Tag Archives: Parent Resources

25 Fun Family Activities for Fall

15 Sep

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With the start of a new school year and the anticipation of many holidays on the horizon, autumn is an exciting time for little ones. It is also a wonderful opportunity to create some family memories. Explore our list of 25 ideas to kick off some fall family fun!

  1. Visit a pumpkin patch or corn maze. Snacking on classic fall treats like caramel apples or kettle corn while you are there is a bonus!
  2. Time for fall chores. After you have raked up all the leaves in your yard, help your child un-rake them by jumping in! An experience worth the work.
  3. Colder, shorter days means more quality time indoors. We suggest snuggling up with a good fall-themed book such as Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, Pumpkin Soup, and Leaf Man.
  4. Carve a pumpkin for National Pumpkin Day on October 26th.
  5. Host a hot chocolate night! Create a hot cocoa bar with whip cream, chocolate drizzle, sprinkles, marshmallows, and more. Don’t forget apple cider for the non-cocoa lovers.
  6. Get crafty using nature! Use leaves, pinecones, acorns, and rocks as your paintbrush.
  7. Attend a fall festival or local fair. Look for new festivals in neighboring towns so you are sure not to miss out on the fall festivities!
  8. Check the weather for a nice clear, chilly night. Build a backyard bonfire and warm up together. Grab some homemade quilts and roast some s’mores. Don’t forget to be prepared with some ghost stories!
  9. Cold weather got you down? Have an indoor family game night! We suggest the Exit Games and the Jungle Party Memory Game or go old school and play Connect 4, Twister, Sorry!, and Trouble.
  10. Celebrate National Johnny Appleseed Day on September 26th by visiting an apple orchard.
  11. Make some DIY fall décor such as a leave garland and an autumnal wreath.
  12. Nothing beats the smells and sights of going on a classic hayride.
  13. Celebrate the autumnal season by baking some pie! With apple, cherry, peach, blueberry, pumpkin, sweet potato, and more, you are sure to find something to excite everyone’s taste buds.
  14. Take your child to a family-friendly tailgate. There is something special about the camaraderie and excitement of eating food and playing yard games outside on game day.shutterstock_375843820.jpg
  15. Create an autumn looking jar. Take a clear mason jar or vase and fill to the top with little items that are the sights and smells of fall. You can use leaves, acorns, cinnamon sticks, pinecones, and even mini pumpkins and squish to fill the jar.. Makes for a gorgeous dinner table centerpiece!
  16. Make Fall Slime (see instructions here) or apple slime (see instructions here).
  17. Cook up some homemade soup or chili to warm up a cold night.
  18. Clean out your closets! The change of the season gives the perfect excuse to go out with the old and in with the new!
  19. Visit a museum. Be sure to check for special fall festivities.
  20. Celebrate National Taco Day on October 4th.
  21. Create beautiful décor that will last the season by painting a pumpkin instead of carving one. You can even add glitter!
  22. Go leaf looking. Be sure to check to see when the peak leaf color time is in your area and then go take a nature walk.
  23. Get outside. Although the weather may be chillier, fall is a great time to fight off the soon-to-be winter cabin fever. Have some glowy fun with the NightZone™ Sports Pack or play catch with the unique Djubi® Game.
  24. Make gorgeous leaf lanterns (see instructions here).
  25. Relax and prioritize. The upcoming holidays can be a stressful time. Remember who and what is important to you and simply cherish the autumn moments.

No matter what you choose to do, be sure to take advantage of this exciting season and spend some quality time making precious memories with

Toys that Make Coding Fun!

8 Sep

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Coding is not just for engineering students anymore! Because technology plays such a fundamental role in our everyday life, programming has become a useful, almost essential, skill to have. With coding being often referred to as the “new literacy”, programming has become more common in school curriculum. Coding doesn’t have to be a complex and confusing subject. It can be a fun game that challenges your child’s critical thinking skills and encourages problem solving. Explore these three fun products that makes coding approachable and enjoyable, giving your child a leg up on learning this valuable skill.

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Think & Learn Code-a-pillar™

Perfect for little learners 3 years and up, the Think and Learn Code-a-pillar will wiggle its way across your floor, following your child’s programmed commands. Includes eight segments that direct the Code-a-pillar to move and turn in different directions. Practice sequencing and problem solving skills by connecting segments of the Code-a-pillar to make it move to the destination target you selected. The Code-a-pillar’s lights and sounds with every wiggle are sure to delight your child as they code!

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Ozobot Starter Pack

Meet Ozobot, a tiny robot with lots knowledge! The Ozobot uses optical sensors to read and then follow your child’s color code sequences that they have drawn on a piece of paper. With included games, brainteasers, and reusable coding stickers, Ozobot is sure to provide hours of STEM play. Your child can even give their Ozobot personality with included decor stickers!

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Primo™ Cubetto Children’s Programmable Robot Playset

Cubetto is an adorable wooden robot that your child can program and guide to lead Cubetto on adventures across the world map. As simple as placing coding blocks on an interface board! Don’t worry about your child become bored with coding, once they have mastered the world map, they can send their Cubetto on even more exciting and complicated adventures with additional maps and coding blocks sets! Cubetto combines the fun of a wooden robot’s adventures with a tangible coding learning activity!

With the use of fun, technology based toys such as these, you can make coding an accessible and engaging subject for your child. Giving them fundamental knowledge to help them excel at school and future possible career paths.

The Benefits of Plushy Friends

25 Aug

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Just about every child owns some type of a stuffed, furry companion. From classic teddy bears to exotic animals dressed up in sneakers and bowties, plush toys have been an essential part of children’s play for decades. Explore why stuff animals are important for your child to own and see our suggestions for some new snuggle buddies to add to your little one’s toy collection.

Comfort

Plush toys provide a huggable friend that is always there for your child. Whether they are happy, sleepy, scared, or sad, stuffed animals allow children of all ages to learn self-regulation skills. Huggers Plush Sloth, Wolf, and Panda provide snuggly, friendly hugs, anytime. You simply spread their arms open wide, give a little squeeze, and their arms instantly wrap to give you a hug. Whether your toddler is seeking comfort at bedtime or your preschooler is hugging their soft friend after scraping their knee, it is amazing what a simple hug or cuddle can do for your child’s mood.

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Imaginative Play

Perfect companions for pretend play, stuff animals are great for encouraging your child to engage with his or her imagination. Stuffed animals can bring to life characters from your child’s favorite movies and books extending their stories into bedroom and backyard playtime! The Watermelon Seed with Kroc Set is the perfect example of pairing literacy learning with a fun character plushy. Have the Kroc take a bite of watermelon with every page turn! From tea parties to backyard safaris, stuffed animals are the perfect playtime sidekicks.

Exploration

Children of all ages use toys to discover how the world around them works. Younger children use soft toys to explore their own senses by chewing, touching, crunching, and squeezing their cuddly friends. Older children collect unique animals on zoo trips and museums visits, learning about their behaviors and habits along the way. The Baberoo Sea Turtle Plush provides both soft cuddles and education about endangered species. These furry friends do more than just take up space in your child’s toy bin, they are a reliable, educational playmate!

Stuffed animals are an important part of your child’s playtime, be sure to invest in quality, plushy friends to spark discovery and imaginative exploration in your child!

Backseat Road Trip Fun

7 Jul

shutterstock_497794306.jpgOccupying children on a long road trip can often be challenging. From your youngsters asking the constant “Are we there yet?” question to them kicking the backs of the front seats, road trips can be incredibly frustrating. So, we have put together a list of ideas to keep your children occupied in the backseat.

Drawing

Art is always a great way to keep children occupied, but it is often difficult to do in the car. We suggest keeping the backseat art projects simple and sticking with drawing. The LEGO® Journal is perfect for car rides. Snap on a LEGO® Marker and your child is ready to go. If you prefer for your youngster not to use markers in the car, let him or her pass the time by drawing on an Etch-a-Sketch®. Your child will love drawing pictures for you on the long ride.

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Building

Building is also a fantastic tool for keeping children occupied in the car. Your child will love building with the Romper Room™ Popoids™ Building Set. The building pieces in this set connect to each other, so they are easy to work with in the car. If you have a little one that is not quite old enough for building, encourage him or her to crinkle Baby Paper with his or her hands. Your baby can bend and make noise with Baby Paper just as older children can with the building set. Encourage your child to explore with his or her hands to pass the time in the car.

Playing Games

Playing games is a classic way to pass the time on road trips. We suggest playing traditional car games, such as iSpy and 20 Questions, as a family. These games will keep everyone occupied for a while. Mad Libs® The Game is also perfect for long car rides. The game is fun for both kids and adults, so the whole family can enjoy making funny sentences and laughing together. Entertain your children by playing new and classic games while you travel.

Eliminate the headache of traveling and show your children how traveling can be fun with these road trip activity ideas. We hope you enjoy your road trips this summer!

What do the children in your backseat enjoy doing to pass the time on road trips? Share your ideas by commenting below!

Fostering Creativity in Your Child

12 May

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Providing opportunity and support for creative growth for your child can be difficult. Often between work, dinner, homework, and sports there seems to be less and less time for your child’s creative outlets. In addition to less time at home, schools are often losing more and more of their art programs as focus shifts to promoting STEM education. Finding a balance is key to creating a fostering environment for your child’s exploration of the arts. Consider the following activities as ideas of ways that you can weave creative moments into your child’s everyday life.

Provide the tools to create a masterpiece.

  • Gather all of your “child-friendly” art supplies into one central location for easy access and so that they can know what they have to freely create with.
  • Give them tools of their “trade”, such as providing a ballet bar for your little twirler, taps shoes for your jumping jack, and a box of costumes for your tiny actor to use in their living room performances.
  • Consider the Craft-tastic® Idea Box, which provides all the craft supplies and ideas that help kids tap into their own creativity.

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Provide the space to create.

  • It can be as simple as a basket of supplies and a blanket, a kitchen table covered in newspaper, or a whole crafting corner as long as there is a safe space to make stuff without worry of their safety or destroying of your favorite carpet.
  • Provide a quite space for your writer or painter to work without distractions.
  • No clear open space? Take art outside! Paint in the grass or even with sidewalk chalk! With the Chalktivity Stomp ‘n Stamps, they can create magical star and moon prints with every step or create a rainbow of color with the Chalktivity Rainbow Jump Rope.
  • Clear a space in the basement for your ballerina to practice her twirls. Help create a makeshift stage, complete with a blanket curtain, for your little actor to perform a play for the family.

Encourage multiple explorations.

  • Creativity is found beyond the coloring page. Be sure to expose your child to multiple aspects of the arts because you never know when an activity will spark a lifetime love and even a future profession.
  • Consider theater, singing, film, and dance camps. Perfect for exploring interests without a yearlong commitment.
  • Let them explore learning how to play musical instruments. Don’t want to commit to professional lessons? Try YouTube or the Toccata Musical Measure Blocks (which teaches about measures, rhythm, & meter).
  • Provide them an example! Don’t be afraid to show them that you can be creative too by dancing around the living room, helping them create a college of pictures, and playing a role in their backyard show.
  • Finally, provide opportunity. Whether it’s performing a song for their grandparents or painting a canvas for daddy’s office, find opportunities to not only encourage but also showcase their creative abilities as they continue to develop.

Encouraging Your Child’s Love of Animals

20 Apr

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Have you noticed that your little one has a particular fondness for furry friends? Whether they just love the family pet or all creatures, the love of animals is a great trait to have and support. Including this passion for animals into everyday activities can be a fantastic learning opportunity for teaching subjects likes responsibility, kindness, and even natural science! From learning about animals to actual animal care, their attachment to pets and wildlife can easily be supported and creates an excellent opportunity for family fun.

Positives of Pet Ownership

It doesn’t matter if they own a fish, a house full of furry friends, or a just collection stuffed animals; pet ownership can positively influence your little animal lover’s development. Taking care of a pet obviously teaches your child about responsibility, but it also teaches them how to nurture. Pets are often a source of unconditional love with provides your child with a “safe” friend to talk to and love. Pets also encourage children to be more active and social. From running with the dog in the backyard to playing with a friend’s hamster, animals require activities that are healthy to both the pet and owner. Perhaps due to space or family allergies, your child can’t own a pet. No worries! Maybe your child can visit pets of friends and neighbors; they can demonstrate to them how they take care of the pet and maybe let them join in for some activities. Consider adopting or sponsoring a pet at a local zoo! Your child can even help raise the money to cover the cost of the support. A trip to visit “their” animal is sure to be a blast!

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Ideas for Motivating Their Passion

From chasing lighting bugs outside to taking care of their favorite stuffed cat each night, your child will naturally find ways to explore their love of pets. Of course, spending time doing family activities is always important. Consider these ideas on how to combine your child’s love of animals with your family fun time. These activities are sure to entertain as well as educate and create extraordinary family memories for both you and your child.

  • Visit a zoo, farm, aquarium, nature preserve or local science center
  • Consider owning alternative pets like an ant farm or sea monkeys.
  • Pet-sit (a great way to trial run before adopting a pet of your own)
  • Let your child be a vet with the Nici® Wonderland Doll: Veterinarian Set
  • Take a nature walk while bird watching
  • Watch a live stream of an animal from a zoo
  • Visit animals at the pet store
  • Visit a dog park (with or without a dog. Just asking before petting!)
  • Create adorable pets with the Magnutto™ Junior Make a Pet™ Magnetic Activity
  • Visit a petting zoo or butterfly garden
  • Watch a film starring an animal while munching on animal themed snacks (like animal crackers and ants on a log)
  • Go on a virtual experience with the Genuine Ant Farm® Antopia Adventure™ Virtual Explorer
  • Create a zoo with stuffed animals and cardboard box “cages”

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Leave us a comment below and tell us your child’s favorite animal-themed activity.

Helping Your Child Cope with Stress

6 Apr

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Although stress is often associated with being an adult issue, children can also struggle with stress. There are plenty of factors that can lead to your child feeling these emotions—change of school, friends, seasons, classwork, and siblings—just to name a few common stressors. You as a parent, of course, want to ease these emotions, as best you can, and nurture your child’s mental health. Here are some recommendations to consider when mentoring your child on their stress management. (Please note if you have noticed an extreme change in your child’s behavior, please seek help from a mental health professional)

Good vs. Bad

Stress is normal. A little stress can motivate a child to achieve goals, learn new things, and explore new experiences. The first step in helping your child is identifying if your child’s stress is normal or unhealthy for them. Are they concerned for a certain test or testing in general? Are they worried about a certain situation or a long list of possibilities? Possible negative stress symptoms include increased crying, headaches and stomachaches, trouble sleeping, drastically changing emotions, and anxious body moments (like leg shaking and nail chewing). Listen and examine to decide if they just need a few extra words of encouragement or help with their entire stress management.

Stress can be contagious

As adults, we are often stressed about something in our lives. Regardless of the causes, this stress can be passed down to your child. Although they may have no direct ties to what is stressing you, they can reflect those emotions in areas of their own lives. Work towards creating a “stress free” home. Take the time to have relaxing family moments and vacations. Demonstrate how you ease your stresses to your little one. Whether it’s yoga, deep breathing or simply laying out in a hammock in the back yard, showing your child how you release your stress can help them release their own. Also, choose wisely on when and where is the appropriate time to vent about your own stressors because little ones are often listening and can pick up on your emotions. Stress can be contagious to a family, but if you make a conscious effort to identify and minimalize the stress you can create a happy and safe space for everyone.

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Stress relief techniques

Once you have identified what has stressed your child, it is then time to help them manage those feelings. First, pay close attention to your child’s behavior when they are feeling stressed. Do they increasingly rub their eyes? Do they sleep more? After you have noticed a sign that their stress has increased, it is time to initialize a stress relief technique. Consider the following:

  1. Outdoor play is an excellent way to help your stressed out little one. The exercise releases endorphins, which is a great natural relaxer. Explore our blog post on active play for more outdoor play ideas.
  1. Organization can also be key to relieving a child’s stress. We recommend the children’s book Get Organized Without Losing It , which is perfect for showing how being organized can be a great stress reliever.
  1. Consider small toys such as Theraputty and Tangle Therapy, which are designed to redirect stressful behaviors. These are also perfect for on-the-go relief when other techniques may not be an option.
  1. Lastly, simply teaching your child to slow down and just breathe can do a world of good for them. Taking multiple deep breaths, while having their eyes close, can melt away stress and refocus their brain.

Children will respond to stress differently, as long as you help them identify and manage their stressors, they should improve their own stress management, ultimately leading to a happy and relaxed life.

Sources and Resources:

http://americanspcc.org/signs-stress-kids-teens-reduce/?gclid=CKSDn_6ti9MCFcWPswodNpIE8Q

https://psychcentral.com/lib/7-tips-for-helping-your-child-manage-stress/

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/stress-coping.html