• This entry was posted in Toys on September 14, 2016

  • Swingsets have always been one of the most popular pieces of playground equipment for kids. Swinging also tends to be one of the more challenging skills for children to master. The task of teaching your child is tricky as well. It’s not until around age 5 that most children will have mastered the abilities needed to fully develop this gross motor skill; however it is never too early to start laying out the groundwork. According to experts at Baby Center children as young as 3 may be ready to start learning the basics of swinging. Once children understand how to pump their legs, swinging by themselves comes naturally. Here is a method to try with your child to help them learn to safely swing on their own.

    1. Before beginning the teaching process, let your child watch you swing so they can see the motion of pumping your legs and how your body makes the swing move back and forth.

    2. Have your child sit on the swing and grab hold of the ropes for security. Let them experiment with their balance, shifting their center of gravity and using their bodyweight to slide around to find a comfortable position.

    3. Give them a push to get started and then move to the front of the swing. Hold out your hands and stand back far enough that your hands are a few inches away from their feet.

    4. Encourage your child to pull their legs in as they move back on the downswing and extend them forward on the upswing. This in and out movement is the basic pumping motion. Challenge your child to lean back some and extend their legs when coming forward to try to touch their feet to the palms of your hands.

    5. Repeat “in and out” as they swing.  The spoken words will register with the motion and they will begin sensing the changes in momentum.

    6. As they learn that pumping their legs back and forth will make them go faster and higher teach them to slow down gradually by keeping their legs still.

    7. Once they are swinging slowly enough have them place their feet on the ground to completely stop and step down.

    As with any activity your child’s safety is number one priority. Here are a few safety tips for your children and you to take into consideration when playing on and around a swingset.

    - Give swingers enough room, do not stand or walk too close in front or behind the swingset.

    - Have a soft impact-absorbing surface underneath your swingset.

    - Only one person per swing at a time.

    - Swing only when sitting down.

    - Follow any specific directions for the weight limit and maximum number of children the equipment can support.

    - For toddlers and younger children, use swings with enclosed sides and safety bars.

    - Lower hanging swings work best so that children can get on and off safely on their own.

    - Actively supervise your children’s outdoor playtime.

    Find additional playground safety tips!


  • This entry was posted in Patio on August 09, 2016

  • Your patio space is ideal for showcasing and highlighting with container plants and potters filled with flowers and greenery of all colors and textures. Add pops of color, and soften hard surfaces with succulents and blossoms. Blend the green of your lawn with surrounding garden beds and containers of plants that complement the rest of the yard. Strategically placed containers can also be used to create cozy zones and borders in different areas of your deck or patio.

    When choosing patio plants first ask yourself how much maintenance are you willing to do? Many plants require regular trimming and weeding to keep them growing and looking healthy. Sticking with durable plants that don’t over grow is your best bet. Annuals are a perfect option for patio growing. These types of flowers grow great in large pots and are long blooming through the seasons, seeding in the summer months. Perennials, on the other hand typically have a shorter bloom period, but if taken care of properly will return every year. These also work well in containers. Perennials need to be divided every 2-3 years to keep them blooming but will continue to seed and spread giving you more flowers to fill your yard with every year.

    Here are some of the best plants to grow on your patio:

    Herbs and Vegetables

    Growing tomatoes, peppers, fresh mint, oregano, or rosemary near the cooking area of the patio is convenient and easy. Herbs thrive on sunlight, and having a garden of your favorite veggies is a delicious treat.  


    Extremely easy to care for and they come in a range of vibrant colors.


    Add an element of Zen to your patio. The height of bamboo plants is great for small spaces to add the illusion of more room. Keep it small or grow in a large container for a fast-growing screen to add privacy.  


    These beautiful multi-colored flowers come in red, orange, yellow, pink, and white and are also loved by butterflies.


    This flowering vine is fast growing and blooms in large trumpet shapes in shades of pink, red, and white.


    Classic, bright, and summery – sunflowers look great in clay pots and boxes. Let them grow as tall as you want.


    This stunning plant has bold succulent leaves that give an earthy and architectural feel to any patio. Agave is incredibly heat tolerant and long lasting.


    Grow in full sun or partial shade – this scented plant comes in shades of yellow or white. The star shaped blooms grow as a twining vine, best for a trellis or arbor.

    There is no right or wrong plants to grow on your patio, as long as you choose ones suited to your climate and give them plenty of room to grow and thrive!