Tag Archives: children

Things to Consider When Planning a Play Date

26 Aug

 

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It’s the first week of school for many students and parents! As students adapt to the changes of a new teacher and peers, it’s important to support the friendships being fostered in the classroom right from the start. Friendship is not only an essential part of developing a child’s social skills, but it also makes the transition back to school much easier. Interacting and planning play dates with other parents is a great way to support the friendships being made and ensure they will not dwindle away as the school year progresses. Here are six things you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your child’s next play date!

 

  1. Be Prepared —It’s important that your child is ready for the play date regardless of whether they are going or hosting. Make sure he or she is well rested and fed before the allotted time. Not only do you want your child prepared, but you’ll also want to prep the space that you intend to use for play. Choose a space that will allow children to be active as they interact and childproof it for any potential risks. If the play date is happening at your house, your schedule should be cleared for the devoted hour of social time, as children will need consistent supervision.
  1. Know What to Expect—You’ll want to establish who’s picking up who, arrival and departure times, if parents are staying throughout the play date, and how many children will be involved before getting children together. It’s also a good practice to ask about any allergies or medical needs of the children in your care. Once you have all of the details, be sure to talk it over with your child, so they also know when to expect friend-time and how to prepare. (We all know they have that one special toy or outfit they’ll have to find and show off!)
  1. Teach Children How to Play the Perfect Host(ess)—Social skills are one of the many benefits children will gain from interacting with peers and building lasting relationships. One of those skills is courtesy. Explain what it means to be a ‘’good host(ess)” with examples like taking their guest’s jacket and hanging it up, showing their guest the space they’ll be exploring, or even offering a pre-prepared snack or drink! Seeing the guest as someone to be valued will help children better appreciate the ideas of their peers both in and outside of the classroom.
  1. Avoid Threes—There is truth to the concept of “third wheels” and having someone feel “left out” is never ideal. If you can, plan in pairs or keep younger siblings distracted with separate activities so children can interact with their guest.
  1. Know When to Step In—Squabbles are going to happen; it’s natural as kids are unlikely to agree on everything that arises within an hour. There are a couple of ways you can handle play date skirmishes. If there is hitting (or biting) involved, it’s time to step in and change the activity, giving attention to a new subject. If the problem is one that does not involve children being emotionally or physically hurt, it can be just as beneficial to step back and let children work out their own problems. Using communication and understanding differences is a key learning process, and if children can come to joint solutions, problem-solving skills are already underway.
  1. Reflect When Finished—It’s important to know what worked and what didn’t when the play date has come to an end. This will help you with the planning process for the next date and how your child best operates with their peers. Plan your own meeting with the parents of the visiting children so you can both be better prepared for round two!

For the perfect play date toys, you won’t want to miss out on these selections:

Play Date Resources:

 

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.

Love and Your Little One: Children’s Books About Love

14 Feb

Teaching children about love and what it means to be loved is very important! Celebrate the magical spirit of St. Valentine’s Day by cuddling up with your young one(s) and reading together. But first, join us as we count down our favorite children’s books about L-O-V-E!

8

Taggies™ I Love You

By Scholastic

Book Description: Curious babies will love to touch and tug on the TAGGIES™ fleece blanket that covers this special book. The soon-to-be favorite of your baby also features eight colorful tags made for small fingers. The adorable bears illustrated in pastels make perfect daytime or bedtime companions. Machine washable. 3 pages. Cloth book. Birth & up.

Item#: 88268

Price: $12.99

7

One Hundred Is A Family

By Pam Muñoz Ryan

Book Description: Counting first from one to ten and then by tens to one hundred, this picture book celebrates the many meanings of family. The people connect in ever-widening circles, creating families of community, heritage, and simple love and friendship. 32 pages. 4 – 8 years.

Item#: 46702

Price: $7.99

6

My Monster Mama Love Me So

By Laura Leuck

Book Description: At once tender and funny, this monster bedtime story is guaranteed to generate giggles, tickles, and plenty of monster hugs.

Item #: 46442

Price: $3.50

5

Only One You

Book and Puppet Set

Book by Linda Kranz

Book Description: This inspirational book emphasizes how important each individual is to the world around them.

Item #: 91232

Price: $12.95

4

Little Sisters Are…

By Beth Norling

Book Description: Little sisters can be tiny, cuddly, smelly and sad. They can be bouncy, lumpy, sticky and brave. Every little sister is different, but we love them all the same. This book has bright pictures, easy text, and sturdy paper to help toddlers and twos turn the pages easily.

Item #: 85155

Price: $4.99

3

I Love You All Day Long 

By Francesca Rusackas

Book Description: Owen’s anxious question prompts this heartwarming, comforting tale of how a parent’s love stays with a child whether they are together or apart, all day long. Paperback. 32 pages.

Item #: 13433

Price: $6.99

2

Mama, Do You Love Me?

By Barbara M. Joosse

Book Description: In this universal story, a child tests the limits of independence and comfortingly learns that a parent’s love is unconditional and everlasting. The story is made all the more captivating by its unusual Arctic setting. The lyrical text introduces young readers to a distinctively different culture, while at the same time showing that the special love that exists between parent and child transcends all boundaries of time and place. The story is beautifully complemented by graphically stunning illustrations that are filled with such exciting animals as whales, wolves, puffins, and sled dogs, and a carefully researched glossary provides additional information on Arctic life. This tender and reassuring book is one that both parents and children will turn to again and again.

Item #: 92387

Price: $6.95

1

Guess How Much I Love You

Felt Story Set

By Sam McBratney

Book Description: This book is a wonderful expression of love between a parent and child. Set includes 15 felt figures, felt background scene, hardback book, and 2 bonus short stories. Ages 3 and up.

Item #: 62013

Price: $30.95

Rub-a-dub-dub: The Best Toys for the Tub!

25 Nov

One-two-three-four, say goodbye to bath time wars! The experts at Kaplan Toys are counting down the best in bath toys – all of which are sure to have your young ones toddling to the tub!

#5: Cup O Fun

The perfect bath toy for floating puzzle fun! Activities include sifting water, matching faces, and “I Spy” star. This puzzle set includes one floating tray, four large puzzles, four shaped cups, and five foam pieces. For ages 12 months and up.

Item Number: 00373

Price: $19.95

#4: Princess in the Tub

Now she can be a princess even in the bath tub! This fun bath time set includes a foam tiara with shiny printed jewels, foam safety mirrors and of course, a magic wand! Dipping the wand into the water will trigger magical lights and sounds – sure to delight every little princess. For ages 3 and up.

Item Number: 00232

Price: $21.95

#3: Squirter for the Tub™ Jungle

Your child will love these jungle creatures made for oodles and oodles of water play fun! This set of five soft water squirters, perfectly sized for little hands, will make any infant or toddler excited for bath time! For ages 6 months and up.

Item Number: 00229

Price: $6.95

#2: Tub Tunes Symphony™

Every little musician can now practice while in the tub! This deluxe gift set includes three real instruments that will bring out their inner Mozart – a xylophone, drum, and flutes – plus laminated sheet music for each instrument! For ages 3 years and up.

Item Number: 00233

Price: $37.95

#1: Color Your Water Fizzy Bath Tints

Drop tablets in water and watch the water change colors! Create all of the colors of the rainbow using 50 tablets of each primary color! The bath tints will not stain fabrics when used as directed. For ages 2 years and up. (Bottles shown are not included)

Item Number: 85533

Price: $6.95

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