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It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of… apple juice! Ahoy there – did you know that September 19th is International Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day? I don’t know about you, but I love just about any excuse to dress up and act goofy with my kids. And that is just what we did! ALEX has some awesome pirate-themed pretend play toys, like the Pirate Tent Play Set, which is perfect for pretend pirate fun! It comes packed flat and takes only a minute to set up. It is large enough for multiple kids and one [not fully grown-up] adult, and comes with a carrying case so you can pack it up easily and take it along to... Read Post

Posted on Sep 4, 2013 in Featured, Tweens | 0 comments

Snail Mail Pen Pal Fun For Kids

Snail Mail Pen Pal Fun For Kids

Remember the days before text messages and email? I do! I used to have a pen pal when I was young. I met her at camp one summer, and for the next few years we wrote back and forth via the good ‘ole postal service. I remember sharing all about my life with her, my secrets, and my accomplishments. Having a pen pal can be such a great experience for kids. They learn from the friendship, enjoy getting letters and goodies in the mail, and it’s an opportunity for them to practice their penmanship and letter writing skills. My oldest daughter has a friend that lives about an hour away. She sees her... Read Post

Posted on Aug 29, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured | 0 comments

School Stickers

School Stickers

Let the kiddos personalize their school supplies with school stickers in fun shapes and colors! Our printable school stickers make it easy and it’s a fun arts & crafts project for the kids as well. School Stickers Instructions 1. Download the sticker pages (link below). 2. Print onto sticker paper which can be purchased at an office supply or local craft store. 3. Color in the stickers on the bottom half of the pages with markers. 4. Cut out the shapes along the dotted lines. 5. Peel off the back and stick onto notebooks and backpacks! What You Need: 1. Scissors 2. Markers 3.... Read Post

Posted on Aug 28, 2013 in Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

Tips for a Smooth Back to School Transition

Tips for a Smooth Back to School Transition

The new school year is quickly approaching, if it hasn’t started already in your state. With a new school year comes a time of adjustment, even for home schoolers like us. Adjusting to a new schedule, a new level of work, a new teacher, etc., can be difficult for both kids and parents. Here are three of my most tried and true tips for preparing your children (and yourself) for a smooth back to school transition: 1. Schedule: Our biggest adjustment every year has to do with our schedule. The lazy days of summer suddenly disappear and it feels like we’re instantly running at full throttle! One... Read Post

Posted on Aug 27, 2013 in Bath Tub Fun, Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

Tips for Getting Your Kids to Take a Bath

Tips for Getting Your Kids to Take a Bath

Most of the time, my kids think bath time is good, clean fun! But, every once in a while, one of them decides that they just don’t want to take a bath any more. Here are some things we’ve done to help change their minds – and a few tips I learned from friends who faced the same challenge with their own kids! 1. Find the perfect water temperature. Too hot and they won’t want to get in; too cold and they won’t stay in. 2. Do they not like getting their face wet? Keep a clean towel nearby so they can quickly dry their face. 3. Include some fun bath toys. Some of our favorite bath toys are ... Read Post

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured | 0 comments

Easy Hairdos for Long Hair

Easy Hairdos for Long Hair

Both of my daughters have long hair, which they love! When the warm days get even hotter towards the end of summer, long hair can be a nuisance. That’s why they’ve perfected a couple of quick and easy hairdos that are cute, a bit messy (so playtime doesn’t cause too much damage), and that keep their hair up and out of the way. Kylie’s go-to hairdo is this simple modified pony tail. Just place the hairband around your daughter’s pony tail like you normally would. Pull all the hair through the band a couple times, and on the last pass through, only pull the hair half way through. Separate the... Read Post

Posted on Aug 21, 2013 in Featured, Printables | 0 comments

Printable: Egg Carton School Bus

Printable: Egg Carton School Bus

Ready, Set, School! This week’s printable craft lets the little ones share in the back to school excitement and pretend play that they’re also getting ready to ride the school bus…all while building their cutting and pasting skills! Egg Carton School Bus Instructions What You Need: 1. Safety Scissors 2. Glue 3. Egg carton 4. Two Printable Pages shown below for the craft project (plus there’s an additional instructional pages also included if you’d like to print that out as well) – Download HERE     How to make it:   ALEX printables are designed... Read Post

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 in Featured, Parenting, Toddlers & Preschoolers | 0 comments

The Importance of Pretend Play Tea Parties

The Importance of Pretend Play Tea Parties

Did you have pretend play tea parties as a child? I have vague memories of playing tea party with my sister and stuffed animals and dolls, and I love watching my kids play! In Britain, you can wear fancy hats to High Tea. My kids aren’t big on hats, but my girls think it’s fun to wear their fancy hair accessories for tea time! The ALEX Tin Tea Set is the perfect size for little-girl tea parties – tiny enough to feel dainty and to double as doll dishes, but large enough to hold and pretend to drink exotic teas from. Raspberry is the preferred tea at our parties! Tea parties are excellent... Read Post

Posted on Aug 13, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured | 0 comments

Back to School Labels for Kids

Back to School Labels for Kids

When you send your kiddos off to school for the new school year, you don’t just send them. You send a backpack full of supplies. There are pencils, glue sticks, notebooks, scissors, and more! It’s a huge investment. So the last thing you want to happen is that your investment gets misplaced, lost, or mixed up with someone else’s, right? Labeling all those school supplies is a big part of most families’ back to school preparations. Even though we home school, we still label everyone’s items, so we can tell which notebook or pair of scissors belongs to which student. This year we had fun... Read Post

Posted on Aug 7, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured | 0 comments

Memory Keeping Solutions for Kids

Memory Keeping Solutions for Kids

My girls love to take pictures of just about anything….themselves, their friends, their brothers, their room! We end up having to delete photos from their phones to make room for new ones. Often before we delete old pictures, I’ll print out their favorites for them. But what do we do with all these pictures? Until recently, I’ll shamefully admit that they were stored in a box, or taped to a bedroom wall. We weren’t very organized, and it was truly a mess. I realized that as they get older their affinity for keeping memories alive with pictures will only increase. Apparently it’s... Read Post
Developing Fine Motor Skills Through Paper Crafting

Developing Fine Motor Skills Through Paper Crafting

My kids had a great time honing their fine motor skills with ALEX’s Tissue Paper Art craft kit! It comes with 6 self-stick patterns – two for each of my three “big” kids (aged 3, 5, and 7). I loved that it was something all of them could enjoy. Separating the tiny squares of tissue paper is one of the more demanding tasks; it is also self-correcting, since if you forget to separate the squares your little ball of scrunched-up paper is clearly too large. This activity is also great for kids to develop planning skills. My son learned after working on the wheels of his car that it would... Read Post

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 in Featured, Toddlers & Preschoolers | 0 comments

3 Fun Ways to Teach Color Mixing

3 Fun Ways to Teach Color Mixing

My four-year-old is very confident in his colors, so I’ve decided it’s time to start teaching him about color mixing. You know, color combinations like “blue + yellow = green” or “red + yellow = orange”. Learning colors is one thing, but teaching color combinations isn’t always as easy. When I described the concept of mixing colors to Luke and he looked at me like I was crazy I knew a hands-on approach would do the trick. Having taught my three oldest this concept years earlier, I had a few tricks up my sleeve. Here are three hands-on ways to teach color mixing, and make it fun! 1. Create... Read Post

Posted on Jul 31, 2013 in Featured, Toddlers & Preschoolers | 0 comments

Fun with Vegetable Stamping

Fun with Vegetable Stamping

Recently, I was gathering some art supplies to do a project with my four year old, Luke, and had an idea. Why not try something different today? I could tell that Luke was in a “messy” mood, and thought paints were the way to go. But what could we do that would be different from the usual painting activity? Then I remembered something I had seen years ago, but sadly had never tried – vegetable stamping! I pulled open the refrigerator and grabbed a green pepper. Then I snagged a couple of potatoes from the pantry and went to town creating some fun vegetable stamps. I made a potato stamp with... Read Post

Posted on Jul 30, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured, Parenting, Pretend Play | 0 comments

Ideas for Hosting a Doll Party

Ideas for Hosting a Doll Party

Do your kids play with dolls? Mine do, too. For a fun afternoon, and to encourage creativity in a new direction, design your own doll outfits. Provide your kids with some basic supplies and see what kind of outfits they can dream up! Then, suggest that the dolls wear their new outfits to a pretend play doll party with special doll food. DIY No Sew Doll Outfits Using scraps of material, old clothes (tights, socks, pants, belts) and safety pins, kids can create dozens of fashion-forward clothes and accessories – no sewing machine required. 1. Gather your supplies: Material scraps Old clothes:... Read Post
Eight Parachute Games for Kids

Eight Parachute Games for Kids

Nothing beats a parachute party! It’s our favorite part of going to Gymboree or My Gym. So why not bring home the fun? ALEX’s Super Parachute Party is great outdoor play at a backyard BBQ with friends or birthday party, and is serious fun for the kids. It comes with small plastic balls that you can toss in the air and use to play different games. Here are eight parachute games the kids will have a blast playing: 1. Ball Poppers: Place the small plastic balls on top of the parachute. Have the kids hold the edges of the parachute and shake it up and down to make the balls bounce up... Read Post
How to Make Learning to Write Fun

How to Make Learning to Write Fun

Learning to write can be a challenging and frustrating time for kids. Get away from pencils and paper and introduce new materials to make learning to write a fun experience that feels more like play than learning.  Engaging as many sensory systems as possible helps your child learn easier and faster! Here are some ideas to make learning to write more fun for you and your child: Use a variety of tactile materials:  Trace letters and copy words into various tactile media. Incorporating the tactile sense will facilitate your child’s learning and motivate him to participate in the learning... Read Post

Posted on Jul 24, 2013 in Featured, Tweens | 0 comments

Personalized Flip Flops in Minutes

Personalized Flip Flops in Minutes

What says summer better than a cute pair of flip flops, right? My girls are obsessed with flip flops! They love having different colors and designs; flip flops have become quite the summer fashion statement. Here are two fun and easy flip flop crafts that will let your little crafters create their own personalized pair! Flip Flop Craft #1 – Ribbon Flops In three easy steps you can turn a regular old pair of flip flops into a new and super cute fashion must have! Just grab a pair of flip flops (new or old), and some coordinating ribbon. Cut several small pieces of ribbon (ours were about four... Read Post

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 in Big Kids, Developmental Skills, Featured, Parenting | 1 comment

Junk Creations Spark Creativity

Junk Creations Spark Creativity

My daughter’s favorite part of kindergarten was making “Junk”. Her teacher asked us to regularly contribute our recycling to her junk box. Every day, the children spent time with the junk, making anything they could dream up. We do this at home now, too. It’s the best (eco-friendly) way to encourage creativity. You’re providing open-ended play for children to create what they want instead of giving step-by-step directions. Without giving directions for each step, kids must problem solve and think for themselves. It’s also great for social skills to have your children work together to make... Read Post

Posted on Jul 18, 2013 in Featured, Printables, Toddlers & Preschoolers | 0 comments

Printable: Summer Vacation Photo Album

Printable: Summer Vacation Photo Album

Splashing in the pool, making sand castles, riding the waves, backyard BBQ fun with family and friends; these are the great moments of summer! Save them to cherish always with our summer vacation photo album printable! The kiddos will delight in making their very own album that’s all about them and adding their own personal touch to it. They’ll need some adult help with the photos and if desired, additional materials or souvenirs to add to the album such as stickers, glitter, a baseball or movie ticket. Have fun making your keepsake together, it can also be a project you work on... Read Post
5 Ocean Themed Crafts for Kids

5 Ocean Themed Crafts for Kids

Guess what the top family summer vacation destination is? The beach, of course! Countless families head to the beach each summer for their family vacation to enjoy the ocean, play in the sun, waves and sand. Given its popularity, I thought it would be fun to share some crafts for kids that are beach and ocean themed. They’re a great opportunity to get some crafting time in, as well as chat about your upcoming vacation or share favorite moments post-vacation! Here are five ocean themed crafts that will provide entertainment, a bit of education, and transport you to the beach! 1.... Read Post

Posted on Jul 16, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured, Outdoor Play | 0 comments

5 Sidewalk Chalk Activities for Kids

5 Sidewalk Chalk Activities for Kids

One of our favorite summer activities for kids is playing with sidewalk chalk. From drawing pictures to playing games, it’s a great way to keep them entertained during the summer, get them active outdoors, and challenger their creativity. Here are five of our favorite sidewalk chalk activities: 1. Good ‘Ole Tic Tac Toe – Tic Tac Toe is a classic game that kids love to play. Turn a regular old Tic Tac Toe game into a Tic Tac Toe tournament with over sized boards drawn on your driveway or sidewalk! 2. Hopscotch – Another classic children’s game that is perfect for creating with sidewalk... Read Post

Posted on Jul 11, 2013 in Big Kids, Developmental Skills, Featured | 0 comments

Get Kids Writing: 20 Writing Prompts for Kids

Get Kids Writing: 20 Writing Prompts for Kids

Creative writing is an important developmental skill for kids. It stretches their imagination, helps them practice grammar, and is the perfect way to keep their minds active during the summer break! Warm summer days and family vacations provide endless inspiration for journal entries. Have your child keep a daily journal throughout the summer, and not only will you keep their minds fresh and ready when school starts back up, but you will also create a summer keepsake full of memories and glimpses into your child’s heart and mind. Caitlyn has been jotting down her thoughts this summer in My... Read Post
Pretend Play with Dinosaurs

Pretend Play with Dinosaurs

Like most kids their age, my five-year-old and three-year-old adore dinosaurs! I think they enjoy the artistic license their extinction allows for! They can make their dinosaurs do absolutely anything, because – at the end of the day – there is a lot about dinosaurs that we just don’t know! They were thrilled to try out the new ALEX Toys 3D Dinoland! My five-year-old had no trouble following the instructions to build the dinosaurs: My three-year-old helped him find all the right pieces: They loved the 3D volcano, and spent some time playing just with it and the dinosaurs before building the... Read Post

Posted on Jul 2, 2013 in Big Kids, Featured | 0 comments

Creative Ways to Use Shrinky Dinks

Creative Ways to Use Shrinky Dinks

We all know and love Shrinky Dinks, those pieces of plastic art that shrink all up to make cute little play things! My kiddos love to make Shrinky Dinks, and with ALEX Toys’ extensive line, I was inspired to find even more ways to use these amazing little craft kits that are extremely inexpensive. Everyone knows Shrinky Dinks make fun and adorable jewelry, but here are three more creative ways you and your children can use your Shrinky Dinks creations: 1. Cupcake Toppers – Shrinky Dinks usually come in themed sets like the adorable Shrinky Dinks On the Move set that features motorcycles,... Read Post