Toy Blog - Toys, Parenting, and Kids

Can your child learn while playing on carpet?

Learning Carpets allow children to discover their own creativity, individuality and power of imagination, while having lots of fun. These cut pile rugs are designed with the help of therapists and parents like you. Each carpet features double-stitched, surged edges, triple-ply backing to keep them flat and wrinkle free, and a lifetime abrasive wear warranty. Every carpet are manufactured from anti-static and stain-resistant materials completely non-toxic and non-allergenic and are Class 1 flammability rated. Each carpet comes with clear instructions in its own attractive retail package, ready to carry anywhere.

The superior craftsmanship and unparalleled safety of the Learning Carpets have provided them with one of the highest awards. These carpets and rugs are great learning tools for use as daycare rugs and classroom rugs.

Learning Carpets ARE:

  • Commercial grade nylon cut pile to prevent unraveling
  • Triple Backing helps prevent wrinkling & creasing
  • Increased sound & thermal insulation, unmatched softness & flexibility
  • Antibacterial treatment & double-stitched serged edges
  • Carpets meet or exceed the Class 1 Flammability Rating


Child’s Play – Activities To Enhance Sight

Learning to look for details can be a fun and enjoyable lesson for children and adults alike.  Here are some great ideas for working with young children in developing visual discrimination and perception!

  1. I Spy – This is a classic game that involves no extra tools, only a friend or two and a pair of eyes!  Have the person who is it locate an object, and without telling what or where it is, give clues, such as “I spy something GREEN” or “I spy something COLD”.  Participants then try to guess the object based on clues given.  This is a perfect in-house game, backyard game, carpool game, road trip game, waiting-in-line-at-the-grocery-store game…you get the point!
  2. Introduce your child to Optical Illusions. Optical illusions are pictures or objects that try to “trick” the brain into thinking it is seeing something that is actually different than it seems.  Here are a couple of great sites for optical illusions: http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/ and http://colorcube.com/illusions/illusion.htm
  3. Pin the Tail – this is a classic birthday party game, but give children the opportunity to study the picture from a distance before attempting to attach a tail (or clown nose or a race car wheel – whatever the “pinning” object may be!) while blindfolded.  This allows the child to judge distance and approximate location of an object in a fun way.
  4. Play the “What’s Missing” game – my pre-kindergarten class LOVES this game.  Take 3 – 6 objects (depending on the child’s age and skill level) and lay them out on a table.  Talk about the objects – color, size, type – and then have the child hide their eyes (in my class, the kids go stand by the cubbies until the rest of the class calls them back.  While the child is not looking, hide one object.  When the child returns, he or she must guess which object is missing.
  5. Complete the picture – this is a great activity for older children.  Cut a small picture from a magazine – part of a table, a forest scene, the view of a street – and glue it to the middle of a blank sheet of paper.  Have the child expand the drawing to show what is missing from this small “snapshot” picture.  The possibilities are endless of what lies beyond the frame of the picture!

Why The Age-Old Joke Of A Box For A Gift Isn’t Such A Bad Idea…

I just finished an article from the November 2008 Parenting magazine about children and boxes (page 144).  The scenario they gave is so very true.  I used to sell specialty toys for a home-party company, but my son’s favorite part of the whole experience were the large boxes of packing peanuts I would discard as I inventoried products.  He could have cared less about the brightly-colored toys and balls, the noises and lights, the glitz and glitter.  He was happy sitting in a box, kicking packing peanuts into the air and burying himself in the sea of white foam.

For my son, it was a matter of space.  In a box, he was secure and comfortable.  It was a small space, just like him, and he seemed to feel protected.  I have witnessed this same phenomena in our church nursery.  We will have small children come in and be totally overwhelmed by the room, the toys the stimuli, but if you place that same child in a high chair with one or two small toys, they are happy and will stay there until they are more familiar with the environment.

Boxes are also great for creating and imagination.  We used to place several large boxes in a row to make a train, a rocket, and, at one point, a school bus.  Children are not confined to the way a box looks; a box is generic.  It can become a castle, a cave, a restaurant, and even Grandma’s house.  Older kids can use paints or paper to visually create what their imagination “sees”.

Small boxes are awesome tools for storing toys and objects.  Small children love to fill boxes and other containers with cars, balls, animals – whatever toys are at their disposal.  The act of putting a toy in a box and pulling it out is a wonderful lesson in object permanence with younger children.  Even though the object isn’t visible, the child realizes it is still there, just inside the box.

So, as the holiday season approaches, keep those boxes handy for all sorts of creative and imaginative play.  And, when your child is more interested in the packaging rather than the product, realize that it is okay.  Boxes are actually a good thing!

Spooktacular Savings At WonderBrains This Month!

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy and costumes.  It can be creative fun, full of imagination and role-playing.  What child doesn’t like to create his or her own creature or play in a new world with puppets?  What about exploring and making your own slime or other fun science-related products?

WonderBrains has pulled together an amazing line of products geared towards promoting the fun and educational side of the season.  Let children explore their imaginative side with puppets, from wizards to doctors, princesses to chefs.  Or, for the older group, invest in a science lab kit to make gooey concoctions, play foam (that glows in the dark!) and slime.  Little kids will enjoy the bumblebee hand puppet and the lightning bug flashlights.  And, for kids of all ages, check out the make-a-mask kit!  Kids can create their own mask for trick-or-treating!

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the chocolate and the lollipops.  Find a few things that will tantalize their creative side as well!

WonderBrains is offering a 10% discount on their Halloween toys and products!  Visit the online store, and use 10SPOOKY at checkout for your discount!

You’re Never Too Old For Pretend Play

My nine year-old came bounding into the living room yesterday, weilding an unsharpened pencil and wearing his Harry Potter robe from last Halloween.  “To your feet ye scallion and walk the plank or fix me snack…please!”  I jumped to my feet, swooped into a low bow and said, “Please, my Lord, spare me the murky waters of the unknown and I shall prepare a lovely plate of apples and caramel dip to your liking…and thank you for using ‘please’ when you asked!”

To say it is never a dull moment in our house is an understatement.  One moment I’m the queen of the castle, signing papers and watching magic shows.  The next minute I’m the proud owner of a 3 year-old ‘puppy’ that looks strikingly like my younger son.  Pretend play is probably the most important aspect of development for children at any age.

Pretend play lends itself well into so many developmental areas.  Most notably, pretend play allows children to practice real-life scenarios.  We can be Best Friends and have a disagreement that we work out.  We can meet a stranger in a store and work on how to handle that situation.  We have even pretended that our house was in danger (fire, flood, even dragons once in the chimney!) and worked out how to handle it.  Pretend play is a safe way to explore those “scary” things in a child’s life while still having the comfort of it only being pretend.  Children can solve problems that they may encounter in a safe and nurturing way.  And, it opens the door to great discussions between adults and children.

Pretend play is also great for improving and enhancing vocabulary skills.  Oral communication is a key component to language development at any age, so utilizing dialogue in pretend play only enhances those skills.  While younger children benefit in obvious strides from conversational pretend play, older children also learn to use difficult and new words in context while still being in a “safe” environment.

Children who actively engage in pretend play tend to have better social skills as well.  Putting themselves in self-created situations gives the children a chance to learn to appropriately interact with peers and others.  They can work on manners and correct behavior while still having a great deal of fun.

An important part of pretend play, for adults, is to join in if the child will let you or wants you.  The interaction with a child engaging in pretend play can open the doors to deeper discussions about problems – with friends, in school, or just in life in general.  Use pretend play with puppets or stuffed animals to encourage a child to open up and share something that may be bothering him or her.  Sometimes, children can communicate better in third person than speaking on a more personal level; just remember to be open and non-threatening as well as non-judgemental.

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