Board Games, for Your 3 Year Old (and You)

Growing up, my favorite pastime with my family was playing board games. I remember my mom coming home from yard sales with boxes of board games like Chutes and Ladders, Mastermind, and Guess Who. I happened to marry a man who also loves playing board game (in fact, I met him for the first time during a game of Settlers of Catan heheheh…), and that’s why we have a tall bookshelf full of board games. πŸ™‚Β 

Once I became a mom, one of the first things I look for when going to consignment sales are board games. We started playing board games with Alia when she was around 2.5 years old. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game was her first board game. It’s a game with simple rules and involves color matching. Now that Alia is 3 years old, we have played several games that we have come to love. I thought I’d share some of them with you here:Β 

Board games for preschoolers

Continue reading

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum – Oh THE Place Your Kids Want To Go!

In case you haven’t heard, about a month ago, the Springfield Museums in Massachusetts (about 2 hours west of Boston) added a new museum, The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss,Β the first and only museum dedicated to Dr. Seuss. Alia and I had a blast there, and we’re here to share the highlights of our visit.

Oh a quick FYI, I haven’t read many Dr. Seuss books to Alia so she has very little clue of the characters or the stories. After yesterday’s visit, she only remembers the Cat in the Hat :p. But that didn’t not stop her from having SO MUCH FUN!Β 

The museum is part of the Springfield Museums, so the admission fee of $25 for adults and $13 for kids age 3-17 will allow you access to all of their 5 museums (George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield Science Museum, Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, and the Dr. Seuss Museum and Sculpture Garden). What an awesome deal?! They give you a bracelet after you purchase the admission tickets and you are free to roam around to all museums as your please. The museum parking is free, and on street parking is fairly easy to find.Β 

IMG_20170706_140609

I’d recommend this museum to families with kids age 2-6 based on the kinds of activities that they have. There were a good number of teenage children too. I think because the museum is very colorful and filled with memorable quotes from Dr. Seuss books, there’s much to do and most importantly it makes everyone happy, no matter the age. Β 

It is recommended that you purchase the admission tickets in advance (with no additional fee) as the Dr. Seuss Museum gets crowded. You’re expected to enter the museum at the stated time, and you can stay for as long as you like. Our tickets were for 2 P.M. so we visited the science museum and the sculpture garden first.

Continue reading

30 Days of Good Deeds Ramadan Calendar for young Muslims

Muslims everywhere are counting down the days to the first day of Ramadan which this year falls on May 27. Unlike healthy adults, Alia and other young children are not expected to fast during Ramadan yet. But they certainly can still get into the spirit of the holy month. So besides having children’s books about Ramadan and IslamΒ in our home library (see a list of our favorite books here), I decided to begin a Ramadan tradition: 30 Days of Good Deeds Ramadan Calendar. This was inspired by a IG post by @imanblog – thank you!

Our DIY Ramadan CalendarΒ 

ramadan calendar -1

 

The Ramadan Calendar consists of 30 envelopes filled with a good deed card in each one. We plan on taking a card each day after breakfast and do the activity during the day. Continue reading

10 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan

This year Ramadan month begins on the evening of May 26. Ramadan is the holiest month of the year where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset (no food, no liquid during the day). Fasting is doneΒ to build self control and to remember God and His blessings. During Ramadan, it is highly encourage to give back and perform many good deeds.Β 

Ramadan is a very special month for me. This is my 13th year celebrating Ramadan away from my family who lives in Indonesia. During this month, I miss home more than usual as I am reminded how lovely and blissful it is to fast withΒ many people that you love.Β This year I am starting a new tradition with my little family to fill our home with the joy of Ramadan. The first one is to add books about Ramadan and Islam into our home library. My daughter is almost 3 and she loves books. Even though she is not obligated to fast yet (like many children), I would like her to be a part of this special month. By the way, the second is a “30 Days of Good Deeds” Ramadan Calendar. And the third one has to do with delicious food! πŸ™‚ (Posts on these will be up asap)

I’m sharing 10 favorite books on Ramadan and Islam. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do and learn more about Ramadan and the religion of Islam.Β 

Ramadan books blog cover

Books that explains Ramadan: Night of the Moon (realistic fiction) and Celebrate Ramadan and Eid al Fitr (non fiction)

Books suitable for preschool age children: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, My First Ramadan, Amal’s Ramadan, and Amal’s Eid.Β 

Books about children fasting in a non-predominantly Muslim country: A Party in RamadanΒ andΒ Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story (these books help illustrate the feelings and experiences that a child may go through when fasting at school and having to explain to those who are unfamiliar with Ramadan).Β 

Folktales and poems: Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale and Muslim Child.

If you have other books that you and your family love, please let me know!Β 

 

Surviving snow days with a toddler

Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Snowmageddon in the New England area!Β 

Update: Things got in the way (namely my toddler and a terrible cold) so it’s now Sunday, February 12. Believe me or not, it’s still snowing outside and more to come tomorrow! Welcome to New England!Β 

Living in the New England area means having an unpredictable winter season. It’s only the beginning of February and we have had 8 snow days with today bringing the heaviest snow so far. Before having kids, snow days means a day of sleeping in and Netflix marathon. But since we are a minimum-screen-time family, I have to be extra creative to get through a (super windy and cold) snow day. Below are some of our favorite activities on a snowy day:Β 

Painting the snow:Β 

 

The set up is super easy: grab a bin, covered it with some snow, prepare a few cups of water + food coloring (or liquid watercolor for a more vibrant result) and brushes, and let your child make her/his design on the snow. I started doing this when Alia was 18 months old and it never gets old.Β 

Sensory bin:Β 

 

I wish I had taken more pictures of our snow sensory bins. But I basically fill up a bin with snow, add animal figurines that live in a cold environment and blocks for her to play with (left picture). You could also simple add some tools such as a spoon, measuring cups, molding tools for your child to create things using snow.Β 

Make a snowman inside:

Continue reading

Kid-friendly destinations in Indonesia

Happy 2017, everyone! One of my goals for this year is to be a more active blogger. I have a long list of things that I want to write, but I just can’t seem to sit down and start writing. This is why I’m Β not a journalist :p Anyway, this is my first post this year, about kid-friendly places in Indonesia. Writing this post makes me want to go back to Indonesia! #missinghome. So here it is…Β 

Jakarta

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah – TMII:Β it’s basically a giant recreational area with many indoor and outdoor attractions. Out of 60 something venues, we only went to Taman Burung (Bird Park), Museum Air Tawar (Freshwater Aquarium), Museum Serangga (Insects Museum), and rode the cable car. While many attractions are free, you’re required to pay admission fee here and there, so the cost will add up fairly quickly especially. The places that we visited are stroller friendly and parking is available at all venues.Β 

Ragunan, the zoo in Jakarta: Β this zoo is humongous! It’s very green, plenty of tall trees, and at times it felt like walking in the jungle. Now with that said, be prepared to be walking A LOT! Most paths are stroller friendly; although to see some animals, I had to carry the stroller or leave it because ramps aren’t available. We saw many animals – orangutans, elephants, apes, lions, and more. Most of the animals were up and about while we’re there so it was a fun experience for Alia.Β The admission is very cheap (Rp 4000/adult and Rp 3000/child – $1 = Rp 13400 per January 2017), and if you want to ride the train or take pictures taken by professional photographers, then you pay more inside the zoo.Β 

Indoor play areas – Kidzoona and Playtime:

Continue reading

Gifts for your toddler 18 mo and 2.5 year old

Thanksgiving Day is next week and this means Black Friday ads are out! Many of you have probably started making a list of β€œwhat should we get for the kids?” so I thought I’d share a list of things that may be good for your toddler, who is becoming more adventurous, independent, talkative, and imaginative – it’s fun to watch their world expand πŸ˜€

If you’re looking for gifts for children age 12-18 months old, click here

Art supplies: 

There are so many independent activities and guided projects that you can with your toddler. Stock up on art supplies. Crayola often has some great deals on Zulily and Amazon (up to 60% off). Michaels has buy one get one off sales or use their store coupons to score some great art supplies. Here are what get used the most in our house:

  • washable kids paint, washable markers (pip squeaks markers from Crayola are small enough for toddlers to open and close the lids by themselves), colored pencils, crayons (the triangular crayons are good for toddlers to practice pencil grip), water color paint
  • smock
  • no-spill cups and brushes  as seen on the pics above (they contain the mess when you do painting)
  • construction papers
  • glue (we mainly use Elmer’s glue)
  • art easel and the rolled paper (preferably an easel that is height adjustable and foldable).

Fine motor skills, sensorial work, language development:

Many of the toys used to enhance her fine motor skills, senses, and language skills were bought when she turned 1 (see this post for more details). As she gets older, we have elaborated on how we use the materials. We began focusing on names and attributes of colors, shapes, sizes, emotions, animals and their features, etc. For instance, now when Alia plays with this peg board from Haba, she makes patterns or we take turns calling out on different colored pegs to put on the board. She now uses a pair of tongs to sort the pretend fruits (sorting material from Learning Resources). And we have used stickers in a more deliberate way like matching numbers.

Continue reading