Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Since recently Avril has been interested in cheese, our game is about making cheese. Read my earlier post to learn how to actually make cheese at home with a child (the board game includes the recipe followed by us).
Avril has played a few board games (Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, The Ladybug Game and others), so she was quite familiar with the idea. We started with a simple sheet of paper to sketch the game. After 15 minutes or so, we ended up with this sketch:
Going from the sketch to a somewhat nicer version that can be downloaded here was somewhat tedious (it took me over 4 hours), so I did it myself but next time I will try to involve Avril in that part too. There are a lot of sources of public domain images online (for instance PDClipart and WPClipart). And you shouldn't have problems finding computer software for editing images (you should pick software you're already familiar with).
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The activity with Mars-like surroundings was supposedly very nice but this was 6 years ago according the to the guide who works in the museum. Today the interactive learning area is rather uninteresting but the NASA Exploration Center is still worth a visit. We visited it with a group of families and even kids who haven't turned 4 yet had a great time there.in reference to:
"Young people from ages 3 to 6 can 'explore' Mars and take part in Mars-related activities in an area with Mars-like surroundings and soil."
- NASA - INFORMATION (Please call to make reservations for large groups) (view on Google Sidewiki)
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As expected there is a lot of online advice on making cheese. Most simple recipes have the same basic idea: heat up milk and add either lemon juice or vinegar and the only special equipment needed is cheese cloth. Easy enough. We settled down on the recipe from the Food Wishes blog because I liked the idea of adding buttermilk and seeing both the ingredients list written down and a how-to video was useful.
We bought the cheese cloth at a nearby Bed, Bath and Beyond but you can buy them easily online. This one got good reviews on Amazon.
We bought the three ingredients: whole milk, buttermilk and lemons in a grocery store and we were all set. Making cheese turned out to be as easy as it sounded and the cheese was very tasty! A few days later, we made cheese following the same recipe at Avril's school. The children took turns at various parts of the process and then they had cheese for lunch. Teachers and parents tried the cheese too. I can recommend this as a great activity for children who are 3 and older.
Here's a picture of Avril scooping curds into the cheese cloth:
Friday, November 6, 2009
Even hospital staff may misinterpret bilirubin levels in the lab results, so it may be useful to you to read the recommendations in this articls. This article gives excellent graphs (see Figures 2 and Figure 3) for which levels are considered dangerous. Note that how bad the bilirubin level is depends on the age of the infant and on the presence of some risk factors explained next to the charts.
Of course these are only guidelines and your pediatrician should interpret lab results for you but reading this article will let you ask intelligent questions to nurses and doctors.
"All bilirubin levels should be interpreted according to the infant’s age in hours"
- Management of Hyperbilirubinemia in the Newborn Infant 35 or More Weeks of Gestation -- Subcommittee on Hyperbilirubinemia 114 (1): 297 -- AAP Policy (view on Google Sidewiki)
My daughter has been attending the "Preschool Combination" class for a few months and she really loves it. The teachers are great and the girls love being in the class.
The class is called "combination" because it part of it teaches tap dance and part of it teaches ballet.
The last class of each month is a "backwards class" that focuses on gymnastics.
"Serious" classes at the Winter Lodge in Palo Alto are for kids who are 4 and older but even younger kids will have fun at the Friday "Parent and Tot" class (provided that the parent can skate well enough to help the child in the class). My daughter took this class with me when she just turned 3 and she had a lot of fun even though at this age she couldn't learn anything too complicated. Both her happiness about ice skating and the fact that she became somewhat confident skating with my support made this class very worthwhile for us.in reference to: Winter Lodge (view on Google Sidewiki)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Some of the rules are too hard for a 3 year-old, so I had to simplify them a little and it is very hard at this age to lose but otherwise the games are a lot of fun both for my daughter and for me.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Here's a picture of the playground:
Friday, May 1, 2009
- May Fête Parade on Saturday (May 2, 2009) in Palo Alto should be a lot of fun. This year’s theme is "Dream Green".
- Fantasy Faire on Saturday in the Los Gatos Parent Nursery School is a smaller event but if you live close to Los Gatos and don't feel like driving to Palo Alto, it's good option too.
- Last but not least: goats! This is not really an event but I saw them today and it's an amazing that one can see so many goats in Mountain View. Read more about it in the Google blog post.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Last week, we decided to try a new way. We canceled cable, installed over the air (OTA) antenna and bought TiVo HD. We also connected our TiVo to the Internet. We were lucky to have an Internet connection next to our TV. If you don't have a wired Internet connection next to your TV, you may have to spend a little more money on a wireless network adapter (you can use the TiVo AG0100, or another wireless USB adapter but if you buy a non-TiVo one, make sure that you check the compatibility list).
Since we have a network connection, we connected our Netflix account to the TiVo. Now we can still record and watch Lost, late night shows, children shows on public TV. But in addition, we can now watch instantly an unlimited number of any of the 12,000 Netflix offerings. All this for $12.95 for TiVo and $8.99 for Netflix (so, the total is less than $22 a month). This is not free but much cheaper than cable or satellite and we get many extras included: we can watch youtube videos on our TV; we could order one of Amazon Video On Demand titles; or use any of the other services I haven't tried yet (CinemaNow, or Jaman).
My experience so far has been great: the quality of OTA TV and Netflix movies is great. The convenience is great and I can expect that as more ways to stream video content become available, TiVo may add them to our DVR. We are saving a lot of money every month, so our investment in the TiVo and antenna will repay soon. And the quality of TiVo experience is higher than what experienced from cable and satellite.
Last but not least, I should add that we actually get most of the children movies from our local public library and that in general, we read more than watch which is what we recommend to all parents.
(and a few other ThatsMEonTV.com videos.)
- PopGeo USA Geography. Avril likes to find countries of the world and US states on the map, so she really enjoys find the states in this game even though she can't read all the names of the states and usually asks for help reading the names.
- Shape Builder. Avril plays this game all by herself and really usually can complete 5 or so shapes before switching to another game.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The second part to background of yesterday's story is that we live close to the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre and that theatre has a series of shows called Second Saturday Participation Plays. As you can guess from the name, on the second Saturday of every month, there's a children's play in which audience participates in the story with the actors. The idea is great even if, as in our case, your child is a bit shy and usually opts for sitting next to the parent rather than participating.
So, now the story that is the reason for this post: Yesterday, Avril and I went for a stroll and we were walking at some point from the big tree that a few days ago fell down in the storm to the zoo. As we were walking past the Children's Theatre, I asked Avril: "We came here to watch some plays. Do you remember what story we watched?" Avril's response was "No. You tell me!" For a while I tried to get her to tell me the name of the story but eventually I gave up knowing that she either really forgot or had her own reasons for not wanting to tell me the name of the story. So, I said "we watched Jack and the Beanstalk". Avril's response blew me away. She said: "Yes, and on that day I opened the chocolate number 13". As she said this, I didn't remember when exactly we went to see the play but after I got home I checked and Avril's recollection was perfect: we watched Jack and the Beanstalk on December 13. I am still impressed with this. I mean... Avril wasn't even three on December 13 and that performance was over two months ago!
I guess that the moral of the story (other than the fact that people can remember random things) is that tying in new skills like counting days into every day activities that children enjoy can be very effective. So, all those things like counting how many Toyotas there are in the preschool's parking lot may have many unpredictable benefits.
- Cinderella, November 8 – 10:30am and 12:30pm
- Jack and the Beanstalk, December 13 – 10:30am and 12:30pm
- Beauty and the Beast, January 10 – 10:30am and 12:30pm
- Little Red Riding Hood, March 14 – 10:30am and 12:30pm
- The Tortoise and the Hare, April 11 – 10:30am and 12:30pm
- Snow White, May 9 – 10:30am and; 12:30pm
Friday, February 20, 2009
This game is designed for small children and Avril really likes it. Counting and addition of small numbers are easy for her and the cute animation and sounds are a lot of fun. She also likes the game of shaking apples from a tree even though she doesn't really know subtraction yet. Cute Math is better than PopMath for children who are beginning to count since it uses animation to show the result of addition and subtraction.
Another game specifically designed for small children and we had it before Cute Math. PopMath is for kids who already know how to count because it doesn't help you visualize the operations. But once the child doesn't need visualization anymore, PopMath is better than Cute Math because it progresses from simpler math to more complex math and eventually lets you deal with slightly larger numbers and more operations (it lets you use the four basic operations) and it is more addictive because of its competitive aspect.
There are many of those available on the iPhone and we tried quite a few. Kids love them. My recommendation is to try the free ones first before (if at all) paying for drawing apps. Of the free ones, we liked Colors! Lite and DrawR. You can see a longer list here. We also ended up buying Y.Painter+ which Avril liked most of all the drawing programs.
This game is great for small children because it starts with very simple mazes and it has appealing graphics. I usually turn off the music though.
This is an excellent game for grown-ups too. I am really impressed with how well designed it is. The full game is $9.99 but so far we just got the free Rolando Lite. Avril can only complete the first two levels anyway.
This is a built-in application on the iPhone and Avril loves to check what the weather will be on the phone.
Also a built-in application. I have set up a few cities in Asia, Europe and the US. The app shows time for each of those cities and make the city dark or not depending whether it is night or day in that city. Avril often checks this app and says that it is night now in Shenzhen or that it is day now in Poland.
If you know any other games that are good for young children, please let me know.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Avril is a big fan of Angelina Ballerina. She likes all of her books and DVDs.so no surprise,she loves this book.
Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar
Bringing in the New Year
To Introduce Chinese New year to Avril,I read her this book about Chinese new year.It is OK to read.
Dog and Bear (Neal Porter Books) (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner-Best Picture Book) (Awards))
After the two's company, I tried to find more Dog and Bear series to read.It is perfect for toddlers to read. Simple, loving.After a few readings, Avril can read most of the pages by herself.
Fish Who Cried Wolf
On Meadowview Street 5 star!
I love this book a lot. This is my second time checking it out.I can not say Avril likes as much as I do,but she certainly enjoys it too. It is a book about nature,garden,grass,birds...very cute.
Valentine Hearts: Holiday Poetry (I Can Read Book 2)
I picked up this book for Valentine's day was getting closer.I usually do not expect books of this kind to be any interesting.I was surprised by how good,cute and emotional those simple poetries are.I have been thinking to introduce Avril literature and poems,but most of them I found are either too difficult and advanced for a 3 year old, or too silly to call them poems:) This book is perfect, the collections are perfect for this age.Avril likes it a lot for she could understand them very well.
I saw this book in Urban Outfitters.I liked it very much.It is a very cute,loving book, the drawings are simple,abstract,smart.The story is simple and touching. I will remember to check out more books by the same writer. It is also a beautiful gift book to give to someone with a warmhearted message.
How I Learned Geography
This book might be a little advanced for 3-year-old, hopefully one day she will understand to feel same kind sympathy to others and the world
10 Minutes to Bedtime
Avril really liked this book, requested us to read to her over and over.
The Busy Body Book: A Kid's Guide to Fitness (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))
This is really good book about human body-- a little bit too advanced for 3 year old, but Avril learned a lot about her body from this book. I am considering buying this book, for this one we can read for many years.
There Are Monsters Everywhere (There's Aà)
Not sure why kids like monsters:)
A Visitor for Bear
A cute story about friendship and sharing. It is perfect for a 3 year old