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3 Delightful After-School Snacks

18 Aug

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The hustle and bustle of school starting can be overwhelming. With mile long shopping lists to check off, lunches to pack, and fresh, new outfits to pick out, providing healthy snacks is often low on the priority list. No worries, we gathered 3 easy after-school snack ideas to provide your little ones with yummy refuel after their long day of learning. Perhaps enlist their help in the kitchen for some special weekday bonding.

Peanut Butter Playdough

Fun to play with and good to eat!

You will need:

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup honey or corn syrup

1 cup of powdered milk

1 cup of oatmeal

Coconut or powdered sugar (optional)

Large bowl

Measuring cup

Mixing spoon

Step 1. Help your child measure 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of honey, 1 cup powdered milk, and 1 cup of oatmeal.

Step 2. Once the ingredients are measured, help your child combine them in a large bowl. As they work with the ingredients, talk about how they are changing as they mix them. This is hard work!

Step 3. Once the mixture is dough-like, they can spoon out some of the play dough and mix it using their hands and fingers. Ask them if it is sticky. If the answer is yes, add small amounts of oatmeal and powdered milk.

Step 4. Encourage your child to explore this edible play dough. If desired, your child can make “snowballs” by rolling a rounded ball of dough in coconut or powered sugar.

Step 5. As they play with the play dough, remind them that it is okay to eat it as well!

Source: The Budding Chef – Paperback 

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Yogurt Grape Treats

A refreshing snack for hot afternoons!

You will need:

Grapes

Yogurt of Choice

Toothpicks

Bowl

Baking sheet

Step 1. Destem and wash your grapes then stick toothpicks inside each one. Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until fully frozen (should take a couple of hours).

Step 2. Once your grapes are fully frozen, dip the grapes in your favorite yogurt. Then place them back on the baking sheet.

Step 3. To add toppings, do it soon after you have dipped the grapes in the yogurt.  The yogurt will freeze pretty fast because the grapes are frozen. Some toppings we suggest are coconut, honey, dark chocolate, and caramel. Place them in a container in the freezer to store, or serve them to your little ones.

Source: Natalie Monson- Super Healthy Kids

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Rainbow Fish Fruit Snack

Read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister with your child, and then share in making this delicious snack.

You will need:

Banana Slices

Blueberries

Dessert Shells (Found near the fruit in the produce section of most grocery stores)

Green grapes

Orange sections

Pieces of cantaloupe

Strawberries

Toothpicks (3)

Step 1. Invite your child to put three to five pieces of fruit on each toothpick. Arrange the toothpicks in a triangle shape to create the fish tail.

Step 2. Place the dessert shell near one triangle point to create a fish body.

Step 3. Use the rest of the fruit to fill up the dessert shell, and you’ve got a rainbow fish that’s tasty enough to eat.

Source: The Budding Chef – Paperback

Whether you choose to prepare these delicious snacks before they arrive home or have them help you whip up the recipe, these snacks are sure to please little one’s tummies!

5 Ways to Make Back to School Cool

4 Aug

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We are nearing the end of summer, and the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Back-to-school thoughts can be filled with anxiety for many children, so we have come up with a list of ways to combat back-to-school jitters. Here are five ways to make back to school cool at your home.

  1. Allow your child to pick out his or her new backpack for the school year.

 Picking out a new backpack is often an exciting time for children. Choosing a backpack with a cool design or their favorite character, such as this Pete the Cat® Backpack & Lunchbag set, is sure to get the school year off to a great start. Additional fun backpack sets include the hedgehog backpack set and the Backyard Friends™ Backpack Set. Your little one will love picking out a new backpack for the upcoming school year!

  1. Make school supply shopping fun!

Get your child in the school spirit by making school shopping enjoyable. Allowing your child to pick supplies that he or she is excited about using this year is a must. LEGO® school supplies, for example, will definitely make back to school cool. Your child will love writing in the LEGO® Journal with LEGO® Markers and measuring with the LEGO® Buildable Ruler!

  1. Host a back-to-school party!

Hosting a back-to-school party for your child and his or her friends is sure to make back to school cool! Order pizza, and let the kids play together. You can even set up a faux dessert table with school supplies (instead of cakes and pies) for each child to take a use this school year. Getting your child excited about school with fun festivities is a must this year!

Source: http://www.allkindsofthingsblog.com/2014/08/back-to-school-parties.html

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  1. Plan family time in the midst of back-to-school madness.

When school starts back, things around the house can get chaotic. From homework to extracurricular activities, everyone is kept busy during the school year. Unfortunately, oftentimes family time can get lost in the mix. Make sure to plan much-needed family time during the madness this school year. We suggest playing games as a family such as classic board games, Scrabble® Boggle® Game, and 5 Second Rule®. Enjoy making memories with your family this school year!

  1. Switch up packed lunches for your children.

 Make lunchtime interesting by changing up the daily sandwich to something more fun. Check out these Sandwichless Lunch Ideas for inspiration on what to pack in your youngster’s lunch box. Your child will love the surprise of finding out what he or she has to eat for lunch! Additionally, consider including a note in your child’s lunch to brighten his or her day.

Getting your child excited about back-to-school activities and routines is a must for kicking off a successful school year. We hope these five fun ideas will make back to school cool for you and yours!

How do you plan to make back to school cool for your kids this year? Share your ideas by commenting below!

Books to Ease the Back-to-School Transition

1 Sep

How is your little learner adjusting to the back-to-school routine? With so much to take in, the big transition can sometimes seem scary. To help with the process, we have six books to help your child ease back into the learning experience and manage all of the responsibilities that come with it.

145591.jpg1. Casting Casey 

After a summer filled with fun, routine can sometimes feel boring to young children. Combat boredom by reading about the incredibly smart Casey who comes to understand why giving your best is always important. Discovering new passions at school is always a rewarding experience of learning in the classroom!

 

145000.jpg2. The Lego Ideas Book 

Encourage building at home! The Lego Ideas Book is a great resource for project ideas and building themes for your child to follow along with as they prepare for building with peers. Blocks are always readily available in early education classrooms, so encouraging self-directed building can go a long way in developing your child’s fine motor skills.

 

145598.jpg3. How to Do Homework without Throwing Up 

Is it always a struggle to get your child to do homework? This comical read will teach children how to ask for help when they need it. It includes helpful homework tips and pointers, scheduling aids, and a list of homework benefits they can look forward to in the classroom.

 

145589.jpg4. Nobody!

Is your child worried about being bullied? It is easy to feel all alone when starting a new school year, especially if a child is coming in not knowing familiar faces. This book explores how to overcome bullying by growing self-esteem and helping others. It also includes a special “activity club” page for parents, to help you discuss bullying with your child.

 

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5.Get Organized Without Losing It 

School comes with a pile of important papers! This special read teaches children how to keep organized, from homework to personal responsibilities. Includes quirky illustrations and helpful tips to enjoy the benefits of an organized learning experience.

 

 

145003.jpg6.Get Ready For School: I’m Ready for School Board Book

Get ready for school days full of play and fun! This interactive board book is perfect for supporting key learning skills, social skills, physical and knowledge development, language skills, and fun routines for everyday experiences. Prepare for play, exploration, and hands-on experiences!

 


Now your child is all ready to hit the classroom with confidence and a smile for all of the learning to come! Share your tips for easing student transitions back to school by commenting below.

5 Things to Pack for the First Day of Preschool

25 Aug

Gearing your preschooler up for back to school? It can be hard to know what to send with your child when they are entering a new learning environment. There are, however, a few staples that will always come in handy. Here are 5 essentials for parents to pack for the first day of preschool:

Best Practice: be sure you check with the school administration before the first day of school for a list of supplies to pack with your child.

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1. Snacks

 Whether it’s a half-day or a whole day of preschool, packing your child’s favorite snacks that can be eaten quickly and opened independently is a great way to prepare for the first day of school. Most programs include a snack time, so having a treat your child can dig into gives them a taste of home. It’s also the perfect opportunity to sneak in a simple note of encouragement for your brave little learner!

For tips on How to Pack the Perfect Lunch, check out this related article: https://blog.kaplantoys.com/2014/09/23/how-to-pack-the-perfect-lunch/

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2. Water Bottle

 Water bottles are fun to personalize and are a great way to keep kids hydrated. Pick out the bottle with your tot to ensure they can open it independently, are attached to it, and that it is spill proof. The last thing you want is your child’s new backpack coming back soaked with juice!

Check out our new Backpack Sets, complete with a matching backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle: https://blog.kaplantoys.com/2016/08/10/backpack-sets-for-back-to-school/

 3. Extra Set of Clothes

Accidents happen when there’s a room full of toddlers! Even if your child is potty trained, early learning classrooms contain paint, water tables, and a handful of other messy opportunities. Prepare your child by packing an extra set of clothes in a zip lock bag with their name on the outside. You will be helping out the teacher tremendously!

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4. Comfort Buddy

 Many toddlers deal with anxiety or first-day jitters. One way to counteract those fears is by sending something familiar from home that they can latch onto when feeling lonely. Whether it’s a picture of the family or a teddy bear, letting your child pack their prized possession is a great way to keep them connected to home throughout the school day. Find more resources on how to calm first day jitters here: https://blog.kaplantoys.com/2015/08/18/5-ways-to-calm-first-day-jitters/

5. Emergency Card

 Don’t forget to send an emergency card with your child that details your home address, phone number, and if your child has any allergies. This is always a great back up for any situation your toddler may stumble into. Be sure to seal in a plastic bag as well or laminate to keep waterproof!


Back-to-School Resources:

Backpack Sets for Back to School!

10 Aug

One fun way to see the first day of school is as a grand adventure for your little explorer. No adventure would be possible without the right gear. Strap into one of our four new backpacks and send your child back to school in style! Each set includes a matching backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle.

Puppy Backpack Set

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 Does your child have a puppy obsession? So do we! This colorful Puppy Backpack Set is perfect for providing a furry companion to accompany your little one to school.

Want to go a step further? Comfort buddies are a great coping method for first-day jitters. Pick out a furry companion for your child to take with them in their new backpack set!

Unicorn Backpack Set

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School is a magical place for learning, so your child’s backpack should be, too! Properly prepare for back to school by stepping into the classroom with this stylish fantasy-inspired backpack.

Does your child love unicorns? Get excited for a year full of learning with these magical, unicorn-themed toys:

Alien Backpack Set

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Explore the unknown with this Alien Backpack Set! Prepare your little explorer for the new school year with a bag ready to be filled with all of their new discoveries! This colorful, green alien is more than ready for the challenge.

Take a space odyssey before school starts with these fun space-themed toys!

T-Rex Backpack Set

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Love dinos? Bring in T-Rex to the classroom for a little pre-historic inspiration! This beloved dinosaur will give your child more than enough courage to face the classroom!

Find even more pre-historic toys for your tots here:

Top 10 Toys for Summer Learning

7 Jul

Want to beat the summer brain-drain? Keep your kids actively engaged in learning this summer. Whether children need to catch up or get ahead, these toys are perfect for fun summer learning:

1. The ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program™

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Designed for Common Core State Standards, this program is tailored specifically for grades ranging from PreK to Grade 5. Activities include writing activities, reading logs, mathematics worksheets, and even a bonus activity! The program includes a set of 10 weekly activities.

 

2. Owl Time Teaching Clock

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This fun owl teaches children to tell time! Whether you hang it on a wall or sit it on a desk, the clock features movable hands and colorful, removable numbers. The eyes also open and close to teach the difference between nighttime and daytime! The owl’s feet feature storage space for chalk and erasers.

 

 

3. Sight Word Flash Cards  21048

 

Quiz young children on their reading and testing skills with Sight Word Flash Cards! Made in the USA, sets feature words from Fry Instant Words and Dolch Words lists!

 

 

4. Reading Passages Main Idea & Details

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Help students advance their reading comprehension skills. Interesting fiction and non-fiction stories are included in this practice book! Features multiple choice and short answer assessments to help raise standardized test results. The book also provides example lessons, pre- and post-examinations, and an answer key.

 

5. Wonderfoam® Giant USA Puzzle Map

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Learn all of America’s states and their capitals with this giant, award-winning puzzle! States are listed on the fronts of puzzle pieces while capitals are labeled on the back.

 

 

 

 

6. Smart Play Smart Projector

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Refine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through the arts! Trace letters, numbers, and more with this fun projector. Features English and Spanish and includes a cool touch LED lightbulb.

 

 

 

7. Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion School Kit

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Take learning outside with this fun, educational kit! Children will discover metamorphosis firsthand as they watch the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly right before their eyes.

 

 

 

8. Melissa & Doug® Pediatric Nurse Dress-Up Set

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Encourage dramatic play with this dress-up set that has everything required for little nurses to take care of newborn babies. The gender-neutral uniform provides pockets for pretend tools. Includes plush baby doll with a smiling face and removable diaper.

 

145518a9. Rock And Roll It! Flexible Roll-up Piano

Ideal for summer travel, this flexible piano rolls up quickly for storage. The battery powered core allows for more musical road trips. It also features a headphones port for solo musical play.

 

 

145540-bl10. LEGO® Journal – Blue

 

Children will be excited to write, draw, and even build with this journal! Includes 96 pages and a removable lego building plate band.

Back to School: 5 Questions to Ask Teachers

25 Aug

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Are your kids starting school this week? As your children take off for the classroom, here are five questions you’ll want to ask their teacher to ensure they have a productive school year. After all, it’s always best to know how you can get involved to best supplement children’s learning experience in the home.

1. Is there anything I can tell you about my child that will help you better support them in the classroom?

Helping an educator understand your child’s needs from the start is a great way to equip them for a more meaningful relationship with your child. This can include anything from food allergies to personal strengths and weaknesses. The information exchange will allow for greater inclusivity in the classroom as well as act as an assurance for you that your child is being properly catered to in an active learning environment.

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2. How can I provide the proper homework support?

It is paramount to establish a homework routine at the beginning of the year. Whether it’s checking a homework folder, signing off on a weekly newsletter, or checking a website, keeping up-to-date with your child’s homework requirements and holding them accountable to complete their weekly work load is key to their success in the classroom. Check out of some of our favorite homework resources below:

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3. How should I respond when my child is struggling in the classroom?

As a parent, you know best when your child is struggling in the classroom. Many times, you can feel restless as you try to figure out how best to help. Putting a strategy in place at the beginning of the year is a great way to address problems before they arise. It will also establish an effective line of communication between you and the educator. One tool that can be used to ensure you stay involved throughout the year with your child’s literacy development is TAG You’re It! (Yearlong Parent Engagement Initiative). It’s always proactive to ask your child’s teacher if the classroom has already implemented this program or a program similar to it.

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4. Is there technology needed to support self-directed learning in the home?

Many times, children can start falling behind in the classroom because they don’t have the necessary technological support in the home. Whether you have to take children to a library or invest in a new laptop, providing children with the tools they need to further learning concepts from the classroom is important not only for academic success, but also for fostering digital literacy as young children grow in the 21st century. Here are some of our favorite pieces of technology for the home:

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 5. What academic standards do you use and what do I need to know about them as a parent?

Understanding the agenda and the academic standards of the classroom is key to supporting them at home. It will also help you understand what areas your child may be struggling in so that you can implement strategies to focus on those skills outside of the classroom. Whether it’s phonics or math, we have learning tools to support additional learning in your children to bring them up to speed:

We hope your kids are having a great first week back to school! Let us know what questions you always ask educators during the first week back by commenting below or on our Facebook page.