Junior chefs

Don’t be surprised if your preschooler serves expresso from her toy single-serve coffee machine or mixes up a smoothie in her toy blender. We have moved into the era of next-gen toy kitchens.

Play foods now include sushi kits, rotisserie chickens and other trendy “pretend” menu items. And look for ads that feature both boys and girls wearing chef hats at the outdoor grill.

After all, role play prepares kids for real life roles.

Cardboard that talks

Google plans to introduce a virtual reality(VR) field trip program for schools this fall.

Students who wear the special cardboard headsets can see 360-degree panoramic views of historic sites. The service will be available even through local Wi-Fi networks.

Technology continues to be adapted for classrooms, so I anticipate hearing about additional uses of VR and digital printers after schools open.

Familiar fish

Characters from the Seuss title, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” are re-appearing tomorrow in a recently re-discovered work,
“What Pet Should I Get?”

The last Seuss book published during the lifetime of Theodor Geisel (the real name of Dr. Seuss) was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” which was a popular gift for graduates last month.

Sophisticated playgrounds

Is a playground one of your destinations today? That’s true for many families at this point of the summer. But not any old playground will do.

Safe surface, check.
Baby swings, check.
Clean bathrooms, check, but that’s merely for starters.

Community playgrounds with clear sight lines for caregivers sitting in shaded areas, adventure structures with swinging bridges and climbing walls, a cooling “fog” system for sunny areas and splash pads for young children rate high on blog sites.

The cost? Check your tax bill. Sophisticated play spaces come with a price.

No waste here!

Fast food offers fun for kids, but often includes wasteful packaging. Two creative solutions with multi-purpose packaging are now being tested overseas:

In Hungary and Budapest, McDonald’s bag tray functions as a carryout bag and a durable serving try. The reinforced cardboard
supports even multiple Happy Meals.

In Germany, the KFC Tray Typer is a paper tray that becomes a rechargeable wireless keyboard when connected to a smartphone through Bluetooth. That’s a transformer parents would appreciate!

Family YouTubers

Has your family posted an online video? That’s emerged as the breakout, family activity of the summer.

Vlogs, made by and for families, offer safe fresh content.

Is it showtime at your house?

Flat-footed

No more tip toeing through the doll aisles: adjustable ankles now allow Fashionista Barbie wear flat soled shoes.

It’s about time: she almost missed gladiator sandals.