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 on September 26, 1774 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 Johnny [...]

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 [...]

Team Up with Your Kids to Master School-Morning Routines!

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With the school year right around the corner (for some of you, it’s already here) now is the perfect time to practice school-morning routines. How can you get the kids (and yourself!) out the door on time? Add some planning, add some fun, and subtract some of the stress from the morning rush! PLAN Post [...]

Camp Sunny Patch is Always In Session

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Have you been reading our Camp Sunny Patch posts but just haven’t had the time to play along? Maybe because of family vacations or activities for your kids out of the house? Well that’s not a problem–because unlike registered camps that go by their schedule, Camp Sunny Patch is all about you and your schedule. [...]

Camp Sunny Patch Session 6: Let’s Host a Talent Show!

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Camp Sunny Patch Session 6 is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by Camp Counselor (and Melissa and Doug Blog Ambassador) Stacy Teet. (Click here for a printable version.) We’ve created and crafted, played outdoors and gotten soaked. Now we’ll let our campers really shine! This week we’ll walk you through everything you need to know [...]