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4 Fun Ways to Teach Poetry

14 Apr

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April is National Poetry Month! Teaching poetry to toddlers can be hard, especially when it’s not  your favorite writing style or particularly easy to understand! Rhyming schemes, however, can provide a fun introduction to early literacy skills and can get kids up and moving if paired with movement. Keep your kids engaged with four fun ways to teach poetry at home:

1. Flower Poetryflower+poem

Celebrate the season by teaching poetry with flowers! Simply draw an outline of different types of flowers with enough room on each petal for children to write words and an original poem in the center. Give different instructions for each flower and let kids’ creativity do the rest!

Ideas for flower petals: 

  • alliteration (“soft as blankets” or “sweet as candy”)
  • spring simile (“dancing daffodil” or “buzzing bees”)
  • adjectives (“fragrant flowers” or “beautiful blossoms”)

The results will leave you with inspiring flowers to hang on your walls at home!

Extra: Read Grandpa’s Garden for an adorable story to go along with your poetry activity!

Source: http://www.reallifeathome.com/celebrating-national-poetry-month-with-hands-on-poetry-projects/

2. Seasonal Poetry71808a-1

Kids already love to write poetry, even if they don’t know it yet! The best way to get them more involved is by including artwork as part of their poetry project. This allows a visual representation of language exploration. Spring is one of the most inspiring seasons as it offers bright colors, lovely weather, and the appearance of all types of flowers and animals. Sit your children down and brainstorm a list of words they associate with spring. Place the list somewhere visible in the room so children can refer to it as they write. Here are three poetry forms that are easy to teach and fun to personalize:

Acrostic:

Sunny weather to play in

Purple flowers galore

Raindrops watering the flowers

I get to play outside

Nests of baby birds

Gardens feed my tummy

Ode (A poem to honor someone or something):

“Oh, spring!

We have missed you.

The rainbow of colors

you sprout from the ground.

The sprinkle of showers

giving us puddles for splashing.

Planting our gardens,

we can’t wait for vegetables to come!”

Haiku (five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables):

“Beautiful flowers

Growing up for us to see

Rainbow spattering”

For even more inspiration for sounds of the seasons to incorporate in children’s poetry, check out the board book Listen, Listen.

Source: http://www.reallifeathome.com/brightening-winter-with-poetry-collages/

3. Color Poetry

Do you have the Dr. Seuss book My Many Colored Days? It is a great book for inspiring color poetry! The master of rhymes, Dr. Seuss, already sets the stage for falling in love with poetry with words like:

“Oh bright red days,

how good it feels

to be a horse

and kick my heels!”

Start by asking your child about things that are color specific before they start writing. Use questions like:

  1. What is Orange?
  2. What does Red remind you of?
  3. How do you feel when you see yellow?

Then list each color with the following format:

Orange is…

Yellow is…

Green is…

Children can then complete each sentence with a phrase they associate with the color. The result will be quite the colorful poem!

Source: http://www.schooltimesnippets.com/2015/02/write-simple-color-poem.html

4. Reading Poetry to Promote Early Literacy

Just by listening as you read different poems, children develop word recognition. This is a fun way for children to appreciate poetry as a storytelling form and learn the sounds of letters as they listen to rhymes and word play. It will also provide plenty of examples should they venture into writing their own!

Here are a few places you can find free poetry to read to your toddlers:

If you’re looking for poetry books to buy that also provide beautiful illustrations to accompany each poem, then you may want to check out the following titles:

How do you teach poetry at home? Share with us by commenting below!

Party in the Pool with Your Kids!

18 Jun

shutterstock_160577036 Is it just us, or is it hot outside? There’s nothing like breaking in the summer with your children by engaging in water play. Pools are great places to not only cool off but also allow children to learn! Here are few ideas to make your party in the pool an educational one:

1. Water Fun Set

141728a Work on kids’ hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as they toss a foam ball back and forth with two springy paddles! See how many times they can hit it back and forth before it hits the water.

2. Scoop and Pour Tug Boats

30135 Engage young children in learning how to fill tug boats and pour out water. They’ll have a blast steering floating boats around the pool. Encourage children to swim in the same direction around the pool to create a current their boats can float on!

3. Waterworks Play Kit

16378 Boats and corks for floating, sea animals for swimming, cups for measuring, and sponge numbers for counting—all included in the Waterworks Play Kit for endless water fun!

4. WaterBlocks Super Set (35 Pieces)

62364 Bring classic block play to the pool! Encourage building in young kids with water runs, ball runs, waterfalls and more with our floating WaterBlocks Super Set. Children can explore math concepts, structure and balance with sticky blocks that are bound to make for interesting structures straight from your child’s imagination!

Don’t have access to a pool?

91111 Check out our Grub Scouts’ Sprinkler! It’s perfect for engaging young children in active play as they jump over friendly grubs! Sprinklers are always a fun alternative to pools when looking for ways to cool off for the summer.

-Finally, you can’t have a perfect pool day without ending it with a Cool Summer Smoothie! Check out the recipe below for a refreshing snack your kids will love!

Cool Summer Smoothie

Ingredients

  • Milk
  • Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Crushed ice
  • Fresh fruit or fruit juice
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Blender

What to do:

  1. Blend 2 cups ice cream or yogurt, 1 cup crushed ice, 1 cup orange juice and milk as needed to thin the drink out.
  2. Add food coloring, if desired.
  3. Enjoy a cool orange smoothie.
  4. Substitute various fruits or fruit juices to make different smoothie flavors. Enjoy!

For even more great ideas like the smoothie above, check out “The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities.” 

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

3 Mar

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Today is Dr. Seuss’ 110th Birthday!

From magical worlds, to colorful characters, to lyrical lessons, Dr. Seuss is always a fun read for parents and children alike! If you’re looking for Seuss-inspired toys for your kids, we’ve got you covered. Check out our selections of educational toys that will teach your children alongside Dr. Seuss!

1. Dr. Seuss Paperback

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-You can’t properly celebrate Dr. Suess’ birthday without learning all about the man behind the books! This paperback, reading level Kindergarten – 1st grade, includes photographs and introduces the biography of the award-winning and famous illustrator, Dr. Seuss.

 

2. Dr. Seuss Pointer

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-Make your point with this This Cat in the Hat themed plastic pointer, featuring a LED light at the tip of the finger to help engage the audience and keep their attention.

 

3. ONE FISH Fishbowl

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– Bring One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish to life with this classic fill-and-spill inspired by the beloved Dr. Seuss book! Includes five fish, each makes a sound–rattle, crinkle, bell and squeaker.

 

 

 

4. I Can Do That Game

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-Hopping, crawling, twirling, and balancing are a few of the fun feats you will encounter while finding out what all you can do! Flip over three cards to create a new challenge each time.

5. One Fish, Two Fish Board Book

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-The magical world of Dr. Seuss springs to life in this board book! A great way to introduce rhyme and fun into reading.

 

 

Happy Read Across America Day! Celebrate by picking up your favorite Dr. Seuss selections and bringing them to life with your kids. Find your favorites here.

5 Toys to Encourage Healthy Competition

3 Feb

Did you sit down with your family and watch the Big Game? Getting involved with sporting events are a great way to enjoy some quality time with your kids and teach them about the healthy benefits of competition. Even if you’re pulling for opposing sides, you can show your children how to properly behave once the game is over, that though competition is good for fueling progress, it should not affect self-esteem or be the cause of jeering.

To promote the educational benefits of competition, seen as a motivator to your child’s  progress as opposed to a person who needs to be defeated, we gathered some resources for you to use. Check out our list of 5  Toys to Encourage Healthy Competition:

5 Toys to Encourage Healthy Competition

1. Junior Football

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Get your children in the spirit of American football and active in the backyard as they work on their spirals and teamwork. Hours of fun tossing back and forth or playing a game of flag football!

2. 3-in1 Sports Arcade

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-Challenge your kids to healthy competitions with their friends seeing if they can improve their score as they shoot hoops, perfect their pitching, or roll high scores!

3. NHL Folding Insta-Set Goal, Stick, and Ball Set

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-Up to four players can get involved with our durable, easily-assembled goal, keeping score and working on their hockey skills! Can be used indoors or outdoors.

4. Competition Plastic Disc

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-Let your kids grab our array of colored disks and play tag, see how many passes they can complete or work on accuracy with these lightweight plastic disks. Great for a competitive or a recreational game of frisbee

5.Discovery Sounds Sports Center

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-Even infants can learn through challenging themselves! Lights, songs, shapes and sounds reward infants as they build fine-motor skills and begin to understand actions and results!

Looking to get your younger children involved in a sport we didn’t cover in the list above? Check out the sports section on our website for an even greater selection.

10 Fun and Educational Science Toys for Kids

27 Jan

Children like to ask questions because they are naturally curious, but the questions they ask aren’t always easy to answer. This is especially true for questions kids ask about science-related topics, such as why the sky is blue or how birds can fly. You may or may not know the answers to your kids’ questions, but there are plenty of resources and tools you can use to find the answers. We’ve come up with a list of educational science toys that can help you answer their most challenging questions while also helping them learn about the world around them:

Where does my shadow sleep

1. Where Does My Shadow Sleep?

This parent’s guide will help you explore science with your kids. The book features a variety of stories and activities that cover multiple science themes and reading concepts. Children can learn about animals and plants and investigate why their shadow gets bigger and smaller during the day.

Weather Bear Set2. Weather Bear Set

This is the perfect way to introduce younger kids to early weather concepts. The set includes a cuddly bear and four seasonal outfits to help your children learn about the weather and how to dress for different seasons. This is also a great way to encourage children to pick out their own outfits and dress themselves.

Geosafari3. GeoSafari® Jr. Talking Bug Net™

Do your kids ask a lot of questions about insects? If so, kids can learn interesting bug facts with this educational toy by choosing one of the included toy bugs and dropping it into the net. The Talking Bug Net also asks kids quiz questions about the facts they have learned.

Backyard Birds4. Backyard Birds

If your children are fascinated with the birds they see in your backyard or enjoy watching them from the window, Backyard Birds is a great way for kids to learn what blue jays, robins, and cardinals look like and the sounds they make. Each Backyard Bird sings authentic sounds and songs when you press their back.

Creature Peeper5. Creature Peeper

If your kids would rather study real bugs to learn about insect characteristics, then the Creature Peeper is a great choice. Children can keep insects in the bug viewer for a short time as they study its characteristics or take it for show and tell. The escape proof, watertight viewer also allows kids to study tadpoles or small fish.

Rocks and Fossils6. Rocks and Fossils

Are your kids interested in rocks or other archaeological items? Kids can learn about a variety of gemstones, rocks, fossils, marine life, and sea shells with this set of Rocks and Fossils. This is a great discovery tool for kids and will help them learn and identify objects found in water or on land.

Walking Tightrope7. Koontz™ Walking Tightrope

Children who are curious about balance, gravity, and mass would enjoy learning how acrobats stay balanced with the Koontz™ Walking Tightrope. This educational toy will help children understand that acrobats must position their center of mass over the center of their body in order to stay balanced as they are performing.

Enviro Battery8. Enviro Battery

If your kids are interested in learning how to make things run, Enviro Battery is a good choice because it helps children learn about power sources and alternative energy. Kids learn to create unique batteries that can light bulbs and power watches with everyday household items.

Nancy B's Science Club9. Nancy B’s Science Club Crime Solver Scope & Forensic Activity Journal

Kids will enjoy learning how to solve mysteries with forensic techniques, such as fingerprinting, hair identification, counterfeit money detection, and surveillance. The Crime Solver Scope can help kids examine evidence or serve as a telescope.

Very First Magnet Kit10. Very First Magnet Kit

Kids who are interested in learning about magnetism and how magnets work will enjoy the Very First Magnet Kit. Children can use the magnetic wand or horseshoe magnet to pick up magnetic marbles, paper clips, and other objects.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Encouraging Equality and Acceptance

16 Jan

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Martin Luther King, Jr. is an iconic American hero and civil rights leader who helped bring social and political changes to America, which is one of the reasons we honor King and his legacy every year on the third Monday in January. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day provides parents and caregivers with an excellent opportunity to encourage children to accept and understand differences between people and cultures.

Facts to Share with Kids

We found a great article that discusses King’s life and accomplishments on The History Channel website. Here are a few facts from the article you can share with your kids on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day became a federal holiday in 1986.
  • King believed in peaceful protest and was an advocate of nonviolence.
  • He played a critical role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, which were major events that influenced the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is considered one of the most memorable and influential speeches of all time.
  • King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in the civil rights movement.

You can also talk with older children about how King was fatally shot in 1968 while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis. If younger children ask about what happened to King, keep your responses simple and relatively easy for young kids to understand.

Three Ways to Encourage Equality and Acceptance

Peace, nonviolence, equality, and acceptance were all important principles and concepts of the civil rights movement and King’s own legacy. All of these principles and concepts are still important for children to learn due to the diversity in people and culture they encounter every day. Here are three ways you can encourage your children to be open-minded, understanding, and accepting of people’s differences:

1. Teach children about diversity, the history of the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King, Jr. by reading books about those topics and asking them their opinion about what they read. All the Colors We Are, for example, gives children a scientific explanation of how our skin color is determined by a variety of factors while also addressing the myths and stereotypes that people often associate with a person’s skin color. Children can learn about the history of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with the Holiday Book Series, and our At Home with Diversity Book Set can help children further their understanding of differences.

2. Reinforce what children learn by reading and discussing books with fun educational activities, such as puzzles, word searches, and crossword puzzles. The Our Friends Floor Puzzle and Comprehension-Boosting Crosswords: Famous Americans are both excellent examples of activities that can help children learn more about diversity and why we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

3. Encourage children to express and share the differences they see in the world with multicultural art activities. Children can draw and create posters and pictures, for example, of the diversity they see in their own homes and communities. These types of activities will help children further explore and understand biological and cultural differences, which will ultimately help further King’s vision of equality and acceptance.

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Ideas for Your Magna-Tiles® Creations

20 Dec

Magna-Tiles Creations

If you have a set of Magna-Tiles® in your home, then you know kids love building creative 3-D objects with the colorful magnetic tiles. Magna-Tiles® are a great learning toy for children because kids have fun building different objects while also learning skills in math, logic, and problem solving. Children can also learn to recognize patterns, recognize different shapes and colors, and improve their fine motor skills by playing with Magna-Tiles®.

Magna-Tiles® provide hands-on learning for children while also encouraging creativity and imaginative play. Your kids probably know how to build castles, houses, and towers with Magna-Tiles®, but you can help them expand their building and creative thinking skills with these fun ideas for Magna-Tiles® creations:

1. Encourage kids to build letters and words with Magna-Tiles®. This helps kids learn the alphabet and increases their literacy skills.

2. Help kids think out of the box by suggesting they build a racetrack or marble run with Magna-Tiles®.

3. Find online video tutorials or instructions to help kids learn how to build more complex Magna-Tiles® designs, such as an elephant or spaceship.

Find more fun designs on the Magna-Tiles® YouTube page or search Pinterest for Magna-Tiles® ideas. Be sure to stock up on Magna-Tiles® today!

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