Ever wondered how we stock our store with awesome products? It’s a long process that includes researching companies, speaking to representatives, browsing catalogs, and testing every toy. We want to give you a behind the scenes look at a part of the ordering process. Watch as Lisa, manager and buyer, goes through a 3 step process of ordering the toys!
Story Book Games (ages 3-7)
-Three Little Pigs – spacial logic
-Red Riding Hood – maze logic
These classic stories are told through picture books with very clever illustrations. Help your little one read the stories, then watch the stories come alive by solving a series of puzzles that grow in difficulty over time. Not only are you fostering a love of literacy, but you’re helping your child solve problems before they know it.
The Big Dig (ages 5-12)
This is very reminiscent of playground equipment many adults will remember. Once assembled, you sit on the stool, which swivels 360 degrees, and control two “arms” that allow you to dig. As simple as it sounds, it can bring hours of outdoor fun in ANY season. Dig through the snow this coming winter, then through the mud when spring comes. Sturdy steel construction holds up to the elements. (weight limit of 100lbs)
Master Detective Kit (ages 8-14)
Who didn’t want to be a spy or detective when they were little? This kit offers everything necessary to spy on siblings or figure out just WHO stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Learn the techniques behind finger printing, coding messages, and more.
Rock ‘n Rody (ages 3-5)
This is a fun twist on a rocking horse. Our classic Rody, which is a bouncy horse, gets an update with a rocking and removable base.
Worry Eaters (ages 4-adult)
These adorable monsters are designed to ease your worries. We all have ‘em – these monsters will hold on to them for us! Simply write or draw what worries or bothers you, put it in your Worry Eater’s mouth, zip his mouth shut, and let him worry about it for you.
Roll & Play (ages 1 ½-5)
This is a watch and mimic game, where your little one is encouraged to copy what you say or do. Roll the giant, fuzzy dice, pick the matching color card, and act out what you see. The fun rolls on from there!
Action Princesses (ages 5-adult)
This is a get up and move game! Four princesses are attempting to rescue a prince who has been trapped in a tower by a giant, terrifying dragon. By following prompts on the cards such as “spin like a tornado for 10 seconds” or “do a conga line around the room,” you will make your way to the moat, where you’ll have to find a sword and a key to save the prince. This is a cooperative game where every player wins.
Modarri Cars (ages 8-adult)
Customize your own vehicle using swappable plates and wheels. Each kit comes with enough pieces to start swapping and customizing immediately, and each car has an individualized license plate that can be registered online for a digital experience!
Hugg-a-Planet (ages 3-adult)
This plush Earth will bring joy to any curious child. It’s a fun alternative to a globe that is equally as educational.
Pogo Jumper (ages 3-12)
This is a safer alternative to a pogo stick. With each jump you hear a squeak, and the pogo will grow with you, since it has an elastic band attached to its handle bar instead of a metal pole.
Never underestimate the importance of play—whether you’re 9 months, 9 or 90! For even the youngest kids, play is a way of figuring out the world around them, how to creatively solve problems, how to interact with others. As we get older, play is still vital to our mental health and overall wellbeing. You’re never too old to put some play in your day!
Get back to basics. Chances are if the toy or game you loved as a child is still around, then it’s still worth playing. Introduce your kids to some old-fashioned low-tech fun.
Plan to play “in.” Dig out the board games and add a few new ones to your collection. Resurrect Family Game Night and rediscover how much fun it is to spend time together.
Keep it open ended. Stay away from toys that can only be played one way or have predictable outcomes. Kids should tell the toy what to do, not the other way around.
It’s all in the cards. Card games are easy to transport, fun to play, and affordable—usually $10 or less for fun you can enjoy on the run and time and time again.
Look for what lasts. Before you check out at the counter, look at what you’re buying. Will it withstand enthusiastic play? Is it durable and safe? How will it hold up for the long haul?
Read all about it. Nothing beats snuggling up with a good book. Once you’ve finished, pass it on to a friend—or organize a book swap in your neighborhood.
Beware the “add-on.” That discounted toy might be inexpensive—but if it takes six C batteries (not included, of course) to rev up all the bells and whistles, is it really a deal?
Go for the green. Choose toys that are small on packaging and big on play value. Trade games with friends…or try creating your own game using ‘found’ materials!
Keep ’em talking. Look for games that stimulate conversation and keep kids verbally engaged. Rolling the dice and moving around a board is only fun for so long. Conversation “changes up” the game and makes play more interesting.
Buy something buildable. Research shows that playing with blocks, puzzles, and other construction toys helps build 3-D math reasoning, spatial, and problem-solving skills.
Give back. No matter how bad you think your situation is, someone out there has more worries than you. If you have a safe place to sleep and food on your table, you’re a step ahead of many in our community. Here are a few local agencies that need your family’s help this holiday season:
Blessings in a Backpack, Frederick Maryland, SHIP of Frederick County, Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, The ARC of Frederick County, Maryland, and Project Alive/Housing Authority of the city of Frederick
If you’re heading out on vacation or making the trip back home soon, traveling with the kids in tow is part of the adventure. A lot of our customers ask us for suggestions on good games and toys to keep the kids entertained while traveling. So, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite travel toys, plus a few bonus games!
To make it extra fun for the tots, consider putting together a few goodie bags with toys and snacks. Instead of giving them everything at once, surprise them every hour or two of the trip with a goodie bag!
Mini coloring or activity books
These mini art pads are perfect for drawing scenes from outside the window, and the Scratch and Sketch books will give older kids hours of creativity.
Because the Dancing Bear is a battery-free toy store, it’s safe to say that we have some pretty unique toys. But it’s not just the toys that are unique. The toy companies behind these products are, too.
These days the toy industry isn’t just about making great products for kids; it’s about making a social and ethical impact on the world. Here are three of those companies that we love because of their open-ended, make-a-difference toys (all of which you can find at the Bear!).
Pronounced “TAY-goo,” this toy company is based in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras, where they manufacture their magnetic wooden blocks.
Each of their polarizing wooden building blocks has invisible north and south poles hidden inside, inspiring endless creative play. Children can not only build up but also out, working against gravity with the use of the magnets. The smooth, wooden blocks and planks come in natural wood grain stains and vibrant colors; some sets come with wheels, too. Continue reading
At Dancing Bear we love to celebrate all things new, like the New Year and your new toys (hopefully some are from the Bear!). But now that the holidays are over and the kiddos are back in school, the glamour of those new toys might be fading — although Tom, our semi-retired owner, is still pretty excited about his new coffee maker in the office.
So what happens when that “new toy glamour” fades? How can parents be reassured that children will want to play with their toys all throughout the year?
When it comes to play, the Bear likes to keep things classic. In fact, we call it classic play. Continue reading