8 Spring Time Activities for the Whole Family

Spring Time Activities for the Whole FamilyWhen the sun is finally shining after spending months in the house all winter, both parents and their kids are looking for ways to enjoy the spring. Staring at screens day-in and day-out is much more exhausting than we think. Let’s get out of the house and off of the phone! Here are some ways to take you and your kids back to the days of old school fun.

Warning: This blog may cause extreme nostalgia!

1. Family picnic

Unfortunately so many people have forgotten the simple joy of gathering up a few friends and lying out in the park to eat sandwiches. Yes, people still do this, but not enough people. Did you know some kids don’t even know what a game of handball is in 2015? Show your kids the joy of park play and eating sandwiches. Bring a speaker for music and leave the tablets at home.

2. Bike riding

When we were children, it was a milestone in life to learn to ride a bike. Now, it’s pretty cool but not as common. The rush we get from bike riding is still unparalleled. The springtime is the perfect time to blow the dust off your two-wheeler and show your family around the neighborhood without the car. This is a workout and a ton of fun for both you and them.

3. Start a photo journal

Flowers blooming and birds chirping shouldn’t go undocumented. Taking your family outside to observe some of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations is a fun way to bond. Try to learn photography techniques with your children then create a photo journal to look back on for years to come.

4. Blow bubbles

Nothing says it’s warm outside more than the effortless joy of blowing bubbles in the back yard. Young children love to play and dance amidst bubbles and they don’t get to see them as much these days. Turn up the music and blow a couple of bubbles. This is an easy way to celebrate spring without draining too much energy. (Bubble blowing machines are acceptable!)

5. Go to community sports games

Did you know most communities have dedicated sports teams? Show your community, school, or even job’s sporting team some love and show support in the bleachers. These events are often vastly under-attended in many communities so they’ll be glad you came. If you’re up to the challenge, your family can even sign up!

6. Wash the car together

“I don’t want my car washed for free,” said no one ever. I’m all for killing two birds with one stone. Most kids are really excited about the idea of helping mom or dad wash the car. Turn on the hose, grab a few sponges and make it a family activity.

7. Hop-scotch

Did you know that people still draw images on the asphalt with chalk? Did you know kids still enjoy it? *gasp* Having permission to go wild on the concrete is still an absolute dream for children. This is the easiest way for them to fulfill their vandalism fantasies without damaging the walls in your house.

8. Go to a carnival

Ferris wheels are still and hopefully will always be “a thing.” If you aren’t scared of heights your child will love experiencing a carnival with you. Cotton candy, bumper cars and clowns are things all millennial children should experience at least once!

infant support pillowGuest 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.

10 Favorite Play Date Ideas

Favorite Play Date IdeasEven if your kids aren’t at the age where they are asking to spend time with their friends, you might find it good for your child’s development to schedule some play dates. It will give your kids a chance to socialize with someone new and maybe learn a few things.

If you’re at a loss with what to do with the kids, here are some ideas.

1. Hold an arts and crafts session. Many kids like a little direction. Set up some crafts that are appropriate to the children’s ages. They should also relate to the season or upcoming holiday somehow to make it extra special.

2. Serve some fancy mocktails. There are plenty of mocktail recipes online you can find to make adult-like drinks for the kids. Put them in a fancy glass and serve with lunch.

3. Personalize some cookies. Baking is fun for kids because it’s usually pretty simple: add ingredients, stir, and wait for the deliciousness. Spice up the event by letting the kids personalize their cookies with frosting and sprinkles. Send your guest home with some treats.

4. Take a nature walk. Have your guests meet your family at a nearby park or forest reserve. Spend the day exploring the paths and enjoy a water-side picnic. Let the kids run around and play among the trees.

5. Lego free play. Sometimes the best activity is not one at all. Some families have huge tubs of Lego pieces. Spread them out on a carpeted floor and let the go to town.

6. Have a book reading. If you can get your hands on multiple copies of the same book, invite some kids over and read it together. Ideally the book shouldn’t be too long so no one gets bored. Prepare some simple questions to get them talking about it.

7. Play some Olympic games. Set up some simple active games in your yard, like ball toss, relay races, and jumping contests. Have everyone compete for simple prizes, like ribbons.

8. Have some water play. As the weather get warmer, it might be warm enough where you live to get wet. Even if you don’t have a pool, connect your hose to one of those simple sprinklers. Let the kids toss water balloons at one another or splash each other in kiddie pools.

9. Set up some sensory play. For younger kids, they might enjoy a sensory table. You’ll find plenty “recipes” for these online, but essentially you just add lots of items with different textures to a bin or bucket for kids to explore.

10. Camp indoors. For sleepover play dates, set up a whole campsite in your living room (or backyard if the weather cooperates). Eat traditional campfire foods, tell ghost stories, and sleep in a tent.

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.

Reasons Why Recess is Healthy for Kids

Why Recess is Healthy for KidsRecently there has been controversy over the announcement of 23 elementary schools in Orange County, Florida cutting back on recess time and even cutting it out altogether. While some parents agree with the decision because more time is being allotted to instructional hours, a majority of parents believe this will harm children more than help them. Recess offers children time to be active and engage in creative play of their choosing. Recess should provide free, unstructured play, physical activity and “personal” time for each student. Most children have very little time for free play. After they spend most of the day in the classroom, children’s afternoons are often filled with structured activities. Here is why recess is such an important part of children’s schooling.

Free play is what children do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way, and for their own reasons. Free play is essential to children’s development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, and social well being of children. Playful behavior has a positive effect on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. Recess allows time for children to engage in free play and physical activity, which is why schools need to reconsider cutting recess out of the school day.

Social and Cognitive Development:

  • Play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex.  Play and exploration trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.
  • Children pay more attention to academic tasks when they are given frequent brief opportunities for free play. Researchers found that recesses of 10 or 20 minutes enhanced classroom attention.
  • Research shows that the way kids play contributes to their ability to solve divergent problems (problems with multiple solutions). Children showed more creativity in their attempts to solve problems as well.
  • Researchers have noted similarities between pretend play and counterfactual reasoning, the ability to make inferences about events that have not actually occurred. Children will be asked more and more inferential type questions in all academic subjects as they progress in school.
  • During recess, play is child-driven. This gives children an opportunity to work collaboratively, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills.
  • These skills are important for developing executive functioning skills, the skills that allow us to plan, focus attention, remember instruction and juggle multiple tasks.
  • When play is controlled by adults – such as in organized sports – children have to follow the rules established by the adult and the adult enforces the rules, not the children.
  • In contrast, during free play, children make the rules and enforce them, giving them the opportunity for developing self-regulation skills as well as leadership and group skills and creativity. Children with more frequent pretend play opportunities have stronger self-regulation skills. Practicing these skills is important to the development of executive functioning skills.

Physical Development:

  • Research has shown that most of the brain is activated during physical activity—much more so than while sedentary. After physical activity, children’s bodies and brains are ready to be engaged again in the structured learning process.
  • Movement increases the capacity of blood vessels in the brain, which in turn, enhances learning.
  • Numerous studies have shown that students who are physically active improve their academic performance, achieve higher test scores and demonstrate a better attitude toward school.
  • Everyone needs a break. This is especially true for young children. They do not process information as effectively as older children and adults (due to the immaturity of their nervous systems).  Adults take breaks during their workdays for many of the same reasons young children need recess.

custom designed playroomsGuest Blog by Karri Bowen-Poole, Founder of Smart Playrooms

Smart Playrooms designs, builds and organizes play areas for children. They combine sound educational philosophy with unique beautiful design. Smart Playrooms will bring the most effective classroom organization techniques and learning strategies into your home or business.

Stressing that less is more, they help moms focus on the toys that will add to the experience. Karri and Chris really like the idea of using their educational backgrounds and expertise to create custom designed playrooms. Plus, this gives them a niche in the market. Former teachers designing and organizing your playroom – what could be better!

For more information, please visit smartplayrooms.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.

10 Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

Can you believe it’s nearly February already? Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – a holiday for more than just romantic couples, a day when we should how much we love those we’re close to. Work together with your kids to create something truly special for mom or dad. Here are 10 Valentine’s Day crafts you can create with your kids.

1. Candy Collage Cookie Pops

Valentine’s Day crafts that kids and adults can make together for classroom Valentine exchanges, festive party snacks and more. These edible gifts kids are simple, but they look professional! Click here for the craft.

Candy Collage Cookie Pops

2. DIY Tissue (Kleenex) Flowers

These may require a lot of tissues, but they’ll keep your kids busy for hours. You can make as many flowers as you like – a whole bouquet or just one. What mom doesn’t love flowers? Click here for the craft.

DIY Tissue (Kleenex) Flowers

3. Lollipop Flower Treats

Not only are these fun to make, but you get to enjoy a sweet treat! Click here for the craft.

Lollipop Flower Treats

4. Gumball Machine Valentines

This is a great craft for your child to give out at school. It’s a small bag of treats and a Valentine’s Day card all in one. Click here for the craft.

Gumball Machine Valentines

5. Cupid’s Arrow Valentines

These nontraditional Valentine’s Day cards are sure to stand out. Working with straws also helps kids develop their fine motor skills. Click here for the craft.

Cupid’s Arrow Valentines

6. Mod Podge Heart Decals

What’s nice about these is that you can hang them anywhere – from walls to windows. You can make as many as you like depending on the size of your home and stick them wherever you like. Click here for the craft.

Mod Podge Heart Decals

7. Pipe Cleaner Base with Button Flowers

This is a great Valentine’s Day gift for a family member, friend or teacher because it can be displayed nicely on a desk or counter top. You can make as many flowers as you like and use any colors. Click here for the craft.

Pipe Cleaner Base with Button Flowers

8.  Valentine’s Day Handprints

Handprint crafts are fun because they create a memory of when your kids were little. Use their hands, feet and a bit of paint to make something special. Click here for the craft.

Valentine’s Day Handprints

9. DIY Valentine’s Day Paper Hat

These are pretty simple to make and you probably have the materials you need right at home. It’s a great craft for younger kids who don’t have a lot of skills or older kids who like to work independently. Click here for the craft.

DIY Valentine’s Day Paper Hat

10. Hanging Hearts Mobile

This is a great craft to make if you’re having a party of Valentine’s Day celebration. Click here for the craft.

Hanging Hearts Mobile

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.

Developing Motor Skills: Baby Playtime Activities

developing motor skillsThere are many milestones and things to watch for and anticipate as a new parent. One of these areas involves motor skills. Motor skills are defined as an intentional muscle movement—these movements are typically placed into 2 categories, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve larger movements of the arms, legs, feet, or entire body, such as crawling, walking, and jumping. Fine motor skills involve smaller movements of body parts such as fingers and hands. Believe it or not, there are many easy and fun activities parents and caregivers can do with babies to encourage the development of both gross and fine motor skills. Here are just a few:

Get out the Play-dough

Most kids love play-dough, and it turns out that this activity is more than just crafty fun. It encourages imagination, provides a sensory experience, and builds motor skills. The pinching, stretching, and kneading of play-dough is wonderful for building muscle strength and coordination in little fingers. Once you teach your little ones that play-dough is for playing and not for eating, they can unleash their creative spirit while developing essential motor skills.

Go Swimming

One of the major components of well-developed gross motor skills is a strong core. According to professionals who offer baby swimming lessons in Houston, swimming is an effective way to build core, leg, and arm muscles even in young children and babies. Swimming with your little one will get them used to the water—a huge benefit when they are old enough for swimming lessons on their own. This is a great mommy-and-me class to try with your baby to help them build important muscle groups and learn essential swimming skills.

Coloring

Holding a pencil or crayon the correct way may seem to be a skill not needed for years to come, but it is never too early to begin to develop strong muscles and good skills. By using short nubs of pencils and crayons it encourages little ones to hold them correctly, rather than in a fist. Using thicker markers in the beginning will help them get an idea of how to grasp, and showing them how to color on a page will help with coordination and strength. Then, try cutting down pencils and crayons to help increase these grasping muscles as they grow.

Play Hopscotch

Drawing a basic hopscotch grid with sidewalk chalk can provide hours of entertainment, exercise, and development of gross motor skills. Hopping and jumping are both skills that build strong leg muscles and coordination. Little ones may not be able to actually play hopscotch. Simply drawing a line on the ground and encouraging them to walk along it and jump over it is a great alternative. Not only will this help them burn off extra energy, but they will eventually develop the muscles needed to hop, skip, and jump.

Tummy Time

For very young babies, tummy time is like doing a set of sit ups. Laying a baby on their tummy for supervised play time is extremely important and beneficial to the development of strong core, neck, arm, and leg muscles. These muscles are all needed as the baby learns to sit, scoot, crawl, and walk. Your little one may scream and cry during tummy time, but it is necessary to proper growth. You may dread this exercise, but allowing the baby to get used to this position will help them develop the necessary muscles to support their own body.

Strings and Things

Allowing kids to string materials is a wonderful way to build fine motor skills and build hand-eye coordination. Kids can string things such as macaroni, cheerios, and beads into necklaces and bracelets. If they aren’t quite coordinated enough for this, invest in a few books or games that require strings to be looped through holes repeatedly (you can even make your own.) This action will help with creativity and hand-eye coordination, but can be disguised as a fun game or jewelry making for your little one.

There is nearly a never ending number of ways to work on building gross and fine motor skills with babies. The keys are to be creative, stay active, and have fun! Your baby will develop the necessary skills as you help him or her along in the process, and you can always ask your pediatrician if you are concerned about their development or motor skills.

Dixie Somers, Freelance WriterGuest Blog by Dixie Somers, Freelance Writer/Blogger

Dixie is a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women’s interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters who are the inspiration for her writing.

Follow Dixie on Twitter

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 Importance of a Playroom

importance of a playroomTo children, play is serious business. It’s essential to the development of their intellectual, physical, and emotional health. From our perspective, play can look like silly fun, but to children play is how they experiment and observe the world. A playroom is important because it gives kids a dedicated space to play without interfering with the rest of the home.

No More Bedtime Energy

One of the biggest benefits of having a playroom is called “space conditioning.” Children (and adults) develop mental moods to inhabit when they visit a particular space. (This applies to work, a store, the gym, and anything else too.) In the playroom, kids become conditioned to play and explore as they please. In the bedroom, they learn to calm down and prepare to sleep. However, if the bedroom and the playroom are the same room, these mental modes can be become confused.

A Place to Store Everything

If you’re tired of tripping over countless toys all over your house, a playroom is a solution. It gives you a space to leave everything so you aren’t constantly putting it away. If company drops by suddenly, all you have to do is close the door. If you use some clever organization methods (like low-to-the-floor storage and picture labels), kids can help keep the room tidy. Plus, toys don’t leave the room so they don’t go missing.

Children Are Influenced by Their Surroundings

Kids are natural explorers. They are drawn to the things around them. If they spend time in a room filled with things that don’t facilitate learning, they won’t learn. You can fill a playroom with plenty of open-ended toys that allow your kids to experiment and try new things. For example, an excellent playroom would have a section devoted to costumes and dress up, a table for arts and crafts, and an easy-to-access shelf full of books.

A Playroom in any Home

Playrooms are so beneficial that there’s a growing trend of families who are combining children into one room in order to use a spare bedroom as a playroom. At the younger ages, you might be able to spur your child’s development by having them sleep in the same room as sibling in order to move the toys to the other bedroom. Of course, eventually they will age and you’ll want to give them their own space.

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.

Photo Credit: ThrasherDave via Compfight cc

Creative Fall Themed Art Projects for Kids

fall arts and crafts for kids

Image: Kiwi Crate

Arts and crafts projects are a great idea for kids for many reasons: it allows for creative thinking, it’s a good way to keep kids busy, and it’s a self-esteem booster when they have completed an awesome craft of their own.

Fall is the perfect time of year for arts and crafts as well. The kids can stay warm indoors while doing something fun, and the foliage and changing colors of the season can serve as inspiration for their

Arts and crafts projects are a great idea for kids for many reasons: it allows for creative thinking, it’s a good way to keep kids busy, and it’s a self-esteem booster when they have completed an awesome craft of their own.

Fall is the perfect time of year for arts and crafts as well. The kids can stay warm indoors while doing something fun, and the foliage and changing colors of the season can serve as inspiration for their art. Here are a few arts and crafts projects that will keep your child busy this fall:

Cardboard Tube Owls

For this project, the kids will be making their very own owl out of toilet paper tubes and various scraps of paper and other materials. Using googly eyes, orange beaks, and adding proper wings to these creations will already show signs of the owl-to-be. Kids can then decorate and detail the creation to their liking.

This project doesn’t create much mess at all and provides a fun activity for kids of many different ages. An added bonus of this project is the teachable moment of showing your kids the importance of using recyclable materials!

Leaf Doodling

I can’t think of a more fitting arts and crafts projects for the season! Using metallic gel pens, kids are able to create colorful, unique designs on different types of leaves. The leaves serve as a blank canvas to allow your child to get creative on their own with the metallic pens.

This is another project that is virtually mess-less and just right for kids of many different ages. Creating tons of designs and drawings on an endless supply of leaves will keep your child busy for hours.

Ribbon Wands

This arts and crafts project is two-fold. Your child has the fun and enjoyment of creating the actual ribbon wands for themselves (with your help on this one), and then they can play all day long once they’re finished. For this project, all you need is the long ribbons, wooden dowels, and a drill (which you will obviously use for them).

Once the holes are drilled into the wooden dowels, your child can begin feeding the ribbon through and tying it up tight. They can either choose to stuff a bunch of different colored ribbons into a single dowel for one big streaming wand, or they can create separate wands for each color ribbon you have.

organic baby toddler clothingGuest Blog by Holly MacLean from Wee Urban

As a new mom, Holly was driven to start Wee Urban™ to offer the modern family a unique and fresh collection of eco-friendly baby gear and accessories that goes beyond the conventional and explores the exceptional! Tired of traditional pinks and blues and cute motifs, we offer sophisticated designs, “conscious” organic alternatives, practical functionality and superior quality. Using our custom certified organic cotton blends, low-impact dyes, and other trendsetting fabrics, we hope to inspire families to be make better choices and of course- do it all in urban style!

Beyond our organic cotton and azo-free dyes, Wee Urban uses 100% post-consumer packaging and tags for our Wee Dreams™ Sleep Bags. Our distinctive screen-printing is done with 100% eco-inks and are all phthalate free.

We also recycle our remnants and donate as much as possible to local elementary schools to help with arts and crafts programs.

For more information, visit wwww.weeurban.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 Tips to Encourage Creativity During Playtime

encourage creative playPlay time is an important part of growing up. In today’s busy world, we sometimes forget that for little minds, play is learning. If we want to give our children the best life we can, the first years have to involve lots of play, alone and with others. Here are some ways you can stimulate creative play.

1. Make time for play.

Play shouldn’t be something your kids do between errands, school, and chores. It’s an important part of growing up and you should make sure they have ample free time to get to it. They don’t need packed schedules and direct stimulation; they need to explore the world in their own way.

2. Eliminate some after school programs.

Many parents think they need to cram as much as they can into their kids’ day to boost their development. This often backfires. The kids are exhausted and bored, so they don’t pay attention and disregard whatever they’re being taught. These parents have good intentions, but they likely aren’t helping. A few extra-curricular activities are good, but leave time for free time.

3. Accept chaos.

When your kids (babies and toddlers) in strong, developmentally beneficial play, you’re going to have an untidy home. They’ll pick up and discard toys as their game requires. Don’t chase them around, cleaning up their mess. The goal is to let your child’s mind wander and take her where it will. In fact, dive into the game with her!

4. Offer open-ended toys.

Board games and arts-and-crafts are fun, but they don’t offer many developmental advantages. These can only be played with in a certain way, so your child doesn’t have the opportunity to use his or her imagination. Stock your playroom with dress up costumes, blocks, dolls, toy cars/trucks, and anything else that can be played with in many ways.

5. Start the imaginative game yourself.

If your kids are struggling to come up with something to play, dive in yourself. Recruit them to help you explore an alien planet, invite them to your tea party, or enlist them in your army to slay the dragon. Your kids will quickly follow.

6. Tune off the TV.

The television is easy entertainment. It’s pleasing and doesn’t require any work on your child’s part. As the stories are laid out, each character and plot become more predictable and less imaginative. Switch off the TV and (if you can) hide it in a cabinet. TV has its uses, but it shouldn’t be the primary mode of entertainment for young minds.

7. Invite other children to play time.

Your children will, over time, fall into patterns when they play with each other. One is the hero, the other is the sidekick. One is the good guy, the other is the bad guy. These routines don’t give them a chance to explore other perspectives and build empathy. By tossing some kids into the mix, you shake up their routine and get their brains working. Don’t schedule arts and crafts or plan out the activities, just let play time happen.

baby play matGuest Blog by Jennifer Jacobellis, founder of Baby J

Jennifer Jacobellis started Baby J when her son was just a few months old. She ventured out to mommy and me classes and play groups, armed with just a blanket for him to lie on. After class, she would fold up her blanket and stick it in the diaper bag, knowing that when she got home it would have to go straight into the laundry basket. There had to be a better way!

One day she decided it was time to solve this problem. She ran to the fabric store and began tinkering. She designed this baby play mat with her germ-a-phobe tendencies in mind, as well as being soft, baby friendly, and chic. The Baby J play mat was born!

For more information, visit www.babyj.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: Lars Plougmann via Compfight cc

The Importance of Creative Play and the Magic of Make Believe

importance of creative play“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” This quote by Carl Sagan emphasizes the importance of the use of imagination, and this holds especially true for children. Encouraging your kids to engage in “creative play” is not only crucial to the learning process, but it will set the foundation for innovative thinking as they grow older. Here are a few ideas to inspire creative thinking with your child:

Disney World

Walt Disney World is the epitome of imagination in every way possible. Ranging from its vast array of fictional cartoon characters to the seemingly, never-ending theme parks, made up of attractions you could only think of in dreams. Disney is the perfect place for a child to begin the creative process and start to develop a mind full of great ideas. Also, finding a place for your family to be together during this trip is even more effective! Try to find the best Florida vacation home rental deals to make this all possible.

Build Stuff

It can be as small as wooden blocks and LEGOs, or as big as a makeshift fort or treehouse; the benefits of teaching your child how to build different structures are extremely valuable to their development. A child learning that a tower of blocks collapses without necessary support helps children develop spatial skills. Piecing together a toy part by part to build different items improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Playing with construction toys is important to a kid’s cognitive thinking skills. It may seem like it’s all a game to your child, but they are taking away a lot more from these activities.

Cooking with Kids

Has your child ever asked you where all their great-tasting food is coming from? Instead of simply telling them how you made it, show them! Cooking with your kid is not only valuable family bonding time, but it serves as a helpful learning tool for their growing minds. Cooking involves a bunch of different hidden math skills including, fractions (1/2 cup of milk), temperatures (boiling points), and even geometry (12 x 8 pan). Also, since cooking usually involves recipes, your children will develop their reading skills and get better at following directions. Finally, once a dish is successfully prepared, your child will get a self esteem boost for being able to cook their own food!

Florida vacation home rentals

Guest Blog by Steve Casey of Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals

Look no further for vacation home rentals near Disney in Florida! Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals has thirty years experience providing guests with the best Florida dream vacation experiences possible, as well as a level of customer service that exceeds exceptions. They’re based in Orlando with a satellite office in the United Kingdom, so they know how to provide superior service to domestic and European guests.

Feel free to call upon their expert team to provide you with a smooth booking experience for your vacation rental home, condo, villa or townhouse in Orlando, Floridadiscount vacation home rentals, or other Florida destinations.

We will help you do all of the planning so you and yours can start making memories!

For more information visit www.floridasunshinevacationrentals.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals? Send your topic idea to steve1@floridasunshinevacationrentals.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals 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.

8 Playtime Ideas to Boost Baby’s Development

playtime that boosts developmentWe all want our children to be as smart as possible. Let’s face it, smarter people tend to (not always, but often) lead easier lives, perform a job that doesn’t tax the body, and even make more money. Who wouldn’t want that for their children? We can usher them in that direction by taking steps to improve their brain’s development earlier in life. Play time isn’t all fun and games – it’s full of learning! Here’s how you can help.

1. Encourage babbling.

When your baby speaks gibberish to you, he’s actually attempting to communicate. Don’t disregard him or speak baby talk back. Respond as if he said something meaningful and then pause for his part in the dialogue. You’ll encourage speech development this way.

2. Arrange messy play.

Set up a space and then let your baby experiment with messy play materials, like water, mud or sand. These textures give him a chance to interact with something unusual and unlike anything he’s experienced before.

3. Include other children.

Before a year old, kids aren’t really capable of playing with one another, but just playing nearby can improve their development. They’ll witness how the other baby behaves and how he/she is using toys. It’s a different perspective.

4. Start the day with activity.

Be as active as possible early in the day. Early activity sets a tone for the body. Your baby will be awake and inclined to take in as much as possible. A slow start can leave your baby sluggish and unwilling to play.

5. Avoid overstimulation.

During play time, you want to let your baby move from toy to toy at his own pace. Don’t bring too many toys into the play area. Too many options can be overwhelming and force little minds to shut down or become cranky.

6. Skip playtime when your baby needs something else.

Convincing your baby to enjoy play time while he’s hungry, wet, or crabby is futile. Even if you get him to push his truck or shake his rattle, his brain isn’t in the right mindset to gain much from it. Meet his needs first so he can focus on learning.

7. Create a passion for books.

Just because reading is a passive activity doesn’t mean books can’t be a part of play. Use books with large, colorful pictures of animals and people. Make silly voices and animal sounds to match the story. Be as entertaining as possible so your baby associates fun and silliness with reading, thus creating a lifelong enjoyment of it.

8. Play “mimic” games.

Games that require your baby to mimic your movements are excellent tools for development. Play games like patty-cake, peekaboo, this little piggy, etc. You can encourage movement by imitating the behavior once, then placing the toy in your baby’s hand and encouraging him to do the same. For example, show him how to shake a rattle by placing it in his grasp and shaking his wrist.

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.