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.
Now that the cooler days of fall have come, outdoor play takes on a new vigor. It may be too cold for the beach, but not for the sandbox. This is the season for active games of hopscotch, learning to balance on ride-ons, for raking and jumping in the leaves. It's also a great time take photos of the changing season...go on a hunt for five signs of fall. Here are a few good choices for outdoor fun.
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.
In a world where we expect instant results with the click of a mouse, learning patience is one of the hard to acquire lessons of life. Building tolerance for less than instant results may be one of the true learning skills children need. Some toys come with such skills built into the action. Here are a few good choices...
Need a taste of spring? Cut a few bare branches from a dormant shrub and bring them inside. Plunk them into a vase and give them a day or two to work their magic! While you are waiting and watching, share a few books that may let you forget about winter. Here are a few new choices:
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.
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.
If you feel like you need a few more small gifts, consider some of these less pricey, but entertaining choices. Check this and scroll down to look at other lists on our front page for small but winning gifts from $10-$20. Click here
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