5 Books to Get Caught Reading!

10 May

 

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Did you know it is Get Caught Reading Month? In an effort to promote early literacy in young children at home, we have a few of our favorite book selections for you to choose from! Not to mention, fun ideas for places to get caught reading!30706.jpg

1. Henry Helps Book Set (Set of 7):

(2 years & up) Want an engaging way to teach children about household responsibilities? Learning from Henry is a great place to start! This adorable set of 7 paperback books encourages responsibility, teamwork, and helps build self-esteem in small children.

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2. Little Blue Truck: 

(3 years & up) What happens when a little pickup truck faces a muddy country road? Read about the adventures of a little blue truck that gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Filled with truck sounds and animals noises, this board book is a lighthearted journey to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.

3. Dan and Jan: 27769.jpg

(4 years & up) Meet Dan and Jan, two friends who love to run, jump, and even dance together! com’s title Dan and Jan is a charming story that will help young readers learn words in the –an word family. A great adventure for young learners to teach early vocabulary.

 

4. Same Old Horse: 

14053.jpg(6 years & up) This lively story encourages kids to work with numbers and make predictions. Beautiful ink-and-watercolor pictures show horses in a barnyard acting just like children on a playground. Notes are included for adults and children about finding patterns and making predictions in everyday life.

 

5. Everything You Need to Know About Frogs:

(7 years & up) Great for science learning, this fascinating hardback book is packed with information about habitats, breeding habits, anatomy, as well as oddities and shocking facts! Explore the world of reptiles and amphibians from all angles with information that is presented through close ups, quizzes, games, and engaging text.

Looking for cool places for kids to nestle up and read? Here are some fun suggestions.

Places to Get Caught Reading:

  • Little nooks under staircases: be sure to include pillows
  • Wide window sills: the natural sunlight is always inspiring for readers
  • Blanket forts: inspire imagination with tiny castles
  • Closet spaces: clean out a corner and plug in a light, a nice little getaway

Tell us how you are promoting early literacy in the household by tagging us on Twitter and using the hashtag #GetCaughtReading.

4 Stress Busters for Little Learners

26 Apr

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Does your child struggle with stress? There are many life stressors, both in the home and in the classroom. As a parent, there are resources and practices you can put into place that will teach young children how to redirect negative emotions into positive self-talk and behavior. Here are some of our favorite tools for redirecting stress into hands-on learning!

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1. Tangle Therapy

 Many times, learning challenges or peers can frustrate children. Tangle Therapy is the perfect tool for relieving stress as children twist textured surfaces into different shapes. It’s a useful aid for redirecting behavior as children exchange negative emotions for complete fascination:

 

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2. Cooperative Board Games

 Competition is another stressor to many young children. Instead of putting precedence on winning, cooperative board games promote cooperative play as children work together to beat the game. Children can work on social–emotional skills while building self-esteem at the same time! Choose from the cooperative board games below:

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3. Sing the Stress Away!

Singing is a creative stress reliever for children. Positive lyrics can reinforce positive self-talk and self-image while helping children develop concentration and memory to be ready to respond to learning opportunities. Learn more about focusing attention on the present moment with the Here, Now Know-How CD: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/20524/here-now-know-ho-cd

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4. Present a Challenge

Finally, stress can be alleviated in children when they are presented with a different challenge so that focus is shifted away from their current stressor. The Swingy Thing Spinning Game is a hypnotic challenge that gets children’s minds working as they play either alone or together to beat the Swing Thing Spinning Game’s challenges!


What do you do with your children to provide stress relief? Share with us by commenting below!

Recycle with Kids for Earth Day!

19 Apr

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Do you recycle in your home? Teaching children the value of natural resources and sustainability is essential as we strive to leave a healthier, greener planet for future generations. There are plenty of fun, creative ways you can make recycling fun for kids. Celebrate Earth Day with these five crafts for recycled goods:

frogs.jpg 1. Frogs on a String

Instead of throwing toilet paper rolls away, store them away for craft time! Pull them out along with green paint to make adorable frogs on a string. Simply paint the outside of the rolls green, paint the inside red, and paint two eyes on top. Staple the back, cut out two pairs of legs, and attach a colored string for a frog on a string! This is an adorable way for kids to go green!

 

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2. Cardboard Sundial

Still have left over cardboard from boxes or wrapping paper? Create a sundial with a ruler, glue gun, and sharpie. Construction is simple. Set it up in the backyard and teach your children how to tell time by the sun! Find instructions here:

3. Cereal Box Parking Garage

parking.jpgUse empty cereal boxes to create a parking garage for all of your child’s toy cars! With a few empty toilet paper rolls, a cereal box, and strips of yellow construction paper, you can work on your child’s engineering skills as you build. It’s a great way to encourage creativity as you use recycled goods.

 

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4. Recycled Flower Mobile

Have a lot of leftover bottles? Turn them into something beautiful! With a little colorful paper-mache and scissors you can turn bottles into delicate flowers to hang in the backyard! Find out how you can celebrate Earth Day with this whimsical recycled bouquet of bottled flowers:

 

 

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5. Crocodile Clackers

Turn those bottle cap collections into mini-crocodiles for kids! Use leftover cardboard, bottle caps, and green paint to make adorable clackers for kids. These little music makers are a fun activity that can lead to musical sessions as you discuss why conserving water is important for reptiles like crocodiles and alligators.

 

 

 

 


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Want to give planet Earth a hug for Earth Day? Choose one of the above activities or get inspired by our Earth Hugs Pinterest board to create a recycled craft with your kids. Submit a picture this week of your finished craft for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card. Enter here: http://earthhugscontest.pgtb.me/zjl3VP

 

 

Pick out the Perfect Dollhouse!

12 Apr

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Looking for a dollhouse to suit your child’s needs? There are a couple of questions you can ask before making the big purchase to supplement your child’s dramatic play experience! Here are four questions to ask before picking out the perfect dollhouse for your little one:

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1. Looking for Neutral Colors?

 The first thing you’ll want to determine is if your dollhouse is for a young girl or if it will be shared by several children. If you’re looking for a house the whole crew can play with, here are two of our favorite wooden dollhouses that are big enough for any imaginative play experience:

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 2. Have a Big Play Space?

 If you’re looking for a large dollhouse to incorporate into a spacious playroom then we think you’ll love these options. Go pink with the Multi-Level Wooden Dollhouse or if you’re looking for something that allows children to reach in from all sides, then check out the Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse. Either way, your child will have tons of room to play!

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3. Looking to Teach STEM Concepts?

If you’re looking to go beyond dramatic play to teach math and engineering concepts, we have two colorful options below. The Geometrics Dollhouse will teach geometry as children build rooms in whatever shape they please! Don’t forget the Roominate Townhouse that promotes architectural skills as children build their own townhouse from bottom to top.

4. Need Something to
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Travel often? If you’re looking for a dollhouse to take with you for children that’s a little smaller, but is perfect for taking on the go, then the Fold * Go Wooden Dollhouse if for you. Durable and portable, this dollhouse comes with two play figures and eleven pieces of wooden furniture so that children can take imaginative play wherever they go!

Planning a Family Stargazing Night

5 Apr

Grab your telescope, space books, and blankets for a night under the stars! We have four simple steps for planning your perfect family stargazing night:

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Step 1: Learn About Space

The first step to enjoying a night full of space exploration is providing children with contextual knowledge of what they’ll be seeing when they look up! Understanding how stars are made, how far away they are, the inner workings of galaxies, and being able to point out constellations and planets will make your family stargazing night much more interactive. We suggest the Solar System Interactive 3D Chart to get started, as it provides in-depth detail of the solar system: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/143856/solar-system-interactive-3d-chart?c=17%7CKTSC04 

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Step 2: Pick out Your Telescope

Part of admiring the stars is being able to clearly see them! Little stargazers who are just starting out don’t need telescopes that are too high-powered as entry-level telescopes allow for many exciting discoveries! Hone in on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the moons of both Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus, and Moon craters with the TKI Telescope & Astronomy Kit: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/145221/tk1-telescope-and-astronomy-kit?c=1%7CKTAP09

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Step 3: Camp Out Under the Stars

 The third step to an awesome stargazing night is getting the family outside for a night of learning! Discover the universe in the Space Module Spacecraft Tent: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/142998/space-module-spacecraft-tent?c=1%7CKTAP10. It’s the perfect place for kids to hang out and read by torch light while waiting for the stars to come out. Breaking out the snacks outside is not a bad idea either! Once they appear, prepare your telescope and start stargazing.

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Step 4: Stargazing Recap

Once you’ve enjoyed the company of the stars, be sure to review what your family learned! Whether that’s having children draw their own version of the starry sky, reading space books together to point out discoveries you made with your very own eyes, or completing a space puzzle as you discuss what planets children want to learn more about, we have a plethora of planetarium resources for your little learners below:

How to Make an Outdoor Art Studio

29 Mar

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With all of the bright colors of spring and the warm weather that encourages outdoor play, it’s the perfect season for creating your very own outdoor art studio for kids! Here are four simple steps for making the perfect creative space for your budding artists:

1. Pick Your Space

There are a couple of factors you’ll want to take into consideration when choosing an outdoor art space. Look for an area that has both grass and sidewalk, so that children can choose between a cement canvas for chalk or a plush grassy space for art easels. You’ll also want to consider being near a water source so that children can water down paint and clean off their hands when they’re finished!

Browse our chalk selection here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=chalk&searchButton=

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2. Permanent or Temporary

Before you start outfitting your kid-sized art studio, you’ll want to decide whether the space is temporary or permanent. If it’s temporary, you’ll want to choose easels that are easily moveable. Usually these can be hung from fences and are easily collapsible. In-ground easels are more durable and better for permanent studios. Adding large trays and waterproof plastic bins are great tools you’ll want to look into if you’re leaning toward a permanent art studio.

Browse our art easel selection here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=art+easel&searchButton=

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3. Outfit Your Studio with Art Supplies

Now, the fun part! Having colorful, easy-to-manipulate art supplies in your child’s studio is a must. Including a paint station, chalk supply, and clay station all fun ideas you can incorporate. We suggest having the following:

  • Apron Stand: keep a consistent work space by having children put on and take off art aprons at the beginning and end of art creation!
  • Paint Trays: have a large canvas for little ones to splash creations on with bright colors! A blank space is a great way to work with patterns and inspire creativity. Check out the Discovery Tray as a great example: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/70918/discovery-tray
  • Clay Table: keep a few tubs of moldable clay tucked away under a kid-sized table where children can sit down and work on their sensory skills. Create clay creatures that can be dried out and put on display! If you do go this route, don’t miss these Creative Paint and Dough Design Tools.
  • Art Supplies: keep your paint brushes, chalk, and other art supplies in consistent places so children will have a designated area for each of their art tools. This teaches organization skills and will encourage cleaning practices once they’re finished creating.

4. Choose How to Display Finished Work

The creation process is of course the most engaging, but showing off those beautiful creations is important, too! Whether it’s keeping clay creatures on the windowsill, hanging paintings on the walls, or taking pictures of chalk drawings, be sure to celebrate your child’s creative endeavors. One of our favorite ways to hang up paintings is the Aluminum Paint Drying Rack (https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/17183/aluminum-paint-drying-rack). Dry your favorite paintings then frame for years to come!


Have you already set up an outdoor art studio? Share what you learned with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page!

Three Science Adventures for Spring!

22 Mar

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 Spring is here and with it comes sunny days for outdoor exploration! Foster children’s natural curiosity into inquisitive engagement with the outdoors with three of our favorite science adventures for spring:

1. Rainbow Sprinkler

Science Objectives: observation, classification, communication.

What to Do: 

  1. Turn on the garden hose and adjust its nozzle so that water comes out in a fine spray.
  2. Hold the hose nozzle so it shoots straight up in the air. If possible, find a way to attach the hose to a chair or some other stationary object, so you do not need to hold it. (Bathing suits before hand is always a great option!)
  3. Tell children that they might be able to observe a rainbow as the sun’s rays strike the water droplets in the spray. Suggest that children move around the spray and look for a rainbow. You will have to experiment to find the best angle to see rainbow colors. (This experiment is best on very sunny days!)
  4. After the children spend some time observing the rainbow, talk about ROY G. BIV, the mnemonic device for remembering the rainbow color order.
  5. Next, put out a set of crayons whose colors appear in rainbows, and put them in the rainbow order. Once the children do this, invite them to draw a rainbow with the crayons or chalk, or to make a picture that uses rainbow colors.

Source: Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 

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2. Riding Toys in the Yard

Science Objective: classification, measuring, identifying and controlling variables.

 What to Do:

  1. Bring the children out to an inclined riding area. Encourage children to help you draw a chalk line along the ground part of the way down the incline. Tell children this is the starting line, then using the yardstick, help the children make additional marks going down the hill.
  2. Talk with children about momentum. Use the example of how a tricycle will continue to roll along after its rider stops pedaling. Tell little ones that by experimenting with this idea, they can learn to determine which riding toys roll the farthest and how certain variables can affect the distances the objects roll.
  3. Ask your child to pedal a tricycle up to the chalk starting line, then to stop pedaling and coast to a stop. Invite children to use the chalk marks to measure how far the tricycle traveled.
  4. Ask children to think of ways they might increase the distance the tricycle coasted, such as having another child push the rider from behind, or having the rider pedal harder. Other suggestions include having a smaller or larger child as the rider or oiling the wheels. Record the children’s suggestions, and then help them try each suggestion from the list one at a time and compare the results.
  5. If other riding toys are available, invite children to compare them to the tricycles, then rate the various riding toys based on how far each coasted.

Want to Do More?

  • Invite children to test out their favorite riding toys to expand the variety of objects they compare.
  • Bring children to a steeper slope, repeat the activity, and discuss with the children what differences they notice between the two inclines.
  • Help children build a simple racetrack, and invite them to measure the differences in time it takes the various vehicles to complete the track.

Source: Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 

3. Clear Containers and a Sunny Day

Science Objectives: observing and classifying.

What to Do:

  1. On a clear day, select a sunny spot and ask children to help you fill a few clear plastic containers or bottles with water, making sure to reattach the lids securely.
  2. Line up the clear water-filled containers so the sun will hit them all at the same time.
  3. Point out to children the shapes and colors the sun makes when the light passes through the water-filled containers.
  4. Encourage the children to pick up the containers and move them to see how the sunlight passing through makes different shapes as they move the container.
  5. Ask kids to describe what they see when the sunlight hits the containers. Ask them to pick which containers they think generate the best light patterns. Ask, “Do all the containers show shapes and patterns?” Encourage children to describe the different ways the various containers affect the light.

Want to Do More?

  • Fill several colored containers and bottles with water and set them out for children to look through. Ask the children to describe the differences between how these containers affect the light, as opposed to the clear containers.
  • Provide plastic or glass prisms for the children to use and compare.

Source: Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 


Did you enjoy these science experiments for your kids? Find even more outdoor activities in Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children!