Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pretend Play: Getting Them Ready for School

When it comes to school, we all want our kids to be at the top of the class and that means giving them a head start before they ever meet their teacher. From letters and numbers to shapes and colors there's a lot they can learn while they're still at home. But let's face it, no parent wants to be a drill sergeant! The more positive learning experiences the better. A child who is used to being curious will have a much easier time staying ahead in school. Thankfully, there are some great toys that will entertain your child so much, he won't even realize he's learning! Let's take a look at some different types of toys that can put your kid on the right track.

If you've got a toddler in the house, don't forget the classics! Some of the best educational toys have also been around the longest. These toys have lasting power because they have universal appeal and will help introduce you kid to some foundational ideas. Blocks are a smart option for any kid that's at least one and a half years old. You can find them with all kinds of basic shapes, numbers and letters. Don't worry if your child is too young to understand them right away; blocks are good for motor skills and hand-eye coordination too. This means your little tot can get years of playtime with these handy little stackers.

Now if you like the sound of wooden toys but you need a little more variety, try a stacking board or some basic puzzles. You can find boards with all the basic shapes and in vibrant colors. Puzzles are another fun way to sharpen these skills and you can find some tailor-made for toddlers. These are just thick and safe just like blocks but they can also teach kids about environments. A farm animal themed puzzle is an easy way to introduce your kid to concept in an enjoyable way. You can even find puzzles that make sounds! This does require more hand-eye coordination because each shape must be fitted onto a peg or into, but that extra challenge can be more entertaining. That being said, You might want to wait until your child is a little older before you introduce this toy.

Plush toys are another great way to make learning fun. Nowadays, there are so many plush items that are adorable and educational. Melissa and Doug is a toy company that makes a wonderful line of educational plush toys just for tots. You can act out a classic fable with the Three Little pigs play set or start teaching your child about money with the Fill and spill wallet. All of these play sets are large and cushy; perfect for that age when everything ends up in his mouth! And the company has made each piece colorful and friendly looking.

There are so many toymakers dedicated to helping children during those first five years of learning. And with a few of the right toys, your toddler will be well on the way to having a great education. So keep an eye out for these toys which are sure to be so much fun, your child won't even know she's learning!
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Monday, October 24, 2011

SensoryEdge at Anatex Photo Shoot: Sneak Peak 2

I promised you more of our sneak peak at the new Anatex waiting room collection but I thought I'd share my thoughts about a couple of last years products. I have been looking through the pictures and video I took at the photo shoot. I am so excited about the new products and even the new pictures of some of our old favorites. For example, although they debuted last year I had not seen the Anatex Fire Engine or Submarine Activity Centers in action. My son Jack could not decide which activity toy he liked better. In between set changes he kept walking off the set to play with both of them. At first I thought the Fire Engine Activity Center had stolen the show. He spent at least half an hour spinning the steering wheel, pretending to honk the horn, and shifting the gears. He loved the pathfinder vehicle maze and gears on the side with the colorful fire engine graphics. 

When the set designer put the vehicle themed toys away to roll out the under the sea waiting room toys I thought Jack was going to go off the set to keep playing with the Fire Engine. Although he started to follow it as it was removed from the set he ran right back when he saw the Submarine Activity Center take its place. I know the eye-catching graphics drew him in but the innovative design kept him playing for a long time. He could not get enough of the working periscope. He kept looking into the viewfinder amazed that he could see up and out the other side. Then he would pretend to drive the submarine around using the steering wheel and would shift the gears. Next he played with the boats on the pathfinder toy and then the gears. He absolutely loved this activity center. It was so much fun to see how much he loved this activity center. It makes me feel so good to know that our customers at SensoryEdge are getting such a good value for their waiting areas and classrooms.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

SensoryEdge at Anatex Photo Shoot Part 1

Before we launched the SensoryEdge website it was just a kernel of an idea. A dream my husband and I shared to create a store that would cater to people like us – parents of special kids who loved to play with toys. To get started our first order of business was to decide what we wanted to sell on our website. Having never been in the toy and furniture business before I resorted to the some advice I once got from a professor. You see I was once an aspiring writer and the best advice I ever got was to write about what I know and what interests me.

I figured that advise worked for sales too so I went into my oldest child’s room and found his favorite toy to find out who made it. It was the Original Rollercoaster bead maze toy by Anatex. The next day Anatex was the first call I made and their toys were the first thing we purchased to sell in our store at SensoryEdge.com.

Anatex and their waiting room toys have been with us from the very beginning. It was especially sweet and flattering when they asked two of our children to participate in a photo shoot for their latest catalog. My kids had so much fun and I got a sneak peak at their newest line of products.

Over the next few weeks we will be debuting some of Anatex’s new waiting room toys and furniture. We will be sharing with you some of my personal video from behind the scenes of the photo shoot. We’re excited to give you an early look at these awesome wall toys, waiting room toys, waiting room furniture, & educational toys in action. Stay tuned to see what Anatex has to offer.