Posts Tagged “tech toys”

Toys, Tech & Games for the Best Holiday Gifts

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While this post isn’t sponsored, many of the toys, games and tech included in the attached Holiday Gift Guide were provided to us for review or promotional purposes. As always, the opinions expressed herein are our honest thoughts and strictly our own. Affiliate links are included, as this is one way to support this blog and content.

The magic of the season is upon us again. Bring on everything glitter and sparkle… and wine. This year we are particularly excited to share our best holiday gift finds for children because many of these brands have already passed the test of time. Klutz, for instance, has long been a Spalding Family favorite brand. Their kits and projects keep expanding the boundary of creativity and learning.

In previous years, we’ve featured Magformers… still going strong with their Police Set. Great for younger learners, this playset offers 50 builds in 1 kit. Children can make a variety of vehicles plus a police pistol, walkie-talkie and many other police themed transformations.

2019 is our best year for stocking success

We mixed it up with sock-size science, crafts, music, and games. Twelve amazing stocking ideas including another family favorite company: Worlds Smallest Toys. Check out their most adorable, on-the-go Crayola line with a crayon keychain to clip to a diaper bag, backpack or purse and their adorable color pencil kit, which comes with two mini coloring books… all in pocket-size perfection. And SLIME… hello? We’ve got ya covered with galaxy inspired slime products. And then there’s coding kits to fit in your palm. Code Car and Code Piano pack huge learning fun in the tiniest boxes. BIG creativity in tiny packages, perfect for sock stuffing.

A Guide to Tech Toys

We provide six tips for picking out cool tech toys, beyond “don’t forget the batteries”. Technology is one of the trickiest gifts to consider but it’s among the most requested. Want a stand out gift that gets used and appreciated vs shelved and forgotten… check out page 4 of our Holiday Gift Guide.

No Holiday Gift Guide of ours would be complete without GAMES…

We highlight 16 incredible family learning games for all ages. Familiar themes like Jeopardy, in a card game version and newbies like Otrio and Poop Tracks. We turned a charades-like, activity challenge game into a family learning night with Root Beer Float Challenge, highlighting the science behind all the foam. Dice games, trivia, card games, and coding… we have something for everyone in the family.

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Holiday Shopping Tips & Our Holiday Gift Guide

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Holiday Gift Guide
While this post isn’t sponsored, many of the toys, games and tech included in the attached Holiday Gift Guide were provided to us for review or promotional purposes. As always, the opinions expressed herein are our honest thoughts and strictly our own. Affiliate links are included, as this is one way to support this blog and content.

It’s that exciting time of year when all the lights twinkle and there is joy in the air. Okay, sure there are holiday stresses too but let’s not go there. Back to the twinkle, shimmer and sparkle, please.

 

Holiday Gift Guide

perplexus miniWhat shimmers, twinkles and sparkles for me, isn’t quite what twinkles and shimmers for kids, but what does twinkle is their eyes when they open the “big” gift. It fascinated me what the “must-have” gifts are year after year. Furby, Transformers, Nintendo. Do you remember the Tickle Me Elmo of ’96? But did you know it started with the Rubik Cube? I think Cabbage Patch Kid gets the credit with their iconic store fights but really it was the Rubik Cube in 1980 that started this trend. The Rubik Cube was actually invented in 1974… as a math tool to demonstrate 3D geometry. At the time is was called the Magic Cube but in 1980 was renamed after the inventor Erno Rubik… the rest, as they say, was history. And while it took Professor Rubik over a month to solve his own cube invention… today we have wiz kids solving it in under 10 seconds. Wait… what?!?  And, I actually know one of these wiz cube masters, although I don’t know his speed. In today’s market you can find all sorts of variation of Rubik Cube, include the World’s Smallest version, as pictured. Good luck, Thomas, keeping your record on this mini size cube!

The Rubik Cube isn’t quite the hype today that it was decades ago, it’s a classic. Today’s sold-out-everywhere toy is the Hachimal. An adorable, electronic… oh wait, duh, everyone already knows this because almost every kid wants one. Okay, so what else is hot this season? Where are the bargains? And what’s going to give us parents the longest run for our investments?  Wait… investment? Yup, toys, games and tech are actually investments. Some have longer shelf lives than others but playtime should be considered as an investment. You can learn more about the invaluable necessity of playtime in my article found in our Holiday Gift Guide.

laura-square-imageSo looking beyond what our kids are “dying” for this holiday season and really giving weight to what we are investing in, I’ve got a few suggestions. First, consider the things that has more meaning behind it. For example, I couldn’t be more excited to gift my daughter the Laura Ingall’s doll from Little House on the Prairie. This was a show I grew up on and one that my daughter is now enthralled with… so naturally the “18 doll isn’t just another doll in her collection but a doll that ties her back to MY childhood. I remember many years ago, gifting my son a couple Transformers for the holiday. At the same time, my husband had pulled his old (original) Transformers out from storage. It’s about making a meaningful connection.

Here’s another thought, what are the toys, gadgets, books, etc that YOU are most likely to engage with. Listen, we all know that some of these toys are cool for about a week and then they find their way stuffed under the bed. BUT, if you were interested in building it, reading it, sharing the playtime moment together… then that toy or book or science kit would be less likely to meet the dust bunnies.

Our gift guide provides insight into some very cool stuff, although maybe not THE hottest gift (yeah, we couldn’t snag one either) but definitely some cool things to keep in mind as you round out your shopping lists. Take a look, bookmark it and comment below with what grabbed your attention.

 

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Some of these items are so super awesome, we’ll be doing specific reviews for more in depth discussion and detail. Look for our Youtube videos and follow up articles, starting with our STEM TEN line-up. Woo Hoo… Science has never been so cool.

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2013 Holiday Toy Review

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#HotToys13, 2013 Christmas Toy Review

LeapFrog LeapReader Reading/Writing System

Before one holiday ends, the next has begun so that’s how we’ve come to talk about Christmas on Halloween. Regardless if you’re in Halloween mode (keep in mind that I’m writing this between Halloween family activities today) or if your heart has fast-forward to Christmas there is lots of buzz surrounding super cool toys & tech.

A quick trip to the Big Apple last week for the Toy Insider’s and The Big Toy Book’s Holi-Play event afforded me the opportunity to discover the season’s “must-have” items. I am so excited to share some of what I found, especially since there was such a variety. Here are some of my favorites:

Well known LeapFrog was on site to showcase the LeapPad Ultra with various cartridge games for math, science and reading. The LeapFrog LeapReader system is a wonderful program for teaching writing and of course a wide variety of LeapReader books to encourage reading and enhance reading skills. Check out the video below – this is a must-have on our list!!

Science kits, robots, princesses, Minnie Mouse, tablets, toys toys toys…check out The Toy Insider music video and check out their link for a breakdown including the “Hot 20” and “Top Tech 12” lists.

So back to Halloween – many families have adapted a new tradition of trading unwanted or excess candy for a small toy. After selecting a small sample or having a couple days of candy binging – candy is then bagged up for the Switch Witch, who in turn leaves a treat in exchange for the candy. Many of the items showcased at the Toy Insider Holi-Play event would be perfect for this exchange – for instance the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or any of the Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods by Hasbro and even Laser Pegs robots or building sets. The 3D Christmas Holiday Specs would make for a great exchange idea to help transition into the holiday spirit. These magical glasses transform street lamps and headlights into colorful, playful Christmas characters.

Homeroom At Home looks to find toys and games that engage learning in not-so-obvious ways. That’s why we love brands like Mega Bloks, Laser Pegs, Thames and Cosmos, Cloud_B, Hasbro, LeapFrog, Disney and Vtech providing many opportunities for parents to fold in some learning while having playful family time. The possibilities are endless and the hot toys to consider for this year’s gift giving are very exciting and provide many avenues of quality learning fun. Again I was invited to a Media preview of the season’s best toy selection provided by The Big Toy Book and The Toy Insider. I was given several sample toys to play with my family and review but this article was not sponsored or compensated. As always the ideas, suggestions and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. Many thanks to all of the sponsors including Women’s Day Magazine (where you can also find The Toy Insider insert). Amazon affiliate links were used throughout this article.

Comment below with your favorite childhood toy and how does that compare to the toys on the market today? Which is your favorite?

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