The Benefits of Educational Toys and Creative Play

Studies and research around the world have shown that creative play is a vital aspect of any child’s development. It is important that your child has enough creative playtime to engage with their environment and surroundings and develop their inquisitive mind. Research has shown that these are vital early stages of learning and this mainly happens in the home.

To achieve a level of creative play you can use educational toys, they help your child learn at home in many different ways, such as:

• Creative problem solving
• Playing with others and resolving conflict and understanding compromise
• Development of fine motor skills
• Develop a creative imagination
• Promoting self-esteem
• Development of language skills
• Development of literacy and numeracy

The benefits

Children will start to develop and benefit from educational toys as early as one month. Here are some ideas for educational toys.

It’s important to develop the sensory play by stimulating a child’s sense through color and movement. Mobiles and sensory toys, sight and sound are important as well as touch. These education toys develop the child’s hand-eye coordination and more interactive educational toys with noise and flashing lights would greatly benefit.

 

Children’s Development

As the child grows and becomes more active we would recommend educational toys that involve problem-solving. Stacks, blocks and magnetic educational toys will help with confidence and self-esteem.

As your child gets older we would recommend you start to encourage your child’s cognitive skills. Handwriting is a great way for a child to develop literacy and numeracy and understand language.

The key to good handwriting is to develop the fine motor skills so your child can hold a pen or pencil correctly, this is key to the development of good handwriting.

Developing creative play by using educational toys is a fun way to learn. These educational toys are perfect for hand-eye coordination as well as teaching a child to hold pen adaptor correctly. These types of educational toys are a really good creative way to help your child learn in a fun way.

They are recommended as they help children develop cognitive abilities and imaginative creative problem-solving. These sets are also teaching children about life, skills, jobs, and situations whilst stimulating their imagination.

 

 

 

Credit: Nexus Home Learning

Balloons and Our Environment!!!!

BALLOONS AND GREENERY: A NATURAL COMBINATION!

One of the questions we get here at Nifty Balloons is, “balloon bad for the environment?” While the full answer to this is somewhat complicated, if used responsibly balloons decorations are one of the more environmentally ethical party supplies available.

A common misconception about balloons is that they are made out of plastic or some other synthetic material. In reality, the vast majority of balloons are made out of latex, which is 100% natural. Once popped, they take up very little space in the trash and decompose rapidly.

Proper disposal depends on the type of balloons that you’re using, as well as how you’re using them. Read on to learn more about what balloons are made of, how to care for them, and how to clean up after your event.

Latex Balloons

Latex can be harvested from over 200 different species of plant, which reduces its overall impact on the planet. This diversity of sources means that there is no need to overplant or overharvest latex, and there is little chance that there could ever be a global shortage.

Even though it cannot be recycled, latex is a renewable resource that takes up very little space in any landfill. Latex balloons are also biodegradable and take less than four years to decompose entirely. This is exceptionally fast when compared to the centuries that it takes most synthetic materials to break down.

Foil Balloons


Foil balloons (Mylar is a specific brand name) are made of a metalized polyester film. These aren’t as flexible and don’t tend to expand in the same way that latex can. Because of this, however, they also hold shapes better, so the foil is often used to make balloon letters, numbers, or other specific shapes.

ENTIRE WALLS CAN BE MADE WITH FOIL BALLOONS!

Unfortunately, foil doesn’t biodegrade like latex. However, because of this – they hold helium much longer than latex balloons (by several weeks), and if cared for can be refilled and used multiple times!

Environmentally Responsible Balloon Use

It is important that when you use balloon decorations that you remember that even though latex is biodegradable it is still trash.

Never simply release balloons into the air, even latex ones, as what goes up must inevitably come down. Releasing balloons simply make them someone else’s problem. Pop all balloons that you aren’t taking with you and put the scraps in the trash before you leave the venue. You can even turn this into a game for the kids by throwing a quick “popping party” once the regular party’s over!

Foil balloons especially should never be left behind or released into the environment. Given how long it takes them to biodegrade any Mylar balloon that you leave behind will remain indefinitely.

There are some specific laws that regulate foil balloons in California. For example, they must be attached to weights in order to avoid accidentally releasing them into the air. They pose a particular hazard to power lines and should always be well secured to avoid causing shorts, blackouts, or sparks.

Planned balloon releases, regardless of the balloon material, are both illegal and damaging to the environment.

So Remember…

Balloons are no more harmful to the environment than food waste or paper trash. You still have to remember to pick up after yourself when you’re done – but hopefully, you were planning on doing that anyway! Pop all the balloons you aren’t taking with you, don’t randomly release balloons, and remember to pick up after yourself – the environment will thank you!

Feel free to contact us here at Nifty Balloons you have other questions about responsible balloon use, or if you would like to book balloon entertainment or decorations for your next event. We’re happy to discuss your party plans with you to ensure that you have an Instagram-worthy event that doesn’t put any excess pressure on the planet.

Credits: NB

Tips and Tricks to Make Bath Time Fun

 

Getting dirty is a childhood right; for some, the dirtier the better.  Add outdoor play into the mix and you have childhood nirvana!  Remember what it was like to get dirty outside?  Between outdoor sports, gardening with your grandparents, and digging for worms, the possibilities for getting dirty were endless.  Then there was eating dirt – actual dirt.  Who didn’t fall for the ol’ mud pie is totally a food you could eat trick?  The point is:  getting dirty was fun for you and most likely is fun for your child.  In addition to the fun factor, studies have shown that getting down with dirt is actually good for you!  It provides children unique tactile experiences, builds their immune systems, and makes them happy among other benefits.

 

So we know getting dirty is awesome; what’s not awesome (at least for you) is your child staying that way.  But how can you get your kiddo to understand getting clean can be just as much fun as getting dirty?  That can be a hard sell for kids.  They might think of bath or shower time as too structured, they may not like putting their heads underwater, or they might be scared to get soap in their eyes.  They don’t have to think about any of that stuff when they’re getting dirty.  So what is a parent to do?  Check out our list of tips and tools designed to help you get bath time just right, show your child how bath time can be fun, and explain why it’s important.

The Basics

  1. Set the temperature of your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  Turn on hot water yourself to avoid accidents.  Before your child gets in the tub or shower, check the temperature with the inside of your wrist or elbow.
  2. Teach your child how to wash each part of the body well, and to rinse well.
  3. Let your child take the lead in washing but be there to help them out when needed.
  4. As a safety precaution, never leave the room when your young child is in the bath.
  5. Provide your child with natural and easy-to-use body washes and shampoos like those in the Kandoo family of products so kids can learn to wash on their own and enjoy getting clean.
  6. If your child doesn’t like getting their face wet, help them wash and rinse so as to avoid putting their face directly into the water.
  7. To avoid arguments, make bath time happen at regular times — on a schedule that you set. Don’t ask kids if they want a bath unless it’s a real question.
  8. Let them know if they get clean, they can get dirty all over again tomorrow!

Tub Time Merriment

Making tub time fun and interesting is a great way to get your kids to want to get clean.  In fact, as difficult as it may be to get your kiddo into the tub or shower, once there, they may not want to get out when using these tried and true tactics.

  • Give your child a mirror in the shower or tub so they can see the soapy faux-hawks and white fluffy beards they’ve created.
  • Create water walls using various vessels like empty water bottles (with openings at each end) and removable tape strips to connect the bottles to the bath or shower wall.  Pour water in using a cup and watch the water stream from one vessel to the next.
  • Skip the usual bath toys and opt instead for waterproof toys like large Legos, pirate figurines or other “regular” toys that can withstand soapy water.
  • Create soapy science experiments with your child (add food coloring to bubble towers, swirl with a wooden spoon and watch the rainbows form).
  • Put a few blown up balloons in the tub for kids to safely bat around.
  • Make a glow-in-the-dark tub by throwing in a few glow sticks or putting up glow decals on the shower wall.
  • Bring in kitchen strainers and watch the water cascade out when lifted out of the water.
  • Turn bath time into book time by reading favorite stories to your children while they are in the tub.

 

The Super Power of a Bath or Shower

Now that you’ve shown your child how bath time can be good clean fun, the next step is to explain why bath time is important.  Let your child know that humans aren’t the only animals that take baths.  Elephants, rhinos, rabbits, dogs, cats, giraffes, birds, and frogs among others types of animals all take the time to get clean and for good reason … to help keep skin and hair healthy and in tip-top shape.

Tell your child the thing about skin is that it is constantly protecting us.  In addition to keeping our insides nicely packaged, it helps keep our body temperatures regulated.  Healthy skin also keeps infections out of our bodies (from say scrapes or cuts).  If we keep the wound clean, our healthy skin will heal itself, the wound will close and infections will stay out.  By taking care of our skin, we are helping it take care of us!  And one really great way of taking care of our skin is keeping it clean.

Explain to your kiddo that during bath time we use warm, soapy water to get our skin clean and while it might be fun or even relaxing to simply soak in the tub or stand in a warm shower, getting clean actually requires some work.   Lathering up and doing a little gentle scrubbing with a washcloth or bath sponge will ensure skin gets the attention it needs.   Show your kiddo how to wash off the dirt they can see and why it’s important to wash the “dirt” they can’t see (e.g. to stop the spread of germs).  They should practice washing all their parts from nose to toes, rinse well, and dry thoroughly with a clean towel.

At the end of the day, explain to your child that having a clean body and clean hair can make them feel great, smell great, and people will want to be around them because they look and smell clean and fresh!

 

 

Credit: kandookids

 

 

The Environmental Impact of Plastic Straws

A small, plastic straw – It’s something that comes with most beverages that we order, from soft drinks to even a glass of water.

Though at first, this small straw may not seem like a lot, when its usage is added up, plastic straws create a big problem for the environment.

And, with the USA using 500 million straws every day (enough straws to circle around the Earth 2.5 times!), that’s a lot of trash and potential litter.

Updated Statistic: In the year 2017, Americans used about 390 million plastic straws each day. This data comes from from the market research firm, Freedonia Group.

In this info graphic and article below, learn about the impact of plastic straws on the environment, and how you can make a big difference just by rejecting the use of straws.

 

 

 

Environmental Impact Of Straws (Why Are Straws So Bad For The Environment?)

 

1. Plastic Straws can’t be easily Recycled

Straws are most commonly made from type 5 plastic or polypropylene.

 

 

Although type 5 plastic can be recycled, it isn’t accepted by most curbside recycling programs. When plastic straws aren’t recycled, they end up in landfills, or even worse, polluting our oceans.

Make sure you check your local municipality website to see if plastic straws can be recycled in your area.

2. Plastics do not Biodegrade, and never fully Degrade

In order to understand the environmental impact of straws, it is important to know the difference between biodegrading and degrading:

Biodegrading is when an item can be naturally broken down and digested by micro-organisms, and then naturally recycled into new organic molecules and life.

On the other hand, degrading is just the process of breaking down into smaller pieces. When plastic degrades, the bulk of the plastic will seem to disappear – However, what’s really happening is the plastic is breaking into smaller, invisible pieces that will always still be on Earth.

With that being said, plastic straws take up to 200 years to degrade, but will never be fully off the Earth, as plastics are not biodegradable. To make matters worse, the degrading of plastic releases chemicals that are toxic to wildlife and the environment.

3. Straws are littered very often, and harm Ocean Wildlife

Whenever there is an ocean coastline cleanup, plastic straws never fail to make it on the list of one of the most found ocean litter.

And, as of early 2018, data from Ocean Conservancy’s TIDES system shows us that straws/stirrers are the 11th most found ocean trash in cleanups, making up about 3% of recovered trash.

Update: Straws are currently the 8th most found ocean trash in cleanups by quantity (January 2019).

All these straws and plastic polluting our oceans is having a negative impact on marine life. Take for example the video below, where researchers off the coast of Costa Rica remove a plastic straw that had been embedded in the nostril of an Olive ridley sea turtle.

It’s likely that the sea turtle accidentally swallowed the straw, and then had it stuck up its nostril while trying to cough the straw out.

Straws are also especially dangerous to seabirds, as they can be easily picked up and swallowed, suffocating and choking the bird. In fact, over 1 million seabirds die each year from ingesting plastic.

The image below of a dead albatross chick shows just how much damage plastic can do to animals that ingest it:


 

Take Action: Combat our Single-Use Plastics Problem

Plastic straws and other single-use plastics are a non-essential part of our life. Yet, they cause so much damage to the environment.

The simplest way to reduce plastic pollution is to reject the use of single-use plastics, like straws.

For example, the next time you go to a restaurant, make sure you request for your drink without a plastic straw. Many restaurants serve straws with drinks even without a request, so make sure you ask for “no plastic straw” before you order.

Another way to combat this problem is to use reusable straws. These reusable stainless steel or silicone straws can be used, cleaned, and reused over and over again.

Get Green Now have partnered up with the One Less Straw campaign to bring you this article and raise awareness about the harmful outcomes of straws on the environment.

 

Credits: GetGreenNow

Silicone vs. Plastic Straws

Silicone vs. Plastic Straws – Here’s the Difference

It’s said that each person uses around 38,000 plastic straws over their lifetime.

But, what if there were a better option?

Aside from the fact that silicone and plastic are two different materials, there are many differences, especially when it comes to straws.

Silicone

Technically part of the rubber family, silicone is a stable material, meaning that chemicals don’t seep into your food or drink when then temperature rises. Plastic, which is made from petroleum, absorbs toxins and chemicals, which then leak when they get hot.

Silicone Straws

Not only is silicone better for your inner health, but it also can save you from any possible injury.

The soft and bendy material is sturdy enough to bite, yet flexible enough to move around when it hits a lip, nose or eye. Plastic – not so much. Yeah, it can be a bit too, but ever take one of those things to face? It hurts. I mean, these straws are strong enough to puncture a raw potato, so I guess it makes sense that an average of 1,400 people visits the ER each year with a straw related injury.

 

Plus there’s the ease. A silicone straw is dishwasher safe, making it super simple to use drink after drink. Plastic is single use, making its way to the trash can the minute you’re done sipping. Unfortunately, they can’t even be recycled. They’re so flimsy that they can’t endure the process.

But, the biggest difference of all is the environmental impact.

 EcoCycle reports that an average of 500 million plastic straws is used each day by people in the US alone. That’s enough to fill up 46,400 school buses each year. With those tiny little plastic straws.

Because of the durability of silicone, it is a lot better for our environment. It’s reusable, turning those 38,000 straws into just a few, and lasts for a long time. It can withstand extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and UV rays, making it ideal for almost every occasion.

 

Although silicone is not biodegradable, it is recyclable, setting it apart, again, from the typical plastic straw. So, after a lifetime of use, or whenever you’re ready to say goodbye if you can’t recycle it and must throw it away, it’s still better for the environment. Silicone breaks down into silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, making it harmless. However, when plastic breaks down, it’s not so harmless. The petroleum-based material turns into micro-fragments, seeping into oceans and ecosystems.

 

Credits: Keep Nature wild

Straws, Straws, But Which One?

 

The drinking straw revolution is an international movement that has changed the way we view this little tube that has been assisting us with our beverage consumption for decades.

It’s time we start examining the environmental impact of plastic straws in the same careful way we view and choose our other utensils. Our suggestion is to invest in some excellent quality reusable straws that will last you years, rather than a single use.

But which straws are the best, you ask? If not plastic, then what’s the alternative? What’s the safest material to use? What’s the most environmentally-friendly option? Thicker, thinner, taller or shorter?

Not to worry, we’ve listed some of our favorite waste-busting straw choices below to make it easier as you make the change to a waste-free lifestyle.

Stainless Steel

For starters, steel is stain resistant, oxidation-free, and virtually unbreakable, which is pretty amazing. These straws are sleek and will last the longest out of all the plastic straw alternatives. And your hot tea or coffee that you don’t want staining your beautiful pearly whites? No worries when you drink up daily through a heat-resistant steel straw.

Steel straws are really the great overall choice. Other than the fact that they’re not size-adjustable, they’re basically perfect. Just make sure when you do purchase them that they’re food or medical grade and safe for home use!

-Rugged

-Long lasting

-Hand washes. Ok to sterilize in a dishwasher.

 

Silicone

Remember when your straw was too long for your super cute mason jar mimosa glass and it kept wanting to topple out? Problem solved. Silicone straws are great because you can cut them down to size quite easily if need be.

You can bend them too, which always makes for great fun for kids of all ages. The littlest of our sippers will also appreciate their soft feel in the mouth. Not poky! While we always recommend hand washing with a little brush all of your reusable straws, but just in case you wanted to sterile them, it’s convenient that they’re also dishwasher safe.

-Soft on the mouth

-Bendy, which is cozy for kids

-Hand wash recommended, but ok to sterilize in the dishwasher.

 

 

 

 

Credit: Ecolunchbox

Tips and Tricks to Make Bath Time Fun

 

Getting dirty is a childhood right; for some, the dirtier the better.  Add outdoor play into the mix and you have childhood nirvana!  Remember what it was like to get dirty outside?  Between outdoor sports, gardening with your grandparents, and digging for worms, the possibilities for getting dirty were endless.  Then there was eating dirt – actual dirt. The point is:  getting dirty was fun for you and most likely is fun for your child.  In addition to the fun factor, studies have shown that getting down with dirt is actually good for you!  It provides children unique tactile experiences, builds their immune systems, and makes them happy among other benefits.

So we know getting dirty is awesome; what’s not awesome (at least for you) is your child staying that way.  But how can you get your kiddo to understand getting clean can be just as much fun as getting dirty?  That can be a hard sell for kids.  They might think of bath or shower time as too structured, they may not like putting their heads under water, or they might be scared to get soap in their eyes.  They don’t have to think about any of that stuff when they’re getting dirty.  So what is a parent to do?  Check out our list of tips and tools designed to help you get bath time just right, show your child how bath time can be fun, and explain why it’s important.

 

The Basics

  1. Set the temperature of your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  Turn on hot water yourself to avoid accidents.  Before your child gets in the tub or shower, check the temperature with the inside of your wrist or elbow.
  2. Teach your child how to wash each part of the body well, and to rinse well.
  3. Let your child take the lead in washing but be there to help them out when needed.
  4. As a safety precaution, never leave the room when your young child is in the bath.
  5. Provide your child with natural and easy-to-use body washes and shampoos so kids can learn to wash on their own and enjoy getting clean.

 

 

  1. If your child doesn’t like getting their face wet, help them wash and rinse so as to avoid putting their face directly into the water.
  2. To avoid arguments, make bath time happen at regular times — on a schedule that you set. Don’t ask kids if they want a bath unless it’s a real question.
  3. Let them know if they get clean, they can get dirty all over again tomorrow!

 

Tub Time Merriment

Making tub time fun and interesting is a great way to get your kids to want to get clean.  In fact, as difficult as it may be to get your kiddo into the tub or shower, once there, they may not want to get out when using these tried and true tactics.

  • Give your child a mirror in the shower or tub so they can see the soapy faux-hawks and white fluffy beards they’ve created.
  • Create water walls using various vessels like empty water bottles (with openings at each end) and removable tape strips to connect the bottles to the bath or shower wall.  Pour water in using a cup and watch the water stream from one vessel to the next.
  • Create soapy science experiments with your child (add food coloring to bubble towers, swirl with a wooden spoon and watch the rainbows form).
  • Put a few blown up balloons in the tub for kids to safely bat around.
  • Make a glow-in-the-dark tub by throwing in a few glow sticks or putting up glow decals on the shower wall.
  • Bring in kitchen strainers and watch the water cascade out when lifted out of the water.
  • Turn bath time into book time by reading favorite stories to your children while they are in the tub.

The Super Power of a Bath or Shower

 

 

 

Now that you’ve shown your child how bath time can be good clean fun, the next step is to explain why bath time is important.  Let your child know that humans aren’t the only animals that take baths.  Elephants, rhinos, rabbits, dogs, cats, giraffes, birds and frogs among others types of animals all take the time to get clean and for good reason … to help keep skin and hair healthy and in tip top shape.

Tell your child the thing about skin is that it is constantly protecting us.  In addition to keeping our insides nicely packaged, it helps keep our body temperatures regulated.  Healthy skin also keeps infections out of our bodies (from say scrapes or cuts).  If we keep the wound clean, our healthy skin will heal itself, the wound will close and infections will stay out.  By taking care of our skin, we are helping it take care of us!  And one really great way of taking care of our skin is keeping it clean.

 

Explain to your kiddo that during bath time we use warm, soapy water to get our skin clean and while it might be fun or even relaxing to simply soak in the tub or stand in a warm shower, getting clean actually requires some work.   Lathering up and doing a little gentle scrubbing with a washcloth or bath sponge will ensure skin gets the attention it needs.   Show your kiddo how to wash off the dirt they can see and why it’s important to wash the “dirt” they can’t see (e.g. to stop the spread of germs).  They should practice washing all their parts from nose to toes, rinse well, and dry thoroughly with a clean towel.

At the end of the day, explain to your child that having a clean body and clean hair can make them feel great, smell great, and people will want to be around them because they look and smell clean and fresh!

 

Credit: Kids Kandoo & Google