Terrific Toy Tuesday: Alphabet Marks the Spot

“What did you roll, Quinnie?” I asked my daughter. “An igloo! Igloo starts with the letter I!” she responded and sought out the letter “I” on the mat and jumped on it. One of the first steps to learning how to read is not only recognizing letters but mastering the sounds to identify which words start with certain letters. Even though Quinn has known the alphabet and been able to recite it for a few years now, when she was about three and half, I decided to purchase an interactive game that reinforces what she knows while encouraging her to want to learn how to sound out words and eventually read.

Though the game is marketed to children in kindergarten (five years old) and up, and Quinn just turned four last month, she is still able to have fun with it because there are multiple ways to play based on the level of the child. Also there is a focus on gross motor, language, social and behavioral skills that she can apply not only in an academic setting but simply interacting with people in her everyday life.

There’s so much pressure for children to learn to read at young ages, and even though Quinn is learning how to sound out and spell a few words, I want it to be a fun experience for her where she is excited about learning, and this game is one of the resources that has helped. If you are looking for a way to promote learning the alphabet and transitioning to reading with active play for your child, Alphabet Marks the Spot by Learning Resources may be the perfect choice for you.

 

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Monday Moments: Let’s Build a Solid Foundation of Fun at Legoland!

Most people will agree that the basis of a good relationship is a solid foundation. I found that the same applies when constructing a masterpiece out of Legos. With frustration, my daughter wearily informed me, “My dome won’t stay together!” You need to add it to a platform or put Lego blocks underneath so that it’ll stay together, Quinn,” I coached her. Then I saw her experience an “aha moment” as she smiled and continued with ease.

For one of our Mother’s Day activities, we went to Legoland for the very first time and had a blast for just $19 a piece, which is the online fee, $5 cheaper than purchasing the admission at the door.

“Look, Mommy! She’s made out of Legos!” my four year old exclaimed as she stood next to a Lego girl who was taller than she is. There were many replicas of Philadelphia landmarks, such as the downtown skyscraper buildings, the Art Museum, Citizen’s Bank Park Stadium and even the Broad Street Orange Line Subway. What made it even more fun is that many of the displays were interactive where Quinn, along with her Nana, father and I could press buttons and watch the little Lego figures move throughout the Lego city.

Even though there were many children and adults at the facility, there were several Lego stations to accommodate the crowds of people and plenty stools for children and adults to spend some time working on their Lego masterpieces. We even watched 4D Lego movies where we experienced, thunder, lightening, rain and even a little snow and did a workshop where we all learned how to make a Lego car. (We decided to purchase it for just $3.18)

There was a massive pirate ship where the children could climb, bounce and slide and even a ninja game, similar to mission impossible with beams, where they could see how agile and flexible they are. We even did the Lego interactive ride game and spent some time in the Lego shop where many of the items were reasonably priced.  There were even some stations we just didn’t get to even though we were there for nearly three hours.

Being at Legoland reminded me of how much I loved building with Legos when I was younger, and I found myself concentrating just as hard as my daughter was as she, my mom and I worked on our constructions. If you’re looking for a fun activity for the entire family and are near the Plymouth Meeting, PA area, I highly recommend paying a visit to Legoland! They offer annual passes, and I’m considering getting them because my daughter is already asking when we can go back.

All the best,

Tanya

Easter Fun at Shadybrook Farm

 

“Look at all of the eggs I got!” my daughter shouted with a smile on her face as she came running back from the field with my mom, her nana. We just love going to Shadybrook Farm for their pumpkin patch and Halloween activities, so we were definitely excited to attend their “Easter Eggstravaganza” activity this weekend. Instead of taking a hayride to the pumpkin patch field, we, along with other families, were taken to an Easter egg field where children were permitted to fill their baskets with six eggs apiece and then select a special gift upon returning from the field. I was so excited for Quinn as it brought back memories of when I was younger and went on an Easter egg hunt.

In addition to getting treats, the Easter bunny was available to take pictures, and there were many other fun activities for the children and adults alike to enjoy. It was definitely worth the fee of $10 per child and $5 per adult. Plus we were able to get a discount by donating in a canned good. If you’re looking for a fun family activity, I highly recommend coming to Shadybrook Farm. It most definitely may become one of our family traditions.

All the best,

Tanya

Can’t Be Late for an Important Date: Easter Fun at the Mad Hatter Event

Last year, I took my daughter to the Mad Hatter event celebrating Alice in Wonderland and the different characters at our local mall, and we had such a wonderful time. So when I received an email to RSVP for it this year, I wasted no time adding us to the list.  I just love when I stumble across something that both my daughter and I can enjoy, and I love it even more when it’s free! Alice and the Queen of Hearts made appearances, there were coloring, crafts, tasty treats and the Easter Bunny was there too. I initially stood off to the side as Quinn went to meet him, and she then turned towards me, signaled with her hand saying, “Come on, Mommy! You can be in the picture too!”

Though her smile was not as big as mine, she said, “I was so excited Mommy! The Easter Bunny gave me a high five and a fist bump!” This weekend, I actually had three stacks of papers to grade and was tempted to not attend the event since we had a play date scheduled for later, but boy am I glad that I did. Seeing how excited my little girl was made it all worth with it.

All the best,

Tanya

P.S. If you live near Willow Grove Mall, there are two more free Mad Hatter events on April 5th and April 9th. Click here for more information.

Terrific Toy Tuesday: Up, Up and Away with My First Flyer

my-first-flyer“It’s flying, Mommy! It’s flying!” my three year old screamed with excitement. Just this past Halloween, my daughter was an astronaut, and with her love of aircrafts I knew she’d just love Little Tikes: My First Flyer. It was one of her favorite Christmas gifts and has proven to be one of her favorite toys because as with most children, they tend to move on to the next “big” thing leaving yesterday’s toys discarded, but not this one!

Almost every day after school Quinn will ask me or her father, “Can I fly my helicopter today?” It’s a cool little gadget appropriate for her little hands with a basic remote control that allows her to fly, steer and land the helicopter. Also, it took her no time to figure out how to use it. It comes in red or blue with white trimming and even has sound effects as it takes off and lands. Needless to say my husband, who is really into aircrafts and even has his undergrad degree in aerospace engineering, enjoys using this toy just as much if not more than my daughter.

While the regular price is just about $45, I managed to get it for just $26.99 from Toys R Us during one of those one day blockbuster deals. I did read some reviews claiming that it is flimsy or that the propeller breaks easily, but we haven’t had that experience at all, especially considering how rough and heavy-handed my little girl can be with her toys. Actually, for us this is not just a toy but it helps with coordination, direction and patience with flying, steering and landing the helicopter. I’d highly recommend My First Flyer to anyone who has a child expressing interests in aircrafts or just vehicles in general.

Here’s a little video to demonstrate the excitement my daughter had on Christmas day seeing the helicopter fly.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My Little Girl Gave to Me…Fun Activities for Christmas Eve

“So today is Christmas Eve?” my daughter inquired. “Yes, it is!” I responded. Christmas Eve can be such a busy and even stressful time, but I truly did enjoy the fun activities we did this year.

We started out by catching a 9:30 am showing of the movie “Sing,” which was a fun movie that my daughter and I both enjoyed. Later on in the afternoon, we baked cookies for Santa with Quinn sneaking a handful of sprinkles every so often. After dinner, my husband suggested that we drive through our neighborhood to take a look at some of the homes decked out in beautiful Christmas lights. One home really stood out from the rest, so much so that we parked our car and got out to take a look. The people were so kind and even offered a candy cane to my daughter and said that she can take a picture with the big teddy bear they had on display. I’m already thinking about how we can improve our own Christmas lights for next year as a result of seeing theirs.

Before bed, I presented Quinn with a snowflake that illuminates letting Santa know to stop by our house for her. She was eager to get to bed just to hang it in the window.

Now that she’s sleep, it’s time for my husband and I to get ready for Santa’s visit. Here’s to a great Christmas Eve.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, My Little Girl Gave to Me…Eagerly Counting Down Until It’s Christmas Day

“Now, there’s only one day left until Christmas, Daddy!” I overheard my daughter saying. Puzzled, I came into her bedroom to see how Quinn believed there were one three days remaining when there was actually ten. She was using the Melissa & Doug Countdown Christmas Tree I purchased her last year and put the ornaments on the tree so that only one day was left. “I’m just joking, Daddy! I just put more ornaments on the tree so Christmas can come sooner,” she informed him.

If only it worked that way, I would have made Christmas come faster all the time when I was younger. The anticipation and excitement for Christmas to come, though overwhelming at times, was a feeling like no other. It was a magical time, and I am looking forward to my three year old experiencing that magic too.

Now, with Christmas Eve tomorrow, we’re all counting down and ready to not just enjoy exchanging gifts but each other’s company.

All the best,

Tanya