Never Too Young for “Old School” Toys: Slinky Fun!

“Mommy, what’s this called again?” my soon to be five year old asked as she played with one of my favorite old school toys. “A slinky, I told her.” She then followed up asking, “How does it work?” I was so eager to tell her, and once I showed her once, Quinn was hooked. It wasn’t a tablet or electronic device that made a lot of sounds. It wasn’t a video game nor something that would interact with her. It was just a basic slinky, and it consumed her for at least half hour or more as she strategically held on to the slinky trying to get it in the perfect position to reach her goal: get it to “walk” down an entire flight of stairs.

When her dad arrived home from work, she couldn’t wait to show him how she mastered the slinky. I too was excited for her to show him her new skill. Oftentimes, people say that kids these days only want the latest gadget or handheld device, I say that just isn’t totally true. Sometimes an “old school” toy can keep their attention and give them fun for hours. It was a nostalgic moment for me, and it felt so good teaching my daughter how to use and have fun with a slinky.

All the best,

Tanya

 

 

Cooking Up Something Special with My Little Girl: Never Too Young to Become a Chef

Since my daughter was barely two, she’s loved helping me cook and bake. She enjoys the entire process from gathering the ingredients, measuring them, mixing everything together and cooking or baking to get to the finished product. So when we were invited to a cooking birthday party at the the local Giant in their Cooking School, I knew my soon to be five year old would be elated. When we arrived, she immediately knew to wash her hands and eagerly put on her chef’s hat. As she eyeballed the pan of dough in front of where she was seated, she pondered about what she and the other children would be making. “I think it might be bread or maybe pizza,” she said.

When the children all got settled and the chef said, “Today you’re all going to make your own pizza,” a big smile came on her face. “I was right!” she told her father and me. I was very impressed with how most of the children were able to follow the instructions, including Quinn. I was so inspired by the experience that I’m looking forward to more “mommy and me” cooking and baking opportunities in the kitchen. It’s such a fun way to bond.

All the best,

Tanya

Mother and Daughter Twins: Flattery from my Little Girl

“Mommy, do you think we can dress alike or wear the same colors for the performance tonight?” My daughter asked. “Sure, honey. Why do you like dressing alike?” I inquired. To which Quinn exclaimed, “I love when we’re twins! Then I’m just like you! Do you like being me twin?” I smiled and said, “Of course, I do.”

Since my daughter was a baby, I’d often dress us alike or in color coordinated. Now that she’s almost five, it melts my heart that she wants to dress alike and will request that we do. Though, in my opinion, she resembles her father more than she resembles me, I am so flattered that she wants to be just like me. We do have similar mannerisms and personality traits. Many people often tell me that I am a caring and thoughtful person. These are attributes I clearly see in her.

Of course, I would never intentionally try to make my daughter a carbon copy of me. I simply want her to learn from me and always put forth her best effort. It am, however, flattered that my sweet girl looks up to me and wants to be my twin.

All the best,

Tanya

Score! My Preschooler Wants to do Chores!

“Mommy, can I help you clean? What chores do you think I can do?” my four and a half year old asked me. I asked, “What chores do “you” think you can do?” My daughter quickly responded, “I can dust, clean tables, rinse out my dishes. I can do anything you need me to do, Mommy!” Since my daughter was a little over a year, she’s express interest in helping out around the house and doing chores. She would grab her little broom to help sweep, and at three she was asking to help with the dishes.

“I want chores to do too, Mommy,” Quinn says quite frequently as she sees me folding the laundry, vacuuming or doing any other household chores. Though I want her to enjoy her childhood and have fun playing, I am so impressed with my little girl. At a young age, she understands the importance of contributing towards our household, not to earn an allowance or treat but because she sincerely wants to help. My fingers are crossed that she continues on this path and is eager to do chores even when they are not so fun.

All the best,

Tanya

Watch Want to Learn Today? Fun with Sid the Science Kid at the Please Touch Museum

What to you say when it’s a rainy day… “Whatcha want to learn today!?” Today, my husband and I surprised my daughter by taking her to The Please Touch Museum for the new Sid the Science Kid exhibit, and it was a fun, educational experience for all. If you allow your child to watch television or cartoons, Sid the Science Kid is a perfect choice because you learn about creating hypothesis, experimenting and even reporting results all in one episode. Today, it was as though we stepped into Sid’s world as not only members of his classroom but members of his family.

There were many activities for different age groups using magnets, triple balance beams and even household items so that a child may be encouraged to try some of the experiments a home. There were even papers and pencils available so tat the child can write down his or her thoughts about the experiment. Even though there are many more exhibits at the Please Touch Museum, we spent about two hours in this area trying out the different activities. I love that my four year old loves science and was fully engaged in the experiments.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, I encourage you to stop by the Please Touch Museum to check out the exhibit. It runs through May 6th, so I’m sure we may return a few more times before it ends.

All the best,

Tanya

Math the Fun Way: Cashing in on Learning with My Little Girl

“Everything is one dollar! Since you have three things, your total is three dollars,” she said. I then replied, “Okay, here’s a five dollar bill.” She then thought for a moment as she went back to her cash register and responded, “Since you gave me five dollars and purchased three toys for a dollar a piece, you get back…two dollars!” She then reached in her drawer, grabbed the two one dollar bills and gave me my change.

Playing store with my four year old is a fun activity. She enjoys setting up her items for sell and determining the prices. Sometimes, she even comes up with backstories on the items to explain why they cost what they cost.

I especially love playing store with her because I know it is so much more than an imaginative play activity. Quinn is using math skills and critical thinking. Sometimes, she’ll negotiate with me on the price. It also teaches her the value of a dollar, what different coins are worth and even information about who’s on the money. “This penny has Abraham Lincoln on it, right Mommy? This one is easy to remember because the coin is brown,” she informed me.

One day when I picked her up from preschool, her teacher told me how excited Quinn was when she found a shiny dime when they were outside and how she couldn’t wait to put it in her piggy bank. It is never too young to learn about money, and I am glad that my daughter loves not just spending but saving and collecting.

All the best,

Tanya

Celebrating Multiculturalism Preschooler Style

Tomorrow starts multicultural week at my daughter’s preschool, and the children will bring in special snacks that represent their culture or heritage. Quinn’s very excited about it, and I am too, but I initially drew a blank on what we would make to represent our culture or ethnicity. There will be Greek, Polish and Ecuadorian snacks, which is awesome, and while I know my genetic makeup from 23 and me, (There’s some West African, South African, Asian, Irish, English, Scottish, Indian and a few others in there), when it comes to my culture and ethnicity, I simply identify as African American or simply American.

So instead of focusing on a treat that represents us as solely Americans, I thought it would be nice for Quinn and I to bake a treat that represents the importance of family and togetherness. “So your grandmother, my great grandmother, showed you how to make the chocolate chip cookies we’re baking, Mommy?” my daughter asked as we got all of our ingredients together to prepare baking. “Yes, she did, Quinn!” She then followed up, “And the hermit cookies too?” I confirmed, “Yes, the hermit cookies too.”

Even though she’s only four, she was more of the chef, and I was her assistant. She added all of the ingredients, with the exception of me cracking the eggs, and she even sifted the flour. “This is baking soda, not baking powder, right Mommy?” she asked. “Yes, you’re right, honey!” I told her. The experience of baking with her reminded me of the moments I shared with my mom and grandmother learning to cook and bake.

Then, when Quinn said, “I love baking with you, Mommy!” it melted my heart because, a cliche as it is, one of the main ingredients in baking is “love.” While we could have just went to the store and purchased some chocolate chip cookies, part of our culture is togetherness, teaching each other and being supportive of one another as a family. Today, was a wonderful experience, and I hope Quinn’s classmates are able to not just enjoy the cookies but taste the love and energy that was put into baking them.

All the best,

Tanya