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Parenting tips, game and toy ideas for you and your child. Seasonal crafts, at home projects, stickers, and holiday decorations.
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 Just the Girls | 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

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 in Outdoor Play | 0 comments

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

Posted on Jul 26, 2013 in Developmental Skills | 0 comments

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 Activities For 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 23, 2013 in 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 Activities For Tweens | 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
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 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 Developmental Skills | 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 Activities For Big Kids | 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

Posted on Jul 1, 2013 in Holiday Crafts, Printables | 0 comments

Printable: Fourth of July Lantern

Printable: Fourth of July Lantern

Making paper lanterns is a fun toddler craft for Fourth of July! Simply download the printable pages, cut and paste! Get the little ones involved with the festivities; this printable craft is a great party decoration for the holiday. Make several lanterns and string them together to hang as a banner, or use as table decorations. Mix it up with our Make a Flag printable as well. They’re both fun craft activities for the kids during the party and they can leave with a favor! ALEX printables are designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers and inspired by our Little Hands line of... Read Post

Posted on Jun 28, 2013 in Parenting | 1 comment

5 Tips for Taking Great Photos of Your Kids

5 Tips for Taking Great Photos of Your Kids

I am not a  professional photographer but, I do love taking pictures of my children, and know that someday these pictures will remind them of fun memories and the love that we have for each other.  Let’s face it, though. Taking pictures of kids is HARD! They don’t sit still, they have “fake smiles,” and they lose focus easy… just to name a few issues. Over the last few years, I have tried to learn more about how to take better photos of my children. And while I’m still no master, I do have a few tricks in my repertoire that have resulted in some of my favorite shots of my four children. So,... Read Post

Posted on Jun 26, 2013 in Babies | 0 comments

Choosing Baby Toys that Encourage Sibling Bonding

Choosing Baby Toys that Encourage Sibling Bonding

I have a few baby toys that are reserved for my youngest child to primarily play with on her own, but with four children aged seven and under I am always on the lookout for high quality baby toys that will also engage her older siblings. Toys that kids can play with alongside a younger sibling allow children to bond with the baby, while entertaining the youngest child! A toy that engages older siblings is more likely to grow with the baby – entertaining them for years instead of a few weeks or months. If you have an only child, these toys also tend to share more easily when friends come... Read Post

Posted on Jun 21, 2013 in Babies | 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 Jun 20, 2013 in Printables | 0 comments

Printable: Make a Flag!

Printable: Make a Flag!

Make a Flag is a fun toddler craft for the Fourth of July! Simply download the printable pages, cut and paste.  Add posts to your flags and they make great party decorations, or favors for the kids! For an even more festive July 4th celebration, download and make our Fourth of July Lantern printable craft too! ALEX printables are designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers and inspired by our Little Hands line of products. You can also find new printables each month to download and color on our Facebook page! Make a Flag Instructions What You Need: 1. Safety Scissors 2. Glue 3. Two... Read Post

Posted on Jun 19, 2013 in Holiday Crafts | 2 comments

July Fourth Glitter Tattoos

July Fourth Glitter Tattoos

Kids love temporary tattoos. Add a little glitter to the mix and they are super excited! Glitter tattoos are all the rage, and the perfect extra touch of fun for summer carnivals, birthday parties and holiday celebrations. The girls and I experimented recently and created some really cute July Fourth glitter tattoos! For our tattoos, the girls and I used ALEX’s Sparkle Tattoo Parlor – Cool Glam kit. It includes stencils, glue, brushes and four colors of glitter; we choose the star stencil and the red, silver and blue glitter to use for our July Fourth theme. First step is to clean the... Read Post

Posted on Jun 18, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

Fun Summer Activity: Face Painting

Fun Summer Activity: Face Painting

Warm days, picnics, frozen treats, and fun in the water…these are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of summer. Summer is here in full swing, and if you’re like me, you’re looking for fun and entertaining ways to keep the kiddos busy during their days off from school. Face painting is a fun and easy way to add some excitement to any day! Why save face painting for those once a year carnivals, Halloween, or special events? With ALEX Toys’ face painting kit and face painting sticks, face painting is fun, quick to do, and easy to clean up! The other day, after a... Read Post

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 in Pretend Play | 0 comments

Why I Don’t Let My Kids Have Play Dates (mostly)

Why I Don’t Let My Kids Have Play Dates (mostly)

School ended yesterday. The kids are tired. I’m tired. The house is trashed –piles of half-used workbooks, graded papers, winter clothes to be put away – seem to have overtaken it. But that’s not the reason I said my 8 and 11-year olds can’t have play dates today. There are two big reasons I’m not letting my kids have play dates. At least not for a while and not as often as they’d like. My goals are that: 1. My girls play together and maintain a strong bond of friendship. 2. My girls get bored –bored enough to spark their creativity, inventiveness, and outside-of-the-box... Read Post

Posted on Jun 12, 2013 in Sweepstakes & Giveaways | 24 comments

Happy Birthday, July!

Happy Birthday, July!

Are you planning a July birthday party for your son or daughter? Not sure what to do with the 20 little ones who will be running circles through your house? Let us help! We’re excited for another month of our Birthday Party giveaway! Each month ALEX will select (1) lucky winner to receive either an activity or party favors for up to 20 kids that will help make their child’s birthday party even more fun! The birthday boy or girl will also receive a birthday present from ALEX, chosen just for them! If your little one is lucky enough to celebrate a July birthday? Enter through the entry form... Read Post

Posted on Jun 11, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

Play Guessing Games to Foster Your Child’s Creativity

Play Guessing Games to Foster Your Child’s Creativity

Guessing games are fun for the whole family, and are a perfect after-dinner activity that can be shared by everyone to extend meal time togetherness. Spending time as a family is important for bonding and for your child’s social-emotional development. Draw and Guess games are my favorite because they foster creative thinking. We often focus so much on the importance of handwriting skills, gross motor coordination, and self-care skills that we forget that encouraging creativity is just as important. Creative minds are better able to problem-solve, resolve conflicts with others, figure out how... Read Post

Posted on Jun 10, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

Learning from Paper Airplanes

Learning from Paper Airplanes

Aviation is a big deal in my husband’s family. His grandfather was a flight instructor, his dad ran a flight school, and he got his pilot’s license at 17. He hasn’t had the opportunity to fly for a few years now, but he uses his flight knowledge for his job every single day. Flying is in my son’s blood, so it’s no surprise that he’s in love with the Fold N Fly Paper Airplanes kit. At age five, my son Johnny is a little young for learning the complex theories that explain aerodynamics and aviation, but this craft kit was the perfect opportunity for him to experiment with gliding! First... Read Post

Posted on Jun 3, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments

How to Survive a Road Trip with Kids!

How to Survive a Road Trip with Kids!

This Memorial Day, our family decided to take a long road trip! I was a bit nervous about traveling with the two girls (Lori, 4 years and Julie, 18 months). We don’t have a mini-van or fancy backseat DVD players; we just have our trusty sedan. But with some advance planning, clever packing, and a few tricks up my sleeve, we happily made it to our destination. You can too! Sometimes if Julie is feeling restless in the car, Lori sings to her to cheer her up. It is so sweet! This time, Lori and I sat down the day before our trip and made a “play list” of songs that she could sing to Julie. We... Read Post