Mystery Birthday: Who traveled the United States with a bag of seeds? (Hint: apple-related play ideas below!)

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Johnny Appleseed! He was born (148 years ago today) as John Chapman, but this produce pioneer earned his nickname many times over. He became famous for planting apple seeds, which he gathered from cider mills and planted during his travels. He tended his orchards on return trips, and happily shared with everyone he met. Celebrate [...]

Pretend Play for “Talk Like a Pirate” Day!

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(by special guest blogger Crystal) Hello, my name is Crystal, and I am the writer of  Growing A Jeweled Rose, a children’s site where I share fun and educational play activities. I am so excited to be sharing this fun playtime with you here today! My little girl Rosie’s imagination has really taken off, and [...]

Val’s Crafty Corner: Painted Puzzle Magnets

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This idea for crafty fun is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Valerie Deneen. Enjoy crafting with your kids! -Valerie Are your puzzles missing a few pieces? Have they been loved to death? Do you want to give them some new life as a gift for a special friend [...]

Two Simple Solar System Projects for your Astronaut-in-Training

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“Back to School” time brings out an amazing curiosity in children, who look to apply what they’re learning in school every chance they can get. One topic that never fails to amaze is the Solar System: endless stars, glowing planets, and the joy of wondering “what exists out there” can make almost any child dream [...]

Val’s Crafty Corner: Let’s Build a City!

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This idea for creative play and crafty fun is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Valerie Deneen. Enjoy crafting with your kids! -Valerie One of our favorite boredom-buster activities is to combine masking tape with wooden blocks to make roads and cities. This time, however, the kids enjoyed decorating the [...]

Melissa & Doug Unit Blocks Week: Mixing It Up with Pretend Play

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Previously during our special “We Love Unit Blocks” week posts, we have shared a bit about the history of Unit Blocks, as well as some ways your little builders can play (and learn!) using various “Blueprint” activities.  Now, let’s have a little fun with pretend play! Blocks come in all shapes and sizes, all colors [...]

Melissa & Doug Unit Blocks Week: Blueprint for Block Fun

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If your little builders are ready to take their block play to another level, try creating a set of “plans” for them to follow.  Here are a few “blueprint” activities we especially like: 1. FLOORPLAN: Trace a building (or wall, shape, or pattern) on a piece of extra-large construction paper and ask the child to [...]

Labor Day Weekend Special from Melissa & Doug: Free Gift!

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It’s that time of year again! For many people, Labor Day weekend means beach time, barbeques, and a last-ditch effort at soaking up summer relaxation before school begins. But for others, Labor Day weekend means something else: awesome sales! If you’re planning on doing some shopping this weekend, then you’ll be happy to hear that [...]

Creative Play Quick Tip: Tell the Worst Story Ever

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It’s the silliest game of one-upmanship ever . . . and a great way to lighten the mood after school, or when things are getting a little too serious! The rules are simple: The first storyteller tells the group a made-up event in his or her day. Everyone after that has to top it. For [...]