Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicago kid product inventors

I was so excited today to take part in a segment on ABC 7 news today about Local Inventors. I was invited to participate to talk about my Peek-a-Belly onesies, and I ended up having a great time meeting the other inventors and learning about their products.

Some of the other inventors had invented kids products, and I want to share these great ideas. You can also watch the video clips online for the next day or so on the ABC 7 site, then it will move to YouTube. There is a Part I and Part II (Peek-a-Belly is in Part 2)
Part I:
Part II:§ion=

Ever have kids over to play and lose track of whose cup is whose? Or not be sure which water bottle was yours? Drinkmarx makes it fun and easy for kids and anyone else to keep tabs on their cups and bottles, with a flexible drink mark that attaches easily to almost any drink container. Users can customize and keep track of their markers with fun stickers that come with each the set of 4. Christine Holland of Downers Grove is the inventor behind this fun and very useful product.
Available at

Fairytale Wishes
Is your child afraid of the dark? Homesick at camp? These natural aromatherapy sprays help kids overcome fears with four creative options: lavendar scented Sweet Dreams, Bubblegum Monster Repellent, Super Hero (for courage) and grape-scented Happy Camper. Debbie Glickman of Highland Park, the inventor behind the sprays, was inspired by her own two children as a way to help them overcome their bedtime fears.
Available at

Kidz Calendar
This fun, supercute 12-month calendar makes it easy for families to keep track of the many classes, activities, trips, lessons and other family scheduling events that can often overwhelm moms. 700 stickers let kids have fun decorating the calendar with their many plans and appointments. Inventor Catherine Gouwens of Lemont came up with the idea while facing the challenges of keeping up with her own family schedules.
Available at

And then there's Peek-a-Belly, my invention - the first and only onesie with Belly Access! Available for purchase at

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicago Spring Break Camps

Spring break is right around the corner for most Chicago area kids, and I've highlighted some great spring break camp ideas from my listings. These are just a few of the spring break camps going on, so check out for even more ideas.

Chicago Botanic Garden
Mon - Fri, March 29 - April 9

Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe.
This weeklong camp connects nature to a range of themes including art, cuisine, and conservation. Children will have the opportunity to dissect and plant seeds, explore fragrant herbs and flowers, search for birds and early spring plants on nature hikes, take a trolley ride around the Garden, create take-home science-themed projects, and much more. Learn more.

Christian Youth Theater
Mon - Fri, March 29 - April 2

Locations in Naperville, Cary and Gurnee
CYT has camps for Juniors ages 5 & 6, and for kids ages 7-12. Campers will all have a blast with highlights from Disney's Beauty & the Beast, and will have a chance to sing, dance and act. Camp days are structured in short sections to keep the fun going. Junior campers will play a lot of games and do crafts, while older campers will learn to dance, sing and act with songs and dance from the story. All campers will perform together for a showcase at the end of the week. Learn more.

Eating a Rainbow
Mon - Fri, March 29 - April 9

2337 W. North Ave., Chicago
The Kids' Table is cooking up a different color of the rainbow every day during Spring Break. These special 2-hour classes for 4-10 year olds will keep with an "Eating a Rainbow" theme, and each day will focus on a different color and food. Learn more.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Mon - Fri, March 29 - April 2

1147 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago
Kids can discover dance through improvisation and structured choreographic activities. Dancers-in-the-making will gain an understanding of how their bodies move and communicate through dance. The week will conclude with a showcase of students’ work. Classes for ages 3-5 and 6–9. Learn more.

Mon - Fri, March 29 - April 2

2312 W. Roscoe St., Chicago
Wishcraft offers spring break camp with different camps every day. Enjoy different activities during Creative Day Camp Sewing Boot Camp and Ecosew camps, and pick the days that works best for you. Camp dates are March 29-April 2 and April 5-9. For ages 7-12. Learn more.

Chicago Storm Soccer Camp
March 20 - April 2

Several locations, Chicago
Chicago Storm is offering several soccer camp options over the next 2 weeks in Downers Grove, Aurora and Buffalo Grove. These camps offer children the opportunity to train and play with Chicago Storm players and coahces. Children of all levels will work on technical skills and decision making in a educational and fun environment. Learn more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicago Children's Museum

I finally overcame my aversion to the idea of paying $24 for parking at Navy Pier (ie, I was finally prepared to just suck it up) and headed over with hubby and Mia last Saturday morning. I thought I'd beat the rush and get in easy by getting there right before the Pier and Museum opened at 10am - I thought wrong. It was a crazy mess getting into the lot and then finding a spot, and I don't know if this is typical or if it was because of some of the events taking place that day. I imagine that there is usually something taking place on any given weekend.

At any rate, after finally parking we headed on over to the museum. Once inside, we had a blast. The current Play it Safe exhibit is still a bit over her head, but she certainly enjoyed riding in the enormous red fire truck that greeted us just past the entrance. The huge steering wheel and buttons controlling the sirens were pretty exciting for her.

Mia's favorite area was Treehouse Trails, where she loved sitting in a cute little canoe and pulling fish out of a little stream. She was also able to do some climbing, something she's been mastering lately, going through a forest setting with trails and a big slide.

We also loved Kids Town - it's an area set up like a neighborhood, with a truck to sit in, a bus to drive or ride with real bus seats, steering wheel and dashboard, and a post office and grocery store. Mia was fascinated with the bus, since on the way over that morning we sat at a red light next to a bus, and it was the first time Mia had gotten a really good view of the people inside. So the bus actually made sense to her. I think.

We stopped into Big Backyard, which looked great but Mia was starting to get grumpy and it seemed a bit more suited to older kids. There was definitely PLENTY for a 22 month old to do here, and I can't wait til she's bigger to take advantage of some of the amazing things for the older kids. They had a great climbing area, where kids were climbing up rope tunnels, a WaterWays exhibit where kids can learn about how we use the power of water, and an arts studio with scheduled arts & crafts activities.

Overall, worth the Saturday morning parking hassle, and a great experience for kids of all ages. I'm planning to go back a lot in the summer when we can pop into the museum and then enjoy the rest of Navy Pier.