How can you tell if these holiday "hot toy" lists are credible or just advertising?
Shelley, New York, NY, Mom of Luke (4) and Max (18 months)
The best way to approach a "hot" toy list is to read it for information and not as a shopping list. Most of these lists have little or no research behind them. To determine if a list is credible or not, look for these red flags.
1. The list is based purely on opinion. Anyone can have an opinion. There are more scientific ways to evaluate toys.
2. Kids are billed as toy experts. Children are toy consumers, not toy experts.
3. The list contains nothing but descriptions of the toys. That's a hint there was never really any testing or evaluation. more...
Your Own Erupting Volcano by Spencer
Today's feature will show you how to build your own
erupting volcano safely and easily. All you need
is just a few common household items, usually found
in the kitchen. After you have finished, you can read
my explanation of what's going on beneath the earth's
surface that causes REAL volcanoes to erupt!
plastic soda bottle
pan or baking dish
the funnel in the mouth of the soda bottle, and pour
in baking soda until the bottle is half full.
the smaller bottle about half full of vinegar.
about 6 drops of food coloring to the vinegar.
the soda bottle in the center of the pan, and pile
soil and sand around it in the shape of a mountain.
The mouth of the soda bottle should be showing on
top, with the funnel resting in it.
Happens and Why:
vinegar reacts with the baking soda to form carbon-dioxide
gas. The gas expands out of the bottle, just as the
gases in magma cause it to erupt from a volcano. The
red "lava" in this activity was carried
to the surface through the opening in the soda bottle.
I enjoy hearing from
our readers. If you
ever have a comment,
question or concern,
please email me at
Thanks for caring
about our children.
Toy Tips to Parents: Time to Unplug
Don't over stuff the toy box with tech toys. When is technology too much technology?
While tech toys are popular and some can be educational, the latest round of newcomers at Toy Fair makes it clear we're going too far into technology assisted play. It seems technology now permeates almost every kind of toy category on the toy shelves. Parents run the risk of stocking the playroom with items that undermine the important developmental aspects of childhood play.