April showers bring ... more fun indoors! Milwaukee-area families tested some items guaranteed to sprout some smiles on a rainy day. There are a few useful items, too.
The go-anywhere highchair
Lightweight chair with an attached tray requires no assembly. $67.99 www.theportablehighchair.com
It folds up so easily, you can toss it in your car with the rest of your picnic chairs. It is really easy to clean. My 1 1/2-year-old fits perfectly in the chair. It's very study and safe and seems like it will last a long time. My only complaint is the tray tilts slightly, so depending on the food, it could slide right onto your baby.
- Sarah, mom of Sadie (6), Finn (5), Jude (3) and Reece (1 1/2)
Examine the object on the card and improve it, transform it or completely disrupt it. Ages 10+. $24.99, www.funnybonetoys.com
I love games the help develop and challenge our creative side, and this game does those things. It's a little tricky to catch on to, but the directions are extremely easy to follow. Younger kids can join in with some assistance. It could be a great party game and played in teams - a worthy addition to anyone's game closet.
- Amy, mom of Tori (10), Jeremy (8) and Claire (6)
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters DVD
Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic journey battling terrifying creatures, an army of zombies and the ultimate evil. Rated PG. $21
Fun, action-filled movie that sticks pretty closely to the book. My twins love the movie, but are just a little disappointed that a funny part of the book (when one of the characters is turned into a hamster) isn't in it. I love the very strong lead female characters. Overall, it's very entertaining and we all recommend the movie!
- Tracy, mom of twins Sydney and Sean (11)
Ella Jenkins: 123s and ABCs
The "first lady of children's music" teaches counting and the alphabet in multiple languages. $11.98, www.folkways.si.edu.
We LOVE this CD. My 4- and 3-year-old like to turn it up, dance and do the motions to each song. Ella Jenkins has a pleasing voice and gives clear instructions. It is also fun to hear the children on the CD laugh and sing along. It would make a great gift for a teacher. We will be enjoying this for quite some time.
- Ralene, mom of Lenox (4) and Sofia (3)
Rubber Duckie and Friends
A gentle-flow, hand held shower head. $24.99, www.rubberduckieandfriends.com
My girls love that they can spray themselves and be in charge! The water comes out just right. My kids had so much fun getting clean the first time that I wasn't paying attention to the mess outside the shower!
- Alicyn, mom of Amber (5 1/2) and Annie (4)
Who? What? Where? and When? by Leo Lionni
Four board books that ask a simple questions on each page. Ages 0-3. $5.99, www.randomhousekids.com
I am impressed with the sturdiness of the books. They can withstand the abuse from a toddler. The illustrations are clean, simple and not too busy. I ask my son questions about the illustrations, and he rambles on and on about the picture and even creates an entirely new story. This series has become a favorite and at least one is handed to me every night before bedtime.
- Maylani, mom of Chasya (4) and Elijah (2)