Category Archives: Learning

Project Mc2 Circuit Beats

Project Mc2 Circuit Beats allows you to make music out of almost anything. As long as an object conducts electricity it can be used to create a circuit and make music. To make it work you simply connect the circuit board to the object of your choice such as a banana, hold the ground wire in your hand creating a return path for the electricity, then by tapping one finger of your other hand on the banana you complete the circuit and you are making music. The circuit board allows you to select from five different sounds: piano, drums, guitar, cat sounds or you can even record your own sounds.

Product includes:
• Circuit board
• 7 wire clips to connect your choice of objects ( objects not included)
• Cat ear speaker headband
• Sticker sheet to decorate your Project Mc2 Circuit Beats
• Requires 3x AAA batteries (included)

projectmc2How Much?

Circuit Beats retails for under $30 USD.

Who Would Buy It

It is rated for ages 6 and up but is fun for all ages. Parents and grandparents take note any child would love to receive Project Mc2 Circuit Beats as a gift. It is educational as well as fun so teachers would also benefit from the product whether in a classroom or a home school setting.

Things We Like About It

First and most importantly its fun for the whole family, even adults love to get in on the action.
The kit is cute and colorful, and we love that is comes with stickers that allow your child to personalize it to their own taste.
There is nothing better than having fun while learning and Circuit Beats is definitely educational. The kit encourages children to experiments just to figure out which fruits/veggies etc will conduct electricity. Your kids will enjoy learning about music and science through play.
Parents will love that it comes WITH 3 AAA batteries already installed. The pre-loaded sounds are fun but kids love the record option that lets you record your own sounds. We all know kids that never get tired of hearing the sound of their own voices so it’s a good thing that the kitty headset isn’t just adorable, it also delivers great sound.

Things We Did Not Like About It

Some people found that it took a while to get the product to work consistently but for some that was part of the fun. Others couldn’t get the product to work at all. The clips are extremely picky, and you need to be sure that they are pushed in all the way. Some reviewers felt that the instructions were unclear and should have specified that in order to complete the circuit the user had to hold on to the metal part of the ground wire.
Some people found that the headphones didn’t work or that they were too small for the child’s head.
One thing that we felt would improve the product would be a case that all the separate parts could go into to make putting it away easier.

Is It Worth The Money?

For those that were able to get the product to work it was a cute, engaging and educational toy and children and adults alike enjoyed playing with. Despite the difficulties that some people had getting it to work, the low price makes the gamble worth it.

Where Can I Buy It?
The Project Mc2 Circiut Beats is available online through Amazon and in stores like Wal-mart and Toys’r’us.

Final Thoughts
Circuit Beats is one of those rare toys that are able to combine fun and learning and engage the whole family.

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar

This is the latest in the Think & Learn line from Fisher Price and is a fun way for your young child to experiment and learn a variety of skills. The code-a-pillar consists of a motorized caterpillar head that has blinking eyes, sound, and lights up. A further 8 segments connect together and move in different directions. There are also two destination targets with the goal being for the code-a-pillar to reach the target.

There are also reasonably priced add-on segments you can buy to add more value to the toy. They are certainly not ‘must haves’ but if your child is already getting a lot of use out of it, they could make a nice addition.

How Much?
The Code-a-Pillar currently has a recommended retail price of $50.00 The Add on segments are currently selling for $4.99 each.

Who Would Buy The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar
The recommended age range is 3-6 years old. We would say both boys and girls would enjoy playing and learning with this toy. We think it could appeal to older and younger children as well, probably for 2-7 year olds in our estimation.

Things We Like About Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar
We like that it actually came with batteries straight out of the box–well done Fisher Price! The main feature we liked about this toy is that it should have some longevity and the various uses for the toy will grow with the child. A younger child might appreciate the sounds and lights and the caterpillar crawling about the floor but as the child gets older it can work on the problem solving and puzzle aspects of this toy. We also like that it glows in the dark and lights up with different colors.

Things We Didn’t Like About It
If you have a small apartment or a lot of clutter we would suggest looking for another educational toy for your child as this one needs a fair amount of room and ideally a hard wood floor or a thin rug or carpet. One reviewer suggested an empty garage. The toy is fairly loud and there is no volume control

Is The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Worth The Money?
It definitely has replay value so it shouldn’t be one of those toys that get relegated to the back of the toy cupboard. We’d say $50 is a fair price but if it is used a lot it could eat up a lot of batteries so do factor that into the cost.

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Where Can I Buy The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar?
The Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar is currently available at most online stores and we are guessing some local toy shops. Amazon has it available and you can read user reviews about it here.

Final Thoughts
This is a nice interactive educational toy that parents are actually enjoying playing with alongside their toddlers. It’s getting some good reviews from moms and dads online and it’s a great fun way to teach young kids logic and problem saving in a fun way.

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Toys as Early Learning Tools

Have you ever watched a child at play? You may have wondered what they were thinking as they spun a toy or pushed a soft square block into a round cup. One thing you may not have considered is that while the child sits there playing, they are also learning about the world they live in. Each toy they play with is another way to interact with material things that exist in their world.

As children get older, they learn to manipulate items and find uses for nearly everything in their toy bin. The types of toys they have to play with will have a large role in how they learn to solve problems.

They will learn some things fit together easily while others do not. This is when they’ll be making internal associations on how these different objects either complement or discourage one another.

Toys can be the perfect early learning tools to get your child started in the right direction to develop early cognitive skills that will be beneficial throughout the rest of his life. Choosing toys that help your child learn while they are at play is a choice that will help your child get a boost early in life.

If you want to help your child play and learn at the same time, you can find a wide variety of toys that do just this. Before you go to your local toy store or department store, you may want to look online and see what types of toys are recommended for your child’s age.

This will save you time and can help you find out if any toys have been put on a recall list. Make sure you know where the toy recall list is posted wherever you buy toys. Most stores have them listed next to the restrooms or in the layaway section and toy websites usually have a prominent link to their recall list.

Toys that stimulate the mind are the best for early learning playtime. Toys that include things like the alphabet and the animal sounds are considered to be learning toys.

Some toys are made to teach children how to function in every day life. Toys with buttons, laces, Velcro and snaps can teach them how to dress themselves as they learn to manipulate each closure.

By carefully choosing which toys your child plays with, you can help stimulate the natural desire to explore new things and master new skills. Early learning can be fun, exciting and educational. Best of all, it’s a type of learning that children love!

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

Project Mc2 features McKeyla and other girls who love to solve missions by using their science and other skills. They work as spies for an organization known as NOV8 and this series is an extremely popular one on Netflix.
Kids and parents alike love that these characters foster a love of science and other subjects. By using the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit, your child can work on different experiments and find answers just like the characters on Project Mc2.
The kit features a large lab bag that has everything they need to find answers to the experiments they’ll do. The bag is handy and large enough to keep all the pieces in one place.
The lab kit uses learning based on S.T.E.A.M. which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. By exploring interests in these subjects, not only will your job gain more readiness in these areas, but they’ll also learn how to strengthen analytical thinking skills.
With all of the different components in the lab kit, kids can do multiple science experiments. It even includes a 4x power microscope that really works. When they’ve conducted all the experiments that come included in the kit, they can log onto the ProjectMc2 site and download more.
This kit is suitable for kids who are 6 years old and older and is packed with plenty of pieces that a child can use. It comes with 3 glass slides that kids can use to examine things using the microscope.
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There are two test tubes for examining liquids and a stand to keep these tubes upright is also included. There’s a funnel with the kit so pouring liquid from one container into another is mess free.
A beaker jar comes in the kit along with 3 lab flasks. The 15 pH strips that are in the kit can be used to test the pH level for a variety of things inside and outside the home. A pipette dropper is in the box that kids can use when they only need to use a few drops of a substance.
There is a petri dish that can be used for studying a variety of cells and organisms. Since safety is important when conduction experiments, a pair of safety goggles do come in the kit.
Kids love that the kit also has one of the Project Mc2 rings and sticker sheets. The kit can be used to complete 15 experiments, many of them with stuff you have around the house by using the experiment book that’s included. Once kids finish doing all the experiments listed, they can search the Project Mc2 site for more or make up some of their own.
Suzanne
P.S. You might want to also get the McKeyla doll.

Little Live Pets Clever Keet

Regardless of how much you love your child and want to give him a pet of his own, you know it might not be a wise decision because he might not be ready for the responsibility.
Or he might be ready but you can’t have a pet because of restrictions on pets where you live or you have a family member that’s allergic to pets. There is a way you can make your child happy to have a pet that’s just like a real one.
The Little Live Pets Clever Keet is just like a real parakeet but without the mess a bird makes or the responsibility it takes to care for one. This toy is an interactive toy that will delight your child.
It can be taught so many different things to do – including singing and bobbing in a little dance maneuver. The toy bird is aptly called clever because it’s smart enough to move around the accessory cart that comes with him.
Kids adore how the bird responds to them in reaction to the sound of words. Your child will want to take his little friend everywhere he goes. The bird has the ability to talk as well as sing and he can even move his wings like a real bird.
As he’s taught different words, he retains them and can speak them back. He comes with his own play equipment as well as a guide detailing how to interact and care for the toy.
The bird is smart–when he sees his own reflection, he knows who he is. Packed with the latest technology in toys, playing with this bird will never grow old. Kids as young as 3 can learn how to interact with the bird and will be delighted to hear it sing and communicate with them although the recommended age is 5-15.
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This digital toy has a deep learning capacity to hold the things that it’s taught. It can engage any child in a way that will keep your child wanting to learn and interact with the bird.
The bird comes with plenty of accessories to add to the fun. You’ll get the mirror that the bird uses to see himself, a swing that he likes to rest on, and the cart he’s able to push around.
When kids first get the bird, they need to give it a name. The bird will ask for a name and when your child gives him one, the bird will respond positively in return. When your child asks the bird a question, he’ll answer. When your child makes a statement to the bird, he’ll repeat it. It’s hours of fun for your child as well as for adults.
Suzanne
P.S. You might want to also check out the Little Live Pets Lil’ Turtle Tank which comes with a tank, turtle,  1 AAA battery and instruction booklet. The turtle doesn’t talk but it does swim and may be a good starter “pet” for your child.

Disney Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center

Kids love nurturing their pets when they need some help. Using their imagination in play helps them be more creative, but there are toys that can also boost their creative side as well as give them lots of fun playtime.
The Disney Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center is packed with all sorts of things they can do. They can make believe they’re taking in their beloved pets for a checkup or to fix up a boo-boo.
This toy vet center is based on the Disney Junior series that kids love. For kids who dream of working with animals in a veterinary setting someday, this toy will help them learn a little of what goes on when animals go to the doctor.
There are a lot of features and accessories with this center. It’s a fairly large piece and has a green pegboard back. This pegboard is used to hold some of the tools that veterinarians need to use to care for the animals.
The upper portion of the backboard shows an image of a girl holding a puppy. Portions of the back are decorated with images of medicines and other vet supplies. There’s room on one side of the backboard where a shelf sits that holds some of the stuff the vet will need to use.
The pegboard has holders that keep the tools organized. It can hold the otoscope, the thermometer and the EKG machine. It also holds the brush. The bandage sticker dispenser sits on the shelf.
When kids use the pretend x-rays to check the pets, the center has lights and sounds that accompany the action. There’s a tub with a pretend sprayer so that the pets can get a bath if they need one or simply be cooled down to help lower their fevers.
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A cute little yellow basket is off to one side that can be used to weigh the cute little friends. The basket can be removed if the kids want to do this. There’s an adorable dog bone treat dispenser underneath the surface top of the vet center and this holds little brown doggie bones that can drop into a bowl underneath it.
A small rack on the side of the vet center is perfect to use for holding leashes, a towel or a small dog or kitten blanket. When you get this toy, you receive the pet Findo along with the accessories. The center is suitable for kids starting at age 3 and older and it does need 3 AA batteries to work the lights and sounds. Some assembly is required.
Suzanne

Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo

If you’re looking for a great toy for a child between the ages of 9 months to 3 years old, then you’ll certainly find that in the Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo. This toy is an animatronic friend that not only promotes physical activity, but is a learning tool as well.
When your child pushes on the toy’s LED stomach or on the top of toy’s oversized blue feet which also allow the toy to stand on its own, there’s plenty of interactive fun. Your child will get to learn things like funny songs that will make him want to dance.
He’ll also learn basic things such as the ABCs. The toy also teaches a child the different colors and how to count simple numbers. There are 3 different modes with the toy and these modes are interactive according to the age of your child.
So as he gets older, the content he’s taught will adjust to his age. One of the modes is the Dance ‘n Move, which teaches a child to nod his head and move his hips in dance as the toy does the same while music plays.
This mode teaches a child how to use his motor skills. Kids need a lot of sensory stimulation and the toy certainly provides that by engaging your child’s senses. In the second mode, the Learning and Games one, your child will have learning time and one of the popular things about this mode is the fun Freeze Dance.
It’s a great educational mode. In the third mode, called Customized Sing-Along, a parent or child can make a recording saying something. The toy will then turn that into a favorite song.
Kids love hearing things that their parents say repeated back to them this way. Using this feature can help teach children language skills, too. Using the colors on the toy, parents can help a child learn what simple colors are and be able to name them.
This early learning toy is a great help for giving children a foundation for the things they need to know for preschool. There’s a lot of fun and laughter with this toy as Beatbo thrills the whole family.
Kids love pushing on the buttons and getting a reaction with either a sound or movement or with the brightly colored lights that flash. It encourages your child to sing and dance and you’ll delight in just watching the antics. This toy is the perfect choice for a parent who wants their child to be active and have fun while learning.
Suzanne

Toys R Us Fabulous 15 Toys List for Christmas 2015

Toys R Us Fabulous 15 Toys List for Christmas 2015
Below I’ve included the 15 toys Toys R Us calls the fabulous toys for Christmas 2015. If you click on the highlighted link, it will take you to my blog article on that toy where you will find much more information about it.
1. Doc McStuffins Take Care of Me Lambie is an interactive, educational toy that is suitable for children who are 3 years old and up. Not only is it adorable but since it has more than 50 interactive responses, your child will have hours of fun engaging with it.
2. Some interactive toys are pretty much like the next one, but not the Fisher-Price Bear Smart Toy. This toy is different in many ways. Rather than you having to switch toys as your child grows in learning and age, the toy itself will change as your child does.
3. A great toy for a child between the ages of 9 months and 3 years old is the Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo. This toy is an animatronic friend that not only promotes physical activity, but is a learning tool as well.
4. There are plenty of fun toys for kids who love dolls and the Barbie Saddle ‘N Ride Horse is one of them. There are tons of adventures just waiting for Barbie and her beautiful horse to enjoy.
5. Little Live Pets Clever Keet is just like a real parakeet but without the mess a bird makes or the responsibility it takes to care for one. This toy is an interactive toy that will delight your child.
6. Shopkins Fashion Boutique Playset – Kids will have loads of fun on their shopping spree when they’re playing with the Shopkins Fashion Boutique Playset. These playsets use characters that are made just for the playsets.
7. Journey Girls 2015 Italy Holiday Doll – For those who like to collect dolls or use them in holiday displays, getting the Journey Girls 2015 Italy Holiday Doll is a must have purchase. This doll is part of an exclusive collection of other dolls in the series.
8. Paw Patrol Paw Patroller – The adventures of the Paw Patrol series are led by Ryker, the boy who helps the brave rescue dogs on their many different missions. This toy is a rescue vehicle that can be used to carry three of the different Paw Patrol vehicles at once and the side of it can be closed when not in use.
9.  Fisher Price Imaginext Ultra T Rex – This toy is unique in that it allows kids to direct the adventure with the use of the Power Pads. By using these Pads, kids can control the T-Rex and they’ll easily be entertained with all of the lights, sounds and actions.
10. Star Wars BladeBuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber – As legions of Star Wars fans know, the Lightsabers are more than mere toys. They’re adventures that can be held in the hand. With each new Star Wars related toy item, creating the iconic world with the epic battle between good and evil becomes even more realistic.
11. LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack – Kids can use their imagination to lead them through the adventure to restore everything back to right in the LEGO world. They’ll have an array of minifigures they can use combined in one video game.
12.  Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Robotic Droid – This has to be the ultimate personal buy or gift for any Star Wars fan. This little droid is a replica of R2-D2 and is loaded with the ability to interact with humans.
13. NERF N Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster – With this blaster, users can now create their own blaster the way that they want it and one that’s suitable for the gameplay that they engage in.  This blaster gives users the ability to make over 30 different combinations so playing to win has never been easier.
14. Meccano MeccaNoid Personal Robot – This robot is affordable and comes with a lot of great features that make this one of the most in demand robots on the market. The robot has the ability to recognize voice commands.
15. Guitar Hero Live – Inside many people, there’s a rock star just waiting to be set free. Now you can do that with Guitar Hero Live. This is the game like you’ve never seen it before with cutting edge brand new modes and a guitar controller that’s made to be played.
I hope this blog post was helpful for you. Please feel free to comment below or share, email or tweet this blog post to your friends who are searching for great toys for their kids!
Suzanne

Fisher-Price Bear Smart Toy

Some interactive toys are pretty much like the next one, but not the Fisher-Price Bear Smart Toy. This toy is different in many ways. Rather than you having to switch toys as your child grows in learning and age, the toy itself will change as your child does.
What this means is that there is no one-size-fits all interactive play. Each child gets to have his or her own unique experience with this smart toy. It’s suitable for kids age 36 months to 8 years, but kids of all ages love this bear.
The bear has the ability to comprehend an extensive vocabulary of words, which enables it to be able to communicate. The bear can understand different things – such as books – and it can recognize who your child is as well as what he or she likes.
This bear is more than a smart toy. It’s a huggable friend that your child will treasure for years. Because it’s interactive, your child will be able to learn from the toy. The bear can interact in such ways as knowing what colors your child prefers.
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It can also remember what kind of food your child likes to eat and the many different fun things that your child likes to do. With this ability, the bear helps your child to engage in interactive play, to learn new words and communicate.
It also helps your child be more active, be creative, and discover new things. The bear has the ability to talk to your child about different stories they can share as well as games to play.
Your child will be thrilled to spend time interacting with the bear as he learns. Because the bear is a smart toy, the interaction that it suggests will be tailored to the age of your child as well as his preferences in what he enjoys.
The toy adjusts the learning adventure based on what your child’s learning ability is. The bear can interact this way because it’s cloud-connected. This keeps the learning up to date and the information fresh and exciting.
This connection is what lets the bear continually adjust to your child’s level so there will always be something new to discover, which means your child will never be bored with the learning aspect of the toy.
The bear can recall what your child says and kids love that. Your child can use the Smart Cards to have a choice of different activities and the bear can recall what’s going on including the time and what the weather is like outside.
Parents have the ability to use a smartphone app to be able to direct the bear. You’ll also be advised of how your child is doing with his learning and what he’s engaging in. Parents can also update the bear’s content without having to pay extra.
A similar, less expensive toy (without quite as many bells and whistles) is the Intellitoys Smart-e-Bear Learning Toy.
Happy Holiday Shopping,
Suzanne

VEX Robotics Ball Machines – one of Forbe’s Top 10 Toys for 2015!

Any toys that can be used to teach kids about power in motion are good educational and fun toys. Kids can learn and discover as they play. They’ll learn about linkages and motion as well as cause and effect.
Toys like the VEX Robotics Ball Machines are reasonably priced toys that inspire kids to learn as they play and the manufacturer has a long list of these interesting robotics ball machines.
These are modular in construction and are very budget friendly. The sets can be used configured together to make even bigger machines. The VEX Robotics Hexcalator Ball Machine is one of the robotics that has a hand crank that kids can use to create the motion that drives the wheels to move the balls uphill to the ramp and down again.
This is all hand powered, so no batteries are needed – and the set comes with eight of the balls. Kids can build a forklift using the pieces from the Forklift Ball Machine set.
By putting together the linkage, kids will create a machine that has the ability to scoop and lift the balls. Like the other machines, this one has a hand crank that allows it to scoop and lift the balls quickly.
The VEX Robotics Handoff Ball Machine has more than 220 pieces that kids can use to build it. They’ll be linking gears and cranks that can make a machine that has the ability to move balls to holding bins.
By building this machine, kids learn engineering facts like rotational and linear movement. By using the 170 piece plus set, kids can build a VEX Robotics Screw Lift Ball Machine.
The machine can lift small items and the design of this one is based on the science of the Archimedes Screw. This works by having kids use a screw that rotates so that it can lift balls.
If you have a child that’s big on sports, he’ll love the VEX Robotics Hook Shot Ball Machine. This set combines more than 180 pieces to create a machine that uses a hand crank to toss balls through a loop.
The VEX Robotics Pick & Drop Ball Machine has an impressive piece count of over 400 pieces. Using kinetic motion, kids can use the crank to move energy that makes the hands of the machine work.
When they use the crank, the hands will pick up a ball and if kids continue to run the crank, it’ll lift the ball up and drop it on the ramp. While each of these 6 sets use linkage, gears and hand cranking, kids can still add power motors if they want to take the building experience a step further.
Do you know a child who would love one of these toys?
Suzanne