Mommy’s Little Scientist: Never Too Young for STEM

She put on her white lab coat and selected the experiment she wanted to conduct. I assisted her with arranging the items needed, and she then smiled and said, “I have to out on my science glasses for safety before we get started!” We first saw the “Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Activity Set (12 pieces)” in the Franklin Institute Gift Shop, and my four year old just had to have it. The price was $30, but upon checking through Amazon.com, I saw that I could get it for just $18.11. Though there were some tears shed and a fit or two had, I eventually convinced my daughter that it was better for us to order through Amazon so that we could save some money and have a little left over to get the lab coat too. 

Quinn loves doing projects, activities and games, especially STEM related ones. Though I have a Liberal Arts background, I too enjoy these projects and was just as eager for the package to arrive. The kit is for children as young as three, but I must say that some adults could benefit and have fun from these science experiments that are not all that time consuming and require items that most people already have in their household.

Though my little girl is not writing as yet, we were able to discuss what she thought would happen before starting a project. I even taught her the word: hypothesis. We enjoyed doing the primary color experiment together, and days later she still talks about the primary and secondary colors and how red and blue make purple. Quinn’s Nana thoroughly enjoyed doing the volcano experiment with her so much that they did it two times.

Some of the other experiments involve learning about how plants sprout from seeds, examining different insects and determining what sinks and floats, and we’re both looking forward to doing them too. I was so impressed by the twelve piece kit that I ordered the Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set, 45 Piece set so that we can do more experiments in the weeks to come.

These experiments remind me of how much I enjoyed going to science class in grade school and how I wish these at home kits existed when I was younger. Of course, there’s no absolute science to raising children and making sure they have a perfect childhood and have a solid foundation for learning, but I’m so grateful to be creating these memories with my daughter and hope they stay with her for years to come.

All the best,

Tanya

Winter Fun in the Summer at the Philadelphia Zoo

 

“Can we go down the snow slide again, Mommy?” my daughter pleaded. A couple of weeks ago, she had a playdate with her friend from school at the Philadelphia Zoo. Even though I have a membership, somehow I didn’t know about the fun interactive winter exhibit that’s absolutely perfect during these hot summer days. We actually stumbled upon it while looking for Bear Country and to see the flamingos and couldn’t resist getting a feel of the snow in the the summer.

Even though there is an additional fee on top of general admission or a membership (which Alison, the mother of Quinn’s friend kindly covered), it was well worth it. The girls had so much fun. Actually, we all did! They excitedly went up the long and steep staircase several times trying to help carry their snow tubes to slide down “the Snow Leopard Slope, a 120-foot-long, 20-foot-high, snow-covered incline.” They made little snowballs to throw at the targets, made a couple of snow castles and slid around trying to maintain their balance as they climbed the little snow mountains. It’s good that we found the winter at the zoo area after seeing most of the animals because getting the girls to leave this area was no easy feat.

If you haven’t been to the zoo in a while, just would like to go again or want to do an outdoor activity and still keep cool, take advantage of Winter at the Philadelphia Zoo. It’s. fun for both children and adults alike. I’m tempted to take Quinn back before it ends on August 20th so that I can go down the slope a few more times too.

All the best,

Tanya

Splishing & Splashing: Backyard Fun in the Summer

“You want to get in too, Mommy?” my little girl asked as she splashed around in her brand new wading pool. “No, I think I’m too big, honey,” I informed her. With a smile, she quickly slid over telling me, “There’s plenty of room for you right here, Mommy!”

When I was a little girl, I loved getting in the wading pool with my sister. We’d sometimes be in there for hours until we were shriveled up like prunes. “Look at me, I’m swimming, Mommy!” Quinn excitedly told me as she got down low and stroked her arms in the water.

Watching her brought back so many wonderful memories and also reminded me that while going to a water park or a large pool can be fun, sometimes it’s nice to have a little fun together right in our own back yard.

All the best,

Tanya

Kick it up a Notch: Mommy’s Little Karate Kid!

With her legs moving quickly and some rhythmic arm movements, my little girl implored me, “Check out my karate moves, Mommy!” For the past year, Quinn’s been taking dance at The Little Gym but has been asking about taking karate for months. So when I saw that it was being offered this summer, I thought, “Why not?” Her dance class was all girls, which was fine, but I wasn’t too sure if she would be the only girl in her karate class and if the boys would be a little too rough for her since the age range was from four to six, meaning that she would be one of the youngest having just turned four nearly two months ago.

Last Wednesday was her very first class, and the anticipation was building for the both of us. She was excited to wear her karategi, and I, being the proud mommy, was excited to take pictures and offer praise. As we waited for class to start, I was pleasantly surprised to see that her karate class was a nice mix of boys and girls, and Quinn was able to hold her own even with some of the boys who were a bit rough at times. The Little Gym offers a good balance of instruction and fun as my daughter learns to “block, kick, and punch her way through this positive, noncompetitive twist on the ancient martial art.”

After class ended, Quinn came out smiling, “Did you see me, Mommy?” I responded, “Yes, I saw you, sweetheart.” Though I knew the answer, I asked, “Did you have fun?” “Yes, I had a lot of fun! I can’t wait to show Daddy some of my karate moves I learned.” I always get a “kick” out of seeing my daughter not just learn something new but to have fun along the way.

All the best,

Tanya

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