Play Right: Back-to-School Games for the Active

New Jammies kids are making a fresh start going back to school, and there are some fun play-time routines, games and puzzles that can refresh their memories and spark creativity.

For younger, preschool-aged children, play itself becomes more physical at that age. So “why just walk when you can hop, jump, or skip?” says the kidshealth.org website.

KidsHealth says smart toys for preschoolers include arts and crafts, and anything that help kids sharpen fine motor skills that are constantly improving.

“Activities like holding a crayon, drawing pictures of family members, and using a pair of safety scissors to cut and paste strengthen coordination, encourage creativity, and foster self-esteem,” kidshealth.org says.

The site’s childhood development experts suggest that blocks and construction sets, including building towers (and figuring out how to stop them from toppling over) encourage problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.

“Preschoolers will use their imaginations to create buildings, vehicles, animals, and more from simple construction sets,” KidsHealth says.

Jigsaw puzzles, to help with coordination and dexterity that teach about spatial relationships and logical thinking, and pretend play are also key for preschoolers to practice as they embrace school.

Big Knob First Puzzle Set

Wooden puzzles for kids from Lakeshore, a California-based company that applies real-world classroom experience to every product it develops, inspire little learners by using the power of play to make learning fun. We love the Big Knob First Puzzle Set for infants to pre-k toddlers.

As elementary school-aged kids are accomplished in ways they never were before, KidsHeath suggests activities that cultivate new talents and interests beginning to take hold.

“They’ve grasped an understanding of the world around them and are now moving toward mastering skills that once challenged them, like catching a football or braiding a friend’s hair,” says kidshealth.org. “A 4-year-old who enjoyed story time may grow to love reading; a 5-year-old who listened to music might want to play piano.”

With the refinement of physical abilities, including large and fine motor skills, elementary school is the time when kids learn to ride two-wheel bicycles and glide on skateboards, says KidsHealth. An appreciation of arts and the humanities also sparks.

“Arts and crafts become more intricate, and a child might spend hours weaving friendship bracelets or drawing comic strips, says the children’s-focused resource.”

KidsHealth suggests these smart toys and activities for big kids going back to school:

• Jump rope. By skipping rope with friends, kids learn to take turns and get along with peers. All that jumping, and the coordination it requires, encourages large motor development and problem-solving skills.

• Card and board games. Card games like “war” or “crazy eights” and board games like checkers or chess teach about strategy, turn-taking, negotiating rules, and fair play. Encourage cooperation and help your child learn to manage the emotions that come with winning as well as losing.

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• Musical instruments. Learning to play the piano, violin, guitar, or another instrument encourages listening and fine motor skills and helps build attention skills.
Science toys. Chemistry sets, binoculars, telescopes, or other toys that promote discovery and problem-solving help improve math and science skills, and help develop imagination.

KidsHealth also reminds parents and caregivers that students of all ages can learn from scavenger hunts, outdoors or indoors when it’s raining or the weather turns cold, to encourage problem-solving and teamwork. Just gather easily recognizable objects and hide them around the yard or house. Give each child a list of items to look for and clues to help them find the objects. Adults can pair kids up or assign teams to play.

“This game also works well outdoors provided you set some boundaries (the edges of the yard, certain spots in the park) for the kids to work inside,” kidshealth.org says.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Surviving Baby’s Sleep Regression

It’s the question New Jammies moms and dads hear once consistently when their babies reach at least three months.

Does he sleep through the night yet?

Just when parents can confidently answer yes, it seems, sleep regression makes sleeping through the night seem like a distant memory. What exactly is sleep regression again?

According to babysleepsite.com, sleep regression is described as “a period of time (anywhere from 1-4 weeks) when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps (or waking early from naps) for no apparent reason.”

“Parents often describe being caught totally off guard: you think your have conquered all your little one’s sleep challenges, when suddenly, out of nowhere, you’re back to constant night wakings and nonexistent naps,” says the website.

In the babysleepsite.com article “4-Month Sleep Regression Explained (sometimes 3 and 5 months too),” it notes that changes that happen with the 4-month sleep regression are permanent changes.

“By 4 months, your baby has ditched her babyish sleeping patterns and is sleeping more like an adult – and that translates into frequent night waking (and lots of fussing) along with shortened naps.”

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Changes in sleep can also happen at 8-10 months and 11 or 12 and 18 months, and even at 2 years old, and beyond. The “Sleep Regressions: Everything You Need to Know” article’s author, Emily DeJeu, says the key to coping and moving past sleep regression is to “know the what, the why, and the when behind common baby and toddler sleep regression – now how about the ‘how to’? As in, “How the heck do I fix this and get back to my peaceful nights of sleep again?!?!”

“Well, for starters, remember that the 4-month sleep regression is a permanent change – there is no going back to the way things were,” DeJeu writes. “Once you are through the worst of the 4-month sleep regression you will want to focus on helping your baby break her sleep associations, and on heaping her learn to fall asleep without help from you. Once she can do that, she will be well on her way to sleeping through the night, and establishing a more predictable daytime schedule.”

For mom-of-two Nicole Ludlow, New Jammies founder and CEO, she found herself up every night with one child or the other just last week for various reasons. Her 3-year-old often kicks his sheets off at night, then is cold or wakes and is afraid of the dark.

“I just ordered him a nightlight because the one we had wouldn’t stay on all night,” she said.

Her younger 16-month-old used to wake for a bottle after she stopped nursing, but now she can mostly just change his diaper and he will go back to sleep.

“Last night both kids slept through the night. Overall I would say they are good sleepers, just those quick wake-ups when they need comforting disrupts my good sleep,” she adds. “I am finding daytime naps sometimes seem to help them sleep better at night.”

Nicole says she always tries to determine what is really the cause of any sleep change, especially if it has to do with teething.

“We can usually tell before bed if it’s his teeth and he is really fussy,” she says. “If teething is causing extra fussiness, we usually look for signs like rubbing face and putting hands in mouth, and then check his gums. If it looks like one is coming through I will give him the recommended dose of Tylenol before bed. It’s pretty rare, but helps on occasion.”

For free resources from the Baby Sleep Site, click here.

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New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.