Mathilde the Musical: Theatre Fun with My Little Girl

“Mathilde’s parents were not very nice and were mean to her. But you’re not mean to me Mommy because you care about me and love me!” My five year old informed. Today, I took Quinn to see her second play at the Walnut Street Theatre with my sister and niece (her daughter). Last year, it was “Annie,” which was awesome, and this year it was “Mathilde,” which was just as good. Quinn was so excited to go see another play. As she looked through the playbill she even noticed a familiar face who was in last year’s production of “Annie.”

It was such a wonderful family outing, and allowed us to engage in discussion prior to the play about her expectations. Afterwards, we enjoyed talking about which scenes and characters she and my nice liked the most.  While some people may think going to the “theatre” (in my bourgeois stuffy voice) is not appropriate for children, I totally disagree, and my daughter would as well. She couldn’t wait to get home and how the playbill to her dad and tell him all about the play.

While this is only Quinn’s second year going to Walnut Street Theatre to see a play, I am looking forward to this being an ongoing tradition that we can look forward to with my sister and niece. Here’s to Walnut Street Theatre doing a superb job with the “Mathilde the Musical Production!” My little girl gives the play two thumbs up!

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl’s Cashing in on Learning Math!

“Look at this! They have really good deals at Burger King! You can get a whole meal for just $3,” my five year old informed her daddy. Since Quinn was very young, we started teaching her the importance and value of money. She has her own piggy bank as well as an actual bank account and is aware of the importance of saving. While her kindergarten class will not be going over coins, dollars and their values, at the beginning of 2018, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to not only introduce her to this concept but to reinforce what she learns with activities related to math.

One of the activities is what we call “Mommy’s Coin Counting Store.” I purchased little price labels at the Dollar Tree and even had Quinn be a part of how much she thinks different items might cost. I was quite impressed with how accurate she was with many of the items. Then, we used the Learning Resources cash register I purchased her a few years ago to set up the shop. Initially, I was the shopkeeper, so I gave her a little wallet along with pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, one dollar bills, five dollar bills, ten dollar bills and twenty dollar bills. It was tricky for her to count out the coins when the amount was not exact, but after a few times and having her just focus on specific coins instead of everything in her wallet, she did surprisingly well.

Whenever we go to the store and I’m paying cash for an item for her, I will have her pay and walk her through how much the item cost so that she can figure out how much to pay and how much she will get back in return. Just yesterday, she wanted to play with the cash register and count out bills herself. She even asked, “Mommy, are there $100 dollar bills?” When I replied yes, “She said, I wish I had one because I could trade in five twenty dollar bills for one 100 dollar bill.

There are so many adults who struggle with finances or even with counting money. I’m glad Quinn has a head start and hope this is setting the foundation for her managing her money properly, not letting anyone cheat her out of her money and understanding the importance of saving.

All the best,

Tanya

Baking Up Memories with My Little Girl

 

“I’m so excited, Mommy! I want to do everything from start to finish!” my five year old informed me as we prepared to bake chocolate chip cookies for Thanksgiving. Though it can be time-consuming, and it’s difficult to always carve out time to do it, I love baking. I especially love baking with my daughter. Now that she’s in kindergarten, she’s starting to read, is understanding the concept of measuring more and more and really was able to do just about everything from start to finish, with the exclusion of putting and taking the cookies out of the oven.

As we stood in the kitchen together, we bonded and talked about how excited we were to share our cookies with the family for Thanksgiving. Quinn even said, “I really love baking with you mommy. We ought to do it more often!” I agreed. It is such a wonderful feeling to see her applying what I’ve taught her over the years. I did not have to remind her how to sift the ingredients. Using the Kitchen Aid mixer is a no brainer for her. Without me suggesting, she said, “I’m going to start the mixer on the lowest setting firs so that the flour doesn’t go everywhere. Then I’ll flick the switch so it can mix the cookie dough faster. She was able to use the cookie scoop with ease, and even knew the importance of not putting the cookies too close to one another of the baking sheet.

This experience made me think of an analogy with my little girl. Before she was born, she was “baking” in my stomach until it was time for her to come out. Now, I often observe her “baking up” some ideas and searching for life “ingredients.”  She’s on her way to becoming a master chef, and it comforts me to know that I’m playing a role in sharing my recipes for heartfelt moments that she will be able to use to cook up a wonderful life for herself.

All the best,

Tanya

Say Word?! Learning Can Be Fun! Lessons with My Little Girl

She paused for a few second and looked up to the ceiling with her head slanted. Then she said with certainty, “Word!” I proudly said, “You got another word right, sweetheart!” Even though my daughter already knew some words here and there, since she started kindergarten, we’ve been making a conscious effort to reinforce what she is learning in school and to even enhance that experience. Last week, in my blog entry, I wrote about the reward system I created to demonstrate positive reinforcement for my five year old’s eagerness to learn. Doing basic flash cards is one of the lessons we do together.

I purchased sight word cards with pictures and some without, and either way Quinn is able to recognize several words after a few sessions. I am impressed that she immediately distinguishes the differences between words with similar spellings such as then and than considering that some adults still mix these two up. Often when I ask her what reading activity she would like to do, if it is not leafing through one of her books, it is doing flash cards.

Yes, technology is wonderful, and we use some of those resources as well. But good old-fashion flash cards are still perfect for helping a child learn how to read. They are a cheap resource that you can purchase at the local dollar store, or you can even create them yourself. Give them a try if you don’t already use them with your child.

All the best,

Tanya

Reading, Writing & Math: A Rewarding Experience for My Little Girl

 

“Mommy, may I please do some reading today,” my five year old pleaded. Those words are always music to my ears! Since my daughter was a baby, she’s always been eager to learn. Also, like many children, she loves playing with toys. One of her toys of choice is her doll, Sophia. Whenever we go near the toy section in Target, Quinn’s eyes widen as she sees the many doll accessories: clothing, footwear, little brushes, beds, you name it.

Since the star reward system my husband and I started with Quinn when she was two to reinforce positive behaviors was so successful, I thought why not implement a program like that to encourage and reward her for learning, especially since her school does not issue homework for kindergartners.

Over the summer, I purchased several workbooks and resources to help her with reading, writing and math. Then, I ordered big charts, smiley stickers and punch cards through Amazon. For every three stickers Quinn earns a smiley face. Then, she gets one punch on the card. Once she earns ten punches, she’s able to get some doll accessories for Sophia.

Of course, some parents might argue that learning is a requirement for children, and why should a child be rewarded? While this may be plausible for some, I’ve actually found that my daughter is even more eager to learn. It does not feel like a chore to her, and she does not do it solely to earn stickers or punches on the punch card. Sometimes, I have to let her know that she’s able to earn a sticker since she asked about practicing her writing.

Often, Quinn will ask to write and read instead of watch television or play with her toys.  What I love is that she even does math by counting up how many more smiley faces she needs in the different sections to earn a punch on the card and then how many punches she needs to get to ten.

This reward system also teaches Quinn about value. As she gets the doll accessories, she knows she had to put in a lot of work to earn them. It makes her appreciate them more than me just giving them to her.

Does your child needs a little encouragement to learn? Give the reward punch card system a try. Maybe it will be as successful for your child as it has been for mine!

All the best,

Tanya

Autumn “Leaves” Fun Chores for My Little Girl!

“This is the best chore of the day, Mommy,” my five year old excitedly told me. It’s that time of the year where autumn is in full swing. Trees display beautiful leaves in hues of red, yellow and orange that we all gaze at and admire. Unfortunately, those very leaves eventually fall to the ground leaving behind that dreaded chore for many adults to continuously rake them all up for the next month or longer, depending on how many of these beautiful trees surround their homes.

I actually don’t mind it so much because I often daydream about when I was younger jumping in the leaves or just making that crunchy sound as I walked down the street stepping on leaves. My daughter has the same love for nature that I have. This morning, after getting home from my kickboxing workout, the sun was shining, and the leaves covered most of our grass and portions of our sidewalk, so I figured that I’d get a little more exercise by raking the leaves.

Automatically, Quinn said, “I want to help too, Mommy! I love raking the leaves!” My sweet girl has been helping since she was just one years old, and each year, she gets better and better. We made it a family activity along with her dad and spent about an hour outside clearing the colorful leaves. She even wanted to hold onto some of the leaves so that she could identify what trees they came from.

I love how we can have fun doing chores and truly enjoy each other’s company. These are the colorful moments we share together, and I will always cherish them.

All the best,

Tanya

What Do You Call a Fairy & and Mermaid? Mommy and Daughter Halloween Fun!

Halloween is such a fun time of year not just for my daughter but for me too. What makes it extra fun is the strengthening of our mommy/daughter bond. Since she was two, she began picking out a costume not just for herself but for me too. She’s been Doc McStuffins, and I’ve been Lambie. When she was three, she was an astronaut, and I was her rocket. Last year, she was Snow White, and I was the Evil Queen. This year, she decided to be a fairy and asked me to be a mermaid with a similar color scheme: purple as her favorite color and blue as my favorite color. I thought to myself, what a great idea! She’s already thinking about next year wanting to be a princess so that I can be her unicorn, and I love it!

I feel like dressing up together, going to parties, special events and trick or treating brings out the best in us both and brings us closer together. Sometimes, life just gets so hectic, and work even gets stressful, so I thank my daughter for allowing me to just have fun and enjoy life as different characters. Here’s to a happy fun-filled Halloween. Time with my daughter is the ultimate treat!