Tag: critical mind
Simple Machines for little engineers
September 18, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Many parents wish their kids were engineers when they grew up. Just like we suggested in this article, “My children want to become artists. What should I do?”, jobs related with science are better considered than artistic professions because they are usually associated with a “better future.” But for artistic kids, math and physics at school can become a real nightmare. Before this happens, we should teach them how much fun science is at home. Here, at The Toy Blog, we´ve offered some ideas in this respect such as “How to cultivate a scientific mind” or “10 experiments that will make your kids love science“. Today, we´d like to tell you about Simple Machines, an educational app for iPad and iPhone that will get your kids to enjoy discovering the world of physics.

Would you like to become a Famosa Toy Tester?
August 11, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Children are the best when it comes to testing toys. Only they know whether a doll, a toy car or a teddy bear is good enough to play with. Famosa, fully aware of this fact, would like to encourage your children to test our toys and send us a video review. Like the successful Toy Tester Campaign we launched last year, we are at it again and this second round has great surprises in store for our young experts.  Would you your kids to join in the fun? Keep reading to find out how to participate and discover why it´s so cool to become a Famosa Toy Tester! 

How do talk to our kids about the news
August 5, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

There´s not much we can do to avoid it. Kids today witness images of natural disasters and international conflicts on TV screens or computers. If they´re very young, we can try toning it down but as they grow older, it´s best not to keep them isolated but rather have them understand what is going on in the world. So what do we do when our kids watch tragic news reports on TV? Experts Eric Rossen, director of the National Association of School Psychologists and Margret Nickels, director of the Erikson Institute Center for Children and Families have offered their advice on the subject.

My children want to become artists. What should I do?
January 2, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Some children, starting at a very young age, show they have a special talent for the arts. Whether it´s painting, ballet, theatre or music, the majority of parents might feel a bit hesitant, anticipating the day they tell us they want to become artists. As parents we might prefer they choose a profession that will lead them to a steady job in the future. So, if this is the case, how should we approach this issue? Today we will clue you in on how to view it and support your children in case they do indeed make the decision to become artists.

“Mom, I don´t want to wear that.”
November 25, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

There comes an age in which children start choosing their own clothes. Until they acquire their tastes and favourite looks, sometimes the way they dress or the combination of colours they choose can be amusing, absurd and even inadequate. How many times has your daughter pleaded you to let her wear her Princess costume to school? How many times has your son wanted to take his rain boots out for a summer stroll? How many times have they worn two different coloured socks? As parents we can suggest what they should wear but in the end, they should be the ones who decide. Being able to choose helps them become more independent as they learn to combine colours and patterns and create their own style.

5 History Apps Designed for Kids
November 21, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

You might be one of those parents who question whether kids need to learn history. Does it make sense for them to store all those facts, maps and characters? Yes. Learning about the past allows them to better understand the world they live in and the future that lies ahead. History has civic and moral functions that teaches kids to learn about past mistakes so they don´t repeat themselves in the future. It also helps them know and understand other cultures. Through history, they learn about values, customs and ideas so they are prepared to become tolerant human beings and respect others. But how can we get them interested? With kids, it always comes down to making it fun.

Just like math and science, history is a subject many kids consider uphill. Even though children have to wait until they reach junior high to study history, parents can establish the grounds that will lead to their curiosity.

A good way to introduce your kids to history is through fiction. Stories are full of knights in shining armor and princesses, an excellent conversation piece to get you going about the middle Ages. You can also use toys to illustrate different historical periods that will call their attention and enable them to better comprehend situations of the past.

Another effective resource is taking your kids to museums where they can see, first hand, what they leaned through storybooks. Grandparents are another great source of education and can personify events that took place in their time and talk about the world when they were younger.

History should be taught as a wonderful story full of mysteries and adventures so children can begin to ask questions that will enhance their learning skills.  We suggest you begin with a concrete fact that will spark their curiosity and then talk about where, what, how and when. Keep maps and drawings nearby so you can help them put everything in to context.

If you don’t know where to start, check out History for kids to get an idea on the proper language to use and topics. Usborne Children Books is a wonderful resource as well.


If you still can´t get them interested, you might want to incorporate the new technologies available today. There are hundreds of apps designed especially for kids to learn history as a game. Here are the best:

Dinosaur Mix: A great app to get little ones to discover what dinosaurs looked like, where they lived and what they ate by creating their very own prehistoric creatures. Available for iPad and iPhone.

Odysseus: A game created for children between 4 and 8 that teaches them about Greek mythology through the figure of Homer´s legendary Odysseus. With interactive illustrations, maps, albums and mini games such as the Horse of Troy puzzle, this app will spark their imagination. Available for iPad, iPhone and Android.

Quelle Historie: From the same creators as Odysseus, this app is dedicated to History’s most prominent characters such as Cleopatra, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Nelson Mandela, etc. They appear along simple texts (and audio) and related games so kids from 8 to 10 years of age can enjoy. Available for iPad, iPhone and Android.

How much do you know about History: This free visual app is a journey that takes kids from the Stone Age to the present and puts their knowledge to test. Who is the best historian at home? Available for iPad, iPhone and Android.

Empire Run: Focused on playing, Empire Run has children explore History taking on the role of an intrepid child that must travel throughout the 5 great empires (ancient Egypt, Rome, Mayas, Ming Dynasty and the Mongol Empire). Available for iPad, iPhone and Android.

Did you ever think about getting your children excited about History at home?

Photo Credits: Brad Flikinger


10 Experiments that will Make your Kids Love Science
November 6, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Children are young scientists at heart. They see the world with innate curiosity, which is precisely what they need in order to learn. A recent study at the University of California proves that kids think much in the same way as scientists. When it comes down to tackling a problem, they formulate hypothesis, make causal inferences and learn by observation and trial and error. However, when they get to school, everything changes. British scientist Phillip Ball, author of the book Curiosity. How Science Became Interested in Everything believes that science, at school, is taught with answers instead of questions. And this is one of the reasons why children lose interest. If you want your children to keep loving science, their learning should be centred on curiosity and creativity. And what better way to spark their interest than experimenting at home?

How to Cultivate a Scientific Mind
August 27, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Talent isn´t necessarily linked to the arts and music. A talent for science and a passion for mathematics also exist. In fact, science helps strengthen a critical mind and teaches children how to learn. Whatever interests your children have, it´s wonderful for them to learn to reason, observe, analyse and ask the necessary questions in order to make the right decisions. For those reasons alone, we should cultivate their natural instinct for science. Keep reading to learn how and what apps, books and activities will help you.

How to Cultivate a Critical Mind
August 25, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

A critical mind is the capacity of evaluating if the information received is accurate or not. Knowing how to critically analyse a subject or a problem makes us consider different possibilities so we can think of solutions. The question is: what does this have to do with children? A lot. Developing a critical mind is important because they learn to make good decisions and grow to have a unique personality. Although this skill does not fully develop until adolescence, it´s good for children to start early on. Do you want to know whether your child has a critical mind and how you can help him develop it? Keep reading!