Best Buy, Education, Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Kids

Best Buy Holiday Toy Choices

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

Best Buy Holiday Toy Choices

It’s here! The 2017 Best Buy Holiday Toy Guide has all the hot toys that I know my son has on his wish list. Anthony is 9 and it is all about gaming and building for him. While looking through the Best Buy toy catalog that came in my mailings I saw a few of his wish list items that will be available through one of our favorite stores to shop at for the boys.

[bctt tweet=”Have you seen the @BestBuy toy catalog this year? Find classic toys, learning & tech toys and more! #ad” username=”3sonshavei”]

Sphero R2D2

The best way to find out what he is looking for is to hand him the toy catalog and so I gave him a sharpie and told him he can mark the top choices he sees inside. His eyes lit up as he turned every page. I also saw a few toys we already own and love. I was excited to see the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube. Anthony was gifted this last year and we had a blast building his own bluetooth speaker. It still gets daily use and he loves showing his friends how he built it himself.

They also have the Sphero SPRK+ that he was given last spring for his birthday and loves to roll it around the house and program it. These 2 items I can speak for personally and should get a lot of use by the child you are gifting to.

Laser Tag

Anthony’s Best Buy Holiday Toy Choices

What are Anthony’s top picks? The Nintendo Switch! That is what he has been asking for the most along with some games for it. He also circled the Recoil Laser Tag Starter Set. Our neighbor has this set and they played with it several times over the end of summer and he has been wanting his own. He also circled the Sphero BB-8 and R2D2 app-enabled Droids. His game room is Star Wars theme so he likes to build and display anything Star Wars related in the room on his shelves.

Want to see the entire guide for yourself? You can find toys that educate, focus on STEM and entertain for hours. Visit the Best Buy toy catalog!


Education, Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Teacher Christmas Gifts from Teacher Peach

I have partnered with Teacher Peach and was sent product for feature

Teacher Christmas Gifts from Teacher Peach

Don’t forget the Teacher! You didn’t, did you? With a Mother who is a second grade teacher and a sister who is an elementary school Counselor and I myself in PTA and working at my son’s elementary school part time I will always remind others to stop and appreciate your child’s teacher. After all, they spend about 180 days of a 365 day year with your child for 6-8 hours. So let me help you with some ideas on teacher Christmas gifts from Teacher Peach.

Teachers have a lot of meetings

Teacher Peach has those meetings covered. There are some gifts that will be used and toted to buildings and rooms for staff and meetings and trainings and 2 of my favorite are the I Teach Meeting Case and Remember Colorful Note Flags.

The I Teach Meeting Case has adjustable straps and is a durable micro-canvas materiel. The pockets have velcro closures and reads “Yes. I Teach. So, I inspire, manage, coach, engage, solve problems, listen, detect, explore, believe, care, worry, & always make time to laugh with my kids.”

teacher tote

At meetings there are so many papers and flyers handed out and to keep those from disappearing in endless piles of paper, flags help a lot. That is why the Remember Colorful Note Flags and sticky not organizer will come in handy. This can be carried in the tote or stored on the desk.

note flag

Teachers Need Breaks Too

Whether it is that precious recess time or a moment during silent reading, Teachers need breaks in the day too. That is why I love the “Teachers Rock the World” Stainless Steel Water Bottle with the wide mouth that holds 25 ounces. It is BPA free and gives them a quick moment of hydration after a long morning or afternoon of talking and lecturing.

teacher water

I also love the “Teach! It Changes Everything” Soup Mug. During those quiet moments or gatherings in the staff lunch room, they will forever remember who gifted them the inspiration at meal time.

Teacher Mug

For the Classroom and a Gift That Keeps Giving

Remember when you did a fantastic job n a paper that it warranted a fun sticker? The Mega Sticker pack allows your child’s teacher all the stickers she needs to keep rewarding her students. Because it’s the small things…

mega stickers

The Teacher Appreciation Once Upon a Gift Box is full of classroom rewards and office products and with it comes discounts when they need to reorder more. It’s a gift that keeps giving.

Teacher Box

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Education, Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Best Toy for Constructive Play by The Learning Journey

I have partnered with The Learning Journey for this #HolidayGiftGuide feature and received product

Best Toy for Constructive Play by The Learning Journey

At the Learning Journey I am seeing many options for marble runs which make a great toy gift for constructive play. Some are simple builds and some are massive to challenge the older child including motorized lifts and more. Let’s examine the one I will feature in this post, the Techno Gears Marble Mania Extreme 4.0.

What’s Inside 

Just the sight of all that is happening on the box cover is exciting. You will need 2 AA batteries because they are not included but this allows the motorized power lifter to work. There are over 200 pieces to design and redesign your run over and over. It is labeled for 6 and older.

techno marble

Our Toy Review

There are so many different ways to design this run with all you get including the spiral marble lifter and pieces that allow for drops and windmill features. We looked over the booklet for ideas and found a design to follow. This will easily occupy a child for hours. It is a blast watching my son’s creativity come alive as he tweaks and replaces pieces to make the design his own.

Find this marble run and many more learning toys at The Learning Journey.

The Learning Journey


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Education, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, STEM Learning

STEM Building Kit for Kids

I have partnered with Brixo and samples were sent for this #HolidayGiftGuide feature

STEM Building Kit

With toy and educational products focus turning to the incorporation of STEM play, none have quite the features as the Brixo building blocks kit. The STEM building kit for kids makes a fantastic gift idea. Why?

STEM Building Kit for Kids

STEM refers to Science where we build, observe and experiment. Technology in early play ca be found in products that use bluetooth or smart device contact. Engineering in play is when you incorporate robotics and LED lighting/sound. Last, Math is about concepts and results. Brixo has all of this in one kit. They will have so much fun they forget they are actually learning!

[bctt tweet=”STEM Building Kit for Kids with @brixotoys #HolidayGiftGuide” username=”3sonshavei”]

In the video above, you see Brixo building in action. These bluetooth-enabled electric bricks are LEGO compatible. With Brixo, your blocks can now move, spin, light up, and more. Anthony is going on 10 and his LEGO’s have been in a tote hardly touched for about a year as he grew out of the LEGO phase a bit. Now with this Brixo kit the tote is down from the racks and he is building again.

The kit comes with all you need to bring your bricks to a STEM life. Then once you use the kit which allows you endless building possibilities, you can download the app to control the creation. Build a car and use your device to move it and now your child built there own remote controlled car. Use your device and app to power a windmill or make lights turn on in a village and have moving platforms. Whatever your child decides to build will now move, light up and become a controlled masterpiece. Buy your now at

Education, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Kids

IXL Online Learning Program for Kids

I have partnered with IXL for the feature

IXL Online Learning Program for Kids

IXL Online Learning Program for Kids

Every night since Anthony was an infant I grab a book, sit on a chair and we read. By the age of 2 I was pointing to letters and teaching him a focus letter a day. By 4 he was reading 2-3 letter words. He is 9 and an advanced reader. It sounds cliche to say a child who is read to is at an advantage, but it is true and we are proof. Never was I too tired or didn’t have time. Unless I am apart from him we read. Traveling? We looked up books online.

ixk war

However, the past few weeks our reading routine began to change. We started our membership at IXL. IXL is an online education site with different skill packages to choose from by grade from K-12. We are in Fourth grade and have the Core Subjects Package which gives up Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Anthony is addicted to the Social Studies section. A history lover at heart like his Mama!

He now wants to log on and choose a new learning topic to do together before we read. So at age 9 we learn AND read before bed and he is really into it. He loves that one on one time with me and I am not pulling him from playtime or relax time to learn. It is a time of day that works for both of us and it becomes fun.

Here we are doing a lesson. This one is

  • IXL Learning Features
  • K-12th Grade Learinng
  • Focus on 1 subject or all core subjects
  • Spanish lessons are another option
  • Unlock achievements
  • Parent progress reports and certificate alerts
  • Personalized skill recommendations
  • Mobile Ap option for on-the-go learning

Start your online learning today at IXL.

Books, Children Books, Education

The Nocturnals Book Series for Tweens about Bullying

Sample copies for the book series were sent for feature

The Nocturnals Book Series for Tweens about Bullying

The Nocturnals Book Series for Tweens about Bullying

Book 1 – The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions

The 3 friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider work together to find the mystery of disappearing animals at night. Wit the helps of some other nocturnal friends they use teamwork, friendships and some humor in their journey to solve this mystery.

Book 2 – The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye

The 3 friends set out again to find the source of violent jolt that fractures the earth. Turns out it is a giant beast who is likely to attack again. They find an animal that can help, but isn’t easily trusted.

Book 3 – The Nocturnals: The Fallen Star

All of the forest’s pomelos have been mysteriously poisoned! Dawn, Tobin and Bismark need to find the cause as other animals are falling ill including Tobin! It is suggested it is monsters from the moon, but the 3 are doubtful. It is a race against time to find the mystery illness source.

Nocturnals (1)

My advice? Just buy all 3 books at once because they are so engaging you want more. It was hard for Anthony to put the books down as he got into the story. They are very well written leaving the reader so curious and really wanting to know the end result. To have book 2 and 3 waiting will encourage this excitement and keep them reading. Anthony is 9 and in the fourth grade. He followed along very well.

If they want even more make sure they visit the Nocturnals website. It is full of so much fun related to the stories. There are videos, discussions, games and more.

About the Author, Tracey Hecht

Tracey Hecht

Tracey Hecht is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film.  Her first middle grade series, The Nocturnals was launched in 2016 with The Mysterious Abductions and The Ominous Eye. The American Bookselling Association chose The Mysterious Abductions as a Kids’ Indie Next List pick. Her third book, The Fallen Star was released in May 2017. 

In partnership with the New York Public Library, Tracey created a Read Aloud Writing Program in 10 schools around New York City. During the year, she continued to conduct this program in over 35 schools, libraries and bookstores across the country.  In June 2017, she launched a partnership with The Ryan Seacrest Foundation with The Nocturnals program at the broadcast media centers within pediatric hospitals.  The first hospital was the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC.

When Tracey isn’t writing, she can be found hiking, reading or spending time with her family. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband and four children.