Tag Archives: preschool

5 Things to Pack for the First Day of Preschool

25 Aug shutterstock_151905908

Gearing your preschooler up for back to school? It can be hard to know what to send with your child when they are entering a new learning environment. There are, however, a few staples that will always come in handy. Here are 5 essentials for parents to pack for the first day of preschool:

Best Practice: be sure you check with the school administration before the first day of school for a list of supplies to pack with your child.


1. Snacks

 Whether it’s a half-day or a whole day of preschool, packing your child’s favorite snacks that can be eaten quickly and opened independently is a great way to prepare for the first day of school. Most programs include a snack time, so having a treat your child can dig into gives them a taste of home. It’s also the perfect opportunity to sneak in a simple note of encouragement for your brave little learner!

For tips on How to Pack the Perfect Lunch, check out this related article: https://blog.kaplantoys.com/2014/09/23/how-to-pack-the-perfect-lunch/


2. Water Bottle

 Water bottles are fun to personalize and are a great way to keep kids hydrated. Pick out the bottle with your tot to ensure they can open it independently, are attached to it, and that it is spill proof. The last thing you want is your child’s new backpack coming back soaked with juice!

Check out our new Backpack Sets, complete with a matching backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle: https://blog.kaplantoys.com/2016/08/10/backpack-sets-for-back-to-school/

 3. Extra Set of Clothes

Accidents happen when there’s a room full of toddlers! Even if your child is potty trained, early learning classrooms contain paint, water tables, and a handful of other messy opportunities. Prepare your child by packing an extra set of clothes in a zip lock bag with their name on the outside. You will be helping out the teacher tremendously!


4. Comfort Buddy

 Many toddlers deal with anxiety or first-day jitters. One way to counteract those fears is by sending something familiar from home that they can latch onto when feeling lonely. Whether it’s a picture of the family or a teddy bear, letting your child pack their prized possession is a great way to keep them connected to home throughout the school day. Find more resources on how to calm first day jitters here: https://blog.kaplantoys.com/2015/08/18/5-ways-to-calm-first-day-jitters/

5. Emergency Card

 Don’t forget to send an emergency card with your child that details your home address, phone number, and if your child has any allergies. This is always a great back up for any situation your toddler may stumble into. Be sure to seal in a plastic bag as well or laminate to keep waterproof!

Back-to-School Resources:

Backpack Sets for Back to School!

10 Aug shutterstock_77073667

One fun way to see the first day of school is as a grand adventure for your little explorer. No adventure would be possible without the right gear. Strap into one of our four new backpacks and send your child back to school in style! Each set includes a matching backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle.

Puppy Backpack Set


 Does your child have a puppy obsession? So do we! This colorful Puppy Backpack Set is perfect for providing a furry companion to accompany your little one to school.

Want to go a step further? Comfort buddies are a great coping method for first-day jitters. Pick out a furry companion for your child to take with them in their new backpack set!

Unicorn Backpack Set


School is a magical place for learning, so your child’s backpack should be, too! Properly prepare for back to school by stepping into the classroom with this stylish fantasy-inspired backpack.

Does your child love unicorns? Get excited for a year full of learning with these magical, unicorn-themed toys:

Alien Backpack Set


Explore the unknown with this Alien Backpack Set! Prepare your little explorer for the new school year with a bag ready to be filled with all of their new discoveries! This colorful, green alien is more than ready for the challenge.

Take a space odyssey before school starts with these fun space-themed toys!

T-Rex Backpack Set


Love dinos? Bring in T-Rex to the classroom for a little pre-historic inspiration! This beloved dinosaur will give your child more than enough courage to face the classroom!

Find even more pre-historic toys for your tots here:

Gardening: A Growing Process for Children

15 Apr

Spring is a great time to not only get outdoors and enjoy some nice weather, but to teach your kids what it means to go green. There are so many takeaways that can be gained from gardening, including developmental growth, fine motor skills through dealing with small seeds, and gross motor skills as they water their plants and dig. To show you all of the potential gardening presents for your preschooler, we’ve decided to share some key takeaways and learning lessons that will help your child become a balanced learner.

Key concepts:

-Plants grow from seeds

-Food we eat at meal times comes from plants that we grow from seeds

-Water, soil and sunlight are all needed to help a seed grow

A few tasks to get you started:

  • Prepare the garden: this is the time when you have to prepare your gardening area for planting. You can have kids help you with everything from clearing away leaves, to pulling weeds, to washing out plastic pots for sowing.
  • Make sure your early crops are sown directly into the soil: this includes making sure that plants that need to get an early start are planted outside: can include carrots, spring onions, peas, lettuce, red cabbage, radishes, etc.
  • Sow tender crops: these crops can be grow by windowsills inside your home. They can include cucumbers, peppers, sweet corn and tomatoes.

4 Gardening Lessons for Preschoolers

1. Getting creative

-Get your kids exciting by letting them see what they’ll be planting. By ordering seed catalogs online, you can have children cut out pictures and paste them onto colorful construction paper; when it comes time to plant, you can choose from the selections your child made.

-All of the plants you will be growing need labels, which will provide the perfect chance for little hands to use their art skills as they make plant signs and stakes! It will definitely bring a personal touch to your home garden.


2. Responsibility through routine

-Plants will have to be watered regularly; giving your child this shared responsibility that the plant depends on to grow will help them to understand routine, a fundamental part of their developmental process. You will have to stress that watering and weeding daily are an important part of gardening.

3. Appreciating the results of hard work

-Children will have to get their muscles working as they break out the child-sized tools to help you with tasks varying from raking soil, pulling weeds, spreading topsoil, to digging holes for seeds to be planted in. When the plants finally do break through the soil to saying hello, kids will appreciate that all of their hard work paid off.


4. Expanding Horizons

-The great thing about gardening is that it allows children to take part of a process that results in putting healthy food on the table. Even if your little learner is at first resistant to eating their proper portion of veggies, you may find they are less reluctant to try the greener things of life when they know they’ve grown it themselves.

*A lesson in safety: make sure you talk to your children about which plants are edible or not. It is important for them to know that some plants are toxic when ingested and that they shouldn’t eat anything unless they’ve asked you first.


“The Homegrown Preschooler”

The Preschool Gardening Club

To check out even more resources for starting your own garden, check out our selection here.


Cooking with Imagination

21 Jan


Cooking in the kitchen with your kids is always a great way for them to learn while being engaged. However, there are a lot of sharp objects and complicated tasks that they won’t be able to help out with. That’s when having their own kitchen set would really come in handy. Preschoolers who pretend cook with kitchen appliances are engaged in dramatic play, which is an important part of the developmental process as they learn skills like abstract thinking and natural manner. Let your kids engage with the kitchen as they learn role play, work on their communication, and develop social skills. Here are 5 different products we think will really get your children’s imaginations stirring as they make their own fantastic creations!

5 Must Haves for Your Little Chef

1. Tot Range


You can’t have a kitchen without a stove! Get your child started out with our tot stove, which can be easily reached by children. Let them turn the movable knobs for even more realism!

2. My First Kitchen Set


Your chef won’t be able to cook if they don’t have their kitchen utensils. This set is great because unlike real kitchen utensils, these are lightweight and perfect for tots to maneuver around as they make a meal for two. There’s even a steak for them to serve up for dinner!

3. The Budding Chef


Every good cook has great recipes! The Budding  Chef is full of simple recipes your little one can try out either in the kitchen with you or pretend to cook in their own cooking station! This cookbook is full of great ways for parents and their budding chefs to have fun together.

4. Chef Vest and Hat


Let your little one really get into their chef role with our chef’s vest and hat. Toddlers will love cooking up food for their friends as they role play as a chef. Features include easy pull over head design with velcro side closures, chef hat with back elastic band, two pockets, and printed buttons. The best part? Machine washable.

5. Fruits and Vegetables


Finally, your little chef has to have something to cook! Get them started with our fruits and vegetable set. You can teach them about healthy eating while they whip up tasty creations.

*Application: Check out how this teacher took dramatic play in the kitchen area to a whole new level. Find out more about the Nature Kitchen.*

Want to discover even more items for dramatic play? Check out our variety of dramatic play resources.

The Top 5 Toys for Preschoolers in 2011

18 Nov

Looking to add a pinch of pizzazz to your preschooler’s presents this holiday season? Our experts have assembled a list of sure-fire favorites for children 3 to 5.  And the best part is – they can all be purchased in just a few, short clicks at KaplanToys.com!

#5: Hide and Squeak Eggs

Preschoolers will enjoy the “egg-ceptional” shape sorting fun of Hide and Squeak Eggs. Shells crack open to reveal six “egg-stra” special colorful chicks. Press down gently on their heads to hear them peep. Take the eggs out of the carton to shape sort. 12 months & up.

Item #: 85523

Price: $10.95

#4: Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow

You and your child can send a super-cool rocket to new heights! Kids “stomp” on the pad and watch the foam rocket launch into the air up to 100 feet. Special “glow” edition glows in the dark! Assembles in minutes, and no tools are required. 3 years & up.

Item #: 00347

Price: $15.95

#3: My First Beauty Bag

A deluxe beauty bag perfect for the little divas in your care! The bag includes a motorized hair dryer, hand held mirror, 3 curlers, hairbrush, and curling iron. 3 years & up.

Item #: 00444

Price: $19.95

#2: Tikes Patrol Police Car

Kids can come to the rescue in this foot-powered squad car with a working door. When they push the button on the electronic microphone they’ll see flashing lights and hear seven siren sounds. A realistic light bar on the roof lets kids pretend they’re on their way to an emergency. 2 years & up.

Item #: 80860

Price: $74.95

#1: LEGO Ultimate Building Set

Stimulate your child’s creativity with over 405 LEGO pieces. The new storage box with transparent lid contains a mini LEGO figure, a building plate, and a great mix of standard bricks in various colors, house and wheels elements. 4 years & up.

Item #: 00665

Price: $29.95