Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baby Einstein &

YES, that's right. Disney's Baby Einstein web site has links to where a consumer can purchase the toys found in their videos. And there we are! If you're looking for toys that are on the Disney Baby Einstein videos, is recommended as the place to find the Melissa & Doug toys. We also carry many of the Haba toy listed as well. If you didn't already know this we carry ALL of the toys Melissa & Doug make :) Here's one the Baby Einstein "Toys in Video" links: Award Winning Baby Einstein videos are lots of fun for small children to watch. We have several in our mini van right now! My twins are 18 months old now and their favorites are Baby DaVinci From Head to Toe, Baby Noah, and My First Signs. If you haven't tried them I think you'll be surprised at how much your child will like them. AND, of course, should you be looking for any Baby Einstein toys from their videos, come shop at

Monday, March 16, 2009

Building Blocks are an ideal Educational Toy

Here are a few of the benefits of playing with building blocks for children. You will never again wonder why building blocks are considered educational toys. 1. Math and science skills are involved including size relationships, shapes, counting, height, width, area, fractions, and classification. 2. Spatial relationships are used and defined in concrete train is inside the tunnel or over the bridge. Your child will use concrete examples of open, closed, over, under, atop, inside, outside and so on. 3. Language and pre-reading skills are developed and strengthened through block play. In order to read your child must associate a word (symbol) for an object. This will be regularly done by your child in block play. For example, your child might use his blocks to build a symbolic house, castle, or farm. A young child is only fascinated by building up and knocking down block structures. As your child gets older and develops these pre-reading skills, he will begin using blocks creatively to represent structures. 4. Another important pre-reading skill is visual discrimination. With block building, as with reading, your child must be able to distinguish between similar but different shapes. Your child will use and develop this skill when selecting particular size and shape blocks to build a structure that will stand. Also, your child can demonstrate comprehension of his favorite story through block play and dramatization. 5. Block play also develops social skills. Through block play with other children your child will learn about sharing, playing with others, compromise, cooperation, teamwork and leadership. Block play is also one of the few activities where children of differing skill levels can work together. 6. Block play helps develop small motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. These skills are practiced each time a block must be placed in an exact position. Don't think we don't know that block play is a favorite among parents as well! Go ahead Mom and Dad, but remember to share! Happy Building! FAQ What styles of blocks do you carry... and what's the difference? Unit blocks - These blocks are intended for floor use. They are large and require open floor space to play with them effectively. This set can be added to with arches, tunnels, flat boards, and cylinders to create an enormous variety of large structures. Since these blocks are large and heavy it helps to develop gross motor skills in children. Children also get a kick out of building "life size" structures! Each unit block set is based on a standard "unit" size. All other blocks in the set are either fractions or multiple of this block size: . Because of this, children are able to build large, rather stable structures (unless a little brother or sister comes along).
  • A NOTE ABOUT THE STANDARD UNIT BLOCK: The actual block named the"Standard Unit" is a block that measures 5 1/2"long x 2 3/4"wide x 1 3/8" high. All Standard Unit dimensions are multiples of 1 3/8" and the dimensions of all other block shapes are multiples or fractions of the the dimensions of the "Standard Unit". Children are learning basic math concepts while playing with unit blocks. For example, they are learning that 2 of piece x is the same size as one of piece y. They learn this while building. Through blocks play children "discover" the relationship between the different block shapes and learn that two half units make a "unit", two units make a "double unit" an so on.
Mini Unit Blocks The concept is the same as for Unit Blocks, except that mini unit blocks are smaller and can be played with on a tabletop, desktop, or other smaller surface. Still, the blocks are all made to scale which gives you the same benefits as noted above. Architectural/International Building Blocks - This series takes block play to a new level. They are part of a system that incorporates block shapes with the styles and design characteristics from several distinct cultural and historical periods: European, Middle Eastern, Classical and Far Eastern. The International Building Blocks can be used by themselves or with other International Building Block Sets to create structures that are historically correct, or that pioneer new architectural styles. They are much smaller than Unit Blocks and are sized to be played with on a table top. These blocks are not safe for children under 3 years of age. Pattern/Parquetry blocks - These flat blocks come in different shapes such as triangles, diamonds, or squares. They are usually brightly colored and are most often used to create beautiful geometric patterns and designs. They can be used with or without the pattern cards that often come with these sets. Matching games and exercises with these blocks help develop and practice visual discrimination. Kapla Blocks - This is a brand of specialty blocks that are flat called planks. Some are natural wood sets and can be combined with colored sets. The make extraordinary structures. Look for their books that give you great ideas on the amazing things you can build!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why Buy Wooden Toys?

Many people have asked us this question over the years so we decided to tackle it. After thinking it over and getting input from fellow coworkers and parents we found that we all had about the same idea on this. Our answers can be summed up in 6 categories: Durability Hand Crafted Nostalgia Play Value Wood is a Natural Product Being Green Let's take these one by one. 1. Durability - Wooden toys tend to last longer than plastic toys. Plastic toys often have many components and once a piece breaks you end up with a sharp, jagged edge. This can make the toy unsafe immediately. Wooden toys tend not to break nearly as often. They are made of a stronger material! 2. Crafted by Hand - Many wooden toys are crafted by hand. There are parts to the process of manufacturing wooden toys that require an actual person to work on the toy. Some are made by master wood craftsmen. Wooden toys are made to last through years of play. 3. Nostalgia - Because wooden toys are made to last for so long, they are often handed down through a family. This makes the toy special because the older children (or maybe grown ups) "remember when" it was their toy. Wooden toys that are generational develop a much more sentimental importance to the family. Often the handing down of a really special toy has great family significance. 4. Play Value - Let's not forget that play value should be one of the main reasons we purchase a toy to begin with! Wooden toys lend themselves to unstructured play. What does that mean? It means that many wooden toys can be played with any way a child's imagination leads them. Wooden toys have been known to inspire inventive and truly imaginative play in children. This is probably due to the versatility inherent in most wooden toys. Wooden toys tend to be passive. The result is that the child has to become more active in their play. A more passive toy like a wooden toy may also encourage greater problem solving skills. Many plastic toys require batteries. If the batteries die and you don't have replacements on hand, that toy is useless to the child until it's "on" again. Wooden toys are always on! Wooden toys stay relevant. Wooden toys come in many varieties. Vehicles, puzzles, blocks, and manipulatives are quite common. Take at look at any large selection of wooden toys (on our web site for example!) and you will come to the conclusion that they would be as relevant in 20 years as they are today. 5. Natural Product - Wooden toys tend to be green! Many parents also love that wooden toys are a natural product..made right from trees. Children also understand this and can even be shown this process if you make your own wooden toys. Many believe that the wooden toy has a living energy to it that a child will respond to. It's the same material as the tree in the backyard that they touch every day. Many wooden toy manufacturers are cognizant of the fact that their product requires cutting down trees. This may make some people unhappy. HOWEVER, many wooden toy manufacturers have active reforestation policies and may replant as many as 5 trees to replace every one that is used. Further, wood from some trees isn't actually taken until another product has been taken from it. Take the rubberwood tree, for example. Rubberwood trees are cut for wooden toys until AFTER they have been sapped for all of their juice! BTW, contrary to the name, "rubberwood" is actually a HARD wood (much like maple). 6. Being Green - What's greener than a tree? Wooden toys are environmentally friendly DURING their production process as well as AFTER they are no longer useful. Put them in a landfill and they will decompose. What about plastic toys? Ummm....I don't think so! Many wooden toy manufacturers even use recycled materials in their packaging. We have an enormous selection of wooden toys (and furniture) on our web site, including these great manufacturers: Melissa & Doug Kidkraft Guidecraft Voila HABA Anatex Automoblox Educo Hape Heritage Playsets IggiBig Jonti-Craft Kapla Maple Landmark One to Ten Toys Quadrilla Shure The Toy Workshop Uncle Goose Toys That Make Sweet Memories

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Suggestions

Reading to our children can be so enjoyable and so beneficial to them. It is also helpful in calming the mood before bedtime or nap. Here are a few books I think you'll enjoy reading to your little one: Do You Want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle. A small mouse has a hard time finding a friend. Beautifully illustrated. Your child will enjoy pointing out the familiar animals and objects. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney Illustrated by Anita Jeram. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1994. During a bedtime game, every time Little Nutbrown Hare demonstrates how much he loves his father, Big Nutbrown Hare gently shows him that the love is returned even more. Lucky Song by Vera Williams. Evie’s loving family supports her independence. She wants a toy, so grandpa helps her make a kite. She wants it to fly, and the wind obliges. She says “look” and her mother is there to admire. At the end of the day, her father sings about a lucky little girl. Oh My Baby, Little One by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by Jane Dyer. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, Inc., 2000. A mother explains to her child all the ways her love remains even while she’s away.

Owl Babies by Martin Woddell. Three little owls await their mother’s return. The biggest one has comforting words, the middle one is not sure, the smallest says, “I want my mommy!” Mommy returns and says she will always come back.

The Temper Tantrum Book by Edna Mitchell Preston Illustrated by Rainey Bennett. New York: Viking Press, 1969. A rhyming presentation of issues that provoke tantrums between animal (and human) parents and children. Pen-and-wash drawings portray first the angry wriggling of the young beasts, then the toddler-like situations that have upset them. The sometimes awkwardly phrased but comfortingly non-judgmental narration concludes with the joyful, “I love it when you let me play in the mud.”

Excerpts taken from

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SUBSCRIBE To Our Blog and Win A FREE Toy!

Sign up to follow our blog and each time you make a comment we'll put your name in a drawing to Win a FREE TOY! It's that easy.

Why join the blog? You'll read about new toys and toys that are coming soon, special offers and discounts, developmental information, children's jokes and fun activities for small children. Just for leaving a comment you'll also have the chance to win Chop Chop Chicken by Voila Toys: A fellow blogger just wrote a great review of this product and our web site. Read it here: See details of the Chop Chop Chicken here:

RIGHT NOW is the best time to leave a comment for your chance to WIN a FREE TOY! (Of course, the comment must be appropriate to the blog content to count toward an entry!) What are you waiting for? Join and leave a comment today! FREE TOY DRAWING is the first week of every month. Winner will be notified by email :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

COMING SOON! Real Baking Sets for Kids :)

We are delighted to be offering some fantastic new Play Sets in about a week. They are from a series called Bella Bistro. They are beautifully made cook sets for children. They really work! The one shown here is from a baking set called Sweet Treats Bake Set. Kids can make real desserts! Little gourmets will love baking with the four recipes included. Set includes: 12-cup mini muffin pan 5.5" mini loaf pan 4" diameter bundt pan 4" diameter springform pan. Dishwasher safe.
This one is called Tasty Cookie Treats. It's a professional style baking set that is perfectly sized for kids. It is real cookware for tomorrow's chef! The Tasty Cookie Treats Baking Set includes: Nonstick Cookie pan Wooden Spatula Wooden Rolling pin Six Cookie Cutters Four Tasty Recipes

Both will be in stock within 1 week along with Cakes & Pies Delight and Bake & Decorate. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NEW! Melissa & Doug Metal Shopping Cart Now Available:
Its always a great time to shop! Melissa & Doug's durable, metal shopping cart looks just like those in real stores! Sturdy metal construction includes pivoting front wheels; a folding doll seat and protective corner bumpers!
Finally a play shopping cart that will really last. It's built to carry wooden play food (like the kind Melissa & Doug make) and handle rough play too. There's even a safety mechanism that will keep it from tipping over if a child tries to climb inside.
*Food Accessories NOT included.
Size: 11.25" x 24" x 15.5"
NOW $49.95
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