Val’s Crafty Corner: Big Messy Art

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This summertime idea for creative play is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our blog ambassador Valerie Deneen. This is a great activity for just before bath time!   -Val Recently I invited my kids to get super messy making lots of action-packed art. It was a fun-filled afternoon making lots of [...]

Teach Mama Talks: 5 Ideas for All-Ages Playdates

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This creative play idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott. It’s very common to have children of mixed ages during playdates, especially when siblings, cousins and neighbors join in on the fun.  The more (ages), the merrier, in my opinion!  –Amy Summer’s almost here, which often [...]

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 [...]

TeachMama Talks: Developing Language through Play

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This educational activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott. Spend a little focused playtime with your children, and help develop language as you play! One of my favorite parts of playing with my kids–aside from spending time with three of the coolest kids I know–is finding [...]

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 [...]