31 days of unplugged play: play dough

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Today”s unplugged play idea is an easy one, short and sweet:  playing with play dough.

Whether you make your own () or use purchased play dough or play clay, have fun squishing, rolling, pinching, smashing, and squeezing with this wonderful creative toy.

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31 days of unplugged play: board games (and a Cupcake Race review)

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

We love to play games in our family.  Board games, card games, sports, and puzzles – you name it and the Fleck family probably loves it.  It makes me so happy as a mama to see my kids, now that they are a little bit older, playing a game together and I love it when we have family game nights.  Looking around the table at all the smiling faces that belong in my “nest” makes this mama bird pretty happy.

For today”s Unplugged Play activity, gather your family and play a favorite game together.

Cupcake Race

One of our new family game night favorites, especially with my preschooler, is called Cupcake Race. We were given a copy of this game to review and it has become one that my four year old and six year old ask to play on a regular basis.

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31 days of unplugged play: calm down jars (glitter bears)

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Today’s unplugged play idea was inspired by all of the beautiful “Calm Down” or “Peace” jars that I’ve seen all over Pinterest.  

The idea of a “calm down” jar has been on my mind for some time because it seemed like a good tool to help my four year old daughter find some quiet moments in the day when she’s having “big feelings,” as we say.

Lucy had been eying the big honey bear container in the recycling bin for some time, so I decided to do my own version of these beautiful swirling sparkle jars by making a glitter bear for especially for her in her favorite colors.
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31 days of unplugged play: a garden playscape

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

We are on day ten in our series on Unplugged Play.  Last week one of the activities was to set up a Story Themed Playscape for your kids.

Today we’re going to set up a Garden Playscape.

What is a playscape?  A playscape is simply a scene that is put together to inspire creative play around a theme.  You are “setting the stage” so to speak.  In this case, we’re setting the stage for some kid-sized gardening and harvest fun in the living room.

Supplies and materials

  • blankets or towels rolled up length-wise to create ruts and furrows
  • play veggies from the play kitchen (or wooden blocks, or balled up socks, or play silks, or something else to act as pretend “crops” to be harvested)
  • basket or bucket for gathering the crops from your blanket field
  • child-sized rake, watering can, or shovel might be fun
  • space in the living room or kid’s bedroom to set up this kid-sized playscape idea
  • optional:  some books about gardening and farming, gardening gloves and a floppy hat

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How the silly things kids say show they’re learning

 The following is by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

I love listening to my three year-old talk.  He has a way of making the most common words sound delectably darling.  He asks if we can look something up on my “compweeter” almost every day.  He comments on our secret “packageway” when we take a new route home from his brothers’ school.  And my heart absolutely melts when I hear him half shout, half sing, “Lemolade!” while peddling summer’s favorite drink with his big brothers.

I’m not the only mother who revels in the mispronunciations commonly found in our preschoolers’ lingo.  When I shared some of my favorite boyhood bumbles on Facebook, loads of parents joined in, sharing examples like “soupcase” for suitcase and “ice cream” instead of sunscreen, that kept me chuckling for days.

As much as I would agree that these misnomers are endearing and cute, they also provide a window to the rapid pace of language and cognitive development in our little ones.

While it generally takes 18 months for a child to garner their first 50 words, soon after that point, their vocabularies begin to explode.  By age three, the average preschooler has a vocabulary of 900-1000 words!  With that much new information, it’s no wonder some of it would get jumbled in the process.

Child development theorist, Jean Piaget posited that we can learn as much (and perhaps more) about what children understand by really looking at their mistakes rather than simply measuring them by the sum of their correct answers.  Here are some ways to recognize your child’s learning in the middle of these hilarious misspeaks:
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