Helping Children Who Have Developmental Disabilities Learn How To Play

Thanks to Hasbro for sponsoring this post and creating this amazing resource for families.

The importance of play is something I feel passionately about, and something I’ve written about numerous times before here on the blog. Play helps children develop a number of skills such as learning to cope with their emotions, learning to share, and developing their communication skills. As important as play is though, and as simple as it might seem to some, play is not something that comes naturally to all children. Some children, especially those with developmental disabilities and specifically those on the Autism Spectrum, may find play challenging.

I remember when Lucas was younger his “play” time consisted of gathering toys or lining them up. There was no playing, and that was one of the red flags that the developmental pediatrician noticed when evaluating him before diagnosing him with Autism at the age of two and a half. Still to this day, even though his social skills have developed and he no longer spends his time lining things up, he doesn’t really “play”.  He still loves to gather toys and sometimes he participates in what looks like imaginative play but, in reality, the majority of his “play” is just acting out things he has seen other kids do or things he has seen on television or YouTube.

While some children may always have trouble with this skill, many just need a bit of help learning how to play. For children with developmental disabilities, play isn’t always accessible out of the box. More often, countless toys are relegated to the back of the closet or the donation bin. Even more importantly, the joy and benefits that play can bring — the connection to peers, siblings and other generations — may be lost. Hasbro saw this happening and wanted to help so they created ToyBox Tools in collaboration with The Autism Project, to help make play more accessible to children with developmental disabilities. ToyBox Tools is a collection of resources for parents, teachers, and caregivers to help them engage children in the joy of play using some beloved Hasbro brands, including My Little Pony, Transformers, Playskool, Baby Alive, and Hasbro Gaming.

Through the ToyBox Tools website, visitors can browse the tools online, and then download and print them for use at home or in the classroom. The tools help with three different levels of play, from basic play to expanding play to social play. The tools encourage positive behavior during (or through) playtime. Resources include:

  • Playbooks with step-by-step instructions on how to play with select Hasbro toys and games
  • Wait cards to teach children the skill of waiting while others are taking a turn
  • Countdown timers to help support the passage of time and number of turns
  • Playmats that serve as a fun and useful backdrops for play
  • First/then boards and sequencing cards that help children with multi-step tasks
  • Break cards children can use to indicate that they need a break during playtime

I really love this resource that Hasbro and The Autism Project have created and it’s one that I wish had existed when Lucas was younger. These supportive play tools provide a kind of structure that is critical to the way certain children manipulate concepts to understand play and the instructional videos, printable materials and play-mats are designed to help families, caregivers and teachers unlock the power of play, and to make play more fun and enjoyable at a child’s own pace.

Hasbro toys can be purchased at HasbroToyShop.com, but the ToyBox Tools resources found at Hasbro ToyBox Tools are free for parents to download and use.

(PIN IT)

New STEM Toy: brackitz

(Disclosure: My family received this toy for review but thoughts are my own.)

When I taught preschool, almost every child loved playing in the block area. Each day they used wooden blocks to create towers, houses, roads and lots of other creative things. The one downfall to plain blocks though was that you could only stack them. Enter brackitz, an award-winning construction toy system.

These newly evolved blocks helps lay the foundation for high-level cognitive thinking, reasoning and problem solving that kids will continue to benefit from long after childhood. Standard sets include interlocking 4-inch wooden planks, and 90° and 120° angle connectors, which can be pieced together to form a wide variety of models and architectural structures.

What makes brackitz different?

  • Educational – brackitz proudly promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) techniques for young children to learn as they get older. Perfect for classroom use too!
  • Affordable – Choose from sets including 50, 100 and 200 pieces, with prices ranging from $29.95 – $99.95.
  • Build Up AND Out – brackitz can be used to construct innumerable creations; the one-of-a-kind connectors can interlock at different angles and directions and allow children to build circles, corners and bendable masterpieces.
  • Durable – While traditional stacking blocks collapse under pressure, brackitz allow children to build structures as big as they are without falling over. You can even move them around the house and your pets can roam free without causing a falling mess.
  • Safe – brackitz have been tested and are compliant with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for ages 3+.

brackitz sparks the idea of innovation and the opportunity to engage in creativity with trial and error. The connecting system allows children to instantly build strong and durable masterpieces. My kids and nephew loved playing with them and exploring the things they could design with them.

We have the small “creator” set but I think, if I were buying them, I’d purchase one of the larger sets so they can make larger creations. What could your child build with brackitz?

Buy them here.

Building Fun With K’nex {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Certified.)

Kids love building toys. Last Christmas I shared a top 10 building toys for preschoolers list and today I’m excited to be sharing more about one of those toys that made that list- K’nex! Check below for a giveaway to enter to win your own set.

The boys enjoy playing with K’nex and the set we were sent from American Certified is the biggest set they have. An instruction booklet with over 70 ideas comes with the set but my boys love making their own creations. Cars seem to be a favorite when they build something specific.

The sturdy cardboard box makes it easy to store and all of our K’nex sets can fit nicely in this one treasure chest which makes cleaning up easy. The box says these specific K’nex are for ages 7 and up but my five year old has no problem using them. If you have a younger child there are other sets called “Kid K’nex” that might be better for them.

Enter in the form below for a chance to win a set for yourself! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lalaloopsy Babies Giveaway

Have a little one who loves Lalaloopsy? The LALALOOPSY BABIES 1-hour special will air on Nick Jr. this Saturday, June 26th at 1:30 p.m.

To celebrate, one lucky reader will win a Lalaloopsy Babies™ – Crumbs Sugar Cookie™ doll. To enter, just leave a comment below sharing who you’d like to win the doll for. An extra entry can be earned for sharing this giveaway on social media. Just leave the link to your social post in the comments below.

Giveaway ends July 5, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a U.S. resident to enter. Good luck!

Great Chuggington Giveaway: Stacktrack Set & Chug Patrol App

Do you have a little Chuggington fan? If so, I have some exciting news for you and a great giveaway you are going to love! StoryToys, a leading publisher of interactive books and games for children, recently released “Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue,” a 3D interactive storybook for children and it is currently 50% off!

The “Chug Patrol: Ready To Rescue” app is available in the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore for $4.99 on smartphones and tablets. The “Chug Patrol” app features Wilson as he proves to be a brave new hero of the rails. He’s “in control and ready to roll!” Brewster and Koko also move up to advanced training, taking lessons from new mentors and helping with more important tasks. Children can read or listen to the story, and then turn the page to see a 3D pop-up scene magically unfold. They can then join in the action for themselves, all while earning Chug Patrol badges for their collection. Readers will ride along with Koko as she masters speed control and braking, build new track in the forest with Brewster, make a daring rescue from the mine with Wilson, save Emery when his brakes fail, and much more.

“Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue” includes the following features:

  • Amazing 3D book experience – it’s just like a real pop-up book.
  • Nine interactive pop-up scenes with exciting games and puzzles.
  • Fully narrated in multiple languages by original actors from the series.
  • Read to Me, Read it Myself, and Autoplay modes.
  • 21 beautifully presented pages of text.
  • Win a badge when each task is completed, just like a real Chug Patroller!
  • Features a fantastic musical score and lots of amazing sound effects.

Love a good deal? StoryToys has a two week Christmas promotion running through January 3rd and Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue is 50% off! They also have other great sales including: Grimm’s Hansel & Gretel (free!) and all other books in the library will be $1 off (apart from books that are already $0.99).

 GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Chuggington StackTrack Ready to Race Deluxe Action Playset by TOMY and a free code for the Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue phone app!

Chuggington StackTrack Ready to Race Playset takes kids on a twisting, turning, spiraling adventure that scales four levels of fun. Experience the only die-cast railway that combines train and construction play to deliver the tallest, most action-packed train play ever. This innovative train track system lets kids build tall, spiraling layouts…so tall, in fact, that TOMY set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for World’s Tallest Toy Train Track this spring at Grand Central Terminal in New York City!

The Ready to Race Playset inspires construction creativity with eight different layout options—each designed to encourage imagination and amp up the play value. High Performance engine technology eliminates the frustration of flipping engines or disastrous derailments with engines that stay on track—even when screeching down a two foot tall layout! Plus, the set is compatible with all other Chuggington StackTrack and die-cast sets, delivering endless track layout possibilities.

Ages: 3 and up. MSRP: $89.99

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win this giveaway for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Tweet: Enter to win @Tomy_toy’s @Chuggington StackTrack & Chug Patrol app from @Storytoys via @aliciamarie112 http://wp.me/p2UYm7-5AZ #Traintastic

4) Comment on another one of my blog posts

5) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

6) Follow @Storytoys on Twitter

Giveaway ends January 5, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to win.

Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set {Giveaway}

My boys are really into Angry Birds lately. They love the phone app but they also enjoy playing with the playsets. I shared about the small set we got back in October (find the review here) and this month Hasbro sent us the ANGRY BIRDS GO! TELEPODS PIG ROCK RACEWAY Set.

This set is so much fun! Lucas was home sick from school today and, once I set it up for him, spent over an hour playing with the set (which is great for him considering he doesn’t have much of an attention span).

Two of the birds are in little cars and, with the push of a button, race each other along this long race track. There are extra obstacles you can add to the excitement but for my four year old the basic racing was enough to keep him occupied.

It was so cute listening to Lucas say, “you win! yay!” over and over again when one of the cars would get to the end of the track.

Another way to play with the characters from this set is to use the phone app and teleport your angry bird into the game. The boys think it’s so cool that they can do this.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win an Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win this for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 30, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received a game for review.)

Top Ten Pretend Play Toys For Preschoolers

I’m  excited to be joining in with a great group of bloggers for a special Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas series. Please join us as we share our favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, crafting supplies or kits, and stocking stuffers! Each participating blog will create their own unique list each week for each of the categories so be sure to stop by each of the links at the bottom of this post.

This week I’m sharing about my favorite toys to help preschoolers imaginations grow during pretend play. Props can take children from their homes and magically turn them into everything from Doctors to cashiers at the store to veterinarians.

One of my fondest memories of school when I was younger was when my teacher made a make-shift grocery store with old food boxes we had all brought in from our homes. We then used pretend money, pushed around shopping carts, and “shopped”. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s what created my love for shopping :)

While many items can be found around the house, some specially purchased items can enhance pretend play for preschoolers. Here are my ten favorite pretend play toys for preschoolers:

Fisher-Price Medical Kit

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 Learning Resources Pretend & Play Sliceable Fruits &Veggies

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Playhut Lil Explorers Big Red Fire Engine

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Learning Resources Teaching Cash Register

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Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart

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Community Helpers Gear (and any costumes you can find)

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Baby Doll (Any doll will work. Don’t forget the accessories and gear)

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Kitchen Set (My favorites are made by Step2)

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Black & Decker Junior 25 Piece Tool Set (and a toolbench if you have room)

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Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Set

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Looking for more pretend play favorites? Check out these posts:

Pretend Play Toys for Boys and Girls {Top Ten Holiday Lists} from Something 2 Offer

Top 10 Pretend Play Toys for Toddler Boys from Stir the Wonder

Top 10 Lists: Pretend Play Toys for under 3 year olds from Powerful Mothering

Top 10 Gifts to Encourage Pretend Play for Preschoolers from Makeovers & Motherhood

Top 10 Pretend Play Toys for Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler

Top 10 Pretend Play Toys in Our House from Creative World of Varya

Top 10 Preschool Pretend Play Toys from Little Bins for Little Hands

 

Our Favorites From The Chicago Toy & Game Fair

(Disclosure: My family attended the Chicago Toy & Game Fair as media and received some free toys and games. I also purchased some items there. All thoughts are my own.)

Last Saturday morning we spent time playing at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. There were lots of great games and toys, some that we had seen before and many that were new to us. Here are some of our favorites we found:

Tenkai Knights

Tenkai Knights are small bricks that turn into figures about the size of LEGO men. My boys both loved these even though they are a bit too young for them (the package says 6-14). There are also larger sets to build that go with these Tenkai Knights.

Chuggington Trains and Track Sets

We love Chuggington at our house and have many of the trains and sets. The folks from Chuggington set up this tall track by hooking together multiple sets and all the kids went wild over it. These trains and track sets would make a great gift for preschoolers!

Pokemon Battle Arena

Jacob, my 5 year old, has just gotten into Pokemon lately. He enjoyed playing with the characters that went along with this Battle Arena but the arena itself was a little too advanced for him. This would make a great gift for the Pokemon lover who is about 7-9 years old.

Pop The Pig

Pop the Pig is a fun game for preschoolers that both boys enjoyed checking out. It will be under our Christmas tree this year.

Crazy Forts

Crazy Forts is the perfect activity for a rainy day. Kids build a structure with the pieces and then use a blanket or sheet to create a fort. Lucas loved sitting inside the igloo fort they made.

 Overall, we had a ton of fun. So many new games and toys were added to our Christmas list!

Top Ten Building Toys For Preschoolers

I’m  excited to be joining in with a great group of bloggers for a special Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas series. Please join us as we share our favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, crafting supplies or kits, and stocking stuffers! Each participating blog will create their own unique list each week for each of the categories so be sure to stop by each of the links at the bottom of this post.

Blocks are the first toy that probably comes to mind when you read the title of this post but I want to share some other fun building toys that are on my list of top toys for preschoolers.

Tinkertoy

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K’nex

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Bristle Blocks

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Trio Building Set

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Magna Tiles

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LEGO Bricks (these ones for 4+ and larger bricks for 3s and Under)

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Lincoln Logs

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Waffle Blocks

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Gears Building Set

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Wooden Blocks

Here are some other posts from bloggers sharing their favorites:

 Building Toys for Boys and Girls {Top Ten Holiday Lists} from Something 2 Offer

Top 10 Building Toys for Toddlers from Stir the Wonder

Top 10 Lists: Building Toys for under 3 year olds from Powerful Mothering

Top 10 Building Toys for Preschoolers from Makeovers & Motherhood

Top 10 Building Toys for Preschoolers from P is for Preschoolers

Top 10 Preschool Building Toys from Little Bins for Little Hands

Top 10 Building Toys From Our Childhood from Creative World of Varya

Gifts for Future Female Engineers from Afterschool for Smarty Pants

 What is your favorite building toy?

Our New Puppy Friend, Read With Me Scout

The boys have a new little puppy! Okay…so it’s not a real puppy. We received Read with Me Scout from Leapfrog to review and the boys are loving him.

Read with Me Scout from LeapFrog is an interactive plush toy that helps children develop reading comprehension skills to get them on a path to reading. Not only does puppy pal Scout make reading fun with five interactive stories that he reads aloud, but he also responds to every pet, pat, hug and kiss! Simply press a button on his collar to start reading and pat his head to turn the page. Scout will ask your child questions throughout each story to create engaging learning moments and help build comprehension skills. Scout loves to sing, too!  Switch into Sleepy Time Mode when it’s time to snuggle and listen to relaxing stories and eight minutes of lullabies.

It was interesting to see how both boys interacted with Scout. Jacob, who is five and just starting to sound out words, really enjoyed reading the books with Scout. He followed along while Scout read the words and he’d tap Scout’s head every time he was ready to go on to the next page.

Lucas played with Scout completely different than Jacob did. Lucas, my four year who has Autism, looked at the books for a few minutes but spent most of the time just cuddling with Scout and listening to his songs. Luke isn’t too fond of books at the moment but I’m hoping that as he gets older he will use Scout’s reading feature.

Overall, Read with Me Scout has been a hit in our home. We’ve had it for about 2 weeks and the boys have played with it numerous times so far. I like that Scout doesn’t just read the books but asks questions as well. This makes kids become an active participant in the story instead of just having the story read to them. I loved watching Jacob answer Scout and could tell that he was really thinking about everything he heard. I like that Scout is soft and cuddly and has different options for play so that kids of all abilities and ages can enjoy him.

Having owned a variety of Leapfrog products these past years I have to say that this is one of my favorites (second only to the LeapPad).

(Disclosure: We received a Read with Me Scout from Leapfrog to review.)

Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods

The boys love playing angry birds on our smartphone so they were excited to see that I got the Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods from Hasbro to review. This toy is unique because it lets kids play IRL {in real life} and also play a game virtually on their iPhone.

The boys first played without the phone. They stacked the “bricks” and then launched their Angry Birds’ vehicles into the towers.

After about 20 minutes they decided to play the Telepods game on their phone. The set comes with a Telepods base which teleported their characters directly into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app.

This is the first game and app that gives kids a chance to customize their line-up and it gives them a chance to fling the pigs, instead of the birds.

The boys loved playing this game together. They thought it was so neat that the Angry Bird they picked showed up on their screen. I see this toy bringing hours of play for both kids and would make a great Christmas gift for those that love Angry Birds and Star Wars.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received a product to review. Thoughts are my own.)

Tinkertoy: The Classic Toy We Love

This past Monday the boys had a day off from school so I pulled out the Tinkertoy set I got as swag from a party I went to at BlogHer this past summer. The boys were excited to play with this new toy and I was brought back to my childhood days. Did you know that Tinkertoy has been around since 1913?! I had no idea that it was created that long ago.

Tinkertoy has definitely changed since I last played with them. The pieces aren’t wooden anymore which I was originally bummed about but the plastic pieces seemed a bit larger and easier for my boys to handle. There were also new bendable pieces which gave the children more options when building.

The boys played with this toy for about an hour. They’d build things then take them apart and make something new. I loved watching them work together on their creations.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received Tinkertoys for free. I was not obligated to write about them but wanted to share because I think they’d make a great gift idea.)

Flashlight Friends Make The Dark Not So Spooky

Jacob is afraid of the dark. Every night we have to have the hallway light on because his nightlight doesn’t give off nearly enough light. We received a flashlight friend for review and, while both boys are loving it, Jacob is especially fond of it because their new stuffed friend has a light in his belly so Jacob has a great light for the dark.

Flashlight Friends are available in four styles: dragon, penguin, puppy and unicorn. I love that the Flashlight Friend is soft and huggable because many of the other light up things we own are hard inside and not something that the kids can sleep with. To turn the light on all the kids have to do is tap the tummy light twice. Another great feature is that the light shuts off automatically 10 minutes later so I won’t find the light still on when I go upstairs to check on the kids before I go to bed.

Flashlight Friends can be purchased online here.

(Disclosure: As stated above, we received a Flashlight Friend for review. All thoughts are my own.)

LeapPad2 Power Prize Pack Giveaway {$170 Value}

(Disclosure: I received products from LeapFrog and this giveaway is sponsored by them but all thoughts are my own.)

Yesterday I posted a video with some great tips on choosing educational toys. I learned a lot of valuable information, including more about how toys are developed at LeapFrog. You can find the video here.

I’m so excited that LeapFrog is letting me host a giveaway for you all! We have an old LeapPad and the kids love it! One of you will win a LeapPad2 Power, 2 games and $20 app card. The total value of this giveaway prize is $170. Wouldn’t this make a perfect Christmas gift!?

Here’s a little more about the LeapPad2 Power:

Create, learn and explore with the #1 kids’ learning tablet*—now with an easy, one-step recharger built just for the LeapPad2- a $40 value! You’ll never have to buy batteries again!

The LeapPad2™ Power learning tablet includes 9 apps, 4GB memory and loads of exciting features in a kid-tough tablet designed just for kids! Take pictures and videos with front-and-back cameras/video recorders. Play, draw and write on the 5″ touch screen with the included stylus. Tilt and shake for motion-based play, customize and care for a lovable pet, and create masterpieces in the Art Studio.

LeapPad2 Power works with LeapFrog’s library of 800+ educator-approved apps, games, eBooks, videos, music and more.** Learning games draw from 2,600 skills and select games auto-level, adapting to your child’s pace in subjects like reading, writing and mathematics. With 4GB of storage and an included rechargeable battery pack, the learning fun never ends!

Features
• Charge and go with a long-lasting rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter included. Get up to 9 hours of play time with each full charge!
• Create, learn and explore with the #1 kids’ learning tablet. Now with an included one-step recharger pack—you’ll never have to buy batteries again!
• Features front-and-back cameras/video recorders, eReader, music player, motion sensor, 5″ touch screen and 4GB memory.
• LeapPad2™ Power includes 9 apps (onboard and downloadable):  Photo Lab, Art Studio, Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs and more.
• Works with LeapFrog’s educator-approved library of over 800+ games, eBooks, videos and more.
• Compatible with LeapFrog Explorer™ cartridges and apps (sold separately) and LeapFrog LeapPad2™ accessories (sold separately).
• Ages 3-9 years
• Includes 1 year limited warranty

You can also connect to the LeapFrog Learning Path to see the details of your child’s play and learning, including levels achieved, skills practiced and recently played games. Celebrate accomplishments with online rewards, and gather ideas to support and expand the learning.

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you’d love to win this for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

4) Comment on another one of my posts

5) Follow LeapFrog on Twitter

6) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends November 1, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.

An Expert Answers My Questions About Choosing Educational Toys & Games

(Disclosure: This interview is sponsored by LeapFrog and I am receiving some of their products in exchange for posting. Thoughts are my own.)

The Holiday gift giving season is coming up and if you are anything like me you are overwhelmed by the choices of educational toys and games on the shelves. I had a chance to ask some of my top questions when it comes to this topic and get them answered by Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos. Jody is the math and science development expert of LeapFrog’s Learning Team where she works on products across all platforms to teach math and science concepts in developmentally appropriate ways using research-based techniques. Before joining LeapFrog, she was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, a researcher and instructor, and a math textbook author. She is also the proud mother of two boys.

Here were the questions I asked her:

  • How are the age ranges on toys/games/apps decided?
  • How would you suggest dealing with younger siblings wanting older siblings games/toys that are not made for them?
  • What should parents look for when buying toys for preschoolers?
  • What Leapfrog toys do you think will be hot this Christmas season?

Check out her answers to my questions below:

If you can’t view the video, here is a direct link: http://bcove.me/tegllg0zFind more details about the LeapPad Ultra mentioned in the video here.

P.S. Stay tuned this weekend for an awesome LeapPad prize pack giveaway!!

Brobo TREX Night-Light {Giveaway}

About a couple years ago, I attended the Chicago Toy and Game Fair and fell in love with these cute stuffed animals that I found there called Brobo. I got to take one home to review and my kids loved the little orange dinosaur named TREX. When Brobo contacted me and asked me if I wanted to host a giveaway for one of their new stuffed animals I was excited that one of my lucky readers was going to get a Brobo of their own, just in time for gift giving season!

When I first discovered Brobo they were just on the market but I saw a prototype for what they hoped to turn them into. Each animal would have a light in it’s tummy to make the perfect night light. I’m happy to say that two years later I see that prototype has turned into a reality. Check out the new, improved TREX:

Image courtesy of Brobo

GIVEAWAY:

1 reader will win a Brobo Night-Light “TREX”

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me who you want to win this for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Brobo on Facebook

4) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends October 21, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to enter. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.

2013 Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List

As much as I want to deny it, Christmas will be here soon. For those of you who like to shop early I have the 2013 Toys”R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List. I’m excited to be working with Toys”R”Us this Holiday season and will be reviewing some of these hot toys! Here is the list representing the top new toys of the year in each age group:

THE 2013 #TRUHotToyList

Baby’s First Christmas
Grow with Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit
 
from Infantino®
Little ones will “have a ball” with this action-packed, grow-with-me activity gym, which has pop-up mesh sides so it can convert into a ball pit. Featuring an adorable sea turtle shape, the set is complete with 4 plush toys children will fall in love with, as well as 4 colorful balls. No batteries required. Ages 0 years and up.

13 Months to 2 Years
Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car
 
from Fisher-Price®
Baby can take the driver’s seat with this fun-filled learning vehicle and let the adventures begin. With different play modes, little ones can get a head start on learning everything from their ABC’s to colors. This cruising machine can also help tiny tots develop gross motor skills as it encourages crawling. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 months to 3 years.

Rollin’ Tunes Zebra from Fisher-Price®
The more baby rolls, the more fun they’ll have with this interactive Zebra, which is sure to become any baby’s best pal. The music grows louder as little ones keep rollin’ along and fun phrases keep the ride exciting. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 12 months to 3 years.

2 to 4 Years
Big Hugs Elmo
 
from Hasbro®
Little ones are sure to fall in love with the first feature Elmo toy that can hug them back. When kids give their red, furry friend a hug, the interactive plush moves his arms to return the love. This cuddly, 22-inch lifelike Elmo has flexible arms and a soft head, plays 3 fun songs, features more than 50 animated sounds and phrases, and encourages pretend play. When little ones are ready for naptime, Elmo will even sing a lullaby and make sleeping sound effects to help soothe them to sleep. 4 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 18 months to 4 years.

Despicable Me 2 Minion Dave, Agnes and Gru Collector’s Edition Figures from Thinkway Toys
The quirky and lovable characters of Despicable Me 2 are here to make the holidays bright. These highly detailed Minion Dave (9-inch), Agnes (11-inch) and Gru (14-inch) interactive figures (sold separately) feature moving heads, eyes and mouths. Sure to ignite bouts of laughter, each character recites at least 30 phrases from the comical movie in their original voices and each responds to sound for back-and-forth conversation. 3 “AAA” batteries required for Agnes (not included). 4 “AA” batteries required for Minion Dave (not included). 3 “AA” batteries required for Gru (not included). Ages 4 to 12 years.

Disney Planes Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Remote Control Plane from Mattel®
It’s time to tilt and fly. Kids can have high-flying fun recreating the action seen in the Disney movie Planes, with this RC vehicle that offers role-play remote control, making the plane move as they do. This plane is fully equipped with sounds and phrases that amp up the action for a thrilling air venture. 2 “AAA” and 4”AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 3 years and up.

Doc McStuffins Deluxe Get Better Check-Up Center from Just Play
Kids will have all the tools they need with this set to enjoy imaginative play as they heal toys and give checkups just like Doc McStuffins. When the included Lambie is placed on the check-up table, tiny caretakers will delight in lights and sounds. Plus, future physicians will enjoy using the electronic Big Book of Boo Boos to make a diagnosis, slide in play x-rays to activate lights and sounds, use the cell phone for “chats” with Hallie and more. Kids can also use the portable scale to check their patient’s weight and take the ouches away with bandage stickers from the dispenser on the clinic door. This exclusive set includes 14 bonus pieces, including Doc’s child-size lab coat and new First Aid Kit with fun accessories, perfect for on-the-go checkups. 3 “AA” batteries required for Check-Up Center. 2 “AA” batteries required for play cell phone (not included). Ages 3 years and up (not included). This item will become available in October.

Imaginarium Mountain Rock Train Table from Toys“R”Us®
This wooden train table set delivers big play value for little ones with over 100 pieces and 23 feet of track, plus, lights and sounds bring playtime to life. Mini conductors can take the 8 included trains on a journey through 5 play destinations. From the two-tower bridge and two-level mountain pass, to the working swivel crane, train station and 4-door roundhouse turntable, kids will enjoy hours of train play. Plus, this ultimate set is compatible with other select wooden train sets and features a large storage drawer, so kids’ collections can continue to grow. 2 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 3 years and up.

Imaginext® Batcave from Fisher-Price®
Kids will love helping Batman and his sidekick Robin with this secret command center equipped with superhero gadgetry, including a Batcomputer, secret walkways, a Batwing, elevator, jail and more. Turn the included Batman and Robin figures on any of the 3 activation disks to make cool things happen throughout. Plus, young superheroes can use the included launcher to blast projectiles at approaching intruders. And, when Batman needs to race into Gotham City, kids can place him on his Batcycle and send him off. To bring the fun of this Batcave to life, a complimentary, downloadable iPhone® Imaginext Batcave app is available. No batteries required. Ages 3 years and up.

My Little Pony Feature Princess Twilight Sparkle Pony from Hasbro®
Now, the magic of Equestria is in kids’ hands with this interactive pony. With one touch of her cutie mark, she will move her head and blink her eyes as she awakens. Brush her mane and Twilight Sparkle will hum songs and speak whimsical phrases as she’s being pampered. Plus, her iridescent turquoise wings and unicorn horn illuminate with a touch, creating enchanting patterns of light, and kids can push her along and watch as her wings flutter. 4 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 3 years and up.

Sofia the First Royal Talking Vanity from JAKKS Pacific®
Princesses in training can get ready for a royal dance with this gorgeous vanity inspired by Sofia the First. Standing over 3 feet tall, this vanity features 6 princess lessons from Sofia and lots of hidden surprises including a jewelry box that appears with a push of a magical button, hidden animal friends and a storage drawer to store trinkets. The vanity features 8 beauty accessories to complete the play including two perfume bottles, a comb, lipstick, necklace and a mini tiara. The set also comes with a complimentary magical lesson card to use with the Talking Magical Amulet, (sold separately). 3 “AA” batteries required. Ages 3 years and up. This item will become available in October.

You & Me Tub & Toot Doll from Toys“R”Us®
Little ones will love to splish splash in the bath with this Toys“R”Us-exclusive doll. Simply by lifting the interactive doll’s left hand while bathing, kids will be in for a fun surprise, as she giggles and babbles away. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 2 years and up.

5 to 7 Years
Battroborg 3-in-1 Battle Arena
 
from TOMY®
Let the battle begin! This one-of-a-kind set offers kids action-packed play using motion-controlled battling robots. The newest innovation in robot gaming technology, this set features Nunchaku motion controllers, allowing players to control the action in the ring by maneuvering robots to match their own motions. With 3 competitive game modes, competitors will enjoy head-to-head Battroborg battle, can practice their moves with training drones or master the art of combat against a self-propelled Battroborg robot. Includes 2 robots, 2 Nunchaku motion controllers, arena, 4 training drones, 2 sticker sheets and 2 face sheets. 8 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 years and up.

Boom Boom Balloon Game from Spin Master
Pressure mounts with each roll of the dice as players take their turn to poke the balloon. With every roll, the balloon stretches, squishes and strains, wondering if the next poke will make it pop. There are 12 silly-faced balloons inside the box and players can contact Spin Master to order additional balloons. No Batteries Required. Ages 8 years and up.

Disney Infinity from Disney Interactive
The worlds of Disney and Pixar collide for the first time ever with this all-new gaming platform. Integrating collectible figures featuring beloved characters from movies like Monsters, Inc.Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibleswith an immersive video game experience, players can bring their favorite characters to life in the virtual world by placing the figures on a Disney Infinity base, which transports them into the game. Players have two gaming options to choose from, including “Toy Box,” a mode where players can build and customize their own unique environments, and a story-driven experience, “Play Set,” which allows players to solve challenging puzzles, battle enemies and explore iconic Disney locations. The game launched with an initial line of 18 collectible interactive figures and 21 Power Discs that unlock special in-game powers, gadgets, vehicles and more. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up (figures). Ages 10 years and up (game).

Flutterbye Flying Fairy from Spin Master
Children can experience the magic of real fairy flight with these enchanting Flutterbye Fairies. After magically rising and gracefully flying across the sky, guided simply by kids’ hands, she will rest on her display stand. 6 “AA” batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.

FurReal Friends® Cuddles My Giggly Monkey Pet from Hasbro®
Youngsters will go bananas over this interactive, giggly monkey. With over 100 realistic sounds and phrases, from laugh-out-loud silly to super sweet, responds to many classic play patterns like feeding, diaper changing, cuddling, tickling, swinging, and being rocked to sleep. She’ll move her mouth when children feed her from a banana-shaped bottle, and is ready for playtime, saying “whee,” when swung upside down. After a long day of play, this lovable pet will slowly close her eyes and start to snooze when rocked to sleep. Comes with a bottle, pink bow and removable diaper. 4 “C” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 years and up.

InnoTab® 3S Exclusive Bundle from VTech®
Kids can learn, create and connect with the latest generation of the popular InnoTab learning tablet. Complete with Wi-Fi, this tablet opens up a world of interactive game play and educational fun. Included games teach reading, math, social studies, science and much more. Plus, children can play videos and music, take pictures and share their creations and messages by connecting to other InnoTab 3S tablets and smart phones through VTech Kid Connect. Equipped with a kid-safe browser, children can view pre-approved websites and connect to the Learning Lodge for hundreds of software cartridges and downloads for more learning fun. Also includes a rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter, plus a bonus folio case and headphones. Ages 3 to 9 years.

LeapPad Ultra from LeapFrog®
Built especially for little learners, this kid-tough tablet features a 7-inch hi-res touch screen, Wi-Fi with LeapSearch, LeapFrog’s kid-safe browser created with Zui and access to a library of more than 800 fun and educator-approved apps, games, eBooks, videos, music and more. The tablet includes 11 apps, 8GB of storage and a built-in rechargeable battery so the learning fun never ends. Front and back cameras and video recorders allow kids to take pictures and video, while the Photo Fun Ultra app provides cool picture effects. No batteries required. Ages 4 to 9 years.

Magic Jinn from Hasbro®
Children of all ages will love outsmarting this magical mind reader. All it takes is a touch of Jinn’s nose to begin, and through a series of questions, the intuitive creature will try to guess which animal kids have on their mind as they answer with “Yes,” “No,” “I don’t know” or “Maybe.” No one can tell what he’ll say next! 3 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 years and up.

Skylanders SWAP Force from Activision Publishing, Inc
Skylanders is “mixing it up” with the newest game in the award-winning, top-selling franchise. This one-of-a-kind game builds upon the success of the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, adding an all-new dimension to the “toys to life” innovation. The game introduces a compelling play pattern – dynamic swapability – that lets gamers transform 16 SWAP Force inter-action figures into more than 250 unique characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys. Fans also can play with their entire collection of more than 100 characters fromSkylanders Spyro’s Adventure® and Skylanders GiantsTM. No batteries required. Ages 10 years and up. This item will become available on October 13 on Nintendo Wii™, Wii U™, 3DS™,  Xbox 360™ and Xbox One™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system.

tabeo e2 from Toys“R”Us®
The next generation of tabeo, this all-new Android™ Jelly Bean 4.2 Wi-Fi tablet was created especially for kids. This unique 8-inch tablet is bigger, better and faster, featuring lightning fast performance to handle even the most action-packed games, sharper graphics, advanced parental controls, expanded storage and so much more. This tablet comes complete with high-impact screen protection, dual-facing cameras, an tabeo App Store packed with thousands of free, kid-friendly applications, plus dozens of preloaded premium apps. With included fan-favorite kids’ apps like Need for Speed™ Most WantedBejeweled® 2The Game of LifeTemple Run 2Fruit NinjaCrayola DigiTools Effects,Cartoon NetworkWWE and Playrific, children will enjoy hours of entertainment, fun and education. Available in a blue, pink or clear protective case, the Bluetooth™ enabled device also features an extensive ecosystem of products, including speakers, docking stations and licensed accessories. No batteries required. Ages 6 to 11 years. Available for pre-order now at tabeo.com.

The Ugglys from Moose Toys
Introducing the ugliest dogs around. These farting, burping, barking and growling interactive electronic pets are ready to start trouble with kids of all ages. In addition to making over 30 rude, repulsive and hilarious noises, each mischievous mutt with an attitude can be “tuned” to further amuse kids big and small. Using a button on each pup’s collar, kids can warp the sounds of their mischievous friends to disgust or delight. And, when the Ugglys are left alone, they’ll snore away until it’s time to play. 3 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 5 years and up.

The Zelfs™ from Moose Toys
Collectors – big and small – will love this group of whimsical and quirky dolls. Each Zelf has its own unique persona and Zelf power represented by a Zelmark. The dolls also have matching charms and hair accessories that kids can use to style and tame their Zelfs’ colorful and spike-tacular hair. Imaginations will go wild, during endless hours of hair-raising play with these super cute characters available in 3 collectible sizes. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.

8 to 11 Years
Crayola® Melt N’ Mold Factory
 
from Crayola®
Look forward to creating unique, multicolored crayons and rings with this one-of-a-kind craft kit. Add a custom combination of colorful crayon bits to the melting tray, then turn it on and watch crayons melt together. With an included crayon and ring mold, pint-sized Picassos can pour the melted wax to transform crayons into custom multicolor creations – no two crayons or rings are the same. Includes melting tray, 24 crayons, 2 molds and 1 mold holder. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.

Ever After High Royal & Rebel Dolls from Mattel®
Ever After High introduces the children of famous fairytale characters. These 4 spellbinding teenage dolls will choose to either follow their parents’ footsteps or discover their own happily ever after. With Apple White, Raven Queen, Briar Beauty and Madeline Hatter (each sold separately), kids will love discovering the untold stories of the “Royals” and “Rebels.” No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up. These items will become available in November.

Kurio® 10s from Techno Source
Following up the best-selling, award-winning Kurio 7, this all-new, Android™ 4.2 (Jellybean) Wi-Fi enabled device truly takes family tablets to the next level with a new design, faster Quad Core processor and a larger, high definition 10.1” IPS touch screen. Great for games, movies and family fun, this exclusive tablet combines the advanced features kids expect from a cutting-edge tablet with Kurio’s unique, built-in parental control features that allow parents to set up customized profiles perfectly suited for each member of the family. Parents can adjust Internet access to ensure kids surf the web safely, manage applications by profile and even set detailed time limits by day of the week. Kurio 10s comes preloaded with more than 60 educational games and apps out of the box, and families can access hundreds of thousands more free apps through the Kurio Store and the most popular Android app stores. Available in black with an included blue protective bumper. Micro USB power adapter included. Ages 3 years and up.

LEGO Legends of Chima The Lion CHI Temple from LEGO®
LEGO lovers can engage in an epic battle for the CHI at the majestic temple with this 1,258 piece set. Kids can create different tribes with the 7 included figures and their weapons, as they fight to reach the CHI orb, or embrace the challenge to restore peace to Chima in a battle at The Lion CHI Temple. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.

MEGA® Bloks Call of Duty® Heavy Armor Outpost from MEGA® Brands
Kids will love recreating scenes from the wildly popular video game series with this 685-piece set. The main battle tank measures 12” (L) x 5” (W) x 4” (H) and comes with a large, rotating turret and tracks that really spin. This direct-fire, heavy-armored vehicle is nearly unstoppable during play combat. The buildable, improvised outpost and the camouflage mesh canopy can attach to the heavy tank to offer troops protection from hostile targets or weather conditions. The included Captain John Price and his team of 2 special ops troopers are highly detailed with extreme pose ability, and come with authentic interchangeable accessories and weapons that allow for mission-specific customization. No batteries required. Ages 14 years and up.

Monster 500 Toxic Terror Trap Playset from Toys“R”Us®
Unleash the fiendish fury! Kids and kids at heart will enjoy the twisting, toxic, monster action this ghoulish, exclusive playset has to offer. With one included character, Evil Clownevil, daredevils can smash through the doors of the freaky factory and topple the toxic, terrorizing monster, while avoiding being gobbled by the mutant gator all at the same time. Then, cars can be placed on the elevator before the hazmat mutant brings each vehicle up again. For additional fun, playset includes one Monster 500 trading card, which can be used to unlock a creepy character in the Monster 500 app available on Android and iOS. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 years and up. This item will become available in October.

Playstation®4 (PS4) from Sony®
This next generation computer entertainment system combines rich content, fan-favorite apps and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics, speed, intelligent personalization, social capabilities and innovative second-screen features. PS4 places the focus on gamers, enabling them to play when, where and how they want. The bundle includes the console, DUALSHOCK®4 wireless controller, HDMI cable, power cable, wired mono headset and USB charging cable. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up. This item will become available on November 15.

Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker from Cra-Z-Art®
The hottest craze to hit kids’ wrists this year, Cra-Z-Loom is the ultimate rubber band accessory maker with over 600 included mixed-color rubber bands. Children of all ages will enjoy designing colorful rubber band bracelets, rings, belts, pendants and more, including single, double or triple loop rubber band combinations. Ultimate fashionistas can use their imaginations and enjoy hours of totally trendy bracelet and accessory making fun. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up.

Xbox™ One from Microsoft®
Introducing the all-in-one entertainment system. Where the best games and your favorite movies, music, sports and live TV come together in one place. Xbox One games look and feel incredibly real, with cinematic gameplay that rivals Hollywood. Watch TV or chat with friends on Skype while you play. With Xbox One, you can snap two things side-by-side on your TV, and switch from one to another instantly. Users can also watch movies and play games in HD with a Blu-ray playerAnd, with Xbox Live Gold membership (sold separately) users can access online multiplayer, Skype and additional features for the family. The starter kit includes console, Kinectsensor, wireless controller, HDMI cable and chat headset. Advanced TV hardware required. Games, add-ons and media content sold separately. No batteries required (console). 2 “AA” batteries required (wireless controller) (included). Ages 6 years and up. This item will become available November 22.

Y Fliker™ Carver Scooter from Yvolution
Kids are in for a smooth ride with this all-new, three-wheeled, all body-powered scooter featuring FLEX technology. Using the same motions as downhill skiing, riders only need to move their hips and legs from side to side to get going and keep moving. Thanks to the patented FLEX technology, kids can perform cool carving actions and master even the tightest turns. To put mom’s mind at ease, padded handgrips and a quick-response hand brake ensure every ride is a safe ride. No Batteries Required. Ages 5 years and up (C1 Model). Ages 7 years and up (C3 Model).

Zoomer from Spin Master
The perfect, playful family pet, this robotic dog will quickly steal kids’ hearts. Just like a real dog, children will be responsible for teaching him everything a puppy needs to know – and sometimes forgets. With life-like expressions and voice activated commands, this dog can learn dozens of tricks including laying, rolling, sitting and more. He even follows kids’ movements with his cute puppy eyes. Families can download the free iOS or Android app to learn everything there is to know about training this silly, interactive dog. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.

Big Kids
Crazy Cart
 
from Razor
Kids will love this ultimate drifting machine, which will allow them to drive, spin or drift like a pro. With the unique ability to drive forward, reverse, sideways, diagonally and spin in place, riders can cruise around like a go cart or lift the Drift Bar to kick it into Crazy Cart mode. Crazy drifts. Crazy spins. Crazy FUN! 2 “12V” battery system (included). Ages 9 years and up (up to 140 pounds).

**For those of you with children who have Special Needs make sure to check out the Toys”R”Us toy guide for differently-abled kids. You can find that here. Big thanks to Toys”R”Us for creating the awesome guide!**

GeoSafari Jr. Animal Eye Viewers For Kids {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a set of Animal Eye Viewers to review. All thoughts are my own.)

Have a child who is really into animals? Or maybe one who wants to know everything about everything? If so, they will love GeoSafari Jr.’s Animal Eye Viewers from Educational Insights!

These viewers let them see the world through an animal’s eyes. Three viewers come in the box: shark, insect, and a chameleon.

Did you know that sharks can see what’s behind them? Your child can get a 360 degree view with rear-view mirrors, central blind spot, and an ocean-blue tint! They will think they are swimming in the ocean.

Did you know that instects can detect movement faster than we can? Your child will see dozens of mini-images with this pixelated view of the world. For even more fun, have them run around “bzzzz”ing like a bee!

Did you know that chameleons can look in two different directions at once? Your child can look through the viewers that have two independently rotating eyeballs.

The shark was Jacob’s favorite animal eye viewer. He had a lot of fun walking around outside while looking through them and was looking at everything up close. He even wore them to the school bus to show his bus driver because he thought they were so cool!

Want to find more fun ways to use the viewers? Download free play-and-learn activities online.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a set of 3 Animal Eye Viewers courtesy of Educational Insights

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which animal you think your child/grandchild would like the most

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends October 20, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over to enter. Open to US and Canadian residents.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center {Schaumburg, IL}

(Disclosure: I am receiving a family pass in exchange for promoting LEGOLAND. Will share my review after my visit.)

Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago and it’s like you’ve just jumped into the world’s biggest box of LEGO bricks! With over 3 million LEGO bricks, rides and a 4D movie theatre all under one roof, what will you discover?

I am excited to take my family to LEGOLAND since the boys are just starting to get into building with LEGO bricks. I can’t wait to see their faces when they see everything they will get to play with!

My readers can get a FREE Child Admission with Full Paid $20 Adult Admission!

Matchbox® Heroes Wanted™ Sweepstakes

(Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with MomSelect.)

Calling all moms, dads, and grandparents of little ones- I have some exciting news from Matchbox® to share! To commemorate its 60 year anniversary, Matchbox® is honoring heroes-in-training – the children who play with, and inspire, Matchbox®. The campaign includes the Matchbox® Heroes Wanted™ Sweepstakes with a hero-sized $60,000 college scholarship.

The Matchbox® Heroes Wanted™ Sweepstakes calls on parents to celebrate the heroic attributes of their children by submitting a picture and caption of their hero-in-training dressed as their favorite real-life icon. Submissions will be showcased on the Matchbox® Heroes Wanted™ Facebook gallery and are automatically entered to win the grand prize – a $60,000 college scholarship. Parents with children between three and 10 years old can enter the contest now through May 13, 2013. Sixty prize pack giveaways will be awarded weekly consisting of a Matchbox® branded gift box, a personalized photo-frame thank you card and four heroic Matchbox® vehicles. To learn more about the contest and read stories from the heroes that inspired Matchbox® vehicles, visit www.Matchbox.com/Heroes.

Below is a picture of one of my little heroes! Jacob loves pretending to be a construction worker. They are heroes because they build houses to keep people warm! He also loves playing “police officer” and wants to be one when he grows up so he can put the “bad guys” in jail.

To celebrate their 60th anniversary even more, Matchbox® is also releasing a collectible diecast line of 24 vehicles that go back to its roots to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Jacob and Lucas can’t wait to check out the new cars for themselves!

For the hottest in Matchbox® adventures, games, toys and videos, visit www.Matchbox.com.

Mattel’s Easter Toy Basket Giveaway

Mattel’s “Save the Chocolate Bunny” campaign is promoting “toys instead of chocolate” to encourage creative, healthy, sugar-free play for kids! Visit Mattel’s Save the Bunny website where you’ll find more giveaways and coupons.

Enter below to win a Mattel Easter Basket with Hot Wheels, Barbie, Thomas & Friends, Fisher Price, Monster High and more! PLUS there are 10 second place prizes of either a Hot Wheels multi-pack or Barbie Madison! (And keep an eye on this site because I’ll be having another Mattel giveaway in the next week that’s just for Making Time For Mommy readers!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: This is a compensated post.)

 

$350 Melissa & Doug Toys Giveaway

$350 Melissa & Doug Toys Giveaway

Sponsored by Melissa & Doug

From puzzles to puppets, plush to play food, magnetic activities, music and more, Melissa & Doug® is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of educational toys and children’s products. We have a number of their items and they have withstood lots of rough play from my two boys. Their chunky puzzles are my favorite and were one of the most played with toys during the toddler years here in our home.

Here’s a little about the company in their own words:

Over 23 years ago we started our company in the garage of the home where Doug grew up — we had to be careful not to disturb Doug’s parents who were still living there! Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to move into a real office down the road, a building that actually has separate ladies and men’s bathrooms! Our philosophy has remained the same over the years–to make each and every customer a happy and permanent member of the Melissa & Doug family, while offering products with tremendous value, quality and design. Our line offers something for everyone with over 1,000 innovative products for children of all ages! We’ve always welcomed customer suggestions, and we continually strive to make improvements to our products. We’re honored by the faith you place in us and view it as our responsibility to continue to earn your trust in the years to come!

Read Coupon Gator Mommy’s Melissa & Doug Toys Review.

 

Three lucky winners!  Grand Prize: $250 in Your Choice of Melissa & Doug Products1st Runner Up: $50 in Melissa & Doug Products2nd Runner Up: $50 in Melissa & Doug Products

This giveaway ends Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.
Open to US and Canada residents.
Good Luck!

 

 

(Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Making Time For Mommy is not responsible for shipping prize to winner, nor did I accept any compensation for this promotion.)

Once Upon A TreeHouse {Cute Gift Ideas}

If you have a little girl in your life (or even a little boy who likes dolls) you are in for a treat! Once Upon A TreeHouse makes dolls, doll clothing, doll houses and doll house furniture. Along with being really cute they are great quality toys made out of wood and eco-friendly. Here are some of my favorite items on their site:

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Adorable right?! Makes me want to have a little girl so I could buy one of everything :)

I received one of the dollhouse dolls to review. I loved that you could tell this wasn’t some cheap plastic doll. The materials were high quality down to the little wooden shoes the doll wore. I loved that the clothes all had velcro on them so that they are easy for little hands to get on and off. The one thing I’d maybe change would be the hair. I like how soft it is but it seems like it would become really frizzy easily.

You can find out more about Once Upon A TreeHouse and see all of the items they have here.

(Disclosure: I received a doll to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Stocking Stuffer & Gift Ideas For Boys From Hasbro

You probably know Hasbro makes great games but did you also know that they make some amazing toys, too? Jacob is all about super heroes lately and a lot of the toys on his Christmas list were made by Hasbro and I didn’t even know it! Check out these stocking stuffer and gift ideas from Hasbro!

Stocking Stuffers
  • MARVEL THE AVENGERS 3.75″ HEROES ASSORTMENT: The Ultimate Super Hero action collection features IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR, HULK, BLACK WIDOW and HAWKEYE.  Kids and collectors will want to assemble the whole team from Hasbro’s line of THE AVENGERS 3.75″ Action Figures.
  • ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS Mystery Bags: For the ultimate Holiday surprise, pick up ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS Mystery Bags, which offer two figures from the collection in each bag.

For the Movie Buff
  • THE AVENGERS HERO MASKS: Every Super Hero needs an awesome mask! Now kids (and parents!) can pretend to be Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with these masks based on the blockbuster hit, The Avengers.  Choose from IRON MAN, HULK, THOR AND CAPTAIN AMERICA!
  • THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN HERO FX GLOVE: Kids will feel like SPIDER-MAN when they put on this fun electronic role-play glove.  Sensors in the “web shooting compartment” will sense motion and respond with web shooting sound effects.

Kid at Heart
  • TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS ACTION FIGURES:  The TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS DELUXE Assortment features Transformers characters and designs from throughout the history of the TRANSFORMERS brand.  The assortment includes OPTIMUS PRIME, JAZZ and SHOCKWAVE.
  • TRANSFORMERS KRE-O allows builders to construct both the robot and vehicle mode of their favorite Transformers characters with the same set of bricks!

You can find more gift ideas from Hasbro in their Gift Guide here.

(Disclosure: Hasbro sent me gifts for my boys from the Gift Guide but thoughts are my own.)

Ubooly: Interactive Toy For Children {Giveaway}

We recently had a new little friend join our family named Ubooly. Ubooly becomes an interactive stuffed animal when an iPhone or iPod is placed inside of it. Before we gave it to the boys Sinisa and I tried it out ourselves and quickly found ourselves laughing at it’s goofy jokes and fun facts. Once we gave it to the boys they didn’t know what to think at first. They wondered how this stuffed animal was talking to them. They quickly fell in love with her and she quickly became part of the family.

 Jacob napped with Ubooly.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

She played a game with us.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

She balanced on heads {and flew up in the air}.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

She cuddled  up on the couch and watched television with daddy.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

She even enjoyed some time swinging in the therapy swing with Jacob.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

What a busy day for our friend Ubooly!!

We really loved playing with her. Jacob’s favorite thing to do with her was put her to sleep and wake her up and put her to sleep and wake her up….over and over again. Lucas liked making her tell stories and sing. I really loved that Ubooly wasn’t just another stuffed animal that would end up at the bottom of the toy box because there was so much to do with the Ubooly. I also liked that the Ubooly updates monthly with new activities so the children don’t get bored with the same jokes, stories, and songs.

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Moms are some of the most savvy mobile users and so are their kids. Ubooly is a toy designed for this new high-tech generation. While learning and sharing new content every week, Ubooly is the only toy that grows with your child. It encourages listening skills, and a break from high-energy / high-stimulation play. Through stories & interactive games, Ubooly’s curiosity is sure to awaken the creativity within your child’s imagination.

Ubooly is the hot toy of the season, it’s new to the scene and is on track to sell out this winter! Free updates through Wi-Fi creates ongoing entertainment for kids.

Click here to adopt your own Ubooly and get FREE SHIPPING now!

GIVEAWAY:

The giveaway prize includes one Ubooly toy & the Ubooly iOS app, which updates every month with new activities, automatically over WiFi.

Entrants must have an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, or an iPod touch 4th and 5th gen. (or be giving it to someone that has one of these iPhones or iPods as Ubooly can only become interactive with one of these devices.)

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me who you think would love the Ubooly.

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right hand corner)

Giveaway ends November 30, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only. The giveaway does not include the iPhone or iPod touch.

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ubooly. The opinions and text are all mine.)

Marvel’s The Avengers Hero Mask Review & Giveaway

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Do you have a little Super Hero in your life? Hasbro’s Hero Masks would make the perfect gift! We received the Captain America Hero Mask to review. The mask itself is made of a hard plastic like material so it’s sturdy and not going to get easily broken by the little guys. The inside part of the mask has a rubbery goggle like eyepiece so it’s comfortable to wear. The adjustable straps that go around the back of the head are made with quality velcro and make the mask one size fits all for children of all ages. The boys love wearing their mask as they play and it’s funny to go watch them check themselves out in the mirror when they are wearing it to see what they look like as Captain America.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Hero Mask from Hasbro

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which Super Hero is your child/grandchild’s favorite

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Hasbro Game Night on Facebook

4) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

Giveaway ends November 20, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: We received a mask to review but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)