Later School Years

New Reviews and Articles

A conversation with Jodi Norgaard, Founder of Dream Big Toy Company
Tags: Go! Go! Sports Girls, Dream Big Toy Company, Jodi Norgaard, Pretend Play, Dolls
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:43:59 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
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As part of our new Meet the Toy Makers series, we turned our attention to the land of dolls...

Jodi Norgaard recently launched  Dream Big Toy Company (a great name!) we asked her about her journey... and how she came to create a fun line of dolls called Go! Go! Sports Dolls. Read the interview.


Tags: Sleepover Parties, Themed Parties, Spa Night, Sports Games, Hawaii, Scavenger Hunt
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:44:34 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
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Sleepovers are parent intensive events-so, if you are having a heavy work week- better to say we'll do it another time. If you are having it- you need to have a game plan. Kids come to these events with lots of energy. Part of your plan needs to involve using some of that energy.

Making Something Special
Tags: Make Your Own Gifts, Holidays, Giving Gifts, Art Supplies, Make Your Own Book
Posted: 2009-09-10 11:47:10 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
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As the holidays approach, most parents also want to teach their kids that giving to others is also part of the season. With some planning giving can be as much fun as receiving. You don't need to be a dedicated crafts person or have hours of free time to do this - many innovative kits come with all the materials and directions to walk you through.

Developing Important Skills for School Through Play
Tags: Building Patience, Frustration, Building Sets, Puzzles, Lego, K'nex
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:45:21 By: Joanne Oppenheim

For kids it often comes as a shock that learning to read does not come instantly; neither does writing or remembering your multiplication tables. It still takes a full year for your birthday to roll around, you can't make Christmas come until December 25th, and a new tooth doesn't come in until it's ready. Helping kids deal with delays and frustration are major life lessons that they will need in school, work and as members of a family.

So how can we give this powerful virtue to our kids?

Toy and Play Ideas
Tags: Snow Day, Rainy Day, Crafts, Games, Puppets, Garage
Posted: 2009-09-13 18:07:33 By: Stephanie Oppenheim

Faced with a rainy day or a day off from school...and you start hearing the refrain..."We're bored!!"  No worries--we have some great ideas for entertaining the troops. Here are some of our favorites.

As Featured on the TODAY Show
Tags: Today Show, Playing, Games, Ann Curry
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:42:07 By: Stephanie Oppenheim

Whether you have a crawling baby or a video game addicted tween, it's important to carve out space where you get to play together!  As silly as it sounds, with everyone's busy schedules play time often gets taken off the "to do" list.   While we spend so much time making sure that everyone is doing all their "work"...the time we spend laughing with our kids  is just as important.

As Featured on the TODAY Show
Tags: Today Show, Active Play, Outdoor Games
Posted: 2009-09-11 20:13:58 By: Stephanie Oppenheim

Looking for ideas for outdoor fun? Whether you are the "it" house in your neighborhood or if you're planning a family get together, we have some great games and equipment that can bring everyone together.

As Featured on the TODAY Show
Tags: Today Show, Recession Proof Toys, Games, Arts and Crafts, Balls
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:45:59
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To watch the segment, click here.

You can also read her daily blog about the good, bad and ugly in toyland.

Have a question about what's age appropriate? Join the discussion! Click here to view her blog.

As Featured on the TODAY Show
Tags: Educational Toys, Education Games, Science Kits, Building Sets, Egypt, Math Games, Today Show
Posted: 2010-01-10 19:43:01 By: Stephanie Oppenheim
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The beginning of the school year can be exciting for kids - new school supplies, seeing their friends..but it's also about the work.  Research shows that kids often slide backwards during the summer months.  The good news is that during the first few weeks of school, you're kids are also reviewing.  Since most of us are not trained educators, it's hard to know how to help without trying to step into that teacher role - that inevitably ends in tears. Here are some suggested games and activities that are fun to play - and at the same time reinforce academic skills. Read more.

Tips for Making it Fun
Tags: Sleepover Parties, Tween Activities, Arts and Crafts, Movie Night, Themed Parties
Posted: 2009-08-26 11:41:47 By: Stephanie Oppenheim
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"Can I have a few friends sleep over?"

The first time you hear this, you pause...thinking how grown up your child has become that they want a sleepover party. It's a huge milestone. (In the interest of full disclosure, I never made it through the night. My neighborhood best friend and I would have big plans and I would evitably end up going home before the evening was over.)  

Once you say yes...the reality of having lots of kids for an entire night sets in!  The best way to make the night pleasant for everyone is to have a game plan.  Some activity that will engage the gang for a good part of the evening. The key is to pick something that the majority of kids will enjoy.  Letting your child be the guide is the best bet here--"that's too babyish" is the kiss of death in these situations.

Read more to see our MUST HAVE GAME PLAN for a Fun sleepover. 

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