Sep 24, 2018

Imaginative and Creative Play for Parents and Children, and a MOLUK Giveaway!!

As an educator, play expert, and parent, I’ve tested and shared many toys and games on my site and on television over the last 20 years.  I’ve witnessed over and over again is that the old adage is indeed true. Children often have the most fun with the big cardboard box rather than the predictable, one-trick-pony of a toy that’s inside.

In my preschool classroom, the best playthings were items such as a basket of colorful scarves, the water table filled with rice or beans with all sorts of utensils thrown inside, cardboard tubes, and toys that are widely open-ended and imagination-driven!

MOLUK is a beautiful Swiss brand that has consciously designed each of their playthings to allow a child’s imagination to creatively lead the way. Their multiple award-winning “Bilibo” is widely regarded as one of the most innovative toys for kids, and it’s often spotted in early childhood classrooms…for good reason.

In honor of imaginative and creative play for all, this month I’m partnering with MOLUK to give away prize packs of 3 of their most popular toys! Two winners will receive a Bilibo, their super popular Oogi Pilla, and an Oogi Boi! Check out all the details about each item below.

Simply comment on this post to be entered to win! I’ll be choosing two winners on October 1, and announcing it here and on Instagram @Meredithplays! For an extra entry, follow me on Instagram and join the fun there too!




Bilibo

The multi-award winning Bilibo is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and versatile open-ended toys. Bilibo’s iconic shell shape and bright colors immediately appeal to children. Bilibo arouses curiosity, engages the imagination and playfully trains basic motor skills and balance. Both boys and girls find unlimited ways to play with Bilibo – using it to rock and spin in, hide under, sit on, tote with and peek through. Bilibo provides hours of fun, indoors and outdoors - all year round. Measures 15". Available in blue, green, orange, pink, red, yellow and light blue). Ages: 2+, Price: $30


 Oogi® Pilla

Oogi® Pilla is an endearing little creature with five suction cup feet in progressively smaller sizes which allow kids to experience the distinct suction strength and pitch of each. Stick it to any smooth surface and rip it off to hear a rapid cascade of popping sounds. Pilla is great for training fine motor skills and irresistible like bubble wrap. Measures approximately 6″.  Ages 3+, SRP: $10


Boi - new for 2018

Boi floats and dances in and out of the bathtub. Is it a penguin, a duck or some other creature? We let the children decide. No matter how you spin or roll it, Boi always gets back upright again and continues to bravely explore the world! Ages 1+, SRP: $14

Jun 19, 2018

How to Keep Your Kids Busy Over Summer Break

Live from LEGOLAND California Resort this morning, I shared some of my favorite toys and games that will keep your kids playing all summer long. Plus, I shared a sneak peek at the brand new LEGOLAND ride. Get all the details under the video and get ready for a great summer!




LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure Submarine Ride

In the new interactive ride at LEGOLAND California Resort, passengers board a real submarine, submerge under water, and are immersed in an oceanic habitat, with more than 2,000 different types of real sea life. Among the real sea animals are bright LEGO octopi, fish, and friendly LEGO scuba divers. Guests take a voyage on a submarine ride looking for lost treasure on a sunken LEGO shipwreck … With touchscreens located at each porthole inside the submarine, guests will assist the LEGO minifigure dive team to identify gems, pearls, LEGO gold coins and more throughout the journey.



LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

I was able to stay in the new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel and had so much fun. Located right at the main entrance to LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is a deluxe hotel with amazingly themed rooms, immediately immersing you into a world of LEGO enchantment and captivating tales of kingdoms from distant lands!



Nickelodeon Slime Drencher

This maker kit for kids will have your kids and their friends making their own slime and playing "hot potato" with it!



Duncan Power Glider Kit

Think amped up paper airplanes. With this kit kids can paint and customize their own gliders, plus, the gliders have a motor and can charge for an hour of play!



Swimways Infant Baby Spring Float

Perfect for pool time with baby, this fabric-covered baby float features a soft seat and adjustable harness to keep your little one secure. Plus, the removable and adjustable sun canopy has UPF 50+ sun protection.



2018 Ford EcoSport 

Get ready for summer adventures with the 2018 Ford EcoSport. Connect your Alexa app to get directions, play music, and even order online through Amazon... without having to get your phone out as you drive. Plus, there's plenty of storage... bins, hooks, and spaces to utilize every interior inch. And when you want to plug back into the world, it has an embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi hotspot.



American Ninja Warrior Competition Kit

From head-to-head, team, or timed competition, these complete 33-piece or 37-piece obstacle course sets allow for dozens of different set-ups. No matter the age or skill level, you can create a course and great family fun to match.


Jun 6, 2018

How to Have the Best Summer Ever

Summer Break is HERE!

Our kiddos are wrapping up their collective school years and we’re beginning to turn our eyes to a summer break full of fun and games, right? Or are you bracing yourself for 6-8 weeks as your kids cruise director?

It’s my firm belief that if we really want more “spontaneous” fun and playfulness in our lives, we have to plan for it, and let our kids take some ownership for their own summer fun.

It sounds super counter-intuitive, but time and again we all talk a big “summer fun” game, and then end up falling into our same old routines, and never quite DOING all those seemingly frivolous things we mutter-on about. We are NOT our kids’ balloon-animal-making clowns! Help them plan their own fun!

So, in honor of pre-producing some serious silly playtime this summer (and NOT just for your kids), I give you the Summer PLAY Planner!



Download my 2018 Summer Play Planner Worksheet


Fill this thing out with your family and hang it somewhere y’all can’t avoid! Your fridge, the top on the washing machine, the dash of your car, the wine rack… wherever you visit on a daily basis.

Then check this bad-boy off as you actually DO all the stuff you’re talking about doing this summer!  Make sure it includes stuff just for YOU, or you and your mate, or girlfriends. It isn’t ALL about the kids, and it’s important for your offspring to see you whooping it up sometimes too.

Need a few ideas? What about...

Let’s show summer break who’s BOSS, shall we?

Now GO… go play!
— Meredith



May 31, 2018

Best Games and Accessories for Outdoor Summer Fun

Had a blast as usual at TODAY! I shared a batch of must-haves for ultimate outdoor fun this summer... and not just for the kids!


Yard Games for BIG Fun


Jumbo Jumper

Hours of bouncing fun on the unique and exciting Jumbo Jumper, that allows children and adults to reach for the sky. The 6.5' tall colorful steel powder coated poles provide support while jumpers bounce up and down on the 5' diameter inner tube. This is perfect for small backyards or even indoor spaces with carpet. B4Adventure, $249.

Incred-A-Ball

GBOPs (Great Big Outdoor Playballs)! Roll it, race it, run with it, and watch it light up! Kids can even climb inside this enormous Incred-A-Ball to get a colorful view of the world! HearthSong, $99.

Starfighter Super Squirter

This Starfighter pool toy features a sunroof on top to provide protection to your child while sitting inside. It has a built-in water blaster that stays constantly supplied from the water below. This multi-colored toy is ideal for pretend play. Swimline, $43.98.



Toy Archery Set

This outdoor toy is bound to hit a bullseye with your kids. The easy-to-use and safe archery set comes with three arrows that are equipped with super-strong suction cups that are perfectly safe for children. In fact, you can even bring this set indoors if summer showers steal the sunshine away that day! Kiddie Play, $27.87.

Giant Yard Pong

Your favorite “pong” game is bigger and better than ever! This set comes with 12 heavy duty buckets and 2 large plastic balls. Great for picnics, reunions, outdoor parties and summer game nights. Yard Games, $49.99.

American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course Set 

From head-to-head, team, or timed competition, these complete 33-piece or 37-piece obstacle course sets allow for dozens of different set-ups. No matter the age or skill level, you can create a course and great family fun to match. B4Adventure, $59.99-$69.99.




Must-Have Family Beach Accessories


Beachmate Beach Bag System

The only beach bag you’ll ever need. This all-in-one beach tote system comes with a bottomless beach tote, removable cooler, stackable storage that doubles as sand buckets, and two heavy-duty shovels. It also has room for an umbrella, and the bins double as drink holders and a lunch tray. Beachmate, $78.50.

Safego Portable Safe

The perfect way to store all of your personal belongings at the beach, pool, or park. The Safego beach safe features a 3 digit custom combo plus key, charging station built in, water, sand, and salt resistance, and super lightweight. Safego, $39.95.

Beach Lounger and Sun Shade 

Perfect for sunny days at the beach or picnicking in the park, the Sun Shade is easy to transport and set up. The tent also has stakes, so if the wind picks up, you won't be chasing your shade across the beach. Plus, it's water resistant! Pottery Barn Teen, $99.




Happy Summer!
— Meredith
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