Posts from — December 2011
It’s that time of year again! The time of year children look forward to all year long. ..TOYS! GIFTS! SHOPPING! As parents we want to make good decisions on how we spend our money and the value we receive in return, especially when it comes to toys. If your house is anything like mine, the new toy can become “old” very quickly as the toy is no longer interesting or the kids have mastered or outgrown it.
Play is super important in children’s development. Many times though, a trip to the local toy store or an online shopping visit, especially over the holidays, can be quite overwhelming, for us parents. There are thousands of toys available, and each year more are added, how do you know what to look for? Which toy will be right for your child? Will you get good value for your dollars? What should you expect from the toy? Will your child be just as enthralled with the box the toy came in, the TV remote control or the pots and pans in the kitchen?
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you boldly and confidently “solve the puzzle” (sorry, couldn’t help it) of finding the perfect toy this Holiday and always.
- Determine the age-appropriateness of the toy- Every age and every stage of development requires different challenges and support. Evaluate the “fit” for your child in terms of age, maturity, developmental level and where their interests lie. It is usually suggested to get toys a little ahead of where your child is currently, so they have a toy to “grow into”.
- Evaluate the educational component/value-I think this is the most important consideration, apart from safety. What is the toy teaching? Look for toys that teach more than one thing and can be used in several different ways. This is referred to as “open-end” toys. This is why I love building blocks which teach ABCs, colours and spatial relations and are also used to build unlimited structures. Similarly, construction sets also support this open-end play concept of allowing unlimited creations and activities.
- Can the toys grow with your child? You want toys that have utility across several different age ranges. My one year old uses blocks which help with his grasp. They are colourful and visually exciting, and my eight year old is building forts with the same blocks! I think that’s good value for money.
- Look for problem solving opportunities-This is why I love, love, love puzzles! The best way for children to learn is with puzzles, and they are fun. Puzzles help to develop the all important logical and abstract “out-of-box” thinking. Puzzles, sorters and stackers are great options.
- Encourage imagination-Creative play is another important consideration. By about three years old, storytelling, dress up and make believe are a big part of playtime. These activities help formulate their ideas and build literacy skills.
In a nutshell, you want toys that support and augment the learning process with high fun factor. Happy shopping! What other tips do you have for selecting great toys? I would love to hear them. Share them in the comments below.
December 15, 2011 No Comments
‘Tis the season…well almost. The time of year children look forward to all year long. The excitement and anticipation of choosing their gifts and making their lists is upon us. But wait, I know, excitement for children can mean stress for us parents, as we manoeuvre the Christmas parties, family gatherings, shopping for the “perfect” gifts and everything else that’s involved with celebrating the season. Kid ‘N’ Play JA Toy Box makes your search and shopping for the perfect children’s gifts easier, quicker, less stressful and more fun.
Kid ‘N’ Play JA Toy Box is the new addition to the Kid ‘N’ Play JA family. We have done the “heavy lifting”. Reviewed the Holiday gift guides, compiled industry reviews, researched the award winners and HOT items, to offer a selection of fun, educational and engaging toys. We are proud of our collection of stimulating “Baby and toddler” toys, brain teaser and strategy “Puzzles”, challenging “Construction” and cool Science kits! Our “Creative play” section encourages imagination and storytelling which is an integral part of children’s development.
November is our launch month, so we have special promotions planned to kick off the Holiday shopping season. Our first promotion is FREE SHIPPING on purchases $US50 and more!!
December 15, 2011 No Comments
I just have to say this is an absolute MUST DO for your children. I may even venture to say it is a “must do” for every Jamaican. First of all did you know we had a museum in Jamaica? You are not alone, I asked SEVERAL of my friends, and no one knew we had a museum. When I told folks we were heading down to the museum I got the same confused ” museum? what yu talking about?” look from everybody. I also wasn’t aware there was a museum until a few months ago, and I did all my schooling in Jamaica. That really is embarrassing!
So on with it. When I visited (August 2011) there were two exhibitions and a display at the Museums of History and Ethnography East St, downtown Kingston. These were: “From War to Windrush…Lest We Forget”, Our People: Other Worlds and a Taino display. From War to Windrush…Lest We Forget (really 2 exhibitions combined): “From War to Windrush” is a traveling exhibition from England which provides distinct reflections on the impact of World War I and World War II on the lives of West Indians, while “Lest We Forget” pays specific attention to the Jamaican experience. This was quite impressive. Actual pictures of Jamaicans heading off to fight for England in WWI, uniforms and gas masks worn by our soldiers, letters sent home to family and so much more. There is also an interactive Education Room “Gibraltar Camp” which is a part of the Windrush Exhibitions, where children are guided into assemblying puzzles, using clues to complete map work, assuming the roles of soldiers by putting on uniforms and testing their motor skills by running through tires in true military camp fashion. I took my 7 year old son and his cousin, also 7, and they thoroughly enjoyed the “Gibraltar Camp”. Even though, there was a TV monitor (not turned on) in the exhibit, and one of the boys got excited and asked “where’s the remote?”, ready to turn on the TV! ( just shoot me!!)
In order to satisy students’ need for historical data and material culture ( especially owing the closure of the Taino Museum in White Marl, St Catherine) a Taino display aligned to the Csec Social Studies, History and Cape History syllabi has been mounted. This display offers a brief account of the history of the aboriginal Taino population from the time of European arrival in the 15th century. It is an arrangement of some fifty artifacts for students contextualized under the categories Social and Economic Life and Religious beliefs.
I understand from our tour guide, Meeckel,who was awesome , that the basement houses a lot of our historical artifacts, there just isn’t the space to have a permanent display, which is quite unfortunate. The building itself is quite historic and architecturally beautiful, with several original fixtures. I left our museum with my heart racing with excitement. It is such a fantastic experience to see our history cataloged and displayed so professionally. The exhibit was quite engaging, each piece more captivating than the previous. I remember saying “Wow” “this is awesome” “incredible” over and over. I was so proud, to know that this caliber museum existed in Jamaica. I immediately called friends, family and everybody I knew who had children to share this “well kept secret”.
Well kept secret
So now for my soapbox. Why is the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) such a “well kept secret”? Why do we have a world class museum, that is quite impressive, educational, engaging and nobody knows about it? Speaking to some persons in the “know”, they say there are a few “challenges” with IOJ as it is now. It is located downtown, Mondays to Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, no weekends and parking may be a problem. Let me handle these “challenges” one by one. 1) The downtown location should not be a problem. It is located on East St. in the same area as large companies, law firms, banks etc.,we not talking about some obscure lane. 2) The parking, IOJ “has (rents) a few spots” in a lot at 31/32 East St.-just above the entrance. When we went the lot was EMPTY! (so no problem there). However, 3) No weekends is a problem. They really need to be open on Saturdays, if not every Saturday, then every other. I understand to implement a change in opening hours needs cabinet approval (or something similar)!! Really? Gimme a break!
OK, until the hours change, let’s work with what we have. Why don’t schools take children to the museum for their field trips? I think it should be mandatory that every school child visits the museum. It is one thing to learn history in books and quiet another to see the history. I understand Prep schools (parents) don’t want their children to go downtown? Are you kidding me? We have to get past this uptown vs. downtown mentality in Jamaica. The IOJ is a phenomenal resource for our country that we need to take advantage of and enjoy.
Have you visited the IOJ? What are your thoughts? I would love to continue the conversation so please leave a comment below.
For more information on the Institute of Jamaica and the museums across Jamaica, visit their website. A great site with really good information on Jamaican history. You can also get involved with the museum by becoming a Friend of the Museum.
December 15, 2011 No Comments