We are TOTALLY techy in our family. I’m kind of embarrassed to say it..ahem…but my son has his OWN iPad.
Yes. I did. Well, kind of! I got an iPad when they first came out for my birthday. I was totally loving it for like 2 days before my then toddler took over. He was amazing at sliding the screen and playing games. And at that time he was barely 2 years old!
Today, he still plays that 1st generation iPad daily so I’m always looking for new items that might be a good fit to mix things up a bit.
This week I got ArtSee in the mail to try out from WowWee Brands. I was thrilled to see what this thing can do.
My 5 year old LOVES it! There are over 72 stamps and spamp variations with the ArtSee. There are 15 rollers, 3 built in theme packs, 60 activities within 5 different games, coloring pages, a stylus, a PROTECTIVE iPAD case & 5 interactive tools.
What I love about the ArtSee is that it takes the ‘good old days of art class’ to the digital age.
What I ALSO love? The fact that after he’s done playing with it….there isn’t paint splattered on the walls or crayon shavings in the carpet.
The ArtSee studio is good for every generation of iPads. It cost about $40 in stores. Great for traveling too!
The 26 Alphabeasts characters, originally only in a 15 inch size, are now available in a seven inch size. The two-sided beasts come in contrasting colors, front and back, with upper and lowercase letters on each side to enhance learning and playful functionality. The characters in the new size are available in lettersA-Z and mimic the same design and fabric.
The days of my floors covered with toys disappeared as my girls grew up. When my daughter had a baby, I was excited to be able to shop for toys again.
Today, I watch my grandson during the week and my house now looks like I have a toddler, with cars, trucks, toys that talk, toys that play music, and every other kind of toy scattered about. As a grandmother I love to buy loud toys but I also love toys that help my prince learn too.
One of my favorite toys that prince has at my house are big matted letters and numbers that we set up on the floor. These are my favorite for a few reasons.
I love that they cover a large area in my living room, making the ground soft for him. When my prince comes over, we set them up on the floor for his play area. They fit together like a puzzle. You can create words or set them up so the ABC’s are in order. It becomes a fun game that is new every time.
When we set them up we usually leave them down and play with other toys on top of them. We can jump, walk, and roll all over our number mat. These are great for a playroom and when he didn’t crawl, we never worried about him finding anything on the rug.
In addition to being great for functional reasons, throughout the day we find letters and sing our ABC’s as we hop from letter to letter making it educational.
I’m still not sure if I like these more than him. When he comes over, I sit on the floor creating my masterpiece. We’ll be able to use these for years to come spelling lots of words.
Who wouldn’t love giant over-sized colored foam letters?!
The Toy Insider Mom has a new buzz word parents are going to love, STEALTH LEARNING. So what is stealth learning? It is playtime that are is so much fun, children don’t even realize they’re learning.
This week The Toy Insider Mom visited ABC News to talk about some of her favorite fun and educational toys out this year.
About the featured products:
Baby Einstein (Disney)
Discover the joy of classical music, discovering colors, learning about animals, and so much more with your baby. Each kit includes a DVD, a picture book, and a musical CD. For each kit, listen and explore in English, Spanish and French. Three levels of discovery allow your baby to experience music, explore nature and celebrate expression. These are made to be viewed with your baby.
Magnet Zoo Animal Playset (Leapfrog)
Mix and match heads and tails while learning animal facts and more with 25 unique songs Listen to songs to celebrate correct matches or fun songs about silly animal creations. Learn with zoo animal friends about colors, facts and animal sounds. Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog Learning Path for customized learning insights and ideas to expand the learning. Magnetic and also portable for on the go play.
Ages: 12 to 36 months
Alphabeasts (Alpha Toys)
Alphabeasts is a brand new line of education plush dolls designed to help children learn while playing. All 26 characters have a different name that stars with their letter of the alphabet along with a different story and personality trait that help define the characters They work together to help teach the alphabet and spelling Beasts come together to spell out words so children can mix and match.
Who’s Riding On The Bus? (Pressman Toy)
This is a fun game for preschoolers that improves upon important everyday learning and development skills including: matching, image recognition, pattern identification, and concentration. Players start by choosing a folded solution card with nine animals riding on the bus – five on top and four on the bottom. The card is placed between them so that both players can see which animals they are looking for and where they are seated.
Players must then race to match the order of the animals on the solution card to their game boards, searching with their bus viewfinder. The first player to correctly match how the animals are sitting on the bus wins that round. Collect five solution cards to win the game!
For 2 players
Ages 4 and up
SAVINGS GOAL ATM (Summit)
Now you can have your own ATM in your room! The Savings Goal ATM works with real money. Stand it up or hang on a wall with the built-in wall mount. The Savings Goal ATM features a single-screen backlit digital display. Just insert the ATM card to activate the screen and view your savings. The coin slot recognizes the value of each coin and the automatic bill feeder accepts real currency. The secure vault will also keep your money safe – only you have access with your digital access code. Available in two different color combinations: steel/blue and pink/lavender.
TI-Nspire CX (Texas Instruments)
The new color-screen TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator is more than just a calculator – it’s a handheld device that helps students explore real-world math & science concepts. Helps students better visualize formulas and scientific equations; interpret data, charts and graphics; and view full-color images and animations to highlight concepts and deepen understanding. The TI-Nspire CX handheld’s ability to show visual representations of a math activity using color enhances students’ connections to key ideas no matter what their learning style. They can view and analyze their work side-by-side as an equation, table, graph or text problem. Students really understand the math and science they’re learning using this so they’re more apt to love math and science and pursue careers where they can use these skills.
Ages: middle school and up (they will take this to college)
Cabbage CPK Fashionalities (Jakks Pacific)
Fashion dolls meet large dolls with the new Cabbage Patch Kids Fashionalities.
Twelve unique personalities will appeal to kids today from prepsters and skateboarders, to girly girls and artsy girls. There’s a style for every personality just like Mom’s cabbage Patch Kids, each kid comes with a unique one of a kind name, Birth Certificate and a unique code.
Girl Scouts 4- Ever Friends dolls (Adora)
Girl Scouts of the USA is considered one of the world’s premier leadership organizations for girls throughout the world
For generations, Girl Scouts have acquired courage, confidence and character for successes in the real world. For the first time there is a beautiful collection of 5 dolls in a range of diverse ethnicities, each wearing a girl scout outfit
The uniforms represent the Daisy’s, Brownies, and the Girl Scouts.
As your favorite student heads back to school, lighten their backpack’s load with the Kindle – it’s faster, smaller, smarter, and more affordable than ever..30% lighter than before, less than 6 ounces, and 18% smaller, but same screen size..fits in your pocket. Kindle has features that any student would find helpful, whether it’s looking up words with the built in dictionary, or adding annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book. With Kindle Textbook Rentals, students can now save up to 80% off textbook list prices by renting from the Kindle store. Kids have access to rent for periods of 30 to 360 days and they only pay for the amount of time they need a book
There are hundreds of classics (many on required reading lists) that are FREE. Students share their thoughts on book passages with friends and other students and the Kindle community by turning on Public Notes and can even share meaningful passages by postting to social networks like Facebook and Twitter directly from their Kindle. Over 1 million titles, and over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less.
Notes can be added and since it’s digital you can edit, delete and export your notes—even after a rental expires, you can still have full access to your notes.Page numbers now match the paper editions and most advanced e-ink display, reads like paper. Keyword search allows you to search for a word or phrase which helps when studying. Built-in WiFi downloads books in 60 seconds.
Snap Circuits XP (Elenco)
A great introduction to microcontrollers and how they are used in the world around us. As easy as snapping together the circuits and downloading programs Write your own programs using Basic commands and create your own. No prior understanding of micro-controllers required and has color coded parts. Over 50 projects and over 50 parts with over 40 programs ready for download. Download programs and have fun while Snap CircuitsR XPT does the thinking! Projects include Clap Light, Photon Counter, Dancing Motor, Launch Pad, Counting to the Stars, Flip-Flop, Scratchy Amplifier, Sunrise Alarm, BatteryTester and Data Logger. Includes 64-page manual with easy circuit assembly and programming instructions.
Dr. Dreadful (SpinMaster)
From the twisted mind of Doctor Dreadful comes heaps of horrifying but delicious treats that you create. It looks gross and tastes great, leaving you completely disgusted that you want more! Each lab truly turns you into a mad scientist as you devour your creations savoring every squiggly slurp! Be your own mad scientist with Dr. Dreadful! Make your kitchen a laboratory! Making Dr. Dreadful creations is like conducting science experiments in your own home, but while having fun at the same time. With Dr. Dreadful, not only do you get to make your own disgusting creations, you get to eat them too – and they taste great! Make slimy spiders, bubbling zombie brains, zombie skin, barf, ear wax snot shots, and more. Measure the ingredients as instructed, or experiment with the amounts of candy and drink mixes to create your own spin on the disgusting treats.
Earlier this week The Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht visited ABC News to give them a peek at some of the school gear kids will love as well as some educational toys that will keep them thinking. And the best part? They are all for less than $25!
Penguin Young Readers (Penguin Books)
These books are part of a wonderful collection that help children learn and love to read.
Penguin early reader books are offered in a variety of fun and loveable preschool character including- “Butterfly Girl, “Skippy Jon Jones”, “Corduroy” & more.
MSRP: $16.99 each for the books; $9.99 each for plush Ages: 2+
I Spy Ready to Read Game (Briarpatch)
I Spy is celebrating 100 years this year!
Get ready to read! Develops verbal, pre-reading skills and letter, shape and pattern recognition.
This game enhances observation and spotting skills; teaches rhyming and strengthens hand/ eye coordination.
To play, fill in the empty slots on the riddle/picture boards, match the words you see on the tokens to the place they belong on your game board.
5 ways to play
Includes 6 game boards and 24 double sided tokens
MSRP: $16.99 Ages: 4+
Time and Space Projection Alarm Clock (Blue Hat)
This rocket-shaped alarm clock projects a digital clock display against vivid galactic images on any wall or ceiling.
This interactive clock also features the year, month, date and day of the week.
Duel pivoting lenses project up to ten feet away to create images up to 4 feet wide
Displays images with or without time
Includes 4 space scenes with the option to project time MSRP $19.99 Ages: 3+
Angry Birds Multi Pocket Backpack (Accessory Innovations)
Head to class in style with Angry Birds backpacks featuring smart details and spacious designs, including extra durable zippers, multiple pockets and organizers to keep everything close at hand.
Also features side pockets to hold water bottles and adjustable comfy straps MSRP: $24.99 Ages: 3+
Shains Notebook (Shainsware)
Got Something to Say? Want to keep your thoughts in writing?
Let your inspiration and imagination flow with Shains Notebook.
Personalize the cover with your name, class subject, or decorate and change it whenever you want.
Use the unlined paper as a journal, sketchbook or scrapbook.
Easy to take in your backpack!
Comes with 60 elements for personalization. MSRP: $16.00 Ages: 7+
Uglydoll School Planner (Ugly Doll)
Makes it easy to get and stay organized!
Includes weekly calendars, practical tips, more than 150 stickers for highlighting important events, and an elastic band to hold it together
Stay on top of homework, activites, and busy social lives MSRP: $14.99 Ages: 10+
Squinkies™ Bubble Packs (Blip Toys)
Bubble Pack includes 16 collectable squishy, squashy, squooshy Squinkies characters, including four hidden “surprise” Squinkies
Each Squinkies comes in its own toy bubble capsule.
Squinkies are great as pencil toppers, too
Collections include your favorite Disney® Princesses, Barbie® and Hello Kitty®, as well as themed sets boys will love too; from monsters to aliens, to Cars 2, to Marvel super heroes MSRP $9.99 Ages: 4+
Counting Money Jar (Summit Toy)
Who’s counting anyways? Now with the original Counting Money Jar – you are!
This handy jar will count your coins and digitally display your savings.
With Balance Guard ™, it remembers your balance…even if you have to replace the batteries.
Choose from two different colors: blue or pink. MSRP: $9.99 Ages: 5+
Scruble Cube (RSV Entertainment)
Players rotate and twist rows and columns of the cube, with the goal to rearrange letters to create new words.
One word is formed per turn and can range from 3 to 16 letters spelled horizontally, vertically and, uniquely, around multiple faces of the cube. Each of the 96 letter pegs is assigned a point value.
Players can earn bonus points by using 2X Word Score or 2X Letter Score pieces in their word
Eight or more letters or spell a word across multiple faces also earn additional points
Sand timer included for more challenging play
1 to 4 players MSRP: $24.99 Ages: 8+
20Q™ (Techno Source)
The new 20Q is an updated version of the best-selling electronic game of twenty questions.
Players think of any animal, vegetable, mineral or other object, and 20Q magically reads their minds by deducing the answer in twenty questions or less.
After each question, players answer yes, no, sometimes or rarely, with their object in mind. A new feature button allows players to skip a question, and there’s even an undo button for those who change their minds.
Features the most eerily accurate artificial intelligence (A.I.) to date.
Allows for easy on-the-go play and offers adjustable sound control
Promotes cognitive thinking and reinforces reading skills
Available in three colors: red, blue and pink
Batteries included (2AAA). MSRP: $12.99 Ages 6+
Inkoos (The Bridge Direct)
Inkoos are funky, quirky characters that are drawn to life with a little “Inkspiration”!
By using the Inkoos’ amazing washable markers, creative tweens can express themselves by drawing, designing and decorating their Inkoos into anything they imagine.
Then with a spin in the washing machine, Inkoos are ready to be designed all over again!
Available in a variety of colors and styles, each Inkoos includes 3 clip-on washable markers and the Inkspiration Wheel for tons of design ideas. MSRP: $7.99 Ages: 4+