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Learning seems to explode when your baby reaches the toddler stage.
Here are some fun facts that might surprise you:

  1. A two year old child is generally more active than at any other point in their life which explains why it is so exhausting running around after them!

  2. While we may rely on word of the day apps, the average two year old manages to add around 5 new words to their vocabulary every day.

  3. By the age of three, your toddler will have developed around 1,000 trillion connections between the cells in her brain, which is around twice as many as the average adult!

  4. Most 1-year-olds are ambidextrous, or use both hands equally. Your toddler will likely start showing a preference for his right or left hand by age 2 or 3 — and in about 90 percent of kids, it’ll be the right.

  5. You might be surprised at a recent study that found toddlers really do like to share. Even more surprising: They’re happiest when they can give up something they have for the sole purpose of sharing it with someone else.

  6. Bet you didn’t know that babies can count before they can talk. They also know which of two quantities is larger and can even do simple subtraction, all before they turn one.

  7. Toddler hearing is better than adults’. Hearing in toddlers is often spot-on — toddler ears are so new, they can hear very high frequencies, sounds that older ears have tuned out or can no longer pick up thanks to aging and noise pollution.

  8. The average toddler takes 176 steps a minute.

  9. Cognitive development explodes between 12 and 24 months. This is your child’s ability to think, learn, and remember. Your child will start to remember recent events and actions, understand symbols, imitate, imagine, and pretend.

  10. Have sitters or relatives ever told you that your child never behaves badly when they’re caring for him? It’s not uncommon for toddlers to be angels when you’re not around, because they don’t trust these other people enough to test their limits.

Do your kids love KneeBouncers’ Frozen Numbrrrrrrrssss counting game? Bring their favorite game to life with this fun adaptation. It works not only on their counting, but fine motor skills, too.

For this project you’ll need:

diy_penguin_tools
diy_penguin_spray_paint_can

Step 1
Apply a coat of black spray paint to can in a well ventilated area. Let dry.

diy_penguin_can

Step 2
Use the exacto knife to cut a rectangle into the can for the mouth.

diy_penguin_felt beak

Step 3
Cut felt into a triangle shape for beak. Apply a strip of hot glue to the top of the beak and affix it just above the hole you cut.

diy_penguin_final

Step 4
Grab the white paint pen. Paint on eyes and a belly.

Step 5
Use the orange construction paper to make little fish. Write the numbers 1 -20 on them. Now play!

Ways to play:

Note: Have a young child or one needing some extra help with fine motor? Substitute an oatmeal container for the baking powder can. A bigger opening and larger fish are easier to handle.

Here are 11 fun and amazing facts about babies:

Babies are surprising little creatures that will never cease to amaze us. At KneeBouncers, we strive to understand how babies and toddlers – learn and play. But even after 10 years of studying their development, we still get surprised by the new things we learn in the process.

  1. A baby born in May is heavier than babies born in other months!

  2. They can’t cry. This is not say they can’t be loud, but technically speaking there are no tears until they are about 3 weeks old.

  3. When born, babies do not have kneecaps!
  4. Your baby shares their birthday with at least 9 million other people in the world.

  5. Babies are born with very poor vision but can recognize their mothers almost right away.

  6. Reading to your baby is important! Reading to your child at any age will increase their knowledge.

  7. Children laugh on average 300 times a day, adults only 60.

  8. A baby’s strongest sense is smell and they can recognize their mothers by scent alone.

  9. Babies learn sign language before they can talk. They learn the meaning of waving goodbye, hugging and kissing long before they can speak.

  10. Babies are born with all the brain cells (aka neurons) they’ll ever have.

  11. Affection and connection with your baby make their brain bigger.

For more facts click here or here.

Take KneeBouncers’ Up In The Air number game app to new heights with this gross motor skill number game, developed by Allison of Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine. All you need is a little chalk and a sidewalk!

What makes this activity great? Motor abilities and play are related to learning processes. Getting your child moving while learning helps the brain to develop and become better organized.

Another fun way to reinforce number recognition skills and play with purpose.

Check out Allison’s game here.

Is your little palenotologist crazy for KneeBouncers’ Dinosaur Shape Match Game? Then try this DIY Dinosaur Shape Dig table top game. It’s a clever mash up of sensory play and shape identification — and helps extend the play!

Preschool and Toddler Activity

Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1
Fill box half way with sand, leaving ample room for digging.

dino_dig_tools

Step 2
Print out the pdf onto a sheet of inkjet ready Shrinky Dink paper. You can find Shrinky Dink paper at most craft shops. Look for the one that says Inkjet on it. Cut out the dinosaurs and cook to manufacturer’s instructions.

dino dig step 2

Step 3
Once Dinos have cooled completely, put them in the sand so they’re fully covered.

hiding dinos

Step 4
Have your child use a craft stick to dig for dinosaurs. Once found, have them brush off excess sand. Continue until all six dinos are excavated.

finding dinos

Other ways to play:

Does your KneeBouncer love our letter learning games — especially Flowery? Then they’ll bounce for joy with this fun letter swatting game created by Jamie at Hands On As We Grow. A great way to strengthen letter identification skills and reinforce your preschooler’s knowledge. All while playing with purpose.

See how Jamie and her kids are playing with letters…

Find the Letter & Swat It! Active Way for Learning Letters!

I’ve been working a lot on letters with George lately. He’s getting them down pretty good, I’m just reinforcing what he already knows and building his confidence that he does know what the letters are!

This activity was inspired from an iPad app for young kids called KneeBouncers. It has all different areas of learning, but we focused on learning letters. You choose whatever letter to work on and there’s several games to play for each letter, all the same, just with different letters (great repetition for young kids).

The Flowery letter game on KneeBouncers is about picking the flower that has the letter ‘whatever’ it is that they’re working on. I set up this find the letter and swat it game that kind of reminded me of doing the same, as a way to bring the same concept of what he’s learning and playing on the iPad into a hands on learning activity.

I drew a bunch of circles on a piece of butcher paper (affiliate link) that I taped to the table. I just traced around an old cottage cheese container with Sharpie markers.

I purposely used several different colors to add helpful hints in the game later on, but it created another aspect of the game I wasn’t expecting.

In each circle, I wrote a random letter. I didn’t have enough room for 26 circles, so I just chose the letters that I knew George was already familiar with (helping him gain that confidence).

Find the letter and swat it! That’s what!George came to the table when I grabbed two fly swatters, wondering what we were going to do for our letter activity!

I called out a letter, George would then find the letter and swat it!

Sometimes if he was having a hard time finding it, I’d act like I beat him to it and say, “There it is!” and swat it myself.

He thought it was super silly.

Sometimes I’d have him swat a letter and tell me what it was and then I’d swat it myself too.

I’d also give him helpful hints with the color of the letter.

Which turned it into another game.

If I told him it was a blue letter, he sometimes found another blue letter that wasn’t the one we were looking for.

So instead of telling him a letter to swat, I told him to tell me all the blue letters and swat them as he goes.

Then George had enough and wanted to clean up our activity (he likes peeling off tape) and asked to play KneeBouncers again.

If your house is littered with crayons, markers, and colored pencils (oh my!), you just may have a preschooler around. Young kids LOVE playing with color, and learning colors is a first step toward early math and literacy skills.

The more your child plays with colors, the easier it is for them to identify, match, sort and collect by color. Our Color Wheel online game makes it fun and easy for children to learn colors through repetition. This color wheel extension activity gets little fingers in on the coloring action (yes, lets hone those fine motor skills) and can serve as a platform for a scavenger hunt.

Preschool and Toddler Activity

COLOR WHEEL ACTIVITY

To get started, just download our free color wheel worksheet. You’ll want to print it on cardstock (or adhere copy paper to cardstock), cut and assemble by using a brass bracket to attach the smaller shape wheel on top of the color wheel.

Here’s where you — the parent — get to direct a little bit of the activity based on you want to challenge your child:

EASY: Have your child select a colored pencil, crayon or marker color and color the shape that lines up with color.

MODERATE: Have your child start at the red block. Call out a shape and have your child color that shape. Then call out another shape and have your child move the wheel so that shape then lines up with the next block (orange). They then color that shape orange.

MODERATE: Place all of the colored pencils (or crayons) that correspond with the color wheel in a box. Have your child close their eyes and select a crayon. After they open their eyes, they identify the color and color the shape next to the color on the wheel.

SCAVENGER HUNT

The fun doesn’t stop after you’ve colored the wheel! Now it’s time to go on a scavenger hunt!

Have your child call out a shape — and see what color that shape corresponds with on the color wheel. Then go around the house and find things that match the called color. Here’s your opportunity to talk about shades and tones of colors with older preschoolers.

Want to make it more of a challenge? Call out colors AND shapes. How many blue octagons can you find in your house? Works well for road trips, too! Use a paper clip to mark what color and shape your child is looking for, in case they need to reference it.

Sly Cat is all about blue… {imagine that}. What kind of blue things can you find around your house?

We’re big believers in playing with purpose. Having fun is the absolute best way to learn! If your kids love playing with our characters online, they’ll love them even more offline.

Holly from Kids Activities Blog came up with this high-flying letter game that will have your kids zipping — and learning — away! Her tutorial outlines how to assemble and play the game. There’s even a free printable! A great way to build letter recognition skills.

LETTER ZIPLINE WITH AWESOME FREE ALPHABET PRINTABLE FOR KIDS

I am a bit giddy over today’s playing with letters activity!

We have a super cute alphabet printable that is free courtesy of our sponsor, KneeBouncers.

And if that wasn’t enough, we are using that alphabet printable to make a letter zipline because letters in action are WAY more fun than boring old sedentary letters!

f your kids are already playing KneeBouncers games, then you will recognize the characters that are hanging out with each letter of the alphabet on these printables.

Simply click here to download and print: KneeBouncers Play with Letters Printable

I printed a set on photo sticker paper and then stuck it to thick pink scrapbooking paper.

Then I cut out the 27 cards – the alphabet A-Z and the KneeBouncers wild card {more on that later}.

MAKE A LETTER ZIPLINE

Materials needed:

First, cut the straws up to be just a little shorter than the width of the alphabet cards. Then cut a slit down the length of the straw and clip the corners of one end.

Glue the altered straw pieces to the back of the alphabet cards near the top with the snipped end on the right.

Repeat to all cards.

Set up a zipline with string. I used two of our kitchen chairs. You want the right side of the zipline to be the tall side.

With string, I created the zipline using slip knots on each end to secure it to the chairs.

The letter cards can now easily be slipped onto the string {even with little hands} and sent flying down the zipline.

LETTER ZIPLINE GAME

Early learning: Start with a few alphabet cards and talk about each letter. Then name one of the letters and have the child zip it down the line. Help the child make the sound of that letter as it travels!

KneeBouncers wild card: To make this game more challenging, include the KneeBouncers card as a “wild card”. Have this card represent a letter that is NOT in the original pile. Tell the child that if she can’t find the called letter to use the wild card instead. It is fun to see if she can figure out through elimination what letter is missing!
More advanced: Give the child a few letter cards and have him send them down the zipline in alphabetical order. Check and see if it was right at the end of the line. We noticed if our zipline was very steep, sometimes new letters would knock off letters at the bottom {which is kinda fun!}.

KneeBouncers wild card: To make this game more fun, include the KneeBouncers card as a “wild card”. Let the child use it in the alphabetizing as a letter in the gap. Have him decide what letter it represents and then arrange the other cards around it. Then try and guess what letter the card represents. Kids get a big kick out of “tricking” the adult!

PHONICS ZIPLINE GAME

Early learning: Give the child a phonetic sound and have her identify the letter and send it down the zipline.

KneeBouncers wild card: To make this game more challenging, include the KneeBouncers card as a “wild card”. The wild card is to be used for any blends. So, if you give the sound “ffffff”, the child should send the letter “f” down the zipline. If you give the sound “th”, the child should send down the wild card.
More advanced: Give the child a simple one vowel word to spell and have her send down the letters in order. As each letter goes down the zipline, make the sound of that letter.

KneeBouncers wild card: To make this game more fun, include the KneeBouncers card as a “wild card”. This time the child decides on a word and spells it, but replaces one of the letters with the wild card. The child then challenges YOU to figure out what letter is missing.

MORE PLAY WITH LETTERS FUN

We are really excited to be participating in the KneeBouncers Play with Letters series. They will be featuring other blogs with fun letter play ideas over the two weeks.

All these activities go along with the KneeBouncers Play with Purpose iPad app. There are lots of ways to play with letters on the app {and many of them are free!}.

We are thrilled to be joined today by Caroline Urdaneta, who writes the craft-tastic blog, Salsa Pie. Caroline came up with a colorful activity to do with your child and help hone their color recognition skills. Enjoy!

My family loves KneeBouncers! It’s such a great place to find games that, along with activities at home (including craft projects), are fantastic teaching tools for preschoolers.

I’m excited to share this fun Play with Colors that will help your child learn colors. It’s a super simple, super doable craft project that’s perfect for any busy mom. As an added bonus, the no mess set-up makes it a great fit for toggling between this activity and a KneeBouncers color game!

To get started you will need just a few simple supplies:

Step 1
Lay a white square of felt on the table.

Step 2
Cut the different colored felt squares into tiny squares. Sort the squares into colors and name them.

Step 3
Have your child create a design out of the tiny felt squares and as they create designs, talk to them about the colors they are using. Ask questions and give directions such as “Can you find a green square? ” or “What can we made using green and yellow squares?”

The possibilities for this project are endless and the no-mess set-up makes it an easy project t do again and again creating different designs each time.

No doubt about it. One of our most popular games is Numbrrrs…. there is just something about those little penguins diving off the iceberg that makes preschoolers squeal. As an added bonus, they can count along with the game, reinforcing early mathematical concepts and number recognition.

Blogger Megan Sheakoski from Coffee Cups and Crayons created an iceberg math felt board inspired by our game. So now your child can play with numbers — and penguins — online and off! Visit Megan’s site for a FREE printable and create your own board!

See the Felt Board Counting Game

Your preschooler loves playing our number games– so why not extend the play?   Download this fun preschool math worksheet pack created by KneeBouncers in partnership with Carisa from 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 and reinforce early mathematical concepts!

Here’s what’s included in the pack:

1. A simple graphing activity based on Run Puppy, Run!

2. Two sets of super-versatile number cards. You can use them to work on matching, numerical order, number identification, or play memory.

3. A more challenging math maze game for older preschoolers working on number sequencing and number identification.

Just another way to Play with Purpose! Many thanks to Carisa for helping us to develop these activities. Head over to her site and download the pack!

In celebration of World Kindness Day, we’re sharing a few tips for encouraging your children to be kind. Fostering empathy is key to healthy social and emotional growth — plus, it makes the world a much nicer place.

Here are a few easy ways to promote kindness in your own home. For the little kids and the big kids in your life.

Promote Teamwork
Teach your child that everyone in the family works together — as a team. That means everyone helps! For the youngest of children, encourage them to pick up their toys, help set the table, or ‘make’ dinner (yes, your three-year-old can help toss the salad). But be sure to practice patience. Your child wants to help, but they’ll do things imperfectly at first. Being patient and encouraging — and forgoing criticism — will go a lot further than nagging.

Create a “Giving” Jar
Sometimes it’s helpful for children to ‘see’ kindness — in a very visual sense. Put a mason jar on your kitchen counter to collect change (either from purchases or the quarters in the couch). At the end of the month, discuss as a family where to donate your change. Talk about the idea of charities and how they help people. Or talk about a friend or family member that could use some kindness. Whether your child wants to buy gloves for a local charity or use the money to buy chocolate chips and send Grandma homemade cookies, giving them ownership of where the kindness is directed will go a long way!

be kind

Take Notice
The best way to help your child become a kinder person is to help them take notice of the people around them. If you notice your neighbor’s mail on the sidewalk, pick it up and deliver it.  A friend is feeling sad? Send them a note or give them a hug. Let someone with a tired {read: cranky} child go ahead of you in the grocery store line. Model kind behavior for your child and take note of the world and people around you. Be sure to share with your child why you’re doing what your were doing: We let Mrs. So-and-So go in front of us at the store because her baby was awfully tired. She needed to go home and take a rest — and we had a few minutes to spare. When your child does something kind for someone else, acknowledge it!

Has your child done something kind today? Acknowledge it with this fun “I Was Kind Today” KneeBouncers printable!

With school starting, we thought it might be good to remind you of the #1 thing that builds a foundation for learning: PLAY.

“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”
Abraham Maslow

Want to develop your kids’ reading, thinking and problem-solving skills?
We’ve got a simple solution: PLAY.

“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”
Diane Ackerman

Playing Ship Shape with your child will help them practice identifying shapes. Extend the play by going on a shape scavenger hunt in your own house!

How many stars can they find? Squares? Circles? Chances are, they’ll find them in the strangest of places! It’s a fun game of I Spy and shape learning all rolled into one activity.

Do you homeschool your preschooler? Whether you’re tackling on the challenging of teaching your preschool-aged child full time or are integrating teachable moments at home and on-the-go (it’s the age of labeling everything, no?), games are a great way to reinforce preschool learning concepts!

Rachel from Kids Activities Blog is homeschooling her two preschool-aged children. She developed some great strategies to use with your child while they’re playing our color games and apps that will help extend and further develop their analytic skills. For example, in the game, Sea of Color, as you see the fish swim by talk to your child about the fishes’ colors. Are they swimming to the left or to the right? Which color of fish came first? Which colored fish came last?

Head over to Kids Activities Blog to see more of Rachel’s strategies and great ideas for playing with purpose!

Do your kids love KneeBouncers’ Peek-a-Zoo? Extend the play! Make it a game they can play all around the house with these easy to make paper binoculars.

peekazoo safari supplies

What you’ll need:
scissors
tape
hole punch
paper
ribbon
ruler

peekazoo safari binoculars

Step 1
Take the paper and cut out two rectangles measuring 6 inches wide by 3 inches high.

peekazoo safari binoculars

Step 2
Form each rectangle into a tube. Take a piece of tape and run it along the seam of the tube.

Step 3
Tape the tubes together. Affix one piece of tape at the top, and another at the bottom. Now punch a hole on the side of each tube.

peekazoo safari binoculars

Step 4
Take your ribbon. String it through the hole from the hole punch and knot. Take the other end of ribbon and do the same thing on the other side. Look! It’s a nifty pair of paper binoculars.

peekazoo safari craft

Now it’s time to play! Set up stuffed animals in your children’s rooms or around the house and have them go on a safari. Look! I see a monkey.

Other ways to extend play:
When kids spot an animal, ask them what letter begins its name.
Have children act like the animal once they spot it.
Ask your child, what the animals they found like to eat.
Don’t have stuffed zoo animals? Draw some or print out pictures and place them around the house.

Looking for a fun way to help reinforce concepts about shapes and introduce early math skills? Play our Freddy Funny Face game and then take the fun — and learning — to the kitchen table with this felt shape activity! Designed by Rachel from Kids Activities Blog, this activity will have your child giggling as they create unique faces. As an added bonus, creating different faces will also help build their social and emotional intelligence! Ask them to create sad, silly, happy, angry and surprised faces.

Check out the activity and download the free printable/shape worksheet over on Kids Activities Blog.

Just another way to play with purpose!

Preschoolers love color! (Who doesn’t really?) Know what compliments playing our online preschool games like Colorific, Color Wheel and Dino Parade? Kitchen color science experiment fun – perfect for preschoolers! The activities below introduce basic science concepts including various steps within the scientific method. Plus water play. It’s a win-win for preschooler and parent.

What You’ll Need

Test Tubes with Lids (or any long skinny clear container with a lid)
Food Coloring (gels work great!)
Eye Dropper
Plastic egg carton, painting palette or any container with small wells
Paper Towels
Water

Experiment #1: Dyeing the Water

Chances are your KneeBouncer may or may not be familiar with food coloring. Show him or her the test tubes and fill each one 3/4 of the way full with clear water (you may even want to let your child do this). Then have your child add a few drops of food coloring into each tube and make an observation: What happens to the water? Cap the test tube and let them shake away to mix! We made the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow.

Experiment #2: Mixing Colors

Don’t worry — the kids won’t get messy with this one! Have your child take two test tubes and cross them, while holding them up to a window. What color is made when the two tubes cross? Have them repeat this with another pair of colors.

Experiment #3: Mixing Colors with an Eye Dropper

Now it’s time to get some water play in! Have your preschooler use an eye dropper to mix colors in the plastic egg carton or palette. Before they mix, ask them to activate their prior knowledge about what happened in experiment #2 and make predictions: What happened when we crossed blue with yellow? Do you think the same thing will happen when we mix the yellow and blue water together?

Isn’t it great when the kids can play and learn? Enjoy!

Looking for a fun and easy way to practice letter recognition skills? Create alphabet balls! This activity, designed by Chelsea Day of Some Day I’ll Learn, can adapt to your child’s abilities based on how you play. Use buckets to match letters (just like our Cupcake Catch game online) or practice letter recall skills by hiding the balls and asking your child to find them. You can even toss in some color recognition activities. {Pun intended}

Just another way to play with purpose!

Find out more

I’m always looking for fun and cheap inexpensive activities for my mornings home with the Bug. Although I work full time, I have a flexible work schedule — so I really try to make those morning “we” times more than cartoons and cheerios.

Right now, the Bug is constantly pointing out colors to me. We play a lot of “I Spy” in the car, so I suspect my “I spy an orange sign” comments are spilling over into daily conversation.

With rainbow in mind, here are a few fun ways to inject some color into your ‘we’ times or next playdate!

Rainbow Rice Garden

Easier to clean up than sand, I LOVE this rainbow rice garden idea from Share and Remember. Perfect for outdoor summer activities or indoor rainy day fun. Full on sensory exploration! {{Might even spill over to rainbow rice cooking?}}

Rainbow Xylophone

Um, how easy (and adorable!) is this rainbow xylophone idea from Meet the Dubiens? Whip this activity out of your back pocket next time the kiddos are having a pre-dinner melt down. They’ll be entertained and in the kitchen with you, and you’ll have some *ahhh* while throwing the chicken in to bake.

Found Object Color Wheel

Scavenger hunt meets art in this found object color wheel project found on Preschool Daze. Have your tyke find objects of different colors and place them on a cardboard color wheel. This activity might be best attempted while smocked.

How are you bringing the color into your kid’s life?

Play Boosts Self Confidence

When children play, they build a better understanding of themselves, a more expansive knowledge of the physical world, and how to communicate. When they have a greater physical, social, cognitive and emotional well-being, their self-confidence increases. Need to boost your kid’s self-confidence? PLAY.

Have you played today?

KneeBouncers_ibelieveinplay_FreddyWhat makes learning more enjoyable and fun? PLAY! How will you play today?

Did you know that play stretches your child’s attention span? Who’d have thought it was so simple.

We believe in purposeful play. That’s why our games are designed with your kneebouncer’s developing mind in — well, mind. Playfully, of course.

We all know that unstructured play is important for our kids. But do you know why? Or how to foster it? Here’s a look at how activities like game play or throwing a dance party in your kitchen positively effect your child’s social, emotional and cognitive growth. A quick primer for brain science of play.

Games: Games like Simon Says help children learn to follow rules, maintain self-control, take turns and think strategically. That toddler who keeps having meltdowns on you? Playing Simon Says will help alleviate that. Game play through apps and online games can also develop these skills and help toddlers and preschoolers understand concepts like cause and effect. (i.e. Your tot presses a key and Sammy ‘wakes up’ in Wake Up Sammy, or Horatio the Hippo appears in Peek-a-Bouncer. Didn’t take very long for them to pick that up, right?)

Dance Party: Music encourages non-verbal reasoning and sharpens the perception of language. Dance strengthens bones and joints and is just plain good exercise. So turn on the radio and get your groove on.

Let’s Pretend: Hand your child one of your reusable grocery bags and have them set-up a ‘store’ in your house. Let them use their imagination and role play — take turns being the customer and being the store manager. When children follow rules in make believe play, young children learn persistence, task mastery, social cooperation and moral maturity.

Get Out the Blocks: The child who builds a huge tower of Legos only to send it crashing to the floor in one hurricane-like movement, sending blocks flying across the room? Yepp. They’re learning. Block play and construction activities let kids sort and classify objects based on shape and engage in  estimation and measurement — all while developing their problem solving skills.

Story Telling: Telling stories with your child — and asking them to come up with “what happens next” is not only a good way to develop their imagination, it’s helps introduce concepts of emotion and strengthen parent-child communication. You’ll notice that KneeBouncer games and apps have story lines that are open to imaginative interpretation. Take Lights Out, for instance. The lights go out and KneeBouncer characters end up…. on a pirate ship. Or bouncing on the bed. Ask your child: What happens when the lights go out? Go beyond the scenes in the game and take the story ‘off line.’ What happens next? How do the KneeBouncers feel when they end up on the pirate ship? Or wherever your child says they are?

Have you and your child played today?

This post is part of KneeBouncers’ new Bounce, Play, Learn! Initiative- Promoting the Importance of Play! Information for this article was adapted from Let the Playvolution Begin!, developed by Ultimate Block Party, and Teaching English, a project of the BBC. Ultimate Block Party is a non-profit organization that brings the play to cities around North America. Check out their parent resource page for more tips!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been thinking more and more about gratitude. Not just saying thanks, but really meaning it.

Recent studies show that gratitude (the honest-to-goodness kind, not the fake smile and handshake variety) can make you happier and healthier. Think about all that you’re grateful for at this moment. Get beyond the hot Starbucks latte and the free 5 minutes you had to savor it. Those moments are remarkable and sanity-saving (even if you were locked in the bathroom). But what are you truly GRATEFUL for?

(more…)

No doubt about it. Reading to your child and exposing them to a variety of books/print rich environments helps build a strong foundation for life-long learning. (more…)

We know your KneeBouncers have a great time with our online shape games for babies, toddlers and preschoolers — but in today’s Friday Five, we’re sharing ways to take the tech out of shape fun. Creating art with shapes is a great way to introduce early mathematical concepts to your child (hello, early geometry) while fostering creativity. Happy Fall!

FallShapesTurkey-NoTimeforFlashCards

Shape Turkey from No Time for Flash Cards
Love this idea from No Time for Flash Cards. Made out of easy shapes like hearts, ovals, squares and triangles. No fancy scissor maneuvering required.

marshmallowprintappletreespaintingcraft

Marshmallow Tree Painting
Who says you can’t play with your food? Use marshmallows as ‘stamps’ for this fun, free-form tree and learn how circles can make other shapes. Thanks to 4tunate.net for the idea!

Paper-Apple-Garland1

Paper Apple Garland
This would look great in any kid space. Just use clotheslines and construction paper circles to create an apple garland. Thanksgiving decor, maybe? Found this idea on Parents.com. {PS: Don’t forget the squirmy worm!}

PaperRollPumpkin

Paper Roll Pumpkin
Turn rectangular strips into circles and then make a pumpkin. As easy as pumpkin pie. What a fun idea from Little Family Fun!

owl

Owl Shape Craft
Truth be told, this is a year-round craft. But just imagine this little guy in fall colors. All you need to do is layer circles and triangles. This great idea is courtesy of Kids Crafts Made Easy.

 

Have any other fall-inspired shape fun? We’d love to see them! Leave a comment with a link.

Childhood is tutus and hide ‘n sneak. (Lila, Age 2)

Each Monday, we’ll feature one photo that encapsulates childhood. Do you have an image to share? Want your child to be featured? Submit your photo to Heather at heather@kneebouncers.com. Please include your child’s first name and age. Note that you give KneeBouncers permission to use any image submitted via email.

Your KneeBouncer may love our Sounds Fun game, but why not take the fun offline with your very own dance party? Invite a few playmates over for some fun, grab some instruments and you’ve got the makings of a playful afternoon. (more…)

Horatio Paper Bag Puppet - KneeBouncers

Who doesn’t love puppets!? Now your child can bring their favorite purple KneeBouncer pal “to life” with this fun (and super easy) Horatio the Hippo purple bag puppet craft. We’ve even provided the printable.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Instructions for assembling puppet:

Download the KneeBouncers Horatio Puppet Printable

Horatio Paper Bag Puppet - KneeBouncers

It’s back! Our Friday five. Five things to do/think about this weekend and all about connecting with your kids through play.

And since we’re about purposeful play using apps and online games for babies, toddlers and preschoolers — there’s a tech twist, too! (more…)

FB_LessGuilt

Yes, says a recently released study focused on how toddlers use technology. Now, finally, parents who share their love for the latest technology with their young children can shake off any guilt and continue to play and learn. Naturally, no one is going to suggest that babies and toddlers spend entire days playing Angry Birds. However quality screen time (like the games and activities we provide at KneeBouncers) for the very young can be an additional tool for learning.

At KneeBouncers, this debate has been part of our internal discussion for years and we’ve been surprised at how slowly some larger institutions have been to recognize the benefits of ‘screen’ interaction. It’s been obvious to us, and probably to you as well, that today’s little ones are part of a different world. Technology is, and most likely will always be an important part of their lives. As parents, you too, especially if you’re reading this, clearly see technology as an important part of your child’s development.

At KneeBouncers, we strive to provide parents with quality content that they can share with their children. Our name “KneeBouncers” says it all, the “knee” we’re referring to is yours, and the ‘bouncers’ are your kids! KneeBouncers! 🙂

Though we’ve always been very confident in our own observations, it is comforting that studies are now supporting what we already knew. Parents, you can rest a little easier letting your children play with age-appropriate games, apps and video. Be selective and as always – everything in moderation.

Now that you know there’s nothing to feel guilty about – lets play!

You can read more details at PBS’s web site here.

Snowy, cold February got you stuck inside? These five great picture books about winter and snow are perfect for snuggling for a cozy afternoon read!

Red Sled

Red Sled by Lita Judge

In this almost wordless picture book, a host of woodland creatures take a child’s sled for a nighttime joy ride. Their whimsical ride is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless tone and classic characters, RED SLED will become a wintertime favorite.

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

In 1962, a little boy named Peter put on his snowsuit and stepped out of his house and into the hearts of millions of readers. The Snowy Day transformed children’s literature with its pioneering portrayal of an African-American child and the charming story and artwork that won it the Caldecott Medal. Fifty years later, Viking proudly celebrates Peter’s adventure in this very special edition. Featuring eight pages of bonus material and a festive cover, this oversized edition of Keats’s beloved book is a must-have.

Owl Moon

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

A girl and her father go owling on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge through snow “whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl”; here and there, hidden in ink-blue shadows, a fox, raccoon, field mouse and deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl’s call once without answer, then again. From out of the darkness “an echo/ came threading its way/ through the trees.” Schoenherr’s watercolor washes depict a New England few readers see: the bold stare of a nocturnal owl, a bird’s-eye view of a farmhouse. In harmony with the art, the melodious text brings to life an unusual countryside adventure.

White Snow Bright Snow

White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt

When the first flakes fell from the grey sky, the postman and the farmer and the policeman and his wife scurried about doing all the practical things grownups do when a snowstorm comes. But the children laughed and danced, and caught the lacy snowflakes on their tongues. All the wonder and delight a child feels in a snowfall is caught in the pages of this book — the frost ferns on the window sill, the snow man in the yard and the mystery and magic of a new white world. Roger Duvoisin’s pictures in soft blue half-tones with brilliant splashes of yellow and red emphasize the gaiety and humor as well as the poetic quality of the text.

The Snowy Day - Milbourne

The Snowy Day by Anna Milbourne & Elena Temporin

This is an enchanting seasonal title in the rapidly expanding “Usborne Picture Books” series, which introduce the youngest of children to engaging subjects in a friendly and informative way. Young children will adore following the icy delights of a snowy day, from sparkling frost to pretty snowflakes and sleepy squirrels to frozen frogs. Elena Temporin’s vivid illustrations evoke all the magic and excitement of a winter’s day.

International Children's Book Day

April 2nd is known in schools around the world as International Children’s Book Day (ICBD). Created by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in 1967, ICBD is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.

This year, the US chapter of IBBY is sponsoring the celebration. The theme? Bookjoy! Around the World!

Why not celebrate by reading your kiddo one of the 2013 Outstanding International Books? Be sure to check out the International Children’s Digital Library, too!

There has been a lot of news this week that looks at digital learning content for kids — specifically younger kids. In case you didn’t catch it, we’ve got the scoop on recent headlines related to baby games, toddler games, preschool games and digital learning content.

 

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, some of the Elf on the Shelf photos we’ve found on the internet are a whole lotta fun. So today we thought we’d give parents (and kids) everywhere a little holiday giggle. Enjoy!

LilBlueBoo-ElfontheShelf

Sneaking Syrup
Image Credit: Lil Boo Blue

FreezerElf

Freezer Elf
Image Credit: Cherishing the InBetweens

CandyCaneZiplining

Candy Cane Zip Lining
Image Credit: Rae of Light Photography

cruising

Cruising
Image Credit: Jen McKen Photography

toothpaste

Toothpaste Fun?
Image Credit: A Small Snippet

thanksgiving turkey craft

Need some kid-friendly conversation starters around the Thanksgiving table? Check out some of these fun facts to share!

What turkey? Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.

No forks?! Did you know Pilgrims didn’t use forks? They used spoons, knives and their fingers.

Abraham Lincoln first declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

How MUCH turkey? More than 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day, 50% percent put their stuffing inside the turkey and more than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.

Hens and Toms. A female turkey is called a hen and makes a clucking sound. A male turkey is know as a “Tom” and gobbles. At maturity, the average turkey shows off 3,500 feathers.

Macy’s Day Parade. The annual Thanksgiving Day parade tradition began in 1924 and involved a menagerie of live animals like camels, bears, and elephants. The large helium balloons replaced the live animals in 1927. To fill the 15 balloon floats it takes 300,000 cubic feet of helium — that’s 3.4 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

Cranberries and Birds? Cranberries got their name because people thought the stem of a plant looked like a crane.

 

Fun Fact Sources: WHSV.com, History.com, and Archeology.com.

Gratitude

It’s the start of November — which in the United States means we’re starting to think about Thanksgiving. Of course, we all want our children to be grateful for the things they have, but gratitude isn’t exactly tangible. How do you teach your youngest KneeBouncers about being thankful?

Well, we’ve got five ideas!

1. Create a Family Gratitude Journal
Pick-up a blank notebook and have your kids decorate it. Each day, have one child draw a picture and write what they are thankful for (you can even have children take turns, alternating days). If your child is too young to write, write what they are grateful for beneath their picture.

2. Volunteer
Believe it or not, your kids can never be too young to start volunteering! Of course, you can volunteer formally through an established organization, but you can also volunteer informally by helping a neighbor, helping with a community garden or picking up and delivering canned goods to a local shelter.

3. Create Your Own Thank-You Note Cards
Work together to create thank you cards that you can easily jot in notes when your child receives a gift. Even if your child can’t write a note, they can dictate a note to you — or create the art on the front of the card (which, presumably, Grandma will love just as much if not more than the note sentiment!).

4. Model Thankfulness
Where do your kids — especially young kids — take their cues from? YOU! Be sure to model thankfulness in your every day interactions.

5. Bedtime Chats
One of the quietest times of day is right before bed. As you’re tucking your kiddos in, ask them about their day — and the three best things that happened to them that day. Reflection will help reinforce gratitude.

What other ways to help create a culture of gratitude and thankfulness in your house?

Halloween is fast approaching! Just in case you were still in need of some inspiration, today’s Friday Five is a round-up of fun tech-inspired handmade costumes.

Makedo Robot

DIY Robot
MakeDo has a great tutorial for creating a DIY cardboard robot!

iPhone Costume

iPhone Costume
See — there’s even an app for costumes! Love this  fun, toddler-friendly (and no-sew!) iPhone costume from Jen who blogs at My Own Road.

r2d2 costume

R2D2 Costume
It might be a little late to order this adorable costume from The Wishing Elephant on Etsy (maybe she has a few more in stock and can drop ship overnight?), but it might inspire your own DIY creation.

babystevejobs

Baby Steve Jobs
Found this costume on Babble. You might even already have everything you need… including the ‘apple.’

mario-and-luigi

Throwback to Nintendo?
Mario and Luigi never go out of style — and you can create a costume for your kids that’s reminiscent of your early game playing. Check out this post from Mommy Kat and Kids.

You may or may not already know that KneeBouncers was founded by two dads who wanted to give their own children fun, age-appropriate online games {started as games for baby and toddlers and has now expanded to preschoolers!}. For this Friday Five, we thought we’d pay it forward and make you aware of some other dadpreneurs with kid-friendly companies! (more…)

You know what’s great about tablet devices? How perfect they are for learning and little fingers. No need to worry about clicking and a mouse — your KneeBouncers‘ pointer finger can swipe that eBook from one page to the next. Or catch that cupcake if you’re playing our Cupcake Catch app. (more…)

Make Your Own KneeBouncers Halloween Masks!

Is your preschooler a huge KneeBouncers fan? Now they can “dress up” as their favorite KB character with this fun activity and free mask printable!

Our easy mask worksheet gives you two ways to create a mask: 1) just print our the template of your favorite character (or all 6!), cut, and attach a popsicle stick to create a Venetian-style stick mask; 2) print out the template, punch holes in the side, cut eyes, and attach string for a more traditional one.

Perfect for stimulating imaginative and creative play!

Make Your Own KneeBouncers Halloween Masks!

Haven’t you always wondered what Foo Foo would look like as a unicorn princess?

All you need to do to get started is download the free KneeBouncers Halloween Masks Printable and assemble the mask. Then let your child play! Will they be Sly Cat, Horatio, Foo Foo, Caesar, Freddy or Sammy?

{As an extra bonus, the stick masks double as puppets.}

Don’t forget to post a pic of your KneeBouncer ‘all dressed up’ on our Facebook wall. We love to see fans!

Make Your Own KneeBouncers Halloween Masks!

Just another fun way to play with purpose. Happy Halloween!

How Babies FeelThe ways in which you interact with your baby effects how he or she feels — and how he or she decides what is important. For example, babies learn what is important to pay attention to by following the eye gaze of adults. When you show facial emotions, your child is learning from you, too! So go head, make that silly (or sad) face.

Summer road trip season is upon us. Luckily for all you tech-savvy parents out there, your smart phone will give you a few tricks to hide up your virtual sleeve that makes road travel with toddlers just a wee bit easier. Here are eight apps I’m currently loving (and you will too!). (more…)

I can only listen to so many Raffi-like songs before I want to beat my head against the wall. You too? Glad I’m in good company.

Luckily, there are GREAT kindie bands that will satisfy your need for good music and your kids’ need for pint-sized friendly lyrics. Check out some of our favorites: (more…)

I’ll admit, yesterday’s giveaway question was a wee bit influenced by the fact that I need to come up with some killer bake sale recipes for my daughter’s preschool festival next week. But, like always, KneeBouncer fans are FULL of ideas. Thanks for the suggestions! (more…)

We’ve all seen that photo with the preschooler standing next to his father at the bathroom sink, learning to ‘shave.’ But grown-up let’s pretend isn’t the only thing you can do with the foamy stuff! (more…)

GET INFORMED: We are not at all comfortable that a child could inadvertently spend your money nor are we comfortable that they be subjected to advertising that is meaningless to them and potentially unsafe. Many people and companies have approached us with on-site and in-app advertising opportunities and we continue to decline. Why? It’s simple: we believe that all children should be free to play safely. In app and in-game advertisements allow your child to too easily maneuver from the app into potentially unsafe territory online. It’s why we’ll never do what some other developers are…. If you buy a subscription or app from us, access to play safely is exactly what you get. Plain and simple. (more…)

Keep on KneeBouncin’!Be first to know when we launch a new game or video!
Keep on KneeBouncin'!Be the first to know when we launch a new game or video!

Thanks for checking out KneeBouncers! We would love to let you know when we launch a new game or video, so sign up for our mailing list.
Also, as a thank you, we'll send you an alphabet coloring sheet download with all sorts of fun characters for your little one to color.
Thank you again!