Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Games from Around the World - Pakistan

Country - Pakistan
Game - Ounch Neech

Many cities in Pakistan are bustling places, full of vivid colors and lots of people. Given the chance to break out of the crowd, Pakistani children, much like American kids, love to laugh and shout their way through a rousing game of tag.

Players: Four or more; ages 5 and up
What You'll Need: An outdoor space with lots of obstacles like tree stumps, a slide, a swing, rocks, or sturdy benches.
How to Play: The game begins with one child as "It." He chooses either ounch (up) or neech (down). If he chooses neech, then the ground is not safe; runners can be tagged out unless they are ounch, up on something like a stump or a rock. The opposite is true as well: If "It" chooses ounch, then the ground is safe so everyone remains on terra firma. Of course, children quickly realize that it's boring to stay only in the safe zones. The first person tagged becomes "It" for the next round of the game. Great fun, great exercise, and a great way to burn energy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fall Open House

Mark your calendar for September 19 from 2-4pm at my home. Come have fun with new Fall toys, food, games, and prizes. Hope you can come. Bring a friend!

RSVP please. Contact me for directions.

See you there!
Cara Retz
Educational Consultant, Discovery Toys

Child Development - The Toddler Years

1-3 Toddler Years

At this age, your child is becoming more independent and curious. You’ll also notice comical “mini-me” behavior as your child begins to imitate your words and actions.
Such fun-filled pretend play has a special purpose: it’s critical for building your child's symbolic thinking. As your child imitates you, he or she is trying your behaviors on for size while also attempting to establish a self separate from you.

Parenting your 1-3 year-old child
Your child loves building things, taking things apart, and putting them back together, so be sure to engage your child with lots of construction toys and puzzles in addition to simple picture books, musical toys, and recordings. Also important are toys for outdoor play that promote gross motor skills. And don’t forget to offer “grown-up” looking toys your child can use as you and your little helper work together to complete tasks in and around the home: a realistic-looking play phone, tools just like in the workroom, and child-size kitchen utensils for pretend cooking and experimentation. At the end of your long day, turn on some music and dance your cares away!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Making Work at Home Work - August 2009

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

Author, Speaker Mary Byer's created this program after the release of her book, Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof, to help other Work at Home Moms (WAHM) conquer some of the struggles that she herself has been through. Mary says, "I feel really privileged that I was able to write this book. I wrote it with Work at Home Moms in mind. There are so many unique challenges about working at home that only another work-at-homer can understand!" I would like to encourage you to explore their website for some great advice and some much-needed encouragement. If you would like to become a Making Work at Home Work blogger, go here.

Work-at-Home Childcare Strategies
I wrote part of my first book with a toddler on my lap and some of my second with a child standing behind me on my office chair running his fingers through my hair. I’ve packed for overnight trips only to come out of the bathroom and find that while I was in the bathroom, my son unpacked my bag for me. I’ve shown up for client meetings with childish scribbles defacing my meeting notes. And I once bribed my kids with raisins and a later trip to McDonald’s so they’d sit quietly during a meeting when a sitter cancelled at the last minute.

Despite the stress, I wouldn’t change a thing. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d be more deliberate about planning for childcare rather than assuming I could easily juggle a business with my mothering duties. As you consider the child care issue, the following tips may be helpful:

Give yourself permission to arrange for child care in addition to your presence at home. Many work-at-home moms have trouble with this simply because they are home precisely so they can be available to their children. Some believe it defeats the purpose if they utilize outside child care resources. But working from home without any child care makes your job as an at-home CEO more difficult. Figure out how much and what type of care you are comfortable with, then stay within the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. It is possible to be fully at home and effectively utilize additional child care. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Be flexible. What works for one season in your family’s life may not work indefinitely. Trust your instincts about what’s working and what’s not, and pay attention to what your children say about the caregivers you’re dependent on. Be responsive to what they reveal, and consider your needs as well as theirs. It’s possible to find something that works for everyone, though it may take perseverance to do so.

Be creative. I love the idea of paying my kids to keep themselves busy while I work. (They love it too!) I wouldn’t have thought of this on my own, but I’m inspired by the mom who shared the idea with me, and I’m actively looking for other creative possibilities. This idea reminds me to be willing to explore new options as my child care needs continue to evolve.

Have the courage to do what’s best for your family. Because you and I are different and our needs and circumstances are not the same, our solution to the child care issue should also be different. That’s okay. Too often we look at what other women are doing and adopt the same solutions for ourselves without considering that our values, resources, and experiences are not the same. Your strategy needs to take into account your family’s situation and any unique circumstances that influence what’s right for you.

Seek support. Because the parental pact is so important, be sure your husband is comfortable with what you are doing. Even if he’s not interested in helping you decide what’s best or interviewing potential sitters, keep him informed. This keeps things running smoothly and lends itself to family harmony.

If financial resources are tight, trade child care services. Find another mom who works from home with whom you are comfortable exchanging babysitting services and develop an exchange agreement that allows you to regularly watch each other’s kids. Make sure you find someone who’s reliable so you can count on the regular work time this option provides. While spousal support is important, teaming with other work-at-home moms is valuable, too.

Reevaluate your needs occasionally. As your business evolves, your child care needs will likely change, too. More work may necessitate more child care. A business that’s seasonal may require periods of outside child care followed by periods of no assistance at all. As children age, they will be more able to look after themselves, perhaps eliminating your need altogether.

When my children were preschool age, I evaluated my needs on a day-to-day basis. It was stressful to have this issue continually hanging over my head. As I’ve entered a new season of mothering (the school season!) I’m now able to identify my needs on a monthly basis, which causes far less anxiety. If you’re in an early season of mothering, hang on! The child care puzzle gets easier to piece together as your children mature.

Work-at-home moms tell me that child care is one of their most pressing concerns. If it stresses you too, know you are not alone. Give yourself permission to proactively address this issue in a way that works for your family. When you do, you’ll be more likely to be a satisfied and effective at-home CEO.

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Product Spotlight - Snappy Ducks

#1103 $20.00
Twenty-four colorful ducks in a row with sensory experiences and early math skills in tow. As your child snaps together a row of ducks, he’ll be developing upper body strength, hand-eye coordination, motor dexterity and patterning. Move the row of ducks along a surface for added learning: pretend play, counting and math vocabulary (first, next, last)! Provides bath time fun too!
Learning Pathways: 12 Months to Toddler
Sensory & Motor Development

Name and sort colors
Develop hand-eye coordination, motor dexterity and upper body strength by snapping the ducks together
Count and create color patterns
Organize objects in sequence
Expand math vocabulary

New Fall Products

A select few new Fall products are available now! Be one of the first to have them in hand. Here is what is available:

Lullibies Around The World #1097 $15.00
Busy Pets #2126 $15.00
On The Go Flashcards - ABC #2523 $10.00
On The Go Flashcards - French/English #2524 $10.00
On The Go Flashcards Set #8232 $17.50 (save $2.50)
Snappy Ducks #1103 $20.00
What Am I? Series
What Dinosaur Am I? #2087 $12.50
What Insect Am I? #2088 $12.50
What Ocean Creature Am I? #2089 $12.50
What Animal Am I? #2086 $12.50
Set of All 4 #8219 $42.50 (save $7.50)
Wipe Clean Beginning To Read & Write Book #2522 $10.00

If you have any questions about these products, please email me and I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Have a great day!
Cara Retz
Educational Consultant, Discovery Toys

New Catalogs

I have some new FALL Catalogs!!! They are awesome. If you need one, email me your address and I'll get it mailed out right away.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Success Start Kit on Sale Now!!

Just $99

For one month only, August 1-31, anyone who joins Discovery Toys can join for just $99 with the same low deposit. The Success Start Kit, with a value of over $370, has been reduced from $125 to $99! It’s a great time to join Discovery Toys!!

If you have EVER thought about doing something like this, now is a great time.

For more information on how to take advantage of this great opportunity, concact me at or 765-461-7989.

Keep playing,
Cara Retz
Educational Consultant, Discovery Toys