This is a season of girl-power toys. But I take issue with GoldieBlox, which has an entertaining commercial (mostly featuring toys from other companies) and not yet a great product, IMO…here’s hoping they come out with something better next year. My colleague agrees, and also the Toy Industry Association nominated them yesterday for ”Most Innovative Toy” but not for “Best Girl Toy,” I suspect because they need to up the fun factor a bit.
One thing that was nominated for “Best Girl Toy” is a Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker bow. Yep, we’re breaking ground by giving girls sophisticated weapons, just as we do with boys. We declined to include weapons (except for the ones in a Lego set) in our Parents Best Toys story, but as a mom, I do know that toy weapons make it into the toybox…my son has a bow and arrow set, a Minecraft sword, and so on. I still balk at calling them a “best” toy.
All this makes me want to go back to an oldie but goodie. Several of us here swoon when we look at the two Barbie Dreamhouses sitting in the toy closet. What an awesome toy! Setting up the Dreamhouse is not an exercise in domesticity (who makes Barbie clean or cook?) but a fantasy of living on one’s own. Barbie is not a baby doll who needs to be mothered. She’s a grown-up and when I watch my daughter use Barbies, it’s to try out grown-up roles: Barbie is waitressing, she’s fighting with a friend and making up, she’s meeting a gal who is a mermaid. (There’s some practice in acceptance for you!)
It makes me wish that my son had a toy that could similarly let him try out social situations. Or that there was a more gender-neutral alternative to the Dreamhouse. The best we found for out Best Toys story is this awesome little Lego Treehouse.
In the meantime, these two beautiful Barbie Dreamhouses need to be with children who will love them and play with them. We’re happy to mail a Dreamhouse each to TWO lucky winners after the Thanksgiving break. Each is worth about $185. To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and Monday, December 2, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on December 3 and scroll to the bottom of the comments to see who won. We also reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Congrats to our winners Tonya Munque and Mary Happymommy!
Halloween is just one of those holidays that creeps up on you. While it’s fun to plan costumes and treats with the kids, it’s easy to put off buying these items until you need them most. If you’ve yet to figure out a Halloween game plan, we’ve scouted some awesome finds to make your day a little less frightening.
Online costume retailers have scores for under-the-wire shoppers. Costume Express’s Pumpkin Busters start around $10. That’s where we found this undeniably adorable lady bug outfit for $20 for Baby. Buy Costumes also has Grave Busters lasting until this Friday; our favorite is this $17 red dragon get-up for toddlers. With attached wings and a one-piece body suit, it’s easy to put on and entertaining. Both sites feature clearance up to 60 percent off as well.
Just remember, if you want your loot by the 31st, you’ll need to order online sooner rather than later. With seven days left until the big day, procrastination is not your friend at the moment.
Up for some old-fashioned in-store shopping? Old Navy announced an exclusive deal; For today only, and only in stores, all baby costumes are $5, and all other Halloween items are 50 percent off. Now, that’s a good reason to get your feet moving.
Finally, if you’re looking more for craft ideas than costumes, don’t forget our awesome 100 Days of Holidays section on our Web site. We’ll take you through Halloween and on to Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Lego Duplo’s “Read! Build! Play!” initiative strives to develop early literacy and strengthen learning through their Read and Build series of simple story books paired with easy construction activities.
Last year, Lego Duplo and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) partnered to create resources that combined reading and play. “Through play, young children learn about their world. With this knowledge, they can understand books and stories once they begin to read,” says Starr Latronica, Vice President/President-Elect of the Association for Library Service to Children.
This summer, Lego and ALSC have created the first Summer Reading Lists/Activity Guides for toddlers and preschoolers. Two free guides (one for Ages 1-3, one for Ages 3-5) pairs 10 already-published books with Lego projects designed specifically for each one. The books, easily available at local libraries, were chosen by ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services committee. A Parent Activity Guide is also available for free, to explain the importance of play and to offer advice on how to interact with kids.
Parents can preview a list of the chosen books below and click on the jump to see a photo of the suggested activity for Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastian Braun. Visit ReadBuildPlay.com to download the entire activity guides (which includes the full lists of Lego projects with instructions, plus coloring pages).
At my house, it seems like March Madness has been on TV since January. I probably would have gotten a lot more into it if the games were played with LEGOs, like in this fun YouTube clip. Check out the highlight reel of past tournaments as told by the popular brick characters.
You just knew this had to happen eventually, right? Behold, the 2008 Olympics rendered in thousands of those tiny bricks we know and love by the Hong Kong LEGO Users Group. Click here to see more shots. It’s epic!
To go along with Amanda’s post about LEGO Indiana Jones (by the way, Indie is EVERYWHERE at toy fair—expect Indie inspired toys of every creation), check out this photo I took of LEGO Star Wars. It’s just so impressive what those people can do with legos! But I guess it’s official—the movies of our childhood are BACK!
The ubiquitous and beloved LEGO brick turns 50 today. To celebrate, LEGO artist (yes that’s really his job) Sean Kenney whipped up this birthday cake just for the occasion. Don’t miss the rest of Sean’s work, which is pretty mind-blowing.
For those of you who live lego-lives (like me!) Evil Mad Scientist has an amazing post about how to keep it organized. The above is his "before" shot (okay, in my house that would be an "after" as I am kind of thrilled if the lego isn’t on the floor) and then EMS gives a step-by-step on how to store every type of brick. Here’s what you do with the little pieces.
OMG! And believe me, that’s just the beginning. Would I let my kid ever touch the lego again after I did all that? No, but I think he would understand. Go read the whole post to see the system at work.