A fun Summer Craft

I’m always on the look out for craft kits that are good for a rainy day like today (where isn’t it raining?)

The new Paper Bead Jewelry Set from Creativity for Kids is a very satisfying kit with lots of pretty paper to work with. Plenty for a play date or siblings to share.  Read our full review at www.toyportfolio.comIMG_0184 IMG_0185.

Fairies Meet Disco

Kit comes with three lights to decorate.

Kit comes with three lights to decorate.

I’m a sucker for toys that work in the dark which is why I was super excited to try  Creativity for Kids new Color Changing Flower Lights. The kit comes with three plastic globes that have three different light settings. One is a disco ball effect that seems perfect for the fairies in your realm.  Read our full review at toyportfolio.com. Watch our video http://bit.ly/WPdOcI.

Paris Hilton inspires a new trend in toyland

Paris Hilton with her doggie

My sense is that the current toy trend of little doggies in carrying cases is a Paris Hilton inspired concept — they are all over toyland this year.

One of the latest on the market combines the doggie carrier with an activity kit.

Designer Doggie from Creativity for Kids

It’s called  Designer Doggie (from Creativity for Kids) and comes under the heading of…you really, really don’t need to be a rocket scientist to do it.  Again, Ms. Hilton inspired?  That said some parents may think there isn’t enough to do. The kit comes with a little, very cute, very soft, white doggie that comes with her own travel case. There are peel-off felt stickers that are used to decorate the carrying case. Comes with a dog tag (you can personalize) and little pink bows for the doggies hair.  Is this complicated? No.  Is it a cute little kit that kids will enjoy decorating and then taking along? Absolutely!

Want to encourage your son to draw?

While I’m not big on generalizations, if you’ve been in a preschool class you’ll see girls taking their time when it’s time to draw–selecting their crayons  with a certain amount of care before they start.  Boys tend to go for the big strokes…covering the page seems to be the goal–and as quickly as possible.  There are exceptions on both sides–but over the years this has been my experience with preschoolers and drawing.

Both boys and girls will enjoy Creativity for Kids new Crayon Rubbings.  The set comes with five rubbing plates (each with a different design) that fit into the platform (that also has a place for standing up the eight included crayons). Kids add the paper to the top of the rubbing plates and can explore the different patterns they can make.  For quick drawers this will be satisfying all by itself…it’s almost magical the way the pattern emerges as you add the color.  For more advanced crayon users, you can use their pre-printed coloring sheets (think a coloring book page)…and here you can change out the rubbing plates to achieve different patterns throughout your drawing.

So if you’d like your child (boy or girl) to slow down a bit, explore the process of adding color and pattern–this is a fun toy to explore together.  For 3s and most 4s, this will be something to do together…talk about the process.  We had one tester that only wanted to use one rubbing sheet and fill it up…that’s fine too!  While some purists will not love the pre-printed sheets (we’re not big on coloring books as a rule), for many kids having a starting place gives them more security.  The blank page can be daunting–even when you’re three!

For kids with special needs this is a particular good product. The platform’s frame really holds the paper in place (you can add tape for added stability)…but the emerging patterns that they can achieve are really encouraging and satisfying for kids that can not draw more detailed images on their own.  We’re giving this one an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award and a Special Needs Adaptable Product Award.

Zoom, Zoom! Creativity for Kid’s Cardboard Coupe and Cardboard Racer

Pretend play is really important to developing your child’s language skills and her imagination. Giving them props for pretend play can be as easy as a basket of your old clothes or some work supplies (post-its are always a favorite). Some kids like to pretend in the miniature (these are the kids that walk around with small action figures, animals, cars)…other kids LOVE using their whole bodies to act out their own scenarios.  These are the kids that rather be the superhero rather than play with a little plastic representation.

You know pretty quickly which kind of pretender you have in your house.

If whole body pretending is your child’s preference, take a look at two new craft kits from Creativity for Kids. There is the Cardboard Coupe (think love, peace and the VW Beetle) or the Cardboard Racer (bright red and ready to go really fast!).  Obviously you’ll have to help with putting this together–and the decorating will also be a joint project, but then you’ll have a car for your child to “ride” around in. We’re giving both cars an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award.

Another cool day at toy fair 2010!

We had another big day at Javits today. I went in a dress (since I thought I was doing tv) and carrying tv shoes (there’s no way you can do Javits in tv shoes!)

We started at LEGO…always one of our favorites stops, visited with STEP 2 to see lots of fun new outdoor toys, International Playthings (super cute new toys from Calico Critters), Spin Master (lots of flying toys) and at Creativity for Kids we met the inventor of Shrinky Dinks!

My iPhone died right as we got to Spin Master–which was too bad since there were lots of fun things to tape there.  Oh well. I did bring my charger–but alas the one that plugs into my computer, not an outlet. Pretty lame on my part.  Below is a picture of Kate from International Playthings trying to find an adaptor so that we can charge my phone using the crank radio from their Ecotronics link. Unfortunately there wasn’t one that worked with my phone, but I was really so grateful to Kate for the effort!

Kate from International Playthings

Pick of the Day: Creativity for Kids Felt Fashions Messenger Bag

If you have a school aged girl on your list this holiday season, take a look at Creativity for Kids’ Felt Fashions Messenger Bag. Here’s an easy to do craft project that girls will enjoy both doing and using! The felt pieces are fun to design with – and easy enough for 7 and up- for a full review  and shopping info visit toyportfolio.com.

Move Over Barbie: Tattoos for Kids

Last week there was a lot of buzz about Barbie getting Tattoos, but one of the trends we’ve been watching are tattoo kits for kids.  The first two have arrived from Creativity for Kids, there’s Fresh Ink Color-In Tattos for Boys and for Girls.  The tatoos in the girl set are pretty safe…flowers, butterflies, hearts.  There is a skull and cross bones (wearing a bow)…and the boys kit has more traditional skull and cross bones as well as aliens, a baseball and more biker motifs.  These kits can be fun for a party…but how do you feel about putting skull and crossbones on your six year old?

Pedicure Anyone?….Creativity for Kids new Pretty Pedicure Salon

If you’re looking for a birthday present for a girl totally into the whole pedicure/spa scene, look no further than Creativity for Kids Pretty Pedicure Salon.  This set comes with a blow up tub for soaking, three nail polish colors, toe separators, slippers, a heart shaped file,  heart shaped confetti soap, a towel (that comes in the shape of a heart–that unfolds when you wet it), decals, liners for making perfect French nail tips and a bag for keeping it all in.  Ok, so if this isn’t your thing, it seems pretty silly but if you’re in this zone–it’s a memorable gift (and clean feet).