Easter Egg Science Experiment for Kids

egg

Teach kids about why some things float and others sink with this fun Easter-themed science experiment.

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3 Ways to Enjoy Messy Play this Spring

messyoutside

Embrace the warmer weather by getting the kids outside. Here are 3 fun messy activities, perfect for outdoor play, where messes clean up easily.

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5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do

Watch this TedTalk by Gever Tulley about the 5 dangerous things we don’t let our kids do anymore—but should. Here’s a hint: the first one is play with fire! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about research that suggests “dangerous play” is important for kids, and may have an anti-phobic effect. If you’re looking for more ways to allow your kids some freedom and risk, Tulley has some “sharp” ideas.

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The Surprising Ways Audiobooks Enhance Playtime

audiobooks

Every kid’s room should have a stash of audiobooks accessible to them, and here’s why.

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Are Your Kids Getting Enough Dangerous Play?

bike

Research shows that opportunities for “risky” play in childhood may decrease the likelihood of phobias later in life.

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The 3 Big Mistakes We Make With Kids’ Sports

soccer

Chances are our kids will quit sports by age 13. And it’s our fault.

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3 Rules You Should Let Your Kids Break

threerules

Classic wisdom isn’t always wise. Here are three rules to let your kids break more often with healthy outcomes.

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Tim Brown Says Play Unleashes Creativity in Adults

In this TEDTalk Tim Brown, CEO of the innovation and design firm IDEO, illustrates the powerful connection between play and creativity. Even as adults we can learn from kids to enhance our own creativity. Brown also addresses the false dichotomy, that one must be either playful or serious, and instead shows how we can move seamlessly between those modes, just as children move between play and other activities.

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Does Hollywood Tell Kids the World is Mostly Male?

theater

Male voices still dominate G-rated movies, and not all pass the “Bechdel test.” What messages does Hollywood send our kids?

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Champ Stuffies® Toy!

champ

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Champ Stuffie™, the lion who’s quick to stand up for others! The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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How to Create a Safer Childhood: Eliminate Rules

tree

A New Zealand school eliminated rules at recess and saw a reduction in bullying and injuries. It’s a counterintuitive result that should cause us to rethink some of our parenting instincts.

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New Conversation Hearts for Valentine’s Day

hearts2

Give your kids a deeper message of love today besides “Ur Sweet.” Remind them that you love them for who they are, and it’s what’s inside that counts.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Stuffies® Toy of Your Choice!

winanystuffie

We love our readers! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re giving away any free Stuffie™ to one lucky winner this week.

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Why Kids Shouldn’t Go for the Gold

hockey

Feverishly trying to win may not always produce the best performance in kids. But competition is a part of reality. If going for the gold isn’t always the best thing what should we be going for? Experts in the field have some ideas.

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Why the Olympics Terrify Me as a Parent

ski

The Olympics remind us that sometimes we have to throw the rules out the window as parents.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Dash Stuffies® Toy!

dash

Enter for your chance to win a FREE Dash Stuffie™, the horse who is always taking charge and getting things done. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Why Your Kids Should Play More Board Games

boardgame

Playing board games has surprising benefits for kids on multiple levels. Here are 5 big reasons, plus tips on what makes a great board game.

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The Surprising Way to Persuade Your Kids Without Nagging

reading

Stories have a powerful influence on people of all ages, especially kids. Find out four ways stories can have a positive effect on your kids, and not just for language development.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Prancine Stuffies® Toy!

winastuffie2

She’s the unicorn who believes everyone has a little magic inside, and kids love her! Enter for your chance to win a FREE Prancine Stuffie™ and you’ll also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Stuffies® Activity: Hot Potato Stuffies®

hotpotato

This classic game with a Stuffies® twist makes a great birthday party game, play group activity, or preschool learning opportunity.

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Turn Insanely Cold Weather Into Fun Science for Preschoolers

magnifyingglass

Try these fun experiments and activities with preschoolers to help them learn about snow and ice.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Bravo Stuffies® Toy!

bravo

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Bravo Stuffie™, the bear who always cheers for others. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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5 Beginners’ Tips for Taking Better Photos of Kids at Play

photos

Are blurry appendages and out-of-focus faces ruining the would-be adorable photos of your kids playing? Try these tips from the pros for capturing priceless childhood moments.

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10 Free (Or Almost Free) Family Activities to Beat Cabin Fever

train

Got a case of cabin fever? Get out of the house this winter with one of these ten ridiculously cheap family outings.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Shuffles Stuffies® Toy!

shuffles

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Shuffles Stuffie™, the turtle who knows steady patience wins the race. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Why Rough-and-Tumble Play is Essential

wrestling

Rough-and-tumble play is different from harmful, aggressive behavior. In fact it offers numerous benefits for kids in early development when done safely.

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Why I Hope Schools Make Time For Play

school

Play isn’t just a break from learning. It’s learning in and of itself. With the focus on rigorous academic standards and testing, are we losing the opportunity for kids to play and explore their own interests?

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Gracie Stuffies® Toy!

gracie

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Gracie Stuffie™, the hippo who can maintain composure in any situation. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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3 Ways to Respond When Your Kids Get Frustrated

frustrated

The source of kids’ frustration is not always a boring or unpleasant task. Sometimes play can cause frustration—whether it’s pressure to perform at a sport or a building block tower that won’t stay together. Here are three ways to respond as a parent.

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No Such Thing As Too Much TV?

tv.c

With all the conflicting studies and viewpoints on kids and their TV-watching habits, what should parents do? Perhaps worrying about how much TV kids watch is focusing on the wrong side of the issue.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Whisper Stuffies® Toy!

whisper

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Whisper Stuffie™, the cat who knows the power of listening. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Our Top Ten Posts of the Year

noduh

As we close out 2013, here’s a look at readers’ top ten posts of the year. These posts received the most shares on Facebook and through other social media.

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Stuffies® Activity: New Year’s Resolutions

reading

Try this fun goal-setting activity with your family using your Stuffies® seven secret pockets to kick off the New Year.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Sky Stuffies® Toy!

sky

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Sky Stuffie™, the giraffe who is always reaching for new heights. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Why 3 Billion Hours of Gaming Per Week May Not Be Enough

Our world spends billions of hours per week playing video games, and video games are one of the most popular gifts to give at this time of the year. While some parents may worry about the time spent playing these games–and pediatricians voice concern about an increasingly sedentary childhood–online game designer Jane McGonigal has a different perspective. She thinks video game-playing can solve real world problems. The billions of hours spent at the console can help kids and adults develop skills uniquely suited for the challenges the future holds. What if there was a game that allowed players to design a solution to a future oil shortage? What if a financial crisis could be solved by gamers? McGonigal thinks it can happen, and by her calculations, 3 billion hours of video game-playing per week may not be enough. Watch this talk for an innovative view on how play can change the world.

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The Missing School Subject Vital for Success

creative

Everyone wants more focus on science, more math, more reading in schools. What about creativity and play?

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Blaze Stuffies® Toy!

winastuffie.blaze

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Blaze Stuffie™, dragon who’s always roaring with courage. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Why I’m Breaking Family Holiday Traditions

tradition

When it comes to family, coordinating holiday get-togethers can be filled with stress, conflicting expectations, and hard work. So how do you break free when you need to make a change that’s best for your family? Here’s what we decided this year.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Stuffies® Toy of Your Choice!

winanystuffie

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Stuffie™ of your choice! The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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What Parents Should Learn from “The Sound of Music Live!”

tv

NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!” is a good reminder for a few valuable lessons about parenting, play, and life.

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How to Avoid a Play Date Disaster

mystery

Playing with other kids apart from adults offers numerous benefits to kids. Try these tips to make sure your next play date is a success.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Stomper Stuffies® Toy!

stomper

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Stomper Stuffie™, the dinosaur who squashes any problem. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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The Art of Saying Yes to Your Kids

getyes

Do you ever feel like you’re saying “no” all the time to your kids? Take a break from the two-letter word and learn how to say “yes” more often without letting your kids walk all over you.

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The Best Black Friday Shopping is Free

blackfriday

It’s not too late to enter this week’s drawing for a chance to win a free Bizzy the bee Stuffies® toy. They make great Christmas gifts, and they provide fun opportunities to start new holiday traditions. Did you know that Stuffies® can deliver mail to Santa? Have you ever thought of using a Stuffie™ as a Christmas stocking? Discover 3 fun ways to use Stuffies® this holiday season.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Bizzy Stuffies® Toy!

bizzy

Enter our weekly drawing for a chance to win a free Bizzy Stuffie™, the bee who is always buzzing to help others. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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3 Fun Thanksgiving Car Games

travel

Your threats to the turn the car around when things get rough are pointless. Your kids know that you’re committed to going to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving. So skip the threats and try these car games to make the drive time go smoothly.

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Stuffies® Activity: Thanksgiving Stuffing Game

thanksgiving

Here’s a fun activity to help your kids get in the thankful spirit before the big turkey day. All you need is your Stuffie™’s seven secret pockets and a few things you’re thankful for. It could be a fun new tradition for your family, and it gives your kids the chance to receive the numerous benefits of practicing gratitude.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Scout Stuffies® Toy!

scout

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Scout Stuffie™, the monkey who is always watching out for others. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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3 Ways The Trendiest Toys Are Killing Imagination

limitcreative

With their brightly colored packaging and friendly themes, it’s hard to imagine that some toys may be doing more harm than good. Trends in current toys, however, may actually be working against kids’ development of imagination, creativity, and cognitive abilities.

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The Trouble With Being an Introverted Parent

introvert

Parenting can be draining and daunting for introverts and extraverts alike, but for different reasons. Here are some tips for handling some of the parenting situations that are most challenging for introverts.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Muddzie Stuffies® Toy!

muddzie

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Muddzie Stuffie™, the pig who is not afraid to get dirty helping others. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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7 Ways Not to Talk to Kids

talktokids

Why are there so many adults that don’t know how to talk to kids? Conversations with kids can be insightful, meaningful, and hilarious when you take the time to do it right. Avoid these 7 common conversation faux pas.

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When Did Girls Stop Liking Blue?

blue

It’s time for girls to take back the rainbow. Pink is a wonderful color, but can we stop using it as a way to reinforce stereotypes? We need to empower our children to beg in ALL the toy aisles, not just the ones color-coded for their gender.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Digger Stuffies® Toy!

winastuffie

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Digger Stuffie™, the dog who digs deep to help others. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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Stuffies® Activity: Stuffies® Slumber Party

slumber

Looking for a fun weekend activity with the kids? Have a Stuffies® slumber party in the living room. To make it extra fun, follow these instructions to make an easy no-sew Stuffies® sleeping bag.

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Has Playground Safety Gone Too Far?

merrygoround2

Ask your 4-year-old what a merry-go-round is, and see if he knows the answer. Or how about a teeter-totter? For better or worse, playgrounds are changing. Explore what this means for kids growing up today.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Wonderella Stuffies® Toy!

wonderella

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Wonderella Stuffie™, the Pegasus who knows your dreams can take you anywhere. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift!

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What I Wish I Could Give My Kids That I Had

backyard

Compared to the 1970s, children spend 50% less time in unstructured outdoor activities. One of the biggest casualties? Informal backyard sports. What our kids stand to lose from this trend, however, is bigger than just a game.

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Are You Overscheduling Your Introverted Child?

busy

Why your introverted child may suffer from “the overscheduled child” syndrome more so than his extraverted peers—and what you can do about it.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Igby Stuffies® Toy!

igby

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Igby Stuffie™, the iguana that dances to his own beat. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift!

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The Solution for Moms who Hate Pinterest

imagination2

Feeling the Pinterest pressure? Relax! Skip organized, structured activities in favor of invitations to play and watch their imaginations blossom.

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How to Stop Nagging Your Kids to Pick Up (And Hating Your Own Voice!)

cleaning2

Hating the sound of your own voice when you nag your kids to clean up after themselves? Try one mom’s strategy for getting her kids to clean with zero nagging. This one blew my mind.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Whisper Stuffies® Toy!

whisper

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Whisper Stuffie™, the cat who knows the power of listening. The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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An Open Letter to the School That Banned Cartwheels

cartwheel

No more recess, no more ball, no more games of tag at all… declares a New York middle school. It’s a shame because we all need more cartwheels in our lives, and here’s why.

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Stop Trying to Fix My Introverted Child

introvert

Introverted children are not broken. You don’t need to fix them. But here are 3 strategies for how to help introverted kids in an extrovert’s world.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Champ Stuffies® Toy!

champ

Enter our weekly drawing to win a free Champ Stuffie™, the lion who’s quick to stand up for others! The winner will also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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5 Ways Kids Can Give Back This Fall

raking

Do you have a bucket list of fall service projects for your child? See how many of these fun and important ideas your family can tackle this fall!

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Mama Confessions: Still Unprepared for Parenting

eyeexam

Even the world’s most experienced parent is still unprepared for parenting at times. Aren’t we all? So let’s all cut ourselves some slack and stop being so hard on ourselves.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Blaze Stuffies® Toy!

winastuffie.blaze

One of the newest Stuffies®, just released in August, Blaze is the dragon who’s always roaring with courage. Does your little one need a boost in courage? Win him or her a FREE Blaze Stuffie™ in this week’s drawing!

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Give a Baby Gift that Makes Mom Say “Awww!”

babygift

September is the month when the most babies are born. Do you know anyone who had a baby in the past month? Surprise her with a clever gift where the best part is the wrapping!

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Shut off the Screens for Better Shuteye

tv.b

Falling asleep after watching an hour of television in bed may seem like a normal routine for adults. Research shows, however, that excessive “screen time” for kids not only detracts from unstructured playtime—it can also be detrimental to their sleep habits.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Prancine Stuffies® Toy!

winastuffie2

She’s the unicorn who believes everyone has a little magic inside, and kids love her! Enter for your chance to win a FREE Prancine Stuffie™ and you’ll also receive a free storybook and mystery gift.

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5 Tips for Boosting Your Child’s Imagination (and why it matters)

imagination2

Would your child rather engage in passive activities like watching television than imaginative play? Try these ideas to get their make-believe juices flowing. Plus find out why it’s so important!

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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Plato, Greek Philosopher

Why Less Playtime May Cause Mental Health Disorders

disorder1

Children’s playtime has declined over the years while the rate of psychological disorders in kids has increased. Is it a coincidence or are the two trends connected? Play experts weigh in.

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Weekly Giveaway: Win a Free Digger Stuffies® Toy!

winastuffie

Introducing our first weekly giveaway! Enter for your chance to win a FREE Digger Stuffie™, storybook and mystery gift.

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Stuffies® Activity: Mystery Stuff Game

mystery

What is all that stuff stuffed in that Stuffie™? It’s anybody’s guess! Your kids will love this fun and tactile guessing game you can play with your Stuffies®.

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Low Test Scores? Blame the Boogeyman

bedtimefear

New sleep research says that irregular bedtimes may disrupt young children’s brain development. What should you do when bedtime fears are ruining a good night’s sleep?
Try these tips when things go bump in the night.

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Are Schools Learning Facilities… or Prisons?

school

Is our education system on the right path to facilitate true learning and prepare kids for adulthood? Or have we missed the boat, as developmental psychologist Peter Gray believes, by undervaluing children’s natural drive to play and explore?

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How Play Makes us Smarter, Healthier and Happier

What can we learn from a hungry polar bear that abandons his predatory intentions at the first invitation to play? Founder of the National Institute for Play and author of the book Play, Dr. Stuart Brown proposes that play is an evolved behavior important for the wellbeing and survival of animals, especially those with higher intelligence. He believes we’re designed to play through our whole lifetime and that it can make us smarter at any age. Watch this fascinating TEDTalk and share your thoughts: How often do you engage in play as an adult?

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Get Your Kids To Do Your Housework… And Thank You For It

cleaning

One of the world’s most famous nannies, Mary Poppins, said, “In ev’ry job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game.” Here are a few ideas for making cleanup time less of a chore for kids. They’re not officially Mary Poppins-approved, but we think she’d like them.

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4 Myths about Raising Readers

reading

Hitting the books instead of “wasting time” by playing may not always pay off when it comes to raising a reader. Explore 4 myths about raising readers in this post and get expert tips for cultivating a love of books.

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Why Better Playtime Means Better Sleep

sleep

How many times have you wished your child would sleep longer each night or sleep better throughout the night? At almost every stage of childhood, a lack of good quality rest is a common complaint among parents. Now, with the school year in full swing for many families getting a good night’s sleep is more [...]

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“The drive to play freely is a basic, biological drive. Lack of free play may not kill the physical body, as would lack of food, air, or water, but it kills the spirit and stunts mental growth.”

Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn

The Case for Lazier Parenting

lazier

Investing time and effort in your children are noble pursuits. When does it make sense be less protective, less directive and less involved in every moment of your children’s lives?

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Stuffies® Activity: Noisemaker Stuffies®

noise

Kids love to make noise, especially when you give them permission. Help your kids turn their Stuffies® into a complete noise-making orchestra. All they need is their Stuffies®’ seven secret pockets and a few supplies from around the house.

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Recess: Bully Breeding Ground or Crucial Break?

playgroundb

Why is every kid’s favorite subject disappearing from schools around the country? The trend of cutting recess started as a way to make room for academics. Now there is a new fear that threatens the future of playtime during school: the Big Bad Bully.

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6 Ways to Boost Confidence through Play

helping

They just think they’re playing. Underneath the playful exterior, however, they’re developing the confidence they’ll need to meet challenges later in life. Here are six ways you can help facilitate the process.

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Help! My Kids Won’t Play By Themselves

attention

Are your kids constantly hounding you for attention? Do you rely on the TV as a babysitter just to get a break? Try these tips for changing your title from Chief Entertainment Officer to parent.

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Are Kids Today More Imaginative Than 20 Years Ago?

imagination

Walk through the toy section of any store and you’ll see a plethora of characters from movies and TV shows. The sheer volume of merchandising out there indicates how much time kids spend today watching TV and movies and the level of influence these stories have on play. Some experts say that this level of [...]

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Stuffies® Activity: Bedtime Stuffies®

bedtime

Turn your Stuffies® into the ultimate bedtime heroes. We’ll show you how to transform your classic Stuffie™ into a “Lullaby Stuffie™” or “Toasty Stuffie™.”

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5 Summer Service Projects for Kids

Who says a princess party can't be a service project, too?

Do your kids have what it takes to stop the alien weed invasion? Can hosting a princess party be a service project? When the kids are complaining about boredom this summer, try one of these 5 fun service projects to spice things up while doing something good for someone else.

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Schools Kill Creativity says Ken Robinson

Are we educating people out of their creative capacities? Creativity Expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges education systems across the globe in this TEDTalk. We’ve already discussed how academic structures have reduced free playtime for children. In this talk Robinson argues that our current system also stifles creativity. Watch this video presentation and share your thoughts. Are we squandering children’s talents? Do you agree that creativity is as important as literacy (or perhaps broccoli) today?


Becky Langdon is a senior columnist for Project Playtime and Stuffies®, America’s favorite plush toy with 7 secret pockets.

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Stuffies® Activity: Take your Stuffies® on a backyard campout

camping

Create a packing list for what you need on a backyard campout, and have the kids stuff their Stuffies® with the things on the list. It’s a fun and easy staycation that doesn’t require much planning.

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Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.

Fred Rogers, Children’s Television Show Host

Why kids play less now than 40 years ago (and why you should care)

40years

Even though they had to walk 5 miles to school – uphill both ways – previous generations had 9 more hours of playtime per week than today’s children. Busy schedules, academic changes, and structured activities are encroaching on this critical resource.

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5 ways experienced parents survive road trips with kids

trip

No need to turn the car around when things get rough. We’ve got tips for taking playtime on the go and surviving summer travels with children.

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Play is the highest form of research.

Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist

How Much Stuff Can You Stuff in Your Stuffie?

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Studies say playtime is vitally important(kids say no duh)

noduh2

Playtime isn’t just a way to keep them busy while you have a cup of coffee and read this blog. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s critical for the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing of children.

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Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.

Plato, Greek Philosopher

A new blog by parents, for parents

noduh

Why are we so passionate about play? Because we’re parents first. Chuck Hengel, creator of Stuffies®, was a dad before he was a toymaker. When he came up with Stuffies® he was more interested in impressing his kids than creating “the next big thing.”

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