Val’s Crafty Corner: Welcome to Trunki Town!

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This creative play activity is  brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Valerie Deneen. Come roll with us!  –Valerie Looking for a simple idea to get the kids outside this summer? This recipe for summer fun could not be any easier, yet it inspires imagination, creativity, and plenty of active [...]

Val’s Crafty Corner: Beaded Necklaces for Mom

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This creative play craft and activity for Mother’s Day is  brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Valerie Deneen. Make a beautiful bracelet or necklace for Mom with this pretty bead “bouquet!”   – Valerie These beaded necklaces are so much fun to make, and they would be such a special [...]

5 Pre-Writing Skill-Builders

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Build hand, arm and shoulder strength. Encourage your child to draw, paint and create on a vertical surfaces–like an upright easel, the walls of the bathtub (try watercolors or bath crayons!), or a refrigerator or magnetic board. This position helps strengthen hand, wrist and shoulder strength, all of which are needed for writing. Strengthen fine motor [...]

Rainy Day Fun: Number Hunt

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Easter is over, but my kids are still eager to hunt for things. When the weather is nice we head outside and hunt for bugs and worms and heart-shaped rocks but when it’s raining we hunt for numbers! A number hunt is a great learning-and-playing rainy-day activity. Melissa & Doug Chunky Number Puzzle is the [...]

Skill Building Through Sand Play

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Large Motor Skills Large motor skills develop and strengthen as children dig, scoop, sift, and pour. The whole body can get involved in sand play! Hand-eye Coordination Children develop better control over their small muscles as they practice manipulating sand play toys like funnels, mills, shovels, scoops, and sifters. Social & Emotional Playing together in [...]

Val’s Crafty Corner — Sand Play Bakery!

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This springtime recipe for creative play is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, and is written by our Blog Ambassador Valerie Deneen. Enjoy taking your kids’ creativity outdoors! One of the activities my kids look forward to the most every spring is playing outdoors in the sandbox! They can spend hours happily playing together, engaged in [...]

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 [...]

5 Fun Ways to Teach Children the Letters of the Alphabet

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Name Rubbings: From cardboard cut out the letters of your child’s name and glue onto construction paper. Have your child put a piece of paper over his name and use an unwrapped crayon (on its side) to create a name rubbing! Tracing Letters: Use hard plastic (the kind that will crack if bent) paper plates [...]

Suspend Game Wins Award for Best Games 2012: Video Review

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We are proud to announce that our brand-new family game SUSPEND just won Best Toys Guide: Best Games of 2012! What is SUSPEND? A family game of tricky hangs and steady hands! Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a [...]