• 6 Ways to Encourage Kids to Play Outdoors

    Posted on by Scott Juchnevicius

    As children grow, their individual personalities start to shine through. While some are naturally more active, playtime outside is necessary and enjoyable for all children. With all of the forms of entertainment indoors, parents sometimes need to give an extra push to get them out the door. At Funzalo Toys, we offer a wide variety of toys that can help encourage any child to spend time in nature, regardless of their individual personalities. We’ve outlined some examples below.

    Provide remote control toys for kids, and make a rule that they are only for outdoor play. These are a great way to motivate children who love video games to get outside. We offer a variety of these toys including flying saucers, helicopters and race cars.

    Do arts and crafts outside. Many children are avid collectors, so encourage them to find objects in nature, and then make a collage. This is a winner with children who spend their time indoors drawing and coloring. Plus, summertime gets us thinking about sidewalk chalk, a timeless favorite for kids of all ages and interests.

    Teach children about nature, and help them discover and identify insects and plants. From magnifying glasses to garden rakes, we offer many kids' educational toys online at our website. Children can help work in the garden, an activity with lasting benefits according to the Children and Nature Network.

    Fun in the water is another big motivator. There are a variety of outdoor play toys for kids on our website including beach balls, inflatable pools and squirt guns. While this is only an option on hot summer days, children always look forward to these activities. We also have other outdoor sporty activities like sandbox tools, inflatable rubber balls and a Nerf flag football kit.

    Go on a hike. Depending on age, this can be simply a hike around the backyard or a longer hike in a local park or forest. Explain that it is an adventure, and encourage children to pack a backpack with items like binoculars and a child-size compass. We have a few kits for this purpose, like bug catcher sets.

    Provide free time in different locations, like a local park, forest or beach, so that children can explore nature on their own. Provide pretend play toys like silly hats and costumes to allow the imagination to roam, and if old enough, allow children free rein of a previously defined area. This independent play time is essential to a child's development as indicated by a University of Colorado study described on the health website Wake Up World.

    Children adapt easily to different environments, so even though they might complain at first, we have found that they quickly stop fighting it and enjoy outdoor play time. Fresh air and sunlight benefit children's physical health, and spending time playing outdoor games and exploring aids in psychological development. At Funzalo Toys, we are committed to providing the toys to encourage healthy, fun play.

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  • Understanding Your Child's Stuffed Animal Attachment

    Posted on by Scott Juchnevicius

    If you have ever tried to switch out your child's favorite stuffed animal for a new toy, then you know how mothers across the world feel when one of them accidentally goes missing. Absolutely nothing will soothe their little ones until they get it back. Believe it or not, there is a reason for that. So if you want to avoid the frustration and tears, read on for more information about why children are so attached to their stuffed animals.

    The Inner Essence

    According to the results of tests that were done by psychologists, children don't think that their favorite stuffed animal is just another inanimate object. To them, it has something of an inner essence, which can be referred to as similar to a “soul.” So they become emotionally attached to the little being as if it is truly alive. During the testing, they discovered that even if an identical copy of the toy was offered, children still wanted their original toy because of the bond that they had formed with it.

    A Lifelong Friend

    Some moms might worry that a child being too attached to a stuffed animal is a sign of something wrong. This reasoning is mostly based on old studies from the 1970's that said that it could be a sign that a child hasn't formed a proper bond to their mother. However, the connection between a child and their favorite stuffed animal is completely healthy, and it is one that is remembered for years to come. Some adults still have their old stuffed animals tucked away in a box, which they show to their own children when they are old enough.

    New Toys

    The best way to get a child to try out a new toy is to integrate it with the child's old toy simultaneously. For example, a mother might offer to set up a tea party to “introduce” the child's old toy with the new stuffed animals, but the old toy should never be completely taken away because this could teach a child not to trust a parent. However, if the problem is that the old toy is lost with no hope of being found, a new toy shouldn't be offered as a replacement. The child has to choose their own toys to bond with, and to them, anything else but what they love will not be acceptable.

    Children will react more positively to toys that they get to pick out themselves. So when it is time to buy plush toys online as replacements for those that are worn out, allow them to make some choices between a few of them, but make sure that the toys that they get to choose are from an age appropriate selection.

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  • The Benefits of Pretend Play for Kids

    Posted on by Scott Juchnevicius

    You stand just outside the door of the playroom, listening as your toddler or preschooler talks to her stuffed bear, reenacting a conversation you have with her on a daily basis about finishing her breakfast. You marvel at how much she is absorbing. From toddlerhood to early education classes at school, play is your child's most important job. There are a few aspects of child development that are encouraged specifically by pretend play.

    Playing With Others

    When toddlers are just starting on their journey through play, they are unable to play cooperatively with other children. They parallel play, or play while sitting next to other kids, but they will not join in on another's game or role-playing scenario. The first step they make towards cooperative play is through pretending with their dolls and stuffed animals. They learn to share things with their dolls and take care of their dolls, using them to create different situations. They talk to the dolls as if they were other children, making it easier to play more socially later on.

    Expression of Emotions

    Pretend play allows children a place to practice expressing emotions. They often recreate things that happened to them and convey feelings of fear where they initially had none, or composure where there was initially a meltdown. Experimenting with different reactions in a safe place is practice for using the proper responses in real life situations.

    Improving Verbal Skills

    Children love to imitate. They remember words and phrases used by mom, dad, professionals they meet, such as teachers and dentists, and people they see on television. When they pretend to be these people while playing, they are building their vocabulary by repeating these words and phrases, often using them correctly even if they do not fully understand their meaning yet. Not only does pretend play build on their vocabulary but it also helps their speech become clearer. As with anything, practice makes perfect.

    Develop Problem Solving Skills

    Pretend play requires children to think outside the box. Obviously children who want to play "mom" are not going to be allowed to use the real stove to "cook supper," and they may not have access to a play stove. So, a child has to find an alternative option to use as a stove, forcing them to use their imagination and problem-solving skills. Other ways that pretend play helps children develop problem solving skills include coming up with new roles to play when multiple children are included or finding ways to share toys when one particular toy is needed for multiple roles.

    How to Encourage Pretend Play

    Provide your child with many options for use in their pretend play scenarios. Things around the house can be helpful including empty boxes, old shoes, purses, and hats, old telephones, and blankets. FunzaloToys.com offers kids educational toys online including the best quality stuffed animals and outdoor play toys for kids. Their best pretend play toys range from jewelry, mustaches, and pretend money to wooden play kitchen sets and dress up cubby centers. Children's pretend play toys are wonderful for helping them jump enthusiastically into pretend play.

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