How to properly manage child’s development with toys?

Most people have a wrong notion of toys. We tend to believe that these items are nothing more than products created to keep babies occupied and give us more time to do things which we otherwise like to do. However, there is much more to them.

Toys are not only important for entertainment; they have crucial role in developing baby’s senses, motoric functions and introducing it to the world.

Infant’s mind is like a sponge and it is highly susceptible to all this outside stimuli. So, by providing proper stimulation (through toys) your child has a good chance to develop quicker than its peers. Have in mind that toys are not the only factors here: parents also have to have an active role and be there to encourage a baby to take the right steps.

Here are some of the most popular toys for development and how they can benefit your kid.


Activity mat


Mat is probably the first thing that you’ll buy for a child. Have in mind that mat as a mat isn’t that beneficial until baby is able to turn over to its belly. All these colors and designs are great only when baby is able to see them. However, surrounding trinkets are crucial.

As baby tries to grab these trinkets that are hanging, it makes efforts to roll over and it works frantically with its feet and legs. They become even more active when they see something they like and they start squirming. Movements such as this are important as they improve motoric functions and help introduce other physical exercises.


Toys that create music


Besides the body, baby’s senses also have to be stimulated. First and foremost, you need to start by introducing toys that create music. Have mind that this music have to be relaxing. Like mother’s voice, it has to soothe the baby while also affecting its hearing and improving the sense.




Like trinkets hanging from a mat, mobile is very important for its patterns.

In this case, baby doesn’t have to reach out to them or do physical exercise; this product is valuable due to its different patterns and shapes that help develop baby’s sight and brain.


Grabbing toys and rattles


While babies have a strong grip from the get go, it is something they need to work on actively. This is where rattles and grabbing toys come into play.

Both groups of toys are important for physical development and you should always have them in your home.


Multipurpose toys


Toys in vivid colors and also creating sounds can be great for stimulating a baby.

As the baby gets a bit older, it will be hard to stimulate it with basic toys. So, with these items, it can remain stimulated and engaged.


Creativity toys


Baby needs to be an active thinker. Toys that allow baby/child to be creative are very important for brain. The best examples are crayons, cubes and other toys that have “numerous” solutions.

Here, we also have to include toys that allow child to role play, such as reborn dolls, kitchen sets, doctor sets etc. It’s very important for a child to be able to play by itself and stimulate itself at one point. If you simply provide a video game or a cartoon, child will not try to seek entertainment and will become docile which can be very dangerous.


These are some basic toys that your baby can use while growing up. Have in mind they are sorted based on age; some of them will become redundant after a while but that doesn’t mean that a child cannot play with them anymore.

How To Teach Children Emotional Intelligence

Children are exceptionally bright and often think they know everything by the time they reach ten. In fact by this age they will have developed many of the life skills they need, with a little help from you that means the ability to talk to others, self-confidence and emotional intelligence.

Part of this can involve choosing an early learning center such as the Star Academy Kids which will really believe in your child and help their inquisitive minds engage with the world round them. Choosing the right early learning centre is an important part of boosting their emotional intelligence. Here are some of the other measures you can do to teach emotional intelligence:


It is important to understand that there are times when your child simply can’t deal with what has happened. You might feel frustrated by their inability but you need to emphasize with them.

A good example of this is dealing with a child that doesn’t want to do what you’ve told them to. Instead of just telling them that’s the way it is accept that they have an opinion. Let them know that you know and understand their perspective but that they need to do it how you’ve asked.

You will be acknowledging their position which will make them feel good; even if they still have to do it your way.


It’s important that your children are allowed to express their emotions. It doesn’t matter of they’re scared or angry or even upset, by allowing them to express themselves you’ll prevent them from repressing emotions throughout their life.

You can build on this by encouraging your child to communicate their feelings, even if you have to wait for them to calm down! You can also use this to bond with them. For example, if they are nervous about speaking in front of their class you can tell them you used to get nervous too and encourage them to talk about their feelings.


It doesn’t matter if you know your child is wrong. When they are angry let them vent and then acknowledge their feelings. What this will show them is that it’s acceptable and good to vent your emotions but that there is a time and place to do this.

In this process you’ll allow them to reach a calm and cooperative place and use healthy expression, this is good for your body and mental health.

Problem Solving

Everyone reacts strongly to certain issues in life. You can teach your child to handle this response from a young age. Allow them to vent and then talk to them regarding their emotions. You should discuss what they can do to deal with the issue in hand and allow them to take the appropriate action.

You’ll teach them that they need to work through their own emotions before dealing with the issue and finding an appropriate solution.

The idea of using emotion to change your approach is one that everything can apply in life; if your child witnesses you doing it then they will certainly copy!

Win Tickets to The Liberty Science Center #LSCStarShow


The Liberty Science Center in nearby Jersey City, NJ has a ton to do for kids and families. They recently opened the Largest Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere- not too shabby, ay?


“Its diameter is almost twice as long as a bowling alley lane. Its screen is taller than four giraffes. It offers a true 8K projection. Its lights produce trillions of colors. And it will provide breaking space and astronomy news and discoveries in real time.

It is Liberty Science Center’s greatest experience yet–the largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in the entire Western Hemisphere. The only three that are bigger are in Beijing, China, and Nagoya and Niihama, Japan.”

Liberty Science Center, the largest interactive science center in the NY-NJ metropolitan area, officially opened the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium on December 9, 2017.

The kids had an amazing time watching the live show in the domed theater. The seats we were in were pretty high up, but you can choose seats closer to the ground should you want to. The speaker used a laser pointer to show different stars and constellations in the sky, and made the sun rise and set as you watched in just a few seconds. He was also able to zoom in and out of very specific locations- one of which being the science center itself. You and your kids can see the stars at different times of the year as the speaker zooms around and gives explanations of each constellation.

“You can fit any other planetarium in the Western Hemisphere inside the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium,” said Hoffman. “Add in the state-of-the-art technology and you have a spectacular unique theater like none other in the world. Visitors will be able to fly through the universe, experience the grandness and vastness of space, roam planetary surfaces, navigate asteroid fields, and watch the latest full-dome movies.”


Other unique features of the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium include:

• A dome that has a diameter of 27 meters, or about 89 feet. That means if you made a straight line from one end of the dome to the other, it would be 1.5 times the length of a bowling alley lane.
• From the bottom of the theater to the top of the dome screen is 60 feet, the same height as 4 giraffes.
• 588 perforated aluminum panels are seamlessly joined together to form the domed screen with a surface area of 1,145 square meters, or 12,345 square feet. That’s a nice size four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in terms of area.
• The 10-projector system features an 8K resolution of 88 million pixels.
• The sophisticated software allows for downloads of the latest animations and images from NASA to keep up with breaking science news.
• The lighting system can produce over 281 trillion individual colors, which can allow the planetarium dome to look like the blue Earth daytime sky, the red sky of Mars, or a rapidly changing pattern to enhance laser shows. A human can see about 10 million colors, while a computer screen displays about 16.8 million colors for a “full-color” image.
• In addition to out-of-this-world planetarium experiences, guests will also enjoy immersive 8K films on the wraparound dome screen courtesy of a brand new digital projection system.

Find out more info here.


Also available is the new rotating exhibition, Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience.

“In this interactive, immersive exhibition based on one of the world’s most popular sci-fi series, you’ll step into the shoes of a newly minted cadet in the 26th century. As you travel through nine different zones, you’ll receive the necessary science, engineering, medical, and command training to navigate your way from orientation through graduation.

Both Trekkies and non-Trekkies will be engaged by the science behind the science fiction. Learn how Star Trek paved the way for many of today’s cutting-edge technologies—such as a functional tricorder, NASA’s warp drive theory, and experiments involving phasers and teleporters—and even get a glimpse into the future of Star Trek science.”

star trek museum

Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience will be at LSC through May 28, 2018.

If you would like to win a 4 pack of tickets, please just leave your name and email in the comments below. Ends Feb. 20, 2018. Thanks!
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Win Holiday Books for the Family

With the holiday right around the corner, you will be looking for fun gifts for the family and for friends. If you are looking for great books for little ones, check out these fun titles- these classics will be read and re-read for years to come.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Crochet (Thunder Bay Press; $24.99; Ages 3 and up): From bouncing Bumbles to Yukon gold, you’ll love these adorable amigurumi figures from the classic television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! This cheerful kit contains all the materials you’ll need to create Rudolph and Santa. Colorful photos and step-by-step directions in the 76-page instruction book will also guide you through crafting the Bumble, Charlie-in-the-Box, Dolly, Spotted Elephant, Hermey, Moonracer, Mrs. Claus, Clarice, Sam the Snowman, and Yukon Cornelius. Warm up your crochet hook for this group of charming holiday characters!
T.E.A.M. Rudolph and the Reindeer Games (Silver Dolphin Books; $17.99; Ages 3-7): We all recall the most famous reindeer of all. But how much do you know about the story of the Reindeer Games and the other eight reindeer? Well, now you can know the whole story, meet the rest of Santa’s trusted reindeer, and learn what it means to be on T.E.A.M. Rudolph!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Pop-Up Book (Silver Dolphin Books; $19.95; Ages 3-5)Start a new holiday family reading tradition with this delightful pop-up retelling of the beloved Christmas story. Just in time for its 50th anniversary, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is now a stunning pop-up book, a treasure for generations to come. All of the classic characters join Rudolph for his North Pole adventure: Hermey the elf/aspiring dentist, Yukon Cornelius, and the doe-eyed Clarice. The impressive large-scale pop-ups re-create classic scenes using actual movie stills. Fly along with Rudolph, join in the reindeer games, flee from the Abominable Snow Monster, visit the Island of Misfit Toys, and save Christmas one foggy night. Most importantly, be touched by the timeless story of acceptance and the true meaning of the holiday spirit.

One of you can win copies of these great books- just enter using the RC form below.
Good luck, ends Dec. 26, 2017.
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Your Guide To Moving With Kids (Without Going Insane!)

If there’s one thing that just about everyone can agree on, it’s that moving house can be pretty stressful. Of course, if you really want to make things as difficult as possible, try doing it with small children in tow! Anyone with kids will know that they make trying to do just about anything three or four times harder and more time consuming than it would otherwise be. So when you’re faced with the stress of moving house combined with the madness of dealing with young children, it’s enough to send just about anyone round the bend. But fear not brave parent! Because here is your guide to moving house with kids without going completely insane.

Start planning ASAP

The worst thing that you can do when you’re getting ready to move house is failing to plan. Without a clear plan, the entire move is pretty much guaranteed to be total chaos. No one is going to know what they’re doing, you’ll be stressed, and your kids with be running around like maniacs with no direction. The best way to avoid this is to have as clear a plan as possible, as early as possible. You should know exactly where everything needs to go, what needs packing first, and what you’ll need straight away at the new house. Knowing these things will mean that you have to spend that much less time worrying and more time making sure that everything is running as smoothly as possible from start to finish.

Use a mover

Of course, if you really want to make things as difficult as possible for yourself, the best way to do that is to try and do everything on your own. A moving company like Shiply can make a huge difference to just how simple and easy your move really is. As long as they know exactly where things need putting and how they need to be packed, you pretty much just need to point them in the right direction, sit back, and relax. Of course, there will still be plenty that you’ll need to handle yourself, but that way you can focus on keeping the kids happy and under control rather than having to worry about every single little detail.

Give them specific job to do

Nothing is more dangerous than a bored child. When they don’t have something to occupy them, kids are that much more likely to get up to all kinds of mischief. If you really want to keep them out of trouble during a house move, the best thing that you can do is to give them a specific task to accomplish. Kids often love being given tasks to do, since it makes them feel involved and really rather grown up. It doesn’t need to be a big or particularly significant task. Even something like making sure that their toys are packed away in boxes can make your child feel involved in the entire process which is likely to make everything a lot easier for both you and them. Moving can be tough on kids and giving them something that will occupy their minds can make the whole process that much smoother.


Unique Ways to Preserve Family History

Connections are a critical part of our culture. It is in our basic nature to search for connections with other people. Ancestors and families can assist in creating a huge sense of connection. Many times though, we can feel as if we are alone, but if we reach out and try to learn more about our ancestors, it can at times give us the answers and or the sense of belonging that we need. We feel as if we are a part of something larger than ourselves. Each family has its own heritage and it is well worth it to preserve that heritage.


How many boxes of old family photos do you have in your attic? How many photo albums are on your shelves? Now, how often are those photos looked at? Maybe once a year? When family comes in from out of state? At reunions? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have some special photos, or one special photo to pass down that would be looked at more often? That is easy to do. Now, you can have custom photo blankets made. Just find that special photo that you want to remember and for your progeny to remember for years to come and have it made into a blanket!


How many of you remember mom, dad, or some other older family member chasing you around with a video camera of some sort? That was a great way to capture more than just a moment. Do you ever go back and watch those old home movies though? You might consider having a family movie night one night and get out all of those old home movies and watch them. This could be a great way to show your kids what life looked like when you were their age.

Record Those Memories

Yes, media changes through the years, but you can always have recordings changed over to the latest and greatest media. How cool would it be if you had recordings of your great grandparents’ voices as they were telling stories? This is a great way to preserve family memories. Even if you don’t have recordings of your elders, you can make recordings for your future generations to listen to. You can also interview your elders to make recordings for you and for the future. Preserving living memories and connecting with your family members are critical aspects of a family history. You can use a digital recorder or even a smartphone app. A camera will also help you preserve those old stories and share them with other members of the family while preserving them for future generations.

Record Everything You Learn

As you begin to learn more and more about your ancestors, you can add the information you come across to the family tree. You can also share it with other members of your family. Remember to encourage them to share what they learn with you as well.

Start a Blog

This doesn’t have to be for the general public, but it would be a good idea to start a family or personal blog. It can be a fun way to make sure that the important experiences in your life will be recorded for future posterity. You can also share the blog with your family and friends. Many of the blogging services you can find online are free and most of those free ones are also quite easy to use.

Social Media

There are so many tools that you can find online today. Take advantage of these tools to share your photos, or other types of updates with your friends and family. You can even upload images of important family documents. Social media is a great way to make sure that your family history is shared with the family.

Remember that your family history consists of so much more than simply research, records, and dates. It is the stories behind the people. It is the culture and knowing where you came from. It can’t define you, but it can let you know what is in your past. It is important that you learn this and then save it for future generations. Knowing your family history can give you a sense of purpose and belonging. It can connect generations past, present, and future. Take the time to discover and preserve your family history while you can.


Portable travel bed for your toddler – critical tips for choosing the best

Any parent that decided to remain active after they world has been turned upside down when they brought a child into the world knows the struggle.

The struggle of trying to balance between the needs and wants of your child and Sisyphean efforts to keep doing what you love doing. Traveling, hiking, whatever it is, chances are your schedule has suffered.

But when the moment comes and you can finally start bringing your toddler on trips, it’s crucial that you know what you’re doing when preparing for the trip.

So, instead of learning from your mistakes, in this guide will address one of the most important aspects to plan – SLEEP.

sleeping while traveling

It’s hard enough getting them to sleep as is, let alone in strange new place on a different bed.

But if you play your cards right, they might end up liking the new bed more then they like the one at home.

So, let’s dive right in and talk about the one thing that can make or break your trip – the choice of travel bed for your kid.

We’ll be analyzing the pros and cons of three main styles of travel beds for toddlers:

  1. Air mattresses

  2. Foam folding travel beds

  3. Cots for toddlers

So, let’s dive right in, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

Airbeds for kids

One of the most popular options, mainly because of its convenience, is a toddler air mattress or a blow-up bed as you might hear people calling it.

blow up mattress

Three main fortes of this choice include:

  • Easy to use, practical and pack small – they usually come with a pump that also deflates the bed, so they pretty much pack to the original size. They pack neatly and can easily be carried in a suitcase, which makes them convenient for air travel.

  • Safety – when we say safety here, we refer to two aspects. The first one comes from the fact that airbeds for kids usually come with side rails (see the image above) and that keeps even the restless sleepers from rolling over during the night. The other safety aspect is the concern about the chemicals – the industry of inflatable furniture has changed a lot during the last few decades and no hazardous substances are used in the production (the bed in the image above – Shrunks Tuckaire toddler is an extreme example of that – it is eco-friendly and chemical-free and it comes with an optional sleeping bag).

  • Easy to clean, doesn’t hold smell – if your little one is still prone to accidents, an air mattress without a flocked top but with a fitted cover (Aerobed usually makes this type of inflatables) is your best bet. That way, if a wet mishap happens, you can just throw the cover into the washing machine and clean the smooth surface of the PVC (something you can’t do with the two other styles we’ll talk about in a minute).

Potential negatives:

  • Plastic smell – not a big issue per se, you can resolve it by airing the bed out for a few hours ( a day in extreme cases) until the smell of plastic is gone. But it can be worrisome if you don’t know the facts, the plastic smell will be there (it’s PVC after all), but what’s important is to pick a product that explicitly says that it is free of phthalates and BPAs (the mentioned Shrunks Tuckaire is a good example of that)

  • Potential air leaks – you don’t want to see your child waking up on the ground if the bed deflates during the night and you certainly don’t want that kind of trouble on a trip.

There are three pieces of advice we can give you here:

One – don’t buy the bed a day before you go on a trip. Getting it a few days or weeks before will both give your child a chance to get used to it and give you a chance to see how the bed works and if it loses air.

Two – don’t rely on the patch kit that usually comes included. Instead, get yourself a PVC patch kit from your local store.

Three – go to the websites that carry them and read the air mattress reviews – who could be a better source of information than the people using the products today. Spending some time on websites dedicated to reviewing the airbed and chose the ones that are top-rated. A half an hour extra of your time here will mean night of your child being sound asleep.

Conclusions about inflatables mattresses for kids

An airbed is the most popular choice among portable travel beds for kids, and for a few good reasons that we listed above.

Still, before deciding to go with it, think about the nature of your situation and needs.

For example, if you need it for a night or two and will probably never use it again, a simple cot might do the trick. Also, if you can spare the extra bucks for the comfort of your child and they are accident-free, a foam folding bed might be your best bet.

Folding travel beds – foam-based

Hands down the most comfortable choice, a foldable travel bed is made entirely out of foam and designed with side rails. Having said that, the foam is very soft and the sides are not that high, so there’s a chance or rolling over the edges.

kid sleepovers

Who is it for?

  • Families who have resolved the issue of nightly mishaps – cleaning this bed after an accident will prove to be quite a job and you’ll never get the smell completely out of the foam. If you still want the unparalleled comfort of the folding foam bed, it’s a good idea pairing it with a waterproof cover.

  • Families who are not on a tight budget, it’s the most expensive choice of the three

  • Families who don’t plan to take the bed on trips that involve air travel – it’s great for basking around the house, but it is bulky and can only be carried as a separate piece of luggage. Still a good option for camping.

If you do decide to go with this style, make sure that you choose quality (the bed in the image above, LeachCo BumpZZZ, is the one product that stands alone in the category).

Cots for toddlers – the budget solution

As we mentioned, a cot will most likely be a good choice if you need it for a sleep-over and you’re not very likely to use it often.

child's cot

It’s made of steel and plastic and a lightly padded canvas on top. The canvas is not tight or padded enough and, unless your kid is still very light, chances are they’re going to feel the beams that run across the surface underneath.

It’s still comfortable enough for it not to be problem for most kids, but if your little one is a particularly choosy sleeper, you won’t get much peace.

If you choose a cot, the plus side is that they are so inexpensive that you can easily choose quality – the cot in the image above “Regalo My Cot” is a safe bet.

Packing – the cot folds up like a folding chair. It packs smaller than a foam folding bed but not as small as an air mattress. It packs just small enough for air travel to be an option.

Summing it all up

The purpose of this guide was not to tell you which portable bed to choose for your kid.

It was to give you guidelines about the right questions to ask yourself before you make the decision.

If we managed to do that, our work is done.

Happy trails.

The Glow at Monmouth Park Racetrack, NJ

If holiday lights are your bag of tea, or if October is your favorite time of year, you will love The Glow.   The Glow at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ is fun for everyone.  This walk through seasonal event is a Halloween lovers dream, with over 5,000 carved pumpkins ranging from pirates, to rock stars, to movie stars, and even dinosaurs and Pokemon carved into them.

pumpkin carving

There is a carving that is destined to be your favorite.  Your visit starts with a warm Fall beverage and a meeting with a real pumpkin artist as he creates a work of art.  Then there is a small tour through some Halloween themed exhibits, with various Jack o Lantern, pumpkin, and Halloween facts on display and indoor pumpkin decor.

halloween events

Then comes the main event, a walk through outdoor light up event where you can go scene by scene through the time of the dinosaurs, an extreme skate park, and more.  There are even local NJ spots like Asbury Park to visit in gourd form.  Check out government officials commemorated in pumpkin, as well as those running for president.  Best thing about those? They rot quickly, LOL.


Some of our favorites of the night were definitely the 15 foot tall T Rex, the pirate ship along with pirates and loot all made out of pumpkins and carved with intricate detail, and the Pokemon collection.  Some displays are animated, but all of them have ambiance and accompanying sounds to complete the experience.  Once you are done walking through the display there is a chance to walk through a pumpkin patch and get a pumpkin to bring home and start your own display. There is also a little stand where you can buy snacks and drinks- a candy apple and some cider really are a must.

pokemon pumpkin

The Glow is a great way to spend a nice evening  it’s  a fun, family friendly Halloween event, just be sure the weather is co-operating.  The Glow is on display throughout the month of October Friday and Saturday from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm and from 6:30 to 9:30 Sunday.