toys

Geeking Out with Sweet Suite and Thames and Kosmos

IMG_9590Geeking Out with Sweet Suite and Thames and Kosmos

Sweet Suite 14 and Blogger Bash NYC was only twenty days ago but between the boxes of toys arriving here and all of my follow-up emails and posts, it feels like it was yesterday. What a great time and wonderful way to meet brands, other bloggers, and get inspired!

I am blessed with a large extended family, and while that’s great in general,  it’s especially wonderful now because I have so many toys in my house. I know, such a problem, right? What to do? Well, some toys will go to the nieces and nephews (ensuring my place as best aunt ever), there will be some giveaways (coming soon), and I’ll donate the rest to a local organization, Cradles to Crayons.

The only item we have opened is a growing crystals kit from Thames and Kosmos (a little #ThrowbackThursday here) from their SPARK – Science in A Flash series.  We’ve always loved kits from the most basic to the more involved and generally had some project in process (butterfly kits, anyone?), and they were most likely from the Museum of Science  where for years we had a family membership (it was one of the best gifts we have ever received – Thanks, Mom and Dad). We would go to the play space every week (really, winters are long here), and my kids still know and love that museum.

This award winning company has fantastic science kits for all ages and abilities and can be found locally at two of my favorite toy stores, Henry Bear’s Park and Learning Express.

Like Thames and Kosmos on Facebook here.

Here is a bit more about them from their site:

Company Bio

Thames & Kosmos (T&K) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving informal science education by publishing high-quality science and technology related educational products for children of all ages. T&K places an emphasis on teaching concepts and skills through hands-on modeling of real-world devices and processes, and by offering comprehensive, meaningful reading materials for a rich learning experience. T&K is headquartered in Providence, RI.

Partnership with Kosmos
Thames & Kosmos operates as the North American subsidiary of Kosmos — the 189-year-old, German-based publishing house, Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH. Kosmos has an existing line of high-quality science kits that T&K translates, rewrites, and distributes in the English language.

Current Products
Thames & Kosmos currently offers more than 120 science and experiment kits in thirteen categories: Chemistry, Physics, Alternative Energy & Environmental Science, Technology & Electronics, Biology, Earth Science & Natural History, Fun & Fundamentals, Astronomy, Classic Science, Little Labs, Ignition Series, Sophisticated Science, and Construction Series.

Recognition
Thames & Kosmos products are highly regarded in the specialty toy and education market. Since the beginning, T&K products have received dozens of awards from the most reputable organizations that review products for children.

Distribution
Thames & Kosmos sells its products worldwide in retail stores, toy and gift catalogs, specialty toy and hobby stores, museum stores, educational distributors, home-school suppliers, and online stores. For a list of retailers, see the Where to Buy page.

Halloween Preparedness

Halloween is tomorrow and I am putting up decorations a bit late this year…as in today (maybe this had something to do with Hurricane Sandy, maybe I just didn’t get to it). I like this time of year, carving pumpkins, apple picking, trick or treating – although I’m not into the scary movies and I love that there are people who are trying to present healthy alternatives to this sugar laden holiday. Check out my finds!

From a recent study conducted by the ADA and Popcap games:

Approximately 94% of all American children participate in trick-or-treating, but the survey results signify parents of kids that age want more and better options where treats are concerned. Among the top findings, the average child receives just over 90 pieces of candy on Halloween and 70% of parents agree it would be good if their children received less candy and more non-candy treats.

Yikes. Most people would agree that this is entirely too much candy. Even I think this is excessive and I like my candy. What to do? It is a holiday tradition, true, but there good ways to change it up and not get your house egged. None of them involve bringing the candy to me but, as always, my children’s candy remains in my care, custody and control. I mean, of course I wouldn’t eat any of their candy while they are at school.

1. The PopCap and ADA “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign (which I am proud to be a part of) and includes the giveaway of millions of coupons redeemable for free copies of the family-friendly hit PopCap® game Plants vs. Zombies®.
Use the code from your trading cards or coupon to download Plants vs. Zombies free for PC or Mac. (offer expires Nov. 11). The free codes can be redeemed at http://stopzombiemouth.com starting Oct. 30, but no later than Nov. 10 for PC or Mac version of the super-popular game, which usually retails for $19.95. Take the fun ADA Stop Zombie Mouth quiz here and download some coloring pages here. Get cards at your dentist’s office or go to http://stopzombiemouth.com.
2. From one of my favorite stores, here’s another way to say goodbye to some of the candy in your house, do good, and get a toy instead.
Magic Beans is proud to announce its annual Candy Buy-Back program – a fun way for kids to trade in candy for something more wholesome – high quality toys! From November 1-5, 2012, families can bring in at least one pound of Halloween candy to any Magic Beans store and receive 20% off a toy.
Great idea! The fun part is collecting and counting (and maybe organizing by color or type) and trading the candy anyway. Click on the image above for a link to their great blog – there is a post with local Halloween activities for kids.
3. Give a snack (hermetically sealed is always best) Try giving individual bags of popchips as a healthier option. popchips arpopchips trick or treat candy alternative capability mome never fried (unhealthy), never baked (undelicious), just popped and only 100 calories per single-serve bag and they contain no preservatives, trans fats, fake colors or flavors. You can buy them in a multi-pack at most grocery stores. I am a fan of the original but the other flavors have their merits, too. Yes, I taste tested them for you. The sweet potato is mild, the salt and pepper are pretty peppery and the nacho flavored are frankly addiciive.

4. Operation Shoebox – Support our troops by making a donation. Click on the link to see what they need. Candy works (not melt able) and stationary, toiletries and books – See the list here. Priority Boxes from the Post Office are free. Fill one up today.

From the website:
If you would like to show your support… you can send them through us and include a card or note to the troop. We will make sure it gets to someone that needs it and out mailing address is:

Operation Shoebox
PO Box 1465
Belleview, FL 34421-1465

The post office will accept any size box for us.

Here are the links:

StopZombieMouth

Magic Beans Candy Buy Back Program

Popchips
Full Disclosure: I was given some cards and posters and popchips for promotional purposes. No other compensation was received and opinions are, as always, my own.
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