Everyday fun! Learning fun! The Kao Kids

    Whenever, waiting (not a case against gadgets)

    December 25, 2016

    I am a mom on a mission to keep the smart phones and the iPads away from my kids as much as possible, as long as possible.

    Especially while we’re waiting.

    I don’t think you need to give a child an iPhone or an iPad so he sits quietly while everyone waits for food / eats a decent meal/  has adult conversation.

    Have you tried the following?

    Whenever you anticipate waiting time…

    • Do copious amounts of reading (this is for now, only something that appeals to my firstborn)…

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    • Bring lots of scrap paper and colour pens/markers/pencils and invite your kids to draw away…

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    • Draw lots of randomness (you draw) and introduce some colouring therapy (the kids colour)…

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    • Buy activity books from book fairs / Bras Basah / Popular – I love those Preschooler Science booklets where the kids get to colour / circle / tick / cross out what floats / sinks / lives on land /grows in water / is used for home / made of plastic, etc because boy! do kids need to learn some common sense and general knowledge these days! These booklets are usually thin and easy to bring out…

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    Recently I had one of my readers share these with me which she so meticulously and painstakingly created, and I thought she deserves a big shoutout; they are amazing – pieces of paper so nicely designed and so much to read and learn, and so easy to pack in the bag to whip out while waiting.

    Check out Jacqueline’s billingual activity packs: Exploring My Neighbourhood, Ji Fan (which is chicken rice in Chinese; that was what Ben learned when we were holed up in BKK for a while with his tennis training. He’s learned how to order chicken rice in Mandarin and read the words!), Knowing Singapore, Conversations with Grandma, and Where is it (a fun and useful pack to teach kids to describe things and places). Especially useful, and worth a mention, is this pack called ‘How Much Is It’ if you have a kindergartener going to Primary One who needs to learn the concept of money. This pack deserves another post altogether as I reaped so much benefits doing this with Becks.

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    Some snippets of the 'Ji Fan' activity pack where you can even play a game of ordering!

    Some snippets of the ‘Ji Fan’ activity pack where you can even play a game of ordering!

    ~~~

    I usually separate the assessment books for learning and the activities my kids engage in while we are out. There’s a time for the former, and usually it’s a specific carved out time to be focused for academic learning (so the habits instilled are very different from the latter). The latter (activity packs whenever we anticipate waiting time, that is) usually centres around doing lighthearted and fun things which involves largely incidental learning.

    Before you throw stones at me – I do let the kids watch the TV and sometimes pass them the phone to check out apps – if books and activity packs are not so readily available. The educational apps are designed and created for the reason of keeping children engaged, and the key is always negotiating a start and end time.

    We were recently introduced to the Nickelodeon PLAY app by the folks from Nickelodeon, and I found that negotiating the start/end time for a quick thrill in playing games work for my boys who are increasingly curious about ALL things games – anything that involves racing, fighting or moving virtually gets them super excited these days.

    So once in a while, the kids get to check out TMNT and Game shakers games on the app, and play Crossy Road on their father’s iPad…

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    And you’ll see children huddling and hovering over a device like this for a while.

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    And that’s how we handle the whenever-waiting-opportunities at 7, 6 and 4 years of age.