Fine Motor Activities to Encourage Good Pencil Grip

These play-based fine motor activities are provided for the Melissa & Doug blog by Cindy Utzinger,  pediatric Occupational Therapist. Holding a pencil correctly- why does something that looks so easy seem so hard to teach our kids?  Using a mature pencil grasp (one that involves just the thumb and index finger or thumb, index, and middle […]

Create a High-Five Bedtime Routine for your Child

This bedtime routine tip is provided by special Guest Blogger Julie Kieras from Happy Strong Home. I winced upon hearing that some states already have kids back in school. Isn’t it just August? In our state, we don’t send kids back until near or after Labor Day. Still, it got me thinking about how we’ve gotten […]

Work Through Worries with Play School

This pretend play school idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Allison McDonald. “Everyday play is what childhood should be about.” -Allison   Children aren’t always the best at expressing their anxiety. It might come out through naughty behavior, sleep disruption or tearfulness but it’s rare to come […]

30 days of lunchboxes!

Back to School time is upon us; do you have your lunch packing skills ready? This was my least favorite part of kindergarten so we’re heading into first grade prepared! I’ve created a master list of 30 successful packed lunches that my little lady gave two thumbs up to last year and I’m sharing them […]

Make it a Smarty Pants Countdown to the New School Year

This cool and creative, get kids excited about school smarty pants idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott. “The school year is coming, folks, so let’s get our kids–and ourselves!–psyched.” -Amy Before we know it, big yellow buses will be zipping around every corner, shiny new […]

6 Summertime Activities for Kids

We’re halfway through July, and interactive summer fun calendar is in full swing! This week, we’ve added six new summertime activities to help keep your kids occupied – and learning – all summer long. Here’s a quick overview of this week’s activities: –       Summer Math Activities (with counting printable) –       How to Turn Lunch into […]

Creative Play Tips: Teaching Kids About Strangers & Safety

No one wants to talk with children about the threat strangers can pose. Keep the conversation light by initiating a non-threatening, age-appropriate discussion of some basic safety principles. Then, try role-play, games, or an art project to expand the conversation. Start with the basics: A stranger is simply someone you don’t know. Strangers aren’t always […]

Turn Lunch Time Into Learning Time

This lunch time learning play idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Allison McDonald. “Everyday play is what childhood should be about.” -Allison     Now that it’s summer one of my favorite parts of the day is lunch when my kids and I can (usually) all come […]

Making “Required” Math Easy: Composing and Decomposing Numbers

Our family game closet is chock-full and diverse. We’ve got board games, DVD games, interactive games, dice, spinners, cards, pegs… You name it, we’ve likely got it. Each of us certainly has their favorite, but there’s one game that gets considerably more use than all the others. Sometimes simple is best. Our family loves the […]