Grateful for the Routines at Goldfish Swim School

We have been attending swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School for nearly eight months. Each week, I see growth and development, not only in my daughter’s swimming abilities, but in her understanding of the routine of the lesson. She hears a special word, hears a song, or sees a prop, and I see her face light up as she wiggles her little body in anticipation of what is to come. Goldfish Swim School does a wonderful job of following a similar lesson plan week to week, which allows my daughter to learn the routine of the lesson. This routine is extremely important in helping eliminate her insecurities about swimming and increasing her awareness of cause and effect relationships during the swim lesson activities. Listed below are a few ways my daughter thrives on routine and demonstrates anticipation during her swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School supports are listed below.

We are extremely fortunate that our main routine each week is seeing our dedicated and consistent swim instructor, Miss Mary. When we are walking into the pool area, I ask my daughter if she is ready to see Miss Mary. She nods her head, says, “Yes!,” and scans the pool for her instructor. In the past eight months, Miss Mary has been a consistent, positive presence in my daughter swimming lessons. For this, we are grateful.

At the beginning of each lesson, Miss Mary dumps a tupperware container full of plastic balls into the water. When my daughter sees this, she knows it is time to work on her reach and pulls. This consistent activity has led to amazing growth in her ability to make unprompted swimming strokes in the water. In anticipation, she has recently started searching for the blue barbell floatation devices on the pool deck to assist in this activity.

Duck cups are used weekly to condition your child for having her body in the water. As soon as my daughter sees these cups come out, she knows just what to do. She reaches out and starts pouring water over her body. She loves this activity and cheers with excitement throughout. As a matter of fact, it takes a lot of prompting from Mom or Dad for her to hand over the cup when the activity is done. 🙂

Another routine at our swimming lessons involves having the kiddos cross over a mat (either crawling of walking) in the pool to demonstrate water independence. During the first few lessons at Goldfish, my girl did not want to separate from me to cross the mat. With consistent, weekly exposure to the green mat, she went from slowly moving across with my assistance, to crawling independently, to walking across (no big deal!).

We have been attending swim lessons regularly enough for my daughter to even anticipate what to do with the special props. On special occasions, the big rubber ducks come out to play! Through her routine of of the previously mentioned “reach and pull” activity with the balls, she is able to understand that she needs to reach out to grab the duck and pull him in to catch him.

It has been truly amazing to watch my daughter learn the routine of her lesson at Goldfish. Each week she demonstrates anticipation for each activity and it’s obvious how much she (and me, too) looks forward to each lesson.

The Details: We are currently in the Goldfish Mini 2 class at Goldfish Swim School. We attend lessons at the Goldfish Swim School in Dublin, Ohio. Check out the link for location, address/telephone details and how to sign up for lessons.

Disclaimer: We were provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School in exchange for collaborating blog posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take a Taste Tuesday with Made by Melissa Lee

Hi! I’m Melissa and the writer behind the blog Made by Melissa Lee. I mainly focus on easy, family-friendly recipes, with a good dose of family fun thrown in courtesy of my daughter, Emily. I’m so excited to stop by today to share one of my favorite recipes Emily and I make together – Tropical Green Smoothies!

I’ve been excited to get Emily into the kitchen since she was born and now that she’s two, I try to get her involved in mealtime almost daily. You’d be surprised how much a two-year-old can do! We’re not prepping her for Master Chef Jr. or anything, but it’s been a lot of fun to have her help in the kitchen.

One of our favorite recipes to make together is this Tropical Green Smothie! If you’re a green smoothie novice, don’t worry because you don’t taste the spinach at all. It’s tropical and sweet and if it wasn’t green in color, I promise you (and your kids) would have no idea it was there.

I know most people like to use a blender for smoothies, but I prefer to use my food processor. Emily likes to push ALL the buttons while we’re adding the ingredients, which spells disaster with a blender. My food processor (like most) has a safety feature which doesn’t allow blending unless the top is secure. This allows Emily to push all the buttons she wants without making any mess!

Prior to telling Emily “Let’s make a smoothie!” I get out all ingredients, including cups and straws, as well as secure the blade in the food processor and plug it in. This allows me to stay right beside her throughout the entire process to ensure her safety and it also helps cut down on mess, if that’s possible with a toddler…

One by one, I hand her each ingredient telling her what it is and then have her put it in food processor. Sometimes she tastes it before putting in it and since it’s just for us, I’m a-okay with this. I love allowing her to explore new foods and see what she likes/doesn’t like.

Once the lid’s secure, she knows how to push “on” and let it whirl away. She loves watching it go from solid to liquid and we stop to both taste and add more yogurt, milk or OJ if needed. This recipe makes enough for 1-2 kids. Emily can almost drink it all on her own, but if not I’m pretty happy to have what’s leftover! If you need to make a larger serving, the recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

I hope you and your kids love this recipe as much as Emily and I do! Happy Smoothie Making!

 Tropical Green Smoothie

Serves: 1-2 children

Ingredients:

½ cup frozen pineapple

½ banana, peeled and frozen

½ cup chopped fresh spinach (stems removed)

½ cup vanilla yogurt

3 Tbs. milk

2 Tbs. orange juice

 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor* add the pineapple, banana and spinach. Process until chopped into small pieces.
  2. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the yogurt, milk and OJ and process until smooth. Add additional liquid if desired.

Blender version: Add ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth, adding additional milk and/or OJ if needed to thin it out. Note, I always add the yogurt to the blender first and then add everything else on top.

*Safety Note – Most modern food processors have a safety feature which doesn’t allow the food to blend unless the base and top are fully secured. Check this safety feature on your version prior to using with your kids.

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant. If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

It’s Spring Break! which means there are a few extra hours in the week for an adventure. I have heard so many wonderful things about the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, so I decided to take a mini road trip with my daughter to Mansfield, Ohio to check it out. The museum is approximately an hour and 15-minute drive north of Columbus and admission is only $8 (for 2 and up). The museum’s mission statement is “To Provide Children and Families Opportunities to Learn and Discover Through The Power of Play” and is an ideal location for visits by children ages 2-12 years. My daughter is 21 months and enjoyed herself.

The Little Buckeye Children’s Museum is located in Downtown Mansfield in a beautiful old building.  There are 28 exhibits (at last count) that occupy the two levels of the building. When you first arrive, there is a lobby area to check in and regroup. An open door leads into the lower level exhibit area, and right next to the open door is a door that leads to the upstairs exhibits. It didn’t take long for my daughter to find her way to the lower level exhibits.

Most of the downstairs area is designed as a mini-neighborhood and includes a grocery store, construction site, and theatre area. The lower level also includes an elaborate H2O Factory, with water flowing in from a large pipe on the wall and a dino dig site.

The upstairs is separated into rooms with designated themes. We enjoyed exploring the camping/nature room and the blue room filled with the big blue blocks that can be found at many children’s museums.

If you have a train lover in the family, she will love the train room located on the second level. There is an elaborate model train set up with a button to make the trains go, a button to activate the train horn, and a button to activate the fire station siren.

A nice addition to this museum is the tips for “ways to play” posted in each exhibit. Parents have a cheat sheet on the wall with specific tips to help support and engage a child in play for that specific area.

What is interesting about this museum is that there aren’t designated areas designed for specific age groups. While this would often deter me, because I am often worried about my little one being run over by older children, it was interesting to see the interactions between the different age groups in each exhibit. The exhibits are set up for open-ended play, so your child is able to experience the exhibits at her level and possibly learn new ways to play from the other children.

Some things to know before you go:

  • Parking: We parked in the lot at Main and 4th St., two blocks down from the museum. The free parking is designated by green curbs. There are also meters located on the street in front of the museum if you are in need of a closer parking spot.
  • Admission is $8 per person for ages 2 and up.
  • Bring a change of clothes if your child has any interest in the water table. There are smocks for your child to wear, but they may not always keep your child from getting wet.
  • A visit can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2+ hours. We explored for about an hour, but a hungry toddler cut our visit short.
  • When I visit a children’s museum in a new area, I always like to ask staff where to eat. When I asked, we were directed towards The Coney Island Diner, a 50’s inspired diner. We feasted on greasy burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and french fries.

While you are in Mansfield visiting the children’s museum, be sure to check out Richland Carrousel Park before you head home. It is located two blocks down from the children’s museum (right by the parking lot). It opened in 1991 and is the first new, hand-carved carrousel to be built and operated in the United States since the 1930’s. The carrousel is indoors, so even if it’s a rainy day you and your little one can enjoy a ride. One ride costs $1, and a package of 6 rides costs $5 (kiddos under 2 ride for free). There is a gift shop, concessions, and an outdoor area to enjoy as well.

I wan’t sure what to expect when I decided our destination was Mansfield, Ohio, but both my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our adventure.

Disclaimer: The Little Buckeye Children’s Museum provided me and my family with complimentary admission. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Take a Taste Tuesday

As a Speech Language Pathologist, the oral motor abilities and feeding concerns of children fall under my scope of practice. Each year, the number of children with feeding concerns with which I work grows considerably. With this in mind, I am attempting to expose my daughter to a variety of tastes and textures for her to continue to accept different foods.

I am not a natural cook, so I look to others for great recipes as inspiration and fun ideas that include children in the cooking and eating process. Generally, my inspiration comes from Pinterest, Instagram searches, or just asking friends. I try to share ideas that work for us from my perspective, but I thought it would be fun to have those who provide me the inspiration in the kitchen to share their ideas firsthand. With this in mind, the idea of “Take a Taste Tuesday” was born. Each Tuesday for the next several weeks, I will feature a fellow mom/friend/community member who will share a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant.

Before we get to the guest posts starting next week, I’ll kick off “Take a Taste Tuesday” with an easy snack my daughter and I love –baked sweet potato fries. Through trial and error (and combining a gazillion different recipes I found online), his has become a go-to snack that my daughter and I make together. We place sweet potato slices from 1 sweet potato in a bag with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, and some shakes of pepper. My daughter then shakes the contents in the bag to mix it up (her favorite part, naturally). The seasoned slices are spread on a sheet and baked for 15 minutes at 425 degrees fahrenheit.

And Voila! We have a tasty and healthy snack that my daughter and I both enjoy. Sometimes we get really crazy and dip our fries in cinnamon!

Be sure to check in each “Take a Taste Tuesday” for more inspiration. If you would like to share a recipe, tips for cooking with kids, or a favorite restaurant in Columbus, be sure to click on one of the ways to connect to express your interest.

Some Thoughts on Toddler Language Development

This past week, we had an epic morning filled with toddler tantrums. After the tantrums subsided, I analyzed what had happened and jotted down some thoughts based on toddler language development and how to survive a future one. Just some thoughts are listed below.

  • A toddler’s receptive language (what she understands) is higher than her expressive language (how she communicates). I know that that discrepancy would be frustrating for me, even as an adult.
  • A toddler has very little control of her environment. For the majority of her day, she is being told where to be and what to do. To help your child feel as if she has the power, yet you maintain control, try giving her choices. Ex: If you are having trouble getting to the car, give the choice of “you can walk to the car or I can carry you to the car.” Wait and see how she responds.
  • Some battles aren’t worth fighting. If the girl wants the blue cup, she can have the blue cup. If she wants to jump off the back of the couch to her doom, now that’s a different story!
  • Whining is an easier sound for a toddler to produce, and generally more effective, than using words. Often tantrums are powerful for a child because she gets exactly what she wants. As hard as it is, try to make her words more powerful than the tantrum by waiting for her to calm and by having her use a sign and/or a word before you give into a demand. Ex: If your child is whining to be picked up, have her replace the whine with a sign and/or a word before you pick her up.