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

Online Classrooms and Technology in Education

Mashable has a great post today about Brightstorm, a company that offers tutorials and learning videos aimed at teens. Well worth a look! It got me thinking about how technology is used in our classrooms. Even my preschooler has computers in her room, with educational games that simultaneously teach and entertain.

This past weekend, at a local “playnasium”, both of my girls were most interested in the computer games, tied only with the plastic roller coaster they could ride. In addition to the classic “workstation” setup, the playnasium also offered computers that were connected to an apparatus that looked like a cross between a stationary bike and the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World. The kids actually interact with the computer through the bike, not through a keyboard and mouse.

Technology plays such an important role in our lives, so it’s great that it breaks into our learning environments and that we can interact with it in various ways. If this topic interests you, here are a few more resources online:

Preschool Art – It Is All In How You Look At It

“Ms. J!  Ms. J!  Come look what I painted!”

Ella beamed at me from around our art easel in my 4 year old classroom yesterday, barely able to contain her excitement.  It was catching.  I wondered what I would see as I rounded the side of the easel: her name written across the white paper?  A rainbow with pretty flowers underneath?  Maybe an ocean with all sorts of sea creatures that only a 4 year old imagination could conjure?

Nope, I saw BROWN.

Brown.  Brown paper, brown easel stand, brown paint brushes.  Oh, they didn’t start out brown.  They were initially red, yellow, green and blue.  But now, each of the easel’s paint pots were a murky brown and each brush was dripping with the same goopy concoction.

This story could take two turns at this point.  I, as Ella’s teacher, could have chastized her for mixing the colors, rendering the easel unusable for the rest of the day and the rest of the class.  I could have reminded her of our rule to take care of our room and the things in it so that everyone could enjoy it.  And, I could have taken her paper down and thrown it away, calling it a “mess”.

If you know me, though, this is absolutely NOT something I would do.  Instead, I told Ella that her work was “impressive”.  It was a good word choice; it is quite neutral while still sounding encouraging.  I then asked her to tell me about her painting.

Ella, in her own words, described to me her exploration of the primary colors.  She mixed yellow and blue on the paper and realized she had a green color, but it didn’t match the green in the paint pot.  So, she tried adding some red.  And then some more yellow, and some more blue.  Pretty soon, she was swirling colors together and making a “yummy chocolate pie” on her paper.  Yes, that’s exactly what it looked like to me – pie, but without the boundaries of a crust.  Free exploration with a lesson in color making.  Wow.

That is what art needs to be for children – free exploration.  Children need the freedom to create and explore in a non-threatening environment.  They need encouragement and praise, even when all we see is a mess of brown.  Becasue, in that brown is a lesson to be learned, and it is much more valuable than keeping the paint colors separate.

Supplementing Your Child’s Education

Bells are ringing across the country, in classes (and homes) as children make their way back to school for another year.  As a parent, I want to give my child the best possible chance at a successful school year.  Being actively involved in my child’s experiences at school by volunteering and assisting, as well as being a physical presence around the school, are great ways to take an active role in my son’s education.  I also like to find things to supplement classroom learning and bring it home as well.

WonderBrains is currently carrying two lines of materials that are perfect for homeschooled children and children who are educated outside the home.  Carson-Dellosa, a leading education publisher, has created a variety of activities and workbooks for children ages three through fifth grade.  For preschool-aged children, WonderBrains carries a variety of read-aloud, activity-centered books, such as Magnix: A Visit To the Farm.  The Magnix series of books also branches into early math and writing activities as well.  For school-aged children, WonderBrains carries Carson-Dellosa’s Summer Bridge series.  But, don’t let the titles fool you!  These are excellent tools year-round, and may even inspire your young learner to come up with even more activities.  These books are found as Summer Bridge Activities, Summer Bridge Math and Summer Bridge Reading and are available in several different age ranges. 

WonderBrains has also welcomed Remedia on board.  These reading activities workbooks are available for children from Kindergarten through high school with a wide range of reading skill areas.  For younger children, the Remedia Beginning Reading Program is a comprehensive collection of age and ability-level appropriate materials with an accompanying activity guide.  Choose from the sampler set or the small group set (three copies of each story).  As the students progress in their learning, so do the skill materials covered by Remedia’s materials: comprehension, vocabulary, context clues and life skills reading activities.  For reluctant readers, Remedia offers a line of activity books that are high-interest, low-readability to boost confidence and success in students who need it the most. 

Extending the learning to the homefront is a wonderful way to stress the importance of education with young people.  WonderBrains can help you find the resources to do so!


We’ve survived (and thrived) through 10 weeks of summer.  One of the few things that got me through this season was finding a small activity or purpose for each day.  I hope you found a few gems yourself and will continue to search for new ideas to share with the kids in your life, even when summer is over.  Here are a few ideas this week as we say goodbye to lazy days and look forward to school in a couple of weeks…

MONDAY:  Adopt a pet!  No, I’m not clinically insane, although a trip to the animal shelter would be a great activity (they can always use donations of pet supplies and appreciate a helping hand to visit with the animals!).  We’re adopting the ultimate pet today – a Pet Rock.  I’m going to let the boys paint their rock, then we are making “beds” out of shoe boxes and fabric remnants.  I’m sure we’ll have to create a birth certificate online for our newfound friend (thanks to Webkinz and Build-a-Bear).  Regardless, it will be a great time for all of us, and the best part is that it is FREE.

TUESDAY:  Fly a plane!  No, not a REAL plane…good gracious, who can afford the gas for that?  Make some paper airplanes and fly away.  Have contests for the plane that goes the farthest, the best decorated plane and the craziest flying plane.  Need ideas or tips on folding?  Check out this paper airplane website for some great ideas and patterns!

WEDNESDAY:  Make sure you finish any reading programs you started for the summer.  Now is the time to look for those missing books and movies, too.  While we’re looking, let’s clean out the summer-mobile.  Break out the suds and sponges for a good, old-fashioned car wash, then be sure to clean out the inside as well.   You’ll be glad you did when all those backpacks hit the floorboards in the next several weeks!

THURSDAY:  This can be as involved or low-key as you want it to be; today we’re creating a TIME CAPSULE!  I’m letting my boys decorate old shoe boxes for this; empty cereal boxes or even empty paper towel rolls will work as well, depending on the items your child wants to include.  This is an easy way for me to clean up all that summer “art” we have hanging on the fridge (and taped to the back of the closet door and hanging off of the bed frames…) as well as saving a few things the boys have loved this summer without having to actually make room for them.  I’m covering their boxes with old Christmas wrapping paper that I’ve turned to the wrong side.  Then, they are decorating them with markers and foam pieces.  Once the boxes are decorated, their summer “treasures” will go inside.  We are “burying” our time capsule on the top shelf of their closet (a sure place to store something in our house that you won’t need for a long time!).  Then, come next summer, we’ll open it up and remember all the fun we had!

FRIDAY:  END OF SUMMER PARTY!  This is really an anything-goes kind of celebration.  Want to have a pajama party?  Go for it!  Want to make your own pizzas to send summer on its way?  That’s a great idea!  My older son is having a sleepover tonight, so we will be making pizza, brownies and watching movies until late with the hopes of sleeping in tomorrow morning.  For my younger son, we’re spending the afternoon in the sprinkler, taking advantage of the heat and the lack of routine before school starts again.  What will you do to usher summer on its merry way?

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