Seal of Approval Winners, Father’s Day 2010*

PREGNANCY AND INFANCY

Checklists for the New Dad, by Joe Deyo
This book is book designed to equip and energize new fathers and help reduce the stress on new mothers. Each chapter concludes with a user-friendly to-do list to keep new dads involved and on the right track with the mother and with the child. A better partner and a better parent is the result.www.dadchecklists.com

Deluxe, stain-resistant, washable Bibagogo Bib (ISISnders)
Bibagogo is such a simple idea that it must have been invented by a dad! Dads love to have items like this in the diaper bag and at the ready. The Bibagogo is a nicely stylish bib that comes rolled with everything baby needs for mealtime (well, except the food). While a lot of moms don’t like this kind of extra item, dads will appreciate having it in the bag ready for when they need to feed baby, and realize someone forgot to pack the bib and cutlery. May not be for moms or others who don’t like keeping track of pieces, but for those of us dads who like knowing we’re well prepared and everything has a place, this rocks. www.isisunders.com

Pregnancy Art Kit (ArtBellies)
Inspired by Japanese ink prints, Art Bellies Kits allow you to create your own paintings based on the silhouette of your pregnant partner. The kits provide everything you need to make at least three very different and unique prints of this memorable time. No prior art experience is needed. www.artbellies.com/

TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS

Bucket with valve (HABA)
For beachbound dads this summer, we love the Haba line of beach toys. They make engineering a castle a snap. We tried their collapsible pail, which includes a valve perfect for filling the moat or just making mud. And if you’re missing a chance to play with your kids or hiding behind a newspaper, your child may open the valve on your head. The pail is collapsible, so it even will fit in your suitcase, along with the inflatable beach toys. Ages 3 years and up. www.habausa.com

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Faces iMake(Faces iMake)
Faces iMake reminds us of the art of Guiseppe Archimboldo, the 16th century Italian painter, famous for his portraits made up entirely of a collage of fruits and vegetables. In Faces iMake too, the user moves objects around to represent key faces of the face, though has a far wider palette of things to choose from. We like this application as an innovative way to look at the world, and to teach kids, probably 8+ the use of symbols and metaphors. A button can be an eye or a nose, for example. Faces iMake encourages creativity, imagination, and playtime together. Dad can challenge kids to make faces of the whole family, and then share them by email or Facebook. www.facesimake.com

Mega Bubble, giant bubble creator (Wild Creations and UK Science Museum)
Oh, come on. You’ve always wanted to make a bubble big enough to contain a person, haven’t you? Well, now’s your chance. The Mega Bubble bubble creator will let you do exactly that. The kids will have a ton of fun trying to encapsulate you, and you’ll marvel at just how far an incredibly thin wall of soap film can stretch. Good, clean, entertainment for the whole family (but keep the bubbles out of everyone’s mouth). Ages 3+. www.wildcreations.com

Hologram Chamber (Wild Creations)
We’re not quite sure what makes the Hologram Chamber quite so intriguing, but it’ll definitely get everyone’s attention. Drop in just about any object and ask some unsuspecting person to grab it. You and the kids will have a lot of fun trying to fool each other. And once they’re in bed, you’ll have even more fun on your own–trying to figure out how it works. We’re still a ways away from R2D2′s holographic projection of Princess Leah (from Star Wars), but it’s still an amazing illusion. Ages 3+. www.wildcreations.com

Radio-controlled Rattle Snake (Wild Creations and the UK Natural History Museum)
Let’s start with a warning. Be very careful who’s around when you and the kids fire up this creepily accurate replica of the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. Even when you know what it is, you’ll still be momentarily freaked out when you see it zig-zagging around your house, tongue flickin in and out, rattling its tail. So expect to peel mom (or anyone with a heart condition) off the ceiling if you don’t warn her before letting the kids loose with this baby. Ages 5+. www.wildcreations.com

Buzzwire Bomb (Wild Creations)
There may be some scientific lessons to learn here, but all our reviewers could talk about was the fun aspect. The Buzzwire Bomb can be used by just about anyone in the family–especially those who like to be scared. The principle is similar to the old Operation game–but the baloon explosions happen compeltely randomly. So while a steady hand might help you in the short run, it won’t keep your heart from skipping a beat when you finally get that POP!!! Ages 5 and up. www.wildcreations.com

Splash Bat (Prime Time Toys)
Splash Bomb® Splash Bat is a colorful foamball with a durable nylon/cloth covering that you soak in water to make a game of bat and ball that much more excitng. Fun for dads and kids, and an inexpensive way for dad to buy some water fun for the kids. And if you’re not in the mood to get wet, you can still have plenty of dry bat-and-ball fun. www.primetimetoys.com

PeeWee Kit (PeeWeePC)
The PeeWee Kit is a superb computer bundle featuring PeeWee Privacy and PeeWee Patrol, PeeWee’s exclusive security suite for online and offline safety, and a USB perloaded with five different educational and fun games. The PeeWee Kit not only helps parents promote education but also gives parents piece of mind knowing that their child is using a safe and secure PC. www.peeweepc.com

TWEENS AND TEENS

Arimaa (Arimaa)
Arimaa is a modern strategy game similar to chess but uses simple and intuitive rules that are easy for children to learn. The animal theme pieces makes the game more interesting for children as it helps them develop logic, concentration and planning skills. http://arimaa.com/

Wallace & Gromit Water Rocket (Wild Creations)
Judgment call. The Water Rocket is clearly labeled as “not a toy.” But it’s so much fun that you’ll want to share it with the whole family. You’ll need a big, empty area and a water supply. Depending on the ratio of water, pressure, launch angle, and the proximity of obstacles such as houses and windows, you can send the rocket soaring up to 200 feet! What’s especially nice about the Water Rocket is that it’s something dads and teens can (and will actually want to) do together–and that’s a very rare thing. Definitely keep away from small children. www.wildcreations.com

FAMILY Wii GAME

New Super Mario Brothers for Wii (Nintendo)
Family Wii games aren’t a slam-dunk. While the Wii is perfect for family play, too many titles are ported from Playstation or XBox and are really made for single players. Nintendo’s Mario Brothers, however, is a game that has always been available for multiple players (two), and the new Super Mario Brothers for Wii now allows four players on that the same time. That means dad and two kids can jump, run, swim, and fly in the unique Mario world with familiar characters like Bowser and Luigi. Dads who, almost a generation ago, were experts at the original Mario Brothers, can connect with kids with their own insider knowledge of cheats and tricks. www.nintendo.com

Whatcha think?