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5 Ways to Teach Mathematics to Your Young Toddler

By Annabelle Fee

Mathematics is a key subject at the school level and a vital one to understand for everyday life. However, it can be tricky to bring a toddler’s attention to it and help them to grasp how interesting it can be. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use every day to teach mathematics to a young toddler without them getting bored.

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1. Make It A Shared And Fun Activity

Toddlers can easily start learning the shapes and meanings of numbers by the time they are 2 so there is no such thing as too early. Make counting and recognizing numbers a daily activity and you can always make it fun by using music (or even musical counting videos on Youtube) or by aligning it with a fun outdoor activity. Using musical numerical rhymes such as one-two buckles my shoes is also a way to get them to retain numbers better.

Practice counting forwards and backward and encourage children to apply this knowledge to their own daily routine such as counting toys or building blocks. This number sense can then be applied to adding and subtracting albeit on a minor level; for example, if you had 5 dolls but I took 3 away how many do you have left? These daily activates will mean they will pick up what is being taught in school very quickly because of its familiarity.

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2. Daily Tasks Can Be Mathematical Too

Encourage your toddler to do daily tasks like setting a table or setting cups but give directions like ‘there should be 3 plates for 3 people.’ This can also be done when they are role-playing in games such as with a doctor’s playset or a toy kitchen. Furthermore, get them to sort items or toys into groups and then count them. For example, certain toys like cars should be in one group and so on and you can get started on basic word problems from there.

As with any learning initiative involving very young children, patience is an essential virtue for a parent as any children’s tutor that specializes in math tuition will tell you. Your child may take his/her time to grasp concepts and even then the result might not be what you want but it is important to remember that the mind loves repetition and the best learning is the type done consistently with practice over a period of time.

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3. Encourage Spatial Skills

Mathematics is in part about measurements, directions, shapes, and sizes. Encourage your toddler to notice these aspects in his/her environment on a daily basis. ‘How high do you think that slide is?’ or ‘how fast do you think you were running?’ Direction, movement, positions are all geometric principles they will learn later in their school life but you can give them starters and a preliminary understanding.

Also allow your toddlers to use basic measurement tools such as a ruler or measuring tape. Let them measure objects around the house like tables or chairs and write down what they think the measurements are. It might be too early to teach them the units of measurement such as centimeters or inches but you can give them a primer and just let them follow the numbers on the tape or ruler.

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4. Shapes And Sizes

Shapes such as a square table or a round plate or clock are easy shapes for a toddler to recognize and be familiar with. Teach them about the dynamics of shapes and sizes and tell them to point out these shapes as they see them when they are at home or walking around. Buy specific educational toys that inspire toddlers to recognize shapes such as Legos, puzzles, shape blocks (that give you shapes to fit inside a special cube), and so on. Online games on tablets and phones are also available but toddlers should be kept away from the blue light in devices as there is a great deal of research saying it impairs cognitive development at that age.

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5. Undertake A Project

Plan a collaborative project with your toddler such as creating a table from scratch or putting together a swing set and allow them to help you. During the process, point their attention towards various aspects like measurements, shapes, and sizes. Let them see that mathematics does not exist just in theory but has practical real-life daily applications that can be a ton of fun. Allow your toddler to undertake measurements or help put an item together and praise them, you can always correct it later! 

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Six Thoughtful Baby Baptism Gift Ideas

By Shariq Khan

A baby’s baptism is a special occasion. Commemorating this occasion will ensure that the day remains special for the newborn and the parents. If you’re a family member or a friend looking for baby baptism gift ideas for your nearest and dearest, you’ve come to the right place.

While something like a Clintons card certainly does the trick, when it comes to gifts, there are many thoughtful options that you can explore. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of thoughtful baby baptism gifts that are worth considering for your loved ones. From cute clothes and baby bonnets to a baptism keepsake box or bracelet, there are many ideas you can get inspired by.

So without further ado, let’s take a look!

1. Comfortable Newborn Baby Clothes

Baby clothes are without a doubt one of the cutest things. Since every parent may have their own preferences in terms of colours and designs, gifting them neutral coloured, comfortable baby clothes can be an idea you could consider.

From cream coloured baby bonnets to pastel onesies, there are several amazing designs and baby outfits available on the market. Since parents love dressing up their newborns with many amazing outfits, your gift will surely make them happy.

2. Baptism Keepsake Box

Since baptism is a special occasion for every family, having a keepsake can help you remember the memories of this occasion as if it happened yesterday. This thoughtful gift lets the parents store precious memories with their newborn to remember down the years.

Another idea you could consider doing is get the box engraved with the date and perhaps the name of the little one. This can be that special touch to the gift that will make it even more memorable for everyone.

3. A Simple Bracelet With A Cross

If you wish to give the newborn and their parents something delicate and elegant, consider a beautiful bracelet with a cross charm attached to it. While this may not exactly be something that the newborn can use very often, it’s definitely something they’ll appreciate in the future.

Whether they use it regularly or have it as a keepsake, this bracelet is something thoughtful and special that they’ll always remember down the years.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

4. Personalised Baby Blankets

Another great personalised gift idea that you could consider giving the newborn is a personalised baby blanket. We all know that baby blankets are different from regular ones in terms of material and size.

Since babies tend to get things messy easily, having extra blankets will always come in handy for them. Moreover, by personalising it, you add a special touch to this and make it even more thoughtful. With this, you could attach a simple yet memorable card to convey your wishes and love for the little one.

5. Crocheted Baby Footwear And Outfit

Warm, cosy baby footwear is something every baby needs. Since a baptism requires them to be dressed well, gifting the parents crocheted baby footwear can be a thoughtful gift that they are sure to love.

You can find some cute baby shoes that will match the little one’s baptism outfit and give it to the parents beforehand so that they can put them on for their little one during the ceremony. You could also consider giving them a matching outfit to make the gift even more memorable.

6. A Framed Picture Of The Special Moment

The entire occasion is full of memorable moments and interactions that will always remain beloved for the parents and the newborn, especially in the years to come. With this in mind, why not capture a few to immortalise the feelings?

With so many amazing memories, you can capture your favourite moment from the ceremony and get it framed. You can then gift this to the new parents, they’re going to absolutely love the gift.

While these are only a few thoughtful gifts for baby baptism, there are many more options that you could explore. Whether it is something functional like blankets and clothes or something more memorable like a keepsake, the sentiment and love behind the gift will make the parents feel touched and happy down the line.

The baby too can have a few keepsakes saved for them to commemorate the thoughtful occasion and have a reminder of how many people love and care for them.

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Last-Minute Shopping for the New Family Member

By Katie Tejada

When your little one is about to come home for the first time, your to-do list for preparing can feel endless. You only really need clothes, food, and shelter for a new baby — but it’s the 21st century, and there are a variety of products available to make your life with your new bundle of joy so much easier!

Not sure where to start? We’ll discuss some must-have items for taking care of your new family member, as well as things you can get at the last minute that you may not have thought of before.

  1. Zip-Up Onesies

You can never have too many clothes for your newborn. These are the outfits your little one will be wearing most of the time, and chances are you’ll be going through them quickly. Babies seemingly double in size overnight, so you’ll want to have lots of options available in different colors and sizes.

When choosing a onesie for your newborn, you’ll inevitably have to decide between zippers and snap buttons. While snap buttons are the more common option, most parents will tell you that no one likes to wake up in the middle of the night and snap a bunch of buttons together when they’re half asleep. With zip-up onesies, you’ll have a much easier time dressing and undressing your baby, which you’ll be thankful for when you’re busy dealing with a thousand other things.

  1. Plushies

Stuffed animals are a popular toy for children of all ages, and they’re guaranteed to become your baby’s favorite comfort object. They come in all different shapes and sizes, from licensed characters to adorable animals. Whether you want tutu-wearing rabbits or funky, rainbow-colored characters, the possibilities are truly endless and depend only on your personal taste.

These toys are seriously cute, entertaining, and will make a fun addition to any newborn’s nursery. Begin building your child’s collection of plushies today!

  1. Blankets and Rattles

Beyond stuffed animals and onesies, you’ll want to make sure your child has other comfort objects and sources of stimulation, like a baby blanket and rattle set. Rattles make noise to entertain your newborn and encourage their brain’s development. Tracking the sounds the rattle makes can help your child improve their hand-eye coordination while grasping and releasing it can strengthen their fine motor skills. Most rattles double as teething toys, as well, with textured edges that will soothe your baby’s aching gums as they grow.

By combining these rattles with an adorable, super-soft blanket, you’re sure to keep your newborn happy and entertained. They may even fall asleep curled up with their new, fuzzy blanket.

  1. Baby Bracelets

These baby bracelets aren’t an absolute necessity, but they would make a great last-minute present for any newborn. These delicate, beautiful pieces come in a variety of colors and feature unique charms. They’re a sweet gift that can be passed down for generations to come, and they’re perfect for baptisms, first birthdays, and other important events in your child’s life. Just be aware they can present a choking hazard so may be best displayed rather than worn for the first few years.

  1. Lots of Diapers

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to make sure that you have the true essentials before bringing your little one home. Odds are you’ve already stocked up on diapers (or had others buy them for you), but if not, you’re going to need them! From sustainable diapers with colorful prints to classic disposable diapers from the grocery store, there are tons of options to choose from to keep your little one clean and dry. 

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Stay Prepared

No matter how prepared you think you are, there will always be something you’re missing when that magic moment finally arrives. Zip-up onesies and extra diapers are essential for keeping your little one looking fresh and feeling clean, while plushies, blankets, and rattles help them stay cozy and entertained throughout the day. To commemorate special occasions, like their first night at home, a delicate baby bracelet may be the perfect gift.

With this list, you’ll be one step closer to making sure your new baby has absolutely everything they need to feel safe, warm, and welcome in your home. Are there any items you think we’re missing? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!

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Spark Creativity in Your Home! 21 Inspiring Kids Playroom Decor Ideas

Imagination and kids go hand-in-hand. And when it’s playtime, a kids playroom should be filled with toys that spark their imagination and creativity. Whether that’s with a kitchen playset for a child that loves the idea of being a chef or a table for all sorts of arts and crafts, the options are endless. If you’re looking for a way to highlight your child’s creative mind in your home, look no further than these 21 kids’ playroom decor ideas.

Whether you’re living in Vancouver, CA or in Charlotte, NC incorporating any of these inspiring kids’ playroom decor ideas will make your home a more imaginative place for you and your child. 

Kids playroom decor ideas should embrace creativity. I love having a space carved out for my children to get creative. A kid-sized table for crafting and art is a must. I think it is important to keep paper, crayons and playdough within their reach so they can feel empowered to create when they want to. – Rosemary Pritchard, Hopscotch City

Include a space that encourages children to be imaginative. An art table is a great way to encourage this creativity. Start with a child sized table and chairs and add paper, construction paper, crayons, washable markers, water color paints, stickers, washable scented stamp pads and stamps, glue sticks and scissors. These items will encourage your child to use their imagination to create beautiful pieces of art. – Kid City USA

Set up an area for art and let that be messy. A low sink in the playroom will help them with independence. Learning how to wash their hands/materials after working with clay/paints will also give them plenty of sensorial stimulation. A magnetic wall/chalk paint on a wall adds lots of excitement to a playroom. Remember, play is their work. Instead of fixating on “educational” materials choose things that keep them engaged. – Szilvi Kovacs, Director of Kids Collective Preschool 

Create small play zones in different areas of the room, and in those areas, only have one type of activity to help the kids focus. Rotate the activities periodically and to make toy rotation easy for you, store the activities by type in large ziplocks or stackable shoe bins. Activity planning then becomes easy and you don’t have to spend the time and energy thinking about the setup. – Myra Epp, Tetrachrome Design, LLC

Have ways for kids to get their energy out. Get those wiggles out! Incorporate items like a toddler trampoline, Nugget play couch, and wood climber that take the place of small toys and get all that toddler energy out. – Kyle and Kim Griffiths, State of Play Kids

Set your playroom up to grow with your child, and make age appropriate toys available within their reach so that they can have the opportunity to play independently while you take a moment to yourself. Some of my favorite things that I keep within reach of my toddler include her bag of musical instruments, shape puzzles, legos, paper and crayons, coloring books and books. Things I keep out of reach include Play-Doh, markers, paint and arts and crafts supplies. The playroom will get messy and I’ve learned to just embrace the chaos… but I don’t need googly eyes or beads all over the house. – Erica Brennes, Real Mom Real Tired

Create a hideaway underneath the stairs. We created a secret hideout by adding some fun festive lights and shelves to the nook area under the stairs. It is a great area to build towering block castles, do puzzles, and experiment with science kits. A monthly subscription to our toy rental service keeps your hideout freshly stocked and clutter free. – Green Piñata Toys

You can make space in your family room. Use low level storage at child height with baskets which fit in with your decor. The key here is to have a place for everything and everything in its place and for the children to be able to access the toys easily for play and for tidying up. Once they are in bed, adults get to enjoy their space with no mess in sight. Children like a low table so your coffee table can do double duty while a floor matt gives versatility. I would make sure to include construction toys, small world toys, drawing supplies and books in the designated area and then swap them out for others to keep their interest. – Dominique Lyons, Founder of Kids Rule Interiors

Create a cozy corner for reading and relaxing. Children love to read books. Create a cozy reading corner by mounting spice racks as bookshelves in a height your kids can reach. Place a comfy mattress on the floor, or even better, a stylish little sofa for “hygge” time. – Leander

Select the right toys and neutral-colored storage. If you’re like us and your playroom is in the same space as your open-concept living room, my biggest tip is to be selective with the toys you have and the storage you have so your living room doesn’t feel overrun by toys. For us, we prefer minimal and/or wood toys over plastic toys, and, rather than plastic tubs in primary colors for storage, we collect toys into large, oversized neutral canvas baskets to group similar items like blocks, Duplo legos, and Magnatiles. – Hunter Rohwer

The less toys, the better the playroom. A playroom that has too many toys can overwhelm a child. Research tells us that less toys leads to more creativity and ultimately happier, more engaged play. You’ll never go wrong with a neutral colored playroom with a carefully selected rotation of toys that encourage a child to use their imaginations. – Jackie Ciaramella, Whole 9 Family

Your space should be clear and clutter-free. Having a space cleared of extra knick-knacks allows for better creative thought. De-clutter by storing and cycling toys seasonally throughout the year. Bring warm season toys out as it warms up; bubbles, jump rope, sidewalk chalk. Bring cool season toys out as it gets chilly; puzzles, books, games. Stage toys to make them inviting and engaging for children to play. Don’t just throw the baby doll and her blanket into a toy box, prop the baby up in her doll house and set the blanket and bottle next to her. – Rebecca Calbert NCARB, LEED AP, Childcare Design Studio and Calbert Design Group

Make sure toys are visible and labeled. If they can’t see their toys, they won’t play with them. Instead of toy boxes, invest in clear, high-quality plastic shoe storage boxes. Label them for easy sorting and clean-up. – Pilar Bewley, Mainly Montessori

Toy rotation is key. The best advice I have for keeping your playroom organized and your children engaged while playing is… toy rotation. When all the toys are out and available, they often get mixed up, scattered across the floor, and the mess can be overwhelming for both parent and child. Categorize your toys (ex: puzzles, play figures), keep one item in each category on a shelf in your playroom, put the rest of the toys in boxes and store somewhere out of sight, rotate the toys weekly. – Shara Challa Arora, Executive Director of Sugar Mill and Meadow Montessori Schools

Include a closet space to keep the majority of toys and activities packed away and out of sight. Keep a limited number of toys out for play, rotating the options on a regular basis. Children will engage better with their toys when there are fewer options, plus old toys seem new again when they have been hidden a while and they will be excited to see. – Nanny Savvy

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Label storage with pictures and words. When using storage bins, take photos of the contents and label with both the picture and the words. Not only does this help keep toys organized, it promotes literacy skills as children connect the written words to the image. Don’t forget to make books easily accessible. – Stacey Grumet, Founder & CEO of Paper Pinecone

Stock your child’s playroom with open-ended, age-appropriate materials. These would be any toys and supplies that have more than one possible use. Materials like wooden blocks, art supplies like play dough, and even things from nature like sand, water, rocks or sticks encourage creativity, experimentation, trial and error, problem solving and critical thinking. – Lauren Besack, Ducklings Early Learning Franchise Director of Curriculum Development

Accessibility is key for a playroom for kids that inspires independent play (every parent’s dream). Low shelves with open bins are a must. It also helps to keep the shelves organized and as clutter-free as possible. Too many toys can be overwhelming and make it difficult for a child to find something to do. I recommend keeping the bulk of your toys in a closet and to rotate what’s available on the shelves every few weeks to keep kids interested and avoid toys getting “old.” – Amanda Armbruster, Take a Break Tots, LLC

Highlight toys to spark creativity. My number one tip is to stage and style toys in a way which invites children to jump in and play instead of hiding everything away. – Lindsay Pavlick, The Well Styled Child

Everything should have its place. Make sure everything has a home and make sure that home is labeled. I like using pictures for labels on containers to allow even very young children to know where each toy lives. – Jessica Wade, The Wiggle Room

Just use 3 simple organization tips. 3 easy and simple ways to organize your kids’ playroom: hang or display, color code, and contain with labels. Categorize your kids’ toys and choose from these organizing styles that best fit any space. – Brightstar Labels

Originally published by Redfin

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Organic and Non-Toxic Diapers and Nappies: Finding the Best for Your Baby

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com
By Rachel Hudson

Many manufacturers now claim to make non-toxic, organic diapers for the baby. However, some brands don’t always provide clear information. So what actually is an organic and non-toxic diaper and nappy, and how do you buy the right product for your baby?

The Best Organic and Non-Toxic Diapers for Your Baby

Of course the well-being of your baby is a priority! So you may have decided to avoid any toxic diaper or nappy brand. Plus, if you are concerned about our environment, so you may want to consider eco-friendly diapers made from organic materials.

But finding a diaper or nappy that is both organic and non-toxic can be an uphill task until you understand what “non-toxic” and “organic” strictly mean.

So, let’s dig in to find out what an organic and non toxic diaper or nappy really is.

An organic diaper or nappy for a baby is made from plant-based (read: natural), eco-friendly materials such as bamboo fibers. Bamboo is mostly preferred for diapers because it is strong, silky, absorbent, and sustainable.

Its fibers are also soft hypoallergenic, suiting it for sensitive skin. Bamboo is a fast-growing tree that needs no chemicals to thrive, so it is eco-friendly all the way. When a bamboo diaper or nappy is disposed of, it wholly biodegrades without polluting the soil.

That is what is expected of all organic products. Not all organic diapers or nappies are 100% biodegradable, but they are better than an average disposable diaper or nappy that can sit in a landfill for over 500 years. During these 500 years, the diaper releases toxic gasses, one of which is methane. These end up in our drinking water.

Organic diapers and nappies usually carry no chemicals that may harm your baby’s sensitive skin. But watch out: it is possible to find a diaper or nappy made primarily from organic, harmless materials still having harmful chemicals hidden in the dyes, inks, and adhesives used.

What Are The Best Organic Diapers and Nappies?

The best organic diaper or nappy for the baby should not contain more than 85% of certain chemicals and substances. If you want a diaper or nappy that is 100% eco-friendly, ensure it has none of these:

·         Chlorine

·         Latex

·         Fragrance

·         Lotion

·         Phthalate

·         Paraben

·         Dye

·         Tributyltin (TBT)

A material like latex can trigger allergic reactions in some babies with susceptible skins. Fragrance and lotion can cause asthma and hormonal complications. Chlorine, used to clean or bleach the nappies, is known to irritate the baby’s skin. You should avoid any organic diaper or nappy for a baby that is composed of any of these if you want a genuinely organic diaper or nappy.

A real organic diaper or nappy can be expensive, but it carries with it lots of benefits for your baby and the environment. Plus, they come in different designs and many parents love collecting different styles and patterns for their eco friendly babies. There is even a choice of the best swim diaper that your baby can wear while in water.

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Which Are The Biodegradable Diapers and Nappies You Can Use?

The following are the top biodegradable nappies you can use if you want to show your love for the environment:

    Compostable Diapers and Nappies

A compostable nappy breaks down fast; hence it is highly biodegradable. You use it once, and then have it composted.

    Reusable Cloth Diapers and Nappies

These are the diapers and nappies you can use and reuse, thus delaying their time in the landfill. It would be best if you used reusable nappies when you are at home.

They consume a lot of water to clean, but they are eco-friendly when you finally dump them after long service life.

   Eco-Friendly Disposable Diapers and Nappies

These are disposable yet eco-friendly nappies or diapers made from organic materials.

  Non-Toxic Diapers and Nappies

Non-toxic diapers and nappies are free of harmful chemicals, as we have seen. Your baby’s skin is tender and thin, so toxic chemicals can easily and quickly filter through. These chemicals can interfere with their physical and mental development, depending on the severity.

A chemical such as Phthalate has been shown to cause not just asthma but can also alter your baby’s physical development.

What Is the Best Diaper or Nappy Rash Treatment?

The best diaper rash treatment is baby powder. However, you can also use a cream with petroleum jelly or zinc oxide. Always rub it on the baby’s dry bottom before you put on a clean nappy.

At the same time, ensure you choose certified organic diapers for diaper rash prevention so that your baby doesn’t suffer from diaper or nappy rash. At the same time, it helps to learn how to treat a diaper or nappy rash naturally.

If you’re thinking about making the switch don’t feel overwhelmed, start small and remember that every little bit counts! Research before deciding which diaper or nappy is genuinely non-toxic and organic. Some companies throw in misleading labels such as “natural” and “non-toxic” even on diapers that are not. In this age of online customer reviews, you should go through what customers say about a particular organic nappy for a baby before committing yourself to it.

You can also check for third-party certifications by independent consumer or environmental organizations. Stick to the organic nappy brands that have been approved as genuinely organic and non-toxic by the experts, not the manufacturers.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

What are your thoughts on organic and non-toxic diapers? Are there genuinely non-toxic diapers in the market?

Author’s Bio: Rachel Hudson is a freelance content writer who writes extensively about lifestyle and parenting. Some time back, Rachel worked as a certified marriage counselor and fitness trainer. She is also the author of various health and scientific papers.

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