Remember that your preschoolers need to practice moving and coordinating their small hands – their fine motor skills. You can engage them in fun, playful practice and they won’t even know they’re learning! Here are 8 engaging activities for your tots.
EverEarth Activity Walker
Tongs and Pom-Poms
Pipe Cleaner Spider
Don’t these look fun! Give them a try and let us know what you think!
It’s back to school time. It’s also time to get kids back into math play and learning! There are many great math games for kids that are so fun kids won’t notice how much they’re learning. Here are our favorites.
Fruity Fun Pie
Shape Sorting Cube
Mix and Match Doughnuts
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
Numbers and Counting Games
Shopping Cart Dash
Pesky Pirates Game
Creative Peg Puzzle – Numbers
Shape Sorting Cube
Pink Telly the Teaching Time Clock
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As soon as your child can hold a crayon, he or she becomes an artist, drawing pictures that look like scribbles or raindrops or galloping herds of horses.
Help young children learn to draw.
- Show how to make lines squiggly or thick, soft or heavy.
- Show how to decide what is most important to draw and what are details for later or to skip.
- Model going back to a drawing and adding on or improving it.
- Use drawings to spark conversation and learning.
- Show how different art supplies can be used.
Developmentally, kids progress from scribbles to representing forms to detailed realism. See the chart of developmental stages of art.
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I’m a big believer in modeling, in other words, doing what you want your child to do to show him. So, sit down and start drawing. Then, invite your child to draw next to you suggesting that he picks something else to draw than you.
Keep art supplies handy and accessible so you can find your artist moments throughout the day!
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What are your favorite art supplies? What does your child love to draw?
Want to keep your kids over five years moving? Then you need a balance board and this cool Electro Balance Board is the wooden Simon Says of Balance Boards. Kids follow along to the increasingly hard directions and will improve memory, speed, and agility. Can’t be too bad for those core muscles either!
Oh, and did I mention it’s tons of fun?
(I bet you’ll want to try it, too.)
It’s won the Oppenheim Best Toy and the Better Homes and Gardens Best Toy!
Are you as excited about the Olympics as we are? I can’t wait to see the opening ceremony, gymnastics, and swimming. How about you?
Engage your kids in the Olympics with these activities and crafts from the best kid-friendly bloggers.
Olympic Activities for Kids
Olympic Games Scavenger Hunt from Kid World Citizen
Kid Bloggers Go Olympics Blog Hop – lots of ideas!
Olympics 2012 Coloring Pages
Teachable Moments in the Olympics from Cheerios and Lattes
Games, crafts, and generally awesome Olympic printables from Tinyme
Watch the Olympics online.
Get your kids digging in the dirt, planting seeds and plants, and observing plant growth.
Kids can plant small plants.
They might want their own tools.
Kids can help water the plants. That helps them observe daily growth.
What else can you do with plants and gardening? Take leaves and petals and make stained glass art. Or you can make perfume or press flowers.
Consider keeping a gardening notebook to track growth and observations. Here’s a printable gardening notebook.
NurtureStore, an amazing blog for parents and kids, just published a most fantastic eBook called The Garden Classroom: 52 kids gardening activities. I’ve read it and LOVE it! I think you will, too. Go check it out.
Have you gardened with your kids before?
Cooking with kids teaches important skills — plus it’s fun and yummy!
Let your kids see the recipe and gather the ingredients. This helps them know what combines to make something new.
Then, show them how to measure which is great fraction practice. Even harder, see if they can double the recipe amounts.
Mixing helps motor skills and strength.
Set the timer and bake. It’s a great way to figure out elapsed time — and practice patience.
At Imagine Toys, we have an easy Ice-Cream Maker that would be a great choice for cooking with your kids.
I keep several Curious Chef Kits stocked up for birthday gifts. (My girls just informed me that they want one, too!)
What will you cook today?
Snack Attack, a ThinkFun matching game, helps kids play while practicing visual discrimination.
Crank the spinner and watch the circular snack items plop onto the platter. Match your own plate’s tokens with the ones on the big platter. Whoever collects the most tokens wins!
It’s fun, fast, learning!
When’s the last time you made homemade play dough? There are lots of ways to play and learn with play dough including creativity, fine motor skills, imagination, and counting.
Cooked Play Dough Recipe & Directions:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tbspn oil
t Tbsp cream of tarter
Mix and stir over medium heat.
. . .
Gather a box of play dough supplies like cookie cutters and other things to poke, smooth, and texture!
Learning With Play Dough
* Make the alphabet with cookie cutters or by rolling the play dough into lines.
* Pretend play bakery.
* Practice fine motor skills like cutting.
* Pretend play birthday.
* Have different plastic animals make tracks across the playdough.
* Make snowmen.
By: Maureen Denard
Almost every parent has bought their toddler a new toy expecting him to completely love it, only to find out that he seems to enjoy the box that it came in more than the toy itself. While there is no way to really avoid this, it is important to evaluate the toys you’re considering purchasing for your toddler before handing over the money for them. When shopping for toddler toys, consider the following things before you buy:
- Does the child already have similar toys? When shopping for toys, does it seem like you are attracted to the same type repeatedly? Make sure to have an idea of what you already own before you go shopping so you don’t purchase the same toy or something similar.
- Do you have room for the toy? Sometimes toys are so cool that you buy them without thinking about the logistics of getting them home or storing them once you get them there. It’s especially important to ask yourself if you have room when shopping at garage sales and consignment sales. If you see a large toy that is marked at a really good price instead of impulsively buying it think about where and how your toddler is going to use the toy first. If you have room for it and it will get good use then it will probably be a good purchase. But if you’re just enamored with the cool factor of the toy then you may want to rethink buying it.
- Are there any educational benefits? Not all toys have to be educational, but it’s a nice perk if they are. Toddler brains are little sponges and if their toys aren’t educational then it’s just a missed opportunity for them to learn something new. Toddlers don’t see learning as a chore. To them it’s fun!
- Is the toy age appropriate? One of the most important things to consider when buying a toddler toy is to make sure that it’s appropriate for the toddler to play with. Reading the recommended ages listed on the toy packaging can help you determine if it may be appropriate for your toddler. Even if the toy looks simple to use, if it is too advanced or requires him to have the fine motor skills he just hasn’t developed yet he won’t enjoy it and it will collect dust until he gets old enough to play with it.
- Is the toy recalled? It’s not uncommon for parents to get toys from friends and family that are hand-me-downs, or for parents to purchase toys at garage sales or consignment shops to save money. Make sure that the toys you inherit or purchase were not recalled due to a safety issue. Don’t rely on others to catch these recalls. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website before giving your child secondhand toys to play with.
- Does it require batteries? Before purchasing a toddler toy, consider how many batteries it takes. The cost of replacing batteries adds up fast. As a general rule, the more a toy does by itself, the less a toddler can do with it.
- How will the child use it? Take a moment to consider the way in which the child will use the toy that you purchase for him. If the toy does a lot for the child, what is left for the child to do? If you’re looking to purchase a toy to keep in the car for long rides, will the toy you’re considering be a good choice? These are important to questions to ask before making a purchase.
- Is the toy safe? Just because a toy has not been recalled, doesn’t mean that it’s safe for your child. Every child is different and you will need to consider your own child and his developmental level before deeming that a toy would be appropriate for him.
- Has the toy been recommended? Instead of buying a toy on impulse, it’s a good idea to research what kind of toys parents and experts are recommending. Many times certain toys will be endorsed by pediatricians or recommended by your nanny or by friends who are also moms. Consider what others are saying about the toys they have and the ones you are thinking about purchasing. Reading reviews from other parents can also be helpful in determining if the toy is worth purchasing.
- Does the toy encourage your child to use his imagination? As toys become more and more sophisticated, sometimes they just do too much. Basic toys like blocks and plastic food give toddlers the opportunity to pretend and to use their imagination. Is a mini kitchen better if the phone actually rings and the knobs on the oven really turn? Or can the child use their imagination and have them occur in the world of make believe? According to a study conducted by the Children’s Research Laboratory, there’s a direct link between imagination and cognitive learning.
While giving your toddler new toys can be fun, think through your purchases before you buy. When you do, you give yourself the opportunity to consider if the toy is really worth buying, or if it’s a toy that won’t be missed if you don’t purchase it.
Maureen Denard the author for Find a Nanny - She loves to write article and ideas that parents and nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through Find a Nanny. Have more questions or need tips? Check out the Find a Nanny blog here: http://www.findananny.net/