Thursday, January 29, 2015

Zayd's Chore Jar and the Value of Money

For years now, Zayd has loved his animals. We have so many Toobs and then we upgraded to Schleich animals. (Buy some, head to pinterest, and you will figure out one million ways to have learning through play with these little plastic figurines. Invent a game called "Building a Zoo" with legos or Magna-tiles and you will have happy toddlers for an hour.)

The need for more and more animals has become nearly insatiable. While he got the Penguin he so desperately wanted for Christmas, he then needed a second penguin to have a mommy and a daddy. So, that got me thinking: these things are less than five dollars each, he should really be responsible for buying his own. got the wheels turning.

Allowance? That was my first thought. Does my three year old need allowance? My parents were always more than generous with money. I have definitely heard stories of getting $1 when I was one year old. I imagine Zahra would have eaten a dollar at one year old but I also hear I was...more tame. I considered it. I even talked to Zayd about it, but the truth is, he has/had no concept of money to even know if he wanted an allowance. We had to start smaller: do a chore I need help with, and I will give you fifty cents. We got a small mason jar and started collecting coins. After about a month of this, Zayd has learned the following chores:
  1. Put away all of the utensils, his own dishware, and baking pans from the dishwasher
  2. Load the washing machine
  3. Fold washcloths and his own shirts
  4. Bring the myriad of cups from each room in the house to the dishwasher

About one week into the chore-ing, I took Zayd to the toy store so we could find a goal. I was thinking a Schleich animal would grab his attention. Well, I should really research first. There were no plastic animals at the store we went to. BUT there were small intricate trucks. He set his sights on a small fire truck with a working ladder and door, and lights! It was $ 20 chores once you calculate tax. It was a bit more than I was planning but he was set on it, and I got onboard.

Zayd's new skills and successes are enough to make me love this chore jar. It has also given us so many opportunities to count coins! We have printed a few worksheets for coin sorting, talked about the value of money, and talked a LOT about addition. How many more chores did he need to get ten dollars? Really?

We had many days of sad money counting to some number less than $10,

but by Monday, we were at $10! (I may have paid his $1.50 on that last day for a single chore but he didn't notice and I had time for the toy store run that it mommy magic!)

He gathered up his jar and put it into his backpack.

"Let's go mom!"

"OK, one smile."

School has taught Zayd the importance of holding the door for mommy. Swoon!

Zahra wanted to know if she had enough money for this thing. I told her she had enough to play with it at the store.

Zayd brought his own chore jar and truck up to the lady. "Excuse me." I really could have wept OR giggled because it was so adorable.

I didn't get any photos of the exact transaction but it was adorable. Here he is packing his stuff into his backpack for the ride home. We had to keep that firetruck safe!

And here is a photo of the three of us outside the toy store celebrating our accomplishments. We were probably the three happiest people in the Quarry that day.

Some other interesting tidbits from this adventure.
  1. Zayd doesn't accept dollar bills, even on double chore days
  2. Zahra also wants money
  3. Zahra can fold clothes alarmingly well
  4. Zahra loves folding clothes
  5. Zahra ONLY accepts pennies for her work
  6. Zahra wants two pennies because she is two (I tried explaining she had earned 50 pennies but she screamed at me, so she has made about 14 cents this month.Don't worry, I bought her a sticker book.)

I really am so proud of my young son. I have told him this at least every day this week. If I could ask for nothing more, I would hope that he felt proud on that day. Proud to be able to buy himself something he wanted, to learn new skills, to have the guts to talk to lady behind the cash register. It was a very special afternoon. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Three Little Pigs

First, are your kids obsessed with the three little pigs (3LP)? If not, I recommend you make this happen. It is amazing how much fun this story is for little ones! We first got hooked via our 1972 3LP Disney book that I scored at the Half Price Books Clearance sale a few months ago. 

We play 3LP every day in new and imaginative ways every time. I feel like I can watch Zayd's brain expand as he thinks of new ways to play out the pigs and their homes and Zahra is becoming quite the actress. It is so so fun to watch. It is fun in a way that playing Bubble Guppies just never will be for me. (Or BATMAN for that matter...don't tell Sam...don't worry, he doesn't know the name of this blog!) Yesterday we played 3LP at the Botanical Gardens using first Water Saver Lane and then the historic 1800s Schumacher House from Fredericksburg. And Netflix has a whole series of Big Bad Wolf movies that must be at least 50 years old and are amazing.

Second, do you follow Red Ted Art?? Because that is my second piece of advice: you absolutely should be pinning this man's pins and reading his blog if you have littles. He never steers us wrong. Our whole day of play was inspired by his 3LP post.

And now, the start of our real 3LP play.

I spent a couple of weeks saving up TP rolls to make this happen. Then I had the littles paint: Zahra choose to make pigs and Zayd wanted to focus on a big bad wolf and a little bad wolf (watch the Netflix shorts).

We had some shenanigans!

But we ended up with five painted rolls and it was time to dry them:

Then we got to house building. We decided to use legos for the brick house and to make paper houses for the straw and stick home like Red Ted suggests. That way we could huff and puff the first two houses away but the third would have true strength!

Here are our finished products with washi tape for clothes and the most adorable pipe cleaner tails.

Zayd insisted that our big bad wold needed big bad fangs so we used a white pipe cleaner there as well.

And here the kids setting up and playing three little pigs:

I hope you enjoyed this 1/10 as much as we did. Just go make it. It's so stinking cute.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hot Dino and All Things Art

We have a new love of arts and crafts these days and I relish it. From workbooks, the sticker books, washi tape, to painting toilet paper rolls you will often find us gathered around the dining room table doing something creative.

Zayd is very interested in writing these days. The letter H is no longer sufficient to get that rush of accomplishment so we have moved on to the rest of the alphabet and words with H in them. Below, HOT DINO one of our favorite things to write these days. This was his first attempt and not bad, I'd say.

I am amazed by the rate he improves in his workbooks. The first attempt at something is always shaky but #2 in an undeniable K!

Zahra now writes the letter H also (are they twins?) but she really needn't move on from there so we have found lots of more age-appropriate things for her to be doing.

We don't necessarily do all of our art at the table. Here is Zayd's drawing of a cat, modeled after Bristol who lives across the street. He also almost always draws animals with a separate orb near them "That's where they get their energy". It is an interesting twist.

And here is a washi tape cheetah with yellow spots and five legs. His orb of energy had to go on a separate sheet.

Zahra wanted to do number washi art with orange stamps. I am sure if i could just come up with the proper name for this we could sell it for millions. :)

We are still obsessed with sticking things on contact paper, a la Mamenchisaurus or our suncatchers.

And then there is our newest corkboard shapes "toy" from Haba. It is awesome. I highly recommend it!

Next up...the coolest art project we've ever done: the three little pigs and the big bad wolf and the little bad wolf. (We had extra supplies!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wear all the babies

In case you haven't noticed, we are a family that babywears. (You will see why is so easy to kiss them!)

We have wraps for newborns:

Wraps for summer:

Wraps for spring:

Carriers for dad:

And carriers for friends:

And in a pinch, we have made wraps from pashminas:

Plus, there are carriers for your front or back, babies or toddlers

So, no one was surprised when Zahra announced that she needed a wrap for her baby to go play outside. So, we did one up, scarf style.

Which naturally means that Zayd needs a wrap too...for his toolbox. And so it was.

For a while i wasn't sure but I am definitely in the market for a Toddler Tula so I can keep this kiddos close as long as they'll let me.