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The Power of Make Believe: Encouraging Pretend Play
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by Michelle Albright, PhD, innovativeKids Tis the season for dress ups! Is your child going to be a cheetah, a pirate, a princess, a superhero? Halloween costumes are all about making believe. But what about everyday pretend play? Young children learn by imagining and doing. Sometimes, kids need a little help from their parents to break out of their routines, get creative, and really...

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5 Lessons Learned from Playing Board Games
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by Sherr Artemenko, Play on Words  The holidays say family time and as the snow falls and forces us inside by the fire, we have a perfect time to pull out a favorite board game to name each other’s doodles, race for some treasure or spin a story from picture cubes. What can kids learn from playing board games? 1. Social language: Kids learn the...

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The Power of Pretend
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by Ellen Metrick, National Lekotek Center I’ve been in the working world for a good stretch of time and although my office attire is often a touch casual, there are occasions when there‘s a demand for me to attend important functions and power-up my outfit. Tucked into one section of my closet is what I term my “power suits.”  I think we all have...

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The Power of Make Believe: Encouraging Pretend Play
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by Michelle Albright, PhD, innovativeKids Tis the season for dress ups! Is your child going to be a cheetah, a pirate, a princess, a superhero? Halloween costumes are all about making believe. Photograph courtesy of Jaimie Duplass / Shutterstock.com But what about everyday pretend play? Young children learn by imagining and doing. Sometimes, kids need a little help from their parents to break out...

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Run! Jump! Climb! Ideas for Developing Gross Motor Skills through Indoor Active Play
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by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association Oftentimes we are so concerned with our children’s developing academic and cognitive skills (Are they identifying their letters? Know their numbers?), that we forget about the development of other basic skills like controlling large muscles of the body. The good news: It’s easy to nurture your child’s gross motor skill development — all you need to do...

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Make Believe: Imaginative Play is Good for the Mind
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by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association Children — especially young children– learn by imagining and doing. We’ve all seen our kids grab a spoon, pretend it is a microphone and break out in spontaneous song. Or watched that same child grab a salt shaker at the dinner table and make it ‘zoom across the spaghetti bowl’ like a flying superhero. In those moments,...

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Toy Trends for Children with Special Needs
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by Ellen Metrick, National Lekotek Center Toy Fair proved to be exceptional this year, celebrating the 110th year for this Toy Industry Association event. Although there were many overall trends, what we strive to do is to view all the new product offerings with a lens on how they might relate to children with special needs. This year, three areas that we felt were...

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Learning Through Play: Build Cognitive Skills
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by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association At one point or another, we’ve all wanted to solve the world’s problems. Or maybe just one problem. Ironically, our ability to understand, connect and empathize with others around us and the world at large didn’t necessarily develop from our academic achievements. Our problem solving abilities were most likely developed through our childhood play. In a recent...

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Parents, Playmates and Playthings: How Your Child Plays
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by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association Play involves interaction. Whether your child is doting on a doll in a round of “let’s play doctor,” chasing a friend around the playground in a game of tag, or performing a scene from a movie at the dinner table for their parents, play is a process of engaging. While parents may be the first playmate (or...

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How to Host (and Survive) a Slumber Party
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by Amy Saldanha, kiddywampus So, your child wants to have a sleepover. Great. Because the thought of a gaggle of kids giggling and racing around the house all night is every parent’s dream, right? Don’t stress. Here are some no-fail tips for making sure your child’s slumber party doesn’t end up being a nightmare. Make a Plan Talk to your kids about what they...

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