Sunday, December 19, 2010

Children's Eating & Exercise Habits

One of the most important issues facing our nation today is our children's eating and exercise habits. A fun way to get your child to eat fruits and veggies is to let him or her help you make a Butterfly Sandwich. Cut one slice of bread diagonally. Put your child's favorite spread such a butter, peanut butter or cheese on the bread. Put on a plate with the points of the crust edges touching to form butterfly wings. Decorate with colorful pieces of fruit, such as banana slices, grape halves, raisins, etc. Add vegetable sticks made from carrots or other veggies for the antennae.

posted by:
Cara Retz, Team Leader

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reading At Grade Level

"Children must be able to read by third grade," Governor Mitch Daniel says. In a speech given earlier this year by our governor, he felt that a child who couldn't read at grade level should be held back a year and given additional help. Here's how YOU, the child's parent, can help prevent that from happening. You must start early in your child's life. In fact, your child started learning the moment he or she was born. By talking, playing with, and caring for your baby each day, you are helping your baby develop language skills necessary to becoming a reader. When you read to your baby, you are fostering a love of books and reading. Following are some tips:

Snuggle up with a book. When you hold your baby close and read a book, your baby will enjoy the snuggling and hearing your voice, as well as the story. Feeling safe and secure with you wile looking at a book builds your baby's confidence and love of reading.

Choose baby-friend books. Books with bright and bold or high-contrast illustrations are easier for young babies to see. Board books with sturdy cardboard pages are easier for baby to handle.

Keep books where your baby can reach them. Make sure books are as easy to reach, hold and look at as toys. Remember, a baby will do with a book what he does with everything else - put it in his mouth. And that's exactly what he's supposed to do. You may only want to put chewable books within reach.

Talk with your baby - all day long. Describe the weather or which apples you are choosing at the grocery. Talk about the pictures in a book or things you see on a walk.

Ask questions. Then wait for an answer. By listening, your child learns words, idea and how language works.

Sing, Read, Repeat. Read favorite stories and sing favorite songs over and over again. Repeated fun with books will strengthen language development and positive feelings about reading. Develop a daily routine (and make reading part of it). Routines can soothe a baby, and let a baby learn to predict what will happen next. The ability to predict is important when your child is older and is reading independently.

Give baby a hand. Encourage your baby to pick up crackers or peas, touch noses and toes, point to pictures and grab toys. The muscles in those little hands will grow strong, agile, and ready to turn pages.

Encourage our baby's coos, growls, and gurgles. They are the baby's way of communicating with you, and are important first steps toward speech. Encourage attempts to mimic you. The more your baby practices making sounds, the clearer they will become. Go ahead and moo, growl and honk!

posted by:
Cara Retz, Team Leader
Discovery Toys

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good Night, Sleep Tight

A good night's sleep can influence your preschooler's behavior and ability to have a good day at home or school. Lack of sleep can cause grumpiness, low energy, and extremes in behavior. One- to 3-year-old children need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep per night, and usually also take an afternoon nap. Children ages 3 to 6 need between 10 and 12 hours. Make sure your child is getting the best sleep possible so you can both have a good day.

posted by:
Cara Retz, Team Leader
Discovery Toys

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Know Zone - Are We Really Raising a Generation of Nincompoops?

by Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Today's parents are raising a generation of children who, while remarkably tech savvy, are at risk of losing a grip on fundamental life skills, according to a recent article by Associated Press writer Beth Harpaz. Harpaz refers to 7-year-olds who can't tie shoes, teenagers who can't operate a can opener and college students who don't know how to address an envelope.

As impressive as it is to see a 3-year-old figure out how to use Mommy's new iPhone app, I have to wonder whether Harpaz is right. Are we doing our children a disservice by limiting their opportunities to solve problems without clicking a mouse or asking Mom for help?

Seth Godin, author of "Linchpin," describes his experience with a group of 10- to 12-year-olds when he asked them how a drinking bird toy worked. One child said, "It tips back and forth like it's drinking water." "I know that's what it's doing, but how? What questions could you ask to help you figure out how it works?"

"After a few minutes of silence, one child said, "Tell us." Not only were these children unable to explain how the toy worked, they could not even pose questions of a willing adult that might help them figure it out!

Mark Bauerlein, author of "The Dumbest Generation," says, "Growing up with cell phones and Google means kids don't have to figure things out or solve problems any more. They can look up what they need online or call mom or dad for step-by-step instructions."

As tempting as it is to solve our children's problems for them or give them access to electronic tools that can dish out a quick fix, we must let our kids engage their minds with real-life challenges. Whether it's figuring out how to use the can opener when they've grown up with pop tops, tying their shoes when they're used to Velcro, or addressing an envelope in an era of emails, our kids must be less plugged-in, and more connected to the real world.

Human beings thrive on stretching and growing, and achieving -- through persistence and perseverance -- what might have appeared impossible. As parents, we must be careful that in our desire to keep our children happy and entertained, we don't deprive them of the pleasure of genuine accomplishment.

I don't believe we're bringing up a generation of nincompoops. But I do agree that unless we're careful, we run the risk of raising kids who don't have the patience or focus necessary for coping with life's inevitable challenges. My advice? Make sure there are enough "power outages" around your house to ensure that your kids don't lose the chance to solve puzzles, build, read, compose, paint, cook, and maybe even write an actual letter (versus email) to Grandma. The Internet may come and go -- or at least our server could go down -- but those basic human skills will serve our children forever.

AdviceMama, Susan Stiffelman, is a licensed and practicing psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in developmental psychology and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her book, Parenting Without Power Struggles, is available on Amazon.

posted by:
Cara Retz, Team Leader

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Are You Working?

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

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don't know why they are working. Most assume that they are working for money. But when I talk to people about the topic, I hear a lot of different reasons for work. Some work for the mental stimulation. Some to keep their skills up to date. Other work to support their scrapbooking habit or to be able to purchase cosmetics at a discount.

There's a big difference between working to put food on the table vs.working for the "extras" such as summer camp or a vacation. Both are legitimate but it's essential to be honest about your motivation. Knowing what drives you will help you keep your priorities in order. When my children were young, I worked for the extras. However, instead of stopping when I earned enough to help with vacation costs I kept right on going, becoming a workaholic in the process. It didn't serve me or my family. When I recognized my error, I was able to cut back on work in order to create a healthier balance. Now that my children are school-age and I'm working to help cover orthodontia, tuition and retirement, I've increased my hours accordingly.

Understanding why you are working makes it easier to make tough work-related decisions. Will you work on the weekends? Stay up late to get it all done? If you're working to put food on the table, the answer will more likely be yes. But if you're working for the fun of it, you may choose not to compromise family time by late night or weekend work. When you know why you are working, it gets easier to decide what kind of boundaries you'll adhere to.


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 Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

posted by:
Cara Retz, Team Leader

Friday, October 1, 2010

Leaf Glitter Fun

Have your child draw a picture. Go for a walk and find dry leaves of all colors. Help your child crumble the leaves into fine pieces. Put drops of glue over the picture and then drop the "glitter" onto the glue. It will give a special look to the picture. If you have paints, have your child paint a picture and drop the crumbled leaves on the wet paint. Let your child experiment with how to use the crumbled leaves.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Team Leader, Discovery Toys

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ten Best Toys - ALEX (Talk of the Farm), Bloco Toys (Velociraptor & Pterosaur), Bright Starts (Activi-Tree), Discovery Toys (Story Stacker), Goldberger Co. (Zip-ity Princess), MGA (Cozy Shopping Cart), Monkey Business (E-Z Bat), Rubbabu (2Skoolbus), Schoenhut Piano (Dog Piano), WowToyz (Deluxe Class Train Set).

Dr. Toy Announces 100 Best Children’s Products of 2010
Your Guide to Finding the Best Toys and Children’s Products
An Opportunity to be of Service to Families and Schools
By Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy™

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - (October 1, 2010) - As a natural, on-going part of our work as parents, teachers, early childhood specialists, and others involved with children at home or elsewhere, we observe children at play. With our own eyes we see what works…and what doesn’t hold up under tough testing - the normal barrage of active, inquisitive, and resourceful babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children. This guide is offered to complement your observations and to help you in selecting the right products to enhance play and learning.

We make buying decisions based on lasting play value and product applicability to children’s active, creative, and educational experiences. We can depend on the durability and versatility of such items as blocks, construction toys, games, puppets, and transportation toys. They stimulate the imagination, engage the player, have value, and hold up over time. We want to apply these standards to all the choices we make. We often hear consumers describe their experience of making a purchase, but shortly after giving little Sally or Sammy the product it falls apart – a frustrating and expensive process. Products that do not meet safety standards can be dangerous and can cause harm to children. We want to avoid these problems and always strive for excellence. I spend a great deal of time reviewing a large quantity of products created by myriad manufacturers and designers. I make sure my selections match the criteria for excellence.

Certainly age grading, name recognition, company dependability, versatility of design, and place of purchase are factors to obtain the right product. Another aspect you can depend on is a warranty. Rising costs for products require us to be wise consumers and to get extra lasting value. Certainly durable products, properly designed, and developmentally correct are worth the money. Children’s positive reactions are worth the extra effort. I utilize a complicated set of objective and subjective criteria to evaluate toys and other products. Some questions to ask are:
  • Is this product worth the price?
  • Does it have lasting play value?
  • Is it appropriate?
  • Is it fun?
  • Does it meet safety standards?

Dr. Toy is pleased to have the opportunity to share her years of play and toy experiences with consumers to assist them in the selection process. This timely report features information about l00 wonderful new toys and products from large and small companies. The toys and products selected meet my high standards for design, durability, price, quality, safety, and value.

Dr. Toy reminds parents and teachers, “Let’s not forget that “play is children’s work” and should be respected and understood by all adults. We should be thinking: “What products or “tools for play” can we obtain to provide wholesome experiences for children and provide plenty of positive play interactions.”

Dr Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q. (Play Quotient) was written for new parents, and others who care about children, and is available in toy, book stores or on line. Dr Toy invites consumers to take the time to describe play and product experiences and ask questions about toys and products.

To find the Story Stacker and see all of our other products, go to

posted by:
Cara Retz, Educational Leader
Discovery Toys

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Product Recall - Chuck E. Cheese Rings & Toy Eyeglasses

More than 1.2 million Chuck E. Cheese light-up rings and toy eyeglasses are being recalled over concerns that children might swallow the small battery inside the toys.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday the plastic on the toys can break, possibly exposing the button-type batteries inside. Ingestion could lead to stomach, intestine or esophagus problems or other damage.

The commission did not link the toys to any reported injuries. But the CPSC says two children were able to get to the battery in the light-up rings. One child swallowed it; the other child put the battery up his nose.

There were no reported incidents with the toy eyeglasses.

For further information, click here.

To keep your kids safe, I'm giving away Choke Tubes to some lucky readers! To be entered, leave a comment that you are a follower with your email address.

Additional entries can be earned by:
1. Friending me on Facebook and leave a comment.
2. Following me on Twitter and leave a comment.
3. Subscribing to my newsletter and leave a comment.
4. Repost on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment with the link for each.

No matter what toys you buy your kids, make sure they are safe and age/developmentally appropriate.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader

Friday, September 10, 2010

BlogFest 2010

This weekend, I am participating in BlogFest 2010. It runs now through the 12th. BlogFest 2010 is where you get to see many great blogs from all over the world. And what's great is, you get to win prizes!

Head over to A Journey Of Books to learn more about BlogFest and how to win prizes.

I am sure you all have enjoyed looking at the other blogs and now, it's your turn to win something here! Are you ready?

To one lucky follower, I am giving away a prize that you get to pick!  Your choices:

Infants: Baby Moves Lullaby Blankie
Stimulate your baby's world with ultra-soft Lullaby Blankie! Baby will enjoy exploring the soothing teether, plush star, satin corners, crinkle sun and applique moon. Machine washable. 9"x9"

Toddler: Tangiball
Once your baby wraps his little hands around this ball, he won't want to put it down. With its nubby texture, crystalline brilliance and light vanilla scent, Tangiball stimulates all of baby's senses at once. Baby can squeeze it, squeak it, sniff it, roll it, and even kick it for gross motor development. 4" diameter.
Preschool: ABC & 123 Wipe Clean Workbooks
Preschoolers trace, stick and learn their letters and numbers with this set of two wipe-clean activity books. Includes 2 soft cover books, 18 pages & 100 photographic stickers each.
School Years: Puzzle Island
Here's an interactive parent-child activity book you'll both enjoy. As you work together to uncover the secrets on every page, you'll sharpen your observation and reasoning skills while developing the patience it takes to make it through. Soft cover with 24 pages.

Ways to enter:
Mandatory (1 entry each)
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment that you did.
2. Go to and comment which toy is your favorite

Optional (1 additional entry each)
1. Follow me to Twitter and comment that you did.
2. Friend me on Facebook and comment that you did.
3. Sign up for my Newsletter and comment that you did.

Contest ends Sept. 12 at midnight.  Winner will be picked at random and contact to pick prize.  Good luck to all!

Now, hop on over to Simply Ali and check out her steamy romance novels!

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Remember Going Out To Play?

written by: Anne Moorehead at

Do you remember the days of putting on play clothes and going out to play? I remember climbing trees, throwing rocks into ponds, playing hide n seek, red rover, war & house! We road our bikes everywhere! What happened to those days? Ok, I know there are more crazies out there now or we just know more about them!

Did you realize that our children are no longer in charge of their own play? TV, video games, the computer etc. are in charge! It’s all adult dictated play. Look at the sports teams our kids are on. Look at the video games, they are programmed by adults! The child is just responding and the brain is being manipulates and does what the adult wants.

Ok, I’m the first to admit it; we watch TV, play video games & use the computer. I’m not saying stop it all right now! What I am saying is that as parents and caregivers it is our job to put the TV, video games & computer into perspective. We need to make sure our children are using their brains. Put them back in charge of their play and use their imaginations!

Did you know that children now spend 30+ hours in front of computer or TV a week?

Most of the toys out there are media based and licensed toys. These toys are usually single purpose toys that tell our kids how to play! Licensed toys tell children how to play. By doing that a child’s imagination, creativity and ability to discover creative problem solving, all things that are needed to be successful in school and life is undermined! Memorizing doesn’t teach them to think. Floor time, play time open ended play, this teaches them how to think! (From Diane Levin who wrote Remote Control Childhood) Did you know with them watching too much TV they are being trained to be consumers (think of any of those darn commercials when it gets close to the holidays that after seeing your child says oh I want that!) instead of thinkers.

SO, how have the U.S. products industry responded to this “lack of free play” in our children?

Did you know that 80% of the toys on the market are electronic? Even in the infant and toddler age group? Scary with this being the prime time for learning!

Look at the top 5 toys sold 2009 holiday season:

#1 Zu Zu pets! (Wouldn’t it teach responsibility if it was a real hamster?)

#2 Dora the explorer links doll that hooks up to computer (wouldn’t a real doll to dress up and play with stimulate their minds and imagination a little more?)

#3 any video game console (wii, playstation etc) (do I really want to give more reason to sit in front of TV?)

#4 Super Mario Brothers (yep we have it too)

#5 Mind flex

So what’s a parent to do? There’s not a lot of choice on the shelves out there. I was shocked when I found all this out! Shocked that this was the truth and shocked when I looked around my house! Like I said, I’m the first to admit that we are plugged in! Well, I think it’s time to pull the plug! I’m not saying to get rid of everything, but I’m saying moderation! I hope you’ll join me in this struggle, for lack of a better word because it will be! We need to provide them with toys that are open ended! Like something as basic as blocks!

Here’s what I want you to know. There are options out there. We just have to look a little harder for some of them. What I am doing is trying to be part of the solution and help you be too.

How? Well, I have a secret weapon that I want to share with you. No this is not a shameless plug, well, not intentionally, please stay with me here.

There’s a 4 point advantage I want you to know about.

1. Kid powered
2. Layers of learning
3. They are safe
4. Of highest quality

Kid Powered: Object play is critical for future success, learning thru hands on teaches more than worksheets and just being spoken to. They can then create & look at things from different perspectives. They can memorize that 5x2=10 but they can’t tell ya why! Kid Power = Brain Power!

Layers of Learning: it grows with the child, helps to strengthen and teach multiple skills, self esteem & confidence thru developing motor skills, reading and language, thinking & expression. Multiple learning styles Auditory (sound), Kinesthetic (touch & movement) & Visual (sight). Bilingual & trilingual!

They Are Safe: Higher than government and industry standards! If product is deemed unsafe for 1 child it is unsafe for all children & will not be sold on this line!

Of Highest Quality: our manufacturers must PROVE they are using the highest quality of materials!

What or who out there has this 4 point advantage? DISCOVERY TOYS! They have a lifetime guarantee on all their toys! NEVER had a safety recall in the 32 years they have been around! Children are first! Family is first! A company that actually gives a you know what about yours and my children!

Discovery Toys motto: Teach. Play. Inspire. Is not a gimmick to get you to buy their product.

Everything we do is about the child learning thru play! We are in a crisis to save & build our children’s minds!

Here’s what I want you to do. Find a toy that is open ended (like blocks). Sit back and watch them play. See what they do. Don’t start out with the “right way” to play with a toy. Let them learn and explore. You might just be surprised at what you learn too!

Thanks for sticking it out with me! Now, go and spend some time and play with your kids. They are your best investment!

If you would like to learn more about the fantastic learning toys that Discovery Toys offers go to

If you would like help with choosing the right toy(s) for your own unique child please feel free to contact me either thru the web site or at

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Friday, August 20, 2010

Product Spotlight - Try-Angle

#1451   $30.00

Twist, turn, whirl and twirl! This portable, foldable hands-on activity center intrigues tiny eyes, ears and fingers. Try-Angle features 5 sides each with different colorful parts to observe, listen to and manipulate. Lay flat for early tummy time; then, as baby grows, fold for sit-up or tabletop play. 19.5" x 7" (50 cm x 18 cm) flat.

good for Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic learners
Learning Pathways: 6 months to toddler

Exploration, Thinking Skills, Motor Skills

-Develop small motor dexterity by encouraging baby to move, turn, spin, push and twist individual moveable parts
-Identify colors, shapes and patterns
-View and recognize self in a mirror
-Listen for different sounds created and experience cause and effect as parts move, turn, spin, push and twist
-Experience different visual stimuli in each activity area, from moving objects on a track, to spinning objects on a rod, to twisting a disc in place, and more
-Grows with baby from tummy time, to sit-up play, to standing at a tabletop!

To learn more or order this and other games and toys, click here.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What are you doing?

Join DT now for only $89! This incredible offer ends August 31st, then it goes back up to $125. Want more info? Go to now!

Ask me anything, even anonymously

Monday, July 12, 2010

Product Review - Glue Dots

I was recently asked to use and review Glue Dots. I've you've never seen them before, check them out here! They are fun and easy to use.

What are Glue Dots? Glue Dots Adhesives are a safer, easier, mess-free alternative to typical tapes and glue guns. Glue Dots provide the strength you need in an adhesive without the mess and dry time required of liquid glues. Glue Dots bond instantly to a wide variety of surfaces including: Paper/photos, Metal, Wood, Plastic, Textiles/Fibers, Plastic, Foam, and more! Find Glue Dots at a retailer near you or online today!

I used them with my 5 year old, Erich to decorate some small cans as Christmas gifts this year. First, he painted on contruction paper, then cut out different shapes. We then used the Glue Dots (both the craft roller and the mini roller) to attach the paper to the cans. We also took foam shapes and used the Glue Dots to attach those to the cans as well.

Here are a couple pictures of the cans.

We really enjoyed using the Glue Dots and I can't wait to find more things to do with them. Erich really enjoyed rolling the roller to the next dot to stick onto the paper. I really liked that it was easy for him to use and will be using them more for his craft projects in the future.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Glue Dots blogging contest to be eligible to receive a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Discovery Toys Safety & Quality

Playing It Safe: Understanding Age Grading

We have all seen it…a parent jingling keys in front of a fussy infant…then the infant reaches out and the parent allows the child to grasp the keys to chew on…(Not all parents are wise enough to have a set of Boomerings® links handy at a moments notice!)

We all know babies are attracted to the jingling keys but that does not necessarily mean keys are appropriate for infants. In the same way, we often have products that may be attractive to children of all ages but our packaging and activity guides clearly state they are for a specific age group.

The labels you see on Discovery Toys packaging are a collaboration of Marketing and Quality Assurance as we research, test and identify not only the developmental stages of the child and benefits of the toy, but how the product will be used. We take into account safety test criteria as well as age recommendations published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We revise both aspects of the product or the age grade if necessary to get the combination just right.

Discovery Toys packaging indicates the minimum age for which a product is intended. If the packaging states 3+ then the product is not intended for children younger than 3. One of the major milestones at 3 is that children no longer mouth their toys. Toys and games with small pieces should not be provided to children younger than 3 since a child younger than 3 may mouth small pieces causing a potential choking hazard

Follow the age grading on our toys and heed the warning labels on our packaging. Purchase “Grow-with-Me” toys that span age groups such as Rock the Boat and Giant Pegboard™. These toys will save you money by having a toy that can be used for many years, but still be safe for all ages.

Listed below are Age Grading Tips you can use with all toy purchases:

➜ Note the age recommendations and labeling on packaging. The age reflects the minimum age required for a particular toy.

➜ Parents and caregivers who have children of varying ages need to be mindful of the warning labels on products for small parts and to keep these toys separate from younger children so that small pieces are not accessible to them.

➜ If you have young children, get a small parts cylinder to use it to check other toys and items in the home.

➜ Ensure any toys that require batteries for children under age 3 are assembled by an adult and that the battery housing is checked periodically to ensure batteries are intact.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to interact with their children and their toys.

If you have any questions or comments regarding general toy safety or age grading, send your inquiries to:

by: Rosie Alonso, DT Quality Assurance

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Monday, July 5, 2010

Play Diet - Construction

So far in the Play Diet Serise, we have talked about Books/Music/Reading and Puzzles & Patterns. This week, we will take a look at the next group: Construction.

Using a variety of items to build anything their imagination can dream up is wonderful for thinking outside the box, problem solving and lots of open ended playtime. A must for boys and girls.

Older babies and toddlers love to play with blocks and stacking things of all kinds, including My Busy Day and Measure Up! Cups. Castle Marbleworks is also fun because they get to build a simple castle and then watch the marbles race to the bottom.

Preschoolers will enjoy the challenge of the Rock the Boat Balance Puzzle trying to put it together just right before it tips over. They will also enjoy figuring out other ways to stack the pieces. Bright Builders and Bright Builders Plus is a great open-ended construction toy. They are limited to what they can build only by their imagination! They can make anything from a makeup case and a person to flowers and buildings.

Jawbones is a perfect next step for your school aged kids where they will have hours of fun building things like cars, space ships and boats. Marbleworks is a fun construction toy as well where they can build and race the marbles to the bottom. There is also endless fun to be had with Zip Track. They can build a variety of tracks to race cars around.

Take some time to enjoy construction with your child whether you are building a block tower, making a fun craft or building a race track. If you need more suggestions or have questions about how you can incorporate it into your child's play, don't hesitate to email me.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is one characteristic that makes your business unique from others in your industry

There are lots of toy companies out there. We all know it. Anyone can go into just about any store and find some kind of toy in there. But, the thing that makes Discovery Toys different is that all the consultants are trained to help you find the toy(s) that best fits your needs and what your child can do. We are here to serve you and make the most out of your toy purchases. We want to make sure your child is the prefect toy for their age and ability. We do this by asking questions about you and your child and listen to your answers and then discussing with you the different toys and options. You can set up a personal shopping appointment with me or you can host an in home party and I can help your friends as well. Feel free to contact me at you convenience at (765) 461-7989 or If you would like to see the products we have available, go to Thanks and I hope to be able to talk to you soon.

Ask me anything, even anonymously

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How often do you run specials

We have monthly hostess, customer and new consultant specials. I also sometimes run specials that are only announced via Facebook/Blog.

Ask me anything, even anonymously

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What do you most enjoy about what you do

I love being able to help children acheive their potential. I enjoy bring families together through play. Making an impact on others is a great part of this job. Cara Retz Educational Leader

Ask me anything, even anonymously

Discovery Toys Safety and Quality Q & A

What is PVC?
PVC refers to a type of plastic commonly used in many consumer products, including children’s toys. Some PVC products may contain PHTHALATES, which is a chemical additive that makes PVC soft.

Are there regulations as to how much PVC can be in a product?
Yes, the United States has passed legislation that limits the amount of Phthalates that can be present in children’s toys. Similar legislation is currently under review in Canada.

Discovery Toys works closely with our manufacturers to ensure the materials used in our toys meet or exceed the allowable limit set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We have our products tested to these standards prior to shipping.

Do your plastic toys contain PVC?
Discovery Toys products are not necessarily PVC; however, all of our toys do meet the safety requirements for Phthalates set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you have questions about this or any other safety topic please send them to:

Be safe with DT quality Toys.

by: Rosie Alonso, Discovery Toys Quality Assurance

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Monday, June 28, 2010

Play Diet - Puzzles & Patterns

Last week I introduced the Play Diet and talked about Books/Music/Reading. This week I am going to talk to you about Puzzles & Patterns.

Reading, math, science and even social studies all revolve around patterns. The more you can do with patterns the more of a foundation your child will have for all academic success. Many puzzles have an obvious completion element giving that, "I did it!" feeling helping to build confidence.

Babies love to look at patterns such as simple black and white pictures when the are first born to more colorful pictures as they get older. You can link Boomerings in a simple pattern and hang them in their crib or car seat. Make more complex patterns as they get older and then you can use them to teach them how to create their own patters with the Boomerings. Play & Learn Snail is a fun first puzzle for little ones. They can start out by just fitting a couple pieces together growing to put them all together as they get older.

For toddlers, Measure Up! Cups is great for building simple patterns. They even create a pattern while they are picking them up! Giant Pegboard is another good patterning toy. They can create patterns with shapes or colors. They can stack a pattern up or make one across the board. Place & Trace it a fun first puzzle. With large cut-out pieces easy to put it the board, your child will be successful every time.

Preschoolers love our Busy Learning Collection which includes Busy Farm, Busy Bugs and Busy Pets. They come with cards where your child will complete the patterns or they can use the manipulatives by themselves to create patterns by color or animal/insect. Playful Patterns works for both puzzles and patterns. Have your child fill in the pictures on the cards using the different shapes to work on puzzles. There are simple ones for children just starting to use these moving up to harder ones for more experienced children. Use the shapes to create patterns. Your child can make patterns using shapes, colors, or size.

Puzzles & Patterns are great for school ages children as well. Two fun pattern toys are Zip Track and Tricky Fingers. Build Zip Track using different color patterns. Make different patterns with Tricky Fingers either from the cards or making up your own. Labyrinth is a great puzzle game that is always shifting and changing making it challenging for all ages.

I hope you enjoy Puzzles & Patterns with your children. If you need more suggestions or have questions about how you can incorporate it into your child's play, don't hesitate to email me.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Discovery Toys Safety and Quality Q & A

Are Discovery Toys products BPA free?
The best way to answer this important question is by breaking it down into multiple questions and answers so read on…

What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastic (clear, shatterproof plastic). Polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of products including toys due to its shatter resistant properties; however some laboratory studies have linked BPA with adverse affects in laboratory animals in very high doses. There have been no extensive studies on the effects of BPA in humans, though it is clear more research is needed.

What is being done about BPA?
There is a great deal of conflicting scientific information on BPA. Many health officials have confirmed there is not enough scientific evidence to prove BPA poses a health risk to humans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have called for additional studies on the chemical.

Did you know that BPA is not currently regulated in toys?
That’s right…there are no regulations for BPA in toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has not banned the use of this material. There are some states that have banned BPA in children’s drinking bottles and food containers for children under three. Canada as recently as last month has also banned infant drinking bottles. The reason for this is because the chemical can leach into hot liquids from food containers. Toys have not been a part of any of this recent legislation.

Discovery Toys is so committed to safety and quality that we too have been reviewing our product line, working closely with our manufacturers and seeking alternative materials if BPA is being used. We truly mean it when we say: Discovery Toys meets or exceeds all toy safety regulations set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Canadian Hazardous Products Act.

Can we tell our customers Discovery Toys products are BPA free?
No, but here is what you can say:
    • The entire infant line is BPA free.
    • BPA is found in clear plastic, so you can be assured by visually looking at our line that most Discovery Toys would not ever have contained BPA.

If you have additional questions, feel free to send inquiries to:

by: Rosie Alonso, DT Quality Assurance

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Really Love a Child

From The Bowen Cookbook from 1994. There was one “recipe” included by a parent. Hope you enjoy it.

How to Really Love a Child
  by: SARK

Be there.

Say yes as often as possible.

Let them bang on pots and pans.

If they’re crabby, put them in water.

If they’re unlovable, love yourself.

Realize how important it is to be a child.

Go to a movie theater in your pajamas.

Read books out loud with joy.

Invent pleasures together.

Remember how really small they are.

Giggle a lot.

Surprise them.

Say no when necessary.

Teach feelings.

Heal your own inner child.

Learn about parenting.

Hug trees together.

Make loving safe.

Bake a cake and eat it with no hands.

Go find elephants and kiss them.

Plan to build a rocket ship.

Imagine yourself magic.

Make lots of forts with blankets.

Let your angel fly.

Reveal your own dreams.

Search out the positive.

Keep the gleam in your eye.

Encourage silly.

Plant licorice in your garden.

Open up.

Stop yelling.

Express your love.

A lot.

Speak kindly.

Paint their tennis shoes.

Handle with caring.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educatioanl Leader, Discovery Toys

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Healthy is Your Child's Play Diet?

Children need a healthy play diet just like they would need a healthy food diet. Just like you wouldn't give your child apples and bananas for every meal, you can't give your child just books or just puzzles to play with. There are 8 areas that every child needs for a well rounded "Play Diet". They are:
  • Books/Music/Reading
  • Puzzles & Patterns
  • Construction
  • Games
  • Creative Expression
  • Sensory/Exploration
  • Active Play/Gross Motor
  • Fine Motor
I want to teach you why these areas are important and some products that would be good in each. I will be posting about 1 area each Monday for the next few weeks. Let's start off today looking at Books/Music/Reading.

A child can never have enough books and music in their life. From a love of language and experiences with letters and words to the bonding that comes from enjoying them together, it's THE most important think you can give your child. Reading and music is also a great way to travel to a different world without leaving your home. It's great bonding time to snuggle on the couch looking through books together with your child and you can never start too early.

Give your child a wide range of types of books to read and music to listen to.  For babies, you can start out by playing music and reading to them before they are even born. Classical is great for little ones to listen to.  Animal Baby and Busy Baby are great first books. They are cloth, which makes them easy to hold and it won't hurt them (or the baby) if they are chewed on. They have wonderful pictures to look at and a simple wording to go with each picture.  Sounds Like Learning is a CD children can listen to for years and enjoy. It's soothing, so makes it nice to listen to during nap time and they are learning at the same time.

For toddlers, a fun book to read is The Potty Train.  It's a cute story that they will enjoy and will also get them thinking about going potty! Toddlers also love to get up and move, so our Baby Grooves instrument set, which includes cage bell, baby maraca, cymbal shaker and bead roller, will get them doing that and making music all at the same time. There is even a CD for them to play along with. Music is good for children to listen to and make because it helps them create rhythms and patterns which will then go on reading and math success. Fingerplays and Fun is another CD that will get you and your child up and dancing with fun songs likes Itsy Bitsy Spider, Little Ducky Duddle and I'm Driving In My Car.

Our Beyond The Book Collections are perfect for preschools. We offer 2 sets which include a book, CD, card game and plush toy. The first set is Gustav The Musical Mole which teaches all the different musical instruments and the second is The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear which teaches about sharing. We also have Jam Sessions, another musical instrument set perfect for older children which includes a hand drum & mallet, tambourine, guiro & mallet, and 2 castanets.

A couple books your school ages children will enjoy is Puzzle Island and How To Build Your Own Country. Puzzle Island will get them reading a fun story while figuring out a big puzzle that will take them through the entire book. How To Build Your Own Country give your child the freedom to be creative and express themselves in a fun way by guiding them though everything they need to run a country, from designing a flag and coming up with a motto to making a passport and setting laws.

As you can see, Books/Music/Reading is an important part of your child's play diet and is vital to their success in school and beyond. Introduce them to books and music early and they will have a lifetime of learning fun.

If you have any questions or would like other suggestions on how to get your child on a healthy play diet, please don't hesitate to email me. I'm happy to help you any way I can.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Does It Fit?

Learning about size should be a hands-on experience for your child. Give your child a set of mearsuring cups (like our Measure Up! Cups or Measure Up! Pots & Spoons, or three different sizes of plastic (so they won't break) cups or glasses. Let your child experiement to see which cup will fit inside the other ones. See if they can stack them by size. If you have some baby shoes or doll shoes, and your child's own shoe, see if your child can figure out which shoe will fit his or her foot, and which shoe will fit inside the other. If you can, get different sizes of boxes or other items that will fit inside each other.

If you would like other suggestions on how you can teach size, please email me.
posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learning Social Skills

Social skills is an area of development that many kindergarten teachers find are weaknesses in children coming to kindergarten. Before the teachers can teach children basic academic skills important for building a great foundation for success in school, they must have children who will listen, share, take turns, keep their hands to themselves, follow rules and are healthy.

If your child is an only child, be sure you take them to places where they can learn social skills by playing with other children.  This may be a playgroup that meets in someones home, a mom's morning out program, church, playground, or any other place where you child can regularly interact with other children.

Unless you guide and teach them these skills, they won't learn them "on their own." You can also do things at home to teach these skills. Give them a simple activity to do with 2 or 3 steps. Play games together were you take turns. Read together. A couple Discovery Toys items that would be great for teaching these kinds of things is Roll & Play, Giant Pegboard and Match Up Books: Hide & Seek and Ride & Go.

Another skill that is important for teachers and should be for you, is to teach your child to put things back where they belong and to help clean up messes. You can help teach this by having only 10 or 12 toys for your child to choose from at a time.  Have the rest put away and rotate them on a regular basis. (This will also help your toys last longer because when they come back out they will be "new" again). Placing labels or pictures showing where the toys go will help as well. When they spill something or make a mess, have them clean it up at home. Don't make them leave it alone and you take care of it. Have them help you.

Teaching your child these things early will prepare them greatly for school. It will also make your family life more enjoyable. If you have any questions or would like suggestions of other products that can help, please contact me.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Friday, June 4, 2010

Product Recall - McDonald's Shrek Cups

Safety is a major concern at Discovery Toys.  That is why I am going to start posting recalls that I see for you to easily find.

McDonald's recalls 12 million ‘Shrek’ drink glasses as paint on cheap collectibles contains toxic metal cadmium - AP

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You

Thank you to all the men and women who have served this country over the past 200+ years to keep us free, to protect us and to help us. We are forever indebted to you. No matter what capacity you have served in, whether on the front lines of battle or back home helping with a disaster, whether in a time of peace or a time of war. You step up and give of yourselves. You put yourself in the line of fire willingly. You have my utmost respect and gratitude. We as a nation cannot say it enough. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for you and your bravery.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I am proud to say that I am an American where I know I am free.  I will never forget the men (and women) who died to give that right (and privilege) to me.  And I will gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Cause there isn't any doubt...I love this land.  God Bless the USA.  God Bless You.  God bless all who have served and will serve our great nation.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Join Me at BlogFrog

I recently joined an online blog community and wanted to share it wth you in hopes that you would check it out and join it too.  It's called BlogFrog.  It's a community of blogs to be able to enteract with the blogs you read and with other readers!  Check it out and join my community!

posted by:
Cara Retz, Educational Leader

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Sale!!

DT Annual Summer Sale
June 1st - July 18th

If you would like a copy of this flyer, please email me at and I will email/mail you a copy.  To place an order, call or email me or go online to and click on Shop Products.

posted by:
Cara Retz, Educational Leader
(765) 461-7989

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Preferred Customer Program

Announcing my new Preferred Customer Program! As a member, you will be able to earn free and discounted products as well as get occasional special offers and promotions just for members. Here are some rules to help you understand and take full advantage of the program.

1. When you become a member, you will receive a Preferred Customer card where you will be able to keep track of your points. To fill a card, you need 20 points.

2. Earning points:
       a. Every $10 spent = 1 pt.
       b. Refer me to a friend, every $20 spent on their 1st order = 1 pt.
       c. Host a party, every $50 in sales = 1 pt.
       d. Donate $10 or more to the Healthy Families Toy Drive = 2 pts.

3. Rewards:
       a. 5 pts. = DT Eco Tote
       b. 10 pts. = 10% off your next order
       c. 15 pts. = $10 item of choice
       d. 20 pts. = FREE shipping plus 15% off your next order

4. Once you have received a reward, you must start a new card.

5. The card expires 1 year after you join. You can get a new card each year you are a member.

6. There is no cost to join.

This program is available only through me. Please contact me to join and earn or redeem points.

Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

10 Ways You Are Making a Better World Now

Mom, the little things you do daily aren't so little. When you add them all up, they make one better world for those around you.

Comfort. There's nothing like a mother's kiss or a friend's hug to tell someone they're important. Now what's more world changing than that?

Create. You make snacks. You make blanket forts. You make babies, for cryin' out loud! Your partnership in God's creative process makes some pretty amazing results.

Encourage. The "Good jobs!" and "You did its!" you hand out a zillion times a day land on the ears of your kids, friends and spouse - sprinkling life and hope into others.

Help. "Mommy! Can you _________?" Fill in the blank: Get me a drink? Put on Barbie's dress? Wipe my bottom? Need I say more?

Recycle. We're not just talking soda cans here. All those hand-me-downs and thrify mom moves you make help more than the bank account, they also reduce waste.

Read. You might not read the NY Times daily (or you might), but every Curious George or Fancy Nancy story you read begins a process of lifelong learning for your child, not to mention some stellar brain development.

Beautify. From waterin ga garden to singing nursery rhymes, you add your special touch to the world around you - leaving your unique imprint on other's hearts.

Laugh. Ticks and peek-a-boo games and knock-knock jokes that don't make any sense teach your kids that life can be fun and, depeding on the joke, that laughing is a choice.

Teach. Who teaches the world to eat with a spoon, say please and thank-you, and to brush their teeth? By "the world" I mean everyone from "Astronauts to Zookeepers."

Pray. Those shout-out in the wee hours of the night are not just noticed, they're heard by God who loves you. They change your heart - and that really does make a better world.

written by: Alexandra Kuykendall
taken from MomSense May/June 2010, MOPS Int.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Product Spotlight - Garden Works

#2090    $25.00

Gardening offers the perfect do-together family activity, and this set of sturdy child-size gardening hand tools is just what you need to get growing. With the Garden Works Activity Guide, you'll soon be exploring early science concepts involving planning, planting, growing and tending. Set includes four gardening tools, two interchangeable tool handles, one plastic watering can, plus handy plastic storage case.

Learning Pathways: from 4 years - primary school
Exploration, Motor Skills, Expression, Thinking Skills

-Identify and learn to use simple hand tools designed for gardening;
-Understand that a tool’s shape is related to its usage;
-Explore and experience science concepts and vocabulary related to planning, planting, growing, and tending a garden;
-Learn how to do research to make informed choices;
-Strengthen small motor dexterity;
-Promote independence and self-esteem!

To learn more or order this and other games and toys, click here.

My 4 year old loves to play with these Garden Tools. We have already planted some apple seeds and he loves to go out and see if it has grown.  He asks me every day when he goes outside if he can take the tools.  I love them because he has his own tools and doesn't have to use mine.  I also like that they come in their own case so he can easily keep them together.

posted by:

Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Making Work at Home Work - March 2010

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

Find the Right Coach
By Mary M. Byers

In my last post I talked about working with a coach. This time, we'll address how to find the right coach for you. I suggest the following:

Referrals. Ask friends and colleagues if they can recommend anyone to you. Listen to conversations. If you hear someone mention that they work with a coach, ask if they'd be willing to share the name and contact information. Referrals are by far the best way to find a coach.

Identify specifically what you need help with. Do you need help increasing your income? Decreasing your expenses? Someone to brainstorm marketing ideas with? Or, do you have plenty of ideas but lack the follow through to do them? In this latter case, you'll want someone who can use a little tough love to hold you accountable for getting things done. The more specific you are regarding where you need help, the more likely you'll be to find a coach that's a good fit for you.

Search online.Do a search for coaches online. You'll find plenty! Pick a few sites to go to, read about each coach and his or her philosophy, and watch the videos. You'll get a sense of who you might feel comfortable working with. Narrow the list to these possibilities.

Request a complimentary introductory session. This is THE most important step. I "met" by phone with several coaches before finding mine. One coach spent the whole conversation talking about herself. Another spent the entire time saying, "If you decide to work with me, then..." And a third was not at all focused during our conversation, which led me to believe our coaching sessions would be the same way--frustrating for me.

Make the decision. Know that your coaching relationship won't last forever. This makes it easier to decide who you will work with. Pick the coach you are most interested in. Then, ask if you can sign up for a limited number of sessions (a minimum of three). You'll have a good sense of how the relationship is working after several sessions.

Be willing to do the work. When you enter a coaching relationship, you're making a commitment to help your coach help you. And you're making a commitment to doing homework between sessions as well as to do the heavy thinking required to help take your business to the next level. Coaches see lots of people who are willing to pay for help, but fewer who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Your work with a coach only pays off if you're invested and willing to sweat along with your coach.

Good luck!

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 Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys