5 Summer essentials to protect your kiddos from UV & bugs!!!!

Finally, the summer is officially in that means a lot of sun, and park time for your kiddos!!

Disclaimer – I earn no commission or anything from below recommendations, this article purely shares what we use and what works for us.

In search of getting ready for summer, little did w3 knew that sunscreen is not only what you need for summer to protect your little one from harmful UV rays.

Below is our list of 5 summer essentials to protect Siya from harmful rays and bugs

Sunglasses to match style

We love the My First Sunglasses as you can see they are stylish, cool, lightweight and most importantly protect Siya’s eyes from harmful rays. Siya goes everywhere with them and sometimes even makes her baby and mommy wear them ūüėĚ.

Go to sunscreen

As parents, we always want things that are natural, safe and effective for our kiddos!! We want to protect them from the harsh sunrays but in doing so don’t want to introduce more chemicals in their system. My favorite sunscreen for Siya is Thinksport Kid’s safe sunscreen¬†because its natural, non-toxic sunscreen, and easy to apply. It‚Äôs top-rated by the Environmental Working Group and is free of biologically harmful chemicals, including avobenzone, oxybenzone, paraben, phthalate, paba and 1,4 dioxane, or UV chemical absorbers.

 Hat to rescue

Don‚Äôt count on sunscreen to provide complete protection from the sun. Wearing hat is a simple and effective strategy for reducing ultraviolet radiation to the face, head and neck.¬†We have bought some stylish and cost effective hats from Amazon and not only they add an swagger to Siya’s style but also protect from harmful rays when she is out in the park enjoying her bird watching sessions.

Nutrient-rich bug spray

Bug spray, bug bands, bug bombs and there are many more to protect you little one from ticks and bugs. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So wanted to buy a bug spray that was enriched with botanical extracts and sulfate-free and I came across Zoe Organic Inspect Repellent. This not only keeps Siya safe from bug bites but also gives her an extra dose of nutrient-rich hydration.

Remedy for sunburn & tan

Kids will play out in the sun and will get tan or sunburnt even after you put all the sunscreen. There is a century old recipe that generations in my family have used (especially to combat effects of hot Indian summer) that acts as a great solution for minor sunburns and tan.

  • Take a bowl and mix a
    • Table spoon of coconut oil – Natural moisturizer,
    • A¬†spoon of room temperature yogurt – Natural coolant,
    • A¬†pinch of¬†turmeric – Natural Anti-Inflammatory
    • 2 spoons of chick pea flour (if you don’t have it you can also use oatmeal powder – dry crush your steel cut or rolled oats) – Natural tan remove
    • Few drops of¬†rose water (optional)¬†– Natural anti-inflammatory and reduces
  • Mix all of this together¬†to a cream consistency. Apply this mixture on your baby and leave if for 5-10 mins and wash it off.

This mixture is also part of Siya’s daily bath routine as it acts as a natural cleanser and limits the usage of soap

I hope this has given you few new ideas for your family this season…making it a little more bearable and lot of more. Leave a comment and share your kids summer essential list, if you need other recommendation happy to share what we use.

Play-based & Singapore Math to learn numbers

Growing up math for us was more abstract and never concrete left alone fun.¬†We daily deal with pairs of shoes, eyes and ears not abstract “twos.”¬† Then why learn math is such a¬†notional way.

Little did W3 knew that baby begins learning math the moment she starts exploring the world. By the time a child is toddler they can begin reciting numbers, but skip some of them. They also start understanding the concept of “more”; very often I hear Siya saying “mooore,” or “daadum, (to give me¬†loosely in¬†sanskrit).” Children are using early math skills throughout their daily routines and activities. These skills come really handy in when they go to school and also in building the analytical side of their brains.

So I thought, why not make it fun if Math is such an important and everyday skill. As part of my love for Singapore Math (See my article on it – Singapore Math with Pattern Recognition to the Sunday-Funday rescue!!)¬†and Siya’s love for her stacking toys/flash cards this weeks Sunday-Funday activity was counting numbers using concepts of singapore math in a play-based learning environment.

We did two activities that were focused on visual identification of number and counting using her favorite stackable toy.

Activity 1

picWe bought some simple number flashcards with picture, Amazon Number Flashcards, however you can make some at home too with your kids. We picked out flashcards from one through ten. We did both picture recognition including number counting. Siya knew some of these pictures so introducing numbers and counting out loud helped.

Activity 2

A famous quote by Zig Ziglar,¬†‚ÄúRepetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment,‚Ä̬†really fits well with toddler learning too including using various¬†multisensory mediums.¬†I incorporated stacking ring by Melissa & Doug (you can use other¬†stacking toys too)¬†in making Siya¬†learn numbers.

Initially, I use to say all the numbers and then after few repeats I started asking Siya; 1 and then she would say 2 and then every other alternate number. Siya still is learning and says alternate numbers however, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are her favorite ones. As those are the ones she says in a sequence (See attached video).

We had a great weekend, learning numbers using different mediums. Leave your thoughts or comment below and let us know how you spent your weekend and how do you teach your kids Math.

Additional number activities you can do with your older kids

Explore home number

Teach them the address and key phone numbers starting with home and 911. Share with kids that every house has unique numbers and walk them through your neighborhood how numbers are in series.

Sort by sizes

Take different day-to-day objects such as cereals, different sizes of balls, marbles, etc. Then ask your child to sort it from large to small, ask him to see which ones can fit in a cup or not.

Make them chef

Children as young as 15 months can help out with cooking, have them help you measure, stir, mix while counting different ingredients.

Learn with technology

Youtube has over 50+ number songs and countless in different languages. Sing songs that have a ring or rhyme to it and have the kids point out to different numbers and make them count too.

“HONEY” come blow & taste your beebubbles!!

These days Siya has been learning about insects in her “Art and Farm” and offlate has been a huge fan of bubbles, keeps calling them “bu, bu.” Obviously, who does not like bubbles!! especially when summer is just round the corner and you see some amazing bubble shows in the park. However, as an environment¬†conscious and safe product favoring parent,¬†I am always worried about store bought bubbles as they are infused with chemicals and glycerin.

So for this Sunday-Funday activity we decided to make homemade bubbles with a twist; I wanted to continue her insect learning with bubbles making. Little did w3 knew that you can actually make homemade bubbles without glycerin. The receipe we came up was super simple and made with easy to find ingredients at home- Secret ingredient was HONEY.

Disclaimer РThis article does not tell you to drink or taste your bubble solutions. However, if accidently a small quanity is tasted or applied to skin is not harmful. In no circumtances adults or children should try or taste the bubbles as it is not safe to do so.

Activity 1

We read the “Alphabets with Bumble Bee,” book by Kristina Corona. What I loved about it was it incorporated the life¬†and different elements of Bee through Alphabets. Siya kept pointing at the Bee, when I was reading to her, while she was sitting¬†in my lap, a huge accomplishment!! (you know what I mean when you are a parent of an active 16 month old child)

Activity 2

After spending some time learning our ABC in form of Bees, we started making our homemade beebubbles.

Ingredients you need

bee 3

 

8 cups filtered water

1 cup of Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap (You can also use Dawn blue soap!!)

2/3 cup honey

 

Beebubble making

Siya loves to help around in the kitchen (I think I have next Rachele Ray in making!!), especially mixing things on the stove.

First, we took a big pan and added water and heated till it was lukewarm. Second, we got it off heat and then added the honey and stired it till it was completely dissolved (Siya, loved doing this part of the activity!!). Thirdly, very slowly, I added the dish soap so I didnt create too much foam (this is the key step to a good bubble solution,). Finally, I lightly stired it to make sure everything was mixed well, and VO LA!! the beebubble for ready. We let it still for a while (3-4 hrs) before we used the solution.

bee oneSiya, had a blast getting showered with bubbles with her friends and as a parent I was not worried about unnecessary chemicals touching her. This Sunday-Funday activity was a great start to the summer as we learnt about bees in a fun and interactive way.

Try this out with your kids!! and share your thoughts with us. Share with us, how your kids started their summer or or do you have your own homemade bubble receipe.

My paint is the yummiest!!

featuredSiya loves to get messy and creative with her art, which kid does not? This week we continued with the theme from last couple of weeks; to utilize mother nature in our Sunday-Funday activities. We wanted to create art pieces using paint and different natural things such as potatoes, star shaped carrots, leaves and handprints.  As a result, we started looking for non-toxic and all natural paints.

However, Little did W3 knew that the so called “non-toxic” art and craft supplies were pretty much a hoax especially for kids under 6 years old as these products do have alcohol, pigments, etc that can in large quantities if consumed or applied can be poisonous. The article by PediatricSafety.net states that over 70% of the calls that poison control receives is for kids younger than 6 that have used art and craft supplies labeled as “non-toxic.”

This was definitely frustrating¬†because¬†we want to¬†provide a creative and developmentally stimulating¬†artistic environment for Siya that is¬†“non-toxic.”¬†Growing up, we always used powdered herbs to paint pictures and make different artistic designs during festivals.; So I took this as an inspiration and started doing causal searching on how to make non-toxic all natural paint at home.

My¬†“make at home paint” recipe below is inspired¬†from my roots, easy to make at home and something that can last long.

Make @ Home Paint Recipe

Ingredients Needed

  • 4 air tight containers to store the colors
  • 1/4 cup of each of the Herbs – You can buy these from any local herb stores or from Amazon,¬† Mountain Rose Herbs or Herbs Affair
    • Yellow paint – Tumeric and Pumpkin powder
    • Green paint – Spirulina and Spinach powder
    • Red¬†paint – Beetroot and hibiscus flower powder
    • Purple¬†paint – Blueberry and Acai berry powder
  • 1/4 cup Rice flour and 1/4 cup arrowroot powder¬† for each paint- This is used as the thickener and it does not change the color of herb powders.

Mix & Storage

miz Take a large mixing bowl and start with one paint at a time.¬†To make the “yellow paint,” mix 1/4 cup each of rice flour, arrowroot powder, turmeric and pumpkin powder. Mix it well and transfer it into airtight container. Vo La!! yellow paint is made ūüôā it is truly this simple.

piNow, similarly mix the other paint colors and put them in air tight containers. These paints will last you for a very long time.

If you don’t have time to make paint at home here is an alternative: Glob All Natural Paint Kits.

Create master pieces with no worries

mixWe took small quantities of the above paint powder and started adding spoonful of water at a time till we reached the consistency we wanted (if it became too runny we added a little more powder).

Now we were all set to get creative, and we experimented with different mediums such as leaves, potatoes, okra, but most importantly we used safe, healthy, homemade, non-toxic paints. We really enjoyed our Sunday as a family and had a great time not only creating some master pieces that will be treasured forever but also learnt a creative way to use herbs.

To make this activity more interesting you can get your kids involved in making the paint, mixing different colors, learning more about the herbs and its uses. The scope of this activity is endless, try it with you kids today!!

Do you make paint supplies for your kids? What all do you do? What all do you do to create a natural and creative environment for your kids?

Unveil the mystery of what to do before 2!

What should I do before my child turns two and ready for preschool? How do I provide an enriching experience? Should I consider a toddler class? If I do, which ones, where do I even start?

And many more questions ran in our mind few months ago and Little did W3 knew that NYC had over 4800 toddler classes and over 20 enrichment areas to choose from. Damn, this felt like we were in one of those make to order yogurt places with unlimited toppings and flavors to choose from.

Recently, I received quite a few questions around what classes does Siya goes to and how did we choose. Ultimately, it’s about engaging in the right activities with your toddler that can increase his or her readiness for preschool and kindergarten while providing valuable bonding experiences for both of you. We are no experts in this field, but thought about sharing our experience and tips that might be helpful.

Where to Start

Just like you, Little did W3 knew where to start and how to maneuver through this maze. We were stuck in a classic phenomenon of overchoice; when many equivalent choices are available. Talking to my mom, I got my first break-through in debugging this paralyzing process of too many choices. She simply told me two things; what do you want for Siya to be? and What does she enjoy?

  1. What life skills you want your child to have?

Nikhil and I don’t know what Siya will be and where she will end up? However, we know the key life skills we want Siya to have; Problem-Solving (think critically and be curious), Reading (learn new things and test understanding), Collaboration (value of teamwork and empathy) and Communication (share thoughts succinctly and diplomatically).

     2. Know your child

The life skills and what Siya likes to do became the basis for us to identify the enrichment areas. Siya has always been curious, enjoys athletic activities especially involving her favorite word ‚Äúball‚ÄĚ, is interested in how things fit together, and wants to learn the world through books, music and observation.

Siya’s Enrichment Areas

Life Skills

Enrichment Areas

Problem Solving STEM
Reading Story time, Music
Collaboration Sports
Communication Art, Language

Narrow down your choices

  1. Location

For us this was not a big criterion because midtown west does not have many choices so we decided to define our boundaries based on where Via or Uber could take her ūüėä!! a.k.a. within the limit of Manhattan island

     2. Research

I causally started researching using my favorite friend google and typing the enrichment areas and available classes in NYC. I also tapped into some great local resources listed below.

  • The Parent League of New York has an amazing “Let‚Äôs play” guide book that has list of classes and different activities that are available in NYC.
  • Mommy Poppinsis another great online resource to see the different classes and activities happening in NYC.
  • New York Public Libraryis a great free resource for fun story times, puppet, art& craft and lego activities

 Try it Out

Most of the classes offer a free trial classes so definitely try few of them and see if your child is enjoying it and also you liking. You can also use Kidspass; it is a great resource to help you try multiple classes without commitment and it helps add variety in your toddler’s life.

We tried over 20-30 classes and may be 4-5 in each enrichment area to ensure that we were picking the best that worked for us. For example, for Music we tried James with Music, Gymboree Music and ABC Do Re Me and we liked ABC DO Re Me so we signed up for their seasonal pass.

Siya loves her toddler classes and she is always excited to go to them whether it is a day at the library with her favorite Peppa book or mingling with her friend in her Parkbench class to her being a curious innovator in her STEM class to finally swimming like a fish at her swim class.

If you don’t know have too many choices in your area for enrichment classes then go to the local library/book store for story time, you can buy couple toddler sports equipment at home such as basketball hoop, golf, etc.

Feel free to email with any questions or just reach out if you want to someone just hear you and we’d love it if you would share your experience!!

 

Singapore Math with Pattern Recognition to the Sunday-Funday rescue!!

Couple months ago, I was invited to a Singapore Math session by ‚ÄúDearest Community‚ÄĚ to learn benefits of Singapore Math and Early Numeracy program. Furthermore, recently I read an article that the world‚Äôs richest person, Jeff Bezos, one that has amassed his wealth by being creative and trying unorthodox ways of solving problems, uses the same approach for their children‚Äôs education. “We tried all sorts of things … Mandarin lessons, the Singapore math program, and lots of clubs and sports with other neighborhood kids,” MacKenzie Bezos told Vogue.

Singapore Math uses a three-step learning model, moving from the concrete: blocks, cards, buttons, whatever to the ‚Äúpictorial‚ÄĚ phase ‚ÄĒ a bridge between concrete and abstract, to the abstract equations: 2 + 3 = 5. To learn more about Singapore Math you can read following links:

Little did W3 knew that kids as young as 12 months can understand math and there are many visual, fun and engaging ways to teach them sometimes boring and dry concepts of math. This week our Sunday Funday activity was inspired by Singapore Math. We took her love for colors and combined it with pattern recognition & counting numbers using different shapes and textures.

Step 1 – We started with exploring different colors and crayon

Step 2 ‚Äď We created a quick pattern using some pom pom and math blocks (easily available on Amazon). You can also use what you have at home such as LEGOs, stackable colorful blocks, etc (options are unlimited). We showed her the pattern and told her different colors and shape. She was all excited to pick them up and put it in her mouth ūüėä!!

Example of pattern

Step 3 ‚Äď We then removed the pattern and placed the first yellow pom pom and said this is yellow, the next is orange and so we completed the pattern. Next, we started putting the math blocks in the same sequence and talked through the sequence with her. Finally, after couple rounds she pointed at the next sequence color and could recognize ‚ÄúYellow‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúOrange‚ÄĚ. If you have a grown up, you can ask your child how many yellow blocks do we have and how many orange and have him/her to add it (options are endless with the activity).

Step 4 ‚Äď Next we created a quick pictorial image of what we were doing in Step 3 and showed that to Siya and repeated the step 3 activity.

Pattern admission

It was a Funday for us as we always look for some exciting and creative ways to teach Siya and this was on top of the list. Siya enjoyed the activity, and could recognize colors, understand some sequencing of items and predict “what comes next (she did it few times)?

Let us know what you think about Singapore Math/Pattern recognition and what did you do this weekend with your kids!!