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25 Fun Family Activities for Fall

15 Sep

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With the start of a new school year and the anticipation of many holidays on the horizon, autumn is an exciting time for little ones. It is also a wonderful opportunity to create some family memories. Explore our list of 25 ideas to kick off some fall family fun!

  1. Visit a pumpkin patch or corn maze. Snacking on classic fall treats like caramel apples or kettle corn while you are there is a bonus!
  2. Time for fall chores. After you have raked up all the leaves in your yard, help your child un-rake them by jumping in! An experience worth the work.
  3. Colder, shorter days means more quality time indoors. We suggest snuggling up with a good fall-themed book such as Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, Pumpkin Soup, and Leaf Man.
  4. Carve a pumpkin for National Pumpkin Day on October 26th.
  5. Host a hot chocolate night! Create a hot cocoa bar with whip cream, chocolate drizzle, sprinkles, marshmallows, and more. Don’t forget apple cider for the non-cocoa lovers.
  6. Get crafty using nature! Use leaves, pinecones, acorns, and rocks as your paintbrush.
  7. Attend a fall festival or local fair. Look for new festivals in neighboring towns so you are sure not to miss out on the fall festivities!
  8. Check the weather for a nice clear, chilly night. Build a backyard bonfire and warm up together. Grab some homemade quilts and roast some s’mores. Don’t forget to be prepared with some ghost stories!
  9. Cold weather got you down? Have an indoor family game night! We suggest the Exit Games and the Jungle Party Memory Game or go old school and play Connect 4, Twister, Sorry!, and Trouble.
  10. Celebrate National Johnny Appleseed Day on September 26th by visiting an apple orchard.
  11. Make some DIY fall décor such as a leave garland and an autumnal wreath.
  12. Nothing beats the smells and sights of going on a classic hayride.
  13. Celebrate the autumnal season by baking some pie! With apple, cherry, peach, blueberry, pumpkin, sweet potato, and more, you are sure to find something to excite everyone’s taste buds.
  14. Take your child to a family-friendly tailgate. There is something special about the camaraderie and excitement of eating food and playing yard games outside on game day.shutterstock_375843820.jpg
  15. Create an autumn looking jar. Take a clear mason jar or vase and fill to the top with little items that are the sights and smells of fall. You can use leaves, acorns, cinnamon sticks, pinecones, and even mini pumpkins and squish to fill the jar.. Makes for a gorgeous dinner table centerpiece!
  16. Make Fall Slime (see instructions here) or apple slime (see instructions here).
  17. Cook up some homemade soup or chili to warm up a cold night.
  18. Clean out your closets! The change of the season gives the perfect excuse to go out with the old and in with the new!
  19. Visit a museum. Be sure to check for special fall festivities.
  20. Celebrate National Taco Day on October 4th.
  21. Create beautiful décor that will last the season by painting a pumpkin instead of carving one. You can even add glitter!
  22. Go leaf looking. Be sure to check to see when the peak leaf color time is in your area and then go take a nature walk.
  23. Get outside. Although the weather may be chillier, fall is a great time to fight off the soon-to-be winter cabin fever. Have some glowy fun with the NightZone™ Sports Pack or play catch with the unique Djubi® Game.
  24. Make gorgeous leaf lanterns (see instructions here).
  25. Relax and prioritize. The upcoming holidays can be a stressful time. Remember who and what is important to you and simply cherish the autumn moments.

No matter what you choose to do, be sure to take advantage of this exciting season and spend some quality time making precious memories with

5 Toys for Exploring Music at Home

1 Sep

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It is no secret that music is important to the development of your child. From helping with vocabulary to promoting exercise, music provides a great opportunity for learning while being a fun outlet for your child’s expressions. Whether your child likes to create the musical notes themselves, provide the words to the music, or they simply like to sing-a-along and dance to silly songs in the car, music is an avenue for learning discoveries and should be freely explored both in school and at home. See our five picks for products perfect for letting your little one discover aspects of musical delight in your home.

Magic Moves® Talking Electronic Wand

With a twinkling light show and a variety of musical styles, this wand is sure to provide hours of magical, musical fun! The wand speaks a large variety of commands to keep your child movin’ and groovin’! Great for working on your child’s listening skills and getting out their wiggles with the wand’s active instructions.

Vibrant Blue Guitar

 This guitar is fantastic for budding musicians! The perfect size for little hands, this fun blue guitar allows child to learn on a real working instrument. Give your little rock star the means to put on a jammin’ concert of their own!

Rock And Roll It! Flexible Roll-up Piano

 The flexibility of this piano is perfect for music exploration on-the-go! Whether your child is at the kitchen table, their sibling’s basketball practice, or in the backseat of your car, this battery-powered piano still makes a tune. Includes a headphone option, so your child can work on their masterpieces without disturbing others.

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Rock And Roll It! Flexible Roll-up Drum Kit

Similar to the roll-up piano, this drum kit is designed for music making on the go! With its multiple instrumental tracks, your child will be strumming along in no time! This drum kit includes pedals for a bass drum and a record and playback feature so that your child can re-listen to their musical handy work.

Rainbow Learning Xylophone

Your child can build their own Xylphone piece by piece, and then they can create beautiful jingles with its unique tunes. Work on color and number recognition while creating fun music with the 8 different notes. This brightly colored instrument is sure to be a new favorite toy in their toy box.

Whether your child choses to work to learn a song or simply freestyle some original music, these toys are sure to provide hours of musical (and educational) enjoyment.

 

3 Spooky Snacks for Halloween!

27 Oct

Picking out costumes and watching all of the classic Halloween movies? The time for trick or treating is upon us next weekend, but first, why not enjoy a little kitchen time with your children. Dive into festive creation with three recipes for spooky Halloween snacks!

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1. Peanut Butter Ball Monsters

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • flour
  • M&M’s, mini gumdrops, and shoestring licorice

Tools:

  • measuring cups
  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • tray
  • wax paper

What To Do:

  1. Help your child measure the peanut butter, honey, and sugar, and mix them together in a bowl.
  2. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  3. Put flour on your child’s hands and work with her to form small balls. Place the balls onto wax paper.
  4. Add mini M&M eyes, mini gumdrop noses, and licorice antennae to the monster heads.
  5. Put the balls on a tray and refrigerate until these monsters are ready to be eaten!

Source: The Budding Chef

2. Witch’s Brew

Ingredients:

  • grape juice
  • red grapes and blueberries
  • milk

Tools:

  • blender

What To Do:

  1. Put grape juice, grapes, blueberries, and milk into a blender.
  2. Add ice and  blend to make a “witch’s smoothie!”
  3. Sing songs to the Healthy All Over CD to talk about how little witches can stay healthy!

Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities 

3. Be A Pumpkin Cook!

Ingredients:

  • whole pumpkin
  • water
  • butter
  • ingredients for pumpkin muffins or bread

Tools:

  • knife (adult only)
  • 9″ x 12″ baking pan
  • aluminum foil
  • blender or food processor
  • muffin tin or loaf pan
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing spook and bowl

What To Do:

  1. Wash and cut open the pumpkin. Encourage children to smell it.
  2. Remove the seeds. Using your hands, remove and save the pulp.
  3. Encourage the children to describe the textures of the pumpkin.
  4. Cut off thin slices of pumpkin flesh and have the children taste it.
  5. Place the pumpkin, cut side down, in the baking pan. Add 1/2 cup of water.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Let cool.
  7. Remove the foil and encourage the children to observe the changes in the pumpkin. The pumpkin is darker and soft because heat changes the consistency of things.
  8. Scoop out some of the soft pumpkin pulp. Puree it in a blender or food processor. Add some of the liquid from the baking pan, if needed.
  9. Use the pureed pumpkin in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. Let the children measure, pour, and mix.
  10. Eat the muffins. Compare the appearance of the batter to the finished product. Explain again how heat changes things.
  11. Bonus: Melt butter and coat the pumpkin seeds. Bake at 250 degrees until golden brown. Salt and enjoy!

Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities 

10 Fall Activities for Kids!

20 Oct

Cold weather and scarves, pumpkins and colored leaves, fall is officially here! Whether you’re planning on celebrating Halloween or simply going for nature walks, we have 10 things to do with your kids to fall in love with autumn learning:

143690a.jpg1. Take a drive to the mountains.

Jump in the car for a road trip to the mountains to see all the leaves changing. Road trips are a great way to spend time together as a family as you sing songs, play with on-the-go toys, and end up in fun destinations!

Toy spotlight: Mini Squigz are perfect for color coordination and building on any surface! Stick to car windows for perfect on-the-go learning: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/143690/mini-squigz-75-piece-set?c=1%7CKTAP16

2. Read around a campfire.

Cool weather is the perfect time to gather around a campfire and pull out a book for story time. Read about fictional characters and fall adventures as children learn about seasonal weather changes, how to dress appropriately, and fun ways to explore the season. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight!

Book spotlight: Listen, Listen introduces young readers to the sights and sounds of the different seasons. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/71808/listen-listen-board-book

3. Go on a fall scavenger hunt.

Get outside and start collecting! Autumn brings a variety of discoveries from high up above on tree limbs to the ground for little hands to find. Take the discoveries inside and start investigating.

Toy spotlight: Sort young children’s fall finds with Sorting Trays. These durable trays encourage skill building while kids sort, count, pattern, graph, and compare! https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/62974P/sorting-trays?c=12%7CKTMT06

91325.jpg4. Pumpkin sensory play.

Pumpkins are perfect for sensory play; place a pumpkin in your sensory tray, cut out the top, and let children dip in their hands for sensory exploration! The seeds are always fun to bake later for snack time.

Book spotlight: Read Pumpkin Soup together before you dig into your pumpkin for a fun song to sing as you play. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/91325/pumpkin-soup-paperback-and-cd

5. Put on a leaf puppet show.

Not sure what to do with your child’s leaf collection? Draw faces on the leaves, glue on craft sticks, and have a puppet show! It’s a great way to engage in dramatic play.

Toy spotlight: These adorable Designer Craft Sticks add extra flair to your leaf people. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/88924/designer-craft-sticks?c=2%7CKTAR11

Name-activity-for-fall.jpg6. Learn literacy with leaf letters.

Take leaf play a step further by drawing letters on each leaf! It’s a great way to learn letters and practice simple spelling. Learn more: http://www.pleasantestthing.com/leaf-name-game

Toy spotlight: Don’t have leaves to play with? Phonics Pebbles are a great substitute for letter recognition, word-building, and tactile discovery. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/51552/phonics-pebbles

7. Investigate the great outdoors.

It’s time to break out the magnifying glasses and see what kids can find! Take a walk or go on a hike and be prepared to answer the many questions your child may have about nature.

Toy spotlight: Jumbo Magnifiers are easy for children to grab and take on the go as they get a closer look at life science lessons. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/17447/jumbo-magnifiers-set-of-6?c=17%7CKTSC13

2f8a3567e5f82f8b3df3e5a28a715ab4.jpg8. Make a fall sequin lava lamp.

Dig lava lamps? Make your own with vegetable oil and Alka Seltzer tablets. Children will learn how to follow instructions, measure, and be thrilled with the reaction of the fall themed lava lamp. Find instructions here: http://buff.ly/2eVfw05

Toy spotlight: Still not satisfied? Set up a real LAVA Lite Classic Lava Lamp in your child’s room to use as a nightlight or as a science conversation starter. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/145657/lava-lite-classic-163-inch-silver-lava-lamp-yellow-wax-blue-liquid?c=29%7CKTNEW9

9. Bob for apples.

It’s just not fall if no one has bobbed for apples. Pour some apples into a bucket of water and start bobbing; just remember, no hands! Enjoy a healthy snack afterwards.

Book spotlight: Once your finished, read Dr. Seuss’ classic Ten Apples Up On Top! https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/16648/ten-apples-up-on-top-hardback?c=6%7CKTCB09

10. Cook with fall foods.

Fall provides a fun variety of foods to cook with including pumpkins, apples, sunflower seeds, pumpkin spice, and more! Look for creative recipes to dive into with your little one in the kitchen for quality time together.

Book spotlight: The Budding Chef is full of kid-friendly recipes to make for snack time! Themes included. https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/20218/the-budding-chef-paperback


We hope you enjoyed making your way through our 10 Fall Activities list. Still, we’re curious, what would you add? Comment below!

 

5 Preschool Activities to Celebrate Fall

5 Nov

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With fallen leaves and pumpkins galore, fall activities for preschoolers are sure to abound! We have a few fun suggestions to get outdoors with your little ones to celebrate the season. Here are five fall activities to do with young children:

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1. Autumn Creatures

Make a creative creature with a few leaves, googly eyes, and select nature finds! Go on a nature walk with your preschooler and see what you can find. Be sure to pick up a few twigs for arms, leaves for heads, and rocks for buttons. Pieces of bark work great, too! Once you’ve brought items back for an indoor sensory table, glue the items onto a recycled toilet paper roll and add some googly eyes for an adorable autumn creature!

Get your different colored googly eyes here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/32117P/super-googly-eyes?c=2%7CKTAR11

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2. Pumpkin Seed Art

Do you have a leftover pumpkin from Halloween decorations? Take out the pumpkin seeds and bake them for an art project with your little one! Read a book on pumpkins like Pumpkin Soup, The Pumpkin Patch, or Andy Shane & the Pumpkin Trick while the seeds bake, and then pull out the paint for color sorting or pumpkin seed art!

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3. Homemade Applesauce

Get creative in the kitchen! Peel, core, and slice five pounds of apples into quarters to make about two quarts of applesauce. Use the EZ Grip Vegetable Peeler so that young children can easily get involved in the peeling process. Boil in a pot with water with the lid partially on until the apples are soft. Let children use a potato masher to mash the apples into applesauce! Add sugar and cinnamon based on preference.

Find even more autumn-themed activities here: http://buff.ly/1XN133g

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4. Fall Tree Quiet Bin

Looking for a quieter activity for your preschooler? Quiet time is a great way to foster independence and is important for parents as well! Fall Tree Bins are a cute way to represent autumn as children place buttons on a pipe cleaner tree. Just enough structure to keep little ones busy: http://handsonaswegrow.com/fall-button-tree-quiet-bin/

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5. Salt Dough Leaf Prints

Combine salt dough and silk leaves for an autumn masterpiece! This activity is the perfect way to spend some time in the kitchen as you measure out the ingredients and get creative with leaf placement! Find instructions for leaf prints here and don’t forget to check out our Exploring Leaves Kit.

10 Fall Activities for Families

20 Oct

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Looking for things to do with your children to get outside and enjoy the autumn weather? Get in the fall spirit and celebrate the season with the following family activities to keep children learning! Check off your seasonal bucket list by trying out these 10 fun fall activities for the family:

  1. Go on a nature walk! Turn your back yard or local park into a natural playground. Encourage children to take in the changing leaves and crisp weather as they note seasonal changes in their Nature Keeper & Tree Diary. Don’t forget to bring items back for your sensory table!
  2. Dress for the weather together! Pick out matching scarves or toboggans to bundle up for the season. Be sure to talk to your child about the importance of dressing warmly enough for the season. Learn more in our related post: Teaching the Reasons for the Seasons.
  3. Make a pot of soup or chili! Cooking together is always a great learning opportunity for little learners, and something warm and soothing is the perfect meal after playing outside in the chilly weather! Find a fun recipe in The Budding Chef!
  4. Break out the pumpkins! You haven’t truly celebrated fall until you pick out a pumpkin! There are a plethora of great pumpkin crafts for children, from sensory activities, to yummy recipes, to pumpkin carving for the Halloween season! For fun pumpkin ideas, visit our Pinterest board! 
  5. Pick sunflowers! It’s sunflower season; find a sunflower patch and pick these sunny flowers with your little one. Dry out the seeds later for a fun snack!
  6. Go to a fall fair! Search for festivals happening around your home to take a trip to the closest fall fair. With exciting rides, sweet snacks, and fun music, it’s sure to be a fun time for the whole family!
  7. Find a flea market! Markets are always fun places for children to find treasures! From discussing how old trinkets work to seeing farm animals, you will be sure to have many interesting conversations with your child as they discover a world of new things!
  8. Camp out and tell spooky stories! Have a tent? Set it up, grab the sleeping bags, and take a flash light for story time! It’s always fun to tell spooky stories as you work on your child’s storytelling skills. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss the difference between what’s real and what’s fiction. Find kid-sized tents for backyard adventures here.
  9. Make a scarecrow! Creating a scarecrow is always a great way for children to express creativity as they bring simple pieces of wood to life. Don’t forget to come up with a name once it’s finished!
  10. Star gaze! Bundle up and go out at night with a telescope! Cool nights can lead to clear skies as you learn about the constellations together with your children. Browse our telescope selection here.

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Don’t forget to enter our Guess Boo? Toy Detective Contest on Facebook this week by checking in at 9AM every morning to see if you can guess what toy is hiding behind the ghost mask! Good luck!

Teaching the Reasons for Seasons

13 Oct

shutterstock_311448788Season changes are always sure to bring plenty of new learning opportunities in their wake! Fall is one of our favorite seasons as colors emerge and pumpkins abound. We have four fun lessons you can teach your little ones as you enjoy season changes together:

1. See the Seasons

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Give your children visuals of what the four seasons look like with floor puzzles! Once built, discuss the differences and similarities between each and how one season fades into the next. Puzzles are always a great way to spend family time as you learn together.

2. Learn How to Dress

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Learning how to dress appropriately for the season can be fun! Discuss temperature changes with your children and ask them how they think they should dress. All answers are encouraged and originality is always appreciated, but keeping kids properly clothed is a must. Here are some games to help you discuss what to wear:

3. Watch the Weather

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An engaging way to keep up with season changes is to track the weather! The Weather Game allows children to match colorful photographs to the correct word cards so they track what weather patterns are associated with the different seasons.

4. Take Notice of Nature

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Foster your budding scientist by encouraging him or her to adopt a tree! Observe in detail the season changes in nature by pressing tree leaves and flower petals at various times of the year and noting observations with the Nancy B’s Science Club Nature Keeper & Tree Diary. This is an especially fun project to do in the fall as leaves begin to change!

How do you celebrate the season changes? Share your favorite seasonal activities by commenting below.