Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

 
Big Time Learning
Tags: dinosaurs, science, construction,
Posted: 2010-04-20 13:18:42 By: Joanne Oppenheim

What is it that fascinates children about dinosaurs? Is it their enormous size? Their monstrous looking teeth and claws? Is it their deliciously long complicated names that six and seven year olds take pride in mastering? Could it be that they represent a kind of safe scare kids can conquer by knowing what the prehistoric giants ate or when and where they lived?

Forget the Flashcards!
Tags: Beginning readers, matching skills, word games, visual discrimination, storytelling
Posted: 2010-01-10 20:17:08 By: Joanne Oppenheim

In our eagerness to help beginning readers parents often think that books that are harder will give their kids an advantage. With the best intentions, beginners get bogged down with flashcards, workbooks and are urged to "sound-it-out!" Instead of books being a shared pleasure, too often they become a source of tension. If you want to build a love of reading begin with books that build your child's fluency and ease with reading. Children need a sense of success and can-do power that comes with feeling confident. This is more important than trying to rush them to the next level. Bring home easy to read books with few words, even books with no words that your child tells from the picture clues. 

Perchance to Dream...
Tags: open-ended. creative play, child-centered
Posted: 2010-03-29 07:51:12 By: Joanne Oppenheim

So many parts of the day do not allow for creativity. Our children's busy lives are often shaped by daily routines that leave little time for daydreaming. Click here for suggestions that will spark your child's imagination.

Patience is More Than a Virtue...It's a Must!
Tags: patience, frustration, stick-ability
Posted: 2010-01-04 17:46:17 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Patience is one of those skills that does not always 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 skills 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!

Great Gifts for Under $20
Tags: Gifts Under $20,
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:39:04 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Wondering how to make your gift giving dollars stretchchchch? Look no further!
Many of our favorite picks of the year happen to be very affordable. Click here for affordable choices.

Huggables, Trucks and Radios, oh my!
Tags: Green Toys, Best Green Toys for Kids, Green Building Toys, Green Dolls, Green Trucks
Posted: 2010-01-11 08:25:54

It used to be a huge stretch to come up with our green list.  Happily, that's no longer the case.  Toy makers are responding to consumer demand for green products for their kids.  We have rejected many of the "good-for-you-but-looks-sad" green toys...you know the ones - they're very muted in color or made from material that may be climate friendly, but you really don't want to cuddle up with!  We are particularly thrilled with the 100% recycled trucks from both Sprig Toys and Green Toys, the gorgeous Plan Toys Green Dollhouse (complete with solar panels) and the ever so huggable dolls from blablakids.com and Fair Indigo.  Congrats to all our winners!!

Busy Hands are Happy Hands!
Tags: crafts, drawing, painting, pasting,
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:40:53 By: Joanne Oppenheim


Craft kits are among the best holiday toys. Kids love trying their hands at cutting, pasting, and painting. They don't need to know that crafts are more than fun. Click here to read more.

Tags: great games under $20, math games, letter games, active games, family games, preschool, early school years, later school years
Posted: 2010-02-18 19:30:16 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Unlike a lot of novelty toys that often lose their luster, games are returned to again and again. They are not just entertaining; many have solid learning built into the fun. Here are some of the top choices we've tested and think you and your family will like playing. Click here to see our list!

Tags: Mr. Robot
Posted: 2009-11-21 13:01:21

Our mascot of the season, Mr. Robot, tries his best to engage Ugly Doll.

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