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.
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.
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.
Here are another five fun toys that will be perfect for Christmas stocking stuffers, grab bag classroom gifts or the many nights of the Festival of Lights. Be sure to check our other great buy gift lists. Also, check our book lists for titles that will will be new favorites. Click here.
Among the best gifts of the season are art materials that can be used for getting into the spirit of the holidays and those that will be used after the festivities are over. Among the craft kits we found this year are those for making gifts for others. We also found many outstanding open-ended art supplies for school projects or quiet afternoons--glitter glue, double sided colored pencils, fat crayons and more. Arts and crafts are not just fun. They invite kids to use their creativity while developing their fine motor skills and the important ability to follow step-by-step directions. You will find many more art materials in our age appropriate lists. Here are some of the top choices we found this season.
Posted: 2012-10-24 14:08:00
By: by Joanne Oppenheim
Dolls are classic gifts that fill a special place in the imaginary life of children. To toddlers and preschoolers, a doll or stuffed animal can be a comfort to hold onto in tight situations, or an imaginary playmate that will listen and take orders. For older children, a doll or action figure can be a far more elaborate character in their pretend play. Dolls from history, fashion figures or action heroes can be used for trying on grown up roles or making up imaginary adventures. Dolls are not one-size-fits all.
Shopping for kids with special needs can be challenging but not daunting. To simplify we look for ordinary toys that you can adapt to build skills while they are having fun. Keep in mind that kids want toys that are like their siblings and you want to bring home toys that play to their strengths. Check all of our lists. Go to Search at the top of the home page and check the SNAP box and enter the year. We have dozens of SNAP items for 2012, but check out 2011 as well. Many of our SNAP reviews have games and adaptation suggestions. Here are a handful of our favorites.
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