My kids have all seemed to enjoy art, in one form or another, and I love the creativity that is fostered when a child creates something totally their own. Learning various crafting techniques and art skills has always had great appeal for our family. You would be hard pressed not to find bits of fabric, [...]
My kids have all seemed to enjoy art, in one form or another, and I love the creativity that is fostered when a child creates something totally their own. Learning various crafting techniques and art skills has always had great appeal for our family. You would be hard pressed not to find bits of fabric, string, yarn, construction paper, drawing paper, watercolor paper, paper, pencils, markers, chalk, scissors, tape, felt, glue, buttons, pins, raffia, clay, paint, etc. in boxes and bins around my house. I love being able to just turn the kids loose to dream up something fantastic and then excitedly come to share it with me, when they’re done.
I’m a little picky about the products we use for these activities, though. I think it’s a good idea to start from scratch and create with the raw materials we have available. Some are purchased new, some are gifted, some are picked up for pennies at garage sales and thrift stores. I love transforming something old into something new and useful. It saves money and makes good use of our resources. I don’t purchase craft kits very often, but occasionally, I am pleasantly surprised to find pre-made craft kits that not only do a good job of teaching a skill, but make room for, and even encourage, the child’s creativity.
I was treated with just such a pleasant surprise, when I reviewed Artterro’s Paint with Wool: Needle Felting Kit. Unlike craft kits that have asked my kids to assemble a cookie-cutter, pre-defined project that will be exactly like every other created by someone using that kit, Artterro provided clear instructions for learning a skill and then provided materials to allow my student to design her own creations from what she learned. I will be spending the money, this fall, to add a few more of their kits to our homeschool art line-up, after enjoying the high-quality materials and latitude for personal creativity in the fun kit we were fortunate enough to review.
Needle felting is one craft I have been so curious about, in recent years, but just never had the time to research and figure out how to do it. So naturally, when I was given the opportunity to review the needle felting kit from Arrterro, I jumped at the chance. The instructions were simple, clear and easy to understand and our ten-year-old mastered the technique in only minutes. The kit comes with enough supplies to create at least four different projects: four natural 100% wool felt canvases, 13 colors of roving wool, felting needles, ideas and instructions. This was a project that both my daughter, and I, were able to learn and enjoy. That’s a hallmark of the Artterro line – that their projects are fun and simple for all ages, kids to adults. Our particular kit says that it is for ages 8 and up, and I think that’s a good call, as they will be working with a sharp needle to do the felting.
I hope you will check out all the different kits available for you and your kids at Artterro. They are fantastic for learning new skills, expanding creativity and imagination, fine tuning small motor skills and eye-hand coordination. The projects are items that you and your kids will be proud to display when they’re finished, instead of just ending up in the wastebasket. The kits and the projects you make from them would be excellent as gifts, too. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter, too! With back-to-school just around the corner, you don’t want to miss any news or great deals on these fun and education-worthy art kits.
One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will be able to share the fun and creativity of Artterro with their own family. The mandatory entry is the comment on this post that is detailed in the first option in the Rafflecopter form, below. Click the DO IT button to read the instructions and then create your answer for a comment, below. Once you hit Enter, all the optional additional entries will be opened for you. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received the Artterro Paint with Wool Kit in order to test it in my own home and to collect information for this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product. Busy-at-Home administers the giveaway, selecting the winner in a random drawing. The prize is provided and shipped by Artterro.
It’s a puzzle. It’s a maze. It’s a hands-on study in gravitational pull. lol We love it and your family will, too. I get excited about educational toys and games – ones that stretch the mind and challenge my kids to strategize and think. When a company not only accomplishes that, but creates a game [...]
It’s a puzzle. It’s a maze. It’s a hands-on study in gravitational pull. lol We love it and your family will, too. I get excited about educational toys and games – ones that stretch the mind and challenge my kids to strategize and think. When a company not only accomplishes that, but creates a game that is addictingly fun, I call it like I see it. WIN! It’s no surprise to me that Perplexus Original has been nominated for the Toy of the Year Awards. (You can use that link to cast a vote for them, yourself.) It’s produced by the makers of the Plasma Car, so when I was given the opportunity to review and host a giveaway of this totally contained, no-tiny-pieces-to-swallow, lose, or end-up-in-the-vacuum game, I jumped at the chance! I’m so glad I did AND so is my family – young and old. They literally wait in line, (some patiently, others, not so much ) for a turn to solve the puzzle and once they get ahold of it, they’re reluctant to pass it on to someone else. I can envision tournaments where multiple players, each with their own Perplexus Original ball, speed through the bendy, gravity-defying puzzle/maze to reach the finish, first. We’re definitely going to need a couple more of these! lol The great thing is that they are less expensive than the average board game, and a huge savings over other toys and video games, at only $19.99 each!
The list of reasons I love this game just goes on and on, not the least of which is that no batteries or electricity are required! It has it’s own stand, which gives it a place to be, instead of rolling about. Ours sits on the end table next to the couch and gets picked up and used several times a day. It’s portable (only 8″ in diameter) and would be great entertainment on long car trips. Kids will fine tune their motor skills and eye-hand coordination while stretching their brain and having a blast! It’s simple to understand, but challenging to complete. It requires some thought, problem solving, dexterity, perseverance and patience — fantastic skills for kids (and big “kids”) to acquire. How does a toy get better than that?
Now, because of the silly world we live in, I am compelled to say,”This toy contains a small metal marble. It is sealed inside the round plastic ball, but if your child is a diligent engineering marvel, who enjoys disassembling sealed objects, or someone who would likely place the ball on the floor and smash it with their foot or blunt objects, there IS the potential that said child COULD eventually crush the ball, sift through the rubble and place the marble in their mouth, in which case they would likely swallow it. So, as a parent, use good judgement and don’t leave children under 3 unsupervised with this toy.” I feel so much better, now, that you have been warned about the obvious and the ridiculous! lol It’s like all those little warnings they have to print on hair dryer packages. “Do not operate this appliance in the sink.” “Do not use the hair dryer in bed.” Seriously? It’s so sad that somewhere along the line, some foolish and irresponsible person made such warnings necessary, but they have, so, now consider yourself forewarned. lol
You’re totally going to LOVE this toy! You’re also going to get a kick out of the deeply focused looks of concentration on the faces of anyone playing it. It’s amazing how serious they get about solving this puzzle!
We’ve definitely cast our vote for Perplexus as the Educational Toy of the Year and I hope you’ll take a minute to cast your vote, as well! We are having a blast with Perplexus and I anticipate many more hours of fun and competition with it in our family! I’m so excited to be able to share a chance to own one with your family! Just use the easy entry form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received Perplexus in order to test it and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Mega Bloks are a family favorite, in our household; and their new Dora’s Garden Gazebo set has only reinforced that! I had the chance to review this fun toy with our 3- and 4-year-old granddaughters, over the weekend, and was so tickled to see the fun they had. The toy is designed for ages 3 [...]
Mega Bloks are a family favorite, in our household; and their new Dora’s Garden Gazebo set has only reinforced that! I had the chance to review this fun toy with our 3- and 4-year-old granddaughters, over the weekend, and was so tickled to see the fun they had. The toy is designed for ages 3 and up and has the same “chunky” pieces we are used to with Mega Bloks, but it includes more than just blocks. The pieces can be used to build a “gazebo” and also includes a Dora the Explorer figure, a second skirt (yup! Dora can change clothes.), bluebird, fence, watering can, flower pot, flower, evergreen tree, umbrella, and picnic table. AND, with only 19 pieces, it is easy to gather them back into the box when play is finished.
The one possible drawback, if you can call it that, is that some of the pieces are small. If you have a toddler who enjoys putting things in their mouth, this could obviously pose a choking hazard, which is clearly stated on the packaging. I know most of you, like me, understand what “ages 3 and up” means, and exercise common sense and good judgment in your own personal circumstances. My not-quite-two grandson (He’s not really a “taste everything” sort of toddler), engaged in play with this toy several times over the weekend, with my close supervision, and had an absolute blast. Would I leave him alone with it? No! Did he benefit from playing with it while I kept a close watch? Absolutely! Now on to the good stuff! What did I love about it?
- The opportunities for creativity and imagination are endless. Each of the girls were rapt in their own imaginary scenarios as they played with the set. Dora had all sorts of adventures, I would never have dreamed of and literally provided an entire day of off-and-on fun and play for both our granddaughters. The “pillars” for the gazebo became walls or doors or gates. Dora took a trip with the bluebird and was also introduced to Barbie. The tree grew in the flower pot and then the flower grew in the flowerpot. The fence was most often used as a swinging gate, attached to only one block post so it was left free to swing on one end.
- Eye-hand coordination practice and refining of small motor skills as the individual pieces were fit together. These tasks are going to help train those little fingers and minds for bigger tasks in the future and help prepare them for other small motor tasks like handwriting.
- The colors! What child isn’t immediately drawn into a toy that is bursting with bright, inviting color? I even wanted to play with it!
- There is no right or wrong way to assemble it, so children are encouraged to come up with their own ideas and designs. Multiple design ideas are shown on the package, as well, to help inspire them.
Mega Bloks never disappoints our family, when it comes to creative learning toys that even younger children can enjoy and learn from! Really, their toys are good for such a wide age-range, depending on which toys you select. If you haven’t experienced their fine products, I hope you’ll visit their website and learn more about them. A new feature of that website is their Mega Bloks Family Club, where you will find special offers, contests, sweepstakes and promotions on lots of Mega Bloks toys; as well as an educational and informative blog, the opportunity to receive a free email newsletter AND a COUPON for $5 off $30 in Mega Bloks toys, just for signing up! It’s definitely worth your time to check it out!
One of you will be able to win a Dora’s Garden Gazebo for your own family in the giveaway made possible here at Busy-at-Home, by Mega Blocks and Child’s Play Communications.
Entrants must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. Mandatory entry must be completed before optional entries will be counted. Deadline to enter is midnight (CST) Sunday, May 15, 2011. Winner will be selected in a random drawing, using random.org. Several bloggers are working with MegaBloks and Child’s Play PR on this campaign. Only one prize per winner. If you win on multiple blogs, you will receive one prize and new winners will be selected, for the others.
In a comment below, share what is your family’s favorite Mega Bloks toy or set OR which one you would love to have. If you need ideas, you can visit the Mega Bloks website.
Optional Additional Entries:
- Follow Mega Bloks on Twitter and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Twitter handle.
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- Post this giveaway on your Facebook page. Enter to win a Dora’s Garden Gazebo Play Set by Mega Bloks in a Busy-at-Home giveaway. http://busy-at-home.com/blog/doras-garden-gazebo-by-mega-bloks-a-review-giveaway/ Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
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In order to conduct this review and test the product, I received a Dora’s Garden Gazebo Play Set by Mega Bloks, through Child’s Play Communications. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.