Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Haiku Poetry, in a toy store?

Poetry?  "I did not enjoy that unit in school."

That was my judgement on poetry.  I can recall one of my high school English teachers talking of Iambic Pentameter and cadence and..... Que audio - Chalres M Schultz - Charlie Brown's Teacher. 

It was a whole poetry unit and sadly what I remember most was our teacher telling us that we had better not use lyrics from various songs in our writings, because "he would know."  In my foolish youthful rebelliousness I thought, yea right this guy is really listing to SAGA Worlds Apart - Wind him up. (For that matter it's questionable if I should have been either)

Although my teacher did not recognize the song, I wound up receiving a B-.  After plagiarizing various parts from the work of others, combined with my misguided rebelliousness in refusing to listen to direction, I forgot to add the refrain if you will.  The song has one but way too long.... My teacher solved it with two words under each plagiarized section, "Spinning Spinning".

Anyway, this is the background for my introduction into Haiku, another individually unique poetry style.  A game called Haiku You in particular.  This is where I told myself to drop my aversion to poetry and learn about the game.  The simple fact that one of our employees is related to the games creator had nothing to do with my new-found willingness either, wink.  That said, I am glad that yet again by dropping my preconceived misconceptions, it has allowed me to share on this GREAT BRAIN FOOD!

Haiku You is a local Colorado company and you'll find this game, for a short while longer anyway, in only a select group of locations of which JAKE's is currently one of them.  This is a first class game for learning about syl-la-bles', improving vocabulary, creative problem solving, art, team building, sometimes even spontaneous laughter, and so much more. Rather than try to detail out how to play I have the unique pleasure of presenting a series of Haiku's as completed by our staff.

The instructions were to write one Haiku about "I love Jake's Toy Box" and one about Summer.  For your enjoyment.

I love Jake's Toy Box                             A summer breeze flits
Seeing A Child Smile                              Through the green leaves of trees
Is the best feeling.    Grace D.                 Quiet and peaceful.    Grace D.

Unique toys fill the shelves                     I love Jake's toy box
and children play with fun toys               Jakes is where I find peace.
smiles are made here.  Rhyse F.              live, love, Jake's toy box.   Zlata T.

It's about darn time                                The sun shines so bright
This heat has got me all like                    Children play for hours on end
It's about darn time     Zlata T.               Three months of great fun.    Mary B.

So joyous our time                                Come to Jake's Toy Box
Among the toys & delight,                     Where the laughter always rings
Where fun never ends    Kylie                and the children smile.     Hunter C.

Know this game is just one of the many games available for checkout in our Game Library Program. What is that?  Please ask while joining us for Family Game Night or anytime your in for a visit.

All ages all abilities always welcome!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

STOP and put some brakes on the balancing. 

Many parents may disagree with our choice but, it was ours to make.  You see for me it was more important for my son to learn how to stop his bicycle, than it was for him to ride one without training wheels.  So, I purchased a bike with training wheels and not a balance bike.  

Jake had global developmental delays, thus just pedaling took maybe more work than others however, between three and a half and four and a half, he became quite talented at leaving skid or what he referred to as "squish" marks.  I was thrilled because he knew that if things became dicey, all he needed to do was slow down if not outright stop.  

Fast-forward another five plus years and, we now own a toy store that carries balance bikes and much more.  Balance bikes, Strider in particular, have been fantastic teaching tools for balance and shown to be helpful with kiddos, both with and without special needs.

Many of you are already aware of our BERG Track and pedal karts.  BERG Pedal karts are another ideal toy for targeted developmental needs and just like many a bike or balance bike, plain old fun. 

After having the track setup, pictured above, at almost a dozen events with audiences from 1,500 to 60,000, we can't help but notice that kiddos are consistently putting their feet down to stop when they get into difficult situations.  This even after instructions about the kart, not to put your feet down, safety, blah, blah, blah. 

Resulting from informal polling of the parents nearby, I believe I have found a reason to be suspect of kiddos learning on balance bikes that have no breaks. I am wondering about learning balance without addressing control, specifically how to stop.  Could it possibly be reinforcing kiddos to put their feet down to stop in other areas too.   This could/will become problematic later in life, I promise.  Do you recall or did you ever experience first hand one of the more common/non life threatening injuries associated with the now banned motorized three wheelers?  This was long before balance bikes too. During our polling we also found parents claiming their child knew how to or, "could stop their own bike back at home without putting their feet down", yet the kiddos would continue to put their feet down to stop.   

My father's criteria for my obtaining a driver's license was making a skydive, as he was heavily involved with the sport.  His rational was to have me experience intense fear, keep my wits' about me and thus be able to pull my own ripcord.  Now, I don't expect anyone to follow that logic or teaching methodology however, it did help me to understand that when the proverbial poo poo goes down, you can react, you can overcome fear and react in the moment.  Something as simple as hitting the breaks, steering to avoid the head on collision, pulling a ripcord, even hitting the accelerator, can all be viable solutions to escape a serious injury. 

What's the review in all this or where is he going?  Don't stop short in teaching your kiddos not just balance, but almost more importantly, how to be in control of their ride.  How to stop.  I believe it will help in facilitating a self awareness for them, which in turn can be key in reacting effectively in a dicey/split second situation.  Strider bikes, along with others can be ordered with simple brake systems or purchased directly from JAKE's.         

Our neighbor has three boys with the eldest just under four.  They have a couple ride on's and a balance bike.  After explaining my theory to his parents, and leaving a buddy for them to play with, Levi (oldest) was quickly able to operate the brakes on the Buddy.  "He was so excited that after very little instruction, he figured it out and wanted to tell you" expressed Brian his enthused father. 

Be it a balance bike, trike, regular bike, Berg kart or whatever, teach your kiddos to be in control of their ride because, not all of us want to be strapped into a Flitz?"  Imagine trying to walk that up a hill when it's 32 Celsius outside.   

  My 5 year old was born with developmental dyspraxia and struggles with balance and coordination. Even though he can ride a "big wheels" like bike and use the pedals, he could not use the pedals on a bike with training wheels and make it go. Since the STRIDER 16 is made for a bigger child, he can still have practice with handling a big boy bike without the hassle of the pedals and not lose heart that he can't ride and make his bike go--so now we can put the focus on balance and coordination where he really needs the most important practice. It is motivating for him to have this big boy bike compared to a 3 wheeled bike because it resembles a big bike like his mother (myself) has and because he can maneuver it and make it go, when he could not do that with the bike with training wheels. It may take him a while to "get" the coordination and balance due to developmental reasons, but the beautiful thing is that he is motivated to do so with this bike.      - Proud Strider Mom
 Quote courtesy of Strider Bikes website 07 14 15

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Teaching Cash Register - Review.

Pretend and play Teaching Cash Register by Learning Resources.

The Teaching Cash Register with its lights and sounds will keep children entertained as they learn math and money skills.  It has a coin slot, large LCD screen, a scanner for credit cards and coupons, big buttons for little hands, and a drawer full of realistic looking play money.  The scanner will pick up any item with a bar-code and make up a price for it.  When kids put a coin in they will hear its name and the LCD screen will display the value.  The Coin key will give the total amount due and the Change key releases the coins so they can play over and over.  The cash register also includes interactive games such as "Coin Quiz" and "Money Match" in order to work on their addition, subtraction, coin values, counting money and making change skills.  This toy would be recommended for ages three and up.    

Review by Analise P

Identified Special Needs Challenges:
AutismDevelopmental Delay 
"We bought the product to help teach our child the value of money and reinforce what she's learning in school regarding math and money."   Courtesy of another terrific resource,  07-08-15.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cauldron Quest - Game Review

TOY:  Cauldron Quest, a cooperative game by Peaceable Kingdom.

DESCRIPTION:  A cooperative game where players face a Wizard and obstacles instead of one another.  The object is to get the correct ingredients into the cauldron before the paths are blocked.  The quest is to find the ingredients.  The game is good for the age requirement of six plus, but younger children can play it as well. 

This game aids development in that it helps to teach strategy, communication, cooperation and problem solving.  This game can be beneficial to those with targeted developmental needs throughout the spectrum.

Why kids love this item:

Cauldron Quest a game where everyone plays together, no one is left out, and everyone has fun! Traditional games tend to have one winner and one (or many) losers! In a cooperative game, the players work as a team against a common obstacle, not against each other.                            Peaceable Kingdom website 7/2/15

Game Review by, Brie D and Jake's Blogger.

Beginning a useful blog.

Hello fans of JAKE's Toy Box and welcome to our first Blog!  Long overdue however, in flattery of others in the business, we did not want to start blogging until we found quality content to blog about.

Our goal in using the forum is; to provide you with some helpful Toy reviews based upon the criteria of; Educational Toys for All Abilities.  We strive to be a resource, and not just for parents with kiddos at various development levels, we strive to give you a reason to come back and visit, spending fun times in the family friendly environment that is JAKE's Toy Box.    All ages, all abilities always welcome at;