Building, creating and more – toys for my 3 year old boy

Building, creating and more – toys for my 3 year old boy

Cars_boy

As a mom of two, I always struggle with what the “right” toy is for my three year old son.  Should I get him something that is educational or should I defer to his favorite of cars and trucks and things that go?  We have some older toys from his brother who is now 8 and are among his favorites.  Below are some of our favorite toys for 3 year old boys which I’ve categorized by type.  I also try to get science based toys which fit into the STEM theme as well.

When shopping for a new toy I try to use the following criteria

  • usability – is it a toy that my son will play with once and be done?
  • durability – is the toy durable enough to last through multiple play sessions and not be broken?
  • learning – will my child learn something from the toy – either by reading or creative thinking skills like a puzzle
  • “fun factor creative toys” – will my kids have fun using it even if it creates a mess?
  • imaginary play – does the toy encourage imaginary or role play?

Let's Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop!My kids love sturdy wooden toys, and I have found Melissa & Doug toys to be a huge hit over the years.  The content of the toys is timeless and typically there is an educational twist to what they are doing.    Plus, sometimes they even help out mom and dad with chores!  I call that a win all around!  My nephew got this cleaning set over the holidays, and it was fun to see my three year old play with it.  Guess what is on his birthday list?!?  I keep hoping he will help me tidy up or at least sweep up the constant messes that he seems to make.

 

 

Big Building Bag (classic) (80 pieces)I also like to look at learning types of toys, especially since I know preschool will be just around the corner.  We regularly work on letter recognition and colors.  In this category I like simple 5-6 piece puzzles, building blocks like Mega Blocks which are easy to stack and sort by color or counting, and even things like arranging them by size.

 

 

 

 

Toys that target imaginary play are important to consider as well.  My son also loves to dress up – so a few costumes might be a good fit here while we learn about different types of “jobs” in the community.  He currently has a dress up costume for a firefighter and construction worker and we have seen lots of great pretend play from these.  He also loves cooking in the kitchen, I like to present all types of foods for his play kitchen beyond the traditional meat and potatoes to include vegetables.  This tote from Learning Resources has a variety of fresh fruits and vegtables which then we use to talk about why we need to eat our veggies at dinner – which are unfortunatley not a favorite!  I love watching my son cook – and he’s now even more intersted in helping me prepare healthy snacks like carrots and apple slices.

 

 

 

VTech   Call & Chat Learning PhoneAs a tech mom, I also like to look at “tech toys”.  We introduced a tablet to my younger son at the age of 2.5 – earlier than I would have liked, but we limit #screentime and try to ensure we balance out learning in other ways.  We also have had fun getting toys like a pretend remote control which helps him work on numbers and colors.  He has an “old school” flip phone that he pretends to call me on from daycare on occasion which is fun as well.  When using the iPad I try to limit him to educational type stories or learning type apps.  We also love listening to music on the iPad and getting up to dance.  Be sure to check out our app reviews here at The iMums for some great apps to add to your device.  We also have some great tech toy reviews as well including a Bluebee Pal named Hudson that my son adores who reads stories to him from books on our iPad.

 

My son loves all things that move and go.  Little People are among his favorites.  He likes to intermix the Little People along with farm animals so it can make for some pretty creative combinations when he is playing.  By far his favorite though is his racetrack.  We practice patience – using the “on your mark, get set, go” as well as turn taking skills when he plays with other kids.  Most of the time, if my son is given the choice of toys to play with he will almost always choose something that can go.  He enjoys a variety of cars, trucks, and construction vehicles.  This year, I know I am looking at some Tonka Trucks he will be able to play with outside as well as a few of the lights & sounds trucks which are among his friends favorites.

 

 

 

6 Count Washable FingerpaintLast but not least are the “fun factor toys”.  Many of these toys fit into the “messy” category and include things like paints, bath toys and more.  We use crayons, markers, finger paints, chalk to make fun art related creations.  The most important piece here for me is a smock, and then we can move on to good “clean” fun!   Kids learn and practice so many skills when doing artwork like grasp as well as figuring out spacing on a page.  These may not be my favorites given the mess factor but I do love all of the artwork they create.

 

 

 

No matter what you choose, your three year old will love it.  My son loves sitting with me and playing toys no matter what the day.  Seeing him have enjoyment during play on his face – is simply priceless!

 

NOTE: This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.  The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Dr. Panda Bath Time by Dr. Panda Games – Review

Dr. Panda Bath Time by Dr. Panda Games – Review



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

the app encourages a routine during bath time and kids are given specific easy to complete tasks

What we’d love to see…

more toy choices for the bathtub, a towel for each bath related activity even if you take both a bath and a shower

Summary

Overall, this is a fun themed app that encourages kids good habits and routines during bath time and time using the  bathroom.

Our Rating

[APP ICON] Dr. Panda Bath Time from Dr. Panda Games is the newest universal app for iOS.  In this themed bath app you can complete a variety of bath related activities including: brushing your teeth, using the toilet and then washing your hands, taking a bath or a shower, picking out clean clothes to wear, washing dirty clothing.  This app is designed for toddler through preschool age and is helpful especially for kids to learn routines or practice them.  The game opens with a character entering via the door – it’s a random entry of who will appear and which tasks you will be asked to complete.  After completing each item in the selected routine you earn a green checkmark.  There is no spoken language or direction within the app, and lots of creative play opportunities as you can do items within the app that are not part of the “routine”.

iPhone Screenshot 1My younger son loved setting up the animals bubble bath, but by far his favorite part was playing with the scuba mask and toys.  He’s a bit younger than the demographic age of 3, however, he’s used my iPad a bit and I limited the screen time that he played while I played with him. As a mom, I liked that the app encouraged a routine, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, using the toilet, taking a shower or bath and brushing teeth.  My son enjoyed running the bubble bath a lot and adding his favorite colored bubbles – which were of course green!  The shower was fun with the expressions of the animals if the water was too hot or too cold! The hairdryer with the rainbow air was a cute addition to the app.  I loved that it encouraged “fun” while mixing in the tasks and allowed you to go off routine if you wanted to and complete additional tasks.  He also really liked doing “laundry” with taking off the dirty clothes, as well as the ones in the basket and then washing them.  I also liked the self care aspect and that it wasn’t hard to complete each of the tasks.  It was nice that it was a comprehensive app that focused on many aspects of items you would do in the bathroom rather than a singular activity – which can be great but at times means you have to get additional apps to target specific skills.

My son loves to “earn” toys for his bath.  He asked for more toys – it seems to be random what you will get, sometimes it’s a boat while other times it’s a rubber ducky.  Also, if you take a bath and then a shower, you don’t get the towel or the hair dryer a second time – which was a bit confusing for my son because that’s “not how we do it” and he asked “why?”.   Other fun enhancements to the app could be the addition of being able to do your hair after a bath either brushing it or blow drying it, the ability to use the fun accessories on the wall including necklaces or sunglasses.  There were also some shoe options, but we never could get to them to put them on.

You can turn off the promotion screens as well as on and off the music and external sounds within the app as well via the main screen.  There are no in-app purchases or external advertisements.  There is a pop up for other Dr. Panda Games as well as the ability to rate it in iTunes but there is a parental gate which requires you to enter your year of birth to proceed which means little fingers are less likely to get through.

Overall, this is a great themed app which will help younger kids practice routines in the bathroom.  It is simple enough for toddlers and preschoolers to complete – even with short attention spans and teaches some great habits like cleaning up after yourself and washing hands after using the toilet.  The app encourages open ended play and it doesn’t take long to complete the two tasks asked of your child which means you can play it for as few as five minutes or longer if you want to do more of the activities.

Dr. Panda Bath Time
Dr. Panda Bath Time
by Dr. Panda Ltd

Category: Education, Games, Educational
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 168.15 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
News: Join Toca Boca and Take a Stand for Play!

News: Join Toca Boca and Take a Stand for Play!

Join Toca Boca and Take a Stand for Play!

There’s a problem with the state of play in America. Everyone likes it. It’s like s’mores wrapped in ice cream wrapped in summer holidays. So, what’s the issue?

Play, the open-ended, unstructured, free-from-rules-and-goals-kind-of-play, is on the decline, and that’s a problem for us all.

Kids today have lost 12 hours of free time per week, resulting in a 25 percent decrease in play. In recent years, more than 20 percent of American schools have eliminated recess to make more time for academics – regardless of the fact that kids spend five weeks more in school than 50 years ago.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t get us wrong – academics are absolutely essential, but play shouldn’t fall by the wayside. After all, free, open play teaches kids how to make decisions, problem-solve, exert self-control, follow rules, regulate emotions and develop and maintain peer relationships. In short, it’s nothing to “play” with, and it’s time we recognize the power of play.

This February, Toca Boca is kicking off a campaign to do just that, and is asking parents to take a Stand for Play.

It’s easy, and FUN, to get involved – just follow these simple steps and you’re on your way to protecting play for your little one:
Visit www.standforplay.com to learn more about the power of play. Let your imagination run wild on our interactive site – draw, paint, mark…and have a blast!
Spread the word by sharing the ‘Take a Stand for Play’ poster on your Facebook or Twitter feed and get your very own play-kit, complete with printed poster and tons of stickers, for free!
Got your poster? Flip it over and show us (and the world) what play means to you.


Then, show it off! Take a photo holding your poster and share it using the hashtag, #StandForPlay
See your poster featured on Toca Boca’s social channels!
“When we saw that play was on the decline, we knew we had to take action,” said Björn Jeffery, CEO and founder of Toca Boca. “Since day one at Toca Boca, we’ve been focused on encouraging kids to play freely, without rules, levels or predetermined outcomes. We believe in play for the sake of play and want to do everything we can to protect it.” Check out Toca Boca’s site to learn more!

About Toca Boca
Toca Boca, the No. 1 mobile-first kids brand in the App Store, is a play studio that makes digital toys for kids. Since its first product launch in 2011, Toca Boca has released 30 apps that have been downloaded in 215 countries worldwide. With more than 100 million total downloads to date, Toca Boca apps focus on stimulating kids’ imaginations so that they can play and have fun in a safe digital environment. With offices in San Francisco, Stockholm and New York, Toca Boca is part of The Bonnier Group, a family-owned business that includes newspapers, magazines, television, cinemas and digital media. For more information, please visit www.tocaboca.com.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Sago Mini Road Trip by Sago Sago – Review

Sago Mini Road Trip by Sago Sago – Review



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

beautiful graphics, entertaining, awesome interactive objects

What we’d love to see…

Jinja to be able to wear or use her items at the end of the trip

Summary

An enjoyable app for children that simulates a road trip, with lots of fun things to do before and along the way.

Our Rating

Sago Mini Road TripGoing on a trip with the kids?  Looking for things to bring to keep them busy and entertained while on the road?  You may want to add Sago Sago’s Mini Road Trip to your arsenal.  Designed for younger kids, but sure to be loved even by the older kids, Sago Mini Road Trip invites children to join Jinja the cat on an exciting road trip to visit her friends.

First, help her decide which friend to visit.  Will she go and spend time with Robin the bird, Harvey the dog, or Jack the rabbit?  Each of her friends can be found in any one of the six locations available in the game:  at the beach, in the city, in the mountains, in the desert (Egypt), on an island, and in Far East (China).

Next, Jinja needs help packing up for a trip.  Help her choose which clothes and special items to bring with her.  It is amazing how much she can fit in her little suitcase!  After she finishes packing, she heads over to her garage.  Jinja is the proud owner of not one, but fifteen vehicles!  Should she take the sports car, the convertible, the jeep, the school bus, the ice cream truck, the bathmobile, the fire truck, the pickle car, the hotdog car, the shoe car,  the train, the pink car,  the red car, the monster truck, or the tractor?  Choices, choices!

It is now time to load the car and go on a road trip!  Drive the car by simply clicking and holding the bottom right corner of the screen.  You can also drag the car to make it go forward, jump up, or fly!  Stop by the gas station to fill up the tank. Head to the car wash to get the car all clean and shiny!  Along the way, you will see plenty of fun interactive surprises like tunnels, hills, water puddles, mud puddles, traffic cones, gift boxes, crates, balloons, cupcakes, and animals.

Finally, Jinja reaches her destination.  Robin, Harvey, or Jack have been anticipating her arrival and happily greet her.  Jinja snaps a photo with her friend to remind her of the wonderful time she had.  The photograph displays on the screen for a few short seconds and the game automatically starts all over again.  It would be nice if there was a little time for free play at the end of the trip before starting all over again.  Perhaps Jinja can “unpack” and use the items she brought with her, give a gift, or share food with her friend.

At the time I received this for review, my little girl was in the hospital, admitted for a health condition she is battling.  This app brought a smile to her face and kept her well entertained during her stay.  She loved the adorable little characters, especially Jinja.  She enjoyed stuffing the suitcase and trying out all the vehicles, which by the way, come with their own little surprise like a special sound or animation.  This app was perfect for her as it was entertaining and relaxing at the same time.

Sago Mini Road Trip is also an excellent tool for speech therapy.  There are plenty of opportunities to elicit language, including practicing “wh” questions (“Where does Jinja want to go?”, “What should she take with her?” “Why does she want to bring a beach ball ?”)

Whether you going on trip with your child, relaxing at home, or in need of a speech and language therapy tool, Sago Mini Road Trip is an app I highly recommend checking out.


Sago Mini Road Trip Sago Mini Road Trip by Sago Mini
Category: Education, Family, Educational, Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 76.87 MB

$2.99USD


Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.

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