This year’s annual winter event was a huge success! I would like to thank everyone for coming out to the Elf Workshop on December 4, 2019. Over 100 families came out to the James E. Richmond Science Center to attend The Playful Parent’s Elf Workshop. I was excited to see so many families show their support in raising awareness for the importance of learning through play. If you missed this event, no worries… The Playful Parent hopes to provide quarterly events that advocate learning through play in Southern Maryland. Be on the lookout for a family board game night in February and Summer Camp Fair in April.


At the Elf Workshop each little Elf received a special goodie bag, got to watch a movie on the full dome, make a snowman ornament, test out toys, watch toy demos, vote for their favorite toy and event win door prizes.


I want to take a moment to the thank our sponsors. Seven different toy companies donated toys in order to make this program a success. Instilling a love of learning is of great importance; these toy companies were hand selected because they believe in the power of play. Each company listed does a remarkable job at providing entertaining toys that aren’t only fun but are educational too! The goal of this project is to help parent’s invest in toys that help their children play, learn and grow! Here is a look at the companies that were hand selected by The Playful Parent to partner for The 7 Toys That Bring Great Joy. Each company sent a copy of their toys for the Elf Workshop to test out and giveaway as prizes. Let’s give them a huge round of applause.

1-Think Fun- Invasion of The Cow SnatchersINVASION OF THE COW SNATCHERS

I love Think Fun games because they promote family bonding and provide hours of endless fun! We own a closet full of board games for kids ages 1 to 100 and we own and love a lot of Think Fun games. Anytime we host a board game night in the community, you can bet we will have a copy of Cow Snatchers or in tow. Invasion of the Cow Snatchers Link

2- Peaceable Kingdom – Sunny & Stormy Day


The Playful Parent is a huge fan of Peaceable because they make games that are high quality and very durable. These family friendly games are easy to learn and fun to play! Many of their games are designed to help children build important skills such as dexterity, memory, math, logic, and cooperation. Sunny & Stormy Day Link

3-Magformers- Rescue


Magformers are a staple in our home. I find these STEAM toys to be on of the best investments we’ve made for the kids’ playroom. Magnetic tiles offer endless imaginative play because the sky is the limits with what you can build and unlike battery operated toys, magnets are ongoing. What I love most about Magformers is that they activate a child’s visual and spatial abilities while engaging in fun. Children are working on STEAM (science, technology, engineer, art and math) without even knowing it. Through building Magformers young minds are learning important engineering concepts such as design, structure, geometry and physics. Magformers Fire Truck Rescue Set Link

4- Star From Afar- The Christmas Star


I had never seen or heard of Star From Afar until I attended Toy Fair in New York two years ago. After meeting the team members of this company, I quickly fell in love with their toys that are well crafted, gorgeous and promote religious education in a fun way. We own both the Easter Story Egg and The Christmas Star; which provide the perfect opportunity to focus on the reason for the season.

5- VertiPlay – STEM  Marble Run


It’s easy to see how VertiPlay was voted one of this year’s favorite toys at the Elf Workshop. This innovative and hands-on educational STEM toy is a lot of fun! The VertiPlay STEM Marble Run allows kids to make infinite new marble runs and tests their Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills while teaching them concepts of gravity, speed, trajectory and more. VertiPlay STEM Marble Run Link

6- Mindware- Marble Run


MindWare is an award-winning creator, manufacturer and distributor of “Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages.” Their goal is to make the world smarter through playful learning. If you frequent our local library you probably have seen and love a lot of the toys by Mindware. Our favorite toys by Mindware are the Science Academy Kits and Marble Runs. Mindware Marble Run Link

7-Learning Resources- Beaker Creatures


I could go on and on about Learning Resources for days. This is hands down one of my most favorite toy companies. My boys love Beaker Creatures and Botley the Coding Robot. The Playful Parent and Learning Resources agree on the importance of the power of play. “Kids learn by doing, which is why toys and games are the perfect tools for teaching. Educational toys and games allow children to wonder, discover, and explore the world around them through play.”- Learning Resources. Beaker Creature Link


pai -feature imageThank you, Pai Technology, for providing a Botzees kit so that we could have this amazing toy on display and demoed. It’s easy to see how Pai Technology’s Botzees earned the National Parenting Product Award. Botzees is a new coding robotics kit for kids age 4 and up, that combines creativy, construction, and coding. Kids can program and code 6 different pre-designed Botzees or create their own! Botzees can be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds, and light up using the free app. 130 uniquely shaped, easy to grip blocks with rounded edges will inspire kids’ imagination with tactile, tangible hands-on learning. And then the 30 interactive augmented reality puzzles teach even more coding concepts with visual cues. We give it two thumbs up! If you didn’t get the opportunity to see this toy at the Elf Workshop, don’t worry…The Playful Parent will host a robotics workshop this summer featuring Botzee! Pai Tech Botzees


THANK YOU.jpgOnce again, I want to thank the amazing toy sponsors for donating toys for the demos and giveaways. Let’s give a huge round of applause to: Think Fun, Peaceable Kingdom, Magformers, Mindware, VertiPlay, Star From Afar, Pai Technology and Learning Resources. I would also like to thank the James E. Richmond Science Center for providing a venue space. I’m also appreciative of Texas Road house for having Andy come out to meet and greet the kiddos and for providing treats for the goodie bag. This event was a huge success thanks to our volunteers. We had four students from St. Charles High School’s early education program and one student from Southern Maryland Christian Academy.


DSC_0092.JPGAt the Elf Workshop we also featured a demo for Learning Resources Beaker Creatures. I wanted to save one of the best giveaways for last. Whether you were able to make it out to the event or not you still have a chance to win a toy that brings great joy. One lucky fan will win a copy of Learning Resources Beaker Creatures. To enter, you know the drill (like, comment, share):

  • LIKE the post
  • COMMENT your favorite type of science (Earth, Chemistry, Physics, STEM, etc)
  • SHARE the article to help spread the word about the importance of learning through play
  • MUST like/follow The Playful Parent page to win.
  • Giveaway not Facebook affiliated.
  • Giveaway closes December 12, 2019.