Let’s Bounce: My Favorite Sensory Product for Under $20

My daughter made a friend in her pre-kindergarten class last year, and his energy matches hers. That is to say: the two of them chase each other around like they’ve each had a double shot of espresso. When I say they never stop moving, that is no exaggeration. They never. stop. moving. At their playdate last weekend, I made a futile attempt to subdue them once the late evening hours rolled around with a movie and popcorn, but to no avail. They couldn’t resist the trampoline…or the gym mats… or the crash pad… or the obstacle course that is my living room.

When my daughter’s friend left our house last weekend, he went home begging his mom for a “peanut.” She assumed it was some Trader Joe’s snack I had on hand because my pantry is full of kid-approved snacks from my favorite grocer. It was not. When she text me to ask what type of “peanuts” I buy at Trader Joe’s and that her son wouldn’t stop asking for one, I explained to her what he was referring to. A bouncing peanut.

He’s not the first kid to come to my house and beg for one of his very own. My nephew now spends his evenings bouncing at his house — turns out, my daughter isn’t the only one who loves to bounce while she watches television. I keep a second bouncy peanut at my house now for when we have kids over because the peanut is not only a source of fun – it’s a source of jealousy when there aren’t enough to go around.  Sure, my house has a trampoline, a pool, a bounce house, and enough toys to fill a preschool, but it’s the “peanut” that gets the kids’ attention.

This $20 peanut (that comes with both an inflator & a spare plug) by Gaiam has stood the test of time – my daughter has been bouncing eagerly and frequently on hers for two years now. I can’t attest for lesser-priced brands other than to say they didn’t survive in a classroom. The investment of $20 has bought me some peace and quiet when my daughter bounces, and it’s bought her endless joy.  Mom-recommended. Kid-approved.

What are your fave sensory products for under $20?

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A Cure for Rogue Peas: A Re-Play Plates Review

My daughter isn’t much of a cuddler and she expects the same out of her food. A pea looking for a little squeeze from a fish stick is simply not allowed and if it dares to happen, one person must be held accountable and that one person is me – the resident short order cook of the house. After cooking three meals some nights – because foods were touching and therefore became “disgusting” – I decided it was time to invest in some plates with dividers. My dreams of being one of those food art moms fell to the wayside.

While I am a fan of recycled goods, I had a few reservations about how well these Re-Play divided plates would clean up, but I gave them a try anyway. We are now six months in and almost every type of food and sauce has graced the sturdy plastic plates. I usually rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and so far there has been no staining. They also wash up easily if you need to reuse them in the same day or sometimes during the same meal if something isn’t cooked to my 4-year-old’s requirements. I also really like that these are sturdy. My daughter is heavy handed with silverware, but these dishes don’t show the wear and tear that I have seen on other plastic dishes.

Peas are now kept safely away from fish sticks and pasta dare not touch a meatball without approval. Peace has been restored during mealtime…mostly.

If you have a kid who prefers their meals to be a little (or a lot) more organized, these plates are a quick fix. And with deep sides, they help minimize mess. I can’t make any promises about whether or not it’ll get your child to eat their peas, though.

No compensation was received for this post. I just really like the plates, ok?

First There Was Electricity, Then Rody the Inflatable Horse

There have been lots of great inventions over time that have made life better, from electricity to the automobile, but I’m not sure any rival with the amazing Rody Inflatable Horse. Any parent of a sensory seeker can appreciate the need for things to bounce on. When I found this little gem while scanning the internet for some sort of safe bouncy thing to save my sanity I clicked “add to cart” faster than my kid can lose her s*#t over not getting her way.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my little toddler was on the move and bouncing off of mattresses, couches, and anything that had a little give to it so I was desperate for something to save my furniture. Why not just get her a yoga ball? Oh, because that is a “ball” and those are meant to be thrown. Anyone else held their breath when a large inflatable ball goes sailing towards their flat screen? And of course, a ball doesn’t have feet and requires more balance than my daughter had time for when she was in the throes of the terrible twos. Rody just made more sense because it provided stability, including ears to hold onto, and because it doesn’t look like a ball so it’s not as enticing to pick up and launch at expensive things that break too easily.

When our little red Rody arrived I opened it up, pleased to find it came with a manual pump. I aired it up and checked off my arm exercise for the day as I put it in front of my daughter as quickly as I could. Needing no explanation, she saddled up and galloped all over the house. Our Rody is a seasoned traveler, having been schlepped from house to house, bounced on for miles. He has endured make-up, unnecessary bandage applications and the occasional WWF style wrestling match. Through it all, the Rody has survived my daughter’s heavy hands and hardcore playing.

Would I recommend this product? Am I drinking coffee? The answer is yes. Yes, I would. It’s recommended for ages 3 yrs and up but I totally cheated and got my daughter riding at a year and half. She is almost 4.5 now and getting a little too big for her Rody. But after over two years of bouncing, our Rody is still smiling with those same big doughy eyes.

Was I paid for this review? I wish.

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