Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘learning’ tag

June 30th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Teaching Kids About Recycling


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 13th, 2014 at 6:57 am

10 Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market


Farmer’s markets are not only a source of healthy and often organic produce, they’re also a source of learning for kids! Supporting local businesses helps your community as well. Here are 10 reasons you should visit a farmer’s market with your kids.

Talk With Real Farmers – One thing I have found is that the vendors at the farmer’s market love to talk about how they grew their food. Have the kids talk to them and ask questions.

Teach Kids About Farms- In the city, a lot of children don’t know about farms or have never been to one. Take this time to talk about people who farm, what they do, and how the food gets to their plates.

Spend Family Time Together – Set an hour or so aside to walk through the market and talk about the items. Sometimes there is even music and other activities for your children to participate in.

Learn About Your Community- Connect with others and learn all the different things that go on in your town. At our market, one of our favorite restaurants does cooking demonstrations. Our kids have learned that much of the food they eat comes from the market.  Our farmer’s market also takes place on our downtown main street. This gives us an opportunity to explore the stores and restaurants that are in the area as well.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits- Open up a possibility of options for new foods that your kids will eat.

Learn About Nutrition- Talk about the importance of eating a rainbow of colors.

Introduce New Foods- Discuss any new foods you may see. Some even YOU may not know about.

Teach Kids About Money – Give each child some money to spend on things they want to try.

Teach Kids About When Certain Things Grow- Certain fruits and vegetables are available at certain times of year according to weather and growing conditions.

Cook Your Purchases – This is a great way to get your kids involved in the cooking of the items you found. It is known that kids are more likely to try new things if they had a hand in preparing them.

Have fun exploring your local farmer’s market!

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May 30th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Encouraging Learning During Summer Vacation


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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March 28th, 2014 at 8:23 am

Multi-Use Foam Bath Letters


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!


  • 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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January 30th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Garanimals Baby Toys for Fun and Learning


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!
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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September 30th, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Using Road Signs for Learning

As the boys and I drive around I notice their fascination with road signs. When they were young they wanted to know what they said and what that meant. I found that they were a great way to teach the boys about shapes and colors when they were toddlers and preschoolers, and words when they were older. These were some of the first sight words that the boys learned as they were learning to read. This skill will also teach kids how to identify road signs when they are on their bike or taking a walk.

I love this set of printable signs to use with popsicle sticks and water bottle caps. These are great to use with make shift roads and play cars or trucks. Want to create roads for your kids? Check out this paint tape town. There are even traffic signs you can purchase to use outside with kids bikes and cars.

Another way to incorporate road signs into learning is to use Road Sign Bingo when you are out and about. Whether it be a short or long road trip, this bingo will not only keep the kids occupied but they will learn to identify all the signs quickly as their competitive nature takes over.. There are also some great coloring pages here.

Who knew the possibilities for learning while on the road?

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


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November 15th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Educational Scavenger Hunts


There’s something about searching, finding, and problem-solving that kids LOVE. Scavenger hunts are fun learning activities that can be done anywhere, anytime… indoor, outdoor, rain or shine. Here’s a brief guide on how to make the perfect scavenger hunt for your kids.

1)   Environment:

You can create scavenger hunts that can be done at any location. The easiest is in your own backyard or home, but visits to the park, museum, beach, etc. can be even more fun with some search and find aspects.

2)   Age:

The younger your child is, the simpler the scavenger hunt should be. It’s important to consider your child’s likes, dislikes and abilities. Scavenger hunts should always be supervised.

3)   Type:

There are many different types of “hunts.” A simple one for all ages involves creating a list of items for your child to find and gather. A more complex “treasure hunt” involves hiding clues in different places that lead to one big treasure or find.

4)   Outline:

It’s easiest to start with an outline of the scavenger hunt. Define how many clues/items you’ll use, where they can be hidden/found, and what types of clues you’ll use i.e. Directive clues – “You’ll find the next clue near your favorite stuffed animal!” or Problem-solving clues – “The dishes go in dirty and come out clean…that’s where you’ll find the next clue!”

5)   Learning:

Use the clues and/or items as an opportunity to teach your child. An outdoor scavenger hunt can help them learn how to identify different pieces of nature… types of flowers, leaves, rocks, etc. Problem solving clues are educational in themselves and can involve topics from simple identification and understanding to basic math and science.

6)   Prize:

It’s always good to reward your child with an end-of-the-hunt prize. Small items you can find at the dollar store such as activity books and crayons, bubbles, etc. make great “treasures” that will give them something fun to do even after the scavenger hunt is over!

photo credit: ryanrocketship via flickr

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October 8th, 2012 at 7:26 am

Learning Right in Your Backyard

It is amazing all the things that nature can teach a child. The simple things like colors; the green grass, yellow leaves, blue sky, and purple flowers. It teaches patience; once a seed is planted it takes a while to grow. Or even creativity; ever stare up at the clouds and see shapes, or imagine a special place in a forest.

As the seasons change, it amazes me how my children experience such pure joy in nature. This weekend we raked the falling leaves and the boys jumped in piles for hours on end. In the spring, the sprouting of the first flower is always a celebration; just like the first winter snowfall.

Watching them experience nature can bring me pure joy. This weekend, as we cut down the dried flowers in the garden to prepare for winter, we came across a stalk of lilies that had dried. As it shook, it made a sound like a maraca and after we cut it we could shake seeds out. It was so exciting to watch the boys make a discovery like this.

Earlier in the week, we took a walk in a local nature center. Something as simple as an afternoon walk brought so many questions and discoveries. Our favorite part was the four turtles we saw floating on a log sunning themselves. Each one ranged in size, almost like a family of a mom, dad and two kids. Our discovery sent our minds spinning into stories of the turtle family and the adventures they have in the nature center.

Free entertainment is the best, and sometimes the most rewarding.

Do you ever take some time to just enjoy the outdoors?

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

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