Tag Archives: recipes

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

3 Delightful After-School Snacks

18 Aug

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The hustle and bustle of school starting can be overwhelming. With mile long shopping lists to check off, lunches to pack, and fresh, new outfits to pick out, providing healthy snacks is often low on the priority list. No worries, we gathered 3 easy after-school snack ideas to provide your little ones with yummy refuel after their long day of learning. Perhaps enlist their help in the kitchen for some special weekday bonding.

Peanut Butter Playdough

Fun to play with and good to eat!

You will need:

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup honey or corn syrup

1 cup of powdered milk

1 cup of oatmeal

Coconut or powdered sugar (optional)

Large bowl

Measuring cup

Mixing spoon

Step 1. Help your child measure 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of honey, 1 cup powdered milk, and 1 cup of oatmeal.

Step 2. Once the ingredients are measured, help your child combine them in a large bowl. As they work with the ingredients, talk about how they are changing as they mix them. This is hard work!

Step 3. Once the mixture is dough-like, they can spoon out some of the play dough and mix it using their hands and fingers. Ask them if it is sticky. If the answer is yes, add small amounts of oatmeal and powdered milk.

Step 4. Encourage your child to explore this edible play dough. If desired, your child can make “snowballs” by rolling a rounded ball of dough in coconut or powered sugar.

Step 5. As they play with the play dough, remind them that it is okay to eat it as well!

Source: The Budding Chef – Paperback 

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Yogurt Grape Treats

A refreshing snack for hot afternoons!

You will need:

Grapes

Yogurt of Choice

Toothpicks

Bowl

Baking sheet

Step 1. Destem and wash your grapes then stick toothpicks inside each one. Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until fully frozen (should take a couple of hours).

Step 2. Once your grapes are fully frozen, dip the grapes in your favorite yogurt. Then place them back on the baking sheet.

Step 3. To add toppings, do it soon after you have dipped the grapes in the yogurt.  The yogurt will freeze pretty fast because the grapes are frozen. Some toppings we suggest are coconut, honey, dark chocolate, and caramel. Place them in a container in the freezer to store, or serve them to your little ones.

Source: Natalie Monson- Super Healthy Kids

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Rainbow Fish Fruit Snack

Read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister with your child, and then share in making this delicious snack.

You will need:

Banana Slices

Blueberries

Dessert Shells (Found near the fruit in the produce section of most grocery stores)

Green grapes

Orange sections

Pieces of cantaloupe

Strawberries

Toothpicks (3)

Step 1. Invite your child to put three to five pieces of fruit on each toothpick. Arrange the toothpicks in a triangle shape to create the fish tail.

Step 2. Place the dessert shell near one triangle point to create a fish body.

Step 3. Use the rest of the fruit to fill up the dessert shell, and you’ve got a rainbow fish that’s tasty enough to eat.

Source: The Budding Chef – Paperback

Whether you choose to prepare these delicious snacks before they arrive home or have them help you whip up the recipe, these snacks are sure to please little one’s tummies!

6 Activities to Help You End Summer with a Bang

28 Jul

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Summer is winding down and the school year will soon start, which means there will be less time for adventurous activities. Keep the energy up and make the last few weeks of summer with your little one the best yet! Here are six activities that will end your summer with a bang.

1. Mini Golf Tournament

Bring mini golf right to your home with the Noochie Golf™ Mini-Golf Set. Encourage your child to invite friends over for a tournament and see who the ultimate mini golfer of the group is. Mini golf is perfect “fore” enjoying the last few weeks of summer with friends.

2. Stargaze Indoors

The Galaxy 6′ Mesh Tunnel makes stargazing indoors possible! In the tunnel, your child will find stunning glow-in-the-dark galaxy patterns. Your youngster will love studying the stars for hours this summer. You can even allow your little one to stay up a little past bedtime to stargaze in complete darkness as an end-of-summer treat.

3. Spontaneous Day Trip to the Beach

Everyone loves a spontaneous beach trip! Waking your children up and telling them to get their bathing suits on and pack a beach bag is sure to get them excited. Make sure to take the Aqua Glow LED Beach Ball for the ultimate experience. With the tips from our “Backseat Road Trip Fun” blog post, even the car ride will be a blast. Have fun on your day beach trip!

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4. Try New Recipes

New recipes are always fun for little chefs! Encourage your child to get in the kitchen and learn to cook this summer. The Toddler Cookbook has easy recipes that incorporate basic math, science, and language skills. With your help, your youngster will have a ball whipping up dinner for the family.

5. Relax at the Pool

Relaxing at the pool is the perfect way to end summer with a bang. Make pool time even more fun with the B4 Adventure Party Wheel. This unique float allows your child to crawl inside the wheel and roll around the pool. Make the most of the end of summer with pool fun!

6. Chalk Bomb Fight

Have a colorful chalk fight with chalk bombs! Each ball is filled with chalk powder that explodes when the ball makes contact with a solid surface. The best part is, chalk bombs can be thrown several times before they run out of powder. Encourage your child to invite friends over and get messy with a chalk bomb fight this summer!

How do you plan to make the most of the last few weeks of summer with your child? Share your ideas by commenting below!

Three Easy Activities to Help Your Family Embrace Spring

30 Mar

Transitioning into spring can be an exciting time for children. After several months of post-holiday blues, springtime brings green grass, blooming flowers, special holiday celebrations, and warm-weather activities. Spring also brings a sense of renewal and refreshment—perhaps from the spring cleaning or the ever-growing anticipation of summer. This is your chance to add a little fun and liveliness to your family time and embrace the seasonal change. Here are some simple spring activities that are the perfect cure to your family’s spring fever.

Make It!

Pretty Paper Flowers

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You will need:

Step One: Place the tissue paper flat on the table, alternating colors.

Step Two: Have your child fold the tissue paper (about one inch) back and forth just like you would to make a fan. Once they have reached the end, the stack of tissue paper should look like an accordion.

Step Three: Wrap a green pipe cleaner around the middle of the stack, twist to secure and make a stem.

Step Four: Next, help your child carefully separate each piece of tissue paper. Fluff the layers into a flower shape.

Step Five: Tear pieces of construction paper into leaf shapes and poke them onto the pipe cleaner stem, sliding it up until to reaches the top.

Place your forever-fresh flowers in a vase for a bright splash of spring in the kitchen or get creative and add multiple smaller flowers to a pipe cleaner circle for a fairylike crown.
 

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Bake It!

Honey Milk Balls

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You will need:

  • ¼ cup of honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup nonfat powdered milk
  • 1 cup uncooked rolled oats or ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing bowl and spoon

Step One: Talk with your child about honey—explain that honey comes from bees. Encourage them to ask questions as well as feel, smell, and taste the honey.

Step Two: Mix the first four ingredients well, and then knead them by hand until blended.

Step Three: Shape the mixture into 1” balls.

Step Four: Roll the honey milk balls in coconut if desired.

Recipe Source: The Budding Chef

 Do It!

Getting Outdoors

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Another major part of spring is getting outdoors after the long winter. Incorporate the following outdoor activities into your family time:

  • Host a family soccer game! Switch it up by inviting extended family or neighbors to be the opposing team. Play girls vs. boys or adults vs. children.
  • Enjoy a picnic! Don’t forget your honey milk balls and paper flower centerpiece!
  • Create a driveway masterpiece! Stick to the classic sidewalk chalk or switch it up with Chalktivity.
  • Stargaze! Take advantage of the warmer nights and introduce your child to the sky’s wonders.

Leave us a comment below and share your family’s favorite springtime activity.

Spring Fever! Encouraging Your Child to Be Physically Active

23 Mar

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The arrival of spring brings longer days, warmer weather, brighter colors, and increasing opportunities for engagement in healthy childhood activities. It’s no secret that the digital age has created various gadgets and apps that compete for children’s attention and free time. The draw of digital games and activities often drowns out the basic childhood desire of simple play. It’s important for parents to restore some balance into children’s lives and foster healthy habits and development. Beyond limiting screen time, try to encourage your little ones to explore the world around them and engage in activities that increase their heart rate. Here are a few ideas we gathered to help you spark your child’s desire for active play.

Individual Exploration

Teaching children to play by themselves is a special skill set that will not only engage their brain but also create a healthy sense of independence. Encourage your child to enact pretend stories in the backyard or “bake” a cake with items found in nature. Think back to your childhood and encourage them to do some of the activities you did, such as playing jump rope and creating art with chalk on the front driveway. Consider combining those activities with the Chalktivity Rainbow Jump Rope or Chalktivity Pogo Prints for increased exercise and fun! Imagination and a warm spring afternoon can spark a trend of healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

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Neighborhood Amusement

You are the primary person responsible for teaching your child about the importance of being physically active, but you can encourage other children in the neighborhood to be physically active as well. Provide your child with games and activities that can be enjoyed with others. Encourage children to have a bouncing race down the driveway with the Hop 55 Ball or arrange a good ol’ fashion game of tag. Make sure to finish the afternoon of active fun with a healthy treat! You’ll become the favorite house on the block in no time!

A Family Affair

Children often learn best by example. Not only should you encourage them to be physically active, but you should also engage in physical activity yourself. A pickup game of family hide-and-seek can go a long way in developing a child’s desire to play. Showing your child that you exercise regularly, as well as other healthy habits you engage in, sets a standard and example for them to follow in the future. Family participation in physical activities is a key part of nurturing physically active children and helping them maintain that as adults.

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Leave us a comment about your child’s favorite physical activity and remember to be physically active every day!

Get Green: St. Patrick’s Day Fun at Home!

9 Mar

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It’s mid-March: that time of year when kids start looking for little leprechauns under the couch and pinching each other for not wearing green. Be sure to bring some of the St. Patty’s day fun home with these creative and exciting activities!

Gifts for the Leprechauns – Kids love the stories of leprechauns: little Irish magicians who like to steal things and leave gold in their wake. Encourage children to make these green troublemakers small gifts, like figurines made from craft dough or cookies. When they leave the gifts out for the leprechauns, swap them for a sprinkle of green or gold glitter and watch the wonder in your little one’s eyes as they discover the change.

Go GREEN – Get environmental by planting some greenery or flowers in a mini greenhouse. Or set up a hanging bird feeder and attract the birds to the yard, just like gifts attract leprechauns. These will both decorate the yard for St. Patty’s Day and help kids learn a bit more about the environment. For songs and more activities, try reading a Going Green book. Get kids both excited about engaging with the environment around them and protecting the blue and green planet they live on! Be sure to check out the Kaplan Toys Blog for more environmentally friendly activities.

Green Eggs and Ham – It doesn’t have to be eggs and ham, but adding some food coloring to the milk in morning cereal, pudding in kids’ lunchboxes, or in the mashed potatoes at dinner can add an extra level of fun to a seemingly average afternoon. Read the classic Dr. Seuss tale for an added bonus!

Gratitude Treasure – Have children cut their own pot of gold and coins out of construction paper but on each gold coin, have them write or draw something they think is a treasure. Is it their sibling? Favorite food? Playing ball? Encourage kids to find the real gold in life and hang the result on the wall or the refrigerator to remind them that whether they’ve got a little leprechaun in their pocket or not, they’re lucky all times of year!

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Go to www.kaplantoys.com for more ideas, crafts and materials.

Sensory Play for Rainy Days

3 Mar

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Rainy days don’t have to ruin all the fun! There are plenty of creative ways to play and enjoy the day indoors! Keep reading for some new, fun ways to pass the time while waiting for the sun to return.

  1. Indoor Sandbox. Sand isn’t as messy as you’d think, especially if you use kinetic sand, such as Shape It! Sand. It never dries out, so it’s always ready to build another sandcastle. It’s also great for sensory awareness and development. Put out a large blanket or get out a kiddie pool and have some beachy fun indoors!
  2. Inside Rug Skating. Tear out some magazine pages, step on them, and you instantly have rug skates! Let your little ones slide and glide around the house without the mess or danger of real skates.
  3. Button Jewelry. Let kids make themselves or a loved one a button necklace or bracelet. All you need is some string and some colorful buttons, and soon your kids will be making the latest in craft jewelry trends!
  4. Wiggly Eye Silliness. Take some Wiggly Eyes and stick them on random items around the house. Surprise each other by secretly sticking them on things when the others aren’t looking. It’s sure to make the kids laugh until their bellies ache!
  5. Mini Picassos. Up the craft ante with a variety of art supplies and encourage kids to be super creative. For example, the Sensory Collage Kit allows kids to experiment with different collage materials as they create their own works of art. Having more than just paint and paper can help them engage with descriptive vocabulary and develop sensory awareness.
  6. Dance in the Rain. Why not go with a classic and head out into the front or back yard for an invigorating dance in the rain? Play your kids’ favorite music and maybe even include some water blasters to get even more soaked! Of course, always be aware of thunder and lightning in your area, and stay safe.
  7. Hot Cocoa. What cold, rainy day isn’t made better by a warm drink? Whip up some hot chocolate (marshmallows are optional, of course) for a special treat after lunch or dinner!

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Whether it’s a thunderstorm or a little drizzle, rainy days can bring out the blues in everyone. Blow those blues away with these engaging indoor activities that are creative, physically active, and just plain fun! Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more innovative and exciting ideas and activities.