learningexpress.com

  • PopSockets: Your Phone Can Handle This!

    I use my phone a LOT. I’m a new mom, so you bet I’m browsing Facebook during all those feeding sessions—and, of course, taking pictures of the baby every hour. After the first few weeks of motherhood, my hand was cramping up bigtime.

    Then I got a PopSocket for my phone. I’ve had it for about four days, and I don’t know how I survived without one!

    PopSockets are clever stick-on devices that make using your smartphone much more comfortable and practical to use. They function as a grip, a stand, a cord wrap, and more!

    When closed, PopSockets personalize your phone. They look like a decorative, half-dollar-sized circle on the back of your smartphone. They come in trendy designs for every taste—from wood grain to the American flag to donuts. Mine has a beautiful mandala-style elephant.

    When you pop open the PopSocket by pulling it straight outward from your phone, you can prop up your phone to watch a video, hold the phone between two fingers comfortably for texting or selfies, or wrap your headphones around it.

    Two teenage girls taking selfie using iPhone equipped with PopSocket

    It’s also a great fidget item – the PopSocket makes a satisfying “pop” as you snap it closed! Don’t worry about overdoing it – PopSockets are designed to expand and collapse 12,000 times. Three styles of PopSockets, one on an iPhone

    PopSockets stick to your phone with a sticky gel. The PopSocket can be removed and repositioned many times. If the adhesive gets dirty, you can rinse it with water and let it dry to stick it again—just don’t expose the gel to the air for more than 15 minutes, or it will dry out.

    Unfortunately, they don’t stick well to silicone phone cases or waterproof coatings. However, mine stuck just fine to my hard plastic, textured case.Android phone with elephant PopSocket

    PopSockets are also great for tablets, e-readers, the Nintendo 3DS, on your mirror to hang jewelry, and more.

    Paired with the optional PopClip mount, you can even attach your phone to your car's dashboard for music, speakerphone and GPS!

    Those Pringles commercials had it right: “Once you pop, you can’t stop!”

    --Becki

  • These Bath Fizzers with a Surprise Inside are Da Bomb!

    Taking a bath has long been my favorite way to relax. Now that I’m a new mom, I appreciate it even more when I can snag 30 minutes in the tub.

    I try to make it count by lighting scented candles, putting on some good music, and turning out the lights.

    But now there’s a new way to really deck out a bath – Da Bomb bath fizzers!

    Da Bomb bath bombs turn your tub into a fizzy, scented, colorful oasis.

    When the fizzing’s over, the fun isn’t – there’s a surprise inside each bath bomb!

    I was lucky enough to test an Earth Bomb, which has a “sea breeze” scent. As I watched it fizz, it turned my bath (but not my skin or tub!) a beautiful shade of blue.

    The bath bomb bubbled away for about two minutes as I waited for my prize to emerge. Ta-da: A plastic shark was inside!

    Da Bomb Bath Bomb Prize

    The soothing oils in the bath fizzer made my skin feel great and the bath even more luxurious. I’ll definitely need more of these!

    As a bonus, part of the proceeds of the Earth Bomb go toward saving the world’s oceans – a cause near and dear to my heart as an aquarium lover.

    Da Bomb bath bombs were created by two sisters, Isabel and Caroline, at the ages of 10 and 11. They are hand-made in the USA with only a few simple ingredients: baking soda, citric acid, food grade PEG, fragrance and pigments. They may look tasty (especially the ones with sprinkles) but they are not edible!da bomb bath fizzers

    The prizes inside are small, so these bath bombs are not for young children. They range from sea creatures to pirate booty to famous quotes, depending on the style. Da Bomb bath bombs make perfect gifts for kids and adults, and they’re great in Easter baskets!

    They definitely are Da Bomb. (Do kids even say that anymore?)

    Relax and enjoy!

    --Becki

  • 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
  • The Magic of Magnets: Why You Need Magformers in Your Life [Top Toy Review]

    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 Spring Top Toys!

     

    In addition to learning about magnetic properties, Magformers help 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 help 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 3+ (but better suited for 5 to 6+). 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!

    Enjoy!

  • 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