Archives for category: toys

Admit it! Are you that parent? The kids were sound asleep so you knew it’s a safe time to rummage through their stash for the “good” candy.

Our Facebook survey results are in. The candies that top the theft list of the most likely to be stolen by parents are: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at the top, closely followed by Snickers, M&Ms, Kit Kats, Twix, Milky Way, Butterfingers, candy corn, Three Musketeers, and Skittles.

If the candy jar at your house runneth over, or you have a Halloween fear of dental bills, there are cures for the candy coma.

Have you heard about the Switch Witch?  A child grows in Brooklyn shares this disappearing act for all of the sugary stuff you may not care to have around for you or the kids.

The story goes like this: a child gets to eat all the candy they want up through Halloween night.  On Halloween night, before the child goes to bed, s/he lays out all their candy for the Switch Witch. The Switch Witch comes when they are asleep and takes the candy and switches it for a toy. Ta da! Cavity-creating candy is gone and a sugar-free desirable new toy is there instead!

For the more curious:

The Switch Witch lives in Hallow Heights which is a little island in the sky by the moon. The Switch Witch loves candy.  All witches love candy, but the Switch Witch loves candy the most and she has the biggest candy stash of all the witches.  Do you know how the Switch Witch gets her gigantic candy stash?  The Switch Witch gathers most of her candy for herself and all the witches and cats on Halloween night. (Did you know that witches’ cats love candy too? They only eat milk chocolate though as it has delicious milk in it! –this is true only for witches’ cats though!).  So, here is how the Switch Witch gets her candy: late Halloween night, when all the children are sleeping, she visits the houses of children who choose to switch their candy for a toy. How does she know which ones are switching their candy in? A child puts a piece of candy on the door (of their room or house) to let her know that they want to switch.  The Switch Witch flies from building to building on her broom, with her black cat Corn (as in Candy Corn) on the back. They come in through a window. They fly in through the window with magic- the window does not need to be open.  She takes all the candy the child puts out and puts it into a sac that Corn holds open for her in his mouth.  Then she ties the candy bag to the end of the broom.  She takes out a shiny black bag that is full of toys. She leaves one toy for the child to thank them for the candy.  Then she leaves just as quickly as she came: on her broom, out to visit other children and perform more switches. By early morning, she and Corn return home to Hallow Heights where she sorts all the candy into large glass jars. That night, all the other witches come to visit and the Switch Witch doles out the candy they want.  They eat their candy with her, share stories of Halloween, hear about what toys she brought to the children and come back night after night for a treat.  You know how most pictures of witches are flying near the moon?  That’s because they are on their way to Hallow Heights to visit the Switch Witch and share in her gigantic candy stash.  By next Halloween, the Switch Witch has run out of candy and goes back out to do her switches.

I’m not sure about this one but to each your own. What do you think?

 

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With the arrival of fall tomorrow and  Starbucks now serving their Pumpkin Spice Latte, are you ready for the season? This recipe for fun may put you and the kids in the mood. We have found a Pumpkin Latte Playdough for your little ones that just may become a new autumn classic at your house. Dinosaurs and Octopuses have the recipe for fun this week.

Here it is:

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cream of tartar
1/3 of the jar of pumpkin pie spice (the tiny jar)
maple extract
vanilla extract
food coloring

Combine the dry ingredients and the oil. Slowly add the water. Add a few dashes of each of the extracts and a few drops of red and yellow food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring until stiff. As it mixes you can see if you’ll need more food dye. Adding a little at a time until the desired color is achieved. Turn out onto wax paper. The pumpkin pie spice was too spicy by itself, for my liking. The extracts make it smell sweeter, just like a pumpkin pie. Sniff the dough. Does it smell too spicy? Add a little bit more extract and knead it all together. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry, add a few drops of water.

Betsy, you must give this a try for Katherine.

Anyone looking for a copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Latte recipe? Give this one from the Kitchn a try!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin or 1 teaspoon of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute – you can halve this amount
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine.)

Directions:
In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin, and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.

Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.

Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.

Start baking!

Whether it’s for a bake sale or afternoon tea, wow your guests with these
easy slice and bake cookies. Create, bake in one of our ovens, and serve up! The set includes a dozen wooden cookies, a dozen wooden mix and
match decorating pieces, and toy wooden kitchen utensils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Aboard?

Any little person that you know who goes loco for locomotives? Do the names Thomas, Percy, or Topham hold a special meaning in your household? How about The Little Engine That Could?

National Train Day is sadly no longer running. Budget cuts have ended the celebratory day which was originally created in 2008 by Amtrak a US passenger railroad service.

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Totally Kids fun furniture & toys wants to celebrate anyway and invites all young engineers to stop by and help us celebrate Amtrak ’s birthday.

Best of all, today or any day, practice your engineering skills with our classic wooden train sets.

Guide colorful engines, coal cars, freight cars, and caboose around great lengths of curves & straight track, whizzing by workers, trees and traffic signs. They steer engines in to fill the expansive roundhouse engine shed. Concentrating intently, they lift and carry railroad cars and freight with magnetic-tipped cranes.

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Test you train terms skill with this printout from Amtrak:

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Happy Passover

We send happy wishes to all of our friends and family near and far away celebrating Passover tonight.

Passover or “Pesakh”begins at sunset today. It’s an eight day celebration observed every year by the Jewish religion. It commemorates the freeing of the Israelites (biblical name for the Jews) from slavery after centuries of poverty and oppression under the reign of the cruel Egyptian, Pharaoh Ramses II.

Families celebrate Passover by sharing a Seder. With special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration. Seder means order, and the passover story is read in order from a book called a Haggadah.

This wooden child size Passover teaching set includes a Seder plate, goblet, two pieces of matza, bottle of wine, prayer book Afikomen and matza covers.

Although there are a number of food-related traditions that are observed during Passover, perhaps the most important part of the celebration is the ritual retelling of the Exodus story. In the Torah’s Book of Exodus, Jews are exhorted to tell their progeny about the enslavement and escape of the ancient Israelites. The act of recounting this story in a ceremony known as Magid forms a key component of the Seder feast, and it is told from a special text known as the Haggadah. The ceremony is meant to be interactive and inclusive, and includes questions and answers, special blessings, discussions, and songs. The story is usually told in both Hebrew and the native language of the majority of the guests attending the feast, according to tradition.

Apples 4 the Teacher explains Passover:

Fearing that Jews were becoming too strong, a Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish babies were to be killed. Jocheved and Amran, a Jewish couple, wanted to save their infant son – so they put him in a basket that floated him down the river. The infant was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter and she raised him as her own son. She named the baby Moses, which means ” take from the water.”

When Moses grew up, he empathized with the Jewish slaves and tried to get the Pharaoh to free them. The Pharaoh refused – so there were 10 plagues sent down to Egypt: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Beasts, Cattle Disease, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and Slaying of the Firstborn. The name Passover comes from the Plague of Slaying the Firstborn. The Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Jews who had put lambs blood on their doors.

After the 10th plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jewish slaves go. They gathered up their belongings quickly, and didn’t have time for their bread to rise, so they had to bake it and take it the way it was. This is why the Jewish people eat matzah during Passover.

As the Jews were fleeing, Pharaoh changed his mind, and sent his army after the people to bring them back. Moses parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross, and as soon as they were safely to the other side, the waters closed on the soldiers, drowning them all. The Jewish people were free.

Happy Passover!

I really meant “getting stones” to share with friends.

Skip to My Lou makes these perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, little Blarney Stones complete with a hidden surprise.

She tells us : “Tradition says if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be given the gift of gab. You will be able to talk eloquently and convincingly.”

If they don’t look appetizing to you, please realize that ingesting is not the intended end result. They do have a fun little surprise tucked inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We always make Blarney Treasure Stones the weekend before St. Patrick’s day for our little neighbor friends. Hope that you give this a try too. It’s another great project to do with little ones from Skip to My Lou.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, come on. You too must have some friends that would enjoy getting stones on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Thought that I caught the luck of the Irish when finding this easy to make treat. It will be a big hit at our house without a doubt. Plus it is another perfect make together recipe for all hands, big and small.

 

KB Designs has the easy to follow directions with pretzels and white chocolate chips.

One of our favorite last minute gifts is salt dough ornaments which are so very easy to make.  This clay recipe for creating little hand impression ornaments is a fun make together with little ones. We like that it is non-toxic, made of food ingredients therefore safe for kids to play around with and squish, mush and squeeze the dough through their little fingers. It’s great for a quick economical, yet treasured gift for grandparents and other favorite relatives.  There may be a new tradition happening at your house too.

This clay recipe will harden when left out for a day or two and can then be painted and embellished if so desired. In humid climates it may take several days to dry out. The drying time will depend on the humidity and how large your ornament is. To speed up the drying process, you can put it in the oven at 90 degrees for 30 minutes, then shut off the oven for it to cure. Remember to leave it inside the oven with the door closed.  You could also dry it completely in the oven for several hours.

Salt Dough “Recipe for Fun”:

  • 1/2 cup of table salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of mineral oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all  ingredients together and knead it with your hands. If it is too wet, add a pinch more flour and if it is too dry add a bit of water. For a seasonal scent, add a small amount of cinnamon to the dough mixture.

This recipe yields a good snowball size ball. It is the perfect size for one keepsake hand print ornament. Flatten the ball out and press your little one’s hand into it. Pierce a hole with a drinking straw toward the top of the ornament for a festive ribbon that you will tie through once it has properly dried.

Kellie from This Blessed Nest made these hand prints with her twins.

 

Building Blocks

The holidays are here, which means the countdown is on to find the perfect toys and games for the kids on your shopping list. Now is a good time to consider toy safety. The childproofing experts share these top 10 safety tips to keep in mind as you begin your toy shopping hunt.

  1. Follow the age grading on toy packaging
    Make sure you select something that is age-appropriate. The age information on toy packaging is not about how smart a child is—it’s safety guidance based on the developmental abilities of kids at a certain age, and the specific features of the toy.
  2. Choose a toy that matches a child’s age and interests
    The “perfect” toy is the one that’s right for the child’s age and interests. If a toy is too advanced, the child will become frustrated, and if it’s too simple, they’ll get bored.
  3. Avoid toys with small parts for kids under 3   Warning-Choking-Hazard
    Toys that have small parts are fine for older kids, but can pose a choking hazard for children 3 years old and younger. Toys that contain small parts will have a warning label on the packaging and be age-graded accordingly, so keep a careful eye out as you shop. At home, be sure to store toys with small parts away from younger children.
  4. Inspect toys at the store for sturdy parts
    Make sure that the toy can stand up to the rigors of the child’s play.
  5. Pick plush toys that have age-appropriate features
    Make sure plush (stuffed) toys have embroidered or well-secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play. Check the warning labels for children under 3 years of age.
  6. Buy protective gear with ride-ons
    Bikes, trikes, scooters, skateboards and other ride-ons can be a great gift to get kids active, but remember to give a helmet, knee pads and other protective gear along with it.
  7. Look for toys that have a volume control
    Toys are subject to safety standards that limit the sound level, but it’s a good idea to listen to toys that make sounds before buying to make sure they are appropriate for the child. Acceptable levels of sound are often a matter of personal preference, so look for toys with a volume control to adjust sound for your family environment.
  8. Consider proper storage
    Make sure that lidded toy boxes in the home are non-locking and have special safety features like air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught. If you don’t have one already, consider getting one.
  9. Remember safety when opening the packaging
    Remove and discard all packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child. Also, keep the product literature on hand in case of future questions.
  10. Shop at a retailer you know and trust
    Staff at established businesses tend to be knowledgeable about age-appropriate toys. When you’re shopping online, reputable retailers will likely have that information in the product description or elsewhere on the site.

Toy Safety Information Graph

For more toy safety tips, facts and expert advice, visit www.PlaySafe.org.

Once upon a time there was a little old woman and a little old man. The little old woman thought she’d make a gingerbread man. She rolled out the dough, and cut out the shape, and she put raisins for his eyes, and peppermints for his teeth, and put icing on his head for the hair. Then she put him in the oven, and when it smelled good, she opened up the door to take a peek and out jumped the gingerbread man.

Today’s Recipe for Fun is Gingerbread Crayons.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Start by removing all the paper from the crayons and chop them into small bits. Fill your mould with the crayon pieces and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until wax is melted. You can add more bits of crayon through the melting process so the moulds are completely full. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Then push out the crayons and they are ready to use.  Caution, don’t let them get away until you are ready to surprise some special kids.

“Run, run, as fast as you can,

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”

This Recipe for Fun is from Torie Jayne.

How to disguise Gingerbread Men. Turn them upside down and look at the cute Reindeer cookies.

For a change of pace, how about baking up some Nijabread Men?

These Nijabread Men cookie cutters have been a hot item this season. Can you see them also as a Recipe for Fun?

 

So, Gingerbread Lovers, Behold!

Chanukah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays.  The Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is the third month of the Jewish calendar, and occurs sometime in December of the Gregorian calendar. The Hanukkah holiday lasts eight successive days during which eight candles are lit, beginning with one on the first night, two on the second night, three on the third night, and so on.

Jewish Year 5777: sunset December 12, 2017 – nightfall December 12, 2017 (first candle: night of 12/12 last candle: night of 12/20)

Celebrate the holidays with our wooden Chanuka set! Kids can role play safely with our wooden menorah and 9 colorful wooden candles, dreidel, coins, potato latkes, spatula, pan and storage bag.

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This puzzle, many more toys plus other Judica toys are available at Totally Kids fun furniture & toys.

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Martha Stewart shows you how to make marshmallow dreidels.

Bright Ideas…Menorah Cupcakes would be a special edition to any celebration.