Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get the kids outside to play with these active toys

The warm weather is here and school is almost over. In my house, it's important to keep the kids outside and active while they are out of school.

Here are a few toys that can keep the kids entertained and away from the television.

Froggy Catch:  This easy to master game of catch is good for all ages. Each player gets frog catcher and a soft ball. The ball easily sticks to the Velcro frog. Perfect for little ones who are learning to catch.Retails for approximately $9.99

Diggin' Active Dodge Tag: We all remember the classic dodgeball game. This version of the game comes with soft dodge balls that stick to Velcro vests. Retails for approximately $19.99.

Banzai Titan Blast Rocket: Want gigantic fun? This 7 foot rocket inflatable rocket soars up to 100 feet in the air. The rocket launches by pumping water into base. Not recommended for young children. Retails for approximately $55.

Zarts: A fun game consisting of 9 inch foam darts that can stick to any smooth surface. Players can use the targets provided or create their own. Retails for approximately $19.99.

Skyrocopter: Can't wait to see an item take flight? Foster the fascination with flying with this simple toy. Pull the string and send the skyrocopter flying up to fifty feet in the air. Retails for approximately $9.99.

Many of these toys can be found locally at Learning Express Naperville, which is located at 2863 W. 95th Street Suite 123.

Does your child have a favorite outside toy? Share your tips and ideas with us.

Originally published June 3, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Zoomorphs let a kid's imagination run wild

I like toys that make my kids think. Whether it's a building or creating an object, I appreciate any toy that helps kids' use their imagination.

Recently, my kids were given Zoomorphs as a gift. Zoomorphs are build-able animal toys. Each set has four animals. Each animal piece can inter-change with the other animal pieces. The piece easily snaps together.

We have the safari animal set. It includes an elephant, leopard, zebra, jungle butterfly, parrot, and lizard. There are a total of 47 pieces in the set.

At first my kids wanted to build the "normal" animals. We did the zebra and elephant. Then I suggested that we build "crazy" animals. We put the butterfly wings on the elephant body. Then added some zebra legs, a leopard tail and some lizard legs. The kids couldn't stop laughing. Then we build more and more "crazy" animals. We switched legs and tails and bodies and heads. There were so many mixed up animals.

The other fun part of building the animals were coming up with names for our mixed-up animals. Whether it was zeb-ard-phant or a parro-fly, my kids were hooked. My kids constantly ask to play with the Zoomorphs and want to make the mix-ed up animals.

The Zoomorphs are not suitable for children under the age of 3 because it does contain small parts. The pieces themselves are durable and easily snap together.

In addition to the Safari set, Zoomorphs have the following sets, dinos, runners, insects, rain forest, myth morphs, jumper morphs, night morphs, pets, and diggers.

Zoomorphs can be purchased locally at Anderson's Bookshop (123 West Jefferson, Naperville, IL 60540 630-355-2665) and Learning Express Naperville (2863 95th St., Suite 123, Naperville, IL 60564, 630-922-3334). Zoomorphs also can be purchased on-line at and

Published may 3, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eco-friendly children's toys make every day Earth Day

As a parent, I try to incorporate many eco-friendly toys in our house. Luckily, these days it has become easier to find numerous eco-friendly toys for kids of all ages.

When looking for eco-friendly toys, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Materials: Bamboo, rubberwood and organic cotton or wool, These materials are sustainable, especially bamboo, and are often free of pesticides.
  • Recycled toys: Look for toys that can be made of recycled products, like milk containers or wood, to help reduce and reuse older materials.
  • Colors and dyes: Look for toys that are made from non-toxic herbs or plants to create bold colors.

Here are a few toys that are eco-friendly and kid approved.

  •  Paintable Cottage and Firehouse Rescue Station. A wonderful set of eco-friendly arts and craft toy. The toy comes with a set of eight washable, non-toxic water colors. The item is made of durable corrugated board. This toy set is produced in the U.S.A by Imagination Box Company and has won the Top Toy of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine in 2008; iParenting Media Hot Toy Award 2008; Dr Toys Best Products Award. Each set costs about $12.
  • 8-Note Bamboo Xylophone. For the music lover in your house, this xylophone is handmade using organic materials and fair trade products. The item retails for around $48.
  • Dandelion: A variety of baby products that are all made from organic, natural, recycled materials. Named a Dr. Toy Green Award winner.
  • Science Kits by Thames and Kosmos. These interactive, educational kits teach children about wind power, renewable energy, global warming, animals, and plants. Children learn these topics by conducting hands on experiments. The kits are suitable for various school age children. The price for the kits ranges from $16 to $40.

These are just a few eco-friendly toys available in the market.
Learning Express of Naperville has numerous options for kids of all ages. Learning Express of Naperville is located at 2836 W. 95th Street, Naperville. Their phone number is (630) 922-3334.

Published April 22, 2010