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Keep Kids Reading This Summer with our Kid’s Fire Tablet Giveaway!

Written by Author, Misty Black

We want to help motivate kids to read this summer, so I’ve teamed up with 4 other authors to offer you a chance to win a Kid’s Kindle Fire Tablet. Plus, everyone who enters will receive all 5 eBooks FREE. Details below. ENTER TO WIN HERE

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Let’s learn more about the authors in this giveaway.

Misty Black is a best-selling children’s book author and mother of three. She wrote Can Quilliam Learn to Control His Temper? and Punk the Skunk Learns to Say Sorry. Her focus in her Punk and Friends Series is to help children learn the social skills needed to navigate their big emotions. You can follow Misty on social media by searching Misty Black Author. The third book in this series, Brave the Beaver Has the Worry Warts focuses on helping children deal with anxiety and worry. It will be released next month.

Lauren Mosback is both a children’s book author and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is the award-winning author of My Sister’s Super Skills, the first in a series of books that introduces children to important coping and wellness skills that increase their self-esteem. Lauren lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three young children. She loves adventuring with her family and strives to continually learn, grow and write!

Dr. Brie is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arizona. She specializes in strengthening the parent-child relationship. Dr. Brie has presented at numerous conferences, workshops, and conducted trainings around the US. She is the author of I Will Always Love You.

Lauren Jumrukovski is a licensed school counselor turned blogger at www.theysayparenting.com and author of They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book.

Her book is a firmly guilt-free guide for parents and parents-to-be focused on intuitive parenting and on the emotional side of being a parent. What works for one parent may not work for another, and that’s okay. Every child is different and there is no one right way. “They Say” is full of ideas for navigating the hearsay and common parenting tough spots, but reminds parents to feel confident in the decisions they make for their families. Through heart-felt, funny, and relatable stories, readers will see that we aren’t alone in our feelings and experiences.

April Cox is an award-winning author and founder of Little Labradoodle Publishing. The Little Labradoodle series of six books include two picture books and four coloring/activity books. “My goal is to provide beautifully illustrated books with characters that kids love while re-enforcing core values in a way that is fun for the whole family. Her award-winning Puppy Pickup Day can be found here.

As you can see, this is a great line-up of authors, counselors, and mothers who truly care about your children. So don’t just enter because you want a free tablet (which I know you do😉) but join in because you want your child to grow up to be the best person they can be.

Click on the King Sumo link here and simply enter in your best email to join. Plus receive extra entries for sharing (all details included in the link).

Ends 5/29 at 5 PM EST. Awarded at 6 PM EST. Final results will be emailed. No purchase necessary. Not affiliated with Amazon.

Happy Reading!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 30+ Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items or My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

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Creative Gifts for Creative Kids of All Ages

Gift and Activity Ideas

I’ll be honest, gift buying for my children isn’t easy these days! Looking around my house, there are just so many toys! This year, I wanted to find a special gift for my children’s birthdays, one they would cherish for a long time, but I was also looking for gifts that wouldn’t cause additional clutter.

There is a lot of discussion about offering experiences over toys when it comes to gift buying, and I love the idea behind this, but what if there was a way to capture both in one gift? I have found a few gifts which do just this. They are small, they inspire creativity, and they encourage children to get out and explore all at the same time!

My children love being creative. Give them some tools, art supplies, craft items, and they couldn’t be happier. I can relate as a blogger. I am constantly snapping photos and the kids see me take them. In fact, they are my subjects most of the time. I was so happy when a wonderful company, Father’s Factory, gifted us some of their items to try. Check out these amazing gift ideas that my kiddos cannot get enough of. These are some of their favorite gifts of all time. I will share the gifts they love and also some neat craft and activity ideas for any child who loves creating and exploring! You can rest assured that I only recommend products that I know and love.

The WoodCam

Wooden Camera

First, is the wooden digital camera. These wooden cameras are made by walnut and cypress wood and they take real photos. There are 4 built-in filters, so my children can easily take photos in color, black & white, and sepia. I think there is something special about not being able to see the photo they take until they return home and upload them onto the computer. It encourages the art of photography and there truly is a magic around capturing little everyday surprises with my kids. It allows us to enjoy the moment we are in rather than focus on taking the “perfect” photo. Father’s Factory shares that “in a world of ‘instant’ and ‘now’, these are perfect for teaching children patience, understanding delays, and even how to deal with disappointment.” I have experienced this. My oldest daughter understands her camera more and more each time she ventures out. At first, she may not have captured exactly what she had in mind, but on the other hand, some of the photos she took came out way more beautiful than we imagined.

We actually built the camera together and it only took a minute.  There is a built-in lens, but the WoodCam also comes with two additional lenses for more fun. One is a fish-eye lens, and one is a wide angle lens and they pop on and off with a magnet. This one even comes with an SD card.

activities for kids

Activity Idea:

activities for kids

Grab a camera and head to your local park, or even out to your backyard with your child. We went to a local park and took photos of the scenary and the animals, and it was one of our favorite outings so far. Here are a couple of photos my daughter captured directly from her Father’s Factory cameras on our first outing:

The PaperCam

This Digital Camera is made with recyclable paper and it also comes ready to be assembled. Not only is the outside made out of paper, but it comes unassembled and you can put the camera together with your child. What an amazing experience it was to see how a camera looks on the inside and then to use that very camera! Talk about inspiring the love of photography! It only takes a couple of minutes to put together.

You can connect both of these digital cameras to the computer through the included USB cable, and upload and view your photos.

Activity Idea:

Print your favorite photos either from your camera or from theirs. Your child can use them to make their very own scrapbook. For her birthday, my oldest daughter asked for a scrapbook and supplies to go along with her camera. She has had so much fun choosing the photos she likes and then adding stickers and designs to her very own scrapbook. This is such a great way to make memories last a lifetime.

Wooden Toy Cameras

Wooden toy camera

This Polaroid Style Wooden Toy Camera is a high-quality wooden toy camera with a kaleidoscopic lens and a magnetic detachable flash. My youngest has so much fun with the kaleidoscopic lens and putting the flash on and off. This camera includes 5 InstaFun drawing cards to encourage pretend play.

Activity Ideas:

My three children have all enjoyed drawing a polaroid style picture on the provided InstaFun cards and pretending they were taken by their camera. We were able to erase the colored pencil and crayon marks from our cards and use them again and again.

Another idea is to take your toddler out to a local park or farm (even your backyard), and have them play pretend with their camera. I took my youngest out with her toy camera and she had so much fun telling the sheep to “say cheese” and trying to get them to “smile” for her camera. I caught it on video and I know that is a video and an experience I will cherish forever.

Wooden Toy Camera

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: What Makes a “Good” Parent? It’s Not What You Think

Check out my book here: They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book

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Top Educational Toys for Babies and Toddlers: Play to Learn

Looking for a fun AND educational gift for a baby or toddler? Look no further! We have found the perfect Block Set and monthly Play Kits from Lovevery, a child development toy company! Their goal, much like my goal here on this blog, is to “help every parent feel confident.” Their play products “are designed by child development experts and distilled to their simplest, purest purpose: to be exactly what children need at each stage.”

As a Lovevery affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

First, check out Lovevery’s amazing Block Set which is fun for all ages!

Did you know blocks teach children about structure, balance, physics and math in a way that no other toy can? They provide a foundation for early learning. Early experiences with blocks help children develop spatial, language, cognitive, and problem-solving skills!

The Lovevery block set is the most comprehensive block set ever! It comes with an activity guide which shows us exactly how we can play with blocks with our children at each and every stage.

I didn’t realize just how much my children loved blocks, until we received this set and I was able to check out the accompanying guide which showed me ideas of how children can use blocks in play at each age and stage. These blocks are now a go-to for my one, four, and six year old, and we have spent hours playing with them.

There are so many ways to learn with these blocks:

Explore cause and effect, force, magnetism, velocity, and gravity by rolling the wheels down a hill.

Plan ahead and reach a goal by making a car or wagon.

The magnetic wheels make it super fun and easy.

Develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination at the same time. and experiment with pattern play by threading beads.

Learn about rhythm by making music.

Upon opening the box, my littlest one immediately began drumming with the sticks and dancing along.

Learn how to sort and categorize—and how things fit together spatially by sorting shapes.

Practice equilibrium by finding how things stack, balance, or fall.

Use the wooden people/ figurines to imagine, talk about feelings, and even build empathy.

When they are a little older, build confidence, strength and balance by setting up a small hurdle to jump over!

Plus make paths, count towers, make letters, sculpt feelings, build a house, or a city… the options are endless.

I started playing with these with my youngest, and soon, my older two had jumped in.

My son (4) cannot get enough of engineering different buildings and using the magnetic portion of the wheels to make all kinds of fun creations (you can see one of his creations above). My oldest daughter (6) loves to set up the blocks to make a store, a restaurant, and a house, and then play with the doll shaped blocks included. She has since even added in her own little dolls for more play.

I would highly recommend the Lovevery Block Set to any parent. What a great set of blocks which will grow with your child! The set would also be a great gift for a toddler or even for a baby shower… baby’s first set of blocks!

Another favorite from Lovevery is their monthly subscription Montessori-based Play Kits!

We have tried “The Companion Play Kit” for our 22 month old. This box is full of toys designed for toddlers to use from 22 to 24 months of age. I am sure we will use these toys well beyond when my littlest turns 24 months.

The kit has been perfect for our little one. She can use all of the toys now, and there are so many ways she can continue to grow by using and playing with each.

Included in the Play Kit is a play guide. Here is a snippet from the guide under, “Real Life is Where It’s At”:

“Right now, her brain is craving real-world experiences: she wants to be involved with whatever exists around her and use her developing senses to understand what things are and how they work. She wants to take in the smell of the laundry soap, tip the cup over and watch how the thick liquid pours into the machine, open and close the dryer door over and over, feel the dampness of clean laundry, work to pull warm, dry clothes out herself, and heap them in a basket.”

This is another reason I love the company, Lovevery, so much! Did you hear that? Toddlers are happy and learn SO much by just doing what we are doing and helping us! No more guilt for doing chores over playing with our children. They are learning just as much from simply working along side us.

In addition to descriptions and guides for every toy in the box, which teach multiple ways to play, there is an entire section on “Real Life Play.” In this section, many additional activities are shared which you can complete with regular household items!

Check out all the ways these toys teach:

Stemming from my school counseling background, I just love a toy that teaches! And, these toys teach in so many ways!

Learn about executive functions and learn to control impulse behavior by playing pretend with Little Quinn.

Show your toddler routines can happen even in unfamiliar places with the “Bea Gets a Checkup” Book.

Learn about perceiving, categorizing, and comparing with the Animal Match.

I love that this activity can help practice animal sounds, which are the beginning of language. You can also practice matching from left to right, to train the eye for when your child eventually starts to read!

Practice “coloring” with the Carry-Along Kit.

And, the accompanying stickers help your toddler work on the pincer grasp too!

Practice Bilateral Coordination with the Buckle Barrel.

This neat tool teaches using both hands together, finger dexterity, the pincer grasp, and hand-eye coordination as your child buckles and unbuckles!

Teach sizes, stacking, and transfer objects using the Stacking Dripdrop Cups, Tweezers and Felt Stars.

These cups are fun to stack and also encourage water play! Transferring the felt stars with the tweezers helps develop fine motor skills and concentration as well! Triple win!

Strengthen the muscles and skills needed for writing with the Mosaic Button Board.

Use simple two-piece puzzles to help your toddler learn what puzzles are all about!

Or, use the chunky puzzle to teach spatial skills! Lovevery shares that early puzzle skills are a predictor of spatial skills in preschoolers! You will find lots of tips like this in the play guide!

Learn how to process and manage emotions by reading the book, “Graham Turns Two.”

There you have it! A Lovevery Play kit is an excellent gift idea for any baby, toddler, or mom! Or, subscribe and receive a box full of educational toys every two months (babies) or three months (toddlers) for you and your little one. Who doesn’t love high quality, educational toys to explore with their baby or toddler? I would highly recommend the company, their toys, and their amazing play guides which help us moms feel confident as we raise our little ones into who they will one day become!

Shop Lovevery now, by clicking here!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail? Or 10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

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Top Christmas Gifts for Kids 5 and Under

Here is a list of our favorite Christmas gift ideas babies and toddlers are sure to love. Whether you are putting together your Christmas list or have found yourself looking for a last minute gift idea, hopefully this list will help!

Gifts for Newborns

Teethers

Sophie the Giraffe is a favorite in our house.



Jewelry Teethers are great gifts for both mom and baby. Mom can wear them as jewelry and baby can chew them from her lap.

The Nuby Hanging Pendant Teething Necklace is another teether we know and love. This one is easy for baby to fit into their mouth. Click the link to check it out.

A pacifier holder is a great gift to help keep the paci close to baby and easy to find. We like this one because it can be hooked onto any pacifier baby likes.

An Infinity Scarf Breastfeeding Cover is a great gift for both mom and baby. I used mine while breastfeeding and I continue to use it now as a scarf.

Spiral Travel Toy: Toys which hang from the carseat are always nice, because it can help keep baby entertained when they need to stay put.

Oball Toy Ball: This one is fun because it can easily be grasped by little fingers. My babies always giggled when we threw the ball around, and it was one of the first toys they could hold.

Gifts for Older Babies

The Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Remote is a toy all of my children have enjoyed. We love gifts which make noise as these are great to entertain baby at a doctor’s office, or while on the road (especially at night).

The Fisher-Price Dance and Groove Rockit is an interactive toy babies and toddlers can both enjoy, while learning about letters, colors, and numbers. They can even recording themselves and hear Rockit talk back!

The V-Tech Sit to Stand Learning Walker is great fun: for younger babies to sit and play, and for older babies to start learning to walk. This one is a favorite in our house!

An activity table is great for older babies. They can practice standing and play at the same time!

Books

Books are always a great idea! You can never start reading with your child too early. Here are some of our favorite books for baby:

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals

Whose Feet?

We love I See Me’s personalized stories. These are great gifts for any baby or toddler. There are lots of different story options!

Books which make noise are always fun! This is one of our favorites: Moo, Cluck, Baa! The Farm Animals are Hungry

Peek-A-Boo books are another favorite in our house. Here is one we love.

Puzzles

My kids love puzzles. My toddlers enjoy helping the baby play with puzzles already. Here are some great first puzzles:

First Shapes Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle

Farm Animals Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Gifts for Toddlers

Leap Frog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

All three of my kids love the Little People toys:

Little People Big Helpers Home

Caring for Animals Farm Set

Books

Here are some of our favorite toddler books.

Dear Zoo

Goodnight Moon

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Gifts for Children Aged 3-5

Picasso Magnetic Blocks: These blocks can entertain my older two for quite a while.

Art Sets: We love painting with different shapes, brushes, and sponges.

Learning Games

Educational games are another household favorite. Here are a couple that we love!

Note: Some of the pieces are small. These would be appropriate for children who are no longer putting things in their mouths.

Learning Resources Mini Muffin Match Up

This game teaches counting, colors, sorting, and even addition. The neat tool also helps with fine motor skills and the skills needed to hold a pencil.

ABC Cookies Game

I love how there are multiple games you can play with this one set. It teaches the alphabet and letter sounds. My kids also like to use the cookies for play in their kitchen.

Toys

Fingerlings Interactive Toy

LOL Surprise Dolls

These also contain small parts. The manufacturer recommends this toy for children aged 5 and up.

Super Friends Bat Cave

Anything related to superheroes is at the top of my three-year-old son’s Christmas list this year!

Play-Doh

Play-Doh is one item which will entertain my older two for quite some time.

Books

We love any books that encourage us to love ourselves for who we are. Here are a couple of our favorites which focus on this concept:

Thelma the Unicorn

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny

I wish that I had Duck Feet

Puzzles

Here are some puzzles we love:

Vehicles 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

Farm Wooden Cube Puzzle

See and Spell Puzzle

Fanciful Friends 4-in-1 Wooden Puzzle

We hope this list will help make your holiday shopping a little bit easier this year!

Top Christmas Gifts for Kids 5 and under

To learn more about me and my blog check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Times I Am Thankful for My Toddler

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

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