School’s Out! Time for Summer Travel Planning

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School is out for the summer for a majority of students across the U.S. So what’s next? Why not take a much needed family vacation?! According to the Travel Habits of Americans 2014 survey, “42% of Americans did not take any vacation days in 2014”. It’s hard to believe that so many hard working Americans chose not to take any time off. All the more reason why this summer you should pack up the kids and get some ‘R & R’.
Whether you plan a trip to Orlando to visit Disney World or you take the kids on a weekend adventure to a cabin on the lake, sometimes getting to your destination can cause passengers to get a little restless. So, how do you prevent restless traveler syndrome?…

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Supporting Visual Development: The Importance of Developing Baby’s Visual Abilities

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Visual development is a crucial part of baby’s growth. According to Pregnancy & Baby’s 2012 article on visual stimulation, newborn babies are only able to see a mere 8-15 inches in front of them. In addition, “they are unable to see color or highly detailed designs”. This can make it challenging for parents to find ways to help support and stimulate baby’s visual development. However, through research doctors and scientists alike have found that “high-contrasting colors are best for building vision development in newborn babies” Pregnancy & Baby Magazine; 2012. Knowing this valuable information about baby’s visual abilities is the key to choosing the best toys and products to help support their visual development.
At Manhattan Toy, we have many award winning toys that support babies as they achieve their milestones in development.…

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Memorial Day Weekend

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Since 1971, Memorial Day has been celebrated on the last Monday in May. After the end of the Civil War, this day of remembrance was made to celebrate and honor those who died in the war.  Throughout the following decades, the day slowly changed into a day of honoring all men and women who have died defending our country.   Many visit the grave sites of loved ones to honor their memory; others use the three day weekend to travel to see family and friends.
This annual extended weekend is often seen as the “start of the summer”.  Especially for school age children who are itching for summer break! So, what are you doing this Memorial Day?  If you haven’t already made plans, here are some fun Memorial Day activities, traditions and ideas you may want to take part in this Monday, May 25.…

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Your Yukon Toy Destination: Angellina’s Toy and Children’s Boutique

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In Whitehorse, the capital city of Canada’s Yukon Territory, there is a remarkable place you ought to visit. The Yukon offers many extraordinary sights throughout the year. You may catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, or witness the wonder of midnight sun.  But amongst the natural phenomena, there is a delightful toy store located on the corner of Front and Main St.; Angellina’s Toy & Chidren’s Boutique. It’s not your typical toy store “Angellina’s is an experience!” says owner Betty.
Nestled in downtown Whitehorse, Angellina’s Toy & Children’s Boutique is a one of a kind destination for those in search of fantastic toys and gear for baby and child. Owner Betty prides herself in selecting only “the finest toys from the best toy companies in the world.” Manhattan Toy® is proud to say that our Baby Stella™ has been a part of Angellina’s premier toy collection since May of 2011!…

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Puppet Playtime

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Imaginative play is an important part of the development process. Through pretend play, children nurture a variety of necessary skills to succeed in life. Nurturing your child’s ability to exercise their imagination supports the development of different social, emotional and language skills. One way to offer your child a means of using their imaginations is through playing with toys!
There are plenty of toys designed to support your child as they create a variety of different imaginative scenarios. One of our favorites is puppets! Why puppets? Because, they supply children with endless possibilities to create their own imaginative stories, plot lines, characters and even problems to solve. The very voice of each character can set the scene for a variety of creative adventures.…

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Fine, Gross, Small and Large Motor Skills . . . What’s the difference?

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As a new parent or soon to be mom/dad, you have probably heard the terms, fine motor and gross motor development. These developmental skills are often referenced in magazine articles and even on toy packaging. But for those of you who hear these terms “fine and small motor, large or gross motor development” and find yourself wondering: ‘what’s the difference’? Then wonder no more!
According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, “Motor skills are actions that involve the movement of muscles in the body. They are divided into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills.” Gross or large motor skills include any large movements that are made by arms, legs, feet or even the body as a whole. While fine or small motor skills are smaller actions that require the use of muscle groups like the hands, wrists, toes, fingers, lips and tongue.…

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Earth Day 2015

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Our friend the Lorax™ has a lot to say about Earth Day and his efforts to preserve the environment.  After all, the “gruff but loveable” character became the voice of the trees in the classic Dr. Seuss™ story of The Lorax.  The beloved story reminds us that although the Earth cannot speak, we need to speak up and protect our environment.  That’s why in 2008, Dr. Seuss Enterprises partnered with Conservation International and Random House Publishing to launch The Lorax Project.  This innovative program was designed to support environmental conservation, including the many animal species that call the Earth home.
Earth Day has been celebrated annually on April 22, since 1970.  That makes 2015 the 45th anniversary! Want to know another fun fact? …

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The Story Behind “Big Blue Whale”

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When you find yourself walking down historical 19th street of the Houston Heights shopping district, there are several boutiques and shops you may come across. Perhaps you find yourself inside a thrifty antique store, or seated in a comfy chair of a charming café. But, if you are in search of curious toys and a sea of games, then you will probably find yourself at Big Blue Whale toy store.
Step inside, and you’ll discover a plethora of toys for kids of all ages. From baby and elementary age toys to plush, games and even books. Owner Vanessa Wodehouse opened Big Blue Whale in the summer of 2014. Vanessa always knew she wanted to own her own business. With a background of 20+ years in the non-profit arena, including positions in children’s programming, she thought opening a toy store made perfect sense!…

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S.C.O.U.T. SMART CURIOUS OPEN UNAFRAID TRUE

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In January 2015, we released a brand new soft doll collection. After months of research, and thoughtful changes to design, the S.C.O.U.T. collection was born! This trendy doll line includes three female characters along with a poodle companion and six outfit accessories.
What makes this collection so special is the message within the name of this unique assortment of characters.  S.C.O.U.T. stands for Smart, Curious, Open, Unafraid and True. These are qualities that many parents would like to instill in their young daughters as they make their way through adolescence. This is why the S.C.O.U.T. doll collection is geared towards girls ages five to eight – a time of discovery and learning via social interactions and experiences.
Every girl is unique in their own way, and the characters in the S.C.O.U.T.…

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Prepped for the Park

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March 30 is national “Take a Walk in the Park Day”. So we’ve put together a list of 10 things you should do before your next park venture! Getting the kids ready for any trip can be an adventure all on its own, but having a list makes the job a little easier.   Take a look at our 10 pointers to help you prepare for your next walk in the park!
1. Check the Forecast – walking isn’t as fun when the weather is not on your side. Extremely hot temperatures or really windy conditions can be just as upsetting as a mid-walk downpour.   Don’t let the weather put a damper on your next outing!
2. Dress for the Weather – although it’s spring, the weather is still unpredictable!…

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