Posted: 2013-06-13 17:13:32
By: by Joanne Oppenheim
Stick-ability is a skill that does not come naturally or easily. Yet, developing the ability to wait for an event or to deal with the frustration of working at a difficult task and bring it to completion- these are important life and learning skills that children need. Whether they are learning to read, writing a term paper, or baking cookies, patience is often the key to success. Unfortunately you can't teach patience by talking about it. Lectures don't help. Click here for ideas that do help!
No more teachers, no more books…remember the glow of those first days of summer vacation? Of course, for many kids the school schedule is soon replaced with the camp timetable. Whatever is on their agenda, it's important to keep their newly acquired school skills in use. The old adage…use it or lose it applies to the gains kids have made in math and reading. Studies show that kids who stop using those skills over the long summer break tend to drop a lot of hard earned gains. That doesn't mean you need to grill and drill them. Vacation is a time for a change of pace. Instead of bringing home ever-harder reading, encourage them to read for entertainment with books from the library or a stack of paperbacks from the bookstore. Play games that involve your child in the scorekeeping. In the coming weeks we'll be adding other ways to build skills with crafts, puzzles, and construction toys. Here are some games that are especially on the mark for sparking those brain cells.
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:12:32
By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim
Planning a family reunion can be daunting. It sounds fun in theory - but making sure the day is a success requires some advanced planning. Knowing how your family plays well together is also key. Are you like the Kennedy family that enjoys a competitive game of football on the lawn or is a calmer game of bocce more your speed? Here are some suggestions that will engage a multi-generational crowd with something for everyone. You can watch Stephanie's segment from NBC's TODAY SHOW below and Click here to read the complete article.
In a world where we expect instant results with the click of a mouse, learning patience is one of the hard to acquire lessons of life. Building tolerance for less than instant results may be one of the true learning skills children need. Some toys come with such skills built into the action. Here are a few good choices...
Need a taste of spring? Cut a few bare branches from a dormant shrub and bring them inside. Plunk them into a vase and give them a day or two to work their magic! While you are waiting and watching, share a few books that may let you forget about winter. Here are a few new choices:
The first new kits have begun to arrive with fresh and inviting crafts. Many have enough art supplies to share for a play date. We look for kits with clear directions, ample supplies, and materials that introduce kids to skills they can carry forward when the kit is done. While kits are often prescriptive and less than open-ended; they do introduce children to materials and techniques that can be applied in more creative ways. Crafts are more than just entertaining, they develop children's dexterity, patience, decision making and problem solving abilities. Here are a few of the new ones that are noteworthy.
Tags: Meet the Toymaker, Debra Sterling, Construction Sets, Building Toys
Posted: 2013-02-09 11:55:23
By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
I'm often asked how I made the transition from practicing law to playing with toys. So I decided to start asking other people how they found their way to toyland. I was particularly interested in Debra Sterling, the founder of the new construction toy company GoldieBlox. Debra, already distinguished as a recent engineering graduate from Stanford, decided to focus on empowering and enticing girls to play at problem solving and building. Drawing on her own experiences, she hopes that such early play will lead more young women to careers in engineering. With her idea formulated, Debra then raised more than $250,000 onKickstarter - indicating that other people shared her vision. While overseas supervising the production of her first line, we interviewed Debra about her journey. Her line will be available later this year - we look forward to trying it with our testers! Click here to read our interview.
Word games have always been a passion in our family. Spirited quick rounds of Boggle, a long slow game of Scrabble, and the stack and rack up points of Upwords. We still love these classics, but we are always on the lookout for new ways of playing around with words. These are family games that you can play one on one or as teams, so younger players are not at a disadvantage. Click here to discover some of the new choices.
Posted: 2012-12-26 12:00:38
By: by Joanne Oppenheim
Craft kits and art supplies are perfect gifts that keep on giving. Unlike some toys that come out of the box ready made, these are gifts that involve kids in creative fun. They develop dexterity, patience, problem solving, creative choices and the pleasure of using one's imagination. These are just a handful of some of our favorite crafty choices. Check for other art materials and craft kits on our age appropriate lists to the left and for a short but nice list, Click here to see some winners.
If you feel like you need a few more small gifts, consider some of these less pricey, but entertaining choices. Check this and scroll down to look at other lists on our front page for small but winning gifts from $10-$20. Click here
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