The 5-year-old officially started kindergarten last week, which has been a huge adjustment for the whole family. With the 3-year-old also in preschool twice a week, baby and I are left on our own for big chunks of the day and he's missing his buddies!
Our playroom has long served as an art space and learning area for the big boys, but hasn't been upgraded to a more baby-friendly spot since the little guy came along. We're working with VTech and I decided to gear up with some of their toys to help keep baby occupied – and get the bigger boys some hands-on playtime after a long day at school!
For Minion, the Brilliant Baby LaptopTM offers up hours of fun. Since I work from home, he's used to seeing me on my computer. Now we can “work” side-by-side with him exploring bright buttons, colors and shapes. Fine motor skill development and learning cause and effect is critical at this age, so he gets to practice that by moving the little mouse and opening and shutting the laptop screen. He's also learning new language skills with buttons that introduce various letters and numbers as well as animal concepts. It's light and portable, too, so when we run to pick up the big boys he likes to tote it along to finish his super-serious business in the car.
Not to be left out, his brothers are totally entertained by VTech's Touch & Learn Activity DeskTM Deluxe. It's a cute little desk with interactive activity cards that sit on top of the LED light board to guide kids through various activities. I started 5-year-old Some Boy on the Get Ready for Kindergarten expansion pack so he'd be knowledgeable about not only the basics like numbers and letters but also more challenging concepts like opposites, plants and weather. He's also beginning to grasp social lessons with stories, and this play pack comes with one of his favorites: The Tortoise and the Hare!
For 3-year-old Sidekick, the Animals, Bugs & Critters expansion set is a hit, and he also loves the Activity Desk's included music set. Our little groover likes to bop around to sounds from bird chirps to xylophones! If we flip the lid up, it can also be converted to an easel or chalkboard so my artistic dudes can practice their creative skills.
I got the Kidizoom Camera PixTM for Sidekick, too, thinking that he could squeeze in some more physical play and exploration with photo walks. Even the baby loves to pick the camera one up and take advantage of selfie mode and video recording. This tech-forward gadget keeps the kids engaged, especially when I have a photo shoot to wrap up for work. I love that I can get a ton of value out of these toys by squeezing in a couple minutes to accomplish something important while they have SO much fun they don't even realize how much they're learning.
All of our new toys have seen a ton of use from each one of our kids. Suggested manufacturer age ranges aside, I've found that doing a little toy refresh always gets the entire crew excited to think out of the box and experience new things that I hadn't necessarily anticipated when picking out stuff to keep them occupied.
Have you made any updates at home during this back to school season?