"Bing, bing, bing. Whoosh, whoosh." Followed by, "Wow!" These are the new sounds around our house as we have tried some fascinating products from a new company called, Think Of It. How about making your wall turn into a whirling, whooshing center of activity - that also teaches about physics. Or making your refrigerator door so much fun from marble mazes that your kids forget they are hungry while you cook dinner? Or origami that takes paper folding to new heights? If this sounds like fun, then you will love this imaginative company and all of its clever products.
With Frigits Deluxe ($30), you can send your kids on a wild roller coaster full of physics and fun! It's a magnificent lesson in hilarity, inertia, and gravity. The kit consists of 10 brightly colored pieces like rails, swinging buckets, a ferris wheel, a tornado, and serpentine rails. The pieces have strong magnets on the back that easily hold to your refrigerator and form a sort of obstacle course for the included 12 marbles. Position the pieces any way you please, but watch out - if you misjudge the trajectory, the marbles will run off course (to the squeals of delight of the children who have to chase them!). You can also buy regular Frigits ($20, but I think the Deluxe is well worth the extra), a Launcher Extension ($10, shoots the marbles onto your course), and Corner Extension ($10, lets you make the marbles run around the corner). My kids thought this was about the neatest toy they had ever seen. I thought the idea was clever, perpetually fun, educational, great quality, and a good value. What a fun way to learn science! No wonder it has won nine toy awards. Your refrigerator has never been so much fun!
String-ama-Thing ($25) turns any wall into a moving work of art, literally! It's a whirling, twirling, spinning masterpiece of creativity. Picture a dozen pulleys with various colorful wheels, propellers, arrows, and pendulums, all interconnected and moved by a string. It's enough to make you dizzy! The pulleys attach to your wall with paint-friendly adhesive (no damage to our walls when I took them off), in any configuration you like, even around corners or used to turn on a light switch. Add the shapes and the string, and watch as your wall comes alive with movement! Not only did the kids love watching the shapes seem to run around the wall, they also learned about pulleys and movement. And talk about a conversation piece!
And last, but not least, is Think & Do Origami ($6 each with nine different kits available). If you like the mathematical properties and precision of origami, not to mention the fine motor practice and enjoyment of taking paper and creating beautiful forms, you will love this product. Think & Do Origami includes 30 pieces of colorful origami paper printed to match the object, a fun pop-up play mat, one pre-folded piece, and easy-to-follow instructions for making the projects. We looked at the Bugs, Slugs & What Eats 'Em kit, which has butterfly, frog, caterpillar, snail, and ladybug shapes, and a popup habitat play mat. My nine-year-old son, Josiah, loves origami. He was chomping at the bit to get his hands on this kit and gave it a major thumbs up! There is also a Think & Do Origami Deluxe ($10 each with two different kits available) that has a larger play mat and 45 pieces of origami paper.
All of these products are reasonably priced, great quality, very creative, and intensely fun! I think they would be especially wonderful for kids with special needs, because they are easy to use and reward the child with lots of movement, color, sound, and excitement. Don't forget to check out their website (www.think-of-it.com) so you can see the pictures and videos for yourself and how fun and educational toys can be. You can check out some of their other great products, like the collapsible Go-Go Hoop, the Soap Box Racers, and the Sock Animals!