I can’t begin to capture the excitement and joy I felt going up and down the isles of the Jacob Javits Center filled with the latest and greatest toys! Of course I was on the hunt for great toys to encourage language development through creative play. I want to share some of the highs and lows of my quest.

High: New games at Blue Orange. I love their games, the colors, the feel of them, the multi-faceted abilities they draw upon, and strategy required to play them. A favorite from last year is “Froggy Boogie” where the little frogs are trying to escape their parents and travel around the lilly pads to win. New games are coming out that involve penguins guarding their colored eggs–yes you have to remember where they are, and a new twist on dominos called “Fundominos.” Keep your eyes open for them. Other great products from this company for the preschool set are “Zimbbos!” and “Coo Coo the Clown”, both balancing games that require fine motor skill and strategy to keep the clown and elephants from tipping.

Low: I was lead on a walk through a new dollhouse by an very enthusiastic salesperson. She excitedly showed me how to walk my little girl figure to the bathroom, press down near the potty and a flushing noise was made. Then if I pretended to wash her hands at the sink, a voice from the dollhouse spoke and said something about “flush and wash” and reinforced my good habits. Again the voice from nowhere spoke and directed my figure to the kitchen to eat some fruits and vegetables, reinforcing good habits, but this time in food choice. Wait a minute. Isn’t the idea that I should be leading the play, not the voice withing the dollhouse?? Your child’s language is enhanced when she is the leader of her play, not the toy. Her imagination and pretend play is actually limited by the toy suggesting her play route.

Okay, enough for tonight. I will give more highs and lows tomorrow.