Stocking Stuffer Idea’s for Preschoolers

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Anyone who follows me on social media knows it’s no surprise that I turned to Fat Brain Toy’s for the kids stocking stuffers.

We have so much technology in our lives I wanted to make sure our stocking stuffers were the exception, I wanted to find things that would either make Lexie think or would work her fine motor skills; and some just for fun. Here are some of my favorites for the preschool age.

 

  Spot It Educational, $9.95-$12.95

{Alphabet, Numbers & Shapes, Basic English, or Basic Spanish}

 

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The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game, $19.95

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Find It – Kids Edition, $18.99

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 Fun Water Game, $9.95

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Kids Magnetic Poetry – First Words, $17.95

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 Kids Story Maker, $17.95

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Tell Tale, $12.95

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 Mini Mighty Mind, $9.95ll012

Magnetic MightyMind, $23.95

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8 inch Mini Rainmaker, $11.95

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Tangle Jr. Textured, $3.48

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3-D Stars in a Tube, $7.95

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What are your top picks for stocking stuffers this year? Do you have “rules” for what can and can’t be a stocking stuffer? Be sure to check out my new Pinterest boards about the best kids gifts from Fat Brain Toys, as well as the best toys for the office!

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**Disclaimer: I am a Partner in Play with Fat Brain Toys and at times do receive compensation for posts and items to review. However, all opinions are my own, this truly a company I love both product and customer service wise.

 

 

 

WW: Christmas Picture

Last week Nana Lynn called and said he wanted to do pictures. It was about 6pm before we did the photo shoot and I thought for sure it was waste of time and energy but the kids did really good!

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VTech Innotab MAX review and giveaway

Anyone else have a child who constantly wants any electronic device mom or dad (grandparent, sibling or anyone even) has? In this day and age its almost impossible for our kids to go without technology but I like when it has a purpose. For Lexie, we’ve set the ground rules that there is a time and a place; like when mom-mom needs a few minutes of quiet!

Last Christmas Lexie received an Inno Tab Baby 2 and was in love, she would play it for hours and was quickly addicted. With her birthday approaching over this past summer Hubs and I talked about “upgrading” her to a newer tablet and started to do some research. While at NYC for blogger bash I was able to get one of the first looks at the Inno Tab Max and knew it was the one.

Here’s why I think VTech’s Inno Tab Max should be your “go to” tablet this holiday season…

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1. First the price, with a MSRP of $109.99 you may be able to find this tablet for under a $100 right now, and it’s suggested for ages 3-9 years. Meaning you won’t need to go search for a new one next year!!!

2. VTech knows what they are doing! The Inno Tab Max is VTech’s 4th generation kids learning tablet, it features its fastest processor yet (up to 6x the processing power of the previous generation) and a 7″ high-resolution multi-touch screen processor.

3. The InnoTab Max includes a built-in, rechargeable Lithium battery  (Woohoo, no more buying batteries by the bulk to replace way to often!).

4. Its Kid Tough! Lexie dropped her’s out of bed a few times, stepped on it in the car, and even off the dinning room table on to the hard wood floor (I thought for sure it was a goner that time) and each time- nothing! No cracks, no breaks, no screen issues, no hiccups to the system; it was clearly built for kids.

5. Parental Controls: While we can easily limit our children’s technology time, its not always as easy to know what they are doing during that time (I’m a helicopter parent enough, I don’t want to be over her all the time). VTech’s parental controls allow parents to manage the apps, t he web access and tablet time; there is even a progress log. The kid-safe Wi-Fi allows kids to explore appropriate online games, videos and websites that have been preselected by VTech.

6. Ready to Go out of the box. I think as parents we have all bought that awesome toy only to open it and find you have to go buy something else for it to work (or in my case, return it for something else). Not this time, I’m not saying you won’t have to charge it or have to download any updates, but I will say it comes with a handful of apps preloaded. 15 to be exact, from My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art Studio, Wonder Cam Max, E-Reader with Story Dictionary, Premium VTech Kid Connect and more.

7. Kid Connect! {Don’t know what that is? That’s okay, I didn’t either, let me explain} The InnoTab Max has the 2nd generation version, the Premium Vtech Kid Connect. For no additional charge, you and your child can message back and forth, exchanging voice and text messages, photos, drawings and fun sticks in the real time between the tablet and any smart phone with the free Kid Connect App.

8. Want more than those apps listed above? Okay, how about a free Toca Boca app AND two additional free apps that you can download from the Learning Lodge?

9. The Learning Lodge!  VTech has given you your own app store, some free, some paid. I was really amazed by this! Have kids like Lexie that can’t remember where the game cartridge she had 2.5 seconds ago went? Well, how about instead of buying that next game from the store you buy it from the learning lodge and download it? Yes, you can do that too! The Max offers the best of both learning worlds with access to more than 650 educator- endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as the carefully cultivated educational Android apps all through VTech’s Learning Lodge.

10. {and honestly my favorite feature} Remember that Baby InnoTab 2 I mentioned? Lexie has about a dozen games for it (all cartridges. As part of the InnoTab family those cartridges can be used in the Max!!!!!! How awesome is that??

For an Educator’s Perspective see the short clip below…

VTech is going to be giving one lucky reader to win their own Inno Tab Max!!!!

To enter is easy…

To enter:  visit Vtech’s Website and let me know what your favorite current Vtech Toy is (and be sure to leave your email address too!)

Also: Follow Vtech on Twitter and Like them on Facebook, just be sure to leave a separate comment letting me know you did, and what name/user name it is under.

Extra entries:  Want to share this post across social media? Be sure to leave me an extra comment with the link showing you shared (and your email address). One extra entry per social media platform per day will be accepted.

And on Thursday, December 11th at midnight (EST) the giveaway will close. I will then use random.org to choose a comment to win a Vtech Inno Tab Max! Winner will be emailed and must respond within 24 hours, contest open to US residence only. All entries will be verified.

 

**disclaimer** I was sent a Vtech Inno Tab Max for the purpose of review, however all opinions are my own.

This House Needs A Mouse: Review

Are you still working on completing your holiday shopping? If so, I have a great book for you to add for any child on your shopping list.

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This House Needs a Mouse” is written by C. Jeffrey Nunnally and illustrated by Tamara Z. Brink. It is a beautifully illustrated children’s book with a difference, This House Needs A Mouse is a fun tale of a mouse who seeks a life outside of his caged existence, and through a series of events, finds himself free and experiencing life with all its ups and downs. This book aimed at 3 to 8 year olds, and is a teaching tool for budding readers and writers. Filled with mentor text such as alliteration, vivid verbs and purposeful repetition to name a few. 

When I received this book to review it wasn’t what I had expected, I think with little kids we have become accustom to the bright colored, small books with very little words; this was anything but. We are a family that loves to read and immediately read “This House Needs a Mouse” that evening, Lexie loved it. She asked for it the next night and the night after that, in the short week we’ve had it, it has also traveled to preschool, daycare and Nana’s house; everyone asking where we bought it. That’s a span of kids from 9 months to 9 years enjoying this great story.

Lexie has heard it so many times she’s even started remembering the story it self, and points and asks about some of the words; I can see where this book will be a great tool as she begins to learn to read and work more on word sounds.

“This House Needs a Mouse” is a must read for all little readers out there, I even put in a request with our local library to add it to the list on the next batch of books she orders; it could easily be added to the ranks of classic favorites like frog and toad, and country and city mouse.

You can purchase “This House Needs a Mouse” at the  book’s websiteAmazonBarnes and Noble, and Big Tent Books.

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10 hot toys you’ve probably never heard of

While attending Blogger Bash over the summer I got a hands on look at some of the newest and greatest toys. One of the best things was learning about new companies and what they have to offer, by far my favorite is Fat Brain Toys.  I’ve recently become a blogger for them and wanted to share with you some of the great products they offer.

 

 

1. Kinetic Sand

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Ever wonder what sand would feel like on another planet?

Grab two big handfuls of the Neon Kinetic Sand and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled way off into outer space!

Pack it tight and it sticks strong in whatever shape you make. Crumble it up and it seems to ooz oddly out of your hand.

It’s amazing!

And the best part? It hardly leaves any residue in your hands and it never dries out.

The clean and creative sand-building fun never stops!

Forget the hassle of beach sand and rocket your way into the future with two pounds of the Neon Color Kinetic Sand.

 

 

2. Goldie Blox

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Building simple machines has never had such a pull on girls. 

How can you get girls to build? Engage them with a story, challenge them with a problem-solving purpose, use colors, materials, and shapes that delight girls!

Created by Debbie Sterling, a hip, young Stanford engineer (who always wanted a toy like this herself) – the first book and construction toy in the GoldieBlox series has arrived!

Enter the world of GoldieBlox and meet Goldie (a strong female character who likes to invent things), Nacho (her beloved dog), Benjamin Cranklin (a cat with attitude), Katinka (the dolphin ballerina), Phil (the sloth) and Flavio (the bear from Brazil).

 

 

3. Count your Chickens

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A spin-and-move counting game perfect for first time game players.

How to Play:
The baby chicks have flown the coop! All players work together to help Mother Hen collect her chicks and bring them back to the coop. To start, players place the 40 baby chicks all around the board. Mother Hen is on start. The object of the game is to get all 40 baby chicks back inside the coop before Mother Hen gets to the last space on the board. Players spin and move Mother Hen, counting the number of spaces she travels. For each space travelled, players collect that number of baby chick markers and place them in the coop. But watch out for the fox! If the spinner lands on the fox a baby chick is removed from the coop. Players take turns, but work together – players count aloud together, collect the number chicks together and, if they collect them all, players win together!

 

 

4.  Spot Itbo057

 

Brightly colored, brilliantly illustrated – Spot It Educational is the exciting game that kids adore!

There is one, and only one match between any two cards. Be the first to spot it and you win the round. Continue to lay out the cards for fun, or bring on more competition by playing several rounds before counting the scores.

Players turn up the concentration as the hunt begins, looking for matching words, shapes, letters or numbers. Fast action and reflex skills improve as kids strive to be first to grab a correct combo!

 

5. Seek-a-Boo

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Little ones are on the hunt!

Select a square “Find Me” card, name the image, and then get busy. Find Me cards display familiar items – animals, foods, colors, shapes, clothing and more. Lay the large “Seek Me” cards face down across the floor. 

Flipping over cards and putting their memory to the test, toddlers flip the circular cards looking for the pictured item. Jumping up and down they set aside their match and draw another card.

Need an extra easy play version? Leave the Seek Me cards face up – Seek-a-Boo adapts to your child’s needs.

 

6. Find it (Kids Edition) 

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Spin it! Twist it! Shake it!

Be the first to find the penny or a marble, or a balloon, but don’t stop there… 48 hidden items are listed on the game top. Clear your eyes and start searching and shaking.

Sealed securely, kids pick up Find It – Kids Edition for instant entertainment.

Shake-shake-shake… in the car, on the couch, in the air or sitting on the ground, Find It is transportable fun for everyone. Play solo or set a timer and race your friends to find specific items.

 

 

7.  See & Spell Puzzles

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“Feel” the alphabet, “see” the alphabet, associate the alphabet with objects! Puzzle-playing preschoolers marvel in using puzzle-solving skills to spell words. It’s a great confidence-building, educational resource for pre-readers!

Puzzle picture & letter manipulatives assist children in pre-reading concepts, phonics, & literacy development. Using 20 puzzle pictures and more than 50 vibrant letters, kids make huge gains in confidence and master new academic skills!

 

 

8.  Peek a Doodle

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The find and hide game of chickens and eggs!

Cluck! Cluck! What an “egg-cellent” memory you have! 

A “My First Game” for your clever little farmer. With constant motion, Peek-A-Doodle Doo engages your child’s memory and concentration in a farm fresh way!

Part 1: Cluck! Find the Eggs!
Can you rule the roost? Collect all twelve eggs and return them to the crate. Choose carefully little farmer. Keep an eye on your fellow players and where they are moving their chickens.

Part 2: Cluck, Cluck! Hide the Eggs!
Next, players take turns removing an egg from the egg crate, placing it on an empty nest, and then moving a chicken to cover the egg. Play continues until all 12 eggs are covered by chickens.

Scoring (No fowl play…)
One wrong move could ruffle your feathers…
If a player selects an incorrect chicken, they move their colored egg to the next cracked egg in their scoring nest’s cracking egg progression. Too many moves and CRACK! You’re out of CLUCK!

The winning player is the one with the most complete eggshell in their scoring nest when all the eggs are covered. 

 

9.  Joinks

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Flex, connect, build, play – JOINK!

Colorfully constructed, brilliantly designed, Joinks engage the fingers and mind in a fantastic building experience.

Fun to say, and even better to play, Joinks attracts inventors of all ages. From playroom to universities, toddler to teacher, simple to complex, Joinks designs are wide and diverse.

Wooden dowels join easily with quality 100% silicone connectors. One simple push and the dowels sit tight for a secure fit. Time for de-construction? One simple pull and “POP” the silicone slides off with a delightful sound.

Curious building has found its match. Innovative building has arrived!

One look at the colorful pieces and hands start grabbing. Joinks connectors reach out in all directions – one, two, three, four and even FIVE prong connecting pieces conform creativity to your definition.

Connecting prongs bend and flex for customized construction. Silly creatures, expressive forms, 3D geometric shapes, chemistry and molecular models, irregular structures… easily add, remove or swap sticks.

Bend them into place, Joinks are eager to please and flex quickly to your every whim.

 

10.  Squigz

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Squigz are fun little suckers!

Apply pressure to two Squigz. Air rushes out and the fun rushes in!

Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface – Squigz are a species all their own. They flex. They stick. They suck people into creativity.

Once they take hold, it takes some pull to separate them. When Squigz POP! in protest – you’ll have to admit… your hands and ears are shamelessly delighted!

They are flexible fellows and committed joiners. Squigz and fellow Squigz have one chief enterprise – creating things. Willingly, they assemble to become rockets, vehicles, a cushion for the cat, jewelry… they thrill in uniting as a ginormous octopus or squid.

Squigz are scientific sorts – always up for playful experimentation and defying gravity – sticking to bathtubs, windows, school lockers, tabletops, and office desktops. (And they are mannerly guests too – never leaving a trace of their presence.)

 

Bonus:  Bilibo

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Children have an indefatigable talent for finding unusual uses for their toys or, more inconveniently, finding interesting new uses for your property – mostly at the exact same time that you need it.

If you have given a present and found that the kids play more with the box or, like me, have despaired at spending Christmas Day watching the children use the tubes from the tinfoil and the wrapping paper as swords, whilst ignoring all their carefully selected, non-violent toys, the perfect present has arrived. Say hello to Bilibo.

Tortoise shell and sand toy, swing and spinner, cradle for dolls and a shell to build with in the snow – Bilibo is all this and much more. So what exactly is a Bilibo? Well one clue is the fact that it does not come with an instruction manual. Kids can do what they like with it!

Says Alex Hochstrasser, Swiss inventor and designer of Bilibo, “When I introduced the prototypes at the kindergarten of my hometown the little ones were astonished at first. But then a boy sat down in Bilibo and started spinning, a girl turned Bilibo around and tried to balance on him – after that you just could not stop them any more.”

This shell is made of high density polyethylene which is shock-resistant, weather-proof, food safe, completely recyclable and comes in Eight bright colors. Bilibo is big enough that kids of different ages can sit in it comfortably. All this, and friendly too -Bilibo has two holes at the side which look like eyes and give the appearance of a smiling face on the shell.

 

The above 10 items are my top pics for this holiday season, some we already have, some are already to be wrapped and some I can’t wait to try! Have you tried any of the items listed above? Which one do you hope Santa brings?

 

**disclouser: I am part of a blogging program with Fat Brain Toys which at times does include compensation. However; as always; all opinions are my own.**