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The Big Toy Book Live! – Creating A Love For Reading

30 Mar

Today we hosted our very first Big Toy Book LIVE! Show on Livestream. This year the show will be where we meet with our community to discuss parenting topics, trends and of course- toys. Similar to how our Twitter chats ran last year, this year our Livestream show will have a slew of great toys for you to win each week.

The Big Toy Book LIVE! will be held every MONDAY at 1pm ET on Livestream

Livestream allows you to sign in and chat during the live show via Facebook and Twitter which is what we love most!  You can find a tab for our Livestream channel on the left side of our Facebook page {detailed instructions on how to participate to follow}.

Before March came to an end, we wanted to chat a little about some of the books and reading toys we love most.

Below is a recap of the cha and the products highlighted  (because the recording function didn’t work during the live show- whoopsie!)

Leap Frog’s Tag Reading System

The LeapFrog Tag Reading System brings stories to life like never before. Simply touch the Tag Reader to the pages of specially printed storybooks to instantly hear the voices, music and sounds within each story. Your child can also touch the pen to the words in the book to help them with word recognition and reading skills. 

Other educational skills include:

  • Consonants
  • Vowels
  • Vocabulary
  • Phonics skills
  • Word recognition
  • Phonological awareness
  • Listening and reading comprehension

Continue reading

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DadStreet Talks On The Go Travel Play

22 Mar

I have two children. O will be turning 3 in 4 weeks and Jake is almost 19 months old. They’re close enough in age that they can share a lot of the same toys but just far enough apart that there’s certain things O has outgrown and that Jake just isn’t old enough to understand. With both kids at home we’re able to cater their activities and play toys to their developmental stages, and of course moods! They actually play really well together for the most part, sans the normal course of “it’s mine!” and “you’re a bad boy, Jakey!” Fortunately, that doesn’t happen often and in fact they love each other very much. It’s not uncommon, in fact, to see them holding hands in the back seat.

All of that is about to be put to the test in just a few short weeks. The entire family is about to embark on a trip across the country (starting out in CA), over the Atlantic, and on to Israel. My sister who decided to take up residency there some 4 years ago is now engaged to be married. So what’s the next craziest thing to getting married? (Just kidding honey!) Well, the answer is taking two kids, 2 years and under on a 10,000 mile trip! We’re going to be on the plane an ungodly amount of time and I haven’t even talked about the fact that there’s a 10-hour time difference once we land!

Oy Vey!

So how does on prepare for such a journey? Well, I suppose in many ways you don’t. However, we’re getting certain things in order. For starters our plane doesn’t leave until the evening so the hope is that they’ll sleep the majority of the trip. Assuming they can muster 7 or 8 hours of sleep (they’re actually great travel sleepers) they’ll only be awake for 3 or 4 hours. We’re still figuring out what to bring for the plane ride but for now we’re loading up on:

  • Paperback coloring books
  • Crayons
  • Tons of stickers
  • A Macbook with Dora and Sesame Street games
  • Two iPhones with kids apps/books
  • iPad with kids apps and books

I’m actually a little more concerned with Jake since O can keep herself occupied with games, etc. She also LOVES watching TV (we do limit this at home) so I’m not worried about her plopping herself down for several hours of Dora or Diego. Jake on the other hand doesn’t watch movies and won’t sit still for more than a few minutes. I’m thinking he and I will be making our rounds through the plane saying hi to everyone. Once we’re off the plane we’re facing a 10-hour time change. The wife and I can force ourselves awake but the kids? Different story. I think this one we’re going to have to play by ear and just go with the flow. Fortunately, we get there several days before the wedding. So, hopefully we’ll be able to all get acclimated in due time.

O and Jake are used to making 6 to 7 hour car drives to visit family but this is going to be a whole different story. I’ll be chronicling my journey on www.DadStreet.com should you want to share in the craziness! Although, I do have a good amount of experience traveling with them (both have flown cross-country multiple times) I can always use advice.

Have any of you traveled with small children on such a long distance? If so, I’d love to hear what worked for you.

About the blogger:

Josh is an East Coast Transplant currently living in Monterey, California with his 2 adorable children, beautiful wife and their golden retriever. When Josh is not drooling over his adorable little ones, he enjoys drinking wine, taking pictures, playing with my iPhone, listening to an audio book, trying some kind of new food, surfing online, sleeping, watching TV, yappin’ on the phone, and last but not least trying to spend quality time with “The Boss”.

You can find Josh’s take on parenthood on his blog, Dadstreet.com

Be There Bedtime Stories- Record and Email For Virtual Bedtime.

10 Mar

Whether you are a grandparent who lives far away from your grandchildren or a parent traveling on business- when children are young it is difficult being apart from them. We don’t want to miss any of the special moments- like tucking them in at night . While we are traveling on business, my husband and I we will often FaceTime on our iPhones to say good night to the kids and occasionally will leave them a little note or surprise under their pillow. The kids love it- their faces instantly light up.

Yesterday we learned of a great new service called Be There Bedtime Stories. Be There Bedtime Stories allows you to record a story with a web cam while providing a virtual flip page book with full illustrations. We played around with it yesterday, and it is genius. The books on average are $9.99 and you can try your first one free when you sign up.

Check it out-

What do you think of this new service? When would you use Bedtime Stories?

 

National March Into Literacy Month: What Are Your Kids Reading?

4 Mar


March is National Literacy Month!  Starting today, we are offering 10% off all book purchases when you enter code : BOOKS4U2

In addition to our sale, we are busy brewing up some great giveaways and a fun new weekly feature we are launching {that I am especially excited about!}.

Yesterday, we asked our Twitter and Facebook Friends what their children’s favorites books were and they came back with some great reading suggestions.

Here is what they had to say:

 

Love these too?

Have another great book to add?

Let us know in the comments or tweet us with the hashtag #MarchLiteracy.

 

 

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

17 Jan

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"

While you are enjoying your day off, we hope you will take a few minutes out of the day to teach your children exactly why they have off.

Today, The Toy Insider is featuring a great I had a dream” craft that helps teach children about today’s holiday, feel free to check it out!

 

 

 

 

The Baby Boom: Are your friends part of it?

6 Jan

photo credit: Tammy Cedar Photography

I started having children when I was 24, which was much earlier than most of my friends. I waited what seemed like forever for little playmates for my kids. Fast forward 5 years and BAM! the time has come.

It is a baby boom here. Over the past year my circle of friends welcomed not one, not two but  EIGHT beautiful bouncing little babies. That is not counting my 4 blogging friends ( Tarah, Erin, Shellie and Tena) who also had babies and my other friend who is expecting her first little princess into the world in March.

That is a whole lot of babies. Sweet, adorable, cuddly little babies.

– And showers…. lots, and lots, of showers and gifts

If I didn’t get baby fever this year, I am not sure I ever will.

Are your friends going through “The Baby Boom”? What are some of your favorite gifts to give?

Here are some of my favorite baby gifts available on The Big Toy Book:

From L to R:

Hungry Hungry Caterpillar Playset– The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic for kids. This soft plush playset is a great baby gift alone, but can also be paired with the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar book and/or Zoobie to make a great gift basket!

Paddington Bear Zoobie – Paddington Bear was a favorite when I was a kid and continues to be loved by children today. The Zoobies are great little plush pals that open up to be a warm cozy blanket- they are SO incredibly soft- little ones will love them. This too can be paired with Paddington books to make a great gift set.

Guess How Much I Love You? set– This is a ready made gift set. Guess How Much I love you is a very sweet book that parents and babies love. If you want to build onto this set, you can add in some great Peter Rabbit items to make an amazing gift basket for your friends.

Sweet Pea Onsie- I love all of the Pea In A Pod themed baby items, so this one is always a favorite of mine. If you want to add to it you could easily find other pea in a pod toys, rattles etc. and make a Sweet Pea basket for Mom and baby.

– Corine

Holiday Crafting For Kids

20 Dec

Kids love crafting! One thing they love even more? Crafting up gifts for those they love.

The holiday season is especially great for various crafting activities because kids can craft to their hearts desire creating gifts for friends, family and teachers.

For more durable handmade gifts, you can purchase crafting kits for your children to create their own Picasso painting, ceramics, and foam-fetti picture frames, snowmen and other creatures!

But when it comes to the smaller gifts for friends and neighbors- we love candy cane crafts like these reindeer ornaments!

Photo credit: Talented Kid Zone

 

We even love attaching these to gift tags on gifts! They are just too sweet! {pun intended}

Here is how you can make your own Reindeeer ornaments-

Materials:

  • Candycanes
  • Thread
  • brown yarn
  • wiggly eyes
  • small red pompoms
  • tape
  • glue gun

Directions:

  • Place two candy canes side by side (Candycane hooks  facing in opposite directions) and tape together.
  • Cut  thread and tape a loop onto one side of the joined canes (this will be the back)
  • Starting at the bottom of the 2 joined candy canes, tie a knot around both and begin wrapping with brown yarn. (Stop wrapping when you get to the hooks)
  • Using hot glue (always with parent supervision!) glue on two googly eyes and one red pom nose on to the yarn.