As babies grow more and more curious, they will be intrigued by anything they can get their hands on simply to figure out how all this crazy stuff works! Sometimes the best toys and sources of entertainment are already in your home.

Boxes are a wonderful developmental tool for your children. They will be fascinated by the way boxes open and close. They will be amazed at the way boxes can stack on top of each other. This is a safe and smart example of how things can fall apart. By stacking boxes just like blocks, your child will be able to knock the stack over. This will teach them that ANYTHING can be pushed over and fall to pieces. Its better they learn from their own stacks of harmless boxes what will happen when they knock things over. And their bound to get a kick out of it!

To add more discovery for your child, try wrapping the boxes in old newspaper or wrapping paper. Your child will love the sound of paper tearing and they will learn how things rip open when they are pulled on. 

Boxes will help develop their motor skills and they’re a great way to bond with your child!

You might even consider the box that SPARKBOX comes in to be a fifth toy!

Easter is right around the corner! There are many simple crafts you can make with your child at home and kids are bound to have a blast decorating their own EASTER BUNNY!

Here’s what you’ll need:

-Small Paper Plate
-Large Paper Plate
-Construction Paper
-Scissors
-Glue
-Crayons/markers/colored pencils

All you have to do is glue the small paper plate to the large paper plate. The small plate will serve as the Easter Bunny’s head and the large plate will be the belly. Use the scissors to cut out the ears from the construction paper. Glue the ears to the top of the small paper plate. Now your basic bunny shape is complete. Depending on your child’s age, you may have to do the cutting or gluing yourself. But the decorating is where you can let your child have fun and give the bunny facial features and any other details they want. They can color in the bunny’s belly or add arms to it, add glitter and make it sparkle! The possibilities are endless. It’s a great activity for kids and parents to do together!

Happy Easter and Happy Crafting!

 

It’s best to teach your child how to be green at an early age. Starting with recycling is a quick and easy way to demonstrate how to be more eco-friendly.

First, make sure your child knows what can be recycled. This can best be done by using products they are familiar with as examples such as cereal boxes, juice boxes, juice cans, milk cartons and paper. From there you can create a challenge by breaking up your recycling bins into categories like plastic, aluminum and paper. Decorate the bins with your child so you can introduce the recycling concept in a creative and fun ways.  Its an arts & crafts project AND a good deed, all in one! 

Another idea to consider is once separating the recyclable materials and having them build up for a little while is taking your child to the supermarket and letting them exchange the materials for a reward or allowance. This can instill the idea that there is even MORE benefit to being green!

Have fun with your recycling method. Go Green! 

While we promote play and imagination first and foremost, we understand that TVs are a reality of this day and age.

Kids are bound to be fascinated by the television. It’s a large box full of bright lights, flashing colors, and moving images. But what to do when your child becomes too attached to the TV and doesn’t want to go outside or play with toys?

Implementing an allotted amount of screen time a day that seems suitable for your household will introduce discipline and will ensure your child isn’t glued to the couch all day!  And, they will have to choose how they spend their TV time wisely.

Once their daily dose of screen time is up, turn that TV off! Your child might put up a fuss at first, but by enforcing the idea that the TV isn’t going back on, your child will look to their toys or the outdoors to occupy their time. 

Putting your child in front of the TV can be an easy solution when you’re busy and need to distract your child with something. But it is NOT a healthy habit to get into. If the screen time is limited, your child’s imagination won’t be!

There’s never enough time. There are more tasks and activities to experience in a day than there are hours. Maybe keeping organized was difficult when it was just you, but now you have a few other people’s schedules to manage, too. You have a work meeting, your spouse told you that he signed up for a class, and you promised your son to pick him up a new book for bedtime. Sound familiar? Sometimes it can be difficult to keep everyone’s schedules, comings, goings, etc. straight and keep everyone happy.

I’m the last person who wants to bring work home, it’s family. But the reality is that things don’t get done on their own. There’s nothing wrong with applying the same productivity principles you would use at work at home. Here are a few tools and practices borrowed from the workplace that don’t require much time, energy, or money, but will help you keep things from falling through the cracks.

A big family calendar Depending on your preference, a google calendar or a big paper calendar (or even a chalkboard!) hanging in the kitchen or a frequented hallway can bring a lot of clarity with little pain. Advanced tip: Use a black marker for events that pertain to the whole family and a different color for each family member. You can also use the color system online.

Schedule time on your calendar to get things done. Add family tasks to your calendar like you would a dentist appointment. For example, I needed to book some flights but I had to discuss a few things about them with my husband first. We kept putting it off because other things came up. So, I made a 15 minute appointment on our big family calendar (ours is digital) and it gave us a specific time for the task. Now it’s done!

Family to do list. To do lists can be productivity’s best friend or a stress-inducing reminder of how much you are not getting done. But without a written and up-to-date to do list, your brain has to spend some of its energy just remembering the myriad of tasks to do, taking up precious brainpower that can be spent on actually getting things done. Again, decide if it makes more sense to keep a digital or paper list. If your kids are old enough to contribute, encourage them to add tasks to the list, too. i.e. fix little Max’s broken firetruck toy.

Running your home like a business is good practice, but it has its limits. If you find yourself filling out timesheets you may have gone too far!

There are many reasons why SPARKBOX toys loves building blocks for children! It is no surprise that they have been proven to “build up” methodical thinking skills, logic and creativity for our little ones. They also aid in physical co-ordination and serve as a great workout for a child’s growing brain. Blocks teach kids a variety of skills that include organizing, balancing, stacking, and planning. They are great to use during the baby years, the toddler years and beyond!

For the baby years, its best to start your child with soft blocks that are made from fabric, foam or rubber. The soft material makes it safe and easy for your munchkin to grasp and to toss! When they are old enough, then they can switch to wooden blocks.  

Your little one will enjoy stacking blocks to make a tower and seeing what happens when it gets knocked down. Another activity is to teach them to drop the blocks in a plastic bowl and then pour them out. These activities and others help toddlers develop fine motor skills and explore early math, cause and effect and problem solving.  One report tracked 37 preschoolers and found that those who had more sophisticated block play got better math grades and standardized test scores in high school.

So, now I bet you can see all the reasons why we LOVE blocks and hope you do too!  So, come on and rent them from SPARKBOX!

 

Mommy Poppins mentioned us as a great toy rental service.  Thanks guys!

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SPARKBOX community,

Our inventory is growing! We just got back from the 2014 Toy Fair and we had a blast discovering new items for your little ones to play with. We have already added 40 new individual toy models in 2014 and we have a ton more on the way to rent later this year.

Be on the lookout for a ton of cool, brand new toys in your rental subscription boxes…and let us know how you like them.

There are millions of toys to choose from when shopping or renting for your infant or toddler, and hundreds of new toys enter stores each year.

It can be challenging and intimidating to know which toys are best suited for your child.

Kids grow quickly and their development needs change; it is very important to know what kind of toys to focus on at each age.  The wrong toy can be boring or, even worse, UNSAFE.

Here are some basic guidelines and precautions to follow when purchasing toys for your children:

1) Toys should be large enough, at least 3 centimeters in diameter and 6 centimeters in length, so they can’t be swallowed. A small-parts tester (or choke tube) can determine if a toy is too small. It is also important to avoid marbles, coins, and games with small balls.

2) Choose toys that can be used in a variety of ways, such as wooden blocks, and that encourage exploration and problem-solving, such as puzzles and shape-sorters.

3) Select toys that spark your child’s imagination. It is important to keep them simple, as toys that do too much inhibit a child from using their creativity.

4) Observe what interests and attracts your child at different ages and developmental stages. For example, infants and toddlers are constantly learning about the world around them through their senses, that’s why they like toys they can touch, squeeze or hear.

5) It is crucial to set limits on electronic toys and games, as research has shown that these kinds of toys pose several possible dangers for a child’s health and development.

We recommend you do additional research on your own as you search for your children’s toys, or you can just order a rental subscription from SPARKBOX and leave the research to our experts!

Does that seem to be your little one’s favorite word?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone!  Most toddlers demonstrate self-identity in this way. 

We compiled a few tips to help reduce the tantrums:

1)     Set a timer.  A timer clearly shows the passage of time so it can minimize arguments AND it shows the kids that they’ll each get a turn.  (Special tip:  keep the time really short to keep them interested)

2)     Have toddlers “show” the toy.  By demonstrating how the toy works, they get to share without giving up the toy

3)     Praise.  Every time the child shares something, be sure to thank him / her profusely

4)     Avoid problem toys.  If it seems a certain type of toy leads to consistent problems, keep them out of the house.

Oh, yeah, and actively rent, borrow and give away toys regularly – this shows your little one that ownership isn’t the most important thing.  Maybe you should try a rental subscription from SPARKBOX!