Monday, May 23, 2011

Parents = Toy Experts. Meet Jamie from hand on: as we grow

There are many really talented parents who also happen to be bloggers who share their passion for kids with all of us, and some of them are even trained educators. We have already introduced some of these people whom we admire for their energy and dedication through our weekly column Parents = Toy Experts and we surely hope to host many more in future. From each and every one of them we can learn some tips & tricks how to raise our children to become happy and self confident adults with lots of love and attention and loads of play variations. 

Today, we would like to introduce another parent, mom whose life after giving birth has changed a lot but still she loves every minute of her parenting what can be clearly read in every post she shares at her blog hands on: as we grow

Who is Jamie both online and offline? As I understand, your "real life profession" is far from what you do online? How do you match these two?

My ‘real life profession’ is a stay at home mom. That’s what I do full time, every day. As far as bringing in money, my husband and I own a bakery – I decorate the cakes and do a lot of the ‘back-end’ work of owning a business. I have a background in graphic design and use that knowledge in the bakery when decorating cakes. I also use it in art projects with Henry. Along with trying to bring in a professional look to my blog, hands on : as we grow.

You have 2 boys, one of them is a baby and another is a toddler. How do you divide your time between them and manage to keep them both happy and loved?

I just said to myself this morning, “I can’t balance them both!” – So obviously, I don’t have it quite figured out yet! There are days everything seems to go very smoothly. When George (my 8 month old) takes naps on cue, then Henry and I are able to do our activities with peace and quiet and really enjoy ourselves. Other days, George doesn’t cooperate as well (as expected with a baby), then it’s more of a struggle to do an elaborate activity (because of this, most of our activities are pretty last minute and easy to prep for). Though George sometimes really enjoys watching what we are doing and could sit contently being thoroughly entertained. Once I think I’ve figured out the balance, it changes. I’m learning to spend as much one on one time with Henry as I can while George naps. And my husband takes Henry a lot to the bakery, so I get one on one time with George then too. I try my best to get alone time with each, but spend time together as a family as much as possible too.

You have posted a lot about ideas for "energy burning" activities for toddlers. What are the benefits of these activities for both toddlers and parents and which activities are your favorites?

They’re beneficial to me because they wear out my child! Henry has always been full of energy – so I’m always looking for ways to get the energy out so he’s more laid back when I need him to be. But in a larger aspect, I think it’s always good to practice gross motor skills – it’s beneficial to build the larger muscles first before you start using the smaller muscles to do things such as writing.

Some of my favorite get moving activities are the Ribbon Painting and Balloon Badminton, and even though they’re not my activities, I love the post of 30 Moves for Excess Energy because it’s FULL of ideas to get your kids moving!

Though your eyes and experience: what tips you can share that help guiding, teaching and having fun with toddlers on daily basis?

Get hands on! That was my New Year’s Resolution and how I started blogging. I wanted to become more hands on with my children, because I found that if I played with them, everyone was happier! Everyone makes it a chore to play with their child – it’s not – You get to PLAY! Just play! Teaching and learning will come naturally through play.

And for last question - What is one toy you could recommend to every parent and why?

The Cardboard box J - it’s very versatile as you already know! For an actual toy, I’d have to pick the ABC Mat, this was simply a mat for the longest time in our house, though it did teach Henry the ABC’s. Once we started exploring what we could do with it, we make roads, houses and activity courses using them. They’re pretty versatile too, though nothing compared to the cardboard box.

So honored to be a part of your blog, Michelle! Thanks so much for the opportunity!


  1. Aaah lovely to hear more from Jamie!! Awesome blog and awesome mum!!!

    Def tricky balancing activities and crafts when there is a wee one - I sometimes craft with Red Ted when Pip Squeak is sleeping and other times we all craft together - of course this is much more "stressful" ;-) But nice for Pip Squeak...

    Love the balloon badmington idea! Also great to introduce things like a "make shift" racket to them... great learning and lots of fun. We will have a go!!!


  2. Cardboard boxes are the best!

    I love that alternate use of the ABC foam floor mat!

  3. Thanks so much for interviewing me Michelle! What a wonderful bloggy friend you are :)


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