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Monday, June 30, 2008

Quiet Toys for Church, Planes, or even Car Rides

I loved the suggestion that I find some good church/quiet toys! It's always a challenge to get kids to sit quietly through church services or a long car or plane trip. These are my suggestions!

I love "I Spy Bags" from Etsy. They will keep kids busy for awhile as they search for all the objects safely sewn inside. Several sellers on Etsy have these available. Make sure to check out all their selections, the fabrics and themed treasures inside vary. Here are a few I found.

I Spy with My Little Eye Bag ($18) from Ainsley and Oswold

I Spy Bag ($15) from Exclusively Jen

I Spy Bag ($15) from Chearie Fearie

I Spy Bag (15) from Selena Fabric Creations

I also found these adorable teaching snakes on Etsy from seller NapTimeQuilts4Baby. They teach kids how to velcro, snap, tie, and button as they make a snake out of the pieces. So cute!

($15 each)

Another good quiet toy I like are lacing beads. Haba has a great selection, so check out Oompa to see them all. Alex also makes a couple sets that you can find on KidSurplus.

This is the Bambini Aqua Zoo ($18.99) set from Haba. Haba also has a Construction Site set and a Flower Faeries set.

This is the Sew 'n' Sew ($7.95) from Growing Tree Toys. It's basically a wooden cylinder with holes through it with a string and "needle" connected to it so kids can lace it in and out of the wood. This will even entertain adults, I often find myself playing with my son's beehive version of this toy, I've also seen a wedge of cheese version.

Lacing cards are also a great quiet activity. Make sure that you select a set that won't induce noise in your child if they must be silent. For example, I bought my son the Alex Tools Lacing set thinking it would be great for church. As soon as he pulled them out he started sawing and drilling the pew we were sitting behind, full sound effects included. They're still a great toy, we just don't bring them to church anymore. Here are some of my favorites:

eeBoo's Children of the World lacing cards ($14.95) from Growing Tree Toys. eeBoo has wonderful sets, so be sure to check them all out!

Lauri also makes several sets available at Growing Tree Toys. This is the Lacing and Tracing Noah's Ark set ($10.95) and as the name implies these can be traced and colored for added entertainment. My favorite set in the line is the Cinderella set.

These are the My First Lacing Farm Animals ($6.29 on clearance) by Alex. I like this line of lacing sets because they are nice and thick for little hands. Again, make sure your child won't feel inclined to make the animal noises, although Alex does have a couple other sets that may be safe, like the Fashion set or the Layered Lacing sets available at Kidsurplus.

My son has gotten a lot of use out of a couple Imaginetics sets. These come with punch out, re-usable magnetic pieces that kids can arrange on the folding board. The sets come in two different sizes and a variety of scenes like Thomas and Friends, princesses, and even a doll house set.

This is the Mr and Mrs Potato Head ($7.95) set from Amazon.

The Noah's Ark ($4.49) set is smaller and also found on Amazon.
If you live in Salt Lake, The Red Balloon carries these sets.

This is a cute little Star Marble Maze ($13.19) I found on KidSurplus, they also have a fish.

And, always a favorite is a Magnadoodle ($10.87) in travel size. These are available pretty much anywhere, we got ours at Smith's Market Place. Or you could throw an Etch-a-Sketch in the bag for older kids.

And, don't forget a set of crayons and plain paper. I'm not a huge fan of coloring books. They take away from the imagination. Instead kids should draw or design what they like and not be forced to color in the lines. I can't stand when I go to pick up my son from his class and he's finishing a coloring sheet and the teachers are telling him to color in the lines. He tries so hard and gets so frustrated when he can't conform. I don't think kids should have to conform! They need to express themselves how they want. I had a whole 2 hour class lecture on this subject in one of my college classes where we learned that coloring books have no place in early childhood, save them for older kids.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Building Stones

I love finding new things. Tonight I found these Stonees ($20) at Landbridge Toys that come with 50 pieces! They are crushed rocks that have been re-bonded and sealed with a safe water-based sealant. Constructing things out of different materials is great for kids. These stones help build critical thinking skills since they are naturally shaped and don't heve flat edges that line up. I love just the natural, gray colored set, but can only find the multi-colored set for now. For only 20 bucks these are a great deal!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Never Seen Before Haba

I was just browsing the Petit Baby website and I came across these Haba toys I had never seen before. Eeny Meeny Miny Zoo Building Blocks ($49.99) are so adorable, open-ended, and whimsical.

And maybe I have seen this Ghost Tower ($67.49) before, but it was out of stock where I originally saw it. This looks so fun because you can use your knights to destroy the castle and knock it over during battle because you make it from building blocks. It even comes with a dragon! I'm torn between this set and an actual castle for my son's fourth birthday.

Djeco has similar products in their line. The Creanimaux Wooden Animal Blocks ($45.99) have the same premise.

As do the Fortissimo building blocks ($40.99) although this set is made of high quality cardboard, not wood.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Who is going to take their kids to see the new Disney movie Wall-E next weekend? My husband's company has movie day so we're taking our son to see it! Instead of spending money on movie tie-in toys and accessories, here are some adorable alternatives.
If your kids are into art try these fun kits from Djeco. On the top is a Mosaic Sticker Set ($13.99) with 4 different pictures and on the bottom is a Robot Stamp Kit ($19.49). Both sets are from my favoirte - Oompa!I love these Robot Puzzles by Vilac ($23.99) they are so fresh and whimsical!

Every Robot needs their own Rocket Ship (79.00 CAD) and this one looks so fun! It's made out of cardboard so you could even let your kids paint or decorate it themselves!

Robots! The Game looks like fun for kids ages 5 and up ($24.99 from Amazon)

I love eeBoo products, including this Build a Robot Game ($14.95) from Genius Babies
I'm also a fan of these Wooden Stacking Robots by Schylling ($14.99) I found on Amazon

Also by Schylling is this Robot Card Deck ($2.99) also on Amazon. These would make a cute party favor for a robot themed party.
I also think these cute little Robot Bath Bubbles ($3.00) would be a fun party favor from Hullabaloo Gifts

And if you're thinking about doing a robot party, here's a great link posted by one of my readers:
She has great cupcake and cake ideas and way cute invites, so check it out!!!

And if you have a robot themed party they can write thank you notes on these Robot Create-a-Cards by Mudpuppy ($16.00) found at Urban Kids Play

And how much do you love these Robot Plates ($8.00 each) from the Museum of Contemporary Art store? They are soooo awesome! I think they would look neat hung on a kid's playroom wall!

In case you don't dig my plates-on-a-wall idea, Oompa has these Robot prints ($104.99 each) from Oopsy Daisy

While we're on the topic of room decor, how about this adorable Robot Alarm Clock by Schylling ($9.49)
Or this Go Robots Kids Rug ($65.75)

Or Igrobot from Noted ($11.99) to add a little green to their room
And this funky Space Throw Pillow by Bodalee ($41.99)

I love this Rocket Glow Lamp ($74) at Tiddley Widdley

For the very youngest robot fan there are these Build-a-Bots ($15.95) that you can create funny looking robots with

And because I love books....

Robot ($10.87)

That's not my robot... ($7.95)
(touchy-feely board book)
*This would make a cute baby gift with the build-a-bot featured above

Create Your Own Robot sticker activity book ($1.50)
Another cute party favor idea

My Little Blue Robot board book ($14.93)

Robots ($9.95)

Friday, June 20, 2008


I love games. They teach turn taking, patience, good sportmanship, and more. It has been said that you can learn more about a person during a game than at any other time. I also knew one mom who got out a game every time she needed one of her kids to open up and talk. Games are a great way to spend family time. Today I found this cute Tortoise and Hare Checkers Set ($16.75 on sale) at The Wooden Wagon. I just love it! It can fold up to a 7" square but folds out to a 14" soft game mat and it includes a pocket for the pieces. It's a beautiful set!

Finding a Boy Doll

I've been on a quest to find a doll for my son since he's going to have a brother soon. It's really not that easy. And forget about finding good gender neutral doll furniture and accessories, it's almost impossible! For now I'm posting the boy dolls I find so I can keep track and compare sizes and stuff. I hope that this helps some of you as well. Here are my list of requirements for the doll: soft body, not tubbable (not meant for the tub), baby looking, not older kid-ish, and fits with whatever doll accessories line I decide to go with. I'm going to be adding more as I find them.

Organic Baby Doll ($49.99) at Our Green House is 13" tall and is filled with wool.

Bitty Twins 15" from American Girl $87
These are so cute, but why can't you just get one?Tidoo Lutin Striped Baby Doll 12" by Corolle $35.95
This one is tubbable
Calin Blue Stripe Doll 12" from Corolle $38.98
Cute but a little small

Paul Drinks & Wets 14" from Corolle $38.29
Don't need a functioning one, also it's tubbable

Baby Chou Twins 11" from Corolle $33.99
A little small, and again I don't need two, but I guess I can always put the girl away