Play Matters: Engineering with Goldie Blox

Posted by aMuse Toys on July 30, 2013 0 Comments

Goldie Blox is an innovative building set designed with little girls in mind. Historically, as girls grow up they gravitate towards play that involves creating, imagining, pretending and reading. Little boys are typically more interested in the mechanics of their toys. They want to know how things work. What makes cars go? How do buildings get so tall? Naturally, there is a divide in the workplace once all of these little girls and little boys grow up to find themselves selecting a career field.

 

The creator of Goldie Blox is Debbie Sterling. Sterling was one of few graduating females in her class of engineers at Stanford University. Her mission is to close the gender gap in the fields of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] and she's doing that with Goldie Blox. When Sterling began her work on prototypes, she wanted to make something that would encourage girls to explore basic building and engineering concepts without giving up their love of stories and pretend play. The culmination of her research and hours of play is Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine, a story and building set that follows a girl who loves to read and build. 

 

Goldie Blox is designed to be an addition to the ever-growing collection of princess outfits, baby dolls and all things pink. In fact, in its latest media advertisement, Goldie Blox proclaims a disruption of "the pink aisle." Don't get us wrong, there's nothing wrong with a little pink. Goldie Blox is simply an engaging way to encourage high-level thinking and promote all areas of the STEM initiative without taking away the comforts and familiarity of reading and pretending. 

 

Just Some Smart Young Ladies Causing Disruption

 

This story begins by introducing Goldie Blox as a girl who likes to solve problems by building simple machines. Then, Goldie asks you to build a machine with her to help out her friends. As the story progresses, so does the building. By the end of the story, Goldie and her friends are happy and your little one has just built a working machine. And, she doesn't have to stop there. She can take apart the finished machine and see what else she can build on her own.

 

A Look into Goldie's Story

 

When your little one follows along with Goldie's story, she's working on her reading and verbal skills. When she adds pieces to the machine, she's fine tuning her spatial reasoning and problem solving skills. Goldie Blox will eventually expand into a complete series of books and building sets. Readers will be introduced to more friends, like Ruby Goldberg and Axl Rosie (We love it!). There will be more machines and engineering concepts to explore, like force and friction!

 

  

Goldie and Her Motley Crew

 

Goldie Blox is suggested for ages 4 to 9 years old. If you would like to learn more about Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine or ways to include STEM learning in your everyday playplease visit us at our Fells Point or Quarry Lake location.

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Play Matters: MimiQ by Four Esses

Posted by Allison Humphries on April 02, 2013 2 Comments
We are ecstatic to announce the arrival of a new addition to our Game University collection, MimiQ! A great find from our new Danish friends at Four Esses, this card game is the perfect mix of fun and function. 
 
 
 
The game play follows that of Go Fish, but with a twist. Each card depicts a child making (what appears to be) a very silly facial expression. The goal of the game is to collect the most trumps - collections of 3 matching cards. During your turn, simply select a card that you have in your hand to request from an opponent. Here comes the twist. You must first point to your selected opponent, and then, MimiQ (get it?) the facial expression represented on the desired card. That opponent is then prompted to scan his or her hand for a match. If a match is found, the facial expression is sent right back to you and the card is handed your way. No match? Your opponent sticks his or her tongue out at you and you select a card from the deck. Play resumes with the next player. How much fun is that?
 
 
It gets better. Not only is this game a fun and silly way for kids to play cooperatively, it's also an excellent way to help develop and fine tune oral motor skills. This refers to the ability to move your tongue and lips quickly and easily in order to correctly form words and produce sounds. The facial expressions shown on the cards all work to strengthen oral muscles. 
 
 
The multitude of ways in which parents can utilize this deck of cards is incredible! Introduce the concept of mimicking to a toddler. Discuss emotions and how facial expressions play a part in sharing feelings with your preschooler. Challenge your middle schooler to play an entire round without speaking (only using gestures). And finally have an excuse to stick your tongue out at your significant other!
 
Start practicing your most outrageously silly faces and swing by the Quarry Lake or Fells Point locations to play a few rounds with the aTeam! #ComeGetYourGameOn

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Celebrate National Handwriting Day!

Posted by Claudia Towles on January 23, 2013 0 Comments

           

Penmanship: a lost art or victim of new technology? 

Whatever the case, beautiful script has a place in child development. Studies have frequently linked good penmanship with school success. Sure, you may be thinking of a particular profession that is often stereotyped (I'm talking about you Dr. Chicken Scratch) as having illegible handwriting. Nonetheless we can all agree that a beautifully hand written note is something to cherish.

We love Kid-O's MAGNAtab collection. With two cursive tabs [pictured above] tackle upper case and lower case letters with ease. Kids (sure adults can play too) love the reactivity of the magnets as the pen swipes over them. The pull of the magnets reinforces proper form while exercising tiny muscles that aid in fine motor refinement.

You can snatch these up with free shipping on all orders of $25 or more. Enter code WRITE at checkout. They make a great indoor activity on these very chilly January days!

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What We Love: Plus-Plus

Posted by aMuse Toys on November 29, 2012 0 Comments

When we saw Plus-Plus from Geared for Imagination at the 2012 New York Gift Fair, our hearts were all a-flutter. We are always excited to find a new twist on a building toy, and Plus-Plus is just that. And the Danish made toy just won a Fat Brain Toy award for Best Building and Construction Toy!

Here's what we love about Plus-Plus:

1. We love its shape. The Danish company's motto is "Simplistic Shape. Endless Possibility!" and that's exactly what we get. We can connect the pieces on all four sides. We can build vertically or horizontally. We can build out and make amazing 3-Dimensional structures.

2. We love its colors. There are two color sets, basic and neon, but don't think you can't mix and match. In fact, don't feel limited by the colors at all. Who says you can't make a car that's purple and orange with neon green headlights?

3. We love its math concepts. Yes, we just used the words "love" and "math" in one sentence, but trust us, you'll love this too. You can introduce pattern making into those designs or just watch as your kids figure out how to connect the pieces to get the angles or structures they want. It's all part of problem solving, but we won't tell them it's math if you don't.

 

 

 

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From the Archives: Every Kid Needs an EarthBall!

Posted by aMuse Toys on May 18, 2012 0 Comments


Earth Ball


We are SO excited about EarthBalls. They are exactly the kind of toy we love to carry at aMuse. Fun, educational and beautiful to boot.

EarthBalls are the most visually authentic replicas of our planet available anywhere and they are a TON of fun. EarthBalls are a great way to add another dimension of learning to any ball game.

Earth Ball

Another really cool feature is that each EarthBall displays NightGlow Cities, allowing you to see the world's cities glowing brightly at night!

Earth Ball

If you still aren't sold on EarthBalls, in 2009 the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched into orbit with seven astronauts & one inflatable EarthBall onboard! There's nothing like a seal of approval from NASA!

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