What we loved most about our Skola toy!

How to keep a toddler engaged in something sensible? That’s probably the biggest challenge a parent faces in today’s world. If you were to compete with the likes of cartoon series and play doh videos on YouTube, then your chances are bleak without a strong arsenal! Alright, let me not scare you! I am just saying that to engage a toddler is quite a challenge and if you have a child who is at the pre-school stage then the need to provide something substantial to entertain and educate them is very high.

If you have been following my Instagram posts and previous blogs, then you will know that I have been discussing pre-STEM activities that Skola Toys specializes in. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is a branch of learning that focuses on teaching a child about the above said concepts, but in a non-text book manner.

Skola, introduces these concepts to preschoolers with their learning journeys. When we received our package from Skola, I was pretty excited to see two things – which learning journey we were about to set foot in and how Lishaan would react to it. Thankfully, both have managed to impress me as a mom!

 Bird Shadows was the toy that we received and it definitely piqued my toddler’s excitement, for he is an animal-bird lover. Suited for ages 3+, this activity was perfectly chosen for Lishaan who turns three next month.  Based on the learning journey through geometry, the activity has four pronged approach:Bird Shadows

  1. Slotting: To match the bird to the shadow, is an interesting ‘race against the clock’ activity, clocking maximum number of right combinations within a minute.
  1. Abstract pairing: Lishaan only need one look at the shadows to identify the birds by their names. Then, matching was easy and quick. For the unfamiliar birds, he went by matching the shape, the side the beak was facing and the feet to get it right.
  1. Name game: Lishaan is not familiar with the woodpecker, the ostrich and the eagle, as we only learn birds that we have seen till date. So, learning about these new birds and what they are known famously for, was interesting for him.
  1. Memory: This was our favourite bit. To keep all the slots facing up and the image cards facing downward. He would quickly turn one to the fair side and pair it with the right slot. If not, he’d face it down again and look for the next one. It was definitely engaging for a good 15 minutes. That’s enough for Amma to finish her coffee 😉

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Apart from these, we explored the calls of these birds and what they do predominantly. The best bit about this activity was that in addition to this, Isha explored motor skills by pulling out cards from the slots and placing them in randomly, while her Anna took a break. Though I didn’t intend to have her play with this, I see her enjoying the colors and the feel of the slots. Double win for me 😉

Activity apart, what I loved about Skola is the care that they take in the 360 degree impression.Bird Shadows

  1. The box – Sturdy, and perfect to continue storing the activity it came with shapes that had to be colored.
  1. Crayons – the added advantage. There were four solid color crayons that Lishaan used to color on the box. This gave me enough time to explore and understand the box.
  1. A guide – to understand Skola’s point of view through the various learning journeys. Every parent shopping with Skola will feel reassured that they have made the right investment for their child.
  1. The toy – Made of wood, the box, slots and the image cards are well finished and toddler friendly. The handle of the slots holder especially is comfortably shaped for tiny hands and big ones to carry them.

In a time and age where less is more, Skola definitely is filling up our toy shelf with its unique concepts, focused activity sets and impeccable design. Overall, this has been a great experience and I surely will put my hat in this ring! 😉

~ The Lazy Parent

 

You can learn more about Skola toys from their website https://www.skola.toys
Skola’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/skolatoys/
Skola’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/skolatoys/

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions and thoughts are wholly mine. 

Does your three year old enjoy engineering? 😉

Remember my last post on the kind of toys that we would like to choose for our kids and what influences the decision? This post is a follow up on that thought.

When L turned 1.5 years old, we were constantly asked about his induction into a playschool or a day care and our answer was that it was too soon for him to be involved in any sort of structured learning.  It was then that we chanced upon the concept of homeschooling and alternative education. 1.5 years since that conversation, we are doubly sure that for both L and I, we would provide as much open ended exploration as we can. This, until the day they ask us to enroll them in a school (if at all).

Educating or providing a source of learning for your child on your own can be a challenge. Where do I begin? What do I focus on? What is the core requisite at this age? These are a few questions that I asked myself. It was then that I learned about STEM learning. It is an acronym alright, but it is also the stem that will hold together the whole plant of learning.

STEM is Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and is usually introduced at the age of seven to children. But you can lay foundation for STEM learning based on pre-stem activities. Now I can see you thinking what is a three year old going to do with engineering at this age? Remember, that him stacking up blocks or fixing the clogs in a gear set up is engineering too 😉

STEM requires logical thinking and brings about the concept of possible outcomes based on a primary action. This is why I started looking up toys/activities that are inclined in this pre-STEM learning and Skola reached out to me at the same time. Why Skola? Their pre-STEM learning tools are great in encouraging of fine motor skill development, thinking skills and of course, increased concentration. These attributes make STEM learning easier as the child approaches the required age for it.

Nesting Hens
Locking Blocks

Be it the Cascade Cars that introduce the concept of cause and effect or the Building Blocks that introduce concept of construction using various shapes or the Locking Blocks that explore the concept of patterns and pairing, Skola toys are designed to grow with your child’s growing needs. As a young learner, any toddler would benefit from these handpicked, finely finished toys that are both attractive and effective.

 

 

 

While I pick toys that would work for both the children, do check out Skola’s ‘Learning Journeys’. It beautifully explains and categorizes the various journeys a child undertakes as an early learner and how you can aid the development better.

 

You can learn more about Skola toys from their website https://www.skola.toys
Skola’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/skolatoys/
Skola’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/skolatoys/

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions and thoughts are wholly mine. 

The AZ Tuckerbox review

If you are a Chennaiite, the word ‘tucker’ will ring a bell. It is our first and immediate expression for anything that’s top class! ‘Dai adhu tucker da’ equates to us getting dizzy thanks to something. Well, I must admit that I too got all dizzy when the AZ Tuckerbox arrived at my doorstep. I wanted to order the monsoon box for my toddler, but one thing led to another and a tucker package put together for my baby girl was on its way home. So, what makes Tuckerbox tucker? (I am going to use that word a LOT in this review).

Started by two moms who are pretty good at reducing your shopping woes (their online form to understand your Tuckerbox contents is wow), this is a subscription package series that brings to your doorstep adorable, affordable and excellent quality clothes along with tiny goodies to make your child happy. The Tucker-team says: ‘A box for every kid. A box for every theme. A box for every season or occasion.’

What I loved about my Tuckerbox is that every garment in it was just like how I would have picked it in a store. The fabric quality, the make and the design were spot on. You can pick your box type from the options available (they have Newborn, Subscription, Birthday, Bed time and New Mom’s Pamper boxes to choose from) and of course, you pick the age of your child. Once you finish the payment, you are sent a form which you fill in order for the Tucker-team to understand your choices better.

What I loved about our Tuckerbox:

  • The box: This in itself is a keeper! The first impression of the box is impressive indeed. Made sturdy, stylish and neat, this box will find its way into your closet for some repurposed storage. In my case, it is currently housing my new crochet project and yarns 😉
  • The outfits: We received pants, night suits, a hoodie sweat shirt, a jacket and a training pant. ALL of these are what my mum would call ‘export material’. Finest of fabrics, softest of cottons and the cutest prints there can be!💝
  • The add-ons: A super adorable plush bunny and a mini umbrella-pen for the toddler
  • The brownie points: vouchers worth approximately 1500INR. That’s right. You almost get what you pay. Discount coupons and vouchers for quite books, toy stores, babywearing brands, accessories and more. Literally a loot!

Oh, did I tell you that you can actually tell them that you don’t want any characters related clothing or vice versa? This is such a cool option for parents like me who don’t or do introduce animation characters to their kids.

One point that I would like to add to anyone trying out their boxes is to specify sizes in inches if that’s possible. That way, you can get garments that fit like a glove! Why do I say that? Because no two year old is of the same height and weight and you surely want to try the contents of this box the minute you lay your hands on it!

Thank you Jen & Grace for sending some Tucker love our way <3 We can’t wait to shop again!

Oh, before I go, did I tell you about their festive boxes? Yep, these girls will make you go #JimmikiKammal and #Mersal this Diwali 😉

You can shop for Tuckerboxes here

What’s in your toy basket?

Have you ever told people to not buy gifts for your children? I know that sounds rude, but I have tried to be very diplomatic in explaining to family and friends that a) he has enough toys and b)we don’t want to buy him toys that he doesn’t understand the use for. It’s a task, let me tell you. People get offended or even worse, think that you are very high maintenance. Truth is, it is not true. Ask any parent with toddlers at home and they will tell you that it is a tough task to be selective about toys. I remember for Lishaan’s birthday, getting three boxes of the same toy. What would I do with the same toy? I upcycled two of them and gifted it to someone who would have better use for it.

This is why I am worried about the kids’ upcoming birthdays. We are going to be given chug along trains, walking dogs, plastic cooking sets and what not. Please don’t get me wrong, but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness. I do appreciate the fact that you are taking out time to pick up a toy for the child, but let it be something that’s of use to them. I say this out of exhaustion of clearing up their play pen and wondering where  all this came from.

Added to this, my husband has a huge thing with plastic toys. While I argued about how ‘non expensive’ and colorful they were, he stuck to wooden toys that provided more scope for learning and also were more ‘close to nature’. Well, I do see the point. Wooden toys are natural, giving more scope to open-ended play and are better for motor skills. The shapes are far more refined and it is a different ball game than your 199-a-box plastics.

So, when I sat down to clear the children’s stuff as we get ready to shift another city in two weeks, I removed almost ALL their plastic toys. What remained and what will be added are some wooden blocks, stackers and the sorts. Lishaan’s approach to these definitely was different than his approach to other toys.

I was reading up about this a while back and found an article on the NewYorker. In the article, author Amy F. Ogata quotes from her new book, “Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America,” that “Among the educated middle and upper-middle classes, wood became the material symbol of timelessness, authenticity and refinement in the modern educational toy.”

It is in this search for toys that allow open ended play, are all natural and are definitely timeless, which both my kids can use and share without damage, that I found Skola. Toys from Skola are designed for children to explore their motor skill. Working on lines of the Montessori methodology of learning, these toys allow for multi-sensory development. With the child’s growing age and curiosity, these toys also allow for freedom in exploring creativity and muscle memory. So, if you want to invest in a good toy for your child, you know where to look!

While you read this, please understand that while I love your intention to gift the children something for their birthday, I just say make it worthwhile. Hey, this applies to me too. So, if I have bought your son or daughter a toy that’s been more of a space eater than a partner in their exploration, I will make up for it this year 😉

PLB Kids – August Kids Book Box review

Lishaan hasn’t been the bookworm kinds. So far, he has been interested in active play and books have been gathering dust, much to my dismay. At one point, I stopped buying books (no matter how interesting they were) because he just wouldn’t sit to read. Of course, with Isha coming in, I hardly even found time to read to him. What changed the scene? A post on Instagram by a friend, about a subscription box with a BOOK in it! But what caught my attention was the adorable peacock activity.

Lishaan and peacocks have a history. Where we stay in Coimbatore, we have a lot of peacocks in our backyard. EVERY morning, we could hear them scream (yes, that’s what it’s called) merrily. Not one, not two, but dozens of them. At first sight, they frightened Lishaan. Something about them made him not toe the line. That changed when we started to SHOW him what peacocks actually were and what beautiful creatures they are. Their blue-green feathers, the display of this beauty and them hopping roofs in our neighbourhood  got Lishaan to like them eventually.

Back to topic 😀 Priya Prithviraj’s PLB Kids box got me intrigued with just a peacock on it. I spoke to her and we got some additions happening to the box (Thank you so much for that, Priya). When we received the package, I must admit, I was more thrilled than him. It took my some serious effort to keep the worksheets and cut outs away from Lishaan’s eyes. He yelled ‘Amma Peacock vandhurku’ (Amma peacock has come home) but I had to divert his attention away because I knew it needed some ‘sit down and do’ kind of time.

Activity: The August subscription box comes with three activities – A peacock cut out activity, a couple of coloring sheets and a weather tracking sheet.

A week or so after receiving the PLB box, we found time to do some craftsy work with the cut out sheets and voila! Beautiful scenery of rains, clouds and peacocks in full swing went up on our bedroom wall! The toddler was sure thrilled. Even better, he gave them names – Appa peacock, Amma peacock, Lishaan peacock and Anna baby (Isha) peacock. I loved the fact that he could immediately relate his life to the peacocks and even give them identities.

Along with the cutout activities were two sheets for him to color happily (and all of his favourite things in it too – frogs, mushrooms, clouds, the Sun etc). For once he knew which colors went where and even instructed me to fill in the parts he hadn’t colored well 😉

We still haven’t used the days of the week / weather tracker chart, but I have tucked it away safely to revisit soon!

The Book: The Red Raincoat by Kiran Kasturia (published by Pratham books) was a fantastic read. Every time the book is chosen for our tea-time reading, I have both the kids hovering around intently. What I loved most about the book was the simple introduction of concepts like days, weather and ‘where, what, when, who and why’. English isn’t Lishaan’s primary language, but I am glad this book happened to us because I can see him pick up sentences and expressions better with each attempt.

Overall, PLB Kids is doing a fantastic job putting together these ‘experiences’ for eager children! Priya is sweet enough to customize a bit as well! That’s what I love about PLB kids. The fact that your needs are attended to, personally and that they easy on mom and kid.

Find out more about PLB kids here Priya’s Lit Blog

and don’t forget to get their September box which is another of my toddler’s favourites!

~ The Lazy Parent

Breastfeeding yum! A review of MamaCookies (Lactation Cookies)

When Hasna from MamaCookies00 got in touch with me, I was a bit surprised. Why? Because, I hadn’t seen quick food made for lactating mothers do the rounds in India. And not just quick, but delicious food too! I mean, we have heard of oats and methi and garlic being good for lactation, but they need prepping. These cookies, ha ha ha! They are ready to munch out of the bag!

Hasna & Rifa have started this lovely initiative from my home town, Chennai. They bake amazing and effective cookies for mothers fresh each week. So, you know when you get a batch of MamaCookies00, its FRESH! They ship it out almost immediately, retaining freshness with their resealable polypack.

Well, let’s get to business. About these cookies – They are organic, made from a combination of nutritious and tasty ingredients that don’t make you feel like you are eating something ‘out of the usual’ to support lactation (I feel that way when I eat too much garlic 😛 ). The beauty of the fact is that they use only whole wheat flour *big ye for me*, brown sugar, virgin coconut oil and old fashioned oats as base ingredients (Yes, I checked the ingredients). This is very good especially in a house with a cookie monster toddler, like mine. Yep, these cookies are so wholly nutritious that anyone at home can have them! My son loved the cranberry loaded ones!

What makes it so special, you ask? Well, anyone can bake cookies, yes! But as a mother, you are so hard pressed for time and rest that you can hardly thinking of baking cookies for yourself. That’s where MamaCookies00 step in. Freshly baked, in a choice of flavours, you can save yourself the trouble of washing dishes and oven trays 😛 It surely works for a lazy mom like me! Most of all, these are baked with a LOT of love!

mama
I wish I had taken better pic, but these were gone in minutes!

I was sent a mix of their White Chocolate Cranberry, Apple Cinnamon, Oatmeal Raisin and Dark Chocolate Orange cookies. The Cranberry and raisin cookies won hands down! They have this hint of coconut that makes it even more yum!!

Has my lactation improved? It’s too soon to tell, maybe I will order myself another batch and then see the change. But one thing’s for sure, these cookies make you feel full. So, they double up as the PERFECT midnight snack to solve your nursing cravings!

How do you order one for yourself? This is their link on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Mamacookies00-590548381134340/ and they are quick to reply.

Their cookies cost -INR 950 to INR 1400 for 2 weeks’ worth of cookies (about 30 cookies) depending on the flavour you pick! So, go pick & enjoy!

Psst. These make the best gifts for new mums! Seriously! <3

Note: I have not been paid in any way for this review and these are solely my opinions/thoughts about the product!

Tushions 1.2 – A quick review

Cloth Diapering! It’s the way of the future. It’s what’s going to save the earth of the unnecessary landfill. It’s more than just safe for your baby. 2 years back, when I first heard about cloth diapering, I couldn’t understand much. There were so many types, folds, fabrics… It got a wee bit overwhelming, but my friends were there to the rescue. Slowly, we shifted from disposables to cloth diapers (when L was 4 months old) and since then haven’t used one disposable diaper for him! It looked like a costly affair, but the bonus point there was the fact that there were no chemicals, it was reusuable and most importantly, it lasts long. Long enough for your second kid 😉 *When maintained right*

So, here we are diapering Isha since the day she was born in nothing but cloth diapers. Of course, we did some disposables in between but now it’s cloth all the way and it feels good to have started off that way (will blog about this separately). ‘

In our cloth diapering journey, we have come across many brands. Many, made in India. Here’s one brand that is based out of Bangalore and has gotten into manufacturing their own diapers. Tushions. I have known them for a while now & when Jaya said that she was making her own diapers and wanted me to review them for her, it was a straight yes!

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A little background, we had also reviewed their earlier version of the organic AIO in a lovely Firework print diaper in black and that too worked amazingly well (with the toddler) <3 Sadly this one isnt in stock now!

This diaper, the Tushions 1.2 AIO (pieces of blue) , is an all in one diaper made of 100% Organic Cotton and comes ready to go on the bum! Can you imagine that? It doesn’t need prep and true to its word, the diaper worked well otb in our first attempt. The diaper is made to fit from 3 months to 3 years (4-15 Kgs) and worked well with Isha.tush

What we liked:

1. The soft outer PUL. If you know diaper PULs, this is a relief.
2. The ready to go nature. Saves a LOT of time.
3.  The organic cotton is super soft and looks like a cloud!
4. The seams are designed in a way that they dont curl nor do they leave marks on the baby no matter how snuggly fit.
5. How long it goes – We went through about 4 hours with this diaper and only changed because we had to.
6. Doesn’t stain. If you know how newborn poop can stain a dipe, let me tell you this one doesn’t retain any trace of stains. A little bit of sun drying made it all good.

What we would want to be suggest:

1. more cute prints 😉

Although in some moments, I found it to be slightly broad at the crotch, but then again its a 2 month old who’s sporting it now! So it could work better with slightly older babies, IMO.

Overall, this dipe is a good stash collection. You might want to own a bunch of this, to keep your nap time complete. No changes called for, no leaks and definitely no discomfort!

You can look up their products here: http://www.tushions.in 🙂

This is not a paid review! 🙂