Learn through Play with Alia 12-18 months old

As of last week, Alia is 26 months. So clearly this post is hhmmmm… a year late :p #sorry But here we go, a recap of what we did a year ago. 

As a start, I thought I’d share some pictures from her first birthday. My parents came to visit for 2 weeks to join the celebration. We then traveled to Illinois to visit my mom’s host family, and Alia had another birthday celebration there #luckygirl. 

Many things happened after she turned 1. She took her first steps at 13.5 months old, began self-feeding and drinking from a regular adult cup (instead of dumping the entire content on her head :p), learned names of animals and their sounds, and asked us to sing the same song (5 Little Ducks in repeat till bedtime – I’ve avoided that song ever since :p) and read the same three books despite having a million children’s books at home. 

So in between nap time and meals, the following things happened (the age refers to when Alia started doing the activities; yours may be different #followthechild): 

Practical life skills (starting at 12 months old) 

When I was done with grad school and teaching, I had more time to read up on parenting methods. That’s when I discovered Montessori and decided to incorporate the philosophy and method in our household. One of the elements in the Montessori curriculum is practical life (more of it, click here and here) such as setting the table for meals, pouring own’s drink, and putting on your own clothes. All is done to instill independence in a child.

Click on the images to see the details: Image 1: getting her own outfit (I added a curtain rod to an old bookcase to make her dresser), 2: washing hands and brushing her teeth using a stool, 3: transferring items using a spoon, 4: wiping any spills, 5: another transfer activity using water beads on a lightbox, 6-7: putting on a jacket using the famous flip coat method.

Arts and Crafts (starting at 10 months old)  Continue reading

Traveling halfway around the world with a toddler

It’s been a week since we landed in the States, and I can say that we’ve recovered from jet lag. No more mommy daycare at 3 am and no more serving meals at 5 am. :p In late June, my family went back to Indonesia. Many people asked how our flight was considering that it was Alia’s first long-haul flight – we’re talking about a 20-something hour flight! So I thought that I’d share some tips on how to survive (and enjoy) a plane ride with a toddler. img-20160912-wa0000

<– Alia and I before we left Jakarta 😀

The three of us flew together to Jakarta, but it was a mother-daughter trip back to the States because Alia’s dad came back early. Being the only adult taking care of a young child is very different than having a partner to help you. But whether you fly with your entire family or just with your baby/toddler, packing lightly and efficiently is key! Okay, I know… Most of us feel that we need to bring the entire house with us heheheh, but I learned that to survive a long-haul flight and all the walking at the airport, you have to pack efficiently. 

What to pack when you travel with a toddler? 

Continue reading

Learn through Play with Baby Alia 9-12 months old

Another super late post by yours truly :p I just finished going through our online photo albums to look for pictures to use in this post, and wow… We sure were busy during this time of the year (thus a very long post)! A lot of outdoor activities and “jalan-jalan” aka sightseeing to new places, plenty of (very messy) sensory play, the beginning of self feeding, more #diytoys! 

IMG_20150630_095116

Baby-led weaning (by accident): Why by accident? Well, we didn’t start off with baby-led weaning (BLW) when Alia started solids at 6 months old. But for whatever reason, around 10 months old, she refused to eat puree and took more interest in self-feeding. I did my reading homework, online and using this book, and we said goodbye to all the purees. For those of you doing BLW, you’re familiar with the process – super messy hahah! At the beginning, she mainly used her hands (she still does now) and slowly we introduced utensils. When we went out, we brought disposable placemat like these ones, a bib, and her utensils (we use the ones from OXO till now).  

She only became an enthusiastic eater recently (since we stopped nursing) – YEAH!!! Before that? Continue reading

Learn through Play with Baby Alia 6-9 months old

Obviously this post is long overdue… I mean Alia is two weeks away from becoming 20 months old :p But hey, it’s better late than never right?

So things were slightly different between February and May of 2015 since I had to go back to New York during the weekdays to finish grad school. Yes, I was a loyal customer of the Chinatown bus every Friday evening and Sunday night. Alia was with her paternal grandparents for the first two months, and then we put her in a daycare center for the remaining time .It was definitely a long semester, very exhausting, physically and emotionally. But we all survived! All because of the support of Alia’s dad and her grandparents, and because of my resilient lil’ Alia! 😀

I got through my days being away from her because my dearest husband sent me this kind of picture in the morning. Boy, I miss those chubby cheeks! Hehehehe

IMG-20150224-WA0000

This was the story of my life every week – carrying a storage box full of gold liquid from NYC, followed by making a week worth of meal for Alia.

In between grading students’ papers, making lesson plans, and catching up on some sleep, we still did many explorations over the weekend.

Finger painting using yogurt for baby and food coloring (be sure that your child isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients)

Continue reading

Learning using a #diy Light Box

Have you ever seen or played with a light table? If you see one, try it. But wait, what is a light table anyway? It’s essentially a table illuminated with light. Many people use a light table or light box to do photography, drafting, and art work. But it’s also beneficial for children as it becomes a source of visual input and it offers a different means of discovery and learning. More info on what a light table is and its purpose, you can read here.

Light table is one of those things that I learned while browsing Instagram for ideas during night feedings :p After reading about the benefits and the different engaging activities to do on a light table, I wanted one. But they’re quite pricey $$$ like this one for example.  Thankfully, there are many parents who have shared their #diy light table or light box. I followed the directions from this website. It’s super easy…

light box

– 67 Qt. storage bin with a transparent lid (I think it was around $35 at Home Depot); you can easily store this underneath your couch/bed.

– LED string light ($8 from Amazon)

– aluminum foil

– tape

(pardon Alia’s light box manner then :p)

 

Continue reading

Learn through Play with Baby Alia 0-6 months old

I was recently asked by a friend who’s expecting his first baby whether we got any sleep when Alia was a newborn. My quick answer was: We’re still not really sleeping :p And we miss sleeping in on weekends heheh… So when you have a newborn, feeding the baby and getting enough sleep are the main priorities of many parents. While I was on leave for the first 6 months of being Alia’s mom, I missed teaching my students. So in between nursing and taking some catnaps, I decided to be Alia’s very first teacher! 😀 

Here’s a glimpse of our lives then… Feel free to ask me any questions about the activities or materials that we used. 😀 

Water play: our very first messy play

Alia has always liked bath time so I thought she’d like to play with water in some other way. So I created a super mini and shallow pool for her.

Continue reading

Traveling with a toddler

Traveling with a baby/toddler means you no longer can only bring one backpack and leave. Is it just me or do you also feel that you have to bring a million things for a week trip? Seriously, I had to pack an entire carry on bag just for our beloved lil’ Alia! :p  

Whenever we travel, I always pack a few toys and books. But this time, I brought more than usual to keep her engaged in the car and at the restaurants/friend’s house. 

IMG_20151201_211119.jpg

 

papers and a clipboard, crayons, sticker book, blocks, and several #diytoys: pom pom drop, straw drop, and button bank

Continue reading

Toys for babies? (0 to 6 months old)

It’s the second week of November and I know some people have started making a Christmas shopping list. Even though we don’t celebrate Christmas, I still like to see the word SALE when it comes to toys, books, and shoes! 

If you have a tiny baby, you may wonder what toys to get for the baby (at least I did). I know say to our friends who recently become parents or will become parents to not bother to get them any toys, and invest in great children books instead. Continue reading