I Spy in the Basement Part 1

This week, in between a killer work week and trying to prepare for a big family event, I decided that I would attack the basement. Last year, we had the basement mostly finished. I say mostly, because it is technically finished, with a real floor, insulated walls and a ceiling. I also say mostly, because we have some small bits of painting to do, and we are considering putting in both a small bathroom and a heat source down there eventually. With the basement getting finished, it was possible to move the bulk of the toys down there and turn … Continue reading

More Television Equals Shorter Life

Oh, this was a health study I hated to read about. A study in the most recent issue of the Journal of the America College of Cardiology says that “prolonged sitting” such as in front of the television and computer is bad for your health. The study was conducted by Emmanuel Stamatakis, a Ph.D. epidemiologist at University College London, and his colleagues. The study followed 4,500 Scottish people who were 35 and older and recorded their television time, computer time, and other health behaviors. More than half of those in the study admitted to watching television or sitting at the … Continue reading

Should Foods Come with Choking Warnings?

Warning labels for choking hazards are required on certain toys — especially those with small parts and balls. Here in the United States, it’s a federal law! But there isn’t a similar law on the books for foods that may be choking hazards. The American Academy of Pediatrics — the largest group of pediatricians in the United States — would like to see a similar federal law for foods that may be choking hazards… or see more foodmakers willingly add choking hazard warnings to their labels. Another alternative would be redesigning foods to make them less of a choking hazard … Continue reading

Keeping Toddler Toys Clean

We all know that toddlers can be very messy. They are just learning to do so many new things. They haven’t quite mastered coordination yet. They are too busy to slow down and “be careful.” So, accidents will happen. With toys, the possibility of acquiring germs is probably limitless. Toddlers may still put toys in their mouths. They certainly have plenty of germs on their hands. Even if their hands are washed frequently, toddlers check out most everything with their hands. They also wipe their nose, pet the dog, pick up trash and then go right back to playing with … Continue reading

How Many Toys Does My Son Need?

I honestly wonder how many toys a kid really needs. Do you know? I don’t know when I should start thinning out and donating my son’s older toys. I don’t know if I should just pack some up and rotate them, or if I should get rid of some, or if I should let him keep all of them. How do I decide? I walk through my living room and it is filled with toddler toys. Some are designed to grow with your child, so that they can use them for years. Those are mostly the learning toys that teach … Continue reading

The Boy and His Toys

My son doesn’t have a lot of toys. I remember at least one closet filled to the brim with toys for me and my three younger siblings when I was younger. The image of toys littering the floor and extending out to the front yard was mostly true for my family. While I’m sure we embarrassed our parents (sorry Mom & Dad) we certainly did have fun with our siblings. My son’s toys are not so cumbersome or numerous. They fit on a small area of the floor. He has a couple of stuffed animals and some colored plastic cups … Continue reading

Do You Zhu Zhu?

Zhu Zhu Pets—-the cute and cuddly, life-like motorized toy hamsters—-are the bane of many parents existence right now. I know, because I was smack in the middle of Zhu Zhu mania a few months ago. I thought things were bad back then, but after witnessing an ugly riot over the battery-powered rodents in a local Toys R Us last week, I’m beginning to re-evaluate the importance of getting my hands on the interactive furballs in time for Christmas. My 5-year-old daughter is the proud owner of Mr. Squiggles and Chunk, but instead of embracing her good fortune, my kid acts … Continue reading

Affording Toys for the Holidays

If you are having a lean year, like many of us, you might have started getting concerned about the holidays and how you will be able to afford getting toys and other gifts for your children. Yes, we all know the real meaning of the holidays does not involve material gifts, but what parent doesn’t want the pleasure of giving toys to their children? This will be a two part series on affording toys for the holidays. As I look around our living room, which has been turned into a playroom for the kids, I feel blessed that we are … Continue reading

Start Looking for Those Games and Puzzles

Now is the time to take a look at the games and puzzles that you may like to buy for the holiday season or for upcoming birthdays. This is because starting now through the beginning of November, you should get the greatest bargains when you purchase certain toys. The stores are trying to get a jump start on the holiday season, so they are starting to test the waters with certain toys. You may find some particular character toys being testing in promotion, but you will really clean up if you focus mostly on the board games and the puzzles. … Continue reading

Stores Helping Parents Save This Holiday Season

The world’s largest retailer is reaching out to parents who have been hit hard by the bad economy. Wal-Mart executives just announced that they are planning to offer more than 100 toys for $10 during the busy holiday shopping season. The cheap toy promo follows in the footsteps of the discount chain’s previous holiday sale in which it offered 10 toys at the $10 price. Last Christmas I took advantage of Wal-Mart’s special and scored a Play-Doh set for my daughter for 10 bucks. This year the selections are even better (in my opinion). Among the $10 items: Barbie Cut … Continue reading