Play, but play safely. (Photo: shutter)

Keeping your kids' skin and lips safe in the winter snow and cold

As colder weather sets in, so do chapped lips and dryer skin. Children and chapped lips means uncomfort. Dry skin means itchiness and scratching. It's best to be prepared ahead of time for a remedy. While a pediatrician can offer a personalized product for your child's condition, there are plenty of over the counter options for minor signs of dryness. It's always best to still consult with your child's pediatrician just top rule out anything else.

Toy Tips tested out some brands of moisturizing products that are appropriate for children and adults.  These made our top list.

Carmex Everyday Healing Cream.  It's non-greasy which makes it easy to put on your child without a thick residue on your own hands. Designed to penetrate dry, rough and cracked skin, it worked well on heels, elbows and hands.  It  does have a softer scent of the regular Carmex lip balm. We suggest adding a coat of that on your child's lips after as protection. Now that these come in different flavors, have your choose the one they like best. It will help make it easier for you to have them wear it.  For a little extra something for Mom, the Ultra Hydrating  Moisture Plus lip balm with SPF15/Sunscreen come in stylish tubes. Mom testers liked the  clear gloss finish and the soft vanilla flavor.  Gluten-free, too. 

One of the worst feelings are those little cracks near your cuticles or around your nails that are just downright. painful. We found two products that seem to work for that.

CapriClear Moisturizing Spray. This easy to spray bottle of clear liquid fractionated coconut oil is 100% natural.  Mom testers used this at night on their face as well as their hands and reported a healthier looking complexion and softer hands after a few days use.  We suggest to keep it on the nightstand as a quick reminder before bedtime so the fractionated oil can soak into the skin. It also worked well on the lips to prevent dryness and moisturize.  It's also gluten-free. 

The Carmex Healing Oin…

Smile, it's toy season!
Smile, it's toy season!

Toy buying tips for the holiday season

My independent Toy Tips business wants to help you choose smart toy choices this holiday season.

First, don't get caught up in the "hot" toy  hoopla or must-haves that you think your kids won't be happy without. Choose smart toys that kids will play with over and over. A good toy is one that is age and skill appropriate that holds a child's current interests. The more you personalize a selection, the better the play experience for your child.

Here are several tips:

  • View toys as learning tools building life skills.
  • Allow children to identify their own strengths with self-discovery toys. Toys that they play with alone such as science activity kits, magic kits and dolls help teach important lessons about responsibility values and respect for others.
  • Encourage cooperation with friends and peers with relationship toys. Team communication skills are improved with sports toys and board games.
  • Strengthen language skills and stimulate listening, speaking and imitation sounds with speech and hearing toys. Musical toys and phonics based learning aids and voice command reading books are good examples.
  • Improve hand eye coordination with fine motor activities that require hand movements such as grasping and pinching. Smart toy choices include stacking games, puzzles, writing and coloring books and activities.
  • Encourage spatial relations and teaching children about their own surroundings through textures, tastes, smells and sight with sensory activity toys.
  • Develop balance and exercise gross motor skills with toys that allow children to crawl, run, throw and climb. Look for age and skill¬† appropriate ride-on toys that¬† are kid-powered and climbing structures that encourage activities to use large muscle groups.
  • Encourage independent thinking with toys that promote concentration, competition and deductive reasoning. Thinking and logic toys include¬† spy toys, ant farms, construction sets and memory games.
  • Increase confidence with toys that build on self esteem. Art …