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For the next month, all of our Sparkbox subscribers are going to receive a FREE CD and download from our great friend, Laurie Berkner!

We love Laurie’s music and we’re sure that you and your little one will to! In your next box, you’ll get Laurie’s Rocketship Run CD and a free download of our Lullabies CD.

Check her out at www.laurieberkner.com and on facebook. And enjoy your music time!!!

At Sparkbox, there’s NOTHING we take more seriously than the cleanliness of our toys. We employ an extensive process of sterilization and double-checking of each toy before we send them to your little one. We soak the toys in water and all-natural cleaning solutions, hand clean the toys with sanitary wipes pat and air-dry the toys and shrink-wrap them. 

We recently introduced a new step in the process…the steam cleaners.

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A lot of parents spend A LOT of time in the car. Picking up children, dropping off children, trips to the grocery store, and commuting to work only scratch the surface. So, why not give the same care you give your home to your car? Here are a few tips to keep your home away from home in order and ready for whatever comes next. 

Keep it sparse

Start fresh by emptying everything out of your car. Reintroduce essentials. Then once a month or as needed, take five minutes and remove non-essentials from your car.

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Sparkbox - for the toy lover who’s short on space!

Name:
Vanessa D’Auria

Professional Background:
Speech-Language Pathologist
Education:
BS, Penn State
MS, Teachers College, Columbia University
 
Location:
Long Island City, NY

Website:

1. Where do you live? Where are you from?

I grew up in Queens and currently live in Long Island City

2. What is your background (educational and professional)?

I went to Penn State and then returned home to New York City to get my masters at Teachers College, Columbia University.  I’ve spent the majority of my career as a speech therapist working in inclusive preschools across NYC.  I left city life for the beaches and hiking trails of Hawaii in 2004 and was lucky enough to work at Kapa’a Elementary School out there. After a year of sunshine, I then hunkered down in NYC permanently, supervised graduate students at the Teachers College, Columbia University Communication Disorders Clinic and continued my work with children. 

3. What is your current profession?

I provide speech therapy and evaluations to children in Brooklyn, Queens and the city. After almost 13 years working in schools, I am happy to bring services right to your doorstep.  If you want to learn more about me or about the services I offer, please go to speechtherapyvanessadauria.com or email me directly at speechtherapynyc@gmail.com.

4. Tell us about yourself?

I love to walk and can often be seen with my dog, Pastina, heading over bridges, into parks and all over the city. I’m an adventure seeker and am passionate about traveling.  I’ve been swimming with whale sharks in Mexico (actually peaceful) and skydiving in New Zealand (also surprisingly peaceful).

5. What was your favorite toy (non-stuffed animal) growing up?

It’s a doll that I called Petie doll (named after one of my many cousins). I was born very premature and weighed less than 3 pounds. When my maternal grandparents arrived at the hospital to meet me, they brought Petie doll (the doll was bigger than me at the time). Petie doll is really a Fisher Price baby doll that I played with for years and years.  He still lives at my parents’ house in a box somewhere in the basement.

6. What do you look for when buying toys?

I look for toys that are multi-purpose: toys that can immediately be used in a variety of ways. Children always have the best and most creative ways to use toys. Playing with children and their toys has been part of my daily work for years, so I am often looking for toys that will keep kids’ attention and allow them to be creative and explore.

7. What is your favorite thing about SPARKBOX?

My favorite thing about SPARKBOX is that it’s not wasteful.  I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like to waste anything: time, food, etc.  SPARKBOX is not wasteful in the obvious way, first, by reusing toys amongst members and then with children in needy schools. Second, it’s not wasteful in its toy choices:  this results in you saving time and money.  Toys are chosen very carefully so that you get your money’s worth and your kids get an interesting toy that will occupy their mind and their time.

Loving our new fan art!

So much fun was had at The New York Baby Show.  Thanks for stopping by the playroom and playing!

Thanks Havas Worldwide for a thoughtful report on the Sharing Economy featuring Sparkbox

From the moment children learn to put crayon to paper, we start collecting their creations. It can be difficult (impossible) to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Over the years, paintings, pasta necklaces, dioramas, and pipe cleaner trees can take over your home! Here are a few ways to decide what to keep, how to keep it, and how to let go of the rest.

What to keep

When your child comes home with a new piece, the first decision is to display it or store it. If you’re not going to display it, put it and others like it temporarily in a cardboard box in an accessible spot. Then every month or so, go through the items in the box, choosing a couple of favorites that you would like to keep. Be sure to label the work with your child’s name and age. Go ahead and review the items on display, too. There might be newer pieces you’d like to choose to replace them.

How to keep it

Store items you want to keep but don’t want to display in acid-free boxes. Place boxes in a temperate location to prevent exposure to insects or excessive moisture. This way they’ll last for ever! Another great way to keep a record of your child’s art without taking out a storage unit is to take photos and create a photobook. There are many websites that make this easy. Artkive is an app that is specifically for creating books of children’s’ artwork. Tell your child you are archiving their artwork in a book like they would at a museum! Framing extra special pieces will also make your child feel special. The DaVinci Frame is a visually clean way to display and store art without taking up too much space.

How to get rid of the rest

At the end of the school year, (or calendar year if your child is not in school yet) review all remaining art and make your final decisions. Be considerate of your child and discard any pieces you decide aren’t keepers in a bag and throw it out when your child is not around. You will have one unhappy child if they see one of their drawings in the trash.

No matter what you decide to keep or discard, make sure you properly store and display the keepers.

Alternatively, you could encourage your child to express themselves through song and dance so you don’t have to make these tough decisions. Instead, you’d probably have tons (more) of video, which we’ll save for another day. :)