Learning Resources Counterpillar {Review}

Shortly after moving to Canada I found out that kids can start attending school at age 4 in their Junior Kindergarten program. Not only that, but it would be a full day program, 1/2 of which would be in French. Although I was a little imitated at first the idea slowly grew on me and when it came time to register Rob and I decided it wouldn’t hurt to see how it goes. Having had little structure at home I was a little concerned he wouldn’t adapt to more of a structured learning environment as quickly as the other kids.

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As luck would have it, I was approached last month asking if we would be interested in reviewing the Learning Resources Counterpillar™. I was already familiar with the brand having several of their products in the kiddos playroom including the Smart Snacks® Counting Cookies™Smart Snacks® Shape Sorting Cupcakes, and Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Set. I loved that many of their toys promote learning in a playful environment.

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I was really impressed, although not surprised, in the quality of the Counterpillar. Both Parker and Caity wanted to play with it before I could even get it out of the box. Let’s just say we are still working on the concept of sharing. After a few hours of watching both play with it here are a few of my favorite features.

  • Parker tends to gravitate towards toys that are colorful and have some kind of animal or face on them. At the same time, when there are too many bells and whistles, he can get overwhelmed and lose interest. The Learning Resources Counterpillar™ is the perfect combination that attracts him but doesn’t overwhelm him.
  • As a family who moves often I enjoy toys that are a little smaller and light weight. They are easier to move with and tend to last longer. I like how even though it is light weight the wide base keeps it nice and sturdy even through semi rough play. Caity likes carrying things around and the top is the perfect size for her little hands.
  • The Learning Resources Counterpillar™ is practical and can grow with your child. Right now we are working with Parker on his fine motor skills, simple counting, and color identification. Once he gets all of that down we can focus on other counting and math skills. Later down the road we can also use this to help with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

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The Learning Resources Counterpillar™ can be purchased on Amazon for $14.99 (Prime) and would be a great addition to any playroom.

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Nuby Fun Drinking Cups™ Review

Although I like to prevent spills at all costs I knew it was time to get Parker drinking from a real glass at the table. Not wanting to clean up both spilled milk and broken cups I reached out to Nuby for a chance to review their Fun Drinking Cups™.

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Nuby’s Fun Drinking Cups™ are the perfect starter cup for any toddler. I love their bright colors and fun transparent patterns on the side. They are the perfect size for small hands and durable enough to withstand drop after drop.

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It’s also good for dunking chocolate chip cookies after the kids have gone to bed!

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Nuby Fun Drinking Cups™ are available on Amazon.com for $4.99.

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Nuby 4 Stage Baby Oral Care System

I remember my mom dragging me to the dentist twice a year throughout my childhood. She was persistent about oral hygiene and even had sealants put on our baby teeth. I am very grateful for her determination because I didn’t have my first cavity until I was 31 years old.

It can be tricky when it comes to oral hygiene for infants and toddlers. They don’t really understand what you are doing and well, they don’t make it easy when it’s not something they want to do. We decided to start getting them use to it at a young age and was lucky enough to try out the Nuby 4 Stage Oral Care System for free in exchange for my honest review. Brush Types

Stage 1 is specially designed to instill positive and important dental hygiene for your baby from the beginning. Nûby’s Oral Massager is made of extra soft silicone with your baby’s comfort in mind. The three different surfaces allow the parent multiple options for cleaning and soothing of delicate new teeth and tender gums. The Oral Massager slips easily over an adult’s finger. You can then place finger in your baby’s mouth and gently massage their teeth and gums.

Being able to place the the Oral Massager on my finger and gently run Caity’s gums was an easy way to help brush away all the milk from nursing. Although I nursed throughout the night during this stage I was at least able to use it during our bedtime routine. I was nervous to do it at first but it got easier and I think Caity started to enjoy it. I started getting anxious to move to the next stage when she started biting down!

Stage 2 is designed for babies over 3 months of age. It has been specifically designed to feel soft on the baby’s gums. It allows parents to brush and massage gums gently.

This was a nice step up from the Oral Massager. The brush is still very soft on the gums but the shape resembled more of a tooth brush. We started BLW around 6 months and started “brushing” a little more thoroughly. Around 9 months Caity started grabbing it herself and chewing on it. I often had it sitting at our shared diaper changing station so she could play around with it during changes, great distraction.

Stage 3 is designed for babies over 11 months of age. This brush massages and helps clean during the teething process. Also, this age is the ideal time to teach your child proper brushing habits and encourage the start of good oral health.

We started using stage 3 a little after Caity turned a year old. It was an easy transition from stage 2 and she started to mimic what her brother was doing when brushing his teeth. The brush is slightly wider and with the additional multi directional bristles it can cover both the gums and newly erupted teeth.

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Stage 4 is designed for babies with teeth. Ask your doctor or dentist about when to switch to the soft nylon brush once teething begins. And remember, until your child has the dexterity to do it alone, you should follow up with additional brushing, etc. until they are older.

We moved Caity to the final stage brush around 15 months. At that point she had 8 teeth (4 top and bottom) and other than a few nursing sessions was eating 100% table food. She now loves this part of our night time routine and will often go into the bathroom herself and stand on the stool waiting for us. She isn’t very good at it yet so we do a quick brush and then allow her to play around with it afterwards. Her favorite is putting it under the water and then sucking it out, something her brother taught her!

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The Nuby 4 Stage Baby Oral Care System is available here on Amazon.com for $12.44 USD and here on Amazon.ca for $17.90 CAD.

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Friday Favorites: TINKERTOY Wild Wheels Building Set {Review}

Within the last few months Parker has really started using his Lego sets and blocks. He loves putting things together ALMOST as much as he likes tearing them down. He also likes to help Rob with any handy work around the house. I was delighted when K’NEX offered to send their new Wild Wheels Building Set. It’s the perfect opportunity for Rob to help Parker build something a little more challenging.

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Special thank you to K’NEX for sending the Wild Wheels Building Set in exchange for my honest review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I will never reccomend a product I will not use with my family. 

We received the Wild Wheels Building Set while we were still living in the hotel which was a nice treat for Parker. Rob wasn’t in the door 5 minutes before Parker started begging to help him. They plopped down on the floor and got to work.

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The set includes a colorful instruction book detailing all 76 pieces that snap together.

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Caity liked helping but since this is rated for 3+ there are some small pieces so I had to watch her closely in case she got a little too curious.

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The instructions show 11 different assembly combinations but here are a few of our favorites.Favorite BuildsParker was so proud of his wagon and I was instructed not to, “break it up” until it was time to move to our new home.

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The Wild Wheels Building Set is made in the USA and available at knex.com, walmart.com, and amazon.com {prime} for $29.99.

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Friday Favorites: Latest VTech® Favorites

Over the last few years we have had the opportunity to review some amazing toys from VTech.

I just adore their company and all of the hard work they put into making practical, educational, and functional toys. If you take some time to look around their website, vtechkids.com, you can browse their Parent Resource Center, search for age specific products, and read over development milestones.

A few days before we moved into the hotel VTech reached out about reviewing a few of their latest products. I happily agreed knowing some knew toys would keep them entertained and happy.

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Special thanks to VTech for sending four awesome products for review. As always all opinions are 100% my own and I will never recommend a product I won’t use with my family. 

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First up is the VTech® Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train™. 

Although it’s rated for 12-36 months I am not quite sure who likes this train better, my 1 year old daughter or 3 year old son. The train required a little assembly but only took a few minutes and required no additional hardware. Once assembled there are a few stickers to place but it was a very easy and quick task.

The train includes 10 different activities using 13 blocks that are double sided to represent every letter in the alphabet. It’s nice only having 13 blocks to pick up instead of 26. The blocks can be inserted to a docking station on the side panel of the train to learn about different letters, numbers, and colors. The radio can also move from the side panel of the train to the steering wheel. The side panel has a very interactive activity panel with six manipulative features that help build motor skills.

When the child gets too old to sit on the train the caboose converts into a wagon they can use to pull around their favorite toys.

The VTech® Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train™ can be found at vtechkids.com,  amazon.com, and target.com for  around $49.99.

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Spin and Learn Ball Tower

Although we have a few different ball towers I was very impressed with the VTech® Spin & Learn Ball Tower™. It was easy to remove from the packaging and required no tools to put together. Assembly only took a few minutes and the batteries were included.

The tower is the perfect size for a playroom. Not too large or heavy but sturdy enough to take a decent beating. The four colorful balls included are a perfect size for little hands and light so they are easy to pick up. With 100 different songs and phrases with several manipulative play features to strengthen fine motor skills the Spin & Learn Ball Tower™ is perfect for children ages 9-36 months.

The Spin & Learn Ball Tower™ is rated for children 9-36 months. With manipulative play features and light up buttons that teach insects, colors, and numbers this tower is the perfect mix of educational and playful activities.  Once the ball is pushed through the top the Spin & Learn Ball Tower™ comes to life teaching children a variety of insects, colors, and numbers.

You can purchase the Spin & Learn Ball Tower™ at vtechkids.com, Amazon.com, and Target for around $29.99.

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VTech Write & Learn Creative Center™

Next up is the VTech® Write & Learn Creative Center™. I love the advanced nature of this etch-a-sketch. My Parker loves to draw on the traditional ones and was really excited when he saw this had a computer he could do “working” on like Mommy and Daddy. It’s light weight and relatively flat which makes a great toy for travel and to store in a suitcase.

They used different objects for the letter of the alphabet than the VTech® Spinning Lights Learning Hippo™ which is great for keeping him engaged with new words. There are 6 different activities he can choose from each giving instructions on the screen.

This activity center walks him through the proper way to write letters. It also guides them through the skills of drawing lines, shapes, and eventually objects. The melodies and sounds are extremely catchy and keep him entertained for quite a while.

The age range for this is 3-6 years and while Parker is on the early side of the range it still keeps him engaged. I think he maybe a lefty but he keeps changing it up!

You can find the Write & Learn Creative Center™ at vtechkids.com, amazon.com, and Target for about $24.99.

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VTech® Spinning Lights Learning Hippo™

Last but certainly not least has become one of Caity’s favorites, the VTech® Spinning Lights Learning Hippo™.

This is a great take on the traditional see n’ say toys. The bright purple hippo with big eyes really catches my daughter’s attention. When the Spin wheel lights up she is engaged immediately. Both the chick and tail are levers that can be pulled to start the light up spin in addition to the ball in the center of the hippo. The tail can also go up allowing the child to scroll through the wheel both forwards and backwards.

What I noticed about this product is that the items they used for each letter of the alphabet were different than the ones you normally see. C for cow, H for harp, P for pineapple, U for Ukulele which is really nice. Children can learn the letters of the alphabet, word fun, and music.

It’s small and perfect for the car seat or stroller but seems very durable.

You can find the Spinning Lights Learning Hippo™ vtkids.com, amazon.com, and Target for about $19.99.

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VTech is currently running a Thanksgiving sale so stop on over and score some awesome deals on early Christmas shopping!

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