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Toddler - Week #83

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Week 83: Our Trip To Disney!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           We arrived in Disney and it was overwhelming for Evan! The plane ride had been difficult enough with sitting still for so long, but then it was bus ride after bus ride. And there were rides on the monorail and sitting on the stroller. It seemed he never really got to stretch his legs very much. Last year, he was fine with being in the stroller the entire time because he was so young. But this year he wanted to explore. He did get to explore a little here and there and had quite a few firsts. He had his first ride on many rides, but probably the best was the carousel. He saw his first live Mickey Mouse show that he was actually awake and dancing during (not like last year when he was a young baby). He also had his first experiences with live characters up-close--taking pictures, shaking their hands and such. He did enjoy this trip, but I think he was happy to be home again, too.


Creating Good Readers:
           Reading comprehension is linked closely with something called schema. Your schemata are tiny little pockets of knowledge that you store up based on real life experiences. Everyone has different experiences, and this affects what they take away from a reading of any story. Two children may hear the same story and comprehend it completely different from one another. This is because they have different schemata. All of the things you do with your young child build his schemata. Vacations can be an important part of this. Any vacation can increase a child's schema and provide him with many ways to connect to a story. A vacation doesn't need to be a trip to Disney like ours. Instead it can be as simple as day trips to a children's museum or a local farm or even simply a day at home baking cookies with you- anything different from your typical day's routine. Any experience like this provides your child with numerous ways to connect with stories and enhances his vocabulary as you talk to him throughout the trip. When he goes to school, teachers will activate his schemata by brainstorming what he already knows about a topic before delving into the book. You can do this, too, when you read a story. Just look at the cover and assess the topic. Then activate his schema by referring him to a time when you both explored this topic together before.


Book Of The Week:
           Go, Goofy, Go

       By: Sheila Sweeny Higginson       

       This is a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book. We love Mickey's Clubhouse at our house. Evan doesn't watch much television, but he likes this show with all of its music and interaction. This book has Goofy testing out a bunch of different transportation modes to get to his friends. He hang-glides, skates, surfs, and sails, etc. to try to find his friends. I thought it would be good to read since we were flying on a plane to go see these same friends! Of course, you get all the same lessons incorporated in the shows, too, like learning about numbers and letters. It was a fun book and very Disney!


           I had to really seek out activities for Evan this week while in Disney. It seems like it would be a fantastic place for a toddler and it is, but you really have to pay attention to the toddler's needs or he can easily be swept up in the hoopla! If I hadn't been careful, Evan would have spent his days being in our arms on bus rides, then in the stroller, to back in our arms in line for rides! The rides are great, and even small children enjoy ones like It's A Small World, Winnie The Pooh, and Dumbo. There are typical rides for them, too, like the carousel and train ride. But to find activities for Evan to be, well, active, were not as easy. One thing we found that was great fun were the water squirts. Each park had a small little section that had little sprinklers that squirt up at various times. Evan had a blast with these. It was an opportunity for him to run around and stretch his little legs. It also let him cool off since it was so hot. Other things/places that allowed him more movement were as follows:

       In the Magic Kingdom- Walking through the Swiss Family Robinson's Tree House

       In Hollywood Studios- This had the most, I thought. There was the playground in Honey I Shrunk The Kids. There were a series of nets to climb on that were tough but he managed. God bless my husband who followed him through the ropes! There was also a live Play House Disney show with music and dancing. You don't sit on chairs in here; you just sit on the floor and get up and dance frequently.

       In Epcot: There were things to do in the countries' sections like dancing, crafts, etc., but that is hit or miss. I think it changes daily, and you have to check the schedule. But the Imagination Pavilion had a million things to do. It was a place we could let Evan get out of the stroller and run wild. There were things to stomp on, houses to walk through, and more. And it wasn't a crowded place either. The aquarium section near the Nemo ride was excellent as well.

       In Animal Kingdom: The safari ride required sitting, but there was so much to see that Evan did not care. It is a must to see. The Flights of Wonder bird show also required sitting but had Evan in awe. As far as getting in some physical activity, there isn't as much opportunity as I thought there would be. He was able to beat the drum in one spot and walk a little on some of the nature trails, but I didn't find an actual play area like in the other parks.


Rhyme Time:
           Here is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song that Evan loves:


       Meeska, mooska, Mickey Mouse!

       It's the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

       Come inside- it's fun inside

       It's the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse roll call:       

       Donald? Present

       Daisy? Here

       Goofy? Hayuck, here

       Minnie? Hi, here!

       Pluto? Ruff, ruff

       Mickey? Right here       

       It's the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

       Come inside- it's fun inside       


       Of course, you must do your best to impersonate those voices when you answer the roll call!


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan liked our trip well enough, but I think he preferred the activities I mentioned more than the rides or seeing any of the characters! I did say to my husband a few times that we could do this back at our house although it would be too cold here to go in a sprinkler or to a playground. So we appreciated the nice weather! Evan did love Donald Duck though. Prior to going, I thought he liked Goofy best. I mean you really can't tell these things, but I really thought he chuckled more when Goofy was on the television. He loved the book with Goofy. But when we met them in person, he loved Donald! He kept going back to give him five and get another hug. It was really cute.


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "What are some tips for going on vacation?"       

       Whether you are going on vacation to Disney for a week or just taking a weekend trip to Grandmother's house, there are some things that can make life easier on your toddler while you all are away.       

       One tip I discovered in Parent's magazine was for packing. A reader had written in that she packed her children's outfits in Ziploc bags. I decided to try this tip. I hate packing and I hate living out of a suitcase for a week. It gets so confusing to me. I thought this tip was a great idea. I did it two different ways, basically because after I packed my daughter, I was too tired of it and bored to do it the same way for Evan. For my daughter, I packed each Ziploc bag with a complete outfit from underwear and socks to the shirt and shorts and a thin pair of sweatpants and sweater just in case. I also packed her a night bag for each night with pajamas and a pull up. For Evan, I ended up packing all of his t-shirts in one bag, shorts in another, etc. The funny thing is that I did this for Evan because I got tired of it, but it ended up being the better way for us. Perhaps this is because my fickle daughter often opened up a day's bag and decided she didn't like that outfit and needed to open another.       

       Another tip I would say is to stay on schedule as much as you can. Try to remember that even though you aren't on your same schedule (not getting up and going to work, etc.), your child will need to be as close to his schedule as you can make it. This is hard on vacation. For example, we would get up and have such a big breakfast that we weren't typically used to that by lunch we would not be too hungry. A few times I had to remind my husband that we still needed to feed the kids lunch even though we weren't hungry! I also found that naptime needed to still be adhered to even though we were in the middle of a busy park! I had to make sure we weren't stuck in a ride line when it was around the regular naptime. I had to find a quiet place to walk around in order to allow Evan to get his nap in. If I didn't do this, his bedtime was thrown off, he was overtired and cranky, and everyone else would suffer, too!       

       Which leads me to my next tip--don't overdo it! Don't try to slam so much fun into one day that it will end up being the opposite--no fun! There is so much to do on vacation whether it's Disney or Grandma's, but avoid the temptation. The meltdown after is not worth it. A few times we thought we could squeeze one last thing in, and then we paid for it on the bus ride back to the hotel! I cannot recall what those one last things were, but I clearly remember those distressed bus rides! Which memory do you want to have?       

       Finally, remember your child is with you on this vacation! He can get lost in all of the excitement. Don't forget he needs to run, play, and be a toddler. Don't expect him to sit in a stroller all day, or be in Grandma's house all day not touching those antiques. Set realistic plans. I found us stuck in too many places where Evan didn't belong, landing us looks when he cried or babbled too loud. It wasn't his fault I brought him into the Carousel of Progress ride where adults wanted to hear the educational rant while all Evan wanted to do was get down and run. His cries made people angry, and it was an overall uncomfortable situation for all of us. You'll have to give some things up in order to have everyone on vacation happy. And your toddler's happiness on vacation is just as important as yours.       

       And no matter what you do, know that family vacation is a time to make memories. But it is also a time where you can end up stressed and wondering why you ever left home! Don't go into it dreaming it will be all wonderful memories to cherish because you might be let down. Go into it aware that it will be somewhat stressful for you and your child. After all, it is a different routine and circumstances for him. If you go in with your eyes open to this and equipped with some ideas for handling these moments, then hopefully you will create some of those wonderful memories. After a year or so, those will be all you remember and you'll start planning your next trip, forgetting those moments you wondered, "What was I thinking!"--at least that's the trap I've fallen into every year!


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