If I could only own one toy…*Review and Giveaway

Since the majority of you have never been to my house, you will have to take me at my word when I tell you that we really don’t need any more toys.  But, there are always those things out there that I think we have to have!  This time was no different.  
When I had the chance to review something from Learning Resources, I began scouring the website in search of just the right toy to review.  Most toys are educational to the little people, at least to some extent, but I wanted something that would help Maggie work on learning her colors or counting, naming these, any of the above.  If you have never checked out their website before, you have to!  There are so many fun and educational toys!  In the end, I emailed my top 3 choices, and received the Jumbo Safari Counters.

What I didn’t realize was HOW MUCH SHE WOULD LOVE THEM!  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that these things get taken out every single day.  I was sure she would like them because she is obsessed with animals!  But first, a bit about Learning Resources.

Learning Resources is one of the leading global manufacturers of innovative, hands on, educational products.  Their mission is to support parents and teachers by providing high quality educational tools that provide instruction and engaging experiences to meet each childs needs. 

Jumbo Safari Counters come in a bucket to store them in with an activity guide.  There are 5 different animals – giraffe, elephant, lion, gorilla, and rhino – that come in 6 fun colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  Each animal is just the perfect size and they are chunky to make it easy for those little hands to grab them.  Plus, they are hollowed out so you can use them as finger puppets too.  They are designed for ages 2-5 to practice sorting, counting and other early math skills. 

I love the bright colors, and the detail on them that makes them easy to identify when your little one is just learning animals or colors.  Maggie wasn’t quite 2 yet, but because of the size of the animals, I felt comfortable with letting her play with them.  Each animal is approximately 2.25″.  I have found that because these come with their own handy dandy storage bucket, it is much easier to get her to help clean them up!  Sometimes, she just picks them up and puts them in the bucket, then dumps them, then repeats.  Over and over. 

When we first opened these, Maggie didn’t know her colors, and didn’t really look at the animals and identify them right away.  That changed quickly!  In no time at all, she was starting to say the animal names and colors.  At first, our game with them was to sort them by animal which she is really good at.  Sorting them by color – she isn’t interested!  I, however, am very quirky about some things, and when I played with her and the counters, I would catch myself lining them up or sorting them by color.  
I love that with these, there is always something to talk about with them – for instance, I have the red gorilla, you have the red rhino!  Or something similar to keep reinforcing the colors or animal names.  
The bucket makes cleaning up fun!

Then we started playing with our blocks at the same time, and we would count the animals as we put them on the blocks.  She would see just how many she could fit onto the lid or in her purse when we left the house.  We even discovered that because of the hollowed out centers, we could stack the animals or put one on each finger.  We are working on patterns now too, so we would place a red, then yellow, then red, and then try and find the next color.  The games and activities you can play with these are endless!  If I was forced to get rid of all of our toys except one, this would definitely be one I would consider keeping because it has gotten so much use at our house! 

Some of the other activity suggestions that come with the jumbo safari counters are:   animal moves – how does each animal move and have them copy you; who’s hiding; and many more.  
The safari counters are really durable, and because they are hollowed out, I don’t have to worry when I find them in the bathtub.   I know that these will last through all of my children!
Learning Resources has so many other great options if you are looking for some educational toys – and these would make great teacher gifts for the classroom! 
Here is a picture of another item from Learning Resources that I really want to get!  

Show our sponsors some love!  
I need to leave their website – there is so much that I want (for the kids of course).

Do you want to win your own Jumbo Safari Counters?  What are your favorites from their website?

Giveaway open to US only
Ends 11:59 pm EST on 11/21/2012
Only one entry per household.  Duplicate entries will be disqualified. 

*Disclosure:  I received the above mentioned product for the purpose of this review.  However, all opinions are 100 % my own and influenced only by my experience with the company and the product.*  

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