Play Matters: Sensory Play with HABA

Posted by Leila Warshaw on January 15, 2013 0 Comments


From birth and far into youth, children learn about their surroundings through sensory play. The ability to understand and express how something feels, tastes, and looks is both key to proper social development and a strong foundation for more complex cognitive abilities later on.

This is why we love Feeling & Touching from the "My Very First Games" series by HABA.

It is a game to stimulate the senses and encourage your little ones to talk about what they see and feel. Feeling & Touching doesn't have rules that need to be followed. Instead, HABA gives parents guidelines and suggestions for play.

The game contains pairs of wooden food items, like a slice of a cheese and a green bean, big enough for kids to grab and study. There is also a soft sheep pouch who opens up to "eat" the food. One play variation is to lay all the food items in front of the child and then have them describe what they see. Are there any items that are the same in shape or color? Ask them to put all the pairs together.

Another way to play would be to hide a piece of food in the sheep and ask your child to identify which item was "eaten." There are clover-shaped tokens that can be used to reward your child. For example, if they can correctly identify what the sheep ate, or if they can describe 3 things about that slice of cheese (whether it's something they see or feel), then they get a token.

The open-ended guidelines allow for creativity from the parent and open exploration from the child. The tokens are a positive reinforcement for participating in the discussion.

If you would like to hear more about the game or play a round with us, please visit aMuse at either location.

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HABA Family Game Night Giveaway Winners!

Posted by aMuse Toys on November 05, 2011 1 Comment

Thanks to everyone who entered our HABA Family Game Night giveaway. We are already busy planning more fun giveaways to share in the upcoming weeks.

You can stay on top of our giveaways, promotions and free family events through the aMuse BlogFacebookTwitter and by joining the aList.

To choose the winners, we added up all the comments and assigned each comment a number, then used a random number generator. The numbers selected determined the winners!

And the winners are...

Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to the winners. Please contact us via Facebook to verify your information and arrange for a pick up.

Don't forget to join us in celebrating National Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Saturday November 12th. Be sure to vote for your favorite organization this Sunday.  The winning organization will be anounced Monday afternoon.

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From the Archives: Game University: Orchard

Posted by aMuse Toys on October 28, 2011 0 Comments

HABA Cooperative Game Orchard

Claudia Towles, Owner of aMuse Toys


"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." -PLATO

The toys we choose for our children influence the qualities they will possess when they are grown. Therefore, it's always important to consider what lessons they learn from their play. As a mom, I've always loved HABA's games, but Orchard in particular holds a special place in our game chest at home.

HABA Cooperative Game Orchard

Orchard is a modern-day classic, which places emphasis on working together — not winning. It allows for everyone to succeed while learning how to interact in a group-play setting. Children must play cooperatively to accomplish the common goal of harvesting the fruit from the trees before the crow arrives to eat it. In Orchard, children are able to play a game with each other and not against one another. Brilliant concept.

Each game includes one playing board, which illustrates four different trees; a plum tree, a pear tree, an apple tree and a cherry tree. On each tree you must place the corresponding wooden fruit pieces. There are pieces forty total, ten of each kind of fruit. You also get four adorable baskets, a colored die and a 9-piece square puzzle of a crow. This puzzle will be assembled in the middle of the orchard as the game progresses.

HABA Wooden Play Food

To begin, the youngest player rolls wooden die. On the die there are four different colors, one for each of the fruits on the tree. Green for apples, red for cherries, etc... The color rolled determines the type of fruit a player may pick from the trees. It is a fun way to reinforce color recognition by creating associations with the different types of fruit the child places in their baskets.

If a player rolls the crow, they must put one puzzle piece in the middle. The more pieces assembled in the puzzle, the closer the crow is to the orchard. As the game progresses players cheer for others to do well. Because if one player succeeds, they all succeed. It’s wonderful for teaching basic socialization in the early years of childhood.

The game is either won by everyone by picking all of the fruit together, or by the crow by showing up in the orchard. The game's simple concept makes it easy to learn and a lot of fun to play.

My First Orchard by HABA

Traditional Orchard is recommended for players ages 3+, but for an even younger crowd, HABA has developed My First Orchard. The concept is basically the same, but the pieces are larger for children with oral fixations and play time is shorter. It's the perfect introduction to taking turns, following simple instruction and playing with others.

HABA My First Orchard Game

HABA games are also perfect for free play. The wooden pieces are durable and open-ended, which allow for pretend play narratives outside of traditional game play.

HABA's Orchard game series are responsibly manufactured in Germany from the highest quality materials. They are crafted from solid beech wood and colored with water-based vegetable dyes. As always, HABA's wooden toys are not laquered with any kind of chemicals. Their exquisite finish is the result of a unique process. Each wooden piece is poured into a large buffing machine and gently polished to a soft shine.

To learn more about HABA's classic game Orchard, here is a video review by Games with Hayden's little brother, Jackson.  Be sure to enter our HABA Game Night Giveaway! We will anounce the winning families on Tuesday November 1st.  Click here for details on how to enter.

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Gift Guide for Babies

Posted by aMuse Toys on October 07, 2011 2 Comments

Manhattan Toy Skwish Mobile

This colorful wooden mobile engages baby's eyes and brightens up any nursery. Its design is crafted after Manhattan Toy's modern-day classic toy called Skwish. Babies love its atomic-looking structure with brightly colored spheres and rods.

Read more about Skwish...

GBaby Magnets

These chunky oversized magnetic pieces by GBaby are great for developing early motor skills. Babies learn to grasp the shapes as they put them together and pull them apart. The character covers allow for narrative play as the child grows older, and they double as a bath toy. 

Read more about Gbaby Magnets...

ALEX Toys My Busy Town

This wooden activity center, My Busy Town by ALEX Toys, is perfect for early learning. Babies sit or stand next to the box to open doors, navigate mazes and spin an abacus. Each side is adorned with something engaging and educational. Oh, and it looks great in a playroom!


These "clean keys" for babies known as Kleynimals were developed by a Maryland mother. They look and feel just like real keys to distract babies from grabbing yours. They feature rounded edges, playful characters and are made from dishwasher-safe, food-grade stainless steel. 

Read more about Kleynimals...

Twilight Turtle

Twilight Turtles by Cloud B project the constellations of the night sky onto a child's ceiling. It's a soothing night light and a learning activity in one. When children are younger, you can adjust the color of the light to whatever the child finds most soothing, and when they're older it is a lesson in Astronomy. It is a modern-day classic, and a must-have for any nursery.

Read more about Twilight Turtles...

Sophie the Giraffe

This classic French teething toy, Sophie the Giraffe, has been delighting babies worldwide for over fifty years. She is made in France from a natural rubber and is painted with food-quality dyes. They love her unique shape to teethe hard-to-reach back molars.  

Read more about Sophie the Giraffe...


Kathe Kruse

Kathe Kruse products have been handmade in Europe for over one hundred years. Each piece is artfully crafted by skilled seamstresses and are specially designed to be soft, safe and sanitary. Kathe Kruse baby products are machine washable.   

Read more about Kathe Kruse...

HABA Discoverer's Meadow Play Mat

This soft tummy mat is perfect for early play. Babies explore the meadow by feeling different textures, gazing at different colors and patterns and playing with the different animals. Its sophistocated design keeps it relevant as a play environment for older children as well. 

Read more about HABA...

IQ Baby Knock Knock Blocks

The beautiful soft blocks Knock Knock Blocks by IQ Baby are purposefully designed with high contrast patterns and brightly colored images to engage baby's visual senses. Each piece features differently textured fabrics, interactive doors and windows to explore. Great for early stacking to encourage gross motor development. 

HABA Wooden Clutching & Teething Toys 

HABA's clutching and teething toys are made of solid beech wood and colored with vegetable-based water dyes. They are buffed to a nice sheen, so no chemicals are used in giving the wood its beautiful finish. All of HABA's wooden products are responsibly manufactured in Germany.

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HABA Game Night Giveaway!

Posted by aMuse Toys on October 01, 2011 0 Comments

We adore HABA's games, and we know that you'll love them too. That's why we've teamed up with HABA USA to give away two HABA game night packages that the whole family can enjoy.   


1. Like both aMuse Toys and HABA USA on Facebook.

2. Leave a comment on this blog post letting us know that you liked both Facebook pages. Don't worry if you're already a fan of both, it just saves you a step!

3. Cross your fingers and hope for the best! Two winning families will be chosen randomly on November 1, 2011. Winners will be announced via the aMuse Toys Facebook and on the aMuse Blog November 5, 2011. Make sure to fill in your email so we can contact you.

Here's what you get if you win...

Treasure, Ready, GO!

This fast-paced, dynamic game requires each player to complete a series of tasks to earn points. Memory-matching, quick organization, charades and 3-dimensional building are just a few of the tasks you'll have to complete when it's your turn.

As with all of HABA's games, you can adjust game play to accommodate any skill set - that means 5 year-olds can compete with 13 year-olds or even have a chance at beating mom or dad! For younger children, you can flip the timer twice or introduce the element of risk by having the older players lose all of their points for that round if they're in the middle of a task when the time runs out.

Check out this great video demo on how to play HABA's Treasure, Ready, GO! by our favorite game guru, Hayden.

Seeking Socks

This game is a unique cognitive challenge for all ages. Seeking Socks is a fast-paced matching game that encourages quick pattern recognition, color differentiation and a test of fine motor skills under pressure. As with all of HABA’s games, a few slight rule variations makes it fun for the whole family to play together.

The object of the game is to quickly gather five matching pairs of socks before your opponents can.

Learn to play HABA's Seeking Socks... 

Dancing Eggs

This active family game will have everyone laughing. Catch the dancing egg and then run around the table with it between your knees, under your chin or in your elbow. As soon as the egg drops the game is over.

Watch the video below to see a family having fun playing Dancing Eggs together.

Mummy's Treasure

Join in on an Egyptian archaeological dig, and be the best treasure hunter in the world! In Mummy’s Treasure you will search for gold coins, valuable vases and other unique artifacts of the famous Pharaoh Teubernus.

The goal is to be the first player to successfully fill your excavation site with treasures.

Learn to play HABA's Mummy's Treasure...

Good luck, and don't forget to tell your friends!

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