Category : Kids & Tech

Discovering the best kids’ cameras

If your child begins to show more interest in your camera’s phone each time you take her photo, it might be time to give her a camera of her own. The best cameras for kids vary, depending on age, responsibility and how often you want to print photos or charge batteries. Find the best fit for your family with our roundup of the best kids’ cameras, from beginning, ultra-protected cameras to easy-to-use video cameras for older kids.

cameras for kids

Start with a simple kids’ camera

Kids from around 3 to 8 will love the VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect (Target, $34). Little hands will fit perfectly on the rubber grips, and it’s basically impossible to break. I can personally vouch for the durability of this one; my kids literally toss their VTech into bins, bags and sometimes even on the ground. The camera stores up to 800 photos or 10 minutes of video, there are some simple games and kids can edit photos by adding backgrounds and accessories to their photos. The Kidizoom takes batteries, so you might want to try rechargeable ones if your kids love the camera.

best kids' cameras

Curious kids will love building their own camera

Tactile learners will adore the concept and the implementation of the Bigshot Camera (Bigshot, $89). The camera pieces arrive unassembled, and kids can put the camera together on their own before shooting their digital photos. Charged with a lithium polymer battery, you can also supply backup power with a hand-crank that gives you enough power to keep taking pictures until you have time to recharge the main battery.

best kids' cameras

Don’t get stuck on automatic

Shooting on automatic is a fabulous way for kids to capture the shots they want, but when they’re ready to learn a little more about photography, considering moving to a camera like the Polaroid iF045 (Polaroid Store, $70). The Polaroid doesn’t have games or kitschy photo effects, which kids may expect from their own camera, but it does let interested photographers adjust shutter speed and white light balance. Learning about how to make the photo look the way they want, including the ability to manually or automatically focus is a crucial part of photography education.

best kids' cameras

The perfect waterproof camera for little fish

If your family spends a lot of time at the beach or a pool, and your child has expressed an interest in checking out what’s happening underwater, the Nikon COOLPIX S31 will thrill your little photographer (Amazon, $180). The S31 is a lightweight when you’re carrying it but a heavyweight when it comes to durability and toughness. Built to withstand weather, heavy use and shock, the camera films in the rain — and underwater — so kids can film the minnows they’re always trying to catch at the beach.

best kids' cameras

Give them the tools for great live-action video

When kids are ready to graduate to making films, try a GoPro – HD Hero3 (Best Buy, $200). While they can definitely take still shots, the GoPro takes fantastic, high-definition video recordings. It’s compatible with a wide variety of mounts, so cinematographers-in-training can attach it to bike helmets or other gear to record physical activities from their point-of-view. The camera even has built-in WiFi, making it perfect for tech-hungry teens.

best kids' cameras

Cover your tech

If your kids are used to using your iPad — or are lucky enough to have their own — don’t discount the camera on the tablet. Be sure to use a durable cover, like the iPad Air Defender Series Case (Otterbox, $100). Using the camera on a tech device they already use will give kids the chance to take and edit photos easily, and it will feel a little more like a game — giving them the freedom to experiment with their skills.

iPad cases


Read More →

Tablets, smartphones, e-readers… we know you’ve got your share of tech gadgets. And if you have kids at home, there’s a good chance those gadgets take a beating. From sticky fingers to spilled drinks, from clumsy hand-offs in the backseat to “Mommy, I blocked a snowball with your iPad!”, your family’s smartphones and tablets need protection from all sorts of life. So fittingly, there is LifeProof.

LifeProof Tech Cases

The Proofs

LifeProof makes tablet and smartphone cases that protect your tech from the elements — they are dirt-proof, waterproof, snow-proof and shockproof. Which also makes them toddler-proof, teen-proof, pretty much life-proof.

Lifeproof tech cases

How protected are LifeProof cases?

  • Waterproof: Fully submersible to 6.6 feet (2m)
  • Dirt-proof: Totally sealed from dirt and dust
  • Snow-proof: Completely closed to snow and ice
  • Shockproof: Survives drops from 4 feet (1.2m)
nüüd Vs. frē

LifeProof has two main styles of cases for tablets and phones — the nüüd and the frē. The frē includes a built-in touchscreen scratch protector, while the nüüd allows you to touch the screen directly.

Lifeproof NUUD

If you’re thinking that you have to get the frē with a screen protector if you have kids, think again. We’ve been testing out our nüüd for the last month with my kids (ages 4-8) and haven’t had any issues with scratching. But, if you’re more comfortable with a screen protector, I love that LifeProof provides that option.

The cases are easy to apply and snap on your phone or tablet in a few easy steps. I love the extra protection LifeProof provides our phones and tablets and that all that protection doesn’t cost me in my tech’s feel, look or functionality — you can still use your charger and headphones with ease and while the case adds lots of protection, it doesn’t add a lot of bulk.

LifeProof Tech Cases

I’ll admit – the cases aren’t super stylish. But, I’d much rather have a functional case with a working phone than a cute case on my broken-screen tablet. While LifeProof tests each case at the factory, it wants customers to feel comfortable with how the case works and to make sure they assemble it correctly, so in addition to the case, they also send along a “test tablet” so you can check the waterproofing for yourself before you put in your own gadget.


 LifeProof Accessories

LifeProof makes lots of optional accessories to go along with their cases. I really like the Portfolio Cover/Stand, which attaches easily to the case an is super thin, but provides both screen protection and doubles as a stand. I’m also looking forward to throwing on LifeProof’s Lifejacket which slips on over the phone or tablet case and ensures that your phone is not only waterproof, but floats too — an accessory I would have loved when my son accidentally kicked my phone into the river last summer!

LifeProof Tech Cases LifeJacket

Whether you have a tablet or a phone, an Apple, Motorola or Samsung, keep your family’s tech protected with LifeProof.

Dirt-proof, waterproof, snow-proof or shockproof — which proof does your tech most need?

Disclaimer: Savvy Sassy Moms was not paid for this review. A sample was provided. Opinions expressed are my own.

Read More →
Wheresie helps parents find peace of mind

Parents don’t get distracted on purpose, but toddlers have a way of waiting until your defenses are down and making a break for the nearest hiding spot. Wheresie can help. The small device — we’re talking not much larger than a quarter — clips onto your child, connects to a smart phone app and alerts you when your child wanders out of range. Wheresie

Why Wheresie is important

None of us want to believe we’ll be the mom who gets distracted by a clearance rack while our toddler wanders into the mall. We don’t want to think our preschooler would sprint to the toy aisle while we’re placing an order at the deli counter. We can’t fathom forgetting our little one in the backseat of the car after a rushed morning or change in child care routine. But accidents happen.

Be sure you think about safety tips while traveling with kids. Wheresie

Wheresie helps connect parents and caregivers

Not only can the Wheresie app connect with multiple devices for each child, different phone numbers can be associated with each device. When your child is separated from you, your phone will alert you, but it will also alert another smartphone. This feature helps make sure parents and other caregivers are on the same page when sharing child care duties. Designed with toddlers and preschoolers in mind, Wheresie is water — and mess! — resistant. Need a little more energy to run after your tot? Try one of our five favorite fitness apps!

Help bring Wheresie to life

Wheresie was developed by Dr. Wyche T. Coleman, who is a new father as well as a physician. He wanted to create another tool for parents to use to keep their little ones safe, and he wants to raise awareness about how easily accidents can occur. Pools, shopping malls, and cars can all be dangerous when toddlers are separated from the adults caring for them. Wheresie can help — but it needs your support. Check out the Wheresie Kickstarter campaign — even a small pledge will help parents find a little more peace of mind.

Would you use Wheresie to help keep track of your little sprinter?
Read More →

iphone, tech etiquette

Handing over a smartphone to your tween is like driving down a country road at night with no lights. You have no idea what might lurk around the corner, so you start out slow and keep a watchful eye.

Not just rules, but smartphone manners

But eventually her curiosity widens – and so does her network. Your once-present tween is suddenly amped up on apps, poking around on Pinterest and fiddling with Facebook way more than the two of you agreed. With all the swooshing, beeping and flashing going on it’s now more difficult than ever to get your tween to look at you when talking. One reason could be because when you initially handed over the smartphone, you talked more about minutes than manners. You need to have the discussion about smartphone manners. Sure, you need to know how long your tween is talking on the phone and what she’s slinging on Instagram. But equally important is her smartphone etiquette. Because when it comes right down to it, the best cell phone plan comes from mom.

Protect the playdate

Bringing a phone to a friend’s house should not be automatic. If one person dashes to the phone every time it dings, it sends the message that someone else is more important. Teach your tween to focus on the face in front of them – not the friend on Face Time – when visiting with peers.

Ditch it when dining

Insist that your tween keep her smartphone in the car when eating out. Set the expectation that meals are a time to connect and unwind – without any digital distractions. And make sure your own smartphone is tucked inside your purse, not resting on the table.

Lead by example

Let your tween see you engaged in real time. Yes, your son’s double-header baseball game can be l-o-n-g. But if you whip out your phone at the first sign of boredom, your tween will, too. Teach her that being present in public is important when it comes to others’ feeling (ahem, her brother) and her own safety.

Turn it off

Give your tween examples of when the phone should go silent. According to parenting educator and author Jan Faull, cell phones are off limits in places like the library, a waiting room and theater. Tell your tween that carrying on a phone conversation while others are within 10 feet is disrespectful, and can make people feel invisible and alienated.

Converse with class

Role play on how your tween should make a phone call with her smartphone – especially when calling a friend’s home line. Saying, “Hi, Mrs. Smith, this is Kate. May I please speak with Sophie?” goes much further with parents than “Is Sophie there?” Never make someone – especially a friend’s parent – go on an archeological dig to find out information about why you’re calling.

Now it’s your turn. How have you taught your tween to keep her tweets in the wings and her manners front and center?

Lisa FinnSouthern California-born and raised Lisa Finn has more than 15 years of experience writing for print and online. Her writing can be found on the pages of L.A. Parent,, ModernMom, California Apparel News and Spa magazine. She primarily writes beauty, fashion and lifestyle articles, but also writes copy for mompreneurs who need help with their editorial needs. Her ghostwriting clients make regular appearances on shows such as The Doctors, Today, HGTV and CNN. She lives with her husband, three children under 11 years old, and a big, fluffy Labradoodle who keeps her company while she writes. Connect with Lisa at or on Twitter @LisaFinn17.

Read More →

kid with ipadLast week a new product prompted us to pose a question to you on Facebook: “Do we have to have an iPad strapped to everything, even a stroller?”

I want to take it a little bit farther.

How much is too much when it comes to kids and digital devices?

Many of us have allowed or encouraged the use of digital devices by our children, and not just for educational purposes. Raise your hands if your kids are under 5 and even have their own tablets or phones or other touch-screen gadgets that they play with when you need them to can it.

Listen, I didn’t want to do this, but I am going to use the “Back in my day…” argument because it’s a good place to start.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, but I remember all too well the incessant whining and attention-grabbing they would turn on just when I needed to have an adult conversation, or eat a meal at a table, or stand in line in an orderly fashion at Target. Back then I didn’t have a touch-screen cell phone, so I had to resort to more primitive methods of distracting the children so we could get through something. And every time I found an easier way, I used it.

Moms today get easier and easier tools dangled in front of them all the time. When you are sleep-deprived and on your last nerve, you’re sure as hell going to stick that phone or tablet in the baby’s hands so you can finish the phone call or read the label on a package of gluten-free cookies.

Ten years ago it was Baby Einstein. Now it’s Dumb Ways To Die. I mean, moms hear “you’re letting your child [insert guilty parenting cheat here] too much!” all the time, right? What difference does it make if it’s the TV or the tablet?

Mobility. You can pop a phone into a baby’s hands as soon as she is able to grasp objects with them. You can use it in the car, at the store, wherever, not just limited to home.

So beware. Children’s affinity for a digital device starts early, and you might find yourself relying on the electronic babysitter too often. The kids get older, develop the ability to talk, and with it, the ability to whine for the little screen. They see you using it all the time: while you’re making them dinner, as you’re talking a walk, and even when you’re retiring to your bedroom for the night.

So maybe you want to go easy on starting them off with a phone/tablet addiction too young. Be mindful of how much your children see you using one, and try to rely on it less for “babysitting.”

Here’s what some of our Savvy Sassy Facebook friends had to say:

Watch and rollWe asked: Do we have to have an iPad strapped to everything, even a stroller?

Laura Fransen That is ridiculous. Kids need to be unplugged and taught to enjoy life without electronic distractions.

Franki Arnold No. Absolutely not. Let your baby enjoy their surroundings — the grocery store, the park, wherever you are — they don’t have to be glued to a screen from the get go. It’s not healthy.

Valerya Rose Baker My kids don’t use my iPad. They play games on their LeapPads sometimes, and my oldest is starting to play the Wii U. But phones and iPads are off limits for them. Also, I agree with the other two ladies, when the kids are outside, they enjoy it by actually experiencing it. They don’t “endure” it because they have entertainment on a screen.

Carrie Ross  I think technology is wonderful. I know I couldn’t live without it. It’s an extremely useful tool for SO many things in life… Including learning. However, NO. Absolutely NOT. We don’t need iPads and tablets attached to everything. UNPLUG! You can’t experience life staring at a screen. It’s a wonderful thing to see my little one experiencing things in a store. Colors, people, noises, etc. I can’t wait for all this snow to be gone so I can get my little one outside to experience grass, trees, the squirrels, birds, dirt even! REAL life things.

Katie Young Lehuta Watching the world around around them is educational – we are gonna end up raising a generation of idiots that don’t know what to do with themselves.

Erin Stern Why even have a stroller where your child can face you if you aren’t going to engage with them?

Deanna Doherty Desarro No. In a stroller while outside for a walk is too much. I have let my kids use my phone while in a stroller at the store so I can actually shop without a bunch of whining.

Sherri Kuhn Seriously, this bugs me to no end! Saw a mom on a beautiful trail with so much to look at and an iPad in her 2-year-old’s lap.

The Beverly Hills Mom The ONLY reason I can see to have it would be in an airport or something where you’re held captive.

Like us on Facebook to see other comments or continue the discussion right here. What’s your family technology policy?

Send in your problem for Sassy to solve, whether it’s a parenting question, relationship dilemma, or a snafu with social etiquette and it may get answered in a future column. Sassy is here to help! Submit your question for Ask Sassy here! (Or just email me, darling. We can keep it between us. [email protected]) You can also follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page, where I share pro tips on life every week.

Read More →

By Portia Stewart

We have thousands of photos of our kids, but rarely do we get a chance to organize them into scrapbooks and photo albums. From documenting milestones to the everyday moments, online photo journals are the new scrapbooks. Online photo journal apps are your private diary telling the story of your child’s everyday moments in photos, videos and notes. These apps allow you to share your kid’s moments with your own private social network – this means close family members like grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles. Here is a list of the best online photo journals for families.

Tiny Beans

Tiny Beans Daily Photo Journal


Tiny Beans is a website and iPhone app that captures your child’s memories one day at a time. Photos and videos are easily uploaded and shown on a calendar. Invite grandparents or other close family members and they will receive email notifications when you’ve uploaded a new moment. If you are an avid Instagram user, this app may be for you. You can upload a photo on Instagram and hashtag it #tinybeanskids and it will automatically be uploaded to your personal Tinybeans Journal. Tiny Beans is a free app available online and on iTunes. The apps for iPad and Android will released soon


Kidmondo is a comprehensive website that documents in-depth information about your child. In addition to sharing your child’s photos and videos, Kidmondo also keeps your child’s growth charts, dental records, monitors your child’s food intake, and keeps track of medical and health records. Information on doctor’s visits, medical treatments, and immunizations are all in one place. Another great plus is that you can easily order a beautifully printed book version of your online photo journal. Sign up is free!



Tweekaboo makes it easy to share everyday photos and notes with your private social network. Grandma and grandpa can even comment on the photos. For the big milestones, you have the option to share with your extended social network on Facebook and Twitter as well. You can even order prints directly from Tweekaboo. Tweekaboo is free and available on iTunes for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.



Animoto makes it simple to create beautiful HD videos to share with family and friends. This program is fully connected to all your photo-sharing and social media accounts. Grab images from Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, SmugMug, or Instagram. Choose from 50 beautiful video designs, animate with typography and add music from over 1,000 soundtracks. You can post your video on Facebook and tag family members. You can also post to Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and 44WordPress. There are several pricing plans for Animoto. Animoto Lite comes free of cost and allows for 30 seconds of video time. Animoto Plus allows users 10 minutes of video time and costs $5 a month. The app is available for iPhone and Android users.

How are you recording all of your family’s special moments? 


DSCN6557Portia is owner and writer of Sugar Tot, a mom blog specializing in toddler tech and creative play. She is a mommy to a nonstop, sugar-filled two-year old, Baby D.  She is constantly seeking the latest tech toys and creative adventures to do with her little crazy person. No stranger to exploring awesome cities, Portia is a San Francisco native turned Orange County transplant. You’ll find her discovering kid-friendly places all over Southern California on her blog. Her background is in 
public relations and marketing. You can find her on TwitterFacebook & Pinterest.



Read More →
Limiting Kids Screen Time

By Portia Stewart

We’re modern moms with tech-savvy kids, no shame in that! The biggest challenge is getting our kids away from the tablet or mobile screen when time is up. There are a myriad of great apps, games and videos that provide education and entertainment to kids. However, as parents it’s our responsibility to set limitations to screen time. Here are some tips to getting your kids to unplug.

Create a screen time rewards system.

Keep a “rewards chart” and add a sticker if your child earns screen time by doing something good around the house. Ex: if you pick up your toys, you get rewarded with 30 minutes of screen time; or in the case of my two- year old who has decided that “peas are yuckkkyy,” if you eat all the peas on your plate you get 15 minutes of screen time. Make sure to set a maximum amount of time earned each day. I suggest 2 hours of maximum screen time per day.

Keep a secret bag of tricks.

When your child is whining for her favorite app, try to divert her attention to other activities. Play outside or keep a few coloring books, flashcards and crafts on hand so that she can move her focus on to something new. Many times kids get bored, and playing on the tablet is the easiest form of entertainment for them. Keeping your secret stash well encourage them to use their imagination and learn new things.

Set Parent Control Settings.

Many newer tablets have Parent Control Settings which allow parents to set time limits on how long their child can spend on the tablet each day. When time is up the child receives a “Time’s Up” message and is automatically kicked out of the app they were in.

If your tablet or mobile phone doesn’t come equipped with these settings, there are some great apps that work the same way. The Screen Time Parental Control App for Android products even keeps a daily total of how much time was spent on each app per day.

Screen Time App for Android

Screen Time Parental Control for Android products

Kaboom-App Timer for Apple products

Out of sight, out of mind.

Keep the tablet or mobile phone in a place where your child cannot see or access it. Seeing it in a common area may trigger the whining and crying. It’s just like dangling a piece of candy in front of a child. If it’s there, he wants it. Just keep it in a safe place.

Keep a routine.

You can only play on the tablet for 1 hour per day. After dinner, when homework is done, no exceptions. Make a schedule of their day and keep it on the refrigerator as a reminder.

When it comes to tech for kids, it’s all about setting limits and finding balance.
How do you set screen time limits in your home?

DSCN6557Portia is owner and writer of Sugar Tot, a mom blog specializing in toddler tech and creative play. She is a mommy to a nonstop, sugar-filled two-year old, Baby D.  She is constantly seeking the latest tech toys and creative adventures to do with her  little crazy person. No stranger to exploring awesome cities, Portia is a San Francisco native turned Orange County transplant. You’ll find her discovering kid-friendly places all over Southern California on her blog. Her background is in
public relations and marketing. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.


Read More →

Now that our kids are fully immersed into technology, I’m happy to report there’s a company that realized the need for headphones that fit their little heads. iHome has teamed up with Disney to bring us the cutest accessories. Not just kids headphones though, there are earphones, alarm clocks and speakers too. The whole line is designed with your child’s favorite Disney character, and they can use them with an iPod/iPhone/iPad.

Minnie Mouse speakers Collage

The Minnie Speakers are just so cute, and my daughter loves Minnie Mouse so I had to get them for her. My kids use my iPad Mini to watch Netflix and the speakers would be perfect because they are portable, and easy to use. I don’t worry about them ruining them or breaking them because they were made with kids in mind.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 10.52.50 AM

My daughter loves the speakers, and the boys love that they can hear the movie/show without having to have the iPad’s volume on high. The speakers even expand so that the sound’s base can be adjusted. The speakers are rechargeable, so you can move around with your speakers and not have to be stuck to a plug. It’s super lightweight, which makes it a great traveling companion too.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.22.00 AM

Next, I want to get a pair of the Minnie Mouse headphones. They are so cute, and I could easily share them with my daughter.

Which accessory would your child love to have?

Disclaimer: I was sent the Minnie Mouse speakers for this review. The opinion above is my own own.

Read More →

Savvy Sassy Newsletter

  • Stylish News in Your Inbox...
  • All The Latest Trends...
  • Our Greatest Giveaways Sent to You....

Be Savvy. Be Sassy. Signup Below: