Sky Zone: Toddler Time

I'll start this post by admitting something- I was worried about going to the Sky Zone. I thought R was too small, and he would get trampled. I called before hand, and the girl told me not to worry, but as a typical Jewish mom- I worry! It's in my DNA. We arrived for Toddler Time promptly at 9:00, filled out a waiver, and went inside. Heads up, you have to purchase their socks for $1.00 a pair. The place was clean, the staff was super friendly and helpful, and they even had Disney music playing. Seriously- there were more parents singing than kids. (Scroll down y'all, sing along in the punk version!)

Toddler time is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00-12:00. Saturdays it's from 9:00-10:00. If you go over a holiday, check the times, they may be a little earlier. It's $8.00 for an hour of jumping, and that lets in one adult for free.
*Heads up, this foam pit is harder to get out of than it looks!
There are a couple different sections. For Toddler Time the free jump area and foam zone was open. However, they also have basketball hoops and dodgeball. Regular hours are Tuesday-Thursday 10:00-12:00, Friday 3:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., and Sunday noon-8:00. Regular prices are $13 for 60 minutes, $18 for 90 minutes, and $23 for 120 minutes. 
Another awesome thing, they have Sky Zone Cares, which is a sensory friendly program designed specifically for community members with special needs. It is advertised as all ages, bodies, and abilities. They advertise that their team members have been specially trained for this event. Very cool.  A couple other things, they do offer parties, and you can rent it out for corporate events. They also have Skyfit, which are fitness classes and bootcamp classes. There is a free introductory class monthly, but the 60 minute classes are only $5 regularly. I plan on checking one out, but I have a feeling it will kick my butt. Even this hour had us sweating! 

Toddler Tuesday: Math Edition

I believe that I started to hate math around 5th grade. I did okay in it- but it was never my favorite. It wasn't until I started teaching that I really fell in love with it. It's no secret to parents that the way they teach math now is totally different... and it is AWESOME! When I went to school 10 x 10 = 100. I couldn't tell you why, but now the math teaches WHY.  It's easily my favorite subject to teach.

Math is everywhere - literally, in our lives constantly. Bake with your kid, talk about measurement, count the cups as they go into the batter, set the timer and watch it count up (or down!), then count how many cookies each person gets.

I know, I know, everyone heads to flash cards. They have their place, sure. But until your child understands the CONCEPT of math, flashcards only work for memorization. Kids have to get the concept of numbers. They also have to understand how our base of ten works. It's a process, and we didn't learn that way, so I know it seems like another world.

Start with counting. Involve it in everywhere you go and everything you do.

  • Grocery store: How many apples do we have? How many yellow fruits are there? 
  • While Playing: Count the number of steps up the slide, count the number of seconds the hula hoop stays up, say the numbers aloud on hopscotch, count seconds aloud and see how far your kids can run
  • While reading: How many blue cars are on this page? How many words are on the page? If each character eats a cookie, how many will be left? 
  • While driving: how many billboards did we see? How many miles have we have traveled? How many hours have we traveled? How many animals can we count? 
  • While getting dressed: How many socks are on your feet? How many seconds does it take to get dressed? (bonus: this might encourage them to dress faster!) 
  • While in the bath: Count your fingers and toes, make math problems from pictures that you draw with soap pens. 

Encourage math talk and play
  • Teach your toddler words like more and less early on. 
  • Buy the shape sorters. They may seem old school, but they help kids with spatial relationships and you can start with geometric shape recognition. Count the sides. Talk about the differences in a square and a rectangle. (For you non math teachers- rectangles have four sides and 90 degree angles, so squares ARE a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares. Math is fun!) 
  • Be sure that your child understands numerical representation. This means that the number four can be represented as four dots, four oranges, the word four, or the number 4. 
  • Help children to identify patterns. Patterns are a part of our natural world. Day and night, seasons, days of the week, and daily routines are all patterns. Clapping and stomping out patterns, dancing in a series of patterns, and the like all help your child understand what a pattern is. Keep in mind that there are both growing and repeating patterns. 
  • Check out the ever growing list of math games for kids. There are so many math apps out there too. Lots of them are even free. 
  • Find songs with numbers in them! Don't just stop at "1-2 Buckle my shoe." There are hundreds or songs out there with numbers in them. Last year for R's birthday I made an entire playlist just of songs with the number one in the title. 

Air and Space Museum and Hampton Carousel

We headed to Hampton for a cold Saturday morning visit this weekend. Saturdays are "Stem Saturdays" at the Air and Space Museum. I won't lie- air planes are not a huge interest of mine. Neil finds them much more interesting than I do. By this I mean I find them boring. But.. we had head about the Space Rangers and Engineer It playground, so we decided to check it out.

The playground was advertised as a stem playground with lots of connector pieces to build things. Either we missed the playground from the advertisement, or this was it, and it didn't look like what we saw online. Not sure. Either way, R enjoyed himself here.

The Space Rangers section was really cute. There were some other little people around, and the kids got to be an astronaut and try things they would have to do. There were several hands on things here, and I think that if R was older he would have enjoyed it even more.

We also checked out the STEM tables, which were listed online as "for any age." There was a coloring table, but other than that everything was way too old for a toddler. I did ask if they had any events for little ones, but the lady told me that they don't have anything regularly scheduled. They sometimes have events like cookies with santa, but that's it.

We walked around and looked at some of the exhibits.
*A heads up about this exhibit, once you go inside, you're in for about nine minutes. There is no leaving the room. If you've got a little one that this might scare, skip it.
Monday- Closed
Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-5:00
Sunday 12:00-5:00

Ticket Prices:
Children 0-2 Free
Students 3-18 $15.50
Adults $19.00
Seniors $17.00

I think that the ticket prices are a little high. Maybe I'm just cheap and don't realize how expensive things are. I'd also like to see some events tailored to little guys. They are a member of the ASTC, but keep in mind that you can't use these until you are 90 miles away from your home. Super annoying.. .

My favorite part of the trip was the carousel. Hampton's carousel is of only 70 wooden operating merry-go- rounds in the United States. It was built by folk artists in Germantown, Pennsylvania in the early 20th century. It was part of the Buckroe amusement park from 1920-1985. in 1991 it reopened in its current location. This spot is a DEAL. It's only $1.00 to ride. You can also buy a 25 ride pass for $20.00. The people who worked there were friendly and took pictures for us. They even let R pick from a little prize basket and take home a goodie. 

The carousel is open April-December, Tuesday-Sunday 11-8. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.   I'm hoping once R is a little older he will like the carousel more. I love the old school charm it has. 

Bluestone Ave. Playground

We stumbled upon this little playground recently. It's right by ODU and would make an awesome side trip before or after a football game since it is right behind the stadium. It is technically listed as a dog park and it is completely fenced in, but they do ask that the dog stay on a leash. Poop bags are available, and there is a water fountain for people- bring a bowl to put pet's water in. The main structure is a little pirate ship which I thought was cute and would amaze any pirate crazy kid. R really enjoyed walking up and sliding down.
The other structure had a REALLY steep first step. I mean, like, it was hard for me and my little legs. Who are these people building for? Where are these giant long leg kids? There is also this round thing that spins. We didn't figure out it spun until Chelsea and R were sitting on it! 
Another pro is that the area is well shaded. (You can tell from the leaves on the ground!) The park was clean and well maintained. Trash cans and picnic tables were available. Behind the park is a large field where people sometimes play frisbee or football. There are also big kid and toddler sized swings. As Sara stated below, (thanks!) this is where Fit4Mom Stroller Strides starts and ends. Start time is 9:30. A friend of mine teaches for Fit4Mom as I shared in the MacArthur Mall 360 studio post here
This is a really cute neighborhood style park.   I really like that all of the neighborhood parks in this area have something different. Something to be aware of - there is only street parking, and where we parked was one hour only. If you're there for an ODU event you can park in the garage and walk over, but otherwise I wouldn't advise the risk of being ticketed. The park was empty while we were there, but I imagine that it gets regular use by the neighborhood. We hope next time there are more kids out and about! 

Things I Love Thursday v.8

So true!

THIS IS ME! Can I be a Weasley?!

This is the song my kids sang tonight in the Winter Program. See if you can watch without it getting stuck in your head. 

This looks super good. It's Mexican Street Corn. 
And finally... 
This is what we will all be thinking in a few years, right? 

Home Depot Workshop: Menorah Edition

*Scroll down for music!
Yesterday we attended our very first Home Depot workshop- making menorahs just in time for Hanukkah. A menorah is the candelabra that holds the Hanukkah candles. Each night an additional candle is added to make the nights until all eight have been lit. This event was put on by Home Depot and our local Chabbad. There were two sessions for this event, one at 3:00 and another at 3:45. We arrived for the 3:45 a little early, but were taken in right away. It was set up really cute. The seats were upside down orange Home Depot buckets. These also held up "tables" which were pieces of plywood.
The first step was to get the kit and hammer the pieces in and glue the nuts on. All of the hammering was done by the adults, but R started to steal the hammers from the surrounding areas and hit whatever he could. Yay! Demolition is in our future.
Step two was to paint. R did all of the painting. By this I mean he painted himself, us, and the table. I actually think there was more paint OFF the menorah than on it. 
At all of these workshops, kids get a kit to complete during the workshop and then take home. They will also get a free orange kid sized apron, and at some of them a pin or certificate of achievement. These are on the first Saturday of the month, unless it is a special occasion like ours was. Most classes start at 9:00. Be sure to register online so that your child has a spot and has claim on a kit because they fill up quickly.
Workshops are held at the following locations: 
  • Norfolk: Military Highway
  • Virginia Beach: General Booth, Lynnhaven Parkway, Celebration Station 
  • Chesapeake: Hillcrest Parkway, Tintern Lane
  • Portsmouth: Old Taylor Road
  • Newport News: Chatham Road
  • Gloucester: Walton Lane
  • Williamsburg: Mooretown Road
  • Hampton: Armistead Ave
You can register for the next Home Depot session on Saturday Jan. 6th here. Be on the lookout for their monthly sessions. 
Description: Get organized for 2018 in our hands-on Workshop where you and your child can assemble a wooden block calendar to kick off the new year. Useful year-round, the block calendar is perfect for a tabletop display. Once the calendar construction is complete, your child can decorate it with paint and stickers. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron, and pin.

Home Depot also has partnered with Science Fair Central to bring family science projects to parents. Check it out here
He is our finished masterpiece. It actually is pretty sturdy and I think will hold up pretty well. We are looking forward to lighting it on Tuesday! Happy Hanukkah! 

Selden Market: Wizarding Wonderland

On this cold and rainy morning we joined some friends to check out downtown Norfolk's Selden Market for a special Harry Potter event. This event, put on by the Slover Library and the Generic Theater, is happening all day, so if you or your kid loves Harry Potter... run, walk, or fly down there. (Scroll to the  bottom for your theme music!)

This owl is from Wildlife Response who help injured, displaced, or orphaned wildlife.
No Harry Potter event is complete without being sorted, owls, and wand making. If you'd like, you can take a trip through Diagon Alley into the Slover Library- check out their kids floor and play scape. 
There are lots of events happening throughout the day. Special attention to the photo ops inside the cafe and the children activities in Slover. If you've never had butterbeer, go get it!  Check everything out on your Marauder's Map. Lots of the vendors got into the spirit too. I had never been into this market, but it is pretty cool. The market has low rents for new businesses and short term leases so that businesses can learn and build with low risk. There is a community feel so that the companies can support and learn from one another. You can check out their website here. 
This company "For All Handkind" hosts monthly Crafternoons in the market. Currently they are for adults, but she said she is looking into some for children also. 
Upcoming events: 
  • December 13- Meditation Medication
  • December 16- Holiday Ornament Crafternoon
We also played for a few minutes at the MacArthur Mall playground. If you haven't read that post, check it out here! Happy Saturday!