Day trip from NYC: Liberty Science Center, NJ

Liberty Science center, just a boat ride away from New York city is a fantastic destination for kids 2 years old to teenagers. We took a ferry ride from World Financial Center to Paulus Hook station in Jersey City. We walked about 5 minutes to NJ transit station hopped on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail toward 22nd Street or West Side Avenue and exited at Liberty State Park Station.

I have to admit that I loved visiting the museum myself. I had visited this museum last year and this museum has undergone a major change in regards to the number of exciting exhibits, interactivity and its staff. Last year the museum felt empty, major sections of the museum were unused. This year every square inch of the museum was filled with exhibits and interactive stations for kids of all ages. Starting from pixology lab, the block exhibit, simulator ride, dinosaur dig, energy quest, grossology, iExplore, outdoor park and the iMax theatre made for an amazing visit for my 4 year tot and his friend. The staff was extremely helpful in guiding us and providing information to the tots about the exhibits.

Upon some research I realized what had drastically changed at the museum – ofcourse it was its leadership. On Nov 1, 2011 Paul Hoffman began his tenure as CEO of the Liberty Science Center. Mr. Hoffman is a prolific author, chess master, restaurateur, former editor-in-chief of Encyclopedia Britannica as well as Scientific American, television interviewer and paper-game tricks expert, he is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University. I have vitnessed the change he has brought about and the life he has breathed into this amazing facility.

General admission for an adult and child adds to $35 which is a bit high, but you can truly spend an exciting full day at this amazing museum.

Can your smart device disconnect your tot?

When the iPhone, iPad and other smart devices were introduced with their app rich platforms they made life easy for parents worldwide. If your child is not eating, show him a video on the smart phone, if he is bored at a party let him play a game, if you are taking a long ride there couldn’t be a more compact and entertaining toy. Smart phone device companies have provided a magical wand in the parents hands to control just about any tantrum, any melt down or eliminating boredom for their tots. Also it’s form factor helps us carry it with us just about anywhere in a pocket, in a purse, in a bag. A perfect on the go device.

But as my tot turned 4 years old this year I am starting to feel that the smart devices are likely to disconnected my tot from everything around him. Especially during our travels I want him to be looking around, experiencing a different world and immersing himself in his own little ways. This time around I am trying to hide these devices, remove apps that are not enriching and providing a specific time of access vs. providing access on demand. Setting a certain amount of time and a schedule to access the device could surely prove enriching. But using these devices in other uncalled situations – we might be robbing our children from opportunities to learn, socialize and immerse.

So everyday when I need to prepare dinner and my tot is on the verge of hunger we spend about 20 minutes on our smart device. I did leave a story on the IPad besides the 3 other apps I would like him to explore.

Don’t let your smart device disconnect your tot, let him grow, get bored at times and find his own creative ways of entertainment.

These 2011-2012 statistics gathered by MDG Advertising might not surprise you:
Kid Tech, According To Apple [Infographic]
by MDG Advertising

Updated: London To Go

We just updated our city guide for London, UK. If you are planning a family trip to London do check this out.

World Books: The Elves and the Shoemaker by John Cech

The Elves and the ShoemakerOn our weekly visit to the library my 4 year old tot picked up a book called “The Elves and the Shoemaker” by John Cech. It was a great read, short story with unusual illustrations. It reminds one of the old belief that the best solution when trying to solve a difficult problem is simply to “sleep on it”. Things might just be put right while we’re fast asleep.

After reading the book we continued reading the author’s note about the origins of the story. I was quiet surprised that it was also a story collected by the famous German brothers – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. It was a story in their 1812 collection of stories called “Children’s and Household Stories”. A diametric opposite of the fairy tales this was a story of a humble shoe maker and his wife distressed and in financial trouble till the elves come to their rescue. Another great read for the weekend.

We have added this book to our list of Books from Germany.

Happy reading and wishing you a great weekend – TitterTot