learning express

  • BulziBucket – Buckets of fun for summer!

    BulziBucket Game

    My first encounter with BulziBucket was at my local Learning Express Toys store. Two sales associates were playing it in the middle of the store; my friend and I watched and then joined in the game. We started playing it like a game of cornhole, however, the sales associates taught us two variations on the game—and tipped us off that the dotted bean bag was worth double points.

    BulziBucket is a combination of cornhole and hacky sack. The game comes with two 3-tiered targets and 8 hacky sack bean bags, which all collapse into a convenient carrying case. BulziBucket is perfect for playing in the yard, the pool, tailgating, indoors or anywhere you see fit.

    BulziBucket Banner Graphic

    I highly recommend BulziBucket if you are looking for an outdoor game for the entire family. It’s ideal for pool parties, cookouts or the beach! The BulziBucket targets float on water and fold up compactly, so you can play on land or at sea and bring it everywhere your summer travels take you.

    There are three ways to play BulziBucket:

    1. The traditional cornhole style, where partners line up on opposite ends and throw the bean bags directly into the buckets. Scoring is easy—the top tier is 3 points, the middle tier is 2 points and bottom tier is 1 point. However, the bean bag with the green dot is worth double points!
    2. The trademark style of playing BulziBucket is called Assist It. In this style, your partner can assist you by “hacking” (kicking hacky sack style) an overthrown bean bag into the bucket. No hands allowed!
    3. For the hacky sack aficionados, the Hack It style of play may be for you. In this game scenario, you must receive the bean bag from your partner and hack the bag twice before taking a scoring shot at the bucket. Again, no hands allowed!

    Happy playing!

    --Donna

  • Deal Yourself a Puzzle with the Rubik’s Battle Card Game!

    Rubik's Battle Card Game Collage

    For 40 years, puzzlers have wrestled with the most challenging puzzle to solve: The Rubik’s Cube. Now, families can enjoy the perplexing fun of Rubik’s with a fast-paced card game that challenges players' quick-thinking skills: Rubik’s Battle Card Game! It's a classic game of war with a Rubik's spin!

    Can you think fast on your feet? Can you identify color differences quickly? Can you Show It, Spot It, and Shout It?  Then you have the skills to play Rubik’s Battle Card Game.

    Rubik’s Battle is easy to learn and play; the rounds go quickly, so the game is not long lasting.  Kids will have fun building their problem solving and social interaction skills. This game is great for 2–4 players, ages 7+.

    Let’s play a couple of hands. Imagine there are 3 players. All 60 cards are dealt to the participants, then everyone simultaneously flips over their first card, featuring a familiar Rubik’s Cube color grid. The challenge is to identify a color either unique to your card, or common to all cards in play except yours. No peeking at the answer (at the bottom of this post).

    Hand 1: Which player has a card with a unique color, and what is the color?

    Three Rubik's Battle Cards - Hand 1 Example

     

    Warning! You can’t just shout out an incorrect color, or you will be penalized by having to give your opponents a card from your pile.

    Hand 2: Which player has the only card WITHOUT colors appearing on every other card, and what is that color? Again, no peeking.

    Three Rubik's Battle Cards - Hand 2 Example

     

    The real excitement begins when two players flip over the exact same card. When this happens, the first to shout out “Rubik’s Battle” wins all the other player’s cards, and that player is out of the game.  The player to collect all the Rubik’s Battle Cards wins the game!

    Rubik’s Battle Card Game is perfect for family game night!  If your family enjoys fast-paced, challenging fun, this is the game for you.

    Let the Rubik’s Battle begin!

    P.S. Don’t forget about all the other great Rubik’s games. Check out Rubik’s Race, Rubik’s Build It, Solve It and of course the Original Rubik’s Cube.

    Collage of Rubik's Race, Build it Solve it and Cube

    Hand 1 Answer:

    Hand 1 Answer

     

    Hand 2 Answer:

    Hand 2 Answer
  • Fidget Toys for Kids of All Ages

    Fidget Toys Collage

    The fidget toy has been around since the dawn of time.  The cave man fidgeted with rocks and sticks and today we fidget with more sophisticated items, such as stress balls, worry stones, paper clips, pens and anything we can get our hands on.

    We all have a lot of distractions; however, studies find that fidget toys help children and adults reduce stress and anxiety and increase concentration, attention and active listening.  Just look at the compelling research below!

    Children with ADHD benefit from fidget toys in the classroom for increased focus, learning and remembering. In a study by the University of Central Florida, “Kids with ADHD Must Squirm to Learn”, Mark Rapport says, “What we’ve found is that when they’re moving the most, the majority of them perform better. They have to move to maintain alertness.”

    In a recent Fidgety Block Facebook post, a Learning Express customer said, “I bought one for my son who has ADHD and this is awesome. Keeps him busy so he can concentrate.”

    The February 5, 2017 Columbus Dispatch article “Classes calmer as schools help kids reduce stress” says every classroom now has a bin full of "fidgets" — tiny toys such as squishy balls and water bottles filled with glitter liquid that children can handle while they listen or read.

    Adults also need such fidgety distractions at home and work. The article “The Science of Why We Fidget While We Work” indicates a correlation between working with our hands and increased memory and creativity.

    Learning Express Toys Best Fidget Toy Review: Fidgety Block

     

    One of the most sought after fidget tools today is the Fidgety Block.  The Fidgety Block is a unique six-sided block that you can click, glide, flip, breathe, roll and spin.

    Fidgety Block Collage of the Six Sided Block

    It takes all of the other fidget toys and rolls them into one grand tool that is perfect for kids and adults. Based on the video above, you would think this is a noisy toy, but in reality the buttons, switches and gears make little to no noise so nearby occupants will not be disturbed.

    Fidget toys are not a new phenomenon, but the Fidgety Block is the new can’t-put-down toy that has sensory benefits for everyone.

     

    Fidget Spinner Collage

    Fidget Spinner

    The Fidget Spinner is the latest Hot Trend in fidget toys.  The Fidget Spinner is the perfect fidget toy for restless hands.  It will hypnotize you as the toy spins faster and faster in your hand or on your desk.  The spinner is constructed with hybrid ceramic center bearings for longer spin time.  This increases the spin factor up to 1.5 minutes.  The toy is relatively quiet only making a weak swoosh sound.  This addicting toy should be top on your list of fidgety toys.

     

    Light up Slinky

    Light-up Slinky

    When I hear the word Slinky, my first thought goes to the unforgettable Slinky jingle, “What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs and makes a slinkity sound...”  Slinky has evolved since that commercial. Here is the next generation Slinky/fidget toy, Light-Up Slinky!  As you stretch it like an accordion, make it walk down stairs, bounce it from hand to hand or just pick it up and let it slink back down, you become mesmerized by the feel, look and classic sound of the Slinky.  Turn off the light and you can watch and relax with a psychedelic light show as you play.

     

    Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty Easter Mini Tins

    Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

    Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty provides a variety of sensory experiences: It’s smooth to the touch, but can be twisted or molded to be bumpy or textured. If you pull it slowly, it stretches, but if you pull it quickly, it snaps with a satisfying noise. Certain colors of Thinking Putty are color-changing based on heat or light, providing visual stimulation as well.  Another perfect fidget toy.

    Mom and Dad: As the kids try your patience, these fidget toys are the perfect way to de-stress.  If the kids need calming, don’t let them borrow your toy--you can always find a supply of fidget toys for each member of the family at your local Learning Express Toy Store location.

    Fidget away!

  • Mad Mattr the Smartest Doh to Ever Flow!

    Mad Mattr Product Collage

    As the universe evolves and scientists explore the vastness of space, they have made numerous discoveries. One such discovery is Dark Matter: an unseen, unidentified type of matter. Then you have Ordinary Matter: everything you can see and touch. But a new type of Mattr has been discovered in Sweden: Mad Mattr! I imagine the scientists that created Mad Mattr accidentally combined two different compounds, and in a puff of smoke, created this incredibly fluffy and soft material that stimulates your sense of touch. I can only suggest you dig your fingers into this luscious material.

     

    It’s very difficult to describe how this “Doh that Flows” feels. You can feel the minute grains that are sand like, but it’s more of a dough than sand. However, it doesn’t have the stickiness or the residue of a traditional dough. It’s super soft and very smooth when compacted and fluffy when separated.

    Mad Mattr is great for shaping, molding and building. When the Mattr is compacted, it maintains its shape like clay - it can be cut and molded - but stretch this compound, and it looks like the molecular structure of the dough is disintegrating! In this stretched state, the dough is super soft and fluffy and will flow through your fingers like sand on the beach. It will even float!

    Mad Mattr Product Collage

     

    If you are looking for a sensory toy for your child, Mad Mattr will deliver. This toy will allow your child to knead the dough to improve finger strength and manipulation and strengthen his or her fine motor skills. This dough is a great fidget tool that will enhance focus and help develop sensory processing skills.

    Mad Mattr is wheat, gluten and casein free. It’s easy to clean up. When small pieces of dough become separated from a larger piece, just dot them up with the larger piece of dough. If the Mattr gets on the floor or carpet, a quick vacuuming will make the Mattr disappear. The best part of Mad Mattr is that it never dries out!

    This compound comes in six amazingly bright colors; Red, Pink, Green, Blue, Teal and Purple. Sorry, this product is not for children under 3 years old.

    Mad Mattr is an addicting and unique modeling compound that you and your child need to experience. It will open up a universe of molding possibilities. You will not want to put the Mattr down!

    Enjoy the madness!

  • 6 Tips to Clean Up Your Out-The-Door Act

    Growing up in Southern California, I never understood the concept of spring-cleaning. Spring was usually sunny and in the low 70s, much like the winter that came right before it. But now that I live in the Midwest, I’m at the mercy of the four seasons in all their glory and all their fury.  After the mud, salt, and grime of a tough winter is washed away outside, I understand the strong urge people have to get organized and start fresh inside as well.

    And when I think of getting organized, there is one aspect of my space and life that is in the most disarray: the back door. More specifically, I mean getting out the back door. With a one, three, and four year-old, getting out the door in the morning is by far my biggest challenge of the day.

    I interviewed a slew of moms and dads and begged them to divulge their best tips for getting their crew out. Here are some simple tips and tricks to make leaving the house a cinch!

    1. Set clear expectations ahead of time. For example, during breakfast, remind your child that after she eats you expect her to mom packing daughters backpackwash her hands, gather her lunchbox and backpack, and put on her shoes and coat. If your child meets these expectations, offer descriptive praise to reinforce the good behavior, ie: “Great job following mommy’s directions the first time and getting yourself ready for school!”

    2. Keep all socks and shoes organized by the back door. This way no one has any reason to wander back through the house and be distracted by what they find along the way.

    3. Set an alarm for 10 minutes before you need to be out the door. When the alarm goes off, it will be the alarm—not you—nagging the kids to hurry up.

    4. Plan as much as possible the night before. Check your calendar for the coming day and see what you need to prepare. Do you need to pack lunch? Bring show-n-tell? Check the forecast and set out weather-related items by the back door (i.e. coats and scarves in winter and sunscreen and baseball caps in summer).

    5. Pack the car while the kids get ready. If you can pack the car before it’s time for everyone to leave, you’ll have more free-armmom buckling daughter into car space to move them along. One mom quickly throws everything into the car while her kids are eating breakfast, and finds there are a lot fewer balls in the air when it’s time to make an exit.

    6. Stay with your kids as they walk from house to car. Even if the car is only two feet from your back door or in an attached garage, make sure to lead the way. One dad noted that he had to “micromanage” his two sons’ 10-foot walk from their stoop to their Suburban, lest the rascals get distracted in the nearby plants and mud.

    But most importantly, be consistent. The more you stick to the plan the easier it will become for everyone to adjust over time (including you). Here’s to cleaning up the messiest part of my day! Welcome, glorious spring.

    – Katherine Riolo