Within a week the Easter Bunny will be hopping along, leaving children sweet treats and toys. The Easter Bunny tends to be a little more financially reserved in our house, so for those of you looking to find some fun new toys that don't cost a fortune, here are my top 10 Easter Basket Toys for around $10! The list features new LEGO Mixels, a new travel loom called Monster Tail from the makers of Rainbow Loom, Peter Rabbit themed plush and lots of outdoor toys that include bubbles and new sidewalk chalk paint.
Since the warmer weather is arriving, spring cleaning season is knocking on our doors. In addition to thinking about cleaning, donating, storing and organizing toys, I've been searching and reviewing many new arts and crafts toys, movie toys and spending a lot of time with many new construction block sets.
- Kinetic Sand - Have you been dreaming of silky sand in lots of colors that's moldable, non-toxic and doesn't get stuck underneath your fingernails? Then you will love Kinetic Sand.
- Disney Frozen Toys - Some of the newest dolls, role-play dresses and games featuring Princess Anna, Princess Elsa and Olaf the Snowman.
- Best Ways to Organize LEGO's and Construction bricks - Tired of stepping on those little blocks? Whether you prefer sliding bags, drawers, play mats or zippered bins, these are some of my favorite construction block storage solutions.
- LeapFrog LeapReader Review - Spring and summer bring a lot of family travel opportunities. Based on the popularity of the TAG Reader from LeapFrog, which encourages children to magically explore books, make sure you consider the LeapReader. It has some of the same great features of the TAG Reader, but it also has a writing component and a built-in MP3 player.
- Spring Cleaning Tips for Toys - If tackling your playroom is on your to-do list, learn how and where to donate toys, as well as different ways to clean the germs from stuffed animals and toys.
- Entrepreneur Barbie - Every year Barbie has a new profession and this year she's "an Entrepreneur." While I certainly believe in Barbie's mission to teach young girls that anything is possible, I'm not so sure I'm sold on the fact that an "entrepreneur" is a stand-alone profession with women who wear cutesy skirts and do all of their important business in the tablet housed in their purse?
Disney's Frozen is now the highest grossing animated movie of all time, surpassing Toy Story 3! This movie and the music has been a huge hit amongst children, who can be heard everywhere singing all of the songs from the soundtrack.
If your children are begging you for the latest toys featuring Princess Anna, Princess Elsa and of course, Olaf the Snowman, here's a list of my favorite Frozen toys!
These days, both boys and girls are enjoying construction brick sets. Here is some of the newest information and resources related to construction toys to help parents wandering the toy aisles.
- Best Way to Store LEGO's and other Construction Blocks - bins, workstations, tables, slider bags? Here are at least 8 different ways to store construction blocks.
- Construction Toy Buyers Guide - Learn about some of the differences between brands that include LEGO, Kre-O, Ionix, and MegaBloks.
- LEGO Juniors Review- LEGO launched a new line of sets for 4-7 year olds with more simplistic instructions, multiple builds, and pre-sorted pieces which are housed in a storage container.
- Playmobil Toys Collectors Club - To celebrate Playmobil's 40th Birthday, the Playmobil Collector's Club members have been photographing a specific Playmobil character all around the world.
- Lay n' Go Lifestyle Storage Backpack - where can you contain and store all those construction toy pieces? The Lay n' Go is a mat that transforms into a backpack that provides both storage and portability.
In our home, with the release and development of children's movies and television shows it seems as if my car drives to the toy store on auto-pilot, as these new items become highly sought after toys for themed birthday parties and gifts.
Here are some new articles featuring popular new kid's television and movie toys!
- Ever After High or Monster High Dolls? - Ever After High and Monster High fashion dolls are increasingly popular amongst tween age girls and are featured in books and webisodes.
- Paw Patrol Toys - Paw Patrol is a new television show on Nickelodeon for preschool aged children featuring adorable rescue puppies. Even though these toys aren't yet on the shelves, they are already in high demand.
- Muppets Most Wanted Toys - Disney recently released the latest Muppets movie that features the crew on a European adventure. Though there aren't a lot of toy play sets, there is a large offering of plush toys featuring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Beaker and Animal.
After a 9 month hiatus, I'm happy to announce that I am returning as the Toys Expert. I can't wait to share with you all of the fun and exciting toys and experiences in the toy industry. Please email me at email@example.com with any specific questions and comments, I strive to create content that is meaningful and helpful to readers and consumers.
So, here are some of the latest articles I've published based on my recent experience at Toy Fair 2014 in New York!
Construction Toys Buyers Guide - everything you need to know about the biggest construction block playset companies in the business including Ionix, Kre-O, LEGO and Mega Bloks.
What are STEM Toys? - STEM is a new buzz word, especially in the toy industry. See what types of toys companies are designing to help children learn problem solving skills for science, technology, engineering and math careers.
STEM Toys for Girls - Men are far more likely to enter technology and engineering careers than women. This list showcases a whole new dedicated area of the toy industry that is looking to help girls learn foundational skills that will help them gravitate toward choosing engineering and entrepreneurial careers.
Meet Doh-Vinci- From the makers of Play-Doh, Doh-Vinci is a new decorating compound that is extruded from a styler that resembles a glue gun. This is for those kids who are looking to take Play-Doh to the next level.
Marvel Super Hero Mashers - I know young boys love super heroes like Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Spiderman and Captain America. With Super Hero Mashers, now kids can interchange their favorite attributes from each hero to design their own! Doctor Spidey-Man, Iron Manverine or Captain Thor Eye anyone?
Lay n' Go Lifestyle Toy Storage - This is a review of an innovative play surface and toy storage solution. Pull the drawstring and within seconds the mat transforms into a backpack, with toys stored safely inside.
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.
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.
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?
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.