ToyDirectory
December 12, 2017

TDmonthly Magazine

October 2006 | Vol. V - No. 10


TDmonthly's Psychology Expert

Send Her Your Toys and She'll Tell You How They Play

By Dr. Beth Carroll
October 2006

Beth Carroll, Psy.D., is a professional psychologist who specializes in child intervention and development. She works with children in many capacities, including providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers and conducting play therapy and psycho-educational assessment with children and adolescents. She has also provided private childcare for families for more than 22 years. Her diverse experience working with children has enabled her to see firsthand how playing with toys can be one of the richest sources of learning and communication for kids.

In this issue of 
TDmonthly Magazine, Dr. Carroll peels through the layers of fun in a new word game, and lets little girls take wing with light-up fairy costumes.

Bananagrams by BANANAGRAMS
Category: Games
Age: 7 and up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $14.95

First Impressions

Unlike Scrabble and other word games, Bananagrams does not require a board.  The game includes 144 letter tiles that fit into a compact banana-shaped cloth carrying case, which makes it perfect for travel.  The object of the game is to create as many words as possible from selected tiles.   All words need to be interconnected by a shared letter.  Once the tile pile is depleted, the player who is able to use all of his or her tiles first wins.
 
Developmental Stage

Word games build vocabulary, spelling and word-recognition skills.  Bananagrams also targets creativity, because the goal is to use every single tile — requiring players to deconstruct existing words to make letters available for other words.

Recommendation
Kids will go bananas for Bananagrams! I was also able to adapt this game for some of the younger children with whom I work; they had fun pulling individual letters out and identifying them. 

Eric Carle Books Block Puzzle by MUDPUPPY PRESS
Category: Puzzles
Age: 3 and up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $13.00

First Impressions
This three-dimensional cube puzzle is challenging!  Each side of nine cubes displays a piece of one of six images from Eric Carle’s popular children’s stories.  Some of the memorable images include “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and the “The Very Busy Spider.” The three-dimensional aspect adds a unique challenge, making it more complex than typical two-dimensional puzzles. 

Developmental Stage
Three-dimensional puzzles target children’s visual-spatial skills and hand-eye coordination.  This puzzle was particularly hard for the younger children with whom I work to complete.  Even parents took a while to identify which side of each cube contributed to an image, as many of the insect images contain shades of green that are similar and difficult to distinguish from one another. 

Recommendation
The Eric Carle Books Block Puzzle is a great accompaniment to any of Eric Carle’s entertaining books. However, knowledge of the books is not a requirement to enjoy the puzzle.  Young children will definitely require assistance to identify the pieces of each image before assembling the puzzle.

Pink Fairy Wings by SMALL MIRACLES INC. (ToyShow)
Category: Costumes and Accessories
Gender: Girls

First Impressions
Every little girl wants to become a fairy princess at some point.  Small Miracles’ Pink Fairy Wings make this fantasy possible.  This lightweight set of fairy wings is easy for kids to put on without assistance.  The wings are made of sheer pink fabric and stylishly decorated with glitter and sequins.

Developmental Stage
Playing dress-up enables children to “try on” various roles and explore their imaginations.  Through dramatic play they can also sort through their feelings and learn about themselves.

Recommendation
After playing with the fairy wings, one of the girls with whom I work did not want to take them off!  These wings make a great addition to any dress-up collection or Halloween costume.

Light Up Tutu by SMALL MIRACLES INC. (ToyShow)
Category: Costumes and Accessories
Gender: Girls

First Impressions
The unique feature of this pretty pink chiffon Small Miracles Tutu is that it is motion sensitive and actually lights up with activity as little girls play and dance. This is not only captivating for children, but also encourages movement and exercise. 

Developmental Stage
Children love to play dress-up and creative play is easily sparked with colorful costumes, such as this one. 

Recommendation
This tutu can be worn individually with a leotard or paired with other accessories, such as Small Miracles Pink Fairy Wings.  Although I was impressed with the concept of the light-up feature of the tutu, the motion sensor was not consistently activated by all ranges of motion.  

Gift of Enlightenment by VERITAS PRODUCTIONS
Age: 14 and up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $39.95

First Impressions
This board game provides a special opportunity for self-discovery and encourages players to explore their “karma.”  Players move around the circle of life board with Chakra Stones, landing on spaces and drawing cards from various decks: Life, Pathway and Humanity.  The selected card dictates game play and players earn colorful crystals as they progress through the game.  The winner is rewarded with the ultimate enlightenment — a special message about their inner strengths from the “Book of Enlightenment” that is included with the game.

Developmental Stage
Teenagers and adults who are curious about their “spiritual side” will enjoy navigating through informative messages about life in the Gift of Enlightenment game.

Recommendation
The concept of this board game is novel, but it caters to a very specific audience.  People who do not have an interest in spiritual healing and enlightenment may find it to be a bit rudimentary. However, adolescents who are developing a sense of identity and actively exploring who they are will have fun with the various messages in the Gift of Enlightenment.





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