TDmonthly Magazine!
January 2006 | Vol. V - No. 1
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January Toys in the Hand: TDmonthly’s Expert Mom

Send Her Your Toys … If You Dare!*


In addition to raising two girls, ages 7 and 2, Maryam Seyedhosseini has a degree in child and adolescent development from the California State University, Northridge. She currently teaches the arts to pre-kindergarten children and has previously counseled at-risk youth. Her background as a mother and as a childcare professional gives her a unique insight into toys. Here she shares her impressions of new toys with TDmonthly Magazine.

Nightmorphs by River Dolphin Toys
Age: 4 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $24.95

First Impressions
Right away, this toy looked very interesting because many of the animal pieces are bright neon. There are 60 pieces altogether, including heads, limbs, bodies, wings, fins and tails. Some of the pieces looked as though they could glow in the dark, but I wasn’t able to make them do so. The animals come disassembled. The photos of the actual animals that can be made — such as a cat, Gila monster, snake, fruit bat, firefly and lantern fish — are marked clearly on the box for kids to follow. But if they don’t look at the box, they won’t know. For instance, my daughter tried to make real animals on her own, then realized that she couldn’t, and made only imaginary animals instead.

Developmental Stage
Nightmorphs are great for the imagination. My daughter was able to use her imagination to create all sorts of different animals and she enjoyed it. This type of toy can also help improve children’s self-esteem because they can see their own creations and have a sense of accomplishment.

Skills Reinforcement
Putting the animal pieces together in various ways helps develop children’s motor skills. It also improves eye-hand coordination. Best of all, it fires up their imaginations.

Playability
A few of the pieces were a little difficult for my daughter to put together, but she really enjoyed her unlimited ability to create new animals.

Recommendation
Nightmorphs definitely need better packaging. The box easily breaks and it is very sharp. My kids got cuts while putting the pieces back in the box. But they enjoyed playing with the animal pieces and coming up with their own creatures. (Watch the Nightmorphs Video Watch Video)

Speed Spell by Speedspell (ToyDirectory)
Age: 8 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $12.00

First Impressions
This spelling card game lets kids have fun and learn at the same time. It can even be used for doing homework! The letters on the card are neat, large and clear.

Developmental Stage
Using this toy helps kids improve their thinking processes. It also teaches them new words while improving their spelling speed.

Skills Reinforcement
Thinking and speed are improved by playing Speed Spell.

Playability
Speed Spell is very easy to play. Parents can separate the letters according to the knowledge or the age of their child and play with them.

Recommendation
Although these cards are recommended for ages 8 and up, I am positive that even 5-year-olds can play with them. Speed Spell is a great, great toy.

Nipper the Cat by tWibbles LLC (ToyDirectory)
Age: 6 and Up
Gender: Girls
Price: $7.99

First Impressions
These tiny little plush toys come in twin pairs. They are cute, cuddly and loveable.

Developmental Stage
tWibbles give children a strong sense of ownership. The toys even come with collectors’ cards that allow them to register their pets online.

Skills Reinforcement
The idea of tWibbles is that children buy the pair of animals, then either give one of the twins away, or trade it with another tWibbles owner for a different animal. In addition to Nipper the Cat, there are horse, dachshund and bunny tWibbles that can be shared and/or traded.

Playability
These trading toys are soft, small and cute and can be taken anywhere. They even have a clip so that kids can attach them to belt loops or handbags.

Recommendation
Although tWibbles is a very nice product, as a parent I have mixed feelings because, on the one hand, my 7-year-old collects so many knickknacks that I have no space left! But on the other hand, some studies show that collecting is great for young children. It is calming and helps their emotions. Other studies have shown that children who start collecting rocks at age 3 or younger are in fact gifted children. So in this case, to buy or not to buy might be a decision best left to the little collectors themselves! (Watch the tWibbles Video Watch Video)

BuyWord by Face 2 Face Games
Age: 8 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $27.00

First Impressions
This learning game is also a fun family game. It’s good for improving math and vocabulary at the same time.

Developmental Stage

BuyWord helps build up kids’ vocabulary as they practice basic math skills, such as addition and subtraction. It even teaches money management and economy.

Skills Reinforcement
This game helps build children’s powers of concentration. Since it demands that they solve problems, it also helps strengthen their creativity.

Playability
The rules are simple and easy to learn. BuyWord is a great family game, since parents and kids can play together. It’s a wonderful way for adults to spend quality time with children.

Recommendation
BuyWord is a great toy!

Get Ready For Kindergarten! by innovativeKids
Age: 3 to 6
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $24.99

First Impressions
The packaging is nice, since it resembles a school bag.

Developmental Stage
Get Ready for Kindergarten helps demystify school by giving children some ideas about what school is going to be like. They learn ahead of time some of the things that will be covered in their kindergarten classes, which gives them some opportunity to practice beforehand.

Skills Reinforcement
Get Ready for Kindergarten helps children feel comfortable with learning. It also builds self-confidence by letting them practice techniques they’ll need to know in school.

Playability

This set is a wonderful way for children to play and learn independently. It gives them the feeling that school is going to be fun, thereby minimizing fears about this big change in their lives.

Recommendation
Get Ready for Kindergarten is a wonderful way to prepare kids for the fun times ahead at school. (Watch the Get Ready for Kindergarten Video Watch Video)

*Manufacturers wishing to have their product reviewed may send a sample to the Review Department with a payment of $150 to be guaranteed a review, or send a sample alone to be considered by the Review Department for a free review. Please send product to:

Product Review Dept.
TDmonthly Magazine
ToyDirectory.com, Inc.
12340 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 226
Los Angeles, CA 90025

The majority of toys that are considered for reviews are donated to children's services organizations in the Los Angeles area such as Children's Hospital Los Angeles.



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