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

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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.

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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!Β 

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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 OXOΒ till now).Β Β 

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

Toy Review #4: Knob Puzzles

This past weekend, I felt so accomplished for finding three large knob puzzles for Alia at a consignment sale, specifically these vintage ones from Melissa and Doug. Aren’t they beautiful? With real animal pictures as supposed to the animated, cartoonish images like the ones sold these days.Β 

My eyes twinkle when I see jigsaw puzzles, and I think I’ve become a puzzle hoarder. Hehehe… There are so many benefits of playing puzzles for children such as developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, attention, and concentration (more on the benefits, click here). Plus, isn’t fun when you’ve put all the pieces together? Well, I’ve seen that big smile on Alia’s face whenever she completes a set. πŸ˜€Β 

To accommodate those tiny hands of her, we buy large knob puzzles from Melissa and Doug. It’s also recommended that they play with puzzles that have one piece per separate hole. This was her first puzzle which we bought when she was 10 months old.Β 

knob puzzle -1

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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 packΒ an entire carry on bag just for our beloved lil’ Alia! :p Β 

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.Β 

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

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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!Β 

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