Month: February 2017

Keeping Baby Occupied

New mothers are often at a loss for understanding how to keep a baby occupied while they conduct every day tasks. Mothers must learn how to balance simple tasks such as taking a shower, using the bathroom, paying the bills, talking on the phone, and cleaning the house while a baby is awake and ready to play, but these activities are nearly impossible unless you have the right toys to occupy baby’s time. Of course, babies should never be left completely unattended, but the follow list of toys will allow you to watch your baby while they remain intrigued (at least for twenty minutes or so).

Graco Travel Bouncer: this “baby bouncer” is easy to transport, it has a vibrating seat, and it comes with a musical option that plays classical or natural music. This traveling seat is great while you are attempting to shop, stroll around town, or simply heading out to do a few errands.

Redkite Baby Go Round Walker: this walker includes a comfortable padded seat, many different electronic toy options, a colorful activity try, and even a removable try that can be used to feed your baby. This walker is a great option for those that want to do things around the house while baby is at play.

Redkite Baby’s First Seat: if you happen to attend a lot of events, this seat will be perfect for your child. The Redkite seat is filled with fun activities, and it will allow you to inflate and deflate it as the need arises. Your baby can play with mirrors, fabrics, squeaking buttons, and many other fun things.

These three items are just perfect for the new, active, mother that still wants to get up and go while baby is in tow. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get all your tasks done with these toys that make learning and playing lots of fun.

Keeping Your Toddler Occupied

Keeping a toddler occupied without your constant attention is more difficult than you think. Hand eye coordination and speech education are some of the most important parts in a young toddler’s life. Imagination is also ignored so often. Let your toddler tell you what they want.

Some of the best choices out there are plastic toys. The reason these toys are so beneficial for children are that they last longer and the child has a less likelihood to injure themselves. One of the problems with painted wooden toys is that after wear and tear the toy is old, the child could get splinters and eat the paint. Educational toys are a must in a growing toddler’s life. The new things like hand control entertainment toys and video remote controls for kids help with the hand eye coordination. Parents today plop their child in front the television to easily and they do not look fully at what the child is watching. Properly choosing the program for a toddler is so important. It can mean the difference between speaking sooner or not. When parents really need some time to do the work around the home or whatever they need to look at other things then just television. One of the most common things that are left out is the imagination. You can leave a child in a room with some toys for 20 minutes and when you come back that child can have an entire world going on outside the home. Let the child think and play and use their imagination.

Biggest thing in a child’s life is that they need to learn and they look at you for all of it. Hand eye coordination is so important so you need to let them use toys or games that will help in this area. Television is now use to much for education and that is a good thing for those single parents but don’t abuse it. Most important is to let the child use their imagination and thrive in life. Let them be who they want to be.

The Best Educational Toys

Educational toys have become all the rage these days. They are sure to be a holiday hit this year, and here is a list of some of the best educational, entertaining toys of the year. The VTech Whiz Kid Learning System is one of the best learning toys for kids aged 3-7. The touch screen interacts with the stylus for hours of fun and play, and there are about 120 activities and games included which are sure to keep kids happy. The Smart Cycle is a stationary bike for preschoolers that plugs directly into your TV.

Software called Learning Adventure is included and more software is available for purchase separately. In “Driving” mode, your child can pedal through various environments while picking up informational tidbits along the way. The “Learning Arcade Games” are games in which kids can learn about letters, numbers, shapes, etc. The “Big Race” option is a fast-paced race against a friend or other vehicles on the TV screen. Brain Quest DVD Games offer a series of electronic educational questions with answer choices, all easy for a child to understand and follow along. Piano Made Easy is a well-designed and interesting tool to teach children musical skills and develop an interest in music, using the Mayron Cole Piano Method that is used by schools and teachers all over the country. The Hooked on Phonics Get Ready to Read Activity System is an electronic learning system based on the Hooked on Phonics concept. Activities include identifying alphabets, matching letters, rhyming, shapes, colors, and more, all geared toward kids 4 and up. LeapFrog’s Clickstart My First Computer is the latest TV learning system designed for kids 3-6. It has a fair-sized keyboard, large colorful keys, and a mouse, providing a good way to introduce kids to electronic learning systems at an early age.

The Hot Wheels Accelerator Laptop is a masculine version of a kiddie laptop with over 60 bilingual activities in math, spelling, logic, cognitive skills, and sequencing.

Peek A Boo Stuff is a sealed pouch with a transparent window, filled with letters and little white beads. The object is to find the letters from A to Z by trying to uncover them from under and between the beads—a perfect way to keep a toddler busy while stimulating his/her intellect.

Rubik’s Revolution, although not much like the original Rubik’s Cube, is a challenging and stimulating game of speed and patterns. The basic principle of the 6 games is how fast you can click the buttons, and in the right order. Automoblox are a series of wooden cars made up of interlocking pieces that can be taken apart and interlinked with pieces from other Automoblox cars. These “puzzle cars” offer a creative challenge, as well as stimulating a child’s mind.

Inexpensive Activities for Children

Are you searching for a gift that is unique, personal, and exactly fits in to a hands-on activity? There are many toys that fit this category, including fancy doll houses, wagons and toy trucks for boys, a child’s first tricycle or bicycle, etc. But jigsaw puzzles are fascinating in their own way and lots of fun to solve.

Enter Dad’s workshop! Find or buy a piece of thin plywood. Search through family photos, or pictures of what your child likes to do outdoors, for example. You might even want to photograph your family pet. You will have wonderful ideas of your own for this project. Paste the picture, or pictures if you are making more than one puzzle, onto the plywood. Be sure you have a little border because you’re going to varnish both sides of the puzzle and let it dry. This will insure that the picture stays on the wood surface! Then take the plywood and cut it into pieces for the puzzle. What fun!

A variation on this theme could be an activity for a little girl. Get some plain cloth from a fabric shop that can be made into a dish towel. Sew a little hem around whatever size the towel(s) will be. Get some thread and a needle and draw little x’es where you want your child to sew. One idea is sewing on seven towels, one for each day of the week. Use different colored thread. This is fun and inexpensive.

Imagine the look on your child’s face when the gift(s) are opened! For starters, no one else will have a gift quite like it. The puzzle itself will be fun to put together. The sewing project will teach a very useful skill that will last a lifetime. They don’t cost a lot and encourage constructive activity.

Great Electronic Toys

This season, it’s a toy world out there, and you can find some great electronic toys throughout the nation right now. There are so many different toys to choose from, it is almost difficult to narrow it down to just a few, but some toys have really cornered the market and these toys are sure to please children of all ages.

The toy that really caught the eye of toy experts and kids everywhere this season is the Disney Fix Video Camera. This camera is probably best for children that are older, but if you have a budding film director in your area, this camera will encourage any talent. Disney has equipped this video camera with Disney’s Magic Director Software, which will allow your child to plug any video into a computer, edit, delete, and reframe anything to their heart’s content. At $99 dollars, the Disney Fix Video Camera is a real steal.

Do you have a real Barbie girl in your family? Well, the Barbie Girls dolls are about to make a giant splash this holiday season. The Barbie Girls collection is really a combination of an MP3 player and a Barbie all rolled into one. Your little girl will be able to dress up these dolls, accessorize them, and connect them to your PC in order to create a custom Barbie personality.

Lastly, if you want to keep your children occupied for quite awhile, purchase “Jakks Pacific’s Eye-Clops,” which is a sort of magnifying glass and television tool all in one. The Eye-Clops is designed to magnify anything on your television screen up to 200 times its normal size – which is something that kids just love to do. Imagine the possibilities when you turn on the discovery channel and hand your child the Eye-Clops – the things that your child will be able to investigate are endless. Choosing any one of these three top electronic toys is sure to make your child happy all year long, and you may be able to get a bit of work done in the meantime.

Toys for Energetic Kids

Parents buy different toys for a host of different reasons. Toys to help kids go to sleep, toys to offer security, toys to keep kids distracted or quiet. And importantly, toys to wear out overly-energetic kids.

Any parent will know that almost any child with a lot of energy can be – you could say – rather difficult to handle. Children can build up lots of pent up energy and it is important that it is let out in the right way. Otherwise you may end up needing earplugs, or worse you may end up with lots of broken household items!

So that’s where toys for energetic kids can be so important. Introduced at the right time they can be tacitly used to wear out enthusiastic kids just in time for bed.

Running, stomping, pushing, pulling or lifting. We’ve got all the toy ideas to help energetic kids let go of their excess energy.

Stomping?

We all know that young kiddies love stomping their feet, usually in the middle of a supermarket. Stomping is the direct result of frustration and stomping feet is an outlet, so how about a toy that actually encourages a child to stomp their feet, hard?

Well look no further as the Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow kit may be the perfect choice. The air propelled rocket kit has been one of the most popular toys for young kids for the last few years and it is no wonder since the toy is designed to be stomped!

The Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow kit features an air propelled rocket kit with foot pad. Connect the rocket platform to the foot pad and stomp the pad as hard as you can! The air generated by the stomp propels the foam rocket into the air, often as high as 50 feet! The harder you stomp the further the rocket goes! No batteries or electrical hookup required!

The kit comes with 4 glow in the dark rockets meaning it is also great for night time (or lights off) play. Soft foam rockets make it suitable for indoor play too. Perfect for kids from 3 upwards.

Garden Playset Exercise?

If you’re looking for a more permanent fixture for the garden then you can’t go far wrong with a child’s adventure playset. These garden toys are great to encourage kids to run, climb, slide and jump and can be used to inspire a whole host of new imaginative adventures that can have kids running about with wild excitement as if you bought the playset yesterday!

If your garden can handle such an addition, playsets are a top choice for energetic kids and different sets can be aimed at both younger and older children. Not only will this help energetic kids blow off steam but will also encourage healthy active play and will also promote physical development.

So if you’re looking for a child’s first playset then you should be looking in the direction of the Step2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse which is aimed at children from around 18months to 3 years making it the perfect choice for toddlers.

The Step2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse is designed with imagination in mind and features a slide, easy to climb steps and sturdy lookout platform equipped with periscope. Kids will love to run, climb and slide on the playset and will quickly use up that excess energy as they play out any number of imaginative adventures.

If you’re looking for a larger adventure playset then the Step2 Adventure Lodge Playset will certainly meet your requirements. This massive set includes a slide, two stories of hiding places, two swings, 1 glider swing, a rope ladder and even a basketball set making this a sure favourite with kids.

Perfect for families with multiple children, the Adventure Lodge Playset is great for sibling fun or great for kid’s parties. The playset has received fantastic online reviews and should keep kids entertained until the age of around 8.

Bounce Around?

If you’re looking for something a little smaller than a playset then another back garden alternative is the classic and timeless Space Hopper – those big bouncy balls which you hold on to and bounce up and down the yard with!

The benefits of Space Hoppers are plentiful. Energetic kids will love them because they are perfect for letting off steam since lots of energy is required to get the bouncing going. Space Hoppers are great from an exercise point of view – they develop a variety of muscles including legs, arms and back, as well as develop a child’s spatial awareness and stability.

Space Hoppers (or Hoppity Balls) are also great for kids with sensory processing disorders. Space Hoppers can come in a variety of sizes and are suitable for children from 3 upwards.

Alternatively if a space hopper doesn’t do the job then you can also try out the equally timeless pogo stick which have been experiencing somewhat of a comeback recently. Pogo sticks, like space hoppers, are great for releasing excess energy as well as developing a child physical and helping them with their hand-eye coordination, stability and balance.

Pogo sticks can be very exciting and operating them takes up plenty of energy. They are a great way to perform cardiovascular exercise as well, so they can also be used to shed unwanted weight or improve your health and stamina.

Pogo sticks can also be great for time trials or racing. You can get the kids doing laps around the garden trying to beat previous lap times, or siblings can race each other up and down the backyard.

Addtionally a child’s pogo stick will develop a variety of muscles including arms, legs and back. Of course we always recommend including suitable protective gear when using a pogo stick and always avoid busy roads.

Obstacle Course?

Energetic kids love creating their own obstacles courses in the garden and racing around them as fast as they can. Often they’ll use things they find in the garden as props, such as plant pots, trees and garden ornaments. However you can make their obstacles courses lots more fun by adding different obstacles such as foam geometric shapes for youngsters to crawl through.

These shapes can make any obstacle course more fun as they can be combined with other obstacles such as playsets, slides and other garden toys to create exciting and engaging obstacles courses. Kids will love to race each other around and around until they run out of energy! Even the adults can have a try if they’re willing!

Of course the benefits of obstacles courses are great. Kids will use up plenty of energy running around the courses and will always be looking to create different, more exciting courses. Plus they will be learning the benefits of a healthy lifestyle which they can continue in later life which will help them avoid many child-to-adult problems such as obesity and heart related diseases.

From One Step Ahead, these geometric shapes are easily assembled and are perfect for kids from 3 years upwards.

Hope these ideas helped you for some ideas to help those energetic kids blow off some steam and give you some peace and quiet! Let us know how you get on.

Best Tummy Time Toys

“Tummy Time” – the time where a baby is placed on their tummy as opposed to being placed on their back or propped up in a seat – is an important part of every baby’s development process. Tummy time allows a baby to physically develop their head and neck control, their arms, back, torso and legs. Eventually tummy time will lead to a baby learning how to squirm and crawl, which of course eventually leads to being able to push themselves into the standing position and finally then learning to walk.

Additionally when placed on the tummy a baby can play and interact with their toys which in turn help a baby develop their fine motor control as well.

For this reason toys that encourage babies to enjoy their tummy time are as essential buy, so we discuss some of the best tummy time toys available and discuss how they can benefit a baby in other areas as well.

Play Mats

One of the best ways to encourage babies onto the tummies is through interactive play mats designed specifically for that purpose. Such mats are cushioned play areas that can feature sounds, sights and textures designed to engage and entertain baby.

The Fisher-Price Discover ‘n Grow Play Mat, Jumbo is a jumbo sized play mat with plenty of features to keep babies occupied during tummy time. The mat features a fun peek-a-boo elephant ear with crinkle, a mirror, fish teether and frog with clackers.

Babies will love the appealing characters and art on the mat and placing them in front of one of the mat’s features will keep them distracted. And when the time comes the baby will be encouraged to move from one toy to the next as they become inspired to crawl!

Mirrors

One of the most appealing things a baby just loves to look at is a human face. And baby isn’t picky either, they’ll love the sight of their own face in the reflection of a mirror just as much as anyone else! So baby safe mirrors are a fantastic way of keeping a baby entertained and distracted during tummy time.

Not only that but mirrors are great for a baby’s development in several key areas. Not only does it keep them entertained during their physical “tummy time” development time but learning to focus on their reflection at varying distances will greatly increase their vision. Additionally several activities, such as pointing to various facial features and pulling faces can show baby what the face can do which is great for social development as well. Eventually baby will learn that the face in the mirror is of themselves which is a great way of showing a baby who is who.

A baby safe mirror can also be easily used in conjunction with a play mat.

Rolling Toys

Toys that baby can roll and eventually chase are great ways to keep them occupied during tummy time. Something as simple as rolling a ball towards or near baby can keep them entertained and distracted as well as help a baby improve their visual senses as they keep track of the moving ball as it rolls either away, nearer or across their line of sight.

Activity Centers

Activity toys designed specifically for tummy time are another great way to keep babies entertained. Such toys are designed to be appealing and exciting for baby with plenty of features and exciting aspects to baby does not grow bored.

The Infantino Play Time Activity Center is a 4 sided activity toy where each colourful side contains a different toy or feature designed specifically to attract baby’s attention and to keep them engaged and occupied during tummy time, as well as developing baby. One side contains baby safe mirror so baby can see their own reflection, which improves visual and social development. One side has peak and see leaves, one side has a put-and-take bird’s nest and finally the other side has a water pouch fish tank design.

As soon as baby appears to grow tired of one side simply spin the activity toy around for renewed fun!

We hope we were able to provide you with some ideas on this Page. If you found this page useful then please consider joining our Facebook Page or Pinterest Page for all our latest articles!

7 Important Safety Tips for all those ‘Trick or Treaters’

Trick or treating is as popular as ever, with millions of kids from across the world preparing themselves for this fun annual tradition on evening!

However it is worth remembering that it’s not only witches, vampires and ghouls on the loose Halloween night – there are plenty of Earthly dangers out there as well.

So we list some important safety tips that all ‘trick or treaters’ should be following on All Hallows Eve to ensure that everyone gets home safe to enjoy their candy and sweets!

Never trick or treat alone!

An important tip is to make sure kids don’t go trick or treating alone. Not only is it more fun as a group, but if something happens, like an accident, then it’s important there are people to help. Lots of accidents are more likely to occur in the dark so you need to make sure there is always someone on hand to help if something goes wrong.

Younger kids should always be occupied by a trusted adult.

Be visible!

Whether it’s flashlights, reflective tape, glow sticks or high-vis clothing, you need to ensure you’re visible especially if you’re walking along roads. Get creative and incorporate lighting in the costume itself – but remember to avoid candles and open flames.

Walk, don’t Run!

It may be really exciting to get from one house to the other, but don’t rush! Accidents happen when kids run, and accidents can cut the trick or treating short. Remember, it’s not a race! Also remember to be careful crossing the street.

Set out a designated area

If a parent isn’t tagging along, make sure your kids understand where they can and cannot go, and when they’re straying too far from home. You can draw a map, or take them out before Halloween and show them where is okay and where is out of bounds.

Whether you set out designated houses to knock on should depend on your local community. If possible, plan out a route in advance, showing which houses are okay to visit and which are not.

Follow stranger danger tips

Don’t accept lifts from strangers, don’t talk to strangers on the street and don’t go into strangers houses. Avoid dark houses or houses that look empty and stick to houses that are displaying Halloween décor.

Don’t walk with your masks on!

If a mask obstructs a child’s view of their surroundings, make sure they only wear it when they’re at the door of a house, and to take it off when they’re moving to a different location.

Check the trick or treat goodies

At the end of the night, go through your child’s treats and look for anything suspicious. This could be sweets that look like they’ve already been opened or in different packaging.

Remember to follow these tips for a safe Halloween experience. And remember, have fun. After all, it only happens once a year!

3 Annoyingly Addictive Toys for Christmas

Nothing makes for a better Christmas gift than a toy that is so addictive that you cannot put it down! Often the most addictive games can have the simplest premise making them evergreen, timeless classics. We take a look at 3 such toys that will have any kid or adult addicted within minutes!

Perplexus Maze Game

Ideal for anyone from around 6 years upwards the Perplexus Maze is an incredibly challenging cyclical maze that involves the user rotating this toy labyrinth with the seemingly unassuming aim of getting a small marble from the start to the finish.

But be aware, whilst the Perplexus is easy to play, it’s incredibly hard to master the various barriers and obstacles that lay in wait. Once (or if) you become proficient enough to finish the maze you’ll immediately want to better your time, but so will your friends and family!

The Perplexus maze comes with 3 different puzzles to master and you’ll quickly realise why this spherical challenge is one of the most addictive toys to date and one of the bestselling toys this year. Perfect family fun and one that will surely be one of the highlights for your Christmas Day!

Quarto

Quarto is an absolutely fantastic and addictive board game that will have two players pitting their wit and intelligence against each other in order to triumph.

The objective is simple – don’t let your opponent make a row of 4 pieces that share a common attribute (colour, size, shape or whether the piece has a hole). The game works by the first player choosing a piece for the second player to place on the board. Once the second player places the piece they are given it is then their turn to choose a piece for the first player to place on the board, and so on.

But watch out, if you give the other player a piece that will allow them to make a row of 4 pieces that share an attribute (and they realise!) then the game is over and you lose!

The incredibly simple rules and objective mean the game is incredibly addictive from the onset. Quarto is extremely simple to learn, but incredibly hard to master! Anyone from the age of 6 can play and success will initially depend on how quickly you pick up the tactics! Once you pick up the rules you can add another dimension by introducing a time limit per move.

In our opinion, one of the best board games out there with great user reviews and one that will certainly not disappoint! Syma S107/S107G R/C Helicopter – Red

There is nothing that boys like more than remote control vehicles and the Syma range of R/C helicopters are some of the best-selling vehicles of the year. Simple to learn and master these robust and affordable helicopters will certainly be hard to put down as you begin to master more and more delicate and impressive moves.

The copter is small and lightweight, and equipped with latest Gyroscope technology. You’ll immediately be impressed with how fast and responsive the helicopter is and soon learn that anyone of any age can have plenty of fun with this timeless classic. Have races, time trials, complete tasks or advanced manoeuvres or add another dimension to your challenges with another vehicle!

Teach your Toddler!

We, like so many of you, try to spend some time each day teaching our kids something- sometimes alphabet, sometimes counting, sometimes how to properly capture ladybugs, as long as they are learning something, we tend to feel as though we are doing our job as parents. We have recently found a great line of toys which is tricky and teachy, in as much as it is fun to learn things like upper and lower case letters, numbers and counting, shapes and colours and other important things that toddlers need to learn. So, without further ado, I present to you our top picks for learning fun for kids 3 and under:

This Learning Resources Rainbow Cones Set is a family fav. It comes with 8 different coloured ice cream scoops and 2 cones, so kids can stack, and mix and match. The colour is written on the inside of each scoop, great for early literacy skills and these slightly mallable cones have offered tons of quiet time play for us! These have been a huge hit with both our kids (1 1/2 and almost 4)

Another great learning toy for the very young, these cupcakes are great for fine motor skills. Our 1 1/2 loves taking the cupcakes apart and looking at the different shapes inside, and putting them back together. There are 8 two-part cupcakes which pull apart to reveal a circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, hexagon, star and heart. Match the shapes to put them back together. Then match the shape to the pan bottom. Hours of shape and colour entertainment, and great for building those imaginations!

Alpha-pops by Learning Resources is yet another great tool. Match the lower case letters to the upper case letters and check by colour to make sure you’ve got the right letters! This is a great toy, for kids over 2.

Another great toy for counting and number recognition, this bowl of fruit features numbered pieces with embedded magnets (orange, apple, plum) and friction fitting (banana) that make fruits easy to put together and pull apart. Explore numbers and fractions while having fun! Want more ideas? Check out our early learning section on our website, or come on in for more great summer learning activities for toddlers and preschoolers!

Show your child that Reading Rocks

Encourage a lifetime love of reading by following these 10 tips to steal 15 minutes of reading time each day. The benefits will last your child a lifetime.

1. On car trips, point out and read interesting road signs and billboards, as well as personalised numberplates. Keep a few favourite books and books on tape for reading and listening on-the-go.

2. Read a good action story or tale of adventure to replace an evening television programme.

3. If you’re too tired to read aloud to your child, listen to a story on tape and turn the book pages together.

4. Go round your child’s room and name the objects there. As your child names each object, write it on a stick-on label and affix the label to the object. You can read the labels and add new items each time you play this game.

5. When your child asks to stay up a little longer, consider it a made-to-order fifteen minutes family reading opportunity.

6. Write notes and leave them in lunchboxes, on pillows, on notice boards etc. It promotes reading and fun, especially if a note says, “I have a surprise for you!”

7. Pack books when going somewhere with your child where you might have a long wait, such as the doctor’s surgery or the airport.

8. Bring home interesting reading material from work or shopping such as a story or comic strip clipped from the newspaper, a brochure, a greeting card, or even a fortune cookie from lunch.

9. If you work night shift or can’t get away from the office, keep a few children’s books at work. Call home during a break and read to your child.

10. Take time to talk about the books you read with your children. This helps to establish the concept that reading generates ideas, opinions and questions.

Maths & the Importance of Visual Processing

Through play and interaction with their environment children are learning. Children understand space through experiencing and reacting to objects in their environment. Studies have indicated that there is a correlation between spatial awareness and scholastic achievement in mathematics. This spatial understanding is important with objects, such as counters, bears, buttons, beads and can then be transferred for concepts that require spatial imaging such as a number line. Children’s ability to visualise the line and movement along it (depending on the operation, either addition or subtraction) relies on imagining space. The child’s ability to encode spatial information, visualise it, remember that visual picture and mentally manipulate it, is all required to help solve mathematical problems.

Below are some suggestions to help with the development of spatial skills, sequencing, visual memory and categorisation.
¨                 Read books and talk about the details in the picture
¨                 Tell stories, encourage details, so that they are painting a picture for the listener
¨                 Encourage visual imaging by ‘taking pictures in their mind’
¨                 Use items that they have to sort into categories (grouping like objects)
¨                 Play memory games with cards or
¨                 Cover a tray of objects and show for 30sec, then cover again and recall
¨                 Use number cards or magnetic digits and order in sequence
¨                 Use language strengths to count forwards and backwards
Enjoy learning alongside your children as you play.