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Our Nilo Toys Review – Multi-Use Play Tables

Nilo Toys produces quality, sturdy, multi-use play tables and accessories.  I am so impressed with:

  • the quality
  • they’re multi-functional
  • the storage options
  • the customizable options (size of table, table holes, mats, accessories)

Their motto is “Buy once, Buy right, Buy Nilo®!”  And honestly, this is a great motto for this company!

Here are some pics of the table I received – after I assembled it.  BTW – assembly was a breeze.

Now, I’d like to discuss the quality of the table, the multi-functionality of the table, the storage possibilities and how you can customize the table.

Nilo Toys Review – Quality

All of the Nilo Toys tables and accessories are made out of solid hard wood (in a variety of finishes) and they are built to last for generations.

Look how sturdy this table is!!

Nilo Toys Review Multi-Functional

  • Tables are 19 inches tall, ideal for toddlers and children (low enough to do puzzles and other activities).
  • Leg extensions are available as kids get older/taller.
  • The height of the raised border on the table keeps small manipulatives on the table top.
  • Its ideal to use as an LEGO table or a DUPLO table, thanks to the baseplates /Block Mats (more info on these below).
  • Also, its the perfect height for wooden train use (wooden train track is 1/2″ thick, and the table borders are 1 1/4″ high).

Nilo Toys Review Storage

Look at the possible storage!  I have to say – I love storage – and this is really efficient/space-saving storage!  Woo Hoo!!

Customizable

Notice some of the customizable options below. You can also choose between the 34″ table or the 48″ table. You can also choose between holes/no holes in the framing, the frame style, and whether you’d like mats.

 

Here are the Table Specs for the 34″ Table

  • Measures 25″W x 34″L x 20″H
  • Play surface 24″W x 32″L
  • Solid hardwood construction
  • Easy to clean double-sided melamine surface
  • Each baseplate is 12″ x 32″. They simply drop into the raised border of the tables
  • Easy to clean baseplates – you can remove them and wash them
  • Fantastic LEGO/DUPLO table, puzzle table, etc
  • Super train table
  • 24″ Leg Kit available for this table as an add-on
  • The table design allows seating – and you can choose between stools/chairs and benches
  • The Nilo storage bins fit easily underneath
  • Made to last for generations

Table Options

With Holes in Framing: Holes in frame are compatible with  Nilo-Jax (Extreme trestle set great for wooden trains and other track sets), Rok-Jax (Rokenbok use) and their Nails also work with Zoob (a construction toy), Fiddlestix, Brio-Mec and other toys.

Without Holes in Framing: Basically, a cleaner design, not having holes in the framing.

Mats: You can add green 2-Sided Block Mats, Lego® on one side, Duplo on the other side.

What do I Like about this Product?

  • OMGosh – the quality and the durability!  This table is daycare quality and will last for years – decades! I’ve found that men really ooh and ahh over this table – they’re impressed with the craftsmanship.  I have a friend that’s a professional cabinet maker and he’s really impressed with this table.
  • The flexibility!  In overall table size, table height, use, and storage.
  • It’s very attractive.  Again, oohing and ahhing.  🙂
  • It features an easy to clean solid white melamine top.  The white surface is on the top and bottom of the table so if one side gets stained/ruined, you can just turn it over.  That’s nice.  And practical.  I love practical!  🙂
  • Mats are an option too.  They work for LEGO and DUPLO.
  • The mats are easy to remove and clean.
  • With the mats, your child can start a project on the mat, remove the mat with the project on it – and use the table for another use.
  • You can customize your table.
  • It’s a breeze to assemble.  I HATE assembling anything.  I’d rather pay more for an item and have it delivered ready-to-go – but that’s usually not an option.  If you have to assemble something – hope it’s as easy as this table!
  • You can also purchase other items to go with the table. Check out the stool and the storage bins. And I LOVE their toy chest/bench.  Really….check out the toy chest/bench!  You’ll love it.

  • This is a U.S. family owned business, established in 1992.
  • I don’t usually comment on price – but the price is really reasonable!  Again, this table is daycare quality – I’d expect it to be priced at a much higher price point.
  • On top of their GREAT price, the company is offering a 10% discount to HowToHomeschool.net readers.  Just send an email to orders@nilotoys.com before you order and they mention HOW TO HOME SCHOOL. This discount will go through the end of January 2019.

Nilo Toys Multi-Use Play Tables Review – In Conclusion

I have to say, I agree with their motto – “Buy once, Buy right, Buy Nilo®!”

 

Did you like our Nilo Toys Multi-Use Play Tables Review? We really enjoyed writing it for you. You can check out our other reviews at https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews

Wikki Stix Review

I go to websites all the time – it’s part of my job – and I have to say, the Wikki Stix site is one of the best!  There is so much info, so many fun options – and it’s so easy to see almost everything at once.  I’m impressed.

So, what are Wikki Stix and how do they work?

Wikki Stix are an award winning original waxed yarn creativity toy. They’re made of hand-knitting yarn enhanced with a microcrystalline, food-grade non-toxic wax, the kind used in bubble gum and lipstick. They are fun and colorful, soft and pliable, and they stick to each other for 3-D creativity and fun.  They are also easy to peel up and re-position so “mistakes” are a breeze to fix. And guess what?  There’s no prep, clean-up, or mess involved.  Gotta love that!

And Wikki Stix are great for educational purposes and for crafts. They’re also great for home room decoration… seasonal fun… and party time!  In addition:

  • They appeal equally to boys and girls and span a wide range of ages (from 3 to 103!)
  • Wikki Stix are perfect for quiet, independent play or interaction with others.
  • They help enhance learning through hands-on kinesthetic involvement.
  • Wikkis stimulate the imagination and creativity in everyone.
  • And…there is no right or wrong way to play.
  • They’re safe! Wikki Stix conform to all US Consumer Safety Standards including ASTM D-4236, CA-Prop 65 and F-963, as well as the European Standard BS5665/EN71.

Wikki Stix for homeschooling

You can check out all the Wikki Stix products here – https://www.wikkistix.com/shop/.

Or if you’d like, you can go straight to the Wikki Stix educational link – https://www.wikkistix.com/educational-resources/

Here’s a link for teaching ideas.

And here is a link for an educational manual.

More videos!

Examples of educational projects you can do with Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix for crafts

 

Not only are Wikki Stix great for educational purposes, they’re also super for craft projects. Everything from greeting cards to seasonal and holiday crafts can be created with Wikki Stix. They’re perfect for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school arts and crafts. For crafts ideas, you can click on this link – https://www.wikkistix.com/crafts-for-kids/.

And here are some examples of craft ideas

And there’s a Wikki Stix activity book (it comes with 72 colored Wikki Stix!)! 

The Wikki Stix activity book has 28 pages of fun and educational activities geared towards school (homeschool) readiness skills, such as visual discrimination, fine motor development, number and literacy awareness, and more.  But Shhhh…. your kids won’t know they’re learning… because they’ll be having so much fun!

The Activity Kit includes:

  • 1 8.5″ x 11″ Wikki Stix Activity Book (28 pages)
  • 72, six-inch Wikkies in assorted colors

Here are some pages from the book.

As you can see, Wikki Stix are really versatile.  You can use them for educational projects (especially STEM and STEAM projects) and for fun craft products. They encourage creativity and problem-solving.  Wow – that’s a win-win in my book!  Yours too?

 

 

Did you like this review? We really enjoyed writing it for you. You can check out our other reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews

The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” CD series by Margie La Bella

The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” CD series – Margie La Bella Songs Review

Do your little ones love music?  And do they play the same songs over and over…. and over again?  Do you know that you can use this to their educational advantage!?  The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” CD series of songs from Margie La Bella are definitely educational – the songs are designed to spark your children’s:
  • imagination
  • playfulness
  • conceptual learning/understanding (many songs give an opportunity for children to physically act out their understanding of a concept)
  • problem solving
  • creative thinking
  • language (expressive, receptive, and auditory/listening)

Margie’s collection of songs and activities are of great value for ALL children but they really hit a chord with kids on the autism spectrum and children with special needs.  And if you happen to work in a day care center or if you have a pre-school program in your homeschool co-op, you might find these exceptionally helpful.

There are four CDs in the The “Move! Sing! Play Along and Learn!” series.  They include:

  1. Move!                

Action songs about simple concepts and following directions.

  1. Sing!                  

Action songs with sounds, words and simple sentences.

  1. Play!                 

Action songs involving rhythm instruments, following directions, and creative movement to sound.

  1. Mixing It Up!

More action songs about singing, movement, and simple rhythm instruments.

Since there’s a lot to cover in these four CDs, I’m actually going to jump right into what we like about these CDs, before getting into each one individually.

So, what do we (the kids and I) like about working on the Margie La Bella Song Review?

  • We all appreciate how clear they the lyrics are – we know what EVERY word is!  So many CDs we’ve listened to, aren’t clear at all.  Maybe the instrumentals are too loud – or the singer is trying to fit too many words in at once – I’m not really sure what the issues are. But these lyrics are clear as a bell!  That means my kids (and yours too!) can easily sing along. And my kids do – very joyously – and very loudly!
  • These songs are really catchy! YOU’LL find yourself humming along and bopping your head!  Even when doing this review, and listening to the songs as I write, I can’t help but move to the music – the song Teddies to Turtles has me hooked!
  • Looking for a song to teach something in particular?  The songs are broken up into goal areas and objectives so you can actually get songs on the topic of your choice!  Kids bickering?  There’s a song for that!
  • The lyrics encourage kids to listen and learn through music – and to get up and MOVE to the music.  I’m a fan for anything that encourages movement!
  • The music introduces kids to pop, jazz, folk, rap, swing, reggae and other styles of music. My kids enjoyed all the styles, especially swing and reggae.  And these weren’t genres that were on their radar previously.  That’s cool.
  • You can order Margie La Bella songs on physical CDs or digital downloads.
  • You can listen to free MP3 downloads and listen to sample songs before you purchase – I’m a fan of free samples. http://www.musictherapytunes.com/wp/free-mp3-downloads/, http://www.musictherapytunes.com/wp/cds/
  • Songs, videos, and fun activities just go together. Margie knows this and includes videos and activities on her website. She shares how to use her songs in different ways (so nice)!
  • Margie La Bella also includes lyrics on her site – although really, you don’t need them as the CDs are so clear. Still, it’s nice that she includes them/it’s nice to have them.
  • Margie La Bella has a Links page is helpful – if you want to know more about music therapy in general, or other song sites/artists you might want to look into. It’s nice that she plugs other artists – even her “competitors” – although I’m sure she doesn’t see them in that way.

Margie La Bella Songs Review – Now, onto each CD! (more than the 4 will be referenced!)

 

Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD ONE

The first CD Move!” focuses on the receptive language skills needed to understand and follow directions.  Each song fosters concept development through active movement and dance.

Skills addressed include single and multi-step directions, the concepts of body parts, opposites, verbs, prepositions, creative problem solving and more.

Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:

 Song 1 – Everybody Wave Hello

  • This song opens the CD and sets the stage for upcoming learning.
  • Children have the opportunity to follow three one-step directions, while reaching out to connect with other people.

Song 2 – Doin’ the Robot Dance

  • This song helps improve auditory processing skills (listening and following directions).
  • The rapid-fire lyrics require a child’s attention.
  • The lyrics help children learn the words associated with specific body parts.
  • Older children can move to the beat.

Song 3 – Move and Stop

  • This song is good for improving auditory attention skills, and motor/impulse control.
  • Children relate body parts with an associated motion.
  • Younger children can follow the one-step directions.
  • Older children can perform the last line (three 1-step directions in rapid sequence).

Song 4 – Stand up, Sit Back Down

  • Provides a positive outlet for kid’s energy(encourages them to leave their seat).
  • Fosters the learning of body parts and ways to move them.
  • Children move in creative ways as suggested by the lyrics.

Song 5 –  Growl, Growl, Stomp

  • This song helps with listening and pretending skills, both needed for cognitive development.
  • It also stimulates attention, as well as auditory anticipation and vocalization of “Grrowl!”
  • The repetitive “growl, growl, stomp!” gives a sense of sequencing and energy/vocal release.

Song 6 – The Yee-haw Song

  • This song requires receptive understanding of body parts and associated movements, as well as expressive use of the word “Yeehaw!”
  • Children can simulate the galloping sound of a horse by tapping their knees during the chorus, or by pretending to ride a horse.
  • Older children can perform the directive twice and sing “yeehaw!”

Song 7 – Multi-Step Blues

  • This song improves a child’s ability to follow a long string of quick one-step directions and to control one’s actions.
  • The song focuses on body vocabulary and associated verbs.
  • It strengthens attention, backward sequencing of directions, and motor control.
  • Great outlet for a child’s energy.

Song 8- OPPOSITE  JAM

  • Helps facilitate the understanding of each concept individually and in contrast to its opposite (tall, small, happy, sad, fast, slow, squeeze, and relax)
  • Teaches body vocabulary and associated verbs.
  • Encourages attention, backward sequencing of directions, and motor control.
  • Great outlet for energy.

Song 9 – THE CATERPILLAR

  • Stimulates pretending and other higher process thinking skills.
  • Fosters focus, body relaxation and the concept of slow.
  • Teaches how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and how our own lives can change.

Song 10 – Move it by Your Chair

  • Children learn about spatial relationships.-
  • They also learn the concepts: in front of, behind, on the side, over, and under.
  • Children count while dancing to a fun beat.

Song 11 – One Step Blues

  • This song helps kids process the meaning of verbs and related body parts.
  • Children carry out the one part direction to the timing of the related sound effects.
  • Good for auditory attention and memory.

Song 12 – Thinking Song

  • Helps teach body parts and simple problem solving.
  • Older children can pretend to rock a baby each time they hear the words “baby” and “honey.”
  • Older children can also alternate or switch sides of the body each time a direction is given within a verse – this is good for integrating sides of the brain.

Song 13 – Stand Up, Sit Down (Version Two)

  • The directions to the song are easier to understand is this version.

Song 14 – Thinking Song (Version Two)

  • This song fosters listening and creative problem-solving.
  • It requires knowledge of body parts and quick deciphering skills.
  • Older children can pretend to rock a baby each time they hear the words “baby” and “honey.”
  • Older children can also alternate or switch sides of the body each time a direction is given within a verse, as this is good for integrating sides of the brain.

Song 15 –  Growl, Growl, Stomp (Version Two)

  • This is just a nice song to listen to, or to sing along to.

Song 16 – Music Time is Over

  • This song offers a nice conclusion to the CD – as it ends on a positive, relaxing note.
  • This song lends itself to swaying, rocking, and holding hands.

Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD TWO

 The second CD “Sing!” focuses on vocal play and expressive language.

 Children are actively engaged with songs that were written and designed to elicit vocal play, vowel and consonant production, articulation and simple sentences.

Songs are presented in a variety of styles including hip-hop, new-age, folk, pop and reggae.

Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:

Song 1 – Open your Mouth

  • This song starts the CD off in a friendly/social manner.
  • It helps children create the “ah,” “oo,” and “ee” vowel sounds and articulate the “ooh-ee”.

 Song 2 – Monkey Song

  • Children gain vocal and oral-motor experience as they sing “ah,” “ee,” and “ooh.”
  • Kids remember and sequence sound patterns.

Song 3 – The Leeway Train

  • This song helps kid’s speech skills through making sound effects.

Song 4 – The Puppet Song (Version One)

  • Children connect an animal with the sound it makes.
  • Children vocalize the animal sounds.
  • Children hear and produce soft and loud sounds.

Song 5 – Tap it on Your Head – Acapella Version

  • Helps to teach body part vocabulary and articulation/vocalization.
  • Because it’s acapella the words are really easy to hear and the feel of the music is gentler.

Song 6 – Variations  on the Miss Mary Mack

  • This song encourages children to repeat each short phrase.

Song 7 – Sing an Echo Song

  • This song is used to help children improve their abilities to produce certain sounds and increase phrase length.
  • Improves auditory attention and memory.
  • Children are encouraged to put words together in increasingly complex sentences.

Song 8 – TDLN 50s Arctic Song

  • Improves the ability to “Do-wop” and articulate the “T”, “D”, “L,” and “N” sounds (these sounds all involve placing the tip of the tongue behind the top of the upper teeth).

Song 9 – Three Little Monkeys

  • Encourages sentence use.
  • Also good for sequencing of ideas.

Song 10 – The Wolf Cub

  • Children vocalize the “ooh” sound of the wolf.
  • Children act out the lyrics, and demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of: open, shake, over, under, up, down, side, and families.

Song 11 – The Vehicle Song

  • This song emphasizes vocalization and vocal play.
  • Encourages children to imitate and articulate common sounds.

Song 12 – The Puppet Song II

  • Elicits vocalization of animal sounds (this is necessary for speech and involves articulation of specified sounds).

Song 13 – Tap it on your Head – Full Version

  • Helps to teach body part vocabulary and articulation/vocalization.
  • This version works with kids who need the extra stimulation to elicit their attention.

Song 14 – Sing an Echo song – Blank/Fill-in Verses Version

  • Kids sing the first sound of their name, or they can blow a kiss.

Song 15 – Goodbye Now

  • This is a natural way to teach the goodbye interaction, and it can include waving, shaking hands, holding hands, and blowing kisses.

Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD THREE

The “Play!” CD is really two CDs in one and centers around the auditory skills needed to 1) listen, 2) follow directions, and 3) understand directions; as well as how sounds and directions are combined to build memory.

The first 30 minutes helps teach awareness of loud, soft, fast, slow, and the presence and absence of sound. The second half asks children to listen to, interpret, and respond to instrument sounds and music clips.

Margie La Bella Songs Review – Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:

Song 1 – Homemade Band

  • This tune opens the CD on a positive note – kids are introduced to several instruments of a jazz or rock band.

Song 2- Soft, Loud, Slow, Fast Review

  • This song introduces children to recognizing (perceiving) and creating different volumes and speeds (this is important as the sound qualities used in music are also used in speech).

 Song 3 – Children, Come Play

  • The song encourages auditory attention, processing, and conceptualization.
  • Children experience creating fast, slow, loud, and soft music.

Song 4 – Play and Do This

  • Teaches sequencing/patterning of events.
  • Teaches the ability to follow directions.
  • Helps children with the concepts of under, stop, and get it.

Song 5 – Play and Pass

  • Fosters attention.
  • Encourages turn taking and sharing among friends (and siblings!).

Song 6 – You’ve got to Wait!

  • A catchy song for a topic that can be tricky, and one that all kids (and adults) need to learn.

Song 7 – Three Little Sound Effects

  • Encourages vocal/sound play.
  • Encourages auditory memory.

Song 8 – Play an Echo Song

  • This song encourages auditory attention and auditory memory.
  • It also fosters coordination and patterning.

Songs 10-15 and 16-21  – Make you Move! and Hear and D0 – Instrument Sounds 

  • These songs encourage auditory discrimination.
  • They encourage impulse control.
  • Foster imagination.
  • Foster memory.
  • The songs encourage energy release – as they get kids moving.

Song 22 – Sound-Off

  • This song closes the CD.
  • It enforces the skill of “audiation” or hearing the sounds/music in your mind.

Margie La Bella Songs Review – CD FOUR

“Margie La Bella Songs Review –Mixing it Up!” uses more action-based participation songs to address expressive and receptive language skills as well as auditory attention and processing skills.

Plus, it covers a diverse range of musical styles (which my kids enjoyed)!

Descriptions of individual songs on this CD, plus the benefits of each song follows:

Song 1 Hey Hello

  • Good for encouraging language via the catchy, predictable, repeated “hey, hello” phrase.

 Song 2 – Move it to the Music.

  • One step direction/movement concepts of move, shake, scratch, twist, jump, and dance.
  • Impulse and motor control via stopping and starting.

 Song 3 – I’ve Got the Music In Me

  • Encourages following simple directions.
  • Also good for fun sounds that can help with articulation and intelligibility.

Song 4 – Body Rap

  • This song incorporates sequencing patterning and memory skills.
  • Provides for a great release of energy – always a plus!

Song 5 – Everybody Touch  Your Head

  • This song helps children learn various body parts and spatial concepts.

Song 6 – We All Have Feelings

  • This song assists the verbal and non-verbal expression of feelings.

Song – 7 Tweet, Tweet  Little Birdy

  • The song encourages vocalization and listening comprehension.
  • It also encourages pretending/abstracting.
  • Older children can echo each phrase during the short pauses. This helps develop sentence length and related memory.

Song 8 – Very Best Band

  • This song strengthens attention span.
  • Also encourages taking turns and impulse control.
  • Good for instrument vocabulary and identification.
  • Encourages group participation.

Song 9 – Everybody Touch – Karaoke/Fill-In)

  • This version teaches personalized concepts.

Song 10 – Jump High, Turn Around

  • In this song, children follow a sequence of three directions.

Song 11 – Teddies to Turtles

  • Kids follow multiple directions.
  • Encourages creativity and imagination (abstraction).

Song 12– Sharing, Caring, Moving and Growing

  • This is a relaxing song and a nice song to end the CD.

All of these are available at musictherapytunes.comhttp://www.musictherapytunes.com/wp/store/

 

Not sure which CD you’d like?  How about a Sampler MP3?

Two servings from each of the above four mentioned CDs, for a total of 8 songs.

You may also want to check out this CD –

Your favorite kid songs with slowed down lyrics and rockin’ beats!

This CD was made specifically for kids who have Speech and Language Delays.

It fosters speech and language skills.

About Margie La Bella

Margie La Bella is a music therapist and an educator (she has a master’s degree in special education).

Margie chose music therapy as a profession because she has seen the power of music and wants to share that with others. “The reason I became a music therapist was because of what music did for me and my life.  I wanted to give that opportunity and that tool to other people.”


Did you like the Margie La Bella Songs Review? You can view our other reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews