Back-To-School: Educational Products For Kids During A Pandemic

Back-To-School: Educational Products For Kids During A Pandemic

These are unprecedented times, and everything is unpredictable including when school will get back to normal.

My kids are 100% virtual learning for the foreseeable future and although they adjusting wonderfully and I couldn’t be more proud of how they’re handling this huge change, we can’t help but feel there’s something missing.

I mean, my kids get socialization as much as possible like playdates at the local parks or at friends and family’s homes, and they talk on their phones along with their computer games but there is still something missing.

It’s the hands on experience of using your brain and hands together. I was happy to try out these 2 STEM items that help with this missing aspect. I personally loved Science as a child and thought these quick experiments were just perfect for the amount of time that would hold my 8 year olds attention and keep him interest.

The first up is the Ooze Labs: Colorful Crystal Lab. The absolute best part is that it isn’t a 1 time and done kit. There is a book if experiments to choose from using some provided materials along with household staples where they can be recreated as you wish.

We started started with the first project of the booklet and continued from there. I’ll admit, we went a good 3-4 days doing these experiments and I think he got alittle bored, but the kit is still on our kitchen table ready for the next experiment to be done when he’s ready which I’m sure will be soon.

They seem safe enough for a mature child to be able to do on their own, but it’s suggested that parents are there to assist (and it’s fun for us too!).

Image: Thames and Kosmos

Manufacturer points:
Explore the natural beauty and wonder of crystals by growing them yourself in many different shapes and colors! Set up your lab station — complete with beakers, test tubes, centrifuge, display dome, and more — and use safe, non-toxic crystal salts to conduct more than ten experiments in crystal formation. You can even make red, pink, blue, purple, and clear crystals using the spinning centrifuge! After you’ve completed the experiments in the kit, continue your crystal growing adventures using the cool lab setup and common materials from around your home. MSRP: $29.95; Ages 6+.

We also received some really simple but cool magnetic tiles, the Tileblox Rainbow 20Pc Set. These are great for all ages and can be used for hands on math or engineering. These can also be used for color and shape work for younger children and comes in handy to “quiz” them on how to make a rectangle, etc.. while they’re building.

Using their hands and minds is the skill we want to work on with these. It comes with a book of projects to follow along with, which my son enjoyed copying these, but then he went rogue and started creating his own creations using the blocks.

Image: Amazon

Manufacturer points:
Discover the endless possibilities of Tileblox 20Pc set. With the step-by-step idea sheet, create one-of-a-kind masterpieces! A great set for beginner builders looking to explore and learn through play. Arrives with 8 Triangles and 12 Square in Rainbow colors. Each geometric shape contains magnets that let you build with endless possibilities! TileBlox is perfect for STEM education and when playtime is over, use the magnetic power to simply stack and store. MSRP: $24.99; Ages 3+

These are both Holiday gift worthy items!

DISCLAIMER: I received these items to review and share my opinion with my readers. The opinions are my own and not that of the manufacturer.

Beat Cabin Fever with affordable STEM toys!



This kit, Solar Powered Rovers by Thames Kosmos is so awesome! Myself and my son put 2 of them together so far during our staycation and it’s super fun.

We had to cancel our vacations this year, but that won’t stop up from having fun even if it’s a camp out in the backyard, a night of fun indoors or a safari in our state of NJ.

Most STEM kits cost so much money,  but this is a super affordable and fun option that ever parent can surprise they kids with.  Take it on the road, camping,  or just have fun at home. This one kit contains 5 different options and you can build each and take apart easily. At just $19.95 it’s a steal!

To view or purchase the product click thre link below: https://www.thamesandkosmos.com/index.php/feak/solar-powered-rovers

These toys are great to bring on road trips for added fun on the road or at stops for the night a hotel. What’s great is even though it comes with 5 projects, the options are endless as you can make up your own robotic fun.

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product for review but all opinions are my own.

To purchase this toy, follow the link https://www.thamesandkosmos.com/index.php/feak/solar-powered-rovers

Some additional toy options:

My Discovery Telescope

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Have you ever seen a close-up photograph of the Moon, with its fascinating cratered landscape? With this telescope, you can investigate the moon’s surface, search the night sky for constellations and planets, or simply watch the birds at the bird feeder in the backyard! This telescope also lets you see squirrels, deer, and other wild animals up close. And, it’s perfect for pretending to be a pirate sailing the seven seas! This 12x magnification power telescope with durable body and quality optics can be used for terrestrial (land) observations as well as astronomical (night sky) observations. Ages 6+ MSRP: $19.95.

Magformers Basic Plus 14pc Set

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Create 3D structures from 2D nets with Magformers Basic Plus 14Pc Set. Build with 4 Squares, 8 Triangles and 2 Inner Circle Square shapes. Create houses, towers and our ‘magic ball’. Learn to build using combine, roll and pull-up techniques and see what your imagination can create! Build along with the step-by-step instructions and develop color and shape recognition, fine motor skills and problem-solving ability. The original and authentic Magformers. Perfect for brain development, critical thinking and STEM education. Follow the Step-by-step educational idea booklet for ideas and instructions. Each geometric shape contains magnets that never reject, so you’ll always hear the Magformers click. When playtime is over, use the magnetic power to simply stack and store. MSRP: $24.99; ages 3+.

Bicycle® Standard Index Playing Cards

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Do you remember learning your first card game? How about winning at an old-fashioned game of solitaire? Or that holiday tradition of Gin Rummy after dinner? Since 1885, Bicycle playing cards have been a part of household gaming. Known for its quality and rich heritage, Bicycle® playing cards have been bringing people together for generations. Every Bicycle® playing card deck is specially crafted so that you can trust Bicycle® cards performance, hand after hand. Great for all card games. Great for all players. MSRP: $3.99.

Solar-Powered Rovers

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Want to build fun solar-powered vehicles and devices that move using electricity generated directly from sunlight? With this kit, you can construct five motorized models. Build three types of solar cars, a solar fan, and a solar robot model. Conduct science experiments with each model to learn about gear ratios, solar cells, and more. The ultralight materials, including strong bamboo rods, make your models speedy and durable. A modular gearing system lets you test out three different gear ratios. Experiment with a solar cell, electric motor, gears, and ultralight materials. Build five different solar-powered models. Learn about how solar cells work and  about the energy from the sun. Ages 8+ MSRP: $19.95.

Holiday Toys ALL UNDER $50!

Pack that tree with Holiday Toys ALL UNDER $50!

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With holiday shopping fully underway, many may be wondering: HOW CAN I STAY ON BUDGET? From nieces and nephews to neighbors and friends to even your own child, the list to “buy” that perfect present grows by the minute – and buying all those presents can certainly add up fast.

With that said, below please find a list of fun ideas that are ALL UNDER $50. From stocking stuffers to the coolest new “unboxing” gifts and new items from The Elf on the Shelf, we have your holiday shopping “on a budget” covered for everyone on your list!

ECO-FRIENDLY and SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE Children’s Products

Ambulance & Doctor’s Kit from Green Toys

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The doctor is on the way! The Green Toys™ Ambulance & Doctor Kit comes with everything needed to play doctor, nurse, EMT – or all of the above! Made in the USA from super-safe, 100% recycled plastic, this 10-piece set encourages motor skill development, imaginative play, and pro-social behavior, while also helping to ease anxiety about doctor visits by making the components of a check-up familiar and fun. The ambulance has the features, size, and durability of a classic Green Toys truck, as well as lights that flip-up into a handle to create a unique carrying case. All the pieces included in the set – a stethoscope, reflex hammer, syringe, forceps, thermometer, and otoscope, as well as a doctor’s notepad and two sheets of assorted stickers – can be stored in the back of the ambulance for quick, eco-friendly transport to the next emergency. No BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Dishwasher safe. Packaged with recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy inks. For ages 2-8. MSRP $39.99.

Ecokins from Wild Republic

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Ecokins is a new line of sustainable plush animals made using 100% recycled fill and fabric from Wild Republic. Everything from the biodegradable polybag packing down to the soy ink printed hangtag; Ecokins uses nothing but recycled and eco-conscious materials in its overall development. The new line includes an assortment of 14 animals in two sizes – 12 in. and 8 in. – including a black bear, polar bear, dolphin, African elephant, hippo, koala, snow leopard, panda, penguin, raccoon, red panda, sea turtle, wolf, and tiger. Ecokins complies with certified global recycling standards. Compliance to these standards is the first step towards cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the ocean, which is now an island the size of Texas. The product’s quality and affordable price make the transition to 100% sustainable materials an impactful change in the industry.

PARTY GAMES

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? from Authentic Agility Games (Political and Religion version)

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These days, discussing religion and politics can be a dangerous proposition. What if you had a fun way to help you talk to your friends, family, colleagues or peers about what you agree on and where your thoughts and beliefs differ? Authentic Agility’s newest card game, Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? encourages thoughtful political and religious dialog in a non-threatening and fun way. Curious about what makes people think and believe the things they do? Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? opens a door to understanding. Roll the dice, draw a card and ask one of the game’s 500 questions to get started. Everyone has an opinion and when they play, everyone has a voice. Play, listen and be heard. All proceeds from Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? go toward organizations that advance education and entrepreneurial initiatives. We know that education opens the doors to opportunities and entrepreneurship is one way to enter. Available on Amazon.com $24.99

UNBOXING

Orna-POP!™ Advent Countdown (from The Elf on the Shelf)

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Unboxing and blind bags continue to captivate children nationwide and the new Orna-POP!™ Advent Countdown is right on point, offering 24 days of magical popping surprises leading up to Christmas Day! Kids simply bop and pop the self-inflating Mylar ornaments for a variety of reveals—jokes, riddles, and games. Includes 27 Mylar ornaments, 27 silver cords to use in decorative displays (i.e. hang on your tree!) and a keepsake poster featuring North Pole characters!

Lil’ Shuckies Glitzy Sea Shell Set

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Children will have a blast as they crack open their jumbo sea shell carrying case to find three Lil’ Shuckie oyster shells, a magic sand package, and 60 baby filler pearls to complete a bracelet! Use the shucking tool to open the mini oyster shells and discover stretchy slime and gorgeous pearls inside. The play value continues as kids can collect all 24 pearls, from “common” to “ultra-rare”; to make bracelets swap, or collect! Super sketchy glitzy slime is inside of each Lil’ Shuckie oyster! Perfect Slime kit and craft for every slimmer in your life. MSRP: $19.99, Canadian MSRP- $29.99. Age: 4+, available at Walmart.

MAGICAL TOYS that INSPIRE INSPIRATIONAL PLAY + SPARK NEW HOLIDAY TRADITIONS

Elf Pets®: An Arctic Fox Tradition (From The Elf on the Shelf)

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The new Elf Pets®: An Arctic Fox Tradition is ready to take children on a magical adventure! In this story, children will discover how Santa is able to complete his Christmas Eve journey around the world in just one night. They might be surprised to learn that it involves an Arctic Fox that sets polar lights aglow and some adorable fox cubs sent to inspire a message of hope. The set includes a beautifully illustrated storybook, Arctic Fox cub plush, snow globe with glow-in-the-dark feature and official adoption certificate.

STEM

Ooze Labs: Soap & Bath Bomb Lab from Thames & Kosmos

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It’s time to start mixing things up! In this pretend STEM scenario, you are a chemist for a bath and body products company and it’s your job to make and test different cosmetic products. Use the tools in your laboratory to employ different scientific techniques and essential chemistry principles to make soaps and bath bombs. Try out different additives to affect the color, smell, and other qualities of the products you make. Real science and pretend play come together in this activity-filled kit that can be used alone or as an extension of the Ooze Labs Chemistry Station (a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor winner!). As you mold different glycerin soap shapes, you learn about the chemical properties of soap that help it pick up and wash away dirt. While you’re concocting bath bombs, you learn about how acids and bases combine to form fizzing reactions, and what a pH level is. Expand your cosmetics knowledge with an overview of the biology of skincare and other science-related to soap and bath products. All materials and chemicals are non-toxic. Ages 6 + MSRP: $29.95.

Clicformers Friends Sets

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Hook, Stack, Fold and roll your way into fun with the new Clicformers Friends Sets! Build and Create nine different adorable dogs including, a  Welsh Corgi, Shiba, Golden Retriever, Poodle, French Bulldog, Border Collie, Dachshund, Chihuahua, and Shephard from one of their four new Friends Sets. Clicformers are perfect for STEM education and great for eye-hand-coordination development. All Clicformers sets are compatible with each other, creating endless possibilities! The new Clicformers Friends Sets include the Brave Friends Set, Loving Friends Set, Sweet Friends Set, and Pet Friends Set. Ages 4+ MSRP: $29.99.

TODDLER TOYS

Dolce Mouse Backpack with Neck Support

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A toddler’s first backpack with their own beautiful Dolce travel Rabbit toy. The Rabbit arrives with crinkle ears, a removable mouse, ribbons, and tactile fabric for fun on the go. Dolce stands for Develop, Observe, Learn, Create, Educate. Let your baby DEVELOP their sensory skills with the wide variety of high quality textured fabrics. Your little one will love to OBSERVE the fun colorful fabrics and LEARN to understand cause and effect through the many interesting activities in our toys. CREATE fun, learning, and roleplay with your favorite Dolce friend. Let the beautiful, interesting and activity-rich Dolce toys EDUCATE through play. Ages 0 months+  MSRP $39.99.

Cabbage Patch Kids Collectible Cuties Zoo Friends 3 Pack

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Last but certainly not least, the 1978 break through toy is back in 3’s. I am sure you heard the craze of the Costco 3 pack under $20, and although they’re likely sold out all over, you can still get this hot holiday toy for under $50 on Amazon! Even better, they have the zoo friends pack that has the cutest costumes!

Have a happy, healthy Holiday season!