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2017 Holiday Buying Guide

17 Nov

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Happy Holidays from Kaplan Toys! It’s the season of giving and the holidays are just around the corner! With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it can be stressful trying to scout out gifts for family and friends. That is why we have created this awesome guide with great gift ideas for your children and family.

Arts & Crafts

Let your child’s creativity shine with fun arts and crafts! If your child enjoys drawing or painting, treat them to a gift that expresses their creativity and serves as a memorable token of their childhood. We recommend the Hide & Seek Rock Painting Kit. Give life to an ordinary rock by painting and decorating it into something special. Another ideal gift for crafty kids is “do it yourself” craft sets. A major trend that has left its mark on 2017 is creating your very own slime. The DIY So Slime Factory makes a great gift for kids that enjoy making slime or want to give it a try.

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Active Play

Encourage an active and healthy lifestyle for your child with fun and imaginative toys for indoor and outdoor play! Your little one can ride in style this holiday season with fun and safe ride-ons and push-along toys. The Red Mercedes Benz Riding Car is a great way to get your child active while having some fun cruising around. Don’t let the cold weather halt playtime fun during the winter months. Bring active play indoors with fun play tents and play houses that make a great gift idea for kids. The Glow N’ The Dark Firefly House Tent is an easy-to-assemble play tent that comes alive with beautiful streams and illustrated jars of glow-in-the-dark fireflies and a glow-in-the-dark crescent moon.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Kids can discover the power of their mind with fun and exciting toys that promote STEM concepts! Your child can unbox a great gift of popular robotic and programmable toys. The Kamigami Robot combines paper origami and robotics engineering. Assemble your robot then program it to perform new tricks, behaviors, games, and battle other Kamigami Robots using the included app on compatible tablets and smartphones. Introduce your child to coding this holiday season with the Robot Races & Cube Stackers Set. You become the robot trying to solve each coding challenge in the Robot Races. Use code to stack the cardboard cubes and create your own cool cube creatures with the Cube Stackers.

Baby & Toddler

Surprise your little one with fun gifts designed for baby play time fun that will help them learn and grow! Toys that they can touch, grasp, push, stack, sort, rattle, and squeak make great gift options that will help them develop their sensory and motor skills. The Oball™ Collection features four balls full of finger holes that make them easy for babies to hold, throw, and catch. Two of the Oballs™ in the collection feature fun rattles for added fun during play time. Another great gift idea for the kiddos is activity walkers, joggers, or push and pull toys. Get your little one up and moving this holiday season with the Light ‘n Go 3-in-1 Activity Walker™ that features three play modes: The Walker Mode, The Activity Mode, and The Sit and Play Mode with different color lights, words, music, and sounds.

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Fun & Games

Create a whirlwind of excitement during the holidays for the whole family with gifts full of fun and games! The gift giving options are endless because there are so many toys and games to choose from. We have a few ideas that make wonderful gift options. Everything old is new again and your child and your own inner child will enjoy a blast from the past with gifts like the Atari® Plug & Play Joystick, Frogger Hand Held Game, or The Original Stretch Armstrong. You can also create fun and lasting family memories with fun board games and card games like The Soggy Doggy Game. The Soggy Doggy Game is an anticipation-filled board game that involves trying to give a rambunctious pup a bath before he tries to shake himself dry. Will you be the one that gets wet? Play it and see!

Now that you have some great ideas let your holiday shopping begin! Stock up on the latest and greatest toys that are sure to bring joy and excitement your child this holiday season and beyond!

Ways to Teach your Child to be Thankful

10 Nov

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What are you thankful for? Thankfulness is an important attribute for kids to obtain as they learn and grow. Create a positive outlook of life by being grateful for what you have each and every day. We have provided some ways to teach your child the values of gratitude!

Share your Thankfulness

Get the family involved by having each person say something they are thankful for and why. This is a great activity that can take place during family meals, car rides, family gatherings and more! Children can gain a better understanding of thankfulness from various perspectives because everyone has different things they are thankful for.

 

Gratitude Journal

Your child can write down everything they are thankful for on each page of their very own gratitude journal. Kids can get creative and crafty by decorating it however they wish. They can keep adding things everyday as they think of more things to be thankful for. This is an activity your child can do during the holidays or year round. Check out our last blog post on how to create one.

 

Read a book about Thankfulness

Sit down with your child for story time by reading them a book about celebrating all of the things children are grateful for. Encourage your child to express what they are thankful for and why after reading your book. This is a great time for a new learning experience and bonding time.

 

Play Gratitude Games

Add a twist of thankfulness to your child’s favorite games! Create a new rule to your game like saying something you are thankful for before each turn. Turn the “Share your Thankfulness” activity into an exciting game. Each person playing says something they are thankful but in alphabetical order.

Helping Those in Need

An excellent way to teach kids to be thankful is to help others in need! Introduce children to the positive act of giving. A way for your child to give back is to donate toys they do not play with anymore to another child in need that would love to have a new toy. Invite your child to accompany you to local charitable events or charitable organizations and get involved donating their time and service to those who need it most. This is an activity your child can get involved in as they grow and understand the importance of gratitude.

Source: Simple & Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude

Thanksgiving Projects for Kids

3 Nov

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There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Your child can engage in fun and festive projects that teach them to value the true meaning of Thanksgiving! Celebrate the countdown to Turkey Day with these enjoyable projects and create custom keepsakes that last a lifetime!

Hand Turkey:

Gobble! Gobble! Your child can create a festive masterpiece using finger paint, a handprint, and their imagination.

You will need:

  • Brown, yellow, green, orange, and red Finger Paint
  • Sturdy paper designed for finger painting, canvas, or any other surface you wish

Directions:

Step 1: Paint the brown onto the palm of the hand and thumb for the turkey’s body while the other colors will be painted on the fingers to create the beautiful feathers.

Step 2: Place the hand on the paper or other surface to reveal a colorful turkey handprint.

Step 3: Add any features you would like to your turkey.

Source: Cute Turkey Hand Print + 25 Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

 

DIY Edible Pumpkin Play Dough:

You will need:

1 16oz Can of Pumpkin

2 cups of Cornstarch

1 TBSP of Cinnamon

Optional: For extra sensory play, you can add pumpkin seeds, chocolate candies or sprinkles.

Directions:

Step 1: Mix Pumpkin and Cinnamon in a medium or large bowl.

Step 2: Gradually add cornstarch until the mixture is doughy and not sticky.

Step 3: Refrigerate the dough until play time.

Step 4: Add the sensory play food into the dough if you wish.

Recipe makes enough dough for six to seven kids.

Source: Edible Pumpkin Play Dough DIY for the Perfect Fall Play Date

Mini Gratitude Journal

You will need:

Mini Composition Notebook or any small notebook

Glue

Watercolor Paper

Watercolor Paints

Black Marker (We recommend you use a permanent marker to prevent smudging)

Optional: Google Eyes, Stickers, Yarn, or anything you desire to customize your notebook.

Directions:

Step 1: Create a thumbprint turkey. Rub the thumb into the watercolor paint to create the turkey’s body.

Step 2: When the thumbprint is dry, take the black marker to draw the legs and feathers of the turkey.

Step 3: Paint the turkey’s feathers and then let dry.

Step 4: Now it is time to customize the cover of your notebook with your turkey painting! You can cut out the turkey painting and glue it to the front of the notebook.

Step 5: Add any other embellishments you wish!

Step 6: You child can now fill the journal with everything they are thankful for!

Source: Mini Gratitude Journals for Kids

3 Fall DIY Sensory Activities

2 Oct

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Hello autumn! Hello new opportunities for DIY fun at home! Check out these three ideas perfect for exploring the senses with a seasonal twist! Your child is sure to love making, squishing, smelling, and playing with these homemade creations!

Fall Sensory Bin

You will need:

Bin with lid

Water Beads

Pumpkin Seeds

Fall Colored Buttons

Muffin Pan

Optional: Plastic acorns, mini pumpkins, and small gourds

Simply combine all the items into your bin and encourage your child to touch, squish, and stir the contents. Have them sort the items into groups using the muffin pan. Add a little water to the bin for additional sensory fun!

Suggested book- Pumpkin Pumpkin

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DIY Natural Apple Pie Playdough

You will need:

1 cup Salt

2 cups All Purpose Flour

A few drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil

2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar

1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon of Apple Pie Spice

2 Tablespoons of oil

1 1/3 Cup Boiling Water

Step 1: Fill Bowl

Add all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Mix in Water

Slowly stir in your 1 1/3 cups of boiling water.

Step 3: Mix Dough

Mixing thoroughly and allow dough to fully cool.

Step 4: Add Oil

Add a couple of drops of cinnamon essential oil to the dough and mix.

Step 4: Play

Play using the Dough Tool Set and ABC & Numbers Dough Cutter Set.

Store in an airtight container for future play!

Source: No Cook Natural Apple Cinnamon Playdough Recipe

Suggested book: Apple Picking Time

Fall Sensory Bags

You will need:

Clear Hair Gel

Orange Food Coloring

Gold and Red Glitter

Leaves

Large Ziploc Bag

Duct Tape

Optional: Plastic acorns and cinnamon sticks

Step 1: Fill the Bag

Fill the large ziplock bag ¾ full of hair gel (we got our gel from a dollar store).

Step 2: Add a Pop of Color

Place glitter and a few drops food coloring into the bag, close and squish unto fully mixed.

Step 3: Add Items

Add leaves, acorns, and cinnamon sticks into the bag. Squeeze out all of the air.

Step 4: Seal and Secure

Using duct tape, seal the edges of the bag. Optional: tape the bag to a table for easier play.

Suggested Book- Leaf Man

Benefits of Shopping Early for the Holidays

22 Sep

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When you still have sand in your car from your summer vacation, it is hard to start thinking about your holiday shopping. However, starting your shopping early does have several benefits over waiting until the traditional holiday shopping season. See for yourself why you should go ahead and start checking people off of your shopping list.

Full Selection

It’s true what they say; the early bird does get the worm. When you shop before the rush, you will have full shelves and stock to pick from. No worries about having to settle on your gift choice due to selection. You also avoid participating in the toy craze. When other parents are desperately searching for their child’s top wish, you will have already picked up and wrapped the hottest toy of the season.

Save Money

When you have more time to shop, you have more opportunities to save. Companies often host presales long before Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales, including us! Be sure to check often for sales and shipping offers. Because you are shopping months early, you also avoid higher shipping fees and the need for rush shipping. Shopping early also helps with your budgeting. You can take advantage of credit offers, payment plans, and spread your spending across several months verses only weeks or days.

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Time for DIY

Having extra time gives you more freedom for creativity. You and your child can create gifts verses buying ones for some of the people on your list. Using DIY kits such as the String Art Star Light and Perfect Craft Casting Kits make for great, personalized holiday gifts. Since you started early, there is plenty of time to let the paint dry and glue fully set before wrapping!

Avoid the Stress

With your holiday head start, you save yourself from several stressors and headaches. You avoid shopping in potentially bad, winter weather. You also avoid the crowds of determined holiday shoppers. Eliminate the stress of shipping gifts to far away friends and family with the fear of will they arrive on time. With the relief of shopping early, you can focus on what matters most-family, holiday traditions, and the actual gift gifting.

You can save your sanity by planning and shopping early for the holidays. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the joyful festivities of the season.

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

Memorial Day Fun with Your Little One

19 May

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Memorial Day is quickly approaching! What better way to spend the long weekend than quality time with your little one? Explore the outdoors during Memorial Day weekend and show respect to those who have lost their lives while serving our country with the following Memorial Day activities for children.

Outdoor Adventures

Pool

It’s the end of May, the sun is shining, and a day at the pool has never sounded better! Your child will love relaxing in the pool with you on Memorial Day, but what’s a pool day without toys and floats? Your little one can float the weekend away in the pool on the Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon Inflatable Ride-On Float or Jumbo Flip Flop Pool Float. Your family can also enjoy some fun in the sun with the Big Kahuna and Lil’ Kahuna Ball Set.

Games

Spend some quality time with your child on Memorial Day by playing games together. Do you have a favorite game to play with your little one? It can be as simple as game of tag or hide-and-go-seek. You could even make a dodgeball tournament a family affair with the Coop Scatter Dodgeball Game. Making time to play games with your child during Memorial Day weekend is a great way to get the quality time in you both desire.

Grilling Out

After so many activities, bellies will be rumbling! Though there isn’t much for little ones to do while you cook on a hot grill, New Sprouts® Grill It! will allow your child to participate by working alongside you and making pretend burgers for the crowd. As you know, every moment counts, so embrace your youngster’s desire to be just like you.

Showing Respect

The purpose of Memorial Day is to show respect to those who have lost their lives while fighting for our country. It’s important to teach your child the value of showing respect for those who have died while serving the U.S. Armed Forces. By participating in the following activity together, you and your child can show respect to those who have sacrificed their lives for our country.

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Wave the Flag

Materials:

  • Small American flag

What to Do:

  1. Recite the following rhymes, modeling each line’s appropriate action.
  2. Have your child practice the rhymes several times.

Wave the Flag

Wave the flag high, (wave a small flag or hands in the air)

Up to the sky, (point to the sky)

Red, white and blue, (show one finger for red, two for white, three for blue)

We salute you. (put right hand over the heart)

See Our Flag (Tune: “Farmer in the Dell”)

See our flag wave

In the land of the brave,

Red, white and blue,

To our country we are true.

More to Do:

  • Art: Have your child make copies of the original American flag. Give each child a 4” x 6” piece of white paper with a square in the upper left-hand corner and 13 uncolored stripes. Starting at the top, have the children color every other stripe red and the square blue. Give them 13 silver adhesive stars to place on the blue square. Help the children tape a craft stick to the backs of the flags for a flagpole.
  • More Art: Have your child cut out pictures of red, white, and blue food from old magazines and use them to make collages.

Source: The Giant Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities

 How do you plan to celebrate Memorial Day? Share your plans by commenting below!