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3 Kid-Approved Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

14 Jul

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Temperatures are high, and finding ways to beat the heat can be quite challenging. So, we put together a list of ways to cool off with your little one this summer.

Homemade Cool Sweet Treats

Enjoy sweet treats like sno cones and homemade ice cream to cool off with your child this summer.

Sno Cones 

The PAW Patrol™ Sno Cone Maker is perfect for making healthy, icy snacks with your youngster. With the help of Chase, Everest, and Marshall, you and your little one can make sno cones out of frozen fruit, juice, and yogurt. Your child will love enjoying shaved ice with you and the PAW Patrol pals.

Homemade Ice Cream

 Another chilly treat to consider making this summer is homemade ice cream. Check out the easy ice cream recipe below!

 Ingredients:

14.5 ounces of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

*Note: Extra ingredients (i.e., fudge, candy berries) are optional.

What to Do:

  1. Place all three main ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk ingredients with an electric whisk for five minutes. (Be careful! Don’t over-whisk the mixture!)
  3. You can add optional ingredients when you see thick, whipped peaks in the mixture.
  4. Place the mixture into a baking pan and freeze for 8 hours.
  5. Enjoy!

Source: http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2012/07/easy-homemade-ice-cream-recipe/

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Outside Water Fun

A classic way to cool off in the summer is with water play! Encourage your little one to beat the heat by splashing in the Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table™. This water table sounds like a real rainfall! Your child can experiment with dumping water in the top tier to create a showering effect. The Waterwheel Play Table is also perfect for staying cool, and it encourages cause and effect learning! Lastly, the PAW Patrol Bath Squirters™ Set is perfect for not only the bathtub, but also beach and pool water fun. Your little one will love playing with his or her favorite PAW Patrol pals to cool off. Encourage your child to beat the heat with water play this summer!

Relax in the AC with Books and Movies

Another great way to cool down is to relax inside and read books. You can then watch the corresponding movies with your child and compare the two! We suggest reading the following five books and watching the corresponding movies.

 1. Cat in the Hat

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Everyone loves this classic Dr. Seuss book! Read it to your youngster and watch the movie together afterwards.

2. Charlotte’s Web

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Read Charlotte’s Web, a famous story about Wilbur the pig, with your little one and enjoy the movie too!

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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Enjoy this lighthearted series with your child and compare the movies to the books!

4. Madeline

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Go on adventures with Madeline and her friends by reading this book and watching the movie!

5. Where the Wild Things Are

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This classic story is sure to keep your little one engaged! Read the book and watch the movie to see how they are similar and different.

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

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!

 

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!

Sand and Water Inspiration for Spring

21 Apr

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It’s spring and with the sunny season comes plenty of opportunities for sand and water play. Whether you have a sand and water table or a sandbox outside, we have a few learning activities you can engage your children in to embrace spring time.

Sand and water tables provide added benefits, including the ability to bring outdoor elements inside when the weather isn’t cooperating! If you don’t have one yet and are considering what table would be best for your child, we have a few options we think you’ll enjoy:

4 Hands-on Activities for Spring!

1. Water Play! Bring it Onboard

What happens when objects are added to a floating jar boat? Children can compare the objects that sink their boats to objects that leave boats afloat.

Materials:

  • different weighted materials such as plastic or wooden spoons, rocks, fishing weights, corks and metal washers
  • plastic containers with lids, small plastic jars with lids
  • sand and water table or a large container filled with water

What to Do:

  1. Float a closed plastic jar on the water in front of your children. Talk about floating. Ask, “Do you have toys that float in the bathtub? What happens when you push them down to the bottom? Let’s pretend this is a boat and see what it can carry without sinking.”
  2. Remove the lid and place a large, heavy object in the jar. Say, “Let’s see what happens when we bring this onboard our boat.” The object should not be heavy enough to sink the jar, though it should make it noticeably lower in the water. Talk to your children about why.
  3. Select a heavier object that will sink the jar. Repeat the process of placing the jar in the water and discussing what happens when the boat sinks.
  4. Allow children to explore with several more objects and containers. Ask, “Which objects let the jar boat float and what sinks the boat?” Have children group the objects in these two categories and discuss size, weight, and material characteristics of the objects in the groups.

Challenge: Do the activity using only sand or water as a weight. Add varying amounts to identical jars. How much does it take to sink the jar? Challenge your children to keep track of how many scoops of sand they put in the jars.

Source: The Preschool Scientist 

 2. Water Play! Aluminum Foil Boats

Make boats from aluminum foil, and experiment with how to make them float and carry objects!

Related Books:

  • Boats by Anne Rockwell
  • Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham
  • Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen

Materials:

  • objects used as “passengers” or cargo in the boats, such as small plastic blocks, washers, or pennies
  • pieces of aluminum foil: 6” x 6” squares work well, but any size and shape can be used
  • sand and water table or a tub of water

What to Do:

  1. Talk with your child about what the word sink means. What might make a boat sink?
  2. Show your child a flat sheet of foil and a small toy. Talk about how you might make the foil into a boat so that the toy can ride in it.
  3. Create several boats, experimenting with different designs and testing each boat in the tub of water. Add animals or other toys to see what happens.
  4. Talk about your boats and what you noticed when you put “passengers” in each boat. Does it make a difference where you put the passengers? Can some boats carry more passengers than others? Does the shape or size of the boat make a difference?
  5. Test your ideas about boat designs by redesigning and floating many different boats.

Source: Where Does My Shadow Sleep: A Parent’s Guide to Exploring Science with Children’s Books 

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Kaplan Toys Suggestion: Looking for items to float in your boat? Try out My Buddies, the perfect companions for water play!

 3. Sand Play! Dinosaur Dig

Children will learn about colors and paleontologists as they dig for dinosaurs!

Materials:

  • laminating machine or clear contact paper in different colors
  • sand and water table or tub of sand
  • scissors

Preparation:

  • Cut dinosaur shapes out of different colored paper. Laminate or cover with clear contact paper.
  • Hide the paper dinosaurs in the sand.

What to Do:

Tell children that they are going to be a special kind of scientist called a paleontologist. Explain what they study and the history of life on Earth.

  1. If appropriate, ask each child to find a certain color dinosaur.
  2. Offer an additional challenge by cutting the dinosaur shapes into puzzle pieces that the children find and then put together, just as paleontologists put together the bones they find to re-create the bone structure of animals that once lived on our planet.

Source: Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children 

  1. Sand Play! Coloring and Mixing Sand

Have fun showing children how to paint sand, and then mix the sands to form new colors!

Materials:

  • containers for mixing sand and paint
  • pans for drying sand (one for each color)
  • resealable plastic bags, small
  • sand and water table full of sand
  • spoons
  • tempera paints
  • mixing spoons
  • permanent marker

Preparation:

Collect several containers of white sand, various tempera paints, and find a location where children can set the painted sand out to dry.

  1. Have each child make a color of sand using separate containers to mix each of the primary colors—red, yellow and blue.
  2. Help each child measure and pour 1-2 cups of sand into each container, and then pour 1/4 cup of wet or dry tempera paint into the containers. Explain to the children that they should add 1/2 cup of water for each cup of sand in their containers. Help children add water and paint as needed to help make a good rich color and a runny mixture. Mix well.
  3. Help children pour the colored sand onto the sand and water table to dry, and then place the table in a warm, sunny place. When the sand is dry, encourage the children to crumble the sand back into granular form. At this point, each child should have one container of red, yellow, and blue sand.
  4. Next, talk with children about the primary colors. Ask the children why they think we call them primary and explain that they help to make all other colors.
  5. Set out several mixing spoons and resealable plastic baggies. Invite the children to use the spoons to measure the colored sands carefully and combine spoonfuls of each in various plastic baggies. Tell children to use no more than three spoonfuls of each color of sand. Be sure children mix one or two spoonfuls of color with three spoonfuls of another color, so that they can see a variety of results.
  6. Help children record on the sides of the baggies the number of spoonfuls of each color of sand they add to each baggie, and then help the children seal the baggies.
  7. 18753groupInvite the children to shake the bags well to mix the colored sand and watch as a new, secondary color appears. Point out to the children how the grains of the primary colors are still visible in the secondary color.

Source: Science Adventures: Nature Activities for Young Children 

Kaplan Toys Suggestion: Find non-toxic tempera paint for coloring your sand here.

Want to show off your child’s sand and water creations? Share pictures with us on our Facebook page!

DIY Boats for Christopher Columbus Day!

13 Oct

What better way to celebrate Christopher Columbus Day than by building DIY (Do It Yourself) boats! Water play is a fun way to keep kids engaged as they use hands-on learning to build gross motor skills. DIY projects also stretch the imagination, teach children the value of being resourceful, and provide simple science lessons such as why some materials float and others don’t. Here are four DIY boats you can build with your child to keep creativity flowing and keep little minds engaged as they play:

lm-paper-boat1. Paper Boats

Learn about transportation by building a paper boat with paper or cardboard, duct tape, and water to send it on its way! Keep children engaged by talking about the importance of Christopher Columbus’ discovery and ask them where they would like to travel by boat. Once imaginations have been sparked, start building with these step-by-step instructions: http://www.mykidsadventures.com/paper-boat-race/. The duct tape on the bottom will prevent boats from falling apart.

 Extra: Get even more creative by providing markers and paint for children to personalize boats!

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2. Penny Boats

Work on counting money and make a boat at the same time! Penny Boats are as simple as using aluminum foil, straws, paper, balloons, and any other household supplies you want to decorate with. Then it becomes a competition to find out whose boat can hold the most pennies before it sinks! Turn the project into a simple science lesson by asking children to make a hypothesis on how many pennies a boat will hold before it sinks! Ask children at the end of the activity if they have any ideas on how to make the boats more durable for next time.

Source: http://imaginationsoup.net/2014/07/summer-learning-pbs-kids/

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3. Pool Noodle Boats

There’s nothing like cutting up pool noodles, sticking in toothpicks, adding a paper sail, and watching boats sail around on a sunny day! Blow on the little boats to watch them go! Encourage your kids to participate in a competition to see who can blow a boat to the finish point the fastest!

Source: http://www.raisingwildones.com/2014/03/easy-sail-boat-kids-craft.html

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4. Classic Cork Boats

Make little pirate ships out of corks and rubber bands! Kids can make boats as long or short as they want by adding or subtracting corks. Once finished, blow on the shimmery sails to set them sailing! Use different colored sails to personalize.

Source: http://mamapapabubba.com/2013/06/25/cork-sail-boats-with-sparkly-sails/#comment-5592

Looking for related books to go with your activity? We’ve got you covered! Check out these fun titles on boats:

Related Products:

-Boat Puzzle: http://www.kaplantoys.com/product/83746/chunky-puzzle-boat?c=31%7CKTHS13

– LEGO Boats: http://www.kaplantoys.com/product/89493/lego-harbor-set