Kid Crafts: Rainbow Loom

RainbowLoomBoxWe apologize for the long hiatus since our last post — we’ve been running our dissertation experiment! It’s still ongoing, but so far we’ve learned all kinds of cool stuff about gender, spatial and mechanical learning, and child development. We’ll post an update about preliminary findings when we have something more official to say. In the meantime, today’s post is about one preliminary finding unrelated to the focus of the experiment: young children LOVE Rainbow Loom.

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Post-LEGO Movie Inspiration: LEGOs, Duplos, and LEGO Friends

If The LEGO Movie inspired the child in your life to get building, we’re re-posting a review we did back in 2012 of the LEGO options that make up today’s market.

LEGO Friends, the new-ish “legos for girls” are a hot item. From the voice of Get More Girls into STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math), some people love them and some people hate them. They were even nominated for a TOADY award (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children). I don’t love them, although since I first wrote this, LEGO has drastically expanded their offerings to be less gender stereotyped, and I even bought one for Fair Play Niece for Christmas. I’ll also go off on a tangent in this post about toy companies and their treatment of horses in children’s toys because this is a lifelong pet peeve of mine.

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Gift Guide: Roominate (Birthday ideas for an 8 y/o girl)

BasicRoominate

Today we’re excited to bring you a recent Gift Guide letter from a Facebook fan!

Fair Play I need a recommendation for an 8-year-old girl birthday present.

We have just the thing! We’ve actually mentioned this toy in the past, but deemed it somewhat out of the average Gift Guide price range. Now it is available for much less, and ships via Amazon Prime. Roominate is the fully customizable doll house you wish you had.

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Themed Gift Guide: STEM-oriented Gifts

Grow_A_FrogThe last shopping weekend before Christmas is upon us! To round out the last-minute mad dash to Christmas, we’re posting a few thematic summaries of our favorite gifts. Today we’re reviewing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) oriented gifts. Look for games, books, music, and make-believe thematic posts in the remaining shopping days! All of these posts include links to lengthier articles we’ve written previously about a topic, so if you need more information or ideas, check those out as well (linked throughout).

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re-Gift Guide: The Princess Problem (Gifts for 2 & 5 y/o Girls – doll, art supplies, scooter)

We’ve been negligent in getting up Gift Guides this holiday season, owing to an unfortunate surgery and lengthy hospital stay. But, we’re back in action! To provide you with maximum content and inspiration, we’re going to do some “re-Gift Guides,” re-posting/revising some of our favorites from the past, in addition to brand new Gift Guides. As always, if you have a specific question, send it our way! Today we kick off with the re-Gift Guide to purchasing for the princess-loving little girls in your life. How to avoid stereotypes? We have some answers!

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Construction Toys for Tiny Hands (Duplos, Tinker Toys, and Lincoln Logs)

LincolnLogHouseWe talk often on Fair Play about just how important spatial play is for early development. Spatial skills built in early play are associated with math and science achievement in school as well as later in life. We’ve also talked about how most of the toys that are meant to teach those skills are marketed to boys — and we’ve talked about important it is that boys and girls play with spatial toys including LEGOs, K’NEX, puzzles, and so on. We’ve even reviewed some of the spatial toys marketed explicitly to girls, like LEGO Friends and Goldie Blox. But, one of the issues that comes up over and over in our own research with children and early play has a lot to do with what children can or cannot successfully manipulate with their tiny hands. If they cannot put the pieces together, they cannot play with it, it won’t be fun, and they might not learn anything. Today’s post is about the best toys for the tiny-handed builders in your life.

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Our Dissertation (and Goldie Blox) is Getting Some Press!

Debbie Sterling, the creator of Goldie Blox. Credit Laura A. Oda / Contra Costa Times

Fair Play fans, you probably remember that when we’re not blogging, we’re working on a PhD in developmental psychology. You might also remember previous posts (also here) about Goldie Blox, a new engineering toy for girls. Looking at how Goldie Blox affects girls’ interest in and attitudes about science is actually my dissertation. Anyway, I got a little press (as a nameless graduate student) in this recent article, just reprinted in my hometown paper as well (!). Exciting news, and the reason we haven’t been blogging quite as dutifully lately. Don’t worry, there are all sorts of great things coming!

The World Didn’t End, Time to Finish Your Shopping

From Jezebel.com, “First Photo Out of Australia After the Mayan Apocalypse: It’s Not Good” — Just kidding. Christmas is still on!

To no one’s surprise at all, the world did not end, although I find the above photoshopped creation quite hilarious. Today we’re just rounding up all our recommendations in one single post. For most web shopping, today is your last day to get in orders for guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery (depending, of course, how much you are willing to bleed for overnight shipping – you may be able to push this back to tomorrow). This weekend look for our Last Minute Gifts – the Hail Mary of gift-giving, also known as the homemade gift certificate. Actually I delight in homemade certificates, but we’ll get to that on Sunday.

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Yellow Light, LEGO Friends (and Why Can’t Toy Companies Get Horses Right?!)

If you are well into your holiday shopping for a little girl in your life, or you’ve heard any holiday shopping-related news at all, you know that LEGO Friends, the new “legos for girls” are a hot item this year. From the voice of Get More Girls into STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math), some people love them and some people hate them. They were even nominated for a TOADY award (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children). I don’t like them too much, and I’ll tell you why. You cannot find them in the Fair Play Amazon Store and I won’t link directly to them here. I trust if you need to purchase them you can find them all over the internet and in every toy store in America. I’ll also go off on a tangent in this post about toy companies and their treatment of horses in children’s toys because this is a lifelong pet peeve of mine. Happy Sunday!

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Gift Guide: Christmas Ideas for 6-Year-Old Twins (K’NEX, UNO, Jenga)

K’NEX Ferris Wheel set on Amazon.com, a possible gift for a 6 year old girl this Christmas

Gift Guide is the series in which we respond to reader requests for recommendations – generally but not always for gifts. Today we are responding to this letter from Facebook fan Nicole:
Hello Fair Play! This Christmas I am giving toys to a pair of six year old twins (a girl and a boy). I prefer to give toys that have educational value and my budget is approx $40 per child. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

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