Celebrating Halloween with Indoor Trick-or-Treating

This year Halloween may look really different for some as many may choose not to go out trick-or-treating. However, this does not mean you can’t celebrate Halloween at all this year.

2020 has been a year of changing traditions to make it as normal as possible for our little ones. I remember changing around Easter to make sure the magic of the Easter bunny was still much alive in our home, even if our family couldn’t be together to celebrate. Now with Halloween just around the corner, I will be bringing the fun of trick-or-treating with a little twist to my daughter.

Let me introduce you to our idea, Trick-or-Treat Hotel.

Halloween Baking

Before we undertake our spooky adventure, we will be warming up with some Halloween baking. Halloween is always much more fun when baking is involved and we can have these yummy treats once we are done.

Remember to just have fun and no need for masterpieces especially since it will all be eaten anyways. 😉

Halloween Crafts

Once your baking is complete, you can move on to some crafts as this way your child is busy creating art while you set up your trick-or-treat hotel.

We got some Halloween crafts from our local dollar store which does not need any adult supervision. A couple of the crafts that we will be doing are Halloween ornaments and a Halloween photo by using Halloween stickers to create our scene.

Trick-or-Treat Hotel

This idea came to me during our play of hotel in our home. So I have incorporated that idea with trick-or-treating. We will be transforming our bedroom floor into a hotel. We have four doors on this level and all these doors will be closed.

Each door will have a Halloween inspired sign and you can create these yourselves with construction paper and a string. You can place these on all the doors. We used words that Nikki can read on her own, this way she is practicing her reading skills along the trick-or-treat road.

As Nikki approaches each door, she knocks and says, “Trick or Treat.” Then we open the door and inside she will find a note that will either say, “Treat” or “Trick.”

Treat Note

If the door reveals a “Treat” note, then you will need to find the treat in the room. Special bonus is that the notes will have a number on it (math equation) and that is how many treats need to be located in the room. Great way to have your child practice with their math skills too. 😉

Trick Note

Halloween needs to have some tricks too as we can’t always have treats. These notes will have instructions on what trick to do. For example, do 10 jumping skeleton jacks. Keep it fun, light and a great workout. Makes up for not walking the distance to get treats in your neighbourhood.

Halloween Family Movie Night

Once all doors have been explored, you can have a relaxing night with a family Halloween movie night. Always have your child pick the movie to make sure it is one that does not scare them. There are many great options available on Disney Plus. That is our go to for family friendly movies.

That is our Halloween plan this year and one that I know won’t scare me by the end of the night. I am a bit of a scary cat so the idea of an indoor trick-or-treat is ideal for me. Either way, I know this will be a memorable Halloween for my daughter and we will make the best of it.

We would love to hear what you are doing this year in the comment section below. Remember whatever you decide, stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!

-Momma Braga

 

Helping Heroes Fire Station

“Helping Heroes Fire Station brings out the inner heroes in your little one. This toy is amazing as it can transform from the fire station to fire truck, offering many hours of fun and learning.” – Momma Braga

Helping Heroes Fire Station

Calling all helpers! It’s time to jump into action with the Helping Heroes Fire Station. Firefighters Fiona and Frankie sleep, relax and work out in the multi-level fire station. Get ready for a rescue by checking the equipment and learning how to be a firefighter. When it’s time for action, drop Fiona or Frankie through the opening and into the mini rescue vehicle. Transform the fire station into a fire truck and head out to be a hero. There’s a kitten stuck in a tree – put up the extension ladder! Place firefighters Frankie and Fiona on the Talking Point location to hear sound effects, music and phrases about their roles as firefighters. Music & Sounds, Explore & Train and Rescue Mission play modes combine with three action buttons to create an imaginative and learning-packed play experience for little firefighters.

Intended for ages 1.5 – 4 years. Requires 2 AA batteries. Batteries included for demo purposes only. New batteries recommended for regular use.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Helping Heroes Fire Station is a transforming playset that changes from a multi-level fire station to a fire truck and comes with Fiona, Frankie, a rescue vehicle, helicopter and ladder. Place firefighters Frankie and Fiona on the Talking Point location to hear fun sounds, music and phrases about their roles as firefighters.

Press the Action Buttons to get training, hear sound effects and see colorful lights. Press the Water Hose to pretend to spray water to put out the fire. Loads of fun and learning await for your little one with this awesome playset!

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give the Helping Heroes Fire Station 10 fires out of 5! Nikki loves playing with this playset and loves all the special features such as the melodies and song lyrics.

As a parent, I love all the motor skill development that can be learned for little ones. There are also seems to be so many new things to explore within the playset itself. This definitely is a must have toy for little ones.

Bring a big smile to your little one this holiday season with this great toy. If you would like to purchase it, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own and we do not make commission on toy sales.

Myla’s Sparkling Friends | Toy Review

“Myla’s Sparkling Friends Mia the Unicorn is the perfect gift for a child. Mia provides a colorful world of magic that a child can embrace in and use their creativity to have even more fun.” – Momma Braga

Myla’s Sparkling Friends Mia the Unicorn

Playtime is magical with Myla’s Sparkling Friends Mia the Unicorn! This beautiful unicorn toy talks, sings and lights up with a kaleidoscope of colors. Touch Mia’s magical necklace, then touch her horn, eyes and wings to change their color. Mia will respond with more than 100 fun, magical responses about her mood, feelings and lucky colors. Sing a colorful duet with Mia by touching her mouth. Squeeze Mia’s legs to flap her wings and trigger lights and playful responses. Brush her mane and tail using the included comb and add some extra flair with two hair clips for you to share. Collect all of Myla’s Sparkling Friends (each sold separately) for more colorful play!

Intended for ages 4+ years. Requires 2AAA batteries. Batteries included for demo purposes only. New batteries recommended for regular use.

Product Features

Myla’s Sparkling Friends Mia the Unicorn offers so much fun for children and here are some of our favorites.

Color Mia

Mia lights up in the colors you choose for her. Press Mia’s Charm Button to choose a color. Then, touch her eyes, horn and wings to add the selected color to them. Nikki’s favorite colors are red and pink on Mia but you really can’t go wrong with any of the colors. 🙂

Mia’s Mood

Mia expresses her mood through color. Press her Light-Up Horn Button to see how she feels. Then, touch her eyes or wings for some additional color commentary.

Color Fun

Mia likes to pick a lucky color for you. Press her Wing Sensor and she’ll select a lucky color and tell you how that color makes her feel.

Tell Mia Your Wishes

Mia wants you to share your wishes and dreams with her. Cover and hold one of Mia’s Eye Sensors and she’ll ask you to tell her your wishes. Keep her Eye Sensor covered as you tell her. Uncover her Eye Sensor and she’ll tell you how much she loves your wishes.

We absolutely love this feature and Nikki loves making wishes. The best part for Nikki is having Mia tell her how much she loves Nikki’s wishes. These wishes have become special to Nikki as she won’t share them so they will come true. 😉

Musical Mia

Mia loves to sing. Tap Mia’s Mouth Button, and she will sing, hum or even surprise you with a kiss! Careful, sometimes she even burps!

Nikki loves the kisses and the burps make Nikki giggle. We love the burps as it happens to the best of us and Mia does it in the most adorable way!

Flying Fun

Who wouldn’t want to fly?! Mia sure does love to fly and you can help her by flapping her wings by pressing her Leg Lever. She’ll make magical sounds and cheer as she pretends to zoom through the sky.

Cuddle and Care

Every unicorn needs love. Pet Mia’s Eye Sensors or Wing Sensor to take care of her and get some fun surprises. 😉

#MelAndNikkiReview

Myla’s Sparkling Friends Mia the Unicorn is the perfect addition for playtime. You can have hours of fun with all the great features and you can collect them all! Yes there are other friends to get and Nikki has her eyes on all of them!

Mia provides a colorful world of magic that a child can embrace in and use their creativity to have even more fun.

“It is fun and the best toy because it changes colors and sings to you. Mia is the perfect unicorn friend and you know how much I love unicorns mom!” – Nikki, Age 6

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Mia the Unicorn 10 rainbows out of 5! According to Nikki our rating should actually be one hundred million so it clearly went off the charts! If you would like to purchase Mia the Unicorn from this collection, click here.

To see more of Myla’s Friends, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

The Boy and the Gorilla

The Boy and the Gorilla is a beautiful children’s story that will tug at your heart strings. A story that gently depicts  the tender relationship between a young boy mourning his mother as he finds a path to healing. Articulated with words and illustrations perfectly. A powerful story in the talk of loss.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

On the day of his mother’s funeral, a young boy conjures the very visitor he needs to see: a gorilla. Wise and gentle, the gorilla stays on to answer the heart-heavy questions the boy hesitates to ask his father: Where did his mother go? Will she come back home? Will we all die? Yet with the gorilla’s friendship, the boy slowly begins to discover moments of comfort in tending flowers, playing catch, and climbing trees. Most of all, the gorilla knows that it helps to simply talk about the loss – especially with those who share your grief and who may feel alone, too.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Boy and the Gorilla truly tugged at my heart strings as I read the story to my daughter. It opened up more dialogues in the conversation of loss. We loved the questions the little boy asked as they are very common questions that children do ask. But sometimes as adults we may not know how to answer them as they can be tough ones for us. However, the Gorilla answers them beautifully and so simple.

In this story, the Gorilla helps this young boy find the path to healing through their shared grief and bond. This path leads the young boy to talk to his father where they both can bond and heal together. Just absolutely perfect! The author and illustrator did a superb job in articulating with words and illustrations on the toughest topic; loss.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 10+++ hearts out of 5! Loss has always been a hard topic for many and one that is comforting to see in children’s literature. I truly believe this story is one that will help children better understand and will start the toughest dialogue that we as parents may be uncomfortable with. Nikki truly enjoyed this story and the answers comforted her. We have had a loss in our lives this year and we used this book to help her better understand. It did just that and Nikki knows that those special people who are no longer with us, are always in our hearts.

“When will I feel better? When you know she’s still with you.”

If you would like to purchase this heartfelt story, click here. The age recommendation is four to eight on this book.

About the Author

Jackie Azua Kramer is the author of The Green Umbrella and If You Want to Fall Asleep. She was previously an actress, singer, and school counselor. Jackie Azua Kramer lives with her family in Long Island, New York.

About the Illustrator

Cindy Derby is the author-illustrator of How to Walk an Ant and the illustrator of the poetry collection Climbing Shadows by Shannon Bramer. Before she was an illustrator, she went to theater school and performed all over the world as a puppeteer. Cindy Derby lives in San Francisco.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own. We do not make commission off of book sales.

Fauja Singh Keeps Going

Fauja Singh Keeps Going is based on a true story that will inspire all to keep going no matter the obstacles that may stand in your way.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Every step forward is a victory.

Fauja Singh was born determined. He was also born with legs that wouldn’t allow him to play cricket with his friends or carry him to school miles from his village in Punjab. But that didn’t stop him. Working on his family’s farm, Fauja grew stronger to meet his own full potential.

He never stopped striving. At the age of 81, after a lifetime of making his body, mind, and heart stronger, Fauja decided to run his first marathon. He went on to break records all around the world and became the first person over 100 to complete the grueling long-distance race.

With exuberant text by Simran Jeet Singh and exhilarating illustrations by Baljinder Kaur, the true story of Fauja Singh reminds us that both where we start and how we finish that make our journeys unforgettable.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Fauja Singh Keeps Going is a children’s story that will inspire everyone. Based on a true story, the author and illustrator articulates beautifully all of Fauja’s struggles and how he accomplished what many thought would be impossible. When you think he has accomplished it all, he takes it even one step further. When he was 100, he ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and was the oldest person in the world to run a marathon. What an amazing accomplishment and we love that this moment in history happened in our hometown! 🙂

We loved how he took any doubt or sadness in his life and turned it around to something positive. I think one of my favorite parts is when he would remember what his mom would tell him and that was the inspiration that he would use.

“You know yourself, Fauja, and you know what you’re capable of. Today is a chance to do your best.”

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 10 stars out of 5! We love the positivity it brings to the Sikh community; the inspirational message about how determination and grit can help you overcome obstacles; and we love reading the story of Fauja. Make sure to check the back of the book where you get to learn more about Fauja and see all of his amazing records!

If you would like to read and purchase this great book, click here.

About the Author

Simran Jeet Singh loves sports and signed up for his first marathon after being inspired by Fauja Singh – and like Fauja, he hasn’t stopped running since. Simran is an activist, writer, and scholar who believes deeply in the divine goodness of all people. He was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and now lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

About the Author

Baljinder Kaur is an illustrator and storyteller who is fascinated by her community. She is interested in exploring and celebrating the seemingly ordinary yet hidden narratives of the Sikh and Punjabi diaspora.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange of an honest review. All opinions expressed are own and we do not make commission on book sales.

Girl on a Motorcycle

Girl on a Motorcycle will empower young readers and see the world for the beautiful it is.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

One day, a girl gets on her motorcycle and rides away. She wants to wander the world. To go…Elsewhere.

This is the true story of the first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world alone. Each place has something to teach her. Each place is beautiful. And despite many flat ties and falls, she learns to always get back up and keep riding.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Girl on a Motorcycle is the empowering story every little girl should read. Inspired by a true story, we are taken on a world journey exploring the different cultures and people. It is amazing to read how a woman travelled the world on her own with the view that the world was beautiful.

Such an empowering and impactful story for young readers. You learn so much of Anne-France Dautheville as the author includes a beautiful bio and photos of her. The author also includes a note of what inspired her to write this story.

“What I wish for all young citizens of the world, for every human being on this incredible planet, is the ability and freedom to travel, to wander, and to lust for elsewhere, to meet people, to experience through their own eyes and hearts that the world is beautiful and good.” – Amy Novesky

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 motorcycles out of 5. If you would like to purchase a copy to empower your little one, click here.

About the Author

Amy Novesky is the author of Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois, which was a Bologna-Ragazzi Award winner and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, as well as Me, Frida, winner of the Pura Belpre Honor Award for illustration. She lives outside of San Francisco with her family.

About the Illustrator

Julie Morstad is the award-winning illustrator of The Dress and the Girl; Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova; and Julia, Child, which was a Governor General’s Award finalist. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her family.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

7 Ways to Foster Your Child’s Curiosity in Learning

Parents explore new ways to encourage their child’s curiosity. After all, a healthy curiosity drives children to want to learn more about specific subjects. Schools that improve student engagement offer better programs that keep children engaged and learning something new every day. Learning 7 ways to foster your child’s curiosity in learning helps children learn more and helps parents find the best schools for their kids.

  1. Find the Cure for Boredom

Engaging children effectively in the classroom prevents the children from becoming bored. This is the key to improving student engagement and helping the children achieve higher grades in each course. Planning activities that are interesting and entertaining keeps the children’s attention, and it helps the children absorb more information. Teachers that use these strategies encourage children to learn more about staying engaged in class. Parents can learn more about improving student engagement by learning how to get the best international school experience with the Perse School Singapore for their children.

  1. Let Them Do Classwork at Home

Classroom time is for discussions and not classwork. Allowing the students to complete assignments at home frees up class time for discussions. If the teachers allow the students to speak and discuss the subject children learn more.

  1. Promote Open Discussions in the Classroom

Teaching children through discussions keeps the classroom available for further learning. If the teacher enables the students to ask questions and talk about the subjects. The children learn how to formulate questions that help them and their classmates learn more about the topic.

  1. Give the Kids a Creative License

Allowing children to become creative gives them a chance to express themselves through art or music. Schools that provide arts and music courses encourage the child’s curiosity in learning by appealing to their imagination. A healthy imagination helps the children learn to express their feelings and thoughts. As an adult, these skills could help them be more assertive and get more out of their career. It shows the children how to get ahead in business and how to process their thoughts and feelings in a healthy way.

  1. Promote Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills are vital for everyone. Promoting critical thinking and questioning the teachers about the topics, children learn how to apply these skills in life as they grow up. Instead of accepting the information they are given, they learn how to question thoughts and theories and arrive at their own conclusions. It is necessary to understand how to think critically when making decisions as an adult.

  1. Let Children Complete Projects Together

Completing projects together shows the children how to work together as a team. In life, they will work together in teams through employers when completing projects and building products. Understanding how to work together gives the children invaluable life skills.

  1. Present More Challenging Activities

Children who aren’t challenged will become bored and withdraw from their schoolwork. Children with higher-than-average IQs crave challenging work. Teachers must present work and projects that challenge the mind and help the children advance. The challenges help children develop strong problem-solving skills they will need for work and in life.

Parents review educational programs to determine what their children will get from the programs. Programs that are designed to promote a healthy curiosity for learning deliver curriculums that prepare children for college and life. Reviewing how these programs work shows parents if the schools are the best choice for their children.

 

Learn About Animals with LeapFrog’s 100 Animals Book

100 Animals Book is an interactive book that will allow you to explore the world of animals while building vocabulary for your future little reader.” – Momma Braga

100 Animals Book™

Hold 100 animals in your hands with the touch-sensitive pages of the 100 Animals Book! Six double-sided, interactive pages feature animals from 12 habitats and environments. Hear animal names in English and French. Kids have a natural curiosity about animals, and this book provides lots of opportunities for exploration with illustrations and photographs of animals from the desert, savanna, rain forest and more. Fun facts about animals promote early science awareness, making this book a must-have addition to every little learner’s library.

Feature Highlights

Learn about words is 12 categories, sing along to learning songs and play fun sound effects while building vocabulary – an important skill linked to future reading success. There are five different activity modes and we break them down for you below.

Animal Names Mode

Animal names, sounds and fun facts come alive on six double-sided, touch-capacitive pages. The great part of this mode is that the words are toddler-appropriate.

Fun Facts Mode

This mode is awesome as you get to hear different fun facts about each picture.

Fun Sounds Mode

In this mode you can press the pictures to hear music and sound effects. Curious about what a sloth sounds like? You can now found out along with your little one. 😉

Music

Press the light-up Music Button to hear three learning songs.

Language Play

Slide the English/French Language Switch to hear the songs, directions and picture words in English or French.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The 100 Animals Book is the must have interactive book that will allow your child to learn about the many animals in the world. It will help build a child’s vocabulary and help better prepare them for the wonderful world of reading. The 100 Animals Book™ will inspire young readers to learn animal names and fun facts in both English and French. This is a great introduction to the world of animals.

We loved learning about each one and it was great practice for Nikki to read the words before clicking on the picture. Nikki’s favourite animal is the Penguin, while mine is the sloth and otter. Hearing the animal sounds was very interesting too as many I personally never heard before. I guess you can say that we both learned many new things with the 100 Animals Book. 😉

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 penguins out of 5 (Nikki’s favorite animal)! For some learning fun, explore the 100 Animals Book and set your little one on the path to success to learning with this great product by LeapFrog.

If you would like to purchase your very own, click here. It would make a perfect gift idea for children ages 18 to 48 months.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this product was provided in exchange of an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Gustavo The Shy Ghost

Gustavo The Shy Ghost is an adorable children’s book to get you into the Halloween spirit. It also combines beautiful illustrations with a great story on overcoming shyness.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can’t see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves?

#MelAndNikkiReview

Gustavo The Shy Ghost is a delightful story and a great treat for all the little ghouls and goblins. This has quickly become a family favorite and we have been reading it every chance we get. We have even taken this book to Nikki’s cousin’s house who loves the book as much as we do.

The illustrations are beautiful and the storyline of overcoming shyness is heartfelt. We loved how well it was written and so easy for a child to understand. Nikki and her cousin Adriana loved trying to find Gustavo in each page. They both got really excited to see where they would find him next. By the end of the book, Adriana who is only two kept asking if she can find Gustavo again. So it is safe to say that Gustavo quickly became a great hit!

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Gustavo The Shy Ghost 10 phantoms out of 5! If you are looking for a heartfelt story about overcoming shyness, being brave and about friendship then this is the story for you. It is definitely a must read in our books!

If you would like to purchase a copy for your little ghoul and goblin, click here.

About the Author

Flavia Z. Drago was born and raised in Mexico City. As a child, she wanted to be a mermaid. When that didn’t happen, she began her career as a graphic designer and a children’s book illustrator. She loves color, texture, and shapes and enjoys creating them with different materials and a bit of digital sorcery. She lives in Mexico.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Count & Win Sports Center Is The Must Have Interactive Sports Toy

“The Count & Win Sports Center is the must have interactive sports toy! You literally will be counting the fun with this great product from VTech Toys.” – Momma Braga

Count & Win Sports Center™

Win the learning game with the Count & Win Sports Center. Toddlers get their muscles moving with a soccer ball to exercise their legs and feet, and a basketball to get little arms and hands working. Make a basket! It’s easy to practice counting with a basket that keeps the score. One, two, three! Pull down the basket for a slam dunk. Score a goal! The friendly goalie will cheer you on with encouraging phrases. The animated LED scoreboard keeps the learning and the energy going. Little fingers get a fine-motor workout, too, with buttons to press, gears that turn and a trophy that slides back and forth. Learn about shapes, colors, numbers and good sportsmanship as you enjoy 65+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases. Toddlers grow fast, and this sports center grows with them with two adjustable height levels. Get your child a gift they’ll be able to use for months to come. Count on it!

Feature Highlights

Interactive sports toy with goal, goalie, soccer ball and basketball encourages counting and gross-motor skills. Here are some highlights.

  • Score a basket or make a goal and the smart sports center responds with cheerful sounds and phrases to keep the fun going.
  • The scoreboard displays the number of points on the animated screen to reinforce learning and encourage the action.
  • Growth spurts are no problem with this two-level, adjustable-height basketball hoop.
  • 65+ songs, sounds, melodies and phrases keep the fun and learning going, encouraging gross and fine motor skill development.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Count & Win Sports Center is the must have interactive sports toy of the year! It truly provides “countless” hours of fun and learning. 😉 We love how interactive it is and it gets kids moving. That extra physical activity is amazing for the little ones and they can really build their fine motor skills.

The Count & Win Sports Center is perfect for toddlers from 12 to 36 months. We tested it out with my goddaughter, Adriana who was very excited to try it out. She loved being able to play basketball and count along as she got the baskets in. We can’t forget to mention her love for kicking the soccer ball and scoring a goal! Not only did the sports center cheered for her but we all did too! We all became sports fanatics for Team Adriana and Team Nikki. 🙂 The confidence shined brightly through each activity that Adriana tried and that was amazing to see.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give the Count & Win Sports Center 10 goals out of 5! With loads of learning, this basketball and soccer sports toy makes the perfect baby or toddler gift for any occasion. If you would like to purchase this awesome play center, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This product was provided in exchange of an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.