Saturday, November 17, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide 2018 -- Art and Creativity

What is your theme for gift giving to children this season? This year I’m leaning toward creativity. Things the kids can make and do during their holiday break from school. Look at your toy list holistically. Try to match the toy to the child’s interest and abilities. And, an important factor is purchasing age-appropriate toys/kits from well-respected companies that will provide playthings that will last and abide by the safety rules. Here are a few to consider during your 2018 holiday shopping trips.
OnTel Products Make the MagicPad

MagicPad™ features an amazing crystal-clear, light-up screen that not only brings art to life, but also makes learning fun! The kids just insert one of the stencils behind the screen featuring games, art or learning. Once their drawing is complete, press the color-change button to choose from 8 different light effects to see their creation glow! They can also create freely without using s stencil.
The MagicPad’s screen easily wipes clean and is portable for fun on the go.  It also has a built-in stand, so kids can display their creations, or it makes for a perfect nightlight. Each set includes a MagicPad™, 3 Dual-Sided Neon Pens (for six total colors), 30 Stencils, a Glow-Boost Card, Eraser Cloth and a Fun Guide.
Recommended Age: 3+ with a MSRP of $19.99
Availability: Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and
VTech Makes the DigiArt Color by Lights™
Let lights guide the way as you create your next masterpiece with DigiArt Color by Lights™. The light-up board identifies each of the 50 included coloring pages and responds by showing what color to use in each section. Download more pages online for unlimited printing and play. Connect the light-up dots to draw shapes, objects and animals. The art board features a dry-erase surface and a stencil card for more creative play, plus a variety of melodies to enjoy while creating your work of art. Color and create with light!
Ages 3-6 with a MSRP of $21.99
DigiArt Spirals & Sounds™

Create unique spiral art designs with DigiArt Spirals & Sounds™. Place a piece of letter size paper (not included) inside the electronic art board, choose an animal stencil, then use one of the five included gears and the marker to make fun and intricate spiral patterns. Place an animal stencil in the board and press the talk button to hear creative encouragement, fun facts and a silly rhyme about the animal. Roll a gear inside the animal stencil to trigger funny sounds. Switch to music mode to hear 20 cheerful melodies while you create. Let your creativity soar with spirals!
Ages 3-6 years, $19.99 is the MSRP
Kidi Secrets Selfie Journal™ by VTech

Protect your thoughts and dreams with the Kidi Secrets Selfie Journal™. Make a photo journal, write diary entries or record messages and keep them safe. Facial recognition software unlocks the journal only when it recognizes your face. Features front and rear cameras so you can take selfies and pictures of your friends. A full suite of mini-apps includes games, photo and video filters, music and utilities that give you a variety of activities to play. Create new looks for yourself and your friends, care for a virtual pet, decorate photos and videos, play learning games and more! You're the key to this diary!
Age 6 Years+, $49.99 is the MSRP
And of course we can’t forget about making music. This activity enhances the creative side of learning.
Kidi Star Music Magic Microphone™ by VTech
Set out on the path to stardom with the Kidi Star Music Magic Microphone™. Be the lead singer with this interactive microphone that features Music Magic mode, which reduces the main vocal track of your favorite songs so your own voice is center stage! Easily connect your MP3 player or mobile device and sing along to favorite tunes from your collection. The microphone is packed with exciting features like four games, four original songs, a voice changer with four effects and an applause button. Record yourself for up to two minutes and enjoy your performance again and again!
Age 5 Years+, $29.99 MSRP
These are just a few of the many toys that are available for gifts this year. I feel that these toys and others by these companies are perfect for hands-on fun during the upcoming holidays. Check out the company’s websites for more ideas.
OnTel Toys and Products --

Photos by Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
Package photo courtesy of jill111 / 1314 images

I would like to thank these companies for providing me samples of their products for my review. There was no payment for my blog post.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Watch Ya' Mouth Game

They say that “laughter is the best medicine” and this game sure is hilarious. The Watch Ya’ Mouth Game is fun for family night as well as parties (3-10 players). The box comes with plastic mouthpieces (ones like you find in a dentist office) and game cards. The concept of this game is to put in a mouthpiece and read the card. The phrase could be small as two words or as long as 10 words. The mouthpiece changes your speech and the other players need to guess the phrase. Ha, it’s not as easy as you think! And the funny faces that go along trying to read the card makes for gut-busting laughter.

The company’s idea came from this:
“Have you seen the movie 'The Boss' starring Melissa McCarthy? There’s a scene where she’s getting her teeth whitened, wearing the infamous mouthpiece and struggling to speak. From this one scene, the idea for our game was born.”
I found the ‘90’s edition’ fun, but a little hard for our elementary-age players. They didn’t understand some of the phrases. But have no fear, you can write your own cards or order expansion packs (sold separately) that fit the kid’s ages and interest.

I would like to thank the company for sending me this game for my review. We truly enjoyed this opportunity and will keep this in our game arsenal for other occasions.

You can find this game at big box stores and
Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Crayola Experience in Orlando, Florida

Move over Disney! While in Orlando, families can visit an interactive attraction called The Crayola Experience. It occupies space in The Florida Mall in south Orlando, Florida, that features 26 family-friendly art activities in 70,000 square feet of space. This fun experience combines a retail store with Crayola products and hands-on activities to spark interest in artistic creativity.
This attraction opened the summer of 2015 and the second of its kind; the original one is in Easton, Pennsylvania that opened in 1996, Easton is where Crayola’s headquarters is based. There are also Crayola Experience sites in Plano, TX, and Minneapolis, MN.

Kids can use all sorts of digital tools to create art. There are ways to insert your child’s photo into a personalized coloring book, make your own crayons with personalized labels, project your child’s artwork on large screens, and more. How about designing a swirly-whirly picture with melted wax? My gang especially loved watching how Crayola crayons are made and molded their very own crayon souvenir!

The Crayola Experience is a gigantic two-story playground with the scents of crayons that brings back the nostalgia of an adult’s childhood and the best adventures for the kids today. And if you get hungry during your stay (at least 2 hours), there is a cafĂ© inside with lunch and snacks.

Our visit in October had a Halloween theme. The kids not only engaged in all the regular activities in each resource center, but had the opportunity to make Halloween-themed projects as well.

The Florida Mall is located at 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida 32809. Open daily from 10am to 8pm. Call 407-757-1700 for more details.
SAVE $4 OFF General Admission to Crayola Experience when purchased online via this link 
Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Monday, October 15, 2018

Halloween is Coming! Who Wants to Be Cinderella?

How many little girls dream of becoming a princess and little boys who want to be a prince? The story of Cinderella, a young girl who unexpectedly becomes a maid to her stepmother and stepsisters after her father dies, finds her way to the gallant ball with a little help from her fairy Godmother.  But, at the stroke of midnight she must leave the ball and her prince. This is a tale that many of us remember as children. Today, this story comes alive with a new movie slated to premiere on March 13, 2015. The tale of Cinderella will surface again. And will the prince find the lady who fits the glass slipper?

This isn't a costume, but I’m sure your little artists will enjoy making this craft. This simple project will bring the story of Cinderella into your home.
  • Card stock paper (pink or your child’s favorite color)
  • Gray construction paper (or white)
  • Safety scissors
  • Heavy-duty glue or low-temperature glue gun
  • Silver enhancements (sequins, glitter, faux gems, foil)

Step 1 – This cut and paste craft is not the messiest we have done before, but covering your table with newspaper is wise to prevent glue from marring your tabletop.
Step 2 – Invite your child to choose their favorite color for the background paper. Using a heavier construction paper or card stock will give substantial weight to hold the materials that the children will eventually glue on this page.
Step 3 -- Parents can draw the shape of a lady’s high heel shoe on gray or white paper. Challenge your child to carefully cut on the lines to make this shape. Then, glue the shoe to the background paper.
Step 4 – Now the fun begins, as your child will turn this paper shoe into a glass slipper. Think about all the baubles that will give the illusion of shiny glass. I took a trip to a craft store and purchased some clear faux gems and silver sequins. At home, I had silver glitter and ran to the kitchen for some heavy-duty aluminum foil. The foil can be cut into shiny circles or any other shape your child desires.
Step 5 – Begin to glue the shiny enhancements randomly on the shoe shape. Use glitter in between for sparkle.
Hang the Cinderella slipper craft in your child’s room to remind your princess/prince of this famous tale. This may be a good time to bring out the classic book or video and review the story together.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pinecone Owl Craft

Fall (Autumn) is harvest time, when crops are gathered, trees are shedding, the air is crisp, and we are getting ready for winter. This is the perfect time to make autumn crafts, which can be displayed throughout the next few months before the December holidays. Pinecones are plentiful during fall and a perfect body structure to make this adorable owl figure. So, plan a day with your child to go collecting cones and have them ready for the upcoming party.
Note: If you don't have pine trees near, pine cones can be bought at craft stores or on Amazon. Click link here.
  • Pinecones (one for each child)
  • Craft foam
  • Goggly eyes
  • Chenille pipe cleaners
  • Heavy-duty glue or a low-temperature glue gun
  • Safety scissors

Step 1 - Gather pinecones and have them ready for craft day. Most areas have pine trees that bear cones during the fall. Other cone-bearing trees include cedars, firs, cypresses, and redwoods. If you cannot find cones in your area, many craft stores sell them in bags.
Step 2 – Provide craft foam in autumnal colors, such as orange, yellow, and red. Instruct the children to cut two small circles for the eyes and one triangle for the beak. Younger children may need an adult to draw the shapes on the foam so they can follow the lines for cutting. Make appropriate-sized facial features according to the size of the pinecone.
Step 3 – Glue a googly eye inside each circle to complete the eyes. Owls are notorious for large, bright eyes that take up most of their face. They have sharp vision, especially at night.
Step 4 – Take a chenille pipe cleaner and cut two pieces about 4-inches in length. Fold this in half to being making the claws. Take another small piece and glue this inside the folded V-shape. This will create a three-toed claw. You will need two claws per owl.
Step 5 – After you have all the facial features and claws completed, you can begin gluing these to the pinecone. Have the cone sitting upright and glue the eyes onto the cone branches very close to the top. The triangular beak can be glued in the center of the cone.
Step 6 – Take the pipe cleaner owl feet and curve the ends of each toe (known as talons) upward. Glue these to the bottom of the pinecone one to the right and one to the left of the center.
Variation: I found a cute variation when making the owl’s eyes. Instead of craft foam, I found two small lids (they came off my milk cartons) and glued the googly eyes in the center of these dimensional lids.
Owls are such cute characters to decorate your home for the fall months. 
Craft photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Calling All Parents: Do You Shop Online?

I'm sharing an article that is very important to me as I was hacked and a victim of identity theft and fraud. Check out the "9 things you should know to avoid online fraud while shopping." Prevention is key to keeping your identity and credit safe.

Happy Parenting,

9 Tips from NordVPNs’ Security Expert on How to Stay Safe

"It’s back to school season, and parents are busy buying school supplies, clothes and tech products  for their young ones. While online back to school shopping is breaking records every year, hackers and cybercriminals are looking for easy ways to benefit from it as well.
“More and more parents and teachers are doing back to school shopping online. It’s understandable, as online shopping is less stressful and likely cheaper. These days it is absolutely possible to get all you need for school without ever leaving your home,” says Daniel Markuson, NordVPN Digital Privacy Expert. “But there’s bad news as well - online shopping frauds and identity theft are on the rise.”
While scammers, hackers, and other shady individuals are polishing new techniques, many online shoppers are still unaware of the basic online privacy rules. According to NordVPN’s Daniel Markuson, there are some simple steps that help avoid online fraud.
9 things you should know to avoid online fraud while shopping
1. Look into the online store
You should ideally stick to websites you trust or have bought from before, as there are some online stores created by scammers who just want to get your credit card information. Otherwise, do the research: Do they interact on social media? Are there any customer reviews? Are there any spam complaints? Check their email, phone number or address - if you can’t find any of those, it might be a fake company.
2. Too good to be true? Scam!
Criminals use two main techniques to scam you during the back to school sales season: rock-bottom prices and email scams. If the deal seems too good to be true - it probably is. Extremely low rates, when compared to similar stores, may mean that the website exists only to get your personal information. Similarly, scammy email deals promise a too-good-to-be-true prices or freebies, but clicking on them could infect your computer or smartphone with viruses and malware.
3. URL should start with ‘https’
When making an online payment or entering any personal information, the first thing you should check is whether the webpage URL starts with ‘httpsrather than ‘http’. The tiny ‘s’ means that the connection is made through a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.
4. Don’t give too much personal data
Pay attention whenever a website requests for more information or permissions than is necessary. If you are asked to provide very personal details that seem unrelated or excessive, it usually signals a scam. You should always think twice before providing your personal or financial information anywhere on the Internet.
5. Stay away from public WiFi
It’s never a good idea to shop online while you are connected to a public WiFi network at a cafe, hotel, city park or any other public place. Public WiFi networks are common hunting grounds for hackers and data snoopers, who try to access your personal and financial information, such as credit card details.
6. Use a VPN to encrypt your traffic
Can’t resist doing your shopping while on public WiFi? Then you need a VPN (Virtual Private Network). VPN encrypts your Internet traffic and is the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure your browsing data remains safe from spying eyes. From the moment a user turns on a VPN, like NordVPN, their Internet data is encrypted. It becomes invisible to third-party snoopers or hackers and even NordVPN itself.
7. Always use strong passwords
The most popular password is… ‘password.’ People are so overwhelmed with how many accounts and passwords they need that they go the easy way. Don’t do that. You need to change your passwords regularly and use a combination of capital letters, numerals, letters, and punctuation. For example, if you live on Flower Road, you can use ‘fL0w3rR04d!’ for a password. Additionally, share some tips with your family members on how to create strong passwords.
8. Mind the details
Stay organized: keep all the receipts, order confirmation numbers and other documentation you got after an online purchase. Also, don’t forget to check your credit card statements regularly, at least once a week. If you see some unexpected activities - recall whether you really authorized the charge. Your bank or other credit card provider can help you solve the problem.
9. Catch the bad guys!
And finally, if you fell into the trap laid for you by some shady cyber criminal - be a good citizen and report the incident. It might not help you, but it will make the Internet a safer place for us all. First of all, notify your credit card company or bank and then - file a complaint to the state authorities."
Article Courtesy of NordVPN:
NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, ad blocking & Onion Over VPN. The product is very user friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 4,500 servers worldwide and is P2P friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is zero log policy. For more information:

Monday, July 16, 2018

Paper Plate Frog for Summer Crafting

During summer, kids are anxious to go outdoors to observe nature. Most children have seen a frog picture in books, but have they seen a real frog in its habitat? Your child will flip over this fun frog craft made with simple materials at home. It can even be manipulated like a puppet so the kiddos can make plenty of “ribbit” sounds with their frog project. Frogs are a perfect theme to get the youngsters thinking of the outdoors and participating in frog-acting games like leap frog and lily pad leapers. You’ll all have a hoppin’ good time!
  • Paper plate
  • Green paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Construction paper
  • Cotton balls or pom-poms
  • Heavy-duty glue
  • Wiggly eyes (optional)

Step 1 – Prepare your work area for messy art. Your child will be painting and gluing with this craft, so spread newspapers on the table and floor. Wearing a smock or adult tee shirt will help protect your child’s clothing.
Step 2 – Invite your child to paint both sides of a paper plate (the paper kind, not a foam one) with green paint. Set this aside to dry.
Step 3 –In the meantime, draw and cut out four green legs from construction paper and a red forked tongue. Cutting on the lines of these shapes help to develop scissor skills in young children. The very youngest may need your help.
Step 4 – When the paper plate is dry, fold it in half. This makes the frog’s head/face and mouth.
Step 5 – Glue the four legs inside the folded area – one on each side and two at the bottom. Glue a red tongue inside the mouth.
Step 6 – On top of the folded plate is the frog’s head and face. Find two cotton balls or pom-poms and glue these as the frog’s eyeballs. You can then glue on round wiggly eyes in the middle of the balls or as a variation use a hole punch and make two small black circles from construction paper.
Step 7 – After all the parts are dry, the frog puppet is now ready to manipulate. Your child can use his hand to hold the frog puppet and move the mouth to open and close.
Think about using this frog puppet to enhance songs, rhymes, and just to imitate “froggie” sounds. As the saying goes, “It’s fun to be green if you know what I mean!”
Until next week,
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ice Cream Cone Craft for Summer

Summer is the perfect time to discuss all the dairy products you eat and enjoy. Your children may even want to say “thank you” to the cows for all the good dairy foods we eat, including ice cream. What child (and adults) doesn't love ice cream?  As part of this seasonal celebration make this simple cut and paste craft with your family. Build an ice cream cone along with the toppings for a cool and refreshing craft.

  • Heavy-duty paper or card stock
  • Construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Pencil
  • Brown marker
  • Glue
  • Candy sprinkles
  • Sliced nuts

Step 1 – Prepare your work surface for cutting and pasting with this project. Newspaper on the tabletop and on the floor will work well to catch drips and excess candy sprinkles. Clean up will be a breeze if you prepare ahead of time.
Step 2 – Draw a cone shape on light brown construction paper. It’s a triangle shape. If you don’t have the paper, try using a piece of a paper grocery bag. Set this aside.
Step 3 – Next, invite your child to choose the colors for the ice cream scoops. Talk about the different flavors of ice cream and the colors they possess. Draw semi-circle shapes and cut at least two scoops. You may want a triple decker-cone with three scoops.
Step 4 – With all the shapes drawn and cut out, start building your ice cream cone. Begin by gluing the cone shape at the bottom of your background sheet of heavy-duty construction paper or card stock.
Step 5 – Next, glue on each ice cream scoop, having the bottom the largest and each additional scoop just a tad smaller.
Step 6 – Take a brown marker and draw criss-cross lines across the triangle so it looks like a real waffle-type ice cream cone.
Step 7 – Now comes the fun part. – it’s time to glue on the candy sprinkles and sliced nuts. Let your child choose among what you have in the kitchen pantry to decorate their ice cream. Spread on glue and shake the sprinkles on top. Once it dries, you can shake off the excess in the garbage can or onto a sheet of newspaper that can be discarded.
Praise your child for his efforts on making this yummy ice cream cone craft for summer fun. Make this a teachable moment by discussing all the other dairy products you use in your home. And why not create an edible ice cream delight to enjoy with your child today? So cool and yummy!
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
Originally published on Holidays Helper, Peku Publications 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Diploma Craft for Your Little Graduate

Whether your child is graduating from preschool or kindergarten, it’s time for big dreams and next steps. A diploma is the official certificate that your youngster has made it to the next level of education – it’s a notable memory. This craft is not a true diploma, but a chance for your little graduate to draw and color a self-portrait and present it in diploma style. There are a couple ways to create this project, so choose your art mediums and let’s get started.
  • White copy paper
  • Crayons, markers, or watercolors
  • Thin ribbon
  • Computer (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

Step 1 – This craft is not really messy, but you may want to cover your tabletop with newspaper. Young children sometimes color outside the lines and may mark your table on accident.
Step 2 – On a clean sheet of white copy paper your child will color a picture of a graduate. This can be a printed black line copy made with your computer or a self-portrait created by your child.  There are websites that offer coloring pages for graduation (see below). These are only two of the many coloring pages sites you can find online.  For a more creative project, have your kiddo draw and color a self-portrait of him or her on graduation day, wearing a gown and mortarboard graduation cap.
Step 3 – Invite the child to use crayons, markers, or even paint with watercolors. Let this page dry thoroughly before the next step.
Step 4 – Carefully roll the paper into a small circular tube.
Step 5 – Tie the diploma roll with a length of thin ribbon. Any color is acceptable, or you could use the shade that coordinates with your school’s colors.
Step 6 – Role-play and present this diploma craft to your child in a mock commencement ceremony.
A couple websites with graduate coloring sheets:
Congratulations to your child, Happy Parenting,
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Umbrella Art for Rainy Days

During spring rain showers occur frequently. We sure have had our share in Florida lately. As you discuss rainy weather with your youngsters, talk about what they wear while walking in the drizzling precipitation. While the kiddos answer raincoats and boots, talk about umbrellas as well. This cut, paste, and print craft design envisions a child hiding behind a big umbrella and all you can see is the child’s rain boots. After they finish cutting and gluing all the pieces, bring out some blue paint for some raindrop printing. What fun!
  • Card stock or construction paper
  • Fancy paper, such as gift wrap or scrapbook paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Blue poster paint
  • Paper plate
  • School glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Black marker

Step 1 – Cover your work surfaces with newspaper to prevent marring your furniture or messing your floor with glue and paint. You may want to dress your child in a paint smock to protect clothing.
Step 2 – Choose a fancy paper for the umbrella. Think about stripes, dots, or a cute design that can be found on gift wrap or scrapbook paper.
Step 3 – With a pencil or marker, draw a large umbrella (about 8-inches in diameter) onto the print paper. Invite your child to cut on the lines to create this shape. Very young children may need your help with this step.
Step 4 – Draw and cut out a pair of rain boots from black construction paper.
Step 5 – Take the umbrella and boots and have your child glue them onto a background page. It’s best to use a pastel color where the upcoming raindrops will show up nicely.
Step 6 – Mom may want to take a black marker and draw lines (to the points) making this umbrella look real on the page.
Step 7 – After the shapes have dried, it’s time to create raindrops.  Place a dollop of blue poster paint onto a small paper plate. Show your child how to dip his pointer finger into the paint and make a print on the paper plate for practice. After he gets the hang of this technique, have him make numerous raindrop prints randomly on the page around the umbrella.
Praise your youngster for her artwork and hang it in the house where all the family can see it. Talk about how an umbrella can protect a person from getting wet during rain showers. Crafting can be a time of bonding and there are many teachable moments while you work together.
If you like what you see, please subscribe to this blog. Are you looking for a specific craft? Product review? Parenting tips? Shoot me an email to: and I will try to help you in future posts.

Until next time. Happy Parenting.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rainy Days and Mondays: Toys Kids Enjoy

As summer vacation rolls in, so does the rain and heat. There are just some days where your kids can’t go outdoors and play. The kiddos then get bored and can’t think of what to do next. So, this is the time to keep some new toys in your arsenal for fun. Here are a few of my favorite new top finds.

If you are looking for some experiment-type activities that also integrates STEM learning check out these two kits from Horizon Group USA. I like this type play that become teachable moments. 

Discovery Quick Sand
MSRP: $5.00
Age Recommendation: 6+
Experiment with non-Newtonian fluids by creating your own Quick Sand! Make swirling, slimy sand that glows in the dark. Real quicksand in nature acts as a liquid when it is agitated, which causes you to sink. With your homemade quicksand, solid objects will slowly get swallowed up! Try placing a small object on your quicksand and watch it sink.
Available at Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond
Discovery Rainbow Putty
MSRP: $5.00
Age Recommendation:  6+
Product Description: Experiment with polymers and create your own Rainbow Putty! Polymers are long strings of molecules, and they all act differently. Some can be hard, some slimy and runny, and others rubbery and bouncy. Your Rainbow Putty is a bouncy polymer. Make, bounce, and stretch your putty! Combine as many colors as you like to make rainbow swirl!
Available at Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond

For the younger kids, VTech provides fun toys that teach skills. If you have an animal lover, like my Matthew, check out this toy.

GearZooz™ GearBuddies Lion & Mouse™
               Go for a friendly spin with the GearZooz™ GearBuddies Lion & Mouse™.
               Kids can connect the Smart Gear™ mouse and turn the handle to watch the gears spin. Placing the mouse on the lion’s back triggers fun phrases and stories. They can also turn the handle gear to hear a melody, then turn the handle faster and faster to speed up the melody.
               Press the light-up button to hear fun stories, or roll the lion to hear playful sing-along songs.
               Then, mix and match with other GearZooz™ playsets (sold separately) for more gear-rific fun!
                Ages 1½ - 4 years, $9.99

And last in my arsenal is from LeapFrog.

Tad's Fridge Phonics™
               Make learning the alphabet exciting with Tad’s Fridge Phonics™!
               This interactive toy introduces children to the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make, helps build vocabulary and exercises fine motor skills.
               Kids can place one of the 26 musical letter tiles into the letter slot and press down for three modes of play that reinforce letter names, phonics and word skills.
               Three frames can be customized with personal photos and images for a unique, personalized play experience. And, with its magnetic base, it’s great for fridge play in the kitchen.
               Age 2 years+, $19.99

These are only a few of the many toys these companies provide. Check out their websites for more options.

Keep the summer fun (indoors and out) -- Happy Parenting,

I want to thank these companies for the opportunity to review their toys. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved.
Graphics by  CC0 Creative Commons