The Battle for Your Baby's Brain
(FORTUNE Small Business) – [THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE IS A COMPLEX ILLUSTRATION. SEE PDF OR HARDCOPY OF MAGAZINE]
What? Your 6-month-old daughter still doesn't know her 3-wood from her 9-iron? Help is on the way. Entrepreneurs are creating new products that will familiarize your baby with the most esoteric of skills before she graduates from her Pampers. And with the $2.8 billion infant-toy industry expanding at 10% a year--the most growth of any toy category, according to Toy Industry Association trends specialist Reyne Rice--can Baby's First Particle Accelerator be far behind? --ELAINE POFELDT
YOGA Helen Garabedian of Sudbury, Mass., wants to bring your baby from nasty to namaste. Her Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes teach poses that she says improve babies' digestion and immune system. Garabedian has licensed more than 100 instructors, and last year Fireside published her book demonstrating the most useful positions.
ART HISTORY You may not know Manet from Monet, but now your kid can. Dada da Vinci--a $24.95 CD-ROM by Modesto, Calif., pediatrician Scott Yang--includes a game that uses works of art such as the "Mona Lisa" and Michelangelo's "David" to teach the names of body parts. (Well, not that one.)
GOLF Let the eggheads have their Baby Einsteins. If you'd rather raise a Baby Tiger, Jack Daddona Jr. has some DVDs to sell you. This year his Allentown, Pa., company, Tiny Tot Sports, added Baby Golf to its catalog of DVDs, which includes "playful introductions" to baseball, basketball, and soccer. Did someone say "Gerber's endorsement"?
FOOD APPRECIATION Babies can barely chew. But that doesn't mean it's too early to instill healthy eating habits! Katheryn and Robert Warren of Mesa, Ariz., sell Baby Gourmet DVDs--which teach tots the names of fruits, vegetables, and other foods--in supermarkets and toy stores, through catalogs, and on the web.
SIGN LANGUAGE Most of us dread the day that our kids learn how to make meaningful hand gestures. But Baby Signs founders Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn say that their licensed sign-language classes can help teach babies to talk. Their Vacaville, Calif., company also sells DVDs, books, CDs, and flashcards.
MEDITATION Lisa Desmond may be the only person alive who can use "serenity" and "child rearing" in the same sentence. The founder of Baby Buddhas, based near Burlington, Vt., trains instructors and parents around the country to teach chanting and breathing exercises to babies.