STEM Fun: Dyeing Easter Eggs with My Little Girl!

Two years ago, I did a blog entry about how much fun it was to dye Easter Eggs with my little girl. Now that she’s almost six, the activity is not only fun but an absolute learning experience involving STEM, or shall I say STEAM. Quinn was eager to do just about everything from start to finish. She organized everything on the counter and even suggested that we organize the cups in the order of the rainbow colors.

When it was time to add the tablets, she recalled from last year that her fingers should be dry so that none of the dye gets on them. Without me informing her, she remembered that the vinegar would go to the first measurement line, and the water would go to the second line.  “Alexa, set a timer for one minute,” she said after the eggs were in the cups.  We took a look, and she said let’s leave them in a little longer so that the color will get darker.

Since we had one egg that cracked as it boiled, we decided to experiment with it. “How about we dip it in blue first and then dip it in red so that we can get a purple eggs?” she suggested. I love how she’s always thinking and experimenting. Then came the artistic component. She designed each colorful egg and made them look so cute, almost too cute for me to eat! I felt like the one I had was begging me not to eat her with those big jiggly eyes.

Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, doing this activity is a great way to teach children colors, how to do measurements,  how to have patience, trial and error and how to get creative. Another bonus is that it’s a wonderful bonding experience that results with a treat to eat.

All the best,

Tanya

The Importance of Kids Helping Kids: My Little Girl Reading and Raising Money for the Ronald McDonald House

A little over a month ago, I posted about my little girl reading for a good cause: raising money for sick children at the Ronald McDonald House. A few weeks after that post, we were notified that she was one of the top fundraisers at her school and would be recognized at a special event sponsored by the Philadelphia Eagles. She also received a congratulatory packet with a certificate, shirt, stuffed animal and a free happy meal. This was such a proud moment for us both.

At the event, we got to interact with people from multiple schools, run around on the football field, take pictures with Swoop, the Eagles mascot, and hear wonderful stories about how the funds raised will help children in need. The children were also rewarded with books to keep readers, which I thought was awesome.

“I can’t wait to raise even more money next time. I think it’s great that I’m a kid helping kids,” Quinn told me. It makes me feel so good that my soon to be six year old, only in kindergarten, is so thoughtful and cares about others.

All the best,

Tanya

Hopping Along to Wonderland: Part of the Journey of Motherhood is the Fun Along the Way

For the past four years, my daughter and I’ve been attending the “Mad Hatter” event where a section of our local mall is transformed into Alice’s Wonderland. It’s a hopping good time with Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and the Easter Bunny along with many interactive activities and treats for children. As we waited in line, I looked down and thought it was so cool that my five year old and I were wearing identical sneakers. Of course, mine were much larger, but they were still the same.

Then, I noticed the bunny footprints leading to the event. They made me think about how we both are on journeys: Quinn as a child having experiences for the first time and simply enjoying life and having fun with a few lessons along the way, and me not only having Quinn follow my lead and in my footsteps but me sometimes figuratively putting myself into her shoes and reliving my youth through her experiences. My sweet girl helps me to not take life too seriously and to just enjoy the face paint, chatting with characters, crafting and taking pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbit hole of motherhood. I may be a bit nervous at times and struggle to find my way on occasion, but when I think about the wonderful journey I’m having with my little girl, it’s not so scary, and I look forward to the many adventures to come.

All the best,

Tanya

Play Dates: Not Just for Kids but Parents Too!

“Please, Mommy! Can you give me another clue? Who’s coming over for a visit tomorrow?” my little girl pleaded. Quinn is an only child and does well playing by herself or even playing with her dad or me, but there’s no denying that there is something special about having time to play with children around her own age. Yes, she has an opportunity to play at recess or interact during gym and music, but an actual play date involving an activity or even just going to a family member or friend’s house or having them come to our house is a wonderful experience for us both.

While some parents may dread play dates or just don’t see the significance of them, I look forward to them just as much as my five and a half year old does. For the most part, she is a cheerful, easygoing child, but the smile that comes over her face when she has a play date let’s me know that it is something she enjoys immensely. Also, it gives me an opportunity to see how she interacts with children directly. Does she share, is she kind, is she a good sport if they are playing a game?

Yesterday, when my cousin visited with her daughter, Quinn did a wonderful job sharing and cared about her cousin’s interests by taking turns while helping to bake a princess cake. She also allowed her cousin to pick out her headband color first since she was our guest as they worked on their other crafty project. I also enjoyed being able to observe them and help them go through the process of preparing and baking their cake.

Something that impressed me was how the both of them were able to go with the flow when the fondant for the cake didn’t quite turn out as they hoped. It was a teachable moment that sometimes you may follow the directions, but the results may still not turn out as you anticipated. I was able to quickly whip up a buttercream frosting and match the pink of the fondant, and the girls were eager to decorate the dress. They commented on how pretty she looked and said, “We can’t wait to eat her for dessert!” This gave me such a chuckle!

From baking to crafting to playing games and eating together, it was fun for all. I’m so grateful we have family and friends to get together with for good-old fashioned fun!

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl’s Teaching Me to Think Inside the Box!

 

What adult hasn’t heard, “Try thinking outside the box” or some variation of this phrase? Whether it’s at work or at play, I’ve observed people encouraging others, including me, to “think outside the box” in hopes of coming up with new, innovative ideas to help their organization, relationships or just themselves in life. But last week, when my five year old was playing and having such a great time inside of a box, something occurred to me.

Is it always about thinking outside the box? Perhaps we need to take notes from our children and consider what we can do with the box. “I’m going to ship myself to Disney World,” Quinn said giggling. Moments later, she said, “I can make this into something special for Luciana (her doll). Maybe a closet or extra bed for her.”

A box is more than a box. It serves so many purposes, and it all depends on who’s using the box. While her dad’s inclination was to immediately break it down for recycling, my little girl had long term plans for her box. She was ready to decorate and color it to make it all her own.

In giving it more thought, I reflected on how Quinn loves watching the unboxing of toys on You Tube. I’ve watched some with her, and they can be quite informative by letting a person know what to expect in the packaging. It then occurred to me that maybe we adults are so concerned with thinking outside the box, a process that comes so easy for most children, that we often fail to admire what’s already inside the box or what the box is capable of becoming.

When is the last time you considered what’s inside the box? I am so grateful that my creative, forward thinking girl is helping me to think inside the box.

All the best,

Tanya

 

Fun with Legos: Build Bonds, Sparking Creativity and Practicing Patience with My Little Girl

 

“Mommy, may I have ten more minutes to keep working?” my daughter pleaded as dinner waited on the dining room table. I smiled and said, “Okay, honey.” She carefully concentrated as she canvased the floor for the next piece to continue constructing the Lego Friends Heartlake Summer Pool. For nearly three hours, she worked on this 589 piece set eager to complete it in one sitting. Occasionally, she came to me or her father for help finding a piece or to make sure she was constructing it properly, but for the most part, my five year old was completely content working solo.

I recall building with Legos when I was my daughter’s age for hours too. This was before the days of Lego Friends. At my grandmother’s home, I would separate the colors, get an idea of what I wanted to build, usually a house of some kind, and then get to work. One of the hardest parts of building with Legos was knowing that at some point my masterpiece would be disassembled, if not by me, certainly by one of my siblings or cousins or my grandmother.

In 2019, there’s so much emphasis on technology, and the toys children play with often do “something” to pique the interest of children, and I don’t totally see there being a problem with this. However, I love with Quinn chooses to play with toys and do activities that really help with her cognitive development and are still fun.

This morning, when I came back home from kickboxing, Quinn quickly opened the second door for me shouting, “I did it, Mommy! I finished building everything!” I was so excited for her and eager to take a picture of her smiling next to the finished product. There’s truly something so fulfilling about building or making something all by yourself and being able to admire your hard work after the patience and effort you employed to get you to that point. I am so proud of my little girl and glad that we both have a love for building with Legos as we continue to build our mother and daughter bond.

All the best,

Tanya

Reading for Fun(draising): My Little Girl Supporting the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House

 

My daughter has loved leafing through books since she was a baby and looks forward to her father or me reading stories to her before she goes to bed, regardless of how tired she may be. Now that she’s five, she enjoys trying to read on her own, especially books about art, creativity, unicorns and princesses! So when she came home with a packet from her school to raise money, for the Read for the House Program, a service-learning project that raises funds to support the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to not only raise money for a good cause but to encourage Quinn to read even more.

Throughout the entire month of February, Quinn eagerly read several books, many from the Fancy Nancy and Amelia Bedelia series. She’s only in kindergarten, but I am so amazed at how many words she can read by herself with little to no assistance from me or her dad. This was such a great experience for us both, and my sweet girl was able to exceed her fundraising goal with the generosity of family and friends. Even though the fundraising period is drawing to a close, the  fun times of reading together with my little girl will continue.

All the best,

Tanya