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.

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.

We’re Back From Our Cruise!

Last week our we went on a family cruise to the Caribbean! Cruising with little kids could be a little difficult considering the cramped space of the cabins. However, we still had a blast! With Alexa still in diapers and sleeping in a crib, we had to be very efficient in how we unpacked our room. I packed each day of the kids clothes in Ziploc bags to stay organized. That helped a lot.

This cruise had watersides, a ropes course, rock climbing wall, mini golf, and much more! There was so much to do we never got bored! I loved having this family time and we made so many memories. We also celebrated Ryan’s 4th Birthday! I can’t believe how big he is getting! He was so excited when he woke up to a decorated room. We spent his birthday in St. Maartin. It was so hot, but we had fun sight-seeing on the French side of the island.

stmaartin

Mark and I had an opportunity for some alone time too and we decided to go zip-lining in St. Thomas. That was tons of fun and the views were breathtaking!

markzipline

markandlisaziplining

ropescourse

stthomasview

ontheboat

Nothing is better then disconnecting from the world and spending quality time with family!

ryan   offtheboat meandalexa   familyonryansbirthday birthdaysurprise alexa

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.

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.

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 Fun Play Date Ideas

fun play date ideasAt a certain age, you will want to begin scheduling play dates for your children. Play dates the perfect opportunity for your children to socialize with other kids and start building lasting relationships. Even if the play dates don’t turn into friendships, they still help his development. It doesn’t take a lot of planning or money to make a play date successful. Here are five fun ideas:

1. Craft Time

Pick a spot in your house that’s easy to clean, like your dining rooms. Set up a craft station for the kids with all the necessary supplies to produce some high quality art. Build birdhouses, make pottery, paint pictures, or create holiday decorations. If your kids are a bit older, use a science or model kit to make something educations.

2. Coloring

Coloring is a simple way to keep toddlers and preschoolers amused, but they would love it if you gave them an interesting surface. Offer large sheets of poster board or construction paper. Let them draw a masterpiece on the driveway with chalk, which is easy to clean up. (If you go with chalk, check out these chalk games.)

3. Build a Fort

Everyone loves forts! Once you have burned through most of their energy, build a quick fort in your living from local items, like tables, chairs, blankets, and pillows. Bring some cushions inside for seating and relax with a few story books, or encourage them to tell their own stories. If they still have the energy, use the fort as part of a game involving monsters, a princess, and valiant knights.

4. Dance Party!

Young children have enormous amounts of energy. They can run, dance, and play longer than any adult. Instead of requiring them to play quietly, crank up some music and let them dance as long as they can. Encourage plenty of healthy activity and get them involved in some silly games like Follow the Leader or Musical Freeze Tag.

5. Play Ball!

If the weather cooperates, there’s no reason to stay inside. By two years old, most children should have the dexterity and motor control to pick up, hold, and toss a ball. They won’t be accurate and they may not be able to catch, but it’s still fun. Older kids may understand the finer points of a game like soccer or Hot Potato. If your child and his/her date is really young, simply roll a colored ball along the floor.

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: Belzie via Compfight cc