Rethinking Nutrition for Kids

9 Mar

What do you think of when you hear the word nutrition? Many times, it’s equated to ensuring there is some type of fruit included in a child’s snack time, or a limit on how many chips a child can have. With childhood obesity statistics on the rise, we want to foster the simple idea that nutrition is more than what’s in your child’s diet; it’s a lifestyle! Here are four easy tips to help incorporate nutritious choices as part of your family’s day-to-day:

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1. Modeling

You are looked up to more than you will ever know! Consumption choices, what items are available in the fridge, and how many times you incorporate exercise into your week are all important choices that acts as behavior models for children. Here are some small ways you can make a difference:

  • Pack lunch together. Children can see that you are packing healthy for lunch just like they are!
  • Use Sundays for meal prep. Having meals all ready to go for weeknights is a great way to avoid the fast food run that we all default to when time gets away from us!
  • Workout during chores! Incorporate squats, pushups, and abs into tasks you already have to do. This is a great example for kids to multi-task as they fold laundry, sweep the floors, or clean up their room! Here is a fun article for moms with toddlers: http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/fit-mom-exercise-tips/

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2. Meal Times

We all know what we put into our bodies is important, but at times, it can be hard to know what exactly a healthy balance looks like, especially for a hangry preschooler who only wants chicken nuggets and french fries! We have a helpful Health Eating from Head to Toe Handout that’s a great start for parents. Not only does it suggest what foods to eat, but also does so with colorful illustrations that show what health benefits come from each food group! Find the handout here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/28885/preschool-healthy-eating-from-head-to-toe-handouts-set-of-50

Nutrition Books to Get You Started: 

Another fun idea to do with the family is to create a “Healthy Recipes” Pinterest board so that you can keep track of nutritious meals your family loves! Follow our family board for weekly inspirations: https://www.pinterest.com/KaplanToys/healthy-family-recipes/

53689.jpg3. Motivated to Move!

Active play is an important part of a child’s day! Not only does it burn calories, but it also encourages creativity, builds important muscles, and gives children a chance to interact with their peers as they work on teamwork, friendship, and an understanding of social rules. Whether it’s getting out in the backyard to pass a soccer ball, mediating on a yoga mat, or hiking as a family on the weekend, motivating children to move is an important concept for children to adapt into their lifestyle as they grow. To browse our selection of active play toys, click here. 

Sources:

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4. Make a Garden

Spring is nearly here! With the start of warm weather comes the prime opportunity to start planting vegetables and herbs for your family meals! Teaching your child how to garden is not only an excellent practice of sustainability, but it will encourage them to incorporate homegrown food into their meals later on. To learn more about the benefits of gardening for children, head over to this article to get started.

Gardening Tools for Toddlers:

 

Share how you are celebrating #NationalNutritionMonth with your kids by commenting below!

Five Ways to Celebrate Dr. Seuss Day!

1 Mar

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is today! Want some fun ways to celebrate with your little ones? Find everything from themed snack time to reviewing your child’s successes with Oh the Places You’ll Go below. Here are five of our favorite ways to celebrate the holiday:

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1. Read Your Favorite Dr. Seuss Book

Everyone has a favorite Dr. Seuss book from childhood! Pick your favorite and reminisce with your children. Not only is this a great way to increase early vocabulary, but the lyrical genius also teaches important life lessons along the way. From What Pet Should I Get? to the Dr. Seuss’s ABC Board Book, browse our Seuss book selection here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=dr+seuss&searchButton=

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2. Take a Trip with Oh the Places You’ll Go

Love Oh the Places You’ll Go? So do we, as it encourages a sense of adventure and wanderlust in children! Talk about the different successes in your child’s life and the many goals that they aim to achieve. Make it into a craft project by breaking out a local or world map with pins for all of your child’s favorite haunts, family vacations, and places to visit! The map is a great reminder to keep dreaming!

Resources:

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3. What’s in the Cat’s Hat Game

Have little sensory learners in the household? What’s in the Cat’s Hat Game is a great way to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day while also bolstering your little one’s sensory skills. Hide something in the hat for children to discover! Kids can ask questions, use clues, and interact with the hat’s fun exploratory features to discover what it is! Find the game here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/62394/whats-in-the-cats-hat-game?c=11%7CKTGM02

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4. Seussical Snack Time

 Get creative with snack time! Incorporate hands-on learning in the kitchen with your favorite Dr. Seuss book. From Cat in the Hat cheese sticks, to green eggs and ham, there are a plethora of snacks you can try out with your little one on our Dr. Seuss Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/KaplanToys/ways-to-celebrate-dr-seuss/

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5. Fox in Socks Inspired Craft Time

Pull out the paper plates and orange paint! Here is a fun kid craft for making a fox to go along with Seuss’ beloved Fox in Socks. Go as far as picking out fun socks for your child to wear as they wiggle their feet and enjoy the rhymes of Dr. Seuss! Cut out and paint a fox afterwards for a cute memento.

Find instructions here: http://thisgirlslifeblog.com/2015/02/fox-in-socks-dr-seuss-crafts.html

Teaching Responsibility to Toddlers!

23 Feb

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Did you know February is Responsible Pet Owners Month? Celebrate by talking to your children about what responsibility means and what it can look like when taking care of household pets. Teaching responsibility is a key part of social-emotional learning in children. Here are a few ways you and your family can participate in keeping pets healthy:

  1. Training: Did you know one of the biggest reasons for pets ending up in shelters is behavior problems? By socializing your pet, it leads to better behavior and reduces their chances of getting lost and ending up in a shelter. It’s also a great example to teach children the benefits of disciplined learning.
  2. Grooming: Getting your pet out and ensuring they are well-groomed shows responsibility to children. Brushing a pet can also be a bonding experience for your child and their favorite critter!
  3. Cleaning Up: Showing your children how to not only clean their pets, but also pick up after them as well as clean the spaces they dwell in will go a long way in teaching responsibility. It can also lead to conversations on how children can keep their own spaces clean by picking up after themselves!
  4. Exercise: Get those pets moving! Going to the park for a walk or throwing ball is a great way to keep pets (and children) healthy. Talk to your kids about proper exercise and diet choices for their pet as well as the benefits of higher immune systems.
  5. ID Tag: Be sure your pet has some type of identification. This will come in handy when your furry family member ends up lost or in a neighbor’s yard so they can be returned safe and sound!
  6. Talk About It: Finally, be sure you sit down with your child and talk about ways to take care of family pets. Ask children what their current responsibilities are and why it’s important to follow through.

Source:

Have you had the responsibility talk with your little one? Have them draw a picture of their pet and submit it here to enter our Pet Portraits Contest for a chance to win a Set of 6 Jumbo Pets: https://petportraits.pgtb.me/gQ54KK

Inspiring a Love of Literacy with Indoor Forts

16 Feb

One of the best ways to inspire a love of literacy in young children is by providing safe and cozy reading spaces. Reading can become even more of an adventure as children’s imaginations take off, whether they are diving into a cave, entering a castle, or camping out under the stars! We’ve collected five of our favorite ways to build forts with your kids to turn their next reading time into a fortified adventure:

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1. The Traditional

If you’re looking for an easy fort to start with, then this one is for you! Simply pull out a square table and fasten two duvets so that all sides of the table are covered. Create an entrance by folding the blankets into a triangle so that children can crawl in! Pile in couch cushions or pillows so that kids have somewhere comfy to stretch out. It’s the perfect blanket fort to escape for some quality reading time.

Source: http://www.thejennyevolution.com/diy-easy-blanket-forts/

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2. The Star Gazer

Have old cardboard boxes? Simply set them on their sides for a crawl-in entrance. Poke holes through the top and insert holiday lights for a starry night to gaze at as children break out books under their personal sky!

Source: http://lifeasmama.com/10-awesome-fort-ideas-to-build-with-your-kids/5/

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3. The Adventurist

Do your kids love camping? Break out a clothesline, throw a sheet over it, and tie down the edges with four stakes. With a blanket and pillows underneath, children will have a comfortable outdoor retreat to escape to for some outdoor reading time!

Source: http://lifeasmama.com/10-awesome-fort-ideas-to-build-with-your-kids/

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4. The Air Fort

Make way for a new type of fort. Tape a fan to a sheet for added fun. The airflow will create crawl space for a flowing air fort, no blankets required. The moving walls are sure to add more creativity to imaginative play! Find out how to build one here: http://teachingmama.org/diy-air-fort/

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5. The Extension

Finally, you can take dramatic playhouses and extend them with blankets! Simply clip on sheets with clothespin to make extended rooms for children to play in. That way, they can have an adorable entrance and space for friends! Browse our selection of play houses to get started:

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few additions you can make to any fort to add a little magic.

  • Holiday lights: a little twinkle goes a long way when reflecting on sheets and blankets
  • Comfy seating: ensuring children are comfortable can also make forts the perfect places for nap time
  • Book selection: be sure books are readily available for your little readers to explore!

4 Nature-Inspired Hearts for Kids!

11 Feb

Everyone makes hearts for Valentine’s Day in one form or another; why not tie them in with outdoor exploration? Go on a nature walk with your little learner to collect a handful of decorations for creative ways to make Valentine’s hearts! Here are four outdoor materials you can collect to make nature hearts and foster organic love and learning in the home:

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Smooth Stones

Go on a walk with your child to find round stones to paint! These stones are usually found near creek or riverbeds. The smooth surfaces are perfect for colorful creativity. Draw hearts with Fluorescent Do A Dots for easy painting!

Source: http://www.firefliesandmudpies.com/2014/11/03/gratitude-stones/

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Backyard Berries

Do you use bird feeders? Help your child show love to their feathered friends by making birdseed and berry hearts! American Holly berries are the best, but if you have raspberries or blueberries growing in your backyard, those will work, too! String the berries along heart shaped wire for a lovely addition to your bird feeder.

Want to build your own bird feeder? Check out the Hanging Bird Feeder Kit! (https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/143861/hanging-bird-feeder-kit?c=1%7CKTAP09)

Source: http://www.hometalk.com/6929358/birdseed-cakes-and-berry-hearts?utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=featured

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Seashells

Live near the beach? Go on an exploration for seashells! Shells can give way to all sorts of creativity, but one way to use them is to make nature hearts. Simply use a hot glue gun to shape them into a heart on a hard surface. Whether you use cardboard or wood, the final result is pretty breathtaking! Place in a shadowbox as a treasured memento.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/448460075371453298/

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Sticks & Twigs

Now this one is fun! Go outside and pick up sticks of varying lengths. Once your child has collected a handful, break them into varying sizes to start making your wooden heart. Have fun painting the sticks, connecting them with wire, and hanging your colorful nature heart!

Find high-quality tempura paint for your child’s creations here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/18753P/kaplan-kolors-tempera-paint-16-oz

Source: http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/fall-crafts-playing-leaves-twigs/

 

Groundhog Day: Forecasting Weather for Kids!

2 Feb

It’s Groundhog Day! Are you tuning in with your family to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow? Even if relying on a groundhog’s predictive skills isn’t the most accurate way of determining weather patterns, the tradition can be a fun one for your family to engage in! Not to mention it’s a great segue into conversations on weather, seasons, and how you can forecast weather patterns with your kids! Here are a few of our favorite ways to promote science play with weather toys:

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1. Track the Weather

Introduce isobars, jet streams, wind chills and more with this super-sized 44″W x 28″H weather map of the U.S. and Canada. Use bar and line graphs to chart temperature changes across the cities! A write-on/wipe-off board is included for easy display. Educator’s guide with weather terms, activities, vinyl cling weather symbols and recording charts included.

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2. Weather Today Carpet

Settle in for weather talks with the Weather Today Carpet! It’s a stimulating visual for season changes and the months they take place in. Not to mention the adorable cloud pictures that are included for creative weather pattern display!

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3. Dress for the Weather

Engage toddlers with this creative puzzle! Discuss each season while putting the puzzle together and dressing each character for the appropriate season. Flip each season to reveal a seasonal stencil for extra enrichment!

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4. Weekly Weather Calendar Chart

Peek outside and see what the weather looks like! Teach children to observe weather patterns for different days and seasons as they fill out the weekly chart with fun weather and number cards! Make hypothesizes about what the week will bring while putting observation skills to the test.

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5. Weather Vocabulary for Young Readers 

Boost non-fiction skills in children with weather terms! This engaging book will expand children’s vocabulary as they absorb scientific concepts behind different types of weather. Includes diagrams, captions, a glossary, and comprehension questions for extended learning!

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6. Hot Dots Science Set

Not quite sure how weather relates to natural earth processes? Learn with your little scientist as you read through the Hot Dots Science Set, Earth & Weather to learn key science concepts and build vocabulary. Comes with 36 double-sided illustrated cards with questions for comprehension


Have fun forecasting! Let us know by commenting below if you have any creative ways to track the weather.

The Galaxy’s Favorite Star Wars™ Toys

19 Jan

Do you have a family full of Star Wars fans? Celebrate the return of your favorite Star Wars characters by reenacting your favorite scenes from the movies with the galaxy’s favorite Star Wars toys! From new LEGO sets to a retro reel set, you don’t want to miss seven Star Wars toys for the family:

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1. LEGO® Star Wars™ Character Encyclopedia

Before you start building and collecting LEGO® sets, use the LEGO® Star Wars™ Character Encyclopedia to know where to start your collection! This expansive guide includes all of your favorite characters along with rare facts and exclusive releases from the movies.

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2. LEGO® Star Wars™ Luke Skywalker™

We can’t forget Star Wars’ main protagonist! Work with your kids to build this detailed LEGO® version of one of the galaxy’s most powerful Jedi Knights. Features fully posable limbs, buildable green Lightsaber and blaster pistol, handcuffs and a holster with extra Lightsaber handle.

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3.     LEGO® Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon™ 

No Star Wars LEGO® set is complete without the Millennium Falcon™! Open the hull plates to reveal the main hold with seating area and holochess board, a detailed hyperdrive, and secret storage for spring-loaded shooter ammo. Includes six mini-figures with assorted weapons: Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Tasu Leech, and a Kanjiklub Gang Member, plus a BB-8 Astromech Droid™.

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4.     LEGO® Star Wars™ AT-D

Rebels have been spotted! Jump into the cockpit of the twin-legged LEGO® Star Wars AT-DP military walker. Patrol the streets of Capital City with loaded twin spring-loaded shooters and get ready to escort Agent Kallus and the Stormtrooper past the rebels.

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5. LEGO® Star Wars™ Death Star Final Duel

Reenact the epic final duel between Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine from the movie Star Wars™: Episode VI Return of the Jedi! Let the drama unfold in Emperor Palpatine’s throne room aboard the second Death Star, complete with swing-out side sections for easy play. Includes five mini-figures with assorted weapons: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and 2 Royal Guards.

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6.     Star Wars™ Me Reader™: Electronic Reader and 8-Book Library 

Read about your favorite saga with your kids and the Me Reader™! Select from eight different books to work on literacy skills with bonus feature sound effects from the movies. Interactive reading experience ahead!

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7.     View-Master Star Wars™ Reel Set 

It’s a blast from the past! Bring Star Wars to life with 3D story telling! Twenty-one images are pulled straight from Attack of the Clones. The View-Master is a great way to share the adventures again and again with kids on the go.


 

Find a complete selection of our Star Wars toys here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=Star+Wars&searchButton=

 

 

 

 

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