Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

 
Tags: dolls, multi-cultural dolls, pretend play
Posted: 2014-10-01 08:18:54 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim

One of the best trends in toyland is the growing number of multi-cultural dolls.  Playing with a doll that reflects the child is so important for positive self-esteem. Click here to see some of favorites.

Finding Books that Fit
Posted: 2014-09-12 09:16:59

Choosing books for beginning readers is all about finding books they can read with ease. If they have to sound out or wait for help with every other word, save that book for later. Select books that build confidence and allow kids to develop fluidity and their desire to read. Here are three new titles that do exactly that.

More Than Your Old Lotto Game
Tags: matching games
Posted: 2014-08-23 09:11:55

Games the involve matching are usually the first we play with beginners, games of Lotto, Go Fish, and Concentration are still basic fare for preschoolers. What do they learn from such games? More than you might think. Matching skills are important for the kind of visual discrimination readers need. Instead of starting with letters, and the fine differences between letters like b vs. d or n vs. m, preschoolers do better with picture matching that ask them to match colors, shapes or objects. Slightly older children are ready to move on to more complex matching.

You'll find many other matching games among previous winners; check the age group games by clicking the group on the left. Here are some of the newest matching games.

Sharpen up those School Skills
Tags: school skills
Posted: 2014-08-23 09:32:49

As children return to the classroom they sometimes need a little time to reboot-- to wake up skills that have not been used for two months you may need a push of the restart button. Here are some entertaining ways to restore what was there.

Constructive Fun
Tags: summer fun, construction sets, dramatic play
Posted: 2014-06-12 14:43:05

Summer is often about family days at pools, beach, camping, and even going to a resort. But kids can do all of that without ever leaving home--click here to find out how 

Strategies for Holding onto Skills
Tags: Math, numbers, summer,
Posted: 2014-08-23 09:28:24

You don't need to bring home workbooks or flashcards to keep them nimble with numbers. In fact, either of those solutions are likely to be both dreaded and regretted. Giving kids comfort with math begins with everyday experience with numbers. Think of all the ways you use numbers; on the phone, prices in the grocery store, numbers on buildings. How about cooking together and using recipes that call for counting and measuring? Recipe too big, how abouot cutting it in half? Showing kids how math is needed in everyday life makes sense. Have your preschooler help with setting the table: how many forks do you need? How many napkins? Playing scrabble or monopoly with older kids? Give them the job of score keeper and banker. Along with classics like Dominos with young players and Yahtzee with school age kids Here are some more playful choices that will enhance their math skills.

Blue Chip Choices
Posted: 2014-06-08 13:06:52

Toy shopping is often a trip down memory lane. While looking for something new we often come upon something old that we loved as kids. In fact, toy store shelves are loaded with classics that have been loved by generations. We're not talking about Antique Roadshow toys, but the everyday playthings that you, your parents, and even your grandparents played with--back in the day.

Remember the smell of Play-doh? The thrill of building a ferris wheel with your Tinkertoys? Of getting both Boardwalk and Park Place in Monopoly? Ah, those were the days! But do you really know how old were you when you enjoyed these and other classics the most?

Classic toys are usually safe bets. After all, they have stood the test of time. But bringing them home at the right time is key. Here are some updated Blue Chip choices for kids with a guide to bringing them home at the right time.

Tags: games
Posted: 2014-04-30 14:24:59

Tired of the same old games you've been playing all winter? Good news! The new games for 2014 are arriving just in time for Spring.  Click here to see a list of our new favorites.

Posted: 2014-03-27 14:16:03 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim

Normally we review other people's books. Today it's my turn to give a huge shout out for Joanne's latest picture book!  The Prince's Breakfast (Barefoot Books) focuses on a story that so many families can relate to - the prince doesn't like to eat anything! Joanne takes the Prince and his royal family on a fun globe-trotting adventure to find a solution. The book is beautifully illustrated by Miriam Latimer.  You may remember the Prince, he had a hard time getting to sleep in The Prince's Bedtime.  And to make things even better, the audio that comes with the book is narrated by Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville. To order your copy click here.

Choosing Dolls to Fit Your Child's Developmental Stage
Posted: 2014-09-19 14:46:07 By: Joanne Oppenheim


While the toy companies vie for the honor of introducing the Doll of the Year, for parents and grandparents, the best choice for that honor needs to connect to your child's age and stage. As I recall,  when Stephanie, your toy guru, was a preschooler she had--click here to continue.

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