Toy Industry awards name top toys from 2008/2009

This year the Toy Industry Association has selected the best of eleven categories of U.S. toys.

Of course some of these toys you may be familiar with as they were also available in the UK.

The top toys are chosen on the following basis; creativity and novelty, product design and safety, and overall presentation

Technology has played an important role in this years products with the advancement of electronic toys breaking new ground

The top toys awarded by category are;

1. Boy Toy of the Year – Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres, Spin Master and (Grand Prize) Toy of the Year – Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres, Spin Master.

The Bakugan game revolves around the Bakugan Battle Brawlers which are not-of-this-earth magnet-loaded fighting figures that look very innocent in their non-fighting phase — that being a ball. But when one ball hits another or a special magnetic card, the Battle Brawler is aroused from its ball-sleep and watch out; it’s ready to fight! Strategy is involved in this game and there are limitless Bakugan Battle Brawlers to collect. The Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres is the starter kit.

2. Property of the Year – Bakugan Battle Brawlers

The Bakukan Battle Brawlers TV show has become a popular anime for preteens on Saturday morning’s Cartoon Network You can check scheduling or see complete past episodes on the Cartoon Network website. There are also Bakugan Battle Brawlers, DVDs!

3. Educational Toy of the Year – LeapFrog TAG Reading System, LeapFrog

This interactive reading toy helps children learn vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading comprehension. By ‘tagging’ words and characters with the pen-like Tag Reader, your child hears the word speak or the character sing. Parents can log on to the LeapFrog site and find out what their children are learning, so they can find some interesting ways to support it. The system is for kids 4 – 8 years old and this starter kit comes with the Tag Reader, USB cable, LeapFrog Connect software CD, and the book Ozzie and Mach.

4. Activity Toy of the Year – Crayola Colour Wonder Magic Light Brush(tm), Crayola LLC

Crayola packs magic into a basic kit including a 30-page Colour Wonder paper tablet and a light up brush with 6 colours of Colour Wonder Gel Paint. Can you say ‘No mess?’ The brush recognizes the colour of the Gel Paint and lights up in that colour. When applied to the colouring book, the brush lights up the page with the colour. True Magic. Other neat related items are available, such as the Crayola Glow Station and the Crayola Colour Explosion Glow Board.

5. Girl Toy of the Year – Playmobil Horse Farm, Playmobil

The kit comes with three people figures, three ponies, a kitten, wheel barrel, hay, a ladder, fences and many other accessories. The stable has three horseboxes, a section for refreshment, and an area for grooming. Playmobil Horse Farm is a great place to play and pretend.

6. Game of the Year – Bananagrams

Bananagrams is a word game that uses alphabet tiles to build words, but the tiles have no values, so you can’t get extra points for a “Q.” But there are, apparently, several different ways you can play the game, and if you want to get the whole family involved for an extended game, you can purchase more than one set and combine them.

7. Electronic Entertainment Toy of the Year – FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup

Biscuit is a truly sweet interactive toy pet — kind of robotic in fact. He responds based on how much attention you are paying him, and if you’re not, he barks to get your attention. He has nine sensors that respond to voice, sight and touch. He makes three different doggy barks, wags his tail, sits, lies down, and speaks on command, and more. Amazing!

8. Infant/Preschool Toy of the Year – Elmo Live

Elmo has come along way since the previous edition. The new Elmo muppet is now Elmo Live, a sitting, standing, leg-crossing, singer and joke teller, with a real voice . Dancing Elmo Live comes to life to tell stories and jokes, and sing songs. Your kids will be amazed! Elmo can throw his head back, wave his arms, stand up, sit down and even cross his legs! Featuring high-tech in-built interactive sensors, dancing Elmo is capable of reacting to touch, voice and more! Tickle his belly and he’ll giggle, sneeze! Elmo Live can ask for hugs, blow you kisses and even tell you he loves you! With different activation points all over his body, the fun will just keep on going! Squeeze his nose and he’ll sneeze. Elmo Live is your new best friend!

9. Most Innovative Toy of the Year – Air Hogs Zero Gravity Micro

Spin Master’s Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres. The Air Hogs Zero Gravity Micros are super swift radio controlled cars that can race on your walls! There’s a selection of them already, and they just came out recently. Here is a Dark Blue Zero Gravity Micro Car!

10. Outdoor Toy of the Year – Crayola 3D Sidewalk Chalk

The multi-coloured two-sided chalk pieces in this starter kit come with a set of 3-D glasses, which apparently make any bright colours 3-D! These are meant for kids 4+, but it sounds like fun for “artists” of any age. Check out the other Crayola 3-D sets too.

11. Speciality Toy of the Year – Create Your Own Pop-Up Books

Encourage your kids to write their own book and create their own pop-up drawings in this ready made format. Each box contains two books just ready to be filled with young imaginations! The kit also includes, sticks, markets and story starter ideas, as well as pop-up ideas. Create Your Own Pup-Up Books.

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Remedial Reading: Is It The Definition Of Insanity?

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again always expecting a different result! Whoever said practice makes perfect was definitely not trying to teach a child with learning disabilities to read, write or spell! It suddenly struck me how true this definition is of traditional methods of remedial reading.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am not accusing reading teachers of being insane (although if you spend long enough trying to teach a child with learning disabilities to read you may inch closer to it). Teaching children with learning disabilities is a noble and often painstaking profession. It takes a lot of time, energy, patience and skill to do the job well. Of all these, possibly patience is the most difficult to come by, because as you go over the same principles and reading texts again and again, teachers, parent and the children themselves become very frustrated, and very discouraged.
Surely There Must Be A Better Way!

Doing something over and over again can be beneficial if the person involved has the ability to change and learn rapidly. But what happens if practice doesn’t make perfect, it just makes huge amount of frustration? What happens if the child continues to make the same mistakes page after page, day after day, month after month. They’re trying hard, the teacher or parent is trying hard, but the only progress they’re making is destroying their relationship!

What if there was something you could do that would INCREASE the child’s ability to LEARN TO READ? Something that was not as painful as reading, something that you could see and measure progress in and something that the child could walk away from saying, “I can do this!”
Train The Right Things

The old story of the two axeman is applicable here. Remember the story of how one kept chopping wood, kept trying longer and longer and yet day after day he chopped less trees. The other took some time out of his busy day to sharpen his axe, and managed to chop more wood than his colleague. So perhaps it is time to take a break and sharpen your child’s axe!

The great news is that, as a practitioner working in the filed of learning disabilities for over 20 years, I have had enormous success caring for children with learning disabilities in my community. What has brought such success and stopped the painful remedial reading syndrome? Training the skills that are needed to do the job.

Vision is the dominant sense, with over 80% of all information in the classroom coming in through the visual system. So, it makes sense that, if we train these skills to be more effective, we can make the process of learning to read far easier.

This training goes beyond the simple ability to see: It involves eye coordination, focus, visual memory, sequencing, whole body development, left-right awareness and a whole host of visually related skills. All of these can be improved, usually very substantially, by doing the right therapies, and thus reading can be improved as a consequence.
How Can This Be Done?

Until recently this form of training has only ever been available directly from the practitioner. So, if you did not have a Behavioral Optometrist in your area, you could not help your child in this way. But I have spent the last year modifying my therapy program so you can do it in your own home for a fraction of what you would pay a qualified practitioner, anywhere in the world. It takes only 20 minute a day, it has clear and concise instructions and you will see your child improving within 6 months if you follow the therapies correctly.
The Best 20 Minutes In Your Day

So, by investing 20 minutes a day you can see positive results in your child in a few months. I am not joking, and I’m not exagerating, because I’ve seen all the children who do this program improve to a greater or lesser degree. How can they not? We train the skills that they need to do well, in the same way that football training benefits footballers of all skill levels, because the better the skills are, the more effective they will be on the field (or on the page).
So Help Is At Hand

So if you are struggling to teach a child with learning disabilitites to read, write or spell, then perhaps now is the time to try something different. Instead of continuing the agony (and possible insanity) of repeating the task over and over and over, why not take time out for a few months and train the skills that they need to do the job. If you do this, I guarantee that the process of learning to read will be far easier, and you and your child will be far less frustrated.
How Do I Know If This Could Help My Child?

I have a free Home Vision Screening Test which I can offer you. This involves some of the actual tests I perform on my child patience, including tests for focus, eye movements, visual memory and so on. It does not replace a complete eye test by a qualified practitioner, but it can show you whether the specialized techniques I have developed will help your child.

This Incredible Home Vision Screening Kit is yours for FREE which you visit our site at

So please, don’t keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Take a little time out of the grind of remedial reading to train the skills that will sharpen your child’s skills and increase their learning ability.

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How to keep the kids well dressed during a recession

Firstly let me give you a little bit of background here. I am a single mother and my children have always looked clean and smart but I was not brought up to spend a lot of money on clothes. Maybe for a good winter jacket or a pair of boots but not for clothes that you wear around the house or most importantly for the kids to play in.

So I brought my children up to be grateful for what they had and to look after it and this worked out fine, until they went to school. Something seems to happen as soon as the kids set foot through the school gates. My little girl wasn’t even out of primary one before she was questioning me about the names on her trainers and asking if her next pair could be the same as her little friends.

It is a shame that children so young have become so material but I know just how important it is to feel like you fit in at school, so I gave in and am now a slave to the label – to a point. I will buy my kids clothes and shoes that will let them fit in with the other kids but I have to do it on a budget so here are my 5 steps on how to keep your kids well dressed during a recession.

Step 1 – use a good colour protecting washing powder. It keeps their clothes looking good for longer which means you don’t have to replace clothes as often.
Step 2 – use birthdays and Christmas as a time when the kids get new clothes and shoes, this helps to space out when they get new items (unless their birthday is in December).
Step 3 – use charity shops. I have picked up some excellent bargains in the charity shops and if they kids are at school when you go, they never know the difference.
Step 4 – remember to give their old things into the charity too as this passes on good karma as well as making you feel good about helping someone else
Step 5 – the internet is the best resource at your finger tips. I have been able to source designer brands names and bought my children new trainers from ridiculously low prices using the internet. One place in particular that I like to shop online for trainers is Sphere and Turret, they have a good selection of kids designer footwear with names like Adidas, Ecko, K-swiss, Lacoste, Nike and Puma to mention a few and have sizes from infant through to youth. I also love e-bay – what a place, you can get brand new and second hand bargains and I love the excitement of bidding and waiting to see if you have won! And don’t forget you sometimes get free stuff on places like gumtree and other similar websites.

Well I hope that these tips will help some other mothers to keeps their little ones well dressed for less. If anyone has any more I would be happy to hear them. One more thing to mention, if you have a visa card or mastercard you should use this to pay online as you get extra protection with most cards for online purchases and for ebay you should always use paypal again for that extra protection.

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