Re-Gram to Win the Perfect Holiday Gifts!

Welcome to EI’s 31 Days of Gift-Aways giveaway! With 31 days of giveaways including award-winning toys and games for boys and girls of all ages, we’ve got great gifts for everyone on your list – and winning is easy!

First, be sure you’re following us on Instagram. Then, watch for our daily 31 Days of Gift-Aways posts and regram them. It’s that simple! We’ll choose a winner each day in December and ship your prize directly to you!

Check out the calendar below to see which goodies we’re giving away when!

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December 1 – Illumicraft™ Light Up! Cell Phone Speaker Doc

This two-in-one cell phone dock and speaker keeps your phone in place AND amplifies sound. Kids learn to engineer simple circuits, then customize this delightful docking station to light up!

December 2 – Design & Drill® Brightworks™

Budding designers can follow one of 12 included patterns or create their own custom, glow-in-the-dark creations. Just insert one of the translucent bolts, use the real working, kid-friendly power drill to drill it in, and watch as your dynamic creation glows from the inside!

December 3 – Nancy B’s Science Club® AquaScope™ and Underwater Wonders Journal

With the Nancy B AquaScope, you don’t even have to get wet to explore the wonders of life underwater. AquaScope has 5x magnification to focus closely on observations. This underwater telescope for kids also comes with an activity journal packed with fun science experiments.

December 4 – GeoSafari® Jr. My First Microscope

My First Microscope allows kids to see a magnified hidden world with ease! This fully functional microscope is a real working science tool with two extra-large eyepieces and a chunky, kid-sized focusing knob.

December 5 – GeoSafari® Omega Refractor Telescope

Explore the faraway wonders of space, from the Moon’s craters to Saturn’s dazzling rings—even deep-sky phenomena like star clusters and nebulae!

December 5 – Design & Drill® Power Play™ Helicopter

Your little engineers can build their copter by snapping the pieces together. Then, they can use the motorized mini-drill to add the bolts. Finally, it’s time to add artistic flair and customize their creation with colorful stickers, and zoom into creative STEM play! Once their chopper is ready to hit the skies, they can use kid-power to spin the blades and lift off!

December 7 – Magic Moves®

Stomp like a dinosaur! Soar like an eagle! Ninety fun, physical commands, twinkling light shows, and 26 musical tunes get little ones up and keep them moving, exercising their bodies, creativity, and listening skills!

December 8 – Even Steven’s Odd™

It’s a race to the dice! The first player to complete ten math challenges and grab Steven wins this fast-paced, dice-rolling race!

December 9 – The Sneaky, Snacky, Squirrel Game®

Your forest friends are hungry and they need your help! Spin the spinner, squeeze the matching colored acorn with your Squirrel Squeezer, and place it into your log. Be the first to fill your log with delicious acorns and you win!

December 10 – Nancy B’s Science Club® Microscope and Activity Journal

This 2-in-1 light and dissecting microscope gives up-close views—30x, 100x, and 400x magnifications—of anything you can imagine, from peacock feathers and goldfish scales to your own skin and cheek cells. The included keepsake journal features 22 pages of fun science experiments for kids and activities from observation to creative writing, drawing, and more.

December 11 – GeoSafari® Jr. Kidnoculars®

The only binoculars designed specifically for little kids! Enlarged focus-free eyepieces—more than three times the size of ordinary binoculars—and perfect-fit goggles with placement guide enable kids (even toddlers) to see up close!

December 12 –  Illumicraft™ Light Up! Journal

Jazz up your journal! Kids can stash their secrets in journals decorated with working, light-up circuitry they lay themselves

December 13 – Wave of the Wand™ – A Cinderella Game

Become Cinderella for a day! Players take turns flicking the Magical Wand Shaker and placing matching colored tokens on their castle cards. The first to fill her castle with tokens wins the game AND the “glass” slipper!

December 14 – Design & Drill® Power Play™ Monster Truck

Your junior mechanics can build their vehicle by snapping the pieces together. Then, they can use the motorized mini-drill to add the bolts. Finally, it’s time to add artistic flair and customize their creation with colorful stickers, and race into creative STEM play! Once their monster truck is ready to hit the road, they can use kid-power to send their car speeding!

December 15 – Illumicraft™ Light Up! Pencil Case

Illuminate your style with a light-up pencil case! Kids learn to engineer simple circuits, then use their creativity to customize their colorful crafts.

December 16 – GeoSafari® Jr. Talking Microscope™

Investigate twelve fascinating bugs up close, listen to cool bug facts, and challenge your knowledge of each creepy critter in fun quiz games.

December 17 – Ready, Set, Woof!™ Game

Find and feed hungry puppies! Players shake the Dog Bowl Randomizer to find out which pup to feed, then scan the board for the pup with matching colors. The player who finds the matching pup first feeds it a bone. The first player to give away all bones first wins!

December 18 – Nancy B’s Science Club® MoonScope™ and Sky Gazer’s Activity Journal

Grab your MoonScope and take a tour of the nighttime sky complete with visits to the stars, Saturn, Jupiter, and even the mountain ranges and craters on the moon! The Sky Gazer’s Journal is packed with fun activities, like learning about the lunar phases, writing a moon myth, drawing your own man in the moon, and more!

December 19 – Blurt!®

What word means “a partially dried grape?” Be the first to say “raisin” and you’re on your way to winning this riotous game of rapid word recall. Sounds simple, but as the race for the right word heats up and the blurting gets boisterous, it’s easy to get tongue-tied!

December 20 – Robot Face Race™ Game

Help a crazy inventor find the heads he needs to complete his robot bodies in this frantically fun feature-finding game! Shake the Robot Randomizer, then scan the board for the robot head with the matching eyes, nose, and mouth. It’s a frantic feature-finding game that’s fun for the whole family!

December 21 – Illumicraft™ Light Up! Picture Frame

Fancy up your favorite photo with a light-up frame! Kids learn to build a circuit, then customize their frames with decorative stickers and paint.

December 22 – GeoSafari® Jr. My First Telescope

Discover amazing, up-close lunar exploration with GeoSafari® Jr. My First Telescope! Little ones can explore the moon with this focus-free telescope, built specifically for little hands and growing minds.

December 23 – Kanoodle®

Construct caboodles of 2-D and 3-D puzzles with this brain-twisting solitaire game. Pick a puzzle from the book, set up the challenge, and then place the remaining pieces to solve the puzzle. Hundreds of possible combinations, but only one completes the puzzle!

December 24 – Sophie’s Seashell Scramble™ Game

Help Sophie the Otter find yummy shells to eat in this pattern-matching spin and swim game! Players spin the spinner and use the Sophie squeezer to pick up a shell with a matching pattern. The first player to collect one shell of each pattern wins!

December 25 – Illumicraft™ Light Up! Jewelry Organizer

Jewels in a jumble? Not for long with the lovely light-up jewelry organizer! Kids can engineer a circuit to light up their hanging organizer, and can personalize it with stickers and paint

December 26 – Shelby’s Snack Shack Game ®

Shelby buried bones in the sand and needs your help collecting them. Help her dig up the most bones and you win! Kids take turns using the adorable Shelby Squeezer to fill their dog bowl with bones. Sounds simple, but be careful—spin a sneaky seagull, and you’ll lose some bones or get sidetracked chewing a flip flop and miss your turn!

December 27 – Design & Drill® Power™ Play Race Car

Your junior pit crew can build their vehicle by snapping the pieces together. Then, they can use the motorized mini-drill to add the bolts. Finally, it’s time to add artistic flair and customize their creation with colorful stickers, and zoom into creative STEM play! Once their racer is ready to hit the road, they can use kid-power to send their car speeding!

December 28 – GeoSafari® Jr. My First Microscope

My First Microscope allows kids to see a magnified hidden world with ease! This fully functional microscope is a real working science tool with two extra-large eyepieces and a chunky, kid-sized focusing knob.

December 29 – Magic Moves® Rainbow Jam™

Join our color groovin’ jam session! Mini maestros touch a color to hear its musical note, touch multiple colors to compose their own masterpieces or sing along to nine jammin’ color songs!

December 30 – Illumicraft™ Light Up! Mirror

This “reflection” of crafty engineering skills is the perfect size to hang in a locker! Kids engineer a circuit to light up the hanging mirror like a mini vanity, and decorate it with awesome stickers, cutouts, and paint!

December 31 – Playfoam®

Get “in shape” with no-mess Playfoam®! Let little imaginations soar with this all-new, dinosaur-themed, squishy-squashy set that can be shaped and sculpted over and over again.

Order Your Way to a Happier Holiday!

Amazon has spoken! The mega online retailer has reviewed thousands of toys and games chosen the best-of-the-best for their Holiday Toy List 2016, including eight award-winning selections from Educational Insights!

Make your holiday shopping as easy as point and click with these perfect presents for the little ones on your list:

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel

The Sneaky, Snacky, Squirrel Game®

The perfect first board game – fun for the whole family! Your forest friends are hungry and they need your help! Spin the spinner, squeeze the matching colored acorn with your Squirrel Squeezer, and place it into your log. Be the first to fill your log with delicious acorns and you win! You could also spin “pick an acorn,” “steal an acorn,” or “lose an acorn,” so be strategic, little squirrel! For ages 3+.

Design and Drill Activity Center

Design & Drill® Activity Center

For the creative kiddos on your list… Kids power up their imaginations and build coordination and creative thinking skills as they drill chunky, child-sized components into a sturdy activity board. Children love following the colorful activity cards to create pictures and patterns—from trains and boats to flowers and fish or creating their very own designs. Just snap any one of the drill bits into the power drill or the screwdriver handle, grab a handful of bolts, and turn on the fun! Ages 3+.

My First Microscope

GeoSafari® Jr. My First Microscope

Instill a life-long love of science with this year’s holiday gift! My First Microscope allows kids to see a magnified hidden world with ease! This fully functional microscope is a real working science tool with two extra-large eyepieces and a chunky, kid-sized focusing knob. A bright LED with easy push-button action lights up details for even more discoveries. Ages 3+.

Once Upon a Craft

Once Upon a Craft™ The Gingerbread Man

Kids who love story time will love Once Upon a Craft! Make story time even sweeter with The Gingerbread Man! Read the story together; then bring it to life by decorating a foam gingerbread man, coloring seven story-based finger puppets, and putting on your very own show! Ages 4+.

Pancake Pileup

Pancake Pile-up!™ Relay Race Game

Order up! It’s a busy day at the diner, so don’t dilly-dally. Help your customers get just what they ordered by racing the other servers to the grill, relay style, and piling up pancakes in precisely the right order in this stack ‘em high, serve ‘em up, relay race game great for the active kids on your list! Ages 4+

Jungle Crew Lab Set

GeoSafari® Jr. Jungle Crew Lab Set™

Curious kids will roar into scientific exploration with this sturdy, 6-piece, animal-themed science set. Fun animal-shaped scientific tools introduce preschoolers to the wild side of science, and 10 hands-on activity cards offer fun, simple ‘experiment’ ideas using ingredients found in your kitchen or backyard! Ages 3+

Flower Power Studio

Design & Drill® Flower Power Studio™

Brilliance blossoms with this cute and colorful design studio! Girls love the action and sound of the kid-friendly power drill as they arrange and drill the designer plates and bolts into gorgeous, garden-worthy patterns and designs. When it’s time to pack up the fun, everything fits neatly into the fold-up board for no-mess creativity – and learning – on the go! Ages 3+.

Sneak and Peek Periscope

GeoSafari® Jr. Sneak and Peek Periscope™

Shopping for a kiddo with a sneaky streak? Kids can observe nature (and neighbors!) from their sneaky secret hideouts, peeking over a rock or around a tree, undetected, with the Sneak and Peek Periscope! Scoping in the dark? Flip on the LED light to spy on nocturnal animals in your backyard! This periscope features a wide viewing area, easy-grip handles, and soft goggles with a comfy nose placement guide to guarantee successful viewing, day or night. Ages 3+.

You’ll also find the following gifts on Amazon.com, sure to surprise and delight:

My First Telescope

GeoSafari® Jr. My First Telescope

Discover amazing, up-close lunar exploration with GeoSafari® Jr. My First Telescope! Little ones can explore the moon with this focus-free telescope, built specifically for little hands and growing minds. Perfect for STEM learning. The 10x magnification provides fantastic views of the moon, while keeping the field of vision wide, which is essential for young children’s understanding of magnified views. Ages 4+.

SparkleWorks

Design & Drill SparkleWorks™

Power up their imaginations! Bright kids build coordination and creative thinking skills as they drill colorful, child-size bolts into a beautiful activity board to create their own custom, glow-in-the-dark creations! With Sound Activation Mode, the lights respond to music and voice! Just insert one of the translucent, charm-shaped bolts into the board, use the working, kid-friendly power drill to drill it in, and watch as colorful creations glow from the inside! Perfect for STEM learning and hours of light-up fun. For ages 3+.

Power Play Vehicles

Design & Drill® Power Play™ Vehicles

The little engineers on your list can build their very own vehicles simply by snapping pieces together! Then, they can use the motorized mini-drill to add colorful bolts. Finally, it’s time to add artistic flair and customize their creation with colorful stickers, and zoom into creative, kid-powered, STEM play! Ages 3+.

Dino Construction Company

Dino Construction Company

Part dino, part construction vehicle, Dino Construction Company is a monster mash-up like no other! These behemoth brutes can build and bash anything, anywhere, on carpet, sand, even snow! With moving parts and dino-tread tracks, there’s nothing too tough for this crew! Ages 3+.

Nancy B's Science Club - Stir-It-Up Chemistry Lab & Kitchen Experiments Journal

Nancy B’s Science Club® Stir-It-Up Chemistry Lab & Kitchen Experiments Journal

Surprise the science lover on your list with cool chemistry experiments she can conduct in the kitchen! Perfect for STEM learning at home, junior chemists can safely explore simple scientific principles including extinguishing a flame with invisible gas; making their own bubbling “lava” in a bottle; causing chemicals to change color; and more. Includes 22-page activity journal packed with kitchen chemistry experiments. Ages 8+.

Don’t see the perfect gift for the little one on your list? Visit www.educationalinsights.com for our full selection of toys and games.

Mom’s Perspective: Making friends with your kid’s friends

Friends

It’s funny how things change. For so long it’s just you and your little one. Okay, your spouse and family come into play, but your child’s world is populated with people you’ve essentially hand-picked.

Then your kiddo heads off to day care or preschool or Kindergarten and encounters… gasp… other kids! Kids you don’t know anything about. Kids who could be mean! Essentially, kids you didn’t raise. Kids who aren’t YOUR kid. As parents of young children our perspectives are often slightly (ahem) skewed toward our own children. Our kids are kind. Our kids are gentle. Our kids are inclusive. But those other kids? Who knows? This mama’s Mama Bear only reared her ugly head once or twice when my daughter was younger, but man is it shocking how fierce we can be when we perceive our little angels to be threatened. By those awful other kids.

But a couple of things happen as our little ones grow up. Or at least a couple of things happened to me. First, I began to realize that the parents of those little kids love them as much as I love MY little kid and are raising them with pretty much the same set of life rules. Second, I realized that one day soon, my little kid would do the same rotten thing that other little kid just did. They all have their moments.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve recently started realizing just how important those other kids are to my daughter and how critical they are to her happiness. At age 10 her friends are not quite her whole world, but they’re getting there. And I couldn’t be more grateful for them. For their friendship, their kindness, their humor. For having my daughter’s back when she needs it. For providing a support system. For giving her someone to talk to at school and sit with at lunch. I started thinking about her life without her friends and how lonely she would be. And suddenly I was incredibly grateful for those girls. And interested in who they were. And making sure they were happy and comfortable at our house. Because what would happen if they weren’t around?

Yes, those kids are becoming very important to me. And your kids’ friends will become just as important to you, too.

———

Amy Opheim is a mom, wife, and freelance writer based in Southern California.

#UnpluggedPlay – Grateful for Play

Unplugged Play

From healthy families to food on the table, we’ve all got lots to be grateful for, but this Thanksgiving we at EI are especially grateful for play. Yes, play! As parents, we’re grateful for just about anything that make our kids happy, right? From friends and family to pets and toys and… play. Think about it:

Play Is Joyful. Pure and simple. Nothing puts a smile on a parent’s face quite like seeing their child at play. That’s because kids at play are 100%, completely, and undeniably happy. That’s why they do it.

Play Is Unstoppable. Speaking of the why… kids can’t help but play! Even when they’ve got no place to play and no toys to play with, children will find a way to play. Think of those moving photos of kids blowing bubbles, riding bikes, and playing soccer in war-torn streets and cities around the world. Play is so inherent in children, such an absolute necessity, that the United Nations Commission on Human Rights recognized play as a fundamental right of every child in 1989. It’s what kids are meant to do. So watching your children play is witnessing them being their truest selves. What a profound privilege to witness!

Play Is Revealing. What and how kids choose to play provides a glimpse into their little souls. The games they prefer, the friends they pick, the words they choose, the pictures they paint… they’re all telling the story of your child.

Play is Empowering. Kids’ lives are almost completely directed. From the time they wake up to what they wear, eat, and do all day, young children make very few decisions for themselves. Except when they play. Through play, kids are empowered to call all the shots, make up the entire story, act it out their way, draw whatever they want, run as fast, jump as high, climb as far as THEY decide they will. At play, even if just for those few moments, kids are completely in charge. And it feels great!

So it’s no wonder that our kids are happier and calmer after a session of open-ended, undirected, free play time. The next time your little one sits down or heads out to play, take a moment to be truly grateful for the power of play.

#UnpluggedPlay – What Play Is Teaching Our Kids

Why do we parents breathe a sigh of relief when our kids put down their tablets and pick up an action figure, dress up outfit, or hula hoop? Because we know balance is key! Tablet time isn’t tragic – it just needs to be balanced with reading, drawing, building, imagining, exploring, and exercising. But why? What is it that kids get out of #UnpluggedPlay that they don’t get anywhere else? Read on to find out.

Pretend Play

Pretend Play – There’s really nothing sweeter than listening to your kiddo act out a scenario using action figures, dolls, stuffed animals, or play props like kitchen and doctor sets. But pretend play isn’t just cute! Dramatic play helps kids explore the different roles they see in their lives, from parent to friend to baker to builder, developing not just an understanding of the world around them, but also building empathy skills. Pretend play with a friend helps kids learn to take turns, play cooperatively, and problem solve. Coming up with pretend story lines develops imagination and creative thinking skills. And “acting out” that pretend play scenario develops vocabulary and language skills.

Arts and Crafts

Arts & Crafts – It’s obvious that coloring, drawing, and crafting with tools like Playfoam® develop creativity and encourage self-expression. But creating also develops fine motor skills, the kind required to hold a pencil or paint brush, and bilateral coordination, the process of using both hands together, as in one to hold the paper and the other to cut it with scissors. Artistic creation also teaches trial and error, patience, and perseverance. And, best of all, creating is an incredible confidence booster – no right or wrong answer, just pure joy.

building

Building – Be it with blocks or other, more advanced, construction sets, the benefits of building are nearly endless. The perfect STEM learning activity, building introduces key scientific principles including gravity and balance, engineering concepts like arches and towers, and mathematic concepts and academic vocabulary including grouping, sorting, counting, addition, and subtraction. And, of course, manipulating blocks develops motor skills and hand-eye coordination, too.

games

Games & Puzzles – Games are great for getting your family laughing and playing together, but they’re good for more than fun! Playing games helps kids develop thinking and reasoning skills, strategic problem solving, spatial awareness, concentration, and focus. Word games develop language skills and vocabulary, while dice and math games like Even Steven’s Odd™ build and practice math concepts and facts. Game play also helps younger children develop social skills like turn taking and winning and losing gracefully.

Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play – Aside from reaping the benefits of fresh air, exercise, and the great outdoors, kids who play outside are exploring and discovering, developing and quenching scientific curiosity, and gaining self-confidence and self-efficacy.

We all need some down time and electronics are a great distraction. But the benefits to be gained from #UnpluggedPlay are not to be overlooked. Be sure to balance tablet time with some of the above ways to play each day!