Category Archives: 2016

Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace by VTech

Go! Go! Smart Friends is a great name for VTech’s series of interactive play sets. Last year’s Go! Go! Smart Friends’ Busy Sounds Discovery Home was so popular with my 3 year-old twin grandchildren that one of them just told mom, “Nora … Continue reading

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Kathe Kruse Monkey Carlo Towel Doll

Monkey Carlo captured my heart as I opened the box to find him clutching his blankie with the beautiful Kathe Kruse details we know and love–a circular stitching that loops into hearts around the edge or his little turned out … Continue reading

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ALEX Toys My First House Activity Cube

“My First House Activity Center” was one of my favorite new toys at the NY Toy Fair this year. It’s loaded with potential language learning with the spinning cube hosting a different room of the house on each side and … Continue reading

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Jungle Train Journey Set by Hape

Hape’s Jungle Train Journey Set was clearly one of my favorite new toys at the New York Toy Fair this year! I  took a video of playing with this unique new train for our little toddlers and preschoolers. The monkey … Continue reading

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Bluebee Pals by Kayle Concepts

Want to soften technology with a cuddle and chat? Bring on one of the Bluebee Pals to oversee the learning! As a speech language pathologist, over the last 35  years working with kids, one of the biggest challenges was keeping them … Continue reading

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Wonderhood Grand Hotel Creative Building Set

Pack your suitcases and get on the road for a visit to Chelsea who lives at the Wonderhood Hotel. But YOU get to design the hotel just the way you like it! My friend got right to work, experimenting with design … Continue reading

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Wonderhood Corner Shops Creative Building Set

Who doesn’t like to play with a dollhouse and better yet, design it first? It was fun to watch my friend jump right into designing and  building, not looking at the picture on the box. She learned by trial and error … Continue reading

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Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe by VTech

VTech keeps upping the amount of learning in their toys and I think this activity desk is tops! First of all it is a 3-in-1 toy that transforms from a learning Activity Desk to open-ended play with a Chalkboard and Art … Continue reading

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Ring & Learn Cash Register by VTech

In my many years working as a speech language pathologist with preschoolers, I found that one of their favorite toys was always a cash register. They loved the interactive play with buttons, the cash drawer that popped out and the … Continue reading

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Care for Me Learning Carrier by VTech

Kids love pets so now they can transport their little plush doggie in this interactive pet carrier with light up learning features. Open the door to put your plush puppy in and he starts up, “Woof, woof, into song and lets you … Continue reading

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Ark by Hape

The story of animals boarding Noah’s ark, two by two is fascinating as is this beautifully designed and crafted puzzle by George Luck. Are there 2 of every animal? Kids and adults enjoyed identifying the animals and trying to interlock … Continue reading

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Memory Palace by Peaceable Kingdom

Heads up everyone–Peaceable Kingdom has brought us yet another fantastic cooperative learning game that is loads of silly fun! Set out the 16 palace tiles in a grid, randomly place 3 Memory Monsters face down, and start your play with … Continue reading

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Crayola Jewel Maker

As a little girl, I loved an art project so I am drawn to Crayola’s Jewel Maker to share with young designers. This kit has plenty of materials to have a girl party and create with friends. Lay out the … Continue reading

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Crayola Emoji Maker

Crayola’s new Emoji Maker is part science experiment, art project and messaging activity! Kids assemble the marker, use the color mixing guide to see how many drops of each color to use, measure the colors, insert the inner absorbent plug … Continue reading

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Crayola Crayon Factory

Moms love that kids can re-purpose broken crayons, and kids love to create a car, dog or heart character from melted crayons! Place your crayon or broken pieces to the fill line of the tube, snap the mold into the … Continue reading

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Crayola Air Marker Sprayer

Set up for this fun was so quick and although you should protect your surface, if you follow the directions and keep the nozzle close to your paper, there is very little mess. All I can say is I wish … Continue reading

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My First Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler

Little ones can grab the round ball stylus and have fun in the sand with no mess to clean up! The magnetic ball quickly connects to the circle in the sand so kids can create their own designs. Light up LEDs … Continue reading

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Officially Licensed Little House on the Prairie 18″ Laura Ingalls Doll and Accessories by The Queen’s Treasures

The Queen’s Treasures, who has inspired kids to bring history alive with its 18″ doll accessories, has now given us their first doll, Laura Ingalls, from the beloved “Little House on the Prairie” series. Her strikingly beautiful blue eyes, sweet spirited … Continue reading

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Tell-A-Tale by Getta1Games

As a speech language pathologist I certainly love a cooperative story telling game! Set up Tell-A-Tale Fairy Tale Edition’s slotted base, punch out the prop and character pieces–mountain, door, bag of gold, magic potion, cauldron, fairy, knight, dragon, unicorn and … Continue reading

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Cheese Stack by Getta1Games

Cheese Stack is a fun beginning game for preschoolers with an element of pretend play as mice Pip and Squeak attempt some balancing feats! With 3 options for play, kids can take turns balancing the cheese wedges on Pip’s head, … Continue reading

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Janod Zigolos Elk and Fox Looping Stacker and Rocker

This is one busy elk and fox! Beautifully made, combining wood stacking pieces, moving balls and felt ears, tails and antlers, this rocker will keep your toddler busy sliding, stacking, moving and chatting! Build fine motor skills while moving the … Continue reading

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Janod Zigolos Shape Box Pull Along Bear

Little bear is off on a stroll, pushing his cart of shapes. With a little swagger and wiggle, he makes pulling or pushing this cart fun for your little ones. Take the colored shapes in and out for naming colors … Continue reading

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ALEX Toys Ready, Set, Dinos!

Everyone knows that kids love dinosaurs, so get ready for some learning fun! Kids are invited to discover fun facts about dinosaurs through making carnivore slip-on feet, a T-Rex puppet, a finger apatosaurus puppet, and a stegosaurus whose boney plates … Continue reading

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ALEX Toys Ready, Set, Bodies

“Ready, Set, Bodies” is a box packed with cleverly introduced learning! A little monkey doctor shows kids the science behind their amazing bodies, in language a preschooler can understand. 8 activities give kids a hands-on craft that simulates some function or system … Continue reading

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ALEX Toys Ready, Set, Sew

Kids love to sew–boys AND girls. I wish I’d had this set for my last visit to the grandkids. Instead I found myself at the craft store, buying all the accessories to outline and stuff a dog and monster! ALEX Toys … Continue reading

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Arckit Go Colours

This newest Arckit set, the architectural model building design tool, contains 175+ colored and clear pieces to design modern and traditional spaces. The addition of colored pieces makes the kits more kid attractive as younger budding architects can envision their … Continue reading

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SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood by Smart Toys and Games

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a favorite fairy tale that comes alive in SmartGames’ new preschool puzzle game. With 48 challenges to solve, kids get plenty of brain exercise charting a path to grandma’s house, dodging obstacles. Beware of the wolf … Continue reading

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NogginSeek Peek and Seek Rattle by SmartNoggin Toys

Hang on babies! SmartNoggin has given us a new milestone maker which is loaded with fun learning. “NogginSeek” is a cognitive rattle ready to teach our little ones to look,  listen and locate sound as they check out that cute … Continue reading

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Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De la Pena and Christian Robinson

The cover of “Last Stop on Market Street” is filled with medallions for awards and it is no wonder. I’ve incorporated this book into many language lessons since it was published and kids love it as do I. CJ is … Continue reading

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Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea by Robert Burleigh and Raul Colon

Often parents ask me for suggestions for good biographies for their early elementary aged girls. Add the STEM trend for girls and “Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea” is a great pick for daughters to be inspired by female scientist Marie Tharp. … Continue reading

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Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood and Sally Wern Comport

This extraordinary true story takes kids across the world to the rubble and trash of one of the largest garbage dumps in the capital city of Paraguay. Ada and sister Noelia grew up in this town “made of trash,” watching the … Continue reading

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Leaps and Bounce by Susan Hood and Matthew Cordell

“Leaps and Bounce” accurately describes the rhyme, rhythm and illustrations in this bouncy, joyful tale of growing up to be a frog!  Spotted round eggs explode into cute goggly eyed tadpoles and four-footed friends, described by Susan Hood in her lyrical … Continue reading

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Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

As a speech language pathologist, I look at books from a little different angle. Of course it needs a great story line, but I am looking for rich vocabulary, interesting language and illustrations that could tell the story by themselves … Continue reading

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Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

This simple rhyming text is joined by Ehlert’s signature vibrant, collage illustrations of “rain fish” who appear in streams of water after a rain storm. Kids loved identifying the collection of debris and found objects that made up the fish, … Continue reading

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Little Scholar Mini by School Zone Publishing

My first reaction to Little Scholar Mini was “Wow! What a variety of learning content for kids!” Loaded with over 200 educational apps, including games, songs, videos, and activities geared for preschool, kindergarten and first grade children, this mini tablet doesn’t … Continue reading

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Mighty Makers Director’s Cut Building Set by K’NEX

Ready, set, ACTION! Lily’s behind the camera and Zoom the dog is ready to perform! But first we have to construct our movie set, complete with a stage, side door, ticket office, sliding curtains, and backdrop scenes, and props.  Kids … Continue reading

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Mighty Makers Fun on the Ferris Wheel by K’NEX

Meet Emily and her bear Cocoa in the beautifully illustrated instruction book as you are invited to take a visit to the amusement park. But first, you get to build your own shaded booths and Ferris Wheel, exploring how it works, … Continue reading

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Playroom Prep by Rosalyn Kemp

When I opened “Playroom Prep,” I immediately recognized that a seasoned educator had laid out the fun (teacher mom and daughter team), engaging activities for children to prepare for their first classroom experience. As a speech-language pathologist I am always excited … Continue reading

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Brackitz Inventor 100 Piece Set

I opened the box of Brackitz and my little builder got right to inventing. What fun to see a sibling and friend join the fun and begin their own creations.  My little engineers were connecting, taking apart and revising their … Continue reading

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Wonder Forge Dr. Seuss Thing Two and Thing One Whirly Fun Game

This game was so much fun, do I dare say that a 10 year-old wanted to keep it as the family played together? Wonder Forge, known for its creative, spunky preschool games, loaded with hidden learning, has brought the silly … Continue reading

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Brio Village Family Home Playset

Kids (mine included) have loved Brio trains for almost 60 years and now there’s a newcomer to Brio World, the Village. Working with kids for over 35 years to improve their speech and language, I am excited to see the addition … Continue reading

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Disney Jr The Lion Guard Boulder Burst Game by Wonder Forge

Kids loved playing this game as they simultaneously built up the dam higher and added “water” balls through the storm clouds. Who can pull out a boulder and stack it on top without bursting the dam? Wonder Forge has again … Continue reading

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Suspicion™ Game by Wonder Forge

Pass out the invitations to the masquerade party at the estate of art collector Baron Whitetooth, and the game of suspicion, secret identities, theft and deductive reasoning begins. Race to expose the jewel thieves, other than yourself, by selectively playing action cards to … Continue reading

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Fire Station Train Set by Bigjigs Toys Ltd.

How fun is a fire house with railway access on two levels, making fire fighting and rescuing speedy and exciting? Combining high interest kid themes of a fire station and train, Bigjigs Toys has included just the right accessories to … Continue reading

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Pull Along Cat by Bigjigs Toys Ltd

Every toddler loves a companion to take along on new walking adventures, discovering the delights of indoor and outdoor exploration. This Pull Along Cat is a favorite as it accompanies kids easily with its wide wheel base, and flexible body … Continue reading

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Parachute by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley

As a language therapist, I am drawn to books that have lots of strong vocabulary and text as well as those that have less text and beautiful illustrations that fill in the story, leaving an excellent opportunity for kids to … Continue reading

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Once Upon A Sign: The New Three Little Pigs by DawnSignPress

As a family started viewing “The New Three Little Pigs” everyone was full attention to the story, regardless of age. Mom remarked, “It holds kids’ attention because it is different than what they usually see.” Using a combination of live … Continue reading

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Creativity Castle by Build and Imagine

Every time I set out the creatively illustrated story walls from a new Build and Imagine set, I learn something, watching kids in action! I’m always amazed at how fast little hands are constructing their story and building while modifying the plot as … Continue reading

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Circuit Maze by Thinkfun

I told my 10 year-old friend that I had an electric current game for him to try and he was sitting outside my house when I got home, so excited to start! “Circuit Maze” didn’t disappoint as my friend got … Continue reading

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Janod Baby Forest Fox Ride-on

This little fox needed no introduction as my 2-year-old friend went right up to it and started riding around the kitchen! The rotating front wheels allows toddlers to steer their fox around while propelling themselves, “I like the fox” our … Continue reading

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Janod Doctor’s Suitcase

Unzip this soft doctor’s case and little hands went right in to take out the spring loaded shot, reflex hammer, stethoscope, otoscope, thermometer, tongue depressor, prescription pad pencil, bandage roll and bottle of disinfectant (or used as medicine in our … Continue reading

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Kaloo Les Amis Medium Cookie Leopard

Kaloo’s special packaging tells you right away you are in for a treat! Kids waited in anticipation as I pulled the little ribbon tab on the bottom of the box insert to reveal another compartment with a darling spotted baby … Continue reading

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Kaloo Les Amis Medium, Pepit Penguin

Mom’s loved Kaloo’s Les Amis Collection the minute they saw the beautiful box. As I pulled the ribbon tab to reveal the little penguin inside, my 2 year-old grabbed it and held him in a tight hug with a big … Continue reading

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Kaloo Rouge-Medium Bear-Sandy Beige

Kids fell in love with this bear with the big floppy feet. Look underneath to see the signature red stripes and you recognize Kaloo’s attention to detail. This cuddly soft friend was a fast companion with a 4-year old as he … Continue reading

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Kaloo Rouge-Medium Rabbit-Cocoa Brown

Kaloo’s rabbit is love at first sight with his big, soft, silky floppy ears that endeared him to our little boy playmates. I knew the rabbit was popular because he was repeatedly hidden around the house, taking a nap, etc. … Continue reading

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IO Blocks Vehicle Set by Guidecraft

We opened the IO Blocks box, looking for instructions, and found that they were located in a free app. Before we had time to download the app, my 4 year-old friend was quickly building one model after another, in this … Continue reading

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Better Builders Emotions by Guidecraft

We emptied the box of 30 pieces of interchangeable bodies, faces, feet, hair and trunks as kids quickly started snapping the magnetic parts together to build their figures. Each of the 6 faces expressed a different emotion, well-known to kids–happy, … Continue reading

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Floating Island by Plan Toys

Kids love water play whether in the tub, sink or pool. Plan Toys brings us this new floating adventure with our sandy beach and coconut tree surrounded by the sea and a turtle, shell and crab. Little fingers easily grab … Continue reading

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Calafant Medium Sets by The Haywire Group

Calafant combines what’s terrifically fun for kids while inspiring pretend play. With their make-and-play medium sized cardboard building sets, they encourage kids to customize a Princess Castle, King’s Castle, Three Little Pigs or Pirate’s Treasure with 12 high quality markers. Get … Continue reading

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Calafant Large Sets by The Haywire Group

Calafant’s large construction sets encourage creativity from the moment kids pick up their markers, paint or crayons to start customizing their Pony Farm (over 2 feet wide!), Palace or Fortress. With 3 levels of learning–construction, coloring and pretend play, these … Continue reading

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Alphabet Woods by SimplyFun

Take a walk in the Alphabet Woods, building trees with letters in alphabetical order. Kids put together the puzzle base and started adding their letter cards vertically until 7  made a completed tree. Play gets interesting when kids can play … Continue reading

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Nut & Nuttier by SimplyFun

Play gets pretty nutty with kids matching letters and squirrel positions while slapping their hands on the pile to be the first to recognize a match. Each additional match requires kids to say a word beginning with the letter on the … Continue reading

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Teepee Tent by Hape

Kids love a cozy hideaway to call their own and Hape’s new Teepee Tent is just that!  Connect the stable wooden poles and slip on the cover to quickly start the pretend play. Kids transform their very own “home” with … Continue reading

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High Seas Rocker by Hape

Besides being one of the most beautiful toys, this High Seas Rocker provides lots of movement for your little toddler. Step into the boat and shove off the shore, wave goodbye and smiles abound. This boat satisfies a toddler’s need … Continue reading

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Quadrilla Space City by Hape

Hape describes their newest glow-in the dark Quadrilla Space City as “Construction and Connectivity”. So much of the learning is in the building and connecting both physically and verbally. Our family of kids explored the pieces and got to work, using a … Continue reading

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Compound It All! by Lee and Low Books

There’s something inherently fun about compound words–maybe it’s that feeling of accomplishment as we successfully combine two different words to represent a new word and meaning. Compound It All! gives us that chance to search for words to combine using those in … Continue reading

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Q’s Race to the Top by EQtainment, LLC

Q, our little dusky leaf monkey is on his way to the top of his treehouse to reflect on his day after answering questions and performing fun actions to improve his EQ (emotional intelligence/emotional quotient) and start the conversation about … Continue reading

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Q-Time Buddy by EQtainment, LLC

Q has come to befriend, teach and cuddle a child, family or a classroom of kids. Children loved Q, our plush monkey, who’s designed to spread out on a child’s tummy to encourage relaxed breathing, as kids watch their friend rise … Continue reading

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Q’s Wild Ride CD Storybook by EQtainment LLC

Kids were intrigued by “Q’s Wild Ride” Storybook because Q’s challenges were so applicable to their age level. Q is a dusky leaf monkey who has the book smarts–good reader, solves tough math equations and builds inventions– but there’s a gap … Continue reading

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Mon Premier Bebe Bisou by Corolle

My little 2 year-old friend picked up Bebe Bisou and said, “That smells good!” The fun was just starting as he pushed the baby’s tummy and heard the giggle. I loved his look of complete surprise as he pressed again to … Continue reading

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Frog Mirror Set by Fun Flex

This happy, speckled frog brought smiles to baby’s face as she reached for him and looked at herself in the mirror. His soft, fuzzy, pliable feet were perfect for tasting and getting some sensory information through play. Fun Flex, is a … Continue reading

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Dancing Crab Set by Fun Flex

One of the top new companies I found at New York City’s International Toy Fair this year was Fun Flex, showcasing a modular system that includes a flexible arm that connects to a clamp on one end and interchangeable infant … Continue reading

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Tiggly Shape’s Got Talent by Tiggly

“Tiggly Shapes Got Talent” is Tiggly’s newest learning app designed in partnership with Herbert Ginsburg, Columbia’s Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Psychology and Education. With the option to use the brightly colored physical shape toys, kids can stamp the correct shape on their … Continue reading

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Lincoln Logs Collectors Edition Village by K’NEX

What a treat to open this giant can of Lincoln Logs with 327 pieces to create your town. With so many of the basic pieces–5 types of logs, 4 various roof pieces and 3 different support pieces, kids provide the … Continue reading

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Friends and Neighbors by Peaceable Kingdom

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is getting a lot of attention these days with parents and teachers looking for fun ways to get kids talking about their feelings, and how to act in different situations with empathy and compassion. Peaceable Kingdom has … Continue reading

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Janod Pleximemo Farm Memory Game

Come on down to the farm for a clever memory game, combining scenes with their associated animal, truck or garden object. What goes with the pile of hay, the doghouse, stable, or hen house? A pitch fork, dog horse and … Continue reading

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Memory Yoga by ThinkFun

This unique combination of a memory game and teaching some beginning yoga makes it a fun learning experience, exercising mind and body. I will admit I am a little biased as I have just discovered the benefits of yoga and … Continue reading

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Space Rocket with Launch Site by Playmobil

Kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on this space rocket, ready for take-off. It launched quickly, racing around the room after activating the 3-2-1 ignition sound effects, and flight sounds with kid-sized buttons for easy start up. After several … Continue reading

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Take Along School House by Playmobil

Kids, parents, and teachers love Playmobil’s Take Along line for pretend play, drawn into the setting as we unclip the little schoolhouse opening up to a mini furnished classroom with locked in flooring. If you arrive by bike, just park it in … Continue reading

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Large African Safari by Playmobil

Our little safari participants had such fun making a trail through the jungle calling out animals, “There’s the monkey!” after they loaded up the safari bus with 3 passengers and the guide. Don’t forget their luggage that fits perfectly into … Continue reading

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Anomia Party Edition by Anomia Press

Anomia means inability to recover a word, which we all battled as we got into play, but there is lots of depth and language learning to this game of naming in categories. Players take turns drawing cards from two piles … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Monarch Life Cycle

Folkmanis has outdone itself again with the new Monarch Life Cycle Puppet whose 3 zippers reveal each stage of metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis to Monarch butterfly with an unzip, tuck and zip! When I showed it to a first … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Black Dragon

My little friend immediately picked up the Black Dragon Puppet and was mesmerized. With the potential to be fierce (lots of hissing was going on) , this dragon is adorable in some ways too. His clear orange eyes catch the … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Yellow Beaked Crow

The Yellow Beaked Crow Puppet caught my eye at the International Toy Fair in New York City with that semi-crossed eyed look, tuft of goofy hair on top of her head and incredibly soft body with wings to animate with … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Slow Loris

As kids selected their puppets, Slow Loris got a little hug first and then my 10 year-old friend started reading the Facts of Interest.  The big brown round eyes engaged kids as they moved the mouth and arms (ours started … Continue reading

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Bring Your Own Book by Gamewright

Clearly a game that kids and parents can play together, “Bring  Your Own Book” was a hit! We played with kids’ picture books as well as a library book a child brought along. The Picker drew a prompt card, read … Continue reading

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Sleepy Lullabies Bear Projector by VTech

Moms liked our little Sleepy Lullabies Bear Projector as we felt slightly “soothed” ourselves, projecting the soft moving ring of bears onto the ceiling. This little bear can soothe with nature sounds, music or white noise set for 10 or … Continue reading

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Go! Go! Smart Animals Furry Animals Assortment by VTech

Look who showed up to play in the Go! Go! Smart Animals play sets or just by themselves. These furry interactive pets delighted kids, as their voices started up when pressing the light-up button on top of the heads. Robert, the … Continue reading

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Baby Amaze 3-in-1 Care and Learn Stroller

My little friend walked right into the playroom full of toys and headed for the stroller. I demonstrated to Mom how to depress the ribbon button to transform the stroller into a bassinet and high chair. We turned our backs … Continue reading

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Crinkle and Roar Lion by VTech

Our take-along lion says he’s “ready for adventure” and so was our little friend who played with him! A soft plush, smiley companion, this lion is covered with patterns colors ribbons, shapes, textures and sounds for a parent or caregiver … Continue reading

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Count and Learn Turtle by VTech

This turtle is a wonderful learning companion for independent play or interaction with a parent. Slide the ladybug button to select one of the 5 options for following directions and explaining concepts in the categories of numbers, counting in Spanish, sequencing, … Continue reading

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On the Moove Activity Bar by VTech

My little baby was certainly on the move as she explored this farm themed activity bar from VTech’s new Infant Learning line.  Her whole body started moving as she looked at each animal, slapping at the rings, grabbing them and … Continue reading

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Zoo Jamz Microphone by VTech

Kids loved jamming with their animal band using this pint sized microphone. With 3 options for play, the singing safari can begin! Slide the button to learn about instruments, named and played as kids pushed the colored buttons surrounding the … Continue reading

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Alex Toys Woodland Wonders Activity Center

Kids walked right up to this Woodland Wonders Activity Center and got to work–oops I mean play. They do go hand in hand when kids are loving what they’re doing and have a toy loaded with learning from top to … Continue reading

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Alex Toys Simply Needlepoint

Kids DIY crafts are a hot item and I can totally relate. There was nothing I liked better to receive on a birthday as a child than a “project box.” I felt a little like being in the middle of … Continue reading

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Alex Toys Little Hands Big Artist–Crayon

Just look what language you can learn from paper and crayons. In Alex Toys Little Hands Big Artist series the crayon kit provides 12 brightly colored crayons, coloring sheets–plain and outlined and a snap together case for on-the-go fun. With … Continue reading

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Alex Toys Little Hands Big Artist –Marker

Markers are magical to kids, maybe because children feel a little grown up moving into real marking! Alex Toys adds to the learning by offering some ways to experiment with drawing. “Lots of Dots” tells kids they can try filling in … Continue reading

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Fast Flip by Blue Orange Games

Play started quickly with the easy directions and quick flips of the triangular cards. “It’s sort of a game like Spot It!” a player called out after a few rounds. In this game of fast recognition, players flip over a … Continue reading

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Janod Tactile Puzzle–A Day at the Zoo

Kids love to go to the zoo so why not grab this delightful preschool puzzle to start up a fun conversation about the animals? Constructing a puzzle together with your child is a wonderful language activity, as you take turns … Continue reading

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Janod Little Miss Vanity Set

My Little Miss was all smiles as she played with Janod’s vanity set. No instructions needed as she walked over to comb my hair, apply lipstick and spray me with perfume. She especially liked the eye makeup as she dabbed the … Continue reading

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Janod Splash Magnetic Letters Set

Parents are constantly asking me how to teach their children letters. Learning has to be fun so grab this colorful “Splash Magnetic Letters Set” and start the play. You might look for the beginning letter of your child’s name or … Continue reading

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Janod Country Club Riding School

Kids enter the Riding School through the big swinging doors, opening up the carrying case to a world of pretend play. Students in their riding gear can go to the tack room for bridles and saddles to mount their horse for class. … Continue reading

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Janod Zigalos Hen’s Activity House

Kids were drawn right to this hen presiding over her house of shapes and played with it non-stop! A color-coded circle, heart, square, triangle, cross, and star are pushed through corresponding holes in the house to slide down the ramp, … Continue reading

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Janod Baby Forest Shapes-Caterpillar

I knew this little caterpillar would be a hit when I met him at the New York Toy Fair this winter. Kids aren’t the only ones that like this little creature–educators will love him too as he is a string … Continue reading

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Janod Shape Sorter–Garden Textures

Kids loved this portable garden house where animal friends slip in and out of different shaped holes. Get to know the triangle, pentagon, square, circle, moon, and star as kids select matching shaped blocks with the little face that fits into the … Continue reading

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Kaloo Les Amis rocking Donkey

Kids stood in line to ride the soft plush Kaloo donkey with the broad sturdy seat. Our first rider set his toy down on the seat and climbed on saying, “Woof, woof, a bounce!” as he rocked back and forth. … Continue reading

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Janod Round Observation Puzzle Galloping Horses

I’m a big fan of Janod’s observation puzzles because there is so much activity and elements to talk about around a theme–in this case a horse farm. Horses are a hot toy theme currently and kids love toys that involve … Continue reading

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Janod DIY Foldable Workbench

Little fix-it friends need to take their hammers and screws on the road so this foldable workbench is perfect for setup at Grandma’s, in the garage, kitchen or playroom. Portable pretend play extends the scenarios that kids can imagine and … Continue reading

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Janod the Fantastic Castle

Let down the drawbridge and enter the castle, but watch out for the dragons. I thought they looked rather friendly but our little friends found them to be foe as they swooped down to knock down the knights guarding the … Continue reading

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Janod Fire House

Catch all the action at the Fire House, traveling up to all 4 levels, whether landing your rescue helicopter on top, climbing the ladder, sending out the ambulance or putting out the flames. Kids loved sending their figures through the … Continue reading

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Janod Garden House Shape Sorter

This garden house looks like it would house birdies but instead it contains colorful wooden shapes to slip through the corresponding holes in the roof. Kids love the thick shapes to easily manipulate and grab for another go at fun matching. … Continue reading

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Janod Gas Station

Drive your car, ambulance or taxi up to the gas station for full service or just a car wash. This vintage garage introduces kids to the many options for activities and they take charge, rolling the elevator up to another … Continue reading

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Janod Splash Adjustable Easel

Splash implies spontaneity and experimentation which is exactly what this easel is for. My mom/first grade teacher friend exclaimed, “I know I like this already” as I opened it up. Kids have two sides on which to draw their story … Continue reading

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Janod Fireman Magnetic Vertical Puzzle

What fun it was to see a puzzle standing upright! Kids and parents loved the concept as they assembled the fire truck from the bottom up. The magnetized double sided wooden pieces are substantial for kids’ grips as they figure … Continue reading

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Janod Princess Magnetic Vertical Puzzle

Kids and parents were fascinated by a “stand up” puzzle! My little friend put it together over and over, learning how the princess’ carriage differed slightly with a bigger wheel in the back versus the front. Pieces magically held together … Continue reading

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Janod Tactile Puzzle Life on the Ice

Life is fun on the ice as kids construct this menagerie of animals playing on the icebergs around an eskimo fishing in front of his igloo. Our little friend looked at the large picture first and started naming the animals … Continue reading

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Play Tape by InRoad Toys

Talk about flexible fun–kids set up play with Play Tape, unrolling the roads for a straight path or using the newly released curves to make road building easier to move around furniture, kitchen islands or beds. Our little friends thankfully had … Continue reading

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Color Alive Frozen and Avengers by Crayola

My little friends started out coloring Frozen’s Olaf, Anna and Elsa as well as the Avengers’ Hulk and Iron Man. I told them to use their special edition crayon for effects that we’d see later, as Olaf sparkled where the … Continue reading

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Neon 3D Chalk by Crayola

On the first warm day we headed outside with our Neon 3D chalk and the kids got right into big designing on the driveway. I left them with a bowl to hold their washable neon chalk and the 3D glasses. … Continue reading

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Brio Remote Control Travel Train

Kids loved being in control of their engine pulling their passenger. Ours climbed up and down the ramps and even went into the second speed to pick up the pace. The kids delighted in turning on the lights and warning sounds … Continue reading

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Brio Countryside Horse Set

My little friends were so excited with each accessory that came out of the box to the Brio Countryside Horse Set. As you can imagine, “Sky” the horse was the most popular piece that generated many opportunities to learn to share. … Continue reading

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Do Art Word Art by Faber-Castell

Words communicate, so can words in picture form communicate even more? Yes, according to my little friends who dove right into Faber-Castell’s “Do Art Word Art.” First big sister filled in the elephant outline with big, playful, wild, fun, nice, … Continue reading

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Ravensburger Hundreds of Horses

The opening paragraph describing the setting for the game, “Imagine a legendary horse farm nestled among rolling fields and pastures, with a majestic barn that has stood strong against a hundred winters” immediately reflects the depth of learning and beauty … Continue reading

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Ravensburger Buggaloop

HEXBUG’s buzz and erratic vibrating moves drew giggles and conversation as kids watched it scurry through the yard, weaving between players’ bugs and knocking some off their play space. Get ready to take some quick turns when the HEXBUG leaves … Continue reading

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Ravensburger Smartscope

The learning started when I took my friends for a walk to search for specimens to examine in our Smartscope. We collected seedlings, bark, moss, bugs, a rose pedal and leaf. That just got us started. After a relatively quick … Continue reading

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Rory’s Story Cubes: Dr. Who by The Creativity Hub

Rory’s Story Cubes excite the imagineer in everyone, but add a little “Dr. Who,” the British science fiction classic, and the adventure blasts-off. Led by a rogue time traveller, “The Doctor,” episodes range back and forth through the ages in their TARDIS … Continue reading

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Beary Rumples by Rumple Buddies

Rumple Buddies “Beary Rumples” is just fun to say let alone a wonderful first toy for your baby. Designed by a mom who knows her research, that high contrast black/white and red are preferred by newborns and more easily processed … Continue reading

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Teacher Chair by Pacific Play Tents

Some of you have seen my video when I discovered the prize at the end of the first day of the Toy Fair. The “Teacher Chair” was awaiting me among all the cute imaginative play tents in Pacific Play Tents’ … Continue reading

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Mother and Baby Plush Chimpanzee for 18″ Girl Dolls by The Queen’s Treasures

Mommy chimpanzee and her baby chimp were clearly a favorite and essential prop for pretend play at Jane Goodall’s research camp. Little girls and Moms are familiar with the story and love the opportunity to engage in some storytelling around … Continue reading

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Gombe Rainforest Camp Table and Chair Set for 18″ Girl Dolls by The Queen’s Treasures

I was amazed at my 8 year-old friend’s knowledge and excitement over Jane Goodall’s story and how she couldn’t wait for us to assemble the research tent, cot, desk and chair for immediate doll role-play. Her second grade teacher had … Continue reading

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Ravensburger Ocean Labyrinth

Ocean Labyrinth is Ravensburger’s newest version of their popular classic, which we’ve enjoyed as a family for many years. Now players can dive into an exciting underwater world, in search of a jelly fish, shipwreck, whale, sea turtle or stingray, … Continue reading

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Rory’s Story Cubes: Scooby-Doo by The Creativity Hub

My little friends apparently needed no instructions to start up a Scooby-Doo themed story with the newest Rory Story Cubes. “The gang was in this hotel when they discovered it was haunted. The door sprung open and a hand popped … Continue reading

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Crazy Letters by Mindware

Kids and parents loved this topsy turvy word game challenging players 10 and up to think outside the box. Hold up a word card and see who can decipher it first with some letters rotated (a “d” can actually be … Continue reading

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Rule Crazy, Starter Edition by P. F. Shaggy

This early reading game, developed by a father-daughter team,  is truly “rule crazy” because the rules are so flexible since kids are in charge. Place the 84 illustrated reading cards in the sectioned tray by subject, verb and action. Silly … Continue reading

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