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