Benefits of Puzzles for the Whole Family

Posted on October 25, 2016 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

Often when we think of puzzles, we consider them a simple toy or source of amusement.  But did you know that benefits of puzzles extend far beyond enjoyment?

Benefits of Puzzles for Children

Educational Benefits of Puzzles

We easily recognize that puzzles benefit children. Mostly they are seen as an educational tool used to teach concepts such as the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and more.  Puzzles are great for teaching these concepts because they are a self-correcting learning tool.  Children start to see and understand that only one piece will fit in each spot. They also learn the letter or shape associated with that space.  Problem solving  and spacial recognition skills are built when children manipulate the pieces to see how they fit together. Memory is also strengthened when children work the puzzle repeatedly. They begin to remember which piece fits where and the concept associated with that piece.

Children also gain benefits from puzzles that are for entertainment purposes. A puzzle with their favorite cartoon character is as beneficial as an educational puzzle.  An entertaining puzzle still builds+ their cognitive skills.  Skills such as problem solving and paying attention are practiced as children sort the puzzle pieces and place them together. Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are also improved as they manipulate the puzzle pieces.  Puzzles give kids an activity that require concentration and focus.  This benefits you!  Now you can get stuff done while your child is happily engaged with their puzzle!

Choosing the Best Puzzle for the Most Benefit

Choose a puzzle that engages and challenges your child.  If a puzzle is too easy they may become bored, but if it is too hard they may give up.  When the puzzle is at their level or just a little bit beyond the puzzle will also help build their patience and perseverance.  It is a good idea to start children with wooden puzzles with larger pieces and then progress to jigsaw puzzles with 24 - 48 pieces.  After they have mastered these they can move onto larger jigsaw puzzles.  We carry puzzles for all skill levels.

Benefits of Puzzles for Adults

As adults we aren't usually still concerned with developing our fine motor skills or learning certain concepts.  But puzzles still benefit adults as well.  Think about the skills that are used in working puzzles that we use in our jobs or homes.  Working a larger puzzle with 500 - 1000 pieces is not usually a task that can be completed in one sitting. Completing a large puzzle requires project management and goal setting skills.  Putting a puzzle together may not help you in your job, but it can help you strengthen the skills you use in your job.  A puzzle reminds us, as Jean-Luc Picard says, "There is a way out of every box, a solution to every puzzle; it's just a matter of finding it."

Puzzles are also a great way to relax.  Putting a puzzle together requires that you focus. Focusing on the picture in the puzzle can help relieve stress.

Working on puzzles daily such as suduko, crossword puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles have all been shown to help combat degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer's and Dementia.  Even among adults who have already developed these conditions puzzles are being used as a therapy, both because the activity is calming and they improve memory and cognitive function.

Benefits of Puzzles for the Family

Puzzles are a wonderful family activity.  We have already seen that puzzles benefit both the young, old, and everywhere in between, but puzzles also benefit you as a family.  When you work on a puzzle as a family it helps you work together toward a common goal.  Cooperation helps build family unity. Puzzles are also a great conversation piece. Working together fosters communication and the pictures on the puzzle spurs conversation.  We carry several collage puzzles that are sure to get you reminiscing and talking.

Shop our great selection of puzzles and start reaping the benefits for your family today!

3 Best Holiday Gift Ideas for Pre-schoolers

Posted on December 08, 2015 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

 

 

Pre-schoolers can sometimes be a difficult group to buy for, for one very big reason. They are at an age where many of them know what they want and they aren’t afraid to tell you what that is! While there is no doubting the benefit that a challenging puzzle game can offer a pre-schooler, there is no guarantee that such a toy will be well received, unless you know the child well! That being said, there are still a great number of gifts that you can win over any stubborn pre-schooler with. Let’s look at three of the most popular holiday gifts for pre-schoolers.

 

Musical Toys

 

Musical toys are often misrepresented for babies and toddlers. When we say musical toys here, we are not talking about any old toy that lights up and blares out a number of pre-recorded tunes. We are talking about basic musical toys that can teach children about musicality. Percussion toys are a great starting point, as are simple wind instruments like a toy harmonica. Children can learn cause and effect, and it has been shown that children who play with musical toys at a young age are more likely to take up playing an instrument in later life.  The B. Parum Pum Pum drum is has several instruments for your child to experiment with, all conveniently stored in the drum.

 

Books

 

While there’s no questioning that books make a fantastic gift regardless of the age of a child, there is perhaps no time when this is more relevant than when discussing pre-schoolers. Soon, these children will be in an official learning environment and will be presented with letters and words on a daily basis. By providing these children with books at a young age, an appreciation and love of reading can be developed early, making the transition to school learning all the easier.  Open up the world to your child, like Jacqueline Kennedy says, "There are many little ways to enlarge your world.  Love of books is the best of all." 

Board books are always a great choice for little hands. You can choose a classic or choose by your child's interests.  Your biggest problem will be deciding which to choose!

 

Arts & Crafts

 

Pre-schoolers are at the perfect age to really be pushing on with their creative play, and gifts that cultivate this creative craft are always a good idea. While this might be something as simple as a coloring book, pre-schoolers are at an age whereby they can get invested in more serious craft projects, so more exciting gifts can be consider. Cutlery that needs to be painted by the child so that it is distinctly theirs is a fantastic way of spending a few hours. Similarly, painting a birdhouse or making a kite can be tremendously fun activities when undertaken as a family. When considering an arts & crafts gift, consider whether it will engage the child, and whether it will challenge them. Ideally, it should do both.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

4 Best Holiday Gift Ideas for Toddlers

Posted on December 08, 2015 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

4 Best Holiday Gift Ideas for Toddlers

 

When it comes to buying holiday gifts for children, there are few more rewarding ages to be buying for than toddlers. Toddlers are full of energy, full of enthusiasm and full of curiosity. They will welcome any toy and give it a chance, but if it doesn’t engage with them then it will quickly be discarded! When buying gifts for toddlers, it’s important to remember that toddlers are at an age whereby they want to push their limits. They are exploring the world around them, and exploring their own capabilities. If you cater to this need for exploration, you will never go far wrong with your holiday gifts! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

 

Ride Ons

 

The joy of a ride on toy is that, despite what stage of development a toddler is at, it can still offer tremendous fun and rewarding playtime. When considering a ride on toy, you should always look for one that is well balanced and sturdy. Consider the interests of the toddler and try and choose an appropriate style of ride on toy. If in doubt, go for something with a trailer or a space under the seat for storing other toys.  The Little People Music Parade ride on fits the bill for all of these requirements.

 

Books

 

When considering gift ideas, no matter what age of child or what time of year, books are never a bad idea. A love of reading needs to be cultivated at a young age, and by offering engaging and fun stories to toddlers, you can instill within them a love of books. Always consider whether the book you are buying is age appropriate. If it’s too simple, the child won’t be challenged. If it’s too difficult, the child will not be interested.  Board books are always a good choice for toddlers.

 

Arts & Crafts

 

Toddlers are explorers, and anything that allows them to be creative is always a good idea. Arts & crafts don’t have to be expensive or particularly distinctive - a coloring book and a box of crayons would suffice. The idea is to encourage the toddler to use their imagination and be creative with their play. As Maya Angelou says, “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”  This is especially true of toddlers! Older toddlers might be able to handle more advanced toys or projects, but for young toddlers, something as simple as finger painting can be a wonderfully positive experience.

 

 

Puzzles

 

The world is one big puzzle to a toddler, so it’s no surprise that puzzles should be considered a suitable holiday gift. Puzzles help children learn for themselves, and encourage various skills from critical thinking to hand eye co-ordination. Children enjoy puzzles once they have a chance at working out the solution, so always make sure you aren’t making the task too difficult, but aside from that, the more puzzles the better!

 

 

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

4 Best Holiday Gift Ideas for Babies

Posted on December 07, 2015 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

4 Best Holiday Gift Ideas for Babies

 

The holidays are coming and for many people it is their first time having to buy holiday gifts for babies! Many will ask what the point is in spending money on a gift for a baby that cannot even recognize the relevance of the holidays, but that is beside the point. Giving gifts at holiday times is something that we should enjoy doing, and you should cherish doing so for young babies who can’t tell you that you got the wrong thing…that time will come soon enough! So just what are some great ideas for holiday gifts for babies?

 

Decorations

 

Let’s start with an unusual one. There are few babies that go without a huge selection of toys over the festive period, so why not consider a special gift that they will have when they get older? Festive decorations are an excellent idea in this regard. You can often purchase something bespoke and creative, and it will always be something that the child knows is theirs every year, right up to the time that they have to start putting together their own collection of decorations!  We have  keepsake ornaments in stock here.

 

Books

 

It’s never too early for children to start building their book collection, and that includes babies. Depending on how young the child is, you may choose a basic rhyming book that the parents can read at night, or you might choose a soft book that baby can also play with. Either way, books make for a fantastic gift, and one that will help the child develop.

 

Sensory Toys

 

Sensory toys play a vital role in our children’s development, and help them to learn about the world around them. From intricate activity centres to simple rattles, sensory toys shape how children view the world and how they understand themselves. It is always important to be age appropriate when considering sensory toys, but their importance cannot be overstated. If in doubt, a sensory toy should be your default buy!  This Fisher Price 

ROLL-A-ROUNDS SWIRLIN SURPRISE GUMBALLS

 is a great sensory toy.

 

Stuffed Animals

 

Depending on the age of the baby, a stuffed animal might just be the perfect gift for them. Stuffed toys or animals can often become a baby’s best friend, and this bond is not something to be discouraged. Avoid toys that have anything hanging loose, including ribbons or buttons, but aside from that pick the cuddliest, most appropriately sized cuddly toy you can find and off you go!  We have some stuffed animals that your baby will love.

VTech 80-171600 Kidizoom Smartwatch DX Review

Posted on December 06, 2015 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

VTech 80-171600 Kidizoom Smartwatch DX Review

Find it on Amazon Here

You can trust VTech to make learning fun and keep up with the latest technological gadgets that parents have too.  This watch is built to model the smart watches that are popular among adults, while teaching your child how to tell time.  As parents you care about the educational aspects of a toy, but your child cares about the fun and Vtech considers that as well in its design.  This watch includes games and a camera that your child will love.  

Features of the VTech 80-171600 Kidizoom Smartwatch DX

  • 0.6 x 8.8 x 1.8 inches
  • For ages 4 - 9
  • 1 Lithium ion battery required (included)
  • Camera with large memory
  • Touchscreen
  • Number of features and games

Watch our VTech 80-171600 Kidizoom Smartwatch DX Review Below

How Much Does It Cost?

This is currently priced at $54.44 on Amazon. 

Click Here to See All Prices on Amazon

How Many Stars Do We Give the VTech 80-171600 Kidizoom Smartwatch DX?

We give this product a 4.5 star review.  It is a great watch with many cool features that is sure to delight younger children.  Children who already have tablets or other smart devices may find this limiting compared to what they already own though, so that is our only caution.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Spin Master Zoomer Kitty Review

Posted on December 06, 2015 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

Spin Master Zoomer Kitty Review

Find it on Amazon Here

Does your child want a pet, but you aren't sure if they are ready for the responsibility?  Are you or your child allergic to cats?  Zoomer Kitty is the next best thing to a real cat.  She purrs and plays, but she also responds to your child.  This robotic pet is sure to be a delight to the whole family.

Features of the Spin Master Zoomer Kitty

  • 7.2 x 11.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Ages 5 - 10
  • USB charging cable included
  • Includes Zoomer Kitty toy
  • Eyes change colour to indicate mood
  • Sings, dances, cuddles and plays

Watch our Spin Master Zoomer Kitty Review Below

How Much Does It Cost?

This is currently listed at $84.99.

Click Here to See All Prices on Amazon

How Many Stars Do We Give the Spin Master Zoomer Kitty?

We give this interactive kitty a 4.5 star review.  While not quite as cuddly as a real kitty this cat will follow and play with your child, and even can teach some lessons about proper pet care making it a really great toy.  

 

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

 

Spin Master Bunchems! Review

Posted on December 06, 2015 by Kim Bagley | 0 comments

Spin Master Bunchems! Review

Find it on Amazon Here

Bunchems! is a creative play toy that the artist in your home wiill love.  The colorful little balls easily stick together to make whimsical sculptures.  Once you are done with one you can take it apart and start all over again, for endless creative fun.

Features of the Spin Master Bunchems!

  • Instruction guide included
  • Ages 4 and up
  • Mega Pack including over 400 pieces
  • 370 Bunchems and 37 accessories
  • No batteries required

Watch our Spin Master Bunchems! Review Below

How Much Does It Cost?

This is currently priced at $31.98 with Prime Shipping.

Click Here to See All Prices on Amazon

How Many Stars Do We Give the Spin Master Bunchems!?

We give this product a 3.5 star review.  Children will undoubtedly love the fun colors and creative possibilities.  However as a parent, this toy has 400 small pieces that come with warning of not only choking hazards, but also that they can easily become entangled in your child's hair.  These warnings, along with the mess factor may steer many away from this fun looking toy.  These obstacles may be overcome, but will definitely be worth considering before buying this product.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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