Yay for nice weather finally! Clear roads, no snow.....means it is road trip time!
I love going on road trips, but have learned that with kids it is a little more than hop in the car and go. You've got to have snacks, prepare for any possibility and keep them entertained!
We can't promise there won't be anyone saying "Are we there yet?"
- but we have lots of fun and unplugged ways to keep your kids busy and having fun :)
On a recent trip that my family took this past spring break, we took along the Magnetic Super Mind. What a fantastic discovery for keeping busy and perfecting skills at the same time!
Super Mind and Mighty Mind both come with plastic shaped tiles, and puzzle cards to build on, or just let their imagination fly and create their own shapes and mosaic masterpieces. Both versions help kids develop creativity and visual/spatial relationships. You could also work on colours, shapes and counting with the tiles. Extra puzzle cards are available as well.
Mom's Review: Fantastic toy! I love the sturdy metal case, and some of the puzzle cards even challenged my almost 10 year old. A couple of hints - there is some assembly required as the magnets have to be put onto the tiles. Super easy to do, but you might want to do before you leave! As well, the kit does come with a drawstring bag to store the tiles in, but I would suggest to replace it with a small zippered bag. We had a tile dumping incident, while the Super Mind was being passed around the car - which resulted in a pit stop to find the tiles :P
My 6.5 year old, and almost 10 year old both loved the puzzles and were challenged by them. We also had a pretty creative tree made, and some mosaic patterns. As a bonus, once we reached our destination, my (in their 30's sisters) sat down and completed all 32 puzzles and were disappointed that I didn't have more cards!
Even at home, our Super Mind continues to be played with - that is a win for me!
that contains so many possibilities! Keva Planks are hands down one of my favourite building toys - their simplicity sparks imagination and a challenge!
They are fun to play with AND teach our kids (and adults!) mathematics and science. They are also perfect for any age or ability level. How tall can you build before your creation falls over? What could you do better next time? Could you build a _______?
The simple shape makes it easy for kids to unleash their imaginations, but if you need a starting point each box comes with a guide full of ideas and challenges - plus check out the Keva Planks website, under the educators tab there is a wealth of information and projects including pictures for every age and ability!!
I really like the Brain Builders sets (available in Junior and 3D Challenges) because they are PORTABLE! Perfect for killing time at a restaurant, doctor's office and small enough to fit in your purse or diaper bag. Each set comes with 20 planks, cards with various challenges, & a little bag to store them in!
What fun have you had with Keva Planks? Share your pictures on our Facebook Page!
live the Shadowlings, mythical creatures who dwell in their hiding spaces and have never been seen in the light. The Seeker has heard the stories of these curious Shadowlings and has always wished to see one in person. Each night, the Seeker searches the forest with the Lantern trying to find all of them and prove the stories are true. Every night, the Shadowlings are too quick and avoid the light of the Lantern; will they be so lucky tonight?" (Excerpt from the Instruction Manual of Shadows in the Forest by Thinkfun)
Are you intrigued? Shadows in the Forest is a family game with 2 to 7 players! As a family of five with a wide range in ages, it can be hard to find a game that we can all play and enjoy. This game hit all those points, and you can customize the difficulty of play.
Turn off the lights and go play!!!
Are you still working on your shopping list? Not sure what to get the child or child at heart on your list? No worries! We love to help you explore the store, and are certain to find the perfect something for you to give :)
Here are a few of Nancy's favourite things to get you started!!
Nancy's Favourite Toys
Winston Churchill once said "We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give"
and what better time to give than the holiday season?
One of my favourite things about working at Gingerbread Toys is the kind, caring and thoughtful community that is the staff and Nancy. We support a number of community resources - UHNBC Paediatric Ward, Exploration Place, South Fort George Resource Centre and many local fundraisers just to name a few. This holiday season we have three fantastic opportunities for you to help put a smile on someone's face :)
The second opportunity is tomorrow, December 5 and Thursday, December 6 - Country 97FM is hosting the 8th Annual Community Christmas in support of the St. Vincent De Paul Society. More information can be found on their Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/710778292636775/ - Make sure you are listening on Thursday at 2 pm ;)
Christmas Socks are a HUGE tradition in my family, in fact as you got older it became less about what was under the tree and more of what was in the sock! Christmas socks were also allowed to be opened while coffee was brewing before getting mom and dad out of bed :)
I love the hunt of finding the perfect stuffer for someone! Here are five of my favourites this year..... ~Tracie
Mom's Review: This is a super easy project and one that could be shared as well. My kids took turns painting and worked cooperatively (rare but it happens!) on deciding colours and patterns. As far as the kit goes, I was pleased that everything needed was in the box. There was also a lot of paint, and the paintbrush was of decent quality. A word of warning, the instructions say that the paint may stain clothing and in our experience it does, so break out the painting smocks or shirts and cover your surface well. The baking process was simple, and I can't wait to put this in our garden next year!
Do you have a product that you've purchased from us that you would like to review?
Please email email@example.com with Attention: Tracie - Product Review in the subject line and you may be featured in an upcoming blog! Don't forget to include your pictures :)
of Gingerbread Toys, Nancy!
I started in the toy business with Gingerbread Playhouse in Skeena Mall in Terrace back in 1989!
Almost 30 years...it has flown by.
Back then, and still today, it was important to me to have good quality toys available, ones that wouldn't end up at the bottom of the toybox or in the landfill!
So much toy advertising is done where the toy is tied to TV shows/movies or corporate interests, and more money is invested in the advertising than in the quality of the toy. And it is my privilege today to work with others who believe in the same philosophy of "good" toys.
I have 2 sons, and was recently made a grandmother by the older one, Jim, when James V was born. Jim works in IT at Northern Health (the guy with the math and computer brain from day one). My daughter-in-law, Emma, is currently on mat leave from Exploration Place, where she has worked many years.
Tennis is our family sport, we all play, and my younger son, Kristian, is currently playing on the UBC team and working on his doctorate in Chemistry, after 4 years at Doane College in Nebraska. He has also "imported" a wonderful girlfriend in Cheyanna. We are also big hockey fans, enjoying the NHL, and support the Prince George Spruce Kings.
And my husband and I currently share our home with Bolty (cute and fast guinea
pig named for Usain Bolt) and Snoopy (adorable lop-eared black rabbit who is
very curious--snoopy-- and mischievous). So that may be why we always have
so many rabbits and rodents in our selection of stuffed animals in the store!
Favourite all time toy in the store:
Wooden trains (Brio, Thomas, Hape)
They are a great toy for boys and girls, for a wide age range and the building of the track grows young brains. Then the fun of "driving" the trains around begins! Every time you add a new piece or train, it's a whole new toy. And all practically indestructible, pass it on to the grandchildren and their children!
After a long break, the Gumdrop Button Blog is back!
This time of year, we're thinking about holidays--and travelling. And those long road trips! "Are We There Yet??"!! (which is one of the best travel games we've found, ask us for the handout with the variations on the basic game). Fun for adults too, but drivers, sorry, you'll have to keep your eyes on the road!
Of course, we have many toys in the store which help to pass the hours in the car, on the plane, and even ideas for burning off energy at rest stops or for rainy days at the cabin. And, see below for our list of fun games, tried, tested, and approved, FREE!, and no extra equipment required!
If you need anything for travel, stop by the store and our helpful staff will have plenty of suggestions. We also have a list of ideas you can take home, sometimes you can re-purpose what you already have.
Happy travels, happy 150th Canada!, until next time...
Nancy, Megan & staff
Games to Play in the Car
Endings: Pick a theme (e.g., animals). One person says a word in the category and the next person says another word beginning with the last letter of the previous word. For example, monkey-yak.
Alphabet Game: Can you think of a city, name, fruit, or colour that starts with each letter of the alphabet?
The "other" Alphabet Game: Find the letters A-Z in order on the signs or license plates. Anything goes as long as it's outside the vehicle. The first person to spot a letter gets to use it. Change it up by doing number 0-9 after the letters. Or finding A-Z, 0-9, and then 9-0, Z-A. For a more advanced version if you're in an urban area, only letters starting a word can be used.
Travel Bingo: An adult can make up bingo "cards" with different pictures, words, numbers or letters for the kids to find as they drive. There's lots of free printable cards like these online too if you don't want to make your own!
Stories: One person starts a story and the next person adds a sentence. Use a story in a book and ask for nouns, verbs, etc... to replace the ones in the book.
Name that Tune: One person hums or sings a song. The person who guesses the tune hums next.
Jim Dandies: Pick a word and see how many rhyming words or sentences you can say.
License Plate Scrabble: Be the first to make a word out of the letters on a license plate. Add any letters you want but keep the letters on the license plate in the same order. For example, WLK=walk, FLD=flood.
'Tis the season for toy gift guides, and the more of them we see the more we wanted to share our favourite toys to give. It was no easy task, but our staff have each picked a few of their favourite things to give as gifts this Christmas.
Many gift guides you'll find are laden with "hot" toys that are heavily marketed and in our opinion, just not that great. We have high standards for toys and expect a lot of them. We put a lot of time and effort into sourcing the best toys that we believe will foster imagination and creativity, and deliver play value far beyond Christmas Day. Children learn through play and providing the proper tools to facilitate that learning is a privilege we take very seriously. While having a lot of fun of course!
Puzzles are always a great gift idea and Pastime puzzles are especially fun. They come in a variety of sizes and feature "whimsy" pieces in fun shapes in addition to traditional puzzle pieces. Puzzle Store from Ravensburger provides a way to keep puzzle pieces sorted and secure and partially completed puzzles intact. Folds flat for easy storage.
Bunnies by the Bay is a new line in the store that features absolutely beautiful plush toys and infant accessories like these adorable and incredibly soft bunny booties. We only wish they came in adult sizes.
Calico Critters are always a hit. Critters are poseable, and the Outdoor Sports Set has a variety of sports equipment for imaginative play. We love that Calico Critters are appropriate for a broad range of ages increasing the play value. The Stablemates Breyer Acres playset is another favourite with an awesome tractor and accessories for feeding and caring for the animals.
Stomp Rockets are always a popular gift to get kids outside. Send rockets soaring with just your body weight. There are stomp rockets for small children up to adults. We have a hard time keeping Foam Strike compound bows in stock they're so popular. Made of durable and safe high density foam they can soar up to 100 ft.
This Tournament Table Tennis game sits on top of a table to make any table into a ping pong table. Comes with paddles and balls, it's a perfect family gift to get everyone in on the action.
It may not be camping season outside but why not camp inside with the Pretend & Play Camp Set. Spark a child's imaginative side with this gift that is sure to please.
Nurture children's explorative and curious nature with our geode kits. There's a variety of different kits that will reveal the fascinating world of geology.
Tranquil Turtles are a great gift for the littlest ones on your Christmas list. Soft plush turtle projects calming wave patterns on the ceiling of a dark room. There's also a variety of soothing sounds and music to make bedtime a little more pleasant.
Pretend play is important to so many aspects of child development and Alex's Complete Kitchen Set is a great choice for children to cultivate pretend play.
Bath time should be fun! Alex's Tub Island provides a floating roadway and vehicles for an enriching bath time experience.
The Very Berry Tea Set is absolutely adorable and made of tin making it safe for younger children. Tea parties await!
Jellycat plush may just be the softest plush we've ever had in the store. The Pink Tootle Tortoise is extravagantly soft and very huggable making it an excellent comfort toy.
We love Playmobil! Incredibly detailed, high-quality playsets deliver value and years of use. The farm is filled with all kinds of animals and accessories and is sure to be a hit.
Hape's Gingerbread Baking Set is play food at its finest. Made from thick felt, gingerbread cookies can be rolled, cut out, and "baked".
Amaze 'n' Marbles might just be our favourite marble runs. Build a marble run from these special wooden blocks and see where the included marbles end up.
Duplo's Read & Build sets combine Duplo blocks with a storybook that compliments the building set. Perfect for the toddlers on your gift list.
Babies need toys too! The EarlyYears Owl Busy Buddy Blanket has lots of fun textures to explore and lots to chew on too.
The Giant Road Jigsaw Puzzle can be endlessly rearranged to provide a roadway for cars and trucks. Puzzle pieces interconnect in many different ways so there's no wrong way to put it together.
WOW toys are always a favourite. Their slogan is "toys that don't break their promises" and it's very true. These toys are built to last. They are all friction-powered and are easy for even the littlest hands to get moving.
Schleich is known for their detailed, hand-painted animals and what better place to store the animals than this wooden red barn. It folds open completely for easy access to animal stalls and a loft. It also comes with some animals and accessories.
There's so much more in store! Come visit us and find unique, quality toys that you won't find anywhere else.