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Getting Your Child to Pay Attention (and have fun while you're at it)

If you’re often struggling to get your child to stay on task, you’re not alone. In a world where kids soon learn to expect instant results with the click of a mouse, patience is one of the challenging lessons of life. Many tasks in (and out of) school call for stick-ability. The ability to cope with less-than-instant results may be one of the true learning skills children need. Some toys, such as puzzles, craft kits, and construction sets come with the need for such skills built into the action. Here are a few good choices:

eeBoo Around the Town Giant Really Big Floor Puzzle

(eeBoo $17)

Our testers loved the satisfaction of completing the puzzle and many enjoyed working on it with their parents. For this age group, puzzles are often enjoyed more than once. 48 big puzzle pieces come together in a busy town scene by artist/animator Monica Forsberg. The finished image will be a giant 24 X 36 inch picture that will be good for talking about. Count the trucks, talk about what they are carrying. How many animals can they find in the picture? The playful scene has animals bigger than trucks, birds bigger than trees and other cartoonish distortions that are worth talking about. Use the back of the box for beginners to follow as clues. Give them strategies connecting the frame with the straight edged pieces. Before long they will like the challenge of doing it with out looking at the picture.

Ages: 5 & up

Award Year: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Seal and SNAP Award 2015.

Goldie Blox Craftstruction Box

(Goldie Blox $39.99) With this 275-piece construction set, kids can use the goodies in this box for all kinds of building possibilities; kids can build a Spring Car that really zooms, a flower with a stem that expands, a Leap Bot that actually leaps, a flyer that flings through the air and several other devices. They have a sense of humor as well as a basis in science, helping kids discover how many basic machines actually work. We like the poster that shows various models to build as well as proper names for many of the building parts. GoldieBlox pieces are compatible with all other GoldieBlox toys, as well as special craft items like pipe cleaners, string, and pretty papers. Add other items from around the house to extend the play and recycle materials. A great STEM toy that will enhance understanding and play. Our testers loved them (including the boys that found the set compelling) - the only complaint was that they are sometimes hard to take apart and require some adult assistance.

Ages: Early School and Tweens

Award Year: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2015

Creativity for Kids Bright Bead Boutique

(Creativity for Kids $14.99) Kids can make a wardrobe of bright beaded bracelets and rings to wear or share. They get 800 flower-shaped beads in gold , aqua, purple, green, pink, yellow, white, and orange in two sizes for large and small finishes. String them together in patterns or random creations. There are three ring forms and enough elastic cord, bead threaders and glue to make eight bracelets and three rings to wear with pride. This kind of kit develops fine motor skills as well as stick-to-it skills and patience along with end products school age kids enjoy making and wearing. There are enough supplies in this kit for sharing with a best friend on a play date or small sleep-over party.

Ages: Early School and Tweens

Award Year: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2015

Creativity for Kids Monster Trucks

(Creativity for Kids $19.99) Two sturdy little monster trucks with metallic bodies come out of the box ready to roll, flip, race with pull-back motor action. What makes these special are the crafty add-ons. Kids can customize their trucks with stickers

and acrylic paints. A rare find in the craft department that will interest boys as well as girls. This calls for some fine motor skills in getting the stickers off the sticker sheet, so some adult help may be needed, especially with the younger age group. Marked 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years

Award Year: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2012

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