Friday, March 12, 2010

LB Toys Spring Sale

LB Toys is having a spring sale - 10% off your purchase, plus free shipping on orders over $35.  Use coupon code spring10 through 3/14.  Check out outdoor toys (it's almost that time!) plus a great selection of card games and unique small gifts for Easter Baskets.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Best New Toy - Toy Fair 2010

After seeing thousands of toys at the International Toy Fair in New York a few weeks ago, I wanted to share my pick for the "best new toy," a game called Morphology. Love it because it's different, fast, and keeps your mind working.

Four or more players use the various objects provided to build the word indicated on the drawn card. Players might be asked to represent "roller skating" or "swim," for example, and may be given extra challenges based on what pieces they can use or even having to construct with their eyes closed. The goal is to get one's teammates to guess the correct word.

For the age range, they suggest 8 and up, although some 6-7 year olds may also do well. Just released, so makes a great gift. You can purchase here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Should Texting While Parenting Be Banned?

As our use of cell phones, Facebook, IM, and texting has exploded, discussions about the impact on family life have started. I'm personally lost without my Blackberry - and on the upside, it lets me take an afternoon away from the office, attend a school event, and know that there are no work-related issues in progress. It gives me peace of mind and helps me stay in touch. Still, I know there have to be limits and that our natural inclination is to exceed them.

A child psychiatrist, Eitan D. Schwarz MD has written a book, "Kids, Parents, and Technology: An Instruction Manual for Young Families" that describesdevelopments in neuroscience that urge parents to rethink the place of media in their lives: "Be fully present with your children. Ban distracting media from your family time in the car and at home. When distracted online, a phone call, or texting, you may be interupting the vital bond your kids need for healthy wiring of their brains."

Warning that family life and childhood development itself are being weakened by technology use, the book helps parents turn technology into a positive family resource rather than a threat. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study shows that older children are engaged with the media as much as eight hours a day; only 1/3 of families limit media; but even when parents do set rules, media consumption by kids drops by only 1/3. Limiting and rule making are just not enough.

Dr. Schwarz provides an indispensible guidebook for parents of children from infancy through eight years. The book's goal, he says, is to help parents lead youngsters towards beneficial and positive uses of the Internet, videogames, smart phones, and other electronic media, “As they grow, they will form better habits than today’s media-soaked teens, 1/5 of whom now get as much as nineteen hours of media daily.”

“The instruction manuals we receive with digital media devices don't teach parents the most important things -- how to use the new gadgets to fully benefit youngsters and family lives," says Dr. Schwarz. "My work with parents and families showed me the problems technology is creating for them and helped me identify the type of information they need to make certain that these devices contribute to family life in a positive way.”

As years go by - we will undoubtably learn more about how our constant "connectedness" impacts our children's development. Let's ensure we stay connected to them too. Learn more at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Princess Parties in a Bag!

Who said that party favors must be handed out at the end of the party? just announced a new product line called "Sheer Fun Party in a Bag." This is the company's newest product line designed to help busy Moms reduce the stress and cost of planning a princess party. Jumbo Shimmering Organza Bags ship complete with party theme dress up and craft. The dress up and craft are used throughout the party and later put back in the bag to take home as party keepsake favors. Party themes include: princess, fairy princess, princess and knight, diva princess, pink princess, princess and pirate and so much more. The guides give step by step instructions for party perfection based on the company's many years of hosted party experience. Parents and children alike will be thrilled with the dress up kits and party activities. Large parties of 12 or more children also receive a special discounted price. Learn more at