Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Eve Activities for Kids

Looking for something to do this New Year’s Eve? Rather than finding a sitter for your kids, consider spending it with them! Here’s some tips to make the most of your evening, while keeping it kid-friendly.

Change Time Zones
First and foremost, if your child is too young to stay up until midnight, switch time zones! For example, if you live on the west coast, watch the ball drop in New York at 9 p.m. You’ll keep your kids from staying up too much past their bed times, while still getting to celebrate with them. Afterward, score some alone time and celebrate at midnight! Already on the east coast? Go international and check out Rio de Janeiro’s (two hours ahead) or London’s (five hours ahead) celebration.

Make it Rain—Balloons!
Whatever time you decide to celebrate, make it special with a balloon drop! Get a tablecloth or sheet and tape it to the ceiling on three sides, allowing the center to hang and attaching a cord or yarn to the open side. Stuff with balloons and metallic confetti (paper confetti could get wet and leave you with a mess) and tape up the last side of the cloth. When it comes time for the celebration, pull the cord and allow the balloons and confetti to fall from the sky for all to enjoy!

Resolve to Keep Resolutions
Rather than making a resolution and forgetting about it a few weeks later, teach your kids the value of a resolution by writing it down on a slip of paper and stuffing it in their stockings before decorations are stored away. Later that year, when decorations come out, they can check to see if they were able to stick to their resolutions—this is great for parents too!

Need some more activities? Print this coloring page of Tad ringing in the New Year for your kids and we’ll post it to our Facebook page! Just scan their masterpiece and send it to us at:

Share other NYE ideas by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaching Your Child the True Meaning of Christmas

Teach your child the true meaning of Christmas through stories, involvement and home-made gift giving.

With Christmas only a few days away, make sure your toddler or young child knows about its true meaning. But how can something so complex be explained to someone so young? Here’s some tips on explaining the true meaning of Christmas to your child.

Get Excited
Between work, kids, keeping up with chores and holiday shopping, if you’re like most people, your probably exhausted. Make it a habit to get excited for story time and get into character, telling stories from classic Christmas books and gauge your childs’ reaction. If your child sees you getting excited about something, they will realize it’s important. And the repetition of the stories will reinforce the true meaning of Christmas.

Get Involved
Show your children how you understand the meaning of Christmas by getting them involved. Since Christmas is about giving, have them help hand out cookies or Christmas cards to neighbors. If you do make cookies, let your child help—handing something out that they’ve made will be truly rewarding.

Get Hand-Made
In the spirit of giving, have your child make hand-made gifts for loved ones such as a time capsule ornament, candles, or any artwork.

Need something for your child to color? Check out our free printable colorings of Tad wishing everyone a Happy Holiday, Merry Chirstmas, or Happy Chanukah. Once your child chooses one, (or all three), send it us and we’ll post their art on our Facebook page.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Features from Tadpoles!

You asked, and we listened—Tadpoles will be adding new features, making it even easier for parents to connect with their childcare provider or preschool.

Before the end of the year, Tadpoles will be making exciting changes to better serve parents’ needs. Parents currently connected with their childcare providers or preschool using the “Childcare by Tadpoles” or “Preschool by Tadpoles” app will now have the option to receive updates directly to their email. Now, you can see the latest news through both the app and your email! In addition, parents will be able to view videos of their children from any common web browser and as always, will continue to have access to information on our website.

Coming Soon: Tadpoles for Android
Android users, get excited. Tadpoles will be available for Android devices before the end of the year! We’ll keep you updated on an exact launch date, but be ready to take a trip to the marketplace and get what you’ve been waiting for! Until the release, you’ll be able to receive updates through your email client, which is also possible with blackberry and windows mobile devices.

Tadpoles Goes Social
Soon enough, you’ll be able to integrate photos from your Tadpoles app directly to your Facebook albums, making sharing photos with friends easy and exciting. Since Tad is such a social creature, don’t forget to friend him on Facebook and follow him on twitter.

We’re excited to be able to provide these new features to make your Tadpoles experience as rewarding as possible. If you have any comments or other suggestions, let us know!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toys for Toddlers & their Development

There's so many great toys for toddlers this holiday season, but the ones that help them develop best may be simpler than you think!

This holiday season, there are a lot of tech toys out there, even for toddlers and young children. This is not surprising, since the iPad has debuted in kindergarten classrooms throughout the county. However, which toys will help boost your toddler’s development—the high-tech ones, or the simple ones?

In a recent article from, simpler toys that have most likely been around in some form since you were a kid, were highlighted for boosting development in your toddler.

Large Blocks
Blocks can help toddlers learn to use both hands in order to accomplish something, in addition to strengthening their fingers. Toy blocks can also help your child develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, creative problem solving skills, social skills and language skills. Parenting Science actually features an in-depth study on how toy blocks can make a significant impact on development.

Large Puzzle Pieces
Puzzles help your toddler exercise his or her memory, develop fine muscle movements, enhance eye-hand coordination and increase mathematical awareness and problem solving skills.

Push Toys
With the help of a push toy, toddlers can move faster because of the support that the toy provides. With more support, toddlers become more confident in their walking abilities, increasing their strength and balance. When the push toy resembles a real-life object, such as a lawnmower, it can even help stimulate the imagination.

Shape Sorters
Matching a shape with its corresponding hole helps toddlers develop spatial recognition, demonstrating the cause and effect of when the shape is dropped into the wrong hole.

While you're doing your holiday shopping this season, you may want to think twice about that new, costly electronic gizmo for toddlers and help your child maximize their development by sticking to these simple toys. Share what’s on your holiday shopping list for your toddler by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Early Childhood and the Developing Brain: What Parents Should Know

We’ve discussed the importance of eating right for children, and the national concern with childhood obesity, but what about how what children eat affects brain development in early childhood?

In a recent article from CommonGround magazine, the importance of healthy eating on the brain during early childhood development was explained, stating that from birth to age three is the most critical time in brain development, but healthy brain practices should be followed throughout life.

To ensure your child’s brain develops to its full potential, and to maintain your brain’s health, keep these nutritional tips in mind:

Eat Colorful Foods
Consume a variety of organic fruits and vegetables each day... the more colors, the merrier! Did you know that there’s organic baby food? I like Earth’s Best, but there’s a lot of different brands available.

Get the Real Stuff
Real food is always better than processed. If you think your low-fat frozen meal is healthy, think again. Look for whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables, and avoid chemicals and refined sugar. Again, look for organic baby food to ensure there are no chemical additives.

Keep toddlers hydrated, slowly introducing them to water by adding juice. But be sure to use 100% juice that will add some nutrients, not just sugar and artificial coloring.

In addition to nutrition, nurturing touches, responsive interactions, direct language, playing and exploring different surroundings, predictability and love are all key factors to ensure proper early childhood brain development. Take a look at these brain scans of two different three-year-olds, one who had normal experiences, and one who was neglected. The child with the normal experiences clearly had a larger, healthier looking brain than the child who was neglected.

Share your experiences on how you provide the nutrition and nurturing conducive to healthy early childhood brain development by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter page.