advice and tips fun kids

Birthday party places for little kids in St. Louis

We went to the Chick-fil-a Chesterfield valley today for lunch, actually we spent quite some time today. The reason being we have a birthday party at 3 pm at Chesterfield mall, and it takes 40 to 50 minutes going back and forth from the Chesterfield to our home in Creve Coeur. Talking about the birthday party places in St. Louis, since Serenity turns to 3 and went to pre-school, there are a lot more birthday party invitations, and I typically obligated. Here are the place we went so far, and I added my comments there (purely my personal view as a dad):

1) St. Louis Zoo (3 times): good for little kids. Kids got to see the insects and the birds and small animals (such as guinea pig). Their Owl cup cake is big (maybe I will do a cup cake series next time 🙂

2) Bounce-U (3 times): the first time was quite amazing, kids just bounce bounce bounce. I think Serenity still enjoyed the 2nd/3rd time, except me as a parent got a bit tired in the 3rd time as 2nd/3rd time was fairly close.

3) Magic House (2): one is for big kid (grade school, 7 years old), the other is for Serenity’s classmate (4 years old). So the content is slightly different. The first one is science focused, the second is more art focused. Both has cup cake decoration.

4) Des Peres “The Lodge” wave swimming pool (1): unique place, one of a kind in St. Louis (the other one being Carousal below, both places the parents need to prepare own food, other places pretty much they offer pizza, or cakes).

5) St. Louis Carousal/Foust Park (1): one of a kind, it’s interesting Serenity does not like the carousal at the Chesterfield Mall (she got scared once when she was much younger), but she like the original Carousal.

6) Hi Energy Gymnastics Chesterfield Mall (1): a lot of gymnastics exercise, from pure gymnastics point of view, Team Central at Dorset is probably better, but this place is good for party and the location is also good. Note Chesterfield mall also has a carousal.

7) Last but not least, the art/drawing place in Chesterfield mall (1). I forgot the name now, but it’s by the Sears store in the mall (near mall entrance).

Quick summary: work-wise, probably less work for parents at Bounce-U, St. Louis zoo, and magic house. Fun/unique factor: Des Peres “the lodge”, the Carousal at Faust Park are probably the winner. But more work for parents.

I will refine this post as time goes.

(Update 05-10-2014) Last month we went to Butterfly House at Faust Park, which is also very nice and unique. The kids got to tour the butterfly house with parents, the staff played a butterfly themed game/Q and A with kids, art project, decorating cookies, etc. Overall I think this is very good. This is a bit similar to Magic House (the art part), as kindly reminded by one of the parents.

(June, 2014) That paint spot: this is a unique spot near Manson and Olive, we went there for birthday. Kids like painting, the unique thing they do is they paint on ceramics, then they will put it on fire and make the color stick. I guess from business point of view, customization (think T-shirt, mugs) is very interesting.

advice and tips fun kids

Preschool days

Did not want to go in the morning (most days), did not want to leave in the afternoon (sometimes). Positives: she started to call some teachers by name, and some friends by name. She talked quite a bit in English, continuing make progress on language.

Kindermusik, sit on teachers’ lap. A nice overlap for her as this class is only class she goes this whole semester (with the transition from toddler to preschool).

Change job
The tuition goes up again. I need to make more money to support my family. I plan to start new job on April 1 (yes April fool’s day, but hopefully new job works out for me and my family).

A bit emotional lately as a net friend passed away recently, reminds me of an old friend’s husband passed away years ago at similar age. We all need to balance our life and work at this age.


The most important thing in parenting

is the “not give up” attitude. I learned a few things from Dave’s yearly breakfast seminar, last year was Dave talking about the Montessori “explore” approach, this year was about digital media by Dr. Sucre (a parent of Hope Montessori student). The topic is related to the “no TV watching” as shown in the Hope Infant Toddler web page (written by my daughter’s teacher). To be honest I have not read all the materials and have not followed all these good advice strictly, but I was trying my best for the most part 🙂

This reminds me of couple things: I remember Woody Allen once said 80% of the work is to show up. I also recall the CIO of the company I work for recently said: show the customers you care (IT is very customer focused in my company).

Yesterday in the parenting work day, our daughter started crying for some reason, which is a big embarrassment for my wife, she has a thin skin by the way. They wanted to go home. So we started driving while I was hoping they can change their mind. On a red light we saw a friend’s car, I know they are coming to the event as their son is in the same class as my daughter. So I tried to drive back. Things turn out ok eventually.