Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Puzzle-ing - Melissa & Doug Puzzles are 15% off

With their hand-crafted, high quality, brightly coloured images, and fun themes the Melissa and Doug puzzles are unmistakable.

Whether it's their Jumbo Knob puzzles which are just right for beginners with little hands to their jigsaw puzzles for the more advanced puzzle builder, you are sure to find a one that your child will love.

At we have a large selection of wooden puzzles which are currently on sale for 15% off!

Some of my favourites are:

The Barnyard Animals Jumbo Know Puzzle - A fun way for baby to learn about their favourite farm friend.

The Construction Chunky Puzzle - For the little builder in your life.

The Jumbo ABC Chunky Puzzle - Learning the ABC's has never been more fun.

The Early Learning Peg Puzzle Bundle - You get 3 Peg Puzzles for hours of learning fun!

Stop by and check out our entire Collection of Melissa & Doug Puzzles and SAVE!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's Deal : Selecta Toys are 15% off!

I wanted to give a little information about our Selecta toys as they are today's deal in our 12 Days of Christmas Sale.

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.

We carry a selection of Selecta toys for newborns up to preschoolers and in between.

For the littlest one, we have the two beautiful grasping toys Arco and Tulpino, they are the perfect size for those little hands. To promote gross and fine motor skills we have the Filino pull toy which is a stacker and pull toy in one. We also have the fun and whimsical push toys, Trotto and Spedino. For the preschoolers we have Picco Duetto a fun game that will be enjoyed by all.

To see our entire collection of Selecta toys and to take advantage of today's discount of 15% off. Stop by

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Activities to Promote Emotional Development - Babies 6-12 months

A baby's social interaction with the world begins from minute one. Every moment they are engaging with the world around them, they familiarize themselves with the people who are in their lives and begin to express their emotions and interact socially.

Some great activities to do with your baby to promote Self Control and the concept of Self are:

1 -I can feed myself: As soon as your baby has started eating solid food allow them the opportunity to learn to feed themselves. While in their high chair you can give them pieces of food that are safe for them to eat, this is also a great way to promote fine-motor development.

2- Let's get dressed: At around six months, infants will begin to show an interest in what they wear. At this time you can start introducing them to the different articles of clothing that you put on them on a regular basics. They can spend time feeling each garment and you can talk to them and describe what they have in their hands. As well, when you dress them, talk through what you are doing with them, this way they learn that socks go on their feet, the shirt goes over their head and so on.

3- So emotional: Babies use emotions from day one to communicate, mostly it is crying to let us know when they are hungry, tired or wet. As the baby grows they also start to show happiness and excitement when they see something that they find interesting or they like. Parents can teach their babies about the emotions that they are feeling by verbalizing it. Saying something like, "Do you see that dog? I can see that you are excited, let's get closer to see the dog. Do you hear how it barks?".

4-What's my name: By this age a child will begin to recognize their name. It is important for parents to use the baby's name frequently and consistently. Make eye contact when you say their name and see if they respond when you call them.

The keys to promoting emotional development are observation an communication. It is important that parents observe how a child feels in order to be able to use that as an opportunity to teach them about the world around them. Talking to your child is also key, verbalizing what they see, how they feel, and what is happening. This will give them knowledge and understanding about the world around them and of themselves.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toy Spotlight - Stroller Toys from Tiny Love and Manhattan Toy

As a mom of two, I am always on the go and trying to entertain a one year old while I run my errands is not fun. There are just so many Cheerios I can give her before she starts throwing them at people.

That is why a stroller toy is a life and sanity saver. Though not just any stroller toy will do, it has to be one they can't remove and use for target practice or to play the 'pick-up' game with.

This where the stroller toys from Tiny Love and Manhattan Toy come in, they will attach to your stroller and your little one will be entertained while you go about your errands or coffee break.

Whoozit Activity Spiral

This wacky spiral from Manhattan Toy wraps around almost anything and features toy attachments that squeak, crinkle and rattle dangling from satin ribbons.

With vibrant colors, stimulating textures and black and white patterns, all perfect for keeping your little one mesmerized.

Musical Nature Stroll

The Tiny Love Musical Nature Stroll is a colourful flexible stroller/infant carrier arch, with a variety of engaging activities for baby on-the-go, for two stages of baby's development: batting (0-3m) and pulling/manipulating (3m+).

Special angle adjustments and new easy attachment clips make Musical Nature Stroll truly unique.

Island Stroller Set

This intriguing Tiny Love stroller toy has a set of three one-of-a-kind activity toys for baby's stroller bar will keep baby busy and smiling, while fostering learning and enjoyment over several developmental stages.

The detachable toys may be rearranged to hold baby's interest -- like having a new set of toys each time.

Three great stroller toys that will keep baby entertained while on the go.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Plan Toys | Green Toys - Green Company

This week our Deal of the Week features toys from our Plan Toys collection, given this, I thought I would give some information about the amazing brand that is Plan Toys.

Plan Toys' vision is to create toys that inspire children's imagination, as well as promote their physical and intellectual development. Doing all this while ensuring environmental and social responsibility.

Their toys are made from non-chemically treated rubber wood and use safe non-toxic water based dyes, as well, all their packaging and promotional materials are made from recycled and recyclable materials.

This award winning brand of toys is also very dedicated to giving back and has many corporate social programs such as the Children's Museum, as well as the Plan Loves Forest Project which has seen the company plant 43,000 trees in the last five years. They also started this amazing initiative called Plans Brings Smiles, where they design and manufacture toys for children with special needs. These and many others are just ways that Plan Toys is giving back not only to the community but to the environment.

As you can imagine we are just so happy to have such a large collection of Plan Toys toys, from their fun and multi-tasking Sorting Bus and Stacking Clown, to their big world toys such as the Bulldozer and Fire Engine.

To see the complete collection visit and see all the toys that are on sale this week at 20% off!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Evolution of Drawing in Children

I came across this very interesting article on the developmental stages of drawing. I never realized that we as children go through very defined stages in what we draw.

First, there is the Scribbling we all know starting at 18 months which helps with fine-motor skill, cognitive, social and emotional development. Then there is Representational Drawing at around 3 years, where children begin to draw symbols for common items of things that they know of and are part of their lives.

At around age 6, children progess to Realistic Representation and begin to focus on drawing things in a realistic way, as they get older, if a child believes that they are not able to draw things realistically, they will loose interest in drawing all together.

Here is the article found in Earlychildhood News.

When Children Draw
By Sandra Crosser, Ph.D.

Jordan stands before a large sketch pad, takes a marker in hand and carefully uncaps it. She begins scrubbing...first slowly, down and up, down and up. Her motions settle into a rhythm and soon her entire body dances, mirroring the tempo of her strokes. Jordan is drawing. Her whole being is drawing.

To the casual observer, this two-year-old is just scribbling. Her marks seem to be random, meaningless. Sometimes she does not even look at the paper as she marks. But there is more going on. Jordan is using her mind and her emotions as she engages in the physical act of drawing.

Examining children's drawing may give us important insights into how drawing fits into the overall physical, emotional, and cognitive development of the young child. From toddlerhood through primary school, children choose to draw. What role does drawing play in the young child's development?

Around 18 months, toddlers become interested in scribbling. It seems to provide sensory enjoyment, but the child is also interested in the marks that are made. (If the drawing implement does not work, the child quickly loses interest.) The act of scribbling can serve several useful purposes for the young child. Small muscle coordination and control improve with practice, cognitive abilities are exercised, opportunities for social interaction arise, and the physical movements provide emotional release.

Because a toddler's small muscle control is not fully developed, he or she may approach the drawing task by grasping the marker with his or her fist, creating a bit of difficulty placing the marks exactly where he or she wants them. Movements are typically large, involving the entire arm with little finger or wrist control. This is because the pattern of physical development proceeds from the center of the trunk outward.

With practice, the toddler will naturally improve his or her control of wrist and finger movements. Full control, however, will not be achieved until much later. A few toddlers rest the forearm on the drawing surface to give them additional control. A rhythmic, repetitive, scrubbing motion is common among two-year-olds, providing sensory enjoyment and making drawing a very physical act.

By providing children with the materials and opportunities to scribble we can promote physical skills. Just as babbling is a natural way to gain language, scribbling is a natural gateway to muscle control and coordination. In fact, Cratty (1986) termed scribbling "motor babbling."

Intellectually toddlers are concerned with both the process and results of their art. They do not intend to represent objects at first. Instead, they are concerned with color and line. However, they may look at the marks and scribbles they have made and, in surprise, recognize a shape and name it. While they may not have intended to draw a dog or tree, the scribbles suggest the shapes. Children interpret, rather than intend. This is called fortuitous realism and becomes common as a child approaches three years.

According to Piaget and Inhelder (1963), a child is mentally able to use symbols to represent reality by 18 months. Therefore a child can engage in pretend play. This ability to pretend can be seen as a toddler uses the movement of the crayon or marker to depict an action in his or her drawings. Dots, for example, may be rain falling or animals moving about the page (Berk, 1994). Gestures are used to represent the action (Cox, 1992).

Kellogg (1970) described 20 basic scribbles children tend to use during their first, exploratory stage. Most children do not use all of these scribbles (Cox, 1992). Instead, children favor certain ones as they develop individual styles (Gardner, 1980). It also appears that scribbles are not placed randomly. After examining thousands of drawings, Kellogg (1970) catalogued 17 page placements toddlers use as they scribble. Scribblers, then, are decision makers.

The opportunity to make decisions contributes to the emerging sense of autonomy which is so important for a two-year-old's emotional development. Not only do children make decisions about line, color, and placement, they also exercise their sense of autonomy by using and gaining control over tools of the culture-crayons, markers, pencils, paper-to engage in an activity valued by the culture.

Twos like adults to "watch me." Watch me because I am proud of what I am doing; I am feeling competent; I am doing this wonderful thing by myself. Autonomy!

Children can engage in social interaction as they draw with or show their creations to others. As young children sit together, each drawing, they talk, share stories, and trade materials. This is a basis for prosocial interaction that is practiced in an authentic situation. Similarly, the child who saves his or her scribble picture to show daddy is demonstrating his or her use of drawing for social interaction as well as emotional support.

Extending the Scribble
Between the ages of two and three the child begins to form what Kellogg (1970) has termed shapes. The scribble forms a cross, an X, and enclosures resembling primitive circles, squares, triangles, and oblongs. Soon after, two of those shapes are used in combination. By age three the child puts together several shapes to form what Kellogg termed aggregates.

An important point is reached when the child converts the linear scribble into an enclosed shape. The enclosed shape seems to be the focus of the child's first attempt to make a realistic drawing. That first realistic drawing is frequently a primitive person. When lines are used as boundaries of objects we see a typical tadpole person, so named because it resembles a tadpole. One large circular shape with two lines extending as legs float on a page represents every man.

Tadpole guy becomes shorthand for every guy or gal. What economy!Tadpole guy may be embellished with facial features...or maybe not. He may have arms extending from the head but they are added last and may be forgotten unless arms are needed for holding or acting. The circle part may represent just a head, but it may also represent the head and torso combined into a sort of person lump. Children will often place a belly button onto the lump, indicating that it includes the torso. However, if the leg lines are longer than the lump, the belly button may be placed between the leg lines. It could just be that the person lump needs to be big to allow enough room to place the eyes, nose, and mouth. After all, it takes a lot of space to draw all of that.

The configuration of tadpole guy does not seem to indicate that children are unaware of body parts or how they fit together. They tend to add parts when reminded that something is missing. They can complete a partially drawn person correctly, and can "build" a person with both head and trunk when given blocks or tiles (Cox, 1992). Tadpole guy simply seems to be a symbolic, rather easy, and convenient way to convey the idea of a person. It isn't until the child is six that outlines replace single lines used to depict legs and arms. Shoulders don't usually appear until age nine, and body proportions begin to take some importance around age eight or nine (Cox, 1992).

Representational Drawing
Three- and four-year-olds develop other generic symbols for the repeated drawings of common objects like sun, dog, and house. As children begin to draw in a more realistic manner, they may oscillate back and forth between realism and earlier scribbling patterns but the general movement remains toward realistic representation of what they know of the world.

According to Piaget and Inhelder (1963) preschoolers draw what they know about the world, rather than attempting to capture a photographic mirror of reality. That is why we see drawings depicting both the outside and inside of an object at the same time (transparencies or x-rays). While approaching realism, drawings remain fanciful throughout the preschool years with imagination leading color, composition, and content. It is often just pretend, wonderful pretend where ground and sky never meet at the horizon and all of the action takes place in the air gap between. It is a place where we can see the front, profile, and bird's-eye view all at the same time. It is a place where trees and people can be the same size, where grass looks lovely when it is purple, where sun rays reach out to embrace us, and rainbows form without a drop of rain.

There is a lot to keep in mind when drawing. All at the same time we must think about the parts of what we are intending to draw, the overall plan of where to draw and how to leave room for the other parts, how to use lines to show things that in reality have no boundary lines around them, and how to control the physical elements to make what happens be what we really want to happen. It has been proposed that the number of things one can keep in mind to work with at one time is a measure of neurological maturity and intellectual functioning (Pascual-Leone, 1984). If so, the complicated, multifaceted nature of the task of drawing would appear to challenge the mind.

Realistic Representations
As the child moves into concrete operational thought after age six or seven we see a strong focus on drawing in a more realistic fashion. The concrete operational thinker sees the world in terms of what is, rather than what could be. Therefore, we see drawings reflecting the world in factual, realistic representations, leaving behind the wonderfully fanciful drawings of a year before.

The school-age child is focused emotionally on demonstrating skill at the tasks valued in the culture (Erikson, 1950). Artistic realism seems to be valued in North American culture, so realism is reflected in children's drawings. If children judge themselves to be good at drawing, they will likely continue drawing to see themselves as competent. However, there are some factors that seem to interfere with a child's ability to draw realistically. While younger children are not concerned with proportion and perspective, the older school-age child wants his or her drawings to look realistic (Winner, 1986). If he or she is able to solve the problems of proportion and perspective to his or her satisfaction, he or she is more likely to continue to draw (Gardner, 1980). Sadly, many children stop drawing when they are nine or ten because they do not feel that their efforts are satisfactory (Gardner, 1980). We know of no inborn ability that develops into the capacity to draw in three dimensions. (After all, perspective drawing was not part of the Western artistic repertoire until it was developed during the Renaissance.) It would seem, then, that the middle school years would be an ideal time for direct instruction in technical drawing techniques for those children who need that support in order to keep them confident enough to continue drawing.

Click here to read the entire article

Ways to promote drawing:

1- Provide child with materials starting at 2 years old.

2- Show your child that you too enjoy to draw, it is important though that you don't influence what they should draw.

3- Praise what your child has drawn, talk about the colours, lines, shapes.

4- Ask your child to tell you about their drawing, try not to ask "What it is".

5- It is best to provide children with a variety of drawing and colouring materials as opposed to colouring books where all they have to do is colour in the picture.

6- Talk about the many concepts in drawing, such as: thick, thin, wide, narrow, shade, light, shape, contour, straight, curved, etc.

7- Show your child high quality art, take them to the art gallery or the museum.

8- Always the child the freedom to choose the theme, colours, subject of their drawings.