Tag Archives: active play

10 Ways to Learn with Leaves!

7 Oct

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Tis the season for leaves! With fall in full swing and the approach of Halloween, the foliage provides a great opportunity for a range of creative projects to bring inside the home and classroom. Go outside on an adventure and have your children collect leaves to their heart’s desire. The more colors the better! Once your canvas is set, step back indoors for 10 ways to learn with leaves:

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1. Create an Autumn Nature Exploration Table

Don’t stop with leaves! Collect pinecones, acorns, sticks, pine needles and more to put in baskets for nature table explorations! By including natural objects, children will be introduced to the feels, sights, and smells of the season. Sort colors, discuss how seeds grow into trees, or use leaves to make cutouts to develop gross motor skills! There’s no end to sensory explorations when you bring nature inside to be appreciated by little minds.

Source: http://theimaginationtree.com/2013/10/autumn-nature-exploration-table.html

847342. Make Organic Crafts

The autumn treasures your children collect outside are the perfect material for creative games and crafts! The book Organic Crafts offers 75 earth-friendly art activities that turn natural objects into games, crafts and activities children will love! Children will learn everything from color identification to creative self-expression. Find your own nature crafts here:

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3. Hang Leaves on the Grateful Tree

Teach children the value of gratitude by encouraging them to take a moment and list the things they’re grateful for in their lives. Once they have a few words in mind, practice early literacy skills by decorating each leaf with one of the words using a paint pin. Find out how you can make painted leaves here: http://playfullearning.net/2009/11/this-years-grateful-tree/

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4. Move Around with Spiral Leaves

Get kids outside and exercising while making fun leaf patterns! By walking around and making paths through fallen leaves, children can create yard designs through active play and creative instruction. Change up the pattern for even more fun! http://happyhooligans.ca/in-our-big-back-yard/

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5. Crumble Leaves for Autumn Trees Craft

Crumble leaves with your children as they use their sense of touch to explore the texture of trees! Make a creative autumn tree from real leaves and a little imagination. This is a great activity for sensory learning.

Source: http://ourhouse.typepad.com/full_circle/2007/10/autumn-trees-cr.html#

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6. Create an Alphabet Leaf Hunt

Write individual letters on leaves and hang them around the backyard with clothespins! Encourage your child to match up capitalized and lower case letters. Have kids read the letter out and make the letter sound after finding each leaf. Kids will be excited about learning the alphabet in no time!

Source: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/09/preschool-activities-for-fall.html?m=1

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7. Rake up Leaves for Dramatic Play

Encourage the development of gross motor skills and engage in dramatic play by having little ones read “Eye Like Nature – Leaves” and then throwing leaves in the air! Use plastic rakes for children to rake leaves back up again into baskets.

Source: http://www.loveplayandlearn.com/2012/09/raising-tots-fall-pretend-play.html

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8. Parachute Play with Leaves

Engage in active play and parachute fun by piling up leaves onto the parachute and then singing along to “Pop, Pop, Popcorn!” When you say popcorn, have kids jump up and send leaves flying into the air! Children will engage in active play and work together to coordinate parachute movements.

Source: http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/10/outdoor-fall-parachute-play/

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9. Understand Why Leaves Change Color

Have your kids hypothesize about why leaves change color and what color they will turn as a part of their very own backyard science experiment. Explaining leaf chromatography and allowing children to see colors change right in front of their eyes is a great way to bring science to life through learning with leaves! Find out how to run the experiment here:

Source: http://almostunschoolers.blogspot.com/2010/09/fall-science-part-2-leaf-chromatography.html

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10. Get Artsy with a Nature Canvas

Involve your little one in hands-on exploration as they make Autumn Art from leaves! Little ones can collect treasures from the backyard and glue them atop a nature canvas painted with beautiful reds, yellows, and browns for fall delight! The result is a natural landscape with real leaves you’ll want to hang on the wall when finished.

Source: http://www.sunhatsandwellieboots.com/2011/09/3d-autumn-art.html

-We hope you enjoyed these activities! Are you in an area where there are no leaves? Use leaf kits to explore beautiful, printed leaves together with your children as they work on sorting and color recognition. Explore our different leaf kits here:

Keep Learning Cool This Summer

3 Jun

Just because your children are out of school doesn’t mean they have to stop learning! Summer provides the perfect time for family engagement. We have new toys and books that will give you and your kids fun ways to enjoy the summer while keeping their minds and bodies active. Here are a few ways to keep learning cool during those hot summer months!

Summer Reading

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-Get engaged with our ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program™! This affordable education program is aligned with Common Core Standards and contains a reading log, writing exercises, math worksheets and a bonus activity! Read along with the grade-specific summer learning books or laugh along with the animated kick-off video. Achievement medals will keep your kids motivated to reach new learning levels.

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-Let your kids read along and be inspired by characters making the most of their summers!

Keeping it Cool

-The great thing about summer is that you can splash into it! With such warm weather, children will be looking for ways to cool off. We have a few creative suggestions to allow your children to enjoy the sun without getting too hot.

-With so many opportunities to go outdoors, you’ll be looking to wheel your baby through parks, downtown, or even a friendly turn about the neighborhood. With so much stroller time, you’ll want to make sure your child is not getting overheated. Geleeo stroller pads keep stroller temperatures bearable, and they’re specifically made for kids. With a pair of cute sunnies and a cooler stroller pad, your kids will be set for a summer stroll!

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-Do you have a little girl who loves to swim? Let her swim in style with our Bling 20 Swim Goggles! Different colors and patterns allow children to find the perfect pair to fit their personality. They are also swim team approved!

Get Moving

-Have little boys with endless energy? We have toys they will love, keeping them engaged and active over the summer! Check out our Aero Zipp, a catapult action toy that allows children to launch balls as they work on accuracy, distance, height and curved flight. Comes with one Aero Zipp, one hip holster, and three Zipp balls to launch.

Outdoor Building

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-Let your kids’ imaginations soar with our OGOBUILD Pod Kit, perfect for outdoor building. Once built, the lightweight structure can be kicked, spun, or thrown. Cover it with a bed sheet to make a fort! This inspiring building kit will keep your kids entertained for hours as they use their budding engineering skills to create the perfect playhouse.

Between keeping minds sharp with summer reading, cooling off with fun, water toys, and keeping active with outdoor building, we hope you and your kids will find plenty of time to spend together in the summer months ahead! For even more active and outdoor toys, find our complete selection of summer-perfect toys here.

Spring Break for the Kids: Entertainment that Educates

8 Apr

Spring Break is fast approaching, but time off can bring more questions than solutions! Whether you’re traveling or spending some well-deserved time at home, there’s always the question of how to keep children not only entertained but learning during their time off. Children naturally have a lot of energy and with 12 hours of every day to fill, it can sometimes be overwhelming to keep them continually learning. We’ve compiled a list of activities for you and your children to do together that we think you will both enjoy; best of all, they will come away having learned something new.

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A Spring Break Education:

 

1. Active Learning

-The great thing about Spring Break is that it allows children to spend a greater amount of their time outside; something the classroom cannot always allow. There are so many outdoor opportunities children are suddenly allowed to engage in that will allow them to move as they learn! We have a variety of great ideas for outdoor play, whether it’s in the backyard at home or wherever your travel destination happens to be.

Take a hike:

-Get together with your little one and explore what the world around you has to offer by hiking the great outdoors! You can find parks in the area or woods trails to walk, whatever adventures you find, your children are sure to be engaged.

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Street Exploration:

-Cities always have a lot to offer, especially when you’re traveling to new places for the first time! Explore shops, music and art by walking hand-in-hand with your children around downtown or in historical sites.

-Find even more ideas on active play during spring break here.

 

2. Family Productions

-Another bonus to Spring Break is that it gives you the rare moments of togetherness with the family! This can be a great time to put on family productions. Here are a few ideas that will spark the creativity of your children and hopefully leave you enjoying yourself, as well!

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Have a dance party:

-No matter how old you are, dancing around with the people you love will always leave you with a smile on your face! Crank up the music indoors and have a fabulous dance party to a playlist suited to your music taste and theirs.  Want to get even crazier? Invite your children’s friends over and lay out a few snacks to get your party in full swing. Your kids will be exercising and they won’t even know it!

Put on an art show:

-If your kids are budding artists, this is a great way to put their drawings and paintings on display. Give them all the supplies they needs to make their masterpieces before arranging a time to invite friends and family over to “ooh and ahh” over their active imaginations. This is a great way to bolster creativity and self esteem; it will also teach children to be proud of their work.

-For even more ways to put on family productions, here are some great options.

 

3. Volunteering

-It’s always great to give back, but even more so when you’re teaching your little one to do so. Social Emotional Learning can never be undervalued as children learn the importance of community and helping people in need around them. Spring Break gives you an opportunity to check around your community and see where your donations can be put to good use, whether it is your time, your old toys, or a friendly visit to the local nursing home.

To read even more on how to get kids excited about giving to those around them, check out this related post. 

 

4. Redecorate a Room

-Are your kids looking for a change? Whether spaces are inspiring or not really does play a role in how conducive it is to learning. Maybe it’s time for a little redesign to get your kids inspired! Changing color patterns, how furniture is laid out and whether or not your children’s own work is proudly displayed in their room goes a long way in creating an inspiring space. To learn all the ins and outs of creating a space at home that’s right for your little learner, check out this post on inspiring spaces.

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5. Sprinkle in a Little Culture

Know families in the neighborhood from another culture and feel like opening your children up to new experiences? Get together and plan on doing a recipe swap or exchanging stories about your respective cultures. This is a great way to expand your child’s horizon by teaching them different cultural perspectives. Not to mention a great way to build community!

For even more ways to get involved with the community, check out this blog. world

6. Start a Community Garden

-This is a great way to not only teach sustainability but community outreach! Children can learn together about nutritious veggies and help in the process of growing them. And you never know, after putting such precious time into the growing process, children may even find themselves not minding larger veggies portions at mealtime!

-To read even more about how to start your own community garden, check out how this mom is getting involved.

Share your ideas for keeping children learning over Spring Break by commenting on our Facebook page or tweeting your answers to @KaplanToys

 

Fight Childhood Obesity Through Active Play

24 Mar

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Various initiatives have been started in recent years to combat childhood obesity, but the number of overweight and obese children is still staggering. The CDC recently reported that more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012. The high number of overweight and obese children indicates that more needs to be done at home and in the classroom to help children learn to eat healthier and be more active.

Infrequent exercising is a major cause of childhood obesity, so you can help your kids keep a healthy weight and fight childhood obesity by encouraging active play. Participating in active play activities with your children will give you a chance to show your kids that you value physical activity and will help you spend quality time together as a family. Here are five active play activities you and your children can enjoy during the spring and summer months:

Five Active Play Activities for Spring and Summer

1. Create Sidewalk Art

Children can get creative as they use paint and chalk to make works of art on sidewalks and driveways. This is a great activity for kids of all ages and can help them stay active as they mix colors and draw and paint various designs. Work with your kids to see how big of an art piece you can create, and be sure to snap pictures of your kids’ designs before the rain washes them away.

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2. Learn a New Skill

Spring and summer are great times of the year to learn new skills. Kids will enjoy learning how to ride a bike or scooter, and teaching them how provides wonderful bonding moments for parents and children. Learning to juggle, speed stack, and balance on stilts are also fun new skills your kids will enjoy learning. All of these activities will help your kids stay active as they learn about balance and motion.

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3. Explore Sand and Water

Kids love digging in sand and playing in water, and the spring and summer months provide great opportunities for fun, motion-filled sand and water activities. Sand molds, buckets, sprinklers, and other sand and water tools all facilitate active play as children explore sand and water. For more ideas on how kids can stay active with sand and water activities, check out Sand and Water Play: Simple, Creative Activities for Young Children.

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4. Help with Outdoor Chores

There are plenty of opportunities in spring and summer for children to help you do outdoor chores. Let them help you plant or water the garden, pick up sticks from the yard, or practice mowing with their pretend mower. You can even turn these activities into competitions to see whose plant grows best or who picks up the most sticks. Activities like these will help children stay active while they learn important life skills. Read The Budding Gardener for other ideas on fun-filled gardening activities you can do with your children.

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5. Play Outdoor Games

Establishing a family routine that includes physical fitness can help you and your children keep a healthy weight. Make time to play an outdoor game with your kids a few times a week, especially in spring and summer. Play a game of basketball or volleyball as a family after dinner or teach kids how to play badminton or tennis. Even a quick game of tag or a simple 30 minute family walk will help keep you and your kids healthy.

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Be sure to browse our Active and Outdoor Play section for additional ideas on how you can help your kids be more active.

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