Product Review: 1-2-3 Just Play with Me by Milestones and Miracles
For today’s post, I have the pleasure of reviewing of a lovely product by Milestones and Miracles. While this is a product review, I have also peppered in some of their helpful tips and shared additional links, so you can still learn a thing or two in the process. Let’s get started!
What is it?
1-2-3 Just Play with Me was created and by Lacy Morise, MS, CCC-SLP a fellow speech language pathologist and Nicole M. Sergent, MPT a physical therapist. It is a set of interactive cards created to mark milestones and stages from birth to 3 years old. There are a total of 75 cards with detailed information on both sides. The first 56 cards describe various milestones expected for an age and include some fun activities and strategies to help promote an expected milestone and cover each of the following 5 stages:
Thinking and Learning (cognitive development)
Talking and Understanding (speech and language development)
Hand in Hand Play (fine motor development)
Moving and Grooving (gross motor development)
Friends and Feelings (social and emotional development)
Additionally, there are 19 cards entitled Beyond Play which include even more references and specialized tips. The information ranges from sleep tips for babies and toddlers, to toilet training advice, to book recommendations, suggestions on how to introduce solid food and more! All the cards are numbered and color coded which makes it easy to put in order, sift through, and reference.
I immediately became excited about this product when I read the phrase, “Protecting Play” across the front of the box. At that moment I realized that Lacy, Nicole and I share a similar philosophy regarding the importance of play and how we need to “protect” it. I also really liked, that their product is beautifully packaged. The box is nice and sturdy and the matte finished cards are durable and of high stock quality. Since the product is so pretty and functional, it would make a great baby shower gift!
Why do I like it?
There are several reasons why I like 1-2-3 Just Play with Me. As I mentioned before, I felt particularly drawn to this product, because I also believe in the power of play and its significance in the development of babies and toddlers. In an age where children are pressured to grow up quickly and to exceed expectations, it’s easy to forget that children are children and need to time to play and relax. As Dr. Stephen Cowan stated in his insightful article, 11 Things I Wish Every Parent Knew, “Growth and development are not a race”. I agree with Dr. Cowan. Lacy and Nicole seem to echo a similar belief when they explain one motivating reason as to why they created this product: “The typical American family now spends 30 hours a week in front of a TV or computer. Where do our infants and toddlers fit into this statistic? Have you walked into a toy store lately? We are selling laptops, cell phones, and unaccountable number of toys that teach letters and numbers to our babies!” (Protecting Play card of 1-2-3 Just Play with Me). It’s sad but true. Nowadays it’s very hard to find toys without the bells and whistles and promise that this toy will do promote x, y, and z. On their card, My Toy Box (card 71), Lacy and Nicole nicely outline their favorite toys by the type of play (e.g. cause and effect vs. motor skills).This card can help parents select developmentally appropriate toys that will promote certain skills.
How did I use it?
As a first time mommy to a 12 month old, I found this product very helpful. Since my little girl has been busy cruising around the house and getting her little hands into everything, I was particularly interested in learning how to better promote her gross and fine motor development. After reading the introductory cards, I quickly flipped right to the 10 to 12 month old cards and carefully read all the information.
I started with “Hand in Hand Play” for Fine Motor Development (card 31). I play a lot with my daughter, I mean a whole lot. As a pediatric speech language pathologist, I pride myself on being resourceful and knowledgeable when it comes to play and child development. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I haven’t even tried half of their “Strategies to Share”, highlighted on the back of the card. This made me really excited because I love trying new techniques. I can’t reveal all of them, but I’m happy to tell you about how I tried two of their suggestions!
- Scribbling with Crayons (supervised, of course!) I never would have thought to do this with my daughter, as I thought she was too young, but she had an absolute blast! They recommended a regular sized crayon because they’re apparently easier for a child her age to grasp, so that’s what I used.
- Pulling from a “Feelie Box”. Some time ago I discovered that my daughter loved pulling random items out of a bag. Fortunately, this would entertain her long enough for me to enjoy a cup of coffee. However, recently she grew bored of this. I took the suggestion from 1-2-3 Just Play with Me and hid a mix of different textured objects (spoon, small plush toy, ball, play keys) into a box with a small opening so that she couldn’t see what was inside. This small change made a big difference! Now, I have an activity that she can independently do while I sip coffee.
Thinking and Learning (card 29) for Cognitive Development and Friends and Feelings (card 35) for Social Emotional Development were also very well designed and insightful. I was familiar with some of the strategies, but reading them provided many useful reminders (the danger of saying “no” too much) and made me more aware on how to observe my child while playing (e.g if I hand a cup or toy upside down, will she turn it around to the functional side?).
Then, I moved onto the “Moving and Grooving” (cards 32- 34) for Gross Motor Development. I found some very helpful information here as well! As a mentioned, my daughter is a mover and will pull up on furniture, on our dog and anything else possible. She also loves holding onto your hands when attempting to walk across the room. Well, I learned some fantastic strategies to facilitate her walking!! Here are two:
- Supported Walking. When holding your child’s hands to walk, 1-2-3 Just Play with Me recommends keeping both hands at the chest level and not above as this helps her stay well-balanced. This makes perfect sense yet how many times when I “walked” with my daughter did I hold her hands much higher than her chest? This was a fantastic and much needed suggestion for me!
- Joint Compressions. Try giving joint compressions at the hips so your child can get a sense of her body in space. Following their recommendations, I held Kerri at the hips and provided firm pressure toward the ground with my hands. After doing this, I slowly removed my hands and she was able to stand for a few seconds by herself! Giving the joint compressions did increase her sense of stability!
Of course, since I’m a speech language pathologist, and love reading about language development, I had to read over “Talking and Understanding” (card 30) for Speech and Language Development. Once again, I was very impressed! This product included some wonderful ways to develop your child’s language. Lacy emphasized the importance of reading books to your child everyday (I do this!). She also highlighted how babies enjoy looking at real photographs. This is so true. My daughter tends to view books longer if they have real photographs in them. Currently, one of her favorite books is Baby Touch and Feel: Farm which contains real photographs and only has one image per page.
While I was reading this particular card, I found myself repeatedly saying, “Yes, that’s so true” or, “I totally agree!”
Who would like this product?
All parents of children from birth to 3 years old would like and benefit from this product. I consider myself pretty well-read and hands on and even I learned some new tricks and tips! While 1-2-3 Just Play With Me is not inexpensive, I believe it’s worth the cost because it’s very high quality and contains interesting information from two experienced professionals who have taken the time to create a very beautiful and useful product.
To learn more about this wonderful product, please click here!
Thank you, Lacy and Nicole for allowing me to review your product. Please note that I received this product for free and receive no compensation for recommending it.
Kimberly Scanlon, M.A. CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist practicing in Bergen County, NJ. She provides speech therapy through her private practice Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC located in Ramsey, NJ.