Tag Archives: active play

Spring Fever! Encouraging Your Child to Be Physically Active

23 Mar

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The arrival of spring brings longer days, warmer weather, brighter colors, and increasing opportunities for engagement in healthy childhood activities. It’s no secret that the digital age has created various gadgets and apps that compete for children’s attention and free time. The draw of digital games and activities often drowns out the basic childhood desire of simple play. It’s important for parents to restore some balance into children’s lives and foster healthy habits and development. Beyond limiting screen time, try to encourage your little ones to explore the world around them and engage in activities that increase their heart rate. Here are a few ideas we gathered to help you spark your child’s desire for active play.

Individual Exploration

Teaching children to play by themselves is a special skill set that will not only engage their brain but also create a healthy sense of independence. Encourage your child to enact pretend stories in the backyard or “bake” a cake with items found in nature. Think back to your childhood and encourage them to do some of the activities you did, such as playing jump rope and creating art with chalk on the front driveway. Consider combining those activities with the Chalktivity Rainbow Jump Rope or Chalktivity Pogo Prints for increased exercise and fun! Imagination and a warm spring afternoon can spark a trend of healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

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Neighborhood Amusement

You are the primary person responsible for teaching your child about the importance of being physically active, but you can encourage other children in the neighborhood to be physically active as well. Provide your child with games and activities that can be enjoyed with others. Encourage children to have a bouncing race down the driveway with the Hop 55 Ball or arrange a good ol’ fashion game of tag. Make sure to finish the afternoon of active fun with a healthy treat! You’ll become the favorite house on the block in no time!

A Family Affair

Children often learn best by example. Not only should you encourage them to be physically active, but you should also engage in physical activity yourself. A pickup game of family hide-and-seek can go a long way in developing a child’s desire to play. Showing your child that you exercise regularly, as well as other healthy habits you engage in, sets a standard and example for them to follow in the future. Family participation in physical activities is a key part of nurturing physically active children and helping them maintain that as adults.

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Leave us a comment about your child’s favorite physical activity and remember to be physically active every day!

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.

Revving It up for Summer! Ride-Alongs for Kids

7 Jul

shutterstock_285562799Are your child’s feet always running one hundred miles per hour? Help them burn off some of that energy with our favorite ride-alongs for kids! We have five suggestions your children will love to race down the driveway, around the neighborhood, or even in the house! From Cozy Coupes to Micro Kickboards, check out our favorites below:

1. Micro Maxi Scooters!

Pick a color and hang on tight! The Micro Maxi Kickboards are the perfect ride-along, providing stability as kids roll. Invest in the Micro Mini 3-in-1 Scooter for a toy that grows with your child to provide years of exercise and fun! Choose from blue, pink, and green below:

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2. Cozy Coupes!

Vroom, vroom! Watch as kids take off in their very own Cozy Coupe! Choose from the stylish Sport Edition for speed, the Tikes Patrol Edition for police practice, the Truck Edition for some serious four-wheeling, or the Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Edition to keep with tradition:

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3. Little Tikes Go & Grow Lil’ Rolling Giraffe!

Build balance and coordination with the easy-to-ride and adjustable rolling giraffe! The rolling giraffe has a special grow-along seat that makes adjustments easy, perfect for children ages 1-3.

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4. Wheely Bugs!

Looking for a set of wheels appropriate for infants? Then Wheely Bugs are just for you! The Bee and Lady Bug Wheely Bugs help promote gross motor skills and provide an added layer of sponge for padded protection. Babies will love sliding backwards, forwards, side to side, and round and round!

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5. Motorcycle!

This little red bike is perfect for active toddlers! Four wheels provide balance while the realistic headlights and taillights make little ones feel like real-life motorcyclists! And of course, easy-grip handles are included for little hands.

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Don’t forget the helmets! We also have an excellent selection of toddler-sized helmets to keep children safe while they ride this summer:

10 Toys to Keep Kids Moving!

28 Apr

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Keeping kids active is a necessity when it comes to raising healthy and happy kids. Along with proper nutrition, teaching children to properly exercise, whether it be through outdoor play or organized sports, is an important role of parents. Though health classes can be taught at school, lifelong habits are born in the home. Here are some toys we recommend that will ensure children keeping active at home:

1. 4″ Play Balls (Robot, Fire Truck & T-Rex)

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Kids will love playing outside with 4″ play balls featuring fun designs! Lightweight and durable, play balls can be used both indoors and out for games varying from four-square to kick ball!

2. Kidoozie Hop & Squeak Unicorn Foam Pogo Jumper

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Children will get their excursive bouncing up and down on their very own unicorns! Adding to the magic, each hop on the Hop & Squeak Unicorn Foam Pogo Jumper makes a magical sound.

3. OgoDisk RAQ

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These hand trampolines for balls are a great way to get kids outside and running as they work on fine motor skills to keep the ball bouncing between players. For added fun, use water balloons to cool off during the summer!

4. OGOBUILD Pod Kit

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Imaginations will soar with this awesome building kit! Children can create fun shapes to crawl through as they put their creativity to the test! This pod kit creates large, light-weight structures that can be kicked, spun, and thrown!

5. Playhut Mega Fun Playhouse

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The Mega Fun Playhouse includes a basketball, miniature basketball hoop, ball pit, and tunnels for children to crawl through! It makes for hours of street-free play as children burn off some of that energy while stuck indoors.

6. Diggin GoGo Pogo

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With a stable base and bright colors, the Electronic Multi-Game Pogo Bouncer helps children with counting, memory, sound recognition, music and more as they use their muscles to bounce up and down! It’s a great way to keep active while learning with five electronic games.

7. Red Bullet Balance Bike

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Put little feet to the ground and take off on the Red Bullet Balance Bike! This two-wheeler provides hours of fun as children build the necessary balance to ride.

8. Yoga CD

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Relax and flex those muscles by teaching your child yoga poses for daily life. Music will encourage exercise while building flexibility in children as they learn to slow down.

9. Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer

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Little ones will get a workout using this combination ride-on/push toy that encourages coordination and balance. A seat for teddy is even included on the back to take favorite toys on a ride!

10. Waboba® Lacrosse Set

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Start kids learning lacrosse early as they fall in love with a sport requiring hand-eye coordination, team work, and plenty of physical fitness! Lacrosse is a great way to have fun in the back yard and hone skills for team play later on.

We hope you enjoyed our toy selection and have fun with your children as you take in the sunny vibes of spring! Don’t miss our outdoor activities Pinterest board for even more ideas.

10 Ways to Learn with Leaves!

7 Oct

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Tis the season for leaves! With fall in full swing and the approach of Halloween, the foliage provides a great opportunity for a range of creative projects to bring inside the home and classroom. Go outside on an adventure and have your children collect leaves to their heart’s desire. The more colors the better! Once your canvas is set, step back indoors for 10 ways to learn with leaves:

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1. Create an Autumn Nature Exploration Table

Don’t stop with leaves! Collect pinecones, acorns, sticks, pine needles and more to put in baskets for nature table explorations! By including natural objects, children will be introduced to the feels, sights, and smells of the season. Sort colors, discuss how seeds grow into trees, or use leaves to make cutouts to develop gross motor skills! There’s no end to sensory explorations when you bring nature inside to be appreciated by little minds.

Source: http://theimaginationtree.com/2013/10/autumn-nature-exploration-table.html

847342. Make Organic Crafts

The autumn treasures your children collect outside are the perfect material for creative games and crafts! The book Organic Crafts offers 75 earth-friendly art activities that turn natural objects into games, crafts and activities children will love! Children will learn everything from color identification to creative self-expression. Find your own nature crafts here:

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3. Hang Leaves on the Grateful Tree

Teach children the value of gratitude by encouraging them to take a moment and list the things they’re grateful for in their lives. Once they have a few words in mind, practice early literacy skills by decorating each leaf with one of the words using a paint pin. Find out how you can make painted leaves here: http://playfullearning.net/2009/11/this-years-grateful-tree/

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4. Move Around with Spiral Leaves

Get kids outside and exercising while making fun leaf patterns! By walking around and making paths through fallen leaves, children can create yard designs through active play and creative instruction. Change up the pattern for even more fun! http://happyhooligans.ca/in-our-big-back-yard/

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5. Crumble Leaves for Autumn Trees Craft

Crumble leaves with your children as they use their sense of touch to explore the texture of trees! Make a creative autumn tree from real leaves and a little imagination. This is a great activity for sensory learning.

Source: http://ourhouse.typepad.com/full_circle/2007/10/autumn-trees-cr.html#

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6. Create an Alphabet Leaf Hunt

Write individual letters on leaves and hang them around the backyard with clothespins! Encourage your child to match up capitalized and lower case letters. Have kids read the letter out and make the letter sound after finding each leaf. Kids will be excited about learning the alphabet in no time!

Source: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/09/preschool-activities-for-fall.html?m=1

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7. Rake up Leaves for Dramatic Play

Encourage the development of gross motor skills and engage in dramatic play by having little ones read “Eye Like Nature – Leaves” and then throwing leaves in the air! Use plastic rakes for children to rake leaves back up again into baskets.

Source: http://www.loveplayandlearn.com/2012/09/raising-tots-fall-pretend-play.html

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8. Parachute Play with Leaves

Engage in active play and parachute fun by piling up leaves onto the parachute and then singing along to “Pop, Pop, Popcorn!” When you say popcorn, have kids jump up and send leaves flying into the air! Children will engage in active play and work together to coordinate parachute movements.

Source: http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/10/outdoor-fall-parachute-play/

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9. Understand Why Leaves Change Color

Have your kids hypothesize about why leaves change color and what color they will turn as a part of their very own backyard science experiment. Explaining leaf chromatography and allowing children to see colors change right in front of their eyes is a great way to bring science to life through learning with leaves! Find out how to run the experiment here:

Source: http://almostunschoolers.blogspot.com/2010/09/fall-science-part-2-leaf-chromatography.html

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10. Get Artsy with a Nature Canvas

Involve your little one in hands-on exploration as they make Autumn Art from leaves! Little ones can collect treasures from the backyard and glue them atop a nature canvas painted with beautiful reds, yellows, and browns for fall delight! The result is a natural landscape with real leaves you’ll want to hang on the wall when finished.

Source: http://www.sunhatsandwellieboots.com/2011/09/3d-autumn-art.html

-We hope you enjoyed these activities! Are you in an area where there are no leaves? Use leaf kits to explore beautiful, printed leaves together with your children as they work on sorting and color recognition. Explore our different leaf kits here: