Terrific Toy Tuesday: Let’s Get Cookin’ and Have a Barbecue!

It’s that time of the year when people are firing up their grills and barbecuing everything from hotdogs to hamburgers to chicken to ribs. My daughter is no exception. For the past few days she’s been asking to play with her barbecue set she received last year for her birthday from one of our lovely friends. The other day we were in her playroom, and I had to quickly get our food from the oven for lunch while my daughter was still playing. Upon my return, she had a little picnic area and barbecue set up and said, “Welcome to the cookout, Mommy! I cooked you a hotdog, burger and corn too. Have a seat please. Do you want mustard and ketchup?” I was impressed with her arrangement and enjoyed our private cookout together.

This Little Tikes Cook and Grill set comes with hotdogs and hamburgers along with the buns, corn, fish, ketchup and mustard. It even has some small red and white picnic cloths and the utensils to prepare the food on the grill then eat it.  It is a wonderful toy, and I’m glad Quinn received it because it not only promotes imaginative play but encourages my three year old to share and think of others and to use her manners. As a bonus, she doesn’t have to endure the heat that comes along with barbecuing on a real grill with the sun beaming down like her mommy does.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Monday Moments: Celebrating My Little Girl’s Freedoms and Rights this Memorial Day

Most people look forward to a good picnic, barbecue or just the three-day weekend during Memorial Day weekend. Though I certainly do, it also gives me the opportunity to reflect and be grateful not just for the the many freedoms and rights that I have but the freedoms, rights and privileges that my three year old daughter isn’t even aware that she has as a result of those who have served in the military and sacrificed their lives upholding the phrase, “America: Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.”

There are countless children around the globe who must live in war-torn countries, extreme poverty and rigid laws that prohibit them from doing what we consider to be basic rights in the United States. During this three-day weekend, we’ve proudly worn our red, white and blue, and I would like to just take a moment to say that I hope and look forward to my daughter never feeling restricted yet protected and empowered in this wonderful country we call The United States of America. Once more, here’s to those who have served to keep us all safe. Happy Memorial Day to you and yours.

All the best,

Tanya

Let’s “Scramble”for Words as Easy as ABC: What to Do When My Three Year Old Wants to Play Scrabble

Yesterday, my teenage nephew and I played “Scrabble” while my three year old daughter, niece and husband played “Pop the Pig.” Every so often, Quinn would sneakily creep over to our table and take a tile or two from my rack and scurry away giggling. This morning, upon arriving downstairs and seeing me take the “Scrabble” game box from the dining room table to put it back with the other games, she pleaded, “No, Mommy! Please don’t put the game away. I want to play Scramble!” As I explained, “Honey, you need to be a little older to play “Scrabble,”(I thought it was cute that she called it Scramble) and you need to know how to read.” She persisted, “But I know how! I know all of my letters in the alphabet. This is an “S.” This one is a “C…” She identified every letter in the word Scrabble and every letter on the tiles on the box and then told me, “See, I t0ld you I know how to read. This means we can play, right?”

I was impressed with her logic and argument for why she should be able to play, so we did a variation of the game, which is meant for ages eight and up. She purposely sought out the colored blocks on the board and identified the letters then looked for the tiles to spell what she saw, such as the word “double” and “word.” Then, I would ask her to find specific letter tiles or to find one that makes the “Ba” sound or “What letter does Kangaroo start with,” and she’d find the tile and put it on the board. This was enough to make her happy playing the game an feeling like she was spelling words.

Something I thoroughly enjoyed doing when I was younger and still do today is playing Scrabble. Yes, it can be a long and somewhat arduous game as I run out of letters or spaces on the board, but I love the way it stimulates my mind and critical thinking. Plus, I may learn some new words along the way. I’m looking forward to playing Scrabble the “right” way with my little girl when she is a bit older and “really” does know how to spell.

Al the best,

Tanya

What Would We Do Without It Wednesdays: Learning with Grover. The Student Becoming the Teacher

“We have to buckle Grover up in the shopping cart for safety, Mommy!” my three year old insisted. To which I responded, “Sure honey. Let’s make sure he’s in his seat securely.” Grover (from Sesame Street) has been her best friend since she was just one years old, and he usually goes everywhere she goes. Grover has seen and been through a lot with Quinn and even appeared in her second and third birthday photos. Though he needs a good cleaning every once in a while and disappears occasionally sending my little girl until a panic, I love having him tag along not just to keep her company but because I’m able to see if my daughter is not just observing and listening to what she is being taught but that she is emulating the behaviors and actions of her father and me too.

For instance, she will tell Grover to hold onto the rail when they are coming down the stairs and that he needs to wear his seatbelt in the car. I’ve even heard her tell Grover, “We have to look both ways when we’re crossing the street to be safe.” Of course, she does try to be clever and will inform me, “Mommy, this snack is for me. Grover would like a snack too please.” One of the best ways to know if my daughter is learning basic life skills is to observe her interacting with Grover and caring for him as I care for her. What would we do without him?!

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: A Bike for a Princess

I don’t recall having a two-wheeler bike with training wheels until I was around five years old, but now they’re available for children as young as three or at least 36 inches tall. For my daughter, it was a toss-up between the Paw Patrol and Disney Princess bike we saw at Target, but once she saw the basket on the princess bike to put her best friend Grover in, the decision was easy for her. Though we’ve had many rainy days, there’s been a few occasions when we’ve been able take the bike outside for my daughter to practice. We even went to a neighborhood track once. I did, however, find that the pavement works much better when learning how to ride a two-wheeler bike than the gravel on the track which makes it much tougher to pedal.

Though she still needs help steering while pedaling and may for a while longer, my three year old looks like a big girl when she’s on her bike with the cute little streamers on the handle bars blowing in the wind as she has her father or me helping her along the way. I love that this bike will grow with Quinn and that she will be able to ride it for the next few years. I’m confident that next year around this time she’ll be a pro and not need the training wheels. or mommy and daddy holding on to the bike with her. This is just another way to add to our outdoor fun, and anyone who loves Disney Princesses will love this bike. We sure do!

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Monday Moments: You Steer. I’ll Pedal.

Today, my little girl and I went to the zoo, and we did the swan boat which requires the riders to pedal and steer. It wasn’t until we got on that my daughter realized that her three year old legs would be unable to reach the pedals. “I want to pedal, mommy!” she pleaded. After informing her that her legs just are not long enough, I asked for her help with steering. Of course, this was tricky because she’s still learning how to steer her little bicycle, so I had to help her out some, and she repeatedly told me, “I can do it, Mommy! I want to do it by myself.”

In this moment, I thought about how there will be times when I will want to take the wheel but must step back and let her steer the course of her life with minimal interference from me. For now, my job is prepare her for the many obstacles on the course and to give her the necessary training for driving herself in the right direction throughout her life. It’s amazing how a fun activity left me in a pensive state over my daughter steering the course of her life. But then again, I’m glad that her well-being is always on my mind and pray that I am currently providing her with the necessary lessons to eventually steer herself.

All the best,

Tanya

Sunny Days Sweeping the Clouds Away!

 

This past Friday, my daughter and I went to Sesame Place and had a wonderful time. It truly was a sunny day that swept the clouds away, as the Sesame Street song goes. Actually we already went a couple of weeks prior, but we have season passes, and I want to make sure we get our money’s worth. Of course, there were no complaints from my little girl who enjoyed getting on rides, watching shows and taking pictures with more of her Sesame Street friends, like Grover and Oscar the Grouch. She, of course, asked when we would come back to visit them again. It warms my heart to see her little face light up when she interacts with them and gives them big hugs. It’s as though they are all rock stars. It looks like visiting Sesame Place will be on our short list of things to do as the spring and summer get into full swing and now that I’m officially on break from teaching. They’ll probably know our faces and consider us neighbors of Sesame Place before the end of the season.

All the best,

Tanya