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Reaching New Heights in the New Year

6 Jan

ImageThe start of a new year is a great time to come up with things you want to have accomplished by the end of it. Do you have dreams you’ve always held close but never pursued? Did you not chase after it because you thought it was too big? Well, this amazing story of one girl is enough to inspire just about anyone that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Did you know Amelia Mary Earhart saw her first plane when she was only 10 years old? She was not impressed. It was not until she went to a stunt-flying exhibit a decade later that a dream began to take up full residence in her mind. On December 28, 1920, pilot Frank Hawks gave young Amelia a ride that would forever change her life. “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground,” she said, “I knew I had to fly.”

Though she faced financial and prejudicial obstacles, Amelia Earhart would go on to buy her own plane, the Canary, by 1921 and eventually become the world’s first woman to fly the Atlantic. She also placed third at the Cleveland Women’s Air Derby, later nicknamed the “Powder Puff Derby” by Will Rogers, was presented a gold medal from the National Geographic Society by President Herbert Hoover, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress–the first ever given to a woman.   Vice President Charles Curtis praised Earhart’s courage, saying she displayed “heroic courage and skill as a navigator at the risk of her life.”

It is so important to foster children’s dreams and let them know that anything is possible. With a little support and encouragement they can do or become whatever they want. It’s also important for adults to know that it’s not to late to make new dreams! C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” So true! Don’t let your doubts get the best of you this year. Support your little ones and yourself and go out there to see what you can achieve.

Want to learn more about Amelia Earhart? Gear up for Amelia Earhart Day on Saturday by reading these books to your kids about her great journey:

You can also find her official website here: http://www.ameliaearhart.com/about/bio.html and find more resources on the holiday here: http://www.holidaysmart.com/1ameliaearhart.htm.

Gobble Games

18 Nov

Thanksgiving is a great time of the year for many reasons, but one of the most cherished is that it allows for a time where families can come together and express their gratitude for life and each other. In celebration of a holiday that allows you to spend time with your family, we’ve gathered a list of games for you to keep the kiddos entertained! Image

Turkey Feather Toss

  • Supplies: turkey feathers, weights, baskets
  • Instructions:
  1. Tape weights onto the quill ends of your Turkey feathers (these can be found at Micheal’s Crafts)
  2. Place baskets at staggered distances away and associate with different point values (the further away the more points)
  3. Take turns and keep score!

Thanksgiving Basket Upset

  • Supplies: as many chairs as people, minus one
  • Instructions:
  1. Put the chairs in a circle and choose a “caller.”
  2. Give everyone a “Thanksgiving name” (Pilgrim, dressing, pumpkin, etc.)
  3. Caller calls two of the names and they have to switch chairs.
  4. The Caller has to get to one of their chairs before they do.
  5. If Caller succeeds, switch! Whoever’s left becomes the Caller.

Chopstick Pass-Along

  • Supplies: chopsticks, unshelled walnut, acorn, cranberry, pea, small plate
  • Instructions:
  1. Each player gets a pair of chopsticks.
  2. Place walnut, acorn, cranberry and pea on a small plate next to oldest player.
  3. Use chopsticks to pass each object, largest to smallest, to the person to their right.
  4. Try to get all four objects back to the starting plate without dropping any!

Wall Football

  • Supplies: poster board, brown card stock, white opaque paint marker, poster tacks, blindfold
  • Instructions:
  1. Create a goal post from two-inch-wide poster board strips. (The uprights and the crossbar are each 20 inches long and the post is 6 inches long) Tack to wall.
  2. Cut 5-inch-long footballs out of brown card stock.
  3. Use white marker to decorate and add player’s names to the footballs; put a blob of poster tack on the back of each one.
  4. Players line up six feet away from goal. Player is blindfolded, spun around three times, and set loose to stick their football between the uprights (hopefully!)
  5. 3 points are awarded for each field goal. Highest score wins.

For more Thanksgiving games, visit:

Great Gifts for Kids Under $50

17 Apr

Finding the perfect gift for a child is never easy – especially if you are looking for a toy that’s both fun and educational for a child and affordable regardless of the parent’s budget. Here’s a few gifts that are great for children’s minds and for parents’ pocketbooks available at Kaplan Toys.

Under $25

For Infants/Toddlers:

Magnetic Stacking Ladybug

12 Months & Up

Toddlers will discover a new concept as they learn about magnets when they watch how two parts are attached. They can build and stack in a fun way as the animal is created.

Price: $19.95

Baby’s First Sounds Vinyl Books and Blocks Set

6 Months & Up

This set of three vinyl books with simple images will encourage the development of baby’s first sounds – the foundation of language development.

Price: $18.95

Ambi® Pounding Apple

12 Months & Up

Knock down one caterpillar and another pops up right away. The caterpillars can also be pushed into the apple by hand.

Price: $22.00

For Kids:

My First Puppy

2 Years & Up

This precious puppy is ready to be loved and cared for. Set includes a puppy, 3 piece outfit, collar, chew toy and fashionable carrybag. When playtime is over, puppy and all of her accessories store in the bag!

Price: $13.95

Sky Diver Paper Airplanes

6 Years & Up

Now you can create paper airplanes that are so much better than the ones you can make in class!

Price: $11.21

Strange Plant Collection

4 Years & Up

Ignite a garden of four botanical oddities! Grow brains and eyeballs as plants move and eat meat.

Price: $24.95

Under $50

For Infants/Toddlers:

2 in 1 Snug ‘N Secure Swing

9 – 48 months

Easy to use and just right for babies and growing kids who love to swing! Features a T-bar that rotates down for easy loading and unloading. Adjustable stay-put shoulder straps hold baby securely in place.

Price: $31.95

Shape Sorter Curioso

1 Year & Up

Your baby will learn to use perception and visual skills in order to figure out which shape goes where! This matching game acquaints children with shapes and colors. The acoustic and optical elements of the colored blocks stimulate perception.

Price: $44.95

TOMY® Pic ‘n’ Pop

18 Months & Up

Pic ‘n’ Pop gets your child on the move! Launch balls from the chute with the click of the button, and then roll over the ball and magically pick it up! Includes 5 balls. Great for indoors and outdoors!

Price: $32.95

For Kids:

Custom Rides Design Studio

8 Years & Up

Gear up to create countless cool rides from scratch using a custom lighted tablet. This kit lights the way for you to combine acetates and clings to build, sketch, and customize car and motorcycle designs.

Price: $43.95

Wobble Deck

5 Years & Up (not to exceed 100 lbs)

Test your balance and reflexes with this fun electronic balance challenge! Can be used indoors or outdoors, and has 3 multi-level balance games. Improves coordination, reflexes, and mental energy. Requires 2 AA batteries, not included.

Price: $49.95

“My” Tent

3 Years & Up

Children will love to play in this bright purple, green and orange multicolor tent. Ties on front door allows for easy opening and closing. Durable and long lasting polyethylene waterproof floor. Storage bag included.

Price: $34.95

5 Toys That Teach History

13 Jan

Teaching children about history can be exciting AND educational with these products from Kaplan Toys! Join us as we count down our favorite toys that can be used to teach children about knights, pirates, dinosaurs, and even Abraham Lincoln!

#5: Castle Blocks Play Set

Build your own dream castle with these enchanting, artistic wooden blocks. Your young squire can create one large castle, two smaller castles, or a long defensive line. This unique castle set includes 28 wooden pieces with detailed graphics, and medieval characters – everything a child needs for days and “knights” of endless imaginative enjoyment! 3 years & up.

Item #: 141013  Price: $29.95

#4: Magic Tree House Book

Join Jack and Annie on adventures through time and space. Filled with Factual information, these books are great for connecting fiction with non-fiction texts. Paperback. Grades 2 – 4.

Item #: 86512  Price: 86512

#3: American Trivia Board Game

Looking for a more entertaining way to learn about the USA? With questions that are more knowledge-based than trivial in geography, history, and general information, students will find this game to be both fun and educational! 2 to 8 players. Grades 4 & up.

Item #: 91945  Price: $29.95

#2: Lincoln Logs® Classic Edition Frontier Cabin

Build your very own log cabin! This Classic Edition Tin comes with 86 all-wood pieces, including richly stained logs, and roof slats. The familiar notched logs fit together, allowing kids to build any kind of structure they can imagine. The tin acts as a handy storage container for dependable storage and portability. 3 years & up.

Item #: 00992  Price: $39.95

#1: 3D Puzzle Velociraptor & Pterosaur

Let their imaginations run wild with this prehistoric building set! Detailed and kid-friendly instructions show the way for building both a ferocious velociraptor and a flying pterosaur. The patented construction technology makes it so fun and easy to build these creatures or create totally different ones! All pieces can mix and match with one another to make totally different things! 5 years & up.

Item #:  00247  

Price: $14.95

The Best Indoor Crafts for Cold Winter Days

28 Dec

Baby, it’s cold outside and Kaplan Toys has plenty of ideas for those looking to have fun (and stay warm) over the holidays! So join us as we count down some of our favorite indoor craft activities for kids of all ages!

#5: Create Your Own 3 Bitty Books

ImageImage

Make your own fantastic tales with 3 blank books, markers and sticker accents! Your imagination is the limit as you design and tell your stories. For an extra touch, you can add photos, your own art and captions! Bonus book holder is even included. 12 page book measures 4″ x 5″. 4 years & up.

Item Number: 00318

Price: $9.95

#4: Potholder Kit

ImageMake colorful potholders for yourself or your friends on this metal potholder loom! The improved peg design helps keep the loops on while you weave. The Potholder Loom includes a 7″ x 7″ loom, 1 bag of custom-sized multicolored 100% Cotton loops (enough for 2 potholders), 2 hooks (1 metal for weaving, 1 plastic crochet hook for finishing), and illustrated instructions. 6 years & up.

Item Number: 17401

Price: $16.95

#3: Giant Beading Center

Image

Hundreds of soft foam beads, cool shapes and letters, lots of lanyard strands and elastic cord to complete lots of beading projects! Includes convenient storage tray. 4 years & up.

Item Number: 85800

Price: $21.95

 

#2: Crayola Modeling Clay

Image

Create three dimensional art projects with this non-hardening clay! Twelve- 1 lb. boxes with four colors – red, green, blue and yellow, each 1/4 lb.

Item Number: 87980

Price: $33.95

 

#1: Magnetic Mosaic – My First Picture Maker

ImageImageCreate an amazing work of art that can be produced over and over again! Includes 300 magnetic square tiles, 20 reusable templates, and a easel with stand. 4 years & up.

Item Number: 00922

Price: $19.99

Inspired by Terminally-Ill Little Boy in Indiana, Kaplan Employees Donate Hugga Pets to Children’s Hospitals

16 Mar

When Kaplan employee Jodie Travis heard a story on the radio about Jacob “Jake” McConahay, a little boy from Indianapolis with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer, who had a set a goal to collect 1,000 pillow pets by March, she had to get involved herself.

“I heard this sweet story about a seven-year old little boy in a children’s hospital in Indiana.  He has been given 1-2 months to live, and his goal is to have pillow pets donated to all of the other kids there in the hospital to keep them company while their parents and family aren’t able to be there.”

On the way to one of his treatments at Riley Hospital, Jake, whose aunt had bought him a dinosaur Pet Pillow, told his mother that every kid needed a pillow pet. In November, Jake and his family set a goal to collect 1,000 Pillow Pets for delivery to Riley Hospital by March.

“I wanted to help this little boy reach his dream before he has to say goodbye. I talked to Hal Kaplan about it and told him I would buy five if he would match that five,” said Travis, “And, of course, he said yes. So I decided to ask around and see if maybe anyone else would want to donate one, too.”

“Jodie was quick to call on all of us with this cause and I’m glad she reached out to me,” said Connie Ellis, the manager of Kaplan Toys. 

“When Jake was presented with over 1,000 Pet Pillows last week – enough for every child at Riley Hospital — the organizers of the Pet Pillow drive encouraged groups like us from out of the area to make donations to other children’s hospitals,” said Ellis.  “Jodie selected the Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati to receive our donation because Caleb Pulliam, the son of one of her friends, spent time there. We sent them 22 pink and blue Hugga Pet Bears in his honor.”

“Our next shipment will be going to the Brenner Children’s Hospital cancer ward because they are local.  It will contain a mix of Hugga Pets, including the Hugga Pet Inspirational Bunny,” said Ellis. “This is very exciting for us all – as well as for these children and their families.”

New Books Awarded Parent Tested, Parent Approved™ Seal

15 Mar

Two new publications carried by Kaplan Toys have been awarded the Parent Tested, Parent Approved™ Seal of Approval from PTPA Media, Inc. for excellence in family products.

The Budding Chef (ISBN: 978-0-87659-372-1) and The Budding Gardener (ISBN: 978-0-87659-373-8 ) were among many entries from across North America competing to win the Parent Tested Parent Approved™ Seal for spring 2011. Because independent parent volunteers evaluate these products in their own homes, PTPA winners are chosen based on merit and consumer experiences – not on commercial considerations. As a result, the Parent Tested Parent Approved™ Seal has quickly gained recognition as an international leader in certifying consumer products for quality, effectiveness and value.

“At PTPA Media, we are proud to play a role in certifying innovative new products that families can trust,” says Sharon Vinderine, president and founder of PTPA Media Inc. “It’s win-win. By improving communication between manufacturers and consumers, we are helping companies serve their market better, and helping families identify products that have been tested and recommended by their peers.”

An introduction to cooking and baking edited by Kate Kuhn, The Budding Chef  ($9.95, Gryphon House, Inc., March 2011) is an idea book filled with 50 (mostly) healthy kitchen adventures written by teachers and professionals from the field of early childhood education.  As curious kids experiment making soft pretzels, whipping up some real butter, and having a winter picnic, they have hands-on opportunities to practice developing math, science and reading skills – as well as an important life skill. 

SAMPLE Recipes:

With a little dirt, some water and a few tools, the activities in The Budding Gardener ($9.95, Gryphon House, Inc., March 2011) bring adults and children together to share magical outdoor moments.  An introduction to gardening edited by Mary B. Rein, this idea book shows parents and kids how to plant a seed and watch it grow, create garden markets, grow a spider web with sweet peas and bamboo stakes, and beautify the garden with a stone path or rock tower.  The 50 fun-in-the-dirt activities, written by teachers and professionals from the field of early childhood education, feature easy-to-follow instructions and use easy-to-find materials.

SAMPLE Activities:

Kaplan Toys Named Top Holiday Seller for Outstanding Performance Selling on Amazon.com

9 Mar

Amazon Services have named Kaplan Toys an Amazon Top Holiday Seller for outstanding performance selling on Amazon.com during the 2010 holiday season.

Kaplan Toys sales ranked among the top 25% of all Amazon.com sellers over the 2010 holiday season.  In addition, customer satisfaction metrics for Kaplan Toys were excellent (in other words, A+) over this period.

According to the Amazon Services Management Team, Kaplan Toys “provided an exceptional shopping experience for customers on Amazon.com.”

Help bring hands-on art to children who have no art programs in their schools

13 Dec

MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author and publisher, is in the running for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant – and she needs your votes every day this month.

If awarded this grant, Kohl will use the funds to bring hands-on art to children around the country whose schools have no art program. Her project will bring art workshops to 6,000 classroom teachers (and 150,000 children) who have no art programs in their schools.

“Kids need art,” says Kohl.  “The idea of being able to reach out to all those teachers and students is just awesome. I have been so concerned to see how many schools have had to give up art programs because of budget constraints. When I learned about the Pepsi Refresh Project, I though this might be my chance to help those schools restore a great art experience to their classrooms.”

All you have to do is cast a vote for Kohl’s Art by Great Masters, Art for Great Kids project each day this month.  Voting is open to everyone – and there are 3 easy ways to vote!

At the end of December, the Pepsi Refresh Project will tally the votes and announce the winners.  We want Kohl to be on that list!

Kohl founded Bright Ring Publishing, Inc. in 1985, and celebrates her 25th year in business this year. She formerly taught at Mt. View Elementary School in Ferndale, Washington, and has consulted for Fisher-Price, the Jim Henson Company, Blues Clues, and Little Einsteins, as well as writing for national magazines and giving workshops around the country. Kohl’s newest book is “Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun with Everyday Stuff.” Her philosophy, “It’s the process, not the product,” guides her writing.  She provides open-ended art activities for young children that focus on the experience of art, not the final product a child creates.

Thank you for voting! Why not help promote this idea? http://pep.si/h7KG2o

Celebrate our new site!

2 Nov

It’s time to celebrate — our website has a fresh new look!  We hope you like it as much as we do.

To celebrate, we’re giving away a $50 gift card on November 16th.  Register online before the stroke of midnight on November 15th.  No purchase necessary to be eligible.

For your convenience, we’ve added Live Chat, which allows you to chat online with our knowledgeable customer service representatives during business hours.

Also, click “Like” on Kaplan Toys’ facebook page to receive a special discount for friends.  As someone who “likes” Kaplan Toys, you’ll be able to enter the “Like Kaplan Toys” Sweepstakes to win a $50 gift card.

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