Bonding through Board Games: 7 Recommended Games for Young Children


This post was originally published on Victoria Moms Blog.

We are definitely a “games family”. Growing up, my parents taught us numerous card games: everything from Uno, to Solitaire games, Accords, and Bridge. And our family has always loved to play board games. Every Christmas my Aunt would come to visit for a week, and almost every night after dinner the whole family would play board games. We still do! We have many favourites, including Pictionary, Cranium, What, Catch Phrase, and Taboo. I remember so many nights spent laughing together as a family, and so many jokes that started during a board game and went on for years.

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Reading with Young Children: Recommended Books for Babies & Toddlers

books babies

This post was originally published on Victoria Moms Blog.

I love to read. I have so many wonderful memories of reading from when I was a little girl: curled up in my parent’s window seat with my parents and brother, reading stories before bed; my Dad reading us The Hobbit when we were a bit older; and my Mom reading Harry Potter aloud to me in the hospital when I was in my early twenties! I have always loved books, and when our little girl was born, I knew I wanted to try to pass that love of reading along to her.

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Creating Homemade Toys

oh-the-places-well-go-because-of-you

I love homemade toys. And I love DIY projects. There is something special about a toy that is made with a particular little one’s interests in mind. Over the past year, we have created some wonderful homemade gifts for Baby E, that she has truly loved. I am thankful for Pinterest, and the inspiration that it provides. And I am extremely grateful for my Dad, who is a fabulous carpenter and can turn any project idea into reality!

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Halloween with Toddlers

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I have to admit, I have never really been a huge fan of Halloween. I don’t love ghosts, mummies, witches, spiders, and many of the other things associated with Halloween. And as I got older, I always found it tough to come up with a good costume idea for Halloween.

But, since becoming a mother, I’m starting to really enjoy this holiday because of the fun opportunities it offers for children and families! Here are some of the things that I am starting to love about Halloween, and looking forward to this year …

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“Enjoy every moment – they grow up too fast”

This post is in response to the Pace Oddity prompt. The prompt states: “If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?”

The number one piece of parenting advice I heard when I was pregnant, was “Enjoy every moment – they grow up too fast”. Well, that and “get some sleep now because it’s about to get a whole lot harder!”

Our little girl is already 3 years old, and while the sleeping has gotten much better, I have to say I feel like the years are flying by a bit fast! There are so many amazing moments as a parent. There are many times when I would love to slow down time and just enjoy this amazing time of our lives with our little girl …

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Snapshots: From a raspberry to toddlerhood

This post is in response to the weekly Discover challenge, Snapshots:

Get inspired by Andrea Jarrell’s post “A Roar for the Ages,” and tell a broad story using a series of short, focused scenes.

1.
We are all sitting around the table at my parent’s house: my parents, brother, sister-in-law, husband and I. We have finished dinner and are chatting, when my husband asks “What time does Shoppers [Drugmart] close? Does anyone know?”. This question, seemingly out of the blue, ends up being how we break the news to our family that we are pregnant! My husband, never the best at keeping secrets, has inadvertently revealed to the family that the reason for the evening Shoppers trip is to purchase a pregnancy test. Our family is over the moon with our surprise … and even more so when we text them all later that evening to reveal the results of the pregnancy test!

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Technology & Toddlers

In our family, we are still trying to determine our stance on technology for kids. It’s a tough one. As much as technology is a big part of our lives (one of my degrees was even in Ed Tech!), we haven’t quite decided how much we want it in our young daughter’s life. But I do recognize that there are times when technology is useful. Not long ago, both Baby E and I were quite sick. All that either of us felt like doing was cuddling on the couch and watching a little bit of TV. At times like that, with a sick toddler (and Mama!), there’s not much else you can do!

Our favorite way to spend our family time is playing games and make believe, doing crafts, and outdoor fun. Our weekends are filled with what Baby E calls our “adventures” – exploring various locations, activities, and events around town! We actually don’t have cable, and TV is a very small part of our lives. But on those occasions that we do include technology, we tend to choose carefully.

It’s up to each parent to decide what’s best for their family of course, and there are many resources to help with the decision (Mayo Clinic TV guidelines, HealthyChildren.org (American Academy of Pediatrics), Caring for Kids (Canadian Pediatric Society) and Common Sense Media are just a few). Here, I’m sharing with you some of the TV shows and iPad games that we have found Baby E enjoys … and that we think are relatively educational!

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11 easy steps to making a wooden toy kitchen for Christmas

My parents have told stories about the last minute frantic activity that can occur on Christmas Eve when you have young children. Apparently, after my brother and I were tucked in bed, my poor parents were sometimes up late into the night putting together toys for Christmas! Hearing these stories growing up, I was determined to avoid the last minute Christmas Eve gift stress. We were chatting about what to get Baby E, and came to the conclusion that she loves to bake, and loves to pretend cook with her pots and pans and muffin tray. I have seen some beautiful wooden kitchens in the toy stores here, but they are all quite expensive. After a little bit of searching on Pinterest, I discovered that other crafty parents have made a DIY kitchen for their children out of a second hand bookshelf! I love working on projects, enjoy painting, and thought this would be a perfect meaningful gift for Baby E. And so the search began to find the perfect piece of second hand furniture. This was back in the summer – giving me plenty of time to complete this project before Christmas!

It’s now over four months later and I am just now finally putting the finishing touches on. I wanted to share my progress with you. You too can make your own DIY wooden kitchen in 11 easy steps!

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Finally branching out from indestructible cardboard to paperback…

Baby E has always been interested in books. When she was little, she would sit on the couch, or in her seat on car rides, and “read” her board books. She would look closely at each page, examining every detail of the pictures. She would honestly do this for an entire 30-45 minute car ride!

Baby E celebrated her 2nd birthday not long ago, and lately she has started to become interested in longer stories. I wrote once before about only reading books printed on thick indestructible cardboard. Well, I’m excited to share that we are now branching out into paperback books!!

I have always loved to read, and even before we had our baby, I fell in love with children’s books. When my best friend’s children were young, I loved reading their new books with them. I actually bought two of the books in this list (Skippyjon Jones and Click Clack Moo) before I even got pregnant, because I loved them so much, and hoped that one day I’d have a child of my own to share them with!

If you’re looking for new books for your family, or to give to a friend, here are some of our favorites right now:

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Get your toddler to bed in these 25 simple steps

Baby E turned two a few months ago, and it seems to be true what they say about two year olds. As my husband says, she’s become a “two-nager”!!

One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is the recent battle for bedtime. We are anxious for a little bit of toddler-free time to unwind from the day, and she is anxious … well, anxious not to sleep!!

Two months into the “two-nager” years, I think I have gathered some useful tips for other parents who are in the trenches of the bedtime battle. Here are my 25 “simple” steps for getting your toddler to bed:

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