Puzzle CarSqueak, squeak… make way for the Sevi Squeaky Car.  This adorable little car is lots of fun and will help develop motor skills, imaginative play and logic.  It’s colorful blocks turn into a fun car with a squeaky sound.

About Sevi:

Sevi is an Italian wooden-toy manufacturer, the oldest in Europe, known for its sophisticated style and international design influences that have been the brand’s hallmark since its founding in 1831.  Sevi products are handcrafted and hand-painted; any irregularities or slight differences from toy to toy are characteristics of a hand-made product, which adds to the value of these toys.  All pigments and finishes used are non-toxic and resistant to saliva; this means that Sevi toys are suitable for small children.  Sevi is so confident in the quality of their toys that they back them up with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

Review:

Sevi has made what is traditionally known as a boy’s toy, a gender-neutral toy that both boys and girls are drawn to.  The cheerful passenger block has a boy’s face on one side, and a girl’s face on the other.  The mix of neon and pastel colored blocks are attractive to all, and makes this toy stand out.

Your child will continue to come back to this aesthetically appealing toy.  There is something about it that makes you want to play with it.  Maybe it’s the fun designs and bright colors or it could be the rewarding squeaky sound you get after it is put together.

It is extremely durable as it is made from wooden blocks that can be disassembled and re-assembled over and over again. The rubber strips on the wheels allow for great gripping action on virtually any type of surface.  The rubber strips also help protect your wood floors from getting scratched.  The rounded edges of the blocks make for a safer toy for your toddler to explore and are also easier for little hands to grip.

The squeaky car is a challenging toy for different age levels.  There are six wooden pieces that make up the car, two of which are easier to take apart than the other four.  This allows for a younger child to immediately gain a sense of gratification by being able to take apart the two easier pieces from the get go, but in turn giving them a goal to achieve, which is to disassemble and re-assembled the entire car.  Older children, that can disassemble and re-assemble the entire car, gain a sense of accomplishment and will be engaged to find new fun ways to play with the car.

As the squeaky car is built entirely out of wood, it is extremely durable.  It can handle a fall onto a hard surface and not come apart and easily holds up during active play without showing any noticeable wear and tear.   This is one of the few wooden toys that we will allow our toddler to take anywhere, and yes that includes outside.

This is a pricey toy (approximately $31.99 retail), but it is a toy that is built to last a lifetime. It is made with quality, durable wood, and you will want to keep it in your family and pass down for generations to come. Contact Little Pnuts if you’d like to purchase one for your Little Pnut.

– Misty Scott, owner/blogger at The Motley Toddler


In a pinch for some unique Valentines for your Little Pnut’s school celebration tomorrow? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a cute DIY idea that your Little Pnut will have a blast making keeping them quietly entertained as they learn through play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • Construction Paper in various colors or Valentine themed prints
  • Foam heart stickers
  • Pencils, 1 for each child
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Double-sided Sticky Tape

 

Get Ready…

Depending on the age of your Little Pnut you may need to assist throughout this activity. First you will want to set all your work out on a fairly large table so that you can spread your heart feathers out allowing the glue to dry. Help your Little Pnut select the colored sheets of paper that they would like to use for their heart feathers. They will need two sheets per heart to create a 3-D effect. This is a great way to teach your Little Pnut how certain colors combined can create different looks and help them to understand what colors work together. Your Little Pnut will also need to count out the pencils to ensure they have enough for each friend.

Get Set…

First you will need to start by cutting out the hearts. Selecting the 2 sheets of paper your Little Pnut would like to use for their arrow feather hearts, fold both sheets together so that your cut hearts will be the exact size. Slowly and carefully have your Little Pnut cut out hearts in various sizes. Cutting is a great exercise to further define and enhance fine motor skills and to introduce the concept of large & small. If your Little Pnut is too young to handle scissors alone help your Little Pnut with this step.

Play!

Once all the hearts have been cut out it’s now time to make the arrow feathers.  Using glue make a thin line along the fold of one heart adhering the second heart on the seam. Let them dry.

While the arrow feathers are drying your Little Pnut will want to create the arrow tips. Using two foam hearts of the same size, have your Little Pnut set the tip of the pencil in the middle of one heart then cover the pencil tip with the second. This will form the arrows tip.

When the arrow feathers are dry, you will now add the feathers to the pencil. Lay the pencil eraser side in the middle of one side of the hearts next to the seam. Taking a piece of double-sided sticky tape you’ll want to tape the pencil down leaving a bit of tape to cover part of the heart. Pinch the sides together to fold the pencil into the heart thus forming the feather part of the arrow. This should form the 3 wings of the arrow feathers.

There you have it, perfect Cupid’s Pencil Arrow Valentines! Now duck and cover…

Happy Playing!

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine motor development, number recognition, shape recognition, color recognition, hand-eye coordination & cognitive development.

 

—Melissa Pia Bossola Beese, Little Pnuts Founder
 
 

The holidays are always bright and cheerful and tend to bring a coziness into the home. This holiday while busy prepping, keep your Little Pnuts entertained with a tree they can decorate on their own. 

 

 

 

What You Will Need:

  • Green Construction Paper
  • Pom Poms in a variety of shapes and colors
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Get Ready…

Draw or trace a Christmas tree shape onto the green construction paper. If your Little Pnut is able, have them cut out the tree with the scissors. If your Little Pnut is not using scissors yet go ahead and cut out the tree for them ahead of time.

Create invitation for your Little Pnut to decorate their Christmas tree by setting out your materials in an inviting manner. I set our tree on our table on top of some paper towels to protect our work space. Putting the pom poms in a small bowl makes them inviting to little hands.

Trim Your Tree!

Let your Little Pnut glue and stick pom poms onto their Christmas tree until their little heart’s content.

Variations:

If you want to challenge your Little Pnut, give them some tweezers or tongs to manipulate and place the pom poms with.

If your Little Pnut is still not ready to use a bottle of glue try pouring a little glue into a small bowl or cup and allowing them to dip the pom poms into the glue prior to placing them on the tree.

Finally, sit back and admire their tree. Don’t forget to find the perfect spot to hang it for the holiday season!

Happy Playing!

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skills, Focus and Concentration, Strategic Thinking, Color Recognition, Hand-Eye Coordination, Cognitive Development, Creative Play, Free Play, Imaginative Play.

—Jennifer Haas, founder of Plain Vanilla Mom.
 
 
 

Photo Credit: Nathaniel S.

What is Play? What is structured and unstructured play? Do you ever wonder or think, is my child playing too much or not at all? When my child plays is it even educational or developmentally appropriate? As Early Childhood Development Specialists we are here to tell you, Play can be the most beneficial and important stage of your child’s life from infancy to their preschool years! Wow, You Say!  Well come on already, ask us why?

Well according to the Academy of Pediatrics, play contributes to the physical, emotional, cognitive and social skills of your child. Play also gives that time for parents and or caregivers to be fully engaged with the child. With the new movement of academics and curriculum being pushed down earlier, and with the new rush of technology many families are not engaging in play like generations ago. We know there are 2 different types of play; free play– which is when children are left to amuse themselves in any way, and use their imagination without any direction or guidance from adults. We have even witnessed some free play unsupervised for older children. Structured Play-, which is when children are given direction and or guidance in specific activities to broaden and or develop the necessary skills for their current stage of development. Both types are necessary, but more structured play can be utilized with you at home, used with nannies, and or when deciding on how to choose a school for your children.

Below are the top 5 ways to engage in more structured play with your children, to take their individual development to the next level. The key is to practice being in a conscious state as much as possible to notice what you are doing and how to adjust- not to make yourself try to be perfect.  Show your children, you can get down and dirty too!

  1. Provide new ideas and learning opportunities- Next time you are home, or the caregiver is with your child, let the child peruse around to find 2-3 of their favorite toys. Use these toys as an opportunity to ask open-ended questions, discuss observations, and use visual cues and so forth. This will open your child’s mind to answering questions (even if they can not speak). This will further benefit their comprehension and cognitive skills for the future. Make a commitment to begin this once a day!
  2. Boost up the physical activity and motor play- Do you understand how important active play is for growing children? Make use of a playground, museum, taking a walk, and or playing a movement game at home. Your child will love playing leapfrog, roll over my friend, or hop and jump scooter at home. Make up games, and remember they do not have to be lengthy; using 15 minutes to begin is just as suitable.
  3. Emotional Tolerance/Social Skills/Team Building- Children need to be given outlets and techniques for handling their emotions. Guiding our children to learn how to behave and what is expected in every situation is crucial. Learning how to work as a team, even if it is just you and baby, or sibling and baby. These are skills for life. Find games to encourage team building, kindness and concern for not only themselves but also others.
  4. Encourage Their Use of Imagination- In today’s society we do not see many people still dreaming or understanding how important it is to use your imagination. Begin on a weekday and take 15 minutes to create imaginary fun. This will not only boost their self-esteem, but also have your child engage with either words or facial expressions to show you how they are feeling. Encourage the love of books and reading by bringing life into your story time, imagination goes a long way.
  5. Take notes on your child’s developmental level- This is an important step, begin taking notes about where you feel developmentally your child is. Check out the CDC, website to get a guideline of where your child should be for their age. Use this to challenge them as you create more activities. Have fun, this is what childhood and parenting is all about. You and your child were made for each other and have a special gift together. Work on that gift, master that gift and teach others.

 

Photo Credit: Shane O’ Mac


—Jessica Howard, Little Pnuts Educational Play BloggerFounder and CEO of Kid’s Night Out Parent’s Night Off in NYC.

 

Now that the holidays are over, the long winter days can seem dreary and dull as we wait for spring flowers to bloom.  Brighten your Little Pnuts day with play by creating a light box from a few items you probably have on hand!

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 

What You Will Need

  • A large, clear plastic container with lid
  • Liner for the body of the container- a black garbage bag, black construction paper, or foil work well
  • Parchment paper
  • White Christmas lights- a strand or two will do, depending on the size of your container

Making the Light Box

First, line the body of the container with your material of choice. We used a black garbage bag – no taping required!  Next, arrange your Christmas lights so they are distributed evenly throughout the container.  Be sure to leave the plug near one end so you can find it easily.  Now, take your lid, flip it over, and line the inside with a single layer of parchment paper to diffuse the light from within.  Tape the edges down, flip it back over, and place it on top of your container.  Before locking your edges down, find your plug and pull it out enough to plug into the wall.  You can cut a hole in the side of the container for the plug if desired, but we didn’t need to.  After that, all that remains is to plug it in and enjoy the soft glow from within the light box!

Light Box Play

There are many great ways to play with your light box with Little Pnuts of all ages!  There are commercially available geometric shapes for light box play, or you can make your own by cutting up inexpensive translucent dividers. Water beads in clear containers look beautiful when placed on top of a light box (pictured)!  Another fun idea – fill plastic baggies with colored hair gel or glitter glue, place flat on top of the light box, and let your Little Pnuts practice drawing shapes or writing letters in the gel with their fingers. Drawing in translucent containers filled with a shallow layer of salt is another engaging pre-writing activity for Little Pnuts that is extra-exciting on the light table.  Manipulatives such as marbles, translucent gems, or sparkly pom-poms are fun for fine motor or counting activities.  Older Little Pnuts may enjoy using the light box for tracing activities.  A quick internet or Pinterest search for light box activities will yield many more ideas.

 

*Please keep in mind that children should always be supervised when playing near an electrical outlet or plug. DIY light boxes may become hot after extended periods of play, so be sure to monitor the temperature of the box periodically. 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Imaginative Play, Creativity, Sensory Exploration, Cognitive and Language Development

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com
 

 

 

 
 

Having a hard time keeping your Little Pnuts away from the Christmas tree this year?  Give them their own sticky trees to decorate!  This easy-to-prepare holiday activity is the perfect mix of sensory play, creativity, and fine-motor fun.

 
 
 
 

 
 

 

What You Will Need

  • Green poster board or card stock
  • Transparent adhesive shelf paper
  • Tape
  • Assorted “trimmings” for the tree- yarn, pom-poms, buttons, sequins, feathers, etc.

Making the Trees

Take your poster board or card stock and roll it into a cone, taping in place.  Trim around the bottom of the cone with scissors to make it level enough to stand.  Now, take your shelf paper and cut it into large strips.  Peel the backing off the paper and wrap the strips around the tree adhesive side out, taping in place as needed.

Time For Fun

Once your trees are covered, it’s time to have some fun!  Set your Little Pnut up with an assortment of interesting items to stick on their trees. As they decorate, provide language support by discussing the different colors, textures, and sizes of the items. Younger Little Pnuts will enjoy sticking the items on the trees and taking them back off, too! Make the activity into a game with older Little Pnuts by having them follow simple (“Put the feather at the top of the tree”) or more complex (“Put the yellow star beside the green feather”) directions. This is a great activity for targeting prepositions (position words, i.e. beside, under, on top).  Have fun and be sure to proudly display your Little Pnuts’ creations when they are done!

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Language Development (Adjectives, Prepositions, Listening Comprehension), Fine Motor Skills, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Imagination/Creativity

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com
 

 

 

 
 


 

In the mood for a winter play activity, but no snow in the forecast?  Never fear! Your Little Pnuts will love playing with this peppermint-scented cloud dough so much, they won’t even miss the fluffy stuff!  Scented cloud dough only needs three ingredients and the possibilities for creative sensory play are limited only by your imagination. 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A large plastic container
  • Flour
  • Cooking oil (we use olive oil, but vegetable oil, canola oil, and coconut oil work, too
  • Peppermint essential oil (optional)
  • Assorted kitchen tools, containers for filling/dumping, cookie cutters, small toys, pinecones, etc. for playing in your “winter wonderland”

Making the Cloud Dough:

Place your container on a low table or on the ground where your Little Pnuts can access it easily.  Add flour and cooking oil (stay away from baby oil – it smells nice but can be toxic if ingested or inhaled) in a ratio of eight parts flour to one part oil.  Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil if desired.  Have your Little Pnuts help you mix the oil into the flour with their hands, a spoon, or even a whisk.

Let the Fun Begin:

Encourage your Little Pnuts to explore the cloud dough with their hands and feet, kitchen tools, and/or toys. Use your imagination…gently press the dough into balls to make snowmen, or if you are brave, have a “snowball fight!”  Flatten the powder with your hands and use cookie cutters to stamp holiday shapes.  Use pinecones to make “trees” in your tiny winter landscape.  Measuring cups and ice-cream scoops are the perfect tools to make pretend food with your cloud dough.  You can even use a stick or a cotton swab to draw or write letters in the dough.  Open-ended play activities such as this are wonderful opportunities for language enrichment– talk about how the dough feels and smells and describe your play as you go.

Variations:

Try using various essential oils to and/or spices to add different scents to your cloud dough.  Pumpkin pie cloud dough would be a fun autumn activity; lavender-scented cloud dough would be very soothing. If you are concerned about Little Pnuts ingesting the dough, be sure you buy “therapeutic grade” essential oils as they are the only ones that are edible.

To add color to your cloud dough, try adding crushed colored chalk,  powdered gelatin or drink mixes.  Make it sparkly by adding fine glitter.  Of course, just plain-ole’ cloud dough is loads of fun, too!

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Vocabulary Development, Symbolic Play, Sensory Development, Social Interaction

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com
 
 
 


Looking for a fun activity for the kids’ table this Thanksgiving? Your tots will love making these cute little turkeys using pinecones and play dough! Give your Little Pnuts a fine motor workout with this fun and easy activity.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

What You Will Need:

  • Large Pinecones for the turkey “bodies”
  • Miniature pinecones for turkey “heads” (large acorns, pom-poms, or just a ball of play dough would work, too)
  • Play dough (any color)
  • Feathers and/or pipe cleaners (cut in half)
  • Google eyes
  • Small triangles of construction paper or craft foam for “beaks”

Making the Turkey:

Take a large pine cone and show your Little Pnut how to poke small pieces of play dough between the scales.  Next, take your feathers and/or pipe cleaners and poke them into the play dough, creating the turkey’s colorful tail.  Then, make a face on your turkey’s “head” using small bits of play dough to stick on google eyes and a beak, and for the grand finale, use a larger ball of play dough to stick the head onto the body.

For younger Little Pnuts, you may want to make the turkey’s head ahead of time and hot glue it onto the turkey’s body before doing the activity.  Older Little Pnuts will enjoy doing the whole activity themselves!  Be creative with your materials – have your Little Pnuts help you think of other items that could be used for the turkey’s feathers. Some we thought of include colorful pasta, cut-up straws, popsicle sticks, etc.

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration

Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com
 
 
 

 

 

A fun indoor or outdoor activity for Little Pnuts of all ages.  This is a game that  allows you to be a pirate and a detective all at the same time. Your Little Pnuts will have a blast “scavenging” for the treasures you’ve hidden to and fro! 

 
 
 
 
 

*We recommend that the teams have Preschoolers who are learning to read for this variation of the game.

 

What You Will Need:

  • Small, Silly, Fun Items that you can hide in various locations either in the house, outdoors, or even both.
  • Pre-made lists with all the items to be found. This will be handed out to each team to gather. To help with new readers include a picture next to each word to help with word association and to ensure they will be able to find the items they are looking for.
  • A timer depending on the age of your teams set the timer to what you feel is an appropriate amount of time to find the items on the lists.
  • Prizes 2 types, some for the winning team and some for the losing team. Make sure there are enough for everyone.

 

How to Play:

Hide all the items in locations where each team will search to find them. Place the same number of items as there are teams in each location. When a team finds an item, they are only permitted to take one item.

Set a timer for the amount of time in which each team must find all of the items listed on their list.

On your marks, get set…GO!

Each team is off to find the items as listed on their sheets. Send them off in different directions so that they are all looking in a variety of locations. Remind them to keep each location where they found an item a secret, making it difficult for the other teams to find out where they might have found the items on the list.

 

End of Game:

The first team to find all the items on the list within the allotted timeframe wins.

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Gross Motor Skill Development, Coordination, Reading Skills, Word Association, Focus & Concentration, Logical Reasoning, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Teamwork, Understanding of Winning & Losing, Competition, and Social Interaction.

 

—Based on a game found in the book. “You’re It!”, by Katie Hewitt
 

 

These are the truly fun times, the moments in which your Little Pnut will begin to keep you on your toes and biting your nails. Into everything, toddling to and fro’ and exploring new heights your Little Pnut is bringing back the fun into your life. Sleeping through the night now he also has more energy to play and so do you.

Your Little Pnut is beginning to focus on the development of his gross motor skills, walking, running, dancing, throwing, he might even begin to kick a ball back and forth. So many things to try out and explore. His world and surrounding environment are all so close now for him to begin experimenting with.

Music now  becomes a very integral part of his life. You’ll notice that your Little Pnut will start to bang spoons on surfaces, clap toys together and start grooving to your favorite tunes. Your Little Pnut will giggle with glee as you sing along and dance with him, such a great way to expand his love for music and appreciate close, fun times with his Mama & Papa. Make it a game and play fun sing-along music with repetitive phrases that will also encourage his growing vocabulary.

So many opportunities to have fun with one another and to explore the world together, the Toddler years are truly some of the most memorable times in both of your lives. Make them fun and make them play filled.