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VTech Toys Blog

Discover, Play, & Explore!

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Your baby’s first year is filled with so much developmental growth and change. In the blink of an eye, your infant will quickly go from a tiny, helpless newborn to a walking, talking toddler. Although we all want our babies to stay little forever, seeing them pass through each milestone makes us so eager to watch them grow and develop. As you experience their first smile, roll, or steps, you realize how amazing it is to see your little one accomplish a new skill. Milestones are a significant part of your baby’s journey and show you how well they are physically developing. Babies learn these new skills through everyday play. Exposing your infant to stimulating toys and interactions that provide loads of sensory experiences can help them make connections, problem solve, and develop new skills. It’s important to note that every baby develops at their own pace. There is a wide range of what’s typical at all developmental stages. However, if you are concerned about a developmental milestone, speak to your pediatrician.

The Benefits of Play

Play is a baby’s way of learning about the world around them. They learn through objects and toys and discover textures, sounds, cause and effect, spatial relations, and so much more. Along with improving their strength and coordination, play develops their cognition, hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, sensory processing, and social/emotional skills. How to Maximize Milestones Through Play You’ll want to give your baby as much opportunity as possible to practice new skills.Their wake times will get longer as the year progresses, so they should have plenty of time to play. Here are some tips on ways to improve your baby’s physical, cognitive, and social emotional skills as they reach new milestones along the way: 1. Start with Tummy Time!

Tummy time is one of the first activities that you can do with your baby to give them a head start on developing their physical milestones. Tummy time is vital for babies to strengthen their neck and back extensor muscles. These muscles allow them to hold their head and trunk upright. Tummy time also provides sensory stimulation to all the joints in their arms and front of their body. This will help to develop arm, hand, and finger strength for fine and gross motor skills, including crawling, grasping, and precise hand movements at later stages of development. Not only does tummy time provide infinite benefits for babies, but it is shown to make a huge difference in children’s motor skills down the road, which become more evident when your child reaches school age. These muscles are important for good posture, handwriting, and even athletics. 2. Use age-appropriate and engaging toys You can start your baby very young with their development by providing them with stimulating and developmental toys. VTech® offers some of the best electronic and interactive toys for babies and toddlers. They provide age-appropriate, developmental stage-based toys that will get your baby learning in no time! I use VTech® toys on a daily basis to stimulate my baby and help him reach his next milestone. Here are some of my favorites:

VTech® Lil’ Critters Soothing Starlight Polar BearTM

This cute polar bear projects a soothing starry night sky onto the ceiling while providing peaceful sounds and tunes for your baby. This toy is perfect for helping your little one visually track objects within the first 3-4 months, as well as self-soothe when he or she needs comfort. Having objects or toys around that your baby can look at or hear are great for sensory stimulation, as well. Objects with contrasting colors and different textures are perfect for young babies as their vision and tactile senses are developing.

VTech® Tummy Time Discovery PillowTM

Allow your baby to get comfy while having fun with this soft crescent-shaped pillow featuring a friendly giraffe, bright colors, textures, lights, and sounds. As mentioned before, tummy time is so important and this pillow provides the support that your baby needs to strengthen his or her muscles while stimulating his or her senses. Put the pillow under your baby’s chest and neck with their arms in front of them. The slight incline may make tummy time a little more tolerable for them. If they have some head control, you can also try to bend their elbows in front of them so that they are resting on their arms, instead of positioning their arms behind them. As your infant gets a little older, they can use it to support themselves while sitting up.

VTech® Turtle’s Busy Day Soft BookTM

Babies love turning the pages of a soft book, especially when they provide bright, colorful images and crinkly textures. Each page of this book offers something new for your baby to discover: lifting the flap, new textures and sounds, a peek-a-boo mirror, and a finger puppet. This book will provide endless play for your baby while they develop fine motor skills and cognition.

VTech® Explore and Crawl ElephantTM

Ready for your baby to start crawling? This is the ultimate motivator to develop that gross motor skill around 7-10 months! This soft, plush animal walks around while providing lots of sensory stimulation with textures, patterns, and sounds. Your baby will love crawling around the house to chase it while strengthening their arm muscles as well as learning about colors, numbers, and daily life through music and tunes.

VTech® Stroll & Discover Activity WalkerTM

Once your little one starts learning to walk, this interactive activity walker is great. The light up piano keys and activity panel provide endless entertainment whether your child is sitting in front of it or walking with it. Your baby can use it for support when they are sturdy enough to stand and begin taking small steps. Soon they will be cruising the whole house with it!

VTech® Drop and Go Dump TruckTM

As your baby starts getting an understanding of cause-and-effect around 8 months and up, this is the perfect toy to improve their overall cognitive and problem-solving skills! Your baby will drop a colorful rock into the top of the toy dump truck and watch it tumble around into the bucket. The truck is also interactive as it counts each rock and plays fun tunes.

3. Demonstrate and Model New Skills Children learn by seeing, feeling, touching, and doing. Their curious, little minds love to take in everything through their senses and imitate what they’ve seen. Therefore, you need to show (not tell) them how to perform a new motor skill. It can be as simple as crawling on your hands and knees right in front of them or putting blocks into a bucket for them to see. Demonstrating the actual action is a great way to let your baby see and understand what their body is capable of doing. If they have siblings or even other babies at a play group, it’s helpful for them to see others their own age doing these skills, as well.

4. Repeat each skill often

Give your baby maximum exposure to the milestone you are trying to teach. If you want your baby to learn a new motor skill, repeat it as often as you can throughout the day using engaging and stimulating items, such as the VTech® toys above. Practice during your bedtime routine, diaper changes, meal time, or free play. Room to room and hour by hour, there are plenty of opportunities to practice different skills.

5. Be Patient

It may take your baby some time to reach the new milestone that you have been waiting for. Some will pick it up quickly while others need a lot of practice. Every child learns at their own pace. The best thing you can do is let your baby learn new skills on their own time. Applying these tips is sure to help them learn quicker; however, it’s important to remember to be patient and it will come. Don’t push them too hard or get frustrated with them and try not to compare them to other babies. There are many factors that contribute to your baby reaching a new milestone, but they will get there when they are ready. . . . . . Watching your baby make their way through various developmental stages is something that every parent absolutely loves. As they reach each milestone, you can be proud that they are developing just as they should. Try the tips above while using VTech’s amazing toys to give your baby that head start he or she needs to develop during those critical early months. Author Bio:

Marissa LaBuz is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist turned stay-at-home mom and full-time blogger who loves sharing her advice and experience with the world. She runs two blogs, Just Simply Mom and Teaching Littles, and an Etsy Shop, all while starting tickle wars and dance parties with two energetic toddlers and calming a newborn baby. When she doesn't have her hands full of children, she enjoys a glass (or 3) of wine, reality tv, and country music.

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Updated: Jun 29, 2021

My youngest son Rhys has the most passionate car obsession I have ever witnessed. Since he is my third boy, I thought I had seen a love of cars in my older boys, but I've never witnessed the love that my youngest exhibits.

Most car play is based around lots of racing and lining up. He loves lying on the floor to roll them back and forth. With regular cars though, there is a limit on how much imaginative or pretend play can occur.

Go! Go! Cory Carson® is a show on Netflix that follows Cory Carson and his friends through their adventures in Bumperton Hills - they go to school, make friends and explore with their family. Rhys, of course, automatically loved the show and VTech® has a line of toys that allows kids the opportunity to create their own Cory Carson show! I was so impressed with the amount of pretend play he was engaging in with the Go! Go! Cory Carson® collection and the Bumperton Hills playset locations.

Pretend play has proven to be an essential type of play for child development. Kids learn about themselves and the world, including how conversations can play out, or how to set up a scene for typical life occurrences. It also helps with their vocabulary and social development as they make up pretend conversations with their toys.

What has been missing from our typical car play? Pretend play! This became even more evident when I saw all my boys working together to set up their Go! Go! Cory Carson® play area. The fact that these cars have names, faces, and places to live and engage with makes for the perfect way to integrate car play with important pretend and role play.

After they set up their areas, they started to have pretend conversations. Rhys was able to observe his older brothers playing, which reinforced his understanding of role play. It was amazing. Here are some of the specific toys and how we played with them.

VTech Go! Go! Cory Carson DJ Train Trax & the Roll Train

As a family, we all love music and dancing. The DJ Train Trax & the Roll Train was a lot of fun as it is a train that has a DJ set as a train car. As you roll the train around, it plays music, but you can also play mixmaster with mini characters Cory Carson and Chrissy Carson. Help Cory and Chrissy dance on stage or roll DJ Train Trax to light up his rainbow chimney while building motor skills and listening to sounds and phrases from the show.

Press DJ Train Trax’s hat or move him around to trigger phrases, sounds, songs and special lighting effects. As you collect the other characters, you can place them in the DJ booth to hear them talk, play music and to see them light up. Rhys and his brothers loved putting the characters on the train to take them from one location to the next.

VTech Go! Go! Cory Carson Freddie's Firehouse

Go on a rescue mission with Freddie Firetruck and Chrissy Carson at the Go! Go! Cory Carson Freddie’s Firehouse. You can press the button at the bottom of the slide to hear Freddie’s mom, Carolyn Firetruck's songs and phrases. She encourages exploration of all the exciting activities the Firehouse has to offer. Rhys loved the spiral ramp and lining up multiple characters to go down right after each other.

Each playset has a PlayZone location that activates different sounds and phrases depending on which character you place on top of it. For the Firehouse, it's located at the bottom of the spiral ramp. Rhys' face lit up when I showed him that area and he was so impressed that each character said something different!

VTech Go! Go! Cory Carson O'Tool's Construction Site

The Go! Go! Cory Carson O’Tool’s Construction Site includes Cory Carson and his friend Timmy O'Tool. An active construction site where you can smash through a brick wall is EVERYTHING to my boys. From Rhys, who is 2, to my oldest, who is 6, they all enjoyed setting it up and running cars down the slide over and over.

Help Cory and Timmy knock down walls, sound the whistle and slide down the ramp while listening to sounds and phrases from the episodes, and you can place Cory or Timmy on the PlayZone location to hear them each say unique phrases.

VTech Go! Go! Cory Carson Cory's Stay & Play Home

Go! Go! Cory Carson Cory’s Stay & Play Home is the ultimate landscape for pretend play. Explore every room with Cory, Mama and Chrissy Carson mini characters. I noticed as the boys were playing, they set up all the locations together and created a town, but the cars had the most conversations while they were around the house.

This house is built just for cars with a pretend bathtub car wash complete with a scrub brush, ramps and more. Hang out in Cory’s room and place the mini characters on the PlayZone location to hear unique phrases, sing-along songs and sounds.

The house has so many features that change when you press a button, like the fireplace that opens up to expose an art studio. All these areas spark a different type of scenario and pretend play in kids. Slide down the ramp to watch T.V. in the living room or try to get Chrissy to take a bath just like in the show. Press the button near the fireplace to find a hidden door or press the T.V. button to watch DJ Train Trax.

VTech Go! Go! Cory Carson PlayZone Mini Character 6-Pack

A pack of all the friends was a great addition to all the locations! It also helped with multiple kids playing together as they all had different characters and could spread them out amongst the house, Firehouse and Construction Site. The Go! Go! Cory Carson PlayZone Mini Character 6-Pack includes Cory Carson, Freddie Firetruck, Halle Copter, Frannie Fenderson, and Timmy and Kimmy O’Tool. They can also be placed onto any of the playsets’ PlayZone locations so kids can hear their unique sounds and phrases.

All the sets together made for a really fun pretend play area as it really allowed the kids to set up their own version of Bumperton Hills. The boys talked about leaving home to go to work at the Firehouse and they would take the train to get there. It is such a perfect combination of car and pretend play, and we are so impressed. It was exactly the kind of transitionary toy we needed for the car obsessed Rhys. It pushed him beyond just rolling the cars around and instead toward tons of other play possibilities.

About the Author

Shantall Bond is a mother of 3 boys, so she’s always on the move! She blogs at Urban Mom Tales. Her 10-year background in education and counseling started from a genuine passion for people, writing and helping others. After becoming a mom, that passion for creating communities turned into Urban Mom Tales. She lives with her husband and boys in the heart of Chicago.

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Updated: Jun 29, 2021

A dinosaur theme is perfect for your child's next birthday party.

Everyone loves dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs spark curiosity and excitement for kids of all ages, which makes it such an easy theme to pull together. A dino party is just as much fun to plan as it is to attend!

Dinosaur Themed Party Food Ideas

The key to planning food at a child's birthday party is to keep it simple and fun. A dinosaur charcuterie board is a unique way to offer a variety of kid friendly foods. Adding VTech® Switch & Go® dinosaurs to the table makes it even more inviting for young guests.

Dinosaur Charcuterie Tray

  • Chicken nuggets

  • Assorted snacks

  • Grapes

  • Dipping sauces

  • Veggies and fruit

  • Dyed hard boiled eggs

Charcuterie boards aren't just for grown-ups anymore, kids love them too! There are no real rules when making one so feel free to swap out any food that will not work for your party with one that will.

The hard boiled dinosaur eggs are super easy to make and add a special touch to the tray. You can use an Easter egg dying kit to color them or roll hard boiled eggs in shaving cream and food coloring for a speckled effect.

Dinosaur Egg Pudding Cups

  • Chocolate pudding

  • Graham cracker crumbs

  • Egg shaped candies

  • Clear cups

Scientists think dinosaurs laid up to 21 eggs at once so feel free to load up these yummy pudding cups with lots of chocolate candy eggs!

The dinosaur egg pudding cups are so easy to make. Fill a clear cup about 2/3 full of chocolate pudding and top with graham cracker crumbs. Then add as many candy eggs as you want and serve chilled.

Easy Dinosaur Cupcakes

  • Store bought or homemade cupcakes

  • Plastic or candy dinosaurs

Buy or make the birthday kid's favorite cupcakes. Add plastic or candy dinosaurs to the top and set out to serve to guests. Such a cute and easy dessert for a kid’s party.

Dinosaur Themed Party Activities

Setting up dinosaur party games is easier than ever with VTech®’s Switch & Go® collection. These open-ended toys allow kids to transform dinosaurs into tough vehicles and are perfect for groups of kids to play together.

When you change the dinosaur into a vehicle, like the T-Rex Truck or the Velociraptor Helicopter, kids get to stretch their imaginations and engage in pretend play. Each dinosaur has a special skill and unique sound effects that keep kids engaged and having fun. The Switch & Go® collection can be used to make party games more fun!

Encourage pretend play at your party with a dinosaur dig sand pit.

Dinosaur Dig Sand Play

  • Sandbox or large plastic bin

  • VTech® Switch & Go® dinosaurs

  • Sand

  • Rocks and other natural materials

  • Small shovels or scoops

Creating a sensory play area gives kids a low-key activity they can do throughout the birthday party. A dinosaur dig using VTech® Switch & Go® dinosaurs is perfect for a dinosaur theme.

Add sand, rocks and other natural materials to a sandbox or large plastic bin. Set up the VTech® Switch & Go® dinosaurs in the sand area with some shovels for kids to use for pretend play.

Water play is always a hit with kids! Put a dinosaur spin on it by making frozen dinosaur eggs for kids to melt.

Melt the Frozen Dinosaur Eggs

  • Small plastic dinosaurs

  • Balloons

  • Water

  • Tray or dish

  • Water dropper, pipette, or spray bottle

Frozen dinosaur eggs aren’t hard to prep. Blow up a balloon halfway to stretch it out and then release the air. Stick a small plastic dinosaur into the opening of the balloon. Fill the balloon with water by putting the end of the balloon around the faucet and slowly turning on the water. When the balloon has been filled to an egg shape, turn off the water and tie off the end of the balloon. Place in the freezer overnight.

Keep filling and freezing balloons until you have one for each party guest. On the morning of the party, cut the ends of the balloons to remove them and keep the ice eggs frozen until it's time to melt them. Set them on trays or in dishes next to bowls of warm water and water droppers for kids to use to melt the ice.

Classic birthday party games are classics for a reason, kids love them! Use the Switch & Go® dinosaurs as the objects to ring in this dinosaur-inspired twist on ring toss.

Dinosaur Ring Toss Game

  • 3 Switch & Go® dinosaurs (the larger ones are easier to ring)

  • Package of pool rings

Choose 3 of your child's favorite Switch & Go® dinosaurs for the kids to throw pool rings around. The taller, larger dinos are easier to ring than the smaller ones so you can adjust the difficulty of the game to the age of the kids at the party. The kids play by taking turns throwing the rings around the Switch & Go® dinosaurs to see who can get the most.

There are so many easy ways to make a dinosaur themed birthday party special and fun! Using some of your child's favorite Switch & Go® dinosaurs for party inspiration is a great way to personalize the celebration and make the day extra special.

Megan is the creator of Coffee Cups and Crayons, a blog full of simple fun and learning. She believes that kids’ activities don’t have to be complicated to be fun and that learning is better with play.

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