Tag: Toddler

Myfunvelope Brings Creativity Right To Your Door

Have you ever wonder what crafts or activities that you can do with your child? Have you looked for a craft subscription option to help you?

There is a solution and an affordable one. Let me first introduce you to Kyla.

Kyla is a mom of six wonderful children in Saskatchewan, Canada. Five of her children were all under the age of five and it was a bit of a challenge as she needed to find ways to keep her older children engaged in activities. Kyla thought that a craft subscription would be a perfect solution to help her. However, after a lengthy research she found very few affordable options were available in Canada. Therefore, she began prepping little crafts in snack bags to give to her children and they LOVED them! This is where the idea of “Myfunvelope” bloomed. Kyla wanted to offer the opportunity for other moms to access an affordable monthly craft subscription and this is exactly what she did.

Myfunvelope is for children ages three to nine. Every month your child will receive a funvelope in the mailbox. They will discover and have fun with four unique craft projects that follow a fun monthly theme. They will also receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activity for hands-on building that is fun and sometimes hilarious! Markers and scissors are also provided with your package and the cost of this no tie-ins subscription is $18 on a month-to-month basis. All children can enjoy the activities every month as the themes are never holiday related to make it inclusive for all.

We got to try this month’s Myfunvelope and I have to say it was a great one! It is superhero month and my daughter loves superheroes!

The first thing that our daughter noticed was the cape and mask which was the first to go on (and stayed on for hours after)! Then we got to try the fun activities throughout the weeks.


There was the Pop-Up Superhero Activity, Superhero Straw Shooter, Superhero Magnet, Cape and Mask and the STEM activity was creating a flying superhero to measure distance. That one was really fun!

What we loved about the craft package was that it had everything that we needed to do all the activities. It saved us a lot of time and running around in getting any of the little things needed to make craft success.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give “Myfunvelope” 5 super powers out of 5! If you would like to try this subscription it is super easy to start! All you need to do is sign up and let the crafting begin! Don’t forget to follow Myfunvelope on Facebook and Instagram for some great crafting ideas!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Advertisements

I Love You For Miles And Miles

There is no denying that we love books in our home as it gives us an opportunity to explore new ideas, worlds and characters.

This is why we were thrilled to receive a new book called, I Love You For Miles And Miles by Alison Goldberg; illustrated by Mike Yamada.

Of course it became top priority on our reading list as soon as it came to our door. We excitedly got ready for bed and got the book out to read. As we read each page, we were captivated by the beautiful illustrations and the message behind the book which is all about how much a child is loved.

I Love You For Miles And Miles is an “I love you” book that speaks the language of the vehicle-obsessed toddler and touches on themes of separation, and loving from afar. It is recommended for children 2 to 6 years of age and that fits perfectly with our household. So what did we think of this book? I had to consult with the expert in my home which is my three year old daughter, Nikki.

Momma Braga: “How did you like this book, I Love You For Miles And Miles?”
Nikki: “I liked it a lot momma! Can you read it again?!”
Momma Braga: “Sure! What did you like the best about the story?”
Nikki: “I like everything and the pictures. Can I take this book when I go to school?”
Momma Braga: “Yes you can take this book when you start school in September.”
Nikki: “Yeah! The kids going to like this book Momma. Because everyone loves love.”
Momma Braga: “That is so nice! So what do you give this book out of 5?”
Nikki: “5 Momma! I did good?”
Momma Braga: “You did great Nikki!”

There you have the official feedback from the expert herself. I have to agree with Nikki as it is a lovely book and a great gift idea for this Valentine’s Day or for any other day, as who doesn’t love love?!

The story is articulated beautifully with the words and illustrations with each page turn. You won’t regret this great addition to your reading line up. To purchase this book, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga Is Like Family: Introducing Alannah

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is a great school to help teach your children the important skill of swimming. This is why this year (2018) we have partnered up with Aqua-Tots to bring informative pieces about what they offer to the amazing readers of Momma Braga.

This month we decided to get to know them a little better and this is why we interviewed Alannah, the General Manager of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga.

1. Tel me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alannah and I am the General Manager at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga. I was a competitive swimmer for 13 years and became a swim coach and lifeguard for more than 10 years back in Montreal where I am from. Teaching swimming is a huge passion of mine and I love being in and around the water.

2. How long have you been with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Aqua-Tots Mississauga has been open for over a year, and I was here from the very beginning…before there was water in the pool! I started as the Aquatic Manager for the first year where I ran the Aquatic Program and helped train all of our Water Safety Instructors and Deck Supervisors. As of January 1st, 2018, my role has changed, and I am now the General Manager! I love learning about this side of the business, and meeting all the new and recurring families on the other side of the pool glass.

3. What inspired you to get a position with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Swimming is a huge passion of mine, and with a degree in Recreation Management, it seemed like the perfect mix of my two passions. Also, after meeting the owner of Aqua-Tots, Lisa Morlock, I fell in love with the whole idea, the curriculum and her vision of what she wanted to share with the community to improve the whole swimming lesson experience.

4. What do you love the best about your job?

There are several people and moments that really make me love what I do. The culmination of all these things truly make it feel like so much more than just a “job.” Sometimes it really feels like home. I love getting to teach children how to swim and see their smiles and pride when they achieve something that they thought they could not do. I love working with such a kind and professional team that makes everyone happy every day. I also really enjoy that I am always learning, whether it be about the business or new and exciting challenges and opportunities that arise to always keep me on my toes. I look forward to every day!

5. What has been your most memorable moment working at Aqua-Tots?

My memorable moments are always the same. No matter the child and no matter how long they have been swimming with us, my favourite part about teaching swimming is when a child gets released in the water and starts kicking and swimming on their own with so much confidence! This moment coincides with the parent’s reaction to this skill and the excitement surrounding their son or daughter being able to swim on their own whether it be two feet to one metre! Those moments will never get old.

6. What do you like best about the programs at Aqua-Tots?

Having taught lessons for other organizations, I can truly say that the curriculum at Aqua-Tots is very well put together and executed. We specialize in teaching young children who are just beginning to adjust to an aquatic environment, right up to age 12. Seeing the curriculum really click with children and watching their advancement in skill and confidence is greatly rewarding. Routine is important in the lives of children and we try our best to add this type of your weekly activities. The consistency of the instructors also helps as they get to know the kids and can really push them to what their abilities can be. I also love that in each level children can be in three different phases; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. This helps guide the instructors into pushing the children to their mastered skills for each level and keeps everyone progressing.

7. Why is teaching swimming to children important to you?

I grew up swimming and it just became a natural skill that I thought everyone knew. It only hit me when I went to a friend’s birthday pool party and realized that not everyone knew how to swim. I was so young at the time, but I remember it so vividly. I continued swimming competitively and eventually became a lifeguard. Throughout my lifeguarding years I never would have thought I would have to jump in so often for children and adult non-swimmers. Swimming is a life skill and is so important for many different reasons; mental health, physical health, social and personal goals, but it is mainly important to me from a safety perspective. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is a great tool for children of all ages to get to their best swimming selves.

8. Anything else you would like to add?

Come check us out! Everyone who works here is helpful and smiling. We are always raising the bar to make it a great experience for our families.

Special thank you to Alannah for her time and allowing us to interview her for this special piece. Our daughter Nikki had the opportunity to have Alannah for one of her classes and Nikki really enjoyed learning from her. Therefore, we know how great she truly is and it is no surprise that she is now the General Manager of such an amazing swim school.

Alannah is a perfect example of how amazing and caring the staff are at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. They truly care about teaching your child such an important skill and they treat everyone who visits their school as their family.

If you would like to learn more about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools feel free to contact them at (905) 848-2782.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

 

 

My Little Lovebug and Love Notes Make The Perfect Gift

I See Me has become one of our favorites for personalized books as they always go beyond with the extra little touches to make someone feel special. This is why we were very excited to hear about a new release and just in time for Valentine’s Day! 😉

My Little Lovebug is a photo-personalized storybook featuring your loved ones’ photos and names. Every page is beautifully illustrated with a cute and cheeky saying, with illustrated text by Jeanine Murch.

We were fortunate to receive the hardcopy version of the book along with the adorable love notes.

We couldn’t wait to add this book to our reading line up and that same night that we received the book, we were reading it. Each page was beautifully designed with different animal characters with our faces (I have to admit that I look adorable as a lady bug and I need to add that my husband looks handsome as a bumble bee!). 😉

The word play in the book is brilliant! They use words relating to the character on each page into a positive and empowering word for the child. We just loved that! The creativity is remarkable as I don’t know how they come up with it all.

The book was very engaging and we enjoyed it from the beginning to end. The love notes that came with the book are illustrated as beautifully as the book and are great keepsakes. I will be sneaking them in my daughter’s bag when she isn’t looking as a way to remind her how much she is loved by all of us.

So for this #MelandNikkiReview I decided to change things up a little bit as I love to provide unique reviews specialized to each product or book we do (it’s the Momma Braga style). Since my daughter is now three years old and she has a wealth of vocabulary now, I asked her what she thought of it and what would she rate it.

Momma Braga: “Nikki did you like the book, Our Little Lovebug Nikki?”
Nikki: “I love the book so much Momma!”
Momma Braga: “What did you love the best about it?”
Nikki: “I love all the animals. They are so nice. I love our faces in them. It was funny!”
Momma Braga: “Do you remember what the book was about?”
Nikki: “Oh yes Momma! Everyone loves Nikki!”
Momma Braga: “Oh yes we do! How many ladybugs out of 5 would you give the book?”
Nikki: “Ten Momma.”

I would have to agree with Nikki on her quick recap of why Our Little LoveBug is so great. It has all the uniqueness magic that I See Me brings to stories and it brings so much love. It beautifully captures what we feel for our children in the most adorable way possible. We highly recommend this book to any parent who wants to tell their Little Lovebug in an unique way on how much they mean to them during storytime. As Nikki mentioned we give this book 10 ladybugs out of 5! 😉

To purchase the gift set which includes the book with the love notes, click here. To purchase the book on its own, click here. To purchase the love notes only, click here.

Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube to see all the latest from I See Me!

If you want to get the latest scope on email promos, discounts and updates, make sure to check it out here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

The Skating Journey…Tips For The Non-Skating Parent

Living in Canada, we all have developed a thick skin to deal with the cold winters and we are well known for our love of hockey. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon to have our children learn an important skill, skating.

Now I was born and raised in Canada but this was one skill that I was not encouraged to learn so I never really tried and never felt that I was missing out. Then I met my husband and he was all about ice hockey. He played for fun and I found myself at the arenas cheering him on. I started to feel a little left out at this point so I asked my husband to teach me how to skate. We were still dating at this point so I am figuring he wanted to impress me so he sweetly accepted my request to teach me.

Long story short, skating wasn’t for me as for some odd reason I couldn’t skate and talk at the same time. Therefore, I decided that I wasn’t meant for the ice world but enjoyed watching others skate while I sit with a hot chocolate in my hands.

Even though skating wasn’t for me, I still had interest in having my daughter learn the skill. We waited until our daughter was good and ready to learn so this year was the year to start. My mother-in-law looked into skating lessons at our nearby community centre and enrolled our daughter in class.

We have been going once a week for 30 minutes, the last four weeks. The lessons are quick and since our daughter is under the age of four, she needs to be accompanied by a skating parent so this is where daddy comes to the rescue.

Since I am the non-skating parent who has been watching from the distance, I thought I should provide some tips for parents who want their child to learn skating. These tips will hopefully better prepare you for the journey.

Research and Register

One of the first tips is to look into different programs and classes that are available at your local community centre. Ask all the questions that you need to beforehand to help make it a more successful experience for you and your child. Ask what is needed for the class and any restrictions that you should be aware of. There is a fee in our community so make sure you know what they are in your city.

Be Prepared. Equipment and Safety

Shopping for the appropriate clothing and equipment needed for skating is very important. Your child will need: appropriate skates (lace ups are recommended for beginners), splash pants to wear over the child’s pants, warm jacket, gloves and of course a helmet. You can always ask a personnel at the store to assist you in finding the appropriate skates and helmet that fits your child. Safety is a must!

Lower First Class Expectations

The first class is going to be very hard for your child and it might also be for you as the non-skating parent. My daughter did not do well in her first class. She was frustrated, scared and was unsure of what was going on. There were a few tears along the way from my daughter and from myself. By the end of the class, my daughter expressed how much she didn’t like skating and she didn’t want to try again. This of course broke my heart as I think we all expected the best experience of her life and we didn’t prepare her well enough for the possible disappointment of how difficult it would be.

Lower your expectations and don’t put added pressure on your child before their first class. Discuss with them how it will be hard at first and there will be some falls along the way. However, with some practice and patience it will get better. This discussion helped us convince her to try again the next week.

Provide Encouragement and Support

It is important to encourage and support your child on the sidelines. They will find you as they are learning to skate. Try to establish eye contact with them as soon as you can. Smile and give a thumbs up to encourage how well they are doing. It is remarkable to see  your child’s face light up when they see you and how proud you look to see them getting better.

It is also important to mention that if your child is not enjoying the activity at all then it may not be for them. Know that it is perfectly ok and a child should not be forced to do something that they do not like doing. If it becomes forceful than it will not be enjoyable for anyone.

Prepare for Skating Tiredness

Skating is hard work and it involves a lot of balancing (from what I can see at a distance) so it is no surprise that your child can become very tired from it. Therefore, it is important to be aware and prepared for it. Unfortunately, our class is in the middle of the day which can be challenging at times as we find that our daughter gets exhausted but a nap is not ideal since it is late in the day (it would spoil bedtime).

Tip would be to try to book a class that would fit into your child’s routine or if you can’t then try to maybe schedule a quick nap before the lesson. Worse case scenario is that you will have a cranky preschooler for the rest of the day until bedtime but try to make the best out of it. What I try to remember is that proud smiling face looking at me on how she is learning to skate. 🙂

Enjoy the Skating Journey

Skating is definitely a journey as there are ups and downs while your child learns this special skill. But my tip is to enjoy every minute of it, even if it is on the sidelines.

As soon as your child starts to skate on their own (even for a little bit), its that special moment that your heart had been waiting for. The utter proudness in their face when they realize that they are doing it all by themselves, is what special memories are made of. We recently felt that when our daughter started skating on her own and after class said, “I did it! I am awesome!”

These are my top quick tips on the skating experience from a non-skating parent. Even though I don’t know how to skate or understand the steps in learning. I am there on the sidelines cheering and supporting my daughter along the way. I am also cheering for my husband who is there by her side to help her on the ice.

I get to capture the moments on video and photos which I can then show my daughter on how well she did. It is a great opportunity for her to see her improvements and in her words how awesome she is. 😉

Our skating journey has become a family experience as we watch a little girl bond with her dad on something that he has loved since he was a child. In turn, we watch his parents (the little girl’s grandparents) hearts fill with joy as they see their once little boy as a man teaching his daughter how to skate. That is the memory that I will hold onto forever and makes sitting at the sidelines all worth it.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Bringing Simplicity Back Into Playtime

Smart Simple Toys – PlaSmart Inc

When did toys become so complicated and where did the imagination of play go? I have asked myself this on numerous occasions (more so on birthdays and Christmas) when I see my daughter open all her gifts of toys. With each unwrapping, the toys look more sophisticated and more high-tech. Then I reminisce on the days where I played with the most simple to use toys and they were my very favorite.

Those toys allowed me to imagine, inspire and learn on my own. It was such a simple time. This is why when I was introduced to PlaSmart Inc last year, I was intrigued to what they were offering.

PlaSmart Inc is a global toy distributor specializing in smart, simple, toys and games. PlaSmart began its journey to worldwide success with the introduction of The Original PlasmaCar in 2003 and today its products can be found in more than sixty countries on five continents.

PlaSmart’s innovative and quality products have won numerous and prestigious toy awards. The company focuses on toys that develop motor and dexterity skills, balance, creative and imaginative play, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills and, of course, entertainment.

So what did we try at Momma Braga? We actually won the PlaSmart’s Smart Mat in a Twitter chat last year and we were super excited. Not only because we never win anything but that we were looking for a mat for our daughter’s playtime.

When the Smart Mat arrived and we unwrapped it, our first thought was wow! We have seen many playmats and in all honesty they don’t give you the quality that you need for a young child’s rough play at times. However, the quality of the Smart Mat was really great. You can tell that it is durable and it was a great size mat too!

We opened it up and placed it on the ground and my daughter was so excited to have a place to sit and play on. We couldn’t help but fall in love with the design of the mat which is called Happyville. Not only can you play using the design as your background but you can use the Smart Mat for so many purposes. There is never a limit to a child’s imagination which makes it so fun!

We have had the Smart Mat for almost six months already and it has been amazing for us. It is durable, very easy to clean and easy to store. It is also suitable for kids of all ages! We truly love it and it still looks as great as when we first got it.

So what does PlaSmart’s Smart Mat rate on the Momma Braga meter?

We give it 5+++ Smarts out of 5 for the durability, size, quality and the easy clean up. It truly is one of the best mats I have seen and I have seen many. Smart Mat is very colorful and very appealing to the eye. This is one mat that I don’t think I could ever part with and if you are looking for a great mat to invest for your little one, then don’t look any further than PlaSmart Inc. 

PlaSmart Inc is bringing simplicity and the fun of imagination back into playtime and I commend them for it! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest to see the latest to inspire young minds.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

4 Tips on How To Turn Tears Into Cheers In Swimming

One of my fears when my daughter was enrolled in swimming was the tears that may come with her learning. Luckily, we did not have any tears from her but from me instead.

Besides my inability to let go when I should, I have seen many children cry before their swim class and even during it. So I went to the experts at Aqua-Tots Swim School to see if they can offer tips to help parents in this type of situation.

I want to first state that crying when learning how to swim is very common and normal. So don’t feel like there is something wrong. When you have a great school like Aqua-Tots Swim School to help you along the way, in the end you both will feel much better.

There are some common reasons as to why children cry. Here are the four most common ones:

  1. It’s New – Swimming lessons are a new experience. There are new sights, sounds, textures, smells, faces, and interactions in the pool environment.
  2. Age – With time, your child will gain control over their emotions and learn to enjoy the water.
  3. Fear or Anger – Some children are genuinely fearful of the water and it takes time to help them overcome their fear. Other children can become angry and use tears to control the situation.
  4. Separation Anxiety – Your child may experience separation anxiety and feel anxious when away from familiar people and places.

Hearing your child cry is always hard (I know it is for me) and there are ways to help them when it comes to swimming lessons. Here are four tips to help.

  1. Be Positive and Keep Your Eyes on The Goal – As a parent, you can encourage your child with compliments and praise on what they do well in each lesson.
  2. Keep Cool – Being calm helps your child settle down faster.
  3. Practice At Home – Make it fun! Use the tub, shower, and pool to practice swimming skills (i.e. holding breath, water submersions, etc.)
  4. Be Consistent – Skipping or discounting swim lessons inhibits swimming progressions and will extend the time it takes to learn how to swim safely.

The layout at Aqua-Tots is great to help the child gain trust of the instructor as the parents can view the lesson through the viewing gallery which allows them to interact with their child. This way your child is aware that you are near and rooting for them. This space allows the instructor and the child build trust and a bond will form.

This is one of the many reasons why Aqua-Tots is amazing as they are there for you every step of the way. Their instructors care about your child and they are trained to:

  1. Identify the reason your child is crying so they can best alleviate the tears.
  2. Build trusting relationships with your child.
  3. Offer consistent routines and terminology in every lesson.
  4. Help your child build trust in the water.

Water is an adaptive environment and it takes time to adjust. The more frequently your child comes to lessons, the faster the crying will subside. The general rule of thumb is:

  • 3+ lessons per week – crying subsides after 3-4 lessons
  • 2 lessons per week – crying subsides after 5-6 lessons
  • 1 lesson per week – crying subsides after 7-8 lessons

With these tips and with the guidance of the swimming school, you will be at tears to cheers in no time. Just remember that at Aqua-Tots Swim School they never leave your side to ensure that everyone is happy.

If you are interested in swim lessons, give Aqua-Tots Swim School a call at 905-848-2782. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.