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Fun Ideas for Family Staycations

22 Jun

shutterstock_40209769Are you looking for enjoyable and affordable ways to entertain your child during summer break? Consider having a staycation and making your home the hangout. Staycations can be just as fun as vacations if you are equipped with fun games to play and have exciting activities planned. The following are cheap staycation ideas for your family this summer.

Family Game Night

Include family game night in your summer staycation! Playing games as a family is fun way to bond. Consider playing Claws, Jaws, & Paws during your game night. This two to six player game is simple and entertaining, and your family will love playing it together. Exit Games are also perfect for game night. These strategy games, including Secret Lab, Pharaoh’s Tomb, and Abandoned Cabin, are ultimate brainteasers. Tenzi is also perfect for family game night. Your family will be hooked on this speedy game! Game night is a fun family staycation idea that your family will love.

Minute to Win It Competitions

Host Minute to Win It competitions at your house. Consider having a bubble popping competition as the first Minute to Win It activity. Turn on the Mr. Bubble® Double Bubble Blower Machine and have everyone see how many bubbles they can pop in one minute. We suggest having a couple of rounds so that each participant can have a personal counter to keep tally of the amount of bubbles popped. The person who pops the most bubbles in each round wins. Then, have all the winners compete to see who the ultimate bubble popper is. Another game we recommend is seeing who can build the tallest tower possible in one minute with Click Builders. The person with the tallest tower wins! A final Minute to Win It game we suggest is stacking and unstacking a pyramid with Speed Stacks Rapid Stacking Game. The participant who finishes unstacking his or her pyramid first is the winner. These games are perfect for many ages, so invite all your family and friends!

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Dance Parties

Everyone loves dance parties! Get your children moving and grooving with a dance party during your summer staycation. What’s a dance party without music? Make and build your own speaker with the IllumiCraft™ Light-Up Cell Phone Speaker Dock STEM Kit, then turn up the tunes! You can even download Kidz Bop 25 to your cell phone to play the biggest hits through your speaker. The next most important part of a dance party is the lighting. Jazz up your dance party room with the LockerBrightz™ Geometric Room Light. The whole family will love the good music, good lighting, and good times.

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Backyard Campouts

Make a backyard campout part of your family’s summer staycation. First, you’ll need to pitch a tent right in your backyard. Your family can spend time telling ghost stories and making s’mores by a fire. However, it will get dark outside, so make sure you are prepared with outdoor lights. You can even put BugBrightz™ Magical String Lights in a jar to make your own lantern. Your children will love exploring new adventures with you during your backyard campout this summer.

Make this summer one to remember with family game nights, Minute to Win It competitions, dance parties and backyard camping. The memories your family will make participating in these affordable activities will prove to be priceless. Your child will love enjoying fun family staycations this summer.

Do you have any family staycation ideas to share? Let us know by commenting below!

 

 

Extreme Backyard Summer Activities for Kids

19 Jun

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School is officially out and summer is in full swing! Your child will love playing activities this summer right in your backyard. The following are ideas for extreme backyard summer activities your youngster can participate in during their summer vacation.

DIY American Ninja Warrior Backyard Obstacle Course

Satisfy your active child by setting up a backyard obstacle course American Ninja Warrior style! Encourage your child to invite friends over to complete the course together. Only two at a time, though! You could even turn it in to a competition to see who the American Ninja Warrior backyard course champion is. Have the course begin with X-Shot™ Bubble Balls. The first person to knock the other down gets to advance to the next obstacle. The person who was knocked down must face the next participant in line. Once through the bubble ball obstacle, have the children go up and back down the Slackers 8′ NinjaLine™ Rope Ladder. Then, set up the Slackers 30’ NinjaLine Intro Kit as the ultimate challenge. Finally, the participant to make it to the Slackers Swing Seat in the quickest amount of time wins! Your child will love enjoying extreme outdoor fun this summer.

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Backyard Sports Tournaments

Host backyard basketball, football, and soccer tournaments in the dark with the NightZone™ Sports Pack! These sports balls have a strip of light in the middle, which makes them perfect for nighttime play. Playing ball in the dark will make the challenge even harder (and more fun too)! You can even come up with your own DIY backyard games to play with the light-up balls. Invite friends and family, grill out, and play the summer night away. The winner gets bragging rights! But most of all, everyone will enjoy laughing together and playing summer backyard sports for kids.

Your child will love participating in extreme backyard summer activities this summer, especially with family and friends. Go to the extreme, and make this summer one to remember!

What extreme activities will you have in your backyard this summer? Share your ideas by commenting below!

 

Make a Splash! Family Fun with Water

2 Jun

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Summertime is upon us, and high temperatures are coming in hot. Staying cool while still enjoying the sunshine is often a challenge. The following five ideas will help you beat the heat with your family this summer season.

 1. Play in the Sprinkler

The Grub Scouts’ Sprinkler by Melissa & Doug® is perfect for an afternoon of water fun! Running and jumping through the sprinkler is enjoyable for kids of many ages. Allow your children to invite friends over to join in on the sprinkler party. The more the merrier! Playing in the sprinkler is a simple, affordable way to stay cool while entertaining your family. The minimum set up still yields maximum fun! Your family will love spending time together splashing in the sprinkler.

2. Host Family Water Game Competitions

Tell your family to bring their game faces because it’s competition time! Playing water games with your family is sure to even get the teenagers moving. Consider hosting an Active Edge® Splash & Blast Aqua Hockey tournament! Aqua hockey is air hockey with a twist, and it will be a huge family hit! The Big Kahuna & Lil Kahuna Ball Set is fitting for any and all water games as well. The Kahuna balls are designed to bounce off of any body of water, which makes them perfect for water game competitions. No matter your game choice, allow the champion to pick the dinner menu for the night.

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 3. Float in the Pool

Splash or relax in the pool to cool off on hot summer days. Taking a dip in the pool is ideal for all members of the family. Your youngsters can splash while you relax. The Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon™ Inflatable Ride-On Float is fun for Star Wars lovers of many ages. Whether you want to catch some rays or your child wants to pretend they are in the latest Star Wars movie, this float is sure to please everyone. Enjoy chilling in the pool with your family this summer.

4. Splish Splash in a Colorful Outdoor Bath

Entertain your little one with extended bath time outside. Fill up a kiddie pool and watch your child splash away. Make the experience even more enjoyable by utilizing Color My Bath Color Changing Bath Tablets (300 tablets). Watching the colors mix will captivate your child, and you can check bath time off the to-do list! Enjoy quality time and make bath time fun for your little one this summer.

5. Have a Water Balloon Fight

A water balloon fight can be a family affair from the very beginning. Have everyone help with filling up the balloons to accomplish the task in a timely manner. Teamwork makes the dream work! After everyone works together to fill up the balloons, then the fun begins! Engaging in this exciting activity with your family is a guaranteed recipe for laughter and wetness. After a hot day, being hit with water balloons will actually feel refreshing! The best part about the water balloon fight will be the memories made with family.

 

How do you plan to beat the heat this summer? Share your ideas by commenting below!

 

Stargazing: Ways to Encourage Children To Look Up!

5 May

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As the weather warms up, the opportunities for activities in the great outdoors increases. It also creates the perfect time to lie down and look up at the sky. Generally loved by all, the popular subject of space and the act of stargazing and planet observation is free and accessible to everyone. Between all the family adventures to the lake, car trips to far away theme parks, and weekly visits to your neighbor’s pool—there are those “normal” nights that create the perfect time for making family memories. So be sure to leave some SPACE in your family’s free time to explore the great night sky. Here are some of our ideas to get your family looking up in wonder!

Introduction to the Stars

Stargazing starts with opportunity. Camping is a fantastic way to combine family time with star exploration, but we understand it is not for everyone. If you live in a brightly lit area, move to a darker venue by asking around to friends or families whose houses may have a better view of the sky. If your backyard is already a perfect fit, create a “viewing lounge” by placing pillows and blankets into the back of a pickup truck, a blow up kiddie pool, or even lay out on a Star Wars™ Millenium Falcon Float. Remember to provide your family with the viewing tools they need like a telescope. Set the stage for relaxation with a playlist of space themed music playing softly in the background. Remember that every child has different interests and attention spans, so try to keep the activity age-appropriate. For younger children, stargaze for shorter amounts of time and provide them with general information. For older children, introduce them to a few easy-to-spot, major constellations like the The Big Dipper/Ursa Major and Orion. For those scared of the dark, stargazing can be done during the day by exploring eclipses and the sun (a giant star) cycles. Just don’t forget your sunglasses!

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For the Current Space Fanatic

If your child already has a love for the stars, you can keep that passion alive by giving them lots of astronomy resources. Be sure to provide your space lover with plenty of space related reading material. We suggest The Solar System and Beyond set and The Solar System Book Set. It is likely that if your child loves stargazing they may enjoy Star Wars. While stargazing, let them play with a Star Wars Lego Set or even a Light-Up Death Star Beach Ball. Star location apps are great for both parents and children, as you easy find position of stars and constellations in your piece of the night sky. With the official NASA app you can see current mission photos and even track satellites! Finally, we suggest hosting a stargazing party with plenty of space-themed snacks like this galaxy popcorn. Follow up by watching a space related children’s movie outdoors (like Wall*E or Muppets from Space).

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!

Top 10 Toys for Summer Learning

7 Jul

Want to beat the summer brain-drain? Keep your kids actively engaged in learning this summer. Whether children need to catch up or get ahead, these toys are perfect for fun summer learning:

1. The ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program™

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Designed for Common Core State Standards, this program is tailored specifically for grades ranging from PreK to Grade 5. Activities include writing activities, reading logs, mathematics worksheets, and even a bonus activity! The program includes a set of 10 weekly activities.

 

2. Owl Time Teaching Clock

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This fun owl teaches children to tell time! Whether you hang it on a wall or sit it on a desk, the clock features movable hands and colorful, removable numbers. The eyes also open and close to teach the difference between nighttime and daytime! The owl’s feet feature storage space for chalk and erasers.

 

 

3. Sight Word Flash Cards  21048

 

Quiz young children on their reading and testing skills with Sight Word Flash Cards! Made in the USA, sets feature words from Fry Instant Words and Dolch Words lists!

 

 

4. Reading Passages Main Idea & Details

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Help students advance their reading comprehension skills. Interesting fiction and non-fiction stories are included in this practice book! Features multiple choice and short answer assessments to help raise standardized test results. The book also provides example lessons, pre- and post-examinations, and an answer key.

 

5. Wonderfoam® Giant USA Puzzle Map

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Learn all of America’s states and their capitals with this giant, award-winning puzzle! States are listed on the fronts of puzzle pieces while capitals are labeled on the back.

 

 

 

 

6. Smart Play Smart Projector

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Refine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through the arts! Trace letters, numbers, and more with this fun projector. Features English and Spanish and includes a cool touch LED lightbulb.

 

 

 

7. Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion School Kit

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Take learning outside with this fun, educational kit! Children will discover metamorphosis firsthand as they watch the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly right before their eyes.

 

 

 

8. Melissa & Doug® Pediatric Nurse Dress-Up Set

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Encourage dramatic play with this dress-up set that has everything required for little nurses to take care of newborn babies. The gender-neutral uniform provides pockets for pretend tools. Includes plush baby doll with a smiling face and removable diaper.

 

145518a9. Rock And Roll It! Flexible Roll-up Piano

Ideal for summer travel, this flexible piano rolls up quickly for storage. The battery powered core allows for more musical road trips. It also features a headphones port for solo musical play.

 

 

145540-bl10. LEGO® Journal – Blue

 

Children will be excited to write, draw, and even build with this journal! Includes 96 pages and a removable lego building plate band.

Hands-On Crafts for Independence Day

29 Jun

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!

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 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!