TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2006 | Vol. V - No. 6


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June Toys in the Hand: TDmonthly’s Expert Mom

Send Her Your Toys … If You Dare!


In addition to raising two girls, ages 8 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.

Terri Lee Princess Ballerina by Terri Lee Associates (ToyDirectory)
Age:
3 and up
Gender: Girls
Price: $24.99

First Impressions

The Terri Lee Princess Ballerina doll has a very cute and appealing face. One of her best qualities is that she looks like an ordinary little girl. She wears a lovely blue leotard, matching tutu and ballet slippers. A rhinestone crown, make-up, and a bouquet of roses complete her outfit.

Developmental Stage
My 2-year-old loved Terri Lee! The name was hard for her to remember — and pronounce — but amazingly she does manage to call her “Terri Lee!”

Skills Reinforcement
This doll helps develop their imaginations. Because Terri Lee is ready to perform, little girls can pretend that they’re taking her to the theater. They can even choreograph a dance for her.

Playability
All of the doll’s limbs move easily enough for a little girl to manipulate, and her limbs are jointed so she can easily be made to sit. Her hairstyle can be changed since she comes with a little brush and her clothing is easy for a child to change.

Recommendation
Terri Lee Princess Ballerina is a pretty and loveable doll. I believe that every girl who likes to play with dolls will love to have her.

Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker by Industrial Revolution (ToyDirectory)
Age:
3 and up
Gender: Girls and Boys
Price: $34.95

First Impressions

The kids in my preschool arts class went crazy with questions: “It is a ball?!" "How is it going to make ice cream?” “Is it going to light up?” “Wow! What a cool ball!” Since the Play & Freeze Ice Cream maker doesn’t look like an ice cream maker, it was very mysterious for them, and they all wanted to try it.

Skills Reinforcement
The Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker is a great tool for teaching kids to follow directions. It also develops their hand-eye coordination, large-motor skills and body movement. In addition, it reinforces the importance of accurate measurement when using a recipe. And, best of all, sharing is stressed during both the making and the eating of the ice cream.

Playability
It was easy to fill the ball with ice the large opening allowed the kids to pour all the ingredients in without making a mess. The children loved rolling the ball and listening to the sound of the ice. And the recipe was easy to follow.

Recommendation
This product made our cooking project more fun than usual. I played the “Hot Potato” song and they rolled the ball, passing it to one another, so it was a game as well as a cooking project. I would say the Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker is a “must-have” for educators. It’s also great for birthday parties. The only problem was that the ball makes only a small quantity of ice cream, so I had to buy some, too. I gave each child a small spoonful of the ice cream they had made as well as some of the store bought. Of course, they all preferred the one that they had made.

Exploring Our United States by Geffner Play & Learn
Age:
6 to 8
Gender: Girls and boys

First Impressions

Exploring Our United States is an educational memory game that plays like Bingo. Kids have to match up state cards with the symbols of state birds, flowers and abbreviations. The first to match all nine symbols on his or her board wins. Then the kids read to each other about why each symbol was chosen for the state.

Developmental Stage
Since so much reading is involved, it’s necessary that the children playing have sufficient reading comprehension.

Skills Reinforcement
Exploring Our United States helps kids develop their memories. They also develop some knowledge of our nation while learning new facts and practicing their reading.

Playability
This is a great game for children who love to learn. They discover new facts about the
United States while aiming to win! Anywhere from two to four kids can play at a time.

Recommendation
My 7-year-old loves to play Exploring Our United States because she loves to learn. She took it to school and her teacher found it to be an educational tool, also. I believe that children learn better through playing, and this product is an excellent example of that.

Glockenspiel by Hohner
Age: 3 and up
Gender:
Girls and Boys
Price:
$17.99
First Impressions
This glockenspiel has a lovely tone. Its keys are color-coordinated so that children can easily learn melodies using the included book. It’s small, portable and very lightweight.

Developmental Stage
The glockenspiel is wonderful for encouraging children to listen and dance to the music. It also is a nice introduction to tuneful music-making.

Skills Reinforcement
Kids learn to control their hand movements by picking out the right keys to strike. They also reinforce listening skills as they try to pick out a melody. Older children learn to match the colors with the musical notations in the notebook so they can hit the right keys to create a song.

Playability
Children love musical instruments. This one is easy to handle and carry along.

Recommendation
I like the fact that there are side panels on the xylophone so the sticks can be stored on the sides and not get lost. It’s a nice toy for improvising music or for learning to play simple songs.

Works of Art: Watercolor Workshop by Red Farm Studio
Age:
6 and up
Gender:
Girls and Boys

First Impressions
This series of portraits of horses is printed on large sheets of watercolor paper. Children paint by numbers until the portrait is finished. It’s an entertaining and relaxing artistic enterprise that is both challenging and satisfying.

Developmental Stage
Kids have to think as they paint because they’re required to match numbers and colors. Also, the paintings are beautiful, which enhances their creativity.

Skills Reinforcement
Using the Watercolor Workshop helps to build kids’ attention spans because they need to concentrate on the task at hand. They learn about shades and tints as they watch the portrait emerge from under their brushes. Painting develops their fine-motor skills.

Playability
The Watercolor Workshop is easy to learn and the directions are simple to follow. It’s an enjoyable experience for kids to color in the portrait and gaze at the final project.

Recommendation
Coloring is one of the most relaxing childhood activities. It’s great for before bedtime or even before taking a test in the morning. The kit also happens to be a great tool for building self-esteem. And the final project is pretty enough for framing.

Magicrayon Coloring Shirts by Magicrayon Inc.
Age:
6 and up

Gender: Girls and Boys

First Impressions

The Magicrayon Coloring Shirt is another way for kids to enjoy art projects. And after they’re finished, they can wear it!

Skills Reinforcement
The Magicrayon Coloring Shirt reinforces direction following and builds memory skills. It also helps develop fine-motor skills. Younger children will need some adult supervision.

Playability.
These decorated shirts are easy to make, and when they're finished the kids are so proud of themselves! The Magicrayon Coloring Shirt would be a great party favor — children can color it at the party and then take it home. It would also make a great gift.

The Funky Bead Chest by Bead Bazaar (ToyDirectory)
Age:
4 and up
Gender:
Girls
Price:
$19.99

First Impressions
These very colorful beads come in a cheery container that’s shaped like a mini chest of drawers. And the drawers are lined! Lots of charms and string are included, so girls can start right in making jewelry for themselves and their friends.

Skills Reinforcement
Children develop fine motor skills and color coordination by learning to sort by shape, size and color and by creating a nice jewelry design.

Playability.
The Funky Bead Chest makes lovely necklaces and bracelets. The beads can be organized in the storage drawers. Since the knobs have different colors that correspond with the bead colors, children can store the beads in the drawer with the matching knob.

Recommendation
Girls love making jewelry. There are many jewelry-making products out there, but what I love the most about this product is the storage unit for the final projects. Unlike other products, which have storage only for the beads, this one acts as a jewelry chest once the projects have been completed. The differently colored and shaped doorknobs also help the kids to remember where they put their jewelry.

What a Way to Play! by 4River Records
Age:
All Ages
Gender:
Girls and Boys
Price:
$12.00

First Impressions
The bright colors of this CD give a hint at what’s inside: entertaining and fun music for kids of all ages.

Developmental Stage
This is a great product for kids who are ready to dance and sing along. Babies can bop in their playpens, and little kids can take off across the room.

Skills Reinforcement
"What a Way to Play!" helps kids exercise their memories as they learn the songs’ lyrics and develop their bodies as they dance to the music.

Playability
The children in my class loved to listen to the songs on this CD. The collection is varied, but all songs are nice.

Recommendation
The music is so lovely that I chose the graduation song for my pre-K class from "What a Way to Play!"

The Super Duper Art & Craft Activity Book by Chronicle Books for Children
Age: 4 and up
Gender:
Girls and Boys
Price:
$12.95

First Impressions
The Super Duper Art & Craft Activity book is full of interesting ideas for projects that children and their caretakers can do together.

Developmental Stage
This book is great for fostering creativity and imagination.

Recommendation
I would strongly recommend The Super Duper Art & Craft Activity Book for all educators and families who love doing art projects with their children. This wonderful book is full of neat and semi-easy projects. The children in my class loved every single art project that I picked from this book.

Cradle Baby by Adora Doll
Age:
2 and up
Gender:
Girls and Boys
Price:
$69.99

First Impressions
My first impression of this realistic baby doll was that it was more for collectors than children, since it has the size and weight of a real baby, but children can surprise their parents. I was amazed by my daughters' different reactions to it. While my 7-year-old doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, my 2-year-old absolutely loves it.

Playability
The doll comes dressed in a hospital gown and cap, both of which are easily removed. It also has a pacifier on a string and a disposable diaper. The pacifier can be placed in the “baby’s” mouth for extra realism. My 2-year-old keeps the doll on her bed and calls it "Baby." She loves holding it and walking with it, even though the doll's size makes it difficult most of the time.

Recommendation
This is a nice doll for little girls who want to practice their mommy skills.



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