Developmental Skills

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
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 23, 2013 in Developmental Skills, Parenting, Pretend Play | 0 comments

Six Benefits of Free Play For Children

Six Benefits of Free Play For Children

Structured activities are important for building developmental skills in children. They teach children how to follow rules and routines, and provide growth opportunities for motor and social skills. However, between play dates, piano lessons and soccer practice, we sometimes overbook our kids and skimp on providing children time for free play. Creating a mix of free play and structured time helps kids build an array of skills and feel more balanced in their everyday lives. Soccer, piano, and play dates are important for development of gross motor skills, social emotional well-being, and peer... 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
Printable: Ready, Set, Ice Cream!

Printable: Ready, Set, Ice Cream!

ALEX printables are designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers and inspired by our Little Hands line of products. The Ready, Set collection gives little ones a head start building skills they need to feel confident they can succeed in school. Ready, Set, Ice Cream! combines the developmental skills of Ready, Set, Cut! and Ready, Set, Paste! into an easy printable craft. It’s a great way for little ones  to practice their cutting and pasting skills while having fun! Ready, Set, Ice Cream Instructions What You Need: 1. Safety Scissors 2. Glue Stick 3. Two Printable Pages shown below... 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 Jun 21, 2013 in Babies, Developmental Skills, Featured, Parenting | 1 comment

Tummy Time Tips

Tummy Time Tips

Tummy time is an activity pediatricians encourage parents to do with their newborns and infants. Over the years, I’ve found that parents don’t always understand why the activity is so important. This combined with the fact that babies initially resist being laid on their stomachs often results in parents spending little time encouraging the position or foregoing it altogether. Working through the initial difficulties is important to help babies: 1. Develop head and trunk control 2. Strengthen arms and shoulders 3. Develop weight shifting and reaching skills 4. Develop ocular... Read Post

Posted on May 28, 2013 in Babies, Developmental Skills | 0 comments

Bowling Up a Strong Core

Bowling Up a Strong Core

Bowling is a great activity for kids, and ALEX’s Wacky Bowling Set makes it extra fun. The baby bowling set is for kids 18 months and older and includes 6 wacky pins and two colorful balls. My daughter loves the different monster faces! The pins come apart so kids can mix n’ match and put together their own monster creations, which they love to do is and it’s great for their visual motor skills and bilateral coordination! As a bonus, the balls jingle, so it’s fun for even the youngest of kids! Bowling is exciting, entertaining, and a great for activity to reinforce eye-hand... Read Post

Posted on May 4, 2013 in Big Kids, Developmental Skills, Featured | 0 comments

Monkeying Around

Monkeying Around

ALEX’s Monkey Balance Board is a therapist’s dream toy!  It’s perfect for working on your child’s gross motor skills, and, with a little creativity, it can keep the kids occupied for hours. The concept is pretty simple.  The child stands on the board with a foot on each side and tries to keep the board balanced, without letting the sides touch the ground.  The recommended ages for the Monkey Balance Board are 3 and up (you will want to be within arm’s reach for 3 year olds), but my 6 year old niece also had a blast, even deciding that she would like one for her birthday!  My 22 month old... Read Post

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in Babies, Developmental Skills | 0 comments

ALEX Jr. Stack Me Up is a Stack of Developmental Fun!

ALEX Jr. Stack Me Up is a Stack of Developmental Fun!

As my belly begins to expand (literally more and more every day!), I am steadily getting excited about bringing out the baby toys again.  So when I saw the Stack Me Up toy from ALEX Jr, it was love at first sight. Not only is it adorable, but it really is a great developmental toy!  While it is geared toward kids six months to one year of age, I believe that this toy is perfect to grow with your child during the first two years of life.  Younger children love the sensory elements while older kids love to explore the more imaginative side of the toy. Here are developmental skills that I... Read Post
The Magic of Floor Puzzles

The Magic of Floor Puzzles

Today we played with ALEX’s 3D Cityscape jumbo puzzle.  It’s a 41 piece floor puzzle geared toward kids ages 3 and up.  Aside from the fun colors and designs depicting a cute little city, this puzzle also has a 3D component consisting of 3 vertically standing buildings. The kids loved the 3 dimensional buildings, which my niece reported “make it look like a real town.” Your 3 year old will more than likely need your help to get all the pieces together. I liked that it was a little more challenging so children can continue to enjoy it as they get older and become more independent. The puzzle... Read Post