It's always a challenge to figure out what to do after dark. In the winter, it gets dark here by 5:30, which leaves us with hours (and sometimes hours and hours) before bedtime.
The biggest hit in our house is playing Dance Party. We crank up the dance music and just go crazy. Paprika loves pop music more than anything in the whole world. Her favorite singer is Lady Gaga, but she'll dance to the Go-Gos, Gwen Stefani...people like that. Somehow I got some old Mellencamp on my playlist, and she about threw up on the floor. She looked at me very seriously and said, "That music is not for me. Please, please turn it off!"
Her favorite thing to do during dance party is to turn off ALL the lights in the house. Then she puts on sunglasses. I got these pictures just before she turned out the last of the lights. I guess it's a lot more fun to dance around in the dark!
Here is a picture of her favorite sunglasses. I couldn't get a picture of her dancing with them because it was pitch black in the room!
She found these glasses on the ground at Disneyland (they are Princess Tiana glasses). I have to say that of all the glasses she has, these remind me the most of NASCAR. But she loves them, so that's what's important!
We have been playing tea party, too. We use a mixture of a kid's tea set and the real deal. Both girls are really careful with the dishes, and love playing pretend together. On this night, we were having an Alice Tea Party!
The matching Alice In Wonderland outfits are from the 80% off, after Halloween sale at our local Halloween Superstore. I love having dresses that fit both girls.
Ginger's dress actually fits her- usually she is wearing a princess dress far too big for her. So, it's a nice change!
Before bed, we always spend some time winding down with the DoodlePro before storytime. I put Ginger to bed first, and then Paprika and I sit up and talk, I watch her draw, and lately we've been practicing her reading skills. One thing that has helped so much with her reading is that we use the DoodlePro to practice spelling and sounding out words. In the past two weeks, Paprika has advanced so much in reading just from these 20 minute sessions practicing. She is now able to sound out pretty much any word she sees, even long words like "Nutcracker." She can also write out a lot of words without any help like: ball, doll, fish, plane, ballerina, lion, baby, rocket...stuff like that.
It's worked well for us because she always wants to stay up later, so she is really motivated to work with me on her reading (since she knows it buys her an extra half hour before bedtime). Then, after that I read her stories and sing her songs...just like I do for Ginger.
I have started to cherish all of the quiet, after dark times we have together. Even though it's sometimes challenging to always be finding a craft or something fun and creative to do at night (instead of just going outside to play like we do during the day), it is so worth it! I know that when I look back, some of my favorite memories will be our crazy dance sessions in the dark, our tea parties, and learning to read before bedtime.