Posts from the ‘Playtime & Bonding’ Category

More Than Fun and Games: 8 Ideas for Sensory Play

Although diagraming sentences in English class may have given us the idea that school is boring, we’ve all figured out by now that learning can be fun! And sensory learning is especially enjoyable for little ones.

Sensory play teaches children to investigate and explore using touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell. And it helps them to develop cognitively, physically, emotionally, and creatively.

We’ve gathered some fun ideas for sensory play that you can enjoy with your little one!

  • Play with musical toys.
  • Toss stuffed animals.
  • Color with child-safe markers.
  • Make a touch book of different textures from your home.
  • Sit very quietly outside and try to guess the sounds you hear—birds, children laughing, etc.
  • Read a book, using different voices for different characters.
  • Ply with colored blocks.
  • Take a nature walk and feel leaves, branches, and grass.

And don’t let baby have all the fun! Jump right in and join your little one — he or she will love it even more!

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star: How to Make Bedtime a Happy Learning Experience

Babies absorb so much when their tiny brains are growing. You can even use bedtime to teach valuable lessons your little one will use later on! Here are a few ideas.

Counting — You can help baby learn to count with the traditional bedtime activity of counting sheep! Mix it up by counting other farm animals on some nights. 

Stories — Tell your favorite bedtime stories to your little one. As baby gets older, encourage him or her to make up stories to share.

Music — Many of us have wonderful memories of our mom or dad singing lullabies. You don’t have to have a beautiful voice to make meaningful music! If you need some help, check out this lullaby app for iPhone or this one for Android devices.

How do you use bedtime for teaching moments?

Rub-a-Dub Organizing for Easy-to-Access Bath Toys

Babies are tiny, but the amount of toys that usually accompany them isn’t! Organizing regular toys is pretty intuitive — toy boxes, plastic crates, fabric bins. . . the list of options goes on and on! But when it comes to bath toys, organizing can be a little trickier. There’s not a lot of room in the bathroom for crates, and no one wants baby’s toys lying on the floor.

We scoured the web for some creative solutions to use and share. Here’s what we found.

Froggy StorageThis cute little frog-shaped organizer attaches to the wall of the tub and has drainage holes to prevent mildew.

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The TubbyThis storage solution is a stretchy pouch made from neoprene with mesh panels, and also attaches to the tub wall. 

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Shower Totes — You don’t have to get fancy to get organized. Simple shower totes are great for storing toys.

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A Colander — And you can make it even simpler with a plastic kitchen colander! You can keep the colander in the tub, ready to go for bath time.

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We all know bath toys make for happy babies, and organized bath toys make for happy parents. What solutions have you come up with for storing bath toys?

Image Credits (from top): Gerber Childrenswear, Boon, Inc., Apartment Therapy, The Container Store, Mega Housewares

Time for Friends! Fun, Easy Playdates and Other Socialization Ideas for Your Little One

Friendships are one of life’s greatest gifts! We know it’s been true in our lives, and we want the same for our children. When your little one starts to get interested in playing with others, it’s time for friends!

Playdates are a great way for toddlers to play with others and learn important socialization skills at the same time. Setting up a playdate is simple if you know other moms with little ones — just send out an invite (or text!) with a suggested date and time, and ask each one to bring a snack along.

Playdates don’t have to be a big production. They can be as simple as putting on some music and dancing with the little ones, taking a walk around the neighborhood, playing ball in the back yard, or pulling out the child-safe markers and some paper. If you have more time, you could plan a craft.

What if you just can’t seem to coordinate schedules with other moms or you haven’t met a lot of other moms yet? Playdates aren’t the only way for toddlers to get socialization!

Here are some other ideas:

  • Storytime at the library
  • Ballet, swim, other lessons
  • Picnic at the local park — there may be other moms with little ones there you can get to know
  • Take your little one with you! Wherever you go (the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the post office), your little one can learn how to interact with others. Socialization is a skill that needs to be applied to a variety of ages, so everyday places are the perfect way to teach these skills. Let them learn from you!

How do you feel about socialization? What do you do?

Moving, Exploring, and Playing with Baby

Babies move! Even before they’re walking, little ones seem to be born with the ability to get around fast, don’t they? Moving, exploring, and playing are all part of learning and growing.

We spend a lot of time coming up with ideas to make moving and playing easier for little ones. Comfy knits that let baby wiggle with easy-to-get-into t-shirts and pants, and (of course!) our Onesies® brand bodysuits designed to keep babies happy.

Is your little one a mover? How do you keep your baby comfy and free to play?

Time for Lullabies! Sleeping Soundly on Summer Nights

Temperatures are heating up outside, and we’re cranking up the air conditioning! If you live where it’s not quite so warm, you may be able to skip the AC, and allow the naturally-cooler evening air to keep your family comfortable. (Lucky you!)

Are you in the sunny South? How do you keep your little one cozy on nights with the AC on? If you’re up North or out West where the nights are cooler, share your favorite nighttime outfit for keeping your baby comfy without the AC!

photo credit: Etolane via photopin cc

Have Fun With Your Little One

Chances are that your idea of fun and your toddler’s aren’t quite the same. Your idea of fun might be watching a marathon of your favorite TV series, hiking in the mountains, or having an uninterrupted afternoon of shopping or crafting. Getting your child to sit still for even a half-hour cartoon is next to impossible. And a shopping trip? Probably not. So how do you spend time with your child and still enjoy it? Here is a list of fun things to try with your little one:

Build a fort. Take an afternoon or evening and put blankets over the furniture to create a fort just for you and your little one. Even if your kiddo isn’t yet to the walking stage, he or she will love crawling in and out of her kid-sized structure. Crawl in there with your little one, and read a book together.

Take a long, slow walk. Take your child to the park and let him or her play, run, and discover. Slow down and move at his or her pace. Try to see your surroundings through your child’s eyes—the bright colors, the people, the animals—and try to get a sense of the wonder he or she feels.

Have a dance party. Turn on some music and dance away. You don’t have to dance all night—even just fifteen minutes of dancing with your child will be quality time spent with him or her.

Tell your little one about your day. Your child doesn’t have to be a teenager or adult for you two to just be able to talk about life. Tell him or her what you did at work, and about things you saw on your drive. Then ask your little one about his or her day, and really listen.

Having fun with your child doesn’t have to be some elaborate endeavor. It can be as simple as building a fort or taking a walk. What suggestions do you have for fun times with your little ones?

 

photo credit: elviskennedy via photopin cc

Spring Play Date Ideas for Happy Kids

As temperatures rise, spring is the time to get outside! Get together with other moms and dads and let your kids play till their heart’s content. Here are some great springtime play date ideas!

  1. Host an Easter egg hunt. Purchase a couple bags of plastic Easter eggs from your local dollar store. Hide them around the yard in fairly easy-to-find places (depending on the age of the group, you can make it harder). If you’re feeling especially giving, put little prizes in some of the eggs, like a piece of candy.
  2. Decorate Easter eggs. If your toddlers are a little older, they’ll love this activity. Gather a couple egg dyeing kits and enough eggs for each child to be able to decorate a few. Decorating outside makes the cleanup process easy, and you don’t have to worry about pastel dyes staining your carpet.
  3. Plant a group garden. Talk with all the moms and dads ahead of time to see if any of them would be willing to host a small (not more than a few feet square) kiddie garden in their yard. Till the ground ahead of time to make sure it’s ready for planting. Have seeds for a few common veggies like carrots or lettuce ready to go, and then help the kiddos as they plant their garden. An added bonus? You’ll have ready-made play dates all summer long—weeding and watering!
  4. Paint. Set up a group of easels on the drive and prepare child-safe fingerpaint. Help the children find an object in nature to paint and then let the little Michelangelos go to work! (Note: Be sure to use non-toxic, child-safe paints.)
  5. Visit the park for a picnic. Take a blanket and have each mom or dad bring a dish to pass. Then, let the kiddos play on the playground or take them on a nature walk.

Enjoy cool temperatures with your kiddo and his or her pals this spring!

Mommy Time Out

Just face it. If you’re a mom, you’re going to eventually need to find some time just for you. Hire a baby sitter, or put your partner in charge for a day, and go spend some time alone or with a close friend to rest and recharge. Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Spend a day at the park. When the weather is nice, nature is just the thing to help you build up your energy reserves. Spend a day soaking up vitamin D and walking around the park or nature preserve. Find a comfortable spot to read a book.
  2. Hit the mall. Grab a friend or go alone. Spend the day browsing grownup stores–in other words, go to stores that don’t involve stuffed animals or cartoon characters on clothes. Maybe splurge a little on something new just for you.
  3. Go see a new movie. Something without animation. Something with real people.
  4. Take a trip to the spa. Get a massage, a pedicure, you name it. Pamper yourself for a day and let someone wait on you.
  5. Enjoy coffee. Meet a friend or two at an upscale coffee shop and spend time together with a long chat over your favorite brewed beverage.
  6. Crash at a hotel. Spend the night at a hotel all by yourself, armed with a book and some movies. Spend the night chilling and sleep in the next morning.

Try one of these or mix and match a few for a guaranteed day of rest and relaxation. If you have any other fabulous Mommy Time Out ideas, we’d love to hear about them!

 

photo credit: Xavier Donat via photopin cchref=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc

Fun Dates for Parents

You and your partner still need time together, even after baby is born. And with diapers to change, laundry to do, errands to run, and appointments to keep, your time together has probably decreased exponentially since baby was born. Set aside one night (or morning) a week to hire a babysitter and just hang out together. Here are some date ideas to get you started:

  1. Take dance lessons. Always wanted to learn how to tango? Find a studio or gym nearby that offers classes. Grab your partner and spend an evening in each other’s arms.
  2. Have brunch on Saturday morning. Avoid the Friday night crowds, and enjoy a relaxing morning together. Or, you could still hire the babysitter but make brunch together at home!
  3. Visit an art gallery. You don’t have to be a hoity-toity couple to enjoy an art gallery. Chances are, you can find a gallery nearby of local art. With so many different styles of art popular now, you’re sure to find something you enjoy.
  4. Recreate your first date. Remember how you first met? Even if you can’t go back to the time and place of your first encounter, you can eat similar foods and reminisce about your first feelings toward and impressions of each other.
  5. Take a class. Learning something new together is fun, and experiencing something new with your partner will help strengthen your bond.

Get out of your usual date-night-equals-movie-night rut and try out something you’ve never done before with your partner. Besides, baby needs a break from you, too, right?

Do any of you experienced parents have fabulous date night ideas? We’d love to hear about them!
photo credit: LyndaSanchez via photopin cc