Body image season

Swimsuits appear the minute Easter baskets exit store shelves.

This means we’re entering high season for mom alerts to body image, especially among tween girls.

During the last several summers, moms have expressed increasing concern about the overly sexual, inappropriate messages on clothing and in ads.

Some brands have responded by highlighting healthy self-image and moving away from stereotyped body shapes. During the next couple weeks, we’ll see how many companies chose to help girls value and appreciate their bodies.



It was inevitable: wordsmiths had to create a word which describes playthings that blur the lines between playing and learning.

As kids opened their Christmas presents several months ago, techucational took the form of robot labs, coding games and all types of boxed experiments. As a result, even preschoolers are well-schooled in the basics of coding.

The trend toward growing these mad young scientists shows no sign of slowing, even as seasonal techucational playthings and games are being launched for summer fun (and learning!)

A great read

What a terrific idea!

On the last Sunday paper of each month, the New York Times includes a special kids section.

Sections echo those in the adult version: National, Opinion, Style, Arts, Science, Travel and Food.

Will other newspapers be smart enough to notice that parents applaud screen free alternatives that foster creativity and smarts for their kids?

After all, if a 166 year old newspaper can reinvent itself, perhaps other publishers will catch on to a winning idea.

A duck that does more

The Aflac duck isn’t merely a brand mascot who’s a Facebook favorite (with 700,000 fans.)

He’s been transformed into a robot that comforts kids with cancer.

In one of the best-ever tech innovations, My Special Aflac Duck is on the way to medical centers across the country. Designed to distract and comfort patients during treatment, the duck is delivered without cost.

Gender neutral rolls on

Have you seen the new gender neutral kids line from Abercrombie & Fitch?

Targeted to kids from 5-14 years old, the 25 styles of tops, bottoms and accessories are for boys and girls.

Simple or not so simple?

Our oldest grandson has caught the “less is more” mentality.

His room now has an edited look: very few dust-collecting participation trophies and ribbons.

But we’ll see if Minimalist Fever includes Easter. There’s nothing simple or uncluttered about holiday decorations in our neighborhood: bunnies hopping and chicks chirping everywhere!

Cry before you buy

The typically heart-tugging ads we saw around Christmas carried through to the Olympics; some tear-jerkers are still hanging around.

Typically involving children and their parents, emotive marketing has been a growing edge for advertisers. Many ads which aired in recent months featured dads and daughters.

Some of the ads are beautifully orchestrated, even though I can’t figure out what they are trying to sell.