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Trouble-Free Preschooler Activities for Earth Day

14 Apr

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Observed annually on April 22nd, Earth Day is a celebration of environmental protection and conservation. One month into spring, Earth Day is the perfect time to get your little ones outside and learning. Use this day (or even week) to discuss how your family can play a part in protecting the Earth that we inhabit. Here are some excellent ideas that can help you turn fun in the sun into impactful lifetime of learning!

Rain and Shine

In order to explore conservation, your child must first understand why the Earth is so important to protect. A great place to start is with nature discovery. While exploring, explain the special relationship that humans have with nature and how we interact and depend on one another. Consider these activities:

  • Take a nature walk with a fun twist. Give your child pictures of items to find (like a rock, 3 types of flowers, a pinecone, etc.) for an afternoon of nature scavenger hunting.
  • Cook up a mud pie! Get messy while mixing up different types of dirt for a fun, sensory loaded activity. Try including as many different materials such as sand, rocks, and leaves into your pie “ingredients”.
  • Explore the water cycle with the Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table™. Your child can make it rain again and again with this fun cause and effect STEM activity.
  • Turn your nature walk finds into a nature collage. Use an old egg carton to organize and protect your new collection.
  • Create beautiful art with leaves! Paint various leaves and use them to stamp their designs onto paper or even a canvas.

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Love the Earth and It’s Creatures

Once your child has had a fun introduction to nature, it’s time to explore some of the Earth Day themes. From pollution to animal conservation, there is plenty to discover and themes to tailor to your child’s interests.

  • Play “can it be recycle?” by hunting around the kitchen and explaining what and how different materials can be recycled. Bonus! Practice sorting their discoveries based on the material.
  • Introduce upcycling by including them in a small project or craft that includes recycled and repurposed materials.
  • Create a small garden just for them. Use the Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening Kit and the Watering Can with Shovel and Rake to create a special space for them to explore the growing process.
  • Give the earth an actual hug with the Hugg-A-Planet® Earth.
  • Discuss animal conservation while cuddling with the Baberoo Sea Turtle Plush or playing with the Polar Animals Set.
  • Create a bird feeder by repurposing a paper towel tube with peanut butter and birdseed.
  • See an Earth Day movie! We suggest the Disneynature series which premiers a new film every Earth Day. If you see it opening week they will make a donation to World Wildlife Fund.
  • Chow down on Earthy dirt cups! Your child will love the crush cookie “dirt”, chocolate pudding “mud”, and brightly colored gummy “worms”. Simply mix chocolate pudding to create a mud base, crush Oreos to form a dirt crust, and insert gummy worms for a buggy surprise!

However you choose to celebrate Earth Day, we would love to hear about it on our social or in the comments below!

Spring Fever! Encouraging Your Child to Be Physically Active

23 Mar

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The arrival of spring brings longer days, warmer weather, brighter colors, and increasing opportunities for engagement in healthy childhood activities. It’s no secret that the digital age has created various gadgets and apps that compete for children’s attention and free time. The draw of digital games and activities often drowns out the basic childhood desire of simple play. It’s important for parents to restore some balance into children’s lives and foster healthy habits and development. Beyond limiting screen time, try to encourage your little ones to explore the world around them and engage in activities that increase their heart rate. Here are a few ideas we gathered to help you spark your child’s desire for active play.

Individual Exploration

Teaching children to play by themselves is a special skill set that will not only engage their brain but also create a healthy sense of independence. Encourage your child to enact pretend stories in the backyard or “bake” a cake with items found in nature. Think back to your childhood and encourage them to do some of the activities you did, such as playing jump rope and creating art with chalk on the front driveway. Consider combining those activities with the Chalktivity Rainbow Jump Rope or Chalktivity Pogo Prints for increased exercise and fun! Imagination and a warm spring afternoon can spark a trend of healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

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Neighborhood Amusement

You are the primary person responsible for teaching your child about the importance of being physically active, but you can encourage other children in the neighborhood to be physically active as well. Provide your child with games and activities that can be enjoyed with others. Encourage children to have a bouncing race down the driveway with the Hop 55 Ball or arrange a good ol’ fashion game of tag. Make sure to finish the afternoon of active fun with a healthy treat! You’ll become the favorite house on the block in no time!

A Family Affair

Children often learn best by example. Not only should you encourage them to be physically active, but you should also engage in physical activity yourself. A pickup game of family hide-and-seek can go a long way in developing a child’s desire to play. Showing your child that you exercise regularly, as well as other healthy habits you engage in, sets a standard and example for them to follow in the future. Family participation in physical activities is a key part of nurturing physically active children and helping them maintain that as adults.

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Leave us a comment about your child’s favorite physical activity and remember to be physically active every day!

Summer Splash Down! 10 Water Toys for Kids

18 Aug

This summer has been a scorcher! But who says that means children need to stay indoors? We have 10 water toys that will not only keep your kids cool as they play, but they will also inspire learning outdoors. Here are our top 10 water toys to splash into this summer:

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1. Active Edge Splash & Blast Aqua Hockey

Love air hockey? Then you’ll love aqua hockey! This fast-paced water game is the perfect solution to sunny summer days. Keep cool by competing in aqua hockey tournaments by attaching a water hose to the outdoors mat and watching kids have a blast!

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2. Spray, Sprinkle, and Squeeze Water Set (12 Pieces) 

Encourage children to explore how water flows, create their own currents, and learn more about water diffusion with the Spray, Sprinkle, and Squeeze Water Set! This is a fun starter set for kids to take outside to the creek, play with in the pool, or even help you water plants in the garden! 

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3. Active Edge Sprinkle ‘N Splash Play Mat 

This play mat is the perfect shallowness for little swimmers looking for a mini water park experience! Simply inflate and attach to a hose to watch little learners engage in water play.

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4. Waterfall Discovery Wall

Teach toddlers about water flow with the double-sided Waterfall Discovery Wall! This is a great toy that allows for problem solving and cause-and-effect learning as tots plug in different accessories to change water flow patterns. Includes wall buckets, bamboo water tracks, funnels, a water dumper, and more!

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5. Splash Patrol Sprinkler

This whimsical sprinkler makes water play creative and fun! Simply plug up these twelve grubs to a hose to spray water in all directions. Not only does the sprinkler keep children cool, but it will also keep them moving as they engage in active water play!

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6. Letter Link Crabs

Teach literacy in the pool! These colorful Letter Link Crabs are perfect for teaching spelling, letter recognition, and more. Squeeze these adorable little crabs to fill with water and build fine motor skills in young children.

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7. Number Ducks

Teach addition, subtraction, counting, and numbers 1-10 with Number Ducks! Perfect for the pool, these counting ducks have dots on their backs that match numbers on the bottom.

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8. Shape Shell Turtles

Teach little learners shape recognition as they match shapes onto the backs of these adorable turtles! Removable shells feature colored shapes including a moon, cross, circle, square, rectangle, triangle, and oval.

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9. Submergency Dive Toy

This high-tech underwater toy takes diving to the next level! The Submergency Dive Toy emits an underwater ping that sounds until disarmed adding a whole new level of excitement to diving. Set the toy to sink or float according to your little divers’ skill level.

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10. Float & Play Bubbles (Set of 4)

Have a toddler who’s just breaking in the swimmies? These durable Float & Play Bubbles are unique water toys that present fascinating patterns as they twirl and spin in the water! Great for early water play and fine motor skill development.


Remember to use sunscreen, practice water play safety, and most of all, have fun this summer as you and your kids go out and explore!

 

Six Science Investigations for Summer

4 Aug

Curious how your children can get more involved in science learning this summer? Take advantage of the time off from school to tap into children’s natural curiosity with scientific investigations at home! Whether little ones want to catch up, get ahead, or just have fun, summer is the perfect time for creative, scientific play.

1. Kitchen Creations

Change things up by encouraging children to play with their food! Together, you can make something edible or make food discoveries just for fun. You may want to try the marshmallow challenge: make a marshmallow sink by compacting it so that it is more dense than the water in which it would normally float. Check out more science experiments for the kitchen here:

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Source: Makes and Takes

2. Grow Up

Use the summer sun to help practice planting and gardening! You can grow a whole garden outdoors, or keep a small potted plant on a windowsill inside to study with children. What do plants need to grow? Depending on what you plant, how high will it grow? Find out those answers and more with these gardening ideas here:

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Source: PBS Parents

3.Sponge Fun

Learn about absorption with a sponge! See how the sponge absorbs soap and water indoors, or take it outside to get messier! Compare the sponge to a block or other non-absorbent materials when it is both wet and dry. Why do you think it works like this? You can even turn chores, like washing dishes or a car, into a lesson about absorption. Check out the details of how absorption works and more fun facts about this activity here:

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Science Sparks

4. Tornado in a Jar

Jump into sensory play by creating your own tornado! All you need is a jar, water, and a little bit of dish soap. Now, just shake it up. For more detailed instructions, click on the jar!

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In Leiu of Preschool

5. Stargazing

If it’s a clear night, search for stars in the night sky! You can use a telescope or just look up above. Can you see planets? Any constellations? What are stars made up of? Here are the answers and some cool science facts for kids. Go even deeper into night sky exploration by checking out our related post: Planning a Family Stargazing Night.

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Easy Science for Kids

6. Fireflies

Can’t see the stars from where you are? Fireflies make a great summertime substitute! You can catch these little critters temporarily in acute bug jar (with a hole for airflow) to observe the bugs up close. Find out what makes fireflies glow and other cool facts about fireflies here:

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Smithsonian

For more summer science fun, visit our science section!

Sensory Play for the Sand

24 Jun

 

Worried children aren’t learning enough during the summer? Want to give little ones a head start? Encourage kids to keep learning and playing — with sand! Children love to play and explore their senses, and sand is perfect for fun, sensory play.

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 1. Have a treasure hunt!

Have a treasure hunt for letters! Whether “X” marks the spot or treasure is unmarked, the search encourages motor-skill refinement and literacy. Bury something in the sand and allow children to dig around to find it. As they hunt for buried treasure, children will touch and feel the unique textures of sand.

 

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2. Cars & Trucks

Play with cars and trucks on a pretend highway or construction site. Have children explore how the wheels feel over the sand. More ideas for sensory play with sandy construction sites can be found here:

3. Build a Beach!

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Can’t make it to the beach this season? No problem! Bring the beach to you. All you need is sand, water, and shells. Marbles and rocks are fun substitutes if you don’t have shells. Build a sand castle or have your little ones write their names in the sand.

 


No time to DIY? We’ve got you covered. Here are some fun products to make sensory play with sand even more exciting!

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Sand & Water Play Set

This set includes two scoopers, a rake, bucket, sand mill, watering can, and a water pump! Enhance any sandy beach, construction set, or treasure hunt games with these fun toys.

 

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Shape It! Sand

No sand around? No worries. Shape It! Sand is just like the stuff you find on the beach, but it never dries out and is reusable. Bonus: it contains no gluten, dust, or allergens!

Five Favorite Backyard Walkers

16 Jun

Are your little ones learning how to walk? Summer is a great time for kids to gain confidence in their stride. Walkers and push toys are great ways for helping kids to learn how to walk and balance. These five walker toys are perfect for pushing around outdoors this season:

1. Busy Builder Wagon

This pushable walker will keep your toddler busy with all of its fun activities! This walker comes with a wagon which contains 12 building blocks marked with letters, numbers, pictures, and new words! The Busy Builder Wagon also includes colorful sliding beads, a maze of wheels, and spinning, colorful gears which are perfect for encouraging hand-eye coordination.

 

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2. 2-in-1 Push ‘N Play Turtle

Both a walker and a play set in one wonderful toy! The turtle walker encourages balance as children stand and walk by easily gripping the brightly colored handle and steering the large base. The shape sorter allows little ones to work on their fine motor skills. It also includes a safety lock to maintain safe speed.

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3. Duck Push Toy

This colorful Duck Push Toy will provide exercise while also promoting balance, coordination, and motor skills. Make the duck flap its wings with a small push or pull.

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4. Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy

With each step, these three gators alternate chomping their jaws! Colorful beads spin to help build hand-eye coordination. Its easily gripped handle encourages activity and movement.

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5. Wide Tracker Activity Walker by Little Tikes

This multifaceted toy is a durable walker that folds up to become a floor play set. Includes modifiable control for wheel traction so you can match the walker to your child’s speed and walking ability. Learn colors, numbers, balance and motor skills.


Check out fun ideas to keep your children active throughout the summer:

 

5 Awesome Cars to Rev Up in the Driveway

2 Jun

Spending more time outside with your kids as summer approaches? Whether you’re washing the car, planting flowers, or doing yard work, outdoor play can take place right in the driveway! With a little chalk and imagination to create racetracks, we have just the cars for all of your child’s speedy adventures. Check out these five awesome cars to rev up for summer:

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1. Neo Tracks Flexible Assembly Track System & Extra Cars

This racetrack is engaging for little learners as they use problem solving and engineering to create different neo tracks for cars to race! Includes rechargeable cars for children to race around created tracks.

 

2.     63116.jpgOball™ Rattle & Roll Car Set (Set of 2)

With easy grips and colorful clattering beads in the wheels, these colorful cars are perfect for children 3 months and up. Not only are these cars ready for outdoor adventures, but they can also be used as a teether and rattle. Just push and go!

 

3.     Carrera® Servo Tronic (142811a.jpg2.4 GHz) Gee Arrow Remote Control Car

The Buggy Gee Arrow will provide hours of fun for kids! This powerful remote-controlled vehicle can race at a top speed of 20 km/h and automatically turns off after 30 minutes of standstill to conserve power. The RC car includes a controller, recharger, batteries, and a neck strap so that children don’t have to worry about dropping the controller.

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4.    Hot Wheels® Mega Hauler™ Truck

Does your child already have a large collection of Hot Wheels®? Then the Mega Hauler Truck is the perfect addition! Let your child pile on their favorite hot rods to haul cars wherever they want to play. Truck loads up to 50 cars with six expandable levels.

5. Tikes Patrol Cozy Coupe Car

 17282d.jpgCall out the crime fighters! This cozy coupe car is perfect for dramatic play as little ones pretend to cruise around town in their police car. This adorable car has a handle on the back for parent-controlled push rides and can be pedaled from below so that kids can take off on their own! Car also features cup holders, caster front wheels, ignition switch, and a horn!

 

 


Now that you have toy cars ready to go, don’t miss the following ideas for hands-on car play in the drive way: