Big Hugs Elmo To Make Big Sales This Season

Big Hugs Elmo Not To “Hug” Toystore Shelves For Long

Everyone remembers that little red fuzzy we call Elmo.  Elmo has evolved over the years, starting as the lovable Tickle Me Elmo, then turning into the new Big Hugs Elmo.  Just like the first Elmo that was released in 1996, Big Hugs Elmo is expected to be a hot topic toy this holiday season.  This 3 ½ old red monster promises to pack a lot of hugs and a lot of love for children

Big Hugs Elmo will make its way onto the market as the first toy that hugs back.  This exciting and lovable little red fella is one of the most anticipated toys of the holiday season, according to the research firm ShopperTrak.  This is especially important for toy giants such as Toys R’ Us, who’s focus will be on stocking the right mix of toys for the upcoming sales of the holiday season.

In addition to this, Big Hugs Elmo has been listed as one of the top 15 hottest toys.  Sales are anticipated to continue to skyrocket through the November and December months.

And who can argue with this statistic? Who doesn’t love an embrace?  And to know that this embrace is coming from a lovable fuzzy monster with an orange nose is even better for your precocious little toddler. Big Hugs Elmo, as his name suggests, showers his owners in endless hugs.

But that is not all, Big Hugs Elmo can interact with your toddler in several different ways.  He knows when he’s been turned upside down, politely thanking you when he’s returned to his normal position.  He also fosters imagination in children, encouraging games.  “Let’s pretend we’re horses” Elmo commands.  His familiar high pitched voice and positively contagious giggle is sure to be a preschool favorite.

But will Big Hugs Elmo top the sales we saw when the first version of the Elmo toy arrived?  Several research firms believe that it will.  Although holiday spending is expected to drop, it seems that consumers will be making room for the small monster.  There is no doubt that the price tag of $49.99 is worth the interaction that Big Hugs Elmo can offer to children.

What is The Right Toy For Your Child’s Age

Choosing the right toy for your child’s age is not just a matter of selecting a toy that will engage, entertain and educate them, it is also a matter of safety. If you’ve browsed the aisles of any toy store lately you probably know that selecting the right toy can be a difficult undertaking. Not only do you want a toy that you can rest assured will provide no danger to your child, but you also want to select a toy that will help your child develop their full potential.

Research indicates that children who are provided with age-appropriate toys that are stimulating will help children to more fully develop their physical, cognitive and creative abilities. By learning which toys are right for your child’s age you can help them to stimulate the connections in their brains that are responsible for building your child’s future intelligence.

Keep in mind that it is never to early to begin this all important process. Even the youngest babies can begin responding to bright colors, helping their vision to develop more quickly.

Children under Six Months:

  • Mobiles in bright colors will stimulate vision
  • Activity centers to encourage reaching for motor control development
  • Mirrors designed with baby safety in mind to encourage your child to explore faces
  • Plush animal rattlers will introduce baby to new textures.
  • Board books-even at this young age reading to your baby will help them with beginning language development

6 to 12 Months

During this time period, it is important to begin focusing on interactive play with your child. This includes introducing the concept of cause and effect as well working on eye-hand coordination. Simple games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake” are fun ways to help your baby discover the wonders of their new world. In addition, look for these types of toys to further stimulate your child’s development and learning:

  • Toys that are musical and make sounds
  • Baby gyms and activity courses to stimulate crawling
  • Bouncers to stimulate physical activity
  • Play telephones to encourage communication through mimicking
  • Teddy Bears and stuffed animals for kids who love to cuddle
  • Wooden and soft blocks for stacking, filling and dumping games

12-18 Months

Around the time your child turns one he or she may begin to walk or experiment with taking those first steps. Toys at this age should focus on supporting your child’s curiosity in exploration while further developing fine motor coordination.

  • Teddy bears and other plush animals encourage physiological activity and mental development
  • Building blocks for eye-hand coordination
  • Nesting cups and shape sorters to improve eye-hand coordination as well as problem solving skills
  • Storybooks/picture books for language and vocabulary development
  • Toddler appropriate videos and music

18-24 Months

By the time they are a 1 ½ years old most children begin to use their imagination in play. This typically takes on the form of make-believe; however, in reality this type of play is helping them to develop problem solving strategies. Look for toys that support this important time of development by expanding their exposure to shapes, colors, ability to follow instructions and language. The important key to remember at this age is that kids are truly learning with hands-on play.

  • Costumes and dress-up to stimulate imagination
  • Push and pull toys that support both tykes that are beginning to walk as well as advanced walkers
  • Puzzles that are easy to manipulate with a small number of pieces
  • Teddy Bears and ther plush animals give children a sense of companinship
  • Swing sets to develop physical skills

24-36 Months

At age two children begin to really focus on fine motor coordination, even though they do not realize it, of course. By this age kids can begin working with board games suitable for their age as well as craft type projects and toys. Most kids this age are also ready to begin playing with other kids, so you may also wish to look for games and toys that are more structured in nature that previous toys.

  • Simple board games and puzzles to encourage further eye-hand coordination and memory development.
  • Outdoor equipment such as swing sets, riding vehicles and tricycles to build physical skills
  • Beginner musical instruments
  • Playhouses
  • Sand boxes
  • Train sets
  • Teddy Bears
  • Cars/trucks
  • Costumes/dress-up
  • Art sets
  • Storybooks for language development and vocabulary building
  • Videos and music, especially those that expose kids to numbers and the alphabet

By keeping in mind which toys are age-appropriate you will be in a better position to help support the lightening fast development of your child’s brain and actually step up their learning and development.

Click here to go HeeBeeGeeBees Toy Store

KAZI 6502 Power Racer – Thunder Speed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI picked up a couple of “KAZI” brand racing car box sets from the JJ Mall for less than $5 each.  Both sets boast 147 pieces and from the pictures on the box they look pretty freaking awesome.

After opening the box I found that all the pieces seem to be there, except for a 6 head flat piece which seemed to be melted or something, but it was still usable in the model.  The piece colors were all correct and matched the instructions.

All the pieces fit together very tightly, maybe even too tightly as kids might have trouble pushing some bits together, but there is no chance of the model falling apart.

After putting together the finished racing car I have to say this is probably the best Lego deal I’ve ever seen; a real Lego equivalent model could easily set you back 10 times the amount I paid ($50 instead of $5).  Take a look at the photos below:

Lego Duplo Fire Chief and Truck (6169)

I really like the design of the truck, it has a cool look and the axles move up and down to give the effect of suspension.  The flame block is also an interesting piece, although the fire chief only has an axe to deal with it…uh oh?

However I do have a few complains about this Duplo Box Set.

I was surprised that for a real Lego product the blocks don’t fit as well as I would expect, the truck body and the truck chassis are a bit loose, so the truck falls apart quite easily.  I’m not sure if this was by design, so that you can play crash dummies with it?  But I’m guessing not.

The fire chief doesn’t sit well in the truck, the fit is loose and he falls out a lot.

For $15-$20 you’d think that they’d include more than just one lonesome Duplo brick…

COGO Duplo Compatible Fire Helicopter Box Set (6205)

I picked up this Duplo style COGO box set at a department store in Thailand for about $5 USD, which I think was a very good price compared to a comparable size Lego Duplo set which runs about $20 USD.

COGO is very popular because it is not “Fake Lego” but rather “Lego Compatible”, meaning their bricks are the same size as Lego’s bricks, but COGO come up with their own designs and box sets (I think this makes it legal?).  This generally results in COGO products looking less fun and creative than the Lego equivalents.  Think Lego 20 years ago, and that is what COGO looks like now.

I was surprised with this set as the design looks like more modern and creative than the normal dated looking products that COGO produces.  The helicopter and bricks were all well made and fit together well with standard Duplo blocks.

The pilot man figure really let this set down, he feels lightweight and breakable, especially when compared to a real Lego Duplo zookeeper figure that I have.  The holes in the pilots butt are too big, so he doesn’t sit well in the helicopter and keeps falling out.

Overall I think this is still a good buy due to the very low price.

So, your bundle of joy is turning three! Well, the upcoming birthday is sure to get you all excited and you want to have a grand show. You also want your child and the guests to have a whale of a time. Planning a child’s third birthday party can actually be quite a task; but all parents love doing it and give it their heart and soul. Here’s a guide to help you plan the party to perfection and make your three year old feels special.

Before you begin your planning, remember that a three year old is a little adventurer. He or she can imagine things and is beginning to explore the world of words. Interactive play is good for a child at this age for he goes to a play group and is learning to socialize. Kids love goodies, especially party bag favours, so pay close attention to that aspect. Understand your child to make the most of his third birthday party.

The Checklist and Highlights

* Location: Always choose a place that give kids space to play. Home is always a good option as this is your child’s comfort zone. However, a sports or entertainment center can work well too. Often, such places provide a full birthday package which may get expensive. Thus, it’s best to work with a budget.

* Invitations: Do something different. Make your child doodle on sheets of paper using various colors. Fold the sheets into cards, give them an attractive lace or satin border and your unique ‘invites’ are ready.

* The Theme: Three years is the age of a make believe world. Therefore, a fancy dress party will be both, appealing and fun as kids get a chance to dress up as their favourite cartoon characters. How about ‘Bob The Builder’ or maybe a ‘Zoo’ theme?! ‘Tom And Jerry’ or ‘Doll’ themes are ever-popular too.

* Party Decorations: This is the time when kids learn to recognize primary colors. So, use bright balloons. Hang them from everywhere with candy inside. For theme parties, decoration should gel with the theme. Use stockings, ribbons, paper butterflies and other attractive things to spice up the venue. Be innovative and creative.

* Games: Have loads of exciting, age-appropriate activities for kids to channelize their energy.

* Food: Kids eat very less at parties, so opt for light and nourishing finger foods.

* Party Bags and Party Bag Favours

As a gesture of thanks, you give out little souvenirs to the kids who attend the party. Kids look so forward to these party favours that actually contribute to the success of your party in a major way. There is a wonderful selection of party bags and favours available to pick from. You can give single gifts or an assorted ‘goody bag’ full of kid-stuff like colors, stencils, tiny toys, pencils, balls, popcorn boxes and other treats. Make the party favour special and a joy to remember.

A well planned birthday party is truly satisfying. Plan in advance and gift your little one a real ‘Happy Birthday’!

lego_storage_ideasThis is the story of one Dad’s quest to find the perfect toy storage solutions for his son’s ever expanding Lego collection.

Lego + Creative Minds = hours of fun
There is no doubt about it. Lego is the perfect toy for creative play. When my youngest son was two and a half we bought him his first Duplo set. He loved it and would spend hours making things. He started by copying the ideas in the books, and then slowly began to add his own touches until a year later he was happily making his own designs.

Now that he is seven he adores Lego and will spend hours and hours making things. I love Lego because it stimulates his brain and taps into his creativity. I used to love playing with Lego when I was a child as well. Who am I kidding, I love playing with Lego now. We have great fun making things together.

My son wants to be a builder when he grows up. I am trying to persuade him that he should be an architect instead but he thinks that’s boring. He would rather make than draw. I hope he changes his mind when he is older.

Lego = Mess

There is one downside to Lego though and that’s the mess. Our living room floor seems to be constantly covered in brightly colored bricks. You try to clean it up but keep finding it in the strangest places. I found a small two piece brick in my sock the other day. It really hurt when I stepped down on it!

When we bought Duplo it came in its own storage containers which made life so much easier. When he transferred to Lego though, the products came in cardboard boxes. This was OK originally but now that his collection is growing we are finding that leaving the bricks in its boxes makes the room look really messy.

When you type in Lego storage ideas into Google what tends to come up with is pictures of adult men’s extensive Lego collections beautifully stored in well organised boxes and crates. In the real world though that just isn’t going to work with children.

I also see people storing Lego in crates which are sorted by color. Now on paper this might seem like a great idea but the thought of spending hours at the end of each day persuading my son to put his Lego away based on color brings me out in a cold sweat. It is not how I want to spend my evening. Plus Lego comes in sets and usually, children want to make those sets over and over so I think it would take him a lot longer to make specific buildings if he has to sort through colors rather than the original set.

Lego + Tidy Storage = Happy Parents :)

Now Lego, being the bright people that they are have come up with some great storage ideas that look great. They have mini figure display units and different sized Lego blocks that actually slot together for easy storage. They come in different sizes and colors as well which is a nice touch. The only downside is that they are quite expensive for what they are. If I had the money though I would love to buy loads of these storage blocks and use them to make something big.

My favourite item though is the Lego head storage units. Completely impractical because they are too small for storing a lot of bricks and expensive for what they are BUT they do look really good. They have some great designs and I love the idea of the limited edition head that has a built in Lego sorter.

In the end we decided to buy a few clear long thin storage containers with lids. They are low to the ground which means his younger sister can reach in and easily grab the bricks. You can also see the bricks easily so reduces the urge to pour all the lego bricks onto the floor. They also stack well which will be useful as the collection gets bigger. I hope you found this post helpful in thinking about your lego storage needs. If you liked this blog post then you should check out another post I wrote on toy storage bins

Dyslexia is a condition where an individual is suffering from comprehension problems. Ability to read fluently, phonological decoding and awareness are often affected with this condition. Most often, children are discovered to have this condition because they show slow learning aptitudes in school. According to studies, 5-10% of the entire populations are affected by this condition.

There are different explanations that will point to the origin of dyslexia. There are studies pointing to the interactive role of the anatomic structures including the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex of the brain. Also, genetics according to researches can be partly to blame. Hereditary vascular micro-malformations are seen in a dyslexic patient’s brain. This impedes the optimal function of the language centers of the brain.

Signs and Symptoms

Among the early signs and symptoms that any parent should look into is delayed speech. Being easily distracted by background noises, and reversed mirror writing are some of the most common patterns that would suggest dyslexia. As the child grows older, it is apparent to observe the difficulties in segmenting words by individual sounds or blending the sounds in order to form words. Most often, patients with dyslexia find it difficult to spell. It is a common misconception that all dyslexics read and write words in a backward manner with ease. In fact, this can be true, but it only happens to a small percentage of dyslexic patients. A Full Dyslexia Assessment, can under cover non typical dyslexia that by looking at the individuals whole cognitive profile. Interventions

Dyslexia can be a difficult thing to deal with especially when a child is entering school. This can prompt a delayed aptitude in school activities despite having an average or even an above average IQ. Though there is no cure for dyslexia, fortunately, there is a way to help the patient improve the condition. Over the years, several researches were made in order for them to write and be able to communicate without any problem in school. From oral phonological trainings to visual language training, these are only some of the most common solutions brought to the table by educational psychologist during an assessment of special educational needs

Lego And Dyslexia Therapy

According to a 2012 study, LEGO was discovered to improve cases of dyslexia among children. According to the multiple intelligence theory, there are different types of learners. You may learn through music, or even by doing things. Since using LEGO involves both visual and fine motor skills, learning becomes easier for any dyslexic patient. In a study conducted that involved children between ages 6-10, LEGO was viewed as a great tool to help lessen the difficulties of learning. The conclusion of the study marked a significant improvement in children absorb and apply information. Though LEGO is still not a treatment to eliminate dyslexia, it can significantly boost learning capabilities especially during a child’s developmental years.

The best way to beat dyslexia is to detect it early on. Since a large number of children grow with undetected/undiagnosed dyslexia, it is important for parents to be aware of how their child performs in school. Delayed capability in learning can be linked to dyslexia. Once it has been diagnosed, proper intervention should be taken. And since LEGO has a way to improve and lessen dyslexic conditions, it is a good idea to invest in these toys. With positive reinforcements, along with the new therapies, it is possible for dyslexic children to grow up in a conventional learning set up.

Dyslexia Assessment Centre in Bimingham UK

In August 2009 television presenter James May began an ambitious project to build a full-sized house out of standard Lego bricks for an episode of his six-part BBC2 series Toy Stories. It was a considerable venture that required clever design, good planning and a thousand or so pairs of willing hands.

The house was to be built at the Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Surrey; it received huge public support. In foul weather on Saturday 1 August 2009 people began queuing as early as to offer their services. Response to the publicity surrounding the build was overwhelming and resulted in 1,200 volunteers being given tickets to help and another 1,500 being turned away.

The first phase of construction was the production of over 2,000 standardised hollow blocks built from 272 standard 8-stud Lego bricks, each being 12 bricks long, six wide and eight high. These were to form the walls of the building, which was conceived by architect Barnaby Gunning as a combination of thousands of smaller ‘houses’, some acting as roof pyramids, some just as hollow blocks and others with windows. The nature of the materials and experimental design, and the presence of some very doubting insurance officials, meant that the design had to be changed as production progressed. The design was unique as there could be no long cantilevers and no wide openings – Lego is, after all, intended to be pulled apart easily by a five-year-old and no glue was allowed.

The interior of the house was the brainchild of interior designer Christina Fallah. It was her vision that the surfaces should be smooth and sleek with vibrant colours. Even the furniture was made to contrast with the walls. Fully equipped with working Lego shower and flushable Lego toilet, both installed at James May’ insistence, the interior was a masterpiece of innovative design, right down to the minutest detail including striped Lego toothpaste.

To complete the homely feel, the house even had its own Lego cat (named Fusker after May’s own cat) that was donated by a fan. May Christened the house by spending a night in it and claimed that, although the bed was hard, he had the best night’s sleep had had for some time.

Sadly for May though, and all those who had put so much effort into building the house, the house was doomed to destruction. It could not remain where it was because Denbies need the land returned for grape vines and it did not have planning permission, and hopes that it could be sold to the Legoland theme park were dashed because the £50,000 price tag for the removal was deemed too expensive. So, on 22 September, just five days after it was completed, work began to take James May’s two-storey Lego house apart, with the 3.3 million Lego bricks used in the construction being donated to charity.

May described the dismantling as “wrong on every level” but, as others involved in the project suggested, the whole point of Lego is that it can be taken apart and re-used; the project was, therefore, in line with the ethos of Lego.

Just as a final note; has anyone seen Fusker? The Lego cat disappeared after members of the public were allowed through the house a couple of days before it was taken down – maybe it sensed what was coming.