Thursday, July 30, 2009

Product Spotlight - Play & Learn Snail

#1896 $25.00

With a colorful feast of sights, sounds, textures and removable shapes, this multi-talented toy will keep baby exploring for quite awhile. Press one foot to hear a crinkle, another to hear a squeak. Shake the body and hear it whistle, shake the stripey shell for a rattle. Even the happy flowers make a crinkling sound when you squeeze them. A rattle ring attaches easily to the tail with Velcro, and SMILES is light enough to take with baby wherever you go. Provides plenty of visual, tactile and auditory stimulation. From 9 Months – Toddler

Benefits include mulit-sensory suprises, cognitive activities, problem solving skills, construction, and pieces can be played with separately.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Child Development - The Early Years

Infants experience the world with their whole bodies. Physical sensation, thought and feelings are all one total experience. The infant also perceives no separation between herself and her mother. Babies learn through their eyes, ears, nose, hands, mouth, and skin.

Babies also learn by moving their bodies. Although at first their movement is reflexive (not voluntary), infants quickly learn that they can create change by moving their bodies. An example of this is when a baby hits the crib mobile by accident and something happens. After experiencing this several times, a connection is made and the baby will wave it's arm in the same way to recreate the effect. Intentional movement has begun.

Infants spend a lot of time sleeping, especially during their newborn period. But, whenever they are awake and alert, they are ready and eager to learn. They quickly begin gazing into their parents’ eyes and turning toward warm, familiar voices. One clear choice they make is to use their senses to respond first to people, and then to objects. For example, while researchers are finding that infants like to look at things that move, what young infants seem to prefer most is looking at human faces. Another example of their “people choice” is their obvious preference for contact with another body – learning about their world through their skin – as opposed to lying by themselves in the cradle. The sense of touch provides reassuring warmth, tactile comfort and closeness.

In the first year, infants dramatically change in their capacity to move independently, with each newly acquired ability increasing their understanding. They quickly become active explorers of their environment. Initially, they explore intensely with their mouths, learning about different textures, shapes and tastes. For this reason, toys need to be safe and should provide interesting surfaces. As they begin to handle objects, babies form mental concepts about those experiences. They grow in their thinking abilities when they are faced with surprises they can manage.

They learn about object permanence – (that is, that an object or person still exists even if they can’t see it at a particular moment – hence, their love of endless games of peek-a-boo or hide-the-toy-underthe-blanket). They come to understand the idea of cause-and-effect (shaking a rattle makes a great sound, or pushing down the button makes the clown jump up). They are great experimenters, learning first by simple trial and error and then through more purposeful actions. They are constantly trying new things with familiar toys, and always welcome a new uncharted adventure.

Coupled with an increased understanding of how things work is their growing ability to communicate. From birth, babies communicate. As in all areas of development, they do this first with the whole body, responding with pleasure to a parent’s voice by smiling and kicking their arms and legs. A whole repertoire of sounds comes quickly to infants who learn by listening to speech and by experimenting with their own voices and seeing its effect on the world. By the end of the first year, many babies use a few words with actual meaning: to get their needs met, to greet people, or for self-expression.

The greatest needs of an infant in the first year of life are for a warm, safe, trusting relationship with parents and caregivers; a physical environment that holds a variety of experiences; the freedom to explore that world safely; communication and respect as an individual. Toys that will delight the infant are those that can be squeezed, squeaked, chewed and grasped. Also favored will be things to stack and nest, as well as mirrors, books and music.

In the second and third years of life an infant becomes a toddler and continues to explore through senses and movement, although in a much more refined manner. The new mobility gained by learning to walk makes independence and curiosity the name of the game. Determined to find out how the world works, the toddler wants to take things apart and put them back together; to put them in and take them out; to stack, roll, pound and drop. Everything in their world becomes a toy and they like to make things happen. Toys now take on a much greater role as toddlers begin to comprehend that they are truly separate from mom and dad and caregivers. Challenges in toys are welcome, and those toys that can be used in sand, water and dirt are especially important because these are favorite elements.

A toddler’s ability to communicate is exploding. They learn new words and their meanings at a phenomenal rate. This language explosion is enriched by those around them, and by other stimulating experiences with sound, music, and books. Imagination is now expressed in words and actions so that the toddlers can now show the world an ability to create a world of fantasy. Pretending at first will consist of imitation of those familiar actions that are most often watched (for example, stirring with a spoon in a bowl).

Toddlers will have the desire to express themselves creatively in music and art as well as with their newly discovered “talking” ability. With close supervision, children can begin to use crayons and marking pens on large sheets of paper. Seeing their own marks on paper will be thrilling to two-yearolds. Music, as well, provides the rhythms and maybe a few words of their favorite songs. The first three years in the life of a child are a wonder to behold. As babies and toddlers become preschoolers, their ability to perceive, hold information, and respond to the world in diverse ways becomes a new challenge. They can now make sense of the concrete, physical world, and its translation into thought, ideas and sensitivity become the method and the mode of learning. Eager to learn all about the physical world and their own place in it, they move on with tremendous energy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Product Spotlight - Motor Works

#2288 $30.00
This mechanic-in-training set has its own working power tool and a shop full of parts to build three free-wheeling vehicles! A motorcycle, prop plane and racecar are sized right for small hands and feature moving parts. Includes handy tool box, manual and electric screwdrivers, two tool bits and extra screws. Develops fine and gross motor skills, as well as thinking skills. Requires two AA batteries, not included. From 4 years & Up.
Benefits include colorful components to contruct three complete vehicles, a handy portiable toolbox, vehicles with special moving parts, and use of thinking and fine motor skills to take apart and put back together each vehicle.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some Primary Ways Children Develop

Through Physical Activity
In infancy, babies move reflexively with no intention or control. During the first year, the child’s movements become intentional, more refined and more coordinated.

At first, infants makes broad, awkward sweeps while attempting to reach a desired toy…a few months later, they reach out and neatly wrap their fingers around the toy and bring it to them…years later, those children are jumping a hurdle cleanly or running a relay race.

Especially helpful in this developmental area are toys that require children to use their bodies during play – building, stacking, constructing, pushing, pulling, shaking, turning, spinning, threading, squeezing, kicking, throwing, etc.

Through Mental Activity
Mental abilities are related to thinking, learning, creating, knowing, recognizing, developing concepts, organizing ideas, remembering, problem solving, understanding cause-and-effect relationships, developing rules, drawing inferences, etc. Babies reach out and find that a mobile moves when they touch it (ah-ha…cause-and-effect!)…they later hold the memory of Dad or Mom leaving, knowing they will return…and much later, they retain an understanding of square root as they work through an algebra problem.

Helpful in this area of development are books, games, puzzles, sand, water, clay; toys with various shapes, colors and sizes; and open-ended toys which have many possible outcomes.

Through Interaction with Others
From the moment of birth, children begin to form relationships with others – bonding to those who love them – and begin to form an understanding of themselves which will hopefully be positive and well-nurtured by those around them. As they grow, they are able to handle many and varied relationships and growth within themselves, even making complicated judgments and taking responsibility.

Toys that enhance this area of development are games, stuffed animals, puppets, dolls, art materials, costumes, play figures, instruments, etc.

Through Creativity
Creativity is the expression of one’s originality and imagination. We do not know what exists in the imagination of an infant, but in the second and third years of life we begin to see the expression of the child through imaginative play. As a child’s mind and body grows, they are better able to explore all the countless expressions of their creative self… pretend play, art, music, drama, writing, invention.

To nurture this area of development, open-ended playthings which have many possible outcomes are helpful: sand, water, construction sets, art materials, dolls, stuffed animals, play figures, vehicles, music and instruments, costumes and props, child-sized dishes and tools, etc.

To find toys that fit into each of these catagories for your children, check out my website: If you have any questions, I would be happy to help you.

Cara Retz
Discovery Toys, Educational Consultant

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Games from Around the World - Greece

Country - Greece
Game - Statues

American children may not be familiar with the classic Discus Thrower, but Greek children have access to some amazing marble statues that date to ancient times. After a trip to the museum, it's only natural that they would incorporate some of these awe-inspiring characters into an imaginative game.

Players: Four or more; ages 4 and up
How to Play: Choose one player to be "It" and have her stand, eyes covered, in the center of a large, open playing field. She starts to count, at least to 10, but she can go higher. The point is that there's no set ending number; only "It" knows when she'll stop and open her eyes. While "It" is counting, the others scatter around, never sure when she'll yell "Agalmata!" (That's "statue" in Greek. Tell kids to yell it to be authentic.) On this cue, players freeze, taking on poses that mimic famous statues. They can pull from any statue they've ever seen a photo of - a javelin thrower, The Thinker, even the Statue of Liberty. Kids are allowed to use found items, such as sticks, a ball, or a Frisbee, to add a touch of realism. "It" tags any statues that are moving - they're out - then tries to make the steady ones laugh or move. The last player remaining composed is the winner and becomes the new "It." This game is great for practicing balance.

Cultural Flavor
Collect postcards or tear out magazine photos to show types of statues the kids can imitate.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Your Family Touched by Autism?

Very possibly.
Facts and figures about autism:
  • 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with autism;
  • A new case of autism is diagnosed nearly every 20 minutes;
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the public funding contributed each year to fight all major childhood diseases;
  • There will be more cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosed each year than all major childhood diseases combined.
Discovery Toys can help. For children with autism, the diversity and breadth of learning opportunities offered by DISCOVERY TOYS® products supports the basic skill needs of the child with autism and builds bridges to the next skill level, regardless of the child’s age. Dr. Patricia Krantz, Ph.D., Executive Director of PCDI, attests to the value of the company’s playthings in treatment programs. “Toys are a vital component of many intervention programs! Children with autism learn best when learning is wrapped up as fun! We have incorporated DISCOVERY TOYS® products into our teaching strategies for many years.” This collection of product, along with resources to guide parents in selecting the right toys and understanding how to use them, is now available directly to families of children with Autism for use in the home.

For more detailed information on how Discovery Toys playthings can benefit children with autism, contact me at 765-461-7989 or or

About Discovery Toys
Discovery Toys, Inc. is the leading direct seller of educational toys, books, and games for children, personalizing the toy purchase experience through a network of over 26,000 Educational Consultants in the U.S. and Canada. Founded in 1978 with a two-fold mission, Discovery Toys strives to enhance the lives of children by providing developmentally appropriate products that make learning fun and to offer parents flexible home-based businesses as Educational Consultants that allow them to spend more time with their children. Discovery Toys was founded in 1978 by Lane Nemeth, who created the company’s signature products, such as the volumetrically correct MEASURE UP!® Cups – a bestseller for over 30 years, with more than 2 million units sold. The company has received more than 170 awards from nationally recognized educators and parenting organizations.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What Makes A Good Toy?

The greatest benefits of a toy are the joy and self-esteem that children experience when they play with it. One carefully selected toy can do so much for a child; the right toy can literally help them discover a love of learning! A well-chosen toy has certain aspects that make it valuable to a child’s growth:

• The toy can be used in several different ways.
• Children can power the toy with their own ideas and imagination.
• The toy can grow with the child through more than one developmental stage.
• The toy has lots of developmental play value.
• The toy encourages open-ended play. (There is no one “right” answer or way to use the toy…it allows lots of room for a child’s own creative thinking to come into play.)
• The toy engages children’s interest beyond a few minutes – they will continue playing with it.
• The toy is fun, safe, durable, and attractive.

Humans are blessed with natural curiosity and the desire to explore the world around them. Nurturing, loving environments, communication, having lots of room to run, and the availability of good toys are essential for that natural process of discovery to thrive– and this results in healthy, happy children!

You can find good toys for the kids in your life on my website:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Games from Around the World - Chile

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some fun game from around the world that I found. Play them with your children and friends and see what fun they will have! Enjoy!

Country - Chile
Game - Corre, Corre la Guaraca

The fun-to-say game name translates to "Run, Run, la Guaraca." Chilean kids typically speak Spanish, but Guaraca is actually a nonsense word.

Players: Five or more, ages 5 and up
What you'll need: A hankerchief
How to play: Players sit in a circle while a runner jogs around the outer rim with a handkerchief. The seated kids are not allowed to watch. They sing "Corre, Corre, la Guaraca who looks back will be bopped on his head!" Trying not to be felt, the runner drops the handkerchief on a child's back and runs. If he makes it around the circle before the player realizes that it's on her back, the seated player is out. If the seated player catches on, she must tag the runner. If she succeeds, the runner is out. If she fails to tag him, they play again, but this time player 2 is the runner.

Cultural Flavor
Check out your frozen-foods section for the traditional bite-sized Chilean snack empanadas.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Product Spotlight - Fashion Friends

#2873 $30.00

It’s fashion design with math in mind. With the latest to wear, plus accessories and hair, 1 or 2 or more friends can make fashion happen with this 37 piece set. Mixing and matching the 5” models to create more than 200 looks again and again reinforces sequencing and construction skills important for math and science success. Everything stores neatly in a snappy plastic case. Colors may vary. From 4 years & up (K, V)

Benefits include developing planning, thinking and special relationship skills, practice sequencing skills, and encourages experimentation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July Specials

We have some great specials going on right now!

For New Consultants
Join Discovery Toys July 1-July 31 and receive a $40 coupon toward our Exciting New Fall Products coming out September 1, when the you place orders totaling $250 or more by August 31.

For our Hostesses
From now until the end of August, if you host a home or catalog party of $400 or more, you get Fashion Friends or Motor Works for free.

I'm also giving anyone who hosts a show before August 15th a special gift.

Do you want to get a few friends together for a good time and earn free toys? Let me know and we can set a date.

For our Customers
Everyone who places an order of $40 or more through a party will get a $10 coupon towards fall toys coming out September 1st.

Cara Retz
Discovery Toys, Educational Consutlant