Products you need, products you don’t

Our parent reviewers tell us what works, what doesn’t


From baby wipes warmers to flushing portable potty trainers, parents are bombarded with new must-have products. In our ongoing effort to help parents do the toughest job in the world, we are asking manufacturers to send us their products and passing them along to parents for testing. Here are their reviews.   Princess Cool Foam Art Kit by Fibre Craft,, $4.99 Fibre Craft makes a variety of craft and arts project kits for kids.

There are some things to like about the Cool Foam Art Kit—it is conveniently packaged with everything you need for the project—and my daughter, Claire, 4, was able to do the craft independently.

There are plenty of drawbacks, however. Chief among them: It limits children’s creativity. The posterboard has a pre-printed decoration; the child simply peels and sticks the pieces on the picture. On the upside, it can be a learning tool for matching shapes, but it takes away from the creativity of designing one’s own picture. In addition, there are lots of small pieces, which can be a choking hazard for little ones. And, while the peel-and-stick foam pieces are convenient, they leave little pieces of backing everywhere. Finally, the two glitter glue pens ran out before the picture was complete and my daughter was frustrated by how long it took the glue to dry.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the kits, but I would buy the foam pieces separately to decorate cards or other projects. Theresa Connolly, PARK RIDGE

Kid’s Cookie Making Set Pampered Chef,, $16.50, (800) 266-5562.

Pampered Chef makes a variety of kitchen tools, available only through Pampered Chef kitchen consultants. Check the Web site or call to find a consultant in your area.

My children loved the Pampered Chef Kid’s Cookie Making Set. They enjoy cooking with me and especially enjoyed having their own fun, colorful cookie cutters. We have used metal cookie cutters before, but I’ve had to help them press the cutters completely through the dough. The soft handles allowed them use both hands to press the cutters into the dough. Both of my sons, ages 5 and 2, could do it without my help, and I enjoyed not worrying about a potential injury. 

The laminated recipe cards and suggestions were also great. We made most of the recipes: eggs in a frame, pb&j sandwiches, wacky waffles and, of course, cookies. When the boys can read, I think they’ll be able to follow the simple recipes themselves. 

I think this product is little expensive at $16.50, but I would probably buy it for a gift. Sarah Valaika, OAK PARK

Kids Eat Chicago

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