Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review (+ Free Samples): Illuminations: Summer Sun Makes Indoor Fun?

Coloring it while already taped to your window is another way to go.  You get a bigger workout this way too!

Illuminations Coloring Books by Mindware (Floral, Animal, Circles, Optical) and Fine-Tip Markers

DOES: an activity that celebrates summer in an indoors-kind of way; 
INVEST:  $7.95 per book (Collect all four) 16 pages per book (that is a lot if you consider how intricate they are)  $5.95 for the markers ONLY (24 beautiful colors)
6+ (fun for parents too)
TOOLS: Express Yoursel, My Body Needs to Move (Fine Motor + Upper Core)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Creativity Week Part 4: Review & Giveaway: Kaleidograph: Math is a Delight in Variations

BILLIONS of combinations can be made with your child's hands but that would take a lot of time so please don't let them do that.

  Kaleidograph distributed by Red Hen Toys

INVENTORS: Norman Brosterman, John Lilley, & Scott Bultman
DOES: you can make beautiful rotational symmetrical designs that are totally unique; prop it up to declare your mood for the day? use it as stencils? car toy? order a customized t-shirt? perfect gift for kids and adults alike
INVEST:  $12.99 - $14.99 depending on retailer
When they stop chewing on board books, they can have a go at it?
TOOLS: Social Scene Helper, Express Yourself
EXPERT OPINION: Petra Pankow,  Manager of Tours and Gallery Interpretation, Montclair Art Museum and independent museum arts educator at various institutions (MoMA, Guggenheim)
GIVEAWAY:  Win your own pair of Kaleidograph Toys (Crystal and Flora)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Creativity Week: Part 3: NYSCI Makerspace: Learning by Making

Very smart.  They don't give you a big safety lecture right when you walk in but they DO tell the kids what tools are available to them and explain how to use them safely.  It's a big difference that kids appreciate.

WHAT:  Make It: Woodworking at New York Hall of Science
DOES:  being creative with raw materials that might hurt you if you're not careful? YES! I love it! Sign us up!
INVEST:  Class costs $8 for member and $10 non-members.  Space is limited and running for a limited period of time.  Other Make classes are available throughout the year.
AGES: 5+
LIVE OUTSIDE OF NYC?: Don't worry, I've posted ideas for you below.
TOOLS: Think Like A Scientist/Engineer, My Body Needs to Move, Express Yourself

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Creativity Week Part 2: eeBoo Scratch Paper - Good Art Sets are Simple Yet Fine

Pictured is eeBoo's Patterns Scratch Paper Set

WHAT: Scratch Paper Sets (Foil, Fluorescent & Patterns) by eeBoo
is a treasure chest of hidden designs in each paper; you won't know what you have until you scratch and create your effect.
INVEST:  $11.95 to $12.95 for each set that contains 4 sets of 5 different papers  (20 8x8 sheets with bamboo scratch stick... that price is awesome!)
5+  (could go lower for kids who just want to draw)
TOOLS: Express Yourself, Think Like a Scientist or Engineer (pattern thinking)
EXPERT OPINION: Petra Pankow,  Manager of Tours and Gallery Interpretation, Montclair Art Museum and independent museum arts educator at various institutions (MoMA, Guggenheim)
GIVEAWAY:   Win all three sets (value $35 approximately) of Scratch Papers!!!  You are set for the summer!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Creativity Week: Part 1: Can Creativity Be Canned?

LOOKOUT for a Giveaway ($30 value) of some very awesome looking OTish fidget/accessory and look at the amazing cans. Creativity for Kids wants creativity to make a comeback but can we get it from this little can? There is only one way to find out.
WHAT: Creativity Can by Creativity for Kids
DOES: according to many people who take time to observe and reflect, there is a crisis in our country.  It's been dubbed the "Creativity Crisis" and so this week Toys are Tools is kicking off Creativity Week. 
INVEST: $ Only.Your.TIME  (Costly but high returns highly probable!)
hmmmm... supervise if under 3 but if over three, don't supervise, join, play, encourage, assist and document them but don't be like me (talk too much and ruin it)
TOOLS: Express Yourself, I Can Take Care of Myself
EXPERT OPINION: Petra Pankow,  Manager of Tours and Gallery Interpretation, Montclair Art Museum and independent museum arts educator at various institutions (MoMA, Guggenheim)

GIVEAWAY:  Win Color Cord Bracelets Kit AND Make Your Own Paracord Bracelets Kit  (valued at $14.99 each but really, have you tried buying one of these?  They're not cheap!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

TOP TRAVEL GAMES (Pt. 1) + GIVEAWAY ($100 Value): Skills Should TRAVEL Outside of School!

There will be at least two travel games stories this year.   Here is the first package: Clockwise: Telestrations Bendy Man, Mastermind Travel Edition, Kaleidograph Flora, TENZI, Kaleidograph Crystal, Mini-Mouth, Swish, Qwirkle Travel Size, IQ Twist, 2nd Telestrations Bendy Man

Car ride-induced boredom, not knowing how to patiently wait for food 2-3 times a day in a restaurant, bickering from boredom (child), bickering from frustration (parent), children who do not know how to keep themselves occupied while you check emails that I (shouldn't be checking anyway because.... oh dear, it is our family vacation and I am the worst model in the world...

First, I have to put my smartphone or tablet down or close my laptop and think about what I want to remember from this trip. (I am so wired that I sneak-read emails in the bathroom sometimes- how pathetic) When I make myself take some perspective, I realize that I want our vacations to be memories of listening to my kids laugh and watching my husband de-stress.  We will do that with the planned activities on the trip but those in-between moments when we are waiting for our food, when we are waiting for someone to get ready, when we are locked indoors because it is raining... those very moments always end up being the mental snapshots I remember from my family vacations.

Can you believe this Mindware game (Qwirkle) is being played on a Mindware game (Imaginets)?  For games that require scoring, you can use things like this to keep your pieces (Imaginets' case closes and locks) and keep a magnetic dry erase marker to keep score.  All of this can happen in a car.  You just have to be a bit flexible with rules.

How my two boys get along with each other are also major mental notes and most memorable things are the changes in their skills and interests. Thus, for the past few vacations, I have been bringing books and games to my vacations because I realized that we can not be busy every single moment of the day.  There will be downtime. We will need the downtime.  If you think you might need some too, check out Part I of my top travel games coverage .  This one has games for all ages but mostly fitting to older elementary school age kids.

Top Travel Games- Part 1

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Super Magnetics: A Pocketful of Science

Magnetic putty attracts children too.  photo: Iridescent Learning

WHAT:  Super Magnetics by Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld
DOES: NEWLY IMPROVED for 2013- a magnetic putty that is more appropriate for younger kids, safer and more flexible- thus further allowing you and your child to learn about magnetic forces in the most HANDS ON way possible!!! It's just super fun to explore this toy
INVEST:  $14.95 MSRP
AGES:  8+ (I have gone lower but please exercise caution)
TOOLS: This Like A Scientist/Engineer, My Body Needs to Move, Father Day Ulterior Motives Gift (Hey, play with the kids a tad more.... with something Daddy will love)
EXPERT OPINION: Paige Teamey, Director, Engineers as Teachers, Iridescent Learning 
GIVEAWAY:  Win your own tin of Super Magnetic Putty! You can choose the color! Reactive Razz (magenta), Tidal Wave (electric blue), Strange Attractor (black) and Quicksilver (silver)