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IKEA Make a Friend Contest (and how a robot may change my mind about something)

October 28, 2013

I’m one of those moms that dislike having to work with glue, newspapers and recyclable thingys. In fact, I’d go as far to say I declutter so often you’d never be able to find a single thing to craft with where I live.

And yes, I am also a typical (Asian) Tiger Mom, who would much prefer my kids to be reading, tracing, learning their math or playing the piano, so I don’t usually do craft with my kids or allow my children time for crafting. Painting, yes; drawing yes; but making stuff from nothing, nope soree’.

The kids know that (the Tiger Mom part), and they don’t have a thing for crafting either (perhaps largely due to the fact they don’t get to do it enough to like it). So when IKEA invited us for their ‘IKEA Make a Friend Contest’ Preview Party last Saturday, I didn’t know if we should go. We would need to make a robot together – me, Ben and Becks – and I am really not sure if we could pull this off. Truth be told, we’ve also never worked on making something together.

But the kids love, love, love IKEA. There’s something about being there (at IKEA Tampines, where we hang out a lot), smelling the wood and looking at furniture that makes them very happy kids. So when I asked them, they didn’t even think for a minute how difficult it would be for all of us to be making a robot together. They heard ‘IKEA’, they jumped for joy.

It was then I knew I’d probably be the one making the robot instead of them.

Oh well.

So did we eventually “make a robot friend” on a nice Saturday morning? Well, for starters, Ben and Becks started fiddling with the materials we were given in our box with no idea what to do. Then Ben started drawing his signature smileys on the cardboard rolls and Becks just did whatever she wanted to do whenever – pretend paint, played with super glue, cut paper into strips – and was most diva when I requested that she help by adding some colour to boring brown cardboard boxes.

“Colouring with crayons is VERY tiring you know, Mama,” my little girl said.

The brother also echoed:

“Ya … I don’t know how to make robots lah. So difficult.”

I’m sure you could tell we were off to a great start.

So I ended up conceptualising, and doing most of the assembling, requesting for help only when help was forth coming – like when the kids were finally in the mood to help me tape / glue / cut / colour – all the while going flustered mom on them asking them to stop squabbling / putting glue in their mouth / rubbing newspapers on their faces / destroying the robot.

A rare shot of Ben and Becks getting some "work" done

A rare shot of Ben and Becks getting some “work” done

And finally, we, made our friend. 95% Mama and 5% Ben and Becks. I’m sure it still counts as teamwork!

Tadaa! We made a robot friend!

Tadaa! We made a robot friend!

Ben named him “Alien Robot” because he was green and had spoons on his head.

He really liked it, and got all the stuffed toys that IKEA gave us to befriend him too.

Ben and our new friend, "Alien Robot"

Ben and our new friend, “Alien Robot”

All of us at IKEA and our new friend, plus more new stuffed toy friends

All of us at IKEA and our new friend, plus more new stuffed toy friends

It was a lovely Saturday morning (despite having to craft!) at IKEA and watching the other bloggers and their kids getting their creative juices flowing was all very inspiring! I felt so alone there, like I was the only mom in the room who didn’t like to craft at all and probably the only one nagging non stop at my kids (stop playing with tape! – don’t mess around with UHU! – quit shredding the construction paper! – gawd’, no, those rolls aren’t binoculars!). I don’t know how these moms do it – not scold their kids or nag them – and I very much wished that the kids and I could make something together without the nagging (from me) and squabbling (between themselves). I know it’s a little too much to expect, with Ben only 4 and Becks 3, but is it really too much to ask that they sit still and focus on a task?

Perhaps they need to be given more opportunities to work with craft materials, yes?

Perhaps I need to take a chill pill too?

The room of bloggers and their kids! Check out some of their blogs: The Gingerbread Mum, The Dino Family, Sengkang Babies, Singapore Mom Blogs and Sakura Haruka

The room of bloggers and their kids! Check out some of their blogs: The Gingerbread Mum, The Dino Family, Sengkang Babies, PeiPei.HaoHao.,Singapore Mom Blogs and Sakura Haruka

The kids, some adults and our robot creations

The kids, some adults and our robot creations

Nonetheless, it was a nice morning out and the kids were more than happy to be at IKEA, and to be presented with food and stuffed toys. “Alien Robot” now sits proudly in our living room as our new friend, and he’s making me change my mind a little about gathering recyclables and working with the kids on doing some craft together (perhaps with one kid each time, just one or two a year). I’d have to overcome my extreme disgust for glue first, that’s for sure. That, plus find a good pair of gloves to wear when handling newspapers. But till then, I’m glad the robot taught me something about how maybe, just maybe, I could start training the kids to focus on one ‘craft task’ at a time, and that maybe crafting together with them wouldn’t be so bad after all if we started doing it more often.

Hmmm. I need to think about this one. I am sure I can start being more ‘crafty’ because there are definitely more benefits than I can see. And we all can learn to reuse and recycle too, while at that.

But if you and your kids love to craft and love IKEA, here’s more on IKEA Make a Friend Contest:
  • If you’re not like me, and absolutely love to make things together with your kid(s), you can make a robot at IKEA’s Make a Friend Contest! The contest is open to all parents with kids aged 12 and under, and all kids who are 12 and under – but you have to be either FAMILY members of IKEA or småles members of IKEA. (You can find out how you can be a FAMILY member here or register your child as a småles member here.)
  • In the competition, each parent-child team will be given cardboard materials to create their very own robot within an hour, and every robot will be photographed and shortlisted by a panel of judges before a final round of voting. The best looking robot wins $500 worth of IKEA Children’s Furniture and gift card, and will be turned into a life-sized robot to be showcased at IKEA stores!
  •  The great day of family fun where creative play takes place is on 23 November 2013 from 10am onwards at IKEA Tampines. There would be 5 sessions in total (more details here) and registration is free!
  • To register for a spot in the contest, simply sign up online here from 28 October 2013.

Disclosure: We were invited to the Bloggers’ Preview Party at IKEA. I did not receive any monetary compensation for writing this. The kids did, however, receive stuffed animals of their choice, and will go on an all-time high when you mention IKEA, and would love the idea of going IKEA even more now. All opinions here are my own.

P/S: I am not a crafting Mama. Please don’t throw stones my way, tell me how un-creative our robot looks or write to me about how I shouldn’t be denying my children the chance to get creative with doing craft. I’m changing my mind about that, but till then, it’s hard for the tiger to rid her stripes and her OCD.

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  • Reply carol November 1, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    I am so glad to read this. I thought I was alone. not in the not liking to craft, because I do love crafting, used to craft a lot as a child (I just love making things with my hands by myself, DIY), and I wish I have more time to do my personal craftwork and also to craft with my kids. But I could so identify with the OCD (everything must be done according to my standards, design, workflow, level of cleanliness, perfection!), impatience with my kids, and constant nagging/cajoling/threatening for them to get some REAL craftwork done instead of just mucking around. every craftwork session at home (usually because we need to pass up some homework set by the boys’ childcare teachers!) inevitably turns into a session of me raising my voice at my poor kids. =( but I am working on upping my patience, lowering my voice, breathing more and shouting less. It’s working, slowly, but surely. Take heart!

    • Reply MotherKao November 5, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Hi Carol, it’s heartening to hear that we’re all OCD-mums striving to be better mums everyday! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Ai Sakura October 30, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Was great to finally meet you and your family that day! 🙂

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • Reply MotherKao October 31, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Nice meeting you and Lil Pumpkin too! 🙂

  • Reply Mummy Ed October 29, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    I’m really not very crafty either, and painting at home always ends up being about the paint rather than what they’ve painted (so I really have no nice artworks to show for the time they’ve spent!). Recently I let my boys go wild at Voyage of Dreams, and my 5YO ended up trying to glue empty plastic bottles onto a piece of cardboard, good grief! I’m still trying to figure out if I’m not directing them enough or they’re just like that. How?? Sigh…..

    • Reply MotherKao October 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      I also don’t know, Mummy Ed! Methinks sometimes they aren’t so creative also because we don’t craft enough but I just don’t like to and I do feel we could have used our time better! Hmmm… Creativity can be developed in other ways, yes? Through games and puzzles too?

  • Reply SengkangBabies October 29, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    hi Elizabeth, I also did 95% of the Robot, and I do not like handicraft too haha.
    Nice to catch up.
    andy (SengkangBabies)

    • Reply MotherKao October 29, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Haha, yes, Andy! We were surrounded by talented Mamas and crafting kids! It was nice to meet you too, and I am glad we all pulled our robots off!

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