Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘education’ Category

July 25th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Labeling Your School Supplies

With 32 days left of summer vacation, my family needs to start thinking about school and getting school supplies. Buying the supplies are the fun part, but the labeling of them can take forever! You can go the simple way of labeling with initials or first name using a pen or marker, but I wanted to share some fun ways to label your supplies without all the hassle.

Print some labels like in the picture above. I love these little labels to print names and attach to items. They can also be found in neon colors. I have found that you sometimes need to cover with tape when labeling crayons and markers and others things that are curved.’

Check out these Property of stickers. These would be great for books, folders, and other large items.

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Your child can really add personality to their labels when you print these personalized labels.

 

Mabel’s Labels offers labels for school supplies, lunch boxes, and even clothing and shoes. These offer a great alternative to the printed labels because they are made with labeling items as a sole purpose.

If you have the ability to cut vinyl lettering you can label things like this. This would take a bit of work but makes a big statement. Check out how they labeled pencils with vinyl.

Once you decide what option you are going to use stick a good movie on the tv and go to town! It’s a tedious task, but once you see all those labeled items you will feel like you really accomplished something!

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June 30th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Teaching Kids About Recycling

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We all think about the future and what will be left for our children or grandchildren to deal with. According to the EPA, Americans produce about 4.3 pounds of waste per person, per day. For a family of four, that is over 6,000 pounds of waste each year! About one third of this can be recycled or composted. Are you throwing paper, glass, plastic and metal into the trash? Think about and teach your kids to recycle these items!

An easy way to teach kids to recycle is to create an area in your home with different colored bins. Place tags or identifying pictures on the containers so your children can recognize them and what materials should go in each one. Encourage them to recycle cans and make a plan for how to use the money you’ll get when turning these items in! Consider creating a recycling savings jar to save up for a special family treat.

Take a field trip to your local recycling center. Show your child how the different materials are collected and recycled. Take about how not recycling items can impact the environment, and what items need to be recycled separately, like computers, batteries, lightbulbs, and old medicines.

The more your children understand about recycling, the more likely they are to make it a habit.  Check out some of the online recycling games below:

Ollie’s World

Meet the Greens

My Garbology

 

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June 2nd, 2014 at 11:56 am

Summer Reading Choices

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We love to sit under a tree, on the patio, or lay on the grass and read a book in the summertime. The kids love logging their reading time  for summer reading programs too. Check out your local public library to see what kind of a reading programs they offer for both children and adults. You can learn all kinds of neat things just by reading and talking about what you read in books.

The Barnes and Noble Summer Reading program allows you to easily track your reading, and in the end you receive a free book! They also have a great collection of books lists for all ages. I like to check out the Amazon Summer Reading List for some fresh reading suggestions as well. More ideas can be found on Pinterest in this fantastic collection of kids books or this summer reading list for all ages.

When your child is young, reading to them promotes imagination and will help develop their own reading and listening skills. Carry eBooks on your tablet for easy summertime reading without having to bring along a pile of books. Also, find books that have to do with activities that you have going on. Going to the Zoo? Check out animal books. Traveling to another state or country? Check out some books that provide information about the place you are going.

What was a great book you recently read?

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May 30th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Encouraging Learning During Summer Vacation

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Just because school has ended doesn’t mean that kids should stop  learning. Summer is a great time to incorporate learning into your everyday plans, and work on skills for the next year.

Use Your Imagination
Summer is a great time for your kids to use their imagination. Play with Legos, dolls, or even stare at the clouds outside. If your children are at an age when they can write, have them keep a journal (it makes a nice keepsake for them to look back on as well).  Make  time to do some of these things with them.

Visit The Library
The library is a great place to explore regularly during the summer. While this is a great place to get reading materials, you can also investigate and learn about things you may encounter. If you are going on a walk in the woods, you may want to pick up a book about wild flowers or insects. There are children’s book clubs or story time events you can join as well.

Take Field Trips
One of my families favorite summer activities is exploring places during our lazy summer days. Take some time to check out nearby parks, wildlife centers, museums and more. There is so much you can learn plus it is a great way to learn about the area you live in.

Worksheets/Coloring Pages Are Fun and Educational
There are some great workbooks available to help your child. Something as simple as a journal or some coloring pages can help them too.

Study Nature And Science
Summer is a great time to learn about science and nature. How do bubbles work? Can the hot sun fry an egg? How do caterpillars turn into butterflies? The list is endless. Use this time to help your children what’s going on in the world around them. If you have a telescope, you can help your child identify constellations and such.

Sing Songs
My boys love music. Even if we are just outside hanging out, we love to listen and sing to music. Sometimes we even dance around. Look for outdoor concerts to enjoy. There is a summertime lunch concert each week in our town that we like to attend and bring a picnic lunch to. It’s nice to get outside and enjoy some culture!

Play Games
We love play card and board games together! Whether it be puzzles, strategy games, or just games of concentration, they are all fun tools for keeping brains sharp and focused.

How do you incorporate learning into your summer days?

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April 14th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Celebrating Library Week

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Did you know that April 13 through 19 is National Library Week? Books are so important to a  child’s development. Besides teaching them how to read, they also foster bonding, creativity, and imagination. Libraries have a lot to offer their communities, and they are a great learning resource for families. Check out your local library this week and see what kind of events and classes they offer for your little ones. In honor of National Library Week, here are some of the most popular kids books of all time that you can check out at your local library or bookstore!

  • Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
  • The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
  • Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown
  • Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
  • Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – Judy and Ron Barrett
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
  • Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
  • Pat the Bunny – Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Love You Forever – Robert Munsch
  • The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • Corduroy – Don Freeman
  • Stellaluna – Janell Cannon
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss
  • Strega Nona – Tomie dePaola
  • Curious George – H.A. Rey
  • Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Little Engine That Could – Loren Long and Watty Piper
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales – Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  • The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James
  • The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
  • Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans
  • The Napping House – Audrey Wood and Don Wood
  • The Cat and the Hat – Dr. Seuss
  • The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
  • Hop on Pop - Dr. Seuss

There are so many other great books, both classics and new, that kids around the world enjoy every day. Which is YOUR favorite?

Photo Credit: American Library Association, www.ala.org

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March 28th, 2014 at 8:23 am

Multi-Use Foam Bath Letters

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When they were younger, my boys loved playing with foam bath letters during bath time. They helped them learn to spell and read simple words, as well as recognize letters. Now that they take showers, we don’t play in the bath tub much, but we still love to play with the letters. I want to share with you some ideas for using this great learning aid outside of the bath!

  • A great way to repurpose foam letters is to glue magnets on the back. Use them with a magnet board to make word play fun!

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  • You can also use them to practice words on the kitchen table, floor, or other flat surfaces.
  • Sensory bins are a great way for children to explore shapes and other items. Ever think of using the letters inside of a sensory bin?
  • Make baby photos cuter by using the foam letters to spell out their name or current age in months.
  • Decorate your child’s room by mounting words like FUN, PLAY, or even SLEEP in shadow boxes to make word art.
  • Let your kids use them in art projects by gluing them to their pictures.
  • Make letter flash cards by gluing the letters to one side, along with a picture of a recognizable item that starts with that letter.

Our foam letters are well used and loved at our house…how do you use yours?

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February 21st, 2014 at 8:35 am

Fun Apps to Encourage Reading

reading-appsMy boys are in love with their iPads, but they aren’t always being used for games; we like to use them for learning just as much. My youngest son is learning to read and loves the interactive reading apps that we have found for him. Many of these can be enjoyable for different ages.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This app!

This app lets you interact with a pigeon and create a story of your own.

The Cat in the Hat

Read along with this favorite Dr. Suess story word by word.

Little Bella’s – I Close My Eyes

This animated app is great for pre-readers and tells the story of Bella’s adventures.

Bob Books

One of our favorite book sets while learning to read are the Bob Books. These apps help to introduce new words and letter sounds to the beginning reader.

Pete the Cat

We love to jam out with Pete the Cat at our house and this app brings his story to life.

The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover!

This book was one of my favorites as a child and now my children enjoy it. We love to watch Grover try to stop us from getting to the end of the book. We also like the companion book with Another Monster!

Some other favorites include:

All By Myself – Little Critter

The Kissing Hand

Once Upon a Potty

Five Little Monkeys

The Berenstain Bears

Dr. Suess Books

What are your favorite reading apps?

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 10th, 2014 at 10:25 am

Favorite Valentine’s Day Books

ValentinebooksOne of my favorite things to do to prepare for Valentine’s Day is to share stories of love with my little ones. A tradition of ours is to snuggle on the couch with some fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk while we read some of our favorite Valentine’s Day books. I wanted to share a list of some of our favorites that we have shared through the years.

The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

One day it rains hearts, and Cornelia Augusta catches them. Each heart is special in its own way, and Cornelia Augusta knows exactly who to send them to.

Happy Valentine’s Day Curious George! by N. Di Angelo

George and his friend celebrate Valentine’s Day with decorating, card making and the kind of mischief that only a monkey can make!

Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day by Norman Bridwell

When Clifford was a baby he got into so much trouble on Valentine’s Day, but continues to be Emily Elizabeth’s favorite year after year.

Hedgehug, A Sharp Lesson in Love by Dan Pinto

A great story that you have to find the right person to love you for who you are.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Our favorite mouse from If you Give a Mouse a Cookie celebrates Valentine’s Day.

Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat

The story of a prank gone wrong changes the pranksters heart in the end.

The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting

An old favorite from my childhood shows that even if you have never celebrated Valentine’s Day you can always start!

There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Rose! by Lucille Colandro

If you have read any of the books in this series you know that this book makes the classic song come alive in a different manner.

I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

This book shows that a mother’s unconditional love will never be changed.

Olive, My Love by Vivian Walsh

We love the book Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh so were excited to see this title.  This funny story is a great example that anything can happen if you follow your heart.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Mc Bratney

My boys have heard this story since they were first born. They love the story of the endless amounts of love a father and son can have for one another.

Pete the Cat Valentines Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean

Pete discovers how special Valentines can be and makes Valentines for everyone.

Print this list and take it to your local library, then snuggle up and enjoy the stories of love with your little ones all this week!

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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January 30th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Garanimals Baby Toys for Fun and Learning

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Baby toys often seem like they’re just for fun and entertainment, but they are important for your little one’s development. Even something as simple as a teether does double duty, serving as something to soothe gums, as well as helping develop tactile and visual senses with textures and colors. Garanimals toys are designed with safety as the top priority, and with education, entertainment, and development in mind. We have everything from rattles to teethers to bath toys! They can play while developing motor skills. What kind of toys does your little one like best?
You can find all of these toys in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com!
Garanimals Wrist/Foot Rattles
Garanimals Textured Links
Garanimals Teether Book 
Garanimals Bee Teether
Garanimals Froggie Teether Beads
Garanimals Chilly Chew, Rattle & Teethe Monkey 
Garanimals Frog Bath Gift Set 
Garanimals Pop & Pour Pals and Squirt & Squeak Blocks Gift Set
Garanimals Hand Rattle Assortment – IN STORES ONLY
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November 11th, 2013 at 9:04 am

Everyday Ideas for Baby Play

9-2-05 LaundryWe all know that one of the most important jobs of a baby is to PLAY! It helps them to learn about their world and is crucial for their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. I know that I overthought play as a young mother. I would feel overwhelmed by all the toys sold for young children, spending time trying to play with them while doing “learning activities” and never wanted them to do anything messy.

But, that is what play is all about. The child exploring and touching things, especially messy ones.

Here are some great activities to build play into your day…

In the kitchen: Use wooden spoons, bowls, and other items to play with. These are great to bang together, stack, and show off shapes and colors.

In the bathtub or even a sink: Bring the bubbles inside. Not only do babies love to interact with bubbles, it helps them to develop good visual skills. In the winter, bring some snow in the tub. This is a safe and warmer way to play with snow without having to bundle them up so much they can’t move. Turn your hair dryer on them for a quick second while you are drying your hair.

In the basement: Get out those boxes you are saving. The imagination runs wild when a simple box is produced. This is a great toy for babies, toddlers, and older kids alike.

While your cleaning: When my oldest was little he loved the vacuum cleaner. Bring it out to vacuum and have your little one watch. Press one of the hoses near them to show them what it does. Put your child in the laundry basket while your folding or putting away the laundry. Wouldn’t you love to lay in a warm pile of clean clothes?

In the bedroom: Do some tummy time or fun stories or songs while laying or bouncing gently on the bed.

All over the house: I know I am always thinking about stuff, so when my kids were little I just thought out loud. The best part about babies is that they always agree and interrupt. A conversation can go a long way!

Incorporate play and communication into your day and your baby will have a grand old time!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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