Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

 
The Best Games of 2013
Posted: 2013-12-09 12:22:54

As you're gathering holiday presents, we suggest bringing home a game or two.  Click here to read the reviews of many of our favorites of the year.

Toys for Kids with Special Needs
Tags: SNAP Awards, toys for special needs,
Posted: 2013-11-25 15:24:40 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Finding toys for kids with special needs is not that different from choosing toys for all kids. Good toys match children's developmental skills, their interests, and most of all are really appealing. Click here for Top Toys For Kids with Special Needs.

Ready Made or Ready to Build and Play
Tags: miniature settings,dramatic play, story-telling,
Posted: 2013-11-25 10:16:45 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Pretend play is often played with mini props that children move about as they spin their stories of make-believe. Though some kids prefer to dress-up and play pretend with their entire beings, others like playing multiple parts in miniature settings where they can move figures and vehicles about. Click here to see some of the newest settings that will launch your child's imagination.

Recycling 101
Tags: recycling, gift wraps, card making,
Posted: 2013-11-25 09:45:14 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Instead of buying packages of costly cards and gift wrap here are some craft items that kids can use to make their very own. How to turn trash to treasures...

Handmade Gifts Kids Can Create
Tags: gifts to make, craft kits,
Posted: 2013-11-25 09:24:53 By: Joanne Oppenheim

What's the best way to teach kids about the joys of giving? Get them involved in making small gifts they can bring to the teacher, a dear auntie, or other special people in their lives. Click here for kits and gift making ideas...

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Learning Takes Root
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:40:15 By: by Joanne Oppenheim

Worried about the reports that our kids are falling behind in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics? Recent studies by Georgetown University Center on Education indicate we need to be concerned and doing something to get our kids ready to compete in a technology-driven world marketplace. Want to know how the toys you choose can spark your sons' and daughters' interests and skills that lead to life-long STEM skills they need?  Read more.

Ready Made or Ready to Build for Dramatic Play
Tags: minitature settings, pretend play, construction sets
Posted: 2013-10-08 12:08:35 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Though some kids like to dress up and play pretend with their entire beings, others prefer miniature worlds where they can move figures and vehicles about. For them premade settings such as garages, barns, castles, doll houses, and roadways come ready for action. Others prefer the fun of construction kits with all the themed pieces for building a setting that can be used for pretending. Click here to see some of the newest settings that will launch your child's imagination.

Be sure to check some of the other choices by clicking on the age group on the left and then searching earlier award winners.

Look at the Toy...not just the license
Tags: licensed items, familiar characters.
Posted: 2013-10-11 16:50:06 By: by Joanne Oppenheim

Licensed toys are often short lived. Many are more like souvenirs of a movie or TV series. Since the toymaker has to pay extra for the license, they are often a bit pricier and as the movie fades, like most toys de jour, they tend to lose their appeal. The truth is, a Mickey Mouse puppet is no more educational than any other puppet. It may be easier for a child to play scenes with characters they know, but a puppet made from a paper bag may invite more original story-telling, language, and imagination than premade characters. As with most things, we are not absolutists. We prefer to look at the toy itself rather than the license.

This season we found quite a few well-known licensed toys that have play value. Click here to see some worth considering.

Featured on NBC's TODAY Show
Posted: 2013-10-17 18:40:35

Many of the top toys of the year are not just fun, but they provide your kids with valuable play experiences that can help build their language skills,  confidence, ability to weave stories, follow instructions, and stay with a challenging task. The good news is that many of these toys will not break the bank.  Click here to take a look at just a few of our favorites for the year

A Few Choice Ways to Play the Numbers Game
Posted: 2013-10-04 08:36:51

Meaningless counting skills are often offered on crib toys that look more educational than they turn out to be. We're always on the look out for games and toys that build children's true understanding of number concepts with concrete experiences. Click here for a few new products that do just that for preschoolers, early school grades and beyond.

Index to Toy Reviews By Category

 

Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
Products for Later School Years
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