Monthly Archives: March 2012
Springtime brings a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about flowers – the different colors, climates and cultures around them.
What you need:
- Little plastic flower pots (you can get these cheap at most nurseries or even the dollar store)
- Potting soil
- Flower seeds
- Popsicle sticks
- Non toxic glue
- Green construction paper
- Solid color paper cupcake liners
- Non toxic markers, paint or crayons
- Large white poster board or sheet of paper
- Clear plastic table cloth
- Various fruit cut into circles and ovals
What to do:
- Go to a local nursery, greenhouse or if you are lucky enough go to your Macy’s flower show.
- Talk to your kids about the different colors & smells of flowers. Explain how different climates have different flowers and how some flowers need more sun and warmth than others. Tell your children about how different cultures use flowers for celebrations and decorations. You may need to do a little research online beforehand if you aren’t sure about this.
- When you return home, give each child a flower pot. Have them fill up their flower pot with soil and plant the flower seeds. Put the seeds in a place where they will get necessary sunlight. Tell your children that these are their special flowers and they will have to care for them every day so they will grow. Let your kids name their flowers so they feel more attached to them and will care for them.
- Make your own flowers by taking a popsicle stick and coloring it green. Cut out two green leaves from the construction paper and glue them on to the popsicle stick. Take the cupcake liner and glue that onto the top of the stick for the flower.
- Have your kids color the white poster board making it into a garden. They can add grass, flowers, trees, bunnies, birds, the sun, etc. When they are done, place it on the kitchen table & cover it with the clear plastic table cloth. You now have a garden table.
- Take your cut up fruit, place it in the center of the table. give each child a plate. Let them arrange the fruit into a flower. Have them show it to everyone before they eat it. Even better take pictures of their creations and scrapbook them! We found that grapes, bananas, strawberries and raspberries worked well.
Our Kolcraft kids not only had fun at their flower party, but learned so much about flowers, colors, climates and cultures in the meantime!
We love our Contours Brand products that give you tons of options to connect with your baby. We are so excited about this brand that we are having a Contest to win the lightest Contours tandem or the Contours 3 in 1 bassinet!
It’s easy to enter the contest. Just head over to our Contours Baby Facebook page, like us & fill out the info. Invite a friend to enter the contest & you automatically get an extra entry!
A little info about the prizes:
Grand prize – Some tandem strollers are big, bulky, and hard to fold, but not the Contours Options LT tandem stroller! The new design is lightweight (only 33 ½ lbs.) and folds easily with both seats on for added convenience and easy storage. The reversible seats allow your children to share a tender moment with you, explore their surroundings, or have their own private giggle session. Plus, the Contours Options LT tandem stroller can accommodate an infant car seat. Finally, a lighter double stroller that is easy to use and enjoy!Retails for $269.99
2nd prize - The Contours Classique 3-in-1 Bassinet offers classic style, convenient features & elegant fashions for contemporary moms. A full-size bassinet, Moses basket and changing table all in one extends the use of the product. Retails for $199.99
Good luck on the contest & enjoy all the great content on Contours Baby!
It’s 2pm and you haven’t even touched your “to do” list let alone think about what is for dinner. Enter The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever! We love this cookbook that has 500, yes 500, different casseroles. We love that a casserole can be made ahead of time & frozen for those crazy days when you just can’t get around to making dinner. There really is every possible casserole in here from breakfast casseroles to meat to vegetarian to kid casseroles. We give it two thumbs up!
The sun is out, the trees are in bloom and your child is sneezing up a storm. While it’s great to finally have some nice weather, with it comes pollen and other allergens. These 3 tips can help your little allergy sufferer to cut down on the sniffles and enjoy playing outside.
- Fresh Air – When pollen counts are high (early morning for spring tree pollens) keep windows closed in the car and home. This will help limit exposure to pollen. You can google to check when pollen counts are high in your area.
- Laundry – We all love the smell of fresh clothes that has dried outside, but with that fresh smell comes pollen that attaches to clothes and sheets. Use the dryer or hang clothes inside to dry.
- Bath Time – Make bath time a daily ritual for your little ones so they can wash off allergens and prevent nighttime allergy suffering.
These 3 easy tips can help your child get through allergy season with a few less sniffles. Don’t forget that a clean sleep surface also cuts down on allergens. Be sure that your child’s crib or toddler mattress is clean and allergy free!
When you work 40+ hours a week with someone you get to know them well especially when they worked at your company for 23 years! The flip side of the joy of getting to know a co-worker that well, is you miss them all the more when they are gone. This past week one of our co-workers, Jessica Garcia, died after a courageous fight with cancer.
Jessica loved to celebrate EVERYTHING. It didn’t matter what holiday or occasion it was, Jessica felt it should be celebrated. Her excitement for celebrating life was contagious as any Kolcraft employee can testify to. Today’s post is dedicated to Jessica as we remember her and celebrate her life.
Jessica always wanted to make sure people had eaten and thus ordered lunch for anyone interested every day. She constantly left little chocolates on my desk because she knew I liked them. It was little stuff like that – she just gave and gave even though she had very little. – Eileen L.
We all loved Jessica’s ability to coordinate or assist in planning special events such as holiday parties, etc. She was able to get everyone involved and excited about upcoming events. She also loved to decorate our offices even for the smallest of events and holidays. – Ron B.
Jessica loved our veterans. One of her concerns about dying that she expressed to me last week was who was going to take care of her veterans? She was very patriotic and always had a small flag hanging in her area. – Sharon D.
She LOVED to shop. I went on vacation one year with her and in a week we drove from Chicago to WI to In to MI! The trip was in her white van. We went with her dog Pipsie. He got to sit in the front seat with her the entire trip and I sat in the back. The van was so loaded by the end of the week we just had enough room for us to sit. It was a week that I will never forget. – Doreen P.
She LOVED kids! And always expressed how much she loved my children. She would ask, “How are my princesses?” whenever she saw me. She would print out pictures of them and put them on her walls. It was very sweet. I will miss her energy and honesty and genuine enthusiasm about helping out others in need. – Hyon T.
Jessica was a great friend, she was like family to me she was always there to listen to me and always had great advice. She loved to create garlands for her friends for every holiday. Alice in Wonderland was one of her favorite characters so I always knew what to get her for her Birthday or for Christmas. She was really funny too and loved to have nicknames for everyone, I will miss her calling me Lily. She was also known as the lunch lady, everyone knew who to go to when they were hungry, because she would always order out. I’m so glad I was by her side her last minutes, she will always be remembered in my heart. - Juanita A.
If you walk around the second floor, you can still see many of Jessica’s holiday decorations. I still don’t know where she got those Easter pictures that she strung up on ribbons and hung around the office. I still have a Valentine’s Day decoration on my bulletin board. She even decorated my door for Christmas. Jessica loved Holidays! – Ruth F.
Jessica had a big heart for giving to other people. If you needed a favor Jessica came to the rescue. She did not know my sister-in-law in Texas but she sent her a gift after she found out she had surgery. They talked on Sunday and that made Jessica happy, she was all smiles. We will miss our Party Planner. – Cipriana F.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to help organize a Kolcraft donation to two local charities that Jessica was familiar with. Her enthusiasm for helping these charities was contagious and I feel fortunate to have been a part of something that she was so passionate about. – Chris H.
Jessica was totally dedicated to Team and morale building here on Monroe Street. She always created those little events to get us all together to get better acquainted with one another. Events like: ordering lunches, Making Start of Day and MidDay Break treats like Root beer floats, ice cream, Waffles, bakery, and always made sure we observed and got into the full spirit of ALL holidays. – Gary K.
Jessica loved angels and anything from the Victorian Era. She used to say she was born in the wrong era! – Cathy S.
Jessica was my holiday reminder. She always got me excited to celebrate the holidays. I was also touched by her love for dogs. – Barry T.
Jessica was passionate about God and country. She supported our troops with enthusiasm and organized donations for veterans. She loved her dogs and would have adopted every dog in the shelter if it were possible. Jessica loved her holiday decorations, good coffee and her bling, but she had a heart for those in need. – Carol B.
Jessica was so good to me when I was pregnant. She always made sure I was getting enough rest and eating well. When my baby was born she bought her all sorts of gifts. This past Sunday Baby K was fussing at church. I pulled out a toy that Jess had given her. She immediately calmed down. I knew Jess was smiling at us & watching over us. – Michelle H.
Thank you Jessica for the difference you made for Kolcraft and all our customers. You will be missed!
This week is National Wildlife Week which is wonderful week to get outside with your children and teach them to appreciate nature. A child is never too small to be in wonder and awe of the wonderful world around her.
- Participate in the NWF Wildlife Watch Map
- Join others celebrating National Wildlife Week by tweeting your sightings on #wildlifeweek on Twitter
- Enter the National Wildlife Photo Challenge. Encourage your kids to take photos too. You will learn a lot about how your child sees the world when you look at his photos.
- Go for a hike with your kids and point out all nature that you see: birds, fish, trees, flowers, bugs, etc.
- Have a meal dedicated to talking about nature and ways you as a family can respect nature and spend more time outdoors.
Spring cleaning can be a daunting task especially with children, but with these easy tips you and your kids can have fun while you clean!
- Set the mood – Make spring cleaning fun by anticipating the day and talking about how fun it will be. Have a countdown to your spring cleaning day by putting up a number on your fridge as to how many days are left until spring cleaning. Have a special spring cleaning breakfast that day. Don’t forget to put on their favorite music!
- Keep it simple - Give your children simple tasks to prep for the heavier spring cleaning work. Let them move things – pull the cushions off the couch, bring laundry downstairs, bring rugs outside, pick up toys – whatever preps the area for the bigger job you have to do.
- Channel Harry Potter’s sorting hat – Buy an inexpensive witch hat that looks like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. Put it on your child & tell him he gets the job of being the official “sorter”. Have your child group items together in piles. Your child can learn categorizing while cleaning by grouping things that go together. Have him start a pile for things that go in the kitchen, things that belong in the basement, things for the closet, etc. This will save you a step to putting things away.
- Play detective – Have your child find expiration dates on items in your fridge and cabinets. It’s a great way to learn numbers while she cleans!
- Baseboard race – Give your child a rag to wipe baseboards. Have a race to see who can clean the most baseboards in the least amount of time. They can’t cut corners because you can only win if the baseboards are truly clean!
With a little preparation and patience, your spring cleaning can be a time of learning and fun for you and your kids!
What spring cleaning tips do you have?
Spring gives ample opportunities for you to get outdoors with your kids to have fun and learn! In Chicago we are fortunate to have a butterfly garden right in our city! We brought our Kolcraft kids there for a field trip and completed the day with crafts and building our own butterfly garden. Today’s post is all about the butterfly fun you can have with your children!
Butterfly Garden Experience:
- Google butterfly gardens in your area. Many zoos or nature centers have them.
- Prep your children by talking about butterflys – how they start as a little caterpillar, build a cocoon for a nice nap and when it’s time come out as a beautiful butterfly.
- Research butterflys online & assign each child a certain butterfly or certain color butterfly to look for.
- Read about what they eat, how they migrate, etc. Tell the kids to see if they observe the butterflys eating, etc. (Most gardens have fruit open where the butterflys will land & eat.)
- Bring your children of all ages, even babies. They will love the colors and activity of the butterflys.
Make Your Own Butterfly Garden:
- Butterflys love a mix of bright, colorful, strong scented wildflowers and other planted flowers. They especially love day lilies, marigolds, daisies and butterfly bushes. Be kind to caterpillars who will be butterflys and include milkweed and hawthorn.
- Butterflys need to drink. Put a shallow pan or birdbath in with your flowers. Soak red or orange sponges in a solution of sugar and water to refresh your little butterfly friends.
- Make a little colorful butterfly house where they can hibernate. You can paint and decorate a wood birdhouse with your kids and put it among the flowers.
- Spend some time with your kids in your butterfly garden, watching, listening and making friends with your butterflys.
- Grab some colorful tissue and a black pipe cleaner.
- Fold the tissue back & forth like an accordion.
- Wrap the pipe cleaner around the mid point of the tissue leaving about 2 inches of pipe cleaner on either side forming the body of the butterfly.
- Curl the remainder of the pipe cleaner into an antenna.
- Fan out the the tissue paper to make the butterfly wings.
Butterflys can be a great way to teach your kids about nature, colors, life cycles and more!
The sounds of Spring are beginning (or maybe we are just a little loopy over the super Spring weather in Chicago!) and one of the sounds of Spring that we love is the croaking of frogs. We are HUGE fans of our friends at National Wildlife Federation. They have such wonderful ideas on getting outside as a family and helping care for our earth.
You can help the environment and help your child learn about nature by building your own frog pond in 7 easy steps.
If you build one, let us know how it goes!