Terrific Toy Tuesday: Colorful Fruits and Veggies

“I have a banana, a lemon, corn, a yellow apple and yellow pepper,” my three year old informs me as she takes fruits and veggies from her basket. When she was just over a year, I purchased the learning resources farmers market color sorting set to help her learn colors, but they do so much more than that. Now that she is proficient with all of her basic colors, she likes to sort and identify the items based on what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. What’s great is that she has realized that apples come in multiple colors, such as red, yellow and green. The same goes for grapes and peppers.

Quinn likes to count up the items too. This is great because when it is time to put them away she will occasionally count them and say, “There’s supposed to be six purple fruits and vegetables, but there are only five. We’re missing one, Mommy!”

My little girl even wants to use them when we play in her kitchen or sit down for a meal she prepared. “Would you like a tomato and carrot, Mommy?” she will ask. Now if only we could get beyond pretending to eat healthy veggies and get her to try them in real life!

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: Let’s Pop the Pig!

“Mommy, I want Pop the Pig for my birthday, please,” my daughter requested. I never heard of pop the pig, nor had I seen any commercials, so I responded with the typical parent phrase, “We’ll see, honey.” After looking it up online, I discovered that it is quite the educational game. So I went back to Target and got it for her. The premise of the game is to feed the pig burgers and to press his chef hat corresponding with the number on the bottom of the burger until his belly pops causing his arms to fly up and his shirt to pop open.

The burgers have a number one, two, three or four on them and come in red, green, purple and yellow. This game engages a child to count, select colors and even strategize.  For instance, when my little girl and I were playing the game the other day, she she rolled the die, which is used to determine what color burger the player will select, and purposely wanted the color green because she knew that was the only set of burgers with the number four remaining. She exclaimed, “I need a number four, not a one, Mommy! The more times I press then I’ll win and pop the pig!” Something some parents will like about this game is that it is fast moving. It takes well under ten minutes to play it. Even though it is a quick moving game, however, that doesn’t stop Quinn from wanting to play it a few times a day since she got it for her birthday a couple of weeks ago. It’s exciting seeing her so interested in playing games and developing her critical thinking skills.

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: Let’s Shape Up and Have a Ball!

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Quinn Getting Ready to Insert Her Shapes into the Shape O Ball

My grandmother ran a daycare in her home, and when I was younger I’d come over often and play with the other children and toys too.  One toy I enjoyed playing with was a red and blue ball with yellow handles on the sides and different yellow shapes. I would challenge myself  and other kids to see who could get all of the shapes inside the ball the fastest, similar to the game “Perfection.”

When my daughter was not quite a year, we were at a “Home Show,” and low and behold, I saw that very ball I played with when I was younger at a Tupperware station. I had to purchase it for  Quinn. Initially, she would chew on the shapes or play around with the ball, but just about two years later, she will announce, “This is a square!” or “Here’s the triangle!” before inserting it into the ball. What really impresses me is that she will count the sides too. “The Octagon has one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight sides!” Then there’s times when she just wants to roll the ball back and forth, then empty the shapes and start naming them and counting the sides all over again.

Even though my little girl loves toys with all of the “bells and whistles,” it’s nice to know that she enjoys a basic toy from my childhood which is helping with her cognitive development.

All the best,

Tanya

PS. This toy is available on Amazon too.

Terrific Toy Tuesday: How About A Scoop or Two of Ice Cream?

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Quinn figuring out which scoop to share and which to keep.

“May I have three scoops of ice cream, please?” I inquire. “Yes you may, here’s one, two, three,” my soon-to-be three year old responds. Ice cream can be more than just a tasty treat. I came to this realization after purchasing an educational toy  for my daughter.  She enjoys pretending to work at the ice cream shop…as long as the scoops of ice cream don’t fall to the floor.

This toy, Learning Resources Smart Snack Rainbow Color Cones, comes with two ice cream cones and ten different ice cream flavor scoops. What I like about the color cones is that it promotes imaginative play, and the interaction is never exactly the same. There are times when Quinn will ask, “What flavor would you like, Mommy?” To expand her vocabulary and cognitive development, I will often specify certain flavors she may not be familiar with, and I can see the wheels turning as she takes a moment to figure out which scoop to give me. “I’d like a scoop of strawberry ice cream,” I say. Quinn, without giving it a second thought, will give me a scoop of the pink ice cream. “May I have one more scoop of strawberry ice cream?” I request. “We’re all out of strawberry. How about some banana?” she suggests, reaching for the yellow scoop.

She also loves stacking the scoops of ice cream and then counting how many she has. Just recently she said, “You can have the ice cream cone with one, two, three, four five, six, seven scoops, and I’ll have the cone with three.”

Though we’re still working on her not getting so upset when an ice cream scoop or two fall to the floor after she’s stacked them high, this toy is a fantastic way for my little girl to learn about colors, counting, sharing and even how to deal with the occasional mishap.

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: A Civil Engineer in the Making (My Duplo Block Enthusiast)

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“Let’s build something, Mommy,” my little girls excitedly says. Three to four days a week, she puts in a request to build with her Lego Blocks. Well, they’re actually Duplo Blocks by Lego which are a little larger than standard Legos and easier for her to handle for her age. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved constructing my own buildings and looking at pictures of Lego constructions trying to recreate them. Now, Quinn is following in my footsteps.

For Christmas, one of her gifts was a Disney Princess Duplo Princess Collection set. At first, she wanted to recreate the buildings from the pictures. The Cinderella castle was her favorite, then Ariel the Mermaid’s castle and the Snow White’s castle. Within the past month, she has taken it upon herself to intentionally mismatch the pieces with the different castles to build her very own castle creation. “Mommy, this time Snow White is going to have a slide instead of Ariel,” Quinn informs me. I am also pleased that she is starting to build on her own without my assistance, other than asking me if I like her castle.

This is a terrific toy for kids from two to one hundred and two. I’m looking forward to eventually taking my little girl to Legoland or her first Lego exhibition. Who knows, maybe she’ll become a Lego enthusiast or even a civil engineer.

All the best,

Tanya