Category Archives: Reviews

Hide and eek mystery book

Interesting new concept for children’s books – the “hide and eek” mystery book by Knock Knock. Check out the following and show it to your kids … the book is available from high street stores, online retailers or knockknockstuff.com

Enjoy

DIYFather.com

Daddy Cool – Travelling with toddlers part 2

travel humidifier Daddy Cool – Travelling with toddlers part 2The second time I realized I’m definitely not the coolest traveling dad was when I came across the “Air-O-Swiss Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier” (you gotta love the name). It’s the latest must-have gadget for “keeping it fresh” while traveling. The Air-O-Swiss Travel Humidifier is a small device that humidifies a room (surprise) … BUT here’s the cool feature: You can use just about any water bottle as a water tank. It also comes with a range of different plugs and adapters for most countries (you’d ever want to travel to). Finally with a slick and clean design it really is the iPhone of Humidifiers – perfect for creating a healthy micro-climate in your office when you’re not traveling (it’s also a great conversation starter or distractor for all those awkward HR conversations).

Now why would you want to want a travel humidifier in the first place? Since most hotel room windows cannot be opened anymore these days a humidifier is your only hope to create a room climate with higher humidity than normal (or you could just leave the shower on for the whole night … not very water wise though). As all clever dads know, a humidifier is probably one of the very few things that can help your child (or you) to settle a cough without any medicine-related side effects. In many countries the use of cough relief drugs for children under the age of 5 is not recommended. So natural remedies like honey / herbal infusions and a well humidified room are your best bets to get some relief from constant coughing.

The Air-O-Swiss Travel Humidifier uses high-frequency vibrations to generate a micro-fine cool (important!) mist that is blown into the room. It looks very cool when it does that … they should include a humidifying feature in mobile phones! Anyway, the Air-O-Swiss thing will set you back about $60 so check it out as a possible gadget for your next trip – I haven’t managed to convince the wife yet (just waiting for an opportune day in her cycle …).

Enjoy!

-Stef

ps.: DIYFather.ocm has not received any gifts, compensation or other incentives to write this article

Daddy Cool – Travelling with toddlers part 1

trunki Daddy Cool – Travelling with toddlers part 1During a recent family trip I realized that, unfortunately I’m just not “with it” when it comes to travel gadgetry for young children. As much as I hate to admit it but there were actually other parents with way cooler travel accessories.

The first gadget to shatter my daddy cool confidence was the “Trunki” ride-on suitcase which I spotted at Seoul Airport. If you’ve ever had to transfer between flights and had your stroller taken off you just before you got on the first plane you will REALLY appreciate this one. Because what happens when you don’t have a stroller while transferring is that you’ve got about 27 bags with all the toys, food, gear to change your little one and your own bag … PLUS your over-tired, grumpy or hyper-active child who wants to check out the airport.

This is where the $50 (or so) you’ve paid for your Trunki suitcase really pay off. Trunkis are small enough to take on board as cabin baggage and they solve your two essential problems: carrying lots of stuff and having something you can put your child in (or on) to haul them around endless airport corridors. You can put a decent amount of toys and food inside your Trunki (if you are lucky you might even fit the changing gear in there as well) and your toddler will almost certainly enjoy riding on top of it. The suitcase comes with a pull-along cord so you can easily carry your own stuff in a shoulder bag or backpack.

Trunkis are recommended for children aged 3-6 years but I’ve seen parents with 2-year olds use it and it worked a treat. I’d recommend doing a few practice runs with your toddler before you travel so they get used to the experience and know where to hold on to. All in all it should be a real stress-buster for traveling with young kids.

Happy travels

-Stef

Ps: DIYFather has not received any compensation, gifts or other incentives for writing this article.

Childproof your TV

Guest post by Ian Landon

When it comes to childproofing your house when the baby arrives we’re all pretty clued up about potential dangers of drawer doors, hot surfaces or dangerous chemicals. But what about content on your TV screen? You wouldn’t want your 3-year-old to accidentally put in the Pulp Fiction DVD, right? Same goes for childproofing your TV - as parents we need to ensure our kids are only watching shows that we approve of. Almost all of the common TV models and streaming services offer some form of childproofing.

Netflix has parental controls, but it is lacking in terms of what it can truly provide. For example, there is the “Just for Kids” tab on the app, but kids can still go into the other Netflix content. The account does provide editing of controls, but if the show isn’t rated, children cannot watch it – even if it is suitable for minors. Additionally, all changes will take as much as 8 hours to take effect.

Apple TV offers a number of parental controls. There is a four-digit code that can be set. This makes it easy to restrict the media. The services can be restricted, however, not the actual show. As a result, kids can be restricted from watching Hulu, Netflix or YouTube. However, if they want to watch a cartoon on Netflix, parents would need to enter the four-digit code before they can do so.

Amazon Instant Video offers parental controls under the video settings and devices. This makes it simple to be specific as to what a child can view, including books, games, apps and videos that can be accessed online as well as on a Kindle.

Google TV doesn’t have parental controls. It will rely on the set-top box or V-chip in order to but parental controls on the TV. Without these, it would be impossible to set any kinds of controls for children.

DirecTV has one of the better systems. It’s possible to limit and block programming that is considered inappropriate. It’s possible with all DirecTV receivers and makes it possible to block channels, viewing times and set spending limits on Cinema movies and PPV events as well. If a restricted channel or program wants to be viewed, it would require entering a four digit code.

DirecTV is the best choice if you are looking to ensure your TV stays safe and you and your children can get the most out of viewing times.  If you are interested in signing up and looking to save a couple of dollars using www.SaveOnTVDirect.com which offers special deals for first time subscribers. DirecTV offers a wide range of channels for kids and families to enjoy. There are such channels as the Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nick JR.  and Sprout. There are also educational channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the Biography Channel. There are even channels that are designed for the entire family, providing safe topics, such as ABC Family, Hub, Nickelodeon and TV Land amongst many others.

While all of the different cable companies and online sites have ways to offer parental controls, some are not as strong as others. If children have free reign of the TV remote, they will watch whatever comes on – which can involve strong language, adult situations and graphics that are not appropriate for their age group. To simplify what your kids can and cannot watch, you want to have all of the controls possible to limit what they can watch.

When you childproof your TV, you should be able to childproof from anywhere and have the changes take effect immediately. DirecTV has controls that allow you to make a significant number of changes from anywhere – directly on the TV, online, as well as on your smartphone app.

By Ian Landon

 

Retro games

Recently a number of toy manufacturers have put out “retro versions” of class board games like snakes and ladders, ludo and the amazing robot.

If you’re into a bit of retro – check these out! (the examples below are from a brand called “Retro Range – Toys and Games”). You can find them on eBay and many other online retailers.

snakes ladders 300x300 Retro games

 

ludo 300x218 Retro games

speed boat race Retro games

steeple chase 300x300 Retro games

 

amazing robot 300x217 Retro games

Enjoy – Stefan!

 

How to get young readers excited about books

dk readers1 How to get young readers excited about booksIf you’re anything like us you’ll find some of the books the schools use to teach our kids how to read somewhat … boring or old fashioned. And us parents know that motivation makes all the difference between an excited kid who loves to find out about something and a kid who you will have to drag through a lesson kicking and screaming. Fortunately the guys at DK publishing had a great idea – to use popular movie characters or film scripts for simple books that can be read by young readers. They created the “DK Readers” series which provides books for young readers at various levels of ability (1 – 3). These books are truly awesome and very affordable (usually between $2 and $4). So consider getting some of these in addition to what the schools provide.

dk readers2 How to get young readers excited about books  dk readers3 How to get young readers excited about books

Happy reading!

-Stefan

ps.: I wrote this article because I really like these books. We have not received any sponsorship, payment or non-monetary remuneration for writing this post.

 

No More Waiting for Your Shows

The days when television sets went off air at a certain time and standing in line to buy a new record at the store are mere memories of the past. In today’s world, media is ever flowing and can be accessed almost any place at almost any time. The entertainment industry has certainly had to make drastic changes in an ever changing technological world, and  it is the consumer who has been reaping the benefits.

Television has taken quite a step and focused a lot more energy on internet presence. Every television station has their own website where they can post their shows for viewers to watch later. It is no longer the reality that people gather around their TVs at a certain time on a certain night; any show can be accessed online to be watched when the consumer is ready and can make time. It is not only television stations that have made their way onto the internet; there are whole companies that thrive on the internet alone.

Netflix has become one of the most popular sites for accessing endless movies and TV shows. With the click of a button people can stream Mad Men directly onto their television, computer, or phone, no hassles. Netflix has even taken the next step by creating shows of their own (not just ones they have purchased the rights to,) thus leaving behind the need for television broadcasting all together.

The music industry has had to adapt as well.  . Music has been made so available at no cost to the consumer, it’s no wonder the industry took a hit before it got back on its feet. For some local or small time bands this has been a blessing.  Many musicians place their music online for free now in hopes that it will help expand their fan base. With music identifying apps on phones,  music has been able to be spread wider and farther than ever before.

The fact that almost everyone carries a personal internet device shows the availability of media in today’s world. Events are no longer read about later, and people no longer ask if others have heard the news.  The general  population has access to the news  in real time and are reacting to  it immediately. This opens up opportunities for celebrities, politicians, and citizens alike to broadcast weddings, scandals, and self-promotions as they are happening, even if a viewer is half a world away. News and information are breaking instantaneously, no waiting necessary.

By Alex Summers

Top 3 nightlight iPhone apps

Nightlight apps are fantastic when you’re travelling / visiting and you don’t have space to take the actual night light you’ve got in the nursery. Babies and young children get used to night lights easily and so you might need something to give them conformt when you’re away from home. Fortunately smart phones are just so versatile aren’t they! If you haven’t tried a night light app – give it a go and see how your little one responds. Here’s a list of the top 3 iPhone night light apps:

1. Night Light Free
2. Night Light
3. iNightLight

There’s also a popular android app called Nitey Nite Light.

Enjoy!

Stefan

Lego Advent Calendar

Over the years we have reviewed a fair amount of physical and virtual advent calendars in all shapes and sizes. Looks like the trend is catching on with large toy manufacturers … and so LEGO has recently launched their 2012 Advent Calendar. Great idea we think (healthier than a piece of chocolate every day – that’s for sure). Check it out at the online LEGO store or get it at your local toy store.

lego advent calendar Lego Advent Calendar

By DIYFather.com

NB: We have not received any payments, goods, services or anything else of value for posting this article. In fact we have never even been contacted by LEGO … where are you guys! Can you hear us LEGO icon smile Lego Advent Calendar

Photobooth app on the new iPad Mini

photobooth app Photobooth app on the new iPad Mini
I recently picked up a new iPad Mini and my son spotted a new default app called “Photobooth” straight away. The app shows different photo filters like a kaleidoscope, X-Ray or heat image. It’s great fun to play around with it especially as the front facing camera shows you the result of filter straight away.

Should keep the kids entertained for a while – get them to point it at different objects and have a bit of a photo competition with them!

Enjoy

Stefan