Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tot Tray Wednesday #2 + SPARKBOX! | Lone Star Signers

Well, last week was a big learning experience for me! My biggest takeaway was that there were TOO many trays available at one time. There were ELEVEN different activities to choose from, and it was overwhelming to both girls. Toys were constantly on the floor, which led to a big sweep with a trash bag on Friday morning. (Don't worry, the bag ended up in the closet, not the dumpster.)

I actually started #toyrotationTuesday on Monday evening, since we had a delivery from Sparkbox Toys earlier in the day! (More on that in a minute.)

Week 2:
Signing Class Theme: Celebrate! (graduation)
Recommended book: Hippos Go Berserk

(affiliate links used for your convenience)

Tot Trays (not really "themed" this week):
1. Color stacker (from Sparkbox toys)
2. Pegs from the Lauri Toddler Tote
3. Animal puzzles (with Fisher Price animals)
4. Wooden number puzzles (1-5)
5. Nuts & bolts activity card
6. Fraction puzzle (from Sparkbox toys)

Additional toys:
Mirror blocks (from Sparkbox toys)
Doll & accessories
Artificial flowers--great for poking into floral foam
Little People Klip Klop Stable
As always, unlimited access to books!

And now, a little bit about Sparkbox Toys!
(Note: this is NOT a sponsored post! I am a satisfied customer, and I am sharing this new service because I think it's a great idea. Referral link has been used.)

For a long time, I have been jealous of Austin's Toybrary--when was San Antonio going to get a toy rental service?! I'm a big fan of shopping consignment for my girls, most of the toys in our home are purchased used from our nearby consignment store, a big sale like Just Between Friends, or from my local mom's group. Our typical strategy is to play with toys for awhile, and when the "shine" has worn off, we resell for something "new."

I first heard about Sparkbox ("the Netflix for toys") on April 12th. The whole concept is great: developmentally-appropriate toys delivered straight to our door! I've been wanting to find new ideas for Kate's learning time--something to keep her engaged while Addie and I are doing lessons together. Nine days after hearing about Sparkbox, our first package arrived! (And it would have been sooner, but we missed our UPS driver on Friday evening and he didn't return until Monday afternoon.)

Here's what I love:
1) The service recommends four toys for Kate based on her age.
2) I am able to change out toys based on our needs. (Do we need a toy that makes noise? No, even if it IS educational.) Toys can be sorted by age, skill, and more!
3) Most of the toys are items not found in local stores, which means I get a "sneak peek" at the latest and greatest toys!
4) I'm able to choose items that I know Addie will enjoy, too.

I'm on a Montessori kick right now, so I specifically chose wooden toys this first go-around: a color stacker, a robot-puzzle (open-ended for creative play), a fraction puzzle (love the vibrant colors!), and mirror blocks. The toys arrived clean and wrapped with coordinating educational cards, filled with ideas for extending the learning play! My girls could not wait to start playing on Monday, and Tuesday was no different. The color stacker holds the most interest for every child who has seen it, followed closely by the mirror blocks. I've already started Kate's "wishlist" for upcoming boxes (similar to the Netflix queue). I can tell we're really going to enjoy this service!

Want to know more about Sparkbox Toys? Visit the FAQ page
Ready to sign up? Use my referral link, please! 
The website says you get a free month's delivery with each new subscriber! :) If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'll do my best to find an answer for you.

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