Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Travels

'Tis the season for family vacations, whether you are able to escape somewhere sunny and warm or just heading a couple of hours out of town to visit family and friends, good travel toys are essential to keep the little ones entertained and in their seats.

We just got some great toys that are perfect for playing in both the seat of a car or an airplane.

The first ones are our newest addition from Melissa & Doug, their new magnetic bead mazes. Both the Magnetic Number Maze and Magnetic Colour Maze will keep your little one occupied for quite some time as they work to slide the beads in the correct hole. Both toys are great for the development of number and colour recognition, as well as matching and fine motor skills.

Another great travel toy is the Mini Bingo from HABA, the classic bingo game for up to four players that comes in a charming tin container. A great assigning game that all will enjoy playing.

A great travel toy for younger children are both books from HABA. Both Alex at the Zoo and Dino and the Dinos are a 3-in-1 toy: they are a book, a puzzle and a game. Younger children will enjoy reading about their favourite dinosaur or zoo animal, while older children will have fun putting together the five jigsaw puzzles and playing the game.

No matter how far you travel this season, these toys are sure to keep everyone happy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Made In Canada!

We are so excited to offer our first Canadian made toy...Ukoonto!

We discovered the beautiful building blocks at the Healthy Kids Expo this fall and could not wait to show them off. In fact, we introduced them at both the Children's Trunk Show and the BabyTime Show. We had one complete set out for kids to play with and they enjoyed creating different building structures out of the pieces.

The Ukoonto blocks are made from hard maple wood, they are not treated with any kind of lacquer, paint or finish, which makes the very safe for little ones to put in their mouths.

The set comes with 50 pieces in classic shapes such as rectangles, triangles, and arches. The blocks have been tested to be safe for children 9 months+. At this age, children will love stacking them up, and as they get older they will get more creative in what they create with them. This is certainly a toy that will grow with your child and will be enjoyed in many different ways.

Building blocks are a wonderful toy to stimulate a child's creativity, spatial thinking, and fine motor skills. They offer children infinite possibilities in what they can build and create. They are truly a must have toy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Media Watch has two products featured in the What's New section of the November/December 2008 issue of Calgary's Child Magazine.

The two products featured are the Tiny Love Andy Apple and the new Manhattan Toy Winkel-Citrus Burst.

Both toys are so fun and vibrant and are great grasping and teething toys for young children.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Safety First

With the recent concerns over the safety of baby toys, I thought it would be a great idea to have links to the Safety Standards of our brands.

I would like to stress that I do quite a great deal of research on all the brands and products that I bring in at Safety is of the utmost importance to me and I make a point of only offering brands that have a high level of quality.

Please contact me should you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of the toys found at I can be reached at

Friday, September 26, 2008

Piecing It Together

We have a very special family tradition of always getting a puzzle that the family has to put together during the Holidays. We have so much fun trying to out do each other by finding the most pieces or that one piece that can not be found. There is something very satisfying and just a little sad when you place the last piece.

Puzzles are certainly a fun activity to do, alone or with a group of people at any age. When it comes to the benefits that it offers young children, puzzles really help with their problem solving skills, language skills, pattern recognition, logic and hand-eye coordination.

Puzzles are great toys that parents can also use as early learning tools to teach children their numbers, shapes and the alphabet. The Melissa and Doug ABC, Numbers, and Shapes Peg Puzzles are certainly a fun way for children to be exposed to their numbers and letters.

Puzzles are also amazing at helping children develop problem solving skills which they will use for all their lives. Jigsaw puzzles are great for this because children need to identify patterns and must place the pieces in the correct way for it to fit. It is best to introduce jigsaw puzzles to children who are two and older, starting with the easier ones and working up to more complex ones with more pieces.

When I first introduced jigsaw puzzles to my daughter, it was incredibly interesting to see her select the correct piece and then try to fit it to the puzzle. In the beginning she would always try to position it wrong, it was interesting to see that she would be guided by colour and trying to match the colour in the piece with the other one. When it did not work she would turn it around and try again. I have found that good jigsaw puzzles will be cut in such a way as to help the child work through it in a logical way. For example, the Playful Pets Jigsaw puzzle is cut so that it is easy for the child to identify the face of the animals and then the other parts of their bodies. This makes it easy for children to start the puzzle selecting one of the animals and working their way to to all the others. It also helps that all the animals are a distinct colour which helps them recognize the puzzle pieces and know that the yellow ones belong to the bird and so on.

For younger children, the best puzzles are ones that have few pieces, have large knobs for them to hold and even have a picture underneath the puzzle piece to help them in the beginning. These puzzles are great for children one year and up and it will help them with their hand-eye coordination because they will have to put the piece in the slot. Like all puzzles it also helps them with their judgment and reasoning . Parents can also take an opportunity to teach them the names of the objects that are found on the puzzle. With the Melissa & Doug Large Farm Jumbo Knob puzzle, parents can teach their children the names of the farm animals. As the child gets older, they can use it to sing to Old MacDonald and get the child to point to a farm animal and make their corresponding sounds. A fun game that helps children learn so much.

Along with blocks, puzzles are toys that are a must have in any play room. There is a puzzle for children of all ages and skill level. There is always something exciting about opening up that puzzle box, taking stock of all the pieces scattered and getting started.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Haba Toy Recall

We have been informed that Haba has issued a voluntary recall on certain baby toys.

They have identified that certain grasping toys, pacifier chains and other toys contain glued on mirrors and/or prisms that may detach posing a choking hazard.

The two toys which Baby Thoughts carries that are affected by the recall are, Clutching Toy Bonita and Pixie's World.

Please remove all affected toys from children and return items to the following location:

For Canadian consumers -

Attn: Recall Returns
Filosofia Distributions Inc.
3250, F.X. Tessier
Vaudreuil-Dorion QC J7V 5V5

For USA consumers, please visit to fill out a recall form.

Please be sure to include your name and address with the returned products. Consumers will receive a free replacement that equals or exceeds the value of the recalled product or a full refund, as well as a refund on cost of shipping.

To view complete list of all products being recalled click here.

To read information for consumers released by Filosofia (Canadian distributor of Haba) click here.

Your child's safety is of the utmost importance to us, should you have any questions or concerns please contact us at

Monday, July 28, 2008

Safety is Number One

The safety of our children is our number one concern right from conception. As soon as we find out we are pregnant we ensure that we are providing our child with the right nutrition, vitamins and minerals. Later when that child is old enough to crawl and move about we spend time and resources ensuring that they do not harm themselves while exploring the world around them. As children get older, and their world gets bigger, safety is no longer just about covering the electrical outlets and locking the cupboard. This is why I wanted to share with you a very important organization, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

They are a non-profit organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children, they have tools, information, resources, and programs to help parents and caregivers teach children about personal safety. They also have programs that provide help to children and their family, who have been victims of abuse.

One of their great education programs is Kids in the Know, here parents can access information on how to teach children about personal safety. What makes it really great is that they provide you with age appropriate messages and tools.

They also created, a national tipline for reporting online sexual exploitation of children. With children using the internet more and more, it is important that we teach them how to be safe online. I highly recommend taking a look at their Public Education campaigns, such as 'Let's keep this our little secret', which provides parents with information on the techniques that offenders use to keep abuse a secret. You can also take a look at their age specific tips on ensuring that your child is safe online.

I don't think I can stress enough the importance of becoming informed on this issue and ensuring that we teach our children about personal safety. Not just our own children, but all children, like a good friend always tells me "it takes a village to raise a child".

Friday, July 18, 2008

Toy Spotlight - Haba Magnetic Puzzles


Challenge your little one's fine motor and cognitive skills with the brightly coloured magnetic puzzles from HABA.

Whether it is the Princess Magnetic Puzzle or the Knight Magnetic Puzzle, your little one will love the bright colours, whimsical pictures and you will love that it is travel friendly, ensuring that no pieces are lost or forgotten.

Both the board and all nine pieces are magnetic, making it a fantastic toy to have up on the refrigerator to help keep them entertained while you go about getting things done in the kitchen.

Haba Magnetic puzzles are not only beautiful but also multipurpose.

Monday, July 7, 2008

In the News - The Importance of Make-Believe

Recently Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard’s Judge Baker Children’s Center was interviewed by USA TODAY about the importance of make-believe play.

The article talked about the benefits playtime at home and the importance of playing as a family. It also gave a number of helpful tips for parents to encourage pretend play at any age.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Toy Spotlight - Manhattan Toy's Activity Barn

This week in honour of our resent trip to a farm, where we got to chase chickens as well as ride and feed horses. I would like to shine the spotlight on one of my favourite toys from Manhattan Toy, the E I On The Go Activity Barn.

With more than ten interactive features, including a corncob with a zipper, a squeaky pig, a jingly horse in its pocket stall, a kitty hiding under a flap and a hen in her nest. As well as rings, crinkle paper, mirrors and more. This toy is designed to help baby develop their cognitive and fine motor skills.

Best of all it zips up neatly in its carrying case, complete with stroller strap and handle, for learning fun on the run.

A fantastic toy to take along with you wherever you go as it is sure to keep your little one entertained for some time. In addition it can easily be thrown into the washing machine should it get dirty, because we all know that sooner or later it will end up in baby's mouth.

Recommended for children 9 months and up, this is one toy that will certainly be enjoyed for a long time as the child discovers new features to keep them entertained. It can also be used to teach your little one how to identify their favourite barnyard animals and have a fun time singing Old MacDonald had a farm.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun With Colour

Springtime surrounds us with beautiful colours, for this reason it is great time to start or expand on your child's knowledge of colour. One great way to do this is to teach them the colours found in their different toys as you play together.

Some great toys that can be used to teach your child all about colours are:

1. The Melissa and Doug Rainbow Stacker with its seven coloured rings for stacking fun.

2. The Large Shapes Jumbo Knob also from Melissa and Doug will not only teach them their colours but their basic shapes as well.

3. The Plan Toys' Lacing Beads is a great toy for older children, they be creative and make a necklace using only red beads or blue beads. This toy really encourages children to use their imagination and creativity.

4. A fun game to play together is the Picco Klecksolino from Selecta. The first person to find all the colours and shout our "klecksolino" is the winner!

If you look around at your child's toys, you will find that many of them can help them learn their colours. Have fun and make a game of it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Selecta Toys....Find Them at

The beautifully crafted toys from Selecta Spielzeug have arrived at!Selecta Trotto Push Toy

Selecta was founded in 1938 and to this day it remains a family operated company, their sole aim is to provide educational and high value toys which promote the development of children. Selecta toys are designed and manufactured in Edling, Germany from sustainable maple forests using environmentally-friendly and child safe paints.

The look of a Selecta toy is almost instantly recognizable; toys are done in bold primary colors, with the grain of the wood often visible underneath. Basic, identifiable shapes dominate the form of the toys, while faces are always sweet, simple and smiling.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stack'em Up!

I remember when my daughter started stacking everything and anything. I found it just fascinating given that just a couple of months prior she would knock down the "towers" that I would build.

Stacking aids in the development of motor and cognitive skills. In fact you can say that stackers are babies' first puzzle since it must be stacked in a certain order.

At we carry a stacking toy for all ages and stages. For Infants we have the NooBoo Symphonic Stacker, a great toy for young babies. Its soft thick rings and stand, different textured fabrics and fun sounds offer young children lots of sensory stimulation. One great feature of the Symphonic Stacker is that every time a ring is placed over the post a different sound is heard. When all rings are stacked in the correct order a fun song is played, this reinforces cause-and-effect learning.

The vibrant Rainbow Stacker from Melissa & Doug is made of smooth wooden rings to be stacked on a solid-wood rocking base. Your little one will love this beautiful and classic toy.

Two other fabulous stackers for Toddlers are the Plan Toys' Stacking Clown and Cone Sorting. These two stacking toys will certainly challenge your little one. The Cone Sorting will teach them about depth, height, size and sequence as they assemble this colourful cone.

With the Stacking Clown, children will learn about arranging in order of width, form and colour. Each shape consists of two sides for colour-and-shape matching. Thus, a child can build up the clown step by step. A great challenge for your toddler.

Enjoy watching them stack'em up.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A is for Alligator

Featured Toy: Melissa & Doug ABC Puzzles

Teaching your little ones their ABC's just got easier with the added help of Melissa & Doug's ABC Puzzles.

The Jumbo ABC Chunky Puzzle has colourful pictures of animals painted on the back of the board that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. You can also use the thick wooden pieces to spell simple words such as CAT or DOG.

Another great puzzle to help your child learn their alphabet is the ABC Peg Puzzle, with pictures under each piece and small pegs to make it easier for little ones to hold this puzzle is a big hit

Have fun teaching your toddler and preschooler their ABC's with the beautiful and colourful puzzles from Melissa and Doug.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Throw a Pizza Party

Invite all your friends for some fun make-believing with Melissa and Doug's Pizza Party play food set. With many yummy toppings to choose from, children will have a blast creating their own signature pizza.

If sandwiches are more to your liking, than the Melissa & Doug Sandwich Making Set is for you. You can't go wrong with the delicious meats, tomatoes, cheeses, lettuce and bread. A great addition to any imaginative picnic.

For more healthy play food choices visit's Kitchen Play!

Bon Appetit

Friday, March 7, 2008

Winter Games

There are many many fun things to do this winter, bellow you will find a list of some fun indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy with your children.


- Museums

On those days when the weather is just too cold, head over to your local museum. Children of any age will have a wonderful time at the museum, the classic exhibitions that are always a favourite are the dinosaur and the natural world. Many museums have a special children's area where they can have a more hands on experience. To find all the museums in your area visit the Canadian Museum Association and search their directory.

- Public Library

A fun place to spend time all year around. The libraries provide parents with numerous resources from story time, videos, DVDs, play groups, reading clubs and an extensive selection of books in a number of different languages. Visit your local library today and discover all that they have to offer.

- Art Gallery

Introduce your child to the wonderful world of art by visiting a provincial art museum or even your local art gallery. Many galleries will have special exhibits featuring many of the great artists as well as new artists and art forms from around the world. Always a great place to give your child an art history lesson. You can also see if the art gallery has special classes or areas for children. Be inspired and see if you can encourage your child to draw like Picasso or Seurat, the great pointillist painter.


- Maple Syrup Farm

I don't think you will have to twist any arms to get your child to go to a maple syrup farm. There are many fun things to see and do at any of the great farms across most of Canada, there are also great festivals happening in the month of March. Enjoy and remember to bring back some fresh maple syrup.

- Snow Fun

As the saying goes, "if you can't beat them, join them". With all the snow that has fallen, don't think of it as a nuisance instead go outside and have fun with it. The one thing that every child should do is build the best snowman/snowwoman with all the trimmings. Look around for an old shirt, hat, mittens, scarf and anything else your child would like to put on it and have fun. The possibilities are endless, let them be creative with how they would like their snowman to look.

Another great activity is snow painting, get some empty spray bottles and fill them up with water and food coloring and let your budding artist go wild. You might want to avoid red and yellow colours for obvious reasons.

- Winter Picnic

Why not? Pack some yummy warm food like soup and hot chocolate and head out for a picnic at your local park or backyard. Dress warmly and bring a blanket.

- A hayride

Go on a hayride and take in all the sounds and smells of winter. Without a doubt you will come back feeling refreshed.

- The Classics

There will always be something special about going skiing, skating and tobogganing. It is never too early to introduce these classic winter sports to your little ones. Pick one or all three and have a great time.

This winter have fun both infoors and out!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Maximum Security: Pacifiers, Security Blankets and Favourite Toy

Many parents struggle with determining when the correct time is to take away their child's pacifier or security object. Certainly we encountered this issue with our daughter and by what the article bellow says, it is not necessary for parents to worry too much.

Pacifiers and Security Blankets
Pediatrics for Parents, March, 2005 by Michael K. Meyerhoff

Many years ago, while my sister was recovering from surgery, I moved in with her family for a couple of weeks so I could look after her young children. One day, after dropping off the two boys at their preschool, I took the 18-month-old girl for a ride around town.

Once we finished errands we drove over to the local library where they had a "Moms and Tots Drop-In Center." I placed little Anna on the floor and watched as she quickly became engrossed in the many toys they had available. I then sat down in a comfortable chair and began perusing the parenting books and magazines displayed on a nearby table.

A few minutes later, the woman supervising the program, whose picture could have been placed next to the definition of "grandmother" in the dictionary, walked over to Anna, yanked the pacifier out of her mouth, and said, "You tell your Daddy that you don't need this anymore!" She turned to me, shoved the pacifier into my hand, and gave me a look that was filled with as much disgust and disdain as her soft, round face could muster.

I resisted the urge to tell her that if she ever again laid a hand on the child without permission, she would be pulling back a bloody stump. Instead, I calmly placed the pacifier back in Anna's mouth and explained, "She might not need it any more, but her mother does."

This story illustrates the two key concerns parents have about their child's use of a pacifier, security blanket, or other such item. At what age does the child's attachment to the object become inappropriate? And why does the child become attached to the object in the first place?

Let's start with the second question. The answer is simple. Pacifiers, security blankets, and other such items are stress reducers. It feels good to suck on the rubber nipple, to rub the soft material across one's cheek, etc., and that good feeling has a wonderfully calming effect. Of course, that spawns a side question. Why does a young child need a stress reducer?

The fact of the matter is that we all need stress reducers in our lives. We tend to think of stress in terms of major problems, such as being under a tight deadline at work, going through a messy divorce, being diagnosed with a serious illness, etc. But life is filled with all sorts of small stress-inducing events and requirements that add up over the course of the day.

Consequently, we all find ways to soothe ourselves. We may find a quiet place to meditate, go for a workout at the gym, imbibe a martini, sneak outside for a cigarette, or pay a visit to our therapist. And at the end of the day, when we need to relax so we can fall asleep, we may watch an entertaining television show, read an interesting book, or spend quality time with our significant other.

Although we tend to envy young children for their "worry-free" lives, that envy may be misplaced. When you are small, the world can be rather intimidating. And when your physical and mental abilities are not fully developed, it is hard to deal with all the easy-for-adults challenges that you are faced with on a daily basis. As a result, while young children don't have to worry about appeasing the boss or paying the mortgage, they do suffer their fair share of stress.

However, their options for reducing stress are not particularly numerous. Since the aforementioned outlets are not available to them, they are relegated to sucking on a pacifier, rubbing a blanket across their cheeks, hugging a stuffed animal, or perhaps engaging in masturbation.

Which brings us to the issue of appropriateness. Not all outlets are considered appropriate, and some can even be unhealthy in the long run. For example, there is no doubt that alcohol and tobacco do the stress-reducing trick, but they also can cause a lot of collateral damage. And public sexual activity, whether masturbatory or participatory, tends to be frowned upon.

While pediatric dentists may have concerns about excessive thumb or pacifier sucking, most of the outlets chosen by young children tend to be reasonably harmless. But are they appropriate? I think most parents and bystanders are alarmed and/or embarrassed by a little one rubbing private parts in public. However, when it comes to pacifiers and security blankets, I don't think there are any universal standards, and the tolerance levels of individuals can vary widely.

Most mothers and fathers tend to be pretty tolerant. particularly if they are busy and stressed themselves. It is much easier to put up with the pacifier or security blanket than to deal with a stressed-out kid. Usually, parents become inclined to do something only when the disgusted gazes and disdainful comments of relatives, friends, and perfect strangers become impossible to avoid and start to make them doubt their performance as parents.

Regrettably, this often results in quick and drastic action involving criticism of the child and/or forced removal of the pacifier or security blanket. The child's attachment to the item then becomes a major "issue" and the source of continuous power struggles. This is not simply unpleasant, it is also unproductive as it generates considerably more stress for everyone.

Therefore, while it may be difficult to put up with the withering stares and searing statements, it is wise for parents to relax and be patient. Of course, they should consider taking steps to help reduce their child's stress levels themselves. Instead of working overtime to ensure that college tuition money will be in the bank, perhaps a little more time with their little one at this time might be a better investment. And instead of spending hours on the Internet planning a future family vacation, perhaps giving the little one a little more immediate attention might be more beneficial.

But parents can not and should not expect that they will be able to eliminate their child's stress entirely. What they can and should do is wait for the child to reach developmental levels where other stress-reducing alternatives become possible, and then encourage the child to pursue those. Keep in mind that things as simple as acknowledging your feelings and talking about them, getting some exercise by riding your bike around the block, reading a fascinating story, or even creating a delightful daydream, is largely beyond the capacity of a two or three-year-old.

Now once these outlets do become developmentally available, there is no guarantee a child will take advantage of them. And some kids remain steadfastly addicted to "infantile" activities throughout the preschool years. Again, this may be difficult to endure, but being too forceful typically does nothing more than make matters worse. So again, parents need to be a bit more patient and wait for another round of developmental progress.

Preschoolers are extremely egocentric. They are largely oblivious to and unconcerned about the attitudes and opinions of their peers. As they emerge from this period, things change, and they become aware of and sensitive to what other kids are thinking and saying about them. Therefore, at this point, attachment to their pacifier or security blanket may no longer be quite so attractive as it now generates more stress than it reduces. Consequently, they become considerably more inspired and inclined to seek out mid accept other more socially acceptable alternatives.

Listening to the tongue-clucking of your mother-in-law may be annoying at best and possibly despair and self-doubt-inducing at worst. On the other hand, noticing that there are no kids sucking pacifiers on the elementary school bus and that security blankets are rarely seen at sleep overs or summer camp should give you the courage and confidence to go easy on your child and yourself and let your child's development solve the problem in proper fashion and in due time.

Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D., is executive director of The Epicenter Inc., "The Education for Parenthood Information Center," a family advisory and advocacy agency located in Lindenhurst, Illinois. His e-mail address is