Archive | Toddler Activities

Outdoor Play: A Great Way for Kids to Get Outside and Use Their Imagination

Summer is a wonderful time of year when children can enjoy lots of fresh air and outdoor play. There is certainly no shortage of excellent activities, toys and accessories to entertain and inspire children of all ages.

Some of the favorite activities among kids include; bubbles, inflatable bouncers and play sets, kites and wind spinners, outdoor furniture, playhouses and play tents, pools and water fun, and sandboxes and beach toys.

Bubbles are one of those outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by babies to adults. Blowing bubbles has never had quite so many options to choose from as it does today. There are plastic bubble lawn mowers, bubble catchers, bubble vision glasses, bubble wands, bubble lights, wands for small to super huge bubbles, no spill bubble buckets, monster bubble blowers, bubble blizzards (that blow nonstop bubbles) and bubble blowers available in popular fictional characters and a myriad of colors and styles. Blowing bubbles is an inexpensive way to have hours of outdoor fun.

One of the most exciting types of play for young children involves using the wide variety of inflatable bouncers and play sets on the market. Your backyard will be the center of activity if you set up one of these wonderful toys. Inflatable bouncers can be purchased in several different sizes from large (9 feet by 9 feet by 6 feet high) able to accommodate several children to small bouncers that only hold two children. Deluxe bouncers offer a fun and safe play environment with continuous air flow for safety and puncture resistant heavy gauge vinyl. There is a wide selection of designs such as castles, popular fictional character themes, inflatable fire engines, school buses, climbing walls, inflatable cars, inflatable play centers and playhouses. Several of the inflatable toys come with soft balls included for tossing, kicking and pushing around within the structure.

Kites, wind spinners and windsocks are a wonderful way for you and your child to interact and enjoy a lovely outdoor activity. The beautiful colors, designs and sizes available will surely be remembered for years to come. Kites can be purchased in an endless array of designs to include; airplanes with spinning propellers, helicopters, birds (flamingos and parrots), sharks, dolphins, butterflies, hummingbirds, fish, dragons, cellular box kites, dolphin kites, sailboats, cellular kites, diamond kites, parasail kites and tri-planes to only name a few. Wind spinners and windsocks come in as many designs as do the kites, in an assortment of fantastic colors and patterns.

Children can enjoy the same comfort that adults do when it comes to outdoor furniture. Whether it be having lunch at their favorite plastic or wooden picnic table or lounging back in their Adirondack chair, it’s always fun for them to be just like mom or dad. Other adorable pieces of children’s outdoor furniture can include; playhouses (complete with doorbell and motion detector), patio sets (with umbrella, table and chairs), fabric patio chairs, plastic mushroom tables, play lemonade stands, plastic mailboxes, plastic stone benches and folding armchairs.

Playhouses provide children with hours of imaginative and pretend play. There is nothing more special to a child than having their own little imaginary home to dream and role play in. Playhouses will often be a part of backyard outdoor toys in either plastic or wooden designs with climbers and swings. Some of the plastic playhouses are available with sounds such as doorbells, phones and motion detectors. Plastic playhouses can be purchased in pirate, cottage, log cabin, mushroom house and camper styles.

Similar to playhouses, play tents are usually made with nylon or plastic and also come in a wide variety of designs and styles. The biggest difference between the two is that play tents are usually much easier to assemble, disassemble and portable if needed. Play tents are available in tunnels (for crawling through), dome play tents, lady bug tents, tents with tunnel addition, school bus, fire engine, bulldozer, playhouses, camouflage tents, popular fictional character theme tents, four tunnels joined by tent in middle, tee pees and castle tents. Fabric parachutes can also be used as tents draped over objects in the home or used for throwing up toys with children in a circle.

It truly feels like summer once everyone has gone for a swim. Pools offer wonderful relief from the hot weather and a refreshing way to have some fun. There are a mountain of pools and pool toys to choose from, whether it be a kiddie pool or a pool lounger there is no shortage of options. Above ground inflatable pools can be found in different sizes to accommodate the kids or the whole family. Kiddie pools are available in sunshade cover designs, popular character themes, different colors and activity pool styles. The pool toys you select will only add to the enjoyment with water guns and canons, kick boards, life-jackets, inflatable water wings, retrieval toys, rafts and loungers, inflatable sharks, tubes, inflatable basketball hoops, seat rings and beach balls to name a few.

Lastly, playing in the sand can provide both learning skills and entertainment for any child, whether it be in their backyard sandbox or at the beach. Building sandcastles and sand play is particularly helpful in teaching social skills (sharing, interacting and cooperation), cognitive skills (measuring sand and mapping out roads) and physical skills (pouring, dumping, pushing and gathering sand etc.). Sandbox kits can be purchased to set up or you can select from several designs such as; turtles, castles, water and sand tables, ladybug, dinosaur and frog sandboxes. Sandbox and beach accessories might include; wheelbarrows, pails of all sizes, rakes, shovels, molds and beach chairs.

Outdoor play is a great way for the kids to get out of the house and use their imaginations. All forms of outdoor activities easily promote well-being and physical development. Children love to play outdoors as it allows them the chance to freely explore their environment while developing muscle coordination, flexibility and motor skills while decreasing restlessness and stress. And don’t forget . . . always remember to put sunscreen on your child whenever they are outside.

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Pretend Play and Dress Up Encourages Imaginative Play

A child’s imagination is something to be encouraged and treasured. Young children learn many skills through imagination, from independent play, interactive play, language and cognitive skills to name a few. Pretend play and dress up are wonderful ways to allow your child to dream and act out all sorts of fun adventures.

There are a wide variety of excellent toys available to enhance their imaginative experiences some of which include; cooking and baking toys, dress-up costumes, gardening toys, housekeeping toys, money and banking sets, spy gadgetry toys, tools and puppets.

Your child probably watches you preparing and cooking meals everyday. There are many cooking and baking toys available that allow your child to have hours of entertainment. Some of the wonderful toys manufactured are; picnic baskets (complete with play bread, cheese, lettuce, hot dog and bun, ketchup, corn on the cob etc.), bakery sets, plastic food sets, a wide variety of tea pot sets, pots and pans, dinnerware sets (complete with plates, utensils, bowls and cups) and coffee sets. It’s easy for your child to set up their own little imaginary kitchen with ovens that actually bake cookies, working mini refrigerators, plastic refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, barbecue’s and toasters. Little shopping markets complete with plastic store items and cash registers can be purchased, along with gum ball machines and snow-cone machines, the list really is endless.

Dress up play is a favorite among all ages of children, whether it’s dressing up in dad’s baseball uniform or having fun with mom’s closet. There is a great variety of all sorts of different types of costumes, masks and accessories for children to select from. Costumes come in designs such as fireman and police uniforms, doctor and veterinarian uniforms, engineer suits, magic hats with cape and gloves, dresses, waitress outfits, cherubs, devils, witches, ballerina and popular character suits with capes and muscle chests to name a few. Great accessories such as crowns, tiara sets, ninja swords, light sabers, cowboy hats, purses complete with keys and cell phones, doctor and medical kits and magic kits can be found. Dress up play allows your child to use their imagination in a fun way through role play and acting out adventures.

For all the young outdoor landscaping enthusiasts there are wonderful gardening tools and accessories available. Little wheelbarrows are made in plastic and metal designs (tiny metal designs look and work as well as the adult counterparts), both helpful at removing dirt, weeds and gravel around the yard. Metal and plastic gardening pails, watering cans, mini gardening sets (complete with mini rake, shovel and trowels), gardening aprons, gardening totes with seeds (mini rake, shovel, trowel and pail), gardening rakes, shovels and gardening gloves can also be purchased. Other adorable gardening sets include planters, seeds and tiny fairy cottages ready for planting around.

Probably the only time your child will enjoy housekeeping is when they are young. Most children seem to love helping out mom or dad with cleaning and simple household chores. With this said you’ll find many housekeeping toys to keep your child busy and entertained for hours on end. Vacuums, cleaning sets (complete with broom, mops, gloves and pails), talking irons and ironing boards, working sewing machines and clothes washers are a few of the items to be found.

An encouraging and fun way to help children understand early on how money works is to have them play with money and banking toys and games. There are a variety of cash registers available complete with play money, fake credit cards, price scanners, price check microphones and readouts offering learning opportunities for several skills from motor skills, mathematical skills and cognitive skills.

Today there are more spy gadgetry toys available than ever before. There are spy listeners (allowing children to listen in on other rooms or to use as stethoscopes), detective sets, mini keyboard transmitters allowing children to send text messages to each other, spy goggles, motion detector sets with infrared sensors, spy cameras available in sunglasses or wristband styles (complete with real film) and walkie talkies. Spy pens come with a variety of options from activated motion alarms, flashlights and magnifying glasses. These toys not only offer hours of entertainment but toys such as the motion detectors and infrared sensors teach children basic electronic skills.

Kids love to do things around the house just like dad or mom, especially anything to do with tools. Complete tool sets for children are available with tool belts, tool chests and tool boxes. Any tool imaginable from saws, levels, planers, wrenches, screw drivers, drills and hammers can be found. Workshops (complete with bins to store tools) with work horses and work benches can provide the base for all your child’s building adventures. And for when your child ventures outdoors to do some work there are mini working wheelbarrows, weed trimmers, lawnmowers, rakes, shovels, hoes, chain saws (with sound effects) and leaf blowers to complete the job. Of course you’ll want to be sure they always wear their hard hat.

Lastly, another popular part of pretend play is the use of puppets. Puppets can be found in hand puppet, finger puppet, bath puppet, baby puppet, pop-up and marionette designs. Along with puppets there are puppets accessories and wonderful puppet theaters to add to the fun. There is no end to the available puppet designs from cartoon characters, fantasy (fairies, wizards), people and animals (aquatic, birds, bugs, dinosaurs, dogs, farm animals, fish and frogs to name only a few). You and your child can either make a puppet theater or purchase one of the many puppet theaters offered from tabletop theaters, floor standing, doorway and marionette theaters. Pop-up puppets are a fun way to play peek-a-boo with a child or hide and seek. Puppets are a great way to interact and have imaginative play with your child.

Imaginative play is an important part of play. Role playing and dress up allow children to experiment with the different roles of the people they observe. The toys and accessories that surround your child will let them identify with different characters and try out various domestic roles. Imaginary play helps children to adjust more easily to the challenges of our everyday world.

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Fun Family Activities For Toddlers

Parents are busy people. But even if you are busy, this should not be an excuse not to set aside special time to hang with your toddler and family. Make every moment together count with these fun family activities for toddlers.

Hit The Beach

Who does not love spending time at the beach? Toddlers and the beach go hand-in-hand. There is so much your toddler and your family can do in the sand and in the water. Bring beach balls to kick around, sand pails, shovels and other sand toys for your little one to play with. Collect seashells. Build sand castles. Let him explore this beautiful environment (but be sure to stay close to your toddler at all times). Do not forget to pack beach-friendly snacks and drinks and most importantly, sunscreen.

Go On An Educational Outing

One of the most fun family activities for toddlers is going on a trip with the family. You do not have to take a plane to go to another country. Explore the city. Pack up the whole family in the car and visit a museum near you. Toddlers can learn so much from museums. Head to the zoo and watch your toddler’s (and your husband’s) eyes widen in amazement as he sees the colorful parrots. Most zoos have a petting station where children can touch or feed them and hold child-friendly animal shows which is a great opportunity for your little one to learn more about animals. Bring a stroller, some snacks, water and the camera.

Host A Sports Event

A family sports event is a great excuse to get everyone in the family to exercise while having loads of fun. Any sport will do, just modify it to your toddler’s needs to make it easier without taking the fun out for older family members. You can hold a Wiffle ball tournament, play bowling, basketball, soccer or kickball. Prepare prizes for your toddler and for each family member.

Cook Meals Together

Cooking is also considered as one of the most fun family activities for toddlers. Invite your whole crew to help you prepare a special dish for dinner. Give your little one his own apron and chef’s hat and ask him to wash the vegetables or stir ingredients together while the elders chop and fry. Eating the food everyone helped cook will be so much yummier and sweeter. Plus, it will be a delight to hear and laugh about how your toddler’s face was smeared with flour.

Hold A Movie Night

Watching movies is another great family activity to do with toddlers. Each week, hold a family movie night in your living room. Take turns choosing the film. Pop some corn, allow your toddler to drink a glass of juice or soda, dim down the lights and get cozy. You can even use decorations to set the mood. Afterwards, you can talk about the movie and point out the lessons of the movie.

Get Crafty

Do-it-yourself projects are an excellent bonding activity for the family. Cover the table, floors and walls with newspaper and invite the whole gang to unleash their inner Picasso. Some toddler-appropriate craft ideas include finger painting, homemade family photo book, sticky wall collages, personalized greeting cards and finger puppets.

Read Books

Grab a pile of children’s books and hold a family book reading session once a week. Take turns picking a book and reading. If your toddler still has difficulty reading words, help him by reading aloud together. Discuss it afterwards. Reading is a fun family activity for toddlers and is also very educational. It helps boost your toddler’s language skills, memory, imagination, critical-thinking and attention span.

These are just some of the most fun family activities for toddlers. There are still countless of ideas you can try and explore. While your toddler is still young, grab the chance to foster family ties as this will benefit him later in the life.

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How To Limit TV Time For Kids

Children these days are so glued to the shows they are watching that they can sit in front of the television for hours on end. However, too much TV is never good for anyone, especially for a growing child. Parents can try some of these helpful tips on how to limit TV time for kids.

Create A Screen Time Schedule

Setting boundaries is one of the most effective techniques on how to limit TV time for kids. Set TV viewing at 1 hour per day. Allow your toddler to watch TV only after he has done all of his homework. This will keep your toddler from going straight to the television when he gets home from school. Let him watch a certain number of shows a day. Or, you can also impose the “no TV during school days” rule. Whatever schedule you set, make sure you stick to it and if it is time for your toddler to watch TV, let him watch without interruptions from you. Children respond well to rules and will obey more readily if they know what is expected of them and if parents are firm of their rules.

Provide Specific Programming

Watch particular programs instead of mindlessly channel surfing. Watching specific shows keeps your little one more focused and aware. Plus, he is more likely to turn off the TV once the show he is watching is over.

Remove Televisions From Rooms

Place the TV in one area of your house, such as the living room or family room. Get rid of the TV in your toddler’s bedroom or in your kitchen. Only have one television in your house, if everyone is okay with the idea. By taking away extra TV’s, you can better monitor the amount of time your little one spends in front of the TV and increase family time.

Cover The TV When Not In Use

Use the “out of sight, out of mind” technique. Store the television in a cabinet or place a blanket over it when no one is watching TV. If your toddler does not see it, he will be less likely to be drawn to it.

Set A Family Time Each Night

Set aside a few hours (at least 1 to 2 hours) for family time every night. Cook dinner together, eat together, talk about your day, play games, walk around the neighbourhood, take a ride somewhere or watch TV as a family. Make those hours just family time.

Use TV As A Reward

Another tip on how to limit TV time for kids is by using television as an incentive. Allow your little one to watch TV for doing household chores, studying, having good grades or for good behaviour. Not only will this help your toddler do the things he has to do but it also gives your toddler a healthier outlook towards television, instead of thinking that the TV is just a regular part of life.

Encourage Other Activities

There are plenty of worthwhile alternatives toddlers can do aside from watching television. Have your toddler join a sports team or a dancing class. Encourage him to play outside, draw or paint. Play board games, hide and seek or tag. Help your toddler finish a jigsaw puzzle. Read books together. Share stories. Let him tag along whenever you run errands. Plan a day trip during the weekend.

Mind Your Own TV Time

Of course, these tips will not be effective unless you monitor your own TV time. Keep in mind that toddlers love to imitate their parents, hence, it is very important that you lead by example. If your little one sees you sitting on the couch all day watching TV shows, then no wonder your toddler spends most of his time in front of the television.

Reducing your toddler’s TV time can be a challenge. But if you are firm and consistent, all your efforts will definitely pay off in the long run.

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Sports For Toddlers – Tips For Introducing Your Toddler To Sports

Sports for toddlers is a form of recreation that helps them learn and hone their development at the same time. Introducing your toddler to sports is one of the best ways for him to try out and discover new things. Here are a few tips to get your toddler to love sports.

Introduce Different Sports

Let your toddler try as many sports as he can. Encourage your little one to try soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, figure skating, etc. Do not worry if your toddler does not show much interest in them. Just experiment with different sports. He will find his niche sooner or later.

Follow Your Toddler’s Lead

Another way to introduce sports to your toddler is to figure out where your toddler’s interests lie. Does he enjoy being in the water? Does he like to play games involving speed, strength and energy? Does he prefer activities involving less physical contact? The key here is to observe, not assume. By watching your toddler closely, you will get a clue on the kind of sport your little one is most likely to enjoy.

Start At Home

Do not immediately enroll your toddler in a program once you find out where his interests lie. Instead, play a game or two of his favorite sport in your yard. Most toddlers favour practicing at home and it will give your toddler a chance to explore his decision and decide if the sport is something he will truly enjoy doing. This is also a perfect time to motivate your toddler in sports.

Choose A Good Sports Program

Sign up your toddler for summer camps, clinics, classes or workshops. These programs have trained individuals who can help hone your toddler’s interests. Plus, your toddler will be able to interact with children who share the same interests as his which is also beneficial for his social development. Take time to observe various programs so you and your child will know what to expect and if the teaching style is excellent.

Expose Your Toddler

Aside from enrolling in programs and playing at home, watch games on TV or if possible, watch it live and explain to him what is going on. A crowded, cheerful stadium is a good way to convince your toddler that sports are awesome. Visit sport shops and point out the gears he might have to use in his sport. Read books (e.g. Pete The Cat: Play Ball!) and magazines (e.g. Sports Illustrated for Kids) about sports with him.

Get Involved

Children love doing things with their parents. Go swimming or bowling during the weekends. Ride your bicycles around the neighbourhood every afternoon. Attend your toddler’s practices so you can see him score a goal.

Praise Not Criticize

Every parent wants their children to succeed. However, keep your criticisms in check. Offer advice but do not be too hard on your toddler. Never belittle him and make comparisons. Give him a high five, a kiss, a hug and say “You did good, honey! I am so proud of you.” whether he loses or wins a game. The goal is to see him happy.

Most importantly, treat your toddler as a child, not an athlete who should focus on getting a college scholarship. Once you keep that in mind, you will not have any trouble getting your toddler to enjoy sports.

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Fun Summer Activities For Children

Sunny days, fresh air and children. They go naturally together. Keep your toddler active with this list of fun summer activities for children.

Water Play

The summer heat can drain your toddler’s energy. So why not enjoy a splash and recharge. From sprinklers to pools to water tables, there are plenty of ways to keep your little one entertained with water. Summertime is also the perfect time to teach your toddler how to swim. Water play provides your toddler an opportunity to stimulate his senses, experiment and of course, provide endless laughter and fun.

Organize A Picnic

A picnic is always great for toddlers. On a bright, sunny Saturday, invite your relatives or your friends for a picnic. Ask your toddler to assist you in preparing the food. He can help you make yummy finger foods such as small sandwiches, biscuits, sliced fruits and vegetables and trail mix. Do not forget to pack some juice and water. Grab a blanket and head to the park. Once lunch is over, your toddler and his peers can play tag or hide and seek and when they are exhausted from running, they can just lie in the grass and gaze at the sky.

Start A Collection

Satiate your toddler’s thirst for adventure by going on an expedition. Go around your backyard, neighbourhood or town and let him look for interesting items he can collect – leaves, bugs, rocks, rubber stamps, etc. This activity promotes a fun way to expose your toddler to different things which helps broaden his knowledge.

Go Fishing

This classic hobby is a fun way to boost the bond between dads and toddlers. Bring fishing rods, bobbers, worms (as bait) and rubber gloves. Since the goal for your toddler’s first fishing trip is to catch a fish, pick a location where bites will be easy to come such as creeks, rivers, lakes or a small farm pond. Talk about anything under the sun to keep your toddler from feeling bored while waiting. When he catches a fish, hold it for him and show him the fins and explain how the fish uses them to swim. Teach him to catch and release. Or if you bring fish home, have him bring only what he can eat and release the rest. Do not forget to praise your toddler for a job well done.

Visit A Zoo

Children love animals. The best way to expose your toddler with different species aside from cats and dogs is to go on a day trip to a zoo near you. Stick to a petting zoo so your little one can see animals up close and interact with them. Ask him to trumpet like an elephant, name the colors of the parrot or hold the lamb.

Learn Something New

Now is the best time to enroll your toddler in a class he is interested in. Most community parks offer an array of free and inexpensive activities such as arts and crafts workshop, dance, soccer, tennis and swimming lessons.

Grow A Garden

Give your toddler gardening tools and some fruits, vegetables or herbs to plant. Ask him to water, talk or sing to his plant every day. This is a great way to keep him busy at home. Plus, he will get a kick out of seeing the fruit of his labor.

Summertime is one of the most anticipated seasons of toddlers. These activities will surely keep toddlers busy and happy while stimulating the mind at the same time.

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Fun Toddler Activities For Your Child’s Play Dates

Play dates are an essential part of a toddler’s life. It serves as an entertaining and educational activity at the same time. Try some of these toddler activities to make your toddler’s play dates a blast.

Outdoor Outing

If the weather permits, let your toddler and his playmates walk around the block or meet at a park. Give each toddler a plastic pail and ask them to collect things such as pine cones, leaves, sticks or anything that interests them. Once they are done, have a show and tell. Or, why not play a game of “I Spy”. Describe interesting things or spots as you go like a shiny red car, a bird’s nest, falling leaves and so on and then ask them to find the object or spot you are talking about.

Playdough Date

If you do not mind cleaning up a little mess, this activity will be perfect for your toddler’s play date. You can either buy some playdough in different colors or make edible playdough in yummy flavors such as chocolate or peanut butter. Add some cookie cutters and other objects to help them squeeze, mold and build them.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are one of the best ways to enhance a toddler’s creative skills. Set out some craft materials such as paper, paper plates, magazine cut-outs, glue, crayons, yarn, markers, paint and the likes. The children can make their own masterpieces and enjoy every minute of this activity. Let them take home their artworks or give them a simple award as a memento of their fun play date.

Construct and Pretend

Place a blanket over a clothesline or table to create a play tent. Have some large cardboard boxes for the children to crawl in and out of.  Give each toddler grocery boxes to sit in and pretend to drive a car, sail a boat or fly an airplane or spaceship.

Meet At A Restaurant

Take the play date outside the house and hold it at a restaurant with an indoor play area such as McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr. or Burger King. They can have lunch, snacks or some ice cream. The toddlers will definitely enjoy sliding and climbing in the play area while you can catch up and have some bonding time with the moms.

Storytelling

Reading is a perfect activity to end a fun play date. Ask the children to form a circle and give them pillows and blankets to make the activity more intimate and comfortable. Pick one or two good books such as “The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear” by Don and Audrey Wood or “Big Red Barn” by Margaret Wise Brown. When you are done, your toddler and his playmates can share their favorite characters, their own endings and the lessons they have learned.

Play dates are beneficial in a toddler’s overall development. These play date ideas will keep toddlers busy and happy while giving parents an opportunity to mingle.

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Fun Toddler Activities For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is not just for couples, this day is for toddlers too. Valentine’s day is a wonderful time to teach your toddler about love, gratitude and empathy. Here are some fun toddler activities to try this Valentine’s day that will surely keep the two of you busy all day long.

Valentine’s Day Kiddie Party

Nothing makes this special day more extraordinary by holding a party. Make a list of children you want to invite. Send Valentine’s invitation cards. Plan your menu, music as well as the activities the children will be doing. Together with your toddler, decorate the room with heart-shaped or red and pink balloons, whirls, wall accents, drapes and cupids.

Homemade Crafts

Nothing is cuter and sweeter than homemade Valentine’s crafts made by your little angel. Of course, the classic Valentines card should be on top of your toddler’s to-do list. Spice it up by buying plain card stocks, patterned paper, buttons, ribbons, strings, doily, stickers, markers and crayons and then let him embellish it as he fits. Write a sweet verse on the card or cute one-liners such as “You are my Valentine.”, “Sealed with a kiss.” or “Cute as a button.”. and then ask him to sign his name.

Another great idea is to create homemade refrigerator stick-ons. Paint small wooden hearts or ask your toddler to swirl and slap finger paints on a white poster board and let it air dry. Then, cut out heart shapes and attach a double-sided tape on the back of each one and write a quirky sentiment. Glue the magnet on the back and you have a charming tool to display notes and photos.

Baking

Now is the best time to indulge your toddler’s sweet tooth (and yours as well). Whip up a charming and yummy treat together. Find a sugar cookie recipe and use heart shaped cookie cutters to form a heart and then have him decorate them with anything his heart desires (red frosting, edible marker, sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc.). While you are at it, tell your toddler how much you love him or how you are thankful that he is doing well in school.

Sing A Song

While you are doing things together, why not belt out a tune. Choose a fun song and change the words to a specific name and so on. Here are some songs you can sing with your little one:

Be My Valentine (to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb)

You’re a special friend of mine,

Friend of mine, friend of mine.

You’re a special friend of mine.

Please be my Valentine.

Heart (to the tune of B-I-N-G-O)

There is a shape, it stands for love,

And heart is its name.

H-E-A-R-T (3x)

And heart is its name.

Play Games

A day before Valentine’s day, cut out a bunch of colorful hearts. Hide them around the house and ask your toddler to look for them the next day. You can make a collage and hang it in his room once he has recovered them.

Or, you can also play “Memory Game”. Paste multi-colored hearts with notes such as “I love you.”, “Be mine.”, etc. (make sure you make 2 of each) in index cards. Place them face-down and then ask your toddler to find their matches. Use a timer to make it more exciting.

Valentine’s day is one special day to create memories with your toddler. These ideas will make your bonding and expression of love even sweeter.

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Fun Outdoor Activities For Kids

Spending time outdoors is beneficial for your toddler’s development. There are tons of things you can do outside your home, you just have to think outside the box. Here are seven outdoor activities for kids you must try with your child.

Hopscotch Caterpillar

Add a twist to this classic outdoor game by getting out the colored chalk and help your little one draw a big circle with a face and antenna and then add 10 or 20 more circles using different colors of chalks to make a jumbo-size caterpillar. Invite your neighbour’s kids or ask every family member to join the fun and take turns running from one end to the other, skipping from circle to circle or hopping from the green to the red to the yellow circle. Use a stopwatch to make the race more electrifying.

Shadow Tracing

Use a sidewalk chalk to outline your toddler’s shadow and then let him move to another location and draw that shadow. After which, ask him to try and fit his body back in the traced form with his shadow or have him color the circles. This activity is an excellent learning experience that teaches your toddler about shadows and encourages exploration.

Catch A Critter

Pick an insect that interests your little one. Butterflies, grasshoppers, fireflies and ladybugs are child-friendly specimens. With an insect net, help your toddler capture the insect and put it in a plastic jar along with a small stick and some fresh leaves. Cover the container but be sure to punch a few small holes in the cover for air. Your toddler can squirt the lid with water every day, provide new leaves and clean the jar. Not only can this activity expose your toddler to the beauty of Mother Nature but this will also help him learn how to take care of animals.

Lawn Flicks

Make watching movies more exciting by holding it outdoors. Drape a white sheet from a clothesline and use a digital projector to play the movie (you can rent one from your local computer rental store). Lay a big blanket on the ground, bring some popcorn, drinks and pillows for a perfect outdoor movie night.

Walking

Ask him to tag along while you walk the dog. Play follow-the-leader and ask him to follow you by tiptoeing, hopping, sliding his feet or marching. Allow him to walk up and down hills. Walk around your neighbourhood or go to the park and while you are at it, play a game of “I Spy” or look at the sky and ask him what images and shapes he sees.

Let’s Get Physical

Outdoor play is entertaining and a necessary activity for toddlers. Spend at least 30 minutes outdoors and play a game of tag, hide and seek, kick ball, sack race, obstacle course or run around a sprinkler. This activity also ensures you and your toddler will get your daily dose of exercise.

Grow A Mini Garden

Stimulate your child’s inquisitiveness about the world by giving him his own pot of soil or a garden patch and let him decide what he wants to plant – a flower, herb or vegetable (e.g. marigold, basil, tomato or green beans). Put him in charge of watering his plant.

Being outdoors is a lot of fun and at the same time, very educational for toddlers. These easy outdoor activities will keep your toddler totally entertained without having to spend too much.

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Fun Toddler Activities That Can Effectively Reduce Your Toddler’s Screen Time

If all your toddler does is watch TV, play video games and use the computer, he becomes less exposed to other worthwhile activities. Toddlers need to experience different things for them to grow well. Here are some fun toddler activities you can try to cut down your toddler’s screen time.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are always a delightful activity. It is an activity that challenges a toddler’s mind. Here are some crafty ideas you can try with your little one:

  • Finger paint
  • Mold play dough
  • Create bracelets and necklaces using strings and Cheerios as beads
  • Make sock puppets
  • Create a collage or scrapbook
  • Origami
  • Make your own world map, musical instruments, jigsaw puzzle or building blocks (using foam)

Pretend Play

Play a game of make believe with your little one. Not only will it make your baby happier, but it will also encourage your toddler to use his imagination which is helpful for his development. Pretend you are at a ship. Wrap a handkerchief or bandana around his head. Use toys as his passengers. Take turns playing doctor and patient. Stage a play and use finger or sock puppets as the characters. Imagine that you are taking a vacation. Get a small bag and ask your toddler to place what things he would like to bring with him.

Cooking Together

Instead of forbidding your little one in the kitchen, why not ask your toddler to pitch in? He will be more than happy to help you out. Give him easy tasks. He can wash the fruits and vegetables, measure ingredients, stir or let him slice some ingredients using a nylon knife (safe for children to use). Of course, do not forget to keep the stove top, pans, sharp knives and other hazardous tools out of reach.

The Sorting Game

Take out different objects (e.g. plastic cups and utensils, plates, toys and fruits) on the table or on the floor and ask your toddler to separate them into different groups (e.g. by color, shape, size or use). While he is sorting them out, ask him to name each object.

Make Your Own Obstacle Course

On a safe and even surface, pile up pillows to make walls, place hula hoops or a box and a makeshift tent. Place a prize at the end of the course. Ask your toddler to knock down the pillows, hop, jump and crawl until he reaches the finish line.

Treasure Hunt

Give your toddler a small plastic pail and a list of items he needs to find. Give him a time limit. To make it more fun, ask your toddler to do something first before he gets the object like counting to ten or singing a song.

Reading

Reading is a fun and educational activity. Have your toddler pick a book he likes. Read it aloud (do not forget to change the tone of your voice and facial expression to emphasize the words). Once you are done reading, discuss the book with your toddler. Ask him who his favorite character is or how the story would end if he was the author.

Going Outside

Take a stroll in the park. Ride a bicycle. Let him mingle with his peers in the playground. Organize an outdoor play date with your neighbour’s kids. Play tag, hide and seek, soccer or Frisbee. The fresh air, sunlight and adrenaline rush will be good for your child.

There is a whole world out there waiting for your toddler. So get your toddler’s eyes off the screen so he will not miss out a wonderful road to discovery.

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