Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Day at the Pretend City Children's Museum

So, I do love my Discovery Toys business, and I love being a speech-language pathologist, but, in all honesty, my favorite thing in life is spending time with my awesome and adorable 2 year old daughter, Rachel.

We needed something to do today while Daddy worked a double shift so we decided to go to the Pretend City Children's Museum in Irvine, CA. Now, I know, I know, I've neglected my blog lately. But, when I have something totally cool that I've seen, I need share!

This is not your typical museum where you look, admire and then move on. Oh NO!! At Pretend City, your kid can touch anything and everything--and they are encouraged to do so! By the way, did you know that Speech Language Pathologists also look at PLAY skills during evaluations for young kids? It's true! Play, including pretend play, is related to speech and language development!

Rachel and I started our adventure at the grocery store. Rachel piled and piled (and piled) pretend food into her shopping basket. It was kind of funny to watch her realize she could (and should) play with everything! We skipped the check out line because Rachel saw the fruit and vegetables to be picked and planted in the next room--The Farm. She also checked out the not-so-pretend baby chicks!
Here she is planting and riding the tractor:

Rachel then caught a ride in a car and we traveled to her favorite part of Pretend City--the amphitheater! She hopped on stage and grabbed some instruments but didn't quite to know at first. That's the beauty of getting our kids involved with other kids--she figured out she was supposed to be rocking out by watching the other kids. Then, the test came!! Another kid wanted her instrument!! A lesson in sharing occurred with no bumps or blood. Phew!

I confused Rachel a little, telling her I wanted to go home--I meant to Pretend City's house! We wandered through the house, looking in cabinets, closets and drawers and cooked a little bit in the kitchen.

Next, we played at the beach, but a cool car caught Rachel's eye, so we moved on over past the gas station and to the Beach where she played in the sand. We passed right by the Park, Police Station and Fire Station over to the Marina. Rachel played in the water and discovered that fake fish float! So, she enjoyed holding it down under the water defying rules of flotation.

The doctor's office waiting room beckoned next, probably because of the cool books. When she went into the doctor's office, I think she took great pleasure in giving the baby doll a shot. Sweet revenge!! She must've been hungry, because we ended up at the little cafe serving pretend Vietnamese cuisine. She was distracted by the mop, however, and did a great job cleaning.

Although I had a great time NOT feeling the need to be overprotective-mama and let her run and lead the way, there was one place that I wanted to visit--the Art Studio! Ribbons, glue, markers and sequence galore!! Rachel made a beautiful princess crown. Such a fabulous room! I was amazed that Rachel sat and put markers away when she was done!! (now, how do I teacher her to do that at home???).

Rachel took one last run around Pretend City and ended up at her favorite place-the Amphitheater! More stomping, playing and singing. She had such a blast up on stage! She even tried to share her mic with another kid. :) Here is my star on-stage:

Pretend City is totally the type of museum I would've loved as a kid!! I know Rachel had a blast, too. We will definitely be back!! I think you should go too ;)
It's fun, inexpensive and (shhh...) educational!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Snappy Ducks From Discovery Toys

Rachel, my 2 year old little girl, has a new favorite toy! It's Snappy Ducks from Discovery Toys!

Snappy Ducks are available now from Discovery Toys and are perfect for your toddler! You will get a set of 24 sturdy ducks in a variety of colors that snap together super easily. Take them any where you want to play--they can even be used in the bath, which is good because Bathtime Bugs weren't helping us have a cry-free bath anymore (that's ok! they still rock...everyone needs variety!). Snappy Ducks come in a long box, but I prefer keeping them in a storage box for easy access.

There are so many things you can learn with your Snappy Ducks!
Pre-math skills-
Count your ducks!! Your child may be able to count to 100, but it's also important to count with 1:1 correspondence. (I expect my 3 year old students to count with 1:1 correspondence to 5 and my 4 year old students to 10).

Sort your ducks!! Put the blue ducks together, your orange ducks together, your yellow ducks together and your green ducks together. Sorting is an important skill for your toddler and preschooler--you need to sort objects before you can add them (you know--2 green ducks plus 1 orange duck equals 3 ducks!)

Make patterns with your ducks!! AB patterning is a precursor skill to learning math as well as a pre-reading skill. So, find your pattern--blue-red-blue-red.

Fine Motor Skills
Your Snappy Ducks are great for developing little hands. At first, it took a while for Rachel to be able to grasp the ducks appropriately to be able to get those ducks to snap. But, she's finally got it! The ducks also help with hand-eye coordination because it takes some precise movements to snap the ducks together.

Speech and Language Skills
Descriptive concepts, like long and short. Encourage your child to make some long rows and some short rows. Make sure to talk about the different sizes, including big, bigger, biggest.

Spatial concepts- Different concepts you can help teach are first, last, middle. When you snap the ducks together, have your child point out the first duck, last duck, etc. These concepts are also precursors to story telling...just remember, when you're putting pictures together for stories, go from left to right!

Articulation- Do you know any kids who leave of the /s/ sound? Well, when you are playing wiht your child, make sure you over emphasize the /s/ and say /ssssssssssnap/ as you snap your ducks together. Start out by modeling the sound, then see if your child can make it. Don't worry if she can't at first and says "nap"--just keep trying!

Some of the fun sentences I've heard Rachel say include:
"let's put the ducks together," "where's mommy duck?," "I have 2 ducks."

It's also just really fun to watch her think and learn!Now, in the photo, you can also see that she's put her duck in her Hammer Away! I don't recommend that...

Be sure to contact me if you have any questions about Snappy Ducks or any other Discovery Toys product!!

Happy Snapping!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ahoy There, Me Hearties!!

ARRR!! Saturday, September 19th be International Talk Like A Pirate Day!! Arrr!

Well, shiver me timbers! What better way to celebrate than with a fun Discovery Toys product! Let's take a look at

Ahoy, Pirate Pete!

Ahoy, Pirate Pete is a fun, interactive change-the-story book where kids can choose different elements of the story to have the adventures unfold different ways each time.

How do you do this?
Well, when you first receive your book, you will punch out little pictures and place them in the correct place in the book. This is your first learning task!! Visual discrimination and matching, plus work on fine motor skills to stick in the little tabs!!

As you read the book with your child, you are given options for how you want the story to unfold. Do you want Pete to have a pet dragon or a pet bird? Do you want Pete to look in the sky and see a bird or a spaceship? Once you choose, take the picture and place it in the story. The stories are endless!!

How can you use Ahoy, Pirate Pete to increase your child's speech and language skills?
Use this versatile book to help your child in:

Responding to Questions About Stories: After you read the book, ask your child questions. Who is on the ship? What did Pete see? Where was the octopus? Since the story changes every time, it's an extra challenge for your child! You're really helping his listening skills!

Retelling Stories: The ability to re-tell information is vital in your child's school success. He needs to be able to listen and attend, remember details, organize information and then tell the information in grammatically correct sentences with appropriate vocabulary. That's a lot!! Help your child by reading the book a couple of times and then having him tell the story--first with the book, then see if he can do it without.

Learning Vocabulary: You can even use Ahoy, Pirate Pete as a sneaky way to teach vocabulary! Categorizing (or putting similar words together) is a fantastic way to teach vocabulary. So, take all the pieces out of the book and have your child categorize! Put all the food together, all the ocean creatures together, all the things that fly together, etc, etc. Have your child label each item and tell you what the groups have in common. Lots of fun while learning!

Practicing Articulation Skills: Ok, as a speech-language pathologist, I love pirates!! Why? They have truly mastered the R sound!!! AARRRR matey! First, you should know that the /r/ sound isn't expected to be mastered until after age 6-7 or so. You should also know it's a really hard sound to learn!! But, pretending to be a pirate is a really fun way to practice the /r/ sound! So, on each page when your child sees Pete, have him make the "Pirate Sound" of /r/!! Just don't forget to tense up that tongue and raise the back.

Well, Shiver Me Timbers!! That's a lot of fine things you can do with this book! It is surely some great booty to your treasure chest of Discovery Toys swag! Smartly head on over to me website and get yer lads and lassies Ahoy, Pirate Pete!

Fair Winds and Happy Sailing to you, Matey!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's Happening in my Classroom?

Today was the first day of school for some of my students! I have 3 classes--Mon/Wed/Fri in the am and pm (my 3 year olds) and Tues/Thurs am (my 4 year olds). So far, they seem like they'll be a lot of fun! *fingers crossed*

I base my class activities on vocabulary themes because I believe that teaching vocabulary in categories is the best way for children to learn new words. Themes/categories help kiddos put new words they encounter into little "filing cabinets" of similar words to expand their vocab.

What's the current theme? Back to School!
We've got vocab words like school, bus, teacher, book, pencil, crayons, friends, backpack, toys, blocks, etc.

How are we teaching these words?
Well, today, we played a game where students took turns opening the backpack and taking out a vocabulary item. They had to label items and maybe even say a sentence (like "I have a backpack").
We also worked on their listening skills by having them point to items or follow directions (like "point to the book," "point to something we use to cut" or "pick up the apple and put it in the blue backpack"). If they can't do any of these right away, we give them cues, like pointing or modeling for them.

We also did a coloring page (with crayons and a bus) to give them a chance to practice their crayon/pencil grasp--- My trick for getting the correct grasp?--breaking crayons in half! (by the way, this is a coloring, experiential activity, NOT a worksheet activity--blech!)

Finally, we used our Discovery Toys EZ Blocks!
EZ Blocks are great first building blocks because they have a grooved top and bottom to make sure that little ones' hands don't accidentally knock the blocks over. They are also a nice size for the little hands, too. Give your EZ Blocks a little shake--they make noise!! How fun and inviting is that? They are also inviting to the eye because they have some basic colors and shapes.

So, how can you use EZ Blocks in a speech and language development class?
Well, first off, "blocks" is one of our vocabulary words for this theme since blocks and toys are key items in a preschool classroom.
We also worked on requesting-- my kids are taught the phrase "I want ___" It's a pretty powerful phrase, if you think about it! A great way to meet your wants and needs! We only give the students 1 or 2 at a time so they will always have something to ask for. We're sneaky that way!
Some basic concepts were also targeted, like colors and shapes, but also concepts like "tall" and "short" or "loud" and "quiet." Who made the tallest tower?

Some of the phrases and sentences I heard used with my students were "I make a castle," "shake blue," and "it fall down!" When we heard these utterances, we modeled and expanded so the students could hear the correct sentence use ("oh, I am making a castle," "I am shaking the blue block" and "it is falling down!").

There is so much more that can be done with EZ Blocks from Discovery Toys! The kids are learning and having fun, too!! They are available here at my website.
Also, check out the new fall catalog to check out an EZ Blocks addition--
EZ Blocks Wheels & More!
Here's to a great school year with lots of learning and playing!

Happy building!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's September!! A DT teacher's special for you!

The month that brings chills to children everywhere and makes moms and dads give a sigh of relief.

Then, there's teachers. So many things to do!! Put the classroom back together. Clean out the spiders (yuck. but, true.). Meet new parents. Find class lists. Write lesson plans. Wonder what kind of group you'll have.

It was a great summer, but now it's time for a great new school year. To help my fellow school staff members out, I'd like to offer a special 10% savings off of any Discovery Toys order!


That's right! If you work in a school to help improve the life of children, I would like to offer you 10% savings any time you order from me (only orders made through e-mail, though!).

Why? Well, because being a teacher/classroom assistant/health clerk/principal etc. etc. is really a thankless job. Also one of the most difficult jobs out there. And, with budget cuts abound (at least in California), these folks need a break.
Why else? Because I believe in Discovery Toys educational products 100% and know they will enhance any classroom.

So, e-mail me anytime with your order and enjoy your 10% savings!

Happy shopping!

P.S. Have you seen the new Fall catalog?? What are you waiting for?!?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Discovery Toys Back To School Sale!

Did ya hear?-
There's a Discovery Toys Sale going on!!

Four totally fun products are on sale right now until they sell out! Once they're gone, they are GONE!

1. Juggle Toss-

On Sale!! Was $18.50 NOW--$10.00!
This is a great product to get moving with! It develops hand-eye coordination as your child tosses the bean bag up and tries to catch it in the cup. Juggle Toss also is a great product to work on social skills, like turn taking, as 2 children can play together and toss the bean bag to each other.

2. I'm Going Green CD-

On Sale!! Was $12.50 NOW-- $6.50!
Music is such a fantastic way to teach new concepts!! This CD is full of very catchy tunes that teach your child (and YOU too ;)) about nature and keeping the Earth clean. Check out previews of some of the songs here. Go green with me!

3. Gearopolis-
On Sale!! Was $37.50 NOW-- $22.50!
Build your own little world with this easy to assemble gear system! Take this 80 piece set and get your creative juices flowing to put this together as you increase your fine motor skills. use your problem solving skills to put the gears in the right places and watch them turn and turn!

4. Out of My Head--

On Sale!! Was $29.99 NOW--$10.00!
I love, love, LOVE this tactile game! Work on turn taking as each player picks a card and then feels inside the alien's head to use only their sense of touch (no peeking, folks!!) to get the same object. You can even work on using descriptive language by talking about what each item is, what it looks and feels like and what you do with it.

Get yours now, before they are sold out! You can check all the items out here at my website! Have you seen the new website? It's pretty!!!
E-mail me if you have any questions!

Happy Sale-Shopping!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bathtime Fun with Discovery Toys!

Bath time in the Fox household used to consist of lots and lots of screaming. And splashing. And crying.
Well, it still contains all that, but, fortunately, it occurs at the END of the bath, not at the beginning and middle. She does not want to come out. Why, you ask? I think it has something to do with

Bathtime Bugs

Bathtime Bugs is a 4 piece set made of sturdy, washable plastic. Each piece is a different bug (a butterfly, bumblebee, worm/bug and flower {yeah, I know! A flower isn't a with me here...}) so you can work on springtime and bug vocabulary!

Here's what the Discovery Toys (fancy, schmancy new) website says about Bathtime Bugs {with my commentary, too!}...and, have you seen the awesome new Discovery Toys Parent Guides?
  • Brightly colored and textured pieces encourage child to investigate early science concepts {Rachel had fun manipulating each piece and exploring. She also was figuring out the concept of water displacement as the worm kept popping out of the flower. It was kinda fun to push it down and squirt the water out!}
  • Thinking skills are reinforced through cause and effect principles {Rachel had a blast trying to figure out how to keep all 4 bugs under the water at the same time. She also was learning that she had to keep the yellow butterfly under the water for a longer time to get it to full up so she could dump it on herself}
  • Assists with bath time while aiding motor skill development {Rachel had to use her (cute little) fingers to spin, push, scoop and sprinkle}.
  • Provides the opportunity to expand vocabulary by introducing new words and concepts and demonstrating their meaning.{Beautiful!! Read below for my speech-language point of view!}
  • Versatile pieces are also perfect for backyard water or garden play. {we will TOTALLY have to try that!}
And, here it is...the after bath...
So, what kind of cool speech and language things can you do with the Bathtime Bugs?
Early Sound Development- "B" is one of the earliest sounds that develop in children. So, if you are using Bathtime Bugs with your little baby or with your non-verbal child, you can encourage him/her to use their /b/ sound---you've got bath, bug, butterfly, bumblebee, and even bubbles. You can put the pieces by your mouth to help your child focus on your lips. Then, /b/ away to your heart's content! "B-B-B-bubbles! B-B-B-Bee!!" Eventually, your child will join you!

Vocabulary- Remember, teaching words within a theme is one of the best ways to make sure your child is learning the vocabulary. The theme here is "Bugs." Have your child point to each bug as you name them. Then, have your child label each piece as he/she puts them in the tub.
Action vocabulary words--as your child is playing, talk about what she is doing. "Splash," "pour," "swim" and "push" are great words to learn!
Descriptive vocabulary words (a.k.a. adjectives)-- "Wet"

Using Simple Sentences-Some of the things I heard Rachel say included "I taking a bath!," "I got water," "bug go down," "I wet" and, not to mention "no all done!!!" Most of her sentences include a subject, verb and a complement (the basic 3 word sentence), which is pretty typical for a 2 or 3 year old. When she said only "I wet," I could have helped her expand her sentence by saying "yes, you are wet" "you said 'I am wet!"

Bathtime Bugs has been a great addition to our bathtime!! They are available at my website as a set of 4 sturdy pieces for $20. (But, don't forget!! If you order any product through my e-mail by August 11, you can enjoy 10% off your purchase!!).

Keep clean ;)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A blog that I absolutely LOVE!!

So, I was wandering around Blog-ville and Twitter-land and No Time For Flashcards came up a couple of times. Since no-flashcards!-naturalistic-stuff-only! (or as much as possible...) is a philosophy of mine with my speech-language therapy, I thought I'd check it out.

I was blown away!

Step by step, theme related, nifty-neato activities galore!! How cool is that?!?! She even has photographs of the materials needed and of the step by step directions. (Puts my most recent blog post to shame!! :/ ) And, with me being a visual learner, I LOVE the photos even more. Oh, did I mention her photos star her super cute son? Yup!

OH!! and there's more!! With each coolio activity, she recommends books to go along with them! AND, Allie even sings for us! She really knows her stuff because she's got an extensive background in early childhood education (oh, and she's creative and has her own little one!).

Sorry, I'm drooling here a little. I've totally just found inspiration for my classroom for next year. Yipee!!

I should end this now before Allie thinks she's gonna find me in her front yard or something...
Please check her website out at

I'm off to explore her activities some more!...


Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun ocean activity!

Here is great activity that we used in my classroom to accompany playing AB Seas during our Ocean vocabulary's A Blue Fishy Drink!

Here's what you'll need: a pitcher (see-through is best!), a spoon, blue powdered drink mix (maybe Kool Aid®), sugar, gummy fish candy and cups.
Since this is a great sequencing activity for students with speech-language delays, having sequencing pictures are very useful. You can do line drawings, cut out pictures or even use photographs. This is an example of what we used in my classroom, made with Microsoft Paint:The sequence is: Pour in the mix, pour in the sugar, pour in the water, put in the fish, stir and watch the fish swim, put it in a cup and drink.

The speech and language targets in this activity included:
sequencing-- we cut up the above pictures and reviewed them first a couple of times. Then, as we made our fishy drink, at each step, we had the kids pick the picture that came next. We were also teaching them the temporal concepts of first, next, then and last.

vocabulary--our vocabulary theme was ocean, so we talked a lot about water and fish. We also taught the action words of pour, put, stir, swim and drink.

turn taking--talking and conversation involve verbal turn taking, like a tennis match. Turn taking is also a basic skill preschoolers need to learn. So, when it came time to stir the fishy drink, the kids were guided to turn to their friend and say "it's my turn."

sentence expansion--my 3- and 4-year olds are typically still communicating using gestures, single words or very short sentences. My job is to get them to use longer sentences. So, as we were making the fishy drink, the students were encouraged to "use your words." We also do this through modeling and expanding-- in our own talking, we use the sentences we expect them to use (for example "I am stirring" or "The water is blue"). Then, when they say something using single words, we help them expand it into a complete sentence (for example, if they say "more," we model "I want more. Yes! You said 'I want more'").

articulation--I'm kind of sneaky with my articulation* therapy! (*articulation= how we form our speech sounds). Most of my students are leaving off sounds or changing sounds around, so we need to give them lots and lots of chances to say the words correctly. I chose to focus on the /f/ for Fish, and /s/ for STir. So, as we made our fishy drink, we over emphasized these sounds and encouraged the students to make these sounds. I also like to *show* the kids how to make the sounds by pointing to my mouth to make it obvious how the sound is made.

We also focused on pre-academic skills. (I love working in a preschool setting--we can work on so many things!). These included
counting--we counted the fish as we put them in

colors--we talked about the colors of the fish as we put them it. It also turned out to be a cool science activity as the clear water turned blue when it hit the powder. Magic!!

The students had a lot of fun with this hands-on activity! And, I was happy because there were so many things I could focus on in just one cool activity.
Leave a comment below to let me know if you've tried it!!

Happy swimming!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's Happening in My Classroom?

Well, it's Summer School time, which means a longer day for students in my class, but less kids. So, we have more time to give the students the attention they need and more time to do FUN stuff!!

The vocabulary theme (remember--one of the best ways to teach vocabulary is within vocabulary units to help them categorize new words they use as they put the words in their little "filing cabinets!") for the next few weeks is: Ocean Life!!

What's the best game to play with my preschoolers?

It's ABSeas!!

For starters, AB Seas is a fantastic way to help your little one learn the alphabet. As they go fishing, they catch sea creatures who have upper case letters written on them. They can say the name of the letter and then match it to their game board. Make it a bit more challenging and have your child match the upper case letter to the lower case letter.

And! There's a bonus!! The fishing poles are magnetic which lead to an awesome science experiment! My students had fun going around the room seeing what items the magnet stuck to (the chair leg! the white board! the filing cabinet!) as well as what it did not stick to (the cardboard box, the pocket chart, the water table). It was pretty fun watching them get so excited.

Now, how can AB Seas be used to teach speech and language skills?...
Vocabulary development: As they fish for letters, they will be encountering several sea creatures, including fish, sea horses, octopus and sharks. The box is also decorated with ocean items, like sea weed, coral, water, shells and bubbles. All of these are great for developing labels and descriptive language.

Basic concepts: While your child is playing, they are taking the sea creatures out and putting them on their game board.

Turn Taking: Often, students with speech ang language difficulties have problems with pragmatic language (that's the social use of language; how people interact with others). One key area of pragmatics is turn taking. A sneaky way to work on turn taking is through game playing--especially when you are super sneaky and only give the kids ONE fishing pole!! They need to know that each kid gets a turn and they can use phrases like "it's my turn," or "I want the fishing pole."

More pragmatic language!: Encourage your kids to ask each other "Do you have the letter B" to see if they can play together to find all of the letters.

My speech and language preschoolers are having a lot of fun with AB Seas! I hope you do, too! It's available here on my website!

Happy fishing!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Discovery Toys Review!

I absolutely *LOVE* hearing what folks who have attended a party or who have purchased items think of the products they have gotten!!
Teresa was kind enough to e-mail me this review, along with some photos (and even a great video of her son, J.J.!), to let me know how her whole family loves the Discovery Toys products.

Hey Marcy;

I just wanted to let you know, I love discovery toys!! My 6 month old J.J. is fascinated by his teething toy Super Yummy. He loves the different textures, and it's bold red color is eye catching to him. He actually will pick it up and turn it to whatever texture he prefers at that moment. Also, the Rainfall Rattle is his favorite. He is aware of cause and effect now, he knows if he throws it, it makes sound, and mommy or daddy pick it back up and give it to him again. The sound that the beads make going through the holes is fascinating to him. THANK YOU for turning me and my son on to Discovery Toys. I am a faithful follower now because I see how my infant son is in awe over these educational toys.


Teresa Saavedra

And, here is an adorable picture of J.J. with his Super Yummy and Rainfall Rattle!

Thanks, again, to Teresa for coming to the party and for sharing her experiences!

Happy playing,

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Big Red...what?!??!

Ok, I have to admit...
When I saw The Big Red Shovel on our Summer Sale Days flier, I was pretty skeptical. What is an educational products company doing selling a *shovel?*

But then I thought about it.

Learning isn't all in our brains. Learning also comes from figuring out how our bodies work. We also need to develop gross motor skills! A ha!! That makes more sense!

Now, it's summer time when we are taking our kids outside more often to play at the park and to the beach. Really, I can't think of a better sand toy that I would want more than the Big Red Shovel. Why?
This thing is STURDY! It's one of those items that you really have to handle to realize just how well made and long lasting it is. In fact, it's so sturdy that I've heard of folks who live in snowy areas buying one to keep in their trunk in the winter in case they get stuck in the snow somewhere. It's NOT going to break.
And, it's far more compact than a regular snow shovel.

Yes! that's another selling point--the SIZE. It's small enough for little ones, but big enough for older kids. Really, it's just right! ;)

And, while your kid is playing with The Big Red Shovel, don't forget the concepts you can work on teaching them while you play with them...
Colors-- that's pretty obvious--it's red ;)
Size concepts-- Are you digging a big hole or a small hole? Is your pile tall or short?
Action words-- Digging, making, holding,
Social Concepts--Sharing and turn taking are hard for little ones! But, if they work together while they are working and take turns doing jobs, it just might work! Try to have one child digging while the other fills a bucket; then they can switch.

The Big Red Shovel is only available for short time and, once they're gone, they're gone! It's on sale for $7.50 (regular price is $9.99!).
Feel free to check out my website or e-mail me with questions!

Happy digging!

Would you like to know my favorite use for The Big Red Shovel? Digging out the packing peanuts from all of my Discovery Toys delivery boxes!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inside Out Puzzle from Discovery Toys

Ok, this is the COOLEST puzzle ever!! It's not your usual puzzle.

At first glance, it looks like a plain old puzzle in the shape of a house. But, when you take a closer look, you see the puzzle pieces are strangely shaped! That's because, when you take them out and flip them over, they are in the shapes of household items!!

The pieces (which include family members, a car, a clock, a bookshelf, a car, etc, etc!) can then be used in imaginary play as the family wanders around their house. Yes...when the pieces are removed, they reveal the inside rooms of the house! So cool!

How can you use this puzzle to increase language skills?
Well, first, it's a great way to teach vocabulary. What I do is put the puzzle pieces in a bag and have my students take them out one at a time and label what they see. Again, teaching words in categories is one of the best ways to teach vocabulary.

It's also a nice way to work on talking about the functions of objects. I have found that young kids who have a hard time talking about the functions of objects (for example, "tell me what you do with a clock") are kids who may continue to have trouble with listening and talking later on. So, as you are playing with your child, you can say things like "I am getting a book. I read a book. What do you do with a car?" and see if they can answer.

You can also work on conversational skills as you and your child are pretending. Have the mommy talk to the child and encourage your little one to do the same. Model good grammar skills and long sentences.

The Inside Out Puzzle is recommended for kiddos age 4 and up, but even my friends (who are MUCH older than 4...ahem...) enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle...even putting it together with the household items side up. We could have re-named it the Upside Down Puzzle...;)

The best thing?!? It's on SALE for the amazing price of $12.50. But, act FAST because once they are gone, they're GONE!!
Check out the Inside Out Puzzle here at my website or contact me with questions.

Keep on creating!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More school carnivals with Discovery Toys!

Elia and I had a fantastic time at another carnival put on by one of the schools in my district!! We met some great kids and chatted with other community members.

What product were people most interested in? Zingo!!

I LOVE Zingo!! Yeah, it's kinda like another game that rhymes with Zingo but starts with a B, so you pretty much get the idea!

Zingo comes with 8 double sided cards so many people can play at once. It also comes with a nifty-neato tile dispenser that makes this game FUN! Instead of just flipping cards over, kids get to work this cool contraption to get thier pictures--they slide the dispenser and, presto! 2 picture tiles come out!! Inside the dispenser are 72 heavy duty tiles that have pictures. As the kids take turns, they see if the tiles match pictures they have on their card.

How can I use this to enhance my child's speech and language skills? Excellent question!!

Vocabulary Development- Make sure your child labels the items as they come out the dispenser. If they aren't sure what the word is, give them a clue. For example, if they don't know "clock," make the "C" sound to see if that helps them find the word.

Increase descriptive language- Have your child tell you 2 or things about each picture tile. If they pick "dog," have them say "a dog has four legs and barks." Encourage them to use full sentences and help them if they need it. "what else" or "tell me more" are great ways to get him to say more!

Using grammatically correct sentences- As the tiles come out, have your child tell you a sentence using both words. For example, if they get "bird" and "tree," encourage them to tell you about them. They could say "the bird lives in a tree" or "the bird is flying to the tree." If they miss a word or use the wrong word, simply model for them the correct sentence by emphasizing the missing word. For example, if he says "cat running," you can say "yes! the cat IS running! He IS! He IS running." You feel like you're repeating yourself? That's a GOOD thing! The more we hear something said correctly, the faster we will learn!

Articulation-Ok, I admit, this takes a bit of planning. And, you need to be very aware of the sound your child is working on and if they are able to produce it at all. Ok, so, let's pretend you know that he's working on the "k" and "g" sounds and he can say it in words. Great! Now, go through the tiles and find words with "k" and "g" in them... cat, clock, frog, dog, etc, etc. and put them on the bottom of the piles so you are sure they will get them. Sneaky artic practice! I love it!

Oh, and here's a bonus-- all of the pictures include printed words! Hooray for literacy practice!!

Have a great time playing Zingo with your whole family! If you would like more information about Zingo or other games and products, contact me or visit my website.

Happy playing!


Discovery Toys Summer Sale

Ok, as promised, here is some information that was sent out in my newsletter this month. It's all about our amazing summer sale that has already started. Check back often to see some reviews of these products and how to use them in a variety of ways with any of the kids in your life!

Check out these amazing discounts!!


Check out the Sales brouchure here!

From June 1-July 15, we will be having our amazing Summer Days Sale! Some oldies have been brought back and some current products will be available for a deep discount!!
Let's take a look at the savings:

Out of My Head-- At $10, you save $19.99!

Sticker Art Deluxe-- At $8.50, you save $4!

Hoppity Pop Sprinkler At $10, you save $20!

Geoville-- At $9, you save $20.99!

Inside Out Puzzle-- At $12.50, you save $6!

Jungle Tower-- At $10, you save $10!

Alphabet Train-- At $6, you save $3.99!

Roll-a-Rama-- At $7, you save $5.99!

Score Center-- At $15.00, you save $14.99!

Super Marbleworks Raceway Accessory
Set-- At $8.50, you save $7.49!

Hello! Hola! Learning Phone-- At 8.50, you
save $9.49!

Robotic Rover Science Kit-- At $6.50, you
save $3.50!

I'm Going Green CD-- At $6.50,

Quick Call-- At $8.50, you save $4.49!

Big Red Shovel-- At $7.50, you save $2.49!

The Brain Game-- At $15, you save $10!

Pretty amazing savings, if I do say so myself.
Oh, and act quick!! Once these items are gone, they are GONE!!

Contact me
ASAP to order or to ask any questions you may have!


Sunday, May 31, 2009


I just sent out my latest Discovery Toys newsletter!!
If you would like to be on my mailing list, please contact me!!

Here's a taste of what this month's newsletter talks about:

Summer Days Sale
From June 1-July 15, we will be having our amazing Summer Days Sale! Some oldies have been brought back and some current products will be available for a deep discount!!
Let's take a look at the savings....

Summertime Traveling Fun
I'm sure you're planning lots of summertime fun and activities as well as some vacations for you and your family. Discovery Toys offers several products that will help you in your travels to help keep your kids occupied while also using their brain power!!
Here are a few ideas for you and your children of all ages...

Oh...I feel like such a tease with those ellipses**!! ;)

Don't forget to contact me to get on my newsletter mailing list and to book your party NOW to get in on our summer sale!!

**Aww, don't worry---you know I'll share the info here too! :)

Thanks, everyone!

Carnival season!!

Well, my elementary school had it's annual Carnival yesterday and we had a cool Discovery Toys booth. It was a lot of fun and there were so many kids with awesome face paintings--our 2nd grade and preschool teachers rock!!

My friends Myra and Elia helped me set up and Elia stayed to help me run the booth. I learned very quickly that Elia is *fantastic* at meeting people and she learned about the toys to help share the information with the parents so quickly!! And--she had so much fun, she's decided to join my team and become an Educational Consultant. Welcome!! I'm very excited!!

So, what did people look at? Well, My First Fairy Tales and Goldilocks were the first to go, and the Tooth Fairy Set sold out!! Zingo is always a hit, as was the Hello Hola phone (which goes on sale MONDAY during our amazing Summer Days Sale!!).

And, I reached a personal milestone!! The carnival helped me reach the second level of Success Start and that means I get my kit for FREE!! Feel free to ask me how you can too!

Next Friday, Elia and I are gonna do it all again at the carnival for another school in my district!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ode to a discontinued product: Mini Motors

One thing I'm learning about selling cool stuff is that, sometimes, awesome products come and go. Some are just put out to retire. So is the fate of Mini Motors :(

It may be discontinued, but, I'm using it in my classroom anyway!!
This month's theme is Transportation, so I'm using Mini Motors in a variety of ways:

Teaching Vocabulary
There are 6 different vehicle types, including cars, buses, trains, boats and airplanes. Playing with them and talking about them help young kids learn the labels.

Teaching Play Skills
Play skills don't come naturally to all kids, believe it or not! We model how to make the planes fly in the air, pretend kids are getting on the bus or how the boats splash and speed through the water.

Learning Colors
The vehicles come in a variety of colors, so we label the colors as we play.

Pre-Math Skills

Patterning yellow-blue-yellow-blue; train-bus-train-bus-train-bus These simple patterns help with developing pre-math skills by preparing children to observe patterns in the environment, including with numbers. Oh!! Reading involves patterns too!!
Sorting The kids can put all the planes together, all the blue vehicles together or all the vehicles that go on land together! Once they start seeing the the characteristics of the items, they can even start simple mathematics!!
Simple mathematics! 2 planes plus 1 car equal 3 vehicles! Cool!

Now, if you miss these amazing manipulatives for pre-math, fear not!! Busy Bugs is another manipulatives set that even comes with cards to show the kids how to pattern and do simple math!

And, to continue on the Transportation vocabulary theme, we also offer the Working Trio Dump Trucks, the Rough and Tough book set, the aptly named Plane Train and Automobile, Motor Works and even Hammer Away!

Happy motoring!!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday's Small Talk Six!

I'm really a blogging newbie and I've found some totally fun things as I've made my way through the blogosphere!! (Many of the blogs are ones I've found through MomDot's Blog Link A-Thon!).

One fun meme I've found is the "Small Talk Six," which is a fun getting-to-know-you meme where you can respond to each weekly topic with a list of 6 words, 6 phrases, 6 sentences, 6 paragraphs, or 6 photos.

So here goes my

"6 things you love or hate about the ocean"

1. Me and my honey in Hawaii!! I think this was before I accidentally kicked the manta ray...Photobucket

2. Sunsets over the ocean are so very beautiful!!

3. Watching the waves crashing is so peaceful. I love driving up the coast and just watching the waves.

4. I've always lived on a coast, near the ocean, and somehow, I can sense the directions (east or west) when I know where the ocean is.

5. Ok, there are some things I don't like--the icky stuff that gets on you and makes you all sticky! Maybe I should'nt have taken the marine biology class---I know a bit more if what makes you sticky...

6. The ocean is very intimidating! There are so many things we don't know about it and it just goes on forever. It makes me a bit nervous.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's the Fabulous Blog Link A Thon!!

Thanks so much to MomDot for putting this together!!
Please check out these amazing blogs!! Ok, I'm off to explore them, too!

1. Lori@Not Always Charming

2. Fairy Blog Mother

3. Crazy Adventures in Parenting

4. Engineer a Debt Free Life

5. Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Girls

6. Good Golly Miss Blondie

7. SavvySuzie

8. For The Love of Baby!

9. Tammy@lovemy2dogs

10. Blessings Abound

11. Coupons, Deals and More

12. Hairstyles For Girls

13. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy

14. A latte in the morning

15. KiddiesCorner Deals

16. 3 Kids and Us | Mom Blog

17. The Ohana Mama

18. Coupon Queens of Laurel Run

19. Today’s Journey

20. Eve @ Confessions of a Housewife

21. My Charmed Life

22. Laurie@DoubleBugs

23. Lisa @ Final Score boys3 girls2

24. New Sue Review

25. Suzanne Calling

26. Just For Me…and You

27. Time Slides By

28. Babes and Kids

29. Declutter a Little Each Day

30. Grocery Savings for Real Families

31. Life Starring Ellie and Eve

32. So Cute Crafts

33. Brea’s Mommy

34. Are Muffins Just Ugly Cupcakes

35. It’s A Beauty Filled Life

36. The crazy suburban mom

37. Donna’s World

38. Momma’s Gone Over the Wall

39. Mommy’s Quiet Time

40. Joyce (Saving My Cents)

41. My Trendy Tykes

42. The Not-So-Blog

43. Confessions From HouseholdSix

44. SiPPyCuPSand FiNGerPriNTS

45. Jennifer@CouponMommie

46. Shasta @ Crackers&Chaos

47. Giftfully Simple

48. Just For Fun

49. Digital Mommy

50. Me And Craig

51. Parenting Princesses

52. Shan@Last Shreds Of Sanity

53. Inside My Head

54. Petit

55. My Love Lucy

56. FreckleBox personalized gift

57. Baby Lulu Dress

58. Blog 4 Mom

59. 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

60. Jolly Mom

61. My Life My Journey

62. Maman And Gourmand

63. Jess - Life @ 30

64. The POSHpreneur

65. A Blog of Goodies

66. Christy aka The Write Gal

67. LookWhatMomFound

68. Peanut Butter & Smelly’s Dad

69. Lucy

70. Angry Julie Monday

71. The Mogul Mom Blog

72. Angela

73. Deal-ectible Mommies

74. Christy’s Creations

75. Lisa

76. Courtney@Booksnboys

77. Wannabe Supermom

78. Thre Craft Momma

79. Internet Toddler

80. Jennifer@Life is a Sandcastle

81. Kristen of La Dolce Vita

82. Cranberry Fries

83. Toni @ The Mud Bug

84. The Mom Buzz

85. Tricia @Nightowl Mama

86. Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls

87. Mommy Cracked

88. EclecticBird

89. Mama Mentor

90. Moomettesgram’s Musings

91. Moomette’s Magnificents Reviews

92. Moomettesgram’s Favorite Recipes

93. Diaries of a Domestic Goddess

94. Go Graham Go!

95. NerdFamily Things

96. NerdFamily Blog

97. Making Money Keeping Money

98. NerdFamily Food

99. Flying Giggles & Lollipops

100. Gena @ Morris Bunch

101. Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy

102. A Kindred Spirit’s Thoughts

103. Two Of A Kind, Working On A Full House

104. D-Lo’s Lounge

105. Free Sample Freak

106. What Mommies Need

107. Mom of 2 Boys, Wife of 1

108. icefairy’s Treasure Chest

109. Cheaper Than Therapy

110. Therapeutic Reviews & Giveaways

111. Lily Bean Designs

112. Dirty Diaper Laundry

113. Dance Momma

114. JamericanSpice

115. Mombalance

116. A Pocket Full Of Buttons

117. Ordinary and Awesome

118. Reviews and Giveaways

119. Subjective Beauty

120. Tales From A Shopaholic Mommy

121. Mommiemayhem

122. IE Mommy

123. Nikki @ Blasian Baby Notes

124. Amber Woodward

125. Grammy Janet’s Place

126. Outnumbered 3 to 1

127. ShimmerMeBlue

128. Dev’s Favorite Giveaways

129. Joyful Money Saving

130. 1stopmom

131. A Modern Mama

132. PourSomeSugarOnMe

133. Fancast

134. Lollipop Baby

135. Lola & Ben

136. idoby2celebrants

137. Sue Jackson

138. Cackleberry Kids

139. Gifts By The Stars

140. Jemma

141. Handmade Kids

142. Ollie Rose

143. Babasfarmlife

144. Banquet Manager

145. Monkey’s Momma

146. This Mom Can Shop

147. EcoLabel Fundraising

148. Divine Chaos

149. baby kakes ink alphabet onesie

150. tee from recycle me

151. Elizabeth @ Suzy Q Homemaker

152. marla mandell bread (5/17)

153. ozone socks 5/15

154. Belly Bumps to Baby Hugs

155. Hip T

156. ThenComes Baby

157. Homemade Gourmet

158. Fresh Pure and Simple

159. MomDot Mom Blogs

160. MomDot Mom Reviews

161. Bloggers Give Charity

162. Organic Baby Resource

163. Potamus Prefers

164. The Army Wife

165. Through Hazel Eyes

166. Frugal Rhode Island Mama

167. Just Jingle

168. And Twins make 5!

169. Frugal Plus

170. Christie

171. What Happened To My House?

172. Miracles on Mama Street

173. Heck Of A Bunch

174. Blog Designs by Susan

175. mommy23monkeys

176. Hanna

177. Got Kids Need Valium

178. Womb At The INNSANE

179. Katie & Kimble Blog

180. Kim @ Adventures SAHM

181. The Frugalicious Mommy

182. Penny Pinching Diva

183. Another day. Another thought or two

184. Beauty4Moms

185. Nikki

186. Little Miss Julia

187. Mrs Zeee

188. Cheryl

189. Frazzle Dazzle SuperMom

190. Florida Mealtime Savers

191. Inspiration Station

192. Mommy’s Kitchen

193. Saving with MamaNordy

194. Saving SAHM Sanity

195. A Little Piece Of Perfect

196. Nodin’s Nest

197. Lil Miss Eco

198. Laryn Strickland

199. HeatherMama

200. The Gerber Babies Blog

201. WhateverSuccess

202. Women Who Win

203. Kat @ The Burb Blog

204. Happy Healthy Families

205. Sweeps4Bloggers

206. dramaqueensmum

207. The Mom Trap

208. Multitasking Mama

209. Mama Michies Musings

210. Little People Wealth

211. Belly Beyond

212. Kim Kihega

213. Mom Fuse

214. Juanita

215. Adopt a Do

216. On the Refriderator Door

217. Christine

218. Little Diva

219. My Household Junk

220. I’m Here….Really

221. Brittany@The Greer 5

222. mary

223. Nicole @ Nicole’s Nickels

224. Lori Newman

225. Kris @ NSQSA

226. Debb

227. Shawn Ann’s World

228. Peke Moe -NZ made baby sleep sacks

229. A Simple Kinda LIfe

230. Sweet Serendipity

231. Bouncing Off The Walls

232. Jane Loedding

233. Msbuildingupdabenjamins

234. Msbuildingupdabenjamins

235. Msbuildingupdabenjamins

236. Musings from Me

237. Veronnica

238. The Adventures of Miss V

239. Mudd Kids

240. Mom Most Traveled family travel

241. Relishing the Dirt

242. Good, True and Beautiful

243. Deb @ Frugal Living and Having Fun

244. The Last Blog on Earth

245. A Wrestling Addicted Mommy

246. Rae

247. kimert@diaries of a coach’s wife

248. Dore’s Diaries

249. Blog by Donna

250. Lisette

251. Pillaging With Buffie

252. Mom of Faith


254. flutterbyechronicles

255. shelley

256. Life In A House Of Blue

257. kristen

258. Alex the Fey Thriller Series

259. MamaCheaps!

260. Donalacasa

261. A Jewish Journey

262. Anissa @ Our Chaotic Life

263. BethinNC

264. Stuttering Shell

265. Don’t Blink

266. Life is Sweet

267. Lisa

268. Sue@Stay At Home Mom

269. m.e (cathie)

270. Run DMT

271. Princess Ratbag

272. Michelle G

273. CF Mama @ Nathan’s Fight

274. Moody Mama Says

275. Laurie Ann

276. Cooking During Stolen Moments

277. A Simple Walk

278. Vanessa

279. middleagedmom

280. Ramblings Of A Wannabe Writer

281. Oh My Baby

282. Fordcast Sunny

283. Lisa Miller

284. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy

285. Bibs & Cribs {very cute stuff}

286. My Lil’ Budget Book

287. Misadventures in Baby Raising

288. My Mommy Said

289. Milk & Honey Mommy

290. Milk and Honey Mommy

291. Amy O’Neal

292. Parenting Children

293. A Girl And Her Life

294. MarieLynn Boutique Blog

295. Born Fabulous Boutique Blog

296. The Pitter Patter Boutique

297. Stephanie Deese

298. Brea’s Baby Boutique Blog

299. - Heather Manning

300. Kids Activities Blog

301. Two Little Whales Cloth Diapers & More

302. 3 boys & a dog

303. Karen ~Georgia Angel

304. JenniferB @ my not so hurried life

305. Shannon Blogs Here

306. A Virtuous Woman

307. Secrets of a Southern Kitchen

308. Dreamer

309. Lollipop Book Club

310. Mommie Daze Virtual Baby Shower

311. Heck Of A Bunch

312. MomSaves4U

313. Barely Domestic Mama

314. Emilie @ Baby Loving Mama

315. Professional Family Manager

316. Kathleen

317. Coaching The Family

318. Frugal Creativity

319. Easy Being Green

320. Dandelion Bubbles

321. Shelly aka The Attic Girl

322. Foxtoybox-Discovery Toys

323. Ashley @ Beauty4Moms

324. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

325. Playground for Parents

326. World of Discovery

327. Kati @ Country Girl City Life

329. A Little Bit Nutty

330. Mahayla’s Mommy

331. Mommy Goggles

332. The Shopping Mama

333. If I Could Escape . . .

And check out #322!! Woohoo!!