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.
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.
Ever wonder how to encourage your kids to explore concepts that may lead to fulfilling career opportunities? We realized that many of the most interesting toys we've reviewed this year may spark some ideas for that age-old question of what to do when you're all grown up. Click here to check out our suggestions. Stephanie stopped in at the Today Showto discuss these top-rated toys.
These products are also a sneak peek of our Platinum Awards for 2013 - the entire list will be announced next month!
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!
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.
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