Trends, tips and resources

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Great affordable gifts for kids!

Infants and Toddlers

Swap 'n' Go Snail, International Playthings, $36.99;; ages 6 months and up. This friendly snail rolls to a toe-tappin' tune while beads spin and clank with every wheel rotation. Two interchangeable snail shells can be played with independently or placed on the snail's back: one has beads that spin and the other has pieces that can be taken apart and re-stacked. Press down on the snail's tail and he begins a happy tune and slowly rolls, encouraging babies to crawl after him.


Animal Scramble, Wild Planet, $19.99-$29.99;; ages 3 and up. This lively toy uses different animals as targets to be tagged. Kids listen to instructions from an electronic, hand-held, giraffe-shaped tagger, which tells them which animals to run to and tag. For more advanced play, the giraffe asks, "Who has stripes?" or "Who roars?"

Judge's top pick

Ezyroller, Ezyroller LLC, $99-$119;; ages 3 and up. Children sit low to the ground in the sling seat and propel forward by alternating leg extensions on the push bar of this unique ride-on toy. A simple brake lever makes it easy to stop. The movement is snake-like.

Advanced Eyecare Associates Angels of vision

Dr. David W. Zehnder and Advanced Eyecare Associates of Delaware want to give a local single mother the gift of full vision this holiday season. Corena Hedges of Delaware was introduced to Dr. Zehnder through a mutual acquaintance. Corena has been diagnosed with a severe cataract and is facing blindness in one eye without surgery. She has no medical insurance and could not receive help from local agencies.

Dr. Zehnder and ophthalmologic surgeon Dr. James Schumer of Revision Advanced Laser Eye Center are donating their medical services for Corena. Dr. Zehnder feels that as a member of a small community it is important to reach out to those in need and sees this as a great way to use his practice in doing so. He hopes to make this an annual project. They are asking the community for monetary donations to help with miscellaneous medical and recovery expenses for Corena. If you wish to donate, please

stop in at Advanced Eyecare Associates at 1832 Castleton Way in Delaware, or call (740) 363-2015.

NorthPointe Dance Academy

NorthPointe Dance Academy was established 10 years ago by Barb Coman and Kathy Holland, with a dream and a passion for dance and children. It quickly progressed to become a nationally-recognized studio. This year, they are proud to have opened their brand-new 12,000 square feet, free standing facility which was custom built for dance instruction. The facility has six dance training studios featuring full length mirrors, ballet barres, and professional dance floors designed to reduce injury to young bones and muscles.

Favorite new features for students are the disco balls, smoke machines and sirens that provide a fun and energetic atmosphere. Comfortable new waiting areas now feature WiFi, cable television and a special play area for young children.

NorthPointe offers classes for ages 2-1/2 years and up in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and more. The NorthPointe Company Program is recognized nationally and has garnered 8 years of National Champion Titles. New classes are forming at the beginning of January. For more information, please call (740) 548-4600, or visit NorthPointe Dance Academy is located at 500 Orange Pointe Drive in Lewis Center.

Franklin County Children Services Holiday Wish

Many children in our community are faced with a variety of problems including abuse, domestic violence and poverty. During the holiday season, the kindness of strangers and the donation of gifts can bring much needed hope into these children's lives.

More than 5,000 abused, neglected and troubled children in Franklin County may receive no gifts this holiday season without your help.

These children are under the care of Franklin County Children Services and may have suffered through a variety of abuses. They live with foster parents, relatives, parents, or in residential care. There is no guarantee that without the help of the community these children will experience the true spirit of giving and receiving.

Find out how you can help children enjoy the holiday season. Call Holiday Wish at (614) 275-2525, or e-mail