I had to learn more about these awesome toys, so I poked around the Internet until I came across Amanda Raichelle, the Independent Educational Leader and Discovery Toys Consultant at www.4aboy.ca. Amanda, a self-professed "toy lady" who has long loved toys even before Discovery Toys was a part of her life, is pretty much everything you could ever want in a Discovery Toys consultant. Amanda is friendly, enthusiastic, and incredibly knowledgeable on all things child development related.
Anyone can shop online for Discovery Toys products, as long as they find their local consultant's website or contact information, but I wanted to have the full-on Discovery Toys party experience. Yesterday afternoon, we held a party in the common room of my building, and let me tell you, it was an absolute blast. I want to share the process with you because I really think it's a worthwhile and totally fun thing to do with your friends and family. If you are in the Vancouver area, I strongly suggest you contact Amanda Raichelle to help you host one.
So, here's how you go about planning a party. The party planning process was fairly simple, once you've set a date. Setting the date and time was actually the most difficult part for me because I wanted to ensure it was the time frame where the vast majority of my friends could attend. I knew it had to be a weekend, that it couldn't occur during "naptime" (usually 1pm around these parts), and that it didn't happen during another huge popular event. Sunday September 30th at 3pm-5pm was the best time for us as it met all the above criteria. I think I had suggested 3-4 dates before this one, and Amanda was able to accommodate them all, and I kept being a pest and changing it up; she was so very patient with me about all this, too!
Once the date was set, I invited people both in person and through email. I printed an invite on pretty paper, and stuffed them into my purse to pass to people at Aias's preschool, playgroups we attend, and to local friends I see in person on a regular basis. For people who lived further away or who I didn't often see in person, I sent out the same wording but in a more personalized email. I explained that this was similar to a Tupperware party but with toys, to be really clear that there would be a sales component to the party.
Between sending out the invitations and the actual party itself, there wasn't a lot of preparation on my part at all. I basically had to just continue to remind people about the party and think of additional people to invite. I also reminded people that if they weren't able to attend the party but still wanted to place an order, they could do so at www.4aboy.ca and could search my name as the host.
When the actual party day arrived, it took little to no preparation on my part. I stopped in at the grocery store in the morning and picked up some simple snacks (veggies, crackers, chips, cookies, fruit, some dips, juice, and soda water) and then spent the rest of the morning completely stress-free at the Word on the Street Festival. I returned home about an hour before the party began to meet Amanda and to set up.
When Amanda arrived, it was amazing; her car contained four giant Discovery Toys duffle bags and inside those bags were... a PARTY! Amanda really has her act together when it comes to throwing these parties; I've thrown Tupperware parties before where the consultant comes with a small suitcase of products and it's fairly unexciting, but Amanda showed up with just about every single toy in the catalogue, tablecloths and signage. Within a few minutes our common room looked like a veritable toy showroom!
|This is a poor representation as it is a cell phone picture taken when she was just starting to set up, but you get the idea. This is a serious and professional operation!|
Amanda is capable of accommodating anyone's preferences and needs when it comes to a party, but she did say she mostly does mom's night outs, parent workshop style parties, or showers. She does have lots of experience in doing parties with children present as well, and that was the kind of party this was. While a few of my friends were able to attend the party sans-kids, the majority of them needed to bring their kids and it was a mixed age group, so instead of a structured presentation, Amanda set the room up to have toy stations. When the kids came in the room, they IMMEDIATELY took to the stations. The parents were able to grab a drink or some snacks and sit down and have a look at the catalogue because the kids were so enthralled with the toys.
The first thing every child did, regardless of age, was go toward this toy, the Castle Marbleworks:
|And Mommy Makes 3's kids playing with my friend Keely's kids, they looooved this toy!|
For the first hour and fifteen minutes of the two hour party, the kids wandered around just checking out all the toys and exploring, while the parents had a chance to really chat with Amanda about which toys would be not only the most fun for their kids, but the most developmentally beneficial. It was almost eerie how, during the that first hour or so, the kids were so incredibly focused, it seemed a lot quieter than it should have been! I mean, we are talking about a room full of boisterous 3 year olds!
By the end of the party everyone had played hard, eaten some nice treats, gotten their orders in, one lucky person won free shipping, and the party was over! It was a simple clean up and then Amanda packed up her party and drove off into the sunset (heh!).
People who want to host parties are probably interested in the perks; why hold a party in the first place? Well, I'm sort of a dork and 90% of the reason I hosted the party was just for fun. Another huge part of why I hosted it is because I'm genuinely interested in these toys, both for my own son and for my Family Child Care, and I don't find you can really get an appreciation of the toys just by seeing them online or in a catalogue. Having the opportunity to see the toys in person, play with the toys and observe your child playing with the toys, is invaluable and totally validates your purchases. I am not very good at looking at something in a picture online or in a catalogue and getting a full idea of what it's like. The toys I ended up choosing were toys I would not have pinpointed from a photo had I not been able to interact with them in person.
When you host a Discovery Toys party, you definitely get some tangible benefits as well. For example, you are giving a percentage of the total sales in form of credits to purchase toys. If one of your guests books a party, you also get a half off toy. My party had about 8 guests and I earned some credit and was also able to buy a half-off toy. For my half off toy, I chose the Motor Works which was $38.50 full price, on sale for $33, and then half off... $16.50! I used my credits to buy the MagFun (discontinued) and Playful Patterns. After shipping and tax, I ultimately got $115 worth of toys for $36.
I want to take the time now to do two things: first, I want to announce that from October 1st to October 10th, Aias Dot Ca is holding a Discovery Toys party of it's own! If you go to www.4aboy.ca and see anything you wish to purchase, you can place your order through our party! To find us as a host, search:
First Name: Aias
Last Name: Dotca
Second...Amanda is giving away my favourite Discovery Toy to one lucky Aias Dot Ca reader:
The Giant Pegboard is my favourite toy for a few reasons:
- The board comes with 25 colourful pieces: a square, a triangle, a circle, a shaky star, and a hexagon in red, orange, green, blue and purple. These pieces can be patterned, stacked, sorted, and arranged with inifinite possibility. The set actually comes with cards that give you ideas, but if you Google various preschool montessori activities, these pieces can be used in place of those activities too. For $30, you get unlimited activities with your kid.
- The age range on this toy means you'll be able to use it for a really long time. The toy says 19+ months on it, and it goes well into primary school. The toy itself won't change, but the activities your kids use it for will evolve and change over the years.
- If you flip the toy over... it's a geoboard on the back!
At the end of the day when we are putting all the toys away, I love putting this one away. I play a little brain exercise when I do it... lining all the pieces up in order by color and shape. Very dorky, but a good chance to keep my brain working!
If you would like to win one of these, courtesy of Amanda at www.4aboy.ca, enter to win below! And PLEASE share this with your friends and family!
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