Tag Archives: holidays

Benefits of Shopping Early for the Holidays

22 Sep

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When you still have sand in your car from your summer vacation, it is hard to start thinking about your holiday shopping. However, starting your shopping early does have several benefits over waiting until the traditional holiday shopping season. See for yourself why you should go ahead and start checking people off of your shopping list.

Full Selection

It’s true what they say; the early bird does get the worm. When you shop before the rush, you will have full shelves and stock to pick from. No worries about having to settle on your gift choice due to selection. You also avoid participating in the toy craze. When other parents are desperately searching for their child’s top wish, you will have already picked up and wrapped the hottest toy of the season.

Save Money

When you have more time to shop, you have more opportunities to save. Companies often host presales long before Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales, including us! Be sure to check often for sales and shipping offers. Because you are shopping months early, you also avoid higher shipping fees and the need for rush shipping. Shopping early also helps with your budgeting. You can take advantage of credit offers, payment plans, and spread your spending across several months verses only weeks or days.

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Time for DIY

Having extra time gives you more freedom for creativity. You and your child can create gifts verses buying ones for some of the people on your list. Using DIY kits such as the String Art Star Light and Perfect Craft Casting Kits make for great, personalized holiday gifts. Since you started early, there is plenty of time to let the paint dry and glue fully set before wrapping!

Avoid the Stress

With your holiday head start, you save yourself from several stressors and headaches. You avoid shopping in potentially bad, winter weather. You also avoid the crowds of determined holiday shoppers. Eliminate the stress of shipping gifts to far away friends and family with the fear of will they arrive on time. With the relief of shopping early, you can focus on what matters most-family, holiday traditions, and the actual gift gifting.

You can save your sanity by planning and shopping early for the holidays. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the joyful festivities of the season.

Top 10 Toys for the Holidays (2016 Edition)

18 Nov

It’s that time again! Get a jump on the holidays with discounts and toy suggestions for gifts for your kids. Don’t just buy what’s pretty; consider toys that teach and challenge children as they grow. Foster hands-on early learning with our Top 10 Toys for the Holidays:

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1. Door ‘n’ Floor Rebound Basketball Set

Play indoor basketball with this amazing basketball set that rebounds for your little athlete! It’s the perfect gift for children looking to work on their coordination and basketball skills. Better still, the hoop grows with your child. As they get taller, the goal can be straightened to adjust to their height or even hang on the back of a door for continued fun.

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2. Bloxels® Build Your Own Video Games

We’ve all weighed the pros and cons of video games, but what if kids were building them before playing? Bloxels offers a game board for children to create free form characters and landscapes to import into the app and straight onto their tablet! Learn more.

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3. EZ Fort

Build a playhouse, reading nook, or special hide away with this easy-to-build EZ-Fort! Engage children in hands-on building as they practice engineering skills while following directions to create their own fort. Add a blanket over their design for the perfect getaway.

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4. Crayola Tracing Mania

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Promote relaxed learning by introducing beautiful, intricate designs, tracing paper, and brightly colored Twinstables pencils! Tracing Mania makes detailed art for kids easy as they explore creative design and patterns.

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5. Mega Bloks® American Girl® Grace’s 2-in-1 Buildable Home Set

Love Mega Blocks? This American Girl set is perfect for hours of play as children build a home for imaginary slumber parties, cooking in the bakery, or even walking the French bulldog! Encourage children to create their own scenarios to navigate as they build and play with this adorable play set.

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6. Playzone-Fit™ Jumbo Jumper

Soar into jumping fun with this Jumbo Jumper! This tire-shaped toy provides bars to keep children safe as they engage in high bounce fun. Sends kids bouncing towards the sky for hours of active play. It’s an engaging way to work on balancing and coordination with friends.

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7. Quads of fun Junction Tunnel and Tent set

Prepare for hours of pretend play as children navigate the tunnels of the Quads of Fun Junction Tunnel and Tent Set! This set provides multiple entries to a tent offering children a way to get out of the heat, play hide-and-seek, or even camp out for excellent outdoor adventures.

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8. Missy Kissy Doll

This electronic doll is perfect for encouraging nurturing fun in older siblings. Snuggle her close, shower her with kisses, and enjoy hours of interactive play time as she asks you to find her ticklish spots, feed her, sing her to sleep, and more!

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9. Rainbow Rocket STEM Building Block Set

Teach colors, shapes, early engineering, and more in toddlers as they build with these durable blocks. Children will develop geometric awareness and fine motor skills as they try to build this colorful Rainbow Rocket and keep it from falling over.

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10. Forest Railway Set

Does your child love trains? The Forest Railway Set is a fun way to encourage your child’s building skills as they put together the wooden tracks and chug the magnetic train through the landscape. Includes green arches, bridges, and a forest wonderland for trains to wander through.

Still don’t see what you are looking for? Check out our complete selection of educational gifts for the holidays here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/great-gift-ideas

 

3 Spooky Snacks for Halloween!

27 Oct

Picking out costumes and watching all of the classic Halloween movies? The time for trick or treating is upon us next weekend, but first, why not enjoy a little kitchen time with your children. Dive into festive creation with three recipes for spooky Halloween snacks!

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1. Peanut Butter Ball Monsters

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • flour
  • M&M’s, mini gumdrops, and shoestring licorice

Tools:

  • measuring cups
  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • tray
  • wax paper

What To Do:

  1. Help your child measure the peanut butter, honey, and sugar, and mix them together in a bowl.
  2. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  3. Put flour on your child’s hands and work with her to form small balls. Place the balls onto wax paper.
  4. Add mini M&M eyes, mini gumdrop noses, and licorice antennae to the monster heads.
  5. Put the balls on a tray and refrigerate until these monsters are ready to be eaten!

Source: The Budding Chef

2. Witch’s Brew

Ingredients:

  • grape juice
  • red grapes and blueberries
  • milk

Tools:

  • blender

What To Do:

  1. Put grape juice, grapes, blueberries, and milk into a blender.
  2. Add ice and  blend to make a “witch’s smoothie!”
  3. Sing songs to the Healthy All Over CD to talk about how little witches can stay healthy!

Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities 

3. Be A Pumpkin Cook!

Ingredients:

  • whole pumpkin
  • water
  • butter
  • ingredients for pumpkin muffins or bread

Tools:

  • knife (adult only)
  • 9″ x 12″ baking pan
  • aluminum foil
  • blender or food processor
  • muffin tin or loaf pan
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing spook and bowl

What To Do:

  1. Wash and cut open the pumpkin. Encourage children to smell it.
  2. Remove the seeds. Using your hands, remove and save the pulp.
  3. Encourage the children to describe the textures of the pumpkin.
  4. Cut off thin slices of pumpkin flesh and have the children taste it.
  5. Place the pumpkin, cut side down, in the baking pan. Add 1/2 cup of water.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Let cool.
  7. Remove the foil and encourage the children to observe the changes in the pumpkin. The pumpkin is darker and soft because heat changes the consistency of things.
  8. Scoop out some of the soft pumpkin pulp. Puree it in a blender or food processor. Add some of the liquid from the baking pan, if needed.
  9. Use the pureed pumpkin in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. Let the children measure, pour, and mix.
  10. Eat the muffins. Compare the appearance of the batter to the finished product. Explain again how heat changes things.
  11. Bonus: Melt butter and coat the pumpkin seeds. Bake at 250 degrees until golden brown. Salt and enjoy!

Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities 

5 Ways for Your Elf on the Shelf to Make Mischief!

1 Dec

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Are you familiar with Elf on the Shelf? If you’re looking for a new tradition to incorporate into your family for the holidays, Elf on the Shelf could be the perfect toy for you! Need ideas to get started? Here are five of our favorite mischief poses for your elf to be found in:


 

The Elf on the Shelf Legend: The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition includes a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the scout elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their scout elf each morning. 



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1. Marshmallow Construction Worker!

Call in the construction trucks and break out the marshmallows for a little marshmallow mischief with Elf on the Shelf! Browse our selection of construction trucks to get started.

Source: http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Elf-Shelf-Ideas-20839402#photo-33037733

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 2. Minion Maker!

All you need is a bunch of bananas and a sharpie and your elf can enjoy the company of makeshift minions! Not a bad way to promote a healthy snack!

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/160300067963983267/

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3. LEGO Revolution

 The Elf on the Shelf isn’t the only one who gets into trouble at night! Let the LEGOS join in on the fun by building a mini-display of Gulliver’s Travels! Browse our LEGO sets here.

Source: http://www.poofycheeks.com/2013/11/20-fun-elf-on-shelf-ideas.html?m=1

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4. Toy Photo shoot

Give your elf a camera and set up a photo shoot! This is always a fun idea, especially when you take a few toy photos for children to look through in the morning.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/507710557965913318/

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5. Egg-celent Holiday Surprise!

Incorporate your elf in the kitchen by having it leave a holiday message on the eggs! This is the perfect transition to diving into cooking fun with your little one

Source: http://www.poofycheeks.com/2013/11/20-fun-elf-on-shelf-ideas.html?m=1


 

Don’t have a scout elf yet? Start a new Christmas tradition with Elf on the Shelf! https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=elf+on+the+shelf&searchButton=

 

Top 10 Toys for the Holidays!

17 Nov

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The holidays are fast approaching! Looking for sweet deals on gifts for your kids? Then you don’t want to miss our Top 10 Toys for the Holidays! Children learn through play and these toy selections are a great way to foster early learning. Don’t miss this year’s latest and greatest picks for hands-on learning:

145100a.jpg1. Adora Baby Time 16” Baby 

Have a new big sister in the family? The Adora BabyTime dolls are great for little parents in training! This adorable baby is decked out with a soft blankie, feeding bottle, and a pink newborn onesie!

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2. PlayDoh Fun Factory – Classic 

Take Play-Doh play to a whole new level with the Play-Doh Fun Factory! Create fun shapes, crank out spaghetti noodles, or construct I-beams for building purposes! Don’t forget the included storage tray for holding all of the shape plates when not in use.

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3. SpinAgain Stacking Toy

Teach colors, work on baby’s fine motor skills, and watch as a sense of wonder is instilled in children as they see the SpinAgain Stacking Toy wobble and spin! This colorful toy encourages hand-eye coordination and baby engineering skills.

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4. Roominate Townhouse

Foster engineering skills in your young girl with the Roominate Townhouse! This award-winning line of wired building toys teaches STEM skills such as problem solving, spatial and fine motor skills, self-confidence, and creativity in girls! Get started building the perfect townhouse!

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5. Light Stax Illuminated Blocks Set 

What’s better than brightly colored building blocks? Blocks that glow in the dark, of course! Use Light Stax as a custom night light with three different light modes: flashing, fading, or solid. Want to build a robot? Flower? Creations are only limited by creativity!

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6. Mario Thwomp Ruins Building Set 

Does your child love Mario Kart? Bring the game to life with the Mario Thwomp Ruins Building Set! Build Mario & Yoshi figures, two Karts, Thwomp obstacles and let the battery-powered motorcar racing begin!

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7. Sprinkles Recordable Build a Bear

Looking for the perfect companion for your infant or toddler? Sprinkles Recordable Bear offers the perfect way to record personalized messages to celebrate occasions, milestones, or simply leave silly messages for your child! Just hold down the heart-shaped button and record up to 10 seconds. Great for parents who travel and want to leave a sweet message young children can replay!

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8. Crane Lift

Put building skills to the test with the Crane Lift! Practice construction site planning with this fun engineering set for budding builders. A great way to weigh toys already in the toy bin!

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9. Kids First Physics Lab

Challenge your child with this beginner physics kit! Launch experiments with actions ranging from racing, rolling, flying, falling, crashing, balancing, and spinning around! Follow step-by-step instructions for completing each model and learn the basic laws of physical mechanics.

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10. Snap Circuits Arcade

Not sure how to teach STEM to your children? Check out Snap Circuits Arcade! This building set teaches children about electronic circuits as they work with a base grid. Includes more than 200 projects and 30 components as well as an internal Microcontroller pre-programmed with interactive games!

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Helping Little Hands for Thanksgiving Dinner

10 Nov

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As the holidays approach, there are more and more opportunities for little hands to get involved as you prepare for family get-togethers! One of the biggest jobs can be the Thanksgiving meal! Why not turn what can be stressful into a learning opportunity for your children? Here are a few ways to get little ones involved in the process:

1. Pretzel Kabobs

One easy way for kids to get involved is by making kabobs! Create patterns and different combinations by making completely edible kabobs with an assortment of foods – from cubes of turkey breast to grapes.

Ingredients:

  • Apple slices
  • Cheese pieces
  • Grapes
  • Pretzel sticks or rods
  • Turkey, cubed
  • Cranberry

What to Do:

  1. Before your child begins to make their kabob, prepare the ingredients by pre-cutting holes in the center so they can slide food onto the pretzel stick and avoid frustration of having the pretzel break.
  2. Invite your child to choose a combination of items and slide each one onto a pretzel stick.
  3. Encourage your child to discover different pattern possibilities.
  4. Serve for a creative Thanksgiving meal appetizer!

Source: The Budding Chef

2. Apple Butter in a Crock-Pot

This delicious spread is a crowd pleaser. Make it in the fall and fill your home with the season’s best aroma for the family to enjoy. It’s also a great addition to any bread that may accompany your Thanksgiving spread!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds medium-sized cooking apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Tools

  • crock-pot
  • Cutting board
  • knives

What to Do:

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Invite your child to help as much as possible, but supervise closely.
  2. Have your child put the apples, water, and cinnamon into a crock-pot to make applesauce. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours. (Savor the aroma!)
  3. The next day, help your child mix the applesauce, sugar, and cloves in the crock-pot.
  4. Take turns stirring every hour, for 8 hours total.
  5. Before you and your child go to bed, turn the crock-pot to low heat and let the mixture cook all night. The apple butter will be ready to eat in the morning!
  6. Help your child fill small baby food jars with the apple butter.
  7. Refrigerate once the butter is cool to ensure that the apple butter stays fresh!

Source: The Budding Chef 

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3. Stone Soup

Whether it’s your famous stuffing or casserole, many Thanksgiving dishes require a lot of ingredients. Have your kids bring different ingredients and comment on how everyone has something different to add to the dish. Once you’re at a good stopping point, read Stone Soup and reflect on how important everyone’s role is in making a meal truly come together.

Looking for more ways your children can get involved? Check out the following resources:

5 Adorable DIY Costumes for Babies

27 Oct

Can you believe Halloween is this week? If you’ll be toting your baby around for their first Halloween or for some sibling fun, we have five adorable dress-up options that are sure to make the night fun and creative for the whole family! Get inspired:

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1. DIY Baby ET and Elliot costume(Wrap Your Baby)

Want an easy yet adorable costume option for your baby? Simply grab a basket, wrap your baby in a white swaddling sheet, and put some handles on your basket to make it look like a bike, and you have a mini ET costume! Find baby-sized sheets here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/900584/full-size-cot-sheet

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2. DIY Repurposed Sweater Sock Monkey

Love sock monkeys? Turn your little one into a little monkey with two pairs of socks and a repurposed sweater! With a little sewing and felt add-ons, this is truly an adorable option for your baby monkey. Find step-by-step instructions here.

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3. DIY Gnome

Add a beard and a pointy hat, and you have a baby gnome on your hands! Use felt to craft your baby’s hat and fashion faux fur into a pointy beard to see your baby transform into an adorable lawn ornament. Find felt sheets for your crafting project here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/35544/9-x-12-craft-felt-sheets-12-sheets?c=2%7CKTAR11

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4. DIY Despicable Me Minion

Make your baby your favorite little minion with a yellow onesie and overalls! Add fun, cut out glasses or these Color Mixing Glasses for the final effect to transform your little one into a beloved yellow minion.

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5. DIY Ladybug Baby 

Planning on using a baby carrier as you trick-or-treat with your kids? Add some black dots and adorable spotted wings to turn your baby into a beautiful ladybug! Don’t miss our ladybug options for your little one’s costume:

Don’t have time to get creative? Find last-minute dress-up options from super heroes to farm animals here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/dress-up-fun