Showing posts with label General. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General. Show all posts

3 Tips for Keeping Kids Active During the Winter

It is easy for kids, and even for adults, to become more sedentary during the winter months due to the weather and shorter daylight hours. But just because it’s cold outside with either rain or snow, there's no reason that your kids can’t be active and have fun doing it.

Active Fun Indoors
Indoor Fun
The season of winter can bring about other ways of keeping physically active, especially when this is the season of more baking and eating during the holidays.

Preparing some ideas in advance of not only entertaining your child, but giving your child a healthy lifestyle by being active, can make winter more enjoyable for everyone in the family.

1) Move to Dance Games or Videos

Thanks to the advancement in technology, there are many videos and dance games that can be played on your television set. They come with the latest music that your child is sure to love, which will make it almost impossible for your child to just lay on the couch.

The dance games or videos engage your child in a physical activity without him or her realizing it. All your child is thinking about is winning the game and dancing to the latest popular music. You may even want to get in on the fun with your child to encourage him or her to be active. It can benefit both of you.

2) Play Active Board Games

There are many active board games available at your local stores that encourage players to actually get up and move around. For example, the very popular Twister game has been around for years, but it still brings smiles and fun to everyone that plays.

Board Games Keeps Kids Active During the Winter

Games that encourage your child to move around and not just sit still or lay down are more intriguing for your child. It is always fun to get up and move. Even a game of Pictionary encourages your child to get up and draw and move about, increasing his or her activity with his or her knowledge and creativity.

3) Bring out the Crafts

Winter is a perfect time to bring out the creativity in your child. Crafting is a hands-on activity that engages a child’s brain and keeps him or her from becoming bored or laying on the couch watching television all day.

If you are unsure on what crafting activity to do, take your child with you to a craft store and let your child pick something that he or she would like to make. There is painting, clay, or paper activities, to name a few, that allow your child to tap into his or her creativity and make items that he or she can use, such as jewelry or even model cars.

If you don’t engage your child with something fun and interesting, he or she will choose the television when spending time indoors during the cold winter months.

An exercise video or machine is great for adults, but not so exciting for children, especially if they are young.

The key is to plan ahead for winter activities, so when the cold sets in you will have a cupboard full of exciting activities for your child and your family to participate in.

If you keep these items just for winter, they are even more exciting for children, because it is like everything is brand new or it can be part of a family tradition.

FUN Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash 
Board Game Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Understanding The Developmental Benefits Of An Activity Play Mat

Child Playing on the Floor
Activity play mats are becoming a more popular toy among new parents, and anyone else who cares for an infant.

Not only do these toys have an appealing look, but they also offer many developmental benefits for newborns all the way up to infants who can stand.

The following information brings understanding to the developmental benefits of an activity play mat.

Benefits For Ages 0 to 4 Months

A child's physical development starts from top to bottom. At first, a baby can only move it's face and head, and once it reaches around a year old, their feet come into the picture and they begin to crawl and/or walk. Newborns may not be able to focus on specific objects or have full range of motion in their neck, but they can see color, shades and changes in patterns.

An activity play mat not only stimulates their vision but also their auditory skills in those that have sounds and music. As the infant begins to grow, these lights and colors call their attention and motivate them to move their head, hands and arms which helps strengthen their muscles, improve coordination and encourage grabbing movements. After two months, babies can use these mats during tummy time.

Moving Babies: 5 to 9 Months

Around five months of age, babies can be propped up using a pillow, blanket, or boppy to begin developing their core muscles which will eventually help them to sit unassisted. Activity play mats provide a soft surface in case of an occasional topple over and also hold baby's attention, distracting them from the fact they are actually sitting up. If the mat offers hanging objects, babies can be laid on their backs and given a chance to stretch their legs while kicking the toys. Tummy time can now be more interactive while the infant rotates on his or her belly to touch and grab hanging toys and start using the muscles they will need to crawl.

Older Babies 10 Months to 1 Year

Mobile babies can still enjoy an activity play mat. Moving any hanging toys or noise makers to underneath the mat, make babies search for them and have the 'surprise' of finding them. Mats with sturdy arcs allow infants to pull themselves up without being afraid to fall or land on the soft surface. Mirrors, ribbons, zippers and any other moving article on the mat improves their dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Activity play mats give parents and children the opportunity to learn and play together. While rattles may lose their appeal, activity play mats entertain children for months, or even years, while providing many developmental benefits.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

A Guide To The Benefits Of Construction Toys For Kids

Sometimes, the best toys for children are the most simple.

In the years before electronic devices, and even in the years before we had electricity, children still enjoyed playing with toys like blocks, puzzles and, later on, Lincoln Logs.

Don't think that these toys are outdated: they still come with many benefits for children.

They're Suitable For All Ages And Genders

Construction toys aren't specific to any age group or gender. Infants may enjoy grabbing or pushing the oddly shaped pieces, while older children can enjoy building replicas of cities or objects.

Boys can build garages for their cars, airplanes, and army bases, while girls can use the same materials to build a farm for their animals, a castle for Barbie or a house for other small toys and dolls.

Since most blocks and Legos can be purchased in neutral or gender appropriate colors, it makes it easier for children to play together and simple enough for adults to be able to join in on the fun.

Child Playing With Lego Blocks

They Help Develop Social And Verbal Skills

Kids love showing off their work. While constructing objects, parents can ask their children how they make it, what they used or ask for their child to give them instructions on how to make another one.

Not only does this encourage social skills, but it also helps children give and understand directions, practice verbalization and feel like they are the teacher for once, instead of always being the student.

When children build together, they obviously have to make a group effort to accomplish their project. By doing so, they learn how to work as a team, share and communicate without ever knowing it.

They Improve Motor And Problem Solving Skills

The act of grasping, snapping, clicking, stacking and moving blocks, logs, magnets or any other type of building toy promotes hand-eye coordination. Children will normally compare pieces before trying to connect or stack them, which will teach kids about depth perception, and help them practice recognizing the same and different.

Older children must use math to count the pieces they will need, and reading skills when instructions are included to build a more elaborate toy. Children with a learning disability especially benefit from the development of these skills.

Whatever your reason may be for purchasing construction toys, you can be assured that building your child's skills for the future is as simple as child's play.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Puzzling At Play: How Puzzle Games Help Your Kids To Learn

From the wooden puzzles of yesteryear to the digital puzzles of today, one thing remains: puzzle games are as popular as ever. One reason for this enduring popularity could be the way that puzzle games combine fun with a challenge.

Puzzle games are something for children to become engrossed in, taking concentration and perseverance to complete.

Entertainment isn't the only thing that matters, however. 

Most parents are searching for fun ways to make learning fun for their kids, and puzzle toys are the perfect tool for this.

There are all sorts of educational benefits to puzzle toys. Firstly, puzzles of all kinds help children to develop their ability to think through problems.

This involves learning how to plan ahead, and also requires them to practice their ability to remember sequences and patters of all sorts.

The logical thinking required in order to solve problems...

...also means learning to discriminate and think critically. These skills give children the ability to decide whether a possible solution is going to work, and getting it right helps to build a child's confidence in their own ideas.

Puzzles aren't just about dry logic, though. Many puzzles can be solved in several ways, and the process of solving a puzzle is as much about creativity as about logic.

When a child gets stuck with a puzzle game they have to figure out new ways to approach it. This requires them to come up with their own ideas, encouraging them to think creatively.

Often, puzzle games require children to combine the skills of logical thinking and creativity with spatial awareness.

A Rubik's cube, chess, or Sudoku all require that children are able to understand spatial arrangements as well as remember patterns and plan ahead.

Chess and Rubik's cube puzzles also have no single solution, which further emphasizes creative thinking.

Very young children gain an additional benefit from puzzle games. By having to hold small objects and position them with accuracy, they develop their fine-motor skills. These skills are what underpin a child's ability to write.

Finally, puzzle games teach a child how to be patient and how to persevere. Puzzles can take a while to complete, often continuing through many play sessions.

They can also become infuriating, and it's when things just don't seem to work out that a child learns most about how to persevere and the benefits of being patient.

Problem solving and creative thinking skills are important for any child, whether they end up becoming math whizzes or football stars.

Even team sports require that players use these skills, so there's no reason not to encourage your child to play puzzle games. And, with so many kinds of puzzle games available, there are bound to be some that your child will enjoy.

Photo by Olav Ahrens R√łtne on Unsplash

Encourage Security and Happiness for Your Child

Security and happiness are some of the important parts of an individual’s development from childhood to adulthood. What you establish and learn when you are young is what will determine your feelings and habits as an adult and how you live your life.

There is no doubt that everyone wants to feel secure with themselves and live a happy life free from stress, uneasiness, and even depression. As parents, we play the most important role in the lives of our children. 

We are the ones capable of teaching them security and happiness, and we all want the best for our children. So let’s try to understand these concepts a little better.

Why Outdoor Play Is Crucial For Children

Group of Children Playing Outdoors
Children, and adults, now seem to be perfectly content spending hours in front of a television, computer or video game.

Most kids never learn how to play Kick the Can and never hear their mothers complain about grass stains.

They have forgotten how it feels to run through the sprinkler during summer vacation.

In this era of technology, learn why outdoor play is crucial for children.

1) Builds Social Skills

When kids play outdoors, they are almost never alone, kids playing in the street seem to flock to each other. Children learn to work in teams, how to make decisions and be more tolerant of others. Most kids don't pay attention to how much another kid makes, where they went to school or if they plan on opening a 401k plan, kids just want to play. When kids do play outdoors alone, they learn to be more independent, use their imagination and entertain themselves.

2) Combats Childhood Obesity

Children who play outdoors are exercising without even knowing it. Any kid will tell you that they would rather play tag or dodge ball for hours, than do jumping jacks or a timed mile run. Jumping rope, throwing water balloons, or just playing in the sand all burn more calories than sitting in front of the TV. The exposure to sunlight also combats depression and the desire to overeat. When a child comes in from a hard day of play, they are more apt to crave juices, fruit or even cold tap water, more than a can of soda whereas sitting in front of the computer, they'll probably grab the closest thing on hand.

3) Less Stress And Restlessness

Sometimes kids don't realize they need to play outside. They could easily pass the entire day playing video games, but at night they can't seem to sleep. Parents also need time without kids around, even if they are only 10 feet away on the front porch. When kids play outdoors, or even just sit outdoors, the fresh air wears them out faster and parents are less stressed when they have quiet time for themselves and a calmer child indoors.

Unfavorable Climate?

Some cities are just not conducive to outdoor play due to the weather or the location. Many schools, rec centers, and dance studios offer open gym periods. Even walking laps in a shopping mall can be a nice substitute every once in a while. If a child doesn't seem to like the idea of playing alone or playing outside, parents should get out there and play with them! They can show their kids that they honestly were a child at one point in their life and can still play like one too.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

The Cardboard Box Effect: The World's Most Popular Toy

It's an old joke that, when presented with new toys, children end up playing more with the boxes that they came in than the toys themselves. There is also a lot of truth in this, as many parents can attest to!

Robot Made from Cardboard Boxes
Why is this? 

The obvious answer seems to be that a cardboard box is so simple and versatile, and free of predetermined limitations. Like a blank slate, a cardboard box can become almost anything once it is the object of a child's imagination. A cave or tunnel, a ship or a house, there are so many ways a child can interact with a cardboard box. 

This is especially true of larger boxes which are bigger than they are, as these offer playing potentials that smaller toys don't.

If you ever find yourself stuck for ideas about how to keep your child happy, a cardboard box could well be the answer.

Here are some suggestions for entertaining your child using nothing more than a good old cardboard box!

Understanding How Children Learn Balance and Coordination

Babies, toddlers, young children, adults, and the elderly never stop learning about how to improve balance and coordination in their life. The skills of balance and coordination are important in our daily activities, movements, and in the prevention of physical injury. These are skills that stick with us all our lives, so it’s important that children start learning as early as possible!

Child Balancing in the Street
What is Balance and Coordination?

Balance requires control of the arms and legs, as well as the torso and head.

Every part of the body must be balanced and stable, as it plays a crucial role in the activities of sitting, standing, bending, and standing on one foot.

The skill of coordination allows your child to engage in smooth and controlled body movements.

It includes the correct speed, direction, and tensing of the body’s muscles to become well-coordinated.

These coordination skills, in combination with balance, give your child the ability to move smoothly

Why are Balance and Coordination Important in Life?

Through proper development of balance and coordination, your child will be able to increase his or her functional activities well into adulthood.

Build And Store Block And Activity Table Review

Build And Store Block And Activity Table Review

Activity tables not only provide a space where kids can truly get creative, they're also a welcome addition to the home for parents who are having a hard time getting their children to stay neat! The Step2 Build And Store Block And Activity Table is the perfect solution for parents who want an organized play table that'll encourage kids to play with their Lego and get creative on the table rather than the floor!

Features Of The Step2 Build And Store Block And Activity Table 

  • Provides a large workspace for arts, crafts and Lego, 
  • Plenty of storage thanks to four cups, two removable trays and four bins, 
  • Includes two building block base plates for Lego and Mega Bloks, 
  • Comes with a matching plastic stool, 
  • Recommended for ages 3-7

6 Tips for Buying Your Child a Sturdy School Backpack They Will Love!

With homework assignments, textbooks, and even electronic devices that a child has to carry to and from school, a good school backpack for your child must stand up to this demand. A good backpack is one that your child likes, one that’s durable (to reduce the frequency at which you need to buy new bags), and one that’s comfortable for your child carrying around their things all day.

Playstation 4 vs Xbox One Face-off!

More than any other time of the year, the holiday season is an important and exciting one for gamers all around the world and this one in particular promises to be one of the biggest we've ever seen. 

Nintendo may have gotten the early edge in with its release of the Wii U late last year but it's this season that the titans of high definition, cutting edge gaming will be going head to head trying to get into your homes and, more importantly, into your wallets. 

Whether you've been following the release news word for word as the information becomes available or you're a new entry into the crowd watching these two gaming giants raise all the hype they can, here's everything you'll need to know for the upcoming launches of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One

Playstation 4

Sony's powerhouse PC-styled mega-console is set for official release on November 15th, 2013 putting it a full week ahead of the Xbox One. 

Stuffed Animal Toys for Kids: The Benefits

Stuffed toys are usually one of the first toys your child will received. It makes perfect sense as the soft texture and body of a stuffed animal is safe for your little one to play with. without the fear little of injury. It's cuddly and cute nature makes it part your child's early companionship development.

Stuffed toys can provide benefits that no other toy can come close to. Here are some below:

Toddler Benefits

The feeling of a soft, stuffed animal changes its role when toddlers are between the ages of two and three. This is when your child begins to learn the characteristics of empathy and kindness as can be transferred to real animals.

Thinking and Problem Solving in Children: How to Develop It

Thinking and problem solving skills begin from infancy and continue to develop into adulthood. Understanding this development can help you to become a better parent, as these are skills that will help kids become better adults. 

What is Thinking and Problem Solving?

Thinking is the analyzing of how different parts that make up the whole of something will interact together for an overall result. It is about looking inward for reasoning based on your own beliefs and the actions you take. It is simply the process of evaluating information received.

Problem solving is the ability to solve problems that are not familiar. It also involves the identification and the asking of pertinent questions for extra clarity, in order to reach solutions that work for everyone involved.

Listening and Communication Skills in Children: A Guide for Development

Listening and communication both verbally and non-verbally,  begins the moment your child is born. Some even believe that these developmental skills begin to develop when a child is still in the womb. Either way, the more you talk to your unborn or newborn baby, the better listener and communicator he or he will be.

Be a Better Listener

5 Simple Ways to Find the Best Toys and Prices Online

With a new website talking about Toys, Toys and More Toys, it makes perfect sense to kick off the blog with some tips on how to find the best deals online. If you are reading this now, chances are you are keen to do your shopping online as well. It's a great time saver and it's getting easier and easier to find what you need. With the huge amount of new shopping sites popping up all the time, it's never been a better time to let the fingers do the searching and getting out those credit cards!

Toy Store
Lots of Toys...