Tag Archives: summer

Six Science Investigations for Summer

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Curious how your children can get more involved in science learning this summer? Take advantage of the time off from school to tap into children’s natural curiosity with scientific investigations at home! Whether little ones want to catch up, get ahead, or just have fun, summer is the perfect time for creative, scientific play.

1. Kitchen Creations

Change things up by encouraging children to play with their food! Together, you can make something edible or make food discoveries just for fun. You may want to try the marshmallow challenge: make a marshmallow sink by compacting it so that it is more dense than the water in which it would normally float. Check out more science experiments for the kitchen here:

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Source: Makes and Takes

2. Grow Up

Use the summer sun to help practice planting and gardening! You can grow a whole garden outdoors, or keep a small potted plant on a windowsill inside to study with children. What do plants need to grow? Depending on what you plant, how high will it grow? Find out those answers and more with these gardening ideas here:

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Source: PBS Parents

3.Sponge Fun

Learn about absorption with a sponge! See how the sponge absorbs soap and water indoors, or take it outside to get messier! Compare the sponge to a block or other non-absorbent materials when it is both wet and dry. Why do you think it works like this? You can even turn chores, like washing dishes or a car, into a lesson about absorption. Check out the details of how absorption works and more fun facts about this activity here:

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Science Sparks

4. Tornado in a Jar

Jump into sensory play by creating your own tornado! All you need is a jar, water, and a little bit of dish soap. Now, just shake it up. For more detailed instructions, click on the jar!

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In Leiu of Preschool

5. Stargazing

If it’s a clear night, search for stars in the night sky! You can use a telescope or just look up above. Can you see planets? Any constellations? What are stars made up of? Here are the answers and some cool science facts for kids. Go even deeper into night sky exploration by checking out our related post: Planning a Family Stargazing Night.

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Easy Science for Kids

6. Fireflies

Can’t see the stars from where you are? Fireflies make a great summertime substitute! You can catch these little critters temporarily in acute bug jar (with a hole for airflow) to observe the bugs up close. Find out what makes fireflies glow and other cool facts about fireflies here:

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Smithsonian

For more summer science fun, visit our science section!

Making Math Fun for Summer!

28 Jul

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Teaching math to your kids isn’t always the easiest, especially if children already have the mindset that math “isn’t fun.” However, with the right toys and a little imagination, math can be as fun as you make it! We have five ways you can incorporate math into everyday learning, so that children will find it fun!

1. Make It a Movie Night!

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Movie nights are always a fun way to spend summer evenings, especially if you have good company and snacks ready to go. Why not add math learning to the mix with Count ‘Em Up Popcorn? This popcorn-themed sorting game will leave kids entertained as they build number sense and recognition. It’s a great way to put restless energy to good use as it keeps little hands busy during the movie!

2. Create a Play Store!

Want a fun way to teach simple addition and subtraction? Create your own play store! Whether it’s your child’s stuffed animals, storybooks, or frequently used household items, allotting price tags to different items and putting your child in charge of the Teaching Cash Register is a great way to teach money sense. Furthermore, it’s a fun dramatic play experience that can lead to fun-filled family interactions!

3. Take Shapes on the Go!

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Taking a road trip for the summer? Put those hours to good use by bringing along shape sorters! The Counting Shape Sorter and the Multishape Sorter (9 Pieces) are both great toys for taking in the car to teach math skills as children roll along! Children will learn colors and shapes all while developing problem-solving skills as they count pieces out onto the appropriate pegs.

4. Encourage Sorting for Nature Finds!

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Sorting is a great skill for toddlers to learn as preschool approaches. Enjoy the season by taking the concept outside! Go on a nature walk with your kids and have them collect small items for sorting. Items can vary from shiny rocks, to acorns, to fallen feathers. Once you’ve finished your nature walk, bring your child’s finds inside, come up with categories, and ask them to sort the items into Sorting Trays. Once finished, ask children to count how many items they have in each category for addition math learning.

 5. Cool Off with Number Fishing!

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Spending your summer days by the pool or lake? Take along the Giant Fishing Set for bonus math learning! Children will build hand-eye coordination as they snag different numbered fish and total their catches! Ask children to sort fish into even and odd numbers or multiples of five for addition math learning.

We hope you’re finding time for math this summer with your kids! What’s your favorite way to make math fun? Let us know by commenting below or sharing on our Facebook page.

Revving It up for Summer! Ride-Alongs for Kids

7 Jul

shutterstock_285562799Are your child’s feet always running one hundred miles per hour? Help them burn off some of that energy with our favorite ride-alongs for kids! We have five suggestions your children will love to race down the driveway, around the neighborhood, or even in the house! From Cozy Coupes to Micro Kickboards, check out our favorites below:

1. Micro Maxi Scooters!

Pick a color and hang on tight! The Micro Maxi Kickboards are the perfect ride-along, providing stability as kids roll. Invest in the Micro Mini 3-in-1 Scooter for a toy that grows with your child to provide years of exercise and fun! Choose from blue, pink, and green below:

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2. Cozy Coupes!

Vroom, vroom! Watch as kids take off in their very own Cozy Coupe! Choose from the stylish Sport Edition for speed, the Tikes Patrol Edition for police practice, the Truck Edition for some serious four-wheeling, or the Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Edition to keep with tradition:

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3. Little Tikes Go & Grow Lil’ Rolling Giraffe!

Build balance and coordination with the easy-to-ride and adjustable rolling giraffe! The rolling giraffe has a special grow-along seat that makes adjustments easy, perfect for children ages 1-3.

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4. Wheely Bugs!

Looking for a set of wheels appropriate for infants? Then Wheely Bugs are just for you! The Bee and Lady Bug Wheely Bugs help promote gross motor skills and provide an added layer of sponge for padded protection. Babies will love sliding backwards, forwards, side to side, and round and round!

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5. Motorcycle!

This little red bike is perfect for active toddlers! Four wheels provide balance while the realistic headlights and taillights make little ones feel like real-life motorcyclists! And of course, easy-grip handles are included for little hands.

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Don’t forget the helmets! We also have an excellent selection of toddler-sized helmets to keep children safe while they ride this summer:

Outdoor Games the Whole Family Can Play!

30 Jun

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Summer is the perfect season to get outside with the kids for fun family engagement! Active play is an important part of early childhood and becomes more engaging when parents are involved. We have a few games you can play with your kids that will leave you both learning and laughing together!

1. Four Square Madness

Have a driveway or empty pavement outside? Turn a hot, boring day into active play that will build fine motor skills in children by playing Four Square! Break out the chalk and playground balls for hours of fun as you teach children important lessons like boundaries, control, and patience while others players finish the game once a child is “out.” Find official Four Square rules here: http://www.squarefour.org/rules. Don’t have chalk? No worries! Find yours here; don’t forget to check out our selection playground balls below:

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2. Getting the Garden in Shape! 

Gardening is a great way to spend time together with your children as you teach them the importance of nutrition and sustainability. It can be hard to know how little ones can help when it comes to heavy gardening tools; that’s why we have just the thing! Find child-sized gardening tools below along with a tote they can carry to hold any yard tools you may need:

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3. Learning with Bean Bags!

Bean bags are always a fantastic way to get the whole family involved, however, with the addition of letters or numbers, they can also be used to bring classroom lessons outside. From spelling to counting, make up your own learning games with these easy-to-pack learning bean bags:

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4. Building Sand Castles with Molds!

Whether you’re taking a vacation to the beach or simply have a sand box in the backyard, sand encourages sensory play and is a great way to encourage building in children. See how big of a city your child can build or encourage creativity with the creation of canals or nature decorations like leafs for flags. The possibilities are endless when it comes to a child’s creativity!

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What are your child’s favorite ways to learn outside? Let us know by commenting below! Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest board: Outdoor Learning with Kids! 

Summer Fun with Santurian Balls!

9 Jun

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Celebrate summer by taking playtime outside! Children can stay entertained for hours when balls are adapted into play. Different types of balls are used by children around the world to supplement imagination and encourage healthy habits as they participate in physical fitness. We have two game suggestions from Let’s Take It Outside that we think your children will love:

Step 1: Pick out your Santurian ball!

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Step 2: Get outside and play!

1. Bottle Bowling

Learning Objectives: To recognize letters and practice large motor skills by rolling a ball toward a target.

Materials:

  • Playground ball
  • Craft paper, cut into six 5” x 15” strips
  • Glue or tape
  • Markers
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Six 2-liter soda bottles with caps
  • Water

Preparation

  • Write a different letter onto each paper strip. Use letters the children are learning, and write the letters large enough to be seen easily from a distance.
  • Wrap each paper around the middle of a bottle and attach it with glue or tape.
  • Fill each bottle with about 3 inches of water. Cap tightly.
  • Draw a bowling lane with chalk on the pavement, approximately 3 feet wide and 8 feet long.
  • Set up the bottles (pins) at one end. Arrange the pins in a triangle shape with one bottle in front, two bottles behind it, and three bottles in the back row.

What to Do

  1. Show the children how to roll the ball toward the target with one hand to the side or with both hands between their legs.
  2. When a child knocks over one of the bottles, ask him or her to name the letter written on it.
  3. Allow each child to keep rolling the ball until he or she knocks over one or more pins before moving on to the next player.
  4. Reset the pins and proceed until all children have a sufficient number of turns.

Pro Tip: Ball retrieval will be easier if you are able to set up your alley with a wall or other barrier directly behind the pins.

2. Hoop Play

Learning Objectives: To enhance balance, coordination, large motor skills, imaginative play, and listening skills.

Materials:

  • Playground balls
  • Construction cones
  • Rope
  • Several large plastic hoops
  • String or Velcro strips

Preparation

  • Set up a variety of stations for the children to practice their motor skills

What to Do:

  1. Hang a hoop on a tree branch or from a piece of playground equipment. Have the children toss a ball through the hoop to each other. This will help them work on catching and ball control.
  2. Tie several hoops together with string or Velcro strips and place them flat on the ground. Let the children practice hopping in the hoops like in hopscotch, trying to get the ball from one end of the course to the other. Pass off the ball once they make it through.
  3. Encourage the children to roll hoops up and down a hill or incline or stand a distance from a fence and roll the hoops into the fence. How far can they roll the hoop before it falls over? Can children toss the balls through the hoop while it’s rolling?
  4. Using construction cones, let the children toss the hoops like horseshoes.
  5. Encourage children to make up their own additional games.

Pro Tip: Hanging the hoops at different levels is also a great way to work on aim and ball control in soccer. Just make sure you have something or someone set up behind for ball retrieval!

What are your favorite ball games to play outside? Share with us by commenting below.

5 Water Toys to Take on Summer Vacation

27 May

With summer on the horizon, you may be considering taking your family on a road trip to the beach. Whether your child is playing in the pool, splashing in the lake, or taking in the ocean waves, we have five toys you can’t miss to ensure they keep learning while having fun in the sun!

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 1. Color Play Penguins 

Color Play Penguins are great for teaching children color recognition as they match each penguin with the appropriate inner tube based on colored bowties! Best of all, the toys float and are small enough to easily pack in a beach bag.

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2. Number Ducks 

Math learning becomes much more enjoyable when paired with water play! Number Ducks are the perfect way to teach toddlers number recognition. The dots on the ducks’ backs make counting, sorting, and simple equations fun and easy!

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 3. Letter Link Crabs 

Make small words, work on letter recognition, and even go fishing with Letter Link Crabs! Children can squeeze and release crabs to fill with water, making them a great water toy for fine motor skill development and early literacy.

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 4. Scoop and Pour Tug Boats (Set of 2) 

These brightly colored tug boats are great for small hands. Toddlers can fill up the boats and pour water from the hole on front or let it seep out the drain hole on deck. The boats also offer an easy-to-grip handle to make bringing water back for sandcastle building easy!

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 5. Underwater Explorer Boat 

Children can learn science on the go with the Underwater Explorer Boat! Featuring a magnified floor, the boat enables kids to see beneath any water surface as they explore different ecosystems. What will your child discover?

Finally, as small children learn to swim, a great way to begin teaching them is through the use of swim vests. Browse our brightly-colored selection here:  http://buff.ly/1GBn6U0.

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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.