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Coping with Kids: Move over, paper dolls

Tribune-Review
| Monday, November 24, 2014 9:00 p.m

Move over, paper dolls, Lotty Dotty is here

Lotty Dotty is an adorable line of “dolls” with Velcro outfits that can be easily interchanged. No grandma worth her weight in paper dolls will be able to resist them.

Lotty comes on T-shirts for little ones, sized for ages 3 to 10. Order long-sleeve or short-sleeve T’s in a variety of colors, choose one of five dolls you’d like to have embossed on the front, and then pick the outfits for interchangeable dress-up play.

Prices range from $20 to $45, depending on the style and number of outfits. Additional dresses can be ordered.

For older “girls,” Lotty Dotty is available on tote bags that double as iPad covers for $40.

Details: LottyDotty.com

Excavation imagination lets kids build dinoasurs

A visit to a natural-history museum might prompt a child to wonder how paleontologists piece together dinosaur skeletons. With “Excavate! Dinosaurs Paper Toy Paleontology” (Storey, $12.95), by Jonathan Tennant and Vladimir Nikolov, they can try it for themselves.

The field-guide section offers details on 12 dinosaurs, which can be used to identify the bones in the dig sites. That knowledge can be used to pop out cardboard bones and build 3D dinosaurs of their own. For age 8 and older.

Ready, aim, fire these devices

What is it about shooting things that kids like so much? If you are looking for high-energy activities that build hand-eye coordination, cooperation, and teamwork, you’ll want to check these out.

Air Storm Firetek Bow and Z Tek: (Zing) The Firetek is the latest addition to Zing’s exciting Air Storm line of archery toys. The bow and the arrows (actually whistling, screaming foam darts that can fly more than 100 feet) light up, making Firetek just as much fun at night as it is during the day. The Z-Tek bow-and-arrow sets look similar, but they don’t light up. The line is built with safety in mind: The launch mechanism works only with Zing’s foam darts. For age 8 and older. Firetek is $29.97; Z-Tek is $20.

Atomic Shield Popper: (Hog Wild) Generally speaking, shooting toys are offensive weapons, and few people ever consider the need for defense. The folks at Hog Wild have come up with an ingenious way of combining both functions: Load foam balls into the gravity-fed launch system, pull back the “hammer” and let ’em rip — right through the shield, which is perfect for protecting you from return fire from the bad guys. For age 4 and older. $20.

iDrive sunglasses: (iDrive) One could argue that sunglasses don’t have all that much to do with shooting. But these iDrive glasses would be the exception. Their polarized lenses all but eliminate glare, which makes it a lot easier to focus on your target. For age 5 and older. $69.99 at www.izonesunglasses.com

Curbing the holiday spending frenzy

The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, a nonprofit organization based in Boston, has a downloadable guide to help adults curb the gift-giving frenzy. Some advice, much of it adapted from the nonprofit:

• Limit kids’ exposure to commercial media.

• Have talks well in advance to shift children’s focus away from getting gifts to other aspects of the holidays — decorating the tree, attending seasonal concerts, spending time with relatives.

• Read stories about the origins of the holidays you celebrate.

• Emphasize the nongift-giving portions of the holidays. Homemade cookies, anyone?

• Instead of giving your children only toys, give some gifts that are experiential, including the promise of spending time together on a project.

• Emphasize the importance of helping others.

Details: commercialfreechildhood.org

— Staff and wire reports

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