To Grandmother’s House We Go!

February 22, 2010 at 17:41 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Family Time | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

My children love to spend time at grandma and grandpa’s house, but their home is anything but child friendly. I spend our whole visits fretting about them potentially knocking over an expensive vase or breaking the crystal candy dishes. My parents love their grandchildren but also enjoy having nice things. How can I make their visits more fun and less worrisome?

Full of love? Yes. Child-friendly? No.

Great question! Children will often find themselves in a home or environment that isn’t set up to accommodate them. If it is a place
they visit often, such as the home of a close family member, it’s wise
to establish an agreement with the home owner before the next interaction.

Call grandma and grandpa and express your concerns. Ask which rooms are off limits to the children and which area of the home your kids can play in during family gatherings. Pack a few simple toys, crayons, paper, and non-messy snacks when you visit. If your children are preschool-aged or older, explain to them that they need to walk, not run and how to ask before touching something.

Weather permitting, try to keep the children outside. If they burn off energy outside, they’ll be less likely to attempt to juggle the candy dishes.

Have fun!

*photo from

Ask Nurit: Reaching Olympic Gold

February 15, 2010 at 17:38 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Family Time | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

My family and I have been watching the Winter Olympics with our two children and have been really enjoying seeing peak athletes enjoy the fruit of their labor. It’s very tempting to look at my own kids who are involved in sports and wonder if they’ll ever experience an Olympic gold moment! I read last week’s Ask Nurit about keeping reading fun rather than pushing young children before they’re ready, does this apply to creating athletic champions? How do I balance wanting my pre-teens to reach their full potential and allowing kids to be kids?

This is a great question. It is inspiring to watch speed skaters whiz past the cameras and skiers fly through the air with their parents (and entire country) cheering from the sidelines. Make sure it inspires you to help your children reach their dreams, not yours. If your kids have a passion for a sport or art, encourage them and let them take it as far as they want to, within reason of course. Know your child well enough so that you can help them push past obstacles and keep their commitments. Reaching for the gold isn’t only about earning medals, it’s about being the best version of yourself. Let’s be sure to pass that on to the generations to come.

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Ask Nurit: My Baby Can’t Read

February 8, 2010 at 16:41 | Posted in ALEX Toys | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

I’m the parent of a 3 year-old boy who is feeling the pressure to teach my son to read. Whether it is an infomercial promising to create a little reader out of my toddler or just the voice in the back of my head wanting him to succeed in life, I’m getting anxious. How can I help my son love books?

So serious!

A love of reading is truly a gift that parents can pass along to their pre-readers. At this stage in your child’s development don’t worry about creating the next Eric Carle. Just make it fun.

Depending on your local library’s policy, your son may be eligible for a library card of his own. If so, sign him up for one. Visit the library regularly and let him check out several books at a time. Read everyday whether in the morning during breakfast or in the evening right before bed.

Take the initiative and put books in front of your child that follow the subject matter he’s currently passionate about. Does he love cooking? Check out a cookbook and make a point of reading the recipe aloud at every step. Is he in to trucks? Surprise him with a book that includes photos of several kinds of vehicles.

Children naturally learn when they are having fun so don’t worry about formulas and worksheets at this point. Enjoy where your child is developmentally and meet him there.

*photo from

Ask Nurit: Black History Month Crafts

February 1, 2010 at 17:17 | Posted in ALEX Toys | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit, I’m a kindergarten teacher and would like to introduce my class to Black History Month in a fun way. Do you have an ideas for engaging 5 and 6 year-olds?

February is Black History month. Kindergartens are not too young to learn the basics. You can engage your young learners to think about the past while pondering what kind of future they’d like to create for themselves.

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Black History Month Ideas

Take them to your school’s library and read them age-appropriate stories about important African-American historical figures including Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman.

-Draw a large dialogue cartoon bubble on a sheet of construction paper for each child with the words “I Have a Dream” inside. Ask them what their hopes and wishes are for the future and write them down. Let them create illustrations to go along with the text.

-Each Friday of the month, share a fact about African-American history with your students.

Have a great month!

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Ask Nurit: Scrapbooking. Fun?

January 26, 2010 at 16:37 | Posted in ALEX Toys | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

I’ve been looking for a fun way to help my tween preserve her memories. Scrapbooking sounds fun but the technical side of cutting photos, buying the ribbons, stickers, and decorations for the pages would be a bit daunting for my 10 year-old. How can I introduce her to scrapbooking in a way that won’t require multiple trips to the craft store or a Fine Arts degree?

Continue Reading Ask Nurit: Scrapbooking. Fun?…

Ask Nurit: Boys & Crafts

January 21, 2010 at 11:44 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Family Time | 1 Comment
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Dear Nurit,

It seems as if most crafting websites and groups are geared towards girls. I have a very enthusiastic crafting son who has had enough of the pink and purple themed crafting supplies. Do you have any suggestions?

Continue Reading Ask Nurit: Boys & Crafts…

Ask Nurit: Sharing is Caring

January 11, 2010 at 13:05 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Family Time, Little Hands | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

I have two children 2 and 5. They usually play quite well together but as my youngest has grown in awareness she’s become somewhat grabby with communal toys. My 5 year-old is being as gracious as his age level allows him to be but I can tell he’s getting frustrated. How can I help my toddler learn to share?

Sharing is a developmental process that comes with time, patience, and guidance. Here are a few tips that will make learning to share less stressful for everyone.

Continue Reading Ask Nurit: Sharing is Caring…

Ask Nurit: Making Family Meals Work

January 6, 2010 at 21:20 | Posted in ALEX Toys | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

It’s my New Year’s Resolution to get my family eating together more often. To be honest, our dining table serves as more of a place for mail and coats rather than a center of togetherness. Do you have any tips for making this happen?

Eating dinner as a family is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children. It will strengthen your family’s bond and encourage healthy eating habits. These days many parents find that sitting down together for dinner is difficult due to busy schedules, team practices, and a lack of planning. Here are a few tips to make sure your resolution is one you can keep.

Continue Reading Ask Nurit: Making Family Meals Work…

Dear Nurit: Gifts for Teachers

December 15, 2009 at 10:25 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Holidays | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

What is a good holiday gift for my child’s teacher? We want to give something more meaningful than a gift card to our local coffee shop but also want to be sure it’s something she’ll use. Any tips?

Giving your child’s teacher a gift before the Christmas break is a wonderful way to show him or her that you truly appreciate the impact they are making in their student’s lives. There is so much on your agenda leading up to the holidays that this can seem like just another source of stress but it doesn’t have to be. Below are some tried and true holiday gift ideas for your favorite educator.

Continue Reading Dear Nurit: Gifts for Teachers…

Ask Nurit: The Perfect Gift

December 8, 2009 at 17:27 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Holidays | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

The holidays are rapidly approaching and I need some expert advice. I have a long gift list that includes nieces, nephews, young cousins, and of course, my own children. I know what my kids like but I’m not up-to-date on the preferences of the youngest members of my extended family. Everyone is so busy, I’d like to avoid polling their parents. What do you suggest?

It’s true that all children have unique tastes when it comes to toys but rest assured there are also commonalities that unite specific age groups. When you go into a toy or bookstore ask the manager or owner for help. Often just by knowing the age, and sometimes gender, of a child, a seasoned “toy professional” can pick out a gift that many of his child customers have enjoyed. When shopping for kids you don’t have to know everything about them. Just focus on one aspect of their personality. Does your niece love horses? Does your nephew enjoy reading? Shop along those lines. Happy holidays!

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