Sunday June 30, 2013
I started my blogging journey in the toy realm 4 years ago, prior to the birth of my son. During my work as a pediatric occupational therapist, over the course of my 13 year practice, I have seen first-hand how much children love specific toys and activities. I have also been a witness to how much parents have enjoyed teaching their children developmental skills in a fun, playful way, with my guidance, using these very same toys. Somehow, this experience helped me develop an eye for toys, a respected knack for picking out the best gifts for children of all age ranges and abilities, and an ever-growing knowledge of toys on the market.
It was a pleasure and an honor to share my opinions here, and be an expert at About.com for the past 2 years. Though I will be moving on from my role here, I will still be working in the toy industry posting coverage on my personal website and I hope to work more specifically with companies as both a social media community manager and a toy consultant with regard to product development.
If you have enjoyed my perspective here, please feel free to read my current reviews and experiences on my personal website ToyQueen.com, which was started in 2009. Please feel free to keep in touch by connecting with me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Saturday June 29, 2013
The past several years educational learning tablets for kids are tremendously popular with kids ages 3-9. These devices are similar to that of an iPad as they use touch-screen technology. However, content loaded on them is developed strictly for this age group and downloaded from a secure on-line connection. Games vary in skill, but also aim to teach children about science, math, reading and vocabulary development using familiar characters in a video-game type format. The LeapPad and LeapPad2 from LeapFrog have been awarded top honors from the Toy Industry Association for Best Educational Toy of the Year, and one of the most recognized tablets and e-readers for children.
New this year is LeapFrog's newest tablet, The LeapPad Ultra. This tablet is recommended for children ages 4-9. It includes many of the same features as the LeapPad, but has one major addition. Children will now be able to view kid-friendly websites through a secure browser, LeapSearch powered by Zui. This allows children to access content pre-approved by LeapFrog's educational experts, which includes over 800 apps, video's e-books, and music. Here is more specific information about the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra learning tablet.
Saturday June 29, 2013
With summer here and children on school vacation, whether you are a parent who as at home with your children or not, entertaining them daily without having to rely solely on the television and video games as your primary babysitter, can be a challenge.
We purchased a family summer membership to the YMCA, as well as a parking pass for the local beach for the season, so we could have options of fun activities for the both of us, without having to constantly expend money on a daily basis. My son made a bucket list of places he wanted to visit on our days off together, and I quickly reserved a few discounted passes to the local zoo, the children's museum and an indoor play area from our public library.
However, if you are at home with your children and the weather is not cooperating, you may need to consider creating a stockpile of summer activities for kids that include toys, craft kits, travel games, bubbles, arts and crafts activities and simple cooking supplies.
For children who like technology toys and tablets, but are hard to engage in their summer reading lists, you may want to consider toys like the TAG Reader and LeapReader from LeapFrog that promote literacy using recognizable childhood heroes such as Lightning McQueen, Cinderella and Monsters University characters.
What are your "go-to" summer activities for your kids?
Friday June 28, 2013
Many young girls enjoy visiting American Girl Place, and purchasing their first collectible 18-inch doll, such as an American Girl Doll. Some of these dolls can be customized to look just like their owner, using individualized hair styles, eye color, and hair color. However at $110, for many young girls the cost is a major prohibitive factor in owning one.
Adora is another company that designs diverse 18-inch dolls that come in various ethnic backgrounds. They include similar features of American Girl dolls, and additional clothing and accessories can be purchased to enhance play with these dolls. However, retailing at $59.95, these dolls are a much more affordable alternative.
If you are looking for more information here is an article that compares and contrasts the differences between Adora Friends dolls and American Girl Dolls.