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Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

SmartGames {Giveaway} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

The other morning, I was really getting ready for the day after taking my older son to preschool (in yoga pants and a ponytail…), and I realized that it was just a little too quiet for my now two-year-old to be playing by himself without a problem.  I called out his name, but he didn’t answer.  I walked into the living room and still didn’t hear anything.  I looked through the bedrooms and couldn’t find him anywhere.  I started to get a little panicky, but then I heard a little voice say “Mom” from the side of my bed.  Evidently, my just-barely-two-year-old had gotten my Kindle Fire out of my purse and figured out how to turn it on, find the game he wanted, and then actually played it for a few minutes quietly.  I’m not exactly sure I should be proud of this…

I have my teaching certification and taught elementary school before I had my boys and my husband’s degree is in Human Development with a emphasis in Special Education, so we have quite a toy room that has more of what I like to call “activities” than toys.  I’m not a huge fan of anything with characters on it, and I love activities that are open-ended and allow for lots of learning.

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When I came across the SmartGames website, I was in heaven!!  They offer so many games and toys that focus on strategy, using logic, and problem solving for ages 3 and up.  Their SmartGames page has a search option that allows you to choose age range, material, travel game or not, and theme to select a SmartGame that best fits your abilities and interests.  Here are a few examples:

catCat and Mouse Go-Getter : Help furry critters find their way through a maze of possible paths in these brain-teasing, logic-building puzzles. Arrange the nine tiles to build connecting paths between the icons pictured on your selected challenge. But watch the road – be careful not to veer off course or get stuck in a dead end!angry birds

The game my two-year-old was playing on the Kindle Fire?  Angry Birds.  And, frankly, he was more successful at that game than I am.  Here’s an educational twist on this favorite.

Angry Birds Under Construction : This puzzle game, based on an award winning SmartGames design, will make your brain chirp! Using all 4 playing pieces, make sure you end up showing only the right pigs. Sometimes an angry bird will manage to show itself! More challenging than you would think…For one player, ages 7 and up.

smart car

SmartCar : SmartCar is a wooden game that evolves with your child growing skills. Can you assemble a car with the included wooden pieces? The model remains the same but the car construction plans get more and more difficult!

We received a SmartCar to review, and we all loved it!  I started playing it with my four year old during quiet time, and he loved going through each of the challenges until about half way through the booklet.  After my two year old woke up from his nap, he saw the SmartCar and enjoyed putting pieces together and making a car.  And, after both boys went to sleep, my husband and I stayed up and finished the challenges in the booklet together.  🙂

We loved the game itself and the fact that it could still be used as an open-ended toy, but I was incredibly impressed with the workmanship of the Smart Car.  The pieces are made of sturdy wood, and I imagine that it would last us for quite a few years without any problems.

SmartGames is offering a SmartCar to one Dandy reader!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of May 9th and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by SmartGames, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Mama May I {Giveaway} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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When I was going to school for my degree, I took a Theories of Child Development course where we discussed Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development,  and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I loved the course and the different schools of thought, and one of the theorists’ ideas rang true with me from the beginning:  Maria Montessori.  Montessori’s theory of child development stresses independence, working with materials to construct learning, and creating a prepared environment conducive to that learning.

I loved Montessori’s ideas then, but I have especially been drawn to her theories since having my own children.  I love the materials and “works” that she suggests, and I’ve tried to think of those ideas as I purchase activities and toys for my boys to use.  I’ve discovered some amazing blogs over the past couple of years that give suggestions for implementing these Montessori theories at home, and I’ve loved using them for both of our boys.

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When I found the Mama May I shop, I was in heaven!  These handmade learning toys are based on the theories of both Montessori and Waldorf — they are perfect for open-ended play and learning, and the shop has something for all ages.

“Inspired by these little explorers, and her understanding of Montessori and Waldorf methodologies, Jessica Perkins [founder and principal designer] began making all of her creations with the belief that children make sense of their world through sensing their world. After years of making, creating, and gifting her creations to friends and family, Jessica decided to start selling her goodies. Since the launch of Mama May I in 2009, Jessica’s passion for artistic expression through toys has blossomed into a business supported by mama’s and papa’s all over the world.”

Here are a few of my favorites from Mama May I, along with the description for ways the activity can be used for play and learning:

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For babies, the Tiny Tickler!  “A great way to introduce parts-of-the-body vocabulary and directions like top, bottom, left, and right all while building a healthy sense of ego and engaging her desire to play.”

color

For toddlers, the Sensory Color Sorting Playset is a great activity to distinguish between different colors and textures.  It includes wooden coins with the name of each color, ribbon, paper, felt, buttons, rocks, and paint swatches to match to the right color on the mat.  It’s also a great activity for objects you have around the house!

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For preschoolers, the Flip Mat!  We received this transportation set from Mama May I, and I LOVE it!  I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric material, and the wooden coins are thick and smooth.  Both of my boys played with this together, and I loved that we could just roll it all up together and stick it in my bag for on-the-go play.  There’s also a farm play mat, a market play mat, and a zoo play mat that caught my eye.

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For big kids, the Story Starters is a great learning activity to combine literacy and fun!  “A beautiful collection of hand stamped images inspire the Who. What. When. and Where. While you and your story maker share in the delight of creating the WHY.”

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 These Make-a-Match wooden coins is one of my absolute favorites, as it is small and portable and can be used by ALL ages.  These are also thick and smooth (like the ones for our play mat), and they can be used for fun open-ended play or to play a matching memory game.

Mama May I is offering two sets of these Make-a-Match wooden coins to TWO Dandy readers!  There are a variety of choices for these sets, to include space (shown above), forest friends, dinosaur, transportation, vegetable, Philadelphia, farm, zoo, space, beach, nature, fruit, and monster!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of April 2nd and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Mama May I, but all opinions are strictly my own.

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