My position on toys is...
If you are interested in having me review your product on my blog please email me at thetoysnob(at)gmail(dot)com!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Play & Development on NPR

My father-in-law sent me an interesting link to an interview he heard on NPR. I just read it and thought it would be appropriate for my readers. I found it very interesting. It discusses how play has changed throughout recent history and how that has effected children's cognitive and emotional development and how that affects our self-regulation as adults. When you have a few minutes, take the time to read it or listen to the link, it's really worth it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Baby Shower Gift Idea

When I was expecting with my first someone told me to read "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp, M.D. I was really afraid of having a colicky baby who cried all the time and I swear on this book for all first-time parents. He dispels the myth of colic and tells how to reduce fussiness by using his "5 S's" which are:
  • Swaddle
  • Sucking
  • Side/Stomach
  • Swinging
  • Shhhing
Done together these five things can become a lifesaver for any parent, even if your baby isn't fussy or colicky. So, I think this book, a swaddling blanket, and a binky would be a great shower gift. My favorite swaddling blanket is The Ultimate Swaddling Blanket by Swaddle Designs. I like these because they are generously big and square (42x42), which makes swaddling a lot easier and they have the swaddling directions right on the blanket tag. So many receiving blankets are so small that they're too hard to use for swaddling after only a couple months. These will last well into toddlerhood and beyond! I also highly recommend a Homedics sound machine like this one that produces white noise or calming ocean waves. This was really good at drowning out noises during nap time and creating a peaceful nursery environment.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Alternative Thursday (or, um Friday)

I let you down again dear readers (all five of you). I do have a good excuse, my little sister spent the night and all of yesterday with us and we spent the evening at my dad's house for dinner where we announced our pregnancy! It was a very busy day. So, as I look forward to buying baby stuff, that is the topic of my plastic alternative idea.

It's not so much about "being green" for me as it is finding aesthetically pleasing toys that aren't too noisy. While the plastic one looks like it would be loads of fun (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it), I just prefer the look of the wooden one better. It's called Play Park for Baby, I'm not sure who makes it, but it's available at The Wooden Wagon. WARNING: Be prepared for "sticker shock!"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Waaaanted a Toooooy!!!

This morning my husband took my son out and upon their arrival home my son started crying, "But, Daddy, I waaaanted a new toooooy!" I guess some how their communication signals had been messed up and Marshall thought he was getting a new toy. For a while now he's been wanting a Lightening McQueen and Mack toy he saw a little boy playing with at a store, and I thought we would step foot in that awful corporate toy store. I was already imaging my next post, "Forgive me readers for I have sinned..." But when we got in the car and started driving my wonderful husband surprised me and said "I thought we were going to 'Red Balloon,' our locally owned toyshop. I was amazed, impressed, and excited as we made the turn to go to my favorite brick & mortar toy store! Marshall picked up and debated several things ranging from $5 to $35 and when we asked him if that's what he wanted to spend his money on, he surprised us each time by saying no.

Until he found what he really wanted! Wandering around the last isle, Marshall spotted a construction site toy called Big Loader by Tomy. His friend got it from his grandma for Christmas and Marshall had seen it at his house. We love our Tomy toys and I had seen this in action, so hubby and I okayed it for our son. For little boys (3 and up) who like construction vehicles this is a great purchase! It has a battery operated engine that goes along a track converting into three different vehicles, each with a job of it's own. It transports tiny "rocks" around the construction site. The kids can change the direction by pushing one of several buttons along the way. It's very entertaining! And come to find out, my husband thinks he had the same one as a kid. I saw a copyright for 1977, so it has been around for awhile! I recommend it if your kid is into construction, he'll love it!

Tomy also makes a Thomas Big Loader that is very similar.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Alternative Thursday

So, I've been a slacker the last two weeks on the Alternative Thursday posts and I apologize. Looking at my son's easel the other day gave me the idea for this post. While I had toyed with the idea for a couple years of going with a typical Little Tikes or Step 2 easel, I came to the conclusion that most of his other toys weren't typical, why should his easel be? So, in my search for a mostly wooden easel, I found this Deluxe Standing Easel (left) made by Melissa & Doug. It has a white board on one side and a chalk board on the other along with art clips to secure your paper to the easel. My son got it for his birthday in December and has loved it ever since! A couple downsides: it doesn't come with any accessories, and the colorful screw covers just scream to be played with and consequently taken off and lost, but other than that we LOVE it! Ikea also has a nice wooden easel frame that has been really popular. Melissa & Doug makes a nice Deluxe Easel Accessory Kit:
Or, if you want to give your kid more color choices than red, yellow, green, and blue, I suggest heading over to Discount School Supply where they have No-Spill Paint Cups, 16 oz. Paint Refill Bottles individually or in a set of 11 colors, and several different styles and sizes of Paint Brushes. Don't forget the paper roll, which you can buy at your local specialty toy store along with the easel, and you're set! You can always get the chalk and dry-erase markers at an office supply store, no need to buy the more expensive "kid" kind.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Have Kids, Will Travel

If you are planning a family vacation this spring check this out! This is the hippest looking luggage around! The Trunki is perfectly kid-sized, plus they can ride on top of it while you pull it! It is meant to be a carry-on bag and is not supposed to be checked in. It comes in the blue color above as well as a pink or green. So fun!

Another of my favorite kid luggage lines is from Sigikid, available through Oompa. These are your more traditional suitcases with kid themes like the Viking and Princess bags featured above. These would be great for check-in baggage, while the Trunki is more for carry-on. Plus, now you'll have more room in your luggage for fun souvenirs!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Girl Toys

Penelope Peapod baskets go from this:

to this:

Penelope Peapod
baby dolls come in an outfit that matches the basket bedding. There are a variety of prints to choose from as well as clothes and furniture. The baskets are small enough for little girls to carry around like a purse, just the right size for little hands and perfect for on-the-go play. This is such a sweet collection that girls of any age will enjoy!