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VTech Toys Blog

Discover, Play, & Explore!

The holiday season is upon us so it’s time to get that early gift shopping started. If you have a new baby in the family and you are eager to spoil them for their first Christmas, you’ve come to the right place!

Baby’s first Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate all those first milestones with your little one. While the festive wrapping paper may go unnoticed by your infant, they will certainly appreciate all the new and exciting toys.

As babies age, they become more and more curious about the world around them. Their exploration reaches an all-time high as they begin to understand and make sense of so many new concepts. They’re figuring out how to play and creating new opportunities to explore each and every day.

As parents, we want to promote our children’s development the best we can. Although our babies are learning everyday through play and experience, there are still many things we can do to help them along the way.

The Best Toys for Baby’s First Christmas

It’s important to look at certain features of toys to ensure that they are developmentally appropriate. Your baby’s skills will be emerging and strengthening quickly, and you want to maximize their stimulation through play.

There are a variety of toys and activities that babies can use to stimulate all their sensory systems. Most of these toys will target their visual, auditory, and tactile (touch) senses.

Just as babies grow out of their clothing quickly, they may outgrow toys quickly as well, especially during the first few months of life. Therefore, keep in mind that it’s best to buy toys that your child can grow into and use for some time.

Here are some toys that offer exposure to practicing new motor skills and learning:

Birth to 6 Months

For young babies, toys that offer fine motor and sensory activities to explore and discover will help to start their journey toward developing many new skills. Most of these toys will stimulate all their sensory systems as they develop.

This soft pillow features a friendly giraffe and provides comfortable support for your baby with three ways to play. The crescent-shaped pillow provides support during tummy time play as your child begins strengthening their neck muscles. It also supports them while they are learning to sit on their own.

The pillow has multiple textures, patterns, and colors for visual and tactile stimulation.

Featuring light-up piano keys on the removable piano, it also introduces numbers, colors, shapes, and animals. Plus, the removable baby-safe mirror and rattle are perfect for on the go play.

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.

​​A mobile is great for when your baby starts to visually track and follow objects with their eyes and reach for things. The movement will grab their attention and they can watch as it spins in a circle.

The Soothing Ocean Slumbers Mobile™ is a 2-in-1 that can be transformed into a crib toy as your baby grows. It features brightly colored ocean animal characters, projects images onto the ceiling, and plays soft music to help lull your baby to sleep.

6 Months to 1+ Year

As your baby grows, he or she will take in so much more from his or her environment. The following toys help develop their fine, gross, and visual motor skills as they begin to move and communicate.

The Touch & Explore Activity Table™ has six different sensory areas for your child to play with. From sitting, to standing, to cruising, it grows with your little one.

Activities on the interactive tabletop introduce kids to animals, colors and numbers with 90+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases. As early as 6 months old, your child can touch, press, and spin to practice fine motor skills, make music, and learn animal facts.

VTech® Drop & Go Dump Truck™ - (ages 6 - 36 months)

As your baby starts to get 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.

This age is the start of your baby’s constant movement and exploration. Give them the means to start getting around on their own with this sit-to-stand walker.

They will love playing with all the push-button features that play music and light up, while also being able to push it around the house. It will help to develop their leg and trunk muscles in preparation for walking.

VTech® Count & Win Sports Center™ - (ages 12 – 36 months)

Help your little ones get moving with their first sports games. They can kick the ball into the soccer net or gently toss a small ball into the basketball hoop.

This sports center helps your child practice counting and build fine-motor skills with buttons to press and gears to turn while exercising their large muscles.

This 4-in-1 interactive train features 16 activities that will encourage motor skills while teaching about letters, numbers, and places. It’s truly an all-in-one toy, taking your child from floor play to walker push toy to ride-on to pull cart.

From building towers, playing pretend, and learning concepts, your child will learn so much with this toy!

. . . .

I hope you enjoyed this holiday gift guide for your little ones and find something new that excites their senses. Enjoy your baby’s first Christmas!

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 three little ones. 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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Little kids can easily use the number knowledge they have mastered to focus on learning new skills. Building on top of established skills encourages young learners to extend learning through play and real-life experiences. Practicing numbers, counting, and other early math skills at home will make learning how to tell time with educational toys and products a fun and frustration-free experience!

The must-have watch option for the little kids in your life who want nothing more than to have all the bells and whistles of a smartwatch just like the one their older siblings and parents have,

is the kid-friendly KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3 from VTech!

Telling Time Made Easy!

Little kids are learning how to tell time earlier than ever due to the educational experiences they are involved in while watching their favorite TV shows, playing online learning games and apps, as well as using the technology devices found inside their homes.

But what if your child is not interested in telling time, or is even struggling to understand how a clock works?

Before you begin to worry, consider a few things about your child. Little kids learn best when they are interested in a topic. They also have to be developmentally ready to learn a new skill. So, if your preschooler is still working on number skills, telling time may not be a skill that is ready to be learned and mastered. But that does not mean exposing your child to digital and analog clocks and other early time telling skills to help get him or her ready is inappropriate. In fact, the ideas below are great starting points for learning how to tell time!

How to Get Ready to Tell Time:

  • Practice counting - Minutes and hours are divided into 60 parts, so it is important that your child can count to 60. Encourage your child to count on from a certain number and ask what number comes next when looking at a clock. Show your child what the time looks like whenever you see it on the hour. Don't forget that an analog clock counts by 5s, so practice counting and singing by 5s too!

  • Review number recognition - While the hours only include numbers 1-12, the minutes go all the way up to 60. This means that to be able to tell time to the minute, recognizing numbers is important. Make up number games and point out numbers during the day to expose your child to the higher numbers that they may still find tricky.

  • Discuss the time of day - Many little kids may not be aware of the different times of day and need to learn terms like morning, afternoon, evening, and night, and they need to begin to understand what happens during these time periods.

  • Talk about length of time - Before telling time is completely understood, the concept of how much time an activity takes can be taught as a non-standard measurement. Most little kids can understand the amount of time their favorite show takes to watch, how long it takes to drive to school, or how long soccer practice may be. Relating other activities to the non-standard measurements of time can help kick off starting to tell time.

The best way for young children to learn is through play and real-life experience. Toys and learning apps that bring math skills, like telling time, into young learners' lives are fun, engaging ways to learn!

Preschoolers, kindergarteners, first graders, and even some of those older kids will be intrigued with all that the VTech®KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3 has to offer.

The KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3 was designed for kids ages 4+. Simply unbox the DX3, add the date and time, and go! Young children will want to dive right into all the smartwatch has to offer beyond just telling time. Kids will love how much this smartwatch is just like the watch their mom or dad wears, and features cameras for taking pictures, selfies, and fun videos.

Personalize the smartwatch settings with fun photo filters and create custom clock faces.

There are also single player games that encourage movement as well as following directions, which are so much fun to play! Racing River and Monster Catcher will be instant favorites! Pair up with a friend who has a DX3 in a secure way, to share preset messages or play Treasure Hunt, Find the Diamonds and Tic-Tac-Toe.

Easily set kid-friendly reminders to help keep your child on track and ready for the day. No more nagging your child to brush his or her teeth before bed or school - just set a reminder and choose the toothbrush icon.

The KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3 also gives parents the opportunity to teach and reinforce telling time skills to make sure that the smartwatch can be used like a tool, and not just a toy, with different ways to encourage telling time.

Building Additional Telling Time Skills:

  • Break it down - The span of an hour is a long time. It may not be easy for young children to completely comprehend just how long that is, but time to the hour is easier to identify at first. When first learning about time, use the hour to make decisions or change activities. When helping your child to understand when it is still too early to wake up in the morning, place a sticky note over the minutes side of the clock. Write the number of the hour that your child can wake up on the sticky note. When the hour on the clock matches the number on the sticky note, it's time to get up for the day! This can be used for nap or quiet time too.

  • Ask for the time - Little kids love to wear watches like the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3 and tell everyone the time! This is true even if they have no idea what time it really is. But with practice and repetition, it will get easier, especially when asking about predictable times in a daily routine like breakfast, school, and bath time!

  • Set a timer - We set timers for so many things these days. A timer is a countdown and little kids understand that as the timer runs, the time to complete the task or play shrinks. Talk about how long a timer is set for when playing independently or reading as well as participating in quiet time; or set a countdown until it is time to leave, or even for when your little one is brushing his or her teeth. The duration of time will be better understood every time a timer is set.

  • Don’t forget the analog clock – While it is easy to think that we only need to work with digital clocks, we cannot skip over learning how to read an analog clock. Analog clocks are still used in classrooms!

While playing with and using the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3’s features, young children will build confidence with telling time. The smartwatch also encourages responsibility and independence when using the timers and reminders for daily tasks and setting time limits.

Your child will find that learning to tell time is just one of the many fun skills, games, and activities found on the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3. The watch comes in a variety of colors, which is great for families with more than one child. Your kids will love that they can upcycle the top of the package and use it as watch storage and they will want to download all the free games, clock faces, and camera effects online from the Learning Lodge®!

Little learners will love all that VTech® has to offer with their KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX3!

Nicole Franklin is a former kindergarten teacher who now uses her Early Childhood Education Degree in her preschool classroom. She is the creator of the blog, Modern Preschool, where she shares hands-on learning activities for teachers and parents to use with their preschoolers and kindergarteners.

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No party is too big, no pup is too small. Calling all PAW Patrol fans!

If your kids are big PAW Patrol fans, it makes perfect sense to throw an awesome pawty for them. Surprise your little ones with a fun-filled colorful celebration that will surely put a big smile on their sweet faces.

Set the Scene

The inspiration for this colorful balloon backdrop was the pups themselves. The choice of colors is a great departure from incorporating the usual blue, yellow and red.

To add more texture to your backdrop, a paw-print and extra-large confetti balloons as well as foil letter balloons spelling out PAWTY hung across the wall, definitely bring this fun theme to life.

Party tip: You can create your balloon backdrop ahead of time. Since they don’t require helium, they last longer, and you don’t have to worry about them deflating before your event.

Jazz Up a Simple Cake

“A party without a cake is just a meeting.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Opt for a simple buttercream cake you can easily dress up to coordinate with your party. The letter board cake topper is a neat idea that adds instant pizzazz and you can customize it with phrases of your choice.

Incorporate Pup Inspired Treats

Mixing sweet and salty snacks is a great option when it comes to kid-friendly party snacks. For a pup theme, incorporate bone shaped sugar cookies and pup-corn displayed in serving bowls that resemble pup bowls.

Pick Colorful Partyware

To perfectly coordinate with your color scheme, choose colorful partyware that will bring the entire look together. Party essentials, such as plates, napkins, utensils, cups, and party blowers should scream fun and set the tone of your party.

Offer Interactive Learning Activities

These interactive VTech® PAW Patrol: The Movie: Learning Watches are fun and make the perfect gifts to keep the party going. The kids can play games to recognize patterns, identify animal tracks and pick the right tool for the job with the PAW Patrol.

If you have a toddler at home, these educational VTech® PAW Patrol: The Movie® products will save the day by keeping him or her entertained throughout the entire party.

The PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Touch & Teach Word Book will keep your toddler engaged with its three play modes: Storytime, Exploration and Music, while the PAW Patrol: The Movie: Learning Phone will provide learning and adventure on-the-go for your little one.

I hope you feel inspired to create sweet memories with your kids with a pup themed party!

Concept & Photography: Andressa Hara, founder & content creator at Twinkle Twinkle Little Party

Andressa is the founder and content creator of Twinkle Twinkle Little Party, a blog for all things DIY and party related. Andressa loves inspiring other moms to celebrate at home and create special memories with their kids through crafting, baking and planning the sweetest parties!

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