Tag Archives: fun

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.

12 Days of Learning | Day 1: Decorating Fun

29 Nov

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Many people, especially kids, love decorating for the holidays because the festive wreaths, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations are symbols of the holiday season and heighten the anticipation of Christmas morning. Decorating for the holidays can provide plenty of educational opportunities for your kids and is also the perfect opportunity for your family to spend time together. We have some great tips to help make decorating fun and educational for your family:

1. Decide which decorations are best for your family.

The age of your children will help determine which decorations you should put up for the holidays. Young children, especially those becoming more mobile, will require extra safety measures to ensure that they don’t break something or injure themselves. One good safety measure to remember while you’re decorating is to make sure you put kid-friendly ornaments closer to the bottom of your Christmas tree if you have young children. You can still decorate the tree with delicate or glass ornaments, but you need to place them closer to the top of the tree to ensure that children can’t reach them.

If you’re worried your children might accidentally topple the tree over, try to place it in a room where you can shut the door to prevent kids from entering without an adult. You could even make that room a special holiday room in which your family spends time listening to Christmas music or reading holiday stories. If you use garland to decorate, make sure you secure it properly or place it where kids can’t reach because they may accidentally tear it down. You should be able to use a variety of decorations if your children are older. Just make sure that they understand any rules you may have, such as them not being able to light candles without an adult present.

2. Ask kids for their decorating ideas.

Kids can come up with some really creative ideas, so ask them for their input on where things should go or what decorations they would like to see. Being able to help decorate their home will add to kids’ excitement for the holidays and can help them start their own traditions. You can ask kids to pick out the Christmas tree topper or come up with a fun table centerpiece. It’s also a good idea to let children pick a few decorations they want to put in their own room. A small Christmas tree, Christmas rug, or a plush and cuddly snowman would be a great addition to a child’s bedroom during the holidays.

3. Create an ornament tradition.

Ornaments are a major part of holiday decorations, so come up with an ornament tradition that your whole family will love. One idea is to pick out or make an ornament for each of your children every year. When children are old enough, they can then pick out or make their own ornament. This would make a great family time activity and will give your children a collection of ornaments they can hang on their own Christmas tree when they are older. You could also purchase or make a family ornament each year and personalize it with pictures, names, or important dates and events.

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4. Incorporate science lessons while decorating.

There are a plethora of science lessons you can incorporate while decorating with your kids. As you decorate the Christmas tree, for example, talk about how it grew and ask children what they notice about its characteristics. Can they describe the texture, color, or smell? You could even take your children to a Christmas tree farm, so they can see where the trees come from while they pick one to take home. If you have an artificial tree, you can still talk to children about real Christmas trees or other Christmas plants, such as poinsettias and holly. Talking to kids about electricity and light bulbs in relation to Christmas lights is another science lesson you can incorporate while decorating with your kids. Ask them where they think electricity comes from or what they think makes Christmas lights so pretty.

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5. Come up with kid-friendly decorating tasks.

One great way to engage children and keep them occupied while you’re doing some of the more difficult holiday decorating tasks is to give them some of their own tasks to do. Have them complete a centerpiece bowl or basket by filling them with pine cones, beads, ornaments, candles, candy canes, or other small Christmas items. You can also have them stick bows onto presents or have them practice tying bows or making their own designs with ribbons. Another great idea is to have them make their own decorations or greeting cards to hang around the house. Consider purchasing a variety of art supplies to help your kids create their decorative masterpiece and to keep them engaged during the upcoming winter months.

6. Have a special holiday decoration for each of your kids.

Having their own decoration or holiday tradition will help children feel more involved in the holidays and increase their excitement for Christmas. Consider giving children a Christmas train set, holiday village, ornament set, or holiday stocking for them to put up every year. This helps children know what their decorating task will be and gives them something to look forward to each year. Regardless of which decorations your family chooses to put up, taking the time to include kids in the decorating fun will make the holiday season more enjoyable for the whole family.

Check back on Monday for Day 2 of our 12 Days of Learning!

Happy Holidays!

Popular Toys for Christmas 2013

27 Nov

We’ve compiled a list of our most popular toys for this holiday season to help make finding gift ideas and shopping for your kids a little easier. Whether you have young or older children, we have the perfect gift to help your children learn and play!

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Young Children:

1. Little People Airplane – For children ages 1 year and up, the Little People Airplane encourages children to use their imagination and helps children increase their gross motor skills. Little People Airplane has lights, sounds, talking, and a sing-along song to help engage children and teach them new sounds and words.

2. Busy Ball Drop – The Busy Ball Drop helps encourage repeated play and will engage children with its spinning activity balls. The tower can be built and taken down easily, which makes it a great toy for traveling or on-the-go activities.

3. Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors (32 pieces) – Kids will increase their gross motor skills and learn how to problem solve as they build fun 3-D objects with Magna-Tiles®. The 32-piece set includes squares and triangles in a variety of sizes, and the magnetic tiles will help make clean up fast and easy.

4. Rocking Puppy – Children will love this cute addition to your household. The Rocking Puppy is perfect for children who are learning to sit up and are gaining more mobility. Its high-back seat, easy-grip handles, and textured foot area also make this rocker safe for young children to use.

5. Lincoln Logs – Lincoln Logs is a classic favorite of both kids and adults. The Classic Edition includes 86 all-wood pieces, which allows kids to build their own log cabin and any other structures they can imagine.

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Busy Ball DropMagna-Tiles Clear Colors 32 piece setRocking PuppyLincoln Logs

Older Children:

1. Balloon Animal Kit – Older kids will love learning how to make balloon animals with this affordable kit. An instruction book, pump, and 20 balloons are included.

2. Transparent Marble Run – Children will enjoy tracking the course of their marbles as they make their way through the 48 transparent pieces. This is a great gift for children who like science or engineering.

3. LoopDeDoo Kit – Older children can let their creativity shine by making fun and unique friendship bracelets. Changing the thickness, thread quantity, looping style, and combination of colors will help them create a variety of different looks with the loopdedoo spinning tool.

4. Straws and Connectors – This 400 pack of straws and connectors enables children to build a variety of structures, such as a fort, tower, rocket, or bridge. Straws and Connectors can also be used to build scientific models or children’s own unique designs.

5. Rocket Race Car – Older children will enjoy learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion while they build their own race car. You supply the plastic bottle, but all other necessary parts and instructions are included in the kit.

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LoopDeDoo KitStraws and Connectors 400 packRocket Race Car

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We’re Happy to Announce Our 2013 Holiday Blog Series: 12 Days of Learning!

Our 12 Days of Learning blog posts will feature tips on how to incorporate family time and educational opportunities into the holiday season. The first blog post will be available at noon on Friday, November 29. A new blog post will then be added each weekday through December 16. We hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Learning and can incorporate some of our tips into your family’s holiday plans.

Happy Holidays!

Rub-a-dub-dub: The Best Toys for the Tub!

25 Nov

One-two-three-four, say goodbye to bath time wars! The experts at Kaplan Toys are counting down the best in bath toys – all of which are sure to have your young ones toddling to the tub!

#5: Cup O Fun

The perfect bath toy for floating puzzle fun! Activities include sifting water, matching faces, and “I Spy” star. This puzzle set includes one floating tray, four large puzzles, four shaped cups, and five foam pieces. For ages 12 months and up.

Item Number: 00373

Price: $19.95

#4: Princess in the Tub

Now she can be a princess even in the bath tub! This fun bath time set includes a foam tiara with shiny printed jewels, foam safety mirrors and of course, a magic wand! Dipping the wand into the water will trigger magical lights and sounds – sure to delight every little princess. For ages 3 and up.

Item Number: 00232

Price: $21.95

#3: Squirter for the Tub™ Jungle

Your child will love these jungle creatures made for oodles and oodles of water play fun! This set of five soft water squirters, perfectly sized for little hands, will make any infant or toddler excited for bath time! For ages 6 months and up.

Item Number: 00229

Price: $6.95

#2: Tub Tunes Symphony™

Every little musician can now practice while in the tub! This deluxe gift set includes three real instruments that will bring out their inner Mozart – a xylophone, drum, and flutes – plus laminated sheet music for each instrument! For ages 3 years and up.

Item Number: 00233

Price: $37.95

#1: Color Your Water Fizzy Bath Tints

Drop tablets in water and watch the water change colors! Create all of the colors of the rainbow using 50 tablets of each primary color! The bath tints will not stain fabrics when used as directed. For ages 2 years and up. (Bottles shown are not included)

Item Number: 85533

Price: $6.95