Saturday, July 18, 2009

Go there, NOW!

About six months ago, a new store called Lakeshore Learning Center came to town.

Ever the mom who loves "learning" toys that are both fun and have multiple developmental purposes as well (I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that my mom is a retired elementary school teacher and I myself have been pondering going back to school for elementary ed), I've been dying to check it out.

We had a couple of birthday gifts to exchange MH's birthday was only in February and a rainy Thursday afternoon brought us in for a visit.

Why, oh why did I not get myself there sooner?

This place is a teacher's paradise.

Wonderland for a mommy like me.

And a virtual playground for the wee ones.

Totally kid-friendly. Touches welcome. Happy Mommy.

The Mad Hatter ran right to a huge activity table and started coloring in a picture of a Toucan using these (we have some similar ones at home - they are easy to use, FAR less messy that regular paints, and washable. What more could you ask for?).

I was like a kid in a candy store - I didn't know where to go first. I was already mentally planning out my first classroom, you know, just in case I decide to go through with the back to school idea.

I managed to bring myself back to the present task of selecting a toy for MH. But where to start?

We have a 4 hour car ride to our vacation destination ahead of us this week, so maybe something portable?

But then again, maybe something to help her work on her impressive writing skills at home . . .

It didn't help that nearly the entire store was 20% off!

I eventually stumbled upon this, and found myself having a great time playing with it.

Imagine my delight when I brought it over the still-painting MH, who exclaimed "We have that at school!"

I asked her to show me how it worked, and was amazed to see her spring to action.

What's so awesome about this toy (besides the fact that my husband and I find it addictive and have been secretly playing with it after she goes to bed AND the magnetic pieces inside very closely resemble M&Ms) is that it encourages work on so many pre-school skills.

There's the fine motor skills needed to carry the colored pieces to their spots on the board. Counting, sorting colors, following patterns to make images, sequencing, and those are just off the top of my head.

Did I forget to mention the pattern cards? Those cost extra (my only disappointment with this toy was that it didn't include even a couple), but you get a bunch of them and they range from easy to advanced. DH even took them to the office and laminated them so they'd be extra durable yes, I realize we're dorks.

The best part of it all? MH has been playing with this toy non-stop since we got it. Her attention span for it is amazing, and she loves it. She's creating shapes on her own, working hard at following some of the easier pattern cards, and more than anything, so proud of her accomplishments (yep, Mommy is too!).

Lakeshore offers free craft projects on Saturdays and I can't wait to check those out.

One thing is for sure, I have found my new source for birthday gifts, fun stuff for MH, and yet one more store at which I feel the need to spend immense amounts of money.

The staff was amazing - both friendly and very knowledgeable, and I was thrilled to learn that although it's a chain, the business is family-owned.

Did I mention that even if there's not one near you, you can shop online?

Go, now!

You can thank me later for the extra quiet time you'll score for blog posting, reading, etc.

Author's note: I am in no way affiliated with Lakeshore Learning Center nor was I asked to write a review about their store. I just loved it that much!

5 Fabulous Replies:

*jimaie.marie* said...

Ooo! I remember playing with these when I was in school!!! And i LOVED them! Just added it to the 3yr olds Christmas List, thanks!! :D

Marni said...

Hmmm....I guess that I'd probably have to get TWO of them or they would both be fighting over it!

Shana said...

LOVE that store!!

debra said...

It's a great store. And a great place for kid's birthday gifts.

SoCal_Suz said...

Went to my very first store today.
It is my new favorite!