Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Plus-Plus: A Natural Way of Learning

Are you in love or what?   photo: Geared for Imagination

 Plus-Plus from Geared For Imagination

DOES:  opportunity to practice bilateral coordination, creative building in both 2D and 3D, calming little building blocks, a great example of how one shape can do so many things
INVEST:  $9.99; $19.99; $34.99; $59.99 MSRP  (sizes in pieces: 100, 300, 600, 1200)
AGES: 3 and up
TOOLS:  My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Social Scene Helper, Express Yourself, Holiday/Birthday Build-Uponner 
EXPERT OPINION: David Wells, Manager, Creative Making and Learning, New York Hall of Science
GIVEAWAY: Win a 600-piece Plus-Plus package in Basic or Neon Colors!  You decide! 
SEE SPECIAL SALE just for us below!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Z-X Crossbow Supports Fine Motor Skills? YES WAY!

How does this lead to supporting fine motor control?  Is this for real?

Air Storm Z-X Crossbow by Zing Toys

DOES:  opportunity to practice bilateral coordination and crossing the midline
INVEST:  $19.99 MSRP
AGES: 8 and up (successfully done with younger child with some guidance) 
TOOLS:  My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Social Scene Helper (sports played along among like-minded folks help ease social setting), Lose and Win Gracefully
EXPERT OPINION: Aimee Prainito,Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Prainito Pediatric Therapy 
GIVEAWAY: Win the Z-X Crossbow!  It's the easiest of the three (Z Curve and Zip Bak)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thank You Letter & Giveaway: Balloons Over Broadway Lifts Up Young Inventors' Spirits

I feel like she wrote this just my children (and yours).  It's a story of creative problem-solving by a born-maker.  photo: Melissa Sweet

Balloons over Broadway, a book by Melissa Sweet

DOES: Use this book to inspire your child's inventor qualities and aspirations, demonstrate problem-solving feats in a historical context, talk about machines in a storybook for kids 
INVEST: MSRP  $16.99
TOOLS:  Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, 
Flexibility is My Superpower, Inventor Profiles, Holiday/Birthday Build-Uponner (this could be a GREAT present to go along with a building kit for the holidays- will add sincerity and depth to your gift!)
AGES:  oh..probably somewhere in between 3-99
GIVEAWAY: 2 copies of Melissa Sweet's book DETAILS BELOW  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Double Shutter: The Anatomy of an Addictive Game

Just as in life, you can't control the hand you've been dealt but you can control the decisions you make.   Double Shutter is totally AWESOME!

WHAT: Double Shutter by Blue Orange Games
DOES: an educational game that gives practice in risk analysis, encourages you to leave as many possibilities open so you can keep on playing, less confrontational than other games and yet still competitive, can be played solo and with friends
Lose and Win Gracefully, Math is Everywhere (new), Social Scene Helper
AGES: 8+  (kids as young as 5 have enjoyed this game, need to understand basic addition though)
EXPERT OPINION: Kerry Kappell, Gold Life Master, Certified Bridge Director, ACBL Accredited Bridge Teacher, Manhattan Bridge Club

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review & Giveaway: SmartMax Power Vehicles: Stocking Stuffers or Holiday Build-Uponners? You Decide

Is this not the cutest thing ever or what?  The Bulldozer and other Power Vehicles are a steal at $10.99 each.  photo: SmartMax

WHAT: SmartMax Power Vehicles by Smart Toys and Games  (Bulldozer, Lift and Ladder, Pick-Up)
DOES: Unique click-on wheels and attachments to make your own vehicle.  Mix and match between the three for more open ended play; appeals to many ages; excellent way to try out SmartMax toys without feeling burdened to buy a thousand blocks. 
INVEST: MSRP  $10.99 each  That's it!  Wow!
Express Yourself, Holiday/Birthday Build-Uponner, More Make-Believe Please
AGES: 3+  
GIVEAWAY: Two SmartMax Power Vehicles- Your choice!
FREE GAMES:  See below for news on just-launched to try SmartGames for free!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review & Giveaway ($240 total value): Coerceo: Strategy Gaming - Gangnam Style? YES!

All of these skills are precursor life skills and I think Coerceo is great because you can make it as hard as you want - Susan Schwartz, Learning Specialist   photo: Coerceo

WHAT: Coerceo  (Mensa-Select 2012 winner, strategy game)
DOES: Encourages creative problem solving as well as planning ahead;  this game is in the caliber of fine wine and cheese, you won't play it everyday but it will always be special when you doINVEST: MSRP  $50 approx. (in US dollars) (39.95 Euro); Luxury Version (attractive wooden box; 69 Euro- $87 US approx.) 
TOOLS:  Think Like a Scientist/Engineer (super visual-spatial), Lose and Win Gracefully - you won't mind losing to masters, Flexibility is My Superpower
AGES: 7+  (may possibly go younger but haven't tried yet)
EXPERT OPINION: Susan Schwartz, MAEd, Learning Specialist, Friends Seminary
GIVEAWAY: 1 Luxury Version of Coerceo and 3 Standard Versions of Coerceo (Overall total value= $240 approx.)  DETAILS BELOW  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Zingo! Sight Words: Learning is Easy When It's Fun!

"Zingo is amazing!" said Alison Berkley, one of my fave education experts and co-owner of Emerge and See Education Center

WHAT: Zingo! Sight Words by ThinkFun
DOES:  Third rendition of the popular Zingo! game; Uses nifty tile release gadget, colorful boards, fun themes to encourage and improve sight word recognition
INVEST: MSRP  $19.99
Fertilize Responsibility and Courtesy, Foment Love of Language, Lose and Win Gracefully, Remember to Learn
AGES: PreK- Grade 1  (Read how we've made it easier and harder!)
EXPERT OPINION: Alison Berkley, Co-owner, Special Education Teacher, Emerge and See Education Center

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Geomag Glow Moon Explorer: High Quality Toys Teach Kids to Shop Smart

He said this shape looked like one of his favorite logic puzzles and was amazed that it was originally a simple pentagon.

WHAT: Glow Moon Explorer by Geomag
DOES: great open-ended magnetic building block vehicle that doesn't obligate you to buy more pieces. (It's a mindset that can be achieved!); can be used as a low-key introduction to Geomag toys
INVEST:  $25.50 MSRP
TOOLS:  Express Yourself, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer, Holiday/Birthday Build-Uponner
AGES: 5+  ( I agree with this age rec; more fine motor stability required to build)