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Toys aren’t merely devices made to keep your busy little bee while you finish folding laundry. True, some do just that, but many toys are created as educational tools to teach your children and help them develop better physical, organizational, emotional and social skills. For example, introducing your child to puzzles early on is not only a great, essential way to ensure he or she get the hang of figuring out fun stuff now, but that they also succeed in the great puzzle that is life.

More benefits of playing with puzzles include the development of great hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, plus shape recognition and problem solving. Puzzles also help children learn about their place in this world and their surroundings while they also become socially confident creatures.

Puzzles also encourage little ones to set goals and achieve them, which then promotes the emergence of self esteem —and lot of it. And maybe, one day, they’ll also do their own laundry! Til then, let’s do some puzzles.

1. First Puzzle – Treehouse

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Great for building self-esteem, this puzzle is large, which is great for sweet little hands, and it’s foam, which makes it easy for wee fingers to grip. Encouraging hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development, it’s designed to really get into the brain and improve cognition, logic, and reasoning.

2. Sensory Puzzle Blocks

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Nice and vibrantly colored, these puzzle blocks help develop fine and gross motor skills while improving hand-eye coordination. They’re textured, too, so as to provide tactile and visual sensory input. Stack, build, and assemble the foam pieces with friends and family to improve social skills.

3. Tot’s First Chunky Pegs

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Again, here’s a puzzle that’s made to help your child develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This 20-piece set is designed for tots 12-months old and up to stack, sort, match, and build away with the chunky pegs and pegboard.

4. Edushape Play Mat

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Now here’s a cool concept: use six-by-six foam alpha-numerical puzzle pieces to get your little darling’s logic, reasoning, and motor skills running AND build a fort! With 36 pieces to play with in total, it’ll be easy for your sweetie to get lost in a little world of numbers, letters, and learning. Creating a whimsical box full of fun, this colorful, soft, easy-to-clean floor mat has endless learning possibilities, not to mention it’s also a great insulator for cold floors. Once assembled, the mat is 72”x72” big and is perfect for designating a specific play area in the home.

5. First Puzzle – Fun Forrest

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This large foam puzzle has 10 pieces that are easy to grip so they work wonderfully with little fingers. While building self-esteem, this puzzle also encourages hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development and improves motor skills, cognition, logic and reasoning. And when joined by friends and family, it can also do wonders for your child’s social skills. Did we mention it features all of your favorite forest creatures?

 

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What will be your kid’s first or next adventure in the wonderful world of puzzles? Leave us a comment or drop by our Facebook page to tell us all about it!

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Thanksgiving is coming up, and that means tons of extra time with your little ones. Even though holidays are a welcome treat, Thanksgiving can be stressful. Sometimes, it can be hard to balance your kids and kitchen duty, and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done! You can avoid a meltdown AND spend time with your kids by getting every, and I mean every, hand on deck.

Why not do some Thanksgiving crafts with your kids? It will not only give them something fun to do, but you can also kill two birds (pun intended) with one stone by giving them an activity that contributes to the feast. Who knows, maybe they’ll love it so much they’ll take off and do it on their own, leaving you to baste the turkey and bake all that delicious food.

For this constructive project, let’s get creative with the place settings for the big feast! You see, two birds: one stone. Have fun with your children on this one — it’s an activity suited for kids of all abilities.

Here’s what you’ll need for your DIY kids’ Thanksgiving crafts:

  • construction paper
  • poster paint
  • paintbrush or Q-tip
  • scissors
  • the great outdoors
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Your final product!

Steps:

1. Go Outside

That’s right. Throw on a sweater, get out of your kitchen, and enjoy the beauty in your back yard or go for a walk around the neighborhood. The purpose of this little adventure is to not only have a peaceful start to the big weekend, but to collect some interesting leaves with the kids. Take a moment to relax by spending a few minutes with the family and collect leaves in various shapes. Since these will be used for place cards, the leaves can be small.

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2. Cut Up

Put on some festive music and get ready to get crafty. Gather the construction paper, and let the kids choose their favorite colors — be it the traditional orange and yellow palette or a fun one all their own — purple and all.

Now, take the scissors and cut the paper vertically down the middle.

Then, fold each piece in half, and cut along the fold.

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Fold each piece down one more time to get the final shape of your placecard. Do several of them so you have a collection of plain placecards like this: 

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3. Get Colorful

Grab your paint now, because it’s time to get colorful. 

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Using a paint brush, Q-tip, or foam brush, paint one side of a leaf and press painted-side down onto the bottom half of a placecard. Press down on all sides.

Carefully remove. If it’s not a complete shape, dab some paint back the leaf and try again, remembering to press down. 

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4. Final Touch

Once your placecard has dried — it won’t take long! — use a marker or  paintbrush to add a wee stem to the top of the leaf. You can also add a name to the front of the card now, or feel free to wait until the stem dries and add a name to the inside.

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You can also use this project to make cute notecards for thank-you notes or Christmas cards. This size would make a perfect gift card, so if you plan to spend a day getting the home ready for the holidays, why not let the little ones pick up on this craft again to create amazing little tags for your pretty presents?

Do you have a crafty holiday tradition in your family? Drop by our Facebook page and tell us about it!

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