Legoland Fun in San Diego

If you follow My Petite Picassos on Instagram you’ll know that we recently went to Legoland, California. We had an amazing vacation and the boys had so much fun!

Compared to other theme parks in SoCal Legoland is really affordable!  We were able to go for $123.99 all together!  We had a Bogo coupon for buy one adult hopper ticket get another one free. Hopper tickets allow you to go in between Legoland and either the aquarium or the splash park. We chose the splash park, however we were only at Legoland one day and we didn’t end up going there.  Kids under three years old are free at Legoland so the boys got in with for free. This was a lot cheaper than last year when I paid $300 a day for myself and my husband at Disneyland. Legoland is not as magical as Disneyland nor as large, but it definitely is a great theme park!

We went on a Saturday in July and while it was crowded it was not overcrowded. We downloaded the Legoland app to find out which rides had the shortest wait time. We only waited a long time for a boat ride. Even though my boys are young toddlers they were able to enjoy a variety of rides and activities. They had several boat rides and cruises through at the same park that the boys could go on, a carousel, a train ride, and little car rides. A lot of the boat rides and such are going past full Lego exhibits such as the Lego towns/monuments or fairytale stories.  I loved seeing Las Vegas made out of Legos, so much detail-they even had a pool party at one of the hotels!

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It was more challenging to find things for Adam to do than Ben. Ben even got to ride some rides by himself! A lot of rides are appropriate for ages three and up however they do have a whole Duplo Town for little guys . Duplo Town is where we rode the train and there was a large playground.  When my husband to take Ben on rides I would walk around with Adam and take him to the area where you can build with large Legos or go in search of characters. One of the favorite places in the theme park for the boys was the area where they could build Lego cars and race them!

Th hands on activities kept the boys busy for at least 45 minutes to an hour and we found ourselves prying them away to check out rides or get something to eat.

Galaxy Marbled Valentines

Galaxy is been a huge DIY trend lately. We explored this with our latest play group meeting. We created three different crafts the delved into the galaxy. One project that was very popular was galaxy marbled paper. Afterwards we all took them home to create our Valentines!  This is a really easy and fun project to do with a toddler and it’s cheap using materials you probably already have!

galaxy-valentines
To start I covered a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Then I lay down a layer of men’s shaving cream. I added a few drops of pink, purple, and blue food coloring to the shaving cream and used a straw to swirl it around.



After we pressed a piece of card stock on top of the shaving cream and we peeled it off.  We ran it underwater. When the water clears off the shaving cream a marbled effect is left behind.


From there the paper can dry can then be used to create cards, hearts, artwork, and a variety of arts and crafts projects.  We had a lot of fun creating our galaxy art projects. We hope you will too!

Homeschooling:Our Schedule

When I decided I wanted to stay home with my boys one of my big reasons was that Ben was outgrowing staying home everyday  with our nanny.  She was more than perfect and still remains a close friend, but he needed to be socialized.  Adam at the time had just been born and would, of course, benefit from being close to his mom.  So I have created a class schedule for the week that introduces the boys to several subjects and experiences.

homeschoolingSunday: Ben has swimming class.

Monday: Both boys go to Open Gym at Gymboree.

Tuesday: Both boys go to music class at Gymboree

Wednesday: Play date/play group day.

Thursday: Both boys go to Toddler Time at our local science museum.

Friday: Both boys go to storytime at our local library.

Saturday: Ben attends the Sabbath program at our synagogue.

Adam learning about African music at Gymboree.

The boys having fun at Lego Club.

Once a month the boys have our My Petite Picassos play group on a Wednesday at our home.  They also attend Lego club at our library. Depending on the weather we hike pretty often with a babywearing group and we attend Attachment Parenting International play groups and meetings. We also are working on completing the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at our local library. Language skills are really important in our home because the boys are learning two languages:English and Hebrew.  Ben is fluent in both.
The boys get a lot of socialization and exposure to a variety of interests.  I’m able to help them navigate these early experiences which is such a blessing.

Envelope Animals

envelope-animalsThis was a simple rainy day activity.  It’s gotten to be pretty cold here in Las Vegas believe it or not. This morning it’s 39° out -i’m from Buffalo,  New York that’s cold to me. Even though it’s called the sun is out and shining and it’s a beautiful winter. It even snowed a couple days ago. So as the kids have been inside more we’ve been doing more arts and crafts activities.  The other day as I was paying bills I put some envelopes inside and took out construction paper. I cut out different shapes and show them to Ben and we talked about with the shapes were.   He repeated after me triangle an oval. Then I helped him glue them onto the back of the envelope to create years. I took out some googly eyes we glue those on to the top of the envelope to make guys. Then I added some details to create the face so he could see the animal. I told him what type of animal it is in English and in Hebrew because he’s bilingual.  Then he had fun playing with his new markers and coloring them in.  You could easily include a book like Where the Wild Things Are to this activity.  You can make a whole zoo!  It’s a really cute, fun, cheap art activity with supplies you already have around the house!

Tips for a Successful Arts and Crafts Playgroup 

successful-playgroup

This time last year I would be teaching 25-50 elementary aged students in a public school setting.  Everything was as accessible and easy as could it could be for a person to do art with large groups of young kids-I had two large sinks, big tables for them to sit at, and custodians to clean at night.  Having an art playgroup is actually more work, but a ton of fun too!

1.  Choose an age range. Decide what age range of kiddo you’re gearing this toward.  Too wide of an age range would mean projects at different levels to please the kids, plus a similar age is nice for the kids to play together.

2. Send out an invite at least two weeks in advance. I do my invites via Facebook event and this way I can send out notifications to the moms leading up to the playgroup.

3. Decide how you want to pay for materials. Do moms give you a flat fee to attend?  Do they bring their own materials? I run mine like a co-op.  Everyone brings a treat and everyone brings a material to share.

4. Decide what activities you will do with the littles.  I aim to do 3 art activities in 1 hour.  Usually we do a messy project like pumpkin play dough, a paper craft, and a sensory project.

5. Set up all of your materials and projects before. Often I do all of the assembling prior to the playgroup so the group runs more smoothly. Sometimes Ben does his projects the weekend before.

Cake for the moms and applesauce squishes for the kiddos.

Fully assembled rain sticks before playgroup.

6. Have snacks and drinks available. Applesauce packets are great to have on hand.  Don’t forget some paper plates and cutlery!

7. Clean and set up your home.  I put the dogs outside with water, clean the floor, kitchen and restroom. I make an easy dinner too, so it’s done and out of the way.  Put away any toys or activities you don’t want kids to take out.  I put away the Playdough and thin out the toy offering.

8.  Set up a drying area for wet projects. I have a large kitchen counter that we use.

9. Have examples ready and show moms what to do as they arrive.  Art is a visual language so it makes sense to visually present each project.

10. Tidy up a little as the group creates and plays. Ask a mom or two to help or stay after a little longer to help.
Most importantly have fun and watch your kid(s) have fun learning!  Play is so important in childhood development.  It teaches them social skills and creativity-they can’t get that sitting in front of a tv!  I love using the play group as a chance to reconnect with my busy mom friends, get my boys busy, and share my passion.  Have fun creating!