Monday, March 31, 2014

LA SIESTA - The premium hammock brand from Europe is now in the USA and featured at SensoryEdge

MIAMIFeb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- LA SIESTA, the premium hammock brand from Europe, now boosts a full presence in the United States and is the only company to offer a complete line of South American hammocks and hammock chairs in the USA.
LA SIESTA, with locations in the United StatesSpain and Germany, specializes in the development, marketing and distribution of hammocks and hammock chairs since 1991. LA SIESTA was founded by Dorothee and Alexander Grisar and is now managed by their sons, Maximillian, Leonid and Cornelius.
With more than 30 collections, 60 color patterns, and 15 sizes, LA SIESTA offers the most complete and extensive collection of South American hammocks and hammock chairs in the USA, not offered by anyone else in America. "What is unique about LA SIESTA, is that we are the first to offer a complete assortment of high-quality, hand-made, and branded South American hammocks in the USA. Not just a few, but an entire catalog," says Maximilian Grisar, LA SIESTA's CEO.
LA SIESTA focuses on quality in all aspects of its product offering. It uses high quality materials, such as organic cotton and follows the most stringent manufacturing standards. LA SIESTA's products are not only well manufactured; they are also original, unique, and beautiful. Great care has been put in combining hammocks and hammock chairs with matching supports and hanging kits. With its innovative line of hanging systems, LA SIESTA is the only hammock company to offer a complete line of patented hanging systems with TUV approval.

"We attend the biggest retail shows in the world and are proud to take part in this year's Toy Fair in New York. Additionally, LA SIESTA will attend the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, the OUTDOOR Retailer in Salt Lake City and the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago. We are looking forward to be a strong presence in the US as we are in Europe," says CEO, Maximilian Grisar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Foster Art & Creativity in the Classroom

Teachers can incorporate art into their lesson plans when they have furniture in the classroom to set the tone. Creative students are open to learning in many different ways.

Fostering art within students is an important aspect of teaching in the classroom. Art gives students an outlet to be creative, express themselves, and show what they have learned. It also helps to bridge connections between different concepts. Having an area in the classroom for art is important. There are many different types of kids furniture that can foster art within students. Tables and Chairs Tables and chairs can be used to foster art within the classroom. 

Teachers can set aside an area with a table and chairs and put out different art supplies each week for students to use. Students will like the excitement of seeing what items will be out and what they can create. Teachers can alternate things such as paint, play dough, markers, and drawing paper to inspire kids to create their own designs. Certain tables such as a horseshoe activity table are designed for multiple uses such as art. These types of tables are in a horseshoe shape and they give students plenty of room to work and create. They also save room in the classroom with their unique design. 

Easels are a fun way to give students a place to create and display their artwork. Many easels like a 3 Way Adjustable Easel are made for multiple students to work at once. Teachers can choose an easel that has a storage area underneath for paints, brushes, and other supplies. This will keep the area organized. Students will love displaying their artwork for everyone to see. Traditional easels are a great asset to any classroom and one way to foster art within the classroom, but there are some unique easels that do the same. 

For example, the Art Horse Drawing Bench is a bench that students can straddle. At one end there is a wood panel that allows students to lean on while drawing on a sketch pad. Items like this give students an exciting place to develop their art. Many easels are multi-purpose giving students more than one way to express themselves. Easels such as the 4 in 1 Floor Easel gives student the choice of a drawing surface, a chalkboard, and magnetic whiteboard for playing with magnets or drawing with dry erase markers. Easels give teachers many options to encourage creativity in their students. 

Pretend Play Toys Pretend play toys such as dollhouses, puppet stages, and costumes give students a place to create ideas that will turn into art. After spending time in a pretend play center, students can be encouraged to go to the art area and draw or create what they had been playing. This is a unique way to foster art in students and gives teachers a way to see what students have been learning. Their likes and dislikes will come through when creating through art. Fostering art in the classroom is an important part of teaching students to express themselves.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Classroom Organizational Secrets

Organization in a Classroom makes Happy Students
An organized classroom is a well run classroom. Many students have trouble learning in a cluttered, unorganized setting. Parents, as well, like to come into a classroom that is well organized and where everything has a place. This is easier said than done in a busy Kindergarten classroom. Kindergarteners like to learn by playing, touching, doing, and feeling. Classrooms can easily become a mess. Classroom rugs and cubbies are a great way to keep a Kindergarten classroom organized. Of course, these methods can be used well beyond the Kindergarten years.
Classroom Rugs
Classroom rugs are an ideal way to separate a classroom into sections without using large dividers that make the room look more cluttered. A large rug can fit the entire class and offers restless Kindergartners a visual boundary. Teachers can instruct students to go sit on the rug and students know immediately where to go, and what the boundaries of the area are, the outline of the rug. In this setting, teachers can do reading time, go over flashcards, or have class discussion time.
In addition to a large classroom rug, adding a few small rugs can be very useful in organizing the classroom. Small rugs are ideal for centers or small group learning. When a small group of students needs to be instructed separately or when the class needs to be broken into reading groups, the small rug is great. There is no need to move chairs or push other items aside to make room. Teachers can just send students to a small area already mark out by a rug.
Cubbies are another must have item in a Kindergarten classroom. Whereas older students can mostly keep themselves organized by hanging their items on hooks or putting things away inside desks, Kindergarten students are still learning. For many kindergartners, school is a brand new experience and they still need help organizing their things. Backpacks, lunch bags, coats, extra clothes, and special stuffed animals can be easily stored in cubbies.
Each cubby can be labeled with the child’s name. All the items belonging to that child as well as the papers and projects they do at school can be placed in the cubby. Cubbies do not take up much room and are a great way to keep everything organized. Parents can easily have access to the cubbies as well when dropping off or picking up students.
Cubbies aren’t just for a student’s belongings. Cubbies are also ideal for organizing classroom supplies such as toys, art supplies, construction paper, art smocks, manipulatives, and more. Many cubbies such as the Mainstream Cubby Units come with pull out plastic bins to make storing that much easier. Cubbies also offer students a way to learn responsibility for their own belongings and their classroom belongings.
Sensory Themed Area
Having a sensory theme in one area of your classroom gives students a place to get dirty and express themselves through manipulatives. Great items such as sand and water tables offer many opportunities for sensory play. Many tables can be filled with sand, plastic beads, or water giving the teacher many different options. These types of tables come in many different varieties such as small, large or movable such as the See All Sand and Water Center with Casters.
Added to a sensory themed area can be blocks. Blocks give students a chance to build whatever they can imagine. Whether building towers, houses, ramps, or their own unique idea, students will love playing with blocks and other manipulative items in an area designed just for sensory play.
Reading Themed Area
Every teacher wants students to love reading. To promote reading and the discovery of books, setting up a reading themed area is important. When it comes to kids' furniture options for this kind of theme, there are many options. Book displays such as the Single Sided Canvas Book Display are a good choice. Book displays allow students easy access to books. Instead of searching a book shelf, students can see books up close and decide what they want to read based on all the information on the cover.
Placing some chairs or bean bags in a reading themed area gives kids a fun place to sit and enjoy books. Teachers can also add some paper, pencils and crayons to this area so students can draw or write about what they just read. A reading themed area is a good way to keep all the classroom books organized.
Art Themed Area
Kids love art. Whether drawing, painting, or sculpting, art allows students a way to express their unique ideas and show their creativity. Having an art themed area in the classroom, where items such like 3 or even 4 sided easels can be used, is a great way to organize art supplies. Easels give students a chance to display their artwork and allow multiple students to work at once.
Teachers can put out a variety of art items such as paint, play dough, crayons, markers, beads, tissue paper and more. Students will feel free to create in an area designed just for art and creative expression.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Benefits of Puzzles

Puzzles have long been a favorite learning toy of kids, moms and educators. Giving children a variety of puzzles enhances their early childhood educational experience both at home and in school.

Here are some of the skills that are enhanced by playing with puzzles:
  1. Cognitive skills: Puzzles improve a child's problem solving and reasoning skills. It helps them to see whole-part relationships, increases their visual spacial awareness and depending on the subject matter can teach them a variety of topics like the Alphabet, Numbers, Color recognition, shape recognition, categories like pets or transportation vehicles, and more.
  2. Fine motor skills: Puzzles are fun way to improve fine motor skills. From the time a baby can start eating solid food parents give their children cheerios to help a child with their pincher grasp. Fine motor manipulation is key for writing but but children start learning this skill long before they can hold a crayon or a pencil. Various types of puzzles like peg puzzles and chunky can help teach little ones to pick up and grasp pieces and they aid in the development of the pincher grasp.
  3. Hand-eye coordination: As a child places each piece in the puzzle they are manipulating it so see if it fits. Their hand eye coordination is enhanced through this trial and error process.
  4. Social skills: Puzzles can be done alone but are also a great tool for fostering cooperative play. As kids ask for a piece to be passed to them, or discuss where a piece should go they are sharing the task and learning to cooperate. It can also help a child learn how to handle frustration when a piece does not fit.
When choosing a puzzle for your child consider the following:

  1. Age: Make sure you are purchasing the appropriate type of puzzle for your child's age. For example, jumbo knob or chunky puzzles are great for toddlers but jigsaw puzzles would be frustrating. At the same time a preschooler would really like a peg puzzle or jumbo piece floor puzzle. Older children prefer jigsaw puzzles ranging from 50 - 200 pieces depending on their skill.
  2. Material: Do you prefer wood, cardboard, painted, foam, etc Do you want a puzzle with textures to improve sensory perception as well as a cognitive skills?
  3. Types of puzzles: peg puzzles, chunky puzzles, jumbo knob puzzles, heavy duty cardboard floor puzzles, peg puzzles, foam puzzles, textured puzzles, shape sorting puzzles, sound puzzles, layer puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Waiting Room Activity Ideas

Waiting Room Activity Ideas

It's no surprise that the doctor's or dentist's office can be a nerve-wracking trip for many children and the waiting room is often the most distressing area of all. A child's imagination can prove to be a huge barrier to a pleasant visit. However, with a few simple elements, imagination can also make the time fly. That's why it is so important to create a relaxing and engaging space when designing your waiting area. This series of articles is designed to inform you of all the products that can help to transform your waiting room into a fun, interactive and educational space.
Space or lack there of, is certainly an issue for many waiting rooms. However there are some simple solutions that will allow you to fill the room with engrossing activities without crowding the floor. Wall panels and activity tables will provide hours of fun and require little clean up at the end of the day. This also allows for increased flow of activity without any "traffic jams." Not only can you include more of these in the office, but multiple children will be able to use them at once.
Activity cubes, are a great way to use your precious floor space to the fullest. With a total of five possible activities this type of waiting room toy can easily entertain four children at once and often more. Another bonus to the cube is that each panel contains an educational activity that will help expand the child's mind as he or she plays. Whether it is a bead maze that helps concentration and motor skills or a game that helps with tactile learning, activity cubes are sure to be a winner among the kids. Our favorites in this area are the circle of fun table by Anatex and the Happy Trails Sand Table by educo.
If floor space is simply not an option for your waiting room, why not try wall panels? Wall panels take up little space and provide decoration and entertainment all in one. These panels infuse any space with bright and friendly colors and often feature themes that are sure to spark the imagination of your patients. You can also be sure that these panels contain educational activities from mazes to fun mirrors there are a vast array of options that will satisfy both parent and child. Favorites in this area include the Outer Space Wall Panel and the Hands on Wall Toy.
Space doesn't have to be the deciding factor in creating a relaxing waiting room. With these options your waiting room can make a child's visit a pleasant one.

Waiting Room Furniture

Part of designing the perfect waiting room, is creating a personalized space for children. And while toys play a very important role, they are not the only factor that will determine your success. Atmosphere is based on more than just the diversions that are available; children's furniture and rugs will help tremendously in making a child feel comfortable. Here are a few things to consider when creating a family friendly environment.
Children's furniture will go a long way in creating an inviting space for a child to explore. You can certainly find upholstered furniture for this but if you need something that is a little more durable, foam seating is a sensible option. There is a great variety of foam furniture that is perfect for toddler aged children. These pieces are typically covered with a vinyl material which means easy clean up for you and no sharp edges for the kids. A little soap and water and you're good to go for the day.
Rugs and mats are another easy way to define as play area. They come in all shapes and sizes and can promote learning as well. Activity mats, in particular, are designed to engage children in subjects that range from learning the alphabet to telling the time. These rugs can also help define your theme for the room. Looking for aquatic decor? Choose an rug with an under the sea theme.
And if you've found a rug you like, there's bound to be a perfect play table to go with it. Play tables are a wonderful option because they are self-contained. That means no clean up or trying to find impossibly small pieces for you. These tables are large enough for two or three children to play together which means less work in keeping everyone happy. But as great as these things are, it is a good idea to have options for less active children.
A good book never goes out of style and special bookshelves can be another great addition to play area for children who would rather spend their time reading. There are many wonderful bookshelves that are easily accessible and designed with children in mind. A farm house bookshelf would make a wonderful centerpiece for you barnyard themed play area. And if space is an issue, you can use the shelving for more than just books. It can become the perfect storage area for some of the more portable toys. These are just a few ideas for furniture pieces. A little investigation will reveal that the sky's the limit when it comes to choosing furniture. There's something for everyone no matter what direction you would like to take.
A child not having anything to stimulate their imaginations with, or physically occupy their levels of energy, is like trying to run a car with water. It just doesn't work. Ever experience the result of a terribly bored child at the dentist or doctor's office while waiting for an appointment?
I think we all have memorable moments of this and have started to search for just about anything to entertain our children with to help ease these moments of impatience. The difference between the car and the child is quite simple, the car doesn't make shrilling, whining, noises and run around the building, it just stops. Unlike a child that keeps going and going and going, like the Eveready bunny. Until they find something that entertains them for the time being kids are going to try and entertain themselves.
This makes pediatric waiting room toys a life saver for parents and others throughout the office where children will frequently be sharing that same waiting room as adults. These toys can also help the child forget about the experience they are about to encounter, especially if it's with a doctor or dentist. Not many children like these type of visits so placement of furniture and a children's toy are of extreme importance to both the parents and the doctor who will be attending to the child. There are hundreds of places waiting room furnishings and toys make sense. 
For the same reason drive-ins had playgrounds this concept can be expanded across many types of business. When dad has to take the car in for an oil change, tax season at the accountants, the lawyer's office, even shopping malls have started to see the need for supplying a place that occupies our children while Mom and Dad can rest from all the heavy shopping.
Give a child his and her own table and chairs to sit in, a few good books to open up and fall into, along with an array of intriguing puzzle games, that both occupy and stimulate that range of curiosity and need to explore are accomplished, and you also fulfill your requirement for an entertaining lobby that is fun for both kids and parent.
Most importantly the children are engaged in what is now a pleasurable, hopefully memorable experience that they will look forward to next time, should the visit be with the dentist or doctor. How much more business do you think these establishments would attract for offering yet one more service. An important one at that!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Things to Look for in a Classroom Rug

Top Ten Things to Look for in a Classroom Rug

Shapes and colors capture a child’s imagination; ask a rug. If they could, they’d agree. Rugs are home to the activities of students all day long. What shape and size your school rug is going to be is something you must think about. Your choice of brand new rug affects the students. Will it be larger and spread wide? Will it be a small meditation or mid-sized reading rug?
The rug you choose for the classroom is a big decision, a vital one. Think about evaluating the room itself. Imagine workspaces, retail spaces and restaurants, where work is done and large groups gather. The classroom needs to have the same flow and organization as any room to remain appropriate to its task.
Classroom rugs are available in so many educational formats that you’re sure to find one that perfectly fits your classroom. Alphabet rugs, numbers & shapes rugs, animals & nature rugs, faith-based rugs and geography make these classroom aids a teachers best friend. You know you need a classroom rug and here are some things to look for to aid you in your purchase the most:
1) What will your room be used for? To begin, the furniture should fit the children. Nothing should be cumbersome; everything should be in good condition. Clean and tidy classrooms are best for learning; if it’s disorganized it can confuse children. Now think of where the rugs need to go to support the routines of the classroom. Is there a space where clothes, knapsacks and hats are left? Many parts of the room benefit with added rugs. Additional cubbyholes and other areas to retrieve games and books may need rugs. Often a room can have two uses. Most computer areas are also dedicated to break time or rewards stations and need certain rugs: easy to clean, durable, withstanding the movement of furniture.
2) Where is your rug going? How a rug is going to be utilized expresses plenty about the teaching philosophy of the school. Everyone needs to follow the same classroom rules. Rugs help organize the time and place for learning events. Successful rooms have areas dedicated to enhancing the goals of the learning activity. Open-circle transitions to closed-circles, or positioning into a story time area, children need to take breaks or time-outs on rugs, places away from their desks and any particular over-stimulation. Place rugs in transition spots to avoid injury and help maintain stability, creating a well-known (and defined) area to be relied upon by students.
3) What is the benefit of the rug? In places that display artwork, math problems or grammar, the accommodation for all types of students is necessary. A rug makes a place where everyone is joining together on the same learning team. Rugs help children, benefit them, by serving as an even playing field, a place where the teaching standard shines and learning process begins. Fright can come from a teacher changing her style and so can constant different surroundings. Pick what you want to accomplish for the classroom and tailor your rug choices to those goals. For example, promoting fairness in situations where classmates may have vastly different skill levels, a rug is the place for mediation, comfort and fairness.
4) How will this rug help? Fairness is always an issue in school; motivation and function depend heavily upon the insistence of fair play. Rugs can aid in reinforcing confidence and a standard; if that standard is fair play--then the learning can be open to all. Plus, many students do not learn in standard ways or have difficulty with linear systems. Rugs are a subtle way to present the concept of stability with no need of explanation. A rug can always be there in the same spot. Some teachers make small rules, “No yelling on the Science rug.” Certain physical exercise can be confined to certain areas, where on that rug kids know the rules, “light jumping is okay.”
5) A Rug must be versatile and long lasting. The best rug you can choose for your classroom is the one that lasts long and can go anywhere. Possibly you have decided that your classroom needs a rug that moves around or has extra longevity. Some classes would like to be held outside, but many students are squeamish about dirt or ants, even on a lovely day. If added movement is a must, pick out a rug that is easy to shake clean and move short distances. Small rugs are now available for individual sitting, while transferable, group, or permanent outdoor rugs can be made of sturdy wools and synthetics, able to withstand outdoor situations. And what is smarter than picking out a rug that’ll last a long time?
6) Get the highest functioning rug advantage. The advantage of learning fairness and feeling comfort is something all children enjoy, something to think about when picking out a classroom rug. Once you know what kind of rug your classroom needs, where it is going, and it’s benefit, you’ll see how it will help. If you have a good idea of its life expectancy, it’ll help your budget too. Now it is time to put all your goals and expectations together and figure out the function: a main function of your rug, in addition to those already mentioned, is, basically, to serve and protect. The placement of the rug to avoid injury and provide comfort is maybe not the first thing to think about before you purchase a rug, but it is the first thing to think about before you install your new classroom rug. Students have less problems with environment, do better, when the sound and noise is reduced by a properly positioned rug.
7) Pick out the best material for your classroom. Wool makes the perfect utilitarian weave, suited for high-density traffic patterns. Their design can employ rows of animals or pictorials, sharp, attractive color, pleasing to the eye, soft to the touch and strong to the end of many school years. Combinations of wool multi-blends combine the best of certain materials to fit class type to classroom activity. If the room expects only sporadic traffic, or is intended for very specific gentle games, some designers incorporate softer materials with stronger under weaves to give maximum comfort and retain longevity. If you need a strong long-lasting rug, most synthetic combination rugs have proven durable.
8) Pick out the best design and color rug for your classroom. The patterns and colors are limitless for rugs. No matter what the materials, it can be synthetic-wool, cotton, and rayon. Whether it is designed by special order or manufactured in a workshop, rugs that have involved student or teacher input, the people who use them, have a tendency to be cared for and respected. Students and teachers when involved with the design of their rug tend to cherish it more. The extremely young student becomes comfortable on “their own” rug. Like a stuffed animal or pet, great is the comfort of a stylish, well-made rug.
9) Pick a rug that’s fun. Classroom games can even involve the rug. We already know modern print possibilities make any color, scene or lettering possible. And large pod-like schoolrooms have noted the advantages. Time and again, separating different classes and activities with color schemes in lieu of expensive and confining walls, has saved money and kept learning areas open and spacious. Positive uses range from having the alphabet printed on the rug where reading is taught to having the mathematics area’s rug displaying numbers or scenes depicting science. Rugs excite and inform young students like nothing else can. Open space creates new possibilities for amusement, competition and fitness.
10) Think ahead. Rugs come from a traditional, authentic craft that takes forethought, gathering materials and supplies. Rugs are all made with specific dimension for specific purposes. The quality, number of rugs purchased, and placement in the schoolroom are brand new things to think about. It is important. Right now, there are areas of the classroom that need a rug. A rug will create an atmosphere of fairness, fun and safety. A good quality rug will have some amount of stain protectorate. It will be strong. It will be the right design and style. Right now, the demands of safety in the schoolroom are high. A brand new rug, keeping in mind the things to look for, will make your classroom the best place for learning, a gathering place for students who need fairness, fun and familiarity.