From Melissa: The Story Behind Our Magnetic Responsibility Chart

Earlier today, we discussed how to help your child develop their own personalized chore chart to reflect specific abilities and goals. We’ve heard from many of you that the Melissa & Doug Magnetic Responsibility Chart has been a very useful tool in helping your child select (and stick with) specific goals. Want to know the [...]

4 Keys to Customizing Your Child’s Chores

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Chore: the word itself sounds like a downer, but teaching your children about responsibility and good behavior is one of the most important lessons they will learn growing up. However, as we’re celebrating in Personality Week, every child is unique–with different attitudes, preferences, and abilities. So, how do you create a chore chart that is [...]

Parent Watercooler: Starting Dinner Conversations

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These creative conversation tips are brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington. Make everyday activities an adventure!  -Zina Kick off great conversations tonight to cement a family tradition of spending time with each other, and establish family habits of communicating face to face–instead of via high-tech gadgets. Try [...]

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 [...]

Creative Play Quick Tip: Dance to the Music

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We love looking for ways to build key skills through play—and music play is no exception! Experimenting with volume, rhythm, pitch, tone, movement, and repetition is a terrific way to build key skills such as fine motor, gross motor, auditory discrimination, patterning, matching, and much more. But we admit: When we see a collection of [...]

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 [...]

Playtime Challenge: One Hour of Play

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Here’s an old quote to inspire a new way to play: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato (427BCE–347BCE) This holiday weekend, commit to spend an hour at play to rediscover the little ones in your lives. For 60 minutes, switch off phones, [...]

The After-School Wind-Down: How to Open-Up with Coloring and Drawing Projects

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With the start of the school year comes whole slew of new social challenges: getting to know new friends, navigating different routines, and meeting the challenges of a brand-new grade level. What can parents do to help? Create a safe haven at home with the help of low-key creative play. Here are some ideas: what [...]

Camp Sunny Patch Session 12: Storytelling with Stamps

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Camp Sunny Patch Session 12 is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by Camp Counselor (and Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador) Amy Mascott. (Click here for a printable version.) Stamps are often used for card-making, picture-creating, and rainy days. But we’ve stretched our stamp sets (and our imaginations!) for this Camp Sunny Patch [...]