Thursday, August 2, 2012

Barbie, the ever-evolving doll! #SaveWithBarbie

When I was a little girl, my parents were very cautious about the toys I had. Encouraging creative play and avoiding gender stereotypes were priorities for them. And, honestly, Barbie was on the "caution" list - mostly because of her unrealistic figure and the emphasis on fashion. Through the eighties, Barbie became more and more of a "yes" with her diverse career choices and emphasis on imagination!

I do think the price was a factor, too - I seem to recall them being fairly pricey for the boxed ones with all the great accessories. Funny how a lot of extra box and an extra few bits of plastic made all the difference between the fashion dolls (with only one outfit) and the MUST HAVE theme dolls (my favourite was the one that had a little kisses stamp). Remember the earrings and rings that plugged in to the holes in her ears and hand? Do they still do that?

Just like pretty much every little girl ever, I loved Barbie from the start. The combination of glamour, smarts, and all those fabulous clothes and accessories (I am not immune to fashion myself, despite the current mom wardrobe!) drew me in like a moth to a flame. Between garage sales and Christmas gifts, I ended up with a couple of fabulous Barbies of my own (and a really awesome camper van, and even a horse, too!).

Despite my love for teeny plastic shoes and jewelery, my absolute favourite thing to do with Barbie was to create a world for her to play in. I made ski rental shops out of shoe boxes and ski hills from blankets and Barbie became an Olympic skier. My paddling pool or bathtub was the ocean, and Barbie was a deep sea diver, collecting specimens for scientific research. Barbie was a teacher, instructing my stuffed bunnies. Dr. Barbie gave medical advice to my other dolls.

And while I appreciate my parents' initial reservations about Barbie, as a parent of a little girl now myself, I also appreciate that Barbie provides an entry to a lot of different roles that girls can try out. I'm not a big fan of the 'princess' type dolls, but the veterinarian, doctor, astronaut, pilot, computer engineer (yes, really - that's her on the left), and so on, I think are inspiring to little girls, and reinforce that a girl can be anything she wants to be (did you know there is even a Katniss - from the Hunger Games - Barbie doll?).

See What Happens When You Save With Barbie! There are going to be some fabulous coupon savings for Barbie products available on starting August 7th! I'll be sharing the coupons on my Facebook page and on Twitter every week! You can also keep in touch with all things Barbie on the Barbie Facebook page.

Disclosure: I am participating in a Mom Central Consulting campaign for Barbie and receive compensation for my post. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Toddler busy bags!

Lately I have two new obsessions: Pinterest, and busy bags.

Pinterest... well, I'm a late adopter on that one. Everyone and their mother is already on it. I managed to keep it off my radar for a while, knowing that once on there was no going back... and that is exactly so. So, feel free to follow me on Pinterest if you're into it (see top right for button).

Busy bags! Oh! I am loving this idea. Busy bags are contained activities to keep toddlers (or even older kids) busy. Each bag has a different project or activity. How fun!

There are LOADS of ideas out there for busy bags, and I really want my local mums' group to do a busy bag swap playdate, if I can convince a few mums. Then each mum can make a bunch of the same bag, and go home from the playdate with a selection of different ones. Great idea, right?! They don't even have to be crafty.

Here are some ideas (and you can find a lot more by searching for them)
  • crayons and a small blank book or notepad... a classic
  • felt board (cardstock covered in felt) and felt shapes to stick on. That can be a puzzle or a scene, colours, animals, whatever! Or, bits of yarn to "draw" with on the felt.
  • lacing cards (as simple as bristol board cut into shapes and gone at with a hole punch), or pasta shapes, or big beads (supervised play of course - gotta watch those choking hazards) and a shoelace (great for fine motor control)
  • small coloured objects and containers (for sorting, learning colours, fine motor control, and also good for shaking to make noise!)
  • paint chips for sorting colours (bonus - free at your local hardware store!)
  • matching tops and bottoms of those hollow plastic easter eggs (fine motor control, colours) - for an added bonus mark them with upper and lower case letters.
  • an "I-Spy" box or bag or bottle - make with a box with a clear lid, filled with rice and small toys - or a ziploc taped shut - or a clear plastic water bottle - whatever you do, make sure it is,  taped or hot glued securely shut!
Okay, I could do this for hours (and pin them all on Pinterest)... but I think I'll just go play with my toddler :)