discovery toys blog of billie elias
Tips for parents who play with their children or who want stay-at-home income.
Toys for special need, autism, gifted and typical kids.

September 08, 2012

All-natural hand sanitizer recipe

You can whip up your own chemical-free hand sanitizer, courtesy of Lawrence Rosen, an expert in pediatric integrative medicine:

3 oz. filtered water
1 tsp. aloe vera gel
10 drops cinnamon essential oil
10 drops clove essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops lemon oil

Mix ingredients in a 4-oz. spray dispenser and shake gently.  Spray on children's hands and teach them to massage the spray into their hands for 30 seconds.

July 19, 2012

Test takers or Innovators?

Young children are at their most formative before they even begin school. This is when good parenting (and good toys, books, games, puzzles ) can really make a difference. But, more and more, we rely on our child's earliest teachers, to inspire a love of learning and creativity that will lead some children to become our next great innovators.  Will "teaching to the test" foster that?

A first grade teacher is called upon to teach a variety of subjects: reading, writing, arithmetic. It used to be acceptable if she was somewhat familiar with each. Today, she may be faced with a student who's less phobic about math than she is. What a breakthrough it would be to revamp how math and science are taught -- if children could be inspired, not by generalists, but by someone with a genuine passion for the subject!

Our current system neglects to isolate high achievers who might be the future entrepreneurs. Instead of stretching their minds, they are drilled ad nauseum and asked to review material they have already mastered, all in an effort to raise test scores. Keeping bright children unengaged in the classroom makes them dislike school, when in fact, wouldn't we want our top students to have a sense of joy about coming to school every day?

As a parent, I was astonished to hear a teacher tell me, "I teach to the middle" of the class. It would seem to make more sense for those students who show greater ability to receive enrichment and not be made to suffer environments that neglect to foster their curiosity and growth to the fullest extent. Conversely, the students who need extra help should receive it. Twenty-first century technology should be in use in our classrooms to create independent learning environments tailored to each student.

I realize this approach may be costly, but it pales in comparison to the cost of being debt-ridden in a never-ending recession.

July 05, 2012

"If you want your children to turn out well....

 spend twice as much time with them and half as much money."
~Abigail Van Buren

April 17, 2012

SCIENCE OBSERVATION KIT using styrofoam packing material

Discovery Toys proudly packs shipments in environmentally friendly packing peanuts made from corn starch.  These dissolve easily in water.  They are great for hands-on activities in solubility, Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy, adhesion, cohesion, & more!   

Some suggested observations are:  
  •  *How long does it take for a peanut to dissolve in water?  
  •  *How long if you stir it?   
  • *Does it make a difference if you use hot or cold water?    
  • *How long with another liquid such as shampoo or oil?   
  • *Try to write on a peanut with a marker.  What happens?  Do different markers cause different reactions?   
  • *What about gluing peanuts?  Does this work?                                             Courtesy of C. Sutter
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