Monday, October 31, 2011

I thought I would share some Halloween stuff I found while looking around the Internet.

Last minute costume needed: check out these fun and easy costume ideas.

Turn your pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern: great stencils and carving tips.

Safety First: Keep your little trick or treaters safe.

Candy Fun: use candy to teach little ones sorting, counting and word play.

Halloween FYI: some Halloween trivia.

First Timers: Baby's 1st Halloween.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Toy Spotlight - Manhattan Toy's NooBoo Collection

I remember the first time I saw the Manhattan Toy NooBoo Symphonic Stacker, my eldest daughter was about 6 months and we were at the local Chapters. I fell in love with it. I loved the lush textures, and colourful whimsical patters of each ring.

When I was looking at which toys I would carry at, I knew that the Symphonic Stacker would be one of them, and was very excited to discover that Manhattan Toy had a large NooBoo collection. We currently carry four toys from the collection, all four are fantastic at promoting the development of your child's fine motor skills, like their hand-eye coordination and pincer grasp. They also provide visual, touch and sound stimulation which helps keep babies interested thereby promoting hearing and sight development.

Our Manhattan Toy NooBoo Collection includes:

NooBoo Ball: bold, bright and rewarding to baby's developing motor skills, this multi-activity ball is made with high-quality fabrics - stretch nylon, corduroy, fleece, terry cloth and satin ribbons - to invite tactile exploration. Stimulating young ears are crinkle paper, rattles and a squeaker.

NooBoo Pound-A-Sound: With each thump of the soft hammer, baby hears a variety of sounds or gets a pop-up surprise.

NooBoo See & Sound Mirror: Babies will see flashing lights and hear sounds when they touch this self-standing mirror. Mirror can also be attached to crib.

NooBoo Symphonic Stacker: A sensory extravaganza, this premium-quality fabric stacker develops motor and problem-solving skills. As each soft ring goes over the post, baby hears a different sound - a total of four sounds - to reinforce cause-and-effect learning.

Stop by to see the NooBoo collection as well as our great selection of toys from Manhattan Toy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deal of the Week - Haba Wrist Rattles

Our Collection of Wrist Rattles from Haba are now 30% Off!

With four different wrist rattles to choose from, you are sure to find one your little will love. A toy that is sure to keep your little one entertained whether they are sitting down, lying down or on the go.

Visit to see and shop our Haba Toy Collection

Friday, October 21, 2011

Toy Spotlight - Educo Bead Mazes

I don't think you can go to any doctor's office and not see an Educo Bead Maze and if your child is anything like mine, they will run towards them to play.

The Educo bead mazes have won numerous international awards for quality, educational value, safety and innovative design. Bead Mazes are fantastic toys to help with your child's fine-motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, recognition of colour, size, shape, counting, visual tracking, and spacial concepts.

Little hands will love playing with the coloured beads as they slide them up, down, and around the wires. Young children will be entertained just moving the beads along the wires from one end to the next. As they get older, parents can use the beads as teaching tools for learning colours, shapes, counting, and even beginner mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction.

A great toy to be enjoyed by one or many, and one that will surely be passed down from child to child.

Stop by to see our collection of Educo Bead Mazes, including the Bear Hug which is 40% off!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Building A Foundation - Your Child's Development from 0 to 2 Months

From their first hour alive, babies begin to learn about the world around them. Our support, attention, awareness, and response, will have a very strong influence on their social, emotional, intellectual, motor, and language development.

One of the most important things you can do for your newborn is to help them feel comfortable in their surroundings. They are just starting to regulate their eating, sleeping, and emotions, that is why finding out what soothes and distresses them is very valuable. Always respond to their cries as this is important for their social and emotional development. It also nurtures trust, confidence, and self-soothing.

Even though we may not realize it, newborns use their body movements, facial expressions and sounds to communicate their feelings. Things like looking away, arching their backs, or frowning when they need to take a break. They will have different cries for when they want to eat, sleep or get a change of diaper. Acknowledging and responding to them will help build a positive sense of self and will encourage them to continue to communicate. (source)

To further develop a newborn's communication skills talk and sing to them. Tell them what you are doing and what they are doing. See if there are sights and sounds they like. Find toys or everyday items with different colours and textures and let them explore. In fact your face and those of loved ones will be what baby will find most fascinating. You can play with them by putting your face close to theirs and letting them look at you and touch you. Play a game of naming the parts of your face they are touching and do the same to them.

The most important thing you can do the first two months is to always respond to your baby, pay attention to what they need and provide them with what that may be. All this will contribute to the foundation for their social, emotional, and language development.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantasy Building

One of the best toys you can give a child is a set of blocks. Blocks are great at promoting the development of fine motor skills, imaginative play and creativity. They can also be used as educational tools for counting, sorting, pattern making, and learning shapes and colours.

The Haba building blocks certainly achieve all of the above and are sure to capture your child's imagination with their attention to detail and the unique and whimsical designs.

From the Cordoba Building Blocks with its 'Arabian Nights' inspired designs, containing 16 pieces total, in bright saturated colours, some with swirls, squares, arches, domes, dots--even one block with pearl beads rattling around inside.

To the Fantasy Land Jigsaw Blocks with its dazzling design and shapes, contains one piece with a mirror, one with a cat, and more with stars, swirls, and polka dots.

Designed and made in Germany from beech wood and painted with acrylic non-toxic paints. The Haba Block sets are a great addition to your child's toy box, whether on their own, together or incorporated with their existing block collection.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Toy Spotlight - Bajo Vehicles

I knew when I got the Bajo wooden vehicle collection that little ones would love it. After all, they are specially designed to be held in little hands and the imaginative way that they can play with them is just endless.

When I gave my second child at 3 months one of the small Bajo vehicles, I discovered what a great grasping toy and teething toy it is. The little vehicles are small enough that babies can hold them comfortably in their little hands, and big enough for them to put in their mouths with no worries of chocking, they are also very safe as they are painted with non-toxic paints and are easy to clean and disinfect.

When she was able to sit up, she would love to play with her little cars. By this time she had three of them and she would pass them from hand to hand to mouth.

Now at a year, she pushes them away from her and crawls to them. They are still a fun teething toy for her and after all the 'love' they have gotten from her, they still look like new.

The Bajo wooden vehicles are great for sensory development for babies, fine-motor skill development for toddlers and imaginative play for preschoolers.

Stop by to see our entire Bajo Vehicle collection. Take advantage of our toy sale of up to 50% off on until October 16, 2011.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Raise a Glass Half-Full Child

I wanted to share with you a newsletter article I received titled 5 Steps to Raising Optimistic Children sent to me by Daniel Dwase from There is no doubt that as parents we want our children to be more optimistic, be able work through difficult situations and find solutions to problems that they will run into. Hopefully these simple steps will not only help them but perhaps help us make some important changes.

5 Steps to Raising Optimistic Children

Why should you want your child to be an optimist? Because, as Dr. Martin Seligman explains: “Pessimism (the opposite of optimism) is an entrenched habit of mind that has sweeping and disastrous consequences: depressed mood, resignation, underachievement and even unexpectedly poor physical health.”

Children with optimistic thinking skills are better able to interpret failure, have a stronger sense of personal mastery and are better able to bounce back when things go wrong in their lives.
Because you are a major contributor to the thinking styles of your children’s developing minds, it is important to adhere to the following five steps to ensure healthy mental habits in your children.

Step 1:
Learn to think optimistically yourself. What children see and hear indirectly from you as you lead your life and interact with others influences them much more than what you try to ‘teach’ them. You can model optimism for your child by incorporating optimistic mental skills into your own way of thinking. This is not easy and does not occur over night. But with practice, almost everyone can learn to think differently about life’s events.

Step 2:
Teach your child that there is a connection between how they think and how they feel. You can do this most easily by saying aloud how your own thoughts about adversity create negative feelings in you.

For example, if you are driving your child to school and a driver cuts you off, verbalize the link between your thoughts and feelings by saying something like “I wonder why I’m feeling so angry; I guess I was saying to myself: ‘Now I’m going to be late because the guy in front of me is going so darn slow. If he is going to drive like that he shouldn’t drive during rush hour. How rude.’”

Step 3:
Create a game called ‘thought catching.’ This helps your child learn to identify the thoughts that flit across his or her mind at the times they feel worst. These thoughts, although barely noticeable, greatly affect mood and behavior. For instance, if your child received a poor grade, ask: “When you got your grade, what did you say to yourself?”

Step 4:
Teach your child how to evaluate automatic thoughts. This means acknowledging that the things you say to yourself are not necessarily accurate.

For instance, after receiving the poor grade your child may be telling himself he is a failure, he is not as smart as other kids; he will never be able to succeed in school, etc. Many of these self-statements may not be accurate, but they are ‘automatic’ in that situation.

Step 5:
Instruct your child on how to generate more accurate explanations (to themselves) when bad things happen and use them to challenge your child’s automatic but inaccurate thoughts. Part of this process involves looking for evidence to the contrary (good grades in the past, success in other life areas, etc).

Another skill to teach your child to help him or her think optimistically is to ‘decatastrophize’ the situation – that is – help your child see that the bad event may not be as bad or will not have the adverse consequences imagined. Few things in life are as devastating as we fear, yet we blow them up in our minds.

You can influence the thinking styles of your children by modeling the principals of optimistic thinking