Benefits: Soft, squeezable pillow provides an impressionistic look at the "big picture." Printed with over 600 countries, continents, seas, and more. Cotton shell Filled with all new materials is machine washable.
My Story: A great way to introduce geography and geology. Teach little kids where we are and where other people are. Use it as a pillow or toss and catch like a ball game to make it fun. The velcro opening is great to explain the geology and how the earth is made. My parents and I always had a globe in the house, and we often referred to find new places and understand time, climates, weather, and colors. This one is very portable compared to the traditional globes. Received Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Parents' Choice awards. Use books and stories to explain.
Benefits: Instead of getting simple teethers, this will help the child's imagination and mortar skills be active. The dynamic web of rods, balls, and beads suspended on a strong elastic cord fascinate babies; the open design makes it easy for little fingers to manipulate the piece and keep a grip on the line.
My Story: It is a ball and rattle, pops back into shape no matter how you squeeze it. It has replenishable rubberwood with a non-toxic, water-based finish that won the Parents' Choice Award. 5½" dia makes it a great on-the-go or in-house toy to occupy the child—a great gift item.
Benefits: Count, sequence, stack, balance, build, creative thinking, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. Each side has beautifully illustrated blocks with different themes: counting/numbers, animals, animal babies, and a tree that grows as the blocks are stacked and aligned. As the child gets older, the understanding of the images will grow.
My Story: Our daughter had one at school and one at home. She loved building and knocking it down, then building it again. Kids this age love repetition, and this one will occupy them for a long time. Cubes range from 1½"–5¼" nest nicely into a storage box is easy to take on vacation. Great way to learn the numbers with visuals vs. literals so the kids can understand what the number means.
Benefits: Hypnotic flip-flopping racers appeal to ears, hands, and eyes. Well-made wood is safe for young children. These cars zip and flip down the ramps over and over again, keeping them curious. Gives them a sense of gravity. The eco-friendly toy is finished with watercolor-based paints. For every tree used, the manufacturer plants three more.
My Story: I got it due to Dad's car fantasy. But the daughter loved it the most. Simplified the racing, and she was figuring out how it was working. It is well made. I still have it for other kids to play with. A great time to introduce the concept of gravity and speed.
Benefits: Children can create endless designs and patterns with this 200+ piece set. They can bend, twist, thread, weave, and lace the various components together, making something new every time, all while developing fine motor skills. Spark creativity and celebrate the process of making art. This kit is a great collaborative activity.
My Story: My daughter and her friends can spend an entire day on it. Once, she did an activity for school through a role-play on making puppets with these. She still has it after playing with it countless times. The best gift she got. Can create architectural designs.
Warning: Don’t let the little kids put the pieces in the mouth—clean up after playing.
Age: 3 years and up. Begin when motor skills start to develop.
Benefits: (Physical, Mental, and Psychological): Improves fine motor skills, manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, cognitive performance, develops patience, social and communication skills, responsive learning, sensory learning, and non-verbal reasoning. Relieves stress, aids in family/community bonding, develops precision, develops structural awareness, passes the time, can be played anytime anywhere, educational enrichment, and fun.
My Story: We got to know our daughter on a different level and her unique creativity to replicate monuments and develop innovative structures. Color blocks are great for sorting designs and when needed to split with others. We used it to make structures as well.
Warning: Don’t let the little kids put the colored wood in the mouth.
Age: 7 years and up. Feel free to introduce early if the kids are interested.
Benefits: Fun and easy sequencing card game. Players use skill and strategy to create sequential stacks of cards. Enhances math and critical thinking skills.
How to play: The players in the game look to discard all the cards in their stack as quickly as possible. The first player to do so wins the game. Skip-Bo card is a wild card that can be played to start a building pile or any other number.
My Story: The bright colors are attractive to the younger kids. Our daughter was introduced at age seven and would not stop playing. I wish I had introduced this to her earlier. We taught her the strategy tricks from the adults who win—team up to make the kids win, so they feel empowered. Kept the little kids next to the game, so they enjoy and learn at their pace. Excellent family game to teach kids how to gracefully lose and try again until they win. We also use it when traveling. Added by the request of our daughter.
Warning: We did not play the online version to limit the screen time.