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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.” 

Making Summer More Allergy- and Asthma- Friendly

27 May

shutterstock_156811637

It’s summer, a time for kids to get outside, to enjoy adventures in the backyard, to go biking with their friends and grilling outdoors with their family. But with the increase in young children’s playtime spent outdoors comes an increase in the pollen count. With pollen levels higher than normal this year, we want to make sure you are prepared to handle the runny noses, coughing and trouble breathing that your kids may experience in the months ahead. Here are some ways you can make sure your child is safe and happy for pollen season.

Awareness

  • Make sure you are aware of how to identify signs of asthma and allergies. A great test for this is KFA’s “How Allergy and Asthma Smart Are You?” quiz. It covers food allergies, anaphylaxis, asthma and other allergic diseases. Not only will you come away knowing more about factors that affect your children’s health, but you’ll also be entered to win a $100 gift card!
  • The Allergy Capitals identifies the “100 most challenging places to live with allergies” in the spring and fall seasons. See where your city lies as far as pollen count to know how extensive your preventive measures need to be: www.AllergyCapitals.com

Tips for Dealing with Allergies at Home

Allergies

  • Know the symptoms. For food allergies, be on the lookout for: rashes, hives, swelling in the face, belly or back, coughing or a shortness of breath. For pollen allergies, look for: sneezing, runny eyes and nose, and nasal congestion.
  • Talk to your child’s allergist to know the best approach for symptom control. This will include being able to identify triggers.
  • If your child has a play date with a child that has food allergies or vice versa, ask the parent to pack their own drinks and foods to eliminate triggers as well as instructions for necessary medical care.
  • Always have Benadryl® on hand for immediate use when children break out and you are not sure of the trigger.
  • Wash your child’s hands often, keeping things clean!

Asthma

  • Know potential triggers: cigarette smoke, outdoor/indoor pollen, food allergies, extreme temperature changes.
  • Use oral and nasal sprays to control allergies throughout the day, which will help prevent an asthma attack.
  • Have immediate measures disposable whenever your child has an attack, including consistent accessibility to an EpiPen®.

Finally, the best treatment parents can use at home for children with allergies and asthma is prevention. Knowing your child’s symptoms, keeping them on appropriate medications, and avoiding triggers will keep your child safe and healthy.

Toys can often trigger children’s allergies. That’s why stuffed animals like these cute, cuddly Asthma- and Allergy-Friendly Animal Friends are a hit for parents and children alike!

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For more in-depth information on allergies, check out the following websites below.

Resources

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!

Popular Toys for Christmas 2013

27 Nov

We’ve compiled a list of our most popular toys for this holiday season to help make finding gift ideas and shopping for your kids a little easier. Whether you have young or older children, we have the perfect gift to help your children learn and play!

KT_popluarToys

Young Children:

1. Little People Airplane – For children ages 1 year and up, the Little People Airplane encourages children to use their imagination and helps children increase their gross motor skills. Little People Airplane has lights, sounds, talking, and a sing-along song to help engage children and teach them new sounds and words.

2. Busy Ball Drop – The Busy Ball Drop helps encourage repeated play and will engage children with its spinning activity balls. The tower can be built and taken down easily, which makes it a great toy for traveling or on-the-go activities.

3. Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors (32 pieces) – Kids will increase their gross motor skills and learn how to problem solve as they build fun 3-D objects with Magna-Tiles®. The 32-piece set includes squares and triangles in a variety of sizes, and the magnetic tiles will help make clean up fast and easy.

4. Rocking Puppy – Children will love this cute addition to your household. The Rocking Puppy is perfect for children who are learning to sit up and are gaining more mobility. Its high-back seat, easy-grip handles, and textured foot area also make this rocker safe for young children to use.

5. Lincoln Logs – Lincoln Logs is a classic favorite of both kids and adults. The Classic Edition includes 86 all-wood pieces, which allows kids to build their own log cabin and any other structures they can imagine.

Little People Airplane

Busy Ball DropMagna-Tiles Clear Colors 32 piece setRocking PuppyLincoln Logs

Older Children:

1. Balloon Animal Kit – Older kids will love learning how to make balloon animals with this affordable kit. An instruction book, pump, and 20 balloons are included.

2. Transparent Marble Run – Children will enjoy tracking the course of their marbles as they make their way through the 48 transparent pieces. This is a great gift for children who like science or engineering.

3. LoopDeDoo Kit – Older children can let their creativity shine by making fun and unique friendship bracelets. Changing the thickness, thread quantity, looping style, and combination of colors will help them create a variety of different looks with the loopdedoo spinning tool.

4. Straws and Connectors – This 400 pack of straws and connectors enables children to build a variety of structures, such as a fort, tower, rocket, or bridge. Straws and Connectors can also be used to build scientific models or children’s own unique designs.

5. Rocket Race Car – Older children will enjoy learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion while they build their own race car. You supply the plastic bottle, but all other necessary parts and instructions are included in the kit.

Balloon Animal KitTransparent Marble Run

LoopDeDoo KitStraws and Connectors 400 packRocket Race Car

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We’re Happy to Announce Our 2013 Holiday Blog Series: 12 Days of Learning!

Our 12 Days of Learning blog posts will feature tips on how to incorporate family time and educational opportunities into the holiday season. The first blog post will be available at noon on Friday, November 29. A new blog post will then be added each weekday through December 16. We hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Learning and can incorporate some of our tips into your family’s holiday plans.

Happy Holidays!

Fun for the Family: Board Games!

29 Aug

August may be wrapping up, but it’s still Family Fun Month! With school starting this month (or next month, for you lucky September starters), things are probably hectic, with homework and sports practices and dance classes, so we’ve come up with a handful of games for you to play as you relax with your family. And who needs a designated month to have fun with their family, anyway? These games are good year-round–not just in August. :) And as an added bonus: they are all games that will help your kids develop key skills, from spelling to deductive reasoning.

Bananagrams

bananagrams

A classic favorite! This word game encourages players to create words in a crossword format! Whoever is the first to use all of their tiles wins. It’s great for beginning spellers, as well as more advanced players, and you don’t need anything extra to play–it’s all in the bag! [18010 (Spanish), 18011 (English); $14.95 each)

Clue Junior

17177

A more child-friendly version of the murder mystery game, Clue Junior asks the players to discover who took the prizes, and when, to win the game. This game will help your child develop their deductive reasoning skills while having fun. The game board is two-sided for two levels of play, so as the children get older, they have another option to play. Included in the box: game board, plastic tray, 5 movers, 6 “who” cards, 6 “where” cards, 6 “when” cards, 1 all guess card, 18 guess tokens in five different colors, 3 gold tokens, a detective sheet, truth envelope, die, and instructions on how to play! (17177, $15.95)

Memory

9114

Encourage your preschooler’s natural curiosity with this simple and fun game that helps strengthen their short-term memory. Playtime is extended with Memory’s simple and easy-to-use (and clean up!) format. The box includes 72 picture cards, plastic tray and instructions. (9114, $13.95)

Jumping Frog Math Game

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Match the lily pads to the pond by the correct shape or number, and watch the frogs jump. This game enforces a child’s learning of numbers 0-10, and your child will also learn counting, number recognition, sequencing, sorting, and number combinations. Each soft, plush frog has a number on its tummy and a corresponding number of spots on its back. Includes activity guide with loads of game ideas, lily pads, and pond, all in a vinyl storage bag. (47598, $59.95)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game

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Complete a beautiful butterfly by “taking a bite” from the colorful fruits included in this game based on Eric Carle’s beloved book. Reinforce your child’s color and shape matching skills with this game, as well as language and cognitive skills. Reading the book is an added bonus, but there is no reading required to play this game! (Book not included.) (30443, $17.95)

Let us know what your favorite games to play with your family are!

4 Must-Haves for Your Busy Summer!

19 Jul

It’s the middle of summer. That means vacations–from trips to visit family, to trips to the coast, or the mountains–and you’re bound to need something for the little ones, either for clean-up or for occupying them while you’re on the go. So, we’ve got a few suggestions for you to make your life a little bit easier!

Lay N Go (Large)

Lay-N-Go (Large)

At 5′ in diameter, the Lay-n-Go is an activity mat, storage bag, and carry-all solution, all in one! It is made out of 100% Nylon, which makes cleanup easy and quick! It also has mesh pockets to stash and organize toys for your kids. A shoulder strap makes it easy and convenient to carry from place to place this summer. Just add toys and your children and watch them play! (Item#141251 $64.95,)

Do Art Travel Easel

Do Art Travel Easel

This portable art studio is perfect for young artists on the go! It is packed with pastels, markers, chalk, a white board marker, colored pencils, pencil sharper, sponge and a drawing pad. All materials fit neatly inside the case! (Item#00324, $34.95)

Boppy Travel Pillow

Boppy® Travel Pillow

Simply stylish, this Boppy travel pillow is designed to go anywhere, anytime!  It has an innovative zip closure with an easy-to-carry shoulder strap. Moms can open it and be ready in seconds to use it for feeding or comfortably propping baby up!  Plus – it’s machine washable! (Item #141061, $44.95)

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Zoo Kids Rolling Luggage – Bee

This kid-friendly luggage is perfect for busy summers on the go and sturdy enough for everyday use, but also for long trips! It will give your little one the independence they want to carry their own things, but comes with a detachable shoulder strap so adults can carry hands-free when little ones get tired. Also comes as an an owl! (Item #141229, $37.95 20% off now!)

Let us know in the comments what else you use to make your lives easier when you travel with your kids!

Speed Stacks review and the Educational Benefits!

25 Jun

Speed stacking, cup stacking, sport stacking, speed cup sport stacking – no matter how many times the official association (yes, the WSSA – World Sport Stacking Association — to be exact) decides to change their name, it will always be the game of stacking cups as fast as possible. It isn’t just about creating a large tower of cups. There are set rules, competitive sequences, special cups, and timers.

We’ll leave the details of the rules and sequences for another blog to cover and we’ll focus on what we know: education toys! It might be difficult to think of a cup as a toy—much less as an educational toy—so we’ll break it down.

The Cups

We’ll stick with the cups made by Speed Stacks, since they fly off our shelves. For starters, Speed Stacks are actually endorsed by the WSSA and are the only cups allowed in WSSA-sanctioned events. These cups are designed for ultimate stacking speed with ribs to allow them to separate easier, smooth insides, and even a ventilation hole to prevent sticking. That’s not your average cup!

The Educational Part

Believe it or not, there have been several scientific studies on the effects of sport stacking, as well as educational systems referencing the benefits of sport stacking. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • After 5 weeks of sport stacking, second graders showed an increase in both eye-hand coordination and reaction time
  • An experimental group of students performed higher on a reading test after doing cup stacking twice a week for the four weeks before the test
  • Colorado state standards use cup stacking as an example of showing proficiency in the ability to cross the mid-line of the body

(Source: http://www.jmu.edu/kinesiology/hpainstitute/documents/SpeedStackingRationale.pdf)

 

Where To Buy Speed Stacks

Speed Stacks Set with DVD (Cool Blue)

Item #20770$19.95 
also available in neon greenneon orangeneon pinkreally red, and royal purple

Speed Stacks Sport Pack – 15 Set

Item 20771, $354.95

Videos

How to do it!


The video that opened the 2010 World Sport Stacking Championships.

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