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Magnets are magical.
At least, they seem so to young children.
Hold a paper clip near a magnet, and it flies toward it. Hold two opposing magnets near each other, and they seem to hover.
Magnets are great for encouraging children’s curiosity about the physical world. What are different objects made of? What are metals, and what does it mean to be metal, as opposed to wood or plastic? How much paper can I hold on the refrigerator with a single magnet, and why?
With Magformers, children can safely enjoy exploring magnets while building 3-D creations from flat geometric shapes. Cylindrical magnets are encased in each side of the plastic triangles, squares, hexagons and other shapes, and each side of each piece sticks to any other piece. They’re one of our Fall Top Toys! In addition to learning about magnetic properties, Magformers helps children develop spatial thinking: the ability to picture the location of objects, their shapes and their positions as they move. By creating 3-D objects from the flat magnetic pieces, Magformers helps kids understand and manipulate the elements of a structure.
“Spatial thinking is associated with skill and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as art, graphic design and architecture.” —Nora S. Newcombe, Ph.D., What Does “Spatial Thinking” Mean?, learnnow.org
The sets come with diagrams to help kids get started with their 3-D shapes. Once they get the hang of it, they’ll be building castles, airplanes, towers, or whatever they can imagine.
Magformers construction sets come in various color schemes and are great for kids 6 and up. For the child who loves cars or electronics, the Magformers Walking Robot Set and Magformers XL Cruisers Set include a walking mechanism or wheels to set your creations in motion.
They're also great building toys for younger children (with supervision). Since any side of a piece can attach to any other side, it's easy for preschoolers to grasp the concept and start building quickly.
So pick up some Magformers, and see what you can create!
I hear this all the time:
“Live in the moment.” “Relax.“ ”Stop worrying.”
Do you have trouble following that advice? I do. It seems like my mind never stops racing.
Children, however, seem to have no trouble living in the moment. When they’re playing, all that matters is their game, their toy, or their art project.
And that’s why adult coloring books are so magical.
I discovered coloring books for adults last year. The first time I tried one, I rediscovered that laser focus on play that kids so easily have. I sat coloring for about an hour, and I was completely engrossed in the pattern and colors. The TV was on behind me, and I didn’t even hear it.
I’ve had friends tell me that the idea of coloring makes them anxious – they worry they’ll be too finicky about the end result. But for me, that’s not the point. It’s about taking the time to let go of your worries, to let your mind slow down, and to let colors just flow onto the page as they will.
That’s why Learning Express Toys named adult coloring books and pens to its Spring Top Toys list. Who doesn’t need a mental break once in a while? These books are a relaxation tool at your fingertips. Our selection is great for kids and teens, too.
Adult coloring book options
From the soothing waves of The Mindfulness Coloring Book to the cute popsicles and cookies of the Happy Snacks Color-In’ Book, you can choose the book for your mood. Some books, such as the Free Spirit Coloring Book, include examples of finished designs to inspire you. Intricate coloring books such as Secret Garden will keep you busy for many hours, and others such as Notebook Doodles: Flowers add inspiring quotes to the coloring mix.
Adult coloring book materials
Do you prefer glittery pens? Sweet scents? Smooth markers? Fill in your coloring books with any of these and more. The Super Duper Gel Pens Set, Tutti Fruitti Scented Gel Pens and Yummy Yummy Scented Glitter Gel Pens combine precise coloring with tasty aromas. Sensitive to scents? Try the Color Luxe Gel Pens for beauty without the fragrance. Brilliant Brush Markers feature long, tapered tips for artistic flair and accuracy.
I’m already planning my 15-minute coloring break when I get home tonight. I can’t wait to see what you create – share it with us on Facebook!
Color me happy,
I love watching my 2-year-old nephew learn right before my eyes.
One time, he was playing with a toy truck and a play tent. The tent’s doorway had a lip, and he tried to roll the truck into the tent several times, only to get stuck on the lip. After a pause – you could almost see the gears turning in his mind – he realized he could lift the truck over the lip to get it into the tent. Triumph! He learned something, and you could see the results immediately.
That’s why we love the SpinAgain and the Play n’ Trace. These two Spring Top Toys help develop children’s natural curiosity about the physics of spinning and gravity, as well as pattern recognition and visual outlines. These versatile toys help toddlers and preschoolers to explore and discover their world.
The SpinAgain is a colorful stacking toy with a twist – the stacking discs corkscrew down the center pole. Toddlers seem to never grow tired of placing the colorful discs at the top and watching them spiral down!
I asked a friend, Lauren, to try out the SpinAgain with her 1-year-old. He loved it—especially when he pulled the center pole off its base and watched all the discs spiral off, one by one. The chunky, grippy pieces are easy for him to grasp and manipulate by himself, so it’s great for building fine motor skills. The SpinAgain is great for ages 12 months and up. They’ll enjoy stacking again and again!
The Play n’ Trace, by the makers of the Boogie Board, is a see-through LCD tracing palette perfect for tracing drawings, words, shapes or even 3-D objects, like your hand. Children can use the crayon-like stylus or their fingernail to doodle and write on the board, then erase it all with the touch of a button.
The tracing possibilities are endless—kids can trace a greeting card, the outlines of a photo, a coloring book page, or the outline of a favorite toy!
The artist’s palette shape makes the Play n’ Trace easy for small hands to grasp. It’s perfect for ages 3 and up. It comes with three tracing templates for number and letter practice, and during March and April, you can receive a free Activity Pack with the purchase of a Play n’ Trace!
So give these two Top Toys a try – and marvel at the learning that unfolds.
*OK, one is candy, but it’s also a game. Read on.
One Easter, you’ll never guess what I found in the dishwasher:
A stuffed bunny, that is. Plump, plush, and stuffed into its Easter basket, my surprise was waiting for me in the most unlikely of places. I triumphantly retrieved it and carried the toy around for months.
In addition to the Easter egg hunt, my family’s tradition was to hide each child’s Easter basket somewhere in the house. For me, it always came with a stuffed bunny or chick – something I looked forward to every year.
Candy is quickly forgotten, but Easter memories are made through family celebrations, games, and special toys. This year, give your child or grandchild an Easter basket full of toys that will last – and won’t give them a bellyache!
These four Spring Top Toys make unique Easter basket fillers:
A great party game for two to eight players, Spot It! is perfect to play as a family. Each card is filled with simple pictures or symbols. Flip two cards, and only one symbol will match. Be first to spot the matching symbol, and you won that round! Spot It! comes in several varieties such as Sports, Shopkins, Animals and more.
The Boogie Board Jot 8.5 is a reusable LCD writing surface perfect for scribbling notes, doodling and keeping lists using the stylus. Built-in magnets make it easy to stick a list or reminder to the fridge. You can even use the stylus as a kickstand to keep the Boogie Board Jot upright. Your children can write messages to their siblings, or use it to keep score for a board game. A push of a button erases the screen so you can start again!
The Switch Night Light is a handy LED light your child can stick anywhere: inside a blanket fort, in a dark closet or in the hallway for late-night bathroom trips. Just flip on the switch like a regular light switch, and it glows brightly!
Yes, this is candy, but it’s more than just jelly beans – it’s a hilarious party game! Spin the spinner to select your jelly bean color, then test your fate. Those green jelly beans look identical, but one tastes like lime and the other, grass! Which will you get? Have napkins ready for this laugh-out-loud family fun.
Find many more Easter toys and create the perfect gift at our in-store Bunny Buffet, where you can choose $25 worth of toys and receive a free personalized Easter bucket!
A pink-spotted egg lurks behind the cereal boxes. A glistening golden egg hides underneath an overturned coffee mug. Then, your child opens her sock drawer to find—surprise!—a bountiful Easter basket full of goodies.
Easter Egg Hunts aren’t all about the candy—they’re about the thrill of discovery. One Easter, I hid candy-filled eggs for my 8-year-old niece. When she visited my house a few weeks later, she came bouncing in, asking, “Can we hunt for eggs again? They don’t even have to have anything in them!”
Learning Express Toys makes creating egg-citing Easter baskets easy—just stop by and choose $25 worth of toys YOUR kid will love from our Bunny Buffet™ and receive a free personalized bucket! Then, read on for fun, educational Easter egg activities to keep kids seeking.
Puzzle Piece Easter Eggs Encourage your child’s critical thinking, logic, and visual perception skills (and mix up the candy routine) by having him hunt for puzzle pieces! Place one or two puzzle pieces inside each plastic Easter egg and let the search begin, followed by a family assembly session. Choose a delightful jigsaw puzzle from Learning Express, or decorate your own blank puzzle. As a variation, hide individual letters written on squares of construction paper to form a word or phrase for kids to unscramble.
Pro tip: Jot down the egg locations while you’re hiding them to prevent frustration later.
Egg Dye Chemistry Conduct a quick science eggs-periment with your kids using vinegar and water with store-bought egg dye or food coloring. Set up three cups of water. Add one teaspoon of vinegar to the first one, two teaspoons to the second, and none to the third. Place 10 to 20 drops of food coloring or a dye tablet in each cup, and have your kids place a hard-boiled, white egg in each cup. Set an egg timer for up to five minutes and ask your kids to observe the process. When it dings, remove the eggs and ask: Which egg is brightest? Which is lightest? The egg immersed in the most vinegar will be brightest. Explain that food coloring is an acidic dye which bonds to the egg using hydrogen, and this chemical process works best in an acidic environment. Ask: Did you notice the bubbles forming around the egg while it was in the vinegar bath? Did you see this happen in the cup containing only water?
Pro tip: Place the egg inside a whisk before dyeing for easy handling and drying.
Egg Drop Contest Promote ingenuity and problem-solving skills in your child by letting her drop raw eggs out a window! But there’s a catch: The egg must be contained in some kind of protective casing. The goal is to keep the egg safe upon impact using a variety of scrap materials: Bubble wrap, newspaper, foam, fabric, cardboard, or whatever else you can find around the house. Your kid might even fashion a makeshift parachute out of a shopping bag and string. The whole family can compete to determine which materials are best!
Pro tip: Place each egg in a reclosable plastic bag before packaging to avoid a runny mess.
Make Learning Express Toys your first stop for Easter preparation, and keep the discovery going with surprises around every corner.
Have an egg-stra special Easter!