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4 Pretend Play Ideas for Rainy Days

11 Aug

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Rainy days can be boring for children, and keeping them occupied when it’s raining can be a challenge. However, indoor pretend play is a great way to keep your child engaged on gloomy days. Pretend play is important to a child’s development because it promotes social and emotional, language, and thinking skills, while also encouraging imaginative thinking. Since pretend play is so influential, we have come up with four pretend play ideas for rainy days.

1.Vet Clinic

Encourage your child to open a pretend vet clinic on rainy days. Your youngster can get into character by putting on our veterinarian dress-up outfit, and he or she can help Minilina nurse her animals back to health with the Nici® Wonderland Doll: Veterinarian Set. Pretending to be a vet will keep your child busy and engaged on rainy days.

2. Café

Your child can also set up a pretend café in your home on rainy days. From cooking to serving, your little one will have a blast! Encourage your child to make pasta with the Prepare & Serve Pasta Set. Next, he or she will definitely need to make a pretend salad to go with the pasta. Then, once the food is ready, have your little one put on the Server Dress Up Set and serve the play food to his or her customers.

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3. Puppet Show

Another pretend play idea that is perfect for a rainy day is a puppet show. Encourage your child to set up our Tabletop Puppet Theatre and put on a magnificent show with the Playful Pets Hand Puppets. Either watch your little one’s production in amazement or participate in the show on the next rainy day.

4. Indoor Campout

If the rain is getting in the way of camping outside, just have an indoor campout with your youngster! Set up an indoor tent and let the indoor camping adventures begin. The Pretend & Play™ Camp Set is a must-have for indoor camping. Your child will love pretending to light a path, cook food, follow directions, and more. Camping indoors is the perfect way to spend a rainy day.

What pretend play activities do you and your child like to do on rainy days? Let us know by commenting below!

5 Ways to Make Back to School Cool

4 Aug

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We are nearing the end of summer, and the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Back-to-school thoughts can be filled with anxiety for many children, so we have come up with a list of ways to combat back-to-school jitters. Here are five ways to make back to school cool at your home.

  1. Allow your child to pick out his or her new backpack for the school year.

 Picking out a new backpack is often an exciting time for children. Choosing a backpack with a cool design or their favorite character, such as this Pete the Cat® Backpack & Lunchbag set, is sure to get the school year off to a great start. Additional fun backpack sets include the hedgehog backpack set and the Backyard Friends™ Backpack Set. Your little one will love picking out a new backpack for the upcoming school year!

  1. Make school supply shopping fun!

Get your child in the school spirit by making school shopping enjoyable. Allowing your child to pick supplies that he or she is excited about using this year is a must. LEGO® school supplies, for example, will definitely make back to school cool. Your child will love writing in the LEGO® Journal with LEGO® Markers and measuring with the LEGO® Buildable Ruler!

  1. Host a back-to-school party!

Hosting a back-to-school party for your child and his or her friends is sure to make back to school cool! Order pizza, and let the kids play together. You can even set up a faux dessert table with school supplies (instead of cakes and pies) for each child to take a use this school year. Getting your child excited about school with fun festivities is a must this year!

Source: http://www.allkindsofthingsblog.com/2014/08/back-to-school-parties.html

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  1. Plan family time in the midst of back-to-school madness.

When school starts back, things around the house can get chaotic. From homework to extracurricular activities, everyone is kept busy during the school year. Unfortunately, oftentimes family time can get lost in the mix. Make sure to plan much-needed family time during the madness this school year. We suggest playing games as a family such as classic board games, Scrabble® Boggle® Game, and 5 Second Rule®. Enjoy making memories with your family this school year!

  1. Switch up packed lunches for your children.

 Make lunchtime interesting by changing up the daily sandwich to something more fun. Check out these Sandwichless Lunch Ideas for inspiration on what to pack in your youngster’s lunch box. Your child will love the surprise of finding out what he or she has to eat for lunch! Additionally, consider including a note in your child’s lunch to brighten his or her day.

Getting your child excited about back-to-school activities and routines is a must for kicking off a successful school year. We hope these five fun ideas will make back to school cool for you and yours!

How do you plan to make back to school cool for your kids this year? 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).

Ways to De-stress as a Family

4 Jan

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Between all the parties, shopping, wrapping and end-of-the-year deadlines, the holiday season can get pretty crazy for everyone. So after the holidays it is important to take some time as a family to have fun, de-stress and enjoy each other’s company. It can lift the spirits and reinvigorate your energy. We came up with some truly entertaining activities that are engaging for everyone! Keep reading and find something you and your family might like.

Family Cooking Night

Let the kids pick their favorite meal or dessert and work as a team to make it. Not only is it fun for the kids, but also parents get a little extra help with the daily chores. Something like homemade pizza is super fun, simple and easy to clean. Have a contest to see who can make the biggest or funniest looking one and the winner gets to pick a movie to watch after dinner!

Family Nature Walk

Getting out in the fresh air and getting a little exercise is never a bad idea! Find a local park or beginner level-hiking trail to stroll in with the family. Collect interesting leaves, flowers and rocks or play I-Spy as you walk. You could also make crafts, such as ornaments, by decorating pinecones that you find or press flowers for safekeeping. The cold never bothered us anyway!

Family Game Night

A staple in many households; family game nights allow for quality family time, bonding, relaxation and a little friendly competition in the midst of a busy schedule. Consider playing a fun and wacky word game such as Word Family Phonics Cubes or a marathon of different games with the Cooperative Board Game Set . Get silly and have some laughs while trying to read pictures and answer riddles with the I Spy Preschool Game.

Try out these stress relieving remedies with your family and comment below to let us know what you think! For more games that the whole family would enjoy, visit www.kaplantoys.com.

Dramatic Play with Baby Dolls

23 Sep

 

Dolls offer a range of dramatic play opportunities for your little ones as they learn the importance of being gentle with infants and how to care for another person. Here are four ways you can encourage your child to grow into a natural nurturer:

30174.jpg1. Pretend the doll is a younger sibling.

Dolls can be a great way to prepare your toddler for a new arrival! Show your child how to properly hold their doll, how to speak in a quiet voice, and even how to change a diaper. It’s a great way to warm your child up to the idea of a new baby in the house. Check out our suggested doll choice below:

 

80799p.jpg2. Practice parenting.

Modeling is natural form of learning, and it can be insightful for you, as well! Encourage your child to parent their pretend baby just as you take care of them. This is a great way to teach responsibility as children remember the importance of taking time for healthy meals, getting to bed at a reasonable time, and learning how to dress for appropriate seasons. See our suggested doll choice below:

 

82031p_2015.jpg3. Host a tea party.

Another great way for children to engage in dramatic play is by hosting a tea party! Work on conversation skills and good manners as children serve dolls first and talk to them about the wonders around them! Suggested doll choice below

 

 

145781a.jpg4. Establishing sleep routines.

Having company for bedtime stories is always relaxing. Children can use babies as companions to snuggle with as they learn to sleep by themselves and fall asleep on their own. Find our suggested doll choice below:

 


Whether it’s pushing baby around in a stroller to develop gross motor skills or tucking baby into bed, having a doll around the house can be an insightful hands-on learning experience for your child. Find our complete selection of dolls here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/dolls-and-doll-houses

Books to Ease the Back-to-School Transition

1 Sep

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.

 

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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.

Creative Ways to Introduce Language and Literacy to Children

28 Jul

Want to make learning language fun for you and your children? Introducing language and literacy to infants and young children can be a challenging process. Whether you are teaching little ones their first language or you are promoting dual language learning, here are some ways you can make learning language and literacy more fun:

Combine Learning Styles.

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Help children get a grasp on literacy by using headset devices that help them hear the words as they read along aloud without disturbing others. The WhisperPhone® Solo allows children to link the sounds they hear with words they see and read, combining auditory and visual learning.

Build up Vocabulary.

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ABC Blocks are a classic toy. Children can learn to build words and sentences block by block with timeless educational blocks. This new Uncle Goose Classic ABC Blocks set features four complete alphabets as well as numbers, animals, and mathematical symbols.

Put the Pieces Together.

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Introduce another language to your child with an alphabet floor puzzle! Learn about different and same letters in other alphabets and look along with appealing visuals. This Spanish ABC Floor Puzzle introduces the Spanish alphabet as well as vocabulary of some animals, plants, and food!

Make Magnet Magic!

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Word magnets allows children to see, touch, and arrange their words. Magnetic words can help children learn to create sentences while encouraging creativity and imagination. Have a whale of a time with this new Magnetic Poetry® Really Big Words Set.

Crack the Case.

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Mysteries can make language more exciting for advanced learners who want to be challenged. Games like Language Detective helps students develop language and writing skills under the guise of solving a mystery. In this case, children find misused words as well as errors in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.

 


For more ways to make language arts more engaging, visit our language arts section!