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Hot Toys for Christmas 2009

Don’t forget to check out our yearly Gift Guides for Children and Families: Holiday Edition 2009. We have top ten (and more) toys, games, books, music, and more for each of these categories: Top Gifts and Toys for Babies & Toddlers Top Toys and Gifts for Preschoolers Top Toys and Gifts for Kids Ages 5 to 8 Top Toys and Gifts for Kids Ages 9 and up Top Gifts for Families: Holidays edition You can see the top toys for Christmas (and other holidays of the winter season) here: Amazon’s Top Picks in Toys 2009. Hyperdash has been selected in many toy lists each year, and it’s no wonder. We love the game that has kids thinking on their feet–literally. It’s an Edutaining Kids Top Pick as well, as it fits perfectly into our expectations for a quality “edutaining” toy. Hyper Dash puts a new spin on the term “active learning”–it promotes listening, memory, and math skills, as well as giving kids a little workout. Intense fun! For more information about this fun and educational toy, see Wild Planet Hyper Dash. Zhu Zhu Pets are one of the most wanted toys this Christmas, but their scarcity has led to toy stores upping the prices. There are many other alternatives to be found, thankfully. Some of the toys that appear on both Amazon’s list and our Edutaining Kids Holiday Gift Guides include Crayola Glow Dome which allow kids to draw on a dome and have their drawings projected onto the ceiling in full glow in the dark glory, LeapFrog My Pal Scout and LeapFrog My Pal Violet (cute little stuffies that actually say your child’s name after they’re programmed, LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table, and...

The Benefits of Karaoke for Kids

When most of us think of karaoke, we think of one of two pictures, little Asian men singing bad renditions of Madonna songs, or the tone-deaf guy with the leather jacket, disco shirt and bad comb over (as if there is such a thing as a “good” comb over) taking himself far too seriously as he desperately tries to croon his way into the heart of the girl at the bar who was kind enough to acknowledge his presence when he dropped a cheesy line though his drunken stupor. In either case, the idea of karaoke as an aid for helping your kids to succeed in life probably seems, at first glance to be an oxymoron. Bear with me though, for when you realize what an incredible tool karaoke is, you will undoubtedly rush right down to the local Y’all Mart to buy a player and some discs. Kids learning to read often find the task daunting, frustrating, and anything but fun. It’s even less fun if the other kids read better or if adults have to help them too often with the words. Karaoke is a really fun outlet. Not only are the words highlighted on a screen as they roll by, but they are words to songs with which your children are familiar. Start out with the tracks that include the singer’s voice. Seeing the words on a screen and hearing a musician they love pronounce those words correctly in a flow that makes the words mean something as they string together in a times beat will help improve your child’s recognition of words, ability to pronounce those same words when seen in other venues, and allow them to hear the proper pronunciation of those words without feeling stupid for not having figured it out themselves. It’s a fun way to learn, in a format where children have no idea that they are learning. In time, you will be able to use the music track while your kid sings the words back without the aid of the musician and in so doing, they will read the screen better than they have ever read anything before. Most people have trouble speaking in front of others, no less singing in front of others. Karaoke offers a venue for this to happen in a way that is non-threatening, and in a way that will help your child build confidence. Our voices are like instruments. In time, all but the most tone deaf will learn to play those voices with confidence....

Caring Corners Dollhouse Teaches Good Habits

The Caring Corners Mrs. GoodBee Interactive Dollhouse is a real little gem. It reminds kids that refrigerator doors should be closed, teeth have to be brushed, and so forth. Ringing the doorbell brings this clever fold-out dollhouse to life. There are 12 rooms in the Caring Corners dollhouse–six on each side–each with interesting details that inspire a young girl’s imagination. Parents will love the fact that the dollhouse is big enough for more than one child to play with, yet it also folds up neatly for easier storage and clean up. The dollhouse comes with an access code that kids can use to unlock a “good deeds garden” online–an activity that offers further playful lessons about responsibility. The toy requires batteries, and most families will want to purchase some of the additional accessory sets for it, so factor that into the total cost of the playset. Also, small parts make the dollhouse appropriate for children over 3. For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Caring Corners – Mrs. Goodbee Interactive...

Hot Toys for the Holidays 2008

Every year, we anticipate the new Holiday Toys list at Amazon. The list of most wanted, wished for, and hottest toy ideas is categorized into children’s age groups and interests. This year’s list is a little more Web 2.0 with its video component and sliders–great fun! You can see the top toys for Christmas (and other holidays of the winter season) here: Amazon’s Holiday Toy List 2008. Hyperdash is selected as the number one holiday toy for 2008, and it’s no wonder. We love the game that has kids thinking on their feet–literally. It’s an Edutaining Kids Top Pick as well, as it fits perfectly into our expectations for a quality “edutaining” toy. Hyper Dash puts a new spin on the term “active learning”–it promotes listening, memory, and math skills, as well as giving kids a little workout. Intense fun! For more information about this fun and educational toy, see Wild Planet Hyper Dash. More toys that appear on both Amazon’s list and our Edutaining Kids Holiday Gift Guides include Fisher-Price Smart Cycle, EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles,LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table, and...

2008 Best Toys for Kids: Creative Toys

2008 Best Toys for Kids Passes Over Super-Hyped ‘Hot’ Products in Favor of Creative Toys for Back-To-Basics Play GOAL IS MORE IMAGINATIVE, MAKE-IT-UP-YOURSELF, BELLY-LAUGHING PLAY FOR KIDS AND EASIER SHOPPING FOR MOM AND DAD Toys don’t get much better than these. If you’re a kid just wanting to have fun, or an overworked parent looking to keep holiday shopping simple, check out the one expert-selected holiday toy list that cuts through all the heavily-hyped electronic razzmatazz in favor of safe, creative toys with staying power. The hot-off-the-presses 2008 Best Toys for Kids list released today by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) gets back to the basics. It features toys for make-it-up-yourself, belly-laughing play that’s safe, fun for kids and supports their physical, cognitive, and social development. These toys are a great reason to bypass the hordes of anxious, exhausted shoppers at the usual big box stores and try smaller toy stores with better selection, good service, and a priority on toy safety. “Many toy shoppers are surprised to learn that there is a whole world of engaging, unique, well-made toys that they never see in huge, impersonal, one-size-fits-all stores. These are the toys you will find on the 2008 Best Toys for Kids list and in your local neighborhood toy store,” notes Kathleen McHugh, President of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. “The people at your locally-owned toy store are from your community. They hand-select a wide range of safe, highly creative toys you don’t see advertised,” continues McHugh. “These toys may not be the ones your kids bug you to buy them, but they will be the ones they play with over and over.” Toy store owners who are toy and play experts have selected the 2008 Best Toys for Kids (listed below). The list includes toys for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children, and guides parents to toy selections according to different types of play. Details about each toy can be found at www.astratoy.org. INFANT (Ages Birth-12 Months) 1. Busy Bee Discovery Flower (ALEX) Ages 6 months+ 2. Together Tunes Too (Neurosmith, manufacturer & Small World Toys, vendor) Ages 6 months+ TODDLER (Ages 1-3 Years) 3. Wheely Bug (Prince Lionheart) Ages 1.5+ Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug (small size), and 3+ Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug (large size) 4. Dexter the Digger (WOW Toys, manufacturer & Ravensburger, vendor) Ages 1.5+ PRESCHOOL LEARNING (Ages 3-6 Years) 5. Magna-Tiles: 3-D Magnetic Building Tiles (Valtech Co.) Ages 3+ 6. Magnetic Mosaics Kids (The Orb Factory) • Ages 4+ Preschool Pretend...

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