Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cool Outdoor Fun Shooting Hoops

The smell of fresh air and the sound of children laughing can create quite an incredible experience for any proud parent. When you want your children to get outdoors and enjoy themselves, you actually have several options when it comes to activities and play items. For a great way to combine the fresh air outside and a good bit of exercise, you may want to look into a piece of equipment the mimics one of their favorite sports.

The 4 Ring Kids Basketball Hoop could quite possibly be one of the coolest outdoor contraptions that you will ever spend your hard earned money on. When using this basketball hoop, kids can enjoy exercise, healthy competition, socialization and more. No matter what the athletic level of the child may be, there are four different hoops that they can choose from to help them as they practice their shots.

In addition to all of the features that come along with this fun toy, you will be able to take advantage of spending quality time outdoors with your children and their friends. You can look into helping them with their jump shot or even show them the best way to dribble all around their competition. With only a little bit of time spent using this versatile basketball hoop, it won't be long before you see just why so many children and parents alike seem to fall in love with this wonderful toy. You may even find that this will become one of your child's favorite outdoor activities!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A-B-C's of Fun Learning

As parents, you naturally want the best for your children and that includes education. While watching your toddler you may think it's too soon to be thinking about their education. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Keep in mind that they are literally like sponges, watching and absorbing everything around them. Obviously, they take their cues from parents and caregivers, their role models. It is never too soon to set examples or begin to expand their horizons. Take the time to really be a teacher, role model and parent to your child. Show them the benefits of being curious about things and of learning everything you can about them.

Not all of this learning and education pertains to actual scholarly knowledge; it may be about animals, people or anything else that interests them. However, this does not mean that formal education should take a backseat to everything else and it is important to make that a part of your teaching also.

Of course, not all children learn at the same rate as their peers, but there are some things that you can watch for to make sure they are getting what they need. Watch for signs that they are not really understanding what is being taught. Sometimes this is shown in their frustration of the subject.

A great tool for encouraging learning while still being fun is the ABC Chalk Talk, a winner of the Family Fun Magazine Toy of the Year. This amazing toy is an interactive touch pad with over 30 sensors to help teach kids the alphabet, phonics, colors and numbers. With five fun activity modes and many levels of play it keeps children motivated to learn. Who says learning isn't fun?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Beat the Heat with Block Play

Everyone loves the summer, especially kids and who can blame them? They get to play outside, ride their bikes and go swimming along with a myriad of other favorite activities.

However, there are days that it rains or it is just plain too hot to be playing outside safely. Those are the days that can cause fear and dread among parents and caregivers. Possibly the mere thought of trying to keep a child busy and entertained inside is too much for you to even think about. And the thought of entertaining more than one child may be cause for panic as far as you are concerned. Sit back, take a deep breath and relax. Just because the weather is not on your side for the day doesn't mean the kids can't have fun. Nor does it mean you will be pulling your hair out by the end of the day.

Do you remember those wooden blocks you had as a kid? Well, they sure have changed. There are some really amazing sets available now. For example, there are blocks relating to different types of cultures and their architecture. There are Greek blocks with lots of pillars and sleek lines. The Oriental block set has a pagoda style to it and the Arabian block set is just how you would think it would be with the more rounded and exotic designs. Of course, there is a favorite among kids and that is the Castle block set where they can build towers and have moats surrounding their castle.

Wooden blocks are great for when you have more than one child too. They can work together on a big project or on their own with a smaller version. Kids love these wooden blocks and you just may end up on the floor with them building together.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Learning Side by Side with Wild Zoo

In this day and age children seem to grow and mature at an alarming rate. So many things they are exposed to now would have never even been considered years ago. While this is believed to be a good thing there are times when any child may feel a little lost. Maybe they don't grasp a concept as quickly as their schoolmates or friends, which oftentimes leads to frustration.

Sometimes children are not entirely receptive to having a parent or teacher try to explain something. It may make them feel like they are way behind everyone else. However, you may have noticed they are slightly more comfortable with instructions from someone a little closer to their age. Not exactly their age or grade as that may make them feel more frustrated when they do not grasp an idea or problem.

The Buddy Two Child Computer Desk is a wonderfully designed product that may make the extra bit of learning a little easier to do. It seats up to two children with the extra wide 30.5" seat. The desktop is deep enough for a large computer with the capability of storing a full size tower below the desk. This arrangement allows two children to sit side by side which enables a great deal of hands-on interaction. It is sturdily built and has dent resistant edge banding.

Naturally the biggest advantage is the fact that they can be side by side, learning through both watching and participating. This arrangement lends itself to a more compatible type learning, rather than someone standing in front of them, or over them, which may make them feel small and insignificant.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Kid Friendly (and Parent Approved) Rugs

Children spend a good part of their time on the floor. And no, its not always because grandma doesn't like feet on her couch or mom is going to freak if she sees those jelly-covered hands anywhere near her new chair. However, it has been said they prefer the floor when watching television simply because they can be close to it and they don't have to worry about anyone being in their way during their 50th viewing of a Barney video. Hey, you never know, Barney might say something new this time.

For whatever reason, they do tend to be on the floor a lot. So why not stimulate their learning process a little with kid friendly carpets and rugs. Depending on the age, there are several bright, colorful and yes, educational themes to please everyone.

As a parent or caregiver, you realize that due to a child's innate curiosity they want to know and touch everything. It just makes sense that even if the rug was not the first thing they noticed (it is more likely that they noticed some other kid playing with one of "their" toys), it will soon capture their attention as much if not more than the original toy they had their eye on.

With everything from alphabet carpets, numbers and shapes rugs, rugs about animals and nature to biblical rugs and even geography carpets, there is bound to be something that a child would adore. And remember you are not required to tell them it is also educational. Why ruin a good thing?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hey Mom, I'm an Artist!

Remember when you were a child and your parents would tell you to go play? Usually that is exactly what you did because you knew it was not going to do much good to tell them that there was not anything to do or there was no one to play with. They would simply tell you to entertain yourself and you would.

With all of our technological advancements and our families being busier than ever, to some children the thought of having to entertain themselves is foreign. Unless of course that entertainment is in the form of television, games played on the television and computers. While there is nothing wrong with that entertainment, sometimes a little "old-fashioned" fun is just what is needed.

The next time you hear that "there's nothing to do" whine, think art. It doesn't have to be a major project. It can be as simple as setting up an easel for kids, grabbing some paint and letting them loose. (You will probably want to protect the flooring and your child's clothes first). They can use a paintbrush, perhaps a sponge or the most fun of all - their fingers. Or, for the "serious" artist you may want to check out the easel accessory art supply kit with its extra little touches.

And, most importantly, be sure to get one of your little artist's original creations and have them autograph it. That way when they become famous, you will have proof that you were vital to their inspiration and success.