Toy Blog - Toys, Parenting, and Kids

How high can you stack your pigz?

A New Game called PigzUp™

It is time to find out how quick and precise your fingers are in this hilarious stacking game of PigzUp.

Players quickly flip cards, looking for a match. As soon as two players reveal matching cards with the same color and number, they race to build a tower of piggies.

There’s a catch! Roll the die and find out how to stack up your piggies. There is more than one funny way: using only one hand, both pointer fingers, or using only the piggies’ ears!

Are you ready for some edge-of-your-seat action? If you are the first player to complete your tower, shout PigzUp! and get rid of your flipped cards. The first player to run out of cards is the king of the pen!

Skills developed in this game:
This game is great for small motor development and dexterity. It also develops number and color recognition.

What is a Bilibo, you ask?

Bilibo is a new kind of toy – the elementary shells leave room for the child’s imagination. Instead of imposing a specific play pattern, Bilibo is open for a wide range of interpretations and encourages children to invent their own games, to play and have fun in an active and creative way. Indoors and outdoors, in the sand-pit, at the water or even in the snow – Bilibo is full of surprises…

Bilibo is a companion for children from the first year onward and inspires a large variety of playing behaviors. According to their age and interests, children will interpret the shells in many different ways.

The soft, round shapes and strong colors stimulate the senses and the child’s innate curiosity. They beg to be touched and handled. Toddlers will move them around, fill them with objects, sand or water and empty them again.

The shells can be aligned or stacked in many ways. Like three-dimensional puzzle pieces, two shells are joined to form a sphere – a friendly face with a broad smile. Playfully the children train their sense of space as well as hand-eye coordination.

When growing older, children will discover new ways of using the shells. Rocking and spinning for instance are great fun and help develop motor skills and the child’s sense of balance.

Role-playing and make-believe games are vital for the child’s social development and powers of imagination. Again, Bilibo shines as a wonderful accessory and is swiftly turned into a cradle for puppets, a turtle shell, a drum, a cooking pot, a ship, or a hill with coves giving shelter to animals… the imagination of children knows no limits…

Invented by child development experts. For ages 2 to 7.

Winner of Dr. Toy 10 Best Active Products and Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products.


Baby, Its Cold Outside!

Are you looking for a few ideas to hold your sanity in tact until warmer weather arrives?  Even if you are already seeing signs of Spring, these are great activities in ANY kind of weather!

  • Let’s go on a treasure hunt!  Hide a treasure somewhere outside, then leave a trail of colorful aquarium rocks, bread crumbs or even cereal for them to follow to find it.  If there’s snow around, the edible trail idea will be great for hungry animal-friends!  Too chilly for those little bodies?  Create a treasure hunt indoors!
  • Become a weather bug! Have your child monitor the weather each day by writing or drawing what he or she sees.  Make a journal or chart of the changes in your local weather, and see if your child can predict what might happen the next day.
  • If you are in an area still covered with snow, fill a few squirt bottles with colored water and bundle those kids up.  Have them spray the snow to create fantastic works of art right there on the ground!
  • If springtime storms are starting to make an appearance, have your child create a picture with watercolor markers on a piece of posterboard or even a paper plate.  When the rain comes, place the drawing outside and watch what happens.
  • Create an indoor snowman…make good use of those styrofoam packing peanuts be drawing an outline of a snowman on a piece of heavy paper.  Have your child glue packing peanuts all over the snowman, then embellish with spare buttons, scrap material, twigs, bottle caps or whatever goodies you have just sitting around!

Child’s Play – Games To Enhance Auditory Skills

Our senses are not simply tools to help us thrive and survive in the world; they can be excellent “accessories” for tons of fun with children!  Here are a few activities to try with kids to get them to listen to the sounds around them!

 

  1. Name that Sound – my preschooler LOVES playing this game, and it is perfect to play just about anywhere.  We take a blanket and crawl underneath it and stay really still, listening to sounds around us to identify.  When the weather is good, this is a great game to try outdoors, whether the sounds are cars on the road, birds or wind in the trees or neighbors talking nearby.  By blocking the other senses (sight and smell in particular), the sense of hearing is heightened.  Playing indoors is just as fun, as we discover sounds like the refrigerator making ice, the clock ticking, and the heater turning on!
  2. Telegraph – this classic game is good to play with a group of children.  Have one person start by whispering a simple message into another person’s ear, such as “My mother made eggs for breakfast.”.  Once the message is received, each person turns to another to whisper and pass it along until it reaches the last person.  That person states the message out loud and the group can find out how close the original message and the final message are.  It is a great tool to use to teach children to listen for detail!
  3. Name that Noise – much like the song, “Old Macdonald”, children create sounds and then try to identify them.  The sounds don’t have to be just animal sounds made with voice, though.  Try a squeeky door, a rhythm that is clapped out, or humming a popular song.
  4. Make A Sound Band – using only your body, try to create sounds and rhythms to fit together as a “band”.  Have several people create sound without the aid of instruments, such as a whistle, a clap, leg pats, tapping the cheeks, or other various sounds.  Put them together for a unique instrumentation!
  5. Marco Polo – this famous “pool game” doesn’t have to be played in the heat of the summer alone!  Have the person who is “it” stand with his or her eyes shut.  Another person should move quietly around him or her, stop and clap a few times softly.  “It” should point to where he or she believes the clapper is standing.  This hones in on discriminatory hearing skills – being able to select certain sounds when there might be other sounds in range as well.

Technology Has A Place – But Where?

We’ve been hit with a huge change in our house this past week: my laptop, my beloved sidekick, essentially died a horrible death.  Or, it is at least out of commission for the time being.  Not even the Blue Screen of Doom could find its way to my laptop last week.  Just a hint: if you think your motherboard is going out – BACK UP EVERYTHING.  Thankfully, my machine was under warranty and was shipped off to Fix-My-Computerland for a makeover.  Or the dumpster.  We’ll find out one way or another in a few days.

In the meantime, I’m essentially computerless.   My husband does have a laptop through his office, but that is what it is for – his OFFICE.  Not my office or the kids’ games.  I’ve had to learn how to strategically check email and pare down to the bare minimum of computer-related tasks to complete while my baby is being reconfigured.

One thing I have noticed, though, is the changes that have occurred in my house this week.  Okay, maybe not huge changes, but differences between life with my computer and life without it.

First of all, my younger son naps a long time!  Wow!  I had no idea he slept that long.  It always seems much shorter when I’m racing around to get computer-related stuff done during naptime, like Spider Solitaire and Bejeweled (you know, the important stuff).  I got half of my house cleaned during naptime yesterday.  That would be the same house that takes me all week to clean otherwise.  Who knew?

Also, did you know that we actually have time to ride bikes and play board games after dinner?  I had no idea!  Usually, time after dinner is spent playing online (adults and/or children – we have Webkinz to feed, you know), but with the lack of computer this week, we’ve headed outdoors to visit neighbors, take a few spins around the block, and whip out Candyland.  I had forgotten we even had Candyland.

Speaking of games, instead of hearing the bickering over who’s turn it is on Lego.com or who gets to spin the Wheel of Wow in Webkinzland, I see my boys, giggling over their latest “cootie”.  I see my older son, teaching my younger one how to play Yahtzee or Memory.  And, their latest game has been to build a “town” in the backyard (heaven help my flower beds this week!).  Out of what?  Imaginary bricks.  Yep.  And a lot of imagination.

Technology is not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong.  My children have benefitted greatly from online resources and educational sites.  I would never deny them the opportunity to explore things we typically don’t get to see in Texas.  The computer, and the Internet, open innumerable doors for our children.  It is a great tool to use in educating and schooling our children.

But, time together is equally important and beneficial.  The key is to find the balance of the two.  Where does technology fit in with your family?  Is there balance?

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