open ended toys - small world play

Open Ended Toys: Where To Start?

One of the most important things to look at is whether a toy allows the child to imagine, or if the toy does all the work itsef. When the toy takes over, children don’t learn and explore. A toy that is open-ended may look like one thing (a rainbow) but it can be used many ways to represent different things (a building, a bridge, a bed) and most of all, it enhances the child’s ideas and imagination, letting them build and learn in their own world.

blue panetone packages

6 Months to The Holidays

  • Emily 

Holidays in July? it sounds so cliche… but any friend who has tried shopping for wooden toys in, or even close to, December will tell you it is miserable. Now is the time to build your lists and pick up anything you know you’d like to get.

freshly harvested hard neck garlic

Garlic: Scapes, Pesto–YUM!

  • Emily 

Does your family enjoy a lot of garlic? We eat a lot around here, so we were excited to learn how easy it is to grow. In cooler climates, you can plant it in mid-to-late fall when you’re cleaning up the garden; in warmer regions you can plant just after the new year. Then in the spring its so delightful to have something fresh and green already growing and looking promising for the coming year!

easy lemonade popsicle

Low-Mess, Kid-Friendly Frozen Fruit Pops

  • Emily 

Everyone loves a frozen fruit pop, but at the rate my kids would like to eat them in the summer, they could easily make our grocery bill spike! Last summer we picked up some silicone molds, and now one of E5’s favorite activities is making them. I love having control over the ingredients and cost, she love doing it, and the clean-up is easy.

grimms ball run with stepped roofs

Rainbow Steps Ball Run

  • Emily 

This run is a twist on the long run of steps that flows down a wall–here the ball takes a lovely series of curves on its way down. I’ve shown all the steps, and given fewer words for this set of instructions with the hope that you can pop it up on the tablet or phone or wherever and let your kids (7-8ish +? ) give it a go. Enjoy!

red tomten next to a rock

Can’t Resist a Rock

You know how kids just can’t help picking up a stick, they bring it home and want to bring it inside? We’ve started a “stash it” corner by the front door for these kid treasures, but lately the kids have started pointing out that I do a bit of the same myself—I just can’t help myself when it comes to rocks.

prime climb board game review

Prime Climb

  • Emily 

What are you doing to keep the math brains rolling over summer break? For the multiplication-aged crew (whether learning or comfortable), we’re loving Prime Climb. Younger kids? Stick with me—this one is good for the addition-subtraction crew too—the whole thing age-adjusts perfectly if you play with addition and subtraction only.

wooden rainbows, grimm's ocamora, myers

Picking a Rainbow Stacker

Rainbow stackers are delightful—they are art when they’re on the shelf, and can be anything from scenery to fancy balancing acts in play. There are many options, but it’s worth considering the function of the rainbow in your home before making a purchase.