top of page

VTech Toys Blog

Discover, Play, & Explore!

I'm a huge fan of incorporating STEM toys and STEM learning into my home and I have been doing so from very early on in my children's lives. What better time to encourage a love for STEM and to develop fun STEM activities at home than when they are young and excited to learn? STEM education is a fun and engaging process that a child's curiosity is naturally drawn to.



But first, what is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.


Why is STEM important?


STEM concepts are an active part of our daily lives, whether you realize it or not. By encouraging creative thinking and analytical skills early on in a child's life, we can easily help our children become confident and lifelong learners.

How To Encourage a Love of STEM Activities

Since I have kids of all different ages, it can feel challenging at times to find activities that are educational and engaging, and age-appropriate at the same time. STEM activities are actually great for children of multiple ages to do together. Older children can work together with younger children. Children can incorporate their own ideas and suggestions on how to make something work. They can also learn from their elder peers to see cause and effect.

What I also love about STEM toys and activities is that when purchasing toys, not only do I want a toy that helps to teach my kids, but I want one that will withstand hours of play and wear and tear too. STEM toys activate a child's mind and brain, so that they can problem solve and work on something over and over again.


I also really love STEM toys that promote quality time together so that we can all work on and complete tasks together.



How To Encourage a Love of STEM Activities

What I've found throughout my years of being a mom is that kids genuinely love STEM learning. But the biggest way to foster that love for learning is to be active and a part of the process.


Some simple tips to encourage a love of STEM learning include:


  • Explore together. Have fun studying new topics and lessons and be "present" and in the moment with them.

  • Buy STEM toys that encourage your child to practice their STEM skills and that excites them.

  • Have hands-on learning. Reading from books is great but let's not overlook the fact that kids love to learn with their hands as well.

  • Think outside the box. Some of the greatest inventions in the world were made because people thought a bit differently. Encourage your child to have this mindset when it comes to STEM learning.

  • Ask them what they love about STEM. If you ask your child what they love about STEM and what they want to do with STEM, it will help them share their experiences with you and love it even more.

  • Hypothesize with them. Ask them what they think will happen or to help problem-solve. Making those tall magnetic tile towers looks amazing, but how high can you really go? What happens if you remove one piece? Will it all fall down?



Tips for Developing STEM Activities at Home

One of the biggest ways that we work on STEM in our house is that we have STEM toys and learning tools that the kids love to create with.


The two STEM toys that my family is currently enjoying right now are:



The moment my children saw the VTech® Marble Rush™ Ultimate Set™ box at home, they could not wait to open it. I love that STEM toys have no age limit. My 14-year-old was just as excited as my 7-year-old. I loved seeing my children put on their thinking brains while they conversed with each other and discussed how to fix a piece that wasn't working with the overall layout and design.

The kids love this set because it not only allows them to build with over 128-pieces, but it also has a spinning Ferris wheel and color-coded blocks that make it easy for them to construct, which helps to quickly build their STEM confidence.

Once they built their masterpiece, they were able to drop the marbles and complete the challenges along the way. I love that this is geared towards kids ages 4+ so it's a fun learning tool that the kids will play with together and have a blast. This set is pretty large, and I loved listening to my 14-year-old and 12-year-old brainstorm some of the challenges they saw when building their own designs and how to solve those challenges.



The VTech® Marble Rush Launchpad Set includes 75 building pieces and it has a light-show rocket ship as well as launchers, and more.

This set has color-coded blocks as well for easy-to-follow construction and it makes it simple for the kids to branch out and create something new and unique too.

Whatever they create, they just drop the marbles and love watching the path that they take!



The VTech® Marble Rush toys explore the global rules of physics:

  • Rule #1 - Gravity. Gravity pulls things down.

  • Rule #2 - Slope. Slope affects speed.

  • Rule #3 - Random. Random is unpredictable.

  • Rule #4 - Force. Force is a push or a pull.

  • Rule #5 - Friction. Friction is everywhere.

Once your children have built the courses that are provided as examples in the book, try to extend the activity. Have them build their own courses, or even better… ask them to find a way to merge both sets together for an even larger marble run course.


Don’t forget to incorporate a lot of other open-ended supplies and items in your kids’ play space as well. Have building blocks, train sets, magnetic tiles, and other supplies openly available for playtime.


Did you know that Slime is also a STEM activity? My kids are a bit older, so I am able to leave out all the Slime materials at home. My children love creating slime from glitter, clear glue (or white glue) and our slime activators. STEM is a natural part of our daily afternoon playtime.

Why STEM Learning?

STEM teaches children real-life skills that they'll continue to use, even as adults.


STEM teaches them how to be creative, how to critically think, how to read and comprehend directions, how to create hypotheses and test them out, and how to be okay with trying something and altering it as needed.


Those STEM skills are ones that can't be taught from a textbook but only with real-world hands-on learning.


This is why in our house STEM toys and family STEM time are essential and something that we'll continue to keep doing day in and day out. And with the help of our VTech® toys, learning time is something that the kids look forward to every single day!








Nadia is a mom of 4 and the face behind Fun With Mama. She loves the magic of childhood and loves connecting with her children through educational and fun activities. Her blog is filled with fun kids’ activities, educational printable activities, travel experiences, and family-related topics.

297 views0 comments

Creating childhood magic is one of my favorite parts of being a mommy to my three little ones! Over the years I have found that all it takes is a little imagination and love to create the most magically memorable moments. Recently, I surprised my 7-year-old, Harper, with a fun-filled slumber party. The sweetest dreams are made of these memories!




Special delivery!


For me, the magic is in the details. Little things like an invitation and a new pair of pajamas can make an experience extra special. Ivy the Bloom Bright Unicorn™ and the Glitter Me Kitten™, two magical new robotic friends from VTech®, arrived at our home to invite Harper to a slumber party that night- right in our family room! These two cuddly, colorful, and interactive friends joined our slumber party to make the night even more magical!


Here are some more creative ideas to throw your own magical slumber party; sweet dreams, guaranteed!


Decorate


Set the scene for a magical evening by transforming a space in your house especially for the occasion! I set up our slumber party in the family room; you can choose anywhere- but believe me, your kids will get extra joy out of “camping” in a room that is not typically used for sleep!


Get the look by hanging a variety of sheets or blankets (even curtain panels or tablecloths will work!) between furniture to create a tent. To create the high-pitched “circus tent” look that I envisioned for our slumber party, I tied sheets so that they would hang down from our ceiling fan! By draping and layering several pieces you can make a really dreamy little space!


Add a layer of comfort to the floor using couch cushions, a blowup mattress, or even an outgrown crib mattress! Now, fill it with cozy pillows and fluffy blankets; it is the perfect spot to cuddle up with the Glitter Me Kitten™️ and listen to her purr.


Turn up the sparkle by hanging twinkle lights and shimmering star garlands. Wave the wand over Ivy the Bloom Bright Unicorn™️ to add an even more colorful glow to the room!


Plan Activities


From dance parties to spa time to crafts, put on your jammies and get ready for a night of memory making with your little one!


Let’s get the (dance) party started! Turn on your favorite playlist and dance along with Ivy the Bloom Bright Unicorn™️! Harper loved watching Ivy flap her wings and glow along to the music. Keep the party going by asking Ivy to lead a catchy sing-a-long with eight of her own tunes!


Then set up a pretend salon & spa. First, take turns trying out new hairstyles! Harper requested an Ivy-inspired unicorn mane braid, complete with rainbow rubber bands and a colorful faux hair strand woven in.


While I was working on her hair, she was changing the color of Ivy’s eyes, horn, and wings with her magic wand and adding pretty hair clip accessories to her own braid.


Next, choose a fun color to paint your child’s nails. The Glitter Me Kitten™️ would love to place a glittery stamp on your child’s hand to help show off their new mini mani!


Arts & Crafts


Prepare your little one for a purr-fect night’s sleep by making an adorable kitty cat sleep mask together!


For this project you will need: felt, a hot glue gun, a piece of sewing elastic to fit around your child’s head, and any other embellishments that you desire (sequins, puffy paint, etc!).


On a piece of felt, draw a peanut shape approximately the width of your little one’s face. Add two triangle cat ears to the outline. Cut out the entire cat shape x 2. Decorate a side of one of the pieces of felt. I cut various shapes like eyelashes, a nose, ears, and whiskers out of felt to make it look like a sleepy Glitter Me Kitten™️!


Once it has dried, use the hot glue to attach a piece of elastic to the back sides of your decorated mask. Create an “elastic sandwich” by adhering the second, undecorated felt mask to the backside of the first. Hot glue around the perimeter, lining up the edges as you go.


Make a Snack


No slumber party is complete without snacks! Stovetop popcorn is one of my kids’ favorite snacks - I love to listen as they squeal in delight watching the popcorn magically dance around the pot! For our slumber party, we made it even more magical by turning our favorite snack into Unicorn Popcorn!


Ingredients:

- Popcorn Kernels (2 tablespoons per color)

- Gel Food Coloring

- Sugar (2 tablespoons per color)

- Coconut oil (1/2 tablespoon per color)


Step 1: For each desired color, mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1-2 drops of gel food coloring in separate small bowls. Set aside.


Step 2: Melt ½ tablespoon of coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a kernel or two and wait for it to pop - this means your oil is hot enough!


Step 3: Add 2 tablespoons of kernels and give them a quick stir to make sure they are coated in the oil.


Step 4: This next step is a bit tricky (but deliciously worth it!). As the kernels begin to heat up, sprinkle them with the colored sugar and place a lid on the pot. Move and shake the pot as the kernels pop to coat the popcorn in a colorful candy coating!


Step 5: Pour the popcorn onto a baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper to cool. Top with salt if desired and/or our favorite - sprinkles!


Step 6: Clean your pot and repeat with each color.


Once the popcorn has cooled, you can break apart any clusters that are stuck together. Mix all the colors together in a large mixing bowl. Eat it right from the bowl or serve in novelty popcorn boxes or decorative baking cups.


Sweet Dreams!


When it is time to finally go to sleep, find a cozy spot under the twinkling lights of the blanket fort. Tuck Ivy’s legs forward and transition her to cuddle mode. I listened to my daughter and Ivy sweetly chat about their dreams and sing lullabies as she also rubbed her kitten’s back until they all fell asleep!


I hope these tips inspire you to enjoy a special night of making memories with your children at your own magical slumber party!







Jessica Grant highlights a joyful and creative childhood, motherhood, and home through her social media and blog, JessicaEtCetera.com. With a background in preschool education and now a mom to 3 young kids, Jessica enjoys sharing all kinds of fun including crafts, DIY, and learning through play with the goal of creating a magical and memorable childhood!

2,748 views0 comments

Hi friends! It is easily my favorite time of the year. My family and I are diving right into all the fun memory making and magic that comes with this season. My oldest girls, Raegan (6) and Zarie (4), have a couple more weeks of school, but I am already planning for Christmas break at home. As anyone with school aged kids knows, the minute they are home from break, they suddenly require 18,293 snacks and constant engaging fun. I have the snacks covered, and thanks to VTech and LeapFrog I’ve got the fun covered as well.


Raegan and Zarie have been LOVING the LeapFrog® Magic Adventures Globe™. Using the included stylus, kids can tap the interactive globe and learn about new places, languages, cultures, animals, geography, habitats and more.



We’ve recently been learning all about Germany, as my husband and I spent almost 4 years there together while stationed in Bavaria. They’ve heard our fun cultural and travel stories, and now they get to dig deeper with the globe’s videos, animations and learning game content. Raegan has even started writing about all her findings in her journal. She is especially intrigued by their epic outdoor Christmas markets. She plans to talk about Germany’s Christmas traditions with her teachers and classmates after break.



The girls have also really enjoyed the KidiZoom® Creator Cam and the VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™. Both girls are fully convinced that they are bloggers like mom, and so they love to document fun days at home and our Christmas adventures. Zarie says she can't wait to take videos of our Christmas train ride in Santa Cruz. The girls have even been taking selfies and printing them out to slip into the Christmas cards that we are sending out to friends and family. Their favorite part is browsing and adding the more than 100 templates to their photos--the “BFF” background is a crowd favorite over here. The KidiZoom® PrintCam™ even has three built in games that allows for more fun between shoots--or when waiting in long lines with Mom when we’re shopping.



Zarie is especially into taking photos right now. She has the VTech® KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3™, which also has single-player games like Monster Catcher, but her favorite thing is that the smartwatch has dual cameras to take pictures, selfies and videos. She loves to document story time with her stuffies, Daddy’s rundown of his day at work, and she even videoed her favorite Christmas ornaments the day we got our tree. With it getting darker earlier, it’s nice that the smartwatch also has a flash for her photos, that doubles as a little flashlight.



I’ll be honest, when we got the LeapFrog® Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot™ I figured that my son, Xander (1), would be the only one into it. Boy was I wrong! Raegan and Zarie sit there and play with it too! I think it’s because the pot is interactive and says encouraging phrases. They like to help Xander follow the 5 step-by-step recipes and hear him giggle when the bot makes bubbly boiling sounds. When the girls are at school, I sneak to wrap their gifts, and Xander happily plays with his LeapFrog® Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot™. Mama likes that all the smaller parts that come with the pot fit inside for easy playroom storage.



We are an active-duty military family, which means that my husband, Mark, has had to miss so many holidays and precious moments. I know how crushing that can feel and wanted to share a sweet way to feel closer to your servicemember. The LeapFrog® On-the-Go Story Pal™ is the cutest little bunny shaped player that lets your kiddos take story time wherever they go. It comes with 70+ stories, songs and lullabies, but the On-the-Go Story Pal™ also allows you to personalize it by recording up to 10 minutes of your voice reading your child’s favorite story or you can create your own. Have your service member record a sweet story or message for your littles to play this season when they’re feeling the sting of separation.


Okay, friends, I hope I’ve made your holidays just a little easier by sharing fun ideas for how to create memories, engage your kiddos, and keep learning fun!


Xoxo,

Shakira






Shakira is a proud mama of 3, military spouse, and creator behind the Occasions by Shakira motherhood lifestyle blog. She shares ideas that spark intentional memory making, celebrating the everyday, and holiday magic. She is also the creator of the largely loved #OccasionsBin trend.



200 views0 comments
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
bottom of page