Archive: Child Development

February 23, 2011

Family Game Night: Back to the Classics

Now that my son’s in third grade – well past the baby stage – my husband and I recently decided to test out a family game night. We’ve been playing games as a family for years, but we’ve never had a dedicated game night. And now that our son’s at an age where his skills and abilities demand more challenging games, the games are a lot more fun for us!

I’m finding the things that are big hits around our house are the classics: those games that everyone remembers playing as a kid. Each one of these games is great not only for together time, but for learning. Plus, they’re just good, cheap family entertainment!

  • Dominoes is making a big comeback in our house. It’s the perfect complement to times-table exercises for a gradeschool-aged child.
  • Although it can run a little long sometimes, Monopoly is a great way to teach your child about money, especially if you let him or her play the banker.
  • Charades is all about silly fun, but it’s also proven to develop children’s creativity and communication skills.

Our favorite new game, BananaGrams, has only been around since 2006 but feels like a classic already. Essentially, it’s like a freeform version of Scrabble without the board or the points. The banana-shaped bag of tiles is perfect for bringing along with you, and it’s great for reinforcing those spelling lessons!

December 8, 2010

An A-List Interview: Jenny Argie and Andrew Thornton

You know how people always like to talk about balance? I believe one of the most important steps in attempting to achieve a work-life balance is to figure out how to integrate the two. And this week’s A-List interview is with two people who give work-life integration a whole new meaning: Jenny Argie and Andrew Thornton, husband and wife, parents of three and cofounders of Argington Modern Children’s Furniture. We love their designs – and the two of them clearly make a great team!

Ali Wing: What is your motto?
Jenny Argie:
Design Follows Nature, and Natural By Design.

AW: What inspires you? Read more…

April 27, 2010

First Set of Wheels

Part scooter, part bicycle — all fun! Nothing beats the Early Rider Lite for the perfect first bike. It doesn’t have pedals and has a scooter-like style, which means little ones as young as 20 months can use it.

When my son was two, I absolutely loved watching him scooting around Manhattan on his pedal-free bike. Not only are they pretty adorable, these bikes also help kids develop balance and motor skills that come in really handy when they get their first big-kid bike. It’s also a smart alternative to having your little one in a stroller when you have the opportunity for them to be active!

I’m particularly excited for the Early Rider Lite for its great price. Traditionally, these awesome, craftsman-style bicycles have cost several hundred dollars. But the Early Rider is only $160. Considering you’ll get 2-3 years use out of it, it really is a great value!

P.S. For the dad cyclists out there, you’ll also be impressed by the quality of the pneumatic tires with aluminum rims.

January 1, 2010

Required Reading

Alphabet books and counting books are nothing new. And since they’re usually geared towards a baby’s taste (and attention span) they’ve never been much of a treat for the parents — until now.

Finally, someone has given those staples of the baby library an exciting new look using bold illustrations by beloved artist Charley Harper. Whether or not you recognize the name, you’ve likely seen his work. Charley Harper was an American Modernist who created stylized wildlife prints in a style he described as “minimal realism.”

These simple books full of beautiful colorful illustrations are a great way to help kids learn their ABCs and 123s. There’s even a classic game where your kids can match 36 pairs of cards graced with his beautiful birds, ladybugs, and nature scenes.

We love these classics that parents will enjoy looking at just as much as their baby does. Who knew basic building blocks could look so good?

November 22, 2009

Modern Classic

Who doesn’t love a teddy bear? From Build-a-Bear Workshops to Paddington stories to teddy bear collection series that never end, people love teddy bears. I even remember thinking the cheap dime store-style teddy bear that I got with a  bouquet of carnations from a boy for Valentine’s Day in Montana in the 5th grade was lovable…

aw_bear_modernclassic

So why bears? What about bears inspired our beloved “teddy bears?”  Why not lion cubs? Giraffe calves? Or your average kitty cats?  And while most of us know the origin of the name as credited to Teddy Roosevelt, the truth is that no one is sure who made the first teddy bear. However inspired — traditional, contemporary or modern in style — there’s a place on every shelf for at least one teddy bear.

And that’s why my pick is this modern classic teddy bear. It’s sweet, but fun; classic, but modern;  cute, but not precious; lovable and laughable – a teddy bear, with a twist.  What’s hidden in baby bear’s pockets? A squeaky fish, chirping bird, rattling squirrel, and teether for soothing sore gums are hidden in color-coded pockets for colors and matching! So in very giggle style, its mixed-fabrics and interactive play elements make it just as developmentally minded as it is adorable.

October 11, 2009

Halloween Happy

My favorite time of year to “gift” is Halloween.

Now don’t get me wrong – at least for my 13 nieces and nephews I’m very good about Christmas gifts too. (Admittedly, I can no longer keep up with holiday gifting to my 8 brothers and sisters; particularly in a large family, survival dictates moving to the next generation at a certain point!) But what I love about Halloween is that any gift is unexpected and every gift is nothing but fun.

I also find Fall is just a great time for new kids’ books. Something about Halloween in particular brings out all kinds of great stories.

My pick this year is “I’m Not Scared” by Jonathan Allen.  Baby Owl is absolutely, positively NOT afraid of the dark. Well, maybe just a little bit.  This fun book is not only perfect for Halloween – it’s also a great bedtime story for reluctant little ones at lights-out.

With so many great stories to choose from, spreading the happy of Halloween – for me – is simply irresistible!