy NYC moms on the move (and diligent urban daddies too).  A true favorite of locals and NYC visitors alike, this essential tool will change your life in the city as you know it.   Imagine being able to find the closest parks, playgrounds, changing tables, indoor playspaces, museums, libraries, subway stations with elevators, kid-friendly restaurants, and more, all with the touch of a button.   We don’t stop being efficient New Yorkers just because we have little ones!

great toys for tots

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

With my daughter’s second birthday just around the corner – and a couple of her friends also turning two – I have begun to hunt for some great toys.  Oompa is one of my favorite places to shop for kids’ toys.  They have everything organized in various ways: brand, age, type, so you can search any number of ways.  They offer great discounts and have a great selection of European brands.  Fawn & Forest is a new e-commerce website I just came across and they have well curated selection and offer free shipping for orders over $50.  A local favorite toy store of mine in the village is Kid O.  They just started their own brand of toys (montessori in style) that can be found many places.  And last, an East Village store that has a nice assortment of clothing and toys for wee ones is Sons + Daughters.  Now go help to stimulate the economy and shop!

parent-child attachment study recruiting in nyc

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

A team of psychologists and graduate students at the New School are running a study about mother-infant attachment. The aim of this study is to learn more about children’s early relationship to their parents and their later psychological adjustment. They are interested in understanding parental care, child temperament, early child-parent communication, emotional bonding, and other factors associated with later adjustment.They are inviting 200 parent-child dyads into the study and will follow the children from early infancy through to age 5.  You can find out more information about the New School University’s Mother-Child Attachment Research Project on their website. It appears that they are seeking expecting mothers and new mothers of 0-4 month olds.

Good green fun!

Friday, May 2nd, 2008


Whew – this seems like an idea that took too long to be realized, doesn’t it? I have seen the cute little sandbox set at a few retailers around the city and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are green toys. Green Toys Inc. is the company that makes a product line of toys that is now limited to four items: tea set, indoor gardening kit, sand play set, and cookware and dining set. The packaging of each toys is make up of recycled cardboard and is minimal in design (devoid of plastic, twist ties, and all those other unnecessary add ons). I sincerely hope this is a glimpse of the future of toys.

WONDERful. Wildflowers and Lullabies.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008


Melissa Errico, a dear friend to Swellbeing, has poured her large and generous heart into her latest album, Wildflowers & Lullabies. Melissa has described this project as a series of love songs to her darling daughter. As a mother who is smitten with her daughter, I can wholly appreciate the power of the love behind this kind of expression. If only we all were blessed with such beautiful, perfect voices!

Melissa is a broadway actress, solo artist and founder of Bowery Babes. Bowery Babes is easily the most impressive grassroots mothers group I’ve ever had the privilege to witness. Melissa started this group in her prenatal yoga class. The Bowery Babes, originally 12 members strong, now has four ‘sister’ groups/generations and 300 families. This group gets to the heart of women not feeling alone. Women making New York a sweeter place in this sweetest of times. Friendships and a shoulder to cry on, a real mothers support network.

Join me in supporting this great art coming from a pure maternal place. The album is available today at Amazon and would be beautiful background music for your Mother’s Day!

toy rentals a la netflix

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

My sister sent me a link [via] about a new service, Babywise, a Texas start-up that allows you to rent 4 to 6 toys a month. Hold on to them as long as you wish, then turn them in for a fresh batch. (And yes, they claim that all toys are tested for lead and meet other safety standards.) This system of sharing helps to manage clutter and makes it easier to keep toys that are developmentally appropriate on hand. Of course, keep in mind that children don’t NEED a lot. A healthy, loving relationship with caregivers is the most important thing for optimal development. I do acknowledge, however, as a new(ish) parent myself, that it is nice to have different toys and activities for the many minutes of the day with little ones who can change activities from minute to minute. Might this be a good solution?

lilly bean play food, a favorite of ours!

Friday, December 14th, 2007


We here at Swellbeing believe deeply and strongly in the value of dramatic play. This kind of play helps children to practice being in the real world – specifically by trying on different roles and problem solving. Since children really gravitate toward food and kitchens in play, this recommendation ought to be right on target for many of your children. Lilly Bean (handmade and ADORABLE play food) is another example of a business started by a savvy mom who couldn’t find what she was looking for, so made it herself. Her business has grown and grown and to keep up with demand, she has hired some of her Amish neighbors in Michigan. Trust me, you will adore this stuff! She just opened her own website, which delighted me as every time I found her food offered somewhere online, they sold out faster then I could press the ‘buy’ key.

DIY: Snow globes

Monday, December 10th, 2007


If you are looking for a fun, festive craft idea for the holidays, here is one we came across [via apartment therapy nursery] and love. Martha Stewart Living (of course) has a short list of supplies and easy instructions for making your own adorable snow globes.

safe plastics

Thursday, September 27th, 2007


It seems that not a day passes in recent weeks without some recall or toy scare. Much of the advice around toy safety has suggested using and purchasing wooden toys (not made in China due to lead paint), which is a smart alternative, but what about plastics. I have been relatively unclear about the specific dangers in plastic and thought I’d learn a little more and pass it along.

Environment California has put together a list of recommendations for parents, in which they list the safest plastics to use (food storage, water bottles, etc). Simply, they suggest avoiding polycarbonate and PVC in plastics. Both are often indicated by a #3 or #7 inside or near the recycling triangle on the bottom of a container. Sometimes the letters “PVC” or “PC” are listed as well. The danger with these plastics is the emission of phthalates – a class of chemicals know to disrupt the hormonal system. Be sure to purchase “PVC-free” items that you know will end up in your baby’s mouth (teethers, toys). According to this advocacy group, there are no regulations requiring labeling of these chemicals, so you should call the manufacturer if it is unclear.

Additionally, it is very important that you do not heat food in any plastic containers as this process allows the chemicals to be released into the food and consumed. Place food on a non-plastic plate or other surface before heating.

In terms of food safety, glass is a better alternative. Fortunately, there are product designers out there looking to make safe alternatives functional as well. WeeGo [via] has created a safe sleeve for their glass bottles (that are adorable) so you no longer have to worry about the breakability of glass and can enjoy the added safety.

This is definitely the age of plastics and you are taking the more difficult path if you try to find alternatives.  However, the data suggests that this will be immensely helpful to your child’s future wellbeing.