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toy tips

Natural Toys

It is amazing how many things that toys of today can do. Things are so life like and detailed. But, there is something to be said about yesterday's toys.

Yesterday's toys did a lot less. That was part of their beauty, because they made the child do more. Kids had to use their imaginations.

Imagination cannot be bought, but it is possible for it to be lost due to lack of necessity. Like the leg muscles that weaken and shrink when they're not used.

A pot and two wooden spoons still make a great drum set, plastic measuring cups are still fun in the bathtub, and the box is still more fun than the toy for lots of babies.

Wooden alphabet blocks are fun and can be used to subtly teach the alphabet and phonic sounds. Put inside an empty oatmeal carton with a lid, they make a nice shaking toy. And, kids love filling up a box and dumping it out over and over.

rotate toys
Photo by Kevin Rohr

Keep Toys Interesting

Children can get so many new toys for Christmas or Hanukkah. Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming for a child, which is stressful. And some parents buy new toys all year long. Having too many toys can make a child less appreciative of each, and it is not long before all the new toys seem boring.

One thing that can help on many counts is to put most of the toys away. Once a month or so, bring out a new toy and put away one of the old ones, and continue rotating toys this way. Eventually, bring one of their old ones back out and see if it doesn't cause renewed excitement for an "old friend." Do this often enough, and those old toys will never get boring and the child's mind stays stimulated.

There is no need to buy your children something every time you are in a store. In fact, this will spoil them. Spoiling means they come to expect things instead of being thankful, and it means that they will have trouble all through life when they are denied something. It is an easier lesson to learn early.

Rotating a small number toys will help children stay respectful for things and limits, it keeps a house from getting as messy, and it will save you a lot of money.

repair plastic toys

Plastic Toy Repair

To repair a broken plastic toy, heat a pocket knife over an old flame until it is very hot. Immediately run the knife over both pieces and hold them together to let the two plastic pieces melt together.

kids playing
Photo courtesy of Lighttruth (Flikr) under creative commons license

Tips to Set Your Child on a Healthy
Path for Life

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Submitted by Sarah Morris on behalf of Primrose - preschools with credentials you can truly trust.

With childhood obesity on the rise in America, it's important for families to foster healthy habits. Children need at least 60 minutes of daily exercise regardless of the weather, so find safe places for active play indoors and out. With some help from these simple tips, you can be sure they are getting the physical activity that they need, and are enjoying it too.

Give your children the tools they need to facilitate healthy activity. Provide a variety of toys and sporting goods appropriate to their age level, including:

Balls for kicking, catching and bouncing; soft bats, rackets, nets, goals and hoops; roller skates or bicycles and safety gear; chalk or paint for outdoor use; small cones and parachutes; bubble wands; bean bags; jump ropes and hula-hoops; comfortable play clothes and sturdy shoes.

Don’t be merely an observer. Join your children in their activities for the sake of everyone’s health.

Take a walk through the neighborhood; play catch in the backyard; spend a summer afternoon chasing each other through the sprinklers; take a trip to the local playground and devise an obstacle course on the equipment; have a bubble blowing contest; plant a garden.

Use words your children will understand while praising their efforts. Consider their ages and begin with tasks they can easily accomplish before raising the bar. A child with the benefit of supportive coaching is more likely to thrive.

Children are born with an abundance of energy. Join them in active play and set them on the path to a healthy and happy life!

how to clean a teddy bear

Cleaning Toys

Read the labels on stuffed animals, and you will find that many of them can be thrown right into washer and dryer. Doggie doesn't have to remain dirty, thank goodness.

Stuffed animals that contain a squeaker cannot go into water unless you remove the squeaker first or it could be ruined.

Those teddy bears that might be damaged by water can still be cleaned. Put a cup of baking soda into a plastic grocery bag, add Teddy, hold the top of the bag closed, and give him a good shake. The baking soda will absorb the odors and dirt.

Lots of spots can be wiped off a stuffed animal with a clean towel and soapy water.

For animals that do not have parts that can melt, putting them through the dryer on hot will kill germs. Pests like lice on stuffed animals can be killed by placing the toys into a plastic bag and sealing it up for two weeks.

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