Wednesday, December 3, 2014

VTech Toys for Kid’s Milestones {Holiday Gift Guide}

I forgot how fast kids grow up my youngest is 2 years old but my next youngest is 6 years old so I’m repeating these toddler stages all over again with a whole new experience. Right now his vocabulary and confidence in speaking has just blossomed! He talks like crazy! I’ve noticed him mimicking words he’s heard us or his siblings say, some good and some I’d prefer him not to repeat. He’s just soaking up everything right now like a sponge. Doing school at home with my 1st grader he’s also getting to participate a little bit learning about numbers, colors, shapes, and letters so this holiday season I’ve been on the lookout for toys that will encourage this type of continual growth.

VTech has some great toys that provide and encourage educational opportunity and milestone growth. VTech has also launched a new feature on their website for parents who want to read more about milestones with questions and answers by leading experts in milestones for babies and toddlers.

The Expert Panel is compiled of six experts including, Dr. Lise Eliot, Early Childhood Mental Development Expert, who collaborated with VTech to develop the Milestones resource.

  1. · The milestones are broken down by ages that range from newborn to nine years old. 
  2. · Each age range is broken down by three categories of learning:
    • Language and Cognitive
    • Social and Emotional Development
    • Physical and Motor

The categories explain different characteristics and developments that your child is faced with at a specified age and is then followed by recommended products that best cater to your child.

We were lucky enough to receive a couple of toys from VTech to try out.

I thought the Roll and Surprise Animal Train would feel a little too young for my 2 year old but he loves it! I think it has to do a little bit with the fact that it’s a train and it has wheels because he’s into anything and everything with wheels. The colors are very vibrant and he thinks it’s so much fun when the animals pop up, he giggles every time. It encourages not only development of recognizing animal names and sounds but colors as well.

8193qjH9m6L._SL1500_Roll & Surprise Animal Train™

(Ages 6-36 months; MSRP: $15.99)

  • · Your little one will enjoy peek-a-boo fun and develop fine motor skills through turn, slide and press activities.
  • · Animal friends introduce animal names, animal sounds and colors.
  • · This educational toy also rewards curiosity and teaches cause and effect with pop-up surprises and 55 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases.

The Comp and Count Dino was his absolute favorite! He already really likes dinosaurs and roars every time he sees them trying to scare us but I love that this one teaches him colors, numbers, and shapes. Both toys are musical and make fun sounds that have helped keep his attention.

81qUvpA2BjL._SL1500_Chomp & Count Dino™

(Ages 12-36 months; MSRP: $19.99)

  • · Simply place one of the eight brightly-colored play pieces in the dino’s mouth and watch as he eats and recognizes each piece.
  • · Play in either food or counting mode and the dino responds with rewarding sounds and phrases all while introducing colors, numbers, shapes and more.
  • · Press the question button and kids can answer the dino’s questions to show what they’ve learned.
  • · Five shape buttons help kids learn shapes and numbers, while spinning the disc on the dino’s back will play sing-along songs.
  • · The dino can also be pushed or pulled by a string for even more fun melodies.

We also received the Lil’ Critters Play and Dream Musical Piano from VTech and while my son loved the music it made when he pushed the keys and buttons it was a little too young for him. It would be a great toy for younger babies still on the floor who could kick the toy to create sounds. This toy has 70+ different melodies, songs and phrases so it won’t play the same thing over and over again and get old. It can also be attached to the side of a crib.

91HlQ3EGXkL._SL1500_Lil’ Critters Play & Dream Musical Piano™

(Ages 0-12 months; MSRP $24.99)

  • · Learn and play music with animal friends! The Lil’ Critters Play & Dream Musical Piano by VTech has a variety of fun musical activities that engage your child on the floor or attached to the crib.
  • · This soft piano features five animal piano keys that introduce music, instruments and animals.
  • · The piano also includes a light-up sun that shines and flashes to the music to attract your baby’s attention.
  • · Choose from two modes of play for fun learning and music activities.

This is one of my favorite questions that the expert panel answered because I felt like it applied to my child so much! My youngest is 2 and has 3 older sisters so when he first started talking I was very concerned this would happen but like the panel says “giving your child the confidence that she is being heard will provide great reinforcement to encourage her to speak more”. For us I think it was just finding a balance between older siblings talking and the younger one- he needed to feel like people could hear him and now he’s really blossomed and learning new vocabulary every day.

Q. My 2 year old (26 months to be exact) barely talks unless she wants to.  She has two older siblings who tend to speak for her.  She can string a few words together like "me up" or "love you."  How can we encourage her to talk more and what VTech products would be most beneficial for her?

A. There's a simple equation to verbal development:  "Language in = Language out"  The more words you and others address to your child, the larger her own vocabulary will eventually be.  You are right that younger children sometimes do have trouble getting a word in edgewise in a big family.  Find opportunities when your daughter can be the only one speaking.  Try to carve out some one-on-one time, when you are just focused on each other, and make sure to listen and respond to every word or babble she makes, acting as if you understand her.  Imitate her words and sounds and offer lots of praise.  Just giving your child the confidence that she is being heard will provide great reinforcement to encourage her to speak more.

Also, VTech's infant toys can promote this language development since most produce simple words or phrases that babies love to control.  Toys such as Cody The Smart Cub™ and Cora The Smart Cub™ introduce children to first words, emotions, stories, sing-alongs, and more.

A huge thanks to VTech for providing us with the opportunity to learn more about their great new site features and find a place were we can go to for milestone help and development encouragement. These VTech toys will definitely be under our tree this holiday season! (Yes sometimes we wrap up toys our little one already owns, he gets excited no matter what.)

You can find more fun VTech information on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

*All opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was received in exchange for this post.


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