Gift Guru: The Best Holiday Gifts for Preschoolers

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Preschool kids are learning in every way: Their imaginations are richer than ever, vocabulary and descriptive language are booming, and early math and writing skills are beginning to emerge. It’s a thrilling time to play! Great gifts for children in this age range include toys that nurture creativity, challenge new skills, and stay relevant and [...]

Creative Play Quick Tip: Sort It Out!

  Starting around 18 months, toddlers begin to notice differences and commonalities between objects—which means it’s time to sort and group!   HOW THEY PLAY: Preschoolers naturally seek to organize objects by color, size, shape, texture and type. Feed their hunger for this type of play by providing sorting toys like lacing beads, sorting cubes, [...]

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 [...]

More Ways to Play & Learn: Strike Up the Marching Band!

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Celebrate the spirit of independence by encouraging kids to march to their own beat . . . literally! Bring out maracas, cymbals, xylophones, drums, tone blocks, bells and anything else you can find to equip your kids’ band. (Don’t forget the pots and pans! Just remember: Wooden spoons make big drum sounds; metal spoons make [...]

Read & Play with Allie: Trucks

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Playing with puzzles is a teacher and parent favorite for quiet time, when kids need to calm down. When I taught preschool, after lunch but before nap was always a good time for puzzles because it calmed my students before rest time. But that’s not the only way you can use puzzles; they can be [...]

Val’s Crafty Corner: Farm Blocks + Sidewalk Scenes

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Sometimes a little change of scenery is all it takes to make an old toy seem like new again. That’s exactly what happened with our Farm Blocks Set, which the kids have had for quite some time, when we took it outside and added a bit of sidewalk chalk!