Monday, March 26, 2018

How to learn numbers with toy cars - super easy learning activity!

This is a great activity to learn numbers, it is super easy to make, and your little one will love to help you on the way. Lying on the intersection of cars play and learning, it couldn’t amuse both little boys and their parents more! 

Do you have any troubles teaching numbers to your kids? I’m constantly on the lookout for good solutions because this is an area of struggle for Emir. He is good at counting and has no problems adding numbers, but it’s hard for him to memorize their very looks. He only can name 4, 5, 1, 3 and sometimes 7 more or less confidently. 

So when I came across this numbers teaching idea on Pinterest, I was immediately sold. It requires literally no added costs aside from about 6 minutes of your time.  

You’ll need: 
  • Masking tape
  • A cardboard box of approximately A4 size (a cereal box will do, cut it in half and tape the borders)
  • Sharpie
  • 10 toy cars like HotWheels, Matchbox or similar

Step 1. Take your cardboard box and mark the parking lot spaces inside. Make sure each is enough to fit a car. 

Step 2. Draw numbers from 1 to 10 in each slot. 

Step 3. Pick ten cars with even roofs, big enough to fit a number. 

Step 4. Cut pieces of masking tape to fit each car. 

Step 5. Stick the masking tape on cars and write the numbers on it. 

Step 6. Ask your kid to match the cars with the parking slots. 

Easy-peasy, huh? 

We have over 200 toy cars by now. Toys, DIY, and education combined - what more can you ask for? Your boy is guaranteed to be engaged. 

Share how it went on the original Pinterest post - I love the new option “Did you try this pin”. It really adds to the community. 

Here are several more educational projects with toys from my Pinterest boards I plan to try out soon. I really feel sometimes that I’m behind with the educational activities. Of course, they have a lot of stuff happening in kindergarten, but support from home is priceless. And it’s so good to feel like you’re nailing this parenting thing and in a fun way.

Love how these masking tape shapes can be made huge!

A very similar idea but for learning names spelling. Making this one today!

This custom alphabet book requires quite some input, but it is oh too cute and can become a treasured memorabilia for all family. 

This rhyming basket must be really fun! I love how it evolved for the older kids from the sensory basket idea. 

Also, a super easy letters-learning activity that needs no supplies at all. Genius! And it can be tweaked for very different subjects. Think basic maths with adding numbers, or matching countries/states and their capital cities. 

Are there any parents of kids with ADD here? What tricks do you use to help your little ones focus on learning? I could really use some advice. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

10 Cool Origami That Will Get Your Kids Excited

To Grandma Lydia

My best origami creation never went beyond the simple ship. This post is celebrating the Grandmother - the perpetuum mobile of our house, origami ninja and the biggest Lego Technics fan that I know.

Grandma Lydia encouraged Emir to start building from Lego (not Duplo!) as early as when he was three. Now, when he is five, they build Lego Technics kits together - and she is much better at it than me or my husband would ever be. Also, it's due to her obsession with toy cars Emir's collection have spilled over two hundred long time ago.  

In 1970s Grandma Lydia been working in the oil and gas industry in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. She was leading the datacenter team, so the programmatics and engineering are in Emir's blood.

This year, she won my deepest respect by handling a challenge that I was too faint hearted to approach.

After we came back from Vietnam, we were down-handed a gift from friends. Four or five extremely expensive Lego Star Wars sets, half-disassembled and mixed in one ineligible very expensive pile.

Emir added to the mess, slowly disintegrating the ships into smaller and smaller details. It ended up as a pile of blocks sprinkled with droids, Jar Jar Binxes, and siths. Here you can see it in the orange crate on the left.
I tried to reassemble them - once. I lasted maybe 3 minutes and found maybe two of the details I needed.
So when the grandma came there was the moment of truth. For six or seven nights, behind the closed door, she was sitting at the tutorials and rumbling through the pile.

Finally, she would proudly walk out of the room and show us the whole fleet, in all its glory. Mind - blown.

Origami Weekend

This story gives you a slightest hint about grandma Lydia's diligence (and a bit about her OCD).  So when grandma and Emir proclaimed the Origami weekend, I knew this was going somewhere.
Two days later, they produced a whole fleet of the paper ships, boats, motor boats and yachts of maybe 7 different kinds - at least.
But then, then Emir asked for a tank.
How many ways to make a paper model tank do you know? Yeah, thought so.
Turns out there are at least three. They started, and then they only stopped because it was time to go to sleep.
As we didn't have any origami paper at home, I gave them some gift paper that we had around since winter holidays. That was my contribution, and I'm positive that I did outstanding art-direction. Aside from that, all credit goes to the engineers and manufacturers, of course.

Models and Tutorials

So here are the close-ups of the models with all the tutorials for them linked. I googled for all of them in English for you, though they're pretty intuitive to follow. Try googling them in your language if you prefer.

Origami tank number one - amazing shape. I love the proportions.
Origami tank number two - probably amphibian as it reminds me of a frog just a little.
To make the cannon, roll the paper around a straw, secure it with glue, let dry. Then attach to the tank body.
Repeat until you get the desirable amount of tanks.
Extra reinforcement incoming: origami jet airplane. Isn't it just beautiful? The starred paper is the key.
Origami speed boat. My favorite. Sleek lines, impressive design. A far cry from your usual paper boat.
Same tutorial with slightly different paper size gives even more predator look to it.
The origami sailboat is lovely and so subtle. Reminds me of the Cannes harbor, stuffed with yachts. I'm reserving this one for myself.
An origami rowboat. I guess Emir painted the eyes on all of them because in Asia, the eyes on boats are traditional - and growing up between Vietnam and Thai, that's how he sees the boats now.
Origami steamboat. Bigger and of more oceanic shape. Can go trans-atlantic with ease.
This origami boat is with a cap of some kind. For me, it looks like a canoe for the long journeys down the river.
Last but not least - a small and very intricate origami boat. Tight design makes it quite durable, so you can make several of them and start a race.

Origami Playtime!

So Emir had a whole fleet at his disposal, and a proper set of the ground vehicles to support from the shore. We decided that an army like that definitely needs a strong general to lead the offense. General Potato took on the command!
He did quite well... Until the tanks went frenzy and turned the weapons at general himself.
While the ships harbored peacefully around the lighthouse.
Making and playing with these paper models is so much fun. By now, they’ve lasted for several weeks already. The starred motorboat and the tank #2 are my favorites.

Skills that origami helps to develop:

  • Precision 
  • Engineering 
  • Imagination 
  • 3D thinking 
  • Art direction 
  • Ideation 
  • Fine motor skills 
  • Research 
  • Diligence
  • Following directions

Other benefits of origami

Versatility - whichever theme your kid is into at the moment, you can find hundreds of relevant objects. Vehicles, dragons, dinosaurs, ninjas, jungle animals, farm animals, cars, town, people, puzzles - you name it.

Free toys - for all you frugality lovers, it’s a perfect way to give your kid a bunch of new toys. And then dispose them light-heartedly. They're free, fun, quick and recyclable - features that make me very happy.

An experience to cherish

We’re blessed with big multitalented family, where everyone is keen to teach kids their special skills. I couldn’t be more grateful for this very special relationship with grandmother in Emir’s life. Yet, I would never think that she will be the Lego and Origami expert in our house.

Lesson learned: never let the stereotypes fog your thinking. People always have the potential to impress.

There is a stereotype that in Western world grandmas and grandpas tend to spend less time with their grandkids and be more focused on themselves. Is it so? What do your parents love to do with your little ones when they get together?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Oy Boy! was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award - twice!

Never knew how much fun and support I was missing out by not engaging on Twitter. Thank you, blogger community! It's amazing to get to know so many inspiring folks and learn from you. And now, the Oy Boy! is so flattered to receive the nomination for The Sunshine Blogger Award.

Replying to this lovely award nomination from Adam actually took me so long that I received another one from Annie! Thank you, guys! This post is my double response. 

The rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award are as follows:

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or in your blog.
Very happy to share details about me, my blog, and my life. Let's get to know each other better - hope you enjoy it!

Replies to Adam:

1. Is the blog I nominated your first blog?

The very first and only one so far, though my day job involves blogging for businesses. Also, before the blog I ran a Livejournal page for several years.

2. What do you struggle with as a blogger?

Making time to edit my posts properly. It takes me several hours every time - aside from writing - and is a real bottleneck at the moment. I'm trying out new editing schedule this month - wish me luck!

3. What’s the best thing to come out of your blogging?

Feeling of accomplishment. The blog is a significant part of my life, which I enjoy making. It brings lots of challenges, yet always keeps boredom at bay. I love what it looks like and what it becomes. It's very rewarding.

4. Who is a blogger you admire and why?

Aimee Bourget, a solo traveler behind The Gallivanting Grasshopper. She tells about people, places, struggles and challenges that constant life-on-the-go brings. I love how frank she is - and I adore her vocabulary.   

5. What’s one app or service that helps you with your blog?

I'm using the free Hootsuite now - it's user-friendly and comfy. Saves me quite a bit of effort to keep up with the content calendar.

6. Do your friends and family know about your blog?

They know... a little. However, I plan on involving them more. Especially my mother-in-law - she is an amazing crafter. Yesterday she made a toddler-sized Samurai sword from paper and masking tape - how cool is that?

7. What’s a secret you’ve never told your blog readers?

I seriously consider having another baby purely for getting another model for my blog photos. :D

8. What’s your favorite message you’ve received from a reader?

All messages where people share a bit about themselves are my favorite. I love finding out more about my readers - who they are, where they live, what they do. I'd love to have more comments like these - so please feel free to say hi at the bottom of this post!

9. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t blogging?

I love making busyboards and testing them out with my boy - lots of laughs. Also, I'm a pretty good cook. I throw dinner parties for friends often, and every weekend I spoil my family with homemade baked goodies.

10. What’s something you wish you’d done differently when you started your blog?

Start it on Wordpress right away. Learn more basics - it took me too long to automatize proper post length, layouts, and promotion.

11. What’s a good book or article about blogging that you’ve read recently?

27-killer-strategies-brainstorming-blog-post-ideas - this one is pretty helpful. I tried it out and generated about 30 ideas in less than half an hour.

Replies to Annie:

1. What was your last dream?

The last one that I remember was a very dark one. To put it briefly, it involved killing someone and then getting rid of the body (in a very unappetizing way). I know. Sorry.

2. Who's your inspiration?

Ashley Hackshaw from Lil Blue Boo is amazing - she is a cancer survivor and a brilliant artist, I'd love to have her productivity. James Paulius, the creator of the Sky Villages. Tali Buchler, maker of the best kids spaces.

3. What was the first blog you ever read? (if you remember)

One of them was The Cavender Diary - an amazing DIY and home transformation blog from the two Texans. They're all plumbing pipes and checkered flannel projects - and I love their laidback and genuine narrative.

4. If you remember, then about what was your first blog post?

It was showing off my painting on my very very turquoise balcony wall. Hardly a 'post', though, since in the beginning, I was just pushing out pictures with hardly a dozen words.

5. Is there something you were afraid of, but aren't anymore?

The concierge in my house :D She is a grumpy and rather unsympathetic old lady, and I really hated bumping into her before. But this year we became friends!

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where it would be?

Cote D'Azur, the French Riviera. The most beautiful land with sparkling sea, spectacular mountains, amazing food and the best climate ever.

7. What was the last movie you watched?

Baby Driver, twice. Emir was very much fond of all the vrrrrooming and chasings. The movie is very good. Vfx and sound design are to die for.

8. Winter or summer and why?

Summer, spring, and autumn. Life in the tropics made me appreciate seasons. Not winter, though. Too many clothes, too little fun.

9. If you could change one thing in the world what it would be and why?

Make ripe juicy mangoes available worldwide! Because it's the thing I miss most from Asia :D

10.If you could start your blogging journey all over again what would you do differently?

Start it on Wordpress right away.

11.What's your favorite song for the moment?

"Sigma ft. Birdy - Find Me" Mainly for their clickbait youtube thumbnail - they got Bobby Millie Brown on it.

Thank you so much for the nomination! I enjoyed answering the questions - hope you enjoyed reading my answers. 

My questions: 

1. What is your personal feature you value most? 
2. What was your college major and did it turn out useful to you? 
3. What did your mom call you when you were little? 
4. What are your favorite games to play with kids (if you have kids in your life)?
5. If you could live in your dream house, what would it be? 
6. What was your favorite DIY project? 
7. Do you have a happy place? Where is it? 
8. Are you a cat person or dog person? Tell about your first pet.  
9. What's the best remedy for a bad day? 
10. How do you schedule your blogging work hours? 
11. Your favorite motivational quote? 

And my nominees are: 

I'm very lucky to meet you and read your blogs! 

Thank you for checking out my post. Really looking forward to reading your answers! 

Also, make sure to drop a line in comments - I love to know more about every reader. Yes, that means you :)