Tag Archives: cooking

Having Fun with (Play) Food!

9 Jun

shutterstock_430741318

The change of season brings yummy summer foods that everyone loves! From food trucks to summer cookouts, your little one will love eating delicious food with you. Exploring different foods can be a learning exploration for your child. Allow your little one to experience making his or her own summer (play) foods.

Food Trucks

Food trucks are a fun part of summer that many people look forward to! Your little one can participate in food truck fun with the Mega Bloks® First Builders™ Food Truck Kitchen Set. This food truck set comes equipped with the tools to make burgers, which is a classic food truck item. However, nowadays many different types of foods are served out of food trucks. Consider allowing your child to think out of the box with a sushi or pasta food truck. Vamp up your child’s food truck set with the Roll, Wrap & Slice Sushi Counter. Serving sushi out of their truck is sure to bring in the crowds. The Prepare & Serve Pasta Set could also be a great addition to your child’s personal food truck. Pasta is always a hit! From burgers to sushi to pasta, your child will love the food truck experience.

shutterstock_408095719

Summer Grilling

Cookouts are so much fun in the summer sun! While experiencing an enjoyable evening with family and friends, your little one is sure to want to join in on the cooking. New Sprouts® Grill It! allows your child to have fun grilling alongside you. Equipped with steak, chicken breast, and burgers, this grill set will help your child learn to be a master griller this summer. After supper, dessert is always served at cookouts, and your little one will definitely want to help with the cake baking. Your child can make his or her own (play) cake in the oven of the Chef’s Play Kitchen & Bonus Accessory Set. Your little one will enjoy getting to be just like you with their personal play kitchen. Playing a part in the summer grilling fun will make your child feel like he or she is an excellent helper.

shutterstock_390432757

The different experiences your child can have with food this summer can serve as teachable moments for you to use as a parent. Introduce your child to different foods by allowing him or her to taste and pretend to make them. Making the experience of trying new foods fun is sure to make your little one more excited about preparing and trying new foods in the future. Your child will love having fun with (play) food this summer!

What’s your child’s favorite (play) food dish to make? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

Turning Dinnertime into Family Time

27 Apr

shutterstock_124589956.jpg

In today’s world, it is often seen as a rarity for a family to regularly sit down and enjoy dinner together each night. Between soccer practice, music lessons, and mommy clubs, dinnertime often has to be “worked” into the family schedule. So when you do find yourself having a dinner with the whole gang, make sure you make the best of that special time. Whether you are just grilling out some burgers, whipping up a 5-course meal, or even picking up the family favorite takeout—your family dinnertime can be more than just consumption of food. Consider our advice on how to turn the act of simply eating together into precious moments of laugher and family bonding.

Start at the beginning

While you are planning, shopping, and prepping your family’s meals, your children are often left out of the process. Perhaps turn your prep activities into family activities. Let your children select the meal or host a family favorites night, featuring a favorite food item from each member. Simple acts of washing the veggies and stirring the sauce can make your child feel included and important. If your child is too young to help out with the cooking, provide them play sets like the New Sprouts® Grill It! so that they “cook” alongside you. Let the pressures of dinnertime become a family exploration with every member playing an important part.

shutterstock_364069853.jpg

A grand affair

If a traditional family dinner is not typical for you, why not treat it as the special occasion that it is! Use those nice dishes collecting dust in cabinet. Bust out a tablecloth and some flowers (possibly picked by your child) to help you set the stage for a special night of fun. Even if family dinner is an every night affair, occasionally adding of bit of flair is sure to spark some excitement. Treat your little ones to a fun new place setting like the Mickey SuperBib Set or the Construction Eating Place Setting to make eating exciting! Don’t forget to create after dinner delight! Not talking about dessert (but don’t forget that too), but about providing post dinner entertainment. This entertainment doesn’t have to be fancy, can simply mean streaming a new movie, playing a game like the Parent Quiz® After Dinner Trivia Game, or even stargazing. Whether you choose to do a full table spread complete with Pinterest décor or simply a special dessert, as long as you treat family dinner night as the exceptional little moment that it is, you’ll be sure to create memories that will last.

Three Easy Activities to Help Your Family Embrace Spring

30 Mar

Transitioning into spring can be an exciting time for children. After several months of post-holiday blues, springtime brings green grass, blooming flowers, special holiday celebrations, and warm-weather activities. Spring also brings a sense of renewal and refreshment—perhaps from the spring cleaning or the ever-growing anticipation of summer. This is your chance to add a little fun and liveliness to your family time and embrace the seasonal change. Here are some simple spring activities that are the perfect cure to your family’s spring fever.

Make It!

Pretty Paper Flowers

shutterstock_178546202

You will need:

Step One: Place the tissue paper flat on the table, alternating colors.

Step Two: Have your child fold the tissue paper (about one inch) back and forth just like you would to make a fan. Once they have reached the end, the stack of tissue paper should look like an accordion.

Step Three: Wrap a green pipe cleaner around the middle of the stack, twist to secure and make a stem.

Step Four: Next, help your child carefully separate each piece of tissue paper. Fluff the layers into a flower shape.

Step Five: Tear pieces of construction paper into leaf shapes and poke them onto the pipe cleaner stem, sliding it up until to reaches the top.

Place your forever-fresh flowers in a vase for a bright splash of spring in the kitchen or get creative and add multiple smaller flowers to a pipe cleaner circle for a fairylike crown.
 

shutterstock_105696041 

Bake It!

Honey Milk Balls

 17622664_10212036659410137_1139898041_o

You will need:

  • ¼ cup of honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup nonfat powdered milk
  • 1 cup uncooked rolled oats or ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing bowl and spoon

Step One: Talk with your child about honey—explain that honey comes from bees. Encourage them to ask questions as well as feel, smell, and taste the honey.

Step Two: Mix the first four ingredients well, and then knead them by hand until blended.

Step Three: Shape the mixture into 1” balls.

Step Four: Roll the honey milk balls in coconut if desired.

Recipe Source: The Budding Chef

 Do It!

Getting Outdoors

shutterstock_193994489

Another major part of spring is getting outdoors after the long winter. Incorporate the following outdoor activities into your family time:

  • Host a family soccer game! Switch it up by inviting extended family or neighbors to be the opposing team. Play girls vs. boys or adults vs. children.
  • Enjoy a picnic! Don’t forget your honey milk balls and paper flower centerpiece!
  • Create a driveway masterpiece! Stick to the classic sidewalk chalk or switch it up with Chalktivity.
  • Stargaze! Take advantage of the warmer nights and introduce your child to the sky’s wonders.

Leave us a comment below and share your family’s favorite springtime activity.

Get Green: St. Patrick’s Day Fun at Home!

9 Mar

3.9 St. Patricks Day.jpg

It’s mid-March: that time of year when kids start looking for little leprechauns under the couch and pinching each other for not wearing green. Be sure to bring some of the St. Patty’s day fun home with these creative and exciting activities!

Gifts for the Leprechauns – Kids love the stories of leprechauns: little Irish magicians who like to steal things and leave gold in their wake. Encourage children to make these green troublemakers small gifts, like figurines made from craft dough or cookies. When they leave the gifts out for the leprechauns, swap them for a sprinkle of green or gold glitter and watch the wonder in your little one’s eyes as they discover the change.

Go GREEN – Get environmental by planting some greenery or flowers in a mini greenhouse. Or set up a hanging bird feeder and attract the birds to the yard, just like gifts attract leprechauns. These will both decorate the yard for St. Patty’s Day and help kids learn a bit more about the environment. For songs and more activities, try reading a Going Green book. Get kids both excited about engaging with the environment around them and protecting the blue and green planet they live on! Be sure to check out the Kaplan Toys Blog for more environmentally friendly activities.

Green Eggs and Ham – It doesn’t have to be eggs and ham, but adding some food coloring to the milk in morning cereal, pudding in kids’ lunchboxes, or in the mashed potatoes at dinner can add an extra level of fun to a seemingly average afternoon. Read the classic Dr. Seuss tale for an added bonus!

Gratitude Treasure – Have children cut their own pot of gold and coins out of construction paper but on each gold coin, have them write or draw something they think is a treasure. Is it their sibling? Favorite food? Playing ball? Encourage kids to find the real gold in life and hang the result on the wall or the refrigerator to remind them that whether they’ve got a little leprechaun in their pocket or not, they’re lucky all times of year!

shutterstock_330123125.jpg

Go to www.kaplantoys.com for more ideas, crafts and materials.

Sensory Play for Rainy Days

3 Mar

3-3-17-sensory-play

Rainy days don’t have to ruin all the fun! There are plenty of creative ways to play and enjoy the day indoors! Keep reading for some new, fun ways to pass the time while waiting for the sun to return.

  1. Indoor Sandbox. Sand isn’t as messy as you’d think, especially if you use kinetic sand, such as Shape It! Sand. It never dries out, so it’s always ready to build another sandcastle. It’s also great for sensory awareness and development. Put out a large blanket or get out a kiddie pool and have some beachy fun indoors!
  2. Inside Rug Skating. Tear out some magazine pages, step on them, and you instantly have rug skates! Let your little ones slide and glide around the house without the mess or danger of real skates.
  3. Button Jewelry. Let kids make themselves or a loved one a button necklace or bracelet. All you need is some string and some colorful buttons, and soon your kids will be making the latest in craft jewelry trends!
  4. Wiggly Eye Silliness. Take some Wiggly Eyes and stick them on random items around the house. Surprise each other by secretly sticking them on things when the others aren’t looking. It’s sure to make the kids laugh until their bellies ache!
  5. Mini Picassos. Up the craft ante with a variety of art supplies and encourage kids to be super creative. For example, the Sensory Collage Kit allows kids to experiment with different collage materials as they create their own works of art. Having more than just paint and paper can help them engage with descriptive vocabulary and develop sensory awareness.
  6. Dance in the Rain. Why not go with a classic and head out into the front or back yard for an invigorating dance in the rain? Play your kids’ favorite music and maybe even include some water blasters to get even more soaked! Of course, always be aware of thunder and lightning in your area, and stay safe.
  7. Hot Cocoa. What cold, rainy day isn’t made better by a warm drink? Whip up some hot chocolate (marshmallows are optional, of course) for a special treat after lunch or dinner!

3-3-17-sebsory-play

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or a little drizzle, rainy days can bring out the blues in everyone. Blow those blues away with these engaging indoor activities that are creative, physically active, and just plain fun! Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more innovative and exciting ideas and activities.

Ways to Celebrate President’s Day at Home

16 Feb

shutterstock_30476218.jpg

When it comes to favorite holidays, President’s Day may not get a lot of attention, but it can be a great way to have some educational fun with your little ones. Because February hosts Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays, a federal holiday was declared in 1971 to not only celebrate these two great leaders but also to commemorate all American Presidents jointly. Let’s get patriotic and excited for a day full of fun and learning opportunities!

Get Educational

This holiday is a great opportunity to teach young children about who the president is, as well as talk about two popular presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. For children 4 years and up, we suggest getting comfortable and reading Greatest U.S. Presidents. This book examines the lives of 4 presidents in a way that is simple and easy to understand. Don’t forget to also share some fun facts about First Ladies and their achievements. Maybe your little one will find a new hero!

53832set-a

President for a Day

Let your child become president of the house for the day. They can wear a cool hat like Lincoln and offer up suggestions for dinner, a family game night or an evening movie. Don’t forget that the President doesn’t make all the decisions alone; the rest of the family has to vote or agree on it first!

Patriotic Crafts

President’s Day is a great opportunity to introduce American history in a unique way, so consider making Lincoln’s Hat Cookies or even playing President-themed games like President Coin Sorting. President’s Day is also the perfect opportunity to revisit some of your favorite patriotic-inspired crafts like popsicle flag sticks

image

Jam Out

There are dozens of patriotic songs that have been written through the ages, so share some of your favorites with the kiddos. Some old 40’s and 50’s tunes are super fun to have a dance party to, as well as more contemporary jams! We recommend “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters, “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, and “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde.

Stay Encouraging

Remind your children that they can shoot for the stars and that if they want to be president some day then they can. After all, every president was once a young kid, just like them!

America’s been around for 241 years. That’s a lot of history (45 presidents worth)! So introduce your children to the basics of the nation they live in while having fun and getting creative.

Making Valentine’s Day a Delight

10 Feb

2.9.17 Valentine delight.jpg

Valentine’s Day is traditionally about romantic love, but celebrating familial love is always way more fun! Keep on reading for fun and simple V-Day activities that you can do with the whole family.

Make a Valentines Mail Box

Turn an old shoebox into a mailbox just for love notes. Cut a small rectangle in the lid, and then have kids use markers, glitter, stickers, etc. to decorate their mailbox. Place the box outside of their bedroom door just like a real mailbox and drop off little love notes every now and then. Encourage them to leave valentines for their siblings or for friends.

Make A Lovable Craft

There are dozens of simple and fun Valentine’s Day crafts out there on the internet to do with your little ones, but we recommend this adorable V-Day mouse! Whichever craft you choose, spending time getting creative with your little valentines is sure to be a good time!

16463842_10154998860771018_207303389231202622_o.jpg

Make some V-Day Goodies

Baked goods are a staple during Valentine’s Day, so bake some simple sugar cookies and let the kids decorate them with icing and sprinkles. Or opt for a slightly healthier option and top strawberries with whipped cream or dip apple slices in caramel or chocolate spread. Get creative and cut foods into hearts!

Have a Valentine’s Story Time

After dinner on Valentine’s Day, gather the family and snuggle up on the couch with a good Valentine’s Day themed book, like Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool. Some quality family time is a great way to end the day!

73366

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about candy and roses. It’s about sharing the love of those around you, and engaging kids in family activities is the perfect way to do just that! You can even do all of these in the evening, so work doesn’t have to interrupt family time. So take the time to hug your kiddos and spend some quality family time this V-Day!