Archive | Parent Resources RSS feed for this section

5 Toys that Grow with Your Baby!

15 Sep shutterstock_391912144

Buying toys for your baby can be a challenge. Since infants grow so fast and at different developmental paces, we want to provide you with toy selections that can grow with your little one to help you get the best value for your purchase. Here are our five favorite toys that grow with your baby:

 

1. Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit

141452a.jpgThis activity gym is full of surprises! Use it as a comfy play mat for infants; once children are mobile, simply pull up the mesh sides to keep them in the safe zone. Encourage sensory play as they grow by turning the safe zone into a fun ball pit featuring 40 colored balls. All of these features come in the adorable shape of a turtle!

 

 

2. Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym

145637cThis safari-themed play gym is adjustable and features a colorful mat for infants as they play with exciting bobbles above. Once your child is able to sit, the gym can be adjusted so that babies have access to the three mesh pockets. Once standing, toddlers can play with the woodland creatures that act as built-in ramps for balls to roll down and exit to the floor. This is one toy children won’t lose interest in!

 

3. Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table

142965a.jpgTeach music to infants as they grow! This activity table can be floor level for easy infant access or adjust to become a piano station, guitar station, drum station, and a shape station. Includes English, Spanish, and French languages giving your little learner variety as their brains develop.

 

 

4. Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench

30000n_b.jpgEncourage infants to learn melodies from an early age! Start by placing balls into the holes to practice color coordination and create music as the balls roll across the xylophone. Once children have better developed motor skills, they can use the hammer to tap out melodies on the xylophone. It’s a great way to expose your child to music for the first time and encourage music learning as they grow.

 

5. Fisher Price Roller Blocks Rocking Wagon

145334.jpgThe fun never ends with this rocking wagon! It’s Sit & Play mode allows babies to sit beside the wagon as they stack blocks, spin the clicker, and press the teeter-totter to hear music. As they become more mobile, they can advance to the Stand & Pull mode, which helps develop motor skills as they push and pull around their music wagon full of magical learning!

 

 


Regardless of what toy you choose, remember to select toys that provide years of quality learning for all of your child’s developmental stages. Have fun!

 

 

Books to Ease the Back-to-School Transition

1 Sep shutterstock_11472577

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.

 

145599.jpg

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 shutterstock_151905908

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.

lunch.jpg

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/

145486set

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!

143746.jpg

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:

Six Science Investigations for Summer

4 Aug shutterstock_417289936

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:

kitchen-science-roundup1

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:

seedlings

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:

dsc_5546-1024x685

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!

dsc_0008181

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.

constellations

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:

708px-photinus_pyralis_firefly_4

Smithsonian

For more summer science fun, visit our science section!

Hands-On Crafts for Independence Day

29 Jun shutterstock_286423925

Looking to add some extra sparkle to your Fourth of July festivities? Independence Day is a great time to get crafty. Here are five fun, hands-on crafts to help celebrate the red, white, and blue:

1. Roller Painting Red, White, and Blue

81865Materials:

  • Empty thread spools
  • Wire coat hangers
  • Wire cutters
  • Red, white, and blue paint

What to do:

  1. Cut the bottom wire of each clothes hanger at the ends, in the middle of the curves.
  2. Bend the center of the hanger in so that the ends almost touch.
  3. Attach thread spools to the ends of the wire hangers. This creates a handle on each empty spool and makes for easy rolling.
  4. Pour red, white, and blue paint into shallow containers.
  5. Let the children roller paint with their patriotic colors.

Find this and more festive crafts in the Giant Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities!

https://i0.wp.com/www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/IMG_97241.jpg

 2. Uncle Sam Mask

With this fun, silly Uncle Sam craft, your little one will be transformed into the American icon, Uncle Sam. Encourage dramatic play with this fun, home-made costume. Directions can be found here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

sundial.jpg  3. Red, White, Blue Fruit Kabobs

Fruit kabobs are yummy and healthy! With just a few colorful fruits, you can make a delicious treat! Check out the recipe!

 

4. Pipe Cleaner Firework Ring

Keep the sparks flying all day with these fun, easy-to-make firework rings! Any pipe cleaners or leftover tinsel string from the holidays will do!

 

 5. Patriotic Wreath

Feeling like Christmas in July? Teach color coordination while crafting! Here’s how to make a fun, colorful wreath in red, white and blue:

 

 

 

 

 6. Q-Tip Fireworks

Recreate an Independence Day night sky with ease! Make these eye-popping 3D fireworks out of simple Q-tips & paint.

 

 

 


 

 For more patriotic play, check out our Pinterest page!

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.

 

63116.jpg

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.

142811a.jpg

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.

145301a.jpg

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.

17282d.jpg

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:

142775.jpg

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.

145301a.jpg

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: