Archive for November, 2015


Gobble, Gobble! Thanksgiving Crafts Perfect for Kids

November 23rd, 2015 by

Gobble, Gobble! Thanksgiving Crafts Perfect for KidsThanksgiving usually means traveling or a house packed with relatives. Kids can get stir crazy while the adults are busy socializing and cooking. With a few simple craft ideas to break out, it’s a lot easier to keep your kids occupied without too much legwork while you’re trying to entertain and prepare a meal. Here are a few quick and easy crafts for your kids to try at Thanksgiving that will keep them entertained and give them a chance to unleash their inner artist.

Leaf collages and wreaths
Leaf collages and wreaths not only let your kids get creative, but they also get your kids moving — a difficult feat in the colder weather, but still just as important. They’ll have to bundle up and go outside to scavenge for the best leaves in the yard — or have a relative take them for an outing to the park while you enjoy some quiet time at the house. Once they have all their leaves, your kids can use scissors, glue, and construction paper to make their own leaf collage. Or, they can use their creativity and whatever craft supplies you have on hand to make decorative garlands or leaf mobiles — perfect for celebrating the season.

Turkey hand drawings
This old classic never fails — the turkey hand drawing is easy and fun for all ages. All you need is construction paper and markers or crayons and you’re ready to go. Your kids can try to trace their own hands or take turns tracing others’ hands to make a turkey family. Color the turkeys in with markers as traditional turkeys or as funky ones with fun designs and patterns, or use your craft supplies to make glitter turkeys, give them googly eyes, or glue on pipe cleaner outlines.

Pinecone turkeys
Here’s another craft that will keep your kids active while they create: pinecone turkeys. The essentials are a pinecone and some feathers cut out of construction paper. You can use clay to make the turkey steady on the table, and then your kids can glue their feathers to the back of the pinecone, use an acorn for the face, and googly eyes. Once they’re done, these outdoorsy turkeys make for fun table decorations when dinner’s ready.

Art tablecloths
Instead of putting down a nice fabric tablecloth on your dining room table, cover it with parchment paper or a paper tablecloth a few hours before dinner and have your kids go wild decorating it with crayons and markers. They’ll be busy making sure the whole surface is covered and they can use their creativity to tell stories on the tablecloth. And your dinner guests will enjoy the details beneath their plates as well.

Take what some consider a stressful, hectic time and keep it the celebration of friends and family it’s meant to be by helping your kids stay occupied and engaged. After an active and creative day, everyone will be happy to sit down to a delicious meal together. And if you’re searching for even more ways to keep the kids entertained during Thanksgiving and beyond, head over to one of our Play N’ Learn showrooms to talk to one of our associates about swing sets, trampolines, basketball hoops, and more.

Get Techy Kids Outside with Geocaching

November 5th, 2015 by

Get Techy Kids Outside with GeocachingNow that the weather is getting colder, it’s even harder than usual to get your kids outside — especially those who are always glued to some sort of glowing screen. But what if your kids discovered that there are secret stashes all around your community that they could only find by going outdoors and using a smartphone? That’s exactly the concept behind geocaching: using GPS coordinates posted on a website to find hidden treasures left by others. With geocaching, you can join technology with the outdoors as your kids track hidden “caches” in the parks and natural areas in your community. They won’t even realize they’ve been outside for an hour once they’re done looking.

As of 2013, there were two million geocaches worldwide, and the number keeps growing, which means the odds are good that there are some in your town. And you’d never know they were there if you weren’t looking for them. All you need to do is make a free geocaching account (https://www.geocaching.com/play), and then using your phone or GPS, pick a geocache near you and navigate to it. It’s a high-tech version of a treasure map.

Geocaches come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and difficulties. You may spot one right away when you get close, or you may have to look under rocks or in a hole in a tree. Part of the fun is narrowing down where the geocache is supposed to be and then searching to find where it’s hidden. Once you find it, you can sign the log book. Many geocaches have little trinkets inside, including where else the geocache has been in the world — sometimes individual geocaches have made treks of hundreds or even thousands of miles! Your son or daughter can add his or her name, or bring a knick-knack to leave behind or trade.

A lot of geocaches can be found at local parks or hiking trails, making it a fun way to mix in getting your daily exercise. Your kids can hold the phone to hunt for the geocache and explore a trail at the same time. Between all the searching and tracking, your kids will want to get outside and find as many as they can. With the CDC’s recommendation that kids exercise for 60 minutes a day and the evidence of the benefits of playing outdoors, that excitement is something you’ll want to take advantage of.

So whether your kids are balking at going outside in the colder weather or you have a hard time pulling them away from their devices, geocaching is a great middle ground. Looking for geocaches is also a great way to discover new trails and parks. And, kids can make their geocaching adventures part of a school report or science project. The thrill of the chase is just as rewarding as finding the geocache, helping to teach patience and persistence.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and see what treasures you can find. And if you need more ideas for how to get your kids playing all year round, inside your home and out in your yard, stop by one of our Play N’ Learn showrooms to see the fun we can bring to your family.