Thursday, November 20, 2014

North Pole Communicator via @Hallmark_Canada #PressPausePanel

Original Post date December 4, 2013:
This is one of our favourite Hallmark products from last year, but remains on the top of our list for Christmas 2014 as well.  This interactive product is a great alternative to Advent calendars with chocolate and encourages receptive language skills. Besides that, it adds fun and excitement to the Christmas countdown. There is a new cartridge available for purchase in-store, for $9.99. It can be inserted under the CLOCK/DATE panel of your communicator and will update your conversations.

Visit to see more products- some are featured in the new Hallmark movie NORTHPOLE that premiered last week and is due to be repeated.

Retails for $29.95 CDN.  Only
available in Hallmark Canada stores
One of our favourite Christmas toys this year has to be the North Pole Communicator from Hallmark Canada. It is the ultimate Christmas countdown. When you get your Communicator home, uncap the clock underneath the base and set the date and time.  Each day at midnight the message resets. With 25 unique messages- one each day my girl has been eager to get up and get ready for school so we can hear the new message. Don't fret about repeat messages next year, buy a new cartridge to start the fun all over again in 2014.

This short video demonstrates how the North Pole Communicator toy works.

Tip: For a fun counting activity to promote math and literacy- make a calendar and put a sticker on each day as it passes.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Hallmark Press Pause Panel and receive occasional perks. All opinions remain honest and my own.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Look and Find Jars #PreschoolActivities #Recycle #Reuse

These jars cost $2, have tight fitting lids and a clear lid that
magnifies objects placed in side.
I have three plastic bug catcher jars purchased inexpensively from the dollar store. They usually go back into storage when summer leaves and the bugs go away.  Since they have large see-through lids that magnify objects, I figured they would be good to hold objects or images any time of year.


  1. Wash the bug catchers with warm, soapy water and dry with a towel. 
  2. I cut up photographs of the children in my classroom and taped them inside. *You can crowd the images for older children to offer more of a challenge. I used four 2x2 images (one on bottom, three spaced around inner circumference) for my 6 months to 17 months group.
  3. Repeat the process using images cut from magazines or books that are missing pages or too damaged to keep on your shelf. Or place smaller objects inside so the children can look at them without putting them in their mouth (feathers, rocks, and poms poms are some of our favourite items to put in shaker bottles).
Learning Outcomes:

Visual discrimination: As the children look at images of familiar faces and see how they change in the magnifier.

Cognition: As children look at familiar objects grouped in a collage and sort them out visually/mentally.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Monopoly Junior Is a New Favourite For Family #GameNight @HasbroNews #sponsor @InfluensterVox

Monopoly Junior by Hasbro has been on our wishlist for a while.  It arrived at our house early Monday and has been open on the dining room table ever since.  

The box said "Adult Assembly Required", but it only involved pressing the cardboard character tokens out of their sheets, and peeling plastic off the CHANCE cards and MONOPOLY money. My five year old did these tasks while I read the game play instructions out loud.

As a fan of the original MONOPOLY game I wondered how the JUNIOR version would work. As an early childhood specialist I was thrilled with the simplicity of the game and pleased at the way math skills are promoted as well.  There is only one denomination of MONOPOLY money for simple counting and the properties can be purchased for 5 MONOPOLY bills or less.

Besides math skills, this game also promotes social skills like turn-taking. And cognitive skills -  remembering which sequence the game players take their turns and understanding the direction of game play movement around the board is in a clockwise pattern.
MONOPOLY® games have been entertaining families since 1935, and people love the roller-coaster ride to success. Pass Go, take a Chance card, and you might just build the property of your dreams...or you might end up in Jail! Whatever happens, it's fun all the way to the top! And now kids can join in the excitement with the fast and fun MONOPOLY® Junior game. 

 Disclosure: "I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Fun for Little Hands #PreschoolActivities

Working in an infant room full-time has been a new challenge for me after being with three and four year old's for a decade.  My repertoire of sensory activities will have to be adapted for little ones that like to put everything in their mouth.  Here is one of my sensory-motor Fall Harvest activities.

  1. I cut open the pumpkin and scooped the contents in a bowl. 
  2. Using large freezer bags, I divided the contents up into four bags. 
  3. I put a teaspoon of food colouring into each of the three bags, leaving one bag plain. 
  4. Squeeze the air out of each bag before sealing tight. I also used heavy duty packing tape to tape the zipper seal shut. 
  5. It is recommended to have one sensory activity item per infant. Direct supervision at all times is a must when playing with any item that could be a choking hazard.

The infants were able to explore the pumpkin stuff without putting the seeds in their mouth or risking allergic reaction (especially if they haven't yet had pumpkin or squash yet).

Learning Outcomes:

Fine motor exercise as the babies squeeze the materials.

Visual comparison and observation as they see the food colouring mix through the orange pumpkin stuff.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kelloggs Treats With a New Flavour Twist #RiceKrispiesHalloween

Kellogs Canada recently sent me a recipe to try.  It is much like the standard Rice Krispies Treats recipe but adds one extra ingredient.

What I used:

Tip: Spray cookie cutters with non-stick
spray to help with easy removal.
1/4 cup margarine
1 (400 gram) package of mini marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of instant butterscotch pudding powder
6 cups of Rice Krispies

What I did:
Melt margarine and marshmallows in a large pan.  Add vanilla extract and butterscotch pudding powder. Stir everything really well and mix cereal in to the marshmallow mix.  Press the mixture into a shallow pan.  When it's firm to the touch, press cookie cutter in to get fun shapes.

When your treat shapes are cut out, decorate with icing and any candy that you like.  We ate the left over Rice Krispies Treat mixture and saved the fun shapes for our party guests.

Disclosure: As part of the Kellogg Canada blogger community I receive occasional perks. All opinions on this blog remain honest and my own.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Trick or Treat Greeter via @Hallmark_Canada #Giveaway

This Hallmark Canada product is available in store.
This cheerful pumpkin could be yours. It is motion activated and says six different spook-tacular phrases.  Easy entry below for this quick turn around giveaway.  

Have fun and play nice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: As part of the Hallmark Canada Press Pause Panel I receive occasional perks. All opinions on this blog remain honest and my own.