Tag Archives: parenting

How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying

6 Oct


October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Having conversations in the home with children about bullying can not only prevents potential conflicts in the classroom, but can also prepare your child for being confronted by a bully. Here are five strategies for talking to young children about bullying:

 1. Get to Know Their Social Life

Checking in daily with your child is the best way to know when social dynamics begin to change in a way that could indicate bullying. Encourage your child to talk about their friends, sports teams, and how their classes are going. Your questions are a great way to show that you care while also allowing you to keep track of any environmental changes that may be problematic.

2. Build a Trusting Relationship

Ensure your child knows the lines of communication are always open when it comes to talking to you about what is going on in their life. Even if your child tells you something that is shocking, suspend disbelief to instead let them know you trust what they are telling you.

3. Establish Rules for Online Conduct

Surprisingly, a high percentage of bullying occurs online. With the prevalence of technology at home and in the classroom, it is imperative to establish online conduct rules for children from an early age. This will develop an understanding of responsibility for communications both verbal and virtual. You can encourage your child to keep protected by following these two guidelines:

  1. Never say or do anything online that you wouldn’t say or do in person.
  2. Never share any information that you wouldn’t tell a stranger.

4. Involve Child in Problem Solving Discussion

Work together to come up with a solution so that your child feels empowered. Trying to directly contact the parent of the aggressor can sometimes lead to additional bullying and rarely solves the situation. Instead, take active steps to talk to your child about ways they can bring conflict to an end. Find more resources on standing up to bullies here: http://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/talking-about-it/


5. Focus on Social-Emotional Learning

Showing children that everyone is different and speaking openly about the emotions certain actions can evoke is a key part of developing your child’s social emotional skills. Concepts like responsibility, respect, and kindness need to be taught before children can fully understand what a bully is and how to ensure they don’t become one unintentionally.

From books to games, the resources below can help you build social emotional learning in your children as they prepare for interacting with their peers:


Creating a Science Lab at Home!

14 Jul


Does your child love watching the Discovery Channel and reading National Geographic? Then it’s time to bring children’s natural curiosity to the table by creating a science lab at home! Here are a few simple steps you’ll need to know to create a space for scientific discovery:

1. Choose Your Space Wisely

It’s important that children help you pick out their science space as they’ll be spending the most time in it. Be sure the space you choose has a flat surface for children to work on (since we all know how messy science can be), a window, as many experiments require sunlight or documenting weather patterns, and comfortable seating. Here are a few fun ideas for personalizing the lab:

  • Add plants on the desk or tabletop, so that children have examples of nature right in front of their eyes!
  • Hang posters for science inspiration. 
  • Include a bookshelf. One shelf can be dedicated to science supplies by adding trays, baskets, or tote trays for tools and instruments.

2. Stock up on Science Books


Every great experiment starts with research! Make sure your kids are stocked with books full of facts and figures about their favorite areas of research, whether it’s Bengal tigers or the Milky Way! It’s also beneficial to have a book full of science lessons children can use as a starting point for future discovery! Here are some of our favorite suggestions below:

3. Pick Out Tools for Discovery


Every scientist has to have the proper tools! Here are a few of the basics you may want to consider for your child’s science lab:

  • A Basic Starter Kit– goggles, test tubes, and tweezers are necessary tools of discovery when it comes to children launching into different types of investigation. The Primary Science Set is a great place to start!
  • Smart Lab Get Growing! Green House – teach children the plant lifecycle by planting seeds and watching them grow with the Smart Lab Get Growing! Green House.
  • Microscope- from the simple GeoSafari Talking Microscope to the more sophisticated GeoVision MicroPro, taking a closer look always leads children to new, exciting discoveries about the world around them!


4. Start Experimenting! 

There are so many areas of exploration children can dive into! Whether it’s ant lifecycles, dinosaur bone excavation, or studying solar power, we have a few choice kits you can start your child learning with:

What will your child’s first experiment be? Share with us by commenting below!

Making the Most of Bath Time

2 Jun


Do your kiddos like taking baths? For many parents, it can be a struggle trying to convince children baths are a good thing. Whether it’s a fear of water or simply not wanting to stay still long enough, children can make taking baths difficult and leave parents soaked by the end of bath time. We have a few toy suggestions that will not only leave children seeing the tub as a new play space, but also teach a few educational lessons along the way!

1. SoapSox Bath Scrub Terry Cloth Bath Sponges – Harper The Hippo & Ava The Dolphin 143909

These soft washcloths just happen to be absolutely adorable and in the shape of loveable sea creatures! Pour soap into the SoapSox pocket and add water to work up a lather. Place your fingers in the side pockets and scrub as your baby giggles in delight at their newfound bath time friend!

2. 5 Large Dino Bath Buddies 


Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? These five colored dinos are soft and squeezable for small hands. Encourage dramatic play and practice color recognition as you wash your baby!

3. Freddy Finz Bath Spout Guard 


What can make bath time more entertaining than turning the faucet into a funny fish? Freddy Finz Bath Spout Guard is a great way to keep young children safe from hitting their head during bath time and can be rotated so that water sprays out, providing tons of fun and laughter!

4. Number Ducks 


Nothing is more fun than sharing the tub with a family of counting ducks! Number Ducks are great for number recognition and simple counting as children begin to learn their numbers.

5. Make a Splash™ Vinyl Book Set (Set of 4) 


There’s nothing like story time in the bathtub! Stories are a great way to get children to look forward to your time spent together. These adorable waterproof and baby-safe books are a great way to keep babies entertained.

6. Bubble® Twin Pack


Add more fun in the tub by pouring in scented bubbles! Toddlers can create shapes or make funny hair with the floating foam while enjoying bath time.

7. Water Twinklers 

83681Babies will love watching these three twinklers float in the tub! The viewing dome adds extra visual stimulation by allowing children to see the objects moving inside.

8. Splish, Splash Water Play 


Try to catch colorful insects as they glide across the water or scoop and pour water from fun creatures! The Splish, Splash Water Play Set offers endless bath time fun as toddlers squirt from textured Scrubbles! The different textured tops provide added sensory play.

9.Tug Boats Set (Set of 6) 


These brightly colored boats are fun for racing, easy to chew on, and teach little ones to stack as they nest the little tug boats inside each other! The Tug Boats Set is also a great way to introduce sequencing.

10. Eco-Friendly Stacker Cups 


With six graduated, numbered cups, young children can sort and stack as they learn basic counting and math concepts. Pour from cups one and two and watch as they fill the volume of cup three! A great way to keep kids learning while bathing.

Do you have strategies for keeping young children calm during bath time? Comment below or tell us on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaplanToys

Establishing a Summer Learning Plan!

19 May


It’s almost time for summer! As your kids prepare for freedom, they may not be aware that without use, a lot of the lessons they worked so hard to learn will begin to fade. Since you’ll be spending more time with your little ones, it’s important that a summer learning plan is introduced to prevent summer learning loss. Here are a few easy steps you can take to ensure your children continue to learn outside of the classroom:

 1. Ask your child’s teacher about a summer learning program.

Many times, teachers have already created summer learning activities, programs, or websites for children to engage with during the summer. Check with your child’s teacher to see what options are available. If nothing is in place or you want to delve a little deeper, we also have the following options:

 2. Break out the reading games to encourage early literacy.

Promoting early literacy over the summer is a necessity as reading is one of the biggest indicators of eventual academic success. We have plenty of fun literacy activities you can engage your children in for summer:

3. Take advantage of free community learning resources.

Many times, your community offers free learning opportunities for children that are just waiting to be taken advantage of! A couple of ideas could include:

  • signing your child up for a public library card
  • browsing local parks for nature centers
  • strolling through a nearby university campus
  • checking online to see when music festivals are coming near you or when museums and zoos are running specials for families

The learning possibilities are endless when you see the world through your child’s eyes!

4. Introduce math in everyday learning.

Math learning is all around us! Take time to be intentional in your day-to-day routine by finding opportunities for your children to practice counting, number recognition, and time telling. Some ideas could include adding up prices at the grocery store, counting time while waiting in line, or measuring ingredients while cooking. For even more ideas on how to incorporate financial literacy into everyday learning, check out our post: Small Ways to Teach Math Every Day!

5. Keeping active through imaginative play.

Putting precedence on active play is so important throughout the summer as many children’s natural inclination may be to become a couch potato! The outdoors just awaits adventure and children’s natural curiosity is just the beginning for science investigation. Whether it’s establishing a designated outdoor play time or gathering the family together for a fun game of basketball in the evenings, make sure active play is a part of your child’s summer schedule. Sports teams, trips to the park, and swimming pools are also great ways to keep little feet moving! Find a selection of cool outdoor summer toys here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=summer&sc1=1

6. Stress the importance of nutrition through starting a garden.

There’s no better way to get children excited about the healthier aspects of snack time than by starting a family garden! When children invest their time (and love) into growing plants, they are more appreciative when the vegetables and fruits spring up to provide a healthy snack. It’s also a great way to teach responsibility and provide an activity you can do together. For creative garden lessons you can teach preschoolers, check out Gardening: A Growing Process for Children.

We hope your summer kicks off to a great start! If you have any creative ways to keep children’s minds engaged while out of school, feel free to share by commenting below.

Small Ways to Teach Math Every Day!

5 May


Trying to fit math learning into a busy schedule can be hard! That’s why it’s important to begin seeing every day situations as potential learning opportunities, so that children can enjoy math lessons on the go. Here are a few simple ways you can have fun with your children throughout the day as you reveal that math is all around!

1. A Trip to the Bank

Going to the bank is a necessity, but using it as a time to teach children about the value of money can many times go overlooked. Next time you’re preparing to take a trip to the bank, set aside a little extra time to go inside and teach your children the following:

 What To Do:

  1. Ask your children to save up 100 pennies. Once they’ve reached their goal, ask them to count the coins into stacks of five and ten. Put the pennies into a coin sleeve and put your child’s name on it.
  2. Visit the bank to exchange the pennies for a dollar bill.
  3. Talk to your children about the value of 100 pennies and the dollar bill. Discuss similarities and differences of the two forms of currency.

Assessment: At the end of the day, children should be able to count to 100 and sort objects into groups of five or ten.

2. Nibbled Pretzel Numbers

Pretzels are a common snack, whether it’s on an airplane, at a ball game, or at a park. This salty snack is also a great opportunity for number recognition!

 What To Do:

  1. Give children napkins and about three pretzels each and take some for yourself. Nibble tiny bites out of a pretzel so that the remainder is in the shape of a number.
  2. Place the nibbled pretzel on your napkin so the outline of the number is seen clearly.
  3. Let the children tell you what number they recognize. Nibble another pretzel into a different number so children can see the possibilities.
  4. Enjoy the laughter with children as they nibble their pretzels into numbers and display their creations on napkins.
  5. You can make this activity a bit more challenging by using straight pretzel sticks. The sticks will need to be broken or bitten into shorter lengths in order to make rounded edges. Napkins help keep snack time neat.

The Pretzel Song by Kay Flowers

One salty, two salty, three salty pretzels.

Four salty, five salty, six salty pretzels.

Seven salty, eight salty, nine salty pretzels.

Ten salty pretzels I see!

3. Buried Treasure at the Beach

Planning a trip to the beach for the summer? Learn on the go with the addition of plastic numbers!

What To Do:

  1. Tape a number card on five of your child’s sand toys and set the toys up on the sand. Make sure the five plastic numbers are buried beneath the toys.
  2. Ask children to identify the numbers on the sand toys.
  3. Explain that there are matching numbers buried in the sand. Challenge children to dig through the sand to find the plastic numbers.
  4. Encourage children to feel the numbers they find and try to identify them before they lift them from the sand.
  5. Have the children display each number they find beside the sand toy with the matching number. Congratulate the children as they locate numbers and match them!

4. Snack Time: How Many Spoonfuls?

Snack time is most likely already included in your child’s daily schedule. If that’s the case, young children can begin learning numbers with something as simple as a spoon!

What To Do:

  1. Give children cereals, puddings, applesauce, or any food that requires a spoon to eat.
  2. Tell the children they will be counting how many spoonfuls it will take to eat their snack.
  3. Have visuals to keep track of how many bites are taken. Anything from blocks to tally marks can work.
  4. Older children can make a hypothesis to predict how many spoonfuls it will take to eat their food.

All activities inspired by Learn Every Day About Numbers by Kathy Charner.

Don’t miss out on our featured math products for easy ways to teach math at home!

 Featured Math Toys:



Sand and Water Inspiration for Spring

21 Apr


It’s spring and with the sunny season comes plenty of opportunities for sand and water play. Whether you have a sand and water table or a sandbox outside, we have a few learning activities you can engage your children in to embrace spring time.

Sand and water tables provide added benefits, including the ability to bring outdoor elements inside when the weather isn’t cooperating! If you don’t have one yet and are considering what table would be best for your child, we have a few options we think you’ll enjoy:

4 Hands-on Activities for Spring!

1. Water Play! Bring it Onboard

What happens when objects are added to a floating jar boat? Children can compare the objects that sink their boats to objects that leave boats afloat.


  • different weighted materials such as plastic or wooden spoons, rocks, fishing weights, corks and metal washers
  • plastic containers with lids, small plastic jars with lids
  • sand and water table or a large container filled with water

What to Do:

  1. Float a closed plastic jar on the water in front of your children. Talk about floating. Ask, “Do you have toys that float in the bathtub? What happens when you push them down to the bottom? Let’s pretend this is a boat and see what it can carry without sinking.”
  2. Remove the lid and place a large, heavy object in the jar. Say, “Let’s see what happens when we bring this onboard our boat.” The object should not be heavy enough to sink the jar, though it should make it noticeably lower in the water. Talk to your children about why.
  3. Select a heavier object that will sink the jar. Repeat the process of placing the jar in the water and discussing what happens when the boat sinks.
  4. Allow children to explore with several more objects and containers. Ask, “Which objects let the jar boat float and what sinks the boat?” Have children group the objects in these two categories and discuss size, weight, and material characteristics of the objects in the groups.

Challenge: Do the activity using only sand or water as a weight. Add varying amounts to identical jars. How much does it take to sink the jar? Challenge your children to keep track of how many scoops of sand they put in the jars.

Source: The Preschool Scientist 

 2. Water Play! Aluminum Foil Boats

Make boats from aluminum foil, and experiment with how to make them float and carry objects!

Related Books:

  • Boats by Anne Rockwell
  • Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham
  • Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen


  • objects used as “passengers” or cargo in the boats, such as small plastic blocks, washers, or pennies
  • pieces of aluminum foil: 6” x 6” squares work well, but any size and shape can be used
  • sand and water table or a tub of water

What to Do:

  1. Talk with your child about what the word sink means. What might make a boat sink?
  2. Show your child a flat sheet of foil and a small toy. Talk about how you might make the foil into a boat so that the toy can ride in it.
  3. Create several boats, experimenting with different designs and testing each boat in the tub of water. Add animals or other toys to see what happens.
  4. Talk about your boats and what you noticed when you put “passengers” in each boat. Does it make a difference where you put the passengers? Can some boats carry more passengers than others? Does the shape or size of the boat make a difference?
  5. Test your ideas about boat designs by redesigning and floating many different boats.

Source: Where Does My Shadow Sleep: A Parent’s Guide to Exploring Science with Children’s Books 


Kaplan Toys Suggestion: Looking for items to float in your boat? Try out My Buddies, the perfect companions for water play!

 3. Sand Play! Dinosaur Dig

Children will learn about colors and paleontologists as they dig for dinosaurs!


  • laminating machine or clear contact paper in different colors
  • sand and water table or tub of sand
  • scissors


  • Cut dinosaur shapes out of different colored paper. Laminate or cover with clear contact paper.
  • Hide the paper dinosaurs in the sand.

What to Do:

Tell children that they are going to be a special kind of scientist called a paleontologist. Explain what they study and the history of life on Earth.

  1. If appropriate, ask each child to find a certain color dinosaur.
  2. Offer an additional challenge by cutting the dinosaur shapes into puzzle pieces that the children find and then put together, just as paleontologists put together the bones they find to re-create the bone structure of animals that once lived on our planet.

Source: Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children 

  1. Sand Play! Coloring and Mixing Sand

Have fun showing children how to paint sand, and then mix the sands to form new colors!


  • containers for mixing sand and paint
  • pans for drying sand (one for each color)
  • resealable plastic bags, small
  • sand and water table full of sand
  • spoons
  • tempera paints
  • mixing spoons
  • permanent marker


Collect several containers of white sand, various tempera paints, and find a location where children can set the painted sand out to dry.

  1. Have each child make a color of sand using separate containers to mix each of the primary colors—red, yellow and blue.
  2. Help each child measure and pour 1-2 cups of sand into each container, and then pour 1/4 cup of wet or dry tempera paint into the containers. Explain to the children that they should add 1/2 cup of water for each cup of sand in their containers. Help children add water and paint as needed to help make a good rich color and a runny mixture. Mix well.
  3. Help children pour the colored sand onto the sand and water table to dry, and then place the table in a warm, sunny place. When the sand is dry, encourage the children to crumble the sand back into granular form. At this point, each child should have one container of red, yellow, and blue sand.
  4. Next, talk with children about the primary colors. Ask the children why they think we call them primary and explain that they help to make all other colors.
  5. Set out several mixing spoons and resealable plastic baggies. Invite the children to use the spoons to measure the colored sands carefully and combine spoonfuls of each in various plastic baggies. Tell children to use no more than three spoonfuls of each color of sand. Be sure children mix one or two spoonfuls of color with three spoonfuls of another color, so that they can see a variety of results.
  6. Help children record on the sides of the baggies the number of spoonfuls of each color of sand they add to each baggie, and then help the children seal the baggies.
  7. 18753groupInvite the children to shake the bags well to mix the colored sand and watch as a new, secondary color appears. Point out to the children how the grains of the primary colors are still visible in the secondary color.

Source: Science Adventures: Nature Activities for Young Children 

Kaplan Toys Suggestion: Find non-toxic tempera paint for coloring your sand here.

Want to show off your child’s sand and water creations? Share pictures with us on our Facebook page!

Stocking Your Home Library

10 Mar


Having access to books at home is one of the most important steps in encouraging early literacy outside of school. Libraries create a sense of wonder in children as they run their fingers over a collection of titles just waiting to be read! If you’re considering how best to stock your home library, we have a few helpful tips for getting started:

 Getting Organized:

  1. Pick out a space in your home that encourages quiet time and inspires imagination!Including comfy seating, a window for proper lighting, and of course, titles to engage the whole family’s interests are a great start!
  2. Don’t focus on how many books you have to start with because your collection is sure to grow! Start by asking your children what they like to read and stocking up on their favorite subjects and authors—a few thoughtfully arranged books will be much more beneficial to early readers than a large collection of titles that will go unread.
  3. Ensure your home library is varied.  Be sure you include picture books, bilingual books, read aloud books, board books, and even books that incorporate the use of puppets for dramatic play! By trying new books, children will discover what style they prefer and you’ll know how to further stock your library with their favorites. Here are some of our favorite selections to get started:

Where to Find Books:

Finally, we know it can get expensive when you consider shelves that need to be bought, books that need to be collected, and even the time you have to put into organizing your library. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible. Here are some crafty options for easily finding books your children will love at cheap prices:

  1. Free eBooks – Do you have e-readers at your house? eBooks are another great option for free resources your children can indulge in while surrounded by their favorite books. Home libraries are not only for collecting books but they can also provide a safe reading environment for children to feel secure in. Here a few helpful sites for finding free ebooks:
    1. Digital Book Index (This is a catalogue of all the major eBook sites, university collections and other smaller publishers.)
    2. International Children’s Digital Library (The world’s largest digital collection of children’s books!)
  2. Library Sales – Every public library receives donations and not all of those books make it onto the shelf. A lot of the donations are saved for book sales where you can find books priced from $0.25 to $1 in a wide range of subjects and genres. Not only will you find some exciting books for your own library but you will also be giving back to the public library system, an all in all win/win situation! Check the Book Sale Finder to find sales in your state.

We wish you the best of luck in getting started! Have tips? Comment below or let us know on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaplanToys



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