We can hardly believe it – The oldest ‘pup’ of the MamatheFox kids is going to Kindergarten!
The kid that inspired MamatheFox to create a website for parents is growing up, and she is THRILLED to start her next adven23ture.
Some of the kids who are featured on MamatheFox will attend public school, others are going to be home schooled Montessori style. No matter how you choose to educate your children, we want to provide you with the best brands and products that we have found. We love sharing our thoughts with you – and allowing you to experience new things through our children’s natural play.
Typical things a child should know prior to entering kindergarten are:
- Basic shapes. The child should have learned basic shapes like the square, circle, rectangle and triangle in preschool. If not, parents should teach them. In kindergarten, they will probably be introduced to the hexagon, star, heart and octagon.
- The letters of the child’s name. They should at least be able to recognize the letters of their name. In kindergarten, they will learn their uppercase letters and begin lowercase letters. They will also begin to learn how to write freehand without tracing.
- Numbers 1 to 10. Although some children will be able to count to 100 by the time they reach kindergarten, all should be able to at least be able to count to 10. Numbers will be used starting on the first day of kindergarten so the children need to at least understand and recognize numbers.
- Social skills – The child should be able to follow directions, be able to be separated from the caregiver and use the restroom independently. Children who scream and cry when they are separated from caregivers disrupt the rest of the class. Teachers simply do not have the time to supervise individual students who cannot independently use the restroom.
These facts are from Alise McGregor, founder of Little Newtons
This is a list of products and brands we feel will help get your children ready for Kindergarten
STEM & Educational Toys
The Q Wunder app (available on Android and Apple devices) is all about teaching kids emotional intelligence and mindfulness through starting conversations and play time with family through great games, books, toys and the show available through their app.
Social and emotional skills are often overlooked when preparing our children. We strive to teach them to sing their ABC’s. How to count numbers….but what about dealing with being interrupted? What manners are and how to use them? How to look someone in the eye and pay attention? Have your children started to grasp and master these critical social cues? If you agree with me and think these are necessary and important skills to have, check out Q Wunder and try out their free trial.
Kids are obsessed with coding robots. At a young age like 5, kids are still learning how to read and problem solve. With all the YouTube videos of robots they lust after owning one themselves. Now your kid can get an age appropriate, and MUCH more affordable robot for your family – Botley!
Botley’s 77-piece activity set comes with a remote programmer, detachable robot arms, 40 coding cards, 6 double-sided tiles, 27 obstacle building pieces and a starter guide with coding challenges.
Your child will get to learn early STEM skills while playing and having fun. Botley teaches the basics of coding through active play, completely screen free. Perfect for promoting critical thinking and problem solving skills.
I am a mom who loves a dry erase book – add in the fact that it’s educational and I am sold!
With Highlights, a trusted brand that we all grew up with, has a broad line of learning wipe off books.
By using puzzles, exciting images and skill-building activities these books help enrich your child’s creative play by encouraging deeper thinking and learning.
This particular book focuses on Alphabet, Sight Words, Writing, Reading, Numbers, Matching, Sorting, Patterns and more.
Catch and Learn by PlaSmart is an interactive and simple to play game. It comes with a variety of fish (small, medium and large) that are made of a dry-erase friendly material with a magnet safely secured inside. The parent or teacher can use a dry erase marker to create custom learning games based on what you are working on and what your child is interested in.
We love to work on matching capital/uppercase letters to the corresponding lower case letter. For this game I will write A, B, C and D on some of the fish and place them in a pile. Then I will write a, b, c and d on some of the other fish. I will put all the lowercase letters on the floor in front of my child. I will them have them pull a fish from my hand that contains the matching capital/uppercase corresponding letters. Then they have to use their fishing pole (which also contains a magnet) to select their choice. The pole has a button to push on which will case the string to pull up like a real fishing pole would. You can also do math equations, opposite words, colors and shapes and really any topic you are looking to work on. We love this game for its ease of play and variety of play.
Click here to purchase Catch and Learn Game
Before a child can hold a pencil correctly they must master their hand eye coordination. More importantly their fine motor muscles need to develop. This is not something they your kids gain just by turning 5 or being a certain size, it’s a learning and developed skill. You can help aid your kids in their fine motor skills by engaging them in play which require the use of their fingers and thumb muscles.
We love to create restaurants and play shopping store games. With Grill It, the new toy from Learning Resources, you can help your kids play while they naturally engage their fine motor skills. No kid is going to want to do some mindless hand activity, they want to play! Help them play with colorful, naturally exciting toys like play food. It is a classic toy that is still loved and played with – so add Grill It to your play toys today.
Click here to purchase Grill It!
Did you know that families are spending less and less quality time together. With activities, social media, TV and other distractions, we often forget to stop, pause and talk to each other.
Gnome on the Roam was created to help families get back to being together, and enjoying a few minutes as a collective unit who wants to do fun things. Each day you take your little Gnome with you as you visit the library, attend your soccer practice, or visit your grandmothers. Then you can log your daily adventures in the notebook with the adorable wooden pen included. By helping your child recall their daily activities you help them with memory recall and short term memory development. They can them draw and write out a few sentences about what they did that day. You use this as a daily journal for your family – this way when you look back at in months or years down the road, you can recall the fun and special moments you shared as a family.
There is also an app you can download for free. It gives you a daily objective such as taking a nature walk as a family. Visit something old (an old church or building, tree or an elderly neighbor)….easy to complete tasks that only take a few minutes but allow you to create new family memories on a daily basis.
Click here to purchase Gnome on the Roam
Children love to see their own face and name in a book. Customized books are extremely popular right now and a huge hit with all kids. What makes Read Your Story different is that they include photos of the other family members in the book! In my child’s bedroom, you can see a family portrait (which I provided) on her wall! When she say that not only was this a custom book, but also included her family she was thrilled.
The story line is a classic tale of cleaning your room and the adventures of play through imagination. It sparks their creative thoughts and inspires a love for reading.
- 2017 National Parenting Product Award
- Creative Child Magazine’s 2017
“Book of the Year” Award
Click here to purchase A Monster Mess! and other Read Your Story items
In a fast paced, give it to me now, instant gratification world our kids are loosing the ability to know what patience is. If this sounds like something you are dealing with then you have to try out an I Dig It! Kit from Thames and Kosmos. Their excavation kits are made to help kids lean not only about dinosaur bones, excavation, fossils and the tools involved, but also that some things take time. When my kids started this kit they were thrilled to see their dinosaur. When it didn’t instantly pop up they were frustrated and mad. They live in a blind-bag, instant on-demnd TV world. Having to wait and/or work for something is sadly not a daily activity.
I am so glad we are slowly working on our excavation kit. We work on it every day or two for a 30 min period. Slowly we are seeing the bones and the excitement is growing. There have been times my kids ask me to just do it for them…and I cannot lie, I have been tempted! But I know it will be that much sweeter when they finish it on their own. This kit is labeled for children ages 7+ (not for 5+), this is because some of the tools have a very sharp edged tool to aid in the digging. Be sure to explain how to use the tool and the safely needed to use it correctly. I would not let me kids to this unsupervised for this reason alone. It is also an outdoor activity too, as it gets messy when you dig that clay away.
Click here to purchase an I Dig It! Excavation Kit
Boys and girls alike love dinosaurs. They are a classic yet exciting creature that sparks creativity and excitement. When I was a small child myself in the late 80’s we loved the snap bracelet craze. The snap type bracelets are very much back and much more safe then they were in my youth. Wild Republic picked up on this craze and made the coolest dinosaur hugging bracelets you can imagine. They are soft to the touch, even soft enough to sleep with.
My 5 year old who is going into kindergarten created some wonderful games with the dinosaurs. She took them outside and had them climb trees. By using the hugging bracelet feature she was able to have them hang from branches, scale tree trunks and forage through bushes. These Wild Republic braclets are sure to spark some creative thoughts and new games for your children too.
Click here to purchase Wild Republic Hugging Bracelets
Magnetic toys are so helpful with developing fine and gross motor skills. They engage a child in a way that allows them to use science and their creativity at the same time. Magformers, a trusted brand and toy developer, released a fun line of magnetic toys with dinosaur parts, so you can use you magnetic blocks and create new and exciting dinosaurs. This 20 piece set comes with square, rectangles and dinosaur parts, allowing them to create and movable dinosaur.
My children love to make it do silly things like put the legs upside down or one up and one down – but their favorite thing to do is make the dinosaur eat a smaller toy! They open up the belly and place a toy or two in the hollow center of the dinosaurs stomach area. They they make the Dino stomp around as if it ate the contents – like its a Jonah and the Whale scenario. Sometimes they call it a Dino cage and use the inside like a prison cell for bad guys.
Magformers use quality products like Neodymium Rare-Earth Magnets for guaranteed connectivity as well as BPA Free HQABS Plastic.
Pete the Cat is a huge character in children’s lives today. If you have not heard of him yet, you will be seeing a lot of him soon. You can find dozens of books featuring Pete the Cat and his daily adventures and struggles. Children flock to this blue, hip and cool cat. He is developmentally similar to a Kindergartner – which makes him very appealing to the preschool and Kindergarten market place.
Hot Dots by Educational Insights, a leader in young kid educational products, created this amazing Pete the Cat Kindergarten Rocks Set. This set comes with 2 interactive books and 1 Pete the Cat Friend Pen. Use the Pete the Cat Pen to choose the answer to each question. Pete’s eye will light up green for correct and red for incorrect. To use be sure to have the tip in the center of your selected answer and have the pen as vertical as possible so that the pen can align with the corresponding answer correctly. If you don’t have it in the black dot correctly it may make the wrong sound even if the the right answer.
With over 200 lessons included, your child will have a blast while developing preschool skills in reading, math, science, social studies, and more!
Have you started a reading challenge yet? Maybe one through your local library – we have a few summer reading programs we are working on – including reading 1000 books before Kindergarten! Reading to your child increases their natural curiosity of the world around them. Reading to your children helps them learn that reading is fun and you can not only learn but enjoy the books you read.
Children love to see their own name inside of books – what can make the customizing of a book better? Adding your own relatives! With Snowflake stories you can add in grandparents, aunts, uncles and other special adults in their lives.
What truly makes Snowflake stories special is the ability to make the story in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese! Each story is written slightly different in each language, allowing all the books to have rhyme to it. These are perfect books for bi-lingual families.
You can add a picture of your child to the front page along with a personal dedication for them. You choose how your character looks from eye color, skin tone, hair color and hair style. You can also pick the names of the cast – we did a grandma, an uncle and an aunt. The bodies are pre-set for each person, that is not customize option – which caused slight confusion for my son as the people in the book looked very different from the person they know in real life.
I love how the book really helped show a child how time and dedication is what it takes, along with a positive attitude to succeed in a sport.
Playing games as a family is a great way to engage conversation and make new memories. Goliath focuses on games what help children learn through play. The top hit game, Pop the Pig, is a favorite in the Fox house. We play all the time! Roll the dice and find out which color burger you choose from the pile in front of the players. Look under the burger, on its underside, and see what number is written (1 though 4). Place the burger in the Chef Pigs mouth and press down on his head the amount of times the burger told you to. As you go around and around taking turns the pigs belly gets bigger and bigger – eventually he is full and his belt pops opened! Whoever pops the pig wins! This game is very fun and great for basic math skills of counting, recognizing numbers and colors and the importance of taking turns.
I love how you can travel with this game as you can store all pieces, even the dice, in the pigs belly!
Mr Bucket is a fun and exciting game for small children. It helps engage them physically as they need to move around to play this game. By working on their hand/eye coordination and reaction skills , they chase after their colored balls. They scoop up the ball with their matching colored scooper and run up to the Mr Bucket – who is on the move! The Mr Bucket has a button on the bottom of it which tells the toy its on a flat surface and he begins to scoot around the room. When a kid drops in their colored ball, they must then run around the room and get all their matching balls in the bucket before he spits them back out!
I would suggest playing this game in an area that is open and have lots of space – we have had some balls roll under the entertainment center and the couch when first playing this game – Now we play in a very thin carpeted area to help keep the ball from rolling too far away. My kids think this game is hilarious and I love that it helps teach them basic skills like color recognition, balance, hand/eye coordination and gives them a game to play that moves their body.
Stomp Rockets are 100% kid powered and 100% fun!
This is the perfect toy to get your kids moving and to teach them basic STEM skills at the same time. The Stomp Rocket is a super easy to use product that needs little to no grown-up assistance. Simply choose your rocket (Looper, Wildcat and Glider are the 3 options in this kit), slide the rocket on the black tube and adjust the angle. Each plane has a different look and does a different trick. The Looper makes loops, Wildcat does flips, turns and soars. Glider does tricks and glides over 100 feet!
My kids love running to jump on the launch pad, but running is not required, they only love the energy involved in the action of it. Adjust the angle of the base to have the rocket shoot up, at the 45 degree angle or a 90 degree angle. Test the rockets at different angles and see what they do differently. Kids love learning about trajectory by changing the angle themselves. Try a soft stomp and a hard stomp – note the differences. Explore aerodynamics and the create a love for science with the Stomp Rocket.
Click here to purchase Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes
Bath time is always a blast! We love to play in the water while we get cleaned up. By playing with Fish ‘N Spell my kids get a grasp for letters, colors and work on their hand-eye coordination. This set is amazing for several reasons – first off, it comes with tons of letters, so you can actually spell things! So many times kits come with only 1 of each letter – not letting you spell actual words. Luckily Fish ‘N Spell is made by Edushape, a brand that really knows kids. They knew that kids want to spell basic words like their names, the words “mom, dad, ball” and others that require at least 2 of the same letter. By giving us extras they allow us to really use this toy and learn with it.
The fishing poles need to be assembled by the parent, but it’s very simple and comes with instructions. With 4 poles, 2 of each size, there are plenty for siblings to share and in case one gets misplaced. This fishing pole concept game works with water. When the foam pieces get wet from the water they are then able to stick together, allowing the pole to effectively pick up the letter. It has to be wet to work.
If you are looking for a fun toy to use in your water table outside this fall, then the Fish ‘N Spell is going to be your best bet.
Keeping up with penmanship is key for small children. My daughter loves to write and practice her letters. If you are wanting to support your children’s ability to write, and help them gain more confidence and practice in handwriting, then this is going to be the perfect tool for your home. The Highlights team, which knows children so very well, has developed this beautiful, colorful and engaging dry erase style book. It even comes with a dry erase marking to use with the book!
There are basic words which your children will want to write, like body parts, shapes and colors as well as fun things hidden picture games and sentence building. One each page there is a section that is a traceable word, then a blank space next to it allowing the child to try to write the word fully on their own. Having them practice the tracing first allows them to practice the movement and gain confidence in their motor skills. Once they are proficient at tracing we then try to write it in the blank space on our own. And of course, since this book is a write-on, wipe-off style book, it can be used over and over again.
Perfect for at home use, for long car trips and at restaurants.
Children love toys that are exciting, engaging and allow them to use their imagination. Parents love battery free toys and are high quality to last over time. Haba has been our go to brand for classic, high quality wooden toys. Our new obsession is the Kullerbu Construction Site Set. It has a super fun loader that can push a ball along the track, thanks to a momentum motor, and down the construction site into the waiting dump truck. This set comes with two construction vehicles, 2 balls, and a sign. There are a bunch of other Kullerbu sets that this can mix with, which makes it even more of a versatile gift. This award winning toy (has won the ASTRA – American Specialty Toy Retail Association) award for being one of their top toy picks. This simple push and go toy will provide your children with hours of battery free entertainment. Helping them use their fine motor skills, creative thinking, problem solving and imaginative play. You will fall in love with toy quickly, just as we did.
Back to School Essentials
Getting your kids feet in supported and trusted shoes is key. With the proper footware on their feet they can run better and more confidently. They can climb the gym jungle with their classmates without any worries. Pediped shoes are highly tested and are among the safest footwear available.
They have a huge variety of shoes, in sizes ranging from newborn up to size 6 youth!
With new options constantly being released, they always have the hottest styles and color options for your family. Whether you are needing basic sneakers, dress shoes, sandals or casual footware, you will be pleased with your shoes from Pediped.
Click here to purchase Pediped shoes
b.box baby is a brand that focuses on infant and toddler feeding systems. But now our toddler is going to school! We need to pack those snacks to keep their energy levels up so they can stay focused on what their teachers are working on. With b.box baby snack packs, you can provide you child with fun and healthy options.
The 2 sided design is perfect for a hummus and carrots, chips and dip, fruits and veggies, a tiny sandwich and strawberries.
It includes a spoon, which conveniently attached to the lid – in hope that my kid wont forget it at school, right?!
The snack packs are BPA, Phthalates and PVC free.
With blue, pink and green as the color options, the b.box baby Snack Packs will surely be the perfect snack container for your family.
Click here to purchase b.box baby Snack Packs
I hate using plastic storage bags for snacks and foods in packed lunches. Did you know that you cannot toss them in the regular recycling bin? Only certain recycling plants have the ability to work with zip style storage bags – then just toss them in the trash! You can recycle them at certain plastic bag collection bins. In the meanwhile, you can help slow down the filling of landfills by switching to GoSili Reusable Snack Bags.
I love these bags because they are simple to use and easy to clean.
They store flat, making it slide up again my cupboard wall very easily. They are
Dishwasher safe – for those busy nights when hand washing is not going to happen.
The coolest part is they are microwave safe! Love to have a warm tuna sandwich – now you can heat it in your bag! No more waste created in your meal prep.
Click here to purchase GoSili Reusable Snack Bags
Backpacks take a beating. Lunch sacks get messy and worn out. Each year we seem to require a new backpack and new lunch sack due to the wear and tear they endure. This year we are playing it safe with the new set of backpacks and zipped lunchies from Babymel’s newest line, Zip & Zoe!
The designs for Zip and Zoe are monochrome (black and white) with them featured on brightly colored backgrounds. These stylish and functional kids sizes backpacks are going to set your child’s imagination on some magical adventures with prints that feature dinosaurs and unicorns.
Each lunch bag comes with a matching, perfectly sized ice pack. I always put an ice pack in my kids lunches, and having a box that comes with a matching, perfectly fitting ice pack makes packing lunches a dream for parents. I love the extra internal pocket to stash their extra clothes out of the way, so that their daily artwork doesn’t rub against it. Its insides are easy to wipes out and keep clean.
These backpacks are now available at your local Barnes and Noble retailer.
Funny tee’s are always a hit. With witty puns, silly images and play on words, they are always a crowd pleaser.
Boardwalk makes high quality, unisex tee’s for boys and girls alike. You can shop by boy, girl or uni-sex options. I love how they have it set up so scroll through all the pages of options. We love the ones that feature Ohio, of course, but there are tons of shirts with other states on them with funny thoughts and themes about that state. Like HOT over the state of Atlanta (Hot-lanta) is one of my favorites. We also think the picture of a chicken with an arrow pointing to the chickens butt that say “Guess What” is hilarious! The shirts are uni-sex cut, which means for little girls they will be a bit boxy in shape, so keep that in mind when ordering your size.
Once you order from Boardwalk and the laughs and compliments come rolling in, you will be back on their site, grabbing a few more to add into the mix.
Click here to purchase from Boardwalk
When kids get together, things get misplaced. To help keep your children’s item from ending up in the lost and found bin, or in another kids backpack you can turn to Mabel’s Labels. These labels are not only easy to use but they are simple to order too. Choose a style or theme, type in the name you desire and boom! Mabel’s Labels has labels for typical items like lunch bags and water bottles for everyday items. However, their options don’t just end there – with labels for clothing, shoes, sunglasses, pens and more. The options are practically endless when you click around their site and see all the options.
MamatheFox got the Little Kids School Label Combo – which includes
- 40 Mini Custom Name Stickers: 1-1/2″ x 5/16″
- 50 Tag Mates™ Stick On Clothing Labels: 13/16″ x 3/8″
- 12 Preschool Shoe Labels (6 pairs): Varied
- 2 Personalized Mini Tags: 1-1/4″ x 3/4″
I love having the tags for my daughters lunch box and backpack. The tiny labels are great for her water cups, reusable snack bags, Tupperware, her winter boots and rain boots (so many of us have the same style and shoes get easily mixed up – believe me on this one) and her coats.
If your child has allergies these labels can be so helpful for keeping your child’s items separated from the groups.
Choosing a quality sun screen for your kids it an important decision. With so many brands, and lack of information you can get frustrated and feel overwhelmed. When getting my kids ready for school in the fall and spring, I always put sunscreen on them before dropping them off at school. They play outside for recess and also sometimes go outside for class on beautiful weather days.
If you are looking for a natural, safe and highly effective line of sunscreen, then you can choose SunBlocz. This mineral based sunscreen is safe, gentle and effective. It it recommended by dermatologist and pediatricians as being safe for baby and children’s sensitive skin. I love that it’s cruelty-free (no animal testing) and is water resistant for up to 8- minutes. With an SPF of 50 this product is a win/win!
Lunchtime & Snack Time
Kids love popcorn! Make it exciting and healthy by choosing Oogies. This new line of popcorn is NON-GMO, Gluten free, All Natural and super delicious. What makes them stand out is their amazing variety of flavors – which are always on trend. Currently they offer: Wisconsin Cheddar 1848, Movie Time Butter, Original Kettlecorn, Spicy Nacho Cheddar, Caramel Chipotle and Hickory Smoked Gouda.
If there is a foodie in your house, they are going to fully appreciate the stellar flavors Oogies provide. I have never tasted such good popcorn – and I have tried A LOT of brands throughout time. The popcorn is light, fresh and the perfect pop of corn – when they add their custom flavor blends to the organic popcorn you have a special treat work telling your friends about.
- Cholesterol Free
- Trans Fat Free
- Gluten Free
- 100% Whole Gain
- Good Source of Fiber
- Non Genetically Modified
Click here to purchase Oogies Popcorn
My kids love to eat snack foods, so of course cheese crackers are always a top choice. If you have been looking for a fun, vegan friendly cracker, then Cauliflower Crackers from From the Ground Up Snacks are going to rock your world. Each box is jammed packed with flavor and freshness. They offer flavors like Cheddar, Sea Salt and Nacho – giving you some fun variety. Fully plant based, and made with real cauliflower and other veggies, this snack is not only tasty but its healthy for your family.
When we have to pack our snacks in the lunch box each morning, my kids beg for these cheesy crackers. I love how light and crispy they are. Since they are made with fresh, real vegetables, they are a good source of Vitamins A, C, D, E, B1 and B6.
Better yet – they also make a line of Cauliflower Pretzels! In both stick and classic pretzel shape you can munch on these healthy and fun snacks at home, the office or at school.
Click here to purchase From the Ground Up Snacks
With allergies being such an important topic in schools it’s imperative to pay attention and ask if there are any nut allergies in your child’s classroom. Don’t assume that the kids in class will be safe if you pack a peanut or nut based food for your child – sometimes kids are airborne allergic, so being in the same room as a nut may cause a horrible, if not life threatening, reaction. My son will ONLY eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – nothing else. If my son ends up in a class with a kid with a server allergy I was wondering how I would handle this situation – and now I know what to do – we can use Don’t Go Nuts products instead.
Don’t Go Nuts are so safe that you can rest assured that your products will be completely nut free. They even vacuum off the packages they receive before bringing them into the nut-free kitchen where their products are made. That is real diligence! They offer a large product line of spreads and snacks – like chocolate chip granola bars, blueberry granola bars, and 5 spreads which include: Chocolate, Slightly Sweet, Sea Salt, Pure Unsalted and Simply Cinnamon spreads. All the spreads are made with Soybeans, which makes them fully nut-free and school safe.
USDA Organic, Certified Gluten-Free, and Vegan – you are going to be amazed with the flavors and texture of Don’t Go Nut products.
Click here to purchase Don’t Go Nuts
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."