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!

 

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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.
 News: New World-Building App, Toca Blocks, Brings Construction Play to Kids’ Fingertips

News: New World-Building App, Toca Blocks, Brings Construction Play to Kids’ Fingertips



iPhone Screenshot 1

New World-Building App, Toca Blocks, Brings Construction Play to Kids’ Fingertips

Available on the App Store on December 17, Toca Boca’s new world-building app, Toca Blocks, invites kids to create and explore the worlds they imagine. Starting with a blank canvas, kids can experiment with the apps’ transformative blocks to construct their own unique worlds.

Tapping into kids’ curiosity, the blocks themselves offer a lot for kids to explore. There are a variety to choose from, each with their own characteristics made of various colors, textures and materials. Kids will also discover that there’s more than meets the eyes with the ever-evolving blocks: dragging one on top of another will reveal new shapes with new properties — everything from other unique blocks to items kids can use to fill their worlds such as a tree, chair or toilet. Kids can uncover the propeller to build a flying house or use trees to create an indoor forest. The only limit to what they build is their own imagination.

By encouraging imaginative construction play, Toca Blocks helps kids see the endless ways one can use the same item.

“Construction play isn’t only about creating something beautiful, it’s about how you get there. When you create something, the materials you use get new meaning: a blanket becomes the ceiling of my playhouse, a chair becomes a stepping stone in the lava pit that’s erupted from the floor,” says play designer Mårten Brüggemann. “Using your imagination naturally brings out an evolving ruleset from which you can use to create and play within. With Toca Blocks, we give kids a digital environment that enables this aspect of play.”

Toca Blocks also features three inhabitants, each with different traits such as flying, climbing and smashing. With the characters, kids can set out on an adventure to explore the worlds they create. Secret doors even open up new environments, letting kids create and discover world after world.

App Features Include:
– Blank canvases for kids to explore — start building underground or up in the sky
– Three pre-installed worlds that lend inspiration to kids who don’t want to start building from scratch
– Many combinations of blocks and hidden objects — once kids discover a new block or object, it’s stored in their inventory at the bottom right of the screen
– Tools including a pencil and eraser to make it easier to place and delete blocks
– Three heroes who are ready to explore the worlds – fly with the bird, climb with the bear or smash blocks with the cat
– Secret doors to access new worlds
– Ability to save and edit creations

Toca Blocks marks the 30th app released by Toca Boca since the start in 2011. The app is developed by the team behind Toca Nature, the company’s most award-winning app of all time.



Toca Blocks Toca Blocks by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Toca Blocks is a unique world-building app that lets you create worlds, play in them and share them with friends. Where will your imagination take you?

BUILD
Construct worlds and fill them .

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.
One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story by MyTales Digital Review & Giveaway

One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story by MyTales Digital Review & Giveaway

Reviewed by Alison

One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story about Numbers for iPadOne Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story by MyTales Digital is a digital adaptation of the popular children’s book.  This app teaches your child how to count from one to ten with Penguin who loves the snow.  The app involves dressing penguin to go outside and then lots of outdoor fun.  The The coloring section (iPad only) allows your child to color using ten snowflake colors and a four scenes from the story to fill in which is accomplished by touching the various sections of objects within the app.  The app features “read it to me”,”read it to myself” color and play modes.  The narrated mode features sound effects, word highlighting, touchable characters and objects.

Our favorite mode was dressing penguin and acting out the story.  I did wish that after placing the objects you could touch them again to have the number repeated for counting purposes.  In the read it to me mode, we loved the sound effects, falling snow, and hidden sounds one of my favorites was the crunching snow as it was captured perfectly as I remember it!  The illustrations in this book help bring it to life.  We have the print book as well and I found that between the two the illustrations really helped to bring the story to life.  We also enjoyed the coloring book mode and making our various pictures which we were able to take photos of using the camera on the iPad and export out to our camera roll.

I would also have liked to place the objects rather than having them snap to a location like for the buttons and snow angels.  The app has an “?” button on the front screen which does lead to external links and I would like to see this as a double tap or hidden so children do not get into it accidentally.  In the read it to me mode I would again like to be able to touch the objects for counting and have them sequentially say their number instead of just saying, four sleds.  The app has a look and feel of a traditional hard copy storybook with lots of extras added in which gives your child an opportunity to enjoy the story and go back and look for more options to play as they are ready to do so.

MyTales Digital is part of the Moms with Apps (now Parent’s with Apps) collaborative of family friendly developers .  This app is best suited to toddlers, preschoolers and young elementary school children who are learning the early concept of counting.  It is presented in an easy to understand format that will have your child reading the book with you and to themselves over and over again.

Want a chance to win this app or a print book from the sister company Tiger Tales Digital?

One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story about Numbers for iPad
Category: Kid’s Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Cost: $1.99 (SALE) for Let’s Talk: Children’s Book event (50% off) One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story about Numbers for iPad - mytales digital (21.1 MB)

One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story about Numbers for iPhone note this app does not include the coloring activity
Category: Kid’s Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later
Cost: $0.99 (SALE) for Let’s Talk: Children’s Book event (50% off) One Snowy Day: A Read-along, Play-along Story about Numbers for iPhone - mytales digital(10.8 MB)
Please use our App Store button above if you decide to buy this app. It doesn’t cost any extra and a small portion of the cost goes to support the work we do here at The iMums! Pricing was correct at the time of publishing the review but is subject to change so please confirm before downloading.

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Giveaway
If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the Rafflecopter Widget. Winners must contact The iMums within 48hrs of the winners being announced to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Good luck!

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If you would like to win a print copy of this book (open to US residents only), please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

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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.

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