3 Snacks to Warm Up a Cold Winter’s Day

3 Feb

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With frosty, winter months come nights of cabin fever and children seeking entertainment. Beat those winter blues with 3 quick recipes that your child can help whip up alongside you! Spending a little quality kitchen time with your little one can turn a cold winter’s night into a night full of treats that are sure to create delight and warm deliciousness!

Warm Soft Pretzels

Easy pretzels that are fun to make and delicious to eat!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of sugar

4 cups of flour

1 package of active dry yeast

1 ½ cups of warm water

1 teaspoon of salt

Beaten egg

Kosher salt

Vegetable oil

Tools:

Aluminum foil

Cookie sheet

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing bowl and spoon

Pastry brush

Wax paper

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What To Do:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425° F (adults only). Grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil.

Step 2: Help your child combine the yeast, warm water, sugar, salt, and flour into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Step 3: Work with your child to knead the dough.

Step 4: Give your child a piece of wax paper for their workspace. Help them pull off a piece of dough and roll in into a long rope that they can shape into a pretzel.

Step 5: Place the pretzel on a greased cookie sheet, use the pastry brush to brush the pretzel with the beaten egg, and sprinkle it with kosher salt.

Step 6: When the cookie sheet is full, bake the pretzels for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Source: The Budding Chef

Mini Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

Vanilla wafers

Instant vanilla pudding

Milk (for pudding)

Cherry pie filling

Tools:

Cupcake cups (aluminum foil variety preferred)

Old-fashioned hand rotary beaters, not electric (aka Wisk)

Several tablespoons

Plastic sandwich bags

What To Do:

Step 1: Make vanilla instant pudding according to package directions.

Step 2: Let your child help mix the milk and pudding with the hand rotary beaters (not electric).

Step 3: Give your child a cupcake cup (aluminum foil, if possible). Have them place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of the cupcake paper.

Step 4: Let your child put about 2 tablespoons of pudding on top of the cookie and 1-2 tablespoons of cherry pie filling on top of the pudding.

Step: 5 if possible, chill the desserts in a refrigerator for at least ½ hour. Wrapping them in the plastic bags.

Step 6: Eat and Enjoy!

Source: Giant Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities

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Easy Rollers

Create a delectable treat that is easy to make and combines the wonderful tastes of cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg.

Ingredients:

1¼ cups of crushed graham crackers

¼ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup light corn syrup

Powdered sugar

Tools:

Cookie sheet

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing bowl and spoon

Wax paper

What To Do:

Step 1: Invite your child to combine crushed graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Step 2: Once those ingredients are combined, stir in the peanut butter and corn syrup.

Step 3: Show your child how to form the mixture into 1/2 inch balls.

Step 4: Pour powdered sugar onto wax paper and work with your child to roll the balls in it.

Step 5: Place the balls on a cookie sheet and allow them to chill in the refrigerator.

Source: The Budding Chef

Teaching Your Child to be a Superhero

25 Jan

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Whether it is a muscular man in tights fighting crime or a fireman saving a crying, orphan kitten from a tree, superheroes have a strong representation in the fabric of childhood. With the men and women in capes growing ever so prominent in the media and the popularity of superhuman movie stars at the local theater, children’s fascination with these masked heroes is easily understandable. Teaching little ones manners and values is an everyday practice that comes with raising a child. However, teaching a child to have “superhero” qualities may seem at first, a daunting task, but in reality it is easier than you may assume.

 Why should they be kind?

 Courage, strength, wisdom, compassion—all words you may utilize when describing a superhero to a child. These words also describe elements of a polite, ideal child. Teaching your child manners may seem like common sense, but teaching your child reasoning for those manners can often be neglected in the hustle and bustle of life. The importance of answering the “whys” of actions and reactions develops a well-manner child into a well-mannered child with pure intentions and integrity. It can be hard sometimes for little ones (and even adults) to choose to act with kindness and honesty. Encouraging children to act with integrity starts with explaining the purpose of integrity. So next time your child asks why they should share their toy or why they should hold open the door, try your best to not respond with the easy “because I said so” sentence but instead explain how it assists others and in return helps them. However brief or descriptive that little explanation may be, it can have a huge impact in developing an average kiddo into a super kid.

Be an example worth copying!

 You don’t have to fight crime on a daily bases to serve as an example of how one should act in everyday situations. A fireman’s compassion and a police officer’s courage are just two examples of everyday heroes that can be used for teaching your little ones “superhero” qualities. YOU can also serve as your child’s superhero by turning everyday acts of kindness into teachable moments. Involve your child in charitable acts and encourage them to seek out their unique ways to improve life for others by being a local superhero (and don’t forget that animals count too)! It can be as simple as them helping you “pay it forward” or complex as raising money for a specific cause that they find interesting! Finding compassion in their passions is key to successfully developing “super” behavior.

Product spotlight: DC Super Hero Girls™ 6″ Action Figures

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Product spotlight: The American Hero Cape & Mask

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Know a child who is a superhero? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Healthy Family Living in the New Year!

19 Jan

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With the start of the new year, come the traditional New Year’s resolutions and promises. Eating fewer sweets, drinking more water, traveling more—the list seems to continually grow in both length and intimidation as the months briskly pass. Improving your own personal health, as well as your family’s, can seem like a daunting, never-ending task. We discovered some simple ideas that can help serve as a guide map to achieving your healthy family goals for the new year.

Mental Health

Arguably most important, mental health is often overlooked when thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Your child’s mood is easily influenced by your mental state. For example, if you are under a lot of stress at work, those stressful emotions can follow you when you come home. This often leads to you acting tired and having a short temper, which in turn makes your little one’s emotions run wild in response to what they cannot fully comprehend. Focusing on being less stressed at home, resting more, and identifying when your child is being influenced by you and your family’s mental attitude are key ways for family mental improvement. When you enhance your mental attitude, you are not only helping yourself, but also providing a flourishing environment for your child’s mental health.

Healthy Habits

Exercising and eating healthy are the no brainier aspects of the New Year’s resolution premise. It is quite easy to include little healthy habits, such as drinking plenty of water and taking the stairs, into your busy schedule without thinking about explaining it to your child. To improve your child’s health, you must also incorporate these concepts into their daily lives. Explain to them why you are parking farther away from the store and why carrots are a better snack choice versus cookies. It may seem like a cumbersome task, but to curious young minds, it is critical in developing good habits early on in life. Beyond explaining the “whys” of health, be sure to include your child in your healthy activities. Children learn with their hands and their eyes, so next time, let them help you wash the veggies for your stir-fry dinner and let them join you on your afternoon walk. You can encourage healthy habits in their play as well by providing healthy food sets for pretend cooking and allotting time for active play, such as dancing and running.

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Product spotlight: New Sprouts® Healthy Snack Set

It’s snack time! Nourishing snacks encourage children to make healthy choices! The freshly designed play foods in this set are soft and durable—perfect for small hands and big appetites! Snack on fresh fruit and yogurt, a granola bar, cheese and crackers, or veggies and pretzels!

Have a unique New Year’s resolution for your family? Share your ideas with others by commenting below.

5 Ways to Make Warm Winter Memories with Your Kids

17 Jan

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It is incredibly easy to get the cold, winter blues when the excitement of the holidays has past. Exchanging warm nights filled with family traditions, cheer, and enthusiasm for nights of snow and cabin fever can be tough on little ones. Here are some ideas that you can implement to help combat the melancholy of winter while building precious memories.

Family Photo Sharing Time

Whether you store them in a dusty crate in the attic or in carefully designed and organized scrapbooks on the shelf, looking at family photos can provide an excellent night of indoor entertainment. Your children would love to see the adventures of your youth, important events such as their favorite uncle’s wedding, and even their baby pictures from the not so distant past. If you have fully adapted to the technology age and prefer your photos digital, have no fear! This gives you a fantastic opportunity to invite the grandparents over who are sure to have a few photo books sitting around. Plus, there is nothing like reminiscing past summer vacations to warm up a cold winter’s night.

Reinvent Family Movie Night

Often the go-to staple of family time, especially during the winter, movie night can easily become predictable. Why not reinvent it? Instead of watching that cartoon adventure that you can quote word for word, watch old family films that are sure to be crammed full of memories and stories. If you do not have access to home movies, why not start a collection now? Whip out your cell phone and record your little ones answering questions. You can even host a mini family “talent show” then relive the memories by watching your new film at your next family movie night.

Favorite Food Night

Nothing can lift a mood like giving your child their favorite food. Next time you plan your family dinners consider hosting a family favorite food night. Simply create a meal including at least one favorite food item from each family member. For example, if your favorite food is Italian and another member of the family favorite food is Mexican, perhaps you can enjoy a dinner of spaghetti tacos or something less intimidating such as pasta top with taco meat and queso cheese. Yum!

Family Game Night- Winter Edition!

Playing in the snow is a must do in wintertime. Time to make it a family affair! You can, of course, stick to the “snow day staple” such as snowman building, snowball fighting, and sledding. If you are interested in changing up your snow play, try building snow animals instead of snowmen. You can even play traditional games such as “Tic Tac Toe” and “Hot Potato” but instead with and in the snow. If your house is lacking the white, fluffy, wet stuff; consider artificial snow, all the same fun with less hassle and no need to shovel the driveway!

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Product Spotlight: Super Snow Bucket (1.5 lb.)

Create snow at anytime, in any climate! Simply add a tablespoon of Super Snow powder to a quart of water and stir. The more it’s stirred, the more it shines and sparkles. Super Snow expands to more than 100 times its size and lasts for weeks without rewetting. Makes over 15 gallons of snow.

Family Fitness

Cabin fever is hard to defeat when the temperatures outside make playtime a challenge. Family fitness is a great way to combat both post-holiday calories and winter restlessness. It can be as simple as pushing the couches aside and stretching as a group or as planned out as a group exercise session. You can even choose to involve your little ones into your already existent home fitness routine, such as having them count your push-ups and “hold down” your feet during sit-ups. Use classic games like “Simon Says” to creatively morph simple exercises like jumpin’ jacks into family fun!

Have other family activities that you use to form special memories and chase away the winter blues? Share your ideas with others and us by commenting below.

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.

5 Ways to Bring Nature Learning Inside

1 Dec

Wondering how to study nature with your kids when temperatures continue to drop? Skip the cold weather by bringing nature indoors! There are plenty of ways to encourage science learning by creating contained environments. Here are some of our favorite ways to study nature inside the comforts of home:

62072b.jpg1. Critter Cabin

Bring creepy crawlies indoors by bundling up, finding insects to study, and then bringing them back inside to study. This critter house will keep specimen contained for your little scientist as they study how insects move and what sounds they make. When finished, simply take outside and release your critters back into the wild!

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Don’t want to find your own ants to study? Order them by mail! Teach children how ants burrow and watch them at work with this entrancing ant factory. Teaches lessons in responsibility, biology, and basic ecology. Includes a 24-page guidebook to get your little learner started.

145544c.jpg3. Insect Lore Original Butterfly Pavilion 

Ever wondered how caterpillars turn into butterflies? Let your child watch the whole process with our Original Butterfly Pavilion. Children can watch metamorphosis as they care for caterpillars until they mature into fully-grown butterflies! The habitat’s see-through mesh gives a clear view of the transformation. Caterpillar larvae included.

86390.jpg4. Insect Lore Ladybug Land

Fascinated by ladybugs? This metamorphosis kit for ladybugs allows children to see nature at work as ladybugs magically change from cute larvae into adult beetles. Includes see-through habitat, certificate for ladybugs and food, built-in magnifier lenses, and a fun-filled instruction guide.

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5. Root Vue Farm Set

Sustainability has never been so fun! Teach plant life cycles while growing vegetables for snack time with this kid-friendly farm set! Built with an acrylic viewing window, built-in water basin, and drainage reservoir, this is the perfect learning tool for children who are interested in agriculture.


Do you love teaching science to your kids? How do you encourage science learning indoors? Share your ideas by commenting below.

Top 10 Toys for the Holidays (2016 Edition)

18 Nov

It’s that time again! Get a jump on the holidays with discounts and toy suggestions for gifts for your kids. Don’t just buy what’s pretty; consider toys that teach and challenge children as they grow. Foster hands-on early learning with our Top 10 Toys for the Holidays:

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1. Door ‘n’ Floor Rebound Basketball Set

Play indoor basketball with this amazing basketball set that rebounds for your little athlete! It’s the perfect gift for children looking to work on their coordination and basketball skills. Better still, the hoop grows with your child. As they get taller, the goal can be straightened to adjust to their height or even hang on the back of a door for continued fun.

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2. Bloxels® Build Your Own Video Games

We’ve all weighed the pros and cons of video games, but what if kids were building them before playing? Bloxels offers a game board for children to create free form characters and landscapes to import into the app and straight onto their tablet! Learn more.

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3. EZ Fort

Build a playhouse, reading nook, or special hide away with this easy-to-build EZ-Fort! Engage children in hands-on building as they practice engineering skills while following directions to create their own fort. Add a blanket over their design for the perfect getaway.

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4. Crayola Tracing Mania

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Promote relaxed learning by introducing beautiful, intricate designs, tracing paper, and brightly colored Twinstables pencils! Tracing Mania makes detailed art for kids easy as they explore creative design and patterns.

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5. Mega Bloks® American Girl® Grace’s 2-in-1 Buildable Home Set

Love Mega Blocks? This American Girl set is perfect for hours of play as children build a home for imaginary slumber parties, cooking in the bakery, or even walking the French bulldog! Encourage children to create their own scenarios to navigate as they build and play with this adorable play set.

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6. Playzone-Fit™ Jumbo Jumper

Soar into jumping fun with this Jumbo Jumper! This tire-shaped toy provides bars to keep children safe as they engage in high bounce fun. Sends kids bouncing towards the sky for hours of active play. It’s an engaging way to work on balancing and coordination with friends.

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7. Quads of fun Junction Tunnel and Tent set

Prepare for hours of pretend play as children navigate the tunnels of the Quads of Fun Junction Tunnel and Tent Set! This set provides multiple entries to a tent offering children a way to get out of the heat, play hide-and-seek, or even camp out for excellent outdoor adventures.

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8. Missy Kissy Doll

This electronic doll is perfect for encouraging nurturing fun in older siblings. Snuggle her close, shower her with kisses, and enjoy hours of interactive play time as she asks you to find her ticklish spots, feed her, sing her to sleep, and more!

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9. Rainbow Rocket STEM Building Block Set

Teach colors, shapes, early engineering, and more in toddlers as they build with these durable blocks. Children will develop geometric awareness and fine motor skills as they try to build this colorful Rainbow Rocket and keep it from falling over.

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10. Forest Railway Set

Does your child love trains? The Forest Railway Set is a fun way to encourage your child’s building skills as they put together the wooden tracks and chug the magnetic train through the landscape. Includes green arches, bridges, and a forest wonderland for trains to wander through.

Still don’t see what you are looking for? Check out our complete selection of educational gifts for the holidays here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/great-gift-ideas