Tag Archives: parenting

4 Stress Busters for Little Learners

26 Apr

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Does your child struggle with stress? There are many life stressors, both in the home and in the classroom. As a parent, there are resources and practices you can put into place that will teach young children how to redirect negative emotions into positive self-talk and behavior. Here are some of our favorite tools for redirecting stress into hands-on learning!

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1. Tangle Therapy

 Many times, learning challenges or peers can frustrate children. Tangle Therapy is the perfect tool for relieving stress as children twist textured surfaces into different shapes. It’s a useful aid for redirecting behavior as children exchange negative emotions for complete fascination:

 

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2. Cooperative Board Games

 Competition is another stressor to many young children. Instead of putting precedence on winning, cooperative board games promote cooperative play as children work together to beat the game. Children can work on social–emotional skills while building self-esteem at the same time! Choose from the cooperative board games below:

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3. Sing the Stress Away!

Singing is a creative stress reliever for children. Positive lyrics can reinforce positive self-talk and self-image while helping children develop concentration and memory to be ready to respond to learning opportunities. Learn more about focusing attention on the present moment with the Here, Now Know-How CD: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/20524/here-now-know-ho-cd

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4. Present a Challenge

Finally, stress can be alleviated in children when they are presented with a different challenge so that focus is shifted away from their current stressor. The Swingy Thing Spinning Game is a hypnotic challenge that gets children’s minds working as they play either alone or together to beat the Swing Thing Spinning Game’s challenges!


What do you do with your children to provide stress relief? Share with us by commenting below!

Pick out the Perfect Dollhouse!

12 Apr

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Looking for a dollhouse to suit your child’s needs? There are a couple of questions you can ask before making the big purchase to supplement your child’s dramatic play experience! Here are four questions to ask before picking out the perfect dollhouse for your little one:

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1. Looking for Neutral Colors?

 The first thing you’ll want to determine is if your dollhouse is for a young girl or if it will be shared by several children. If you’re looking for a house the whole crew can play with, here are two of our favorite wooden dollhouses that are big enough for any imaginative play experience:

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 2. Have a Big Play Space?

 If you’re looking for a large dollhouse to incorporate into a spacious playroom then we think you’ll love these options. Go pink with the Multi-Level Wooden Dollhouse or if you’re looking for something that allows children to reach in from all sides, then check out the Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse. Either way, your child will have tons of room to play!

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3. Looking to Teach STEM Concepts?

If you’re looking to go beyond dramatic play to teach math and engineering concepts, we have two colorful options below. The Geometrics Dollhouse will teach geometry as children build rooms in whatever shape they please! Don’t forget the Roominate Townhouse that promotes architectural skills as children build their own townhouse from bottom to top.

4. Need Something to
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Travel often? If you’re looking for a dollhouse to take with you for children that’s a little smaller, but is perfect for taking on the go, then the Fold * Go Wooden Dollhouse if for you. Durable and portable, this dollhouse comes with two play figures and eleven pieces of wooden furniture so that children can take imaginative play wherever they go!

Rethinking Nutrition for Kids

9 Mar

What do you think of when you hear the word nutrition? Many times, it’s equated to ensuring there is some type of fruit included in a child’s snack time, or a limit on how many chips a child can have. With childhood obesity statistics on the rise, we want to foster the simple idea that nutrition is more than what’s in your child’s diet; it’s a lifestyle! Here are four easy tips to help incorporate nutritious choices as part of your family’s day-to-day:

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1. Modeling

You are looked up to more than you will ever know! Consumption choices, what items are available in the fridge, and how many times you incorporate exercise into your week are all important choices that acts as behavior models for children. Here are some small ways you can make a difference:

  • Pack lunch together. Children can see that you are packing healthy for lunch just like they are!
  • Use Sundays for meal prep. Having meals all ready to go for weeknights is a great way to avoid the fast food run that we all default to when time gets away from us!
  • Workout during chores! Incorporate squats, pushups, and abs into tasks you already have to do. This is a great example for kids to multi-task as they fold laundry, sweep the floors, or clean up their room! Here is a fun article for moms with toddlers: http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/fit-mom-exercise-tips/

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2. Meal Times

We all know what we put into our bodies is important, but at times, it can be hard to know what exactly a healthy balance looks like, especially for a hangry preschooler who only wants chicken nuggets and french fries! We have a helpful Health Eating from Head to Toe Handout that’s a great start for parents. Not only does it suggest what foods to eat, but also does so with colorful illustrations that show what health benefits come from each food group! Find the handout here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/product/28885/preschool-healthy-eating-from-head-to-toe-handouts-set-of-50

Nutrition Books to Get You Started: 

Another fun idea to do with the family is to create a “Healthy Recipes” Pinterest board so that you can keep track of nutritious meals your family loves! Follow our family board for weekly inspirations: https://www.pinterest.com/KaplanToys/healthy-family-recipes/

53689.jpg3. Motivated to Move!

Active play is an important part of a child’s day! Not only does it burn calories, but it also encourages creativity, builds important muscles, and gives children a chance to interact with their peers as they work on teamwork, friendship, and an understanding of social rules. Whether it’s getting out in the backyard to pass a soccer ball, mediating on a yoga mat, or hiking as a family on the weekend, motivating children to move is an important concept for children to adapt into their lifestyle as they grow. To browse our selection of active play toys, click here. 

Sources:

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4. Make a Garden

Spring is nearly here! With the start of warm weather comes the prime opportunity to start planting vegetables and herbs for your family meals! Teaching your child how to garden is not only an excellent practice of sustainability, but it will encourage them to incorporate homegrown food into their meals later on. To learn more about the benefits of gardening for children, head over to this article to get started.

Gardening Tools for Toddlers:

 

Share how you are celebrating #NationalNutritionMonth with your kids by commenting below!

How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying

6 Oct

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Having conversations in the home with children about bullying can not only prevents potential conflicts in the classroom, but can also prepare your child for being confronted by a bully. Here are five strategies for talking to young children about bullying:

 1. Get to Know Their Social Life

Checking in daily with your child is the best way to know when social dynamics begin to change in a way that could indicate bullying. Encourage your child to talk about their friends, sports teams, and how their classes are going. Your questions are a great way to show that you care while also allowing you to keep track of any environmental changes that may be problematic.

2. Build a Trusting Relationship

Ensure your child knows the lines of communication are always open when it comes to talking to you about what is going on in their life. Even if your child tells you something that is shocking, suspend disbelief to instead let them know you trust what they are telling you.

3. Establish Rules for Online Conduct

Surprisingly, a high percentage of bullying occurs online. With the prevalence of technology at home and in the classroom, it is imperative to establish online conduct rules for children from an early age. This will develop an understanding of responsibility for communications both verbal and virtual. You can encourage your child to keep protected by following these two guidelines:

  1. Never say or do anything online that you wouldn’t say or do in person.
  2. Never share any information that you wouldn’t tell a stranger.

4. Involve Child in Problem Solving Discussion

Work together to come up with a solution so that your child feels empowered. Trying to directly contact the parent of the aggressor can sometimes lead to additional bullying and rarely solves the situation. Instead, take active steps to talk to your child about ways they can bring conflict to an end. Find more resources on standing up to bullies here: http://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/talking-about-it/

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5. Focus on Social-Emotional Learning

Showing children that everyone is different and speaking openly about the emotions certain actions can evoke is a key part of developing your child’s social emotional skills. Concepts like responsibility, respect, and kindness need to be taught before children can fully understand what a bully is and how to ensure they don’t become one unintentionally.

From books to games, the resources below can help you build social emotional learning in your children as they prepare for interacting with their peers:

Sources:

Creating a Science Lab at Home!

14 Jul

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Does your child love watching the Discovery Channel and reading National Geographic? Then it’s time to bring children’s natural curiosity to the table by creating a science lab at home! Here are a few simple steps you’ll need to know to create a space for scientific discovery:

1. Choose Your Space Wisely

It’s important that children help you pick out their science space as they’ll be spending the most time in it. Be sure the space you choose has a flat surface for children to work on (since we all know how messy science can be), a window, as many experiments require sunlight or documenting weather patterns, and comfortable seating. Here are a few fun ideas for personalizing the lab:

  • Add plants on the desk or tabletop, so that children have examples of nature right in front of their eyes!
  • Hang posters for science inspiration. 
  • Include a bookshelf. One shelf can be dedicated to science supplies by adding trays, baskets, or tote trays for tools and instruments.

2. Stock up on Science Books

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Every great experiment starts with research! Make sure your kids are stocked with books full of facts and figures about their favorite areas of research, whether it’s Bengal tigers or the Milky Way! It’s also beneficial to have a book full of science lessons children can use as a starting point for future discovery! Here are some of our favorite suggestions below:

3. Pick Out Tools for Discovery

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Every scientist has to have the proper tools! Here are a few of the basics you may want to consider for your child’s science lab:

  • A Basic Starter Kit– goggles, test tubes, and tweezers are necessary tools of discovery when it comes to children launching into different types of investigation. The Primary Science Set is a great place to start!
  • Smart Lab Get Growing! Green House – teach children the plant lifecycle by planting seeds and watching them grow with the Smart Lab Get Growing! Green House.
  • Microscope- from the simple GeoSafari Talking Microscope to the more sophisticated GeoVision MicroPro, taking a closer look always leads children to new, exciting discoveries about the world around them!

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4. Start Experimenting! 

There are so many areas of exploration children can dive into! Whether it’s ant lifecycles, dinosaur bone excavation, or studying solar power, we have a few choice kits you can start your child learning with:

What will your child’s first experiment be? Share with us by commenting below!

Making the Most of Bath Time

2 Jun

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Do your kiddos like taking baths? For many parents, it can be a struggle trying to convince children baths are a good thing. Whether it’s a fear of water or simply not wanting to stay still long enough, children can make taking baths difficult and leave parents soaked by the end of bath time. We have a few toy suggestions that will not only leave children seeing the tub as a new play space, but also teach a few educational lessons along the way!

1. SoapSox Bath Scrub Terry Cloth Bath Sponges – Harper The Hippo & Ava The Dolphin 143909

These soft washcloths just happen to be absolutely adorable and in the shape of loveable sea creatures! Pour soap into the SoapSox pocket and add water to work up a lather. Place your fingers in the side pockets and scrub as your baby giggles in delight at their newfound bath time friend!

2. 5 Large Dino Bath Buddies 

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Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? These five colored dinos are soft and squeezable for small hands. Encourage dramatic play and practice color recognition as you wash your baby!

3. Freddy Finz Bath Spout Guard 

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What can make bath time more entertaining than turning the faucet into a funny fish? Freddy Finz Bath Spout Guard is a great way to keep young children safe from hitting their head during bath time and can be rotated so that water sprays out, providing tons of fun and laughter!

4. Number Ducks 

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Nothing is more fun than sharing the tub with a family of counting ducks! Number Ducks are great for number recognition and simple counting as children begin to learn their numbers.

5. Make a Splash™ Vinyl Book Set (Set of 4) 

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There’s nothing like story time in the bathtub! Stories are a great way to get children to look forward to your time spent together. These adorable waterproof and baby-safe books are a great way to keep babies entertained.

6. Bubble® Twin Pack

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Add more fun in the tub by pouring in scented bubbles! Toddlers can create shapes or make funny hair with the floating foam while enjoying bath time.

7. Water Twinklers 

83681Babies will love watching these three twinklers float in the tub! The viewing dome adds extra visual stimulation by allowing children to see the objects moving inside.

8. Splish, Splash Water Play 

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Try to catch colorful insects as they glide across the water or scoop and pour water from fun creatures! The Splish, Splash Water Play Set offers endless bath time fun as toddlers squirt from textured Scrubbles! The different textured tops provide added sensory play.

9.Tug Boats Set (Set of 6) 

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These brightly colored boats are fun for racing, easy to chew on, and teach little ones to stack as they nest the little tug boats inside each other! The Tug Boats Set is also a great way to introduce sequencing.

10. Eco-Friendly Stacker Cups 

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With six graduated, numbered cups, young children can sort and stack as they learn basic counting and math concepts. Pour from cups one and two and watch as they fill the volume of cup three! A great way to keep kids learning while bathing.

Do you have strategies for keeping young children calm during bath time? Comment below or tell us on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaplanToys

Establishing a Summer Learning Plan!

19 May

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It’s almost time for summer! As your kids prepare for freedom, they may not be aware that without use, a lot of the lessons they worked so hard to learn will begin to fade. Since you’ll be spending more time with your little ones, it’s important that a summer learning plan is introduced to prevent summer learning loss. Here are a few easy steps you can take to ensure your children continue to learn outside of the classroom:

 1. Ask your child’s teacher about a summer learning program.

Many times, teachers have already created summer learning activities, programs, or websites for children to engage with during the summer. Check with your child’s teacher to see what options are available. If nothing is in place or you want to delve a little deeper, we also have the following options:

 2. Break out the reading games to encourage early literacy.

Promoting early literacy over the summer is a necessity as reading is one of the biggest indicators of eventual academic success. We have plenty of fun literacy activities you can engage your children in for summer:

3. Take advantage of free community learning resources.

Many times, your community offers free learning opportunities for children that are just waiting to be taken advantage of! A couple of ideas could include:

  • signing your child up for a public library card
  • browsing local parks for nature centers
  • strolling through a nearby university campus
  • checking online to see when music festivals are coming near you or when museums and zoos are running specials for families

The learning possibilities are endless when you see the world through your child’s eyes!

4. Introduce math in everyday learning.

Math learning is all around us! Take time to be intentional in your day-to-day routine by finding opportunities for your children to practice counting, number recognition, and time telling. Some ideas could include adding up prices at the grocery store, counting time while waiting in line, or measuring ingredients while cooking. For even more ideas on how to incorporate financial literacy into everyday learning, check out our post: Small Ways to Teach Math Every Day!

5. Keeping active through imaginative play.

Putting precedence on active play is so important throughout the summer as many children’s natural inclination may be to become a couch potato! The outdoors just awaits adventure and children’s natural curiosity is just the beginning for science investigation. Whether it’s establishing a designated outdoor play time or gathering the family together for a fun game of basketball in the evenings, make sure active play is a part of your child’s summer schedule. Sports teams, trips to the park, and swimming pools are also great ways to keep little feet moving! Find a selection of cool outdoor summer toys here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/store/trans/search.asp?tbSearch=summer&sc1=1

6. Stress the importance of nutrition through starting a garden.

There’s no better way to get children excited about the healthier aspects of snack time than by starting a family garden! When children invest their time (and love) into growing plants, they are more appreciative when the vegetables and fruits spring up to provide a healthy snack. It’s also a great way to teach responsibility and provide an activity you can do together. For creative garden lessons you can teach preschoolers, check out Gardening: A Growing Process for Children.

We hope your summer kicks off to a great start! If you have any creative ways to keep children’s minds engaged while out of school, feel free to share by commenting below.

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