A recent survey shows over 83 percent of parents run out of ideas to keep playtime fun and engaging with their toddlers and over two thirds rely on screen time to fill the void.
Sadly I can agree with this having a toddler of my own. As much as I try to keep my little one entertained, we can’t help when their overactive and very curious little minds decide they want to do something else or “take a break” from all the play and turn on the iPad. Yes, my son loves his iPad.
But not as much as he loves to play, so I was really pleased to hear about the new partnership between a favourite toy brand of my sons, MEGA BLOKS, and parenting experience, Alyson Schafer, to create a unique toolkit to help parents get the most out of playtime with a fun, interactive line of MEGA BLOKS construction toys.
MEGA BLOKS – Canada’s leading educational construction toys made for preschoolers – understands and empathizes with parents’ need for help in keeping their toddlers busy, engaged and learning. MEGA BLOKS has created a line of cognitive construction toys along with expert parenting hints and tips to promote toddlers’ growth and development…because when children build with their hands, they’re also building up their minds and imagination, which is key to early learning.
“Children are experiential learners and need to interact in real time, with the real world to develop properly,” says Alyson Schafer, internationally renowned therapist, author and parenting expert, who has partnered with MEGA BLOKS to create its new Early Childhood Education Toolkit. “Free play is the natural way our brains are meant to grow and that’s why MEGA BLOKS construction toys are so beneficial to a child’s development. A simple task like stacking MEGA BLOKS teaches children how to widen the base to support a taller stack, the feeling of teetering and stability, persistence and patience in building, while receiving social encouragement,” she says.
Survey Says: Parents Need Help!
Recent advances in technology have created a dependence on screen time for all of us, including infants and toddlers. MEGA BLOKS, in partnership with PTPA, North America’s leading parent-driven product reviewer, surveyed more than 1,200 Canadian parents of toddlers and the results clearly demonstrate parents still need help in our hyper-connected world:
- 92 per cent of parents say they recognize the importance of cognitive play for their child’s development, however nearly half of them offer screen time on a daily basis.
- Nine out of ten parents said that they feel too much screen time is not beneficial to their child’s development.
- Two thirds of parents say that screen time is a go-to when they’re struggling with ideas for interactive play.
“At MEGA BLOKS, we know it isn’t easy for parents to always come up with great playtime ideas, and we want to help,” says Alicia Sumar, Senior Brand Manager, MEGA Brands at Mattel Canada. “Our big chunky blocks are easy for little hands to build up and encourage toddlers to be creative and develop their motor skills.”
This is precisely the reason why my son has loved MEGA BLOKS since he was 9 months old till now. The fact that he can carry the big, chunky blocks himself and create something really fun with them brings him so much joy!
Canadian-made in Montreal at North America’s largest toy factory, MEGA BLOKS are the perfect building blocks for early childhood learning and assist with physical, creative, cognitive, social and language development. They create stimulating experiences from stacking tall towers to manipulating components and discovering new shapes and sizes with toys like the Big Building Bag and Block Scooping Wagon.
MEGA BLOKS, Mega Fun
Block Scooping Wagon – ages 1 to 5 years ($39.99) *CAC FAVE*
Little builders can expect lots of fun surprises with MEGA BLOKS’ brand new Block Scooping Wagon! This colorful classic combines wagon play and construction fun with an element of surprise. The wagon picks up blocks as your little one pushes the wagon over them. The blocks spin around inside the clear compartment as a child pushes the wagon along on its big sturdy wheels. This wagon certainly makes clean-up part of the fun!
Move ‘n Groove Caterpillar – ages 1 to 5 years ($29.99)
Get ready to discover wiggly fun and musical sounds with the Move ‘n Groove Caterpillar by MEGA BLOKS. Pull this adorable wheeled caterpillar along, and music will play as building bases magically appear on its back! This happy little critter comes with seven blocks in new colours and patterns, as well as an adorable buildable bumblebee that little ones can stack on the caterpillar’s back for building on the go!
Friendly Farm – ages 1 to 5 years ($39.99)
It’ll be a big day of fun in the country for little farm hands thanks to the MEGA BLOKS Friendly Farm. Its eight panel-style blocks help children build taller and faster. Re-arranging the panels lets them build the farm in different ways. Imaginative play for children continues with detailed blocks that bring the farm scene to life. Including a barn, stables, a chicken coop and characters, little hands can open up the world of Farmer Block Buddy™!
Big Building Bag – ages 1 to 5 years ($19.99)
MEGA BLOKS original hero product, the award-winning Big Building Bag offers amazing play value and endures hours of fun. Its bright-coloured blocks encourage hands-on exploration as children imagine and create. These unique blocks are big and easy for little fingers to assemble. When playtime is over, return the blocks to their eco-friendly bag and stash them in the toy box until the next adventure.Learning comes to life with this interactive laptop! Baby can press nine keys or the toggle space bar to hear songs and phrases about letters, numbers, colors and more. Open and close the lid to hear opposites, too! An LED screen displays exciting images and patterns. Slim handle and sleek design make it great for playtime on-the-go.Learning comes to life with this interactive laptop! Baby can press nine keys or the toggle space bar to hear songs and phrases about letters, numbers, colors and more. Open and close the lid to hear opposites, too! An LED screen displays exciting images and patterns. Slim handle and sleek design make it great for playtime on-the-go.
The Power of Play – Top 5 Tips for Parents to Maximize Playtime
Parenting expert, Alyson Schafer, teamed up with MEGA BLOKS to create these helpful hints and tips for parents to keep playtime fun and engaging for their toddlers.
1. Children Thrive On Routine And Predictability: Practice patience with your child by creating a set playtime and sticking with it.
2. Create Independent Playtime Too: Help them come up with a few ideas of what they’d like to play with, and help get them set up, in order to balance “parental playtime” and “independent playtime.”
3. Round Out Your Activities: Come up with fun ideas for activities, in a range of developmental areas!
4. Make Good Organized Play Space: Kids need a place to play and it should be equipped with basic items, and without parental worry of noise, spills and property damage.
· Bonus Tip: If you have more toys out and active than your child can clean up in five minutes, you have too much going on in your playroom.
5. Let the Child Lead: When you join your child in play, let them lead the play – this is their time to explore and learn through mistakes.
My son has the Block Scooping Wagon and absolutely loves it! He has this thing with vacuums (he hates them…) but for some reason, he enjoys pretending he’s vacuuming! The fact that he’s scooping up the blocks when he goes over them excites him to no end. Ha-ha! I love that he enjoys contributing to tidy time. I guess he feels a sense of accomplishment and also loves when mommy is happy (not to mention the little treat he gets when he does clean up his toys).
These fun new toys will certainly make a little one on your list very happy this Holiday season!
MEGA BLOKS are sold at all major Canadian retailers including: Toys R Us, Walmart, Sears, Real Canadian Super Stores and Amazon.ca.
Thanks to MEGA BLOKS, one of my readers will be winning a MEGA BLOKS Big Building Bag.
This is a quick entry – simply leave me a comment below telling me which MEGA BLOKS Toy featured in this post your little one would love and why and you’re entered!
*Share this giveaway post on Twitter or Facebook for additional entries!*
Open to Canadian Residents only. Ends 12/14.