Educational Toys As Baby Gifts – Finding Unique and Educational Baby Gifts

Often when one thinks about educational toys, the first things to come to mind are toys or videos designed for certain skills, such as learning numbers or the alphabet. These can be video sets like Baby Einstein or flashcards with pictures of animals, numbers, or letters colorfully displayed on the cards. While many of these items are ideal for a toddler or even some preschool-age children, many of them are too advanced for a baby. If you’re looking to give your baby – or a baby you’re buying a shower present for – a head start, some educational toys are available. But, especially for children under one year, educational toys are referred to as “stimulation toys” or “infant stimulation.”

Infant stimulation toys are designed to stimulate the five senses, or, at this point, sight, touch, and hearing. As a baby has unfocused vision and hearing and is unable to use its fingers, these toys are designed to help a baby use these senses. For example, many baby toys and crib items are designed in black, white, and red – both solid colors and patterns – as the sharply contrasting colors are more visible to a baby’s eyes than primary colors. Objects like a mobile, a play mat, rattles, and even the edge of a baby crib mirror are designed with this color combination to enhance and “stimulate” a baby’s vision. These objects, in addition, are coupled with hearing features, such as music or sounds that come out when a baby touches it. To enhance touch, even when a baby can’t fully use its hands, a play mat or any other crib objects may be made of different textures or sounds, such as crinkling or jingling, that a baby can make when lying down on or rolling on a play mat or touching a stuffed animal.

As soon as a baby is capable of using its fingers to some degree, toys now have touching, grasping, and holding purposes and this extends past infancy through toddler stages. Only, for toddlers, toys start to have pretend and creative purposes to help a child start emulating the behavior of adults, which, as he or she becomes more aware of the world surrounding, he or she wants to imitate.

If you’re looking for a baby gift, the possibilities for an educational toy don’t end with videos and flashcards. Many baby items, which can be given as baby shower gifts, have the black-white-red color scheme and other toys allow a baby or child to use his hands. In fact, many baby toys have an educational purposes, and even baby gifts of colored block sets, musical toys, play sets, or dolls have an educational and stimulation purpose for children under three years of age.

Kids Music – Discovering and Maximizing the Benefits of Children’s Music

Numerous articles have been written about the positive effects of music on early childhood development. Known for promoting succinct communication, enhancing comprehension and encouraging learning, music is regarded as an essential teaching tool. The use of music for educational purposes, however, should not be limited to the classroom.

Children’s music offers a unique opportunity for parents to support their child’s development. Content specific children’s music may be used to teach and reinforce traditional preschool and elementary school material. Such music also may be used to instill healthy eating and living habits. Parents should carefully select children’s music containing substantive, educational messages to maximize their child’s learning potential.

Children’s music also offers a unique opportunity for parents to enhance their child’s communications skills. Kids learn by mimicking sounds and internalizing messages. Parents should expose their children to music containing correctly pronounced words, speech patterns and sentence structure to ensure proper development.

To take advantage of these benefits, parents should not only select the proper music to play, but also determine the best times to play it. Children benefit from consistency and repetition, so setting a music routine is essential. A schedule could include playing music on the way to school, during playtime and prior to going to bed. The key is to turn recess and otherwise mundane, daily events, such as riding to school, into educational experiences.

Opportunities to discover, purchase and use music for educational purposes have never been so great. The prevalence of CD and MP3 players and the ability to find just about anything on the internet make this the perfect time for adults to introduce educational children’s music into a child’s daily routine. Whether a parent, a grandparent or a family friend, you could make a tremendous impact on a child’s life simply by taking the time to share the music.

How to Make Video Slideshows in Minutes

For many people, just the thought of making video slides is irritating and confusing in itself. In reality, the process is quite easy and straightforward if you can plan ahead what to present, base on your goals and expectations out of making the video. This guide will help you to speed up the process by breaking it down to easy step by step instructions.

Unlike what the majority would like to think, even casual video makers who use slideshows as presentations, promotional material, educational and/or other purposes will have to admit that making video can be very time consuming and frustrating without proper organization and efficient way of executing the tasks.

The first step is to evaluate your use and end-result outcome to see if it needs background music. Start by asking yourself some basic questions, like: Does my video need quality and highly relevant soundtracks to complement its slides? Or is it better to keep the whole presentation mute so I can do the speaking? Or perhaps shall I record my own voice and put it all together in one package?

It is important that you decide on this upfront, as music are quite often time draining tasks, which require you to sit down and test out different samples.

So what’s next on the list? You guess it – graphic images and pictures of course. To speed up the selection process and simplify the uploading task, it helps to label images using plain numbers. The first image to appear in you slideshow should start with number “1″, the next – number “2″, and so on… Also try to keep file extensions the same through out all pictures used.

Another important note on graphic files is the dimension ratio. For example: if your image is a long rectangle that is twice as long as its width, then the ratio is 2:1. Ideally you should save all other following images in the same ratio. This is because video making programs like Windows Movie Maker would automatically add black border around your pictures to fill in the screen if the ratios don’t match.

When your music (if any) and pictures are ready, group them into separate mini-folders and keep all of them under one main folder named with descriptive text (e.g. your project title). Next, open you preferred video maker program and start uploading the pictures. Add any transition effects to your liking. Put in the music (if applicable) and hit the “make video” button.

Even if you decided to narrate the video, do it after you have got the initial slideshow file (with optional embedded background music). This is much easier then trying to speak and record your voice over unedited images.

This final step is optional – optimizing the video for maximum quality and minimum disk space.

With some experience making videos, you should be able to get this process working really well and create quality video slides in matter of minutes.