Friday, October 16, 2009

Math Scores Failing for 4th Grade - Gymathtics to the Rescue


Only 43% of fourth graders identified parallel and perpendicular lines according to the 2009 Mathematics Report Card. The Award Winning Exploracise Gymathtics DVD covers this concept within the first few minutes of the program during the Shape Stretches Warm Up where the parallel line stretch helps kids learn the concept through kinesthetic, visual, and auditory techniques. Perpendicular lines and intersecting lines are also taught through visual and auditory cues.


The 2009 Mathematics Report Card published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that only 39% of 4th graders are proficient or higher in math. Last I checked, a 39% is an F. The scores actually stayed the same for 4th grade from the 2007 scores and slightly improved for the 8th grade scores. A total of seven states and the District of Columbia increased their scores for 4th graders from 2007 to 2009 but four states had scores that decreased. All other states showed no significant change. How is your state or school reacting to this information?


"As a parent and very passionate educator, I was shocked. We created the Gymathtics DVD to help children learn and enjoy math while getting a healthful 30-minute workout. I did not realize how dire the challenges in math really are for kids today," states Carrie Scheiner, Exploramania Founder. Exploramania is creating interactive educational products to help children develop a love of learning and healthy lifestyle.


The Award Winning Gymathtics DVD is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, exploramania.com and select retailers. Visit www.exploramania.com to see a video preview.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dr. Toy Announces 100 Best Children’s Products of 2009


Your Guide to Finding the Best Toys and Children’s Products
An Opportunity to be of Service to Families and Schools

By Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy™

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (October 12, 2009) - As a natural, on–going part of our work as parents, teachers, early childhood specialists, and others involved with children at home or elsewhere, we observe children at play. With our own eyes we see what works…and what doesn’t hold up under tough testing – the normal barrage of active, inquisitive, and resourceful babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children. This guide is offered to complement your observations and to help you in selecting the right products to enhance play and learning.

We make buying decisions based on lasting play value and product applicability to children’s active, creative, and educational experiences. We can depend on the durability and versatility of such items as blocks, construction toys, games, puppets, and transportation toys. They stimulate the imagination, engage the player, have value, and hold up over time. We want to apply these standards to all the choices we make. We often hear consumers describe their experience of making a purchase, but shortly after giving little Sally or Sammy the product it falls apart – a frustrating and expensive process. Products that do not meet safety standards can be dangerous and can cause harm to children. We want to avoid these problems and always strive for excellence. I spend a great deal of time reviewing a large quantity of products created by myriad manufacturers and designers. I make sure my selections match the criteria for excellence.

Certainly age grading, name recognition, company dependability, versatility of design, and place of purchase are factors to obtain the right product. Another aspect you can depend on is a warranty. Rising costs for products require us to be wise consumers and to get extra lasting value. Certainly durable products, properly designed, and developmentally correct are worth the money. Children’s positive reactions are worth the extra effort. I utilize a complicated set of objective and subjective criteria to evaluate toys and other products. Some questions to ask are:

· Is this product worth the price?
· Does it have lasting play value?
· Is it appropriate?
· Is it fun?
· Does it meet safety standards?

Dr. Toy is pleased to have the opportunity to share her years of play and toy experiences with consumers to assist them in the selection process. This timely report features information about l00 wonderful new toys and other products from large and small companies. The toys and products selected meet my high standards for design, durability, price, quality, safety, and value.

Dr. Toy reminds parents and teachers, “Let’s not forget that “play is children’s work” and should be respected and understood by all adults. We should be thinking: “What products or “tools for play” can we obtain to provide wholesome experiences for children and provide plenty of positive play interactions.”

Dr Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q . (Play Quotient) was written for new parents, and others who care about children, and is available in toy, book stores or on line. Dr Toy invites consumers to take the time to describe play and product experiences and ask questions about toys and products.

Following are examples of award-winning toys and products and the companies that make them grouped in categories of “smart” play.

Active Play – Carrera (Disney), Exploramania (Exploracise Gymathitics), Gamewright (Ring–O–Flamingo), KaZAM (Bikes), Kimbo (Smart Fitness Workout DVD), Leaping Legs (Up Down & All Around), MEGA Brands (Play N’ Go Table), Note to Health (Get Me Goin’), Play This Way (U–Play Mat), Sprig Toys (Dino Adventure Rig Playset).

Construction Play – K’NEX (Sesame St. Brownstone Bldg Set), UberStix/Patch (ÜberStix PirateShip), Learning Materials Workshop (Torno Torno), Citiblocs (Wooden Blocks).

Creativity & Art – ALEX (My Art Case), Creativity for Kids (FingerPrints Finger Painting Set), Delta No. America (Bubber Bucket), Educational Insights (Foamfetti), Fun & Function (My Favorite Travel Kit), MagnaPlay
(MagnaKase Activity Case), Pipperoos (Sea Play Creative Drama Kit), Schoenhut Piano (Piano Pals), Toysmith (Butterfly Kaleidoscope), UberStix/Patch (ÜberStix PirateShip).

Creativity & Music – First Wave (Come Dance), Kids at Our House (and a Happy New Year), Master Communications (Animal Stories), Music Together (Music Together® Lullabies), New Hope Records (America), Rock ‘N Learn (Addition & Subtraction Rap), Sandman Records (Meltdown), Sprout Recordings (American Heroes), Swinxs (Swinxs).

Technology – Swinxs (Swinxs), Sabi (ItzaBitza Computer Game), Knowledge Adventure (JumpStart Pet Rescue for Wii), Learning Resources (Funny Phone), Goldberger Co. (Comfort Kids™ Belly Brites), Comfy® (Easy PC), Funrise Toys (Tonka Strong Arm), Drumwell (GeoSafari World), Chicco (Talking Vacation Car).

Language/Learning/Math & Reading Readiness – Math Tutor (Young Minds–Numbers & Counting), Rock ‘N Learn (Addition & Subtraction Rap), DreamBox Learning (DreamBox Learning K–2 Math), aha!Chinese (Let’s Go Guang!), Brain Party (MathMosisMania Game), Edupress (Science Lab Earth Science Game), Elmer’s Products (Mythbusters Weird Water World), Int’l Playthings (Wild Science Ant–O–Sphere), OWI (6 in 1 Educational Solar Kit), Precision Math (Spoils of Civilization), Risas y Sonrisas (Spanish Program for Kids), Your Baby Can (Your Baby Can Read! Deluxe Kit), Zillio (Zillio Mini Mountain), Jeezle Pete’s (Triviathon), Kid 2020 (Money Matters), Smarterville (Learn to Read).

Puzzles & Logical Thinking Games – b. dazzle (Salmon Scramble Squares® Puzzle), Blue Orange Games (YAMSLAM), Cadaco (QuadDoku), Carson–Dellosa (Color & Shapes Robot Race), Creativity Hub (Rory’s Story Cubes®), Game Whys (Paradice), Hallmark (Play With Your Food), I Can Do That! (Dr. Seuss Stretchy ABC Game), Peaceable Kingdom (Fish Stix Game), Playroom Entertainment (Ligretto), Pressman Toy (Rummikub Kids Edition), Twin Sisters (Alphabet Train Floor Puzzle).

Social & Dramatic Play – Pipperoos (Sea Play Creative Drama Kit), Wild Republic (Morphs), Folkmanis (Pack Rat Puppet), Green Toys (Recycle Truck), Granza (Adorable Kinders Rag Doll).

Socially Responsible Products
– b. dazzle (Salmon Scramble Squares), Baby Genius® (Baby Genius Pet Care Center), Black Belt Goals (Karate Belts), Bright Spots Games (Thoughts and Feelings), Charlie’s Playhouse (Giant TimeLine), Green Toys (Recycling Truck), Innovative Toys (ScareMeNots), Kubit2me (Lil’ Scholars Edition), Mindlogic (Consensus® Jr. Ed.), Moody Bands (Moody Bands).

Ten Best Toys – BuckleyBoo (BuckleyLion), Chicco (Talking Vacation Car), Drumwell (GeoSafari World), Folkmanis (Pack Rat Puppet), Funrise Toys (Tonka Strong Arm), Granza (Adorable Kinders Rag Doll), Learning Journey (Cash Cow), Learning Materials Workshop (Torno Torno), Twin Sisters (Alphabet Train Floor Puzzle), Wild Republic (Morphs).

And many more wonderful smart toys and children’s products including Corwin (Hands–On Learning!), Emotes by Everglow (Bubba Plush), EOSGAME (Leaves), Ezyroller (EzyRoller), Idea Storm Products (Yamodo Partytime), Ideopolis (Alphabotz Cards), O Yeah Toys (Amflipian), Tangle Creations (Learning with Tangle Brain Tools), and others.

Interviews regarding the recommended best smart toys and play products can be arranged through Walsh Public Relations at 203-292-6280 or by e-mail to
greg@walshpr.com .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Eight Awards in JUST Eight Months for the Exploracise Gymathtics DVD

Not only is the Exploracise Gymathtics DVD exercising minds and bodies of children across the country but it is being recognized by the most prestigious awards in the Toy and Educational Industries.

Just announced last week, Gymathtics won the Dr. Toy 100 Best Products 2009 and Dr. Toy 10 Best Active Products 2009. As a parent, I know that a Dr. Toy Award is like winning Olympic Gold and winning so many awards in such a short time has been an honor.

We just received the review from the National Association for Gifted Children Recommended Toy List. Only 14 products were selected for the recommended list and will be included as part of a display at the NAGC convention in November. In the September issue of Parenting for High Potential, the review reads as follows:

Gymathtics
"A brilliant idea to combine math and exercise, this revolutionary DVD teaches math and healthy lifestyle concepts while performing a complete exercise routine. The exercise program is great for kids of all ages, while the math facts are targeted at traditional second through fifth-grade levels. After viewing this DVD, our testers continued playing this new "game" on their own, finding fun and creative ways to stretch and move their bodies into triangles, planes, intersecting lines, and a variety of other mathematical concepts. Besides getting the kids moving, this DVD's value as an inspirational tool for young math lovers is invaluable." This years NAGC recommended toy list testers considered many variables when deciding on products to include but the overall theme was "Finding Value in Play". "It is such an honor to win this prestigious award. Our first show launching the company was at the 2008 NAGC conference in Tampa and to be included on the Recommended Toy List for 2009 shows our commitment to helping children of all levels learn through fun interactive techniques," states Exploramania Founder, Carrie Scheiner.