Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shop ARK and Be Victorious!

Constructive Plate $14.95
Garden Fairy Plate $14.95
Constructive Utensils $ 17.49
Garden Fairy Utensils $17.49

Cool idea, actually, brilliant, genius idea, you say.... but the price is too high?  If you thought that then you are not alone.  So I tried to think of some questions that help me decide whether or not to cough up $32.44.
  1. Do you fight at the table?
  2. Do you think "Neanderthal" when you see your kid eat?
  3. Does your child have trouble writing? Writing and self-feeding are connected skills.
  4. Do you worry that your child will still eat like this even when he is an adult?*
  5. Does your child use his other hand to assist his fork in bringing food into his mouth? Think shoving spaghetti in mouth vs. slurping it in.
  6. Would you want to buy this for your favorite niece or nephew or your best friend's kid who could really use some encouragement at the table?
  7. Does your child insist that his foods remain in isolated compartments?
If you answer Yes to 5 or more questions, then I say to you as I say to myself. What the heck are you waiting for?...............

Ok, here's more encouragement.... How about a confession?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Toy Tips: MORE LEGOs for LESS!

I bought this for $15 and it was a steal just because I stacked the bricks first.  Look below to see what I mean.

No kidding. This is for real.  The contents of both containers were all in the container above.

WHAT: Pick A Brick at your Local LEGO Store
DOES: if you use good spatial reasoning, you can save BIG!!!
INVEST:  $ your time but use this as a life and math lesson for the kids. It's a win-win.
TOOLS: Fertilize Responsibility and Courtesy, Family Fix-its
EXPERT OPINION: In this case, that would be me!!!!!!!!!  Because I am super cheap!!!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review + The Young Writer's Giveaway Package: The Tran-Quill Pencil: Beefing Up Muscle Memory

Like driving, you don't want to be thinking about the mechanics of writing when writing. You can't drive safely this way and you can't write efficiently this way either.
For many kids, writing is a terrifying and dreadful act. As a writer that makes me sad especially if it is happening with my own children.  Thank you to Little Red Writing and ARK Therapeutics for making this special Young Writer's Giveaway Package.

WHAT:  The Tran-Quill Pencil Kit by ARK Therapeutic
INVENTOR: Speech Language Pathologist, Debra Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP and her husband John Lowsky, BS ME. (Mechanical Engineer)
DOES: gentle vibrating mode provides extra feedback to muscles thereby making writing easier, more efficient, and more enriching
INVEST:  $36.50-$46.50 and even less if you already have the Z-Vibe
hmmm... with professional guidance or supervision, I would guess 3/4+ for the pencil kit?
TOOLS: My Body Needs to Move, Express Yourself
EXPERT OPINION: Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Integrative Nutritionist, Susan L. Roberts, MDiv, OTR/L 
GIVEAWAY PACKAGE: One Lucky Winner Will Receive a Tran-Quill Pencil Kit AND a copy of Little Red Writing, a new book about writing written by Joan Holub illustrated by the great Melissa Sweet!
COUPON CODE until 9/16/13: Check out my separate post on my picks and my code. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review + HUGE ThinkFun Giveaway: WordARound: Movement, the Brain, and Reading

To me, each WordARound card comes with its own special "reading motor." Read on to find out more why I think a child who struggles with reading can be helped by games that require more movement from the child.

WHAT: WordARound game by ThinkFun
DOES: Another Back-To-School educational game delight!  This games uses a child's love of movement to encourage more accurate decoding
INVEST: $12.99
10+ (we have played with nine year olds)
TOOLS: Foment Love of Language, My Body Needs to Move
EXPERT OPINION: Dr. John Ferrera, Child Psychologist, John Ferrera Ph.D. and Associates, Karin Buitendag, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Director, Occupational Therapy, STAR Center (Sensory Therapies and Research Center)
GIVEAWAY: Sensational Package of Both WordARound and Laser Maze will go to ONE very lucky winner!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review & Worldwide Giveaway: MeMoves: Prepare the Body For Learning

Why is very cute boy's arms glowing?  I can explain.

WHAT: MeMoves by Thinking Moves
INVENTORS: Roberta Scherf and Chris Bye
DOES: works to prepare the mind and body for learning; calming; midline work
INVEST:  $59.95 for DVD Program (The iOS app is $9.99)
AGES: 3+
TOOLS: I Can Take of Myself, My Body Needs to Move
EXPERT OPINION: Karin Buitendag, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Director, Occupational Therapy, STAR Center (Sensory Therapies and Research Center) and Amy Baez, Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Founder of Playapy
GIVEAWAY: TWO Winners will each receive a MeMoves Program complete with DVD, Music CD, User Guide, and Puzzle Cards

+1 Demo: Async load

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review + Contest Info: The Art of the Brick: Inspiring Awe in LEGO-Loving Families

Oh, yes, The Kiss by Klimt is totally made of bricks. photo: Emily Bell
Did you think LEGO Mindstorms was the most challenging way to work with LEGOs? I did but not anymore!

The Art of the Brick Exhibit by Artist Nathan Sawaya at Discovery Times Square

DOES: an exhibit that can change the way you appreciate art as a family, definitely changes the way you look at those beloved LEGO bricks! (Could inspire both you and your child to go crazy with LEGOs at home) 
INVEST:  Tickets: $17.50 (child 4-12), $22.50 (adult), $19.50 (senior 65+)  If you don't live near NYC, no worries, look for more info below to find out if the Brick Artist is in your area.
AGES: Children are welcome but they can't touch
TOOLS: Express Yourself - (when you try to interpret art of others), Work Experience, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer
CONTEST INFO: Submit a photo of your child's LEGO creation to win tix (up to $135 value) and have their work displayed for all the world to see! (up to 40 creations) Read below for details.

+1 demo: Explicit load

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Back to School Success Part 1: On-Task, On-Time, and On-Target

Teaching organization and time management to young ones is easy with On-Task On-Time Timer
Simple. Simple. Simple. That's what they need.

Welcome to Back to School with Toys Are Tools! 

WHAT: On-Task On-Time Timer by Timely Matters
INVENTOR: Moschel Kadokura
DOES: allows your child to learn about time management by setting and fulfilling his own tasks and expectations in a timely manner- NO SMALL FEAT!
INVEST:  $49.95 (possible to be used by two kids- if time is on your side!)
Suggested 5-12 (my suggestion: can go younger or older- read the review and view photo/video carefully to decide)
TOOLS:  I Can Take of Myself, Family Fix-its

+1 demo: Basic page

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review & Giveaway: KENDAMA: "For Hand-Eye Coordination, It's Superb"

D1AOP4 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

WHAT: Kendama and Kendama Pro by YoMega

DOES: allows your child to work on those very important hand-eye coordination skills!
INVEST:  $9.95 and $19.95 respectively
TOOLS: My Body Needs to Move, Social Scene Helper, My Body Needs to Move
EXPERT OPINION: Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Integrative Nutritionist, Susan L. Roberts, MDiv, OTR/L 
GIVEAWAY: Win BOTH Kendama toys featured in this review! $30 value! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: Bathroom Independence is Possible!

Do your kids NOT know how much shampoo/body wash to use?

Soap Saver and Mom Calmer

no more yelling at the kids for using half a bottle of shampoo in one day

INVEST:  $ Super cheap
I would guess 4/5+
TOOLS: Family Fix-it, I Can Take of Myself