Welcome to our blog! We share our own personal experiences about the challenges and joys of traveling with a toddler and a dog, how we plan for our vacations, and give you travel tips from our personal experiences. I also enjoy cooking and crafting, so there will be a few posts about those topics as well.
After our very first toddler lesson at home focusing on pumpkins, I received some feedback for which I was very grateful.
The kids has a blast, and they learned and retained a lot of the material we covered.
Our focus is simply to grab the kids’ attention. They’re so little and have trouble paying attention. And when the kids are put in an environment that’s different or new there are so many distractions, everywhere. It’s unavoidable. But, we try to minimize them.
Corn Lesson Plan
Sticking to the autumn theme, this past week’s lesson was focused on corn! There are a lot of things made out of corn so we ended up shucking corn after watching a YouTube video about Corn on the Cob. And then we did a few sensory activities while we read some books.
Here is a picture of my lesson plan board!
Corn Structured Play
Our biggest class yet. Five kids vs. three kids made a difference! Just a lot going on all at once…good noise of course!
Also, there were a lot of activities to cover, but the transition was nice because I tried to plan it so the kids had a few songs and then books and then back to some sort of craft so they didn’t get bored.
Overall, it was a very fast-paced lesson focused on play.
Here is a printout focusing on the letter C, corn, and the Chinese character with pinyin for corn.
Once we finished with the lesson portion of the lesson, we went upstairs and munched away on corn snacks!
Corn snack ideas!
Tortilla chips with salsa
Corn on the cob with or without butter
Spanish corn snack called Quicos (found at Whole Foods)
Popcorn Flavor Station
Why not make it fun and interactive for your toddlers and friends? You can create a popcorn station where kids can experiment with different types of seasonings. I whipped out my seaweed and other spices from my spice rack, as well as some mainstream spices, such as cinnammon with sugar
Get your own brown paper bags and shake ’em up with your favorite popcorn seasonings. Of course, my child went for it and made a pile of “Bangkok Blend” seasoning along with Chili Powder!
Oh and if you’re wondering about that large glass vase on the left-hand corner in the above picture, that was our hopping corn activity we found on www.onetimethrough.com.
Here is the link if you’re interested! http://onetimethrough.com/hopping-corn-science-activity/
Popcorn galore! Yes, there were popcorn and kernels everywhere. It smelled like a movie theatre once we were finished with our lesson for the day! Lots of cleaning post-lesson. Thankful for all of the helpful moms in the group <3.
Welcome to parenthood. Done messy!
I hope you enjoyed reading and browsing through pictures:) Until next lesson….
Hello friends! Happy belated Halloween:) hoping everyone had a safe and fun time yesterday.
This was Kai’s 3rd Halloween. Since Kai’s first Halloween, we have taken family pictures.This year was the first one where we felt as though Kai has developed and has his own little personality.
He just turned 2 1/2. He’s really big into Power Rangers right now. Surely (hoping) it’s a phase. Praying it’s a short one (less than six months please).
You know what’s funny? We initially bought his red ranger costume from Target, but the store only carried Power Rangers Dino Charger costumes. He’s big into Power Rangers Ninja Steel right now; his favorite character being Brody, the red ranger.
Kai had a zoo field trip instead of doing our traditional “class” on Wednesday mornings. The weather was perfect. While a little chilly, it wasn’t freezing. I didn’t bring Kai’s stroller so he walked the whole way.
My husband, Michael, had work at the office.
After eating dinner, Michael took Kai to visit our parents’ places to show off Kai’s costume while I stayed home and gave out candy!
Overall, we had such a lovely and memorable Halloween and hope you did too!
For my toddler homeschooling lesson this fall, I organized an activity that encourages participation!
Turn your lesson prep into a FUN time with your kids:) That’s what we did.
Ten Red Apples
After checking out some books from our local library, I selected Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins (ISBN: 0688167977) for our apple-themed felt board activity.
Kai, my two-year old son, and I had a blast making the cute cut-outs for the hand-me-down felt board I inherited from my husband’s Aunt Linda. She used to teach pre-school, and she passed along all of her material to me. I’m so blessed and thankful for all of the resources! Thank you.
Here are some pictures from our activity.
I searched for clipart images of all of the animals in the book, from a horse to a donkey to a hen and a duck! Then, I printed them out on regular paper. I also printed out a large tree and some apples and the farmers.
I asked Kai to help me paint over the images I printed out. Definitely don’t be shy with the glue. I painted underneath the images and then Kai took over! After there was a nice coat over the images, we lay them out to dry for a few hours.
Then we started cutting them out. I used a hot glue gun and glued felt on the back of the images. To stick the apples on the tree, I used mounting putty, so they could easily be removed from the tree as we counted down from 10 to 0.
For the actual felt board activity during the day of the lesson, I asked a parent volunteer to read the book as I assisted with the images. It was a semi-success. Some kids were very focused while others were not.
You win some and lose some.
We had so much fun with the whole process though:) and hope you enjoy!
Our first homeschooling lesson with friends last week was a success! My son Kai is one month away from hitting 2.5 years old, and I began to realize the importance of social interaction along with a structured form of learning and playing.
After a few failed attempts of teaching my toddler the alphabet at home on my own, I started talking with other moms and seeking some online resources for guidance and inspiration.
And, finally after speaking with a few of my mommy friends who I met at the library, I really got motivated and started developing a toddler curriculum during my recent trip.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Every Wednesday morning, for about an hour, I teach and direct play! That first day, we welcomed two of Kai’s friends to our house! They are both very close in age. The little boy is one month older than Kai and the little girl is three months younger than him. All the kids have their own personalities, which makes the class challenging yet educational. Everyone gets to show his or her strongpoints and they can learn a great deal from each other!
As you may notice, it was a lot to cover! I ended up having to make an adjustment mid-way through the lesson and eliminated the life cycle of a pumpkin because it just didn’t seem like it was going to grab the kids’ attention.
This one is a picture of the pumpkin washing station where I filled a large plastic bin with some warm water and added some brushes for the kids to clean off the dirt from the pumpkin. We did this activity indoors so I ended up putting a towel underneath the tub, but you could easily bring the classroom outdoors too!
In my mind, this teaches the toddlers to focus on cleaning something, and it demonstrates the importance of helping and working together to complete chores.
To the right of my son you may also notice another plastic bin. This one was used to demonstrate the concepts of sink or float?! We first saw this activity in an episode of Blippi! My son absolutely loves watching his educational videos. I think Blippi is very enthusiastic and definitely captures the attention of my little one. I enjoy watching Blippi with my son in small doses:)
Anyways, when I introduced sink or float to the kids, they automatically began putting all the objects into the water and their goal was to play. This was perfectly fine because it was getting their attention and it was more of a “free play” activity! It wasn’t my goal, but we were totally happy with the kids enjoying themselves. That is really our goal here: for the kids to have fun, learn to play with other kids, and conduct their own experiments and create their own form of curious play.
Pumpkin Painting and Decorating
In between my structured teaching, we handed out brushes, paint, and smocks, and everyone brought their own pumpkins to paint! The kids had fun painting. Afterwards, we let them dry and I bought Halloween-themed foam stickers from the Dollar Tree for the kids to stick them on after our Chinese lesson!
In addition to painting and decorating their very own pumpkins, the kids got a chance to help measure out the ingredients while we made slime for the first time!
One of my mommy friends brought pumpkin seeds, which were so scrumptious! She got the ones that were seeded and salted. YUM! We all got to taste-test these pumpkin seeds before we added them to our slime mixture.
The recipe we used to make this version of slime can be found here.
It took a little bit to figure out how to not make it as sticky, but it turned out to be such an amazing sensory activity for them.
Kai and I ended up playing with it after everyone left, and we must have spent over a half an hour on this activity.
Chinese for Pumpkin
Here are the Chinese characters for pumpkin. In pinyin it’s nánguā.
I have included a printout for you to download for Pp is for Pumpkin, which includes the Chinese characters for pumpkin.
The Chinese resources I used during my lesson are found in the Resources section of this post.
Another mom friend made pumpkin bread and brought it for everyone to share. It was so thoughtful! We really have a wonderful and creative team of moms in the group. So happy.
After the lesson and activities, the kids got to play upstairs in Kai’s play room. And, we all got to have some pumpkin bread and other snacks. It was a nice time to just wind down and do some bonding.
I was so happy with the feedback! One thing I am going to try and focus on is getting the kids’ attentions as soon as we start the lesson.
It had been a while since one of the little girls had been to our house, and the little boy had never been here before. Hence, distractions galore:)
We are hoping the next time the kids come over, I will plan for more songs to grab everyone’s attention. Maybe playing some dance music or adding a few more songs in the beginning of the lesson to set the toddlers in “lesson mode”?
Kai, of course, was just too comfortable and drawing on the whiteboard while I was reading the books, haha.
One suggestion was to do a rotation, where, every week we would travel to other mom’s houses and everyone would plan their own lessons. Such a wonderful network of moms here. And an amazing idea…that we would definitely want to do after the holidays. Why? Well, one of my mommy friends is leaving for a month to visit family out-of-state. And, the following month, our family will be away for a month and a half, traveling.
Everything will return back to a normal schedule come January 2019. So, we could essentially start this rotational homeschooling program with the toddlers then. For the remainder of the autumn season, I have developed the curriculum and will continue to host the kids at my house or wherever we are. And, during our time away from each other, the moms will have the choice to use my weekly lesson plans and do their own activities at home.
It was such a great first run.
I’m super excited to be doing this with my toddler. He’s having such an amazing time learning. It also gives me purpose. I am thankful for having friends so Kai is able to socialize and interact with them.
Field Trip Tie-In
Before or after each lesson, my intention is to bring the classroom outside for the kids to explore and experience things first-hand. With the colorful changing seasons of New England, what a perfect way for us to do some family bonding while reinforcing a lesson topic:)
Our intention was to visit a local pumpkin patch and do some hayrides. Unfortunately, he started getting a runny nose, the coughs and sneezes:(
Last night, he was up a few hours because he couldn’t breath from his nose. I honestly swear this kid gets sick so many times during the year. It’s at least once a month if he’s interacting with other people. I’m praying his immune system is solid once he gets older because he’s probably caught 70% of the colds out there.
Maybe we will take a family trip to a local farm that incorporates all of the autumn topics I’m covering.
Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip
Friday, August 10, 2018
Sometimes going on day trips and taking advantage of where your home base is, is the best way to explore.
So my husband took a guys fishing trip to Key West, Florida for about five days. Oh I’m really hoping he will write a short post about his trip…or maybe I’ll do an interview! Anyways, while he was away, I had planned a few activities to keep my toddler and me busy.
My friend Paolina and her one-year old Isabella met up with us.
We both had planned to pack our own lunches. This always takes a little time. My go-to: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:) well I made one PB&J with the crusts cut off and cut into triangles for Kai. I also made one ham and cheese with mayo sans crust for him. I made myself a buffalo chicken sandwich with mustard, and I brought some baby carrots dipped in hummus with pine nuts (so tasty)! One thing Kai loves is his milk.
I always pack a change of clothes and underwear for Kai. And, extra shoes too! Since he was going to do a lot of walking, I made sure to put on socks and sneakers for him. I did notice there were some rooms with water, so I packed sandals for him too!
We met at the Boston Children’s Museum, and we both drove into Boston. I live in Rhode Island, so Boston is about an hour north of me. Paolina lives north of Boston, so we met in a good location.
I left my house around 10am to try and avoid the rush hour traffic into the city. It worked out pretty well!
Parking garage options are listed on their webpage. We opted for the one located at: 280 Congress Street, Boston, MA.
The rate: $20 for the day with a validated parking ticket from the museum.
Kai and I got to the parking garage around 11:20am. Paolina had just parked, so she waited for me in the elevator area while I got all of his stuff together.
Thankfully we brought our stroller with us. It was quite useful when commuting from the parking garage to the museum itself.
Once we were there it having the stroller was a little bit of a hassle, but the museum had ample stroller parking space alongside or outside of the exhibits.
This was both of our first times here at the museum.
Because I have a family plus membership to the Providence Children’s Museum I was able to get a 50% discount for up to six guests in total at the Boston Children’s Museum. You should check your local museum to see if they participate.
Our first stop after purchasing tickets was to find a lunch area where we could eat our packed lunches. We ended up having to around to the cafe (Au Bon Pain) which was to the right of the ticketing area. Food for purchase was available, but since we brought our own lunches, we just ate that. The cafeteria is a really cute space with ample high chairs if your child needs one.
We started from the top and worked our way downstairs.
There is a large construction play area, filled with trucks, tracks, and large working equipment for children to play on! There are costumes for the little ones to play dress up, and there were areas for them to climb on; bridges to walk across. It was as if you were in a large city environment in a construction zone.
We didn’t get a chance to see the Japanese House because they were doing guided tours every 15 minutes or so, and the timing just didn’t work out when we were there.
One thing we enjoyed was the large dinosaur they had on display. You were able to use the controls and push the buttons for the huge mechanical dino to move its head and arms. It also roars loudly.
The play space for kids 0-3 was a nice and contained area for the younger ones to explore and play! There were little areas for kids to play pretend and use their imagination. There is also a little playground area for the little ones to climb up and slide down. There is a scarf station that uses a vacuum.
I believe the water area is on this floor too!
To your left, after you purchase tickets, you will notice a large jungle gym. It is the same type of jungle gym/maze that the Providence Children’s Museum has outdoors.
There are a lot of sensory activities for kids to partake in. Kai especially enjoyed playing with the golf balls and rolling them down the ramps.
The bubble room was very entertaining as well. There is an interactive exercise area where kids are able to use a pulley system and pedal on stationary bike to race. It’s all about ‘energy’, and it was fun.
Right before we left, we decided to catch one of the kids shows at KidStage: Three Little Pigs. The performers were so entertaining. They asked for seven volunteers: three little pigs, three houses, and one big bad wolf.
Everyone did an amazing job.
Will we come back? It’s definitely likely, since you can really spend a lot of time here. My only concern would be how germ-infested it is during the winter months when outdoor playgrounds are of no use since it’s freezing in New England…but that’s everywhere I guess.
This museum will wear you AND your child out. Paolina and I thought it was necessary to get a caffeinated beverage from the Starbucks across the street when we left.
If you parked in an affiliated parking garage, don’t forget to get your ticket validated by the museum!
So I’ve made the decision to start teaching my 2-year old at home. I have been a full-time stay at home parent for almost two years now! October 1, 2018 will mark my 2nd anniversary.
Kai has been such an instrumental addition to our family. He’s literally been life-changing.
Things he’s into now: ninjas, grapes, pretend fighting, running around, exercising, watching tv + movies, playing with puzzles, building with legos, and eating dino chicken nuggets.
Let’s just say these two years have been the most challenging yet most rewarding so far.
Let’s just say being at home isn’t easy. I’ve always said the hardest part about being a Stay at Home Mom is actually staying at home. I get fulfillment and enjoyment in taking Kai outside to see the world; whether it be a day trip to a children’s museum or zoo, a family RV trip to Canada, or a simple trip to the grocery store.
I enjoy staying busy. Some days too busy.
After talking with a few other parents, and simply observing my toddler throughout the day, I have come to the realization that structured play or structured learning peeks his interest. It grabs his attention. Similar to him playing a game on his tablet or watching a captivating movie or tv show.
When Kai gets sick, he’s out of commission for one to two weeks at a time. I don’t like exposing him to other people/other kids. Hence, we are stuck at home. After staying home with him for 1-2 weeks, I came to the realization my 2-year old spends way too much of his time watching television.
I didn’t want to push him too hard while he was sick. But, hey, I felt trapped.
Boredom, that was the fuel. My ignition. That spear-headed my decision to seriously commit to homeschooling my toddler.
Yes, I must be strong. Stick to a solid schedule. Let’s get motivated.
I have such an impact and influence on my toddler’s life. He’s grown to be such a “big kid”.
Once I start, I can tailor my weekly schedule to whatever seems to work for him.
Time + Resources
On my recent trip to Las Vegas, I took my travel time to start creating lesson for my son. I was so productive during my flight it wasn’t even funny. Guess when you’re stuck on a flight for five hours (window seat), you get inspired.
I have also spoken to a friend who has a son that is only a month older than Kai. He will also be joining in on some of the lessons at my house.
I’m hoping adding another child in the mix might encourage my son. Mainly because I have attempted to teach Kai the A,B,C’s (well just A, B, C, and D). We had stuffed animals attend our “class”. And, it was fairly challenging to teach my son to focus. Or as we say “center his qi” 😉
CHINESE! Yes, I want to incorporate teaching some Chinese to Kai during these lessons. I have yet to do extensive research, but I know I may take a little trip to where I used to work, The U.S. China Institute at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, to see if they may have some resources for children.
The library! I have gone to the local library and have borrowed some books about parenting/homeschooling. Most of them are mainly for reference and motivation. I did get a few ideas from a few of them. A few of the books are a bit outdated (in reference to some of the website resources listed). But, overall my research will hopefully be helpful.
I have listed the books I borrowed from the library below with ISBN:
The Homeschooling Handbook by Lorilee Lippincott
School Starts at Home by Cheri Fuller
Ready…Start…School! by Sandra F. Rief
The Everything Guide to Homeschooling by Sherri Linsenbach
And, last but not least, here are some websites I have been using for inspiration in creating my lesson plans:
Wish me luck
Yes, I’ll need lots of luck. And prayers. Please pray for me. That I may be strong and stay consistent. I’m just hoping to capture their attention:)
My expectation is simply to see if my little teaching experiment works or doesn’t work. I may have to make adjustments and tailor my teaching to their interests. We will see…only time, perseverance, and trial/error will tell…
I plan to share and post pictures of my lessons and activities. Super excited to begin this chapter in our lives.
Ah, let’s do this!
If anyone has any suggestions or if you have been there and done that, please share!
Our family recently took a road trip from Rhode Island, USA to Maine, USA and to New Brunswick, Canada in our 2018 Airstream Classic 30′ Travel Trailer. Our tow vehicle (Ford F-150).
This was our very first long road trip (over two weeks), with our 2 year old toddler and 3 year old dog. It took a lot of patience, planning, and negotiation.
In the end it was very rewarding and extremely educational for our family. We learned a lot about our Airstream, our family, our limits, and how we truly appreciate some of the things we had with us during our journey.
Let me start off by saying that this list is not EVERYTHING we packed. It’s just most, if not all, of the items we found to be extremely useful along our road trip.
This is not a go-to packing list but a resource for inspiration if you’re planning on taking a long drive with your toddler, or with your dog.
Our Fire HD8 tablet for Kai helped a lot; and we especially love the case we purchased for it. This was our third case, and it’s by far my favorite! We even have it in bright blue, so it really stands out! It was such a breeze to put onto the Fire Tablet too.
Kai especially loves the puzzle games and just watching movies/tv shows. We do only resort to the tablet when we are driving long distances, or when we go out to eat. We used it when we went out to lunch in Freeport.
Other clutch item for our travels? The OXO 2-in-1 travel potty🙂 You can stand it up so he can sit independently sit on it or use it on a regular toilet seat so toddler doesn’t feel like he’s falling in.
It was perfect for Kai, since he prefers to take his time to poop. We mostly use it as the stand-up option. And, the OXO bags are great because they have an absorption pad so it helps with excessive pee. I have also used a regular plastic shopping bag (make sure there are no holes in it). I add some paper towels for absorption. We also find the splash guard on this potty to be such a nice feature (since he is a boy, and he still pees sitting down). He hasn’t really gotten the whole aiming thing down yet 😉
While the above sippy cups by Munchkin have mixed reviews, we have been using them for Kai since he started drinking cows milk at 12 months old.
Kai was an early walker. At 10 months old he took his first step, and by 11 months he was close to running! Before he was mobile, we used the Baby Bjorn carrier (black). Prior to this trip, we simply used the stroller for long walks. But, we had planned to do some long hikes, so we decided to invest in some sort of carrier. Initially we were torn on getting a hiking carrier, but it was going to be over $200 and we were just concerned we weren’t going to get too much use out of it. I ended up finding this teal BabySteps carrier (weight max capacity 44lbs) on Amazon.com that we purchased. It worked perfectly for us and it was a fraction of the cost of a hiking carrier.
Also, this collapsible mixing bowl is very convenient when you have a large salad to serve , popcorn for a movie, or brownies to bake and need a large bowl. This one is a little pricey, but it’s a lot sturdier than the food storage containers.
Water shoes were so helpful when we went to Fundy National Park and we were exploring the rocky ocean floor during low tide. Those rocks are very hard and wearing protective footwear was important for me. I bought myself these sock-like water shoes and purchased my husband a pair of Speedos.
For Our Dog
Collapsible dog food and water bowls came in very handy while on the road. When we stopped so that Kai could use the potty, we also took Stanley out to pee. When Kai stretched his legs and ran around, so did Stanley. Then he got thirsty. So, we pulled out our bowl for him and always gave him our drinking water. We just didn’t trust the water at the rest stops or at the campgrounds (for drinking, at least).
No, we didn’t need these “EXTRA LARGE” ones for our 20 lb Cairn Terrier, but you get the idea 🙂
Another important item to have on hand when camping at sites is a sturdy and reliable tie out. We used this every time we had to set up our site and when we were outside eating, so Stanley could hang out with us.
Thanks for reading all this post, everyone. Happy travels, happy camping, and live riveted!
In July, our family took a road trip to visit Maine and Canada with our 2-year old toddler, Kai, and our 3-year old Cairn terrier, Stanley. We traveled in our 2018 30′ Airstream Classic. Our tow vehicle is a Ford F-150. This was the longest trip we have been on with our growing family.
The last really long road trip we took was back in 2014, when my husband and I left our full-time jobs and traveled for six months before our wedding. We rounded off our 50th state when we experienced Kauai, Hawaii for our honeymoon.
When my family and I took a vacation to Fundy National Park, I was obsessed with the cocktail sauce Fundy Take-Out served with its fried seafood platter.
I did some research and finally found out what it was called: Olde Style, distributed by Lynch Foods. So tasty! It was like cocktail sauce that I’m accustomed to, but with a punch. How did I find out?
I messaged Fundy takeout and asked what sauce they serve with the fried seafood platter! I finally found the brand of cocktail sauce!!! When I tried googling, I typed in old tyme and old bay kept piping up, but it was called “olde style”. Fundy told me it was oldestye, but that didn’t pop up, so I deduced it was olde style! Yippy:)
Unfortunately the company Lynch Foods only distributes it to companies, and I don’t see them selling them in stores to consumers 🙁 at least not internationally.