Friday, March 23, 2012
I love toys. The problem is that I often love them more than my kids. When the new toy catalogs come, I excitedly flip through the pages while attempting to suppress my desire to purchase every toy that catches my eye. From simple building blocks to complex construction kits, I love and often want them all. Over the years however, I have learned that while I want them all, my kids are often better off not having them all. Kids certainly need a strong variety of toys but what they don’t need are toys that are beyond their developmental stage. As a parent, it is easy to believe that a toy rated for an older child can help to foster your child’s imagination or creativity, but all to often that it not the case. When faced with a challenge far above their developmental level, children often become frustrated and quickly give up, which robs them of the a vital learning experience, learning by doing. Parents can unknowingly exacerbate the problem by stepping in to help. Helping a child “play” or “build” a toy that is above their developmental level can instill in them the “I can’t do this myself” belief and work ethic. As a science teacher for many years, I saw first hand the negative impact this belief can have on learning. When faced with a challenging lab or assignment, many kids simply ask for help, without ever attempting the figure out the problem on their own. Upon helping them, it quickly became apparent that in these kids eyes “to help” actually means “to do.” If, as parents, we allow our kids to passively watch us “help” them rather than actively “help”, we are unintentionally teaching them to take the easy way out and have someone else do the work for you. Purchasing age appropriate toys however, can help prevent the problem all together. Age ratings on toys goes beyond mere choking hazard concerns. A child’s developmental age and the appropriate challenge level of the toy are also considered when a rating is established. Age appropriate toys not only limit the levels of frustrations in kids, their appropriate level of difficulty allow kids play the active role in the helping process, thereby allowing parents to take the passive role. To help find age appropriate toys, all toys at Toyopia are categorized by age group. By doing so we hope to help you find not only a toys your child loves, but one that will help them developmentally as well!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
This is a magical time of year. Fueled by the seemingly endless onslaught of gifts, prizes and presents throughout the year, toy collections miraculously transform into 10,000-armed octopuses, capable of bringing down unsuspecting parents and kids in a matter of seconds. As the beasts slither from room to room, injuries range from Band-Aid worthy boo-boos to broken toes and collarbones. Victims of the Stockholm syndrome, kids often defend the creatures with tooth-and-nail. Parents, meanwhile, feel helpless against the uninvited guest, not knowing how or when to attack the beast. Recent studies, however, have determined the best course of actions to follow upon confronting the 10,000-armed monster. First, limit its food supply. These octopuses thrive on old, unused, forgotten or broken toys. Kid’s meals “toys” in general are particularly dangerous, as they are considered a delicatessen amongst their kind. By removing these hazards from your home (best done at night, while the beast sleeps), the octopus will be forced the look elsewhere for food. Second, repopulate the playroom with the creature’s natural predators, educational toys. The high levels of energy given off by these toys are toxic to the octopuses, leading to their quick demise. Recommended toys include Fractiles and the Sprig Discovery Rig, as their smart design and intellectual prowess are no match for the beast. Introducing these predators during the holiday season, when unused toys reach their prime, is particularly effective in warding off these creatures. Third, be vigilant in your fight. Remove unused toys, rotate old toys or/and introduce new toys on regular basis. Stay clear of cheaply made toys and tempt not the monster with copious amounts of kid’s meals toys. Last of all, stay up-to-date on preventative measures and extermination techniques by check back here, www.toyopia.me, for weekly updates and Toyopia.com when shopping for toys.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
While a calendar may be a glaring reminder of how quickly Christmas is coming, it rarely forces me to acknowledge how close the big day really is. Rather, it is the not-so-subtle reminders surrounding me that often provide the best sense of time. I may not have a plump goose, but I do have a dog that hasn’t been walked in a while. I may not have a partridge in a pear tree, but I do have a toddler who keeps climbing the tree. And while, I may not be able to correctly sing the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” I can list twelve reminders that Christmas is only days away:
The Not-so-subtle, Only Twelve Days till Christmas Reminder List
1. The extra $3 for gift wrap is starting to sound like a deal considering the pile of boxes that need to be wrapped.
2. My friend’s Christmas cards are arriving while mine are still at the store waiting to be picked up.
3. Eggnog is losing its appeal.
4. The Christmas tree is getting top heavy as “irresistible” ornaments make their way out of reach from sneaky hands.
5. Five catalogs come daily in the mail versus ten from last week.
6. I’ve caught myself seriously pondering how Santa would come down the chimney.
7. I finally admit defeat in the attempt to make presents from scratch.
8. The list of gifts to buy suddenly doubles over night.
9. My happy holiday smile is being ambushed by my lack of sleep.
10. I have the sudden desire to buy even more toys.
11. The words “Christmas Cookies,” makes me giddy.
12. I am more excited for Christmas morning than my kids are.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
I may only be two-years-old, but I’m no dummy. In fact, I can almost name all 29 letters, which brings me to my point. Everyone keeps telling me that I need to write you a letter for Christmas, but I don’t know which one to mail you? My favorite letter is “H”, but I really don’t want to give it away. Could you settle for a “X”? Please let me know as time is running out. I don’t know why it is running, perhaps if it were walking I could figure this whole mess out. I bet I could also figure out who this “errands” is my mom is always running after as well. For Christmas I going to try to catch “errands” and give it to my Mom, I bet she will really like that.
P.S. Please remember to put “mine” on all my presents so I know which ones are mine! Oh, and label Mom and Dad’s presents “DON’T TOUCH!” so that Brothers knows not to touch them. Thanks!
Monday, August 15, 2011
I bought them the Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen. They use it all the time now and giggle while whipping up a storm with the Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen.
With our Deluxe Let’s Cook Kitchen, kids can cook up a feast without getting a single dish dirty. This adorable kitchen is one gift all the young chefs in your life are sure to enjoy.
Find it here at Toyopia
Monday, July 25, 2011
When we reflect on our childhoods, we can all recall what some of our favorite toys were and who game them to us. My uncle gave me a barbie van that I played with for hours and hours. Those memories playing with the van and the fact that my uncle picked it out especially for me will always serve as an everlasting connection between my uncle and me. When I look at the children in my life now, I seek to find the right toy for their birthday that will light up their face and hopefully provide them with a lifelong memory of me. My family always teases me for not being much of a cook and using the microwave far more frequently than the oven. My little nephew has participated in this humorous banter so for his birthday I bought him the Plan Toys Microwave. He uses it all the time now wile grinning from ear to ear because he said he thinks of his auntie during every use of his Plan Toys Microwave!