Friday, October 17, 2014

Dare to Be Different This Halloween: Batteries Not Included


Halloween will be super fun this year!
WHAT: Say NO to flimsy Halloween costumes that your child will outgrow!  All you need are some batteries and some lights. 
Starring: Wearable Electronics by Kate Harmon published by Make Media

              EL Wire
              Blacklight Dimensional Fabric Paint and Blacklight Facepaint
              Electroninks (drawable circuits)

              Recording Module from Radio Shack
             

DOES: Inspires, Educates, Illuminates Halloween and Beyond!!!!!!!!!
INVEST:
$4.99+   Prices vary

AGES: 5+?  Please help the little ones. But let them help in making it.
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: Get Blacklight Dimensional Fabric Paint + Blacklight Face Paint + your very own copy of Wearable Electronics by author Kate Hartman!!!!
 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Meet the Modern Magic Marker: Crayola Ultra-Clean and Faber Castell Connector Pens


Will tell you the answer below.

LEGO inspires kids to do things differently.. huh....


WHAT: Markers are not what they used to be- Hallelujah for that!
 

Starring: Ultra-Clean Washable Markers by Crayola  and Connector Pens by Faber-Castell            

             
DOES: Amazing wipe away marker mess, even on skin! Learn how to use a magic marker in the most magical way possible.


INVEST: $5.99 and $19.99 respectively (sizes vary with both)
AGES: Whenever they are ready.
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: One winner will win a Connector Pen set (50 ct) and Ultra-Clean Markers (fine and broad) from Crayola



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why Your Child Should Play with Paper (Ages 4-8)


Glue Dots and eeBoo Corrugated Fancy Paper  How amazing is this?


WHAT: FOLDING PAPER- Why everyone should do it!  Including You! 
 

Starring: Storygami by Tuttle Publishing
              eeBoo Fancy Paper-Corrugated

              eeBoo Play Papers
              eeBoo Fancy Scissors
              with special guest: GLUE DOTS!!!- Removable, Poster, Craft, Craft Mini

DOES: Sharpen fine motor skills, hand-eye skills, designing skills, spatial skills, math skills, and maybe a little existential thinking too? Seriously, I kid you not.
INVEST:
  Your time + prices of product ranging from $1 to $17 (eeBoo scissors are $4.99, Papers are $12.99 and $7.99; Storygami boxed set is $16.95, Glue Dots range from $1 and up)

AGES: 4+? This is hard to say.  Apparently children are supposed to know how to use scissors by age 3.  Either way, be prepared to help out.  There are still lessons to be learned if we learn to help them "just enough"... believe me!


GIVEAWAY PRIZE: $100 Approx Value!  Super Paper Craft Basket of Awesomeness for One LUCKY Winner!  (Storygami + eeBoo Fancy Corrugated Paper + eeBoo Play Paper + eeBoo Fancy Scissor + OMG 4 Value Packs of Glue Dots- a total of 2,400 dots! [Craft,Craft Mini, Removable, and Poster])







Monday, September 29, 2014

I PROMISE....



NEED A LOGO?    Don Carter will pluck your dream logo out of your head and bring it to life.  Thank you Don!  I can't wait to tell everyone how this logo was born.


WHAT:
A pledge to y'all


Where are all the toy reviews?
What happened?
Here's the scoop.







Monday, September 22, 2014

PHOTOS from World Maker Faire






WHAT:
Just photos for now.  No links yet but you will find everything at 


www.makerfaire.com

We had an awesome time and this time, my body did not give out. I arrived when it opened and left when it closed on BOTH days and I still missed out on many things.







Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review + MEGA Giveaway: LEGO StoryStarter and StoryVisualizer: Toys Tell the Best Stories


Use this curriculum and you will see less scenes like this in the classroom.
 
WHAT: LEGO Education's StoryStarter Core Set and StoryVisualizer and Curriculum Pack (Basically Everything)
DOES: Teaches storytelling and writing alongside Common Core Standards- dream curriculum!!!!
INVEST:
$115.95 for set and $124.95 (the curriculum need only be purchased ONCE by a school

AGES: 6+
EXPERTSAnnie Kim, Learning Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, New York City (and the official Toys Are Tools Tutor!)

GIVEAWAY PRIZE: One extremely lucky winner will win both the StoryStarter Set and StoryVisualizer Program and Curriculum. Value $238!!!!!







Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review + Multi-Giveaway: Voice Dream Reader: The Must-Have Tool of 2014


http://bit.ly/EasyReading


WHAT:
Voice Dream Reader App -More Notes - an "after-show" following my article at Quartz

DOES: More photos, ideas, and observations about this incredible app.
INVEST:
$10, default voice included

AGES: 3+ ?
EXPERTS: Karen Janowski, Assistive Technology Consultant, & Nicole Kolenda, Speech and Language Pathologist,  Executive Clinical Director at the Atlas Foundation

GIVEAWAY PRIZE: There will be 10 winners!!! Woo-hoo! The first winner will get the On-Task On-Time Timer as well. (Giveaway is run by Toys are Tools- not Quartz)






Friday, July 11, 2014

Review + Giant Giveaway: The Best Toys of Summer 2014


Looking for summer toys? We got you covered. Testers 1 + 2


WHAT: Preventing the Summer Slide- a follow up to my story at Forbes.com
DOES: More photos, ideas, and fun facts about my favorite top ten summer favorites.
INVEST:
$3 and up
AGES: these vary by product
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: One person will win pretty much everything mentioned here. I think its worth over $400... have to add that up soon.

BEFORE you read this, make sure you read my top ten list at Forbes.com.  I hope you come back because in this post, I'll be offering you more photos and commentary to help you make your picks this summer.

Do you believe that there exists something called the "Summer Slide?"  I wonder how real this problem is and what can be done about it.

All I know is that come September, I ask my eldest this question, "So what did you learn in school today?"  It's a typical September question, no? His response is also typical.  "We just review.  We are just reviewing this month."

This brings lots of questions to my head.

Are we really supposed to give kids 10-12 weeks off every summer?
Are average parents equipped to prevent kids from regressing during the summer months?
What is gained by children in the summer?
Are those gains, if any, worth the risk of allowing for an academic-free summer "vacation"?
Do parents ever use the summer to cement the learning that took place in the school year?
Why aren't standardized test scores ever used to help kids use the summer to catch up to their peers?
If kids are assigned summer homework, should the "review" part that takes at the beginning of the school year be taken out of the curriculum?


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review+Giveaway: Managing Time is a Lifelong Skill- So Let's Get Started with Time Timer Plus & ZINGO! Time-Telling






WHAT: Time Timer PLUS  and ZINGO Time Telling

DOES: Excellent way to how time is always moving and to help measure that internally
INVEST: Game: 19.99; Timer: $37.95
AGES: Game 4+; Timer: Ages 2-102
TOOLS: Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Like An Executive, Flexibility is My Superpower
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: One Winner Receives Both the Game and the Timer!  Woo-hoo!





I think teaching time to kids is only half-done.  Time instruction mostly focuses on reading an analog clock and assess period in between two points in time. But why stop there?  Time is something that can help kids and adults be much more self-aware of their abilities and when people know themselves, they can stop comparing themselves to others and work on their own goals.

Do we ever ask kids describe what an hour feels like? And I'm so guilty of this: I tell my kids, "I'll be there in five minutes," but sometimes I'm not. Kids worry that a dreaded activity will go on forever because they don't really know what 45 minutes feels like but they may if you tell them, "That's like 2 episodes of Rabbids Invasion." Somehow, that is reassuring. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Guest Post: A Toy that Hugs is the Best Medicine



WHAT: Toys Are Tools First Ever Guest Post with Review
DOES:  Opportunity for us to get to know a very helpful book.
INVEST: $9-12 (depending on retailer); Chair: $85
AGES: For the Grown-ups

GIVEAWAY PRIZE: Get Your Own HowdaHug chair. 



From Jenn:
Seven years ago, I checked myself into the E.R. because I thought I was having a heartattack. It made no sense because my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were always good. But my chest was hurting and I could barely breathe.

But it wasn't a heart attack. Acutally, it was a panic attack. I think the stress of having Number 1 and Number 2 with all of the "not normal" and yet "advanced" things they were doing were making me crazy. I don't do well with mixed messages.  I started to wonder how bad were my kids' problems and was I good enough to deal with them? I decided to answer this question by writing a blog and through that I met others like me who wanted open dialogue on this issue.  With each blog post, we attempted to wash off all shame and fear and opened up our private lives in hopes that we'd be helped by being helpful.

One person I met on this journey turned out to be extremely helpful, building a support blog serving thousands of parents of children with ADHD.  She has since moved on to let her branches grow higher and wider.  The publication of her book is just one of many achievements she has made. Expect more from Penny Williams in the future, a woman I am so proud to call my friend.

A Toy that Hugs is the Best Medicine


My son, Ricochet, has ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Dysgraphia, and a high IQ. I’ve been searching for the right support tools and toys for him since his diagnosis in 2008. It’s difficult to find toys and tools that hold his interest and support his challenges. Science, geometric, and building toys are his top interests. But, even when he’s highly interested, it’s sometimes hard to sustain attention and stick with something for an adequate period of time. Part of that is his ADHD, but part of it is also his need for consistent sensory stimulation, due to sensory processing disorder. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Announcement: Your iPad Can See You Now- More Photos


Want to motivate a kid to pick up a pencil?

WHAT: More Photos Re: Announcing Crowdfunding Campaign: OSMO by Tangible Play
I rarely write blog posts about such campaigns or even iPad games but OSMO is different.  Read my post at Forbes but check out extra pictures below.

Read it right away.  You don't want to miss the incredible deal.






 

It's that simple.



 
Lucky kid gets to meet the co-Founder Pramod Sharma.
 


What, it's not S I N G E R? Think.... Think!!!!!

Not easy....

Former Google Engineers, now co-founders of exciting new ed tech game! Jerome Scholler and Pramod Sharma.


Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturers of anything mentioned here for the publication of this review.  The reviewed items were provided to Toys are Tools to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised. 

 


 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Faber-Castell: Upgrade Your Art Supplies for Less



WHAT: Faber-Castell's Premium Children's Art Products incl: Connector Watercolor Paints, Do Art Watercolor Pencil Set, Clic and Go Brushes, Collapsible Water Cup
DOES:  Can inspire your little one to learn the magic of watercolor and teach himself techniques!
INVEST: $6 to $15
AGES: 6+  
TOOLS: Express Yourself, Flexibility is My Superpower
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: You will get all four products being reviewed. How cool is that!?!



How often do you have your kids paint in your home?  I feel that we don't paint often enough. I think it's because we fear mess.  As the kids get older, we have less tolerance for mess (the paper towel kind). The mess we have now in our home looks like underwear, socks, and LEGOs on the floor.

But when they were little, we really liked them painting, didn't we?  I bet you might have even had an easel for them! But poor older kids, we never buy them easels now.  If you were like me, here is a post that may have you reconsidering the whole painting thing in your home.  You really don't want to miss out.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Latest at Forbes: How to Find the Top Ten Toys that Kindle Kids' Creativity




UPDATE: My latest blog post at Forbes.com Leadership Channel
WHAT: Top Ten Toys that Kindle Kids' Creativity
AND: Convenient Shopping Links to My Affiliate Retailers


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Remote Control Machines: Play Like An Executive





WHAT: Remote Control Machines by Thames and Kosmos
DOES:  Learn remote control machine functions easily with this kit and then make your own crazy contraption
INVEST: $84.95
AGES: 8+  
TOOLS: My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Like An Executive
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: You will get your own Remote Control Machines Kit mailed to you!!!




There are only two times that I have actually apologized to my kids for not having bought them something.  The first was a book that I thought my son obsessed over way too much but he loved it.  (It actually ended up inspiring a lot of art work- some of it was sold!)

The second time was to Tester #1 and I did this last week.  I told him that I was sorry that I didn't buy this set for him sooner.  I thought it was out of my price range and now that I think about it, I have spent that kind of money before and on toys that are not even half as awesome as this set.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Roominate: Lighting Up the Building Blocks of Imagination

How do you inspire kids to go beyond the kit?  Answer: Get the right kit.



WHAT: Roominate by Maykah, Inc.
INVENTORS: Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen
DOES: revives old toys with fervor, builds skills in design, planning, tweaking, collaboration
INVEST: Basic $29.99 and Deluxe $49.99
AGES: 6+
TOOLS: Think Like A Scientist/Engineer, Express Yourself, Like An Executive, My Body Needs to Move
GIVEAWAY PRIZE: Get your very own glorious box of Kinetic Sand from my Affiliate at ARK!


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