Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kid-Co Fun

Our weekend started on Friday this week, while the hubby had to work (boo) I decided to ditch the housework and have some fun quality time with my little love bug.  She had been asking for several weeks to go to this local play place called Kid-Co. We went there a few months ago and she fell in love with the place.  Unfortunately, with all of the baby prepping and all the other summer activities we had going on we never went for another visit. Out of nowhere Isabella decided that she was going to save up her money to go, my hubby and I wanted to promote her understanding of money and the importance of saving so we agreed that if she was able to save half of the admission price ($5) we would give her the other half ($5). She was so excited. We gave her coins here and there for completing simple chores, or whenever we had some spare change and saw her displaying appropriate behavior.  We practiced putting her money in one location, and then periodically counting her money and see how much she saved.  I really liked all of the learning opportunities we were able to build into this simple task: savings, money management, coin denomination, counting, adding and subtracting. To make it even better Isabella LOVED it! On Friday she asked for us to count her money again, when we did we found that she had $5.56! She was so excited to have enough money, and when I asked her what she was going to do with the extra .56 she replied "I'm going to put it in my piggy bank to save for college!" I love that we have instilled the importance of savings and education so early! I then gave her my half of the admission cost, and off we went!
She was SO excited and proud to give the lady at the counter her money. She stood up nice and straight and said "I saved my money so I could come and play!" I was very proud of her, and the woman at the counter was quite impressed. Once we got our socks on and entered the play area, she ran right to the cars and open play space...her favorite. This play place is so amazing, I will make it a point to come her more often! I really like how it's made to look like a small town with different city locations. They include a pizzeria, a market, Library, school, grocery store, post office, house, and workshop; each with their corresponding furniture, decorations, and play items.  It really helps to foster your child's imagination while at least somewhat controlling the chaos of all the children running around playing!
They also have some play items that go throughout the "city" and keep with the city theme.  There are pay phones all over so kids can go and make calls while they play. There are also mailboxes at various points of the city with the post office having real mail boxes, plastic letter envelopes, and a postman's uniform for some fun dress up play-this was by far Isabella's favorite part. I think we played postman for a good 30-45 minutes!
The envelopes were all addressed to different people such as "my president", "my best friend", "my grandma" etc. Isabella has a blast getting the mail from the mailboxes and taking them to the post office, sorting the envelopes and then delivering them again. On top of that she looked absolutely adorable in her postman's costume, if I do say so myself!  After we played post office for a while, we moved on to the market.  They have the CUTEST set up at Kid-co for their market. It includes a cash register station with money, multiple grocery carts, an extensive produce stand with various plastic fruits and vegetables, grocery shelves, and even  pretend freezer section that lights up when the kids open the refrigerator doors!!! SO CUTE!
Once again, the pretend money allowed us to work on basic math and counting skills as well as Isabella's basic understanding of money and its purpose.  I was also very pleased to see that she only chose a couple of the "sweet treat" boxes from the shelves and stuck more to the fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc (yay for me-parenting win!).  Once we had gone to the grocery store we went to the house section where, after organizing everything, Isabella made the baby some baby food and then we all sat down at the kitchen table and ate a nice family meal together. After that we relaxed in the living room while Isabella put the baby to sleep. Then we put the baby in her stroller and took her for a walk.  Honestly, it was really cute to see her incorporate our daily routines and how we run our household (i.e., family meals at the table, and then family time in the living room) into her play routines.  It just goes to show you how much information little ones are taking in as you go about your everyday routine. It really makes you aware of your actions around your little ones, for sure!
After we were done at the house, we took our little baby in the stroller, diaper bag and all, to the workshop where Isabella got to practice all of the skills she has observed her daddy use around the house. He's a mechanic by profession and a chronic handyman, so she has seen him work a lot! The workshop has one wall full of magnetic gears that we had a lot of fun arranging and rearranging and then spinning one to see if we put them in the right order to get them all to spin.  A great visual-perceptual skill exercise.  They also had a large plastic block in the corner that had larger gears on it.  Isabella decided to use the "power tools" from the work bench to cut and screw them on. It was just awesome to see all that she had learned while watching her daddy work around the house...all the way down to the protective eye wear!!!! Once we were done wight he gears and power tools we moved on to the massive box of large legos that were in the workshop.  We built an ocean and boat and then a sea monster!  There were so many opportunities for Isabella to let her imagination run wild, and I loved watching, and being a part of every second of it!!

I was so excited to see how much my daughter LOVED playing at Kid-Co.  It was such a fun experience I truly don't know why it took us so long to go back! It's a wonderful place that is full of learning opportunities, and they're the best kind, the learning opportunities where your child is learning tons but thinking they're just playing!!! The employees there were so nice, and all of the toys were clean and organized well, however a couple items were missing batteries, but that's to be expected.  I also noticed that there were employees going from room to room and removing toys that were not being played with that didn't go with the theme of that room and putting them in their appropriate place.  It kept the overall play area clean and organized and it was very easy to find toys which made our experience so much more enjoyable.  I am definitely thinking about getting a play pace for unlimited visits.  Do any of you have a play pass? Would you recommend it?

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