Monthly Archives

July 2013

All this blog's PR Stuff Learning fun! Motherkao loves... Nat Kao Reviews

And it’s a wrap at Gymnademics! [+a giveaway]

July 31, 2013

We’ve just completed a term of Gymnademics at their Pre-Fellow class, and it’s been A LOT of fun, fun, fun. Nat and I have learned and played SO MUCH together at every lesson, and for this, we really have Teacher Selene and her assistants to thank.

Every lesson for Nat at his Pre-Fellow class is parent-accompanied, which means both of us get a mental and physical workout! The class is an hour long, and we usually arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlier to get Nat used to the environment. By mid-term, Nat got pretty used to the gym studio and the routine, and even knew where to leave his water bottle!

The Pre-Fellow class (suitable for toddlers 1 to 2 years old) is structured and packed with mental and physical stimulation for the little ones from the get-go. The children engage in as many as 14 activities the whole hour, starting with the Welcome Song, followed by a recap of the previous week’s theme-based lesson. Then it’s the theme of the week, some warm-ups (in the form of song and actions) and then it’s movement time at the gym circuit and swinging on the trapeze.

Our last lesson at Gymnademics coincided with Racial Harmony Day and Nat got to wear ethnic Indon garb! Here he is learning about traditional costumes!

Our last lesson at Gymnademics coincided with Racial Harmony Day and Nat got to wear his hand-me-down ethnic Indonesian garb. Here’s a picture of him learning about traditional costumes!

Nat loves the gym circuit and he covers at least three rounds of it every lesson

Nat loves the gym circuit and covers at least three rounds of it every lesson

Unfortunately, Nat refuses to swing on the trapeze still. But he loves to hang on the monkey bar and so we let him do that instead during the trapeze segment while the rest are swinging.

Nat swinging on the monkey bar. He's not ok with the trapeze but feels perfectly fine swinging from this.

Nat swinging on the monkey bar: He’s not ok with the trapeze but feels perfectly fine swinging from this!

Gymnademics is the only enrichment gym in Singapore affiliated with the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) and its curriculum is based on methods developed by the late Glenn Doman which focuses on a child’s brain development and developing a child holistically. Which means in every lesson, the little tots, young as they are, get to read  flashcards and learn new vocabulary related to the theme of the week. The toddlers also do a fair bit of singing and dancing, and holding percussion instruments – something which Nat enjoys tremendously.

Music, song, action: Enjoying sing-alongs and shaking the macara

Music, song, action: Enjoying sing-alongs, shaking the macara and throwing the beanbag

Other activities also include the fruit relay (which trains the child to run in a straight line), gymnastics (which trains hand-eye coordination and develops their gross motor skills), parachute time (story time based on the theme of the week), Mystery Box (one of my personal favourites because Nat and I get to do some hands-on together) and music appreciation (learning the solfeggio, a technique in music used to teach pitch).

Counting the number of fruits together after the fruit relay

Counting the number of fruits together after the fruit relay

A very focused Nat doing some colouring during th Mystery Box segment

A very focused Nat doing some colouring during the Mystery Box segment

What I particularly like about the classes at Gymnademics is that the entire hour is packed with activities for the little ones and they are never once bored or restless – and that to me is quality time spent learning and exploring! The teachers are an enthusiastic bunch who are so dedicated they would even set up the gym circuit or trapeze for you should you wish to revisit a particular segment with your child. There is a lot of positivity and encouragement going around at every lesson, and this really help to boost the little ones’ confidence.

Gymnademics has been truly fun, engaging and purposeful, and I am mighty glad that Nat got the opportunity to experience that. Thank you, Gymnademics, for the invitation!

*Time for a giveaway!*

Gymnademics is offering three trial passes to three Motherkao readers who wish to experience fun and purposeful play at Gymnademics! To take part in this giveaway, simply leave a comment here to say who you’d like to win this pass for, with your email address. Find out more about their classes for 5 months old to 5 years old here. Giveaway ends 8 August.

P/S: It would be really nice if you could LIKE the Gymnademics Facebook page too!

PP/S: I shared our experiences in an earlier review here and here. We were invited to Gymnademics for a term. All opinions are my own.

Update: AND WE HAVE OUR WINNERS…Congrats to Cheryl, Regina and Debbie! We’ll be in touch shortly!

Gymnademics winners

Becks Kao Getting all sentimental now Happy days Milestones and growing up

Becks’ Rainbow Three

July 29, 2013

If I had to describe what parenting a two-year-old is like, I’d liken it to the Flood in the days of Noah. The challenges that come come like a torrential downpour. They just hit you, and hit you hard, like an overwhelming and irrepressible surge, leaving you to wonder what happened to that cute little babe you’ve birthed some 24 months ago. These are the days of the toddler exerting her independence, testing the boundaries and challenging authorities. These are the days of temper tantrums and extreme mood swings where intensive battles of wills are fought. The good thing about this Flood is that we’re all in the Ark (and that is Christ) and we stick it out as a family, and that this too shall pass.

If you don’t already know, I’ve had a bigger share of challenges than most parents out there with my little girl when she turned two. She’s wanted to leave home and sulked at her own birthday party. We’ve had to deal with hissy fits and temper tantrums on a daily basis, and struggle to get her to eat her meals, follow instructions and use the potty. So when the little girl finally turned three, what better way to celebrate than to throw her a RAINBOW party. Afterall, the Flood’s officially over and we’re beginning to see some really good days ahead!

So a rainbow party was what we had last Saturday, to celebrate Becks turning three. Actually, credit goes to korkor, who first suggested a rainbow cake in light of Becks’ indecisiveness of the cake she wanted. She wanted everything – Dora, Barney, Mickey Mouse, guns, her bolster, pigs, a green teddy bear, Angry Birds – and I gave up asking her about cake designs after surfing the net for half an hour with her. It was then when Ben whispered in my ear and said, “How about a rainbow cake for Becks cos’ it will be so colourful!” that we decided on the rainbow theme.

I got my friend, Karen, and her crafting mom friends, who run Owls Handmade, to help me with the décor, birthday bunting, food placards and jar labels. They got the paper rosettes and all that I asked done within a week! Putting the rosettes up did wonders to the blank wall in the house and immediately brightened up our place. There’s something about red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple put together that makes everything happy. Check out the colours!

Becks Rainbow Three_Decor

I also headed to IKEA to get a pretty orange-striped plastic table cloth ($29.70 for 3 metres) and some spice jars for the party favours. Then it was off to Biscuit King to get some old school biscuits (half kg for $5.80) – and there, the jars were filled with colourful “gems”. The labels that read ‘To more colourful years ahead’ specially designed by Owls Handmade then went on every jar, which the guests took home after the party.

Becks Rainbow Three_Party favours

I then logged in to Etsy and custom made a rainbow blouse for Becks with her name and age, and started planning the food menu according to the colours of the rainbow, so the guests had some home-cooked grilled beets and cherry tomatoes (red & indigo), curry chicken potatoes (orange), pineapple raisin rice (yellow), edamame (green) and Pulut Inti (blue), which I ordered from Lek Lim Confectionery, together with all the yummy kueh kuehs like the green ku kueh, ang ku kueh, oh ku kueh, kueh lapis nonya, ubi and mini wang kueh. The desserts were a hit with the guests and the dessert table was heaven for the little ones! I also served a platter of colourful vitamins – pineapples, kiwis, strawberries and grapes – and made Oreo cake pops covered with rainbow sprinkles.

Becks Rainbow Three_Dessert table

Earlier that morning, the kids’ homelearning activity was to sort four packets of M&M’s by colours into jars (which they had so much fun doing!) – and there was M&M’s galore at the party too.

Becks Rainbow Three_Sorting M&Ms

Becks’ birthday cake was once again baked by Debbie, who made her penguin hummingbird cake last year. I got her to bake a rainbow cake for Becks with a penguin (again) living in icy cold Antarctica, and she did an awesome job with it – the little penguin was even sculpted holding three tiny rosebuds, one for each year! Needless to say, the colours in the cake were such a hit with everyone, and the little girl was mighty pleased to be seeing penguin on her cake again, this time a much more colourful one!

Becks Rainbow Three_Cake

Becks Rainbow Three_Cake rainbow

It was a pretty, pretty party – one that was colourful and happy – and I am so glad rainbow days are here! Becks was a happy little girl that day; she kept saying ‘Thank you, Mama!’ throughout the day and reminding all of us at home that she’s three years old. Yes, darling, you’re finally THREE!

Becks Rainbow Three_Celebration 1

Becks Rainbow Three_Celebration 2

Becks Rainbow Three_Celebration 3

P/S: A big thank you to all our good friends and family for coming to make this rainbow party such a special one for our little girl! She was very shy and I’m sorry if she ignored you, but she was one very, very happy girl that night. We all slept at 12 that night (the first ever) because she couldn’t wait to open all the lovely presents from you!

Becks Rainbow Three_Presents

Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up

My little girl’s three!

July 29, 2013

Three years ago on this day, I had the worst contractions of my life in the early hours of the morning. Fatherkao sent Ben to infantcare and I checked myself into the delivery suite at KKH, begging for an anesthetist every minute of my wait. It was 7 am. Everyone was changing shift, and I was told I wouldn’t get any epidural for a while. I was given the laughing gas. Which I didn’t find funny AT ALL.

8 hours later (and after getting much relief from the epidural), my little girl was born. She had the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen a baby have. She was screamy and feisty, and difficult to pacify. She could cry for hours on end and not settle well. She was tough, and tougher than I’d imagined. Ben was mild and easily contented, so we always had a point of comparison. Still, we soldiered on and soon settled down as a family of four (which became five when she turned 18 months).

Baby Becks

Today, we bid goodbye to Terrible Two days and welcome the beginning of the Terrific Three. The little girl still has the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen. She’s still as screamy and feisty (when things get to her), and still difficult to pacify (she once stayed angry with me for half an hour even though I had apologized profusely for accidentally knocking into her).

But we’ve come a long way and the unsettled baby that we’ve known is growing up fast and settling pretty well as the princess of the family. She has her moments of shyness, sweetness and being sensible. She says the darndest things when she’s in her bossy mode. She plays with much abandonment, and yet is extra sensitive to the needs of everyone in the house so I sometimes think she can run the household rather well if I ever need a day off. She takes quite good care of all the boys in the house – by bossing them around – that’s for sure!

Today, you turn three, Becks. Happy birthday, my precious. May you live each day laughing, learning, loving.

Rebekah's Terrific Three

All this blog's PR Stuff Going Out! Happy days Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

Hello Cinema!

July 27, 2013

The last time I stepped into a movie theatre was in 2008. Fatherkao and I (and Ben whom I was preggers with) watched Bolt on the big screen. We had deliberately selected a movie that would be sanitised for our unborn child. No violent scenes – check. No sex – check. No vulgarities – check. I’ve not watched anything else on big screen ever since that movie about a spy dog.

And I have been so deprived ever since motherhood consumed me. Even more so now, with 24/7 care-giving, once a day homelearning and 8 hours of co-sleeping.

So when Golden Village invited me and the kids to watch The Croods on big screen last week, guess who jumped for joy. The kids were like, “No…. we don’t want… we’re scared of the dark and the loud noise!” cos’ that’s what I told them theatres would be like, but I was like, “Come on, guys! Don’t be such a wuss! We have to go!”

They have never step foot in a cinema ever and this was going to be their first.

And watched The Croods we did, at Golden Village City Square.

Picture credit: disneydreaming.com

Picture credit: disneydreaming.com

Clutching on tight to the soft toys they brought!

Clutching on tight to the soft toys they brought!

I was surprised that for a ‘Mums & Babies Movie Screening’, which GV does on a regular basis (ticket at $6 and kids below 90cm go free!), they didn’t turn up some lights and turn down the volume. It would have been perfect if they did, because I needn’t have to sit Becks on my lap the whole time and have her almost bruise my arm every time there was scary music, loud sudden sounds and “bad stuff” happening on screen. The little girl was squeezing my arm so tight I had to cover her eyes and ears to stop her from injuring me. There were also a couple of kids and babies crying at different parts of the movie, and I guessed if the lights were turned up and volume turned down a little, it would probably help soothe some of them.

Ben, on the other hand, was cackling away and enjoying the show and his huge bag of popcorn. It was a really good movie, one of learning to embrace change and sticking together as a family. Very heartwarming. And funny!

As for Nat, the littlest caught the first ten minutes of the show, took a walk outside when he got cranky, fell asleep on the helper’s shoulder and slept through the entire movie with her covering his ears. I guess the only good thing about the complete darkness was that it was perfect for him to take his nap.

I am thankful to be seated in a movie theatre once again, after so many years. I’m also so glad to be able to lug all three kids to a movie, and watch it with so many other parents and their kids. We’re all parents there, so it was perfectly ok when a kid yelled / cried / screamed / talked / asked questions. No glaring. No shushing. No tsk-ing. We were all in the same boat — all deprived of a movie experience ever since parenthood but made possible by the Mums & Babies Screening at GV.

Yay, we did it! We watched a movie!

Yay, we did it! We watched a movie!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. We were invited to the Mums & Babies Movie Screening at Golden Village. All opinions are my own.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Enrichment Learning fun! Milestones and growing up

Operation Ballerina

July 26, 2013

I am of the opinion that every little girl needs to learn ballet.

But that’s just what I think cos’ I am one of those unfortunate few who didn’t. Have you seen how clumsy and chor-lor (loosely translated: sorely lacking elegance and poise) I am? And if you haven’t already noticed, I’ve also got two left feet and a back that’s pretty hunched.

I’ve always associated being trained in ballet with helping a girl develop good posture, elegance and composure, which is a great investment for her future. Ballet is a form of dance that relies heavily on physical strength and agility, strong concentration skills, an understanding of music and rhythm and a love for movement. That’s why I am on a quest to get our resident tomboy to LIKE ballet and go for classes.

My little girl turns three this month. Since the day she started sitting up, she’s been sitting like an ah-lian (loosely translated: an unsophisticated Chinese girl). When she started talking, she’s discovered that her vocal chords could be used to shout and holler like a drill master and has been doing that every single day. And oh yes, because she’s growing up with two brothers, she also secretly wishes she was a boy, and actually thinks she will be one when she grows up. Which explains why she hasn’t put on a dress for the whole year, and pees standing up.

I don’t know of any cure for all these except to put her through ballet classes.

So we’ve gone for a couple of trial lessons to get Becks interested in pre-school ballet. When she was two half, we were invited for a trial at KiddieWinkie School House. After the trial, I concluded she was too young (and too sticky) to be learning something so foreign to her, such as tiptoeing and prancing, and so we decided to wait till she’s three to start again.

Just this month, we were invited to the Metropolitan YMCA for their pre-school MY Ballet classes on Saturday mornings. I was thrilled. For her. I think I was even more excited than her. I showed her Youtube vids of ballerinas her age dancing to classical tunes. I even bought the Tyrell Katz ballet bag and tried to interest her with the pretty pictures of ballerinas on it.

Alas, she’s at the stage where she dislikes pink (her favourite colour is now green). She hates princessy things and the only doll she has (a Disney Mulan now looking completely disheveled and more like a slave girl than a princess) has been banished to a corner on the shelf to eat dust.

So what does a desperate mother do to begin Operation Ballerina? She bribes the little girl with vitamin pastilles so she would participate in class.

And this is my little girl trying to participate, after much coaxing and pleading, and two sugar-coated gum drops:

Ballet trial at MYMCA

As you can see, she doesn’t seem very into this ballet thing.

The first two lessons were new and a refreshing change from our usual routine on Saturdays, and so they were still quite fun to Becks. But by the time it got to the third week, she was begging me not to go. She started negotiating for more candies and asking if she could be learning swimming instead.

Urgh.

Gonna have to adopt a wait-and-see approach again, and introduce her to ballet when she’s more ready. I still think she needs to learn it, but perhaps not now.

Till then, thank you, Metropolitan YMCA, for offering Becks a chance to participate in July’s MY Ballet lessons and allowing me to sit in with her too!

*If you’d like to sign your little tot up for MY Ballet at the Metropolitan YMCA, you can email programmes@mymca.org.sg to enquire. Motherkao readers get a 5% discount off term fees!*

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post or review. Becks was invited to try out pre-school ballet at the Metropolitan YMCA. All opinions in this post are my own.

P/S: Yes, and I do also know she doesn’t need to pick up ballet to learn to be lady-like. Perhaps if she had a role-model who would teach her how to be graceful and gentle, that would pretty much fix some of our problems, yes? Umm, have you seen Becks’ mother? Hurhurhur. 

All this blog's PR Stuff Fatherkao loves... Food, glorious food! Happy days Motherkao loves... Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Smooth Operator (with help from the all new Philips Jamie Oliver Blender)

July 25, 2013

No, I’m not referring to Sade’s lover boy with diamond life.

I’m referring to this man who’s been in the kitchen lately, making after-dinner drinks for the kids and winning their hearts:

Smooth(ie) Operator

Smooth(ie) Operator

Thanks to the all new Philips Jamie Oliver Blender, Fatherkao is now the official Smooth(ie) Operator in our house. With mangoes in season, a 600-W blender with a two-speed pulse setting, a high quality 1.5-litre jar and titanium-coated 5-star serrated blades, he’s been wowing the kids with his smoothie creations effortlessly using this new kitchen tool.

The all new Philips Jamie Oliver Blender

The all new Philips Jamie Oliver Blender

He throws in ripe mangoes with lemon sorbet, some fresh lime and mint leaves, and pulse everything with crushed ice. Some days he adds a dash of milk and some days a splash of orange juice.

The ingredients for a refreshing mango smoothie

The ingredients for a refreshing mango smoothie

And the kids go on an all-time high waiting for their desserts after dinner…

Act 1, Scene 1: Impatience

Act 1, Scene 1: Gimme, gimme!

Act 2, Scene 1: More impatience

Act 2, Scene 1: Can’t wait! Gimme!

Act 2, Scene 2: Smoothie ready!

Act 2, Scene 2: Smoothie ready!

And going totally ecstatic to the point of declaring this:

Ben: Mama makes smoothie a little bit nice. But Dada makes the NICEST! Next time, when Mama wants to make smoothie, we’ll call you, ok, Dada?

Yummy yum yum, they say

Yummy yum yum, they say!

Now, that’s how the Smooth Operator stole my thunder and became the latest hero in the kitchen, with an uncomplicated blender who does all the work for him!

Keep life simple with the PHILIPS | Jamie Oliver range which includes a food processor (S$268), handblender (S$128) and blender (S$108). Available at leading electronics and departmental stores.

Disclosure: I received the Philips Jamie Oliver Blender for the purpose of writing this. This post is the second in a series of sponsored conversations on behalf of Philips Singapore. All opinions are my own. And yes, I am jealous that what I make for the kids is only “a little bit nice” but that’s just because I lent Fatherkao my Philips JO blender.

All this blog's PR Stuff Going Out! Reviews

FoodArt fun at Nutriville

July 24, 2013

During the June holidays, we were invited to check out Nutriville, a social enterprise that was established in 2011 that aimed to create novel yet practical ways to empower and equip senior folks in our community to help them age better and happier. The organisation was born when the founders, two young adults in their twenties, witnessed how their grandmother’s health and well-being deteriorated after a bad fall, and after being diagnosed with dementia. These two cousins then decided they wanted to do something meaningful for the senior folks in our community – they set up Nutriville and have been trying to accomplish their social mission ever since.

How is this social enterprise relevant to me, a mother with three kids, you may ask. Nutriville has launched a series of Food Art classes for children aged 4 and above, and are committed to channel their revenue from these programmes to engage their beneficiaries. I thought it might be worthwhile to check out what exactly is Food Art and find out what this social enterprise had to offer.

Nutriville’s FoodArt Programme is probably the first of its kind here in Singapore. The programme integrates food and art to create real art work, mosaic, crafts and clay. We checked out their “Carnival of FoodArt” at their pre-opening, and Ben and Becks had fun creating their own masterpiece with corn paint, carved potatoes and coloured rice.

Carnival of FoodArt

FoodArt Experience

It was a good hour of fun for them. I must say, given the neat freak that I am with my obsessive compulsion to keep everything orderly and clean, I might never allow this mess to happen at home. I’m glad Nutriville gave the kids a chance to make a mess and go creative on their drawing paper!

Final product

Nutriville offers a range of courses from creative FoodArt and food-carving to healthy cooking with traditional recipes. They also have classes that promote inter-generational learning, where you can bring a senior folk to go to class with you. The senior goes free too, for every paying participant. So if Grandpa or Grandma are bored out of their socks at home, they can attend class with junior, learn a thing or two about food art and in turn, pick up some skills. Special moments of bonding included too, I am pretty sure!

If you’d like to support Nutriville, do enquire at enquiry@nutriville.org, or visit their website and Facebook page for more details on their programmes, camps and workshops. Nutriville is located at Hangout@Nutriville, 153B Rochor Road, Bugis Village

Disclosure: We were invited to Nutriville’s pre-opening earlier in June. I did not receive any monetary compensation to write this and all opinions are my own.

Ben Kao Homelearning fun Learning fun! Milestones and growing up Re: learning and child training

Learning hiccups at four half: selective memory?

July 23, 2013

Lately, it’s been quite frustrating teaching Ben. He seems unfocused and is having trouble learning how to read. His memory also seems to fail him at times, and all these has gotten me pretty worried.

I’ve always known him to be someone with excellent memory. I mean, are you kidding me? This boy can rattle off the names of the characters in Mike the Knight just by watching one episode, can remember all the promises you made him and which day he gets his privileges. When he was in childcare, he knows everyone’s names in his class (English, Chinese and first names) and is the only in school who could at three years old.

I seriously don’t think he’s got bad memory.

What I think is the problem? Selective memory, methinks, especially when it comes to what he wishes to remember in academic learning.

For example, he can be writing a simple word 15 times in his jotter book and still not be able to spell the word immediately after. Every day, after kindy, when I ask him to tell me one thing he’s learned at school, he would have problems recalling. Sometimes, he would even make it up. But I am his mother, and I know the look in his eyes whenever he’s not telling me the truth. So I’d call his bluff, game’s over, and he would have to try harder to recall at least one thing he’s learned. It’s a brain exercise I make him do every day without fail on the bus. I just don’t get it – he remembers what he had for lunch in school but just can’t tell me ONE thing he’s been taught! Perhaps he wasn’t paying attention in class. Which could also explain why he doesn’t remember.

It gets even more frustrating when I try to get him to read. He’s already learned to blend words using the phonics way and has also learned to read some words by sight. Sight word reading has also been quite frustrating to teach so far. And far too often, when left on his own to read a book, he gives up quickly, closes the book in haste, and declares he doesn’t know how to read it. We’re talking about graded readers here, not some encyclopedic collection explaining the workings of the universe and the properties of matter. Some of these graders have been read and reread to him over months! I know he’s just hoping that when he says ‘I don’t know’ that I’ll read it (again) to him. Which I do. I never passed on an opportunity to read to my children. In fact, I have explored the 50 ways to help a child learn to read! Oh trust me, I have done them most and more!

Just last week, Ben brought a book (a graded reader for his level) home from the school library and we read it together, just like any new book we get our hands on. I taught him the new words in the story (about a family wanting a new dog) and he attempted reading it several times. All was good except that he just couldn’t remember that the boy in the story was called ‘Kipper’. We tried all sorts of ways to make him remember – blending the word, repeating it (almost) a hundred times – in the end, everyone, even Becks knew the boy’s name. Everyone but Ben. Whenever we asked him for the boy’s name, he would say ‘Kim’ or ‘Kimper’. By the third day, I was yelling, “KIPPER!!! HIS NAME IS KIPPER!!!” every time we came to that word.

The new word in the book was ‘Kipper’ but he couldn’t seem to remember it. I think I was more frustrated than he was.

I know it’s all in the training and I am teaching him to have a positive attitude about learning so as to overcome his selective memory. I also try to make learning as fun as possible, but sometimes it’s hard to get by without telling him harshly the importance of being serious and focused. And I definitely need to work harder in my patience department, that’s for sure! If you have any comments on how I can help my child, I’d be glad to hear from you.

Till then, I’m going back to good old simple readers to be read consistently and frequently, and have ordered what I know that has helped thousands of children, me included, all over the world:

Peter&Jane Ladybird Readers

Good ol’ Peter and Jane. He’s going to have to start with Key Words with Peter and Jane, the classical way of learning how to read and write. No more fanciful ‘Kipper’ readers for now.

I am glad to be able to stay home and observe the way my children learn, and discover their strengths and weaknesses. If I were to continue working full-time, these little things would probably go unnoticed. I’m glad for this opportunity (thank you, fatherkao), and am praying for wisdom every day to help the kids learn and realize the fullest of their potential.

Homelearning fun Learning fun!

Yoohoo, it’s the letter Y and Z!

July 22, 2013

Three of the hardest words my two kids have learned so far begin with the letter Y.

Can you believe it that both Ben and Becks had trouble calling a yak, a yak; a yacht, a yacht; and yarn, yarn?

They called a yak a yorn; a yacht – yuck; and a ball of yarn, a ball of yet.

Totally hilarious.

This month, we covered the letter Y. We did our tracers, met some woolly yaks, looked at colourful balls of yarn and pretended to sail in a yacht. That got our tongues twisted pretty much.

Yak and the letter Y

Yarn and the letter Y

For the letter Z, we read and reread Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo. I managed to get the super huge edition of this well-loved book from the Book Depository for 28 bucks, and the kids enjoyed story time with the book and opening the flaps. The book also amused Nat, who’s now 17 months and always ready for a story.

Dear Zoo_Reading the book

One of the things I am also trying to do as part of our homelearning is to thoroughly exhaust a book by learning as many things as we can from the story, and revisiting it consecutively for at least 3 days to a week. This was something I learned from Chengzhu Mandarin Centre, when Becks attended their holiday programme there last month. With Dear Zoo, I found this set of free printables which included a spot-the-difference activity, a colouring sheet, making a lion mask, a dot-to-dot worksheet and pathways activity sheet. We had lots of fun learning about zoo animals with these activities.

I also made a simple A4 sized “storybook” using powerpoint slides to reinforce the adjectives used to describe each animal that the zoo sent. Becks learnt the beginning sounds of each adjective and animal, while Ben learned how to spell simple words like ‘big’ and ‘tall’, as well as to blend sounds and identify words from the same word family.

Dear Zoo_Activities

We’re moving on to another letter next month, and looking forward to reading another well-loved story about a clumsy giraffe who can’t dance!

All this blog's PR Stuff Going Out! The Kao Kids

No sweat at the Drypers Little Day Out

July 18, 2013

We were at the first Drypers Little Day Out last year and I wrote about how the kids were averse to crowds at 3 and 2 respectively. Now that they’re 4 and 3, they are not so allergic to people anymore and welcome any opportunity to play, jump on bouncy castles and hop on carnival rides.

So we checked out the 2nd Drypers Little Day Out that was held two Saturdays ago at the Expo.

Dypers LDO at Expo

It was somewhat different from the first one we attended last year, in that, there was a lot more space, there was a lot less jostling we had to do, and it was a lot more cooler to be having carnival fun in air-conditioning comfort.

There was a whole host of activities for learning and family bonding from the get-go till the evening. There were activity stations on the left of the hall which included parent-accompanied music jamming for toddlers by KinderMusik, gym play by Gymboree, and a make-your-own-cupcakes booth. There were also story-telling sessions by Creative Ark on the stage, but of course, none of these were as enticing as those bouncy castles and Uncle Ringo rides that bade Ben and Becks come.

Activity booths at LDO

And go they did, the whole afternoon long. On foot and by wheels.

Playground fun at LDO

Bouncy engine at LDO

Train ride at LDO

Good thing there were chairs for the adults to sit around.

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t snacks available for the very hungry and tired mother that was me who needed to space out while the children played. Some tea and popcorn would be nice! I remembered having popcorn and candy floss the last time round. This year, I had to walk out to one of those push carts to pay for a super-inflated cup of corn for two-frigging-fifty. Oh well, things I do for my kids – eat so they can play longer.

Still, the kids had fun with Uncle Ringo and were practically still bouncing away when we had to leave. They were like, ‘Can we please go to this carnival again, we like doing this in aircon!’ These are spoilt kids, I say, but I must thank Drypers Singapore for pampering them silly. At least this time we had a cool, lovely Saturday together, and the kids didn’t have to queue in the heat and sweat buckets!

Balloons galore at LDO

Today we had fun

Parting shot at photo booth

This post was brought to you by Drypers who kindly sponsored our Drypers Wee Wee Dry and  Drypers DryPantz and invited us to make time for the family at their Little Day Out.