Essential Newborn Toys to Add to Your Cart for Your Baby

Every parent wants to make sure that their newborn starts their life in the best position possible. One of the most important parts of this is ensuring that they have what they need to be happy and learn about the world around them. Because babies and small children learn primarily through play. It’s important to ensure that they have the right newborn toys available to them. Here’s why baby newborn toys are important as well as a few of our recommendations.

Why do Babies Need Toys?

Toys for babies aren’t just made for fun and entertainment. They actually serve a much greater purpose: helping your baby to develop both physically and mentally. Baby learning toys are designed to engage all of your child’s senses and encourage them to use those senses to explore the world around them. By playing with developmentally appropriate toys consistently. Your newborn will be able to learn and improve upon important skills like hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and problem-solving.

Now that you know why newborn toys are so important. You’re probably ready to purchase a few. With so many options available, though, it can feel a bit overwhelming and might be difficult for you to choose. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Keep reading for a list of some of the best types of toys for babies, as well as a few of our favorites.

Sensory Toys for Babies

Baby playing with newborn toys

To help your baby develop their senses, you need to purchase toys that will engage those senses. There are a wide variety of sensory toys out there. We encourage you to buy several to give your child as many options to explore as possible.

Textured Toys

Though you may not expect it, babies can actually learn quite a lot from interacting with a wide range of textures. We encourage you to purchase toys with a variety of textures and encourage your child to play with each of them. Some of our favorite textured toys are:

  • Textured sensory balls
  • Kinetic sand
  • Slime
  • Bean bags
  • Sensory mats

If you purchase these and a few others, your child will never run out of fun sensory toys to play with, and they’ll have a variety of ways to learn about new textures.

Soft Plush Toys

crochet soft plush newborn toys

Soft plush toys are also a great sensory toy for children. Depending on the type of plush toy you purchase your child, they can learn to interact with squishy, spongy, and soft textures. In addition, if your child has any sensory issues, a weighted plush toy can be a source of comfort and security. Everyone remembers having plush toys as a child, so we strongly recommend picking up several for your own children. They’ll have a new favorite toy and a cuddly companion all in one!

Kinetic Toys

Kinetic toys cover a fairly wide range of products, and can be anything from busy boards to fidget toys. Each kinetic toy has a common purpose, however: to encourage children to keep their hands busy. These toys may vary in their precision or complexity, so it’s a good idea to start with more basic kinetic toys with features like large buttons and switches, then later move on to more challenging toys like basic puzzles and shape-matching games.

High-Contrast Toys for Babies

When children are first born, they have extremely blurry vision that develops as they grow. High-contrast toys like a black-and-white card can help babies train their vision, learn to look at and track certain objects, and even improve their attention span.

Teething Toys for Babies

Teething toys

As your baby’s first set of teeth start to come in, their gums may become sore and irritated. This may cause them to be fussy and cry more often, so it’s important to give them something that will relieve their pain. While some doctors may prescribe a mild pain reliever like Tylenol, it’s helpful to have some non-medical solutions at your disposal as well.

This is where teething toys come in handy. Teething toys are usually made of a soft material like rubber or silicone, and can give your baby both an idle activity and a way to relieve teething pain. The chewing motion applies pressure to the gums, which is known to give a bit of respite from soreness. Be sure to invest in a teething toy as soon as possible. It’ll keep your baby happy and as pain-free as possible during the teething process.

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to get your newborn started off on the right foot? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

Interesting Science-Based Activities for Your Kids

As the summer season starts to drag on, your little ones may start becoming bored. It’s easy enough to provide simple activities and entertainment, but what if you want to keep their minds active and learning as well? Fortunately, there are many activities that can accomplish both. Let’s take a look at some of the top fun and easy science-based activities for kids this summer season.

Chemistry With Tasty Treats

While you may not think of baking a cake or a batch of cookies as educational, it absolutely can be. There’s a lot of science behind baking chemistry, and teaching your child some of that chemistry makes for a fun and educational summer experience. For the experiment, try making several batches of cookies. Explain the chemical reactions that occur when the cookie dough is exposed to heat, and how the amount of each ingredient you use can affect this reaction. 

Follow the recipe as written for one batch, then change things up for the other batches. Try adding a bit of extra flour, using an extra egg, increasing or decreasing the amount of butter, or swapping certain ingredients out for similar alternatives. Then, observe how the flavor, texture, and appearance of each batch of cookies changes as a result. This will teach your kids some very basic chemistry concepts, and gives them a delicious treat to boot!

Marshmallow Trebuchet

Girl learning more about chemistry in class

If your child likes building things, why not introduce them to the world of physics? Building a marshmallow trebuchet is one of our favorite preschool science activities, and can be done with components that you most likely have around the house. You’ll need:

  • A 2×4 wooden plank
  • A pen, pencil, or thin metal rod
  • A plastic spoon
  • Popsicle sticks
  • A small cup hook
  • Rubber bands
  • Superglue
  • Jumbo marshmallows

Start by supergluing popsicle sticks to the long sides of the plank. You only need one on each side, but may want to add more for increased stability and durability. Drill a hole through the tops of each popsicle stick, ensuring that the holes are at an even height with each other. Put the pencil through this hole. Tape the spoon to the pencil by the end of its handle. Drill the cup hook through the end of the plank. Then, attach a rubber band to the cup hook and stretch it to the spoon. Once the rubber band is fixed between the hook and spoon to create tension, just put a marshmallow on the spoon, push the spoon down with your finger, and let go to fire the trebuchet.

Dyed Carnation Experiment

Girl performing science-based activities

You may remember this preschool science activity from your own childhood, and it’s still as good of an experiment as ever. Plus, it’s super cheap to set up, so you can teach your kids some fun and interesting lessons without breaking the bank. You’ll need:

  • 6-12 white carnations
  • One small vase or tall drinking glass per carnation
  • Several varieties of food coloring

Fill each glass with water, and put enough food coloring in the water to reach your child’s desired color. Use a different color for each glass. Then, trim the stems of the carnations slightly to allow for more water absorption. Place one carnation in each glass, and wait several days. Take a picture of the carnations each day to track the changes. After several days have passed, your child will notice that each carnation is taking on the color of the water in its respective vase.

This is because of something called capillary action. Carnations absorb water through their stems, distribute it throughout the petals, and allow that water to evaporate from the petals. Normally, we can’t see this process happening, but because the water is dyed, the dye shows up in the white flowers. It’s a fascinating concept that can be observed with a very simple experiment, so give it a shot!

Growing Your Own Crystals

Girl scientists and woman watching a chemistry experiment

Believe it or not, crystals aren’t just something that develop underground over thousands of years. With a bit of know-how and some household ingredients, you and your kiddos can make crystals at home in just a few weeks! For this experiment, you’ll need:

  • Clear plastic cups
  • A pencil
  • Thin twine or thread
  • Salt or sugar
  • Distilled water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • A glass or jar

Setting up the experiment is extremely easy! Heat your water to just below boiling. Then, add your salt or sugar and stir to dissolve. Continue adding salt or sugar until they no longer dissolve in the water. If you’d like, add some food coloring to the mixture at this point. Then, pour the mixture into your glass or jar. Tie your thread to the pencil, and put the pencil on the mouth of the glass or jar, ensuring that the thread reaches the bottom of the container. 

Wait a few weeks and take pictures over time. You’ll notice that the salt or sugar in your water mixture forms solid crystals on the thread!

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to keep your child’s mind active over the summer? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

Benefits of Playing Board Games With Your Kids

Everyone has fond childhood memories of spending an afternoon playing board games. Naturally, most parents want to pass those same fond memories down to their children. Believe it or not, though, board games can have more benefits than fond memories and fun afternoons. Here are a few of the most important benefits of playing board games with your kids.

Screen-Free Entertainment

We live in an increasingly digital age, and kids are being introduced to smart devices and the internet sooner than ever. While these devices have their uses, it’s far too common for children to become addicted to them. To keep this from happening, it’s important to provide your kiddos with sources of screen-free entertainment. Board games are the perfect solution. They designed to be infinitely replay able, encourage kids to form friendships and have social interactions with other players. Most importantly, get children away from the screens for a bit.

Encourages Creative and Strategic Thinking

Two boys playing chess

Many board games, especially those with a more tactical element, can teach children to think outside of the box. Take chess, for example. It’s a classic game that’s been played for over 1500 years. But people are still thinking of new ways to outsmart their opponents. Giving your children the opportunity to play board games encourages them to think in ways that they wouldn’t have to on say, a school assignment. Giving them activities that make them think outside the box will encourage them to be creative thinkers and problem solvers in the future.

A Bonding Experience For the Whole Family

There are far too many cases of families who live in the same house. Eat at the same table, and relax in the same room, but don’t spend any quality time together. Family board game nights are one of the best ways to keep this from happening to your family. Family game nights start off with a fun activity. But they also give family members a chance to learn more about each other, ask about each others’ days, and ultimately grow closer.

Teaches Healthy Competition and Good Sportsmanship

 kids playing together at table

It can be difficult for kids, especially younger children, to learn the value of healthy competition. Even more difficult still is the ability to be a good sport. It’s natural to want to win, but children can become too emotionally invested in things that ultimately don’t matter. 

While this is a behavior that most children grow out of fairly early in their lives. Board games are a great way to help that process along. By playing board games, children can learn to be a gracious loser and a humble winner, as well as remember that games are supposed to be a fun, low-stakes experience. This lesson will serve your child well in the future, helping them to prioritize where they put their emotional energy.

Our Favorite Family Board Games

Cousins spending time together at home and playing cards

With so many board games on the market, it’s only natural that a few would rise above the rest. These board games are our top picks for hours of family fun, so we recommend giving all of them a look!

  • Root: Root is a board game about different factions of animals trying to rule the woodlands. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you and your family have mastered it, it’s one of the best board games for teens that money can buy.
  • Candy Land: If your child is still young and doesn’t have much board game experience, a basic game like Candy Land is the perfect place to start. This game is simple enough for small children to understand, and can use to establish basic board game knowledge that you can build upon with more advanced games.
  • Uno: Technically, it’s a card game, but Uno is such a family classic that we felt it deserved a spot on our list. It’s also fairly easy to understand, but it’s aimed towards much more diverse audiences, so adults can enjoy it too. Games go quickly, so we always like to keep a deck in our back pocket during family outings. Whenever there’s a bit of downtime, you can get a few games in before continuing on your way.
  • Classic Card Games: Of course, you can always just pick up a deck of cards. With a 52-card deck, you have nearly limitless options for family games to play. Classic card games like hearts, spades, and poker are great for teens and young adults, so a deck of cards will be useful for years of family nights to come.

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products for family fun? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

Baby Tantrums and How to Tame Them

If you’re the parent of a baby or toddler, there’s a fair chance that you’ll have to deal with a tantrum at one point or another. Baby tantrums can difficult to deal with in the moment. So it’s important that you have a game plan ahead of time. To help you put together that game plan, we’ll be going over what tantrums are? how to tell them apart from meltdowns? Some tools you can use to calm your child down.

What Is a Tantrum?

Tantrums in toddlers are explosive episodes of anger that usually stem from a child feeling like they’ve slighted or not getting what they want. Oftentimes, they’re an attention-seeking behavior used to get what they want. Many parents will give in to their child’s demands just to make the tantrum stop, but this only further reinforces the behavior in the long run.

Meltdown vs. Tantrum

parents and sad kid at therapy

Though they may present similarly at first, it’s important to note that meltdowns and tantrums aren’t the same thing. Baby tantrums are intentional, and used by the child to get their way. They’re a problematic behavior that can correct and as long as you continue to correct them, your child will soon grow out of them.

Meltdowns, on the other hand, are quite different. They’re easily mistaken for tantrums, but their causes and solutions are entirely different. Meltdowns caused by sensory overload and are especially common in children with conditions like ADHD and autism. They’re not voluntary and shouldn’t punish. Rather, you should work with your child to figure out how to calm them down during a meltdown. It may help to teach them grounding exercises, remove them from the stressful situation, or identify and avoid potential triggers ahead of time.

How to Handle Baby Tantrums

Mother playing with child

As we mentioned above, it’s best to avoid giving your child what they want during a tantrum, as this will simply encourage them to throw more tantrums. How do you handle tantrums in toddlers, though? Here are a few things you can try.

  • Validate emotions, but don’t encourage outbursts. One of the most important lessons your child needs to learn is that while their emotions are valid. They don’t give them the right to lash out at others. If your child has a tantrum, let them know that you understand why they’re frustrated, but encourage them to stay calm when expressing it. They’ll quickly learn that when they express frustration in a calm and respectful way, it’s easier to find a common ground where both parties can be happy.
  • Teach your child to use their words. Rather than express their emotions through outbursts, your child needs to learn to express their emotions through words. Encourage your child to tell you why they’re upset, rather than just screaming or crying. If you know why they’re upset, you can take steps to solve the problem. Once you’ve taught them this, it’ll be infinitely easier to resolve conflicts.
  • Model calm behavior, and reward your child for doing the same. 
Mother calming down baby tantrums

If your child is throwing a loud, explosive tantrum, the worst thing you can do is match their behavior. If you respond to their screaming and crying by raising your own voice, they’ll only become more upset and harder to communicate with. Instead, stay calm no matter what your child is doing. If you’re not responding to their anger in kind, it becomes harder for them to stay angry. Once they’ve calmed down, clearer communication can take place.

  • Practice breathing with your child. A lot of the time, baby tantrums can stop simply by diverting your child’s attention. One of the best ways to create this diversion is to practice breathing exercises. If you notice your child getting upset, start doing a breathing exercise alongside them. Slowly take a deep breath in, and slowly breathe it out. Continue doing this for 30-60 seconds, or until your child has started to calm down. With that done, you can tackle the issue in a much more productive way.
  • Reward your child’s good behavior. Make sure that your child knows that it pays to be calm and respectful. If they’ve communicated well about why they’re upset, be willing to compromise with them! Maybe they just want five more minutes of playtime, a bit longer before they have to go to bed, or some other minor request. If it won’t cause too much trouble, we encourage you to grant that request. This teaches them that even though they can’t always get what they want, a little bit of communication goes a long way

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to help your child grow into an emotionally healthy and well-balanced adult? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

What Are Baby Sensory Books & Why Are They So Important?

Most adults know that reading books is a great way to learn and grow. But do you know why books are important for a child’s development? Sensory books give babies and toddlers an opportunity to experience fun sensory experiences while adults read to them. Books help them stay engaged and enjoy the process of reading each book. 

Here are some of our favorite sensory books for babies and what we think is important about each one.

Ditty Bird Touch & Feel Animals

small girl sensory reading with chameleon

These are great sensory books for toddlers between 1 and 3 years old. It’s sturdy with round corners so little fingers can easily turn the pages and explore the sound, sight, and feel of all of the animals included. It’s also one of our best touch and feel books for infants with new textures on every page. This book includes 5 realistic animal sounds along with unique textures for each animal, helping even the most energetic toddler stay engaged for story time.

deMoca Busy Book for Toddlers

If your little one struggles with sitting still. This sensory book is perfect for all of the drives, appointments, and family events where you need your toddler to enjoy a quiet activity. This textures book for babies even includes activities that develop fine motor skills, including shape matching, buckle toys, and telling time. This book is also machine washable and comes with a washing bag. So no matter what messes the kids get into, their busy book will last for years to come.

Just Imagine Bilingual Book: A Day by the Sea

girl reading sensory books

Whether you’re already a bilingual family or trying to learn Spanish together. This bilingual sensory book for 1-year-olds is a great way to learn a few words in Spanish before your next beach trip. In addition to the engaging storyline about a family trip to the sea, this book includes 6 pages full of sensory activities like shape matching, zippers, and buttons. This book is also a great way to entertain kids quietly and without screens for long drives or church services.

Aboosam Black and White Sensory Book for Babies

This black and white high contrast book helps stimulate your baby’s development in the retina and optic nerve. It help them learn how to focus on specific objects and perceive images. This book also comes with a four-piece Montessori toy set. These toys add hearing to the sensory experience with bell sounds. As well as a teething ring that can help them with hand-eye coordination. If you have a small baby in your life and want to set them up for success, this book is a great way to help them start early.

Manhattan Toy Soft Activity Book: Buzzing Through

 beautiful girl reading a sensory book

This soft activity book includes a variety of sensory experiences for babies and toddlers. Including crinkly wings, soft edges, and fun shapes. Buzzing Through also features a top loop so you can easily attach it to strollers, car seats, and other fixtures while you and your baby are on the move. There’s also a bumble bee character that can buzz through open holes in each page, creating a through line for the story and offering an opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Hahaland High Contrast Sensory Baby Books

These books offer a variety of safe sensory experiences for babies, all with high-contrast pages for them to explore. This two-piece set includes one book with a high-contrast black, white, and red pattern alongside a second, brightly colored book. Both books are high contrast and provide visual stimulation, supporting a baby’s brain development from the very start. The books also include teething pieces, a baby-safe mirror, and crinkle papers that make a pleasant sound when they’re touched. They are also ideal for tummy time, as they are made of soft fabric in case your baby falls asleep but provide interesting visuals that will encourage your baby to continue strengthening their back and limb muscles as they look up.

ToBe ReadyForLife Stimulating Baby Books

If a baby in your life absolutely loves crinkle sounds. These books will make for amazing gifts. In addition to their bright colors. These handmade cloth baby books have interesting features on every page like peek-a-boo flaps, mirrors, and sounds to keep even the busiest baby engaged. The fabric is machine washable. So no matter how dirty it gets it can come out good as new and ready for another read. The books also include handles so they can be easily attached to a stroller or car seat.

Baby Sensory Books for Brain Development

girl studying at the library

From the tiniest baby to the rowdiest toddler, sensory books can help support brain development. High-contrast colors, interesting textures, fun sound features, baby-safe mirrors, and other elements that will help children stay engaged. Start developing a love of reading for the babies in your life with one of these fun sensory books and watch them learn and grow!

Babies’ Stages of Standing: When do Babies Stand for the First Time?

For most parents, seeing their baby crawl, stand, and take their first steps are some of the greatest milestones to look forward to. Naturally, you want to make sure your child is on track to hit those milestones, and do whatever you can to help them. To lend you a hand, we’ve put together some of the most important information on babies’ stages of standing. When babies stand for the first time, how their fine and gross motor skills develop, and a few of the ways in which you can help them grow.

Babies and Motor Development

Babies' standing stages

It’s a known fact that human babies take a much longer time than most other species to develop, but why? Biologists believe that it’s due to several factors, namely the size, and complexity. Humans have large, highly-developed brains that are capable of advanced communication, thought processing, and of course, dexterity. The drawback of this, however, is that developing these mental skills is a much slower process than that of other species. This is most notably seen in the frontal cortex, which some theorize doesn’t stop developing until age 25. However, it also affects fine and gross motor skills like crawling, using tools, and standing.

Human gross motor development generally happens in stages. Your newborn will start with very basic, rudimentary motions that gradually increase in complexity until they take their first steps. For their first few months, they’ll mostly just get acquainted with their arms and legs, usually by wiggling around. After a while, though, they’ll learn to use their body weight to roll over. Then use their arms and legs to crawl. Once they’ve started crawling, standing will come soon after.

When do Babies Stand With Support?

Cute baby standing by taking support of sofa

Of course, babies won’t go straight from crawling to standing on their own. At first, they’ll need support from a piece of furniture, baby standing toy, or another nearby object that they can lean on. As we mentioned earlier, babies generally start standing up with support shortly after they learn to crawl, so around 9-12 months old. They’re still learning how to balance. So they may be a bit unstable for a while. Give them a bit more time, though, and they’ll be able to stand on their own.

When do Babies Start Standing Alone?

Babies will start standing alone very soon after learning to stand with support, usually within the same 9-12 month-old period. By this point, they’ve become confident enough in their sense of balance that they may no longer feel the need to hold onto anything for support. But that doesn’t mean that they’re entirely self-sufficient. Their sense of balance is still a bit unstable, so they may trip and fall if left alone. Be sure to keep an eye on them when they start standing, and stay where you can catch them if needed. They’re short enough that most stumbles won’t cause any serious harm, but it’s better for everyone if you can catch them and spare the bruises and tears.

Another thing to keep in mind: it’s usually around this timeframe that babies will try to take their first steps. Again, their balance is still quite unstable, so they’ll most likely only be able to take a few at a time. Some babies are more ambitious than others, though, and may attempt to take a few more than they’re ready for. If you’re going to let your child roam, be sure it’s in a padded area that’s safe for them to take a tumble in. You may also want to buy them a durable pair of shoes to protect their feet, especially once they’ve become confident enough to walk outdoors.

My Baby Isn’t Standing. Should I Be Worried?

Cute baby girl going for their first steps by holding a hand of mother

Of course, the time to stand for children does vary a bit. No child is the same, and they all develop at different rates. As a parent, it’s natural to worry if your child seems to be developing slower, but often, it’s not too much to be worried about. However, you should keep an eye out for signs of cognitive and/or motor development delays, and bring up anything you see with your pediatrician.

There’s no need to panic if the 12-month mark has come and gone without your child standing. If there’s still no sign of standing by 14-15 months, though, you may want to look into it further. Some children are just late bloomers, but if it is due to some sort of developmental delay, it’s best to diagnose it as early as possible to help accommodate your child’s needs.

Toys to Help Baby Stand

Baby doing his first steps with the help of table

If you want to help your baby stand faster, it’s best to turn it into a fun activity. The best way to accomplish this is by giving them toys that encourage them to stand. In the case of babies standing with support, a solid stand-up toy should do the trick. If they’re already taking their first few steps, they’ll enjoy something like a push toy. Either way, having these toys will help them develop their fine motor skills while also having a great time!

If you’re looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to help your child’s growth and development along, feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

Creative Kids Painting Ideas to Try at Home

For young children, the act of painting creates an avenue for self-expression, imagination, and endless creativity. With just a splash of color and a bit of inspiration, children have the capacity to transform ordinary moments into their own masterpieces. Creative kids painting ideas can foster opportunities to communicate a young person’s thoughts and feelings. Experiment with various colors and textures, and develop their fine motor skills. In the process, they can gain confidence in their artistic abilities and become interested in trying new things. 

If you’re looking for a few fun ways to ignite your child’s artistic adventures. Here are some creative, easy painting ideas that will provide you with fun and exploration from the comfort of your home. 

Nature Painting

Kids painting ideas: Cute little girl painting in a park

When the weather is nice, take your children out into the backyard and let nature inspire them to develop unique painting ideas. Gather a selection of leaves, twigs, and flowers. Then show the kids how to use them as stamps and stencils to create colorful prints on paper. Encourage your little ones to experiment using different shapes and textures. Allow them to turn each piece of artwork into a one-of-a-kind snapshot of the natural world around them. 

Splatter Painting

Toddlers are naturally as messy as they are curious. So if you have especially young children, your toddler painting ideas should aim to embrace the messiness and desire to learn. Splatter painting might be just the thing. To try it out, lay down a large sheet or line your work surface with old newspapers. Then dip paintbrushes into non-toxic paint and show your child how to flick color onto the paper you’ve laid out for them. The unpredictability of splatter painting can turn every art session into a truly unique experience. 

Shadow Art

Boy with tablet looking thoughtfully at drawing easel

If you want to turn your painting ideas for kids into learning experiences. Shadow art can make it easy to combine painting with science and storytelling. Place differently-shaped objects onto a piece of paper, then shine a light at different angles to cast shadows onto the work surface. You could also encourage your child to trace his or her own shadow for a bigger project. From there, allow your kids to trace the different shadows with paint. Fill them in with vibrant colors that will bring their creations to life. 

Blow Painting with Straws

Using tools like straws can help add definition and fun to your paint art ideas. Blow painting can be a great way for your child or children to explore the movement and texture of different colors. To start, dilute non-toxic, washable paint with water (use a selection of colors). Dip straws into the paint and then show your child how to blow through the straw to send paint across the paper. Encourage the kids to create swirling patterns and different color gradients. 

If your children are still toddlers, keep a close eye on them to make sure they blow on the straws instead of attempting to drink through them. This way, you can avoid any accidents.

Painting on Rocks

Kids painting ideas: Painting on Rocks

If your children are tired of painting on ordinary paper. Try introducing them to a new medium, like rocks as a paint idea. Rock painting can show kids how to transform ordinary elements into works of art. Collect a few palm-sized rocks (or larger ones if your child wants a bigger project), wash them, and let them dry. From there, allow your child to paint their own unique designs, patterns, or even characters using either paint markers or non-toxic paint. After the paint dries, your child’s creations can make charming decorations for yards and gardens.

Painting with Bubble Wrap

If you’re looking for easy art ideas. Painting with bubble wrap can be both fun and a breeze to clean up after your child’s art session. Simply take pieces of bubble wrap and dip them into washable paint, then allow your child to press the paint-covered wrap onto paper to create interesting patterns. The crinkling sensation and popping sounds can add an extra element of excitement to this textured painting experience.

Make Painting a Family Activity

Mother with daughter drawing in a park

Turn your child’s painting time into something you’re able to share with them. Spread a large piece of paper out on your floor and take part in painting with your kids. Add your own brushstrokes, use your own tools, choose interesting colors. Make designs just as your children do. It’s a great way to spend time together, and participating with your child can enhance the value of the experience. 

With these colorful kids painting ideas, the possibilities are as endless as the colors of the rainbow. From exploring nature’s beauty to experimenting with unconventional painting techniques, each activity offers an opportunity for children to express themselves and unleash their imagination. Gather your paints, brushes, and most importantly, your sense of adventure, and let the creativity flow freely in your home studio. 

Teaching Your Children Gratitude: Here’s How.

Gratitude is often an underappreciated skill in children’s emotional toolbelts. It’s an important skill that they’ll use well into adult life, so it’s important to instill it in them from an early age. Here’s everything you need to know about when to start teaching your children gratitude and how to do it.

When Should I Start?

While there’s never a bad time to start talking about gratitude with your kids, some times are better than others. In very early childhood, most children think from an egocentric perspective. Meaning that they don’t fully understand that other people also experience thoughts and feelings. They slowly start outgrowing this from the ages of 2-6. As they begin to grasp the big, broad concepts like empathy, more specific emotions like gratitude will come along naturally. This period is the best time to start. 

Once your child reaches the age of 7-8 or so, they’ll have more or less grown out of egocentric thinking, and you can expand on your previous gratitude lessons in new ways. Of course, knowing when to start isn’t all that helpful if you don’t know how to start, so let’s take a look at a few ways you can help your child learn gratitude.

Practice Saying Thank You

Front view adorable son playing with mom

One of the simplest ways you can teach your children to be grateful is by encouraging them to say thank you at every opportunity. Because children require so much special care and attention from so many people in their early years. They often don’t quite realize how much physical and emotional labor that attention requires and may take it for granted. Encouraging them to say thank you to their friends, family members, service workers, and anyone else who helps them can make them much more aware of this. With this greater level of awareness, a greater level of gratitude is sure to come with.

Write Thank-You Notes

Whenever your child receives gifts for a birthday or holiday, sit down and help them write thank-you notes. Thank-you notes do two things: encourage your kid to say thank you, and give them time to think about the gift itself. We’ve already covered why saying thank you is important, but why do they need to think about the gift itself? 

Simply put, gifts are more than just an item. Gifts are a symbol of affection, caring, and thoughtfulness, and a good gift means that someone knows and cares about you enough to pick out something you appreciate. A thank-you note helps your child reflect on the meaningfulness of this gesture, and express gratitude for it. This introspection followed by action is the most important part of learning gratitude, and will help your child learn quickly.

Teach Mindfulness

Medium shot grandson kissing grandmother showing gratitude

All too often, we forget things that are truly meaningful and begin to take them for granted. This isn’t just an issue with kids; it affects adults too. The problem is that when we take the things we have for granted, the people who provide them feel unappreciated, and this creates a sense of animosity. To prevent this, start doing mindfulness exercises. Though they’re often thought of as gratitude activities for kids, they’re just as helpful for you. 

For a few minutes every day, maybe over dinner, take some time with your kids to name the things you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s the companionship of your pets. Maybe it’s the good food in your bellies. Maybe it’s the warmth and safety of your home. Or maybe it’s just the fact that you’re all there together in that moment. Whatever it is, take time with your kids to express gratitude for it out loud. This encourages the entire family to remember the small stuff that makes life great, and helps you all to practice gratitude each and every day.

Split Household Chores (And Thank Everyone for Their Work!)

Smiley boy watering plant

If your children are old enough to handle small household chores by themselves, start delegating work! This both takes part of the workload off your shoulders and teaches your kids the value of their own work. More importantly, though, they’ll gain a greater understanding of all the work that goes into keeping a clean house. Once all the chores are done, huddle up, take a few minutes for everyone to thank each other for their work, and celebrate a job well done!

Lead by Example

Finally and most importantly, set a good example of gratitude for your kids. Children watch their parents like hawks and pick up their behaviors as they grow. If you express gratitude for everything, your children will start expressing gratitude as well. Though it may not feel like you’re doing much, setting a good example like this is one of the most important things you can do to raise your children to be grateful.

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to raise mindful, well-rounded children? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

Open-Ended Toys Great for Kids’ Creativity & Learning

As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to ensure your child grows up happy and healthy, and a surprising amount of that starts with the toys they play with. Children learn and grow through play and hands-on experience. So the toys they have available carry a much heavier influence on their development than you’d first expect. Purchasing the right toys for your child encourages them to lead a creative life, and teaches them more about the world around them. Of course, to buy the right toys, you have to know what to look for. So we’ve put together a short list of ideas of open-ended toys to help you out.

Building Blocks

Girl and boy playing with building blocks

Perhaps one of the simplest types of creative toys for kids is the classic building block set. Building blocks are easy and intuitive to play with and relatively inexpensive. It makes them a staple toy for children across the globe. Toys for kids did not often design to grow with their child, but in a sense, building blocks are. Your child will need to start out with baby-safe wooden blocks. Of course, but as they grow older, they can move on to more complex types of blocks. Legos, for example, are popular among kids of all ages, and even adults.

Though less open-ended, modeling kits are also an increasingly popular option, and likewise enjoyed by kids and adults alike. As a matter of fact, entire subcultures have formed around modeling kits. With cool toys like Gundam kits appealing to a wide range of audiences across countless age groups. All that to say, allowing your kids to get creative with building blocks early on allows them to branch out and find new hobbies later on in life. Inconsequential as it may seem now, it presents your child with some invaluable opportunities to meet friends, discover interests, and live life to the fullest.

Board and Card Games

Mother and daughter playing with board game

Though board and card games come with their own sets of rules. Those rules don’t always have to be strictly enforced. A deck of cards, for example, is an especially open-ended toys option for anyone who knows how to use it. Teach your child the basic rules of the games you buy. Sure, but from there, let them get creative! They’ll be able to reinvent the rules in a way that’s most fun to them. They may even come up with a brand new game that’s entirely their own. 

Aside from this, though, teaching your child to play board games comes with a whole host of other benefits. Children generally bond through play and shared interests. So if your child knows how to play a variety of board games, they’ll be able to socialize more easily with other board game enthusiasts. These meetings can turn into lasting friendships. Think about yourself and those around you. For example. Chances are, you or someone you know has at least semi-regular game nights, a time to gather, catch up, and just share a fun evening with each other.

Toys for Make-Believe

Open ended toys

If there’s one thing kids are known for, it’s their wildly active imagination. Children can take even the most mundane of objects and find some creative use for them. Weaving together complex stories from scratch in an instant. It’s truly a thing to behold, and it’s absolutely something you should foster in your little ones. Creative toys that encourage imagination are invaluable tools in your child’s development, and ensure that they’ll be entertained for hours on end. Of course, the variety of make-believe toys you can buy for your kids is just about as open-ended as the toys themselves, so here are a few toy ideas to narrow down your search.

Try thinking about your child’s ideas for their future. Chances are, they have a fun career that they’re already dreaming of going into. Though they’re much too young to enter the workforce, there’s no age restriction on imagination. With the right make-believe toys, they can start their dream job as soon as today. If your little one has an interest in construction work, for example, they’d love to play with toy tools like drills, hammers, and shovels.

If they’re more interested in a creative career as a chef, they’ll get hours of entertainment out of some toy pots, pans, and plastic food. You really want them to be able to immerse themselves, you could even buy toy uniforms for jobs like doctors, police officers, or firemen. Though it may seem like a minor thing, this sort of make-believe is the key to helping your child develop a passion for their future career, and that passion will serve them for a lifetime.

Looking for more great toy tips, recommendations, and products? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

5 Ways to Encourage Young Writers

Helping your child learn to write is an extremely important process for you as a parent. Not only does it teach them a skill that they’ll use for the rest of their life, it also gives them a new creative outlet to express their ideas and emotions through. Of course, there’s the question of how to start writing in the first place. It’s not the same for every child, but as with many parenting questions, there are several good guidelines to start from. That said, let’s take a look at five of the most important to encourage young writers.

1. Allow Them to Learn at Their Own Pace

Everyone learns differently, especially at an early age. It’s extremely important to pay attention to your child’s learning style so that you can help them in the best way possible. Your child will learn foundational reading and writing skills best if you create their ideal learning environment and allow them to work at a comfortable pace. Feel free to offer encouragement and guidance where necessary, but avoid hounding them or pressuring them to work faster. Creativity rarely blooms under pressure, so take a step back and watch what happens!

2. Encourage Creativity

Young writers

The creativity of the young mind is an incredible thing, and as a parent, it’s important for you to nurture it. Be sure to offer your little one plenty of encouragement as they work, help them to develop their ideas if they need to, and ultimately, push them to keep imagining, creating, and writing. Writing practice for kids isn’t always easy, and can even be discouraging at times, so your words of encouragement will give them the motivation they need to keep creating.

3. Give Them a Workspace

In the same way that you need a home office to get work done, your child needs a dedicated workspace to bring out their writing skills. Try setting up a desk in the corner of their room, and be sure to fully furnish it for all their writing endeavors. Most importantly, your little one needs to protect their peepers! They’ll need a bright lamp to prevent headaches and eye strain as they write. In addition, provide them with plenty of pens, pencils, erasers, and the like so they can scribble down ideas whenever they appear. Finally, remember to get them a bookshelf to store all their favorite books and completed writing projects. With their workspace all put together, your child will have the perfect environment for daily writing practice and intensive brainstorming sessions alike.

4. Listen to Their Thoughts and Ideas

Mother daughter spending time together

Once your child has started brainstorming writing projects a bit more heavily, they may want someone to bounce their ideas off of. As their parent and number one cheerleader, you’re naturally one of the best people for the job. Encourage them to share their ideas with you, and if they ask for any help or constructive criticism, don’t be afraid to offer it from your perspective as a test reader. Having an outside perspective is an absolute must for even the most experienced of authors. By giving your child that perspective, you give them the perfect resource to refine their story step by step, from the first draft to the final copy.

5. Provide Them With Plenty of Books

Though children are great at coming up with new ideas, even they need places to get fresh inspiration. Learning and creating are both lifelong pursuits, so your child will need a steady supply of books to become more proficient as an author. We recommend purchasing as many books as possible, but if that’s not possible in your current financial situation, there’s no need to worry! 

Even if your child’s reading speed is starting to outpace your finances, visiting your local library is always an option. You can find a book on just about any subject for just about any reading level, so you’ll be able to find a great match for your child. While you’re there, don’t be afraid to talk to the librarians, either! They’re just as, if not more, passionate about reading and writing as you and your child. They may be able to offer some valuable insights into finding the right books to read and helping your child hone their writing skills. Between the near-endless supply of books and the guidance and writing tips from literary enthusiasts, your child will always have a wellspring of inspiration to draw from.

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to encourage your child’s creative and intellectual development? Feel free to visit us at ToysCentral today!