Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: The Best Cheap Tablet Cases for Kids

It's always better to play comfortably so getting a good tablet cover can help add to the fun.

WHAT: Tablet covers ... almost all under $20........ covering our favorite Android, iOS, and Windows tablets that are great for kids!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

At Quartz- Best Tablets for Kids - Don't Miss This Mega-Review

WHAT: Read this before you open your kid's new tablet. You might want to get something different or set it up in a totally different way than you planned.

Thinking of buying a cheap tablet this season?
Sick of restoring your iPad to factory settings?

Have you wondered about buying these tablets?

Don't want to spend hours trying to understand security controls?

Kids not reading e-books or playing educational games (the ones that they may actually be learning from?)

The story at Quartz is about the following tablets:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide on Robots at Quartz- I Now Speak Robot and Will Translate for You!

WHAT: At Quartz- the Complete Guide to Buying a Robot for Your Kids

Yes, I am late at making a best toy list but I have been publishing it elsewhere.  I am assuming that you are all following my Facebook page but just in case.... don't miss this guide.

What, you already bought a robot?  What, it's not on my list?

Uh, do you still have the receipt?

Just kidding, but read this. It will help you enjoy what you will buy or have already bought!

Happy Holidays!

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, December 12, 2014

Giveaway and Review: Holiday Best Toys: The 2014 Best Play Invention of the Year is...

The Toys Are Tools Play Invention of the Year 2014 is.....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Latest at Forbes- Holiday Toy Shopping List on Non LEGO Blocks

ZOOB DNA photo courtesy of inventor of ZOOB:Michael Joaquim Grey

WHAT: Latest list- Why Buy Something Other than LEGO?  Here are ten reasons why. 

I love LEGOs as do many of you but I find that as you get older, kids really benefit from having played with another system.  They don't have to amass an entire collection like they do LEGO but getting different stuff helps.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Real Deals For Real Toys: No Flat Friday Fluff Here

I love eeBoo.  Shoppers can use HAPPY9 to get free shipping. Fact: eeBoo's prices are best on their site and at neighborhood toy retailers.  I often find that Amazon overprices eeBoo products as eeBoo is very supportive of neighborhood toy stores. some recs: pattern paper, play papers, corrugated paper, Obstacles, Community, and Pattern Tiles. effective: Monday 12/8 to Monday 12/15.

WHAT: Here's a list of coupon codes for toys that I think are completely fabulous.  

All dates apply to 2014 unless otherwise noted.

I have been very very very disappointed in this year's BLACK FRIDAY sales.  I went to Toys R Us yesterday morning at 9 or 10 am and literally looked at each aisle 3 times to find a bargain.  It looks as if virtually every bargain advertised were the only bargains around.  What was really disappointing was how I saw the Draw Something game being sold for $3 when I bought it for $4 two weeks ago. WT_?

Here's a running list of items that you will love
I will try to be as accurate as possible with code expiration dates.
I am also mentioning if I am an affiliate here. I have been too busy to be enter new affiliate agreements so if please don't think that me not being an affiliate means anything.   

Gryphon Design Collective:
20% off: promocode: WINGS20
ending.. don't know when... sorry!

We have the Marine Rescue Center and we think it is fab. It is more story than building as you will see that building with magnets means it is not lockable but you do want fluidity when you want to create story.... change your mind... change clothing..... change plot... You know it!

CODE for 20% off:    BFF      over very very soon.  Don't delay.

 p.s. I'm not an affiliate here. I will be writing about this in one of my blogs soon!

ARK Therapeutic- especially love the Tran-Quill Pencil
20% off
 Now through Monday Dec 2, take 20% off every order over $20 with the code THANKYOU. 
I'm an affiliate here.   I love the Tran Quill Pencil.   They have it in BLACK now too!

 Kaleidograph Snowflake at RED HEN TOYS!!   Just out and made New York Times gift guide.   Woo-hoo!   Looking for deals here. This is my affiliate! It means that if you shop here (btw, I shop here) after going thru my link then I get a small commission.   Other loves at Red Hen Toys include:  eeBoo Pattern Tiles, Felt Mosaic, Design Tiles, Obstacles, Community.  I love eeBoo!!!  Also check out the book: Inventing Kindergarten. Mind-blowing.

KURIO Xtreme at Best Buy

at Best Buy for $99      Best deal out there for this.   Parental Control for dummies. seriously.  why stress?   Has a motion game (kid moves, pad stays still and watches kid move like swim), easily lock out certain website, still testing out their "genius filtering system"  So far, it is a pleaser. 

p.s.  I'm not a Best Buy affiliate.  Tell me if I should be.
sales until  Sunday, Dec. 1   Free accessories and Sphero is $99 and you'll get a free Chariot with cell phone slot and lego hardtop to make just about anything you want! Ollie comes with a free accessory with purchase too!
midnight ET on December 1,  save 30%, no code needed. free shipping!!!!!!!  I am not an affiliate but my testers totally love them.   Don't be surprised if they are all gone. BTW, here is my referral code.  Apparently they give this to all their customers to help spread the word.   I am supposed to get $5 back for each purchase referred by me.  Cool.   guess you can do that too!   Either way, I just bought two sets and save a ton of money.  Woo hoo!

Excellent shoelaces that you will never have to tie.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Shop Black Friday at Toys R Us (My Way)

WHAT: My Toys R US Black Friday Shopping Picks
DOES: Hopes to Save You Time and Money and Point Out the Good Stuff
$ your time $$$$$$$$$$$

There is no such thing as Black Friday anymore. Sales swirl around us and keeps us glued to our devices and has us carrying fliers around and memorizing prices like we are auditioning for the Price is Right. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Toy Tip: Chris Rock and Kaleidograph- Holiday Meltdown Prevention

Chris Rock talks about the commercialization of Christmas (a.k.a Jesus' birthday)

An endless supply of Holiday Cheer for just $12.95

WHAT: Antidote to Holiday Frenzy = Chris Rock Monologue + Kaleidograph Snowflake
INVENTORS: Scott Bultman and Norman Brosterman
DOES: The Cure for Holiday Craziness

AGES: 5+
TOOLS: Express Yourself

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Toy Review + Giveaway: Executive Function Toys of Mattel: Bounce-Off and Hot Wheels Air Brush Auto Designer

Bounce-Off! - Practice playing this crazy game with focus and delight- not easy.

It's reusable but you get only one car.  Plan ahead to make it great!

WHAT: Bounce-Off and Hot Wheels Air Brush Auto Designer
Regulating one's energy; Air Brush is good for planning and execution skills

$17.99 for Bounce-Off; $34.99 for Air Brush Auto Designer

AGES: Both ages 6+
TOOLS: Express Yourself, My Body Needs to Move
GIVEAWAY PRIZE:  Win both sets!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review/ Giveaway: Crayola Virtual Design Pro: Sharpen Your Creative Vision

What do you get when you take this:

 and some of this:

Ever imagine, you'd get this?

I always thought Smart Toys and Games pieces were beautiful.

and kids can make their own cars for a driving game too- just like this one!

Kinda messy but......

this car is good enough to drive.....

HOLIDAY GIFT TIP #1- It Starts NOW!!!!! WHAT: Crayola Virtual Design PRO (FASHION & CAR DESIGN) and Virtual Fashion Show     
DOES: Never have I seen virtual and digital design toys like this, ever!
$21.99 to $29.99

AGES: 6-8
GIVEAWAY PRIZE:  winner chooses fashion or design set $30 value. The set is inspiring and gorgeous.

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!!!!!!!!!
$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.
  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


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.

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

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

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!!!!
$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

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

DOES: More photos, ideas, and observations about this incredible app.
$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)