Alphabet Soup: Fun Letter Games & A Recipe

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This Alphabet Soup post for The Family Kitchen series was brought to us by guest blogger Sara Zenner from Bitz & Giggles. The cold weather has officially moved into the Midwest over the past couple weeks. The kids have been outside playing in the snow already and I’ve been dreaming of all of the wonderful [...]

All the “Signs” of Pre-Literacy – Environmental Print Activities

Environmental Print in Road Signs

This pre-literacy activities post is brought to us by guest blogger Julie Kieras from HappyStrongHome.com Your toddler asks if you’re going to “The Red Store.” He knows when you’ve just passed “Hamburger House” because of those ever-present yellow M’s! She tells you to stop when the stop sign is yards away. Guess what? Your child is reading! [...]

Playtime with Toy Vehicles

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Trains, planes, boats and cars are all part of the wonderful world of toy vehicles! Even very young children can become fascinated with fire trucks, bright yellow buses on their way to school or trains chugging down the tracks. Whatever the inspiration, vehicles become a favorite playtime activity for many girls and boys! Zoooom!  These four squeezable Pull-Back Vehicles roll quickly across the floor, after being pulled back gently and released. Special “rev-up” wheels make it easy [...]

Learning Fine Motor Skills with Wooden Beads and Letters, too!

Learning Fine Motor Skills for Back to School

This Fine Motor Skills Activity is brought to us by Kim Vij at The Educators’ Spin On It One of the fundamental skills that we encourage our children to develop early is their Fine Motor Skills. Getting ready to gear up for Back to School is on everyone’s mind, and this is one of the [...]

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 [...]

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!