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activities

Anna’s favorite activities are those that require quiet concentration. From birth her personality has been that of quiet observer. As I watch her take in the world I can almost see the sponge within her absorbing and expanding. She is happiest reading books, coloring or building with her duplo blocks. She will concentrate for great lengths of time on these activities, taking pride in her work and gladly showing off what she has created with a very proclamation of “Look!!” as she holds up her creation for all to see.

So, yesterday, since Maya had the day off school and I was trying to come up with an extra fun activity for us to do I decided to let both girls paint. Painting has always been one of Maya’s favorite things to do, but, up until now I had not let Anna in on the fun. I taped together several pages from the big coloring pad Anna got for Christmas and I let her have at it (knowing a great mess was likely).

From the first stroke Anna was in heaven!

The look on her face was priceless. She was so proud of herself :)

Part way into our painting project she realized that Maya’s pictures were much more colorful than hers and started to ask for more colors. She asked for “boo” and “low” (blue and yellow). Eventually her little paint tray was filled with every color of the rainbow and she was delighted!

I’d say painting is likely going to be a new favorite activity for my budding little Picasso :) It won’t be long now before crayons no longer cut it and she is asking for paints whenever the creativity bug bits.

Anna sure comes by this love of colorful creation honestly, her big sister is quite the little artist herself.

Turns out life with two kids, especially when one of those kiddos is a 4 year old in all sorts of activities, is pretty busy. Between school, trips to the library, dance class, t-ball and swimming lessons I feel like we are hardly ever home. We always either on our way to or on our home from one activity or another. Maya is loving all her little classes so it makes the business worth it.

Unfortunately, all this craziness has meant I haven’t found a lot of time in my day to update this little old blog. I’m going to return to writing posts at night after the kids go to bed so I can get back into a better, more frequent post, groove.

Anna has been busy too, growing and trying with all her might to figure out this crawling thing :) She can get up on all fours and rock but hasn’t figured out moving her hands and knees once she is up on them. Today she even got herself up on her hands and feet!! Perhaps she’ll just go straight from pushing herself backwards and rolling to get where she wants to go to walking. I really can’t believe how big my little baby is getting.

She enjoys our busy schedule, well at least the opportunity it presents to watch a bunch of 4 year olds running around. I’m guessing she could probably do without the constant nap interruptions, but she handles it well. She watches her sister partaking in all her little activities in style :)

Fun in Missouri

The Magic House – St. Louis Children’s Museum

the magic house

This past weekend we hit up an incredible children’s museum here in St. Louis, The Magic House.  I’d been wanting to take Maya for a while but had put it off because I’d been worried that she was too young to enjoy most of the exhibits.  It was AMAZING.  I had heard many wonderful things about The Magic House so I knew we were going to have a great time, but it turned out to be even better than I expected.  There is so much to do, every nook and cranny is filled with fun activities for kids of all ages.  Maya was in heaven.

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Between the room dedicated to bubbles, the children’s sized community complete with a market, library, bank, pizza shop and hospital, the large musical instruments and the little attic filled with toys and clothes from the early 1900s, it is hard to say what Maya’s favorite part of the day was.  There is so much to do, so many different activities to try, that we found ourselves bouncing from one thing to the next faster than we could blink.  Maya hopped from spot to spot not wanting to miss out on one little thing.

The Magic House is definitely one of those places you can visit over and over again and not get bored.  There is so much to do and see you need multiple visits just to feel like you’ve made a dent in what they have to offer.  The cost of admission is very reasonable at $8.75 per person.  Plus, there is something for everyone, including the very little ones.  There is an area designed just for babies 6 months to 24 months where everything is safe for little ones and on there level.

We will definitely be making many more trips back to The Magic House.  If you live in the St. Louis area or are here visiting don’t miss out on The Magic House, it is definitely worth the trip.  You’ll leave wanting to go back for more, just like we did.

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*I was not commissioned to write this post or compensated for to write it.

winter

During these long winter months it can be hard to keep things fun and interesting for your toddler, especially when the weather is too bad for any outdoor fun.  Toddlers can get bored (and so can we stay-at-home moms!!) so it is important to have a few tricks up your sleeve.  The idea is to keep your child interest in what you are doing, making it fun and educational, and of course not too expensive.

So, while you are sitting around playing yet another game of peek-a-boo or singing the ABCs again, or building a block tower for the millionth time this week consider some of these fun, toddler (and mom) friendly activities that will help those winter days fly by and keep you both having fun and laughing.

  • Swimming in the bathtub.  Throw on your bathing suits, grab a few pool toys and go for a dip.  Your kid will love playing in the water, especially since it doesn’t involve any washing up :)  For something a little extra you could even use food coloring or those bathtub colors to change the color of the water or add lots of bubbles.
  • Art class at home with things like: finger painting, cut and paste, markers and stencils or stamps.  This can be messy so you’ll need to make sure you are prepared with lots of paper to put down, maybe an old shirt for both of you to wear and a place to clean up when you are done.  You can then display your child’s art projects around the house.
  • Play-doh creations.  My daughter discovered play-doh last week when Santa left her some in her stocking and she just loves it.  It is amazing how quickly time flies when you are making creations with play-doh.
  • Make up a winter-day bag of special toys, books, crayons, etc (similar to the rainy-day bag I’ve talked about before).  This can be your go to trick when things get really rough.  Your child will love exploring the new items you have stowed away.
  • Play dress up.  When you are putting clothes away for donation consider keeping a few for a fun dress up day, old Halloween costumes work well too.  Get all dressed up and create little stories.
  • Take a trip to your local library.  Many libraries offer story time for toddlers and preschoolers.  This can be a great way to get out of the house, meet up with some other kids and parents and enjoy a nice, warm, free activity.
  • Take swim lessons or a gymnastics class at your local YMCA or recreational center.  Although these will cost you some money they are usually fairly inexpensive and, again, a great way to get out of the house and interact with other kids and parents.
  • Set up a scavenger hunt around your house.  This can be great if you have kids of varying ages.  Hide some things around the house, make lists for the kids (picture lists work best if your child can’t read) and set out to find the treasures together.  This can be a great way to teach kids new vocabulary words and help them perfect their ability to follow directions.
  • Have a movie day.  Rent a couple of movies (or borrow some from the library), make a big bowl of popcorn, and cuddle under warm blankets together.
  • Have a pajama party.  Pick a day and spend the whole day in your jammies.  Let the kids pick out which jammies they want to wear and plan some fun activities that will make it feel like a slumber party.
  • When it isn’t too cold head outside and get some fresh air. Fresh air is always good for making us feel better.

Your children will love having some new activities to enjoy.  When things feel too monotonous or you just can’t think of what to do on a freezing cold, stuck inside day give of the above activities a try and see what your kids think.

What do you do with your kids when the days get long and you feel like you’ve been stuck inside forever?

Fun in Missouri

The Butterfly House here in St. Louis, MO is a great activity to do with your kids either on a cold day in the middle of winter when you just need to feel some warmth, or on a yucky, rainy day any time of the year.

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The Butterfly House is operated by the Missouri Botanical Gardens and is located within Faust Park  in Chesterfield (a western suburb of St. Louis).  The Butterfly House is open year round and offers people an opportunity to see and experience almost 50 different variates of butterfly.  It consists of a walk through a butterfly garden that allows you a chance to get up close and personal with the butterflies (they are known to land on you!), several different bug exhibits in the main lobby, a movie that teaches child (and adults) about the life of a butterfly starting out when it hatches as a caterpillar to when it takes flight as a butterfly.  They also have a cute little gift shop.

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The cost for the butterfly house is $6 per adult and $4 per child 3-12 years old (under 3 is free).  This is the only down side to the Butterfly House.  Although I think the facility is amazing and love that it offers you an opportunity to get so close with so many butterflies I think the cost is a bit high for what you get.  I’ve been several times and just suck it up and pay the admission because both myself and Maya just love it there, but I think a fee of a couple dollars less would be more reasonable.

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For the most part you can expect to spend about 1-1.5 hours at the Butterfly house.  The little educational movie they show is about 15 mins long and you can spend as much time as you want walking through the butterfly garden.  It is really hot and humid in there so usually 30-45 minutes is tops for us.

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Maya just loves seeing all the butterflies, especially when they land on either us or our stuff (one landed on our camera last time we were there!).  I would definitely recommend the Butterfly House to families looking for something a little different to do with their kids when the weather gets bad.