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Here you will find children and parenting books that I love and recommend. Library* Library Part 2* Islamic Library *Hair Library *Chapter Books

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Dec 30, 2010

Curlformers and its alternative

So about a year ago I jumped on the Curlformers bandwagon. I can not say that I am unhappy that I did because I love my curlformers. I love that I am able to get nice ringlets that are relatively even, close to the roots with out heat. Curlformers are wonderful, they work for all hair types. What is not wonderful is the price. These things are costly, and you can only purchase them from a few stores, their website, Sallys and if your lucky Amazon and Ebay. I actually ordered mine used from someone on ebay. As wonderful as they are, I could not afford to pay 50$ for a set of rollers. I am sure that if you do your own research on them the complaint you will hair most often is the price. You can buy a Salon set with rollers for about 50$ or 8 to 10 rollers depending on the size for 11$. Curlformers comes in four different styles, short and narrow, long and narrow, extra long and wide and long and extra wide. Each box or package comes with only one style.

So I have been in search of an alternative and I found them. Magic Leverage.
As of now I can not vouch for how good they are, as I have not purchased them yet. But I can tell you they LOOK identical to Curlformers. I can also tell you that you can get 18 rollers for less then 8$ including shipping, while the cheapest price you can get Curlformers for is 11 for 8 to 10 rollers not including shipping. Aside from the price difference Magic Leverage gives you two sizes to a box with four different colors, it also has a colorful rod. Unlike Curlformers Magic Leverage comes in only two styles, but you get both styles in each box.

Once I get a set, I will compare and share my results. Well I wont SHOW my results, but I will tell you what I think. Have you tried them what do you think?

Dec 10, 2010

Monolingual mom raising multilingual child

So if you know me, you know I have had high expectations for my child(n future children) long before she was conceived. One of those expectations is that she(they) will be multi-lingual. From birth I have been teaching her(and my self) sign language and now I feel it is time to introduce Arabic at home( I fully intend on introducing Spanish latter on in her life). So here, today marks my official journey into multi lingualism.

Arabic Action Plan


  • Speak as much Arabic on Fridays as possible (eventually I will limit my self to only speaking in Arabic, to her on Fridays)
  • Read Arabic books as much as possible
  • (I have recently begun to build an Arabic Library, thanks to the suggestions of a fellow blogger (http://readkutubkids.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/books-to-start-an-arabic-play-group-ages-2-4/ )
  • I have purchased books from Noorart.com and Syraj.com

Media and Manipulatives

  • We will soon be the owners of Little Thinking Minds DVD set, it is similar to Baby Einstein
  • I am thinking of Purchasing little Pim
  • We now own Arabic puzzles


  • I have decided to start an Arabic playgroup. Insha allah we will be meeting once a week for a couple of hours starting in January.
  • If you are interested in joining or want to know more email me and or request to join at http://arabiyyah.qlubb.com/public

My DD's Language Background

  • English speaking home
  • Introduced to ASL
  • Watched by Arabic speaking daycare provider from 8 to 18 months


  • My limited Arabic proficiency

Addressing by studying as I teach

Using Rosetta Stone

Reading Quran out loud

  • My DD speech delay

Doing Speech therapy at home

watching speech therapy DVDs

seeking professional assistance

Singing (ASL)

DD's Learning style

  • Visual
  • Kinesthetic/tactile

If you have any suggestions of things I can add to our Action Plan please let me know

Nov 28, 2010

If I had a boy I'd buy him a GRILL

This is the second post in the If I had a boy series. A while back when I was looking for a stove to purchase for my daughter I came across some beautiful toy grills. With having a stove I do not think my dd needs a grill as well. But if I were to have a boy, I'd buy him a grill. My thinking is, we'd already have a toy stove, no need for another.

So you know I am a fan of Melissa and Doug. Well they have the cutest grill. It's portable and affordable, what more could you ask for? It comes complete with food and skewers. This toy is about 20$
although you may be able to purchase it for less on an Amazon sale. Seen at right.

The Eduo Go Anywhere Grill is similar in concept and price to the Melissa and Doug grill. For a slightly higher price than the Melissa and Doug grill you get 2 steaks, fish and movable charcoal. Shown to the left, this grill is about 30$.

Plan Toys also produces a table top produces a table top grill. Their grill is special, because their company is committed to being green. The toy is made out of recycled
rubberwood . This toy might cost you a few dollars more than the Eduo grill.

Kids Toy Charchoal Barbeque Playset is the only non wood set you will find on this list. This grill is so realistic looking. In fact it is pretty much a replica of my grill. For about 30$ you can purchase it off Amazon or from Pearle kids. Shown to the right

My Backyard BBQ Set by Hape toys is with out a doubt one of the top grills. Not only is it realistic looking but it is eco friendly. It has four turnable burners, and a removable grill top. It does not come with food, but you can purchase their BBQ fixins starter set which has food and condiments. This toy will cost you about 100$. It is on the
more pricey side but it is comparable to top toy stoves.

For another large grill check out Kid Krafts Grill N Bake Kitchen. This is a two sided kitchen that features a traditional kitchen on one side and a grill on the other. It is by far the most costly at about 200$, but you do get two for one.

Lastly, If you are the do it your self type person, you may be interested in this article on Ohdeehoh. It is step by step directions to making your own toy grill.

Nov 27, 2010

If I had a boy I'd buy him a doll

I have realized that most of my post are directed towards daughters, with a few gender neutral post here in there. This is because I have a daughter, but I have come across a few toys that have made me say "If I had a boy". So here is the first of a few post on toys I'd buy if I had a son.

I have seen some articles on people who are conflicted about or strictly against boys playing with dolls. Now I do not have a son, but I think that if I were to be blessed with one I would not only allow, but buy him a doll (or two). Now I'm sure he wouldn't have a doll collection that would resemble my daughters (although its only 2 dolls large at the moment I anticipate its growth), just as she wouldn't have a toy car collection that resembles his (she is the proud owner of a C9 pink, X9 purple and M9 aqua automoblox, I do not foresee it growing), still I'd buy him
a few.

Here is my thinking. I am not opposed to raising "manly men", however I think balance should be introduced. Boys and thus men tend to have difficulty being nurturing, and expressive of their emotions. Dolls encourage nurturing behavior. Furthermore children imitate what they see their parents do. Long before my daughter had a doll she was feeding and pampering other objects. I suspect any future son I have will do the same.

So here are my top 5 boy dolls (I may expand it to top ten soon).

Nighty-Night doll by The Childrens Factory(formally Fanny's Play House). I think I am in love with this company, they are known for their diverse dolls. The nighty-night doll comes in an African American, Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian version. It also has a version with down syndrome and several girl options. This doll is adorable, it comes wearing pajamas and carrying a teddy bear with matching pajamas. Did I mention it is machine washable.

The Childrens Factory does it again with these anatomically correct Baby Bottoms doll. Like all of their doll this potty doll is available a variety of races. It also comes with a baby bjorn style potty. My daughter actually owns the female version of this doll.

K's Kids Micheal doll. Actually I considered buying the sister doll Barbra for my dd. The dolls are 12 inches and come with loops to be attached to a stroller or crib. They are machine washable and infant safe. They are also affordable at about $13, and easily found at major toy companies.

Baby Sam (this may not be the real name), by Manhattan Toy the brother doll to baby stella. It has just about all the features that made baby stella become my dd first doll. It has a magnetic mouth to hold a pacifier. Unfortunately this doll only comes in one variety, Caucasian. I am not sure if it is anatomically correct like stella is.

Bur Bur is a Biracial boy and the main
character of a book series. He has several accessories, like a base ball and bookbag. He also has friends, that are characters in his story. Best of all he is reasonably priced at about $12.

Nov 26, 2010

Oh Snap...Hair Snaps!!!

Although I live in a city know to have it all, it is not always possible to find all of the hair supplies I want in one store. I have come across three hair sites that sell the hair snaps I love so much. I have found three sites all mommy operated, dedicated to selling hair accessories that make you reminisce the days when your mother did your hair.

Snapaholics is the first site I discovered. The site sells hair snaps, hair beads, hear ballies, barrettes and more. This mommy has a U.S. and Australian site. It is also the sister site to Keep me Curly.

Another site I stumbled across is Curly Princess Hair Boutique. This mommy sells beads, barrttes, ballies and snaps.

The last site I came across is Shuruba. Shuruba
means Hair braids in Amharic, the language of the children this mommy adopted from Ethiopia. This Canada based shop ships to Canada and the U.S.. She has a variety of snaps, combs and brus
hes, headbands, barrettes, beads, hair and skin products and caps.

Nov 3, 2010

Potty training

So we have started to walk down the long road of potty training. The first potty I purchased was one that sits on the toilet. This was when she was just an infant and I had decided that I would try Elimination Communication. Well that failed. My babe was terrified of the toilet.

Some months down the line, when she was about 18 months I purchased a simple potty. No princess characters, no lights bells or whistles, a basic affordable potty. My purchase was inspired by my DD discovery of a new talent, how to remove a diaper. I even purchased a potty training movie by barron and a book. They were both amusing to her but I doubt they had any impact on her choice to use the potty.

In fact I'm sure that the most sucess we have had is due to her imitating. But I am afraid our potty training milestones have taking a break. It may be due to our new use of pull ups. So I have decided to make the switch to training pants.

I was hesitant because the thought of cleaning them is no more enticing then the thought of cleaning the free standing potty. But I will take one for the team. After its great ratings I decided to go with the potty patty brand of training pants. What I predict to be a days worth was comparable to a pack of pull ups, so I suppose they will be well worth it shall they work.

I decided not to go for the complete potty patty system(their is also potty scotty) for a number of reasons. The first being it is about $100. We also have no need for the potty, since we own one. Lastly, the doll lacks diversity. As in they are only cacasion.

I did however decide to buy her a potty doll. I decided on the The Childrens Factorys baby bottoms potty doll.(Their whole line of dolls is pretty amazing) Simply because it was the only African American cloth potty doll I could find.(I am not a fan of plastic toys). I think she will be a good complement to my DD baby Stella doll(her first doll).Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that the doll is available in many varieties, Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian and African American. Since it is in essence a rag doll it does have one short coming when compared to the potty patty. It can not actually pee.

However, one frugal creative mom gave me an idea to overcome that minor detail. She took a doll and attached a small shampoo bottle filled with yellow water to the back of it and presto! A urinating doll. Once my amazon purchase arrives I feel I will be prepared to continue our potty training journey.

Nov 2, 2010

Somebody please call a doctor.

So if you know me you know I love toys that encourage imaginary play. What you don't know if I once longed to be a doctor. I adored my first
doctor set. It has been at least 20 years since I have set eyes on it and I still remember the kit. It came with a stethoscope that had blue ear buds, yellow tubing and a red chest
piece; a needle, band aids and more all in a black doctor bag. So naturally I hope to eventually provide my daughter with a
kit that will provider her with her own fond memories. A kit with a more eco friendly twist, of-course. I have heard other mommies complain about the lack of doctor kits made from natural material, but I have come across a few.

The first set I cam across was in Target(Shown above). The plawonder brand sold by target markets wood toys at a reasonable price; at just $17.19. My First Doctor Set is not 100% wood, but if you are looking for a nice adorable, easily found option, this set is far from disappointing.

Soopsori is perhaps the most beautiful doctor kit I have come across. This eco friendly Japanese company sells high end, high quality toys in U.S. and Canada, Australia, Japan and Korea. This set retails for $39.95. (Shown at above at right)

Another high end doctor set can be found at Bright Button Toys. This 11 piece set includes stethoscope, surgical mask, doctor's jacket, thermometer, scissors, otoscope, cough syrup and aspirin all in acute red case. At $49.95, this set includes what your child needs to jump start their imaginary career in medicine and more.

The popular German company Haba also sells a doctor
kit. Unlike the others this kit is made of metal and wood. It comes with a prescription pad, pencil, tongue depressor, wooden syringe, medicine tube, tube of ointment, spoon, thermometer, 4 band aids, an elastic bandage in a wooden case. Surprisingly (Haba tends to be costly) it cost about $29.
(Shown above to the right)

Different from the other sets, this last kit is plush. This eco friendly doctor kit is made from environmentally friendly rubber by wonderworld. It is available for about $27. (Shown to the left)

Oct 16, 2010


So I have decided to take up sewing. It's something I have wanted to do for a while and now I have found someone to give me lessons. The only problem is that I will have to bring my daughter with me. Its not a problem per say, but she MUST do everything I do. So when ever I think of sewing with her around scenes fit for a horror movie mar my mind. But I thought of a solution, if I can get her engaged in something else while receive lessons, I may be able to learn something.

Then the light blub went off. the only time I am able to iron with out having to stop and run into the room is when she "irons" with me. When ever she sees me take out the ironing board she runs and gets some clothes out of her draw to press. I brought a toy iron from here on esty about a month ago. Only 5 dollars it was one of my best buys. It started my love affair with esty, one that has yet to disappoint me. Sigh But back to the light blub, I figured I could purchase a toy sewing machine and have her sew with me.

Perhaps she will have such found memories of her times sewing with me that she will pick it up as she gets older (and save me money on things like hijabs and hims, all the reasons why I am learning). And maybe me spending money on a toy will motivate me to continue sewing. (ok that ones a stretch) But the point is, I found some beautiful sewing machines. Their were several toy machines that really sewed, we are clearly not ready for that but they were cute. I also saw a few that were more along the lines of what I was looking for. The prices, were not. So i am still searching, but these are the few I have found thus far.

The first I found from A TOY GARDEN. This 12 inch toy sells for approximately $45. It is handmade in the USA and has a moving "needle". It was featured in the December 2007 issue of Living Craft. It is shown at the right.

My next two finds were on esty. The first is made by Woodclinic. He sells two models shown below. They both have moving parts. But what is special about his sewing machines is that they are made of reclaimed wood. His sewing toys are being sold for $49 and $60. Shown below.

The next esty person I found is SSWoodCraft. His toy have moving parts and ships from Montana for $39. This toy seller has been perfecting his craft for 40 years and it shows in the beauty of his work. It is shown here to the right.

My last find is from a story Wooden Toy Junction. These sewing machines are made of white pine. The wood comes from trees that are substantially harvested. It even ships in water souble biodegradable packing. Plus it is the most pocket friendly at $25.
It is shown to your left.

Oct 11, 2010

The Astronomical Kid - Stop Looking at my Moms

Yummy Vegan/Halal/kosher Gummies

So my mother started buying Welches fruit snacks for my booba. My DD loved them and I loved that she was eating something. That is until I realized they were made with pork gelatin :-(. So I have had it on my to do list to find a suitable alternative and today I did.

First I walked to Trader Joes and was happy to find they had three varieties of fruit snacks. Unfortunately they were all made with animal gelatin. I must say i appreciate the fact that they clearly listed that on their package, unlike Welches. From downtown Brooklyn I traveled to Park Slope. At Back to the Land.(Side note, they sell Qhemet Biologics!) I found what I was looking for, Vegan Gummy bears.

Well actually they were gummy bunnies. Annies Homegrown sells four varieties of their Bunny fruit snacks. So me being the collector and having traveled so far purchased all four varieties, berry patch, tropical treat, sunny citrus and summer strawberry. I must say they were tasty, a little bit stickier and chewier then Welches but yummy none the less. Plus the ingredients were pretty cool, no corn starch or red 40, it was made of cane sugar and fruit juices for color. The sugar and calories and the like were pretty comparable. Now although I was impressed with all of the above, I was not impressed with the price. They were about $5 a box and each box contains 5 individual pouches. Not highway robbery but just not cheap enough for this frugal momma. So I will either be on the hunt for a store that sells them for less.

Now there are some other Vegan/ Halal alternatives.
Edwards and Sons is another highly respected vegan company. They produce three kinds of gummy, regular, sour and jelly. Although I have not tasted them (yet), I have read nothing but good reviews of their gummies.

Surf Sweets. Some of their gummies are vegetarian and some are not. But they clearly state this on their website, again unlike other companies
. The following was taken from their FAQ page.

Are your products Vegetarian?
Five of our products are Vegetarian (Fruity Bears, Gummy Swirls, Jelly Beans, Sour Berry Bears and Sour Worms). Our Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms contain gelatin so they are not vegetarian.

Are your products Vegan? Four of our products are Vegan (Fruity Bears, Gummy Swirls, Sour Berry Bears and Sour Worms).

Seitenbacher is another company that sells gummies. On their site I counted 15 different flavors! Although they do not come in the cute individual bags like Annies, baggies work just fine.
Goody Good stuff is another brand that has received vegetarian certification. 8 flavorsere vegetarian approved and 4 were vegan approved. They are gelatin free.

One major candy company has jumped on the bandwagon, Haribo candies now sells a kosher and a halal version of their gummy bears. Their halal version is only produced in Turkey, but can be purch as ed in the North West. They are come in 8 flavors and are gelatin free. Here is their FAQ page.

Heavenly Delights is an Halal sweets company. They unlike the previously mentioned candies use gelatin and so they are not Vegetarian friendly. Still they are Halal their website states" All gelatin is from Pakistan and is approved by S.A.N.H.A (South African National Halaal Authority). You can also rest assured that the whole production process for Heavenly Delights confectionery is monitored by qualified scholars."

You may also go the kosher route.

Oh nuts is a store based in Brooklyn. They sell Kosher certified gummy bears. They are made using fish gelatin.

Simcha Sweets
is another New York store. They sell kosher gummy bears. What is cool about their site is they tell you the name of the Rabbis in charge of ensuring they are kosher.

Schneider Gummy Planet is the last that I will list for now. They van be purchased at Park East Kosher store.

Now you should be aware that although Vegetarian, Vegan, Halal and Kosher often overlap they are not always the same. Vegan is always vegetarian as, it has no animal products. However Vegetarian is not always Vegan,( a vegetarian could drink milk as it is not meat, but a vegan wouldn't because it comes from an animal. ) Similarly Vegetarian, vegan and kosher products may be Halal since they will not use pork. However they are not necessarily halal as they may use alcohol. So be responsible and read the box before you purchase and always feel free to call companies and ask them directly.

Oct 9, 2010

Snapaholics Sale

Snapaholics is having a one week sale.. This is the first sale they have ever had, I almost wish I had a need for new hair snaps. But instead of spending, I will share the love. For 20% off put FIRSTSALE in the coupon code section, sale ends OCt. 14. Let me just say I love their snaps, I live in New York, they capitol of everything and haven't found such cute, perfectly sized, affordable hair snaps for my babe. My favorite are the hearts and Style 12 flower snaps. Check out their sister blog, Keep Me Curly too.

Legos and arts n crafts

My daughter and I went to the Children's Museum of the Arts earlier this week. The museum was ok, I think I was expecting more after recently visiting the 5 floored Children's Museum of Manhattan and being familiar with the Brooklyn Children's Museum. It was very small in comparison to both and I was far from dressed appropriately for the paint splattered place(beige jilbab and coach bag far from a good move). I did appreciate the pay what you will on Thursdays between 4 and 6. This may be our new Thursday go to spot, particularly since it will soon be too chilly for our Tuesday Botanical gardens outings.

Most importantly my booba enjoyed herself and I noticed I few things about my booba. She loves organization(She insisted on putting away the chalk and pushing all chairs in), hates getting her hands dirty(a drop of glue or paint and she was off to the sink) and she gravitated towards legos (this combined with the organization caused her to fuss at a boy playing with legos outside of the lego section until he put them where they belonged). I left the museum inspired.

I came home and searched for my brothers old lego set. (Just because I had to wait to have a little brother before I discovered blocks, legos and cars doesn't mean my booba has not wait) I sorted through the set for the large legos. Their weren't many, and after about 18 years of after their purchase many were quite faded in color, but they will due the job. We washed them together and got to work building.

The lego's lead me to an arts n craft project. I decided to re-purpose a wipes container. Not just re-purpose, but decorate. Today we are taking bits of construction paper and making a collage on the box. When we are done I'll put up a picture of our creations.

Oct 7, 2010

I love my hair Sesame Street

I came across this on Beads Braids and Beyond and had to share. Sesame Street is one of three shows my DD watches. I loved it as a child and now as a parent. Where else would you find this video? I love my hair speaks for its self, enjoy! If you are interested in books that talk about hair check out my Listmania on amazon Hair Library

Oct 6, 2010

Why their are so few female engineers

If you are a frequent follower of my blog (if your not please click the little button at the very bottom of the page that says follow) you know that recently I have been looking for toys that encourage various skill sets. To make a long story short I came across this political cartoon and I think it sums up my last two post, Pink planes trains and cars oh my! and Raising balanced, high achieving girls through play.

Pink Planes,Trains and Cars Oh My!

So ever since I walked in upon my daughter playing with a toy car at school I have been itching to buy her some to join the car she owns. So here is a list of my top three cars, planes and trains designed with little girls in mind. If your daughter has not already drunk the cool aid(or should I say pink lemonade), don't by any means limit her to the pink and purple toys you see below. In- fact even if she has I would encourage you to include other color transportation toys in her collection. I wanted to list them because they are more difficult to find then the readily available primary color toys. These will serve as a nice addition to an already established collection or a starting point for a child who may not have otherwise considered playing with them. Still before going on a pink buying frenzy you may want to read Reene Carver analysis of construction and building sets designed for girls(after my post of-course) .


My favorite, for its ability to be taken a part and put back together is are Automoblox by Manhattan toy(side note, my babes first doll is by them).
As the name suggest Automoblex are a combination of cars and blocks. This car is about $37. The body is made of wood and the parts are compatible with other automoblex cars. So you can put the extra large rims from the purple X9 SUV on the pink C9 Sports car. (These two are on my to obtain in the future list). They also have a smaller car and many more color options. The Automoblex mini in pink available at Land of the Nod These cars would fit in two learning skills categories disguised in my previous post Raising balanced, high achieving daughters through play.

Approximately 5.5 inches long by 2 inches tall the Brio Race car (left) is a sleek option. It is designed for 12 months and up and comes in pink and other colors. You can find this wooden car for $3.50 to 7.50.

Do you prefer a more old fashion styled car? How about this Citron. You could get this toy for $18 to 30. Like the two above it is said to be the perfect first car, as it is large and easy to grip. And much to my liken made from wood. They also produce a lighter pink car.

The Whittle Shortline Railroad pink train set is simple beautiful. This company has been around for a long time and has a history of building long lasting wooden trains. For those who want to buy U.S. this company is in the Midwest. You can find this birchwood toy for 40 to 50 dollars.

If you do not have the room for such a long train you can purchase an engine for about $14. The BigJigs wooden pink train engine has nice bright yellow and red accents.It is also compatible with most tracks sets.(left)

If your daughter is a fan of Thomas the train she will adore Rosie. Designed by Learning Curve Rosie ranges in price from $5 to $12. Rosie is characterized as a Tom Boy on the show. She is also jut as big and strong as Thomas! If you search you may be able to find Lady a purple engine who has been retired by Learning Curve.

This pink planes simplicity made it a winner for me. I first noticed it on this Mommy Brain Reports. At $12 the Ribbon Plane by Monkey Business Sports is affordable, classic and cute. It is made of foam, making it light and able to glide through the air.(As it is also made for indoor and outdoor play, the foam is nice to prevent accidents) To play with it you spin it around using the attached string or toss it in the air.

Airflow Collectibles is the maker of this Fantasy Flyer.(to the left) It is a peddle plane, meaning large enough for your Bessie Colemen or Amelia Earheart to fit in. It ranges in price from $315 to 430 and can be purchased at many major stores. They also design other products including 2 peddle cars and 2 tricycles.

American Retro also designed a peddle air plan. It is similar is size and price but with a retro flare. They also have two pink cars available a Sedan and an Estate Wagon.


If you are looking for handmade items do not for get to search esty. And don't be like me and wait too long to purchase can many items are one of a kind (I missed out on a cute three car set). Here are a few I found. A cute helicopter by Birdyboots who also sells pink trucks and cars. A purple push car by DCWoodcrafts. Lastly, this adorable LadyBug car by Toys2Treasures.


The following is a list of non wooden toys. They are not my style but cool enough to mention.

Wow toys offers a few pink car options for younger girls. They are all compatible with other Wow toys and affordable. Their Dynamite Daisy seems particularly popular.

Fisher price has a plastic pink race car. Named the Shake N' Go the more you shake it the longer it races off. It is readily available and several major stores and only $10. They also manufacture a plane Little People Little Movers.

Looking for a remote control car? Kid Galaxy has you covered with My 1st Radio-Control Go Go Bubble Gum Racer.

Based off of the Pikar movie cars. Mattel manufactured a Pink SUV named Prank Pinkerton. Since I mentioned Mattel, I suspect you can find several pink Barbie Cars if it was desired.

Oct 5, 2010

raising balanced, high achieving daughters through play

If you have been reading my blogs you know that I put a lot of thought into the toys I allow my daughter to play with. I prefer toys that are natural because they stimulate the mind encouraging the child to think and discover, with out over stimulating. They also tend to provide a way to develop the life skills that children tend to naturally imitate you(and those around them). With my daughter imitating me she tends to do things that are stereotypically girly. Before I proceed, I am not against my daughter developing nurturing habits, in-fact I think it is desirable. Still, I sometimes wonder if I am providing her with enough opportunities to develop other skills. As an educator I am fully aware that girls lag behind in math and science skills. I feel we play a role in what types of thinkers we raise. If we limit our daughters to "girl toys" we will be limiting them to the house, or at minimum forcing them to run up hill if they choose a job that is not in a field that women traditionally work.

I am now challenging myself to encourage other types of play(while not discouraging her current play patterns). I took out the play doe and ball and purchased a set of Melissa and Doug Blocks on Wheels(a big hit). Still I was running into a brick wall and then I remembered a book I read when I was pregnant and decided to skim back through it.

The book I am referring to is Entitled Growing A Girl: Seven Strategies For Raising A strong, Spirited Daughter, by Dr. Barbara Mackoff. The chapter that I have re and re read several times is Chapter 17, Teach Her to learn Through Play. This chapter discusses what children learn during play, how toys socialize and develop or limit skills. It challenges the parent to look at the products they have been buying for their girl. She gives you several examples on how to use toys to raise a thinker. Here I will post a part of a section, What Toys Teach, that I found particularly useful.

Spatial Skills- Three-dimensional space, distance
Blocks, Tinkertoys, Legos, Erector sets, Lincoln Logs, Bowling sets,basket- balls, T-ball, puzzles, Duplos, transportation toys:trains, trucks, cars.

Relationship/Nurturing Skills- role-playing, empathy care-taking: Dolls, puppets, stuffed animals, and animal figurines.

Science Skills- Collecting, identifying, observing, classifying:
Magnets. chemistry sets, ant farm, magnifying glass, binoculars, telescope, shell or rock collection.

Verbal Skills/ Linguistic Skills.- Spelling, vocabulary, reading:
Alphabet puzzles and games, puppet theater, Scrabble.

Mechanical Concepts Skills- tinkering, fixing assembling:
Model trains, tool kits, model car and airplane kits.

Math Skills- estimating, counting, distance, weight, volume, patterns:
Dominoes, Chutes and Ladders, Candy land, cooking sets.

Creativity- storytelling, picturing, portraying
puppets, modeling paints, crayons, craft kits.

Strategic Problem solving- tic-tac-toe, Uno, Connect Four, chess checkers.

Dr. Mackoff's list is a good place to start. Rereading this chapter has inspired me to reflect on the toys my daughter owns and the ones I have been thinking of buying. As I already think about what skills a toys develops when I shop, I think before I shop I should think what skills is she not developing though her play and then look for things to meet that need.
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