Tag Archives: Zingo Sight Words

Toy Fair 2013: Toy of the Year Awards

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Cocktail dress + snow boots, good thing NY Fashion Week is over!

After a monster pre-Toy Fair snow storm (fittingly named Nemo!) threatened to derail months of careful planning, the ThinkFun team braved the elements, the train gods smiled upon the DC-NY route, and we successfully made our way to New York for the show… and what a show it was!

Things kicked off on Saturday night with the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards celebration at The Plaza hotel!  While probably not a ThinkFun-worthy puzzle, my first challenge of the show was a race against time to get ready for the TOTY Awards en route to the city, meaning a Superwoman-style change into a cocktail dress on board the Acela train… not my finest hour but it got the job done!

The event was a wonderful celebration of some truly remarkable products – and we were thrilled to have three of our games (Roll & Play, Zingo Sight Words, and Swish) nominated for a record FOUR awards!

While we didn’t leave with any statues, it truly is an honor just to be nominated, and we were thrilled to have our games recognized in great company among this year’s winning games and toys.  Here are some highlights from the evening:

Photo: A fabulous event to kick off Toy Fair week! No statues tonight but so proud to celebrate our 4 Toy of the Year nominees, congrats to this year's deserving winners!

Zingo! Sight Words and Roll & Play pose with their fellow nominees for Educational Toy of the Year!

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The ThinkFun team awaits the start of the show!

Sweet! Hosts passed around popcorn and cotton candy to up the excitement

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ThinkFun CEO Andrea Barthello presents a TOTY Award

But wait! We didn’t leave entirely empty-handed! ThinkFun was recognized with a Play Connects Award for our nomination of The National Lekotek Center, a  non-profit that supports children with special needs, for a $10,000 grant! We are thrilled to support the wonderful work they do, and this award represents much-needed funding that will go to a very worthy cause.

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Andrea Barthello accepts the Play Connects Award

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The Play Connects Award – fittingly constructed of Tinker Toys!

The TOTY Awards were a fabulous way to kick off a great show – a big congrats to this year’s deserving winners!

ThinkFun Celebrates FOUR Toy of the Year Nominations – Vote Now!

Yesterday was a VERY exciting day for ThinkFun!  I flew up to NY for the Toy Industry Association press conference to announce the nominees for the 2013 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards.

After being treated to a performance on the Bryant Park skating rink (by a professional, me on ice would not be a treat!), attendees gathered to hear the nominees revealed…

This year there were a record number of submissions (nearly 650!) for the 11 award categories… so you can imagine my delight to learn ThinkFun received a record FOUR nominations for Toy of the Year Awards!

The Nominees are (drum roll please…)

Roll & Play – Infant/Toddler Toy of theYear
Roll & Play – Educational Toy of the Year
Swish – Innovative Toy of the Year
Zingo! Sight Words – Educational Toy of the Year

After the nominees were announced (I refrained from inappropriate hooting and hollering!), I spent time checking out the competition, oogling the light-up Cinderella dress (so perfect for the TOTY Awards dinner!) and showing off my sub-par Nerf-catching skills

Hooray for Roll & Play! Celebrating the nomination with the wonderful Sherry Artemenko of www.playonwords.com

The best thing about the TOTY Awards is that they are decided to a large extent by YOU!  Vote now by clicking the games listed above or visiting www.toyawards.org and you could win a fabulous prize pack! (Voting ends Jan. 13th.)

THANK YOU for voting and for spreading the word, fingers crossed this will be ThinkFun’s year to take home the statue(s) at the TOTY Awards… I am reserving my fiber-optic Cinderella dress just in case :)

More Flashcards Please! (said no one ever!)

As any teacher or parent of an emerging reader will tell you, there are certain key words that children must learn in order to become fluent readers.  These words, called Sight Words, are words like “of” and “the” that appear frequently and are often not spelled phonetically.  Children must learn to recognize and read these words by sight, as stopping to sound them out would slow reading speed down significantly and make it difficult to promote comprehension.

Sight words (photo courtesy of Toys Are Tools blog)

So how do we learn these words?  For many, flashcards are an obvious choice since these are words learned through repetition that must be recognized at first sight… but how dull!  As a kindergarten teacher, I had a massive Sight Word Wall where we posted words like these throughout the year to practice and to build familiarity, and many other creative exercises and ideas have been shared by teachers, therapists, and parents to make learning more fun (just go to Pinterest and search for the term!).

Because learning these Sight Words is such a fundamental piece of becoming a successful reader, I am beyond thrilled that ThinkFun came out with Zingo! Sight Words!  This game uses the addictive fun of the Zingo! Zinger (I mean seriously addictive – have you ever tried to pry that thing away from a 5 year old?!) and modified game play to feature 26 critical Sight Words.

We love these fun photos of playtime with Zingo! Sight Words

No more flashcards! Zingo Sight Words builds reading muscles through play!

These words were selected by teachers and language therapists in the US and Canada from the 220 words on the official Dolch Sight Words list as the most important words for young readers to practice.

 

But don’t take my word for it, Zingo! Sight Words was awarded the Play Advances Language (PAL) Award for supporting language development through play and chosen by the organization as a top 10 game for 2012!  Read more in this press release.

Check out this amazing expert review of the game on the Toys Are Tools blog.  I love this blogger’s photo (and the word she invented in the accompanying caption!) – learning in action!

See how fast this kid's hand is? He Zingo-cizes regularly. He started playing Zingo when he was two

Do you have a creative way of reinforcing or teaching sight words?  I’d love to hear it!

Zingo by candlelight…

I hope you and your family are safe and sound in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We were very fortunate not to bear the worst of it in the DC area, and I’m thinking dry thoughts for friends in areas harder hit.

At our house, Sandy meant an epic foosball tournament.  In between rounds (or for me, losses),  I saw a wonderful trend emerging in my Twitter feed… seems when the lights go out, people get a lot more resourceful – and playful!

Some highlights:

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For one dad in NY, 20+ rounds of Zingo! just about did him in!

And finally, a silver lining to all that time spent playing… a dad reports a MAJOR victory!

  • @double21d: The streak is over!!! I finally beat my son at Zingo…

Our Facebook friends played their way through Hurricane Sandy too!

Do you play games when the lights go out? Which are your family’s favorites?!