Tag Archives: babies

Dramatic Play with Baby Dolls

23 Sep

 

Dolls offer a range of dramatic play opportunities for your little ones as they learn the importance of being gentle with infants and how to care for another person. Here are four ways you can encourage your child to grow into a natural nurturer:

30174.jpg1. Pretend the doll is a younger sibling.

Dolls can be a great way to prepare your toddler for a new arrival! Show your child how to properly hold their doll, how to speak in a quiet voice, and even how to change a diaper. It’s a great way to warm your child up to the idea of a new baby in the house. Check out our suggested doll choice below:

 

80799p.jpg2. Practice parenting.

Modeling is natural form of learning, and it can be insightful for you, as well! Encourage your child to parent their pretend baby just as you take care of them. This is a great way to teach responsibility as children remember the importance of taking time for healthy meals, getting to bed at a reasonable time, and learning how to dress for appropriate seasons. See our suggested doll choice below:

 

82031p_2015.jpg3. Host a tea party.

Another great way for children to engage in dramatic play is by hosting a tea party! Work on conversation skills and good manners as children serve dolls first and talk to them about the wonders around them! Suggested doll choice below

 

 

145781a.jpg4. Establishing sleep routines.

Having company for bedtime stories is always relaxing. Children can use babies as companions to snuggle with as they learn to sleep by themselves and fall asleep on their own. Find our suggested doll choice below:

 


Whether it’s pushing baby around in a stroller to develop gross motor skills or tucking baby into bed, having a doll around the house can be an insightful hands-on learning experience for your child. Find our complete selection of dolls here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/dolls-and-doll-houses

5 Toys that Grow with Your Baby!

15 Sep

Buying toys for your baby can be a challenge. Since infants grow so fast and at different developmental paces, we want to provide you with toy selections that can grow with your little one to help you get the best value for your purchase. Here are our five favorite toys that grow with your baby:

 

1. Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit

141452a.jpgThis activity gym is full of surprises! Use it as a comfy play mat for infants; once children are mobile, simply pull up the mesh sides to keep them in the safe zone. Encourage sensory play as they grow by turning the safe zone into a fun ball pit featuring 40 colored balls. All of these features come in the adorable shape of a turtle!

 

 

2. Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym

145637cThis safari-themed play gym is adjustable and features a colorful mat for infants as they play with exciting bobbles above. Once your child is able to sit, the gym can be adjusted so that babies have access to the three mesh pockets. Once standing, toddlers can play with the woodland creatures that act as built-in ramps for balls to roll down and exit to the floor. This is one toy children won’t lose interest in!

 

3. Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table

142965a.jpgTeach music to infants as they grow! This activity table can be floor level for easy infant access or adjust to become a piano station, guitar station, drum station, and a shape station. Includes English, Spanish, and French languages giving your little learner variety as their brains develop.

 

 

4. Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench

30000n_b.jpgEncourage infants to learn melodies from an early age! Start by placing balls into the holes to practice color coordination and create music as the balls roll across the xylophone. Once children have better developed motor skills, they can use the hammer to tap out melodies on the xylophone. It’s a great way to expose your child to music for the first time and encourage music learning as they grow.

 

5. Fisher Price Roller Blocks Rocking Wagon

145334.jpgThe fun never ends with this rocking wagon! It’s Sit & Play mode allows babies to sit beside the wagon as they stack blocks, spin the clicker, and press the teeter-totter to hear music. As they become more mobile, they can advance to the Stand & Pull mode, which helps develop motor skills as they push and pull around their music wagon full of magical learning!

 

 


Regardless of what toy you choose, remember to select toys that provide years of quality learning for all of your child’s developmental stages. Have fun!

 

 

Picking Out the Perfect Snuggle Buddy!

15 Sep

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Trying to get young children to go to sleep for naptime or bedtime can always be a struggle. Having something as simple as a snuggle buddy can go a long way in expediting the process. If you’re thinking about purchasing the perfect snuggle buddy for your child, we have a four suggestions to give your little one the best plush experience:

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1. Choose the Perfect Animal:

Knowing what your child likes best as far as animal preferences and themes can help narrow down your snuggle buddy selection tremendously! Whether it’s teddy bears, Sesame Street, Curious George, Pusheen Comic Cat, or Paddington Bear, we have a plush pal for everyone!

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 2. Pillow or Plush Blanket?

For infants, soft animal mats can be the way to go as they provide the perfect cozy area for babies to enjoy some quality cuddle time while also providing a snuggle buddy! If your baby caters more to a tactile experience, we suggest the soft Buddy Blankets or Sleepy Sshlumpies. Both options are great for providing children soft textures to feel as they fall asleep.

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3. Enter the Sleepy Sshlumpies Giveaway!

Don’t miss out on our Sleepy Sshlumpies Giveaway this week on Facebook for your chance to win your choice of three Sleepy Sshlumpies: a fox, a dog, or a bunny. These lush blankets also double as cuddly stuffed animals, making them the perfect companions for naptime. Enter by telling us how you get your baby to fall asleep here.

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4. Choose a Special Snuggle Buddy Name:

Once you’ve picked out the perfect snuggle buddy for your child, be sure you help them come up with a name. Naming their animal is a great way to form an attachment and sense of friendship as they learn to settle in for nap time or bedtime with their new friend!

Happy naptime! Don’t forget to share and like your favorite naptime strategy on our Facebook page. 

The Importance of Babbling in Babies

21 Oct

shutterstock_218714161You’re driving down the road when you hear it—your baby starts cooing in the back seat. They may be gazing out the window or simply be fascinated with whatever colorful toy has caught their attention, but something has caused them to feel the need to vocalize. Babbling is a phase of early education every baby experiences as words begin to take on meaning. Here are a few ways you can take advantage of the early learning opportunities it presents and strategies for encouraging babbling as your baby launches into language learning.

What to Expect from Babbling:

  1. Babies understand more than they can say.

    Once babies start trying to talk, they have a lot to say but can’t always express those thoughts. Understanding concepts is a lot easier than voicing them. Linking meaning to words, however, is a big milestone for babies and usually takes place between eight and twelve months.

  2. A baby’s understanding of a word may vary from yours.

    When you say dog, your baby may only associate it with the fuzzy German Shepherd running around in the backyard. First word understandings are often only tied to a specific object. It’s important to use the word in several different situations, labeling and comparing objects with the same name.

  3. Baby babblings will begin to vary.

    You should notice babbles begin to vary and take on meaning as babies learn to add inflections and intonations in his or her speech. This is a good thing! You can encourage the frequency of those babbles through replying with words and smiles of your own.

  4. Babbling is a way for babies to initiate conversation.

    Even though they’re not using words, when babies combine words and gestures, whether it’s grabbing your leg or reaching for a cup, they are looking to you to engage in conversation. Be sure you’re responding in kind!

Communication Tips for Encouraging Early Language Skills:

  • Exaggerate actions and label and describe objects as your child focuses on them.
  • Use language to give your play and daily routines structure and meaning from which the child can learn. Talk more now that the child is starting to communicate more. Good labeling and attentive, language-rich conversations are even more important than before.
  • Reinforce turn taking and the back-and-forth of daily conversation.
  • Assume that the baby’s babbling refers to the thing he or she is looking at, touching, or playing with. Label that object.
  • Use books that can be chewed on and have flaps so that the child can understand that things do not vanish when out of sight.

Tips for Reading to Your Baby:

  • Reading fosters a baby’s understanding of cause and fact, fine and gross motor skills, listening skills, object permanence, and understanding of words.
  • Encourage your baby to follow your pointing or gaze.
  • Take turns with your baby as you repeat words in the book. Reading to them is not so much important as allowing them to vocalize what is being read.
  • Help him or her with understanding first words by also pointing that word out in different forms. (Ex. A dog in the book, the dog outside, a dog on the computer screen.)
  • What you should look for when reading:
    • Does the baby enjoy reading books with you?
    • Does the baby follow your gaze or pointing?
    • Does the baby babble when looking at pictures?
    • Does the baby try to direct your attention to things of interest?
    • Does the baby shift his or her gaze between you and things in the book?

At the end of the day, babbling is a good thing and an indicator that your child is on their way to becoming a regular motor mouth! The best way to encourage babbles to develop into words is by responding to those nonsensical conversations with patient responses and reading to your baby as you both engage in active dialogues.

For even more activities for encouraging early literacy in your baby, don’t miss Raising a Talker: Easy Activities for Birth to Age 3.

Have early language learning tips to share? Feel free to comment below or post on our Facebook page!

Related Resource: 3 Tips for Building Baby Language Skills 

3 Tips for Building Baby Language Skills

30 Sep

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Want to encourage early language skills in your baby? With a few simple adjustments to your play time and a little understanding of early development, your babies will be chattering away in no time! Here are three activities and tools you can use to build language skills in your baby:

 1. Bring on the Babbling

Babbling is a baby’s way of attempting communication. There are a few responses you can adapt to progress language learning. It is important to respond consistently to baby’s vocalizations and vary responses by either repeating or changing sounds. Encourage your baby to listen to variations in babbles, whether it’s differences in length, stress, or intonation.

Strong and Weak Babbles: Alternate stressed syllables (louder and longer) such as BAAAA and unstressed syllables (softer and shorter) such as ba to help the baby discern stress differences. You may end up saying things such as BAAba BAAba baBAA! This gibberish may not sound like much to you, but it is a great listening exercise for the child because real words vary in the way they are stressed. For example, when you say BAA-ba, the stress pattern is the same as in the word DOG-gie. Discerning and tracking strong and weak syllables is crucial for language learning.

-Did you find the activity useful? Find even more like it in Raising a Talker: Easy Activities for Birth to Age 3!

 2. Talking Through Tech

Believe it or not, your smart phone can help when it comes to language learning in your baby. From letter recognition to understanding sound differences, here is a baby app we think will aid in learning on the go:

Endless Alphabet: This interactive app encourages early language learning through having babies repeat letters, words, and sounds, promoting recognition. Adorable monsters hold children captive as they learn new words!

Review: Our 22-month-old loves Endless Alphabet. This app has helped tremendously with letter recognition, and it has fun graphics and sounds, also.

– S. Peninger, Greenville N.C.

-For even more baby apps to foster language learning, check out this related post “10 Apps to Keep Babies Learning.”

3. Learning with Simple Signs.

Sign language is a great tool to encourage early language learning in children as early as six months old. Whenever your baby begins to display a desire to communicate, begin using your hands for words that are often repeated, such as Mom or Dad. Using those hand motions while also putting stress on the word will give babies a visual representation of the language as they learn. Another great word to sign is whatever the child’s favorite toy is, so that children will begin to learn how to ask for what brings comfort through communicating with their hands.

Resource: http://www.babysignlanguage.com/dictionary/first-signs/

-We hope you found these tips for language learning in babies helpful. Do you have tips for teaching your baby to speak? Let us know by leaving a comment below or commenting on our Facebook page with the hashtag #babyspeak.

10 Apps to Keep Babies Learning

16 Sep

shutterstock_146931251As a parent, it can be hard to fit everything in. Between nap times, diaper changes, grocery shopping, and making sure the house is semi-clean, allowing time in your schedule to research ways to keep your baby entertained in the busy moments can be hard. Especially if you don’t have a babysitter lined up! That’s where we can help. With the prevalence of tablets and smart phones, it just makes sense to use available technology as learning resources for babies. Here are 10 baby apps that will not only give you a few moments to breathe as your baby engages in independent learning, but will also foster digital literacy in babies as they learn!

Music Apps:

1. Baby Piano (Free)

Do you have a baby Beethoven on your hands? Now you can take the piano wherever you go with Baby Piano! The eight-key piano allows babies to play notes and hear animal sounds as each key has a different animal face on it. Children can also play a nursery rhyme by following lighted keys.

2. Kidzongs ($0.99)

A simple app for simple learning! This app includes six different songs for children to sing along with. Cute animated lyrics accompany each song, sure to stimulate children visually with bright colors and characters.

Early Literacy Apps:

3. Learn To Talk ($1.99)

Great for children between one and three, Learn To Talk teaches children vocabulary and early language skills through the use of flashcards. Babies will use both sound and sight for language learning. This app is great choice for bilingual families.

4. iWriteWords ($2.99)

Allow children to practice handwriting skills as they play entertaining games and learn everything from uppercase and lowercase letters to numbers! iWriteWords is a great app to prepare children for preschool.

Critical Thinking Apps:

5. Baby Flash Cards (Free)

This is a great app for babies that provides colorful flash cards children will love manipulating to learn letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more! The clear and helpful voice will guide babies along as they begin to understand patterns.

6. Tozzle-Toddler’s Favorite Puzzle ($1.99)

Puzzles are always a great way to develop critical thinking skills in little ones! With Tozzle, children can choose from 20 different puzzles to work on shape recognition and motor skills. Bright colors are sure to make it a favorite!

Animal Apps:

7. Peekaboo Barn ($1.99)

Let children learn by taking an adventure! The app offers both English and Spanish learning as babies hear what sound each animal makes. Not only are adorable illustrations included, but babies will also learn the name of each barn animal they see.

8. I Hear Ewe (Free)

With this app, babies can tap the device to hear different animal sounds. With a range of 24 different animals, babies can play and learn as they touch an animal or vehicle to hear its name announced and get a real sound effect! This is a great app for auditory learning.

The Essentials:

9. Parents Flash Cards (Free)

Get involved with your baby’s learning by teaching them colors, shapes, letters, and numbers all from your phone! Each digital pack contains different games varying from quizzes, to flashcards, to tracing to make it the perfect educational tool for babies! Reward visuals are a bonus that is sure to keep babies engaged!

10.  iBabyPhone ($0.99)

Young children are always fascinated by their parent’s phones. Now, they can have their own with the iBabyPhone (with the exception of no accidental calls made!) This app allows kids to dial numbers without actually calling anyone – saying the name of the number when touched. Babies will learn colors, numbers, animals, and more!

-Having second-guesses about how much time your baby should be spending in front of a screen? Learn how to balance digital learning with appropriate screen time in this related blog post “Managing Your Kids’ Screen Time.”

Resources:

Ring in the New Year!

30 Dec

As this year coasts toward an end, we must remember all of the things there are in life to celebrate. You can bring in the new year with a little musical celebration! Make some noise and give your kids a chance to unleash their creativity with these musical instruments. There are items for all ages!

10 Musical Instruments to Bring in the New Year

1.    Glockenspiel

  • Age range: 3 years & up.
  • Description:This unique bell set features letter names on each colored bar, accurately pitched with a diatonic range from C2 to C3 and rounded corners for safety. Pair of mallets included.

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2.    Tap-a-Tune Drum

  • Age range: 12 months & up.
  • Description:Tap-A-Tune musical toys help preschoolers and toddlers take their first steps into the world of music. This brightly colored drum and drum sticks encourage children to tap into developing creative skills and make their own musical tunes. Color may vary.

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3.    Kaplan Shake, Rattle, and Beat Bag

  • Age Range: 3-6 years old
  • Description:This unique set of multicultural instruments with get bodies moving to the rhythm. Set includes a Kente cloth bag, 4 MoJo sticks, 2 agogos, 4 den den drums, 4 caxixi baskets, 3 single bell jingles, 3 confetti bell jingles. Kente cloth fabric may vary.

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4.    Chimalong Jr.

  • Age range: 3 years old and up
  • Description:Encourages kids to sing along and experiment with notes and expression. Rich musical quality promotes understanding of tone and pitch. 8-note metallophone comes with 2 mallets and a 28-page songbook.

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5.    8 Note Hand Bell Set

  • Age range: 3 years old and up
  • Description:Introduce tonality and the one-octave scale with these colorful hand bells. Promote cooperation by having each child play one bell, creating their own melody.

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6.    Zoo Rhythm Instruments (Set of 7)

  • Age range: 3 years old and up
  • Description:Young children are invited on a musical adventure by seven beautiful wooden zoo animals, such as a crocodile guiro, whale jingle, shark bells, snail shaker, dolphin bells, elephant den-den and cow tone blocks. Each instrument is approximately 8 inches long.

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7. Rainmaker

  • Age range: 3 years and up
  • Description:Multi-colored beads cascade through the clear tube creating fascinating visual tracking opportunities while enhancing listening skills. 16″ long.

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8. ABC Clappers 

  • Age range: 2 years and up
  • Description:Set of 3 wooden castanets, each with a different sound. Features numbers 1, 2, 3 on one side and A, B, C on the other. Use for color, number, and letter recognition; beginning pattern making; and hearing high and low sound changes. Activity guide included.

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9.    Baby Tambourine

  • Age range: 12 months and up
  • Description:Perfect for a toddler’s first tambourine! Features include comfortable grip for small hands, light weight and durable design and 4 pairs of steel jungles under safe clear cover. Colors may vary.

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10.     Baby Piano

  • Age range: 6 – 36 months
  • Description:Four easy-to-press keys are a great way to introduce little ones to the piano. Smooth rounded corners for added protection.

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Don’t forget to set goals  with your children for the New Year. You never know, one of your kids might make a resolution to become even more musically inclined!

For  more musical instruments from Kaplan Toys, you can browse here.