There is something very fluid about playing with Clixo. We like to say that it parallels the imagination of a child, always transforming and jumping, and making seemingly unthinkable connections.
It’s a bit hard to explain, but if you have held some Clixo, you probably already know what I’m talking about. It flows from one idea to the next, you are holding 4 pieces that transform into a ball, then you realize that they look a bit like the head of an elephant. You add the ears and then discover that if you add a tail it becomes a mouse. All of a sudden, and without knowing how, you are submerged inside a Clixo submarine in a search expedition to find the lost magnetopus monster.
Expanding the fluid nature of Clixo
If you are reading this blog, chances are that you already know Clixo, maybe even have some yourself. We believe Clixo belongs out of a box and in your everyday life. With that in mind, we came up with this pack as an expansion to your sets, as a way to show off your builds, or as a pathway to slowing down, and finding balance.
Once up, let it add a spark of creativity to any room and serve as a beautiful reminder to bring you back to playfulness. Watch it move throughout the day, by air currents, a person walking by, or perhaps a gentle touch.
A spark of creativity and a beautiful reminder for play
A big inspiration for this pack comes from the artist Alexander Calder, who created stunning balancing mobiles and sculptures. But the inspiration runs deeper, play for Calder went beyond his the kinetic nature of his work, you can really see it as a theme in many of his works, perhaps the best example is rendition and live performances of “Cirque Calder”.
Image Credit: Koch, Eric / Anefo 1969
Balance the the mobile, take it apart. Observe, take your time, and turn your Clixo creations into kinetic works of art. We recommended this pack for kids (and kids at heart) ages 8 and up.
Don’t forget to follow us @my_clixo to see more cool stuff that is coming your way.
Encourage creativity, balancing skills and create your own masterpieces.
We are super excited to introduce our new Designer Pack to the Clixo family!
At Clixo, our goal has always been to make the joy of play and creativity accessible to everyone regardless of age, gender, or skills. This new pack is our first attempt at expanding on that mission and bringing Clixo closer to the adults and designers in our community.
Since we first launched in 2020, we’ve learned just how fun these toys are. Not just for kids, but for their parents too. And with its new and exciting look, we hope these new Designer Packs will find their place on the desks and living room tables of the creative adults in our community.
With its beautiful structure, new matte black magnets, easy to transport design, and satisfying clicking pieces, Clixo is both fun and functional. We all know that finding time for play is challenging, especially as we get older. Our hope is to spark creativity, inspire a-ha moments, and to give you the tools to play everyday. With Clixo, the possibilities are endless!
Even though we might not realize it, so much of what we do as adults is play. All the cooking, talking with our friends, coworkers, and kids. All the playlists we make to add meaning to our days, or simply getting dressed in the morning. We are all human after all. We seek new experiences because we are wired to play. And it doesn’t just stop at “adulthood.”
What should playtime look like for us adults?
At Clixo we believe that work time, family time, and playtime shouldn’t be totally separate, but symbiotic.
We hope that the Clixo Designer Pack helps you decompress after a challenging project at work. Or maybe it’ll help pull you out of the trenches of procrastination. Or make for a cool discussion piece on your desk. Whatever it is, the beauty of the Clixo Designer Pack is that it can give you the opportunity to develop the basic concepts of building and re-building, of discovery, of early concept generation in any job, project, or imaginative endeavor.
Clixo’s new Designer Pack is now available in Night/Concrete and Sand/Desert. For youngsters and adults alike, this pack has the same cool design, with the same capacity to transform any place, any moment, into a playful adventure.
We can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Please tag us #clixo and share all your amazing creations.
Encourage creativity with the light & compact Designer Pack. Build countless creations with only 9 flexible and magnetic pieces.
We’re living in Marie Kondo’s world now, which means everyone is talking about organization. For kids, organization can be overwhelming. Sometimes, organization is overlooked as a skill that should be taught to kids, unfortunately.
For your kids to be organization masters, they’ll need to learn skills such as sorting, classification and prioritization. We’ve put together a list of tips to get your kids up to speed on organization. They’ll be pros in no time!
Benefits of Organizational Skills for Children
Before we get into it, let’s look at why it’s so important that kids learn organizational skills.
Ensuring your kids have substantial organizational skills is going to set them up for success in school and eventually in their careers. Learning how to stay organized is going to keep them from procrastinating or losing things they need for school or work. Organizational skills will also help your kids keep up with their classmates and stay on task.
Use Checklists and To do Lists
We love a good checklist! Getting your kids started early with checklists will help them form organizational habits that will stay with them into adulthood. Try having them create simple lists to start with such as “What to Bring to Grandma’s.” Checklists will help them stay organized and strategize when they have tasks to complete.
You can also form good organizational habits by having your kids create to do lists. These can be for homework, play dates, or chores. Get them their own notebooks to write the lists in so they feel like they’re in charge.
Get Them a Daily Planner
While most people keep track of everything in their phone these days, there’s something to be said about using a physical daily planner. Getting your kids a planner to write in will allow them to keep track of homework assignments, chores, and other tasks. You could create a reward system such as an allowance or something else that motivates them to use the planner and check it daily.
Assign Sorting and Organizing Chores
Not only will you get a little help around the house, but assigning chores that involve sorting and organizing will improve their skills. One of the biggest components to improving organizational skills is learning how to properly sort and categorize items.
The good news is that there’s plenty of this kind of work around the house! When assigning chores, give the little ones tasks such as:
Separating lights and darks
Organizing cleaning supplies
Cleaning out closets
Categorizing items in storage
Doing so will help them learn to be organized and improve problem solving skills, as well.
Get Them a Calendar
While physical calendars may seem like a relic of the past, they can teach your little ones a lot about organization. Use a physical calendar to mark down their activities. You can also use a digital calendar to do this, as well. The important thing is that your kids learn how to write down their plans and it may also help them with time management.
Establish a Morning Routine
Routines are extremely important for learning organizational skills. You can use the calendar you’ve made to break it down even further from months to daily activities. Establishing a strong morning routine can set your kids up for success throughout the day, and the rest of their lives!
Morning routines should involve waking up at the same time everyday. This leaves little room for distraction and throwing off their groove. Breakfast should be at the same time, too. This will also help your kids keep consistent energy levels and going to bed at the same time each night.
Create a Designated Homework Space
Another great way to encourage organizational skills is to designate a homework space. Sure, letting the kids study wherever they want is great, but having one specific space is going to keep them organized and on task. This is especially helpful for kids who get distracted easily. The space should be in a room away from screens and other distractions so they can focus.
Set a Homework Schedule
Your kids should be doing homework at a fixed time everyday. This will again help them form good habits and keep them organized when it comes to their school work. They should be studying or doing homework at the same time everyday, which will help them to avoid procrastination.
Do Weekly Backpack Cleanouts
How many times have your kids come home and there’s an unexplainable mess in their backpack? Having them do a weekly clean out will encourage organization and make it a habit. When your kids practice regular backpack clean outs, it will encourage them to keep it neat and less likely to have homework assignments go missing.
Practice Sorting and Organization With Toys Like Clixo
Along with real life practice, using toys to help improve organizational skills will be helpful, too! Clixo is a great tool for improving sorting and classification. For example, when they’re building with Clixo, you can give them prompts to improve different skills.
For example, give your kids the task of making something with only red pieces. They will have to sort through their Clixo set to find all of the red ones. Or, choose a specific shape that they need to use. Doing this will help them perfect organizational skills as well as work on creativity and problem solving.
To sum it up, there’s plenty you can do to help your kids get organized. While they may not focus on it in school, helping them form good habits at home is going to set them up for success. Try out our tips and grab a set of Clixo magnetic building toys today!
Have you been struggling to get your kid to do something creative? While they may not be interested in picking up a paint brush, you may be able to get them to create something with magnetic building toys!
Creativity is an important part of life skills for children and adults alike. Not only is it a valuable skill, research shows that creativity can help decrease stress and anxiety. We’ve put together a list of some Clixo prompts to help you get the creative wheels turning in your kids.
Can You Build a Roller Coaster?
For this one, set your kids up with plenty of Clixo building pieces. See if they can build a roller coaster that twists and turns. If they need assistance, show them pictures of roller coasters for them to model it after. They’ll need to use problem solving to see if they can build one.
Who is Your Favorite Pet?
If you have pets, ask your kids which one is their favorite. Then, suggest they recreate their favorite pet using their Clixo pieces! Clixo has plenty of flexible magnetic pieces perfect for creating the shapes needed to resemble dogs, cats and other pets!
After they make their pet, compare them to the real one and see how they stack up! Have them take their creative juices one step further and write a story to go along with their recreation, too.
If You Build a Clixo Kite, Will it Fly?
This one is going to turn into a little science experiment. Ask your kids if they can make a kite with their Clixo pieces, and see if it can fly. This might take some trial and error, but the process is sure to be fun and definitely spark some creative thinking.
How Fast Can a Clixo Car Go?
If you’ve got the Clixo Wheel Creator Pack, try this prompt with your kids. Have them build cars and see how fast they can go! You can also try racing the cars and time them to see what building methods made the fastest cars. Playing around with this prompt should definitely boost creativity and problem solving.
Let’s Make a Clixo Zoo!
This is a great one to work that creative muscle. Using your Clixo kits, make a zoo! Choose animals from a nature book and have your kids make them as close as they can. Ask them questions about the animals to teach them facts while you’re building to make it a well-rounded learning experience. At the end, you can play with your zoo animals, too!
Get Out Into Nature
Did you know you can create plants with your Clixo pieces? Challenge your kids to make a Clixo garden and give them specific plants to make. Ask them questions about the plants and teach them facts as they build their imaginary garden, it’ll be fun for everyone!
Create a Garden of Clixo Plants
Did you know you can create plants with your Clixo pieces? Challenge your kids to make a Clixo garden and give them specific plants to make. Ask them questions about the plants and teach them facts as they build their imaginary garden, it’ll be fun for everyone!
Put on a Clixo Fashion Show
Playing with Clixo doesn’t always have to focus on science! Try using Clixo pieces to create wearable jewelry and put on a fashion show. You can make bracelets, necklaces and even earrings to match. When you’re done, take pictures of everyone wearing their fine pieces of jewelry to make fun memories!
Can You Make a Clixo Airport?
One of the best parts of Clixo is how flexible the pieces are. Try your hand at making a fleet of airplanes and helicopters with your Clixo pieces and see how many you can make. When you’re done, compare them to real life pictures to see how close they made them.
Write a Story and Create the Scene
Another great idea for encouraging creativity with Clixo is to have your kids write a story and then build the scene. Or, if they’re still struggling with creativity, you write the story for them and they will use it for inspiration for their building!
Build a Very Long Caterpillar
Think you have what it takes to build the longest caterpillar? Take your Clixo pieces and connect as many as you can to create one! If you have a pack with wheels, you can make it move, too!
According to research, play is an extremely important part of child development. While playing with other children helps with socialization, kids should also spend time playing alone. Spending time by themselves gives kids the opportunity to take charge and learn to appreciate their own company.
There is a stigma that being alone means you’re automatically lonely. That is simply not true! Solo playtime helps your kids become well-rounded people who are happy being in groups as well as on their own. Not only that, but it gives you a break too! So, let’s look at some of the reasons why playing alone can be great for kids.
Benefits of Playing Alone For Kids
Playing Alone is Great for the Imagination
To start, without other kids around, they have to use their imagination! Playing alone means that they can run wild with ideas and you never know how creative they truly can be until they’re playing alone.
Improves Emotional Regulation
According to research, children who engage in unstructured play have better self-regulation later in life. When kids are playing in a group, they can become overstimulated. If they don’t know how to self-regulate, it can result in outbursts and be highly reactive. This is why temper tantrums happen, and we don’t want that!
Allowing your child to spend time alone will relax their mind. Research from Cornell shows that children ages 3 to 5 need more time for solitary play. They don’t have to worry about others, and allow them to center themselves.
It Teaches Kids Boundaries
Kids can struggle with boundaries, but giving them alone time can help. How many times have you had a fussy kid tugging at you to play? They don’t listen to the word “no” and want you to give in to their demands. Teaching kids how to play by themselves will help them understand boundaries and to occupy themselves instead of insisting on your attention.
Creates Social Independence
It’s so important for children to be able to do things on their own. Even as adults, this is something we can struggle with. This is another reason why children should be encouraged to do their own thing at an early age. If kids learn how to be on their own when they’re young, it will help them in social situations as adults.
They’ll Be More Confident
When kids learn to play on their own, they’re developing problem solving skills. By doing so, they’re going to build confidence in themselves, as well. Solo play makes kids feel like they’re in charge, because they are! They decide everything when they’re playing alone with no other kids to voice an opinion or pass judgment. It’s an excellent exercise in confidence.
Playing Alone Encourages Creativity
When kids are playing alone, they have to come up with the ideas themselves. At first, kids may feel frustrated by this challenge, but it’s good for them in the long run. In fact, after a while kids may grow to prefer playing alone because they get to call the shots.
They Learn to Enjoy Being on Their Own
It’s important for kids to understand that being alone doesn’t always mean being lonely. The ability to enjoy your own company can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Think about the sigh of relief you let out when you get a few moments alone as a parent. Your kids should appreciate being on their own, too.
How to Encourage Your Kids to Play Alone
Now that we know how great playing alone is for your kids, it’s time to encourage them to try it! The problem is that kids can associate being alone with being a “loser.” There are a few ways to motivate your kids to spend time playing by themselves.
Start By Playing Together
According to PBS, spending 15-20 minutes of playing together will help ease your kid into playing solo. After you’ve played together for a while, let them know you have something you need to do and they’ll have to continue playing on their own. You won’t have to do this every time, but if your child doesn’t seem to be comfortable with playing on their own this may help.
Being Alone Doesn’t Mean Being Lonely
It’s important that you emphasize to them that being alone doesn’t always mean that you’re lonely. In fact, other kids should find it admirable that they’re able to enjoy being on their own! You should also emphasize that just because you’re busy or want them to do something solo doesn’t mean you don’t want to play with them! Stay positive and encouraging.
Support Their Ideas
Young kids can be reliant on their parents to make decisions for them when it comes to playtime. When your kids are telling you their ideas of what they want to do when they’re playing alone, be supportive and encouraging! For example, if you’re busy doing something and you want your kids to go play by themselves, say something positive instead of telling them to go away.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, solo play is very important for kids. It teaches them skills they’ll need for adulthood to get along with others and help them with their career. If you’re looking for toys to encourage solo playtime, try Clixo’s magnetic building toys. They’re excellent for letting the imagination run wild and creating something all on your own.
While kids are naturally curious, creative and artistic kids are often less interested in math and science. As a parent, we know that honing these skills is important, but how can encourage an interest without making it a terrible experience for you both? Let’s look at some tips and tricks to get your artsy kid interested in math and science.
Baking is a fabulous way to get your creative little one engaged with math. You can teach them to count and do measurements while also teaching them about fractions. Not to mention at the end, you get a delicious result!
To get your kids into math, try a recipe for cookies or cupcakes and have them do all the measurements. Ask them questions about the fractions they’re using. You can also give them easy problems to solve such as altering the recipe size.
What’s a better way to get your kids into science than doing experiments? They don’t have to be complicated to be beneficial. There are plenty of science experiment kits you can buy, or create DIY experiments. We like these ideas:
Not only are these experiments great for engaging your kid with STEM skills, they also encourage either creative side! No stone is left unturned when it comes to doing fun science experiments at home.
Head to the Museum
There’s nothing better than a day at the museum! Head over to the nearest math or science museum to get your kids learning while having a blast. It can be easy for kids to run around museums and not absorb any information, so make sure you’re taking the time to slow down with them.
Go through exhibits and read the information plaques. Engage with all of the interactive exhibits, and ask your kids questions. If the museum offers an in-depth tour, take them on it!
Play Math Games
Let’s face it, many kids find math boring. You may have to *trick* them into thinking it’s fun by playing games. And, the truth is, math games ARE fun! You’ll probably enjoy yourself playing them, too. Math games for kids that we like include:
The more you look into it, the more you’ll realize that most games involve math in some capacity. Your kids will never know what hit ‘em!
Show Them Real Life Examples
One of the best ways to get your kids interested in math and science is to teach them how to use it in the real world. This might not work well on the very little ones, but as your kids are growing it’s important to teach them life skills.
We use math in everyday life from keeping track of our expenses to buying things at the store. When you have math-related tasks, try to show your kids what you’re working on. Show them how you pick items at the grocery store, or balance your checkbook.
Get Out Into Nature
When it comes to teaching your kids about science, we can’t stress getting outside enough! There’s so much opportunity to learn outdoors. Take them to the park and create a nature scavenger hunt, or bring a bird watching book. Bring your camera along to take pictures of what you see, so that when you get home you can teach them about the plants and animals.
Play With Animals
Do you have pets, or friends with pets? Encouraging your kids to play with and learn about animals will teach them about biology. If you have a dog, take the time to teach your kids about how they evolved from wolves. Or, if you have a cat, watch a nature show about big cats with your kids and feline. Ask them questions once it’s over, and connect it back to your pet!
Buy Them Fun Science Tools
Along with science experiments, getting your kids science-related tools to play with will help them gain interest. When you have them at home, they’ll be able to practice and hone in on their skills. Who knows, they may find something they like and turn it into a career someday! Consider getting your kids tools such as:
Watch Science or Math Related Movies
We know that relying on screens isn’t ideal, but educational movies and videos are an excellent tool to get your little ones interested in math and science. Pop on a nature documentary, or math-related video. There’s an endless supply of content out there!
Don’t Focus on Grades
If your kids are struggling with math and science, focusing on bad grades isn’t going to help. The only way to see improvement is to encourage them with positivity. When they aren’t doing well in science or math classes, focus on making activities fun. The more fun they’re having, the more engaged they’ll be.
Play With Building Toys
Building blocks are a tried-and-true way to engage your kids not only with math and science but also fostering creativity. Unfortunately, the rigid nature of blocks limits the potential, which is why Clixo toys are amazing. The flexible shapes bend and connect to create anything your mind can imagine.
Creative kids will love the free flow ability to create without realizing that they are building skills like problem solving, 3D modeling, spacial awareness and much more. Let them play open ended or try giving them prompts that will require them to think about how to construct a specific something.
When your kids are cooped up on a rainy day, it can be hard to keep them entertained. Plopping them in front of the TV all day is a quick fix, but it’s not going to be good for their brains. We’ve put together a list of the best rainy day activities, indoor and outdoor, to keep your kids learning and away from the TV.
1: Weather- Themed Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Being cooped up on a rainy day can result in idle hands making trouble all over your house. To keep them busy, try an indoor scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts help your kids practice problem solving skills in a fun and engaging way. The best part is that they’re totally customizable, so you can create a science-themed one for a rainy afternoon stuck in the house.
During your rainy scavenger hunt, hide clues with weather facts on them. This will incorporate the rainy day AND science into fun and games! For example, you can make them a hunt that also involves the rain outside. If there’s a storm, seeing a lightning bolt can be one of the items they need to find, or perhaps a worm on the driveway.
2: Make Homemade Slime
Who doesn’t love playing with slime? Making slime is the perfect rainy day activity to keep your kids entertained without being glued to the television. Playing with store bought slime is fine, but making slime is a good hands-on-learning experience to improve creative skills. Here’s what you’ll need:
Texture items g
To make the slime, mix one cup of white glue with one tablespoon of baking soda. Mix the contents together and see what the consistency is like. You can always add more glue if it’s not a good consistency.
Slime is not only fun to make, but there are benefits to playing with it. If your kids tend to get antsy being cooped up on a rainy day, playing with slime can help to ease their minds. The tactile sensory experience is great for improving motor skills, too! If you’ve never made slime with your kids, it’s important to remember that it can be messy, so make sure you have an easy to clean area set up for the project.
3: Build Something Crazy
What would a monkey flown spaceship look like? How about the biggest flower you’ve ever seen?
You can take the things you have around the house, or invest in a creativity inducing set like the Rainbow set from Clixo. The flexible magnetic pieces bend and connect to build anything your imagination can come up with. A few prompts that might help get you started:
Build a house for an abominable snowman
Create a cafe for gnomes
Make something that feels like winter
Build something that smells pink
4: Make Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a tactile hands-on-learning tool that will keep your kids engaged on a rainy day. Not only are they fun to play with, you can make an activity out of creating the sensory bins. DIY sensory bins will stimulate multiple senses at the same time, and they’re fun to play with!
Making sensory bins is fun and easy. You can even tailor them specifically to your kids needs when it comes to stimulation. For a rainy day, make weather themed sensory bins. Here’s what you’ll need:
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide on your containers. One of the best things about making your own sensory bins is that you can let your kids pick what they like! You can use food storage bins, quart containers, or even plastic bags will work.
Choose Your Fillers
Now onto the fun stuff. When you’re choosing fillers, it’s important to consider your kid’s age and learning style. We like rice, beads, buttons, and salt. You can mix and match your fillers to make exciting sensory textures within the bins and find what you like. If you’re planning a rainy day theme, try dying pasta blue or using other items that reflect the weather.
The whole point of the sensory bin is to play with what’s inside, right? Make sure you have plenty of rolls on hand such as spoons, jars, funnels or measuring cups.
5: Make a Rain Gauge
Don’t ignore the rain on a rainy day! This easy activity gets your kids interested in what’s going on with the weather and the science behind it. Making a rain gauge together is a great way to learn about the weather while stuck inside. To get started, you’ll need:
Pebbles or Stones
After you’ve gathered the supplies, it’s time to make your rain gauge. Have the kids put it together so they’re invested in the process. All you need to do is put the stones in the bottom of the jar and cover them with water.
Place the jar in an open area while it’s raining. After it rains, measure the level of rainwater with the marker. Keep the jar for all rainy days and create a chart so you can have an ongoing experience that your kids will have fun keeping track of!
6: Painting With Watercolors on the Sidewalk
This is another one that takes you out into the rain, but trust us, it’ll be worth it! If your kids like puddle jumping and spending time in the drizzle, it’s time to get the creative juices flowing and make sidewalk art.
Grab some sidewalk chalk and paint brushes. Draw on the sidewalk as you normally would, but then paint over it with the paint brush. It’s going to look like watercolor paint! If it’s not raining too hard, you can use a bucket of water over the chalk to get a better effect.
This is a good opportunity for your kids to explore their creativity in a unique way. Let them take their time doing different strokes and seeing what they can come up with!
In today’s world, we rely heavily on the internet. Have a question you need the answer to? Google it! We don’t have to use our brain power as much as we used to. The problem is that this convenience leaves little room for fostering creativity and imagination. Let’s look at the benefits of playing pretend and how to encourage it.
Why is Playing Pretend Important in Child Development?
To start, playing pretend is an activity that relates to positive emotions and is important for supporting childhood development and well-being. Research shows that children who engage in playing pretend are more likely to show positive emotions and improvements in their executive functions such as adaptable thinking and self-monitoring.
According to a study that observed 108 children, those who engaged in playing pretend were more likely to display positive emotions. The conclusion was that playing pretend may not only improve a child’s emotions but the other children playing with them too.
Another study showed that children that engage in pretend play have improved executive functions. The results showed that children in a 5-week fantastical pretend-play intervention showed the most improvement. Executive functions include adaptable thinking, time management, organization, and other skills. Overall, pretend play is an important part of childhood development with many benefits.
Benefits of Playing Pretend
Encourages Imagination and Creativity
One of the biggest benefits of pretend play is that it encourages imagination and creativity. When children play pretend, they have to come up with the ideas in their own minds and carry them out. This gets the wheels turning and helps them exercise their brain. For example, when you give a child a prompt for playing pretend, they have to think about it and execute it.
Supports Social and Emotional Development
When children are playing pretend, they are getting practice playing different roles and will experience different emotions as they are embracing what they’re pretending to be. Even if they’re pretending to be a dinosaur, they are still thinking outside of their own mindset. This also helps them to develop self-awareness while they learn to think and act like someone, or something else.
Improves Communication Skills
As children learn to play pretend with others, they’re going to improve their communication skills. They’ll learn new words and ways to speak and convey their ideas. When you give children a task during pretend play, there will be an opportunity to discuss it afterward to help them work on expressing their thoughts and ideas.
Develops Problem Solving Abilities
In a sense, playing pretend is problem-solving. Children have to figure out how they are going to carry out what they’re pretending to be. For example, when you give a child a task such as pretending to be an airplane taking off, they have to figure out how to execute that.
It’s Great for Physical Development
Playing pretend is typically an activity involving a group of children. What happens when a group of kids is together? A lot of running around. So, when they’re playing pretend they will be getting plenty of physical activity.
How to Encourage Playing Pretend
Start Encouraging Pretend Play at a Young Age
Starting to encourage pretend play at a very young age will help children start to develop creativity as early as possible. Toddlers have the ability to play pretend, even if they can’t totally understand what you’re saying. You can give them an idea with toys or props and let them carry it out in their own interpretation. When they are very young, you should play with them as this will help them, and you’ll have fun too!
Make Sure They Have Time to Play
It can be easy to want to schedule out your child’s day down to the minute to avoid chaos and ensure they’re being stimulated enough. Free time is equally as important, and can be used to play pretend!
When kids meet each other on the playground, it takes a while for the ideas to unfold. Give them plenty of time to play with others so they can develop social skills while playing pretend.
Get Them Toys That Encourage Playing Pretend
Another great way to encourage playing pretend is to get them toys that they can utilize when playing. Pretty much any toy can be used for playing pretend, but some are better than others. Some of the best toys for playing pretend are costumes, puppets, and building blocks.
We recommend Clixo’s magnetic building shapes. With the different shapes and colors, a kid, or adult’s imagination can run wild with the possibilities. Try giving them a task to build with them and a role to play.
Playing pretend isn’t just for kids! Try playing with them so they can see how you lay pretend, too. This will help them expand their creative mind and learn new ways to play. It will also be fun and beneficial for you! So throw on that princess crown and get to playing!
Don’t Force Anything
If they don’t seem interested in a certain idea, don’t push it. They aren’t going to get anything out of it if they don’t see the fun in the idea. Playing pretend will only benefit them if they are interested in what they are doing.
Utilize Their Interests
As a parent, you probably have a good idea of what your kids are interested in. Try to incorporate those interests when picking ideas for them to play pretend! If they like dinosaurs, try to create ideas surrounding that perhaps with toys and costumes.
The bottom line is that playing pretend is an essential part of childhood. It may seem like just fun and games, but the benefits will follow them throughout their life. So get out the costumes and building blocks and get to playing!
We live in a world that’s dependent on technology. Not only in our daily lives, but most of our learning is done in front of screens, too. It’s important to remember that hands-on learning is just as important for fostering creativity in children and adults alike.
What is Hands On Learning?
Simply put, hands-on-learning means to learn by doing. It’s also referred to as kinesthetic learning. The problem with relying on technology to teach creative skills is that not all children or adults learn the same. Hands-on-learning gives you the opportunity to actually DO what you are learning about. Sometimes that’s all it takes for something to click.
1: We Get Away From Screens
It’s easy to pop your kids in front of the TV all day. Technology has given us the tools to pass the time and keep our kids, and ourselves entertained. It’s also become an integral part of learning. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children ages 8-12 spend about 4-6 hours a day watching screens.
That’s not to say technology is all bad, but embracing tactile creativity and dexterity is imperative for perfecting skills that kids will use throughout life.
2: It’s Fun and Engaging
Learning doesn’t have to be boring! While your little ones likely aren’t bored to death in a stark white lecture hall, sitting in a classroom can boring. Young kids can have a hard time listening to someone explain something, therefore they won’t be engaged.
One of the benefits of hands-on-learning is that it’s fun and engaging. Instead of sitting in front of a screen trying to retain information, you’re physically touching the project and doing it yourself. Research has shown that kids will develop creative skills much faster when they’re having fun.
3: It Explores the Five Senses
When all learning is done in front of screens, we lose the sensory portion. Incorporating hand-on-learning in for creativity allows children to use all five of their senses. Being able to use multiple senses in learning is an effective way to increase retention of creative skills.
Using different tactile materials is a great way to engage all five senses when working on creative projects with your kids. This is totally easy to do, too. All you need is basic art supplies like paint, modeling clay, building blocks, or whatever your children choose.
4: It Uses Both Sides of the Brain
Hands-on-learning is also great because it uses both sides of the brain. When we’re learning through other methods, such as listening to a lecture, we’re only using the left side of the brain. It’s important to involve both sides of the brain, and research from the University of Chicago shows that hands-on-learning is beneficial to students. The left side of the brain is used when we’re listening, as well as:
Traditional methods of learning as well as using technology are very right brain oriented. Incorporating hands-on-learning gives the right side of the brain time to shine. It’s also important to exercise both sides of the brain for creativity and other life skills. The right side of the brain helps us with:
In today’s world, the skills you use your left brain for are nothing without the skills of the right brain. This is why STEAM learning is increasing in popularity and is incredibly valuable.
5: Hands-on-Learning Improves Motor Skills
Engaging kids in creative play that involves using their hands is a great way to improve motor skills. Hands-on-learning involves activities like molding, cutting, pasting, and anything else you can do with your hands.
Not only is it good for motor skills, it will strengthen the muscles in their hands, as well. And, on top of that, they’ll be learning something new!
It Improves Creativity
It’s important to understand that creativity is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise, you won’t strengthen it. For kids, creativity is an essential part of the learning experience. As they grow, they not only need to know critical skills like problem solving and other hard skills to land a job. Employers are also looking at soft skills such as writing and arts.
Hands-on-learning allows creativity to flow because kids are physically doing an activity. Many of the tools used in this type of learning are art supplies, so don’t be afraid to get messy and have fun!
7: It Creates Something Tangible
Since you’re learning by doing, you’re making something. This type of learning allows kids to see a finished product when they’re done. Instead of having notes to look over, they’ll have something to show for their efforts. Kids can look back on what they created and learn from it for next time. For example, if they painted a picture they may look at it and see what they’d like to do for the next one.
8: It Gives an Alternative for Learning
Every child learns differently, that’s why it’s important to give them different options to choose from. While one child may benefit from listening to a teacher explain something, another is going to benefit from just diving in and getting started.
You can try to force children to learn a certain way all you want, but at the end of the day they will benefit best from the method that engages them most.
Clixo has partnered with Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) to launch an interactive experience inside the all MOIC locations for kids and adults. MOIC’s magnetic building walls are now filled with colorful, 2D flexible Clixo pieces that turn into an endless variety of 3D creations. The collaboration invites all guests to build creatively and let imaginations run free.
A collaborative pack with Museum of Ice Cream has also launched, exclusively available on-location at MOIC in New York City, Austin, and Chicago, with a limited number available online at Clixo.com for $19.99. The Clixo x Museum of Ice Cream pack contains 9 pieces in Museum of Ice Cream’s classic colors, Strawberry and Cherry. In Clixo’s signature Quad shape, the 9 pieces magnetically snap and click together to build tons of clever creations, helping kids and adults alike explore their imagination!
“We’re very excited to be working with Museum of Ice Cream on this collaboration and sharing Clixo with MOIC visitors. Museum of Ice cream provides a fun and engaging experience for all kids and their parents. At Clixo, we share the same values of bringing play and creativity to kids and kids at heart,”
Assaf Eshet, CEO & Founder of Toyish Labs and creator of Clixo
“MOIC is so excited to be partnering with Clixo on a collaboration that showcases a spirit of curiosity, imagination and learning. Museum of ice cream invites visitors of all ages to, taste, play, explore and dream like a kid again. The power of Clixo is that it’s truly an experiential toy from co-creating with your kids or building advanced adult creations to building magnetic bridges between your designs.”
Having children is a rewarding experience and we’re sure you love them dearly. You do everything you can for them, but one more episode of Peppa Pig could push you right over the edge. Don’t worry, there are plenty of activities to do with your kids out there that won’t bore you to death. Let’s get into it.
Getting your little ones to help you out in the kitchen is a great way to get some help around the house while having fun! We’re not saying you should hand your toddler a chef’s knife, but giving them a task while cooking a meal will keep them engaged and teach them a new skill. Who knows, maybe they’ll become a chef and be cooking for you someday.
Listen to an Audiobook
Reading out loud to your kids is nice, but sometimes you get tired of hearing your own voice repeating the same book over and over again. The good news is there are plenty of fun audiobook options
for you and your little ones to enjoy together. Try finding a story you’ll both enjoy. This is a great activity for road trips, too.
Plan a Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt
It’s important to get outside when you can. Instead of just letting your kids run rampant in the backyard, try planning a treasure hunt. You can set a theme such as pirates hiding treasure, aliens leaving something behind, or whatever you think your kids would be interested in! Pack up a treasure package with goodies and create clues for them.
If you don’t want to go through all that planning, you can also take them on a nature walk for a scavenger hunt. Try this printable scavenger hunt so you can find things in nature together. This activity is also a great way to disguise education as fun!
Go Bird Watching
While you’re on your nature scavenger hunt, incorporate some bird watching. It may sound boring, but trust us, it isn’t. You can get a bird-watching guidebook to start teaching your kids about the environment. It’s a great way to help them become more observant and work on their critical thinking. And who doesn’t love being out in nature looking at gorgeous birds?
Do Yoga Together
Yoga is a great way to get your kids engaged with physical exercise while also giving yourself a moment to relax. There are YouTube videos you can do together, or create your own practice. Try this one if your kids are high energy and you find yourself needing a moment to breathe. The stretching and deep breathing should relax them, and they’ll have fun moving their bodies.
Wash the Car
Okay, this one sounds like free manual labor, we know. But, having your kids help you wash the car is a way to keep them occupied and teach them about responsibility. Not only that, but it will be fun to spray each other with water and play with bubbles on a hot summer day.
Make an Obstacle Course
What’s more fun than a little family competition? You’ve probably got enough toys and other items lying around the backyard to make a decent obstacle course. Make something challenging, and have your kids help you so they are engaged from start to finish. Hold a race with prizes at the end for a fun way to kill an afternoon.
Complete a Puzzle
When in doubt, grab the nearest puzzle. Puzzles are an excellent way to keep your kids and yourself busy. The great thing about puzzles is that if you pick one with a lot of pieces, it could take several days to complete. It’s perfect for wintertime, or a string of rainy days when you can’t get outside.
Create a Time Capsule
Have your kids gather things from around the house that would remind them of their childhood, and build a time capsule. Take a moment to go over the items and reflect on why they chose them. You could also have them write letters to themselves in the future so when you find it years from now they can read them.
No, we’re not talking about your basic wooden blocks here. Using building toys such as Clixo’s magnetic building shapes is fun for the whole family. Playing with toys like this together is great because everyone can make their own things. Not only that, these types of toys foster STEAM skills and will help your kids expand their imagination and creativity. The best part about Clixo’s building toys is that they store easily so you can take them anywhere. They’re great for being cooped up on rainy days, train rides, picnics, and more!
When you have kids, it’s always a good idea to have a surplus of craft supplies on hand. One of the best places to do this is the dollar store. You’ll get the most bang for your buck, quite literally. That way, you can set out supplies and let everyone’s imagination run wild, including yours. Give everyone the same crafting supplies, but no guidance to see what they create!
Plant a Garden
If you already have a garden, great! Set aside an area for your kids to plant their own items. Let them choose what they want to plant and teach them how to care for them. Letting them have their own little garden separate from yours will give them a sense of independence and responsibility. And you’ll be growing food you can cook together in meals, so it’s a double whammy.
Finding gifts for young kids can be challenging. By the time they are 4-8 years old, they’re developing unique interests and personality traits. At this point they are showing whether they’re athletic, creative, a book worm or whatever else they may be into. That’s why the toy market is so diverse and there are so many options to choose from. Let’s look at some gift ideas for different types of kids 4-8 years old.
Most kids are going to have a creative side to them, but some more than others. It’s important to encourage their creative skills as soon as they start. They may be able to turn them into a career someday.
Just hearing the word ‘paint’ can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Don’t worry, these Crayola Washable Kids’ Paints won’t stain anything. You can give these to your kids to go crazy with and it will wash right out. There are several colors they can use to create whatever they want.
These are an excellent choice for kids who fit into any category. They encourage creativity and critical thinking skills while allowing them to work with their hands. Clixo’s sets come in different shapes, sizes and colors. Kids aren’t limited to the sizes, and since they are made of bendable material they can manipulate them however they want. Grab them a set today and it will be sure to be a hit.
An art set with markers, colored pencils, crayons and everything else is essential for the creative kid. They’re going to need the tools to create their next masterpiece! Try getting them this Crayola Art Set equipped with every color in the rainbow and then some.
Modeling clay is not only great for encouraging creativity, it’s therapeutic. Playing with clay can give kids a calming sensation while also allowing them to create something fun. Any of the sets from Hey Clay will be great for kids 4-8 years old.
For the athletic kid, you will obviously want to get them toys to encourage their sporty nature. The athlete isn’t going to want a science experiment set, so try one of these options.
Putt-n-Play Wooden Golf Set
The Putt-n-Play Wooden Golf Set from Fat Brain Toys is an excellent gift idea for athletic kids. It comes with props to create a mini golf course, so they can use it inside or outside. This golf set it recommended for children who are between the ages of 3 and 5.
Another great option for the younger athlete is a Sooner Board. A spooner board is good for practicing balance and they can use it inside or outside. They can slide around the house with it, or use it as a sled outside. The possibilities are endless.
Bow and Arrow Set
What’s more fun than picking up random arrows all over the house? This bow and arrow archery set is a unique gift that will set you apart. It will give them a chance to learn a new skill other than bouncing or throwing a ball around.
An easy out for the bookworm is to get them, well, a book. Kids who enjoy devouring book after book can appreciate other gifts, too. You can get them something to enhance their reading experience.
A Skynook is a great way to get your little bookworm outdoors. Think of it like a sitting up hammock. You can easily attach it to a tree and give them a safe space outside to finish the next chapter in whatever they’re reading.
Reading in dim lighting can cause eye strain and other problems. Try giving them an attachable book light for reading in dark environments. Whether it be in bed at night, or on a road trip, this little light will come in handy and they will definitely appreciate it.
Their First Dictionary
What would a kid who loves to read want more than their own dictionary? They’ll have a great time flipping through the Miriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary learning new words. It will be a great reference point for when they’re reading and don’t know what a word means!
Kids who love science can be a rare breed. When they show an interest, encourage it! It’s never too early to start fostering scientific skills that can help them in the future.
The scientist is going to want to learn about anything and everything, so why not the human skeleton? The Bones Book and Skeleton will encourage them to learn about the bones in our body and also give them a fun toy to play with. The book included also explains the organs and systems inside our body for a well-rounded educational and fun experience.
A microscope is the perfect gift for the budding scientist of the future. The microscope from The STEM Kids is a 3-in-1 digital microscope that works just like one in a lab. It connects to a computer, so they can view their results on the big screen and save their data, too!
Getting your little one a set of binoculars will encourage them to get outside and explore. This kid’s binocular set comes with a bird sticker set, so you can get them out there bird watching and learning about the environment.
Critical thinking is not just a skill for the college lecture hall. It dates back to the time of ancient Greek philosophers, and has been developed over the last 2500 years. This type of thinking requires someone to problem solve and think outside the box.
It’s not just for complex problems either. Critical thinking is even used to determine whether a person is telling you correct information or not. It’s used for socializing with others. In short, it’s a lifelong skill that will prepare children for the future, and a reason why it’s reinforced in the STEAM curriculum.
But, honing those skills doesn’t have to be boring. Toys like Clixo’s flexible magnetic pieces can kick start problem-solving. Let’s look at some tips for stimulating critical thinking in your kids.
To start, we need to know what critical thinking is all about. Surely you’ve heard the term used as a part of college and other types of learning. According to The Foundation for Critical Thinking, there are a couple different definitions.
Critical thinking is defined as the intellectually disciplined process of actively conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered as a guide to belief and action. That’s a pretty wordy definition. Simply put, critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally to understand the logical connection between ideas.
So, this type of thinking is when you’re thinking about a subject or problem and are able to improve the solution by thinking skillfully. When your child is developing critical thinking skills, they should be able to:
Formulate and raise questions
Apply that information to the question.
Think open-mindedly about the question.
Communication with others effectively about it and come to a solution.
Critical thinking is not a cut and dry sort of subject. It’s an umbrella of different ways to think about a problem and solve it. There are several ways you can encourage critical thinking in your child in and out of the classroom.
How to Encourage Critical Thinking for Your Child
Children already have incredible imaginations, which makes them prime candidates to perfect critical thinking skills. They are already wired to think outside the box and see things other than the reality in front of them.
Developing critical thinking skills can happen in daily life without realizing it. Make sure to be in tune with your interaction with your child to help them work on critical thinking as early in life as possible.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Children tend to ask a lot of questions. In fact, some research shows that they can ask around 73 questions a day! As a parent, you probably won’t have the answer to every single one. This is a great time to exercise critical thinking with your little ones!
When they ask you a question, don’t turn to your smart phone and give them the answer immediately. Take some time and ask them one back to make them think. For example, ask them WHY they are thinking about this question. This will make them think about it and potentially come to a resolution on their own.
Take Your Time
While children ask a lot of questions, you’re going to have questions for them too. When you ask them a question, or give them a task, don’t rush it. Let them take their time with it and get the wheels turning in their head. This will give them time to reflect on their response and critically think about it instead of going with their first instinct.
Encourage Them to Think Outside the Box
When you’re working on something together, try to challenge them to think of other ideas and solutions. Have them make a list of all of the possible ways it can be solved to help them exercise critical thinking. One way to do this is to set up playtime.
Another great way to help your child develop critical thinking skills is to engage in structured play. This type of play has an end goal in mind and encourages problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Free play will also encourage creative thinking, so consider purchasing toys that can be used for both styles.
Some of the best toys for developing critical thinking skills are building blocks. Wooden building blocks are a staple for a reason, but magnetic styles are easier to deal with and can be more fun. We recommend Clixo’s magnetic building toys for developing critical thinking skills.
When you set your child up to play with Clixo toys, it can be structured or free play. You can simply give them the set of toys and encourage them to get creative, or set up an assignment.t For example. You can suggest they build a building, or that they only use pieces of a certain color.
While they are playing with Clixo, ask them questions. Ask them what they’re building, why they chose the pieces they did, and what they would do differently next time. Doing so will help them hone in on their critical thinking skills instead of blindly putting pieces together. Not only are toys like this fun, they’re going to encourage critical thinking as well as creativity.
The bottom line is that critical thinking is a skill that should be developed as early as possible. It is the type of skill that applies to almost all areas of life. If children aren’t taught critical thinking early, they may not be able to make it a valuable skill.
There are plenty of ways to encourage critical thinking even in young children. A great way to help get them started is by getting them to build toys such as the ones from Clixo. They make learning fun!
When it comes to playtime, the great debate between free and structured play rages on. While you may think one or the other is better, both styles of play are essential in your child’s life. Structured play as well as free play offer benefits to the growth and development of children.
So, what is the difference between free and structured play, anyway? Let’s get to the bottom of it and figure out why both are important.
What is Structured Play?
To start, structured play is exactly what it sounds like. Structured play is also known as goal-oriented play. Instead of allowing them to do whatever they want, children are given a task with an end goal in mind.
Examples of structured play include board games, puzzles, and team games like sports. As the name implies, they are structured activities with rules that need to be followed. Structured play has many benefits, including:
When children participate in structured play, they will learn crucial problem-solving skills. For example, when they are doing a puzzle, they need to solve it by putting the correct pieces together. While it may seem simple, this skill is going to benefit them their entire life. Any type of structured play is going to encourage problem-solving since there is always an end goal in mind. ,
The goal of any structured play is to set goals and achieve them. So, as your children engage in structured play they will learn how to set and achieve goals in other aspects of their life.
Structured Play is Educational
Structured play encompasses the realm of educational toys. For example, children can learn new skills along with language, vocabulary, holding a pencil, and sequencing among many other things.
They Will Learn to Actively Listen
Another benefit of structured play is that children will learn how to actively listen. When children engage in structured play, there are rules to be followe
What is Free Play?
Along with structured play, there is free play. This type of play is typically the opposite of structured and gives children the ability to explore and create with no guidelines. So, free play is the type of play that has no rules. Children aren’t expected to complete a goal but are still encouraged to play with others.
Think of activities like running around on the playground or playing dress-up. Free play is essentially any activity that isn’t a structured game. There is no ‘winning,’ only play. Along with structured play, there are several benefits to free play as well.
One of the biggest benefits of free play activities is that they get to socialize with other children. Without an end goal for playtime, children can socialize and learn to interact with one another.
Since free play activities typically happen outside, they get to explore nature. When they’re playing in the yard or at the playground, kids can run around and find plants and animals to learn from. This will also give them the confidence to explore other areas and learn.
Free Play Improves Overall Confidence
Another benefit of free play is that your child will gain confidence. This will carry over into all aspects of their life. Since free play doesn’t have a strict set of rules, they are able to make their own choices. It’s also helpful for shy children to improve their confidence in talking to others.
Free play is a great way to keep your child physically active. During free play, they can run around wherever they want and climb on gym equipment. According to the CDC, obesity in children has continued to rise, and physical activity from free play can help.
Is Free or Structured Play More Important?
There is much debate on whether free play or structured play is better for children. The answer is that they are both equally as important. Both types of activities can work together to create a balance in developing your child’s skills.
While structured play is great for problem solving, free play will help your child learn to create ideas from scratch. These two skills go hand in hand, and will be applicable the rest of their life. So, when deciding which type of play is more important, the answer is that you should be using them together. There are plenty of ways to combine structured and free play, including using toys.
How to Combine Free Play and Structured Play
Wanting your child to engage in beneficial types of play is important, but make sure not to overload them. It’s important to maintain a balance and allow them to rest, as well. Your child also may not like all types of play, so you’ll need to find what they like. It won’t be fun for them if they’re being forced to do something they don’t like! The whole point is to ‘play,’ right?
One way to combine free and structured play is to invest in toys that can do both. Building blocks, art supplies and the like offer opportunities for both open play or directed play. We find parents like both aspect of our toys in particular.
For example, your child can use Clixo during free play to create whatever they want. Maybe they’re inspired by the season or a color, and they use that to create something unique. Or, you can provide a step by step guide, or what we call a Challenge, to help guide a build. They have an end goal and work on their problem solving, dexterity, and STEAM skills.
To sum it up, free play and structured play are equally important for children. Each style of play helps your child develop different skills that they will take with them into adulthood.
Anxiety can be difficult at any age, but it can be especially hard for children. As a parent, you want to protect your kids at all costs. If they are suffering from anxiety, it can be hard to watch. There are several things you can do to help your children cope with the anxiety that they’ll be able to carry into adulthood.
According to the CDC, about 9.4% of children have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and since COVID that number appears to be rising. It’s important to remember that you likely won’t be able to eliminate anxiety from your child’s life, but you can help them manage it. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you help your child with their anxiety.
What is Anxiety in Children?
To start, anxiety is defined as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension and worried thoughts. It can be accompanied by physical symptoms like a rapid heartbeat, shaking and increased blood pressure. If you’ve experienced anxiety, you know how unpleasant it can be.
Children can have a difficult time expressing their feelings, and they won’t know what anxiety is when it’s happening to them. Signs of anxiety in children can include:
Being scared when away from parents
Extreme fears in certain situations such as going to the doctor or being around large dogs
Being afraid of going to school
If you notice signs of anxiety in your child, it’s important to talk to a professional. You can also use these tips to help them cope with feelings of anxiety.
Tips for Helping Your Child Cope With Anxiety
You Can’t Eliminate Anxiety, But You Can Manage It
The most important thing to remember when your child is dealing with anxiety is that you can’y make it dissapear. Telling them not to worry about something or to calm down is only going to elongate the process. When you try to eliminate anxiety instead of teaching them to manage it, it can become a lifelong problem.
So, to do this you should teach them skills to cope with anxiety.Learning proper coping skills early will help your child be able to decrease their anxiety levels over time.
Keep Them Occupied
There are several toys on the market geared towards calming anxiety. Most of them are referred to as fidget toys. This includes fidget cubes, popping boards and many others. These toys are designed to help your child calm down when they’re feeling anxious by taking their mind off of it.
While the classic fidget toys are great, sometimes it’s good to think outside the box so that kids are building other skills at the same time. Clixo’s Tiny and Mighty packs up easily so you can take it with you everywhere. In addition to keeping your kid’s hands occupied, it also promotes spacial awareness, encourages creativity, and more!
Validate Their Feelings
Validating your child’s feelings when they’re feeling anxious is an essential part of the process. Remember that validation doesn’t mean you agree with them. You can express to your child that you understand that their feelings of fear and anxiety are valid without making them worse. Encourage your child to accept the fact that they are scared of something, but that you are there to help them through it.
Be a Role Model
You’ve surely been anxious at some point in your life, so let your child know that! If you are practicing the proper coping mechanisms for anxiety, you can share them with your child. Setting a good example will help your child to understand that stress and anxiety are a part of life, and there are healthy ways to deal with it.
The last thing you want to do is have your child see you be overwhelmed by anxiety. Of course, as a parent there will always be moments. You cannot always be the super hero. Just try to practice health tactics in front of your children to help their anxiety as well as yours.
To sum it up, anxiety is inevitable in life. Children have a difficult time managing it on their own, so it’s up to the parents to help them learn how to manage it. Along with coping mechanisms such as staying active and getting into therapy, toys can help as well. A little distraction goes a long way when a child is anxious in a doctor’s office!
Giving your child toys to play with such as Clixo’s magnetic building blocks will keep them busy and calm. Give it a try today!
Every parent has been there. You’re planning to take the little ones on the vacation of your dreams, but you have to get there first. Whether it’s on a plane or in the car, traveling with children can be stressful. The thought of the tears and screaming can be enough to say forget it and not plan anything.
The good news is, that traveling with your kids doesn’t HAVE to be pain and suffering for all involved. There are plenty of ways to ensure everyone has a good time. Will literal and figurative bumps in the road happen? Probably. But there are ways to get through them peacefully.
People will always tell you to take a deep breath or have a sip of water to take the stress off. That simply won’t do when traveling with your kids. You need a real plan. Let’s look at how to travel stress-free with your kids.
Always Plan Ahead
This should be a no-brainer, but time can get away from you. You’ve had the trip planned for months, and the next thing you know you’re throwing everything into the bag a few hours before departure.
When you’re traveling with your kids, the best thing you can do for yourself is to make a list. Have everything packed a few days before, and go through it before you leave so you are sure you’re not missing anything. When in doubt, always check again.
Planning ahead should also include buying tickets to popular tourist attractions. The last thing you want to happen is something the kids really want to do sell out. That will be a recipe for stress.
A good rule of thumb is to pack snacks whether flying or on the road. This can cure a fussy child very quickly. When you’re traveling, you should always plan for the unexpected. Whether that be a flat tire or a flight delay, snacks are a must. Not only for your kids but for you as well!
Another thing to keep in mind with snacks is to avoid sugary treats. The last thing you want to deal with after a crying session is a sugar rush. Bring healthy, sugar-free snacks to avoid this and keep everyone full and happy.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Along with the snacks, bringing a water bottle is an absolute must. When you’re busy traveling, hydration can fall to the wayside. Bringing a reusable bottle will allow you to not only fill it with water but with juice or a protein drink.
Let Them Choose Activities
As a parent, your instinct is to have total control and plan every day down to the minute. Your kids will likely enjoy what you pick but letting them choose activities will take off some stress. You aren’t planning everything, and they get to choose something they really want to do.
This is especially important for kids who are a little older. You may want to go to the art museum, but does your 11-year-old? Give them a list of realistic options to choose from so they feel as though they have some control over the trip.
Bring a First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, especially when you have kids. Even if you’re staying at a resort with plenty of amenities, you never know when you’re going to need a bandage. When you create your packing list, be sure to add a basic first aid kit to your list, including:
Pain relievers like ibuprofen
Hand Sanitizer (A must in the current climate)
When you travel with your kids, you should also look into nearby immediate care clinics. That way, if something does happen you aren’t scrambling on Google to find the nearest place without a 7-hour wait.
Always Find the Bathroom
Every parent has experienced this one. You asked “are you sure?” and they didn’t have to go before you left and now they need to go. This is especially stressful when you’re on a road trip and may not see a rest stop for another 100 miles. So, when in doubt, be sure they go. This will save you a headache an hour later.
It’s Okay to Take a Break
Rest days are crucial when traveling with your kids. Plan a day where you don’t have anything planned. If everyone needs to rest, great! Otherwise, see where the day takes you. The internet won’t show you everything a place has to offer, so sometimes it’s good to explore with no plan!
Pack Games and Toys for Entertainment
When you travel, you’ll be doing some sitting around and waiting. It comes with the territory. Whether that be at the airport, restaurants, or tourist attractions, there is inevitable downtime. Kids can get impatient, so it’s important to keep them distracted.
Self contained toys for trips are a must have. Something like the Tiny and Mighty packs up nicely and is easy to carry with you on your travels, while still being able to keep your little one occupied.
Don’t be afraid of screens, either. The iPad or other tablets will be your best friend on a long trip. Have some movies downloaded so they can get lost in them for long-haul drives and flights.
If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or other item be sure to bring that too. Having that item should help alleviate any unnecessary stress while in a new place.
To sum it up, traveling with your kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Bringing proper supplies, planning ahead, and making sure everyone has snacks will help immensely. Remember to bring games and toys for long-haul flights and road trips to keep the little ones occupied. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your vacation!
STEM has been a buzzword in the educational community for quite some time now. Skills in this curriculum focus on science, technology, and math and are extremely valuable in the job market. The problem is that AI tech is creating software that’s going to be able to do these tasks. That’s where STEAM comes in.
With only a vowel difference, STEAM is an expansion of STEM that adds creative soft skills. As AI takes the place of certain roles, computers are never going to be able to perfect social and creative skills the way humans do.
So, when you’re thinking about setting your child up for their future, it’s important to incorporate to not only incorporate the core items we’re used to, but we also need to foster artistic and creative endeavors as well. Let’s look at the difference between STEM and STEAM and how to set your child up for success.
What is STEM?
To start, it’s important to understand what STEM actually is. Simply put, STEM skills focus specifically on scientific concepts. STEM stands for:
They are also referred to as “hard skills.” Having STEM skills is incredibly valuable in the job market and can lead to high-paying jobs in the technology field. There is continuous growth in the job market, and the Pew Research Center reports that STEM jobs have grown 79% since 1990 which outpaces the rest of job growth in the United States.
As technology continues to advance, this makes sense. STEM jobs are the jobs that are contributing to the boom in technology, and they likely won’t run out anytime soon. With that being said, those who work in STEM are also creating technology that could make some jobs obsolete.
For example, STEM jobs such as data tracking and reporting could eventually be done only by AI. Employers will no longer be looking only at hard skills. To stand out, potential candidates will need to have a list of creative and personal skills, as well.
What is STEAM?
Now that we know a little about STEM, let’s look at STEAM. That vowel makes all the difference when it comes to the skillset you’re learning. STEAM is STEM, but when you incorporate the arts. STEAM focuses on soft skills in the creative realm that help people solve problems. Another thing to remember is that STEAM doesn’t focus on the hard scientific part of a concept. STEAM works on understanding a concept.
In STEAM, you will focus on scientific skills, but also include:
Any creative skill is going to apply in STEAM. Employers want to see skills outside of the scientific realm that will make a candidate personable and creative. In fact, 57% of employers value soft skills more than hard skills at this point.
What’s The Difference?
Since both STEAM and STEM are similar, it can be difficult to understand the difference. Both are valuable sets of skills but have different approaches to problem-solving. When you incorporate the arts with science, you get a well-rounded approach to critical thinking.
In STEM, students are typically encouraged to develop skills on their own. In STEAM, collaboration is a huge focus. Think about any art class you’ve taken. You don’t simply learn the skill of painting or drawing. You study other artists and work together on analyzing the work. This is the type of skill STEAM is trying to bring to STEM.
What are STEAM Careers?
You may be surprised to find that most leaders in the STEM world don’t have science or technology degrees. According to The Washington Post, only 37% of them had degrees in science or tech.
We are living in a world in which what you get your degree in doesn’t define the field you end up in. In fact, you may not even have a degree at all, but have the skills to make you employable. STEAM careers include:
Video Game Designer
When Should My Child Start Learning STEAM Skills?
While STEAM is a highly complex combination of skills, it’s never too early to start learning. STEAM skills are typically learned with a hands-on approach which can help your child during development.
Getting your kids involved in STEAM learning will also encourage them to start passions at a young age. Exposing them to science as well as the creative arts will give them so much to choose from as they learn and grow.
It can be easy to think that STEAM is too complex for the young ones, but there are plenty of simple activities to start them out. The activities don’t have to be complex. Early-life STEAM activities include:
One of the best ways to encourage STEAM skills in your child is to get outside. Try working on a garden at home to teach them patience and about plants and herbs. Go to a park and learn about birds and other parts of nature. The possibilities are endless outside.
Something as simple as building blocks can develop STEAM skills. We recommend Clixo’s Rainbow Pack to start . The slim, flexible, magnetized pieces come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to encourage creativity. This simple activity is great for the beginnings of STEAM learning.
Read With Them
Reading is an excellent way to start your kids on STEAM learning. There are tons of books on the market, and picture books are great for when they are young.
The bottom line is that STEAM has evolved from STEM and for good reason. Adding in the arts ensures that children and adults alike are developing creativity along with technical skills. What good are the tech skills if you can’t problem-solve or bring new ideas to the table?
It’s never too early to start encouraging STEAM learning with your children. Educational toys are a great place to start. Remember, make learning fun!
Ah, summertime. The time when you get to spend every waking second with your kids because they’re not in school. While it’s fun to go on vacation, relax and spend quality time together, kids tend to forget what they’ve learned during the break. As they play on slides at the park, they may experience what’s known as the summer slide.
The average student loses 17-34% of the previous year’s learning during summer
The study was done on kids in grades 1-8, and it also showed that if they go one break without learning, they’re likely to follow suit the next year.
So, what can you do to make sure the wheels in their little brains turn through the warm summer months? Nobody wants to sit down and do math problems when they could be at the beach, so it can be hard to get them to WANT to learn. You may just have to trick them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep those noggins in tip-top shape during the summer months.
Plant a Family Garden
Everyone wants to be outside during the summer, so why not start a garden to keep them busy? Planting a garden will teach your kids responsibility and patience as they learn about growing their own plants. One idea is to give them their own row in the garden that they are in charge of, and let them choose the type of vegetables they’d like to grow.
When they pick the vegetables out, encourage them to learn as much about them as they plant their garden. Once they grow, you can even use the vegetables to teach them about cooking, as well. A garden is a wealth of knowledge for children and adults alike! The best thing is that they’ll have no idea they’re learning and will have fun growing their own food.
Get Them Reading
In the age of technology, we as well as our kids spend so much time in front of screens. One of the best ways to keep them sharp during summer is to keep them reading. The good news is if you’re attempting to get them to read on break they can pick whatever they want.
Children are more likely to read when they aren’t obligated to for homework. When they have the freedom to choose a book about something they want to read, they will read that thing cover to cover.
Typically, libraries will have a summer reading program that offers incentives for reading. If not, you could set up a reward system at home to motivate them to read 20 minutes a day.
Get Them Educational Toys
They don’t have to know it’s education. They’ll be happy to have a new toy and you’ll be happy that they’re secretly learning (and giving you a little time to enjoy a cup of coffee). There are plenty of options on the market for toys that will help your kids busy while teaching skills like science and math to everything in between. Using educational toys is a fantastic way to “trick” the reluctant into developing skills for the future.
Clixo’s magnetic building toys are a good example of this. These educational toys take building blocks to another level. They are flexible 2D shapes that are magnetic and your child will develop skills as they play. You’ll probably like them too!
Take Them On A “Field Trip”
Another way to keep the summer slide away is to take your little ones on a no-school field trip. If your kids have specific interests such as science or animals, take them to the science museum or zoo. Removing the aspect of the field trip that leaves from school will help them learn without realizing that’s what they’re doing!
A day at the museum is a fun and educational day for the whole family. If you don’t live close to one, many establishments hold virtual tours you can take to keep your kids engaged and learning this summer.
Keep It Moving
Exercise is not only important for physical health, but for your mental health as well. Research has shown over and over again how good exercise is for cognitive function. Your kids are already going to want to run around outside this summer, so turn it into a workout!
You can engage in games with your kids such as tag or hide and seek to keep them playing while exercising. Another great activity is to get bicycles and go for a family bike ride.
Sign Them Up For Summercamp
Even though it’s summer break for them, you’re probably still busy! Sign your kids up for a summer camp that offers educational activities. There are many camps that focus on STEM skills that will prepare them for the future, and they’ll have fun at the same time. In fact, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are now virtual camps that involve STEM and other educational functions.
Writing is just as important as reading. Try having your kids write in a journal either every day or once a week to reflect on their summer activities. This will get their brain working and a good way to keep their memory sharp. Take them to the store so they can pick out their own journals to make it extra special.
The bottom line is that summer should be fun, but also educational. You don’t want your kids to suffer from the dreaded ‘summer slide’ and fall into a vicious cycle. Keep them reading, moving, and playing and their brains should stay sharp as a tack until it’s time for back to school shopping.
Creativity is one of the fundamental skills kids need to have as they grow and learn. It’s the foundation for problem-solving and innovation, and it can give them tremendous opportunities in their career. But is creativity a personal trait that your child either “has or doesn’t have,” or is it something that can be encouraged and developed?
Researchers have been investigating creativity for decades to understand how it works and how it can be enhanced. The overwhelming conclusion seems to be that creativity is inherent in all of us from an early age and that it’s a skill that can also be strengthened or lost. In fact, a research project that analyzed 70 studies into creativity training programs found that well-formed programs could be effective for essentially all people.
Your child’s creative abilities are constantly shifting throughout their development. Understanding those changes can help you foster creativity along the way. Let’s take a closer look at the research into creativity at various ages and research-backed ways to encourage your child’s creativity.
Your baby is growing and developing at an incredible rate in their first year of life. The renowned Jean Piaget, a crucial pioneer in the study of cognitive development, deemed this the “sensorimotor stage” from birth to two years of age. This is the time when kids start to learn representational play and understand symbolism. The foundations of your child’s creative thinking start to develop as early as six months to one year of age.
Encouraging Creativity in Babies
As your baby is developing the foundations of creativity, playtime is a crucial part of their growth. You can expand their creativity from the start by handing them toys that make noise like maracas and rattles, as this teaches them that they can create sound.
Books are another excellent way to stimulate your baby’s creativity. Simply placing the book in front of them for them to explore during tummy time can help them begin to understand shapes and artwork. Remember, bold and starkly contrasting colors are best for babies’ vision.
According to Piaget, age two is when toddlers enter the “preoperational stage.” This is when they start to truly think of things symbolically. You’ll often see this in the form of imitation play: your toddler might pretend to cook dinner the way you do or go to work the way you do.
This is also a vital stage in creative development because, during this stage, your child starts to give living characteristics to non-living things. You might see them say that their dolls have certain likes and dislikes, for example.
Encouraging Creativity in Toddlers
To help your toddler develop creativity, try asking them questions as they play to help them form ideas. If they are playing with a doll, for example, ask them what the doll’s favorite color is or where the doll and her friends like to go for fun. This is also an age when you can start introducing your child to “creation” toys, like large building blocks they can use to create something new.
While preschool-aged children are still in the “preoperational stage,” these years are particularly instrumental in their creative development as their little brains keep developing and they don’t yet have the academic pressures of school and grades. Research shows that attending preschool can truly help kids take advantage of this opportunity. A study measured kids’ creativity before and after preschool education and found that the typical preschool curriculum improves creativity.
Encouraging Creativity in Preschool-Aged Children
In addition to enrolling your child in preschool, there are plenty of ways to encourage creative thinking as they develop. This is the ideal age to lean into toys that allow your child to build things, like magnetic pieces that connect together to create designs, structures, animals, and more. This starts teaching kids that they can create anything they can imagine.
As your child plays, consider playing positive, upbeat music too. Listening to music enhances creative thinking, and one particular study found that “happy music” was the key – they used classical music with an upbeat and positive tone. Consider playing this type of music in your home often, especially during playtime.
Primary School-Aged Children
When kids reach ages 7-11, this is the “concrete operational stage” according to Piaget. This is when kids start to understand logic and problem solving.
Here’s the unique problem with this age range, though: while it’s a prime time for kids to use their creativity to come up with problem-solving solutions, it’s also the time when their creativity often starts to decline. A NASA study gave a group of kids a test of creativity and found that at ages 4 and 5, 98% of those kids scored at a “creative genius” level. When these same kids were 9 and 10 years old, only 30% scored at that level, and by the time the kids were 14 and 15, it was down to 12%.
While there hasn’t been any solid conclusion, the most common theory is that creativity drops because of our modern educational system’s emphasis on standardized testing, which forces schools to teach memorization rather than giving kids the time and opportunity to learn through creative problem-solving.
Encouraging Creativity in Primary School-Aged Children
One way to help your young kids to think more creatively is to get them moving as they’re creating. A study by Stanford University found that an amazing 81% of participants performed better on creative tasks when they were walking while performing them, compared to when they were sitting. While this could be for any number of reasons, it’s likely to be because moving your body improves the circulation to your brain. You can put this to use by giving your child creative activities that involve moving around at the same time.
You can also encourage your child’s creativity by leaning them toward creative play activities. For example, ask them to draw you a picture instead of playing a video game, or work with them to create and put on a play for the rest of the family.
In Piaget’s outline of cognitive development, kids reach the “formal operational stage” at age 12. This is when they can start to wrap their minds around abstract concepts and problem-solve without needing physical representations of the problem. This is when kids’ creativity has the potential to truly reach its greatest heights because they can now develop entirely new abstract ideas.
Encouraging Creativity in Teenagers
As grown as your teen might think they are, it isn’t too late for you to stimulate their creativity. Take note of the types of creativity they seem to enjoy, whether that includes music, visual arts, drama, or other art forms. Encourage and praise their pursuit of those creative outlets.
A more positive mood seems to allow teens to unleash their creativity. One study found that people were more creative when thinking positively compared to when they were thinking negatively or were anxious. Teaching your teen to be optimistic and consider the best possible scenario could help them develop their creativity.
Unsurprisingly, research shows that adults tend to have far lower creativity than kids do. In one experiment, preschoolers and undergraduate college students were given creativity-based tasks to complete and the preschoolers outperformed the college students.
Encouraging Creativity in Adult Children
As they say, a parent is a parent forever. Even if your child is an adult, you can still help to foster their creativity by supporting their creative endeavors, like art projects and creative writing. You can lead by example, too, by telling them about your own creative projects or even inviting them to work on those projects with you.
Using Research to Develop Your Child’s Creativity
If you want to help your child put their natural creativity to use, you can do this at any age. Creativity isn’t something that goes away completely – it just needs to be practiced and honed like any other skill. Use the research-backed tips and ideas above to help your child access their creative side.
When you’ve got a little one at home, choosing the right toys can feel overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion on what’s best, but it’s ultimately up to you. One thing you should definitely be doing is getting your tot educational toys. Not only are they fun, but they will encourage creativity and develop other beneficial life skills.
According to the CDC, children are in the toddler stage from years 1-3. This is the perfect time to help them develop interests that could follow them into adulthood. Many educational toys on the market today focus on STEAM learning to help them find skills they’re passionate about that they can turn into careers. Let’s look at the benefits of educational toys for your tot and the ones they should have!
What Are STEAM Skills?
To start, we need to go over what STEAM stands for. Not to be confused with STEM, STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. These are incredibly important skills for children to start learning at an early age because they’ll need them in adulthood.
STEAM-focused toys are intended to help your little tot spark a lifelong interest in creative areas along with science. These toys are going to teach you tot skills that are in demand in the real world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEAM and STEM-related occupations are expected to grow by 8% by 2029. So, it’s important to start them young.
Benefits of Educational Toys for Tots
Learning through play is an important part of development for toddlers. Educational toys can help develop all sorts of skills, so it’s important to start your kids with them early. There are different types of toys that can help them develop skills such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, and sharing and help them to develop motor skills.
Educational toys aren’t just fun, they have a purpose. Many of them focus on memory retention and improving motor skills, coordination, and literacy which will all help to increase their IQ. Your tot will be having fun and learning at the same time without even realizing it.
Improves Problem Solving
Many educational toys operate under the process of trial and error. For example, magnetic puzzle toys encourage your child to work through the puzzle and find what fits through trial and error. The more they practice, the better they will get at it.
Educational Toys Encourage Creativity
In the age of technology, many children spend their time in front of screens or using electronic toys. Buying them educational toys that you don’t have to plug in or use batteries for encourages them to use their minds and be creative.
They Improve Concentration
Toddlers have very small attention spans, and they can easily lose interest in what they’re doing-especially if it isn’t fun. The last thing they’re going to want to do is to sit down and learn, but using educational toys makes it fun for them.
Toys Your Tot Should Have
So, now that we know a bit about the benefits of educational toys, let’s look at some options you should grab for your tot. It’s important to have a well-rounded set of educational toys that focus on different skills and creativity.
Yes, classic building blocks are great, but with toys like Clixo your child gets much more. Clixo packs are toys that your tot can use to boost their creativity by building 3D magnetic creations. The Rainbow Pack comes with several uniquely shaped flexible pieces.
With Clixo, there are no batteries or screens so your tot can get lost in the lovely colors and shapes creating whatever comes to mind. Each piece is made of top-quality, eco-friendly material and they are light and compact. When you’re done, they stack easily to store them for next time! Clixo is perfect for kickstarting your tot’s STEAM skills.
Everyone remembers playing memory games as a small child, and there’s a good reason for it. Matching and sorting games help tots build the foundations for critical thinking skills later on in life. The Banana Panda Super Size Memory game is excellent for helping your tot hone in on those skills early. This game consists of animal matching, and as your child improves their skills you can add more to increase the difficulty. You’ll probably have fun playing it, too!
You probably remember these bears from your childhood, and they’re still a staple educational toy. It’s important to remember that your toddler is still very young, so STEAM skills are going to still look very basic. These bears come with scoops and cups to teach your tot about math very early and have fun while they’re doing it. With different colored bears, this toy will also help your child develop sorting and organizational skills.
This wooden lacing apple toy is the perfect puzzle to take on the road. Your tot will lace a string with a wooden worm on it through the holes in the apple to help with motor skill development. Not only that but it will keep them distracted in the car without having them look at a screen.
To sum it up, there’s an endless supply of educational toys on the market that your tot should have. It’s important to encourage creativity and skill development as soon as you can for your young ones. They will be able to take the skills they learn into adulthood which will benefit them as the job market continues to prefer those with STEAM skills. Happy playing!
We were so excited to support ReelAbilities at their Film Festival in New York in April. Dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities, we teamed up to inspire creative confidence through the power of inclusive play.
About The ReelAbilities Film Festival
ReelAbilities Film Festival was initiated in New York at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in 2007, founded by Anita Altman and Isaac Zablocki. The festival was the first of its kind to present a series of award-winning films by, about and for people with disabilities. As the festival progressed, screenings continued to take place at multiple venues across the city and all films are followed by discussions that engage the community in promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity, while providing accessible conditions to match the different needs of our multi-layered society.
It’s always really cool to “look behind the curtain” (so to speak) and see how other parents juggle parenthood. In this episode of Clixo Chit Chats, we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ximena Borges, who is not only a mom, but is also a gifted musician and the amazing founder of Juliet and the Elf. Juliet and the Elf is an incredibly interesting business that uses music as an intentional parenting tool.
Classical music can sometimes get an unfairly bad rap for being boring or stuffy. However, there are so many complex melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic patterns in Classical music and Jazz that make these interesting, fun, and very good for babies brains. Juliet and the Elf embraces all of this magic, art, and complexity and bottles them into wonderful, well-curated lists that are incredibly approachable, super helpful, and utterly enjoyable.
Beyond Ximena’s passion for music, one of the things that struck us is how she had truly done her research as a parent. Beyond playing with open-ended building toys like Clixo and Magnatiles, she also goes outside toys and incorporates fun, whole-family activities (such as baking) that really emphasize the importance of hands-on activities in child development. Incorporating music and hands-on play has been a wonderful way for her son to either focus or wind down at the end of the day, and to express himself in different ways.
When you combine the magic of music and the hands-on wonder of Clixo, it’s truly a sensory symphony! 🙂
Check out the full interview in the YouTube link below.
We’re proud of our diverse team and believe that our different cultures and perspectives make us a better and more interesting company.
To celebrate the Lunar New Year, our Head of Marketing wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of her heritage and tell the story of The Great Race through the magic of Clixo.✨
We hope this encourages you to try something new with your Clixo packs. From simple 2D builds, cool 3D creations, exciting stop motion animation, to fun puppetry – start snapping and see what you come up with!
Wishing you all good fortune in the Year of the Tiger! 🐯
I recently had the pleasure of getting to chat with PreK NYC school educator, Andy Yung. We talked about Clixo and how it’s incorporated into Andy’s school lessons, and how the pandemic has shaped our parenting. We also talked about play based learning through creativity, and how unstructured play has helped navigate our way both in the classroom and out.
Check out the full interview in this YouTube link and a quick summary below. 🙂
Remember Remote Learning Back in 2020? 😬
Remote learning was a challenge for Andy as well as myself. Last year, we did a full year of remote learning for our then PreK child, so I understand the challenges Andy was faced with! Keeping a young child engaged online is hard enough, but during Andy’s lessons, Clixo helped his students stay focused and became a main component in some of his lessons. Through DonorsChoose, Andy was able to get basic supplies, books and Clixo packs for each of his students. When teaching online, the class would build and share their creations. “Playing apart but also together,” says Andy, helped keep his students interested and engaged. He found the younger students kept more focus during free play, compared to structured learning and used unstructured learning as the core of his “lessons”. He used a building prompt using any of the toys the kids had at home including Clixo, and were encouraged to build and play however they chose.
🤩 Check out some of the Clixo builds his students made here (pictures) and over here (videos).
During virtual learning, the unstructured free play eased some of the tension at home. It gave parent’s a break from having to feel like they always had to be present, or could take a conference call while working from home. The younger kids who couldn’t yet navigate a computer were set up by mom or dad and had their instruction played out for them. I give these kids lots of credit for keeping up with their online classes, and sitting through some of the longer days! The disconnectedness we felt last year and not getting to see our friends really started to take its toll.
Back to School Blues
Andy also mentioned that seeing the kids come back to school has proven a little difficult. In general, most students became used to at-home learning in the comfort of their own home with their parents nearby. However we both agreed that children are super adaptable, and the transition from home-life to school-life is improving. Andy’s number one goal is to get them excited, and to keep an eye on each student’s overall development. Just being there for them has created a sense of reassurance and confidence. We’re thankful to be back in person this year.
Like most parents, Andy says that balancing work and home life is also challenging. During the dark days of remote learning, Andy felt that he couldn’t do much with his classroom. His sleep was disrupted by constant thoughts of how he could keep his students engaged while learning at the same time. In previous years he felt reserved about technology, but after his remote year, he saw it as a new opportunity. For example each student was required to do their “feelings” check in before the beginning of each lesson. It would give Andy an indication of their moods before coming to class, and would then use these opportunities to open up the conversation about how each student felt. If a child was feeling sad, he would talk about ways to make them feel better. In addition to feelings, Andy would use a puppet (the most recent was based on the school’s cafeteria worker) to teach his students about everyday life skills. This was then put into a video that was shared with parents and available to the students when they needed it. The puppet would show the kids how to do basic skills such as opening a milk carton. This helped save time in the cafeteria because one person wasn’t scrambling around helping each child. Those kids have limited time to eat before the next lunch shift comes in, so it proved to be very helpful!
Clixo is still being used in Andy’s classroom for compactability and mobility! In addition it offers a sensory experience for young ones. Some creations are very basic considering they’re younger learners, but Andy mentions his students love to make necklaces and rings. A giant magnetic wall in the class is used as a gallery for students to celebrate and showcase their creations. The students also incorporate their pieces into role play, for example, a doctor or artist. So despite the harder challenges and mature creations for the older crowd, Clixo can be used in many different ways!
Shout out to Andy Yung for working so hard to keep his students interested and eager to learn! We’re thankful to put remote learning behind us (for now) and will continue to let kids be kids through free-based creative play. 💙
This piece was written by Kate. Kate’s a NYC parent of two young boys, ages 3 and 5 and fur baby, Mr. Biscuits. She lives in the West Village with high school sweetheart and now hubby, Dylan. When not working or managing the school shuffle, Kate is running, cycling, painting, or as her children call it, “sitting in her lounge chair” (aka the couch). She loves a good laugh and literally dances like no one is watching.