Sometimes the best ideas are born out of necessity. The following toys, baby gear and products were designed and invented by moms to help other parents solve problems, save time and have fun.
Connecticut inventor Beatrice Mellick wanted to make it easier for parents to take their kids to the beach, without having to pack multiple bags and lug all the gear. She developed an all-in-one stackable storage system that consolidates multiple beach products into one bag. It comes with one large bucket, two medium and two small buckets, shovels and a soft cooler packed in a single tote bag. Monogramming is also available; $98.50 at mybeachmate.com.
Kidstir Cooking Kits
Created by Aparna Pande of Los Angeles, Kidstir helps teach little foodies how to make chef-inspired recipes at home. The subscription service kit comes with three recipes, three educational foodie pages, two kid-sized cooking tools, a shopping list, games, puzzles and more; $15.95 for one month at kidstir.com.
Jennie Helman of Seattle came up with the idea for Lugabug while she was traveling with her young children. This child travel seat, for ages 2 and older, secures to luggage, making it an easy transport for kids. It's collapsible and can be used as an extra pocket when hung over luggage, a camp chair or a sitting pad. The top strap can be adjusted and worn over the shoulder to carry extra items. Maximum weight of 60 pounds; $64 at lugabug.com.
Donut Sensory Necklace
These sensory necklaces were created by a mom in Blaine, Washington, to help children comfort and soothe themselves. The BPA-free necklaces resemble a doughnut, and they're made of 100 percent food-grade silicone. A mother can wear the necklace so her baby can teethe safely. Dishwasher and freezer safe; $11.95 at twobrothersandolivia.com.
BuddyPhones was born after Yvonne Lo of Hong Kong saw a need for headphones to protect her children's hearing while playing video games, listening to music and when traveling. The durable headphones allow parents to control the volume depending on the environment. It features a three-volume setting of 75, 85 and a 95 dB flight mode, a safe volume to be used on airplanes. It also features soft ear pads, a detachable BuddyCable system that allows up to four audio cables to connect to one device. Available in a variety of colors; $49.95 at buddyphones.audio.
Tammy Nelson of Ohio designed keys to act as a constant reminder to her three children that they're loved. Each key comes with an inspiring quote card, such as "Family -- Where Life Begins and Love Never Ends," "Amazing -- You are Even More Amazing Than You Wish You Were" or "Be Happy --The Purpose of Our Lives is to be Happy." There are more than 20 designs and quotes to choose from; $6.99 at key2bme.com.
Jodi Bracho of Pennsylvania came up with a solution for keeping food, drinks and more on the tray and off the floor at mealtime. The Tray Buddi attaches to most highchairs, booster seats, strollers and wheelchairs. It can easily be cleaned and is top-rack, dishwasher-safe; $34.99 at traybuddi.com.
A Charlotte, North Carolina inventor created this line of soft hoodies for babies that are comfortable and stylish. The sweatshirts and pants feature a variety of designs such as doughnuts, French fries, lemons, stripes and more. Available in sizes 0-6 months up to 5T; prices start at $29.50 at purllamb.com.
ciao! baby Portable High Chair
Two Louisville inventors, Jayme Baker and Kim Strong, created this go-anywhere highchair for children up to 3 years old. The freestanding chair features a flexible seat and tray, a built-in cup holder and a clear vinyl tray cover. It's easy to unfold and locks into place; $67.99 at theportablehighchair.com.
The Baby Change-N-Go was created by Mahnaz Moosa and Brenda Lee Moosa after questioning the cleanliness of public restroom changing tables. The Richmond, Virginia moms designed a portable diaper changing station that hangs from public bathroom stall doors or walls, and then folds up to fit in a diaper bag. The ripstop nylon straps can safely hold babies up to 40 pounds. Choose from black, pink or blue; $99.99 at babychangengo.com.