6 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Development Through Play

boost development through playMany parents believe that before formal schooling begins, there isn’t much you can do to help your child develop. This isn’t true at all. Play time is just as important as school lessons – perhaps more so when you consider that most development occurs during the first few years. You can give your child a leg up by making that playtime as meaningful as possible. Here’s how:

1. Schedule creative play time.

Structured play (like arts and crafts, lessons, or reading) has its benefits and should certainly be a part of every child’s routine, but your kids also need time for creative, unhindered play. Let your child play whatever he likes in whatever manner he likes. Don’t constrict games because they don’t make sense to you. If he flies his truck through the air or lassos a horse with a sock, let him explore and experiment.

2. Introduce other children.

You don’t need to come up with a schedule of activities for that next play date. Plop both kids in a room full of toys and games and stay nearby. By two and a half, your kid is developed enough to play with other kids, not just alongside. That means they’ll take each other’s cues, play the same game together and interact in a healthy way.

3. Encourage dress up play.

Pretending to be someone else is an excellent way to build empathy, objective understanding, and social skills. It lets them explore attitudes and behaviors, and give their imaginations a workout. Include some dress up costumes in the play room that your kids can easily access. Don’t discourage your child from using ordinary items as costumes (like a pot for a racecar helmet).

4. Switch off the TV.

The TV has its place and I’m not saying it’s bad for kids, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of development benefits. It’s an easy form of entertainment that doesn’t require much brain activity. It’s better to let your kids play pretend or toy cars or read than zone out in front of the TV. If you can, put your TV in a closeable cabinet so it’s out of sight.

I understand, however, that there are some great programs for kids that you should take advantage of, and sometimes you just need something to occupy your child while you take a quick shower.

5. Rotate some toys out of the playroom.

Interestingly, children can be overwhelmed by too many toys. If you have a generous family, your playroom might be filled to the roof. When your child has too many toys, he doesn’t fully experiment with each. Instead, he tends to play with the toy in the manner it was intended, which doesn’t work out his imaginative muscle. Store some toys in the attic or basement, and every so often switch them around.

6. Play somewhere else.

Eventually, your home will become unstimulating to your child. The blue carpet won’t be a river, it’s just carpet now. The bathroom isn’t an alien planet any longer; too many baths have ruined that room’s fun. Take your kids and a few toys one day and just change the scenery. Take them to a friend’s house, a play center, or simply outside.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

6 Benefits of Reading to Your Baby

the benefits of reading to babyI began reading to my son when he was very young; less than a year old. Ever since, we have made it part of our night time routine. It’s still one of my favorite activities. That quiet time together is so special, and now that he’s older, I still read with him every night. The books are a lot different and he does most of the reading himself, but I still look forward to it. We enjoy picking out books together at the library, which is actually where a class I took taught me the importance of reading to babies.  Here are six-reasons it is important to read to your baby.

1. Reading informs them.

Most baby books tend to have a lot of important basic information. These books are helpful because it teaches them about the world around them. What are those things crawling on the sidewalk? Ants! Why does mommy make me go to bed? To get my rest! When your baby begins to talk, reading to them will help them discover what things are and what they are called.

2. Reading forms a connection.

One of the most important reasons you should read to your baby is because it helps form a connection between the two of you. Your baby will love hearing your voice when you read and the two of you will feel a closeness during this special time!

3. Reading introduces concepts.

Did you know that there is research showing that people who read are smarter? As a teen or adult, reading helps you better understand what you know and teaches you new concepts. For a baby, reading introduces countless new ideas. Most children’s books talk about numbers, colors, animals and shapes. This is a great way for your baby to learn about these crucial things.

4. Reading builds vocabulary.

When you read to your baby you are building their vocabulary, listening and memory skills. These are all so important for a baby to learn at a young age. The more books you read to them, the more words they are going to learn and the better their memory will become.

5. Reading teaches communication.

Reading teaches your baby how people interact with each other. A story that has dialogue, even if they cannot understand it, shows them how they can one day communicate and what will be expected of them. The more you read to them, the better.

6. Reading teaches them to read.

Yes, I know that your baby is still too small to read. However, if you instill the importance of reading at a young age, they will begin to read on their own when they are old enough. Reading when you are older is just as important as reading when you are a baby, because it stimulates your brain and keeps you learning. By normalizing reading, you set them up for academic success.

nursing brasGuest Blog by Nicole Zoellner from NizoWear.com 

Nizo Wear is the first nursing bra to have a unique, patented pocket in the pull-down flap that can hold a heating or cooling pack helping bring moms relief and healing faster while being extremely comfortable and super chic.

Nizo Wear nursing bras were inspired by the real-life experience of the company’s founder, Nicole Zoellner. When Nicole became pregnant with her son, she eagerly read all the materials her doctor had given her about the benefits of breastfeeding. She happily anticipated the feelings of serenity and bonding that nursing promises mother and infant.

So, Nicole set out to do for other nursing moms what no-one had been able to do for her: provide a practical, comfortable way to get relief from the soreness breastfeeding mothers often experience. Her design was patented, and Nizo Wear was born.

Visit www.nizowear.com for more information.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

The 6 Benefits of Sensory Play

benefits of sensory playSensory play are activities that give your child a chance to explore and discover the world using their senses. You can facilitate this learning by providing your children with sensory play opportunities. I’ve written before (here and here) about how you can create some.

When most people think about sensory play, they think about touch: sand and water tables, play dough and beads. Other senses can be incorporated as well, like sight (by using bright colors) and smell (by using strong odors) and taste (edible toys!).

Here are the benefits of sensory play.

1. Sensory builds nerve connections in the brain.

The first years of development are critical for the brain. Many of the brains pathways are created during this time period. That means stimulation during the baby and toddler ages is important. With more neural pathways, your child will be able to complete more complex tasks and work through difficult problems. In fact, as your child learns through his sense, he becomes better at learning with those same sense, compounding the benefit.

2. Sensory play enhances memory.

Like most abilities, memory can be improved by working at it. Sensory play gives children a chance to practice their memories by remembering how their play set behaves to their manipulations.

3. Sensory provides a pre-language learning environment.

Your child might be able to talk just yet, but he has been seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling since his first breath. He has an idea of how to use those senses well enough to use them to learn the world. That’s why babies and toddlers are so eager to put their hands (and mouths) on something new. Someday you’ll be able to explain concepts with words, but for now you need to appeal to his senses.

4. Sensory play develops fine motor skills.

Your child needs to develop two types of motor skills: fine and gross. Gross motor skills are things like walking, running, jumping. Fine motor skills are a bit harder to build, so you’ll have to give your child specific opportunities to learn. Sensory play items often have small pieces that need to be manipulated with precision, like buttoning, zipping, pinching, pulling and turning.

5. Sensory play is calming.

You have probably noticed that after bath time (a form of sensory play), your toddler is a lot calmer than an hour spent running around and roughhousing. Stationary play that requires lots of mental energy is a great way to get your kid to calm down for the evening. It regulates discomfort, anxiety, restless and agitation. Offer a little sensory play and a calm book, and your child will fall right to sleep.

6. Sensory play is an abbreviated form of the scientific method.

The scientific method, if you remember from school, is just the way we evaluate the world to get the best results. When you cross the street, you suppose cars are coming (that’s the hypothesis), check both ways (the experiment), and determine that the way is clear (your results). Similarly, children learn through sensory play by experimenting. When they touch something sticky, they learn that it won’t separate from their hands. When they touch water, their hand comes away wet. With each endeavor, they learn something.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Ways to Tell That Baby is Teething

baby teethingNo children are the same. All babies experience teething in different ways. Teething symptoms can range in variety and intensity; some last for a few days and never both your child, while others can last for months as whole groups of teeth come through. The symptoms can appear as much as a couple months before you ever see a tooth. Here are the signs that baby is teething.

1. Poor sleep pattern.

Often the gum pain is present, but distractions are enough to keep your baby’s mind off of it. When it’s time to go to sleep, however, there’s nothing to do but think about the pain, so your baby will struggle falling asleep. You’ll find yourself crib-side more often as you soothe him to sleep.

2. Gnawing on toys, you, and everything!

Pressure on the affected area is the quickest way for your baby to gain relief. When he presses on the part that hurts, his brain is overloading with pressure signals and can’t process the original pain. You’ll notice him gnawing at his toys, crib, and even your fingers. Offer a teething toy or a cold washrag for him to chew on.

3. Lots of drool!

You will notice your baby’s clothes are suddenly damp all the time. This is because his mouth is creating a build-up of saliva to lubricate the gums. To avoid chapped skin, you will want to gently wipe your baby’s face throughout the day. If it’s becoming a problem, attach a bib. Pooled saliva may cause a slight wet cough.

4. Fussiness and crying.

While some babies experience teething easily, others can suffer pain. You may find that your baby is crying more often and more easily than before. Things that would frustrate him but not bring him to tears are suddenly too much for him. If the pain seems unbearable, speak with your doctor about what kind (if any) pain relief you can offer.

5. Refusal to eat.

The sucking motion can worsen the pain your baby is experiencing. To avoid the pain, he may refuse to eat, or eat/nurse briefly before turning away. Keep offering the food. Usually this problem doesn’t persist and your baby will eat. If he has refused to eat for two full days, speak with your doctor.

A simple teething toy (ideally one made of silicone) is usually enough to give your baby some relief. Some can even be stored in the fridge and utilize the numbing properties of cold.

pacifier holderGuest Blog by Julie Tabor Thompson, Founder & President of Bounce Innovations, Inventor of PullyPalz

As a mother of two, Julie found she was continuously retrieving dropped pacifiers, because even though they spit them out, they still want them immediately! She called it “the pacifier game,” and, at times, it was difficult to play. One day, she thought, ‘I wish somebody would invent a …’ A what? What could make it so babies can keep up with their pacifiers? Clips help parents keep up with pacifiers, but they don’t help the baby. Babies don’t understand when it’s behind their shoulder or around their side. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. She started by making the first prototype in her kitchen (which included melting molding plastic, an instruction manual for her sewing machine, and YouTube videos). Several designs later, the PullyPalz were born… The first ever pacifier toy that – with the help of baby’s interaction – keeps pacis coming back!

Her goal is to offer unique products that make life and parenthood just a little easier, and ultimately more enjoyable. Compatible products (teethers and toys) will be coming to market soon. Julie also offers product development and consultation services for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

For more information, visit www.pullypalz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

7 Labor Day Family Activities

labor day activitiesLabor Day is approaching. It’s the last summer holiday before the kids go back to school (if they haven’t already) and the last chance for celebration until Halloween. This makes it a perfect day to spend some quality time with your family before everyone’s lives pick up the pace again. Don’t sit around the house this Labor Day. Try out some of these activities.

1. Attend a parade.

Many towns throughout the country host an annual Labor Day parade to celebrate the holiday. These parades are usually filled with fire trucks, police cars, marching bands, and floats from local charities, organizations and clubs. Young kids get a kick out of the spectacle. Pick a good seat earlier in the day so your kids can catch the candy that’s often thrown off the floats!

2. Teach some history.

Use this day as an opportunity to teach your kids about the meaning and history of Labor Day, which celebrates the contributions and labors of all the people who have worked to build this great country. We’ve been celebrating it since 1984 with parades, fireworks, fairs, and other family-friendly events. It’s a day where we appreciate each other’s hard work and take a rest.

3. Spend the day at the park.

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, when communities stop planning local events, pools close and school starts up again. If you don’t have a parade going on, your local town center probably has some sort of event planned. This could be a fair, free concert or meet-up. Enjoy this last opportunity to get outside and interact with your neighbors before the weather changes.

4. Host a barbecue.

If nothing is going on in your community, set something up yourself. All you need is a backyard and a grill to have fun. Set up a potluck event. Tell your friends to invite anyone along they like, as long as they bring a contribution to the party, like a dish, drinks, ice, chips, burgers, etc. If you don’t care who shows up, inviting people is easy.

5. Volunteer.

Many non-profits schedule fundraising and volunteer opportunities around times people have off work, like Labor Day. These types of workers also often don’t have the typical days off like most people, so they can always use the help.

6. Attend a food festival.

I promise you some cultural group is having a food festival somewhere near you on Labor Day. Whether it’s the Irish festival, the Italian festival, the Portuguese festival or the Chinese festival (well, I’ve never seen that one, but it could happen!), you’re bound to find a good food experience somewhere.

7. Watch a sporting event.

If your family follows a particular sports team, you probably know that games played on that day usually come with some sort of bonus. They might offer half-off tickets, a free prize when you show up, or a special ceremony or concert during the game. Make a day of it with your family and cheer for the home team!

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Tips to Help Baby Stop Thumb Sucking

how to stop thumb suckingChildren suck their thumbs for a variety of reasons, but they usually do it to provide comfort. You’ll notice your child often sucks his or her thumb before going to sleep. It’s a normal habit, but long-term thumb sucking can affect teeth development, so you’ll want to stop it at some point. Here are some tips to stop the habit.

1. Distract their fingers

The next time you see your child sucking their thumb, distract them. Find an activity where they have to use their hands, so that they stop sucking their thumb. Bed time is a big time for thumb sucking, so ask them to read you a book so that their hands are distracted holding the book and they don’t get the chance to suck their thumb.

2. Have the doctor talk to them

A lot of times a child will do something if their doctor tells them to. Next time you are at the doctor’s, ask them to talk to your child about why thumb sucking is bad. There is a large chance that they will stop when they hear from their doctor the damage it can do.

3. Reward

A great way to get your child to stop sucking their thumb is by rewarding them. If they don’t suck their thumb for a whole day, they get a star. If by the end of the week they have seven stars, they get a special prize. Many kids are motivated by rewards. Once they stop sucking their thumb for a few days, they are most likely done for good!

4. Cover the thumb

If your child is having a really hard time letting go of their thumb sucking habits, try covering their thumb with gauze and a Band-Aid. Hey, they cannot suck their thumb if it has a yucky Band-Aid on it! You’ll find that this really does help them to stop, unless of course they are ripping it off.

5. Wait it out

There is a chance that none of these remedies will help your child to stop. Some kids need to just figure things out on their own. Eventually they will stop; you won’t see them at 20 still sucking their thumb. The best thing you can do as a parent is to stay patient and let it happen when it happens.

transition baby from swaddleGuest Blog by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventor of the Zipadee-Zip

The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: “Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time,” and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family’s reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker’s daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.

When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.

Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte’s startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!

To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!

For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Photo Credit: joeltelling via Compfight cc

Stay Safe in the Bath with These 5 Tips

bath time safety tipsThe bathroom is one of the most dangerous spots in your home for babies, especially when water is involved. Hopefully you have turned bath time into a fun experience with baby. Not only does baby get clean, but you get some one-on-one bonding time that you’ll never forget. Prevent bath time injuries and keep baby safe with these tips.

1. Keep everything sanitary.

You should work to keep a sanitary bathroom at all times, but having a baby is a good excuse to catch up on some cleaning you have been meaning to do. Many parents neglect to clean their baby’s toys regularly, but they become unclean just like anything else. After each bath, each toy should be thoroughly cleaned and rinse. Be mindful of wooden toys or toys made form absorbent material that could track bacteria. Wipe everything down with an effective, all-natural cleaner every couple weeks.

2. Baby proof the bathroom.

This is an important step for any room of your house, but the bathroom especially. Oddly, many parents overlook this room. Put away all freestanding objects that can be pulled over, especially those near the bath rub. Don’t assume your baby can’t pull the curling iron or hair straightener into the water. Best put them away.

Put away any personal care products your baby may spill or, worse, eat. Lock the toilet seat, plug electrical outlets with plastic covers and lay down a few bath mats, including one inside the tub.

3. Read product labels carefully.

Be wary of products that might irritate your baby’s skin, eyes or mouth. Read all the product labels so you understand how to use each item and what it’s suitable for. Some products are designed specifically for children while others urge you to only use them on adult skin. Follow these warnings carefully.

Before you use a new product or soap, check online for review from people who have used it with their children to learn about their reaction. Cleaning infant skin only requires a dab of mild, made-for-baby-skin soap. Often a warm rag is sufficient.

4. Keep your baby seated away from the faucet.

When bathing your child, either in the sink or the bathtub, keep his or her body away from the faucet to prevent injuries. A sudden kick, arm flail, or jerk could injury your baby against the hard metal. Also, sudden changes in temperature can make your baby uncomfortable and fussy through the whole bath process.

5. Always support your child.

Even if the bath seat you use appears sturdy, never leave the tub while your child is in the bath. These products should only be used as aides to help you wash your baby. These seats could still tip over and trap your baby underwater. It doesn’t take much water to drown. Remember: Never leave your child unattended in a bath tub.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

3 Do-It-Yourself Sensory Toys for Babies

do it yourself sensory toysPlay is an important part of learning for babies, so it’s important that we (as parents) do everything we can to make that play time as meaningful as possible. Babies learn by watching and interacting with their environment. By offering sensory toys, we foster learning through discovering and experimentation.

You don’t need an expensive DVD set to teach your baby. You need something he or she can hold on to, manipulate, and change. Below are three sensory toys you can create a home, probably using items you already have.

Water Sensory Mat

Babies and toddlers get a thrill out of water sensory mats. Water mats teach hand-eye coordination and teach cause-and-effect. You can buy water mats at the toy store, even ones that baby can sit on for lots of movement, but it’s simple to make as well. Your kid will get a kick out of batting the objects around inside and manipulating the bag to move the contents around.

Fill the largest Ziploc bag you can get your hands on with water and some small objects that won’t break through the plastic, like glitter, confetti, paper cutouts, and even small toys. For the sake of tidiness, I like to add some duct tape around the bag’s seal just in case my son accidentally opens it.

Sensory Water Bottles

Water is involved in a lot of sensory toys because it creates all sorts of movement. Fill some used, cleaned water bottles with random items. Use anything that will make a great visual effect once the bottle is full of water. Pick items with lots of color. You could use glitter, marble, beads, buttons, paper clips, small toys, bouncy balls, pipe cleaners, googley eyes, coins, etc. Fill the bottle with water and glue the top down so it doesn’t spill. Your baby will love spinning around the bottle and watching the contents swirl.

Baby Bean Bags

Bean bags are fun because they have an interesting textural element. Babies can touch, manipulate and throw the bags. They have different properties and move differently than a typical ball. Use them to play catch without fear they will break anything or hurt anyone.

Using fabric (any kind will do, whatever is cheap at your local craft store), cut rectangular strips. Fold them in half (so one of the four sides of the bean bag is the crease). Sew the two sides adjacent to the crease so the top is open for stuffing. Turn the bag inside out (sewing 101 here!) and fill fil rice, pellets, or dried beans. (I like rice: it’s super cheap and has a soft, crumbly feel). Sew the remaining side good and tight so nothing spills.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Ways to Encourage Sensory Play

sensory play ideasPeople learn best when their senses are involved. After all, our senses are a key component of memory (can you think of a memory without a vision, taste, feeling, sound, or smell?).

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates your child’s senses. When their senses are aroused, they use scientific methods to discover, learn, and grow their brains. While active lessons (like piano lessons or karate classes) have their own uses, a big part of early development comes from creative play and free exploring.

To help them better understand their world, we want to give them play opportunities that stimulate their sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, and even taste. Here are a few ideas to encourage sensory play, but don’t stop here! You’ll find many examples all over the web.

Jell-O Finger Paints

These easy-to-make finger paints are non-toxic and safe to eat. Basically you’ll make watered-down Jell-O that can be spread all over and cleaned up easily. If you make several flavors, you’ll fill the room with lovely fruit smells, too. Offer your child brushes or encourage him to use his fingers. Don’t worry if he spreads it all over; that’s part of the fun.

Click here for a recipe.

Quicksand

Using cornstarch and water, you can create your own quicksand! Quicksand is simply sand that has been infused with so much water than it behaves like a liquid. You can make quicksand in a bucket or tray, or fill a small kiddie pool (but monitor your children while they play). Let them slosh, splash and construct with the odd substance.

Click here for a recipe.

Play Dough

Play Dough is fun, but you never seem to have enough to make anything big. Fortunately, it’s easy to make at home out of water, flour, and salt. Create a generous amount of several different colors and encourage your kids to build anything they like. Show them how to stick it together to make colorful objects.

Click here for a recipe.

Sensory Tub

A sensory tub is a simple ideas designed to give your child a plethora of options. In a plastic tub or bin, include a variety of objects. Some parents like to center the objects on a theme that the child likes so he or she will be inclined to explore. Your child will find the different textures and colors appealing, develop his/her fine motor skills, and play creatively.

Click here for a recipe.

Sensory Bath

Similar to the sensory tub, the sensory bath incorporates a variety of items, but in water. Fill your tub with a few inches of water and add a variety of objects that your child wouldn’t normally come in contact with, like filled water balloons or small rocks. Let her play with these items and interact with the water.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Tips for Stopping Toddler’s Bad Habits

how to stop bad toddler habitsSometimes having a toddler can be stressful. They’re all over the place, running and getting into trouble. You’ll constantly be policing bad habits. Fortunately, most bad habits come in phases that eventually end, but you’ll still have to watch their behavior. When my babies grew into toddlers, I was embarrassed by some of their behaviors, but with a little love and work, they straightened out. Here are four toddler bad habits and how you can stop them.

Pacifier attachment

Is your toddler still attached to their pacifier? After age three it is very unhealthy for a child to be sucking on a binky. (All-day binky action can cause ear infections, affect the teeth, and delay language and social skills.) The best thing you can do for your toddler is to set limits. Don’t bring the binky with you when you go out, and limit the amount of time they can use it while home. If your toddler doesn’t require the binky, never suggest it yourself.

Head banging

The best thing to do when your toddler is banging their head is to direct their attention elsewhere. Your toddler needs more activities to run their energy levels down. Encourage lots of physical activity to tire him out. Also, you need to make sure that your child has a routine every day. Bed time routines should always be the same and they shouldn’t be going to be too early or too late. Limit stress in any way you can.

Thumb sucking

Sucking is one of our first instincts and it quickly becomes a soothing habit. It reminds babies of the security of their mama’s boobies. You’ll notice your child sucking his thumb when he’s trying to soothe himself to sleep, or surrounded by unfamiliar people. Thumb sucking can be frustrating for a parent to watch and it can damage teeth later in life, but it’s an easy bad habit to stop. If your child is still sucking their thumb after three or four, try your best to distract their hands with activities.

Nose picking

Ew! Just kidding, almost every toddler does this… and some adults too! To help your toddler stop this gross habit, tell them why it is not something they should be doing, especially in public. If they are picking so hard they start to bleed, you need to make sure they know that they are hurting themselves. A common remedy is to insist your child wash his hands every time you catch him picking his nose. Not only is this sanitary, but he’ll stop because he’s tired of washing his hands.

baby headrestGuest Blog by Alicia Overby – Founder & President of Baby Elephant Ears

Alicia is wife, mother, and creator of Baby Elephant Ears. Baby Elephant Ears was created out of parental concern, not financial desire. In 2005, when their second child was an infant, he cried all the time and just couldn’t seem to get comfortable.

After seeking advice and suggestion from the medical community and alternative medicine, they eventually ended up in the chiropractors office where their baby was successfully treated for asubluxation, discomfort most likely the result of the strain during labor, which was now being exacerbated by the normal lack of infant neck strength. Only proper neck, head, and back alignment would offer him relief. When they couldn’t find a product to give their baby the necessary support, Alicia took matters into her own hands and crafted her own infant support pillow. The first Baby Elephant Ears was born!

For more information, visit www.babyelephantears.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.