Posts Tagged “dolls”

Reversible 2-In-1 Flip Zee Girls Doll Review

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Disclosure: We were provided a sample doll for purposes of reviewing and showcasing in our Holiday Gift Guide. As always, the opinions expressed herein are strictly our own. We are providing honest feedback in exchange for the product. This post includes affiliate links.

Flip Zee Girls are soft, cuddly 2-in-1 dolls that transform from baby to big girl. These adorable dolls are terrific for the child that likes to play with dolls that “grow up” during play. Victoria has always done this with barbies and other dolls. She would play with them through stages of life. She did the same with the Toddler Disney Princess dolls and Our Generation dolls, ensuring that selected those that looked alike. I was fascinated with this as it never occurred to me to play in such a manner. I didn’t hide 1/2 my dolls for the second act when I was a child.

So naturally, when I learned of Flip Zee Girls, I immediately thought of Victoria and her style of doll play. The Flip Zee Girls are packaged as infants swaddled in a blanket with a bonnet. The bonnet flips back to reveal a fuller face and lots of colorful hair. The swaddle flips open to reveal the dolls body, arms and legs… not to mention the fashionable dress. So cute. So cuddly. So perfect for bedtime buddies.

And because they are so soft, they make the perfect car companion. Especially for those that easily fall asleep in the car and need a cushion to soften the ride. I highly recommend Flip Zee Girls for family travel.

You can find Flip Zee Girls in our Holiday Gift Guide… might make a terrific pre-holiday gift if you expect to be on the road. Which dollie is your favorite? (PS – Only 1 comes with cat ears!!)

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How to Encourage Creativity with Playtime Using Barbie and Other Toys

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Barbie Playtime Profile PicNothing like dedicating a whole Saturday to play and by play I mean… all.day.play with Barbie and my daughter.  And by Barbie, I really mean like 115+ barbies, princesses and Ken dolls. Yeah, we’ve got quite a collection but it allows for some serious creativity.

Barbie

The creativity and play is mostly in the set up when we pull all the barbies out. It’s not the same experience as playing with a Barbie and a few friends in the Dream House. In the past, when we had a mega barbie play date, we just dumped all the pieces out into the middle of the floor to see what theme grabbed us. This last time we thought about it over dinner and decided on a play theme, although that changed the next day.

(One of our previous and most popular Barbie videos below…)

Creativity comes in many varieties and although my child loves the traditional Crayola type of creative activities, she certainly loves building our play sets together as well. We treat it like a project, where we kind of come up with a game plan. Sure we could just “willy-nilly” our way through but by providing some structure our play date moves in the right direction and ensures we’ll actually get to play in our newly created scene. (Nothing like building and then having to go to bed! Bummer.) So as the parent, I help keep track of time and make lots of suggestions along the way… this isn’t a one-person party. If left alone, Victoria would play with barbie and friends and all the “bits” as I call them… but together I encourage her to think outside of the hot pink plastic pieces and see what we can use around the house to enhance our play set and therefore experience.

Barbie

Yesterday’s experience didn’t require a whole lot, as she changed the theme from a movie premier with the red carpet to a Broadway show of Peter Pan. (Also new and interesting: she decided she wanted the movie to play in the background and we acted out the parts on set. I would have preferred an audio book version of this idea but Peter Pan was not in our audio library.) In any event, instead of having to make tons of tiny tin foil cameras and piecing together a red carpet, we used a book shelf and some small boxes to create the theater seating. Since the beginning of Peter Pan starts off in Wendy’s room, we used one of the Barbie houses as a major set back drop. We had a film crew and directors on staff as well. It didn’t turn out to be my favorite play set but this time it was all Victoria’s vision… and in the end, that’s what I want. I want her to have the courage and creativity to think outside the obvious and to show others her vision.

BarbieI will say, in this case most of the “set up” was dressing 85 or so naked barbies. Some were dressed in casual attire but most weren’t dressed at all. We have a fair share of barbie clothes but since most of her barbies are older… you just never know what is going to fit the older barbie mold vs the newer barbie body style. But now that these dolls are dressed to the nines… we’ll continue with our other formal wear ideas… Kentucky Derby and Carnival Cruise perhaps?  We brainstormed a few extra ideas and now I’m glad we did because goodness knows I don’t want to have to go and undress this formal wear anytime too too soon. I’m sure we’ll get to the movie premier as well.

Barbie

Broken down, this is how I encourage parents to enhance creativity during play time:

1. Pick a toy (or several if they work well together). We like Barbie and American Girl for these type of play dates. Transformers, Lego, Dinosaurs will also work.

2. Pick a theme… what’s the story line? Are dinosaurs being rediscovered? Are they magically coming to life in museums? Is Optimus Prime running for President? Is the Macy’s Day Parade coming to barbie town? Think bigger than the play sets your child has, bigger than the pieces.

3. Encourage creative design and thought for the scene and story line. Think of Andy in Toy Story… he used boxes for buildings and his sister’s crib as jail. Clever.

4. Search the house, garage, yard for nontraditional items to make your theme set work. Perhaps rocks from the garden, laundry basket tilted on its side or card board creations. We make this into a little game. For me this is the best part…watching Victoria look at objects differently and the “oh, how ’bout this…” moments.

5. Remember that the set up is a major part of this play activity. Make sure your child understands this before starting or they will “check out”. Let him/her know that we’re going to take some time to set everything up AND THEN we’ll play the scenes out.

6. Watch the clock. Don’t make it such a project that no one wants to play in the end or worse, its bedtime or time to leave and you don’t have time to immediately enjoy all the work put in.

7. Snap a couple photos. It’s not likely you’ll want to keep the card board creatures or fancy displays for years from now… so grab a couple keepsake photos during play time.

8. Most importantly… stay with your child for the actual play time… you’ve spend all this time creating together, don’t skip out on the best part. He/she has been looking forward to this part all day.

9. If you can help it… DON’T TEAR IT DOWN right away. Let the kids come back to the play set for “round two”.

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Celebrating 90 years with Madame Alexander Dolls

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Oh the places you can take your doll and your doll can take you!! Recently, Victoria and I had the great pleasure of visiting, touring and celebrating with Alexander Doll Company in New York City.

HAPPY 90TH!!

Photo courtesy of Alexander Doll Company Inc.

This was a very special day (despite someone’s embarrassing meltdown moment). But first, let me mention how terribly excited Victoria was for her first train ride ever. She could hardly contain her excitement. Here’s a quick clip of our adventure from Princeton Junction to NYC.

She was too cute in that tutu… all smiles the whole way. When we got to Penn Station, she kept repeating “We’re in the city, we’re finally in the city!”

NYC Madame Alexander Dolls

The Big Apple

A short walk had us at the door of Madame Alexander’s new building. Once inside, we were greeted with warmth, smiles and goodies – yum. We had the opportunity to hear a quick demonstration of the Dollie & Me line and in fact they had a skirt outfit similar to Victoria’s fluffy pink tutu – her “city outfit”. The doll studio held several rooms for exploration before we went one flight down to the office area. More goodies and lots of collectibles for us to admire. But here’s where the meltdown began… prior to coming we received a catalog and as such we looked thru the pages sharing time looking forward to our trip. Victoria immediately spotted the Rapunzel doll in the catalog and knew to look for her when we arrived. She had the hardest time parting with one of her all time favorite characters. I remain a very very grateful mom for all the patience the staff demonstrated while I dealt with the little situation.  Madame Alexander’s collection offers a wonderful variety including classic literature characters like Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz and Annie, and new fun loving ones like Pinkalicious,

Angelina Ballerina and Fancy Nancy.

Toys R Us in NYC, Madame Alexander Dolls

Shopping At Toys R Us, NYC

Soon enough, we were on our way to a small shopping spree… this was New York after-all. Victoria like a big girl, selected her purchase with much care, paid by herself and managed her own bag all the way back to Penn Station. Click on the video for a glimpse into Madame Alexander’s world and our shopping spree.

And like any girl who’s had the time of her life… she just had to phone a friend and tell her all about it.

Train to NYC, Madame Alexander Dolls

"I had the most wonderful day..."

Many many thanks to Alexander Doll Company for hosting this media event and inviting us. In full disclosure, the Alexander Doll Company offered us the below pictured blue dress doll for our giveaway. The opinions expressed in this post are strictly mine. This was a special event, shared between mother and daughter in our nation’s Big Apple.

Here’s some additional information (provided via a press release from Alexander Doll Company) you may not have known about this well-known doll company…

    • Madame Alexander was the first manufacturer to issue a doll based on a licensed character. The 1930 Alice in Wonderland doll led to the creation of dolls based on characters from literature and popular motion pictures.

    • Madame Alexander invented “sleep eyes” (the innovation that allows a doll to close its eyes when its head is tilted back) in the late 1930s.

    • In 1942, Madame Alexander created Jeannie Walker, one of the toy industry’s first “walking dolls.”

    • Madame Alexander brought all the pomp and circumstance of Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation to life in a collection of 36 dolls dressed in historically accurate costumes. Attention to detail was so strict; the cloth used for the dolls’ robes was obtained from the same mill that had produced the actual coronation mantles. The final result was so convincing that CBS television used the dolls to enact the ceremony for their viewers on air!

    • Madame Alexander believed in honoring the people who helped build the country she loved. Therefore, in 1976, the Alexander Doll Company introduced the First Ladies series. The first 14-inch set included Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Dolly Madison. Ultimately, there were six different sets, each with six first ladies in their inaugural gowns. These dolls had a brush with fame when featured in the 1990s on the CBS show “Murphy Brown” as decoration in Corky Sherwood’s office.

    • In 2000, a line of eight storybook character dolls from Madame Alexander was featured in the McDonald’s Happy Meal. These celebrated storybook couples included Cinderella and Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, Alice in Wonderland and The Mad Hatter, and Hansel and Gretel. Each of the eight miniature Alexander Happy Meal dolls has “sleep eyes.” This was a “first” for a Happy Meal toy.

    • The Smithsonian Institute houses several Madame Alexander dolls in its permanent collection.

For more pictures of our day out together, be sure to visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HomeroomAtHome and look for the Madame Alexander album.

Now for the Giveaway details:

Madame Alexander Dolls, NYC trip

Giveaway ends June 21st

No blog comments required – but of course we’d love to hear which Madame Alexander doll you might have had growing up or gifted to your child.

To enter the giveaway you must simple “like” our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HomeroomAtHome).

Then for an additional entry – share the Facebook contest/link on your Facebook home page.

And for a third and final entry – leave us a comment on our Facebook Madame Alexander post.

Giveaway will be drawn at random on June 22nd with entries closed at midnight on the 21st.  That’s it.  We hope this will simplify our entry requirements and encourage your participation, as we’d love to hear about your favorite dolls and experiences. Facebook is not affiliated with this giveaway or liable in any way or connected to this giveaway. Best of luck.

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Toys For Learning Fun

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I had the great pleasure of attending the The Big Toy Book Baby Palooza this month and meeting some amazing brands that support our children’s development and learning needs. It was a play date without the little ones and yes, this event was mostly geared toward parents of babies and tots but no worries, I got some good take-a-ways for you with school-age children. The brands presented were VTech, Delta Children, Mega Bloks, Cloud B, The First Years, and Madame Alexander.

Here’s a brief video of the event and then… there’s so much more to consider.

Firstly, I have to admit that I had no idea that Delta Children was so much more than cribs and changing tables. Yup – I walked in to the most colorful display of children’s furniture, completely unaware that this was the same company that made my daughter’s crib (now converted toddler bed). Awesome. From comfy chairs (and a mini sofa w/ storage) to toddler beds and mini tables and chairs… all decked out in characters ranging from Mickey to Cars to Sesame Street and the beloved Disney Princesses. The child size desks and organizers were my favorite. It’s important to have a space easily accessible for kids so they aren’t straining to reach the top of the table to write and so that they can easily sit upright for homework and activities. Soon I’ll have a entire piece (or two… or three) devoted to organization, tips and key elements to organizing your routine functions and spaces.  Every household struggles with this to some extent and I’ll be consulting with a friend and expert on the matter to offer some excellent suggestions.  But for now… know that Delta has a great assortment of solutions. Bins are terrific for little toys and supplies like crayons, scrap paper and craft items (of course if you don’t run the risk of very young hands getting a hold of them). Click here for a examples of their storage solutions, particularly the Toy and Book Organizer, made available by Amazon and other suppliers.  We already own and love the Spiderman folding table and chair set. Be sure to check out the variety of desks available including this awesome easel/desk combo that comes with a storage ottoman. We’ve loved Delta since before Victoria was born and now love it all the more.

I didn’t get much time with the team from The First Years… let’s face it – Homeroom At Home isn’t really focused on the first couple of years – but I will say this… they have an amazing technological and digital carseat/app system that sends text alerts if baby is accidentally forgotten in the car, among other features. Amazing! Talk about innovative and safety conscientious. (Expecting or planning on more kiddos or know someone – definitely worth checking out: www.thefirstyears.com)

So here’s an interesting and unexpected product I came across – the Cloud B Twilight Constellation Sea Turtle night light. Not only does it introduce your youngster to the constellations and offer soothing sounds to drift off to, but also features 5 endangered animals. It comes with a storybook to teach children about endangered species and also offers a star guide. Not cool enough??? – A portion of the proceeds from Twilight Sea Turtle will be donated to a conservation organization.

VTech demonstrated a couple of cool toys. The one that I particularly appreciated with the InnoTab 2 Baby"". This version of the Inno Tab is specifically designed for infants 12 months and up… and by “up” I mean age 9. You heard… read it right – this device is designed to grow with the child, as it comes preloaded with apps, games and programs for the youngest family memeber but with cartridges and online downloads you can easily update this tool to grow with your child and his/her learning development. We will be demonstrating this product in more detail in a later post…

Madame Alexander is a very well-known and respected doll company but little did I know that they offered such a variety of dolls and plush toys. Boys and girls both enjoy roll playing and Madame Alexander has several lines to facilitate the basics in emotional intelligence and with products such as Fancy Nancy and Eloise children are encouraged to read and play together. Growing up – one of my favorite means of play was “school” whereby I taught my teddy bears and dolls the lessons from my actual homework. Doll play builds communication skills, nurturing abilities and social intelligence. There newest line: Newborn Nursery is my favorite with life like features including a realistic weight, hospital wrist band and adoption certificate – who couldn’t fall in love with these thumb-sucking beauties?

Lastly there was Mega Bloks. Is it fair to say that I love these products so much that I’ve been actively participating in a fellow bloggers giveaway with the hopes of winning a Barbie Mega Bloks set? (Fingers-crossed, but you can enter here at Classy Mommy.) The items on display at the #BTBBabyPalooza were again geared for a much younger crowd but Mega Bloks has a huge variety of building toys perfect for rainy days or themed weeks of play. For instance, let’s take Shark Week… the perfect activity to couple with craft ideas, video or on-screen activities would be Mega Bloks Power Rangers Megaforce – Shark Mechazord or Pyrates -Shark Escape. This is just one of dozens of Mega Bloks ideas.

Our hosts for this event were amazing in bringing some very valuable information to us. A special thank you to Laurie Schacht from The Toy Insider, Reyne Rice of Toy Trend and Charlene DeLaoch of Charlene Chronicles. My good friend Joey Fortman of Real Mom Media extended this opportunity to me and I’m ever so grateful. Look for more product reviews and suggestions from us for these brands, as this is just skimming the surface in terms of folding learning development into play time and quality family time.

Disclosure: The Big ToyBook Baby Palooza organized and invited us to participate in a media event introducing us to six brands. We were provided products to review and the opportunity to demo products onsite. The views, opinions and thoughts expressed here are completely mine. We already own and love products from all of these brands well before being invited to this media event.

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