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VTech Toys Blog

Discover, Play, & Explore!

Share in the excitement your kids feel this holiday with gifts you will love as much as they will!

The gift of learning is as valuable to parents as it is to kids! As a homeschool mom, I am always looking for toys that will foster a love of learning through imaginative play. When my child picks up a VTech toy, I feel good knowing that they are gaining developmental skills while they are immersed in the carefree play of childhood. This holiday season, give your child something that you can be confident in knowing that it will grow with them as they learn, discover, play, imagine, and explore!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers Ages Birth Through 36 Months:

This adorable little polar bear is as soothing as he is cute! With a voice sensor that detects and responds to your baby’s cries with calming music, this self-soothing tool is the perfect gift for new parents! The Lil' Critters Soothing Starlight Polar Bear™ plays more than 100 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases and even features a volume sensor and timer to give parents control over how loud and how long the sounds play for their baby!

Tummy time! Your baby can strengthen their neck, shoulder, and back muscles on this rolled-up caterpillar while playing in the Peek-a-Boo mirror or unroll the mat for soft and crinkly sensory play. I love the four sound modes for soothing language skill development (nature sounds is my favorite)! Best of all, the playmat is hand washable with removable pieces for your baby to take along and play.

Get ready for some fun with this colorful activity table that’s full of learning! With six different learning zones, four sing-along songs, 20 melodies, and over 90 sounds and phrases, this tabletop is perfect for hours of imaginative play! I love that it can start as floor play and then you can easily add the legs for tabletop fun as your baby begins to pull him or herself up to stand. Mom and Dad will like that it teaches colors, shapes, and object recognition with questions like, “can you find the lion’s orange mane?”. Your baby will love all the interactive, sensory, and role-playing activities but I bet the detachable play phone will be your baby’s favorite!

Watch out! Baby on the move! Go from playing on the floor to taking some first steps with this sit-to-stand activity walker. Your child can make six new animal friends while learning shapes, colors, numbers, and even musical notes. He or she can also build fine motor skills pressing buttons and turning gears! My favorite feature is the adorable little piano keys that sing their notes when pressed! I also love the adjustable speed control on the wheels, which helps to protect beginner walkers while they build confidence taking those first steps. The magic sensor triggers as the walker moves and colorful flashing lights and over 20 melodies help encourage your child to walk!

Score one for the parents’ team because the Count & Win Sports Center™ teaches shapes, colors, and numbers as it helps to build gross motor skills! Your child can kick a goal into the soccer net or make a basket in the basketball hoop with the two included balls. The animated scoreboard keeps count as it teaches numbers and counting, and three colorful buttons provide music and fun sounds. The hoop adjusts as your child grows and both balls store right on the base of the toy. This toy is a holiday gift WIN for everyone!

Swivel, bounce, and turn on the VTech® Bounce & Discover Llama™! Your child can sit on the llama’s back and hold on to the handle (which also doubles as a learning panel) and build balance as he or she bounces and turns around on the sturdy and stable base. Two sing-along songs and 10 melodies provide a musical soundtrack for this cute little llama’s up-and-down bouncing and side-to-side turning ride! Press the three learning buttons on the handle to learn shapes, colors, and numbers while you pet the llama’s soft fabric ears and watch the beads shake in the dome. This is such a great way to develop strength and balance!

All aboard for a learning journey! There are four different ways to use this one toy: for floor play, as a ride-on, as a walker, and then as a pull-cart! The activities teach letters, numbers, colors, opposites, pretend play, animals, and daily life skills through hands-on play. Insert the double-sided alphabet blocks into the Recognition Port to learn about letters and answer the quest to find objects. The blocks can also be used on the floor (or the pull cart) for building and motor skill development or drop them down the chute to be counted. I love the flip-page book attached to the train and that it plays songs and melodies! There are so many ways to play with this smart, engaging toy that we’re definitely on the right track for holiday smiles thanks to all the learning and fun!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Children Ages 1.5 Years and Up:

If your toddler sits at the door waiting to see the garbage and recycling trucks every week, this is a must have toy for the holidays! This toy is both fun and smart! Made from 90% reclaimed plastic, the Sort & Recycle Ride-On Truck™ teaches about recycling and the environment through learning modes and actual sorting!

As a homeschool mom of a preschooler, I cannot decide which feature of the VTech® Get Ready for School Learning Desk™ is my favorite! With over 100 vocabulary words, 24 learning activities, and 30 songs and melodies, this engaging desk can keep your preschooler busy for hours. There are countless features such as the pretend clock that tells time, a music player with 33 melodies, a roller and slider to track the days of the week and the weather, and even a cute little photo frame to display a favorite picture! The unique interactive projector includes four color-coded reels and two activity pages to play. Your child can play the piano with the Music Jammer sheet or identify body parts with the Dress Your Body sheet. The other feature I really love is the writing pad and stylus that helps your child correctly draw letters and numbers by following the prompts. The desk even comes with its own chair and the desk top flips up to reveal a chalkboard and easel. If you have a preschooler on your holiday list, this is a must have gift that parents, and kids will both love.

Part dino, part jet, and all fun! Transform the ferocious Velociraptor into a disc-launching jet complete with an animated pilot in the cockpit. The VTech® Switch & Go® Velociraptor Jet has over 50 sounds and phrases, animated dino eyes, fire-breathing light effects, and a red spotlight as the jet comes in for a landing. This is a great gift for imaginative play, and you can start building the whole set of Switch & Go® dinos to pit against each other for hours of prehistoric fun!

Fine motor skills, imagination, family time, and challenging creativity; what more could you ask for in a holiday gift? I love watching the concertation on my kids’ faces as they plan and execute their Marble Rush™ runs. Three different levels of play keep your child challenged as he or she builds and rebuilds ramps, stunts, and extreme launches! There are so many amazing accessories to add like the Ferris wheel, the swirling cone with a musical light show, and the cannon-style ball launcher, and they are all included in this 145-piece set. You can even combine this set with other Marble Rush™ sets (sold separately) to create a big, extreme playset! The pieces are color coded for easy building and the set comes with a step-by-step building guide. This is a toy that the whole family can enjoy by creating a family-challenge or building together!

I was mesmerized by the pretty lights and sounds of this soft, adorable unicorn! Ivy comes with a color changing magic wand that allows your child to customize the color of her hair, horn, flower, eyes, and wings. This whimsical creature even flaps her wings while she sings and dances if you play music for her, and when you blow her a kiss, her flower lights up and blooms. She comes with clip on accessories to style her tail too! My favorite feature is when she tucks her legs and gets ready for cuddles! I think this sweet unicorn will be your child’s new best friend!

This is the number one gift on my list for my second grader! I can’t wait to see how excited she is this holiday when she opens her very own camera that instantly prints out the pictures she takes! Not only does it print photos in black and white (so she can color them too!) but it also prints comic strips, greeting cards, panoramic prints, and over 40 photo effects, stamps, and borders! My absolute favorite print has to be the one that allows her to print pretend money with her face in the middle! The VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™ also plays three games, shoots video, and has a microSD slot to expand its memory. She will love the endless creations and creative control and I will love seeing her imagination at work. I can even set daily time limits and limit printing or games if I choose. Don’t forget to grab a paper refill pack that includes three regular paper rolls (up to 240 prints) plus two rolls of sticker paper (40 prints) because your child is going to love this camera!

Take indoor hoops to the next level with the VTech® KidiGo™ Basketball Hoop™! I am so impressed with the features of this easy to install hoop that includes padded door hooks (or you can mount it with backboard holes) and flips up for easy storage. The colorful scoreboard lights up all around the edge and cheers you on through five different game modes. Your little hoopster can play solo or with up to four friends. It even includes a ball! The announcer voice really draws you in and makes you feel like you are part of a live game. I love the Hot Potato mode that has your child make a basket and pass the ball before the music starts; what a great way to teach teamwork and sharing!

Tara is a mom and the author of the blog Living In Happy Place. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science and spent many years in the medical and corporate worlds before deciding to share her love of motherhood with other moms through her blog.

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The warm summer days are rolling away and soon we will have colder weather & RAIN! As a mom of 4 (11-Zoey, 5-Lia , & 2 year old twins - Lincoln & Lucas), I have fallen into panic mode on rainy days! How do you entertain 2-year-olds indoors? As a seasoned parent, I have gathered a few tips to share with you!

It’s been 11 years of parenting trial and error, and thus 11 years of lessons learned that I am always happy to pass on! You truly never know how when your tips will help others, so here I am- ready to share!

Stock up on Toys That Grow With Your Kids

One of the MOST important things to me as a parent has been investing in toys that grow with my kids. This became even more important after having my twins because well, the increase in cost of living was VERY apparent. VTech® toys have always been a favorite in our home in HUGE part due to their multiple uses & wide age ranges.

These toys are ESPECIALLY good to bring out when you need to get creative with indoor play. A few of our favorites include the VTech® Count & Win Sports Center™, the VTech® Stroll & Discover Activity Walker™, the VTech® Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer™, and the VTech® Explore & Crawl Elephant™.

Keep Their Bodies Moving!

My kids have all been very active. Keeping their bodies moving is so important when it comes to using up all that energy and not going stir crazy. To help keep them moving while indoors, we bring out our VTech® Count & Win Sports Center™.

We switch off between exercising their legs with the soccer ball and using the basketball to exercise their hands and arms. They absolutely love the animated LED scoreboard & having the ability to push the buttons. And for those growing kiddos, parents, you can adjust the height to two different levels.

Keeping Lincoln active is especially important. That little guy NEEDS to move his whole body.

Playtime = Learning Time

My kids learn best while playing. This is something VTech® understands SO well & incorporates seamlessly into their toys. Although you can’t go wrong with any of them, one item we love is the VTech® Stroll & Discover Activity Walker™.

The Activity Walker is perfect for those learning to walk as well as for floor play. Floor play with the walker is one of Lucas’ favorite ways to learn and play. He loves being introduced to colors and numbers...AND THE PHONE! I love that he gets to role play with the fake phone as well.

Lincoln LOVES to bring out the Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer™ for some fun play. The four number buttons not only teach colors, but your kids can also learn numbers, construction objects and music!

Sensory Play

After our daughter Lia was diagnosed with a speech delay and sensory processing disorder, my husband and I placed a big emphasis on sensory play. Some days that means we play with dirt. But on rainy days, it means play time with the super soft VTech® Explore & Crawl Elephant™.

Lucas is a cuddler and loves anything soft. The Explore & Crawl Elephant™ has also been great for getting him exposed to multiple textures and bright patterns.

Bring On the Music

Music is a constant in our home. From the time we wake until the end of the night, you can find music playing throughout our day.

We love to play music and dance as well as learn to sing along with the twins. Lucas’ favorite, the Explore & Crawl Elephant™,, has 45+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases! All the VTech® toys we own have a great variety of songs and melodies to keep my kids dancing, moving, and ALWAYS learning!

Have Fun & Grace

The biggest tip I could ever offer, whether it be for a rainy day or for a day full of sunshine, is to have fun & grace on yourself. Parenting is often full of challenges and something like the rain can seem like a hassle to deal with, trust me I know.

In those moments, I like to remind myself AND want to remind you, take a deep breath! You got this!

Karen Martinez is a mom of 2+twins and the face behind Mamma Bear Says, a family blog sprinkled with DIYs, crafts, & more. Her goal with Mamma Bear Says is to provide readers with stories about their lives, family life tips, & creative projects meant to inspire them to live their most genuine & creative lives.

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It's time to take a break from your hectic life and spend some quality time with your kids. A family staycation may be exactly what you need.

A staycation is when you leave work, school or any other responsibilities behind for a few days and enjoy the company of your family. A staycation offers many opportunities for fun activities like going to parks or museums or even staying at home and doing things that have nothing to do with travel. Since there will be minimal travel expenses involved, you can have a blast with your family without breaking the bank.

We've got some great tips to help you plan a fun family staycation. Here are 6 ways to ensure that every member of your family has a wonderful staycation experience.

What is a Staycation?

First of all, let’s clarify what exactly a staycation is.

A staycation is a vacation that you take at or around your home. You can choose to stay home and plan the entire staycation there. Otherwise, you can go on day trips or participate in leisure activities nearby and return home for a good night’s sleep.

A staycation is different from a typical vacation in that there are no flights involved, which will save you time and money. It's also an opportunity for the family to get out and explore the area without any obligations, stressors, or worries about forgetting anything. A staycation is all about exploring and having fun with family while creating memories together.

How to Plan an Unforgettable Family Staycation

1. Decide on a Destination for Your Staycation

There are many great places to take your family during their staycation. Perhaps there are places that you have always wanted to visit around town but haven’t gotten a chance to yet.

Keep your family’s interests in mind when choosing a destination. Make sure there are activities for the whole family so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

To help you choose a location for your staycation, here is a list of some popular places to visit with kids:

  • Beaches

  • Water parks

  • Aquariums

  • National parks (check out local national parks like Yellowstone National Park)

  • Zoos

  • Hiking trails

  • Museums

  • Historic landmarks

  • Theme parks

  • Botanic gardens

Of course, you can always choose to stay home! One of the best ways for any family member, young or old, to enjoy their time together is by just relaxing at home. Being in an unfamiliar place can make it hard for young kids to relax and parents might feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of making sure everyone is safe and sound.

2. Pack Accordingly

Make sure you bring all of the necessary things along for your staycation with your kids! For example, for an outdoors adventure, you may want to pack snacks such as fruits and granola bars, water bottles, hats, a first-aid kit, and sunscreen.

Wherever you go, I recommend bringing board games, cards, coloring books, and puzzles to keep the kids busy during downtimes. Playing games can bring all the family members together for some precious bonding time.

3. Prepare the House

There are several ways to make housework easier while you're on your staycation. Doing a bit of advance planning can help make the entire process much smoother and more efficient.

Make sure that the house is clean enough so that it doesn't turn into too much of a chore during your staycation. Piling things up in random places in your home just makes it more difficult to tidy up later on, so do some decluttering before your staycation begins. Simply putting away a few toys or stashing some old magazines in boxes can save your sanity later on.

Or even better, if your budget allows, hire someone to help out with cleaning before your staycation starts.

4. Create a Schedule

Creating a tentative schedule will help keep everyone calm and stress-free knowing what's going on, where they're going, and who they'll be with while on the staycation.

It's important to consider how many days you will be staying home vs. going out on adventures. For example, if you go all out for three of the nights, you might not have enough energy or money left over for the rest of the staycation. Consider spreading your activities out so you can take some time to just sit back and relax.

I suggest coming up with a list of activities that you’d like to do during your staycation. After you complete your list, simply pick and choose which activities you would like to do each day. You could plan: going to the beach, renting kayaks from a nearby lake, having regular game nights, playing mini golf, having a water balloon fight in the backyard … the possibilities are endless.

While you want to have a schedule, you also want to keep a flexible mindset. If something doesn't go as planned, don't let it ruin your staycation. In fact, use it as an excuse to try something different or exciting!

5. Set a Budget

While you don’t need to spend money on flights, you shouldn’t empty your bank account on a staycation. Decide how much money you want to spend on food, souvenirs, entry tickets, meals, etc. prior to going on your staycation to ensure that the trip doesn’t end up costing more than expected.

With so many options available today for family activities, there is absolutely no reason you can't plan something fun at home. By opting for free activities or inexpensive entertainment ideas, even if you're on a tight budget, you can still create memories every family member will cherish.

Do some research ahead of time to find discounts on activities around town. For example, a lot of museums offer free admission on certain days of the month.

6. Document All the Fun

Take lots of pictures to document your staycation! You can even turn them into an album or scrapbook once it ends to preserve the memories.

Kids love to take pictures, so why not have them be in charge of taking photos of the staycation? This is a great way for them to explore their creativity and learn about photography.

My children love using the VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™ to take awesome pictures and videos of all our adventures. This kid-friendly camera allows you to take photos and preview your photos on its 2.4” color screen. It also has an option for stitching together two to four photos for a panoramic image.

With a quick flip of the lens, your kids can now take selfies with the camera! Taking a picture of yourself has never been so easy.

Your kids can add adorable stickers, filters, and borders to any image or video. My daughter especially loves putting the different stickers on the background.

The most unique part of the VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™ is that you can click and print your photos instantly! The paper roll that you insert into the camera allows you to print up to 80 regular or panoramic photos in black and white.

One of my kids’ favorite functions of the VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™ is the Print Shop. In this mode, you can do fun things like Costume Party, where you select a costume and hairstyle for your character.

Then you simply take a picture of your face so that it looks like you are wearing the monster costume.

Then just hit print! Now your kids have a photo that they can color themselves. This is a great quiet activity after a long day outdoors. There are also three games on the KidiZoom® PrintCam™ that are perfect for car rides or playtime between photo shoots.

After your staycation is over, you can simply transfer the photos and videos to your computer using the included USB cable. Your whole family will love going through the contents of your VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™ together and chatting about the good times you had on your staycation.

Final Thoughts on Planning a Family Staycation

Now that you’ve learned how to plan a fun staycation with your family, it’s time to start researching! Whether it’s an overnighter, a few days away from home, or just hanging out at home, the tips we provided should help ensure that everyone has a great time and ends up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

What are you waiting for?


Betty Boiron is a homeschooling mom of two and the brains behind the blog Mombrite. She spends her days designing fun and educational activities for her kids. She aims to share all the creative crafts and magical science experiments with other families and make learning fun!

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