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My 4-month-old daughter is just starting to notice toys. Her main interest so far is putting them straight in her mouth. The same was true when I handed her Juballees stacking balls – but in a few months, she’ll learn there is so much more you can do with them!
Juballees are uniquely-shaped, hard plastic balls designed for infants and toddlers 6 months and up. The set consists of three balls, which have gentle, fully-encased magnets that let them click together and stack. Each ball has a nub and a dip that lets it link to the next ball or rest flat on a surface. They even make a light rattling sound!
Each of the Juballees balls also separates into rounded halves. Little hands, like my daughter’s, can grasp one half at a time and use it as a rattle for sensory development. The halves can be stacked upside-down as well, creating multiple building possibilities! Children can also mix and match the sides, which have six different colors.
Juballees balls help children develop fine motor skills as they roll, stack, shake and click them. Little ones learn about the cause-and-effect relationship as they experiment with the balls, and receive sensory input as they explore the colors and sounds.
These great features make Juballees a Summer Top Toy! Get those little hands on them today.
For generations, stacking rings have been must-have toys for infants and toddlers. They’re tried and true for a reason – they teach fundamental skills and have universal appeal to children of this age.
The SpinAgain is a colorful stacking toy with a new twist – the stacking discs corkscrew down the center pole. Toddlers (it’s recommended for 12 months and up) seem to never grow tired of placing the colorful discs at the top and watching them spiral down. It’s a Fall Top Toy!
Here are five reasons we’ve found toddlers love the SpinAgain:
1. Toddlers love repetition. They’ll spin the discs again, and again, and again. Repetition helps toddlers learn about how the world works. As they place the discs on the pole and watch them spiral down over and over, they confirm their understanding of physics – gravity makes the discs go down, not up. As they play, they introduce subtle variations in the activity, such as dropping the discs a little harder or faster to see what happens. Every moment is a discovery!
2. They can play independently. Independent play fosters creativity and critical-thinking skills. Once you’ve shown your child how the SpinAgain works, he can explore the toy on his own – whether that means rolling the discs along the floor, dumping them off the pole, or giving them a chew.
3. They can sort the discs by color or size. Sorting, arranging and grouping are critical cognitive skills for toddlers to learn. With the SpinAgain, kids can practice stacking the discs from largest to smallest, by color, or by shape. Determining which disc goes next helps children learn sequencing skills.
4. The pieces are suited for their little hands, and they learn fine motor skills. The SpinAgain’s smooth, chunky discs are just the right size for young children to grasp and manipulate. As they develop their fine motor skills, they’ll be able to grasp and lift the center pole more easily. The bottom base can be flipped to act as either a stable base or a wobbly base, so as children develop their visual-spatial perception skills, they can increase the challenge.
5. They love to dump things on the floor. A universal-but-sometimes-aggravating trait, toddlers love to explore their environment by dumping anything they can. The SpinAgain is extra fun to dump, as the discs go spinning off the pole the same way they spun on! Luckily, with the SpinAgain, stacking the discs back on is just as much fun as dumping them, so they’ll be content to repeat this activity over and over.
Try one in-store today, and take the SpinAgain for a spin!
Holiday shopping for little ones is fun – everything is so adorable! But how do you choose a gift that’s really practical and educational? Whether you’re looking for gift ideas for your own kiddo or another baby, toddler or preschooler in your life, think about the specific skills they’ll learn.
Here are four picks for the 2016 holiday season with clear skill-building benefits. You can feel great about gifting any of these Holiday Top Toys!
The SpinAgain is a colorful stacking toy with a new twist – the stacking discs corkscrew down the center pole. Toddlers (it’s recommended for 12 months and up) seem to never grow tired of placing the colorful discs at the top and watching them spiral down!
Why it’s educational: The SpinAgain promotes cognitive skills, fine motor skills and visual-spatial perception skills as children manipulate, sort and arrange the discs and aim them for the center pole as it wobbles.
The Gigantic Step & Play Piano is a 6-foot vinyl piano mat designed to allow little feet to stomp out tunes!
The piano plays eight different instrument sounds: piano, saxophone, violin, accordion, trumpet, harp, xylophone and guitar. Kids can even record and play back their best compositions. Make music active by incorporating dance moves while stepping on the keys! It’s recommended for ages 3 and up.
Why it’s educational: The Gigantic Step & Play Piano promotes gross motor development and sensory processing as children walk, crawl, and hop from key to key and hear the instrument sounds. As they compose their own melodies, children will use cognitive abilities such as logic and creativity.
The Pewi YBike Elite is a unique balance guide and ride-on for little ones. Infants 9 months and up can grab onto the handles and push as they learn to walk, while older toddlers love it as a foot-powered ride-on toy. The multi-directional wheels and four legs allow complete freedom of movement and stability.
Why it’s educational: The YBike is all about gross motor skills. Children develop their core strength and coordination of their arms and legs while riding the YBike or pushing it while learning to walk.
The Munch Mitt is a great teething accessory for babies 3 months and up! With bumpy textures, crinkle noises, and bright colors, it provides a variety of sensory input as baby chews on the silicone to relieve teething pain. The secure strap means baby won’t drop it, and it’s fully washable.
Why it’s educational: The Munch Mitt provides oral, tactile, visual and auditory sensory input as babies explore the teether with their hands and mouths. The bumpy textures encourage babies to chew the mitt instead of their hands or other objects, and the crinkle noises keep babies entertained.
This time of year, it might seem like it’s raining babies. July, August, September and October are the most common birth months, so chances are you have a new little one in your life or a friend who does. That’s why this week we’re focusing on great baby gifts, including some of the best toys for babies at Learning Express Toys! Each of the following was chosen as a fall Top Toy.
First off is Letters to My Baby, a heartfelt gift for any new or expecting parent. This paper time capsule contains twelve writing prompts, each with its own unique piece of stationery for writing down your hopes and dreams for baby. Prompts like “My wishes for you are…” and “On the day you were born…” offer moms and dads a starting place for crafting these letters. Stickers are included for sealing each letter, and there’s a spot to specify a date to open each one (such as the child’s 18th birthday, graduation or wedding day). Buy one for Grandma, too—there’s also a Letters to My Grandchild version so grandparents can share their legacy.
Next up is the Mirari myPhone, a fun toy smartphone for babies 6 months and up. Babies are fascinated by anything Mom or Dad plays with, so why not give them their own phone? The myPhone has a remote control, so the parent can make the phone ring from 15 feet away and baby can “answer” it. Babies learn cause and effect when they press the circular button on the phone, and a personalized recorded message from Mom or Dad plays. Colorful lights and sounds entertain baby with sensory stimulation as she presses the icons.
Mirari Wee Keys are another great toy for babies as young as 6 months. This big, plastic key ring features three sturdy keys for infants to hold, each with a different texture. Babies can explore grasping and develop hand-eye coordination while they grip and rattle the keys. Buttons on the key fob play four familiar car sounds: A car engine starting, a door lock, an alarm being set, and a horn honking. Babies will love bringing their keys on car rides when Mom and Dad get out their keys!
The Mirari myPad Touch lets toddlers over 12 months play with their own tablet, just like Mommy’s and Daddy’s! Press the power button, then any icon on the screen to light it up and play songs and fun phrases that correspond to the icons. For example, the picture of grapes and a banana says “Fruit is yummy!” and a picture of a shirt and pants says “Find your socks!” Toddlers learn the cause-and-effect relationship and to predict the sounds associated with the icons. The safe, durable myPad Touch lets toddlers get in on tablet fun.
Lastly, kids over 12 months will love the Mirari Pop! Pop! Piano, an exciting, multisensory toy piano that plays notes or silly sounds while popping plastic stars into the air. The clear dome is removable, so parents can choose whether to keep the stars contained or to watch them tumble away as the child presses the keys. When baby is younger, he will enjoy the silly sounds like laughter and a slide whistle. When he’s a little older, he’ll enjoy learning simple tunes like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the 6-note piano.
Check out these great baby gifts and many other educational toys for infants and toddlers at Learning Express Toys.
Enjoy that flood of new baby pictures on your Facebook feed!
Today at the zoo, my darling 3-year-old boy would not leave the penguin exhibit. We had spent a good 25 minutes watching the adorable birds as they dove into the water, rocketed around like chubby torpedoes, and slid back ashore. He was absolutely mesmerized. But, the clock was ticking and I had three other children in tow to think about.
When I said for the third time, sternly, “We are leaving RIGHT NOW,” I saw the windup as he furled his brow, gave me a death look, and went limp on the concrete. Soon after, the tantrum went into full swing. No matter what I said, no matter what I did, he would not stop his fit; limbs flailed and he screamed at the top of his lungs.
Unfortunately, I was forced to remove our entire group from the situation and head for the car. As I drove home trying to find peace amongst the deafening screaming, I remembered something I had learned in my early childhood parenting class. The teacher, who had raised four boys, explained that there are two main periods of rebellion in a child’s life. One is during the teen years and the other typically starts at the age of 2, and then intensifies at 3. She said that this upheaval is normal as the young child starts seeing himself as independent from the caregiver. The act of dissenting is healthy and helps to establish the child as an independent being.
With her wise words in mind and my experience with my first child at this age, I tried to plan out some ways to avoid this situation next time. Here are a few helpful approaches that I have discovered:
Give your child space to have a tantrum When my son really gets going, I tell him that it’s fine for him to have his tantrum. But, he needs to go somewhere else—his room, the car, or the corner to have it because he is upsetting the other members of our family. This strategy has really helped my boys. When they calm down, they are welcome to join in with the family again.
Talk about the cause of the tantrum when they’ve calmed down It’s useless to try to reason with a 3-year-old throwing a whopper of a tantrum. And, if you wait too long after, you risk them forgetting the details. I try to discuss the incident as soon as my son emerges from his tirade and regains some self-control.
Give more choices My 3-year-old works so much better when he’s given choices. Instead of telling him that it was time to leave the penguins, I should have said. “Would you rather eat lunch first or use the potty?” Toddlers—like most people—love to feel in control.
Endure and don’t give in Don’t let your child hold you hostage with his or her tantrum—remind yourself that it is not the end of the world and that staying calm can help get you through it. When you know that you can endure, you are less likely to take the easy way out and give in to whatever he or she wants. Because, in the end, giving-in may solve the issue at the time, but it often leads to a repeated behavior and more headache.
Thanks for reading.
– Katherine Riolo