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Reviews & Awards


School Library Journal

2018 Board Books: For Babies

Baby Sees Colors! by Akio Kashiwara


Here’s what I don’t get. We know that babies love and need high-contrast board books. We know that well-informed parents are always looking for them. And we know that board books consistently sell. So why is this particular kind of book, the high-contrast kind, so rare? Honestly, this is the only really good one I found in 2018. Where are all the others? Why isn’t every publisher creating a line of their own? The world may never know. At least this one’s stellar. That’s something.

San Diego Family

Back to School Books


Packed with 70 fun-first, thoroughly engaging, animal-based activities designed to enhance fine motor skills, focus, creativity, and problem-solving. Children will have a great time playing matching games, solving mazes, tracing, drawing, and more. The activities build on one another throughout the book, helping children to become more confident and independent as they go. Plus, this unique workbook comes with 80+ stickers which are used in certain activities, and as rewards for a job well-done....  SEE THE PAGE


The Parenting Patch

Learning Through Play with Play Smart Interactive Workbooks from Gakken Workbooks


Although I have used many different workbooks aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, the activities in the Play Smart workbooks are different from the activities in my current curriculum library. The activities are age-appropriate and help build essential skills. Each page begins with a note for parents about the skills that a child will practice. For example, the parents note on the ‘Let’s Color the Vegetables’ activity in Play Smart Early Learning 2+ reads: “This activity fosters your child’s ability to pick matching colors.  .... READ MORE 




This wipe-off monster activity book makes Halloween fun and exciting for elementary-aged kids. Each page features a challenge, story, or starter art that children can complete then wipe off for endless fun. Adorably spooky, Monster Magic makes a great addition to your child’s collection of Halloween picture books..... SEE THE PAGE


Woman of Many Roles

I Can Do It Books


Do you have little ones who are just learning to draw and cut or want to help them learn? What about preschool and kindergarteners who love drawing and coloring or cutting out paper. If you have a little one in your house then you should really invest in these three awesome books.These books are I Can Do It books and they are totally awesome and so much fun for kids. The three books are I Can Do That! Stickers, I Can Do That! Erasable Art, and I Can Do That! Origami. Every single one of these books are so fun and the kids I have come to my house love playing with them. This post is a sponsored post, but all opinions, stories, and my experience are all personal and true (like always)!.... SEE THE PAGE


Great Family Reads

The Best Board Books for Babies


I love board books! These virtually indestructible tomes make wonderful baby presents. They are small enough to slip into a purse to entertain a child on the go. Today I’m sharing some of our favorites. We also recommend these tips for reading with babies. Illustrator Akio Kashiwara set out to create the perfect board book for babies. The resulting Baby Sees Colors! is a hit sensation in Japan. Newly translated into English, my kids think it’s a great board book for the youngest readers! Looking for more proof? Check out this book’s following on Instagram!..... SEE THE PAGE

Parent (Central California)

Halloween Giveaway


Mummies, and vampires, and fart monsters, oh my! Monsters aren’t so scary in Monster Magic, a new wipe-off art activity book by La ZOO. Markers and crayons become magic wands as kids 3 and up follow La ZOO’s clever prompts to give a witch a manicure, feed pancakes to a ghost, build a spider’s web, and more. Then POOF. With the attached erasers (or a damp paper towel), kids erase to complete the spell. Wipe-off pages mean the possibilities are endless!.... SEE THE PAGE


5 things families should check out this month


5. "Monster Magic" book. This book from Japanese author and illustrator LaZOO will thrill — not scare. Forty pages of wipe-off activity will give your child plenty of holiday fun. Give a witch colorful fingernails and then snip them away. Draw cookies for the dessert monster and watch while he munches them right off the page. Discover that giants love meatballs and Dracula drinks juice while your little one enjoys turning spooky creatures into silly ones with her magic wand, an erasable marker. $12.99... SEE THE PAGE

now you see it cover.jpg

These Optical Illusions For Kids Are So Trippy, You're Going to Want to Check Your Eyesight


One of the most enjoyable things about optical illusions is the after-effect . . . the moment when you and whoever else you've done it with let out a collective, "ohhhh." If you think this experience is limited to adults, think again. Kids 5 and up can join you in the mind-blowing world of trick art with the release of Now You See It! (out Oct. 2). Families will be able to flip through countless visual hallucinations, PG, of course. Check out some standout visuals from the hardcover up ahead, and see if you or your kid (appropriate for ages 5 and up, remember!) can spot the perplexing images..... SEE THE PAGE


Kids Crafts - Inspire Their Creativity!

Book Review And Giveaway Monster Magic


Monster Magic – Scribble and Erase Book. by best-selling Japanese author/illustrator La ZOO

In this wipe-off activity book, erasable markers work like magic wands! Every wipe-clean page provides a challenge, a story, or a piece of starter art to be contemplated and completed by curious children from preschool age on up. Wielding an erasable marker, kids will discover that giants love meatballs, ice cream cones can become monsters, ghosts can appear and disappear, and that they have the power to turn spooky creatures into silly ones. .... SEE THE PAGE

Beyond the Bookends

Children’s New Releases Fall 2018


I read with my kids every night.  With my older two, sometimes we lie in the bed together and each read our own books.  Sometimes we listen to an audible book together and sometimes, we all gather in my youngest’s bed and read her picture books together.  Which books we have in the house is important to me because, if I don’t like the like a book, it won’t be read. This fall there are some amazing books that are coming out for the kids.  From renowned authors and Caldecott winning illustrators to first-time authors, there are some fantastic new releases coming out in the next few months. In fact,  there are so many that I’m having a hard time deciding which to read first..... SEE THE PAGE


Hiragana Mama

Play Smart by Gakken book review (and GIVEAWAY!)


I have three children, ages 10, 8, and 3. I often find myself in situations that involve a lot of waiting, especially with my 3-year old. Waiting for her older siblings while they participate in piano lessons and other extracurricular activities. Waiting at the airport. Waiting at the dentist’s office. Waiting for dinner to be made... SEE THE PAGE


Metrokids (South Jersey & Deleware)

Early Learning Fun


Stripes, swirls, polka dots - little ones as young as 6 weeks enjoy eye-catching hues and patterns .on each page of BABY SEE COLORS!, a board book from Japan that gaining popularity here... SEE THE PAGE (P.11)


New York Parenting - Where Every Child Matters.

‘I Can Do That!’ books encourage independence and creativity


These three charming interactive books from Gakken are popular in Japan. And they are now available for the first time in the U.S. They are

great for boosting skills over the summer. They are:

• Ideal for any-day play and quiet time.

• Perfect to pack for any car ride, flight, or train trip.

• Budget-friendly (and beloved) birthday and thank-you gifts.



The Review Stew

I Can Do That! Activity Books


Summer is here and parents everywhere are stockpiling games, activities, and great ideas for keeping their kids occupied an engaged. And now that school is starting soon (or has already!) you can also continue the learning at home with 3 new activity books that are budget-friendly, imaginative, and perfect for preschoolers who are bursting with creativity and eager to show off their independence.

I Can Do That! activity books are filled with fun, super-easy activities that empower children 3 and up to create amazing art, make cool paper-folding projects, and master mazes and other puzzles with adorable stickers. .... 


Rock Your Homeschool



Life gets busy.

Instead of doing homeschool in the comfort of your home, you may find the need to bring your homeschooling on the road. You can make homeschool on-the-go stressfree and enjoyable with these fun and easy tips and resources.

When you homeschool on-the-go, you save precious time as you make sure homeschooling happens. Life doesn’t always fit perfectly into cookie cutters. Homeschooling on-the-go helps you be smart about using your time so you can feel less stress and enjoy more fun ... SEE THE PAGE


Northeast Ohio Parent

Back-to-School Tools and Learning Products


Play Smart Brain Boosters 3+  is a fun activity book by Gakken that is filled with puzzles and games all designed to engage kids’ curiosity and imagination, while developing their love for learning. Activities include counting, matching, comparing, drawing and much more. The book also comes with more than 80 adorable stickers to add to the excitement; kids choose a reward sticker after finishing each challenge. A wipe-off activity board completes the package.
Ages 3 and older, $6.99.... 

Ann Arbor Family



This month, win three interactive books by I Can Do That! ($30 value!) perfect for preschoolers. Popular in Japan, these three books (Erasable Art by La Zoo, Origami, and Stickers) are now available for the first time in the U.S. and great for boosting skills, indoor play, and trips.

I Can Do That! Erasable Art by La Zoo features wipe-off pages filled with illustrations designed to get little ones to use their imaginations... SEE THE PAGE


Mom Does Reviews

#Win a Set of Play Smart Preschool Books Open to USA, ends 8/11 #MDRsummerfun [Giveaway]


This giveaway will have two (2) winners!

One winner will receive a set of the Play Smart Picture Puzzler Workbooks – A great collection of puzzle/activity books full of games and activities like cut & paste, coloring, matching, problem solving, and more!

One winner will receive a set of the Play Smart Wipe-offs Workbooks – Each book contains more than 60 activities to help with focus, fine motor coordination, school skills, and more. Plus, these pages can be wiped clean and used again for endless fun and practice! ... SEE THE PAGE


Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life

Fun Facts Friday [Giveaway]


10. Aren’t these little activity books adorable? We were recently sent a set of these I Can Do That! activity books from Gakken, which are filled with fun, super-easy activities like cool paper-folding projects, mazes, and other puzzles with adorable stickers..... SEE THE PAGE


Create. Play. Travel. Family Lifestyle

& DIY Ideas



Learning is so much fun when kids can draw, cut, fold paper and play with stickers! I Can Do That! books are a great resource to encourage kids to keep learning through the summer and into the school year. Each book provides a different interactive set of activities. My daughter loves stickers and the skill of peeling and placing individual stickers is a great activity to practice. The I Can Do That! Stickers book is perfect for her preschool learning stage because she has to use specific stickers to follow the directions on each activity page. She enjoyed decorating desserts with sticker accents and applying stickers to the matching and counting games, challenging mazes and engaging picture puzzles..... SEE THE PAGE


Imagination Soup

Keep Kids Engaged with the Latest, Greatest Activity Books


Originally from Japan, Gakken books are now available in the U.S. This is an adorable early learning reusable sticker book that helps kids with fine motor skills through math and problem-solving activities. They’ll see the stickers to match numbers to groups of things or matching shapes or going through a maze. I love the brightly colored illustrations in this, don’t you?!.... SEE THE PAGE

5 screen-free travel toys that keep my 4-year-old kid calm and content on long car trips and flights


Most of the time, a sticker is good for one sticking, for lack of a better term: A kid peels the thing off its sheet, plops it down somewhere and, that's that, the sticker has found its new permanent home and the fun is over. With the I Can Do That: Stickers Activity Book, the durable stickers can be reused time and time again, and as the book comes with 600 stickers and features 64 different colorful "game boards" to which they can be affixed, there are hours of potential fun here, and fun that's perfect for those hours spent strapped in a car seat....  SEE THE PAGE

Learning with Playtime This Summer #MDRsummerfun


I love using workbooks with my kids, whether just for extra skill practice or during their lessons. The kids enjoy the different colors, themes, and ideas that they see in the pages and almost look at them as non-school related fun activities. And I’m totally okay with that! During the summer break especially, or when we have some extended travel time, I make sure to keep some of these Play Smart Puzzler and Wipe-off Workbooks on hand to keep them busy. ...  SEE THE PAGE

Got a preschooler? These activity books from Play Smart are super fun!


Check them out & find out how you can win a set of 3 books! (2 winners-just watch & comment with which one you think your preschooler would like best)...  SEE THE PAGE

Sammy Approves

Looking for some easy and fun activities for your kids over the summer? I Can Do That! Activity books from Gakken are so much fun!


My toddler has loved creating easy origami that she can do, drawing and erasing on the erasable book, and sticker activity books are always fun. 🌞👧🏻I’ve partnered with Gakken to give 2 of my followers an I Can Do That activity book set for your littles! 💁🏼‍♀️ All you have to do is follow me and @gakken_playsmart then tag a friend in the comments. 2 winners will be randomly chosen Friday 7/20....  SEE THE PAGE

Shape Little Minds with Gakken Play Smart Workbooks + GIVEAWAY! Ends 7/30


I like to try to encourage my older kids to read and every year, I try to pick up workbooks to do with the younger ones. Then, we use them for our homeschooling preschool sessions during the school year. With hundreds of different books purchased at this point, I can say with complete honesty that the Gakken Play Smart Workbooks are the best fit we’ve found for our toddlers and preschoolers....  SEE THE PAGE

Giving Away 3 Activity Books Children Will Love!


3 Activity Books Children Will Love! A few weeks ago I gave you a list of 10 activities you could do with your grands this summer. Now I have something else to add to that list. I Can Do That activity books will keep your grands busy for hours. These books are budget-friendly, imaginative and perfect for preschoolers who are bursting with creativity and eager to show off their independence.

These books by Gakken are filled with fun, super-easy activities that empower children age 3 and up to create amazing art, make cool paper-folding projects, and master mazes and other puzzles with cute stickers.


entertaining educational books to help prevent summer slide


I’ve always believed that people learn better when the material is interesting and fun, and that the best learning happens when people don’t realize they’re learning. Gakken’s Play Smart workbooks are colorful, fun and engaging. These books would be great for introducing and reinforcing skills on summer break and throughouyt the school year, and also possibly a good fit for home schooling. The notes to parents thoughout the book are helpful....  SEE THE PAGE

Preschool Workbooks with Reward Stickers and Games


If you’ve been searching for preschool workbooks, keep reading to check out my thoughts on the Play Smart Picture Puzzlers Workbooks! These really are the best preschool workbooks I’ve found online. They are loaded with fun and engaging activities for your child including reward stickers and a wipe off board game....  SEE THE PAGE

Instagram Post


The four year old loves these fun workbooks from @gakken_playsmart .
There is something for everyone! These six new workbooks for kids ages 2 and up were created by teachers and child development experts. 📚
Each book is jam packed with more than 60 fun illustrated activities, a wipe-clean game board, and more than 80 colorful stickers, priced at $6.99.
They are perfect for quiet time at home and easy to pack for road trips and family vacations.... 

Activity Book Giveaway


Play Smart Picture Puzzlers activity books are the perfect combination of learning and fun! Designed for kids ages 2-4, these workbooks were created by experts to ensure that they appeal to kids' at each stage of learning (and they are super fun too).

They are more than just workbooks, with fun cut out activities, crafts, stickers, and more. They are the perfect solution to summer boredom!... 

Double Giveaway – Three “Play Smart” Workbooks For Ages 2+, 3+ and 4+!


What a great set of original workbooks from an awesome brand! I cannot wait to share these with my sister-in-law as my niece is 2 1/2!...  SEE THE PAGE

Play Smart Work Books Are A Wonderful Educational Tool For Children


Play Smart Workbooks are time-tested and kid-approved in Japan, and now they're award-winners in the US!  The workbooks are geared for ages 2, 3, and 4 and offer children the chance to learn while having fun.  Older children can focus on vocabulary building, math, pre-reading skills, fine motor skills, decision making, and more.  Younger tots can benefit from problem solving skills, picture puzzles, and color and shape pictures just to name a few..... .. SEE THE PAGE

Nanny to Mommy

Starting the New Year One Step Ahead with Play Smart Activity Books


Play Smart activity books have been raking in the awards! Early Learning 2+, Early Learning 3+, and School Skills 4+ have been given Family Choice Awards and Early Learning 3+ also won a National Parenting Product Award (NAPPA). "It's a great combination of learning and having fun. This is a fun activity book filled with puzzles, games, and art projects. We especially like the design and the colorful stickers that make the book engaging for early learning... .. SEE THE PAGE

Miniture Mastermind - Gakken Workbooks Play Smart Educational Early Learning, Skill Builders, And Brain Boosters

Gakken Play Smart Workbooks Make Learning Fun


Play Smart Workbooks fun adorable books created to build preschool skills in a fun and engaging way… meaning the art is SUPER adorable and interesting and the activities are uniquely creative. Each book is filled with a variety of activities from puzzles to tracing to matching to scissor skill practice. Something else also pretty interesting about this collection of books is that each book has a different dry erase page at the back with a fun age appropriate creative activity on it.. .. SEE THE PAGE

In Our Space Time - Never enough time for all the fun

Gakken Play Smart Workbooks Make Learning Fun


You want your child to learn and be ready for school time, but you want to make learning fun. Children that enjoy learning are more open to activities that help them learn throughout their lives. Lifelong learning is the key to job success in many cases.  Children as young as 2 years old will love Play Smart activity books. From the #1 educational publisher in Japan, the books were created by a team of developmental psychologists and child development experts to insure that the content, art and design appeal to children at each stage of their growth. .. SEE THE PAGE

Mommy Moment - Take a moment. You deserve it.



Learning can be fun – especially with Play Smart Workbooks!  Kids are curious and love to learn something, anything new.  Play Smart Workbooks are fun activity books filled with puzzles, games, art projects, and colorful stickers. Play Smart Workbooks  are geared for children ages 2 – 4 to help them get ready for preschool and kindergarten. Each of these innovative titles puts the emphasis on FUN. While children are enjoying a completely engaging mix of activities—tracing, matching, counting, solving mazes, and drawing pictures—they are building important skills..... SEE THE PAGE

Sunny Day Family - PS Giveaways!

Win a complete set of 9 activity books from Play Smart!


Play Smart activity books are the perfect combination of learning and fun! Designed for kids ages 2-4, these workbooks were created by experts to ensure that they appeal to kids' at each stage of learning (and they are super fun too!). My twins are loving these activity books and I want to share them with your family too. .. SEE THE PAGE 

Early Learning 2+, 3+, and School Skills 4+ Won Family Choice Awards!

Three Play Smart Titles Received 2017 Family Choice Awards


Play Smart Early Learning 2+, 3+, and School Skills 4+ won a 2017 Family Choice Awards! The Family Choice Awards recognizes the best products, services and resources for all members of a family including our cherished pets. This awards program, now in its 19th year, is one of the most coveted, family friendly consumer awards program in the nation.


Early Learning 3+ Won NAPPA Award!

The fun-first activities in Early Learning....


Play Smart Early Learning 3+ won a NAPPA Award! The National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) is one of the longest running and most respected awards programs in the country. With 25 years of experience in the industry, they have been continuously celebrated as the "go-to" source for parents and professionals seeking the best products for their children and families. “This is a fun activity book filled with puzzles, games and art projects,” says NAPPA Director Elena Epstein. “We especially like the design and the colorful stickers that make the book engaging for early learning.”.. SEE THE PAGE 

Metro Kids

August Contest - Play Smart Workbooks


Help your child start the school year strong with Play Smart workbooks. Designed to foster problem-solving skills, focus and an appreciation for learning, each book is loaded with 60-plus colorful, varied activities, from drawing and playing matching games to solving puzzles and mazes. (Ages 2–5; $6.99 each)... SEE THE WEBSITE

Mommy University

Learn Smart, Play Smart: Gakken Workbooks


Reasons We Love Play Smart Books - Offers Challenging Activities -  My daughter selected the Brain Boosters book to begin since it had a dog on the cover which is a scientific process a four-year old applies, and she loved every minute of this book. From the first page, the activities were challenging in that she was asked to complete unique brain teasers. .... READ MORE 

The Cool Mom



I am not exaggerating when I say Play Smart books are literally the best ever. My son absolutely hates anything to do with writing or using a pencil. He simply does not have the patience or desire to practice his writing. I tried everything I could think of; activity books, tracing letters in sand, even making a game of it and buying fun pencils. Nothing motivated him. ....READ MORE 

Red Tricycle

The Best New Activity Books for Summer


What’s better than a summer filled with road trips and long, lazy afternoons? A summer that comes fully stocked with the supplies you’ll need to keep your kids from uttering the words, “I’m bored.” Get ahead of the game with a few cool, new activity books....... READ MORE 

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