Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sale on ARK's Buzzy Pencils

Update: 11/27/13   Ark is having a sale
ends 12/1/13 (psst.. if you are late a little, I think you'll still be okay if you shop on dec. 2)

discount only applies only to things labeled. "Ark's ____"  But you can fill up your shopping cart with other goodies to get that free shipping.  I think the lowest shipping at ARK is 4.75 but still, I love FREE SHIPPING and if they have those construction plates in stock and you want them, you should snatch them now.

Additional note:  Here is a link to a reader question about the pencils.


ARK Therapeutic is a truly amazing store! They do offer free shipping within the contiguous U.S. states for purchases of $100+.  I like that so many of their products are being sold for the lowest price available.  The best thing is that when you shop online at large retailers, you may NOT be getting the latest models just because the SKU number still remains the same.  (Yes, I know, that totally stinks, but it's true!!!) But ARK picks the finest products just for you and they manufacture a lot of what they offer in their store.  Much of it was made in the U.S.A.!

Feeling lost when you get there? No worries! I got your back!

If I were you and trying to get everything there is to get for $100 or more, then here's what I would put in my cart. (Remember to use the links here to shop!)
LOVE Kinetic Sand.  If you only want this then you can find out how much you have to pay by adding it to your cart and then going to your cart and pressing the "estimate shipping" button.  It's easy. They don't make you input all your info before you decide on how much shipping is going to affect your shopping decision.  I think that is very thoughtful!
Kinetic Sand $14.99

I loved Moon Sand but Mr. Toys Are Tools hated the mess and he finally threw it away when I wasn't home. That's okay because I have Kinetic Sand now. I hear it is flying off shelves too.  And fellow jungle primates: I've never seen it lower at Amazon (or with free ship either) and what is cool is that in the box, you just get sand.  No molds, no color, no figurines... just sand.  It's like the package says, "Yeah, you are a no B.S. customer. I dig that about you."  BTW, I do have this one.  Fat Brain Toys sent a box to me as a present a while back. It's heavy! So you want free shipping on this one so go for another $85 to spend. :)   It's not going to be hard here.

Lollacup  $16.00

I recently went to NY NOW and met Mark Lim.  You may have seen him and his wife Hanna pitching their company on Shark Tank.  She and Mark brought Lollacup to the world because they found that their daughter could not get an adequate amount of liquid because of the spill-proof valves.

I am so psyched to test this out with a specialist.  The weighted straw bottom and overall straw design are supposed to be conducive to good sipping.  I am curious to test that out!  But one thing that I don't have to find out is this: straw sipping is good for kids (as long as they don't bite on it).  I think it helps with calming/focusing and oral motor strength-building.   The packaging and price point also make it a cool gift idea.   Stay tuned, I will be reporting my finds after I receive testing samples!  And last but not least, I respect my fellow Korean Americans for deciding to make Lollacup the Made-in-the-USA child health and feeding item that it is. What a smart product they have!

Crayon Rocks $29.99

Oh please please please Santa bring this to me.  They are so beautiful, I want to eat them.  Apparently they were created by an occupational therapist to promote the tripod grasp in young children.  Okay, that is nice and all but why give these to children when you can have a lovely bowl of these on your desk to stare at and feel great about the day.  I could choose the right colors to fit my mood for the day.  A rainbow mix for happy days.  Shades of yellow and green when Spring comes? A bowl of different shades of blue for those rainy gloomy days? Don't let anyone know that they are soy based wax and made in the U.S.A.  Tell folks that they are probably dangerous so that no one will touch or steal your beautiful crayon rocks.
(Update 9.20.13- got this- expect a review soon).
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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?  A sale? Well you got one at 15% off and you also get a chance to further the cause of thoughtful toy reviews!

Want some more encouragement? How about a confession? I saw this product online one day and thought, "OOOH, must try if not, then I'll buy." I was never able to hold of the company folks to access a review unit and despite my savvy shopper ways, I have never spotted this plate and utensils on sale, not even on Amazon!   Last but not least, eating is a LIFE SKILL as in a college degree is good but being able to feed yourself is kind of more important, no?  This investment of $32.44 is something that you want to be reaping the rewards for way after childhood.  Hey, it's still cheaper than a Super Mario Brother Wii game.  Hope I will get to share a review about this one day.  It's such a great idea.   (Update 9.20.13- got this- expect a review soon).

Tran-Quill Pencil Kit (Plastic $36.50; Aluminum $46.50)
Tran-Quill Writing Kit (Aluminum only) $59.60
Spare Parts Kit $11.99
Pencil Tip $6.99
Butter Grip $6.75

Whether you have one or more children, I can't help but think that it's good to have two of these pencils. But there are so many ways to buy it, how does one pick? If you are interested, I can help!

Jenn's Comparison Chart for BIG BUYS IN BUZZY PENCILS

If you Buy: Option A
Tran-Quill Pencil Kit (plastic) X2
Pencil Tip X2
Butter Grip X 1 (get two in an order)
Total Cost: $93.73

 If you buy: Option B
 Tran-Quill Writing Kit X 1
 Tran-Quill Pencil Kit (plastic) X1
 Total Cost: $96.49

You will have in total:
 You will have in total:
1 Plastic Pencil Base
 1 Aluminum Pencil Base
1 Plastic Pencil Base
 1 Plastic Pencil Base
2 Butter Grips (one blue, one red)
 2 Butter Grips (one blue, one red)
4 Pencil tips
 4 Pencil Tips
1 Small Blue Carrying Box
 1 Carrying Box (haven’t seen it)
1 Small Blue Carrying Box
 1 Small Blue Carrying Box
2 Pencil Sharpeners
 2 Pencil Sharpeners
6 Green Bite-n- Chew (unscented) Tips
 7 Green Bite-n- Chew (unscented) Tips
12 pencils
 18 pencils
0 Pen Tips
 4 Pen Tips (Assorted Colors)
0 Triangular Pencil Grip
 1 Triangular Pencil Grip
0 Sample pages of EZ Script Writing paper
 Some-Sample pages of EZ Script Writing paper
ADD: Spare Parts Kit and your total is: $105.72

 ADD: Spare Parts Kit: and your total is: $108.48

If you want to have two pencil sets and have some extra pencil tips lying around then I would definitely go for Option B.  If you are a teacher or therapist.... please please please buy an extra one to lend out to families (but make sure they GIVE it BACK!) As parents, our biggest problem is not being able to try-before-we-buy. You can help us by lending it to us.  Heck, I'd even borrow it for a fee!

FunBites Square   $12.99
FunBites Triangles $12.99

While some may think this is a luxury, for some, having bite-sized foods is a strategic way of reaching out to kids who need a bit of scaffolding at meal time. Maybe they stuff their mouth? Maybe they dislike taking bites and instead like to pick and tear their foods which can end up messy and be a turn-off socially.  Besides, when something comes in uniform bite sizes, it is just more appetizing?  Think like this, when was the last time you ate a California roll that was not cut into the little tiny cylinders? Taking a bite off an uncut roll? Well I did that a couple of times in my life when I was really hungry, I'd never do that in front of people.

Tot Tools Food Holder $7.50

I don't have this but I am so curious about it.  Why? Well, I would like to know if it can hold a Big Mac.  Maybe it can't and maybe the makers of this tool are horrified that I mentioned Big Mac and their tool in the same sentence (sorry).  But it is because while I am no McD's fan, I love Big Macs.  My eldest does too and can even forego the Happy Meal just so he can eat the Big Mac.  But my kid is distracted and he eats slow and what happens when you eat a Big Mac slow? It kind of breaks apart and much of it ends up in the cardboard container and you end up being mad at him for not eating something that you don't love him eating anyway.

For that mess of a sandwich and any other messy sandwiches, it looks like this Tot Tools thing can help.  But I'm not sure.  I should try it, no?   You might want to wait for me to do so but if you are looking for a little something to make the $100 mark to qualify for free shipping, this could be just the thing.

 WhisperPhone $9.75

I love this thing!  If I ever wrote a story about the best educational miracle tools of the world, this would be in the top ten, sitting up there with an iPad, unifix cubes, wooden blocks, computers, and dice.  Read my review about Whisperphones and then go get a couple of these things for school and home and a back up for lending to friends or possible loss or theft.  And parents, get the big one for big kids (GR. 4+) and yourself too. For me, I love using MY Whisperphone to proofread my work or practice a speech.

Why buy Whisperphone?  My kid takes a while to digest information verbally.  He has trouble connecting sounds to letters sometimes (phonemic awareness).  To me, the Whisperphone is doing what the ARK Tran-Quill pencil does. You get more learning done even though you are not doing more work! It's as if it helps you become more absorbent like the difference between a cheap paper towel and Bounty. I love Bounty and I love the Whisperphone!

The Bubber Kit $34.99

I haven't tried this personally but my Spidey Sense tells me this is a real winner.  The key words are "no stain" and "no residue." This kit apparently comes with play ideas of varying difficulty and molds too.   This seems like a very cool birthday gift too.  More importantly, Bubber doesn't dry out and is gluten-free. I mention this because I used to make gluten-free playdough and so if this is used in school then I really want to make sure that no one gets left out. It's also nice for the teachers to not have to worry about this and spend extra time asking parents to send in a substitute. I have no idea how these folks can manage to remember everyone's allergies.  My hats off to teachers as they face another year of memorizing all their students' scary allergies.

The CODE for 15% off is  BTS15

Use it or lose it (by Sept 16th)

* Jon Elder Robison wrote in his book, Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian about a time when he was having a first dinner date with a woman. He talked about how horrified she looked as she watched him eat.  Now that I think of it, I should say this to my son. I think it will motivate him. He doesn't like girls yet but he knows he will.  HA!


I really want to know what you think about when you are back to school shopping.  Is it all about rulers, notebooks, and markers or do you think about troubleshooters, problem-solvers, need-satisfiers like fidgets, beanbags, assistive tech, chew stuff, etc... No answer is wrong here.  Just want to know what is on your mind!  It's important to me!

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A BIG SHOUT OUT TO the lovely occupational therapista in my life who told me about the vibrating pencil.  When she told me about it I think I said, "are you kidding, I can't afford that!"  But you know what? I can't afford NOT to have that. It goes to school every single day!!!!! HURRAH!!!!!!!! ( Update 9.20.13- so far, it has had perfect attendance when coming home. Love you Buzzy Pencil)

Disclosure:  Toys are Tools is a very very very proud affiliate of Ark Therapeutic. That means that if you, make a purchase after going through one of my links in this post, then I, will not only be so happy, but I will be receiving a commission at no additional cost to you!  This post was written with the idea that you might want to consider a different kind of back-to-school shopping. I really hope you do.  Starting the new year off with an attitude of PROaction vs. REaction is my back-to-school wish for my family and yours. Thanks for sticking with me!


  1. There are so many toys out there with great potential that it's hard to pick and choose. One I got for Krismas is Swish Jr by Think Fun

    What attracts me is that it is three-dimensional, the cards can be layered, flipped, rotated because they are transparent.

  2. I like Disruptus the most. I am hoping we will get it this Christmas. I like the reviews that I have read of the game and I am in love with the other Funnybone Toys games that we do own.

  3. LOVE Jeepers Peepers! My little guy is profoundly dyslexic and cannot do the game HeadBandz. This game is exactly like it, without the need for reading! Thanks for the tip on this game!

  4. So many awesome toys here! Camelot Junior looks amazing! :)

  5. I'm considering the reptangles, not sure if the maganformers might be even more useful since we love to combine all different magnetic blocks to make a "carnival" or "crazy house"

  6. The Lego plate is our favorite because Legos are the absolute favorite toys for all 3 of my kids hands down. The boys keep the little Legos in their room and we keep Duplos down in the living room. We have found their little sister playing Legos by herself in their room and they often build the Duplos together.

  7. My boys would have fun with the Scientific Explorer Magic Science Wizards Set.

  8. The Zome Tool Crazy Bubbles is pretty awesome.

  9. my vote is for the Q-BA-MAZ. I think it is an interesting way to build a maze and good for creativity.

  10. Hands down the QBAMaze was the favorite. All of the cool additions like the plastic tubing make it more fun and interesting to watch the marbles. But the WordAround came in a close 2nd place! You really had to work hard to figure out the words. My daughter wouldn't let me move on to the next toy because she wanted to figure out what the words were. And we had a good laugh when she said "an-chor" and then stopped herself to sound out anchor correctly. Awesome list of toys--I'll definitely use this list to do my Christmas shopping. Thanks TAT!

  11. My daughter insisted that the Sifteo cubes be on the list!

  12. Squigz! They are on my ASD 4 year old's list this Christmas. She will just love the sound they make, and she loves building and stacking!

  13. Laser Maze is my fave from this list. The whole idea of having to think a few steps ahead is a concept can really help lots of different kids with different abilities.

  14. Here's a game to consider: I wrote a post about it here: It encourages reading with a built in reward system, its a great way to get kids moving around and it promotes problem solving

  15. Timeline was my favorite though it was a tough call between several of the things on this list. Why? I teach history so obviously I am attracted to this toy and I also thought the design of the cards was pretty. A lot of graphics in history toys and books for kids are artistically terrible.

  16. Here's a vote for MAGFORMERS!!! Thanks to a link you posted when they
    were 1/2 price at Amazon, I picked up a box for my Lego-obsessed 7 yr
    old. They will tuck nicely into his stocking on Christmas eve. :-) I
    think -- no, I KNOW -- he's going to love them. Different from Lego,
    sure, but still very much a building toy that is helping his spatial
    planning and fine motor skills.

  17. I love the Tobbles Neo blocks and am sad that they are out of stock on the Fat Brain website.

  18. I just checked Red Hen Toys, another affiliate of mine but they are sold out too. bummer. so sorry. go back to FB toys and see if they can help you find a local retailer who sells them? or you can try my amazon link. check to see what shipping is like.

  19. The Laser Maze --- awesome

  20. I would love, love, love to get the woodmobiel for my boys.

  21. lisa, they are on sale now. code:ootsfriends 25% and free shipping within the U.S. I love our Woodmobiel creations. I can't believe our xmas tree is made from Woodmobiel. I wish we had this since they were toddlers. we would have saved so much money!

  22. my vote is for the Q-BA-MAZ

  23. I like the WordARound because im all about reading games

  24. i want the lego plate because what kid doesnt like legos ? i know my kids go crazy for them! thats who i'm voting for!

  25. I like the OgoDisk by OgoSport, it looks fun!

  26. i think you did a great job ! awesome !:)

  27. I like Jeepers Peepers because it is a game that all of us can sit down and play as a family. It also gets the kids' brains working.

  28. would like to be Epic Reaper of Mexico to help those who do not have the medal and also attract more people to Gears of war Jugdment as it is an excellent game :) My Gamertag is Karlitos615 it is normal I almost never encounter and why game Gears of War Jugdment daily to play and only once I saw happy Christmas Epicgames good: D and People Canfly.

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