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How long have you worked at Educational Insights?
I have worked at EI for 14 years.
What drew you to working here?
I’m a former teacher. I was a teacher for 15 years. We do materials and products that help kids in the classroom and help kids learn at home. It seemed like a natural extension of what I had done before, but it was also something different. After teaching for 15 years, I was looking for something different as well.
What did you teach?
I taught high school English for 8 years, I taught preschool for 7 years, and I worked in a pull-out program for a year with gifted kids, but I don’t really count that with the 15 years because it was part-time. I still volunteer in a classroom every week. I work for an hour in a local literacy program teaching struggling readers.
What was your favorite toy growing up?
[laughs] If I tell you that, then you’ll know how old I am! Did they have toys? Let’s see, we played with sticks! Well, I can tell you what I remember. Well, I loved skates. I had skates when I was a kid. Back in those days, parents just let you go anywhere. My mother wanted me and my brother out of the house. We skated everywhere. I also loved my hula-hoop. I had a doll that was called a Patty Play Pal that was 3 ft. tall. My uncle was in the toy business; he was a distributor. He got me this Patty Play Pal for the holidays one year…it was huge!
What’s your favorite toy here at EI?
Well, of course, Magic Moves wand. It’s my invention from last year and its fun because it’s deceptively simple. It really does teach kids a lot of things even though you’d think it was just a movement toy. The biggest thing is that kids get up and dance and move creatively, but it also teaches vocabulary. I had a lot of sophisticated vocabulary for the age group it’s designed for. It’s really designed for three-year-olds to maybe five-year-olds. It uses words like slither and soar, but it also uses bounce and jump, which are really simple words. It uses sophisticated words so that they are exposed to some rich vocabulary, which I think is really important for kids.
There are some technical things that as a teacher, if you were to work with kids moving to the tunes that I would actually do that would help kids surprisingly with things like the alphabet. So, if you swim and if you cross what’s called the midline of your body, that’s really that kind of physical activity that is supposed to be good for beginning readers. You move fast, and you move slowly. It’s really just a kind of deceptively simple thing. It’s well designed. I worked really hard with the team here. I worked with an outsider. I’m really proud of it and it’s doing well.
What inspired you to make that? What was your most unconventional inspiration?
What inspired me to make that game was that I was a former preschool teacher, and again, back in those days [laughs], we used records. I used records and I would give the commands like, “Okay, stomp like a dinosaur!”
First of all, it has all the light shows and everything, so it’s not just a command. It has entertaining and colorful light shows. It also allows kids to lead a musical session. It’s not always the teacher in control. So, when we filmed our little commercial here, one of the kids was actually in charge. It really allows kids to build self-esteem and build some element of control.
What’s a typical day like for you outside of work?
[Laughs] Who’s outside of work for enough hours for it to make a difference? The weekends are probably what I can speak to. Around here, we work very long hours, especially during the summer because it’s our busiest time since we’re trying to get product out.
I run errands. I love to bake. I love to read.
People are talking about us! Check out what this Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!™ fan from New Jersey had to say about our favorite little squirrel:
“I have never been compelled to review a purchase from Amazon before Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. It is quite simply my most favorite Amazon purchase ever (and believe me, that is a serious claim). My whole family loves this game! While I will swear up and down I purchased it for my two-year-old son, the truth is, I bought it for my simple love of all things squirrel, and really all woodland critters. The happy coincidence is that he, as well as his 10- and 7-year-old brothers, love it too. It is super cute but also super fun. Plus, my two-, almost 3-year-old can understand the simple rules, while staying engaged throughout the game. My older boys find it fun enough to play alongside their baby brother and even get pretty competitive between the two of them. This is such a great game for the whole family. It doesn’t (usually) take very long either, so you can ostensibly play a game after dinner but before bath times. I like to lessen TV/video game times and Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a great way to do just that. I love this game so much I don’t even mind the fact that I always, without fail, seem to lose, after having all my acorns blown back into the tree (usually when I am just one short of winning). Do yourself a favor and get this game! It’s the best!”
Thanks for the kind words!
I just read an article about being a great gift-giver. Basically, it said to give what the person really wanted, or had even asked for, instead of what you THINK they’d like.
As a parent this is always a challenge for me. I think Emma should love Lalaloopsy Dolls – I mean seriously, those outfits! And the swingy little legs! And you can set up all their little packages and make a little village! And she likes them, a little.
What she loves is Lego Friends. We’ve got a few sets. Christmas would be the perfect time to give her the super expensive, gigantic Lego Friends house, right? But which Lego set is on her list? The Monster house! I guess I collect deep and she collects wide?
And the top of her list… an American Doll. Now, she has baby dolls (four to be exact) but they don’t get played with too often. And she has Barbie dolls, but they don’t get much play either. So why would I buy her an (expensive!) American Doll? Except that it’s what she asked for. Twice. I had her write two lists to Santa, just to be sure, and I’m glad I did because at the end of the second list, she added a “neklis” for me and a “gitar pedl” for my husband. And, as a friend pointed out, she isn’t a baby or a Barbie, but she is a little girl, just like an American Girl.
Now if only I hadn’t waited so long for her to change her mind… guess it’s a trip to the American Doll store for me, since it’s too late to order online.
Next year I’ll know, and start at the top of her list. Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays to you all!
It’s the holiday season and we are just as excited as you are to sneak a peek at the fabulous new products we have coming your way for 2013! Over the next couple weeks, we will randomly post exclusive pictures of our newest products! Check back in later as we kick off 2013’s VIP viewing.
‘Tis the season to treat our teachers. Here are some great gift suggestions (all under $20!) for educators in class and at home!
SpinZone® Magnetic Whiteboard Spinners– $19.99
Spin some fun into your home or classroom with these three giant 11″ spinners! Use it for custom games or activities on the whiteboard for the whole class. Simply draw a circle, write in content, attach a spinner, and play!
Check out the ReMARKable pens here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/remarkable-trade-+magnetic+write+-amp-+wipe+pens.do?sortby=ourPicks&sortby=&&from=Search You Rock™ Student Hall of Fame– $19.99Give a whole-class shout out to your Rock Star of the Week! Spotlight your star of the week with this jammin’ new chart! Included templates provide space for “Get to Know Me” responses like “Check Me Out,” “My Faves,” “My Family Rocks,” and “Awesome Appearances.” Reuse this chart year after year and let your students shine!
Positive Reinforcement Stamps– $12.99
Cheer on successful student work with these 6 illustrated positive reinforcement stamps! The set includes a stamp pad built into a convenient, compact desk set. As an educator, you can never have enough!
Class Scrapbook– $14.99
Teachers take hundreds of photos each year! Quickly and easily display them in this adorable wall-hanging Class Scrapbook. It’s another great pocket chart to use year after year!
Check it out here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/class+scrapbook.do?from=Search
Smencils®, Set of 10– $14.99
Draw student attention with these gourmet-scented, environmentally friendly pencils. An alternative to wooden pencils, Smencils® are made from 100% recycled newspapers! Individually packed in their own freshness tubes, the ten “scent”-sational fragrances are guaranteed to keep their wonderful aromas for two years. Includes 10 Smencils®, one of each scent, in a handy zipper storage bag.
Get your Smencils® here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/smencils-reg-%2C+set+of+10.do?sortby=ourPicks&sortby=&&from=Search
With the holidays around the corner, we understand that shopping can be stressful and pricey! Here is a list of great preschool gift ideas—all under $25!
Puppet-on-a-Stick™ (set of 3)– $23.99
Three oversized, easy-to-handle puppets on sticks inspire imaginative play with silly faces, movable mouths and endless possibilities.
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game™– $21.99
This award-winning preschool game develops matching and sorting skills, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and pre-handwriting skills. To top it off, it’s fun to play with the whole family. What more can you ask for?
Get your copy at your local Target or here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/the+sneaky%2C+snacky+squirrel+game–8482-.do?sortby=ourPicks&sortby=&&from=Search#
Magic Moves® Electronic Wand– $19.99
Nothing gets the kids up and movin’ like Magic Moves! Ninety fun physical commands, twinkling light shows, and 26 musical tunes to get little ones up and moving! This powerful wand not only gets them exercising, but it also promotes creativity and listening skills. Perfect for indoor play on rainy or cold winter days!
BBQ Blitz!®– $24.99
This burger building bonanza helps work fine motor skills, color recognition, and matching while having a flipping-fun time with the whole family.
Get your grill on here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/bbq+blitz!–174-.do?from=Search#
Buck, Buck, Moose!™ Game– $12.99
Buck, Buck, MOOSE! This fast-action, color-matching card game is perfect for preschoolers! This riveting ranger game will help your little ones with color matching, speed, and sportsmanship.
Check out the forest fun here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/buck%2C+buck%2C+moose!–8482-+game.do?from=Search#
‘Tis the season for tiny gifts! Today, we’re featuring great gifts for stocking stuffers, Hanukkah, and Kwanza all under $20! Make sure you don’t miss out on these wonderful goodies!
Travel Blurt!™ —$12.99
Take the fun of Blurt™ on the go! This hilarious, fast-paced, word-defining race game is now small enough to take with you anywhere! Great for a quick game in the car, waiting room, and even while waiting for a meal at a restaurant.
Check it out here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/travel+blurt!–174-.do?from=Search
Perfect for puzzle lovers everywhere, this on-the-go, brain-twisting solitaire game is sure to challenge even the most formidable player. Playable in either 2-D or 3-D, this travel game ranges from basic to deviously hard and includes a 48-page illustrated book of puzzles waiting to be completed! It’s the perfect gift to keep even the biggest brainiac busy!
See more here:http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/kanoodle-trade-.do?from=Search
Playfoam® Classic 4-Pack– $4.99
Playfoam allows preschoolers to express their creativity—with no mess to clean up afterward! It’s squishable, shapable, squashable fun that never dries out. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for the little artist in your home!
Check out more Playfoam here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/playfoam–174-+classic+4-pack.do?sortby=ourPicks&sortby=&&from=Search#
Only the speediest word-builders win this quick-thinking, head-to-head word game. Featuring letters and letter combinations that promote reading, vocabulary expansion, and spelling skills, KaBAM™ is the perfect fast-action word game for word lovers!
Check out this rapid word-building game right here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/kabam!–8482-.do?from=Search#
Race to crack the case using only 3-letter words! This game is no ordinary mystery and is deceptively tough for its size. If you’re looking to add a challenge to your next game night, TriTective™ will do the trick!
Learn more about TriTective here: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/tritective–8482-.do?from=Search#