1. Trends We Love: Kids' Fitness through Active Play

    Trends We Love: Kids' Fitness through Active Play

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ages 6 and up get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. You could take the kids out to do calisthenics and laps around the house. But wouldn't it be more fun to find an activity that strengthens their bodies, challenges their minds, and brings you all together as a family? This seems to be exactly what our awesome community of fun-loving families had in mind as, for the second year in a row, the top trend of the year becomes clear: toys that promote physical fitness and playing together.

    The physical benefits of active play are obvious – that's something you can't miss as you take breather on a park bench while the kids run tireless circles around the park. In addition to maintaining physical fitness and a healthy weight, regular active play boosts endurance and gross motor skills. Making small and large adjustments as they move and interact with the world around them helps develop coordination, balance, and a vast array of large and small motor skills.

    But active play with family and friends benefits the mind as much as the body. When playing with a group, every kid has to figure out how to communicate, take turns, sort out conflicts, and listen carefully to their playmates. Emotional intelligence and empathy comes into play when recognizing and working with others' feelings, interests, and ability levels. Playing in groups helps little ones build confidence and hone their language skills as they direct play and express their feelings. It's truly awe-inspiring to watch those social skills blossom as they play with friends!

    Kids' fitness is just so much fun! As adults, we're limited in how we choose to spice up our cardio routine. Listen to podcasts, join a local kickball team, sign up for a goofy themed 5k (zombie runs are super motivating!) - while it's all loads of fun, lots of us lose the all-powerful element of imagination at the heart of playtime. How many of us grownups pretend we're mermaids swimming in the sea, cheetahs streaking across the Savannah, or ninjas training for the next secret mission? Kids always have a creative reason for running, jumping, and climbing! And our very favorite active toys play right into this natural creative energy...which is why we LOVE the incredibly aptly named b4 Adventure!

    b4 Adventure brings us ziplines, slacklines, and their breakaway hit - the Ninja Line. There's no better way to transform your own backyard into an exciting world of exploration and adventure! Each line and obstacle course is easy to set up, extremely versatile, and will support almost every member of your extended family on their quest for fun and fitness. Pair aerobic exercise with strength training, coordination, and gross motor skill-building. We've even seen a boost in mental health and emotional well-being the more our families have played outside together - no surprise, considering getting active and having fun are strongly correlated with decreased depression and anxiety in all age groups.

    The very best part of these backyard training courses is the ability to choose your own active adventure. My personal preference is speeding through the yard on a 90' zipline (seats are available if you're not excited about dangling). For the more coordinated among us (or those looking to improve their high-wire skills), the slackline is amazing for building core strength and improving balance and coordination. And of course, there is the superstar of the whole lineup - our best-selling active toy of the year - the Ninja Line! Inspired by Ninja Warrior obstacle courses, the Ninja Line features a remarkable variety of grips, challenges, and accessories that must be utilized and overcome to progress from one end of the line to the other. Weight limits for most of these outdoor adventure systems stand at an impressive 250 lbs, so they're perfect for sharing! And that, more than anything else, is why we recommend these exciting active toys from b4 Adventure to all our friends and family. It's toys like these that bring us together in play - growing, learning, and laughing as a family!

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  2. Finding Love with Hide & Seek Rock Painting

    Finding Love with Hide & Seek Rock Painting

    Ready to spread some peace, love and happiness in your community? Or how about giving an unsuspecting stranger an inspirational message during a difficult time? The Hide & Seek Rock Painting Kit by Creativity for Kids helps you do just that, and much more.

    Designed for ages 6-96, this inspiring craft kit is a great activity the whole family can be involved in! The idea is simple...paint a rock with an inspirational message/picture, hide indoors or outdoors around your neighborhood or community, then track your rock on social media with a hashtag and tracking stickers included in the kit!

    Rock painting has become a nationwide phenomenon after its creation by a mother in Ohio who lost her daughter to cancer. To help herself get through this enormous loss, she started painting rocks with replicas of her child's art work and hiding them throughout her small community. On the underside of each rock, she wrote a message telling the person who found it to never give up, stay strong, and love is all you need. What a beautiful way to make a difference in a stranger's life!

    The 10 smooth river rocks included in this kit make the perfect canvas, and the 8 waterproof paints ensure that your rock will stay as colorful as the day it's painted, no matter where you decide to hide it.

    Hide and Seek Rock Painting Ladybug

    Where will your rock be found? A neighbor's garden, a small patch of grass outside of a local hospital, maybe a playground or even a dog park?

    Make someone's day with a handcrafted token of uniqueness, thoughtfulness, and above all, love with the Hide and Seek Rock Painting Kit.

    Who will have a brighter day because of your rock?

    Hide and Seek Rock Painting Show Off

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  3. The "Greeting Card For Your Yard"

    The "Greeting Card For Your Yard"

    Happy Fall y’all! Today officially welcomes the start of a beautiful new season. As we probably all know, the South doesn’t get to truly experience everything that Fall has to offer. In other areas of the world, the weather will start cooling down, leaves will change to beautiful shades of yellow and orange, and it will soon be time to break out the scarves and coats. We still have a couple of warm months left to look forward to. We really can’t complain though because that means we get to have fun in the sun even longer! With the weather in the upper 80’s and the leaves remaining their vibrant shades of green, it’ll take a little creativity to get in the Fall spirit.

    Every southern home needs a festive flag for their front porch or garden! There’s no better way to kick off the start of a new season than by hanging one of Evergreen’s beautiful flags. Their extensive line of Fall themed flags will have you ready to throw on your flannel and head to the pumpkin patch. That personal touch is what transforms a house into a home.

    The beauty of these flags is that you can change them as often as you’d like! There’s something for every season and holiday. Try a beach theme for summer, a snowman for those chilly winter days, or maybe some pastel Easter eggs for spring! An Evergreen flag is the best way to welcome guests to your home. Hang a full-sized flag by your front door or spruce up your front yard with one of the garden flags or spinners. You can find the perfect “Greeting Card for Your Yard” on our website or at one of our four stores! 

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