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Screen-Free Week…how did it go?!

Screen-Free Week 2012 ended yesterday, and as always I am sad to see it go. For me, the best part about Screen-Free Week is that I have the best excuse for turning off Twitter and Facebook. Although both Twitter and Facebook help Empowered by Play reach a broader audience, and help me share information as [...]

LEGO Friends vs. LEGO Education: What’s the lesson here?


“Those aren’t real LEGO minifigs!” my son said, as he watched a commercial for the new LEGO Friends line. “What do you mean?” I asked. “They aren’t real minifigures. That’s not what LEGOs look like!” His brother shook his head in literal disbelief as he watched. “I know a lot of girls who [...]

Reasonable Risks

“Why do you have your sneakers on?” I asked my son the other evening. It was about 5:30 pm and I’d just gotten home from my work with Head Start teachers.  I then realized he was standing by the front door with his baseball glove on his hand. His twin brother came up beside him, [...]

What is the Big Deal About Blocks?

“What is the big deal about blocks?” Melitsa Aliva asked me this question earlier this week. We were recording a podcast for her show, Raising Playful Tots ,  based in the UK.  Blocks  have been a longtime favorite of mine, and I have been advocating even more for block play as the pushy digital world [...]

Thank you, Ultimate Block Party!

One thing is for sure: families are hungry for opportunities to play. Yesterday’s Ultimate Block Party in Central Park was a very busy place. Families waded through the crowds and waited on lines for a chance to build, pretend, create and more. My sons were disappointed to be turned away from the [...]

Small moments

Last night after dinner, my sons begged and begged to watch a DVD. We don’t have television, and we have a “No DVD on school nights” rule.  I stood firm and upheld the rule. Oh, my goodness, were there tears.  “It’s okay,” I said.  “You can be sad.”  One son, looking outside and seeing the [...]

Doing More with Less this Holiday Season

As we enter the gift-giving season, the stress of what to buy and how to pay for it begins to mount. Take heart… Here are ideas to delight and inspire your family. The good news is, these smart choices for your family are not budget-busters. Above all, keep in mind that the most valuable [...]

Erector sets and engineering

My last post about building with LEGOs reminded me of a revealing passage in The Power of Play by David Elkind, Ph.D. The following passage comes from the chapter “Toys Aren’t Us”.

The need for hands-on play is now recognized in higher education. In the school of architecture at Stanford University, students are required to [...]

Taking time to listen and learn…

As a teacher, and as a mother, I always look for opportunities to sit back, watch and listen as children play. For me, it is the best way to learn about how children make sense of the world. Consider a recent exchange between two five-year-olds playing with LEGOs: Child A: Let’s make a LEGO ferry. [...]

Today’s NY Times article on LEGO tie-ins

I wasn’t planning to write this weekend…but here you go!

Quick heads up that today’s NY Times has a great article about the direction that the LEGO company has taken – with media-linked toys, weapons, video games, etc. The article, Turning to Tie-ins, Lego Thinks Beyond the Bricks, talks about some of the issues [...]