All Posts by Elyse Gilbert

About the Author

Elyse is mother and grandmother to two daughters and three grandchildren from West Bloomfield. She is an ADHD coach, a multi-sensory remediator and an educational consultant who has been in private practice since 1997.

Aug 15

Toyology Academy: Tools for School – Featured Products

By Elyse Gilbert | Toy Guides

With the 2018-19 school year approaching, it’s time to think about great educational games and toys to ensure your child’s educational success.

On a personal level, I’ve been buying educational supplies for my private practice from the Klars for over 20 years. My “go to” games don’t scream educational; they’re fun! NEVER tell a child a toy or game is educational! I’m always on the hunt for new materials, and if they travel well, it’s a bonus.Throw a game/toy or two in your suitcase or tote the next time you leave town, and you won’t regret it. Remember to keep in mind that educational does not have to imply boring; it can be fun! Boring is studying a list of numbers written in sequence for an hour; playing Rack-o is fun! For children who seem  hesitant to play games because they are “not good” at them, try playing without scoring at first, extend time for responses, or retain scores to track improvement. Here is a list of games and toys I discovered on my “back to school” visit to Toyology:

Zingo

Money Activity Set

Time Activity Set

Rack-O

Set

Bananagrams

Mobi

Botley

Puzzles

Aug 07

Toyology Academy: Tools for School

By Elyse Gilbert | Power Of Play

With the 2018-19 school year approaching, it’s time to think about great educational games and toys to ensure your child’s educational success.

 

On a personal level, I’ve been buying educational supplies for my private practice from the Klars for over 20 years. My “go to” games don’t scream educational; they’re fun! NEVER tell a child a toy or game is educational! I’m always on the hunt for new materials, and if they travel well, it’s a bonus.Throw a game/toy or two in your suitcase or tote the next time you leave town, and you won’t regret it. Remember to keep in mind that educational does not have to imply boring; it can be fun! Boring is studying a list of numbers written in sequence for an hour; playing Rack-o is fun! For children who seem  hesitant to play games because they are “not good” at them, try playing without scoring at first, extend time for responses, or retain scores to track improvement.

Here is a list of games and toys I discovered on my “back to school” visit to Toyology:

Zingo:  this game teaches sight words essential to reading by utilizing a Bingo format. Children  often stress out when they have to memorize sight words. Through visual perception, children can learn to recognize/spell sight words without the stress. *Hint:  saying sight words aloud while reading them provides visual and auditory reinforcement. Twice the opportunity to process sight words, and consequently, retrieve them!

Learning Resources products:  *Mostly all my clients are challenged by the money and time units in math, and many of your children will be as well. I recommend both these sets.   

  • Money Activity Set:  teaches/reinforces money skills and value. Children learn to make change, add and subtract using realistic looking money.  Ages 5 and up.
  • Time Activity Set:  teaches/reinforces scheduling, sequencing skills and telling time.

Rack-o:  this game reinforces the sequence and relationship of numbers. It provides fun for all, but I particularly like it, because it provides visual/tactile modalities for those challenged by number sequence. It’s a winner.! *Many children simply memorize number sequence and are unable to put numbers in sequence that do not directly follow each other (ex:3, 6, 8, 13, 21, 33, 47). Rack-o is an excellent tool, because it reinforces number relationships.The tactile element allows kids to move number cards and visually place them in sequence.

Set: Ok, the truth is, I discovered this visual perception, award-winning game 20 years ago. It’s also a great tool for those with categorizing challenges. Kids with specific language disabilities and ADDers beg to play it; it’s a think-out-of-the box game. Set is geared for ages 6 – adult. While several players can participate,I’m here to vouch that it’s a great solitaire game as well. Everyone loves this game; I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve replaced it during the years. You’ll love it as much as your kids do!  

Banana-grams:  I’m always on board for any game that is multi-sensory. This one is visual and tactile. If you can persuade your child to sub-vocalize as he or she plays, then you’ve nailed the auditory modality! Banana-grams is a speedy, crossword puzzle game. Its tiles camp out in a compact pouch, which makes it perfect for travel.

Mobi:  like Banana-grams, Mobi travels well. It’s a quick number game, especially for ADHDers who cannot sustain focus. Players form math equations, and arrange them in a crossword puzzle format. It’s targeted for ages 6 and up, but available as Mobi Jr. for your little tikes.

Botley:  recent educational trends in education promote STEM skills as those which children require to thrive as individuals in a “techy” world, and to achieve success as adults in the workplace. Botley, a robot, teaches coding basics, with the intent to allow kids to develop problem-solving skills, along with critical thinking. The good news is that Botley is entertaining!

Jigsaw puzzles:  I’m a fan; puzzles are great for visual perception, small motor development, and family bonding time. Check out Toyology’s White Mountain collection. Target Melissa and Doug for puzzles for the young folks.*Toyology’s puzzles are all good quality. Skip the ones from the $ store with thin, flimsy pieces. It will drive your kids, not you mention, you, crazy.

Be sure to check out School Zone products while visiting Toyology; the line includes products that cover a range of math reinforcement skills. I like their phonics materials as well, which include reading readiness and visual perception through hidden pictures, word searches, following directions and thinking skills. 

Enjoy the remainder of the summer. Here’s hoping that this school year proves to be a fun, successful educational experience for your child!  – Elyse

Jul 01

Summer Fun Around Town

By Elyse Gilbert | Toyology Toys Contributors

With summer approaching, it’s time to plan some field trips with your favorite kids!

 

Summer vacation provides the perfect time frame to visit places that seem too much of a “crunch” during the school year. Here are some fun destinations to head to over to during the toasty months.

Who doesn’t love the Detroit Zoo? Dinosauria is featured through Labor Day. Grab your sunblock and hike the “Dino Trail,” but BEWARE! Over 40 animatronic dinosaurs skulk within the span of three acres that echo prehistoric life! Afterwards, while visions of dinos dance in your head, visit Toyology Toys and pick up some “Epic Dinos” for your dino divas, and engage in a few rounds of “Dinosaur Escape” with your youthful opponents. For the little ones, “Constructables Dinos” is an entertaining, small motor activity.

Stuck with a steamy, sticky day? Take the kids to a local waterpark. Waterford Oaks, located in Waterford Township, has an awesome wave pool, as well as a cooling oasis for toddlers. Play “Stikball” or fling a “Beamo” during water breaks. Both are in stock at Toyology.

When the kids whine that they don’t want to visit an art museum, entice them with the DIA’s Star Wars and Power of Costume exhibit! If you plan on making another stop while at the museum, I recommend the Contemporary Gallery. Have the kids tuck a “Melissa & DougMini Sketch Pad into their backpacks, along with some colored pencils, and sketch away! Starving? Thirsty? Feet throbbing? Drop in at Café DIA (cafeteria-style) or the slightly snazzier Kresge Court, which serves Starbucks, beer and wine, along with gourmet snacks, sandwiches and desserts. The DIA Gift Shop? One word: divine!

If everyone can muster up more energy while downtown, visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History at 315 E. Warren. The museum boasts 26 interactive stations appropriate for those in pre-school to fourth grade. Older children will appreciate the permanent exhibits that span 20 galleries. My “go-to” that relates to this field trip include:  She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton (in stock at Toyology Toys). Finally, if the clan has an ounce of resilience left, head over to the Michigan Science Center at 5020 John R. St. Current exhibits include: the Sparks Electricity Show, Extreme Weather 4D, the Chrysler Science Stage Show, and the Planetarium Show. The museum has interactive exhibits and a cafe for the hungry, thirsty and weary! For those kids who can’t get enough science, I love the “Snap Circuit Kits” at Toyology Toys. Your young scientist will certainly become enamored with one of the kits (there are three levels).

The weather is great and our practically non-existent spring is becoming summer. These field trips promise to engage, entertain and educate both children and adults. Promise you’ll make a plan soon to bond with your kids, grandchildren, or young relatives and friends! Enjoy your field trips, Elyse

Jun 30

Mindfulness, Acceptance and Problem-solving: More Positive Outcomes for Children by Elyse Gilbert

By Elyse Gilbert | Toyology Toys Contributors

As parents, mental health professionals, educators and caretakers, we pay particular attention to buzzwords that relate to children. Currently, the term “mindfulness” seems be a “hot” buzzword. What is mindfulness?

 

David Gelles, a reporter for the New York Times, asserts that it is “the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. In children, it can relieve stress and anxiety, and in turn, promote happiness” (check out his website at davidgelles.com, which explores the S.T.O.P. method). In 2014, Sarah Rudell Beach expressed in a Huffpost, “There is an emerging body of research that indicates mindfulness can help children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions. In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus.” While I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Beach’s statement, I’d like to expand upon it. “Mindfulness, when followed by acceptance and problem-solving, serves to promote more positive outcomes for children.”

“Toyology stocks wonderful puzzles for all ages; they are great for problem-solving!”

Check out our puzzle section!

First, as it relates to my practice, mindfulness allows children to “pay attention” to an intended focus. This often proves a daunting challenge for those with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, anxiety or other co-morbidity. “Deeply noticing” our bodies and how we feel, as well as the environment in which we exist, can lead to mindfulness. It can enable a child to share emotions, experiences and perspectives. When a child knows “where he is,” it helps him to problem-solve where he “needs/wants to go.” For those who want to teach children mindfulness, it becomes important to explain the concept in simple language. Many children are familiar with meditation. One valuable resource for parents is parentingchaos.com, which provides “15 Mindfulness and Relaxation Apps for Kids with Anxiety. Once a child possess mindfulness skills, acceptance comes into play.

Acceptance often means to children, “I must do it, even though I do not want to, so now I will figure out how!” It is NOT surrender, but a choice to allow what cannot be changed at a particular point in time. When children do not have a plan, they may procrastinate or say they “can’t” do something. There is a difference between “can’t” and “won’t!” Once children find acceptance, they can initiate plans of action. This feels good! No more stress. No more arguing with parents. No more procrastination. Instead, choices may be explored, and decisions reached. Acceptance allows children to cope with the reality of situations and move forward with problem-solving.

“Worry Eater [Flint] is the perfect toy for children with anxiety issues.”

"Flint" Worry Eater

Many adults and children believe that problem-solving is limited to academic pursuits. Nothing could be further from the truth! Most everyone would agree that a “process of elimination” strategy works well for multiple-choice tests. However, each day, we face issues or situations for which we seek to find viable solutions. If a boy is invited to play with another, and the last play date did not go well, an opportunity for problem-solving presents itself. What are the boy’s  choices? He can refuse the invitation, accept with the hope that the next play date will go better, or he can express how he feels to the other child. Problem-solving provides children with the freedom to choose options. It empowers a child, allows him to utilize various strategies, and leads to positive outcomes.

    Often, I re-evaluate the mission statement for my practice. In part, I believe that every child is a work in progress. Each one deserves to achieve academic, personal and social growth. Children require a “tool box” to enable them to overcome challenges, gain new perspective and confidence, and develop a skill-set and realize self-actualization. I hope this exploration provides you with “food for thought,” and that mindfulness, acceptance and problem-solving make it into your child’s “tool box” soon!  

Jun 25

Meet Elyse Gilbert – Toyology Toys Contributor

By Elyse Gilbert | Toyology Toys Contributors

Toyology Toys: Tell us a little about yourself.

Elyse Gilbert: I’m a resident of West Bloomfield, and have two grown daughters, a son-in-law and three grandchildren. I’m passionate about pro/college sports, art, movies, books, architecture and music. One of my favorite solo activities is tackling a 1,000 piece puzzle from Toyology!

Elyse's office.

"I camp out here, even when I’m not working, to look out at the creek. Lots of wildlife run by!" 

Toyology Toys: What is your occupation?

Elyse: I wear many hats! I am an ADHD Coach, a multi-sensory remediator for individuals with specific language disabilities, and an educational consultant.

Toyology Toys: Why are you interested in contributing to Toyology Toys?

Elyse:  I’d like customers to recognize that much of Toyology’s stock provides more than sheer entertainment. I’ve been purchasing games and puzzles from the Klars for many years for my practice, as well as gifts for friends and family. I’d like to share my knowledge about some of the “cool benefits” found at Toyology.

Toyology Toys: What do you love about toys?

Elyse:  I love that many toys, especially those at Toyology, often provide fun and entertainment for the entire family. In addition, toys can serve as the catalyst for allowing kids to express creativity. Often, the added bonus is that a toy  can teach/reinforce a skill, utilize problem-solving skills or empower a child to feel a sense of accomplishment (figuring out a puzzle or winning a game!).

Toyology Toys: What does the “power of play” mean to you?

Elyse:  To me, at a time when many adults and children are addicted to technology, the “power of play” becomes more important. Children need to know how to interact with others. Communication, cooperation and socialization are crucial components of growth, empowerment and success for children. The “power of play” allows children the freedom to make choices and be creative, and places few limits on the ways in which toys can play a role in a child’s life.

Toyology Toys: What specific topics would you like to contribute to Toyology Toys and the Power of Play?

Elyse: Many topics come to mind when I think about children. First, as a reading specialist, I like to make literature and nonfiction more exciting for kids. With modern technology, books are so much more accessible. When I hear a child say that he does not like to read, it blares, “I have a problem reading.” In addition to my art practice/education degrees, I’m Orton-Gillingham trained, including advanced levels, trained in Lindamood Bell Verbalization/Visualization, and hold other certifications as well.
I would also like to address the various ways materials/games at Toyology Toys can help build self-esteem, and visual/auditory/kinesthetic modalities. These are the components, that, when combined, provide the optimum strategies to process and retrieve information. As an ADHD coach, I recognize the value of multi-sensory remediation and utilization of more than one pathway to the brain to learn/retrieve processed information.
Another important benefit of “playing” is that it provides the opportunity to problem-solve. “What should I do next?” What is the outcome if I do this?” Children problem-solve everyday, NOT just when they do homework! Assessing possibilities and making informed decisions come into play everyday. “Should I accept this invitation to play? He’s usually not nice to me.” “Should I sneak this candy? If I do, will I get in trouble?” Interacting with others and playing games provide opportunities for kids to problem-solve.

Toyology Toys: Where can people follow you? (Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest)

Elyse: Facebook