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Fostering Creativity in Your Child

12 May

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Providing opportunity and support for creative growth for your child can be difficult. Often between work, dinner, homework, and sports there seems to be less and less time for your child’s creative outlets. In addition to less time at home, schools are often losing more and more of their art programs as focus shifts to promoting STEM education. Finding a balance is key to creating a fostering environment for your child’s exploration of the arts. Consider the following activities as ideas of ways that you can weave creative moments into your child’s everyday life.

Provide the tools to create a masterpiece.

  • Gather all of your “child-friendly” art supplies into one central location for easy access and so that they can know what they have to freely create with.
  • Give them tools of their “trade”, such as providing a ballet bar for your little twirler, taps shoes for your jumping jack, and a box of costumes for your tiny actor to use in their living room performances.
  • Consider the Craft-tastic® Idea Box, which provides all the craft supplies and ideas that help kids tap into their own creativity.

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Provide the space to create.

  • It can be as simple as a basket of supplies and a blanket, a kitchen table covered in newspaper, or a whole crafting corner as long as there is a safe space to make stuff without worry of their safety or destroying of your favorite carpet.
  • Provide a quite space for your writer or painter to work without distractions.
  • No clear open space? Take art outside! Paint in the grass or even with sidewalk chalk! With the Chalktivity Stomp ‘n Stamps, they can create magical star and moon prints with every step or create a rainbow of color with the Chalktivity Rainbow Jump Rope.
  • Clear a space in the basement for your ballerina to practice her twirls. Help create a makeshift stage, complete with a blanket curtain, for your little actor to perform a play for the family.

Encourage multiple explorations.

  • Creativity is found beyond the coloring page. Be sure to expose your child to multiple aspects of the arts because you never know when an activity will spark a lifetime love and even a future profession.
  • Consider theater, singing, film, and dance camps. Perfect for exploring interests without a yearlong commitment.
  • Let them explore learning how to play musical instruments. Don’t want to commit to professional lessons? Try YouTube or the Toccata Musical Measure Blocks (which teaches about measures, rhythm, & meter).
  • Provide them an example! Don’t be afraid to show them that you can be creative too by dancing around the living room, helping them create a college of pictures, and playing a role in their backyard show.
  • Finally, provide opportunity. Whether it’s performing a song for their grandparents or painting a canvas for daddy’s office, find opportunities to not only encourage but also showcase their creative abilities as they continue to develop.

Dramatic Play with Baby Dolls

23 Sep

 

Dolls offer a range of dramatic play opportunities for your little ones as they learn the importance of being gentle with infants and how to care for another person. Here are four ways you can encourage your child to grow into a natural nurturer:

30174.jpg1. Pretend the doll is a younger sibling.

Dolls can be a great way to prepare your toddler for a new arrival! Show your child how to properly hold their doll, how to speak in a quiet voice, and even how to change a diaper. It’s a great way to warm your child up to the idea of a new baby in the house. Check out our suggested doll choice below:

 

80799p.jpg2. Practice parenting.

Modeling is natural form of learning, and it can be insightful for you, as well! Encourage your child to parent their pretend baby just as you take care of them. This is a great way to teach responsibility as children remember the importance of taking time for healthy meals, getting to bed at a reasonable time, and learning how to dress for appropriate seasons. See our suggested doll choice below:

 

82031p_2015.jpg3. Host a tea party.

Another great way for children to engage in dramatic play is by hosting a tea party! Work on conversation skills and good manners as children serve dolls first and talk to them about the wonders around them! Suggested doll choice below

 

 

145781a.jpg4. Establishing sleep routines.

Having company for bedtime stories is always relaxing. Children can use babies as companions to snuggle with as they learn to sleep by themselves and fall asleep on their own. Find our suggested doll choice below:

 


Whether it’s pushing baby around in a stroller to develop gross motor skills or tucking baby into bed, having a doll around the house can be an insightful hands-on learning experience for your child. Find our complete selection of dolls here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/dolls-and-doll-houses

Pick out the Perfect Dollhouse!

12 Apr

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Looking for a dollhouse to suit your child’s needs? There are a couple of questions you can ask before making the big purchase to supplement your child’s dramatic play experience! Here are four questions to ask before picking out the perfect dollhouse for your little one:

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1. Looking for Neutral Colors?

 The first thing you’ll want to determine is if your dollhouse is for a young girl or if it will be shared by several children. If you’re looking for a house the whole crew can play with, here are two of our favorite wooden dollhouses that are big enough for any imaginative play experience:

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 2. Have a Big Play Space?

 If you’re looking for a large dollhouse to incorporate into a spacious playroom then we think you’ll love these options. Go pink with the Multi-Level Wooden Dollhouse or if you’re looking for something that allows children to reach in from all sides, then check out the Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse. Either way, your child will have tons of room to play!

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3. Looking to Teach STEM Concepts?

If you’re looking to go beyond dramatic play to teach math and engineering concepts, we have two colorful options below. The Geometrics Dollhouse will teach geometry as children build rooms in whatever shape they please! Don’t forget the Roominate Townhouse that promotes architectural skills as children build their own townhouse from bottom to top.

4. Need Something to
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Travel often? If you’re looking for a dollhouse to take with you for children that’s a little smaller, but is perfect for taking on the go, then the Fold * Go Wooden Dollhouse if for you. Durable and portable, this dollhouse comes with two play figures and eleven pieces of wooden furniture so that children can take imaginative play wherever they go!

Creative Chores for Young Children!

15 Mar

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Doing a little spring cleaning in your house? Motivate your children to help out with household chores and make the work fun with these five creative chores ideas for young children:

1. Sing as You Work!

Is it chore time in your household? One thing that can make chores go a lot faster is singing as you work! Encourage your children to come up with a song before they start. Learn the words together then sing as you go. It especially works with songs that involve chanting, so you can sing different parts of the song from different parts of the house as you clean!

2. Reward Systems

We all need a little motivation from time to time. Whether it’s getting to choose what’s for dinner or gaining access to that day’s Wifi password, presenting a reward for children to work towards is a great way to get little hands involved as you clean.

3. Cleaning Exercises

Not sure how to fit in workouts and get the house clean? Why not do both at the same time with your kids? Make chores a challenge by incorporating squats, pushups, and crunches into laundry time, sweeping, and doing the dishes. Give your kids goals to work toward as you motivate each other. It’s especially effective for burning all of that energy toddlers always seem to have! Find example workouts here: http://www.parenting.com/parenting-advice/mom/5-ways-to-turn-routine-chores-exercise

chore-blocks-may.jpg 4. Chore Dice

If you’re looking for a particularly creative way to motivate children to help out around the house, then have them help you create a Chore Dice! Not only is it a great craft to do together (as they can choose some of the reward sides), it’s also a creative way to involve chance to choose what chores kids do for the day as opposed to being assigned the same task repetitively. Find dice instructions here: http://lifeasmama.com/10-brilliant-ideas-to-motivate-your-children-to-do-chores/7/

 5. Kid-Sized Cleaning

 Finally, having the right-sized tools can make the task at hand seem a lot more manageable! We have a cute collection of kid-sized cleaning supplies that are easy to grip as children help out around the house. Don’t forget to enter our Sensational Spring Cleaning Spree Contest by sharing how you teach housekeeping skills to children on Facebook.

Enter here: www.facebook.com/kaplantoys

 

 

 

Inspiring a Love of Literacy with Indoor Forts

16 Feb

One of the best ways to inspire a love of literacy in young children is by providing safe and cozy reading spaces. Reading can become even more of an adventure as children’s imaginations take off, whether they are diving into a cave, entering a castle, or camping out under the stars! We’ve collected five of our favorite ways to build forts with your kids to turn their next reading time into a fortified adventure:

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1. The Traditional

If you’re looking for an easy fort to start with, then this one is for you! Simply pull out a square table and fasten two duvets so that all sides of the table are covered. Create an entrance by folding the blankets into a triangle so that children can crawl in! Pile in couch cushions or pillows so that kids have somewhere comfy to stretch out. It’s the perfect blanket fort to escape for some quality reading time.

Source: http://www.thejennyevolution.com/diy-easy-blanket-forts/

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2. The Star Gazer

Have old cardboard boxes? Simply set them on their sides for a crawl-in entrance. Poke holes through the top and insert holiday lights for a starry night to gaze at as children break out books under their personal sky!

Source: http://lifeasmama.com/10-awesome-fort-ideas-to-build-with-your-kids/5/

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3. The Adventurist

Do your kids love camping? Break out a clothesline, throw a sheet over it, and tie down the edges with four stakes. With a blanket and pillows underneath, children will have a comfortable outdoor retreat to escape to for some outdoor reading time!

Source: http://lifeasmama.com/10-awesome-fort-ideas-to-build-with-your-kids/

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4. The Air Fort

Make way for a new type of fort. Tape a fan to a sheet for added fun. The airflow will create crawl space for a flowing air fort, no blankets required. The moving walls are sure to add more creativity to imaginative play! Find out how to build one here: http://teachingmama.org/diy-air-fort/

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5. The Extension

Finally, you can take dramatic playhouses and extend them with blankets! Simply clip on sheets with clothespin to make extended rooms for children to play in. That way, they can have an adorable entrance and space for friends! Browse our selection of play houses to get started:

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few additions you can make to any fort to add a little magic.

  • Holiday lights: a little twinkle goes a long way when reflecting on sheets and blankets
  • Comfy seating: ensuring children are comfortable can also make forts the perfect places for nap time
  • Book selection: be sure books are readily available for your little readers to explore!

The Galaxy’s Favorite Star Wars™ Toys

19 Jan

Do you have a family full of Star Wars fans? Celebrate the return of your favorite Star Wars characters by reenacting your favorite scenes from the movies with the galaxy’s favorite Star Wars toys! From new LEGO sets to a retro reel set, you don’t want to miss seven Star Wars toys for the family:

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1. LEGO® Star Wars™ Character Encyclopedia

Before you start building and collecting LEGO® sets, use the LEGO® Star Wars™ Character Encyclopedia to know where to start your collection! This expansive guide includes all of your favorite characters along with rare facts and exclusive releases from the movies.

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2. LEGO® Star Wars™ Luke Skywalker™

We can’t forget Star Wars’ main protagonist! Work with your kids to build this detailed LEGO® version of one of the galaxy’s most powerful Jedi Knights. Features fully posable limbs, buildable green Lightsaber and blaster pistol, handcuffs and a holster with extra Lightsaber handle.

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3.     LEGO® Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon™ 

No Star Wars LEGO® set is complete without the Millennium Falcon™! Open the hull plates to reveal the main hold with seating area and holochess board, a detailed hyperdrive, and secret storage for spring-loaded shooter ammo. Includes six mini-figures with assorted weapons: Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Tasu Leech, and a Kanjiklub Gang Member, plus a BB-8 Astromech Droid™.

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4.     LEGO® Star Wars™ AT-D

Rebels have been spotted! Jump into the cockpit of the twin-legged LEGO® Star Wars AT-DP military walker. Patrol the streets of Capital City with loaded twin spring-loaded shooters and get ready to escort Agent Kallus and the Stormtrooper past the rebels.

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5. LEGO® Star Wars™ Death Star Final Duel

Reenact the epic final duel between Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine from the movie Star Wars™: Episode VI Return of the Jedi! Let the drama unfold in Emperor Palpatine’s throne room aboard the second Death Star, complete with swing-out side sections for easy play. Includes five mini-figures with assorted weapons: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and 2 Royal Guards.

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6.     Star Wars™ Me Reader™: Electronic Reader and 8-Book Library 

Read about your favorite saga with your kids and the Me Reader™! Select from eight different books to work on literacy skills with bonus feature sound effects from the movies. Interactive reading experience ahead!

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7.     View-Master Star Wars™ Reel Set 

It’s a blast from the past! Bring Star Wars to life with 3D story telling! Twenty-one images are pulled straight from Attack of the Clones. The View-Master is a great way to share the adventures again and again with kids on the go.


 

Find a complete selection of our Star Wars toys here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=Star+Wars&searchButton=

 

 

 

 

Learning About Careers for Labor Day!

1 Sep

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Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching! Do you have plans for your family? The three-day weekend can be a great time to teach your children about different careers in the community as well as get them thinking about potential career paths for themselves! Here is a fun project you can do together to celebrate the holiday with young children:

The Jobs People Do Project

Materials:

  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Graphics representing different jobs
  • Glue
  • Clothing proper representing different jobs
  • Various proper representing different jobs
  • Magazines
  • Construction paper

What To Do:

  1. Take a survey; ask parents in the community what they do for a living as well as discussing what you do for a living. Make a list of their jobs.
  2. Ask your children what they think each position does or includes and record their responses.
  3. Compare what your children say with what the jobs actually include. Talk a little about each type of job. One great way to do this is by using the Career Book Set. Make sure you don’t make children feel as if they answered incorrectly. Gentle correction is always best.
  4. Continue until you have talked about every job and then make a list of all of the jobs on a piece of poster board.
  5. Make a word/picture graph depicting community jobs. At the top of the graph print: “The Jobs People Do.” Under the heading make two columns, one for Moms and one for Dads. Print each parent’s job in the proper column. Add a small graphic that represents that job next to the printed words.
  6. Break out the dramatic play! Encourage kids to use props to pretend they are working at the different jobs discussed. If you’re in need of props, check out our career selection below:

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  1. Cut out magazine pictures of people working to make a Jobs Collage as a family project.
  2. Work to create a unique and colorful jobs mural on poster board. Title it: “The Jobs People Do” and display it in your home for all to see. You can adapt this mural to do “Jobs I Want To Do” and have children include careers they are interested in.
  3. Wind up your celebration of the jobs people do by visiting a career place of your child’s choice. Libraries, fire stations, and sheriff’s offices are all usually open for the holiday, but it depends on individual hours. So, be sure to check beforehand!

Activity adapted from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities For Children 3 to 6.

For even more resources to get your children talking about what careers they are interested in, check out these career toys: