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Fall came earlier than normal this year at the Step2 Headquarters in Streetsboro, Ohio. We have been experiencing a lot of rain and chilly weather! Even though the kids are back to school, they still need an outlet for active and creative play after a day of structured learning and scheduled play. We are here to help with some suggestions of what to do when it is cold and rainy and your little ones cannot escape the confines of the indoors but still need to release some energy.
Step2 has a variety of toys that you and your little one can play with on those dreary days of fall. Better yet, incorporating arts and crafts or cooking into the equation can inspire more creativity. Here are our top picks of fun filled activities to do with your children on rainy days:
How do you play with your children during rainy days?
Step2 has a variety of kitchens to choose from, this fall we introduced a new kitchen called the Creative Cooks Kitchen. This product is exclusive for Toys R Us. Even though it has just been released, it has already become a big hit!
According to Time to Play Mag, the Creative Cooks Kitchen ranks 4.5 out of 5 stars for fun, 4.5 out of 5 stars for repeat play, and 5 out of 5 stars for assembly and instructions. Seems like they really loved this kitchen!
When asked why it is fun, Time to Play Mag said this, “With the Creative Cooks Kitchen, preschoolers can pretend to be just like mom and dad in the kitchen. This is a cute roleplay item that gives kids everything they need for a realistic kitchen experience. Parents will love this kid-sized kitchen as well thanks to its large storage capacity.”
Check out the Creative Cooks Kitchen for yourself!
As the summer winds down and school starts back up, it is hard to transition from summer to back to school. Hopefully, your little ones have had an excellent summer. Now it is time to change gears and make sure that they are prepared for back to school.
Parentsfurther.com has provided ten back to school tips that will make the transition a little easier for both you and your children.
Here are the top five tips, Step2 believed were the most helpful:
1. If you and your child have fallen out of your bedtime routine this summer, get back into a solid routine. A week before the first day of school is a good time frame in which to begin.
2. Plan and shop for healthy breakfasts and lunches a week in advance. This will save you precious time and prevent much stress in the long run!
3. Accidents happen! Prepare a change of clothes in advance, and bring it with you on the first day of school for your child’s teacher to keep in the classroom.
4. If possible, arrange play dates with other parents of preschoolers, or find out if your local library or community center offers free events for young children. Spending time with other children will help your child’s social and emotional development and prepare her for the school environment.
5. Parents’ involvement in school is important—even in preschool! Talk to your child’s preschool teacher (or child-care provider) regularly about his educational and social development.
In addition to the tips that Parentsfurther.com had, Step2 suggests promoting creativity within children. For the next couple weeks, encouraging your child to use their desks and easels would help support the back to school transition as well!
By Step2 on April 26th, 2012 | Posted in Hints and Tips
“Mommy, I’m bored…” is definitely one of the most common phrases to come out of my child’s mouth. Over the years, I have learned how to defend against the inevitable boredom that sets in after my children spend too much time playing with the same toys and games day after day. The versatility of a child activity table has been a lifesaver for me and my kids.
I have found that setting up a comfortable table that is full of different designs and colors entices my children to play and stimulates their imaginations. As the kids color books or draw, they improve their hand-eye coordination and enhance their motor skills. While they build impressive building block structures or assemble dominoes, they are nurturing skills like problem-solving and creative thinking. The child activity table is also a great place for my kids to interact with friends. They love showing off their artwork, and I love watching them build social skills.
Most child activity tables are also low maintenance. I find it very easy to clean up spills, wipe off marker and fold it up for easy storage. I would definitely recommend that any parent or grandparent set one up. It is a great tool for fostering ingenuity and helps keep the childhood years free from boredom.
Choosing the right toy is essential in determining if it will become a cherished item or if it will sit on a shelf and gather dust. The last thing you want to do is buy a toy that never gets any play. Age appropriate toys are toys that are specifically geared to the developmental stage of the child, corresponding in age and readiness. Children use their imagination and creativity best when they’re playing with an age appropriate toy, because it stimulates their interest and engages their specific developmental level.
There are many indoor toys available for all different ages. The easiest way to determine a child’s readiness for a toy is to refer to the guidelines on the packaging. You’ll often read, “For children ages 2 and up” or “For Ages 3+” on the toy’s package. There is some leeway here depending on the child’s development, but be careful not to choose toys too far above or below the package guidelines or you could be wasting money.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you determine if a toy is age appropriate for a child:
By Step2 on January 26th, 2012 | Posted in Hints and Tips
Keeping kids physically active is important. Instead of sitting around watching television or playing video games, encourage your children to use their imagination to create beautiful works of art using different types of materials. Once you have a designated space for your child’s art desk, tell them to go outside (or sift through the basement or old bins if it’s chilly outside) and gather up materials to begin an art project.
Art does not have to be a sedentary activity. Kids need to be inspired to create art and this can come from all different sources. If you have a large yard with lots of plant and animal life, these can be great materials for art projects. Your children or grandchildren can find leaves, sticks, or even bugs to make unique pictures or sculpture. Depending on the age of the children, you can allow them to paint, cut and glue all of these materials to make all kinds of creative projects.
Another way to encourage children to use their creativity is to provide art easels for kids. If you are planning a birthday party for boys or girls, consider setting up several easels and provide paint, chalk and other art supplies. You could ask the children to create portraits of themselves or each other to give to the birthday girl. Kids love to create and the more encouragement you give them, the more likely they are to seek out creative art projects on their own.
As a grandparent, you may not have a lot of space in your home to keep toys when the grand-kids come for a visit. You do not need a lot of room for art supplies and these activities will keep the kids entertained for hours. You can store a folding art easel in the closet and all of the art supplies in a plastic container. When the grandchildren show up and start complaining they are bored, instead of sending them into the den to watch television, watch their eyes light up when you bring out art easels for kids and all of the supplies they need. Not only will they have a great time creating beautiful pictures, you will have something to put up on the fridge or wall to remind you of the grand-kids once they return home.
If left to their own devices, children are more likely to sit in front of the t.v. or spend much of their time playing video games. It is important to encourage kids to stay physically active and explore the world around them. Not only will the children sleep better if they are able to use up their energy and breathe in the fresh air outside, art projects can be inspired from almost anything. Take a field trip and let your child’s imagination do the rest.