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Ideas for Your Magna-Tiles® Creations

20 Dec

Magna-Tiles Creations

If you have a set of Magna-Tiles® in your home, then you know kids love building creative 3-D objects with the colorful magnetic tiles. Magna-Tiles® are a great learning toy for children because kids have fun building different objects while also learning skills in math, logic, and problem solving. Children can also learn to recognize patterns, recognize different shapes and colors, and improve their fine motor skills by playing with Magna-Tiles®.

Magna-Tiles® provide hands-on learning for children while also encouraging creativity and imaginative play. Your kids probably know how to build castles, houses, and towers with Magna-Tiles®, but you can help them expand their building and creative thinking skills with these fun ideas for Magna-Tiles® creations:

1. Encourage kids to build letters and words with Magna-Tiles®. This helps kids learn the alphabet and increases their literacy skills.

2. Help kids think out of the box by suggesting they build a racetrack or marble run with Magna-Tiles®.

3. Find online video tutorials or instructions to help kids learn how to build more complex Magna-Tiles® designs, such as an elephant or spaceship.

Find more fun designs on the Magna-Tiles® YouTube page or search Pinterest for Magna-Tiles® ideas. Be sure to stock up on Magna-Tiles® today!

Popular Toys for Christmas 2013

27 Nov

We’ve compiled a list of our most popular toys for this holiday season to help make finding gift ideas and shopping for your kids a little easier. Whether you have young or older children, we have the perfect gift to help your children learn and play!

KT_popluarToys

Young Children:

1. Little People Airplane – For children ages 1 year and up, the Little People Airplane encourages children to use their imagination and helps children increase their gross motor skills. Little People Airplane has lights, sounds, talking, and a sing-along song to help engage children and teach them new sounds and words.

2. Busy Ball Drop – The Busy Ball Drop helps encourage repeated play and will engage children with its spinning activity balls. The tower can be built and taken down easily, which makes it a great toy for traveling or on-the-go activities.

3. Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors (32 pieces) – Kids will increase their gross motor skills and learn how to problem solve as they build fun 3-D objects with Magna-Tiles®. The 32-piece set includes squares and triangles in a variety of sizes, and the magnetic tiles will help make clean up fast and easy.

4. Rocking Puppy – Children will love this cute addition to your household. The Rocking Puppy is perfect for children who are learning to sit up and are gaining more mobility. Its high-back seat, easy-grip handles, and textured foot area also make this rocker safe for young children to use.

5. Lincoln Logs – Lincoln Logs is a classic favorite of both kids and adults. The Classic Edition includes 86 all-wood pieces, which allows kids to build their own log cabin and any other structures they can imagine.

Little People Airplane

Busy Ball DropMagna-Tiles Clear Colors 32 piece setRocking PuppyLincoln Logs

Older Children:

1. Balloon Animal Kit – Older kids will love learning how to make balloon animals with this affordable kit. An instruction book, pump, and 20 balloons are included.

2. Transparent Marble Run – Children will enjoy tracking the course of their marbles as they make their way through the 48 transparent pieces. This is a great gift for children who like science or engineering.

3. LoopDeDoo Kit – Older children can let their creativity shine by making fun and unique friendship bracelets. Changing the thickness, thread quantity, looping style, and combination of colors will help them create a variety of different looks with the loopdedoo spinning tool.

4. Straws and Connectors – This 400 pack of straws and connectors enables children to build a variety of structures, such as a fort, tower, rocket, or bridge. Straws and Connectors can also be used to build scientific models or children’s own unique designs.

5. Rocket Race Car – Older children will enjoy learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion while they build their own race car. You supply the plastic bottle, but all other necessary parts and instructions are included in the kit.

Balloon Animal KitTransparent Marble Run

LoopDeDoo KitStraws and Connectors 400 packRocket Race Car

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We’re Happy to Announce Our 2013 Holiday Blog Series: 12 Days of Learning!

Our 12 Days of Learning blog posts will feature tips on how to incorporate family time and educational opportunities into the holiday season. The first blog post will be available at noon on Friday, November 29. A new blog post will then be added each weekday through December 16. We hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Learning and can incorporate some of our tips into your family’s holiday plans.

Happy Holidays!

Fun for the Family: Board Games!

29 Aug

August may be wrapping up, but it’s still Family Fun Month! With school starting this month (or next month, for you lucky September starters), things are probably hectic, with homework and sports practices and dance classes, so we’ve come up with a handful of games for you to play as you relax with your family. And who needs a designated month to have fun with their family, anyway? These games are good year-round–not just in August. :) And as an added bonus: they are all games that will help your kids develop key skills, from spelling to deductive reasoning.

Bananagrams

bananagrams

A classic favorite! This word game encourages players to create words in a crossword format! Whoever is the first to use all of their tiles wins. It’s great for beginning spellers, as well as more advanced players, and you don’t need anything extra to play–it’s all in the bag! [18010 (Spanish), 18011 (English); $14.95 each)

Clue Junior

17177

A more child-friendly version of the murder mystery game, Clue Junior asks the players to discover who took the prizes, and when, to win the game. This game will help your child develop their deductive reasoning skills while having fun. The game board is two-sided for two levels of play, so as the children get older, they have another option to play. Included in the box: game board, plastic tray, 5 movers, 6 “who” cards, 6 “where” cards, 6 “when” cards, 1 all guess card, 18 guess tokens in five different colors, 3 gold tokens, a detective sheet, truth envelope, die, and instructions on how to play! (17177, $15.95)

Memory

9114

Encourage your preschooler’s natural curiosity with this simple and fun game that helps strengthen their short-term memory. Playtime is extended with Memory’s simple and easy-to-use (and clean up!) format. The box includes 72 picture cards, plastic tray and instructions. (9114, $13.95)

Jumping Frog Math Game

47598

Match the lily pads to the pond by the correct shape or number, and watch the frogs jump. This game enforces a child’s learning of numbers 0-10, and your child will also learn counting, number recognition, sequencing, sorting, and number combinations. Each soft, plush frog has a number on its tummy and a corresponding number of spots on its back. Includes activity guide with loads of game ideas, lily pads, and pond, all in a vinyl storage bag. (47598, $59.95)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game

30443new

Complete a beautiful butterfly by “taking a bite” from the colorful fruits included in this game based on Eric Carle’s beloved book. Reinforce your child’s color and shape matching skills with this game, as well as language and cognitive skills. Reading the book is an added bonus, but there is no reading required to play this game! (Book not included.) (30443, $17.95)

Let us know what your favorite games to play with your family are!

4 Must-Haves for Your Busy Summer!

19 Jul

It’s the middle of summer. That means vacations–from trips to visit family, to trips to the coast, or the mountains–and you’re bound to need something for the little ones, either for clean-up or for occupying them while you’re on the go. So, we’ve got a few suggestions for you to make your life a little bit easier!

Lay N Go (Large)

Lay-N-Go (Large)

At 5′ in diameter, the Lay-n-Go is an activity mat, storage bag, and carry-all solution, all in one! It is made out of 100% Nylon, which makes cleanup easy and quick! It also has mesh pockets to stash and organize toys for your kids. A shoulder strap makes it easy and convenient to carry from place to place this summer. Just add toys and your children and watch them play! (Item#141251 $64.95,)

Do Art Travel Easel

Do Art Travel Easel

This portable art studio is perfect for young artists on the go! It is packed with pastels, markers, chalk, a white board marker, colored pencils, pencil sharper, sponge and a drawing pad. All materials fit neatly inside the case! (Item#00324, $34.95)

Boppy Travel Pillow

Boppy® Travel Pillow

Simply stylish, this Boppy travel pillow is designed to go anywhere, anytime!  It has an innovative zip closure with an easy-to-carry shoulder strap. Moms can open it and be ready in seconds to use it for feeding or comfortably propping baby up!  Plus – it’s machine washable! (Item #141061, $44.95)

141229a

Zoo Kids Rolling Luggage – Bee

This kid-friendly luggage is perfect for busy summers on the go and sturdy enough for everyday use, but also for long trips! It will give your little one the independence they want to carry their own things, but comes with a detachable shoulder strap so adults can carry hands-free when little ones get tired. Also comes as an an owl! (Item #141229, $37.95 20% off now!)

Let us know in the comments what else you use to make your lives easier when you travel with your kids!

Speed Stacks review and the Educational Benefits!

25 Jun

Speed stacking, cup stacking, sport stacking, speed cup sport stacking – no matter how many times the official association (yes, the WSSA – World Sport Stacking Association — to be exact) decides to change their name, it will always be the game of stacking cups as fast as possible. It isn’t just about creating a large tower of cups. There are set rules, competitive sequences, special cups, and timers.

We’ll leave the details of the rules and sequences for another blog to cover and we’ll focus on what we know: education toys! It might be difficult to think of a cup as a toy—much less as an educational toy—so we’ll break it down.

The Cups

We’ll stick with the cups made by Speed Stacks, since they fly off our shelves. For starters, Speed Stacks are actually endorsed by the WSSA and are the only cups allowed in WSSA-sanctioned events. These cups are designed for ultimate stacking speed with ribs to allow them to separate easier, smooth insides, and even a ventilation hole to prevent sticking. That’s not your average cup!

The Educational Part

Believe it or not, there have been several scientific studies on the effects of sport stacking, as well as educational systems referencing the benefits of sport stacking. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • After 5 weeks of sport stacking, second graders showed an increase in both eye-hand coordination and reaction time
  • An experimental group of students performed higher on a reading test after doing cup stacking twice a week for the four weeks before the test
  • Colorado state standards use cup stacking as an example of showing proficiency in the ability to cross the mid-line of the body

(Source: http://www.jmu.edu/kinesiology/hpainstitute/documents/SpeedStackingRationale.pdf)

 

Where To Buy Speed Stacks

Speed Stacks Set with DVD (Cool Blue)

Item #20770$19.95 
also available in neon greenneon orangeneon pinkreally red, and royal purple

Speed Stacks Sport Pack – 15 Set

Item 20771, $354.95

Videos

How to do it!


The video that opened the 2010 World Sport Stacking Championships.

Take Playtime Outside!

14 Jun

Summer is here, and along with it comes beautiful (or hot) weather! If you’re a fan of Kaplan Toys on Facebook, you might’ve seen the infographic we posted earlier this week from It’s All Kid’s Play on the benefits of unsupervised outdoor play for your kids. Some of them are:

  • Increased concentration and motor activity
  • Lower chances of childhood obesity
  • Increased feelings of self-worth
  • Less symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD

These sound like all good reasons to get kids active and outdoors! But what will they play with? We’ve got a few suggestions for you.

26123

Let’s Take It Outside! Teacher-Created Activities for Outdoor Learning  (Item #26123, $15.95 right now on sale!)

This book has over 100 different activities, written for teachers (and parents and caregivers) by teachers, which have been classroom-tested as great outdoor activities! It has activities appropriate for every season that will help your child not only have fun outside, but also learn more while doing so! It is also available in eBook format.

82776

Shapes Bean Bags, (Item #82776, $19.95)

Use these shape bean bags with some of the activities in Let’s Take It Outside! Beanbag toss activities are great for fine motor and gross motor development, as well as for developing eye-hand coordination. They can help your children learn their shapes while they improve important skills for them to have! This also comes with its own set of activities for more beanbag tossing fun!

Many people go to the beach over the summer with their children–keep them occupied with some fun sand toys such as these!

61146

Diggers and Dozers, (Item #61146, $16.95)

These sand scoopers are easy for little hands to grip so they can move, dig and push sand around with ease!

30498

Jumbo Sand Rollers(set of 5: Item #30498, $22.95 $19.95 on sale now!)

Kids will have fun creating designs in the sand with this set of 5 easy-grip sand rollers. Use them on the toughest construction job to build roads and patterns around sandcastles, or use them with paint and paper to create unique designs on art projects!

70911d

Shimmer Shapes Alphabet, (Item #70911, $69.95)

Encourage your children to spell things out in the sand–if they press down enough, it will leave imprints in the sand! Or they can bury them in the sand for a fun game of discovery and exploration. You can even use the Diggers and Dozers from above! These multisensory letters are filled with colorful, sparkly liquid. Highly tactile, they can be used as stencils, hung on washing lines, or scooped out of water.

~~~

Got any favorite summer toys? Let us know in the comments!

12 New Tools for Infants and Toddlers

28 May

We’ve got a lot of great new infant and toddler products for you to try out–and we’ve picked out twelve in particular that we really love!

Manipulative and Gross Motor Toys

1. Winkel™ Owl & Lion 30811set

(Birth & up.) Familiar with the original Winkel™ toys? This versatile set of toys has been updated to include friendly faces! These owl and lion toys are spun into shapes that are easy for baby to grasp! When you chill it in the refrigerator, it becomes a teething toy for older infants. Available as a set, or sold separately (owl & lion). (Set, item #30811, $26.95; $13.95  sold separate)

2. Puzzle Ball Puzzle Ball

(6 months & up.) This puzzle ball offers more than just squeakers, clickers, and rattles! It pulls apart to reveal three pieces: a rolling shaker and two activity toys. It helps develop manipulation skills, and it’s easy to put back together. (Item #30036, $14.95)

 

3 & 4. Flapping Owl Pull Toy and Rock & Stack Pull Toy pulltoys

(18 months & up.) These pull toys offer multiple options for your toddler’s fun! The owl flaps his wings when your toddler pulls him across the floor with soft felt and vibrant details to entertain your child. The Rock & Stack pull toy can be pulled across the floor by the string, or your toddler can move the wheels up and watch the boat rock! The animals can be switched around on board the boat, as well. (Item #s 62719 and 62720, $21.95 each)

Activity Gyms and Tummy Time

5. Gymini® Monkey Island Activity Gym 88178

(Birth & up.) Offer your baby a colorful and interesting world of investigation and interaction in 3 positions: on their back, on their stomach, and seated upright! With a baby-activated plush monkey (with 3 songs and lights), a tummy time pillow, and washable padded mat, this activity gym provides 18 developmental activities to keep baby active and learning! Batteries not included. (Item #88178, $69.95)

6. Treetop Friends Activity Gym 62220

(Birth & up.) If you prefer treetop friends, here is another activity gym for you! This gym features nature-inspired graphics and textures, with a tummy time pillow and birds, an owl, and a squirrel for children to play with, equaling up to 17 different developmental activities to help your baby grow! (Item #62220, $79.95)

 

7. Boppy® Tummy Time 62709

(2-6 months.)  Baby will have fun exploring the two developmental toys that come along with the Boppy Tummy Time! It features the SlideLine toy adjustment system so toys can be perfectly placed and moved to encourage tummy time fun.  (Item #62709, $19.95)

 

 

Board Books

8. Look at Me Bilingual Board Books (set of 4) 62768

(6-24 months.) For the dual language learners out there! Babies enjoy looking at other babies, and these board books are full of baby pictures! The books are easy for little hands to hold–and turning the page helps children develop eye-hand coordination. (Item #62768, $19.95)

 

 

9. Mini Masters Board Books (set of 4) 62749

(12-24 months.) Step into the magical world of fine art with this set of 4 board books that feature the works of four great artists: Degas, Monet, Matisse, and Van Gogh. These imaginative board books feature their beautiful paintings paired with playful, rhyming text. (Item #62749, $19.95)

 

 

Dramatic Play and More

10 & 11. Lion Cape Costume and Tiger Cape Costume liontiger

(18 months & up.) Lions and tigers (and bears, oh my!) in your home or classroom! Start your jungle adventures with these fun cape costumes–they’re easy to put on and made from easy-care, machine-washable fabrics. (Also available in horse and dragon options for fairy tale adventures!) (Item #s 30969 and 30971, $31.95 each–temporarily out of stock, but will be back soon!)

 

12. Smile & Ride Buggy 62750

(18-36 months.)  Your toddler will enjoy the ride in this fun push-around car! They will feel like they are really driving with a working horn to honk and wheel to turn! It includes a safety seat belt. (Item #62750, $43.95)

 

 

Let us know what you think! What is your favorite out of these? Which will you use this summer? :)

Five Fabulous Language and Literacy Games!

9 May

Whether you’re looking for games for emergent readers or for your older readers, we’ve got something to offer! We’ve handpicked five fabulous games that will help children build on key language and literacy skills like alphabet learning, phonics, rhyming, building words, and building sentences–all while having fun!

1. Alphabet Match Game
Alphabet Match Game

This puzzle game will help children learn alphabet concepts while promoting the development of early literacy skills. Each alphabet puzzle includes four wooden pieces–the lowercase and uppercase letters, a word that starts with the letter, and a picture of the word. It also comes with an activity guide that will give you new, fun ideas of how to use the game! (Item #70454, $69.95 55.95 SALE)

2. Syllabification Vocabulary Building Game 82668b

Spark your child’s interest in writing and spelling activities with this fun game that provides over 100 plastic tiles with root words (and derivatives of root words), prefixes, and suffixes! It will show them how words are made of chunks! (Item #82668, $34.95)

 

 

3. Rhyming Sounds Game 36318

Children will learn 32 different rhyming sounds with this fun game, which provides the players with a storage tray, 56 sorting tiles, and four category cards! To play, the children match the ending sound of the pictures with the corresponding rhyming object on the tiles. (Item #36318, $10.95)

 

 

4. Froggy Phonics Game62049a

Hop from lily pad to lily pad in this fun game to learn phonics! Players will use a phonics spinner and try to be the first to find matching words, and the first player to get to four matching words wins! Each board is double-sided for twice the fun! This will help build and reinforce reading skills. (Item #62049, $21.95)

 

 

5. You’ve Been Sentenced 87664new

For your older readers, You’ve Been Sentenced is a great sentence-building game using five-sided card with multiple versions of a base word. Players get 10 cards in a hand and try to score the most points by creating the longest grammatically-correct and sensible sentence! Any player can object to another players sentence, on either grammatical grounds, or if a sentence just doesn’t make sense. The defending player and the objecting player get to argue their points to the rest of the players, who form a jury. Half the fun is trying to defend, explain, and justify a completely ridiculous sentence to the other players. First player to reach 200 points wins.

 

All of these great toys are available through our website! Do you know any other great language and literacy skill-building games? Let us know in the comments!

Celebrate Spring with Plant and Insect Habitats

5 Apr

Looking for some fun, affordable ways to bring the outdoors inside this spring on those rainy days? Or ways to explore habitats and insects more closely for science homeschooling lessons? Here are some great learning-based toys we can offer you that can do just that!

1. Root Vue Farm Set

Root Vue Farm Set

This farm set is a wonderful way to observe the way plants grow! It comes with an acrylic viewing window that allows you to see the roots as they grow, a light shield to keep them growing healthily, a water basin and drainage reservoir, 3 packets of seeds, 8 grow-mix wafers, and a 16-page booklet with instructions and experiments! (Item #31325, $34.95)

2. Farmer’s Garden

farmer's garden

You can use this micro-farm to grow your own crops! Watch fruits and vegetables grow as you cultivate them–tasty treats like green and red peppers, green beans, strawberries, or lettuce! (Item #141179, $24.95)

3. Strange Plant Collection

strange plant collection

This collection of plants your children can grow is certainly out of the ordinary! Four seed packs come with this kit–seeds for space plants, eyeball plants, brain plants, and pitcher plants!–to provide your children with fun botanical oddities. (Item #00367, $24.95)

4. Sprout and Grow Window

sprout and grow window

This planter comes with see-through paneling, soil, pea and bean seeds, and a step-by-step guide, all allowing your children to watch the pea and bean seeds as they grow into something we can eat! Yum! (Item #24260, $19.95)

5. Insect Lore Ladybug Land

insect lore ladybug land

This fun habitat for ladybugs will allow your children to watch as ladybugs go through their life cycle! It comes with built in magnifying lenses to help children see the ladybugs better and an instruction guide! (Item #86390, $19.95)

6. Butterfly Glamour Garden

butterfly glamour garden

Set your dome terrarium up and plant your seeds, and then decorate it with stickers, jewels, marbles, pink gravel, and more! The plants that will grow will attract butterflies and hummingbirds with their rainbow-colored foliage and sweet scents, and comes complete with a butterfly that will call your garden home! (Item #141178, $24.95)

7. Butterfly Garden Set

butterfly garden set

For something a little more simple, try this butterfly garden set to observe 5 caterpillars transform into five butterflies! Included is a mesh habitat, feeding kit, care instructions, butterfly facts, and a coupon for live butterfly culture. (Item #17142, $19.95)

8. Antworks

antworks

A new twist on the old ant habitat! Antworks has been tested in zero gravity–how cool! It comes with the container and a non-toxic blue gel that will make it easy for children to observe ants digging a network of tunnels. (Item #22081, $19.95)

8 Fun Ways to Make Music

22 Mar

Do you have a budding musician in your family? Or do you know someone whose child loves making noise? For children, listening to—and making!—music is a very important step in their development and growth. It helps develop many different skills, such as listening skills, language skills, math skills, and more! It introduces children to rhythm, and can help relieve stress when things just aren’t going their way.

Making music gives children an opportunity to be creative, whether it involves shaking maracas while another friend is playing with a drum, or simply pecking the keys on their first piano. Here are some great toys children can use to create their own music!

Rainbomaker

1. Rainbomaker (8″)

The Rainbomaker creates a combination of sound and color that children will love! ($11.95, Item#94453 )

 

 

 

 

 

Learn to Play Piano2. Learn to Play Piano

The Learn to Play Piano from Melissa & Doug features 25 keys and spans two octaves! It’s a great first piano for little Mozarts. It comes with a songbook and a color-coded key chart to help children learn the keys. (On sale! $55.96, Item #00967)

 

 

 

3. Band in a Box Band in a Box

This kit includes maracas, a triangle, a set of hand cymbals, a tambourine, a clapper, and rhythm sticks to help your children create their very own band! ($24.95, Item #12774)

 

 

 

4. Zoo Rhythm Instruments (set of 7) Zoo Rhythm Instruments

This fun rhythm instrument set includes seven animals that your children might see on a zoo trip—in wooden form! It includes an elephant drum, crocodile guiro, shark bells, whale jingle, cow tone blocks, and more! ($79.95, Item #60721)

 

 

5. Ukulele (stripe design) ukulele

Use this fun Hawaiian instrument to teach children the basics of playing a stringed instrument! It comes with a pick to enhance playing! ($29.95, Item #141280)

 

 

 

6. Chimalong Jr.chimalongjr

This 8-note metallophone from Woodstock Percussion helps children learn about tone and pitch! ($39.95, Item #18004)

 

 

 

 

7. Wrist Bells wristbells

Wrist bells are a great addition to any band set your children might have! They can strap it on to their wrist with the easy Velcro closure and shake away! ($3.95, Item #1131)

 

 

 

wavedrum

8. Wave Drum

Create fun water sounds with the wave drum, like ocean waves, waterfalls, or rolls of thunder! ($21.95, Item #40791)

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