Play Right: Plan a Family Vacation to Remember

At New Jammies, we know the benefits of traveling with the kids to new, and familiar, places. We see the wonder in their eyes of seeing special landmarks. In the diverse cultures they experience. And in the memories made together as a family.

“Vacation is essential to strengthen personal relationships, inspire creative thinking, improve professional performance, and promote better heath,” says Project: Time Off, a leading national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior about taking vacation time.

“We aim to shift culture so that taking time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.​“

Although Project: Time Off sees the value of vacation time for close relationships and work growth, the movement says Americans still fail to use 662 million vacation days annually.

“The stockpile of unused vacation is creating a spike in worker burnout and even larger balance sheet liabilities that directly affect a company’s bottom line,” the movement reports. “What’s worse—employees forfeited 206 million vacation days in 2016.”

And Project: Time Off says 51% of Americans still skip the one step that could help them vacation: planning.

”Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured,” Project: Time Off reminds us. “A majority of parents believe that family vacations are worth the time and money because they ‘give my child experiences that they will remember years down the road.’”

To encourage parents and caregiving family members to do so, the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative established the last Tuesday of January as National Plan for Vacation Day in 2017.

This day is ideal to start planning ahead and declare vacation days at the start of the year. Project: Time Off says the first-ever National Plan for Vacation Day saw organizations implement creative activations for Americans to take time off to reunite with family and friends and rejuvenate.

“In its inaugural year, more than 600 organizations, representing all 50 states, came together to encourage Americans to plan for vacation,” Project: Time Off says.

This year’s National Plan for Vacation Day, on Jan. 30, 2018, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year. The registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Plan for Vacation Day to be observed annually in 2018 as an opportunity to come together at a single moment to rally around the importance of planning for a vacation.

Learn more at ProjectTimeOff.com/Plan and join the conversation online with #PlanForVacation on social media. Project: Time Off is making it easy for Americans to plan their vacations with the new Vacation Planning Tool.

And take this advice from Nationwide on planning a family vacation with kids.

“It makes sense to go for one that’s stress-free and age appropriate. (For tips on the stress-free part, check out their page on packing light.)” says the Nationwide Learning Center. “While ‘less is more’ applies to any kind of travel, The Family Travel Files has specific family travel tips for different age groups, including the young ones:

Children six weeks to five years
It’s never too early to start traveling with young children, as long as parents are prepared for the slow pace and frequent naps. Before you begin your trip:

• Get a well-baby checkup (especially if you’re traveling to another country)
• Pack first aid items including water, sunscreen & insect repellent
• Pack baby-proofing items like socket plugs, corner tabs & nightlights

Children ages 6-12
Family vacations can create life-long memories for kids in this age range. Even better, children in these primary-school years are still very dependent on their parents and haven’t yet reached the rebellious teenage years.

• Pack light, because children often lose personal items
• Pack a surprise to keep your child occupied in transit, during delays and long lines

Read more tips here.

Bon voyage!

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.

Play Right: Fall Crafting for the Kids

At New Jammies, we love the beauty that Autumn brings, from the changing of the leaves to the colors of the harvest. So this season the time is right to let the kids become inspired by all that surrounds them to make fun crafts with a Fall theme at home.

New Jammies Founder and CEO Nicole Ludlow loved the Halloween-inspired Paper Plate Spiders her preschool-aged son made at school, with inspiration from the I Heart Crafty Things blog. We thought we would check out other do-it-yourself crafts young children can complete from iheartcraftythings.com, and these Cupcake Liner Turkey Puppets caught our eye.

Just in time to get into the Thanksgiving spirit!

Turkey Time

“I love making crafts with my kids that can be interactive for pretend play or that we can use to reenact a story that we’ve just read. I came across some darling Cereal Box Turkeys over at Plum Pudding recently and I loved them,” says the iheartcraftythings founder and kids craft designer Rachel Nipper. “I decided to make more of a kid-friendly version that my children could help me with and we are using them as Turkey Puppets. We used one of my favorite crafting materials to make them also, cupcake liners.”

Supplies:

• craft stick [We received ours from our friends at Craftprojectideas.com.]
• 2 mini brown cupcake liners
• 1 orange cupcake liner
• sheet of cardstock paper (I used a scrap piece of yellow, you can use whatever color you want)
• small piece of brown, yellow and red cardstock paper
• 2-inch circle punch (or you can free hand a circle this size)
• school glue
• glue stick
• scissors

Directions:
1. Start by using your glue stick to glue down your orange cupcake liner onto a sheet of cardstock paper. I used a scrap piece of yellow that I had. You can choose whatever color you want to use. Now cut the cupcake liner out. (Backing it with cardstock paper gives the cupcake liner and puppet stability.)

2. Use school glue to glue your craft stick down to the front of your orange cupcake liner.

3. Using your glue stick, glue one of your mini brown cupcake liners onto the orange cupcake liner, positioning it at the bottom.

4. Use your scissors to make slits around the top and sides of your orange cupcake liner. Some of the cardstock paper you glued your cupcake liner onto may show through after doing this, so keep that in mind when deciding what color you use in step 1.

5. Cut your other mini brown cupcake liner in half and glue the pieces onto the sides of your other brown cupcake liner to act as turkey wings.

6. Cut a 2-inch circle from your circle punch out of your brown paper and then glue it onto your puppet.

7. Finish your turkey by adding googly eyes, a beak and snood cut out of your red and yellow paper.

“Now you have a fun little turkey puppet to reenact your favorite turkey story or for imaginative, pretend play. We made several turkeys so my kids have had fun letting them interact with each other,” Rachel says. “I think it would also be fun to play around with different patterned cupcake liners instead of the orange one. I’m thinking orange polka-dot liners or a different pattern. I didn’t have any on hand to try it out.”

Sponge Paint It

Nicole also noticed her preschooler seems to be drawn to painting with sponges, so she became inspired to ignite his creativity at home using household sponges and paint.

“I just cut up a sponge into different shapes and put colors of paint on plate to dip and splotch, she says.

At school, he made this Egg Carton Caterpillar project in class, and it turned out pretty cute, according to Nicole.

“All you need for this project is an egg carton, some kid-friendly paint, pipe cleaners and eyes (optional, because you can always just paint the eyes on),” says Megan Bray, from the Balancing Home blog site.

Read full instructions here.

Catch the Sun

Nicole says another neat project her son did at school, but parents and caregivers can also do at home, is making suncatchers or stainglass.

“Cut a shape out of thin tissue paper and paint with water colors,” she says.

The Artful Parent blog offers 50+ suncatcher crafts for kids at https://artfulparent.com/stained-glass-suncatcher-ideas-kids.

These Autumn Leaf Suncatchers from The Artful Parent are great as holiday presents in December or gifts for the family at Thanksgiving in November.

Supplies:

• Transparent contact paper (sticky-back plastic)
• Fresh autumn leaves
• Heart or other hole punch (optional)

Directions:

1. Cut off a rectangular piece of contact paper. Fold it in half, then pull the paper covering off to the fold, exposing half of the sticky plastic.

2. Arrange your autumn leaves on the sticky contact paper and press to adhere.

3. If desired, your your hole punch to cut out heart (or other) shapes from leaves and add those to the suncatcher as well.

4. When you are satisfied with your design, remove the rest of the paper backing from the contact paper. Carefully fold it over the leaves, sandwiching them in between the two layers of plastic, and press down with your hands, avoiding air bubbles if possible.

5. Hang in a sunny window and admire!

The Artful Parent taped the suncatchers to the window, but sometimes they punch holes in the top and add a ribbon for hanging.

A note about the leaves: The fresh autumn leaves are beautiful, vibrant, and full of color which is one of the reasons we like to use them for these nature suncatchers every year (rather than pressed and dried autumn leaves). However, please note that they will lose some of their color over time and decay. Ours are usually enjoyed for about two weeks before we take them down.

For more fun DIY arts and crafts activities ideas from The Artful Parent, click here.

Happy crafting!

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.

 

Play Right: Understanding the Real World Through Play

Even in adulthood, New Jammies parents know that the reality of the world can be hard to understand.

As caring and responsible parents, it’s our job to help our kids navigate through 24-7 news reports, social media and word-of-mouth info sharing.

That’s where play comes into, well, play.

According to the Genius of Play, children as young as 3 learn to understand the real world through realistic pretend play. The Genius of Play is a national movement to raise awareness of play’s vital role in child development, spearheaded by The Toy Association.  The movement is rooted in research and facts, and serves as a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives. The group promotes play as a way to hone communication skills, important in coping with reality as teens and adults.

“Knowing what people mean isn’t always easy. Kids have to learn to decipher what people are saying — and not saying — by listening, observing, and sometimes picking up on very subtle clues,” says the group.

“By playing with others, children learn the art of communication. They come to recognize facial expressions and body language. They figure out how to strike up and carry on conversations, and how to express their thoughts and desires in a way that won’t cause problems and put a stop to the group game.”

Specifically, the Genius of Play says pretend play is especially important for children’s communication development and literacy.

“The idea that a letter represents a sound is based on symbolism — a concept kids come to understand when they pretend that a cardboard box is a castle, or that a shoe is a race car. Role-play also gives children a chance to use words they’ve heard adults and other kids use, and helps improve their vocabulary. As they grow older, word-based games help reinforce language and literacy skills.”

Genius of Play lists these games as great communication-building ideas for play:

Jumping Jack Syllables (ages 4 1/2 – 5)
Teach the child to do a simple jumping jack. In one smooth movement, jump and land with feet spread apart, raise hands over the head and clap. Share with them that a syllable is a separate count or beat in a word. Then by using the days of the week or months of the year, use jumping jacks to play out the number of syllables per word. For instance, using Saturday, the child will have three movements to the word, ending with his arms over his head.

Courtesy BestBeginningsAlaska.org

Balloon Ball (for ages 4+)

INGREDIENTS:

• An air-filled balloon or beach ball
• A broomstick or row of pillows
PREP TIME:
5 minutes

Lay a broomstick or row of pillows on the floor to act as the ‘net.’ Have your child hit the balloon over the ‘net,’ then run to the other side to hit it back before it touches the ground. Score 1 each time your child hits the ball without it hitting the floor. If two children, have them hit the ball over the ‘net.’ The game ends when the ball hits the floor. The child who hit that ball wins.

Kick the Can (ages 5+)

INGREDIENTS:
A large, empty can or bucket to be kicked
PREP TIME:
2 minutes

Choose one person to be “IT” and a “home base” for the children to gather (when playing outside, a fire hydrant or familiar tree are great spots). Place the can in a safe, open space. To start, have IT count to 50 with his/her eyes closed while the other players hide. Upon opening their eyes, IT should start searching for the hiders. When IT finds a hider, he/she calls out the player’s name and that player goes to jail (home base). Another player can risk capture to save jailbirds by kicking over the can and calling out “Home Free” without getting tagged by IT, after which the jailbirds are free to run and hide from IT again. The game continues until everyone has been captured. If jailbreaks keep the game going too long, the first person caught 3 times becomes IT and a new game begins.

Crafts Cards (ages 3+, requites adult help)

INGREDIENTS:
• Multiple sheets of construction paper for each child
• Old magazines
• Glue
• Safety scissors
• Magic markers and crayons
• Extras: stencils, stickers, feathers, glitter

PREP TIME:
10 minutes

Nothing says “you’re special” like a homemade card. Give each child some paper folded in half, magazine pages, markers and crayons. You can leave additional magazines, the stencils, stickers, feathers, and glitter where each child can reach them to use. Allow their imaginations run wild as the kids use the supplies to make cards for their friends, their families, even their favorite pet!

Parentingscience.com agrees that playful experiences are learning experiences. An evolutionary anthropologist created the online parenting resource for critical thinkers who want to understand child development from the perspectives of psychology, anthropology, evolution, and cognitive neuroscience.

“Most play involves exploration, and exploration is, by definition, an act of investigation. It’s easy to see how this applies to a budding scientist who is playing with magnets, but it also applies to far less intellectual pursuits, like the rough-and-tumble play in puppies,” says parentingscience.com. “The animals are testing social bonds and learning how to control their impulses, so that friendly wrestling doesn’t turn into anti-social aggression. Play is learning.”

Parentingscience.com reminds us that play is self-motivated and fun, as well as important for understanding the real world.

“These arguments aside, there is also empirical evidence that kids treat play as a tutorial for coping with real life challenges,” says the site. “All around the world, children engage in pretend play that simulates the sorts of activities they will need to master as adults, suggesting such play is a form of practice.”

Parentingscience.com adds that when kids are fed information during pretend play — from more knowledgeable peers or adults — they take it in.

“Experiments on American preschoolers suggest that children as young as 3 understand make distinctions between realistic and fanciful pretending, and use information learned from realistic pretend scenarios to understand the real world.”

Find more information on why play is essential to learning and development at Mom Loves Best

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.

 

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.

New Jammies Whales

• 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.

Eat Right: Stay Cool with Healthy Summer Treats

When the summer heat is on, New Jammies kids need to stay hydrated and cool. Moms and dads agree that as summer heats up, it helps if those cool treats are light and healthy, too.

Water is the first priority for hydrating kids. According to an article in Parenting magazine on keeping kids hydrated, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children drink six glasses of water on an average day.

“During activity, however, your child can lose up to a half-liter of fluid per hour,” says the article. “The AAP suggests about 5 ounces (or two kid-size gulps) of water or a sports drink every 20 minutes for an 88-pound child.”

Popsicle Dreams Forever
One way kids love to stay hydrated and cool in the summer is with popsicles. Many brands on the market that most of us would still recognize from our childhoods are often produced using sugary flavored water, colorful dyes, and preservatives.

Today, we’re lucky in that we can find low-sugar organic juices and hydrating ingredients, such as coconut water and fresh fruit-infused water, to help us get creative with ingredients while controlling what our kids consume. There are so many options for making your own ice pops using BPA-free molds and easy, healthy recipes. Why not treat the kids and save money with a healthier  homemade option? Yes, please!

The Coconut Mama food blogger, an Oregon mom named Tiffany, offers this recipe for Coconut Water Ice Pops that yields 6. She’s a self-described “true believer in the health benefits of coconut,” using coconut products in most cooking.

“These unconventional ice pops are healthy, super easy to make and can be very versatile,” reads the recipe description. “Coconut water is extremely healthy and restores electrolytes. You can use any mix of frozen or fresh fruit to make them. We used mango, pineapple and blueberry on this batch.”

Ingredients

Fresh or frozen fruit
Coconut water

Instructions

1. Fill popsicle molds (or cups if using) 3/4 way full of fruit of choice.
2. Pour coconut water into molds and fill the rest of the way.
3. Place molds in freezer. Allow popsicles to freeze completely before serving, about 5-8 hours.
4. Once your popsicles are ready to serve, run the bottom of the popsicle molds under warm water to help release them from the molds.

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Freezing ice pops this summer is made easy with the Lekue 4 Unit Stackable Ice Lollipop Mold, which can be ordered online on Amazon. According to the product description, making homemade popsicles in these stackable molds helps save room in the freezer, and they have an easy-to-fill design that comes with a lid to protect from unwanted flavors and smells in the freezer.

Included in the price are easy recipes that feature lactose and gluten-free options. “You can have healthier and more natural ice pops with no preservatives or dyes,” says Lekue. “Each mold comes with one stick and is dishwasher-friendly and BPA-free.”

Juice Up

We love this recipe for All-natural, Sugar-free Soda from The View from Great Island blogger Sue Moran, not only because it’s “refreshing, fun, and fizzy,” according to the foodie site Super Healthy Kids. But it also skips the artificial flavors, colors, high-fructose corn syrup, and chemicals found in many sodas, says superhealthykids.com.  “All you need is fresh fruit, and carbonated water.”

Ingredients

1 pound fresh ripe strawberries
Carbonated water

Instructions

1. Wash and trim the strawberries.

2. Place them in a food processor and pulse until they are rough chopped, then scrape down the sides of the machine. Purée until completely smooth. Let the machine run for a minute or longer to insure a nice smooth purée.

3. Push the mixture through a mesh strainer, using the back of a large spoon to make sure as much of it gets through as possible. Most all of it should go through, leaving just the small seeds behind. You should have approximately a cup and a half of purée.

4. To make soda, use 2 tablespoons of the purée for each 8 ounces of carbonated water. Mix and then serve immediately. You can adjust the amount of purée for a lighter or stronger flavor.

5. The fruit purée will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a week.

6. If you like you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to perk up the flavor of any fruit soda, and conversely, if you find your soda is too tart, add a touch of honey.

Other fresh fruit-flavor ideas Moran suggests for this super-easy recipe include:

• Grape (choose the dark or red varieties for best flavor)
• Blueberry (be sure to strain this one)
• Guava
• Papaya
• Mango
• Peach
• Pineapple
• Kiwi
• Orange (try blood orange, if you can find them)
• Red or pink grapefruit

Enjoy these refreshing ideas all summer long, and year, if you decide to freeze the purée. Or add spring water to the mix, instead of carbonated, and freeze for a delicious ice pop.

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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.

Play Right: “Up & Active” Toy Trends Perfect for Summer

New Jammies Trains Collection

Early this year, the Toy Industry Association announced its top trends at the New York Toy Fair, and New Jammies was happy to see popularity of the “Up & Active” theme.

“With more room for innovation and a greater willingness to take risks, toymakers are pulling out all the stops to create highly ground-breaking products, reinvent play patterns, and refresh classic brands with cutting-edge technologies and exciting new licenses,” says Adrienne Appell, a trend expert at TIA. “Best of all, these toys build children’s developmental skills through collaborative, hands-on, and imaginative play.”

Collectible toys were also among the hot forecasted trends, which help children develop lifelong skills, including social skills (when negotiating and trading with friends), organization skills (as they maintain their collections), and perseverance (not giving up on the “hunt”), according to the Toy Industry Association.

The “Up & Active” category features toys to encourage kids to get up and move – both indoors and outdoors.

“The latest active toys not only motivate kids to burn off excess energy, they are also engaging for the whole family and are more seamlessly integrated into other types of play,” says the Toy Industry Association. “This trend includes tech toys that weave in active components, classic outdoor ride-ons, traditional games that incorporate physical activity, and digital toys that foster face-to-face play.”

The Toy Industry Association notes that toys which encourage kids to move are a part of a larger health-and-wellness trend that spans multiple industries.

“We see consumers making healthy lifestyle choices, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, athleisure, wearable devices, and natural-looking beauty options, so I believe the outdoor and sports toys trend will continue into the near future as well,” says Juli Lennett, NPD’s senior vice president and U.S. toys industry analyst.

Toy companies are launching toys and games designed to motivate kids to move – both indoors and outdoors – particularly as they respond to the demands of millennial parents seeking more engaging toys for their kids, such as offering educational or more active play, says the Association.

“Toys that encourage kids to get up and move are on both kids’ and parents’ wish lists,” says Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert. “It’s not just classic outdoor toys that are popular; we are seeing toy companies innovate with tech toys that weave in active components, educational toys that incorporate physical activity, new exciting ride-ons, and traditional games that require kids to move around in order to play.”

One toy that help kids enjoy the Great Outdoors is the Regatta Swing. The nautical -themed swing is developed exclusively for Magic Cabin, which specializes in open-ended, nature-inspired toys and crafts to nurture children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity. The swing, for ages 3–6 and older, holds up to 200 pounds and features an innovative design to sits two sailors on two heavy-duty mesh seats. The mesh bottom means water won’t get trapped inside while not in use. The simple concept of the bowline knot creates a secure hanging apparatus of adjustable height that’s easy to use.

New Jammies’ Pirates collection of PJs, which can double as comfy play wear to stay cool in the summer, would be a fun addition to this imagination-building play. Sailboat n’Waves would also be cute to rock in the Regatta Swing.

Antsy Pants’ line of Build and Play kits are designed to let kids’ imaginations run wild and get kids and families creating, imagining and building together. With each product purchased, sold exclusively at Target, Antsy Pants helps support KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all kids get a childhood filled with the balanced and active play they need to thrive.

“Antsy Pants will make a donation to KaBOOM! for each product purchased, and is projected to give more than $150,000 in the first year to build playgrounds for kids across America,” says the product’s website.

The Antsy Pants Build and Play Obstacle Course  gets the whole family moving with toss rings, jump hurdles and a race to the finish for fun-and-friendly competition. The easy-to-build Obstacle Course Kit comes with an agility ring course, start and finish flags, adjustable height hurdles, and weave pole course. No tools necessary!

New Jammies’ Star Spangled collection would be a patriotic, America-themed way to celebrate the Fourth of July while running through the Obstacle Course this summer.

USA! USA! USA!

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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.

Sleep Tight: From Daytime Jams to Sleep Jammies

One of the most versatile ways for kids to wear New Jammies in the warmer months is to don them during the day in the park, poolside or at neighborhood BBQs. Then mix and match at nighttime for a cool, comfortable sleep.

“New Jammies’ signature 100% organic cotton fabric is breathable and keeps kids cool in the summer heat and warm at night,” says New Jammies CEO and founder Nicole Ludlow.

“The fun part is to mix and match the short sets, pants and long-sleeved shirts for several different color and print combinations on vacation or out and about having a good time, day into night.”

A cute look for girls in the summer is to add brightly colored tutus and comfy sandals to our Lobsters collection. Or incorporate pastel tutus into an outfit with our pretty Ballerina Slippers or Mermaid Bubbles prints.

The Lobsters and Whales collections come with 100% organic cotton summer roll hats, too. The fun summertime New Jammies headwear designs provide a coordinated look at the beach or in town, especially with our Classic Stripes and nautical-themed collections, to help protect babies’ sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Boys are typically fairly easy to dress, especially in the summer, so our shorts sets with bold stripes and colorful prints really come in handy when packing for the day, weekend, or a week of well-derserved vacation.

“So many of our collections offer options for mixing and matching, and for going from day to night, if the boys manage to stay clear of mud!” says Nicole, who has two young boys of her own.

The organic Classic Stripe in blue and white is a great option for bold and colorful day-to-night wear for boys or girls, and the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sailboats n’Waves pajamas and short sets are perfect to switch up from afternoon into evening. Especially for hanging around the water at the lake or ocean, and for summer vacations involving pirate ships, sunset cruises or floating on the river.

In celebration of summer, New Jammies has a few of these versatile outdoor and sleep time looks in our sale section of our online store.

Enjoy great sale prices on our Sharks PJ Shorts Set and Ottoman Flowers PJ Shorts Set, as well as the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sly Fox PJ Shorts Set, for a wonderful summer playing in the sun and sleeping under the stars.

Here’s to a summer to remember!

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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.

Play Right: Celebrate National Wilderness Month Outdoors

ColoradoBoyAs New Jammies welcomes the change of seasons, National Wilderness Month is the perfect time for families to get outside and explore.

The Federal Facilities of Environmental Stewardship suggests celebrating America’s wilderness in September, and throughout Autumn, by visiting the nation’s wilderness areas and learning about the issues facing these pristine environments. In his Presidential Proclamation of National Wilderness Month in September, President Barack Obama, agreed.

“I invite all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, to learn about their vast history, and to aid in the protection of our precious national treasures,” he proclaimed.

The country’s vast wilderness areas provide acres-upon-acres of natural playground for kids and parents to hike, fish, camp, boat, birdwatch, sightsee, and numerous other ways to enjoy the Great Outdoors. The country’s preserved spaces were protected 52 years ago when the Wilderness Act was passed, marking the beginning of an era when Americans were empowered by Congress to propose protection of special wild places, watersheds, wildlife habitat and outstanding recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.

“The law immediately set aside approximately nine million acres of U.S. national forests as wilderness, defining the highest level of protection, uses and enjoyment of these federal lands,” said the Wilderness Society, founded in 1935 to advocate for protection of America’s roadless wild places.

“Today the National Wilderness Preservation System encompasses nearly 110 million acres of wild country in 44 states and includes lands in national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management areas.”

In 2014, when the Wilderness Act celebrated 50 years, Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams expressed the importance of protection of our wilderness areas.

“Today we need wilderness more than ever,” Williams said. “In an urban nation, we need a place to get away, to enjoy and restore ourselves. The people who wrote the Wilderness Act called it an essential human need, and that’s why they wrote the Wilderness Act – to protect wild places for all of us, and for our quality of life. There’s one constant since the Wilderness Act was passed – people want to protect more of our wild places, which define us as a nation. They are our American legacy, something we can leave to future generations.”

New JammiesOutdoor gear company REI offers its tips on camping in the wilderness with the younger set, providing the opportunity for priceless family memories for New Jammies kids. To start, REI says to prepare for outdoor overnight trips by practicing camping at home.

“If your kids are outdoor newbies, pitch a tent in the backyard or even inside your home. Let them hang out in it and sleep in it so they become comfortable with a new sleeping environment,” said the company, which donates percentages of its sales to conservation efforts.

“Take a trial run: Before your overnighter, try a family day outing at a close-to-home park. Spend a half-day or so at a lakeshore or park and see how your kids react to the experience. Take notes: Write down reminders for future trips: ‘Pack more sunscreen.’ ‘Bring long pants.’ ‘Leave bongos home.'”

REI also suggests these fun items to bring along on camping trips with kids:

• Paddleball set
• Marshmallow launcher
• Animal-shaped flashlights
• Kits, discs and flying toys — REI’s faves include glowing, multicolor LED flying discs and Djubi balls
• Low-tech fun with a boot-around plastic ball that doubles as an ice cream maker
• Water toys to cool off
• Foot bags
• Educational games, including “Pass the Pigs” and “Why Knot?”

Most of all, New Jammies hopes kids get outside and have fun in the beauty and wonderment of the nation’s beloved wilderness areas as the leaves change.

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. New Jammies are WRAP certified for socially responsible manufacturing practices, created in GOTS certified knit, print, and dye facilities, and made of OE100 100% certified organic cotton. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: After-School Activities to Help Kids Focus

Now that New Jammies kids are back in the swing of school, focus is a key to helping them achieve high marks and perform well in class. After-school can be an important time of the day for kids to not only relax and play, but also work on focusing on schoolwork.

Let’s Get Physical
Exercise is a great way for kids to fight childhood obesity (September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month) and stay mind-sharp. The experts at WebMD agree.

“Physical activity boosts blood flow all over the body, including to the brain. Brain cells get better at connecting with each another,” says WebMD author R. Morgan Griffin in “Your Kid’s Brain on Exercise. “What’s the result? Better thinking skills.”

WebMD says studies show that people who exercise more are sharper mentally.

“The effects may be almost immediate. One study found that kids scored higher on math and reading comprehension tests after exercising for 20 minutes,” says the report.

Griffin suggests helping kids benefit from after-school activity with an hour of exercise a day. “That’s what the CDC recommends for kids ages 6 to 18. Your kids can split up activity over the course of the day. A few minutes here and there adds up.”

footballThe CDC offers age-appropriate* ideas for physical activity for children and adolescents, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60-or-more minutes, such as:

1. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running.

2. Muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups.

3. Bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running.

*Per the CDC, some physical activity is better-suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. For example, they may do these types of programs along with their football or basketball team practice.

Exercise the Brain
Check out the interactive website goofybrains.com, a division of Brain Pages, which specializes in the ethical and honest promotion of brain health and mental  health products, resources and professionals. The site offers ideas to keep kids’ minds sharp in its “Six Brain Exercises For Children” feature by Sarah Holt, a writer for increasebrainpower.com.

She suggests word searches and crosswords, memory exercises, and obstacle courses for the brain with stations set up hosting different focus-building activities. Holt also encourages parents and caregivers try having kids write or draw left-handed (or right-handed).

“This can be fun to see who can tell what was written or drawn afterwards. Another option is to draw a picture where one-half is done with the dominant hand and then afterwards it is copied onto the other half by the non-dominant hand. These are brain exercises for children that encourage both sides of their brain to work together,” she says.

Thank you, Internet

Image courtesy puzzlestoprint.com

From puzzles-to-print.com

The puzzles-to-print.com website is a helpful resource for parents and caregivers who have the ability to print off pdfs of word scrambles as educational tools and after-school activities to build focus.

Make the mind games fun for the holidays by printing off holiday-themed puzzles including this puzzle, just in time for Halloween. Click here to print out the fun.

Fall into Fun
Autumn is closing in, so while the weather is still warm, encourage New Jammies kids to play outside after being inside in the classroom all day. The website Kids Activities (www.kidsactivities.net), which provides “1,000s of ideas for childcare professionals and teachers,” offers these ideas, and more, for autumn after-school activities:

gourds1. Gourd Bowling. Set up bowling pins using empty two-liter soda bottles. If preferred, the bottles can be weighted with seeds or water. Use a round, bumpy gourd as the ball.

2. Magic Pumpkin Seeds. Materials: Pumpkin seeds, small paper bag and small pumpkins. Show the children a small bag of pumpkin seeds and explain that you believe these are magic pumpkin seeds. Take the children outside to your yard where they toss the seeds onto the ground. Have them make up a few magic words, if they want. The next day, before children go outside — gather the seeds and put small pumpkins in their place. Take the children outside and delight them with the ‘magical’ pumpkins that have grown. If you have enough pumpkins, the children can take the pumpkins home and/or first decorate and paint them to add to theme of your space. Idea adapted from preschoolrainbow.org.

3. The Squirrel Game. Let the kids pretend they are squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. Give each a small paper bag, then toss out several unshelled nuts onto the floor and let the kids race to see who can collect the most. Older and younger children should be separated for this game. Another way to play this game, (if you have a way to corral a large quantity of leaves) is to hide nuts beneath a large pile of leaves and give the kids a set amount of time to find as many nuts as they can.

4. Visit http://www.kidactivities.net/category/Seasonal-FallAutumn-Games.aspx for more fun fall game ideas.