Toy Blog - Toys, Parenting, and Kids

Help improve your child’s balance and coordination skills with YBikes!

YBIKE

These cool balance and coordination bikes for kids are designed to help improve motor skills. YBIKE’s are engineered for safety by using a tough injection molded construction, which eliminates weak points and offers more design freedom, hence the sleeker curves and smooth, superior finish. When it comes to kids, safety is the main concern. For this reason the front wheel is considerably further forward, affording a bigger turning circle, which reduces the risk of falling over the front when turning. The back wheel is also covered to stop children from riding over their feet. The YBIKE body is designed for better clearance of obstacles and the larger wheels produce a safer ride on uneven surfaces. The YBIKE was awarded the prestigious Oppenheim Toy of the Year award for 2010. Comes in orange, blue, green and pink.

YBIKE Balance Bike - Pink

YBIKE EXTREME

A great new balance bike for kids. Constructed of a lightweight aluminum body with injection molded plastic front fork and large rubber tires, the YBIKE Extreme is a great first bicycle for toddlers. Already a massive success in Europe, balance bikes are quickly becoming a worldwide trend. Tests have shown that the use of balancing aids such as training wheels actually stunt the gross motor skill development of a young child. The YBIKE Extreme is tough, easy to use, and easy to assemble. 9” rubber tires allow for high ground clearance and a fast smooth ride. Comes in orange or pink.

Pewi Walking Buddy & Ride-on

Pewi is a new innovative “Walking Buddy/Ride-on for the toddler market”. Beginning with children as young as 9 months, Pewi is the coolest, sleekest walker around. However, unlike traditional Walkers on the market where the child is typically sitting in the walker, the Pewi actually enhances body and space awareness. In a traditional walker a child does not learn to fall as he or she typically just sits or hangs in the unit. With the Pewi, the Child stands freely in front of Pewi using it only as an aid. They can easily let go of Pewi and sit on the ground or knock other items themselves. This freedom of movement at a young age has proven to stimulate body in space awareness, a key for balance and motor skill development. Comes in red, pink and blue.

The Joy Of Playdough

Playdough – mention the word and most parents and caregivers acknowledge the word with a slight cringe or eye-roll.  We all know what “playdough” means – matted red goo in the carpet, purple stuck in the crevaces of the soles of shoes, an unexpected snack as kids sneak a bit into their mouths, and dried little pills of it everywhere for days to come.  However, playdough is an important tool in child development.  So, before you hide or throw out that malleable substance, take a look at what a wonderful product it really is.

Playdough is an excellent tool with young children for the development of fine motor skills which is crucial for activities such as writing and cutting.  Just the basic kneading of the dough strengthens finger and hand muscles, which is important when building tone for those fine motor skills later on.  A step beyond this is clay, which is a less malleable substance and really gives those muscles a workout!

Children also develop a keener coordination between their eyes and hands while using playdough.  Estimation skills are used when determining how much playdough is needed for a specific task; using cookie cutters and rolling pins aids in planning and creating.  Rolling a “snake” (my two year old’s favorite task) helps kids understand cause and effect and motion as well.

Let’s not forget the creative part of open-ended playdough play!  The only thing kids CAN’T create with playdough are those things they haven’t thought of yet.  How about a purple dinosaur?  Or a green kitty?  Maybe a blue and orange sea monster or a space ship with six engines?  Or, perhaps your child wants to make a whole city?  A race car that can fly and float?  Why not? 

And, if you are really into playdough, making your own is terrific for basic math, language and science skills.  It is quite simple to make.  Here’s a terrific and easy recipe to get you started.  There are plenty of them out there.  Find one that works for you and use it often.  And remember all the good you are doing for your child.  It will make the time you spend cleaning playdough off of shoes more worthwhile!

HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH:

In a saucepan, combine:
4 cups water
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1/2 T cream of tartar (can also subsitute with 1/4 T baking powder and 1/4 T baking soda)
4 tablespoons oil

Mix until no longer sticky over low/medium heat.  Turn out on plate or board to cool and store in ziplock bag.  Food coloring may be added for variation, and Kool Aid powder also works well for coloring (and smells great, too!).

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