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Read on to learn important toy safety tips every parent needs to know. December is right around the corner and these are important toy safety tips for this holiday season. After all, we want to make sure to keep our kids safe from toy hazards as they enjoy their new toys.

Did you know? According to the Product Safety Commission, about 250 toy injuries a day occur during the holiday season.

4 TOP TOY SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS

  1. Read a toy’s instructions. Pay attention to warnings on packaging and stick to them. Also don’t just assume that your kid will know how to properly play with a toy. Read the instructions with them and make sure they know how to properly play with a toy before handing it
  2. ALWAYS follow listed age recommendations. A toy may look appropriate for a younger child, however those age recommendations are there for a reason. Follow them! A toy may not be developmentally appropriate for a child, especially if it includes small parts that little kids may put in their
  3. Keep an eye out for hidden dangers and discard broken toys. Damaged toys can cause a wide array of problems, including choking hazards. This is especially true for young children who may put small broken pieces in their mouths. Broken pieces and edges can also become dangerous if they’re sharp. I know it may be difficult to part with a favorite toy but safety is priority. When it’s broken it has to go!
  4. Choose appropriate toy storage options. Keep toy storage choices simple. Bins and plastic containers that kids can use themselves make clean up easier and keep toys off the floor. Choose shelving that can be anchored to walls to avoid risk of tipping over.

Happy holidays and remember to keep these toy safety tips in mind as you gear up for the holiday season!

This is a guest post from Monica Encarnacion of NYCTechMommy.

Monica Encarnacion is an educator, writer, and busy NYC mom. When she’s not busy running around doing all the things, you’ll find her sharing tidbits about her own life over at NYCTechMommy.com. Her blog’s mission is to inspire families to live simple, live fun, and live life with tech. Monica is really just a big kid at heart who loves playing with her two kids and discovering fun new toys together, including STEAM toys and maker kits. She recently shared some of her favorite maker kits for kids at any age. Connect with Monica on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook so that you too can discover some the hottest toys this holiday season.

 

STEM
Amanda Jacobs

The Importance of STEM?

STEM

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. You may also have heard of STEAM, which includes the Arts. Rather than teach them as four (or five) separate and distinct subjects, STEM is being cohesively incorporated into a school’s syllabus to form part of a student’s overall curriculum.

STEM is vital to the future of our economy and has a part in everything we do. How? Well…

Continue reading “A Look into the Importance of a STEM Education”

Learn to read
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Amanda Jacobs

Kids shouldn’t just be learning to read, they should be learning to love reading

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children, beyond keeping them safe; healthy and loved, is to instill in them a love of reading. Learning to read can be tricky for some but as well as stimulating their imagination, strong reading skills form the basis for learning in all subjects. Children who are read to at an early age have better communication skills, increased attention spans and better concentration in later years. In the first six years, children learn at a much faster rate than any other time in their lives. When a young child is taught to read, it has a profound impact on the function and development of their brain. So, let’s get reading…

Learning to read

Story telling isn’t just for bedtime. It’s a great way to bond with one another and relax after a day at school. It also isn’t just for little kids. Bigger kids also enjoy being read to or reading out aloud to their parents. But not every kid loves to read. For some parents, it’s a struggle to get their child to pick up a book. Some children are reluctant to read because they don’t read so well or because, quite simply, they haven’t yet learned to appreciate how great books really are. Maybe they just haven’t “hit” on the right book yet. Sadly, there’s no magic potion to get your kids reading but check out our tips on making reading more fun… Continue reading “Learning to Read | Tips to make reading fun”

Kids activities
Amanda Jacobs

The Best Activities for Kids at the Right Age 

Activities for kids

Choosing the right activities for kids based on what they enjoy and where they’re at developmentally can be tricky. Likewise, selecting the best toy for each stage can also be challenging. Many times in the past I’d planned what I thought was a really fun kids’ activity only to then realize my boys totally weren’t ready for it. I’m also guilty of “peaking too early” with certain toys. In other words, I’ve got over-excited and bought a toy before my children were developmentally ready for it, only for them to get bored of it by the time they reached the appropriate stage to benefit from it.

Today, we’re going to break down the ages between 4-8 and look at what milestones children will be reaching and how they will impact the types of toys and activities that they may be interested in.
Continue reading “Choosing the best activities for kids | Developmental Milestones”

activities for kids

As parents, we hear how important Art is to childhood development, especially that of fine motor and visual skills.  It’s true that the development of these skills are essential milestones because doing art can help fine tune those muscles in their hands when holding and using a pencil or crayon and even building dexterity by using scissors.  Furthermore, visual skills are essential to cognitive learning for children because they learn more and better with visual cues.  However, Art isn’t just important to childhood development but can also play a key role in adult success.

Programs and products that involve Art in a child’s curriculum are essential to the child’s development and adult success.  Programs like STREAM Learning which stands for:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Reading
  • Engineering
  • Art
  • Math

When you incorporate these concepts in a fun and engaging way, children can learn better and programs like STREAM Learning are making a huge impact on childhood education and that child’s future self.

Building Creativity

Making open-ended art an everyday activity for children is essential to building creativity.  When we encourage children to be creative, we challenge closed-minded thinking.  This gives children the opportunity to think outside of the boundaries of the box and opening up their imagination and expanding possibilities.  These problem-solving and critical thinking skills are concepts they learn in Art and as they grow older, will use these skills in everyday life.

It is through building creativity that encourages innovative thoughts and ideas and where it becomes reality.  It takes one mind to think out-of-the box to solve some of society’s greatest mysteries and problems.  The cure to cancer, renewable energy, and clean water are just some of the problems we face today.  Building creativity that raises problem-solving and critical thinking skills to inspire innovation leads to a better future where our children and future generations will live in.

Research has shown that Art also improves academic performance.

“A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.”

Encouraging Self-Expression

Self-Expression is an important factor to the emotional and social development of a child.  The ability to express themselves often helps a child be more confident and lead to positive thoughts of self-esteem and self-worth.  Art allows children to express themselves in a safe environment where their canvas is anything they want it to be.  Being able to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings through Art can help a child understand who they are.

The development of these concepts can help a child as they grow and make decisions on their own. Choosing new friends, dealing with peer-pressure and picking a career path are just some important decisions and obstacles our children will face.  As adults, these developments are important too.  Saying “No” to your boss, standing up for your integrity and leaving an abusive relationship are just some things we may face in our future that having self-confidence, good self-esteem and self-worth taught by self-expression can help us with.

Social Diversity Awareness

Often times our art reflects our cultural history, upbringing and environment.  A child will draw what he/she sees and knows and because Art is a safe environment to express themselves, it is often a good way to introduce social diversity.  Art is a way for people to not only express themselves but to communicate and share as well.  Identifying the beauty in art different than their own can help a child understand diversity.

Understanding social diversity is an important concept in our society and can lead to the strengthening community bonds.  Just think of what impact our children’s generation could have when we teach them about the importance and beauty of social diversity.  The differences between people, culture, and countries will be insignificant and leaves room for understanding, acceptance, and love.

Children should be encouraged every day to build creativity, encourage self-expression, and learn about social diversity through Art.  These concepts bring so much enrichment to a child and their future and it’s important that they are not ignored.  As parents, we should be looking for ways to incorporate art in lessons and use products that encourage STREAM Learning.

This is a guest post from Katriza Luna of Mommy Engineering.

Katriza is an engineer who is blessed to have the opportunity to be a stay at home mother to her two young boys.  She is the founder of Mommy Engineering and strives to help mothers with parenting and achieving healthy family living.  Learn more parenting tips and healthy home and family habits through insightful articles by fellow Moms on Mommy Engineering.   Facebook | Twitter

 

Learning toys
Amanda Jacobs

A look at the best learning toys on the market

There are literally millions of learning toys out there that kids love playing with, ranging from a few bucks, into the hundreds. It’s hard to tell which toy will capture your child’s interest and what won’t. Children are like sponges – they have the admirable ability to pick up new skills at a mind-blowing rate. While obviously they can learn a ton without toys, there’s a lot of fun to be had with toys too. What’s more, there are many toys out there that hit the mark for “edutainment” – that wonderful mix of educational and entertainment. In other words, learning toys that they’d love to play with; that will help stimulate their brains, challenge their intellect and stretch their imaginations. Continue reading “Learning through Play | Round-up of the best learning toys”

impact of technology
Amanda Jacobs

Kids and their toys –  the impact of technology on kids

In this post, we’re going to look at the impact of technology on young kids and what value some of these tech toys have on learning.

impact of technology

It’s the year 2017 and technology is everywhere. Cell phones are getting smaller (and bigger!), laptops are getting lighter, homes are getting smarter and robots are taking over the world. OK, the last one’s not really happening (yet) but technology is certainly taking up a very significant part of our day – both at school/work and home. These days, kids have a better grasp on technology than some of their parents, and some toddlers are playing on iPads before they can even talk. But is the increase of tech toys for kids a good or a bad thing? What is the impact these technologies are having on our children? Continue reading “The impact of technology on kids?”

Nicola Santiago

We often underestimate the value of working with the simplest things: paper, glue, scissors, or even just our kids’ little fingers.

Studies show that children benefit from regular fine motor work such as tearing, pasting, cutting and collaging.

Here are some easy, imaginative and practical DIY crafts for your kids, no matter what developmental stage they’re in.

PAPER PLATE PICTURES

Ages 2-3

Materials:

Assorted pictures, precut

Art paper

Glue

Small paper plates

  1. Give your child a small paper plate and some precut pictures. In this case, we have precut pictures of birds, downloaded from the Internet.
  2. Give out some strips and precut pieces of art paper, and encourage your child to make a picture by sticking these precut paper pieces on to the paper plate.

Read the full post here.

Nicola Santiago

We connected to 16 parents and asked them a simple question:

Get Qurious Question:

What do you look for in an educational toy when you buy one for an Early Elementary age child? 

And here are the answers.

Mia Wenjen | PragmaticMom@pragmaticmom

I find that simple is best. I like toys that are geared towards open ended play because they promote creativity. My kids used these kinds of toys — wooden blocks, pattern blocks, wooden fruit that you cut up — were what my kids used the frequently, and for years.

 

 Monica Encarnacion | NYCTechMommy | @nyctechmommy

When choosing a new learning product or toy I look for toys that my kids will want to fully engage with. Not only does it have to be educational, it also has to be fun! A big bonus is if they can engage with little or no help from me. Learning through play is much more valuable when kids can explore on their own. I try to get out of their way!

 

Jayne Clare | Teachers With Apps | @TeachersApps

First and foremost, the ideal toy for a child should spark the imagination, get the creative juices flowing and be adaptable. Toys that promote flexible thinkers and encourage problem-solving develop confidence. Most importantly they need to make the child feel emotionally secure to explore and take risks. FUN and fostering a sense of accomplishment contribute to an outstanding play experience.

 

Stephen Duetzmann | EngagedFamilyGaming | @EFGaming

When we purchase toys for our children, we look for toys that are engaging and have a high replay value. We want toys that have interesting features designed to capture and utilize a child’s imagination and curiosity. We love toys that inspire creativity and also want toys that are durable.

 

Shari Stamps | SavvyEveryDay | @savvyeveryday

I look for a toy that fits the child’s interests and development.

 

 

Ashley Drewes | Closet of Free Samples | @closetsamples

I look for something that is fun, colorful and makes noise. Of course, it has to be educational though, but I notice that bright colors and sounds tend to keep a child more interested in the item and more likely to play with it (and learn from it).

 

Katriza Luna | Mommy Engineering | @mommy_engineer

When I look for a learning product/toy, I’m looking for quality.  I want a product that will withstand the hardship of being owned by a child but also ingenuity.  I want to promote creativity with products that have the same idea.  Lastly I look for longevity of the product, how long my child could use this product; will it grow with them through the learning obstacles he will encounter in the next 6 months or 2 years?

 

Stephanie Howell | Stephaniehowell.com

When I buy a toy for an elementary age child I want it to encourage them to use their minds and their love of learning. I like creative and original toys and I also want them to stand the test of time. I don’t want my children to immediately tire of them.

 

Dr. Michelle Yasharpour | LA Mommies

When I look at learning products and toys, I try to find one that is fun, easy to figure out and use, but that will last a long time.

 

 

Falak S | This Mama Reviews

What makes for a great learning toy in my opinion is the one that presents the child with opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving while being open-ended at the same time. Something that allows the child to think outside the box so the inner creativity can be unleashed in a fun setting.

 

Andrea Wernimont | Grinning Cheek to Cheek | @GrinCheek2Cheek

I look for a toy that can hold my child’s attention and is something he will pick up over and over. It needs to be both educational and fun, even better if it covers a variety of topics. It’s great if the product can be operated by my child independently too!

 

Kristin Haid | Mom Fab Fun  | @MomFabFun

I look for toys that offer a variety of learning and playing experiences so that it is not a “one and done” experience. I also like toys that can be played with independently or as a group and that encourage imagination and inventive play. Quality materials are always a plus, too!

 

Siope Kinikini | Smarter Parenting | @Smarter_Parent 

I look for multiple uses for the learning toy. It boils down to how many functions does it have that will it allow my child to explore and create on her own.

 

Trey Burley | Daddy Mojo | @daddymojo

A mandatory trait for a learning product to elementary school kids is that is must stay with the child for more than 2 years. This product has to have multiple entry points where older kids can jump in and play, but also have a base entry point for younger kids.

 

SaraAnnDipitous | Saraanndipitous.com

When I consider products for my children I want something that encourages imagination and creativity; as well as providing a fun learning opportunity. It’s also important to find products that are collaborative and promote teamwork (since I have 2 kiddos about the same age). I like it when they are having a blast with a new toy and suddenly connect the dots between play and education on their own! I love to hear, “this is just like what we learned at school”.

 

Scott Beller | Raising Nerd | @raisingnerd

At Raising Nerd, my blog supporting parents in their quest to inspire the next generation of scientists and creative problem solvers, we consider a good STEM toy as one that:

– Fuels kids’ imaginations, curiosity, and passion

– Sparks interest in and teaches one or more “STREAM” principles

– Is FUN!

– Promotes trial-and-error tinkering and collaboration

– Develops kids’ problem solving abilities

– Can be enjoyed in multiple ways

– Encourages kids to design, invent, or make something tangible and useful (or not!)

To get an idea of which educational toy your child might be interested in, read our latest blog post with a round-up of the top learning toys for kids aged 4-6 and 6-8.

To see our other posts, check out the GetQurious Blog or click here to learn more about GetQurious and our range of products.

 

 

 

Boys toys
Amanda Jacobs

Top Toys for Boys age 4-8

Boys and their toys. It’s a great time to be a kid. With so many fantastic toys and games to choose from, there’s something for everyone. So, put away the G.I Joe and Power Rangers action figures and let’s look at the best toys for boys on the market.

Here at GetQurious, we’ve understand how difficult it can be navigating your way around the unlimited number of toys available out there. To speed things up, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for boys toys age 4-8 so that you don’t need to. Continue reading “Boys Toys | Top toys for boys age 4-8”

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