Tag Archives: summer activities

All Aboard! Train Fun for All Ages

30 Jun

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All aboard the choo-choo train! Does your child love to play with trains? Although they may seem like basic toys to keep your child occupied, trains can actually boost your child’s development. The following are ways playing with trains can benefit your child’s developmental learning.

Teaches Traffic Safety

Playing with trains can increase your child’s traffic safety awareness. Your child will learn that cars cannot cross train tracks when the level crossing is down to indicate that a train is coming. The LEGO® DUPLO® Town Push Train Set has a level crossing as well as a car to demonstrate this traffic safety concept. Additionally, playing with trains on the Thomas & Friends™ Zipbin® Toybox Playmat™ will help your child visualize and understand traffic safety rules between trains, automobiles, and people. This play mat displays train tracks, roads, businesses, a hospital and more. Your child will love exploring traffic safety in a fun way.

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Strengthens Fine Motor Skills

Encouraging your child to play with trains will also strengthen his or her fine motor skills. Fine motor skills refer to the control of the movements children make using the small muscles in their hands and fingers. These skills are important to many of life’s everyday activities, such as eating with silverware and tying shoelaces. Building a toy train set involves working with small objects to create the set, which develops fine motor skills piece by piece.

Develops Engineering and Problem-Solving Skills

Playing with trains also helps develop engineering and problem-solving skills. Building train sets requires innovative thinking and determination. Your child will learn to use his or her engineering skills to design and build train sets. Additionally, when a problem arises with the train or track development process, your child will use problem-solving skills to fix the issue. The Smartmax® My First Animal Train Set requires engineering and problem-solving skills because not only do children build the train set, they are also faced with the challenge of magnetism. Your child will love using engineering skills to build and problem-solving skills to understand how magnets attract and repel.

The skills learned from pretend play with trains are transferable across many age groups. Accelerate the developmental growth of your child by encouraging him or her to play with trains. Your youngster will appreciate learning from these classic toys!

Fun Ideas for Family Staycations

22 Jun

shutterstock_40209769Are you looking for enjoyable and affordable ways to entertain your child during summer break? Consider having a staycation and making your home the hangout. Staycations can be just as fun as vacations if you are equipped with fun games to play and have exciting activities planned. The following are cheap staycation ideas for your family this summer.

Family Game Night

Include family game night in your summer staycation! Playing games as a family is fun way to bond. Consider playing Claws, Jaws, & Paws during your game night. This two to six player game is simple and entertaining, and your family will love playing it together. Exit Games are also perfect for game night. These strategy games, including Secret Lab, Pharaoh’s Tomb, and Abandoned Cabin, are ultimate brainteasers. Tenzi is also perfect for family game night. Your family will be hooked on this speedy game! Game night is a fun family staycation idea that your family will love.

Minute to Win It Competitions

Host Minute to Win It competitions at your house. Consider having a bubble popping competition as the first Minute to Win It activity. Turn on the Mr. Bubble® Double Bubble Blower Machine and have everyone see how many bubbles they can pop in one minute. We suggest having a couple of rounds so that each participant can have a personal counter to keep tally of the amount of bubbles popped. The person who pops the most bubbles in each round wins. Then, have all the winners compete to see who the ultimate bubble popper is. Another game we recommend is seeing who can build the tallest tower possible in one minute with Click Builders. The person with the tallest tower wins! A final Minute to Win It game we suggest is stacking and unstacking a pyramid with Speed Stacks Rapid Stacking Game. The participant who finishes unstacking his or her pyramid first is the winner. These games are perfect for many ages, so invite all your family and friends!

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Dance Parties

Everyone loves dance parties! Get your children moving and grooving with a dance party during your summer staycation. What’s a dance party without music? Make and build your own speaker with the IllumiCraft™ Light-Up Cell Phone Speaker Dock STEM Kit, then turn up the tunes! You can even download Kidz Bop 25 to your cell phone to play the biggest hits through your speaker. The next most important part of a dance party is the lighting. Jazz up your dance party room with the LockerBrightz™ Geometric Room Light. The whole family will love the good music, good lighting, and good times.

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Backyard Campouts

Make a backyard campout part of your family’s summer staycation. First, you’ll need to pitch a tent right in your backyard. Your family can spend time telling ghost stories and making s’mores by a fire. However, it will get dark outside, so make sure you are prepared with outdoor lights. You can even put BugBrightz™ Magical String Lights in a jar to make your own lantern. Your children will love exploring new adventures with you during your backyard campout this summer.

Make this summer one to remember with family game nights, Minute to Win It competitions, dance parties and backyard camping. The memories your family will make participating in these affordable activities will prove to be priceless. Your child will love enjoying fun family staycations this summer.

Do you have any family staycation ideas to share? Let us know by commenting below!

 

 

Having Fun with (Play) Food!

9 Jun

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The change of season brings yummy summer foods that everyone loves! From food trucks to summer cookouts, your little one will love eating delicious food with you. Exploring different foods can be a learning exploration for your child. Allow your little one to experience making his or her own summer (play) foods.

Food Trucks

Food trucks are a fun part of summer that many people look forward to! Your little one can participate in food truck fun with the Mega Bloks® First Builders™ Food Truck Kitchen Set. This food truck set comes equipped with the tools to make burgers, which is a classic food truck item. However, nowadays many different types of foods are served out of food trucks. Consider allowing your child to think out of the box with a sushi or pasta food truck. Vamp up your child’s food truck set with the Roll, Wrap & Slice Sushi Counter. Serving sushi out of their truck is sure to bring in the crowds. The Prepare & Serve Pasta Set could also be a great addition to your child’s personal food truck. Pasta is always a hit! From burgers to sushi to pasta, your child will love the food truck experience.

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Summer Grilling

Cookouts are so much fun in the summer sun! While experiencing an enjoyable evening with family and friends, your little one is sure to want to join in on the cooking. New Sprouts® Grill It! allows your child to have fun grilling alongside you. Equipped with steak, chicken breast, and burgers, this grill set will help your child learn to be a master griller this summer. After supper, dessert is always served at cookouts, and your little one will definitely want to help with the cake baking. Your child can make his or her own (play) cake in the oven of the Chef’s Play Kitchen & Bonus Accessory Set. Your little one will enjoy getting to be just like you with their personal play kitchen. Playing a part in the summer grilling fun will make your child feel like he or she is an excellent helper.

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The different experiences your child can have with food this summer can serve as teachable moments for you to use as a parent. Introduce your child to different foods by allowing him or her to taste and pretend to make them. Making the experience of trying new foods fun is sure to make your little one more excited about preparing and trying new foods in the future. Your child will love having fun with (play) food this summer!

What’s your child’s favorite (play) food dish to make? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

Sensory Play for the Sand

24 Jun

 

Worried children aren’t learning enough during the summer? Want to give little ones a head start? Encourage kids to keep learning and playing — with sand! Children love to play and explore their senses, and sand is perfect for fun, sensory play.

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 1. Have a treasure hunt!

Have a treasure hunt for letters! Whether “X” marks the spot or treasure is unmarked, the search encourages motor-skill refinement and literacy. Bury something in the sand and allow children to dig around to find it. As they hunt for buried treasure, children will touch and feel the unique textures of sand.

 

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2. Cars & Trucks

Play with cars and trucks on a pretend highway or construction site. Have children explore how the wheels feel over the sand. More ideas for sensory play with sandy construction sites can be found here:

3. Build a Beach!

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Can’t make it to the beach this season? No problem! Bring the beach to you. All you need is sand, water, and shells. Marbles and rocks are fun substitutes if you don’t have shells. Build a sand castle or have your little ones write their names in the sand.

 


No time to DIY? We’ve got you covered. Here are some fun products to make sensory play with sand even more exciting!

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Sand & Water Play Set

This set includes two scoopers, a rake, bucket, sand mill, watering can, and a water pump! Enhance any sandy beach, construction set, or treasure hunt games with these fun toys.

 

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Shape It! Sand

No sand around? No worries. Shape It! Sand is just like the stuff you find on the beach, but it never dries out and is reusable. Bonus: it contains no gluten, dust, or allergens!

Take Playtime Outside!

14 Jun

Summer is here, and along with it comes beautiful (or hot) weather! If you’re a fan of Kaplan Toys on Facebook, you might’ve seen the infographic we posted earlier this week from It’s All Kid’s Play on the benefits of unsupervised outdoor play for your kids. Some of them are:

  • Increased concentration and motor activity
  • Lower chances of childhood obesity
  • Increased feelings of self-worth
  • Less symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD

These sound like all good reasons to get kids active and outdoors! But what will they play with? We’ve got a few suggestions for you.

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Let’s Take It Outside! Teacher-Created Activities for Outdoor Learning  (Item #26123, $15.95 right now on sale!)

This book has over 100 different activities, written for teachers (and parents and caregivers) by teachers, which have been classroom-tested as great outdoor activities! It has activities appropriate for every season that will help your child not only have fun outside, but also learn more while doing so! It is also available in eBook format.

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Shapes Bean Bags, (Item #82776, $19.95)

Use these shape bean bags with some of the activities in Let’s Take It Outside! Beanbag toss activities are great for fine motor and gross motor development, as well as for developing eye-hand coordination. They can help your children learn their shapes while they improve important skills for them to have! This also comes with its own set of activities for more beanbag tossing fun!

Many people go to the beach over the summer with their children–keep them occupied with some fun sand toys such as these!

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Diggers and Dozers, (Item #61146, $16.95)

These sand scoopers are easy for little hands to grip so they can move, dig and push sand around with ease!

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Jumbo Sand Rollers(set of 5: Item #30498, $22.95 $19.95 on sale now!)

Kids will have fun creating designs in the sand with this set of 5 easy-grip sand rollers. Use them on the toughest construction job to build roads and patterns around sandcastles, or use them with paint and paper to create unique designs on art projects!

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Shimmer Shapes Alphabet, (Item #70911, $69.95)

Encourage your children to spell things out in the sand–if they press down enough, it will leave imprints in the sand! Or they can bury them in the sand for a fun game of discovery and exploration. You can even use the Diggers and Dozers from above! These multisensory letters are filled with colorful, sparkly liquid. Highly tactile, they can be used as stencils, hung on washing lines, or scooped out of water.

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Got any favorite summer toys? Let us know in the comments!