6 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Development Through Play

boost development through playMany parents believe that before formal schooling begins, there isn’t much you can do to help your child develop. This isn’t true at all. Play time is just as important as school lessons – perhaps more so when you consider that most development occurs during the first few years. You can give your child a leg up by making that playtime as meaningful as possible. Here’s how:

1. Schedule creative play time.

Structured play (like arts and crafts, lessons, or reading) has its benefits and should certainly be a part of every child’s routine, but your kids also need time for creative, unhindered play. Let your child play whatever he likes in whatever manner he likes. Don’t constrict games because they don’t make sense to you. If he flies his truck through the air or lassos a horse with a sock, let him explore and experiment.

2. Introduce other children.

You don’t need to come up with a schedule of activities for that next play date. Plop both kids in a room full of toys and games and stay nearby. By two and a half, your kid is developed enough to play with other kids, not just alongside. That means they’ll take each other’s cues, play the same game together and interact in a healthy way.

3. Encourage dress up play.

Pretending to be someone else is an excellent way to build empathy, objective understanding, and social skills. It lets them explore attitudes and behaviors, and give their imaginations a workout. Include some dress up costumes in the play room that your kids can easily access. Don’t discourage your child from using ordinary items as costumes (like a pot for a racecar helmet).

4. Switch off the TV.

The TV has its place and I’m not saying it’s bad for kids, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of development benefits. It’s an easy form of entertainment that doesn’t require much brain activity. It’s better to let your kids play pretend or toy cars or read than zone out in front of the TV. If you can, put your TV in a closeable cabinet so it’s out of sight.

I understand, however, that there are some great programs for kids that you should take advantage of, and sometimes you just need something to occupy your child while you take a quick shower.

5. Rotate some toys out of the playroom.

Interestingly, children can be overwhelmed by too many toys. If you have a generous family, your playroom might be filled to the roof. When your child has too many toys, he doesn’t fully experiment with each. Instead, he tends to play with the toy in the manner it was intended, which doesn’t work out his imaginative muscle. Store some toys in the attic or basement, and every so often switch them around.

6. Play somewhere else.

Eventually, your home will become unstimulating to your child. The blue carpet won’t be a river, it’s just carpet now. The bathroom isn’t an alien planet any longer; too many baths have ruined that room’s fun. Take your kids and a few toys one day and just change the scenery. Take them to a friend’s house, a play center, or simply outside.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

The 6 Benefits of Sensory Play

benefits of sensory playSensory play are activities that give your child a chance to explore and discover the world using their senses. You can facilitate this learning by providing your children with sensory play opportunities. I’ve written before (here and here) about how you can create some.

When most people think about sensory play, they think about touch: sand and water tables, play dough and beads. Other senses can be incorporated as well, like sight (by using bright colors) and smell (by using strong odors) and taste (edible toys!).

Here are the benefits of sensory play.

1. Sensory builds nerve connections in the brain.

The first years of development are critical for the brain. Many of the brains pathways are created during this time period. That means stimulation during the baby and toddler ages is important. With more neural pathways, your child will be able to complete more complex tasks and work through difficult problems. In fact, as your child learns through his sense, he becomes better at learning with those same sense, compounding the benefit.

2. Sensory play enhances memory.

Like most abilities, memory can be improved by working at it. Sensory play gives children a chance to practice their memories by remembering how their play set behaves to their manipulations.

3. Sensory provides a pre-language learning environment.

Your child might be able to talk just yet, but he has been seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling since his first breath. He has an idea of how to use those senses well enough to use them to learn the world. That’s why babies and toddlers are so eager to put their hands (and mouths) on something new. Someday you’ll be able to explain concepts with words, but for now you need to appeal to his senses.

4. Sensory play develops fine motor skills.

Your child needs to develop two types of motor skills: fine and gross. Gross motor skills are things like walking, running, jumping. Fine motor skills are a bit harder to build, so you’ll have to give your child specific opportunities to learn. Sensory play items often have small pieces that need to be manipulated with precision, like buttoning, zipping, pinching, pulling and turning.

5. Sensory play is calming.

You have probably noticed that after bath time (a form of sensory play), your toddler is a lot calmer than an hour spent running around and roughhousing. Stationary play that requires lots of mental energy is a great way to get your kid to calm down for the evening. It regulates discomfort, anxiety, restless and agitation. Offer a little sensory play and a calm book, and your child will fall right to sleep.

6. Sensory play is an abbreviated form of the scientific method.

The scientific method, if you remember from school, is just the way we evaluate the world to get the best results. When you cross the street, you suppose cars are coming (that’s the hypothesis), check both ways (the experiment), and determine that the way is clear (your results). Similarly, children learn through sensory play by experimenting. When they touch something sticky, they learn that it won’t separate from their hands. When they touch water, their hand comes away wet. With each endeavor, they learn something.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Cute Ideas for Moms to Spend Time with Baby

mom and baby play date ideasNow that it’s summer and the warm weather is here to stay, it’s time to spend some time outside with your baby. There are a lot of summery things you can do with your baby to spend some quality time together and strengthen your bond. The next warm (but not hot) day you come across, take your baby on a play date with another mom and parent. You’ll all enjoy the socialization. Here are some ideas.

1. Have a lunch date.

Now that the weather is nice you can finally eat on the patio! This is the perfect time to feed yourself and bond with baby. Talk to your baby about your day, their day or what’s going on around them, which will strengthen the bond between you two. Tell them that you are going to feed them when feeding them. This will help them to associate words with actions and build your trust.

2. Go for a walk

This is the perfect time of year to take walks. Not only will this help you to stay active, but it is also a fun activity to do with baby. Pop the babies in their strollers and get walking. Wear some comfortable exercise clothes in case you build up a sweat. If the babies manage to stay awake, spur their development by pointing out houses and explaining what you pass.

3. Take it outdoors.

Go to the park the next nice day and pack a picnic! This is your perfect opportunity to enjoy the warm weather with baby. Spread out in the grass and catch up with your friend while the little ones explore nature. If they aren’t walking yet, give them some space to spread out with their toys and play a whole new environment. If they’re mobile, give them a little freedom to roll and play in the grass. Don’t worry about messes!

6. Blow bubbles.

Babies love seeing new things and feeling new textures. They’re often amazed by simple games. Pick up a specialty bubble set that lets you create giant bubbles that float all over. Let them chase, pop, and even blow bubbles themselves. This is a perfect activity to enjoy at your picnic.

5. Coloring!

While you won’t be creating masterpieces, any baby who can grip a crayon or marker can color. Make sure you have washable clothes and plenty of supplies. Use big sheets of white paper or coloring books of your child’s favorite characters. If the children are old enough, use sidewalk chalk to turn your driveway into art.

baby headrestGuest Blog by Alicia Overby – Founder & President of Baby Elephant Ears

Alicia is wife, mother, and creator of Baby Elephant Ears. Baby Elephant Ears was created out of parental concern, not financial desire. In 2005, when their second child was an infant, he cried all the time and just couldn’t seem to get comfortable.

After seeking advice and suggestion from the medical community and alternative medicine, they eventually ended up in the chiropractors office where their baby was successfully treated for asubluxation, discomfort most likely the result of the strain during labor, which was now being exacerbated by the normal lack of infant neck strength. Only proper neck, head, and back alignment would offer him relief. When they couldn’t find a product to give their baby the necessary support, Alicia took matters into her own hands and crafted her own infant support pillow. The first Baby Elephant Ears was born!

For more information, visit www.babyelephantears.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

6 Tips to Teach Your Child How to Share

teach your kids how to shareWhen your child begins to play with other children, you may notice that he has trouble sharing his toys and games. For many kids, sharing doesn’t come easily; it’s not natural. Studies show that before two, children cannot even understand the concept. Here are a few ways you can teach your kids how to share.

1. Explain how to share.

You can’t expect your children to understand how to share unless you explain it to them. Sit him down and discuss sharing and why it is important. Be sure to explain that when he allows someone to use his toy that it is not gone forever, just temporarily. They will be more likely to give their toys away when they know they will come back.

2. Be generous.

You will be your child’s role model for a long time. He copies the things you do. If you share your possessions with others in front of your child, he will be more likely to do it as well. Make sharing a learning moment by expressing out loud what you plan to do: “Mommy is going to share the ball with Aunt Jenny now.” This will help lead your child.

3. Practice, practice, practice.

Your child will not understand sharing on the first attempt, and probably not on the tenth. If you are trying to teach it to a young child, it will take longer than a child who understands your words. Like I said, sharing is not our natural state, so it takes time and patience to learn. Expose your child to other children for practice.

4. Give to charity.

This only works when your child is old enough to understand, but you can cement the idea of sharing by regularly donating to charity. Make it a point every year to round up the items that you don’t need and donating them to those less fortunate. Collect old clothes and toys and bring them to a local shelter, church, or charity office.

5. Teach lessons.

When another child refuses to share with yours, use the opportunity to teach about sharing. Point out how bad it makes your child feel when someone will not let him play. Try to create empathy so he understands that every time he doesn’t share, he’s hurting someone else.

6. Offer praise.

When you notice your child sharing, be sure to let him know that you are proud. It’s important that you praise good behavior instead of merely punishing bad. Your child needs positive reinforcement to understand how you want him to behave.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changes

Written by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Fun Play Date Ideas

fun play date ideasAt a certain age, you will want to begin scheduling play dates for your children. Play dates the perfect opportunity for your children to socialize with other kids and start building lasting relationships. Even if the play dates don’t turn into friendships, they still help his development. It doesn’t take a lot of planning or money to make a play date successful. Here are five fun ideas:

1. Craft Time

Pick a spot in your house that’s easy to clean, like your dining rooms. Set up a craft station for the kids with all the necessary supplies to produce some high quality art. Build birdhouses, make pottery, paint pictures, or create holiday decorations. If your kids are a bit older, use a science or model kit to make something educations.

2. Coloring

Coloring is a simple way to keep toddlers and preschoolers amused, but they would love it if you gave them an interesting surface. Offer large sheets of poster board or construction paper. Let them draw a masterpiece on the driveway with chalk, which is easy to clean up. (If you go with chalk, check out these chalk games.)

3. Build a Fort

Everyone loves forts! Once you have burned through most of their energy, build a quick fort in your living from local items, like tables, chairs, blankets, and pillows. Bring some cushions inside for seating and relax with a few story books, or encourage them to tell their own stories. If they still have the energy, use the fort as part of a game involving monsters, a princess, and valiant knights.

4. Dance Party!

Young children have enormous amounts of energy. They can run, dance, and play longer than any adult. Instead of requiring them to play quietly, crank up some music and let them dance as long as they can. Encourage plenty of healthy activity and get them involved in some silly games like Follow the Leader or Musical Freeze Tag.

5. Play Ball!

If the weather cooperates, there’s no reason to stay inside. By two years old, most children should have the dexterity and motor control to pick up, hold, and toss a ball. They won’t be accurate and they may not be able to catch, but it’s still fun. Older kids may understand the finer points of a game like soccer or Hot Potato. If your child and his/her date is really young, simply roll a colored ball along the floor.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Photo Credit: Belzie via Compfight cc