Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Sensory Play Ideas - Week 2

Here's another week of sensory home play I crafted out with Juboy. I know, it's been some time. I really am trying to be more diligent with 'schooling' him at home.

1. Magnetic FUN
I had a half pack of expired wheat germ which instead of ditching, I came up with an idea of getting some play out of it. Poured the wheat germ into a box, hid some paper clips and key rings within, and topped off with some pom poms and confetti. Gave the boy a magnet to fish out the clips and rings within. 

He was really amused with what his magnet attracted!


2. Fish Counting
Laminated 5 coloured and numbered fish, and filled a ziplock with blue coloured water. We counted the fishes as we set them into the water for swim. Laminated pieces allowed me to count and re-count.

3. Counting toppings
Poms poms are really some useful tools when it comes to learning. I bought sticky ice cream notes from Diaso and stuck them on paper with numbers written on the cones. We distributed the poms poms, like toppings for the ice cream, according to the number on the cone. We worked within 5.

4. Iceberg Rescue
We gathered some of their very small toys and froze them up in a container. Coloured the water blue for an iceberg effect. Once the iceberg is ready, I provided tools for the rescue work. Tools like sponge, salt, warm water and spoon. For older kids, they can discover the science on how salt and warm water speed up their rescue work.

Some toys were harmed in the process, so choose toys wisely. Yes, his older siblings love this too! 

5.  Story Comes Alive
Juboy's current favourite is Brown Bear Brown Bear by Eric Carle. Popular books have a wide spread of online materials for print. Here's what I found and printed on his favourite title. We reinforced colours and animals trough this little work, even if it means horse being blue and cat being purple. Though he isn't much into colouring, there was much we achieved out of it.

It takes so much discipline and ideas to keep this little boy meaningfully occupied. Well, I am not complaining, it isn't too long before he outgrows these ideas.

Milestone: 22 Months

Week 1: Sensory Play Ideas

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Lion King musical returns!

The Lion King animation is undoubtedly a familiar memory of kids who have caught the movie. I remember watching it on video tape when it was first out in 1994. That is how long it has been around for! The Lion King has a very meaningful and teachable storyline. Being adapted into a musical, its story must have won the hearts of many.
World's number one musical, The Lion King is making a return to The MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands on 27 June 2018 for a limited season.
In its 20th year, THE LION KING continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 24 global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people and winner of over 70 major international theatre awards. The international tour to celebrate its 20th anniversary will premiere in Manila and then travel to Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.

This spectacular musical brings together one of the most innovative creative teams on Broadway. Brillantly re-imagined by acclaimed director Julie Taymor, Disney's beloved film is transformed into a dazzling experience that redefine audiences' expectation of theatres.

I caught it in 2011 when it came, it was awesome! This round, the kids will have to watch it and get bedazzled by the choreography and familiar songs.

Get your tickets at marinabaysands.com or sistic.

This official presenter of this production is SingTel. SingTel customers will be able to enjoy an exclusive 15% discount off tickets. SingTel customers booking link here.

Don't miss this musical opportunity with the kids!

Event Date
Wed, 27 Jun - Fri, 7 Sep 2018
Tue - Fri: 7.30pm
Sat: 2pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 1pm & 6pm
Mastercard Theatre at Marina Bay Sands
Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)
VIP Reserve : S$230
A Reserve : S$195
B Reserve : S$165
C Reserve : S$135
D Reserve : S$105
E Reserve : S$85
F Reserve : S$65
VIP Box (For 4 seats): S$920
C Reserve Box (For 4 seats): S$540
D Reserve Box (For 4 seats): S$420

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Kids do not run on batteries

We started the year with a busy note. From days with all freed up weekends, we have filled our weekends with classes. The daughter has gotten intensive into her gym training and the boy has started badminton. All filled on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Though they very much enjoy what they are doing, I'm a tad depressed that precious weekends are sucked into classes. And most times, we have to adjust our schedule to the coaches' schedule. Much more than the other way round. For being a home Mum, I've always tried every best to fill classes on weekdays, just so weekends are solely for free time.

Jare has drums on weekday and badminton on weekend. This boy needed a sport to keep him sane. Jazz's plate is fuller, she has gym training four times a week, twice in school and twice over the weekends. In midst of weekdays, she has piano and violin. This really isn't our ideal, but probably the best hours we can put in for her upcoming competition. In competitive sports, her training hours are shy of what most athletes are pumping in.

Her weekly schedule is pretty much filled. I've asked ourselves umpteen times if there is something we should rejig or let go, but we couldn't decide. We did consider putting music on hold, but I didn't want to risk her losing interest in them. Not that she is excelling, but because starting them off wasn't a hasty decision, they were meant for long term. Starting two musical instruments was never my plan. With her already doing piano then, she asked to do the violin. Music is a long and dedicated journey.

Once started, giving up is not an option even when journey is tough, giving up is not an option even when your teacher got a little more strict and giving up is not an option since the day you embarked. We have not ended our race, perseverance is probably the only option. Most times, a kid gave up on something, not because he chose to, but because the parents chose to or partnered that decision in a way or another.

Start something thoughtfully.


At this point of her schedule, I am concerned about her childhood. I am concerned about the increased work load from school and the delayed bedtime she gets. I am intensely concerned about protecting her free time for play. Even if it means crafting time boredom.

Just last week, the daughter heard a conversation between her piano teacher and me. Her teacher was unable to make it for the next lesson, and asked to do a make up the following Monday which Jazz has gym on. I do not really like doing make up lessons out of our allocated time schedule, but I understand private teachers teach for a living and if every parent calls off lesson as and when, what is stability to their income? With that thought, I took the liberty to okay for a makeup lesson on Monday, which Jazz has gym. No other schedules could meet the teacher and ours. 

So make up lesson will be on Monday, after gym and dinner. Jazz came up to me after the teacher left, and said in a pathetic tone, "After gym is very tiring you know. I don't run on battery, Mama." 

That was my wake up call! I mean even if it is just a one time schedule of packing 2 lessons in a day. I really thought she could grit on and just do a lesson of piano. I must have overlooked her physical  and mental ability. It's sad that kids today run packed schedules. Those days when our weekends were all so freed up, we couldn't fit a good play date because most of their friends would be engaged with lessons. 

These are kids of our century. The trend of declining playtime.

And the daughter is absolutely right, she doesn't run on battery. I had better sort it out quick before she gets flat out. I told her teacher, we are unable to do any make up lesson, and we will skip lesson for a week. That's just how "consistent" we get with music practice. But mental state is always a priority. We will take it slow and hopefully, move as steadily as we hope to.

Jazz spoke right into me, while most of the times I give them choices about their schedule and what they had like to do about their activities and lessons. I must have overestimated her ability. Even if she was a battery, everlasting is a matter of time. How quick should we intervene or what right choices should we make right at the beginning? I'm very sure at this point of time, we will need to free up her weekend gym schedule once competition is over next month. If she is agreeable.

What is your child's schedule like? Let's be reminded that there are greater things and achievements than running in and out for classes. There are different environment and places to hang around in. Let's be reminded to factor in free time for their hobbies. Time is often more on hand when they are a child, more than when they step into the corporate world. 

Their kind of childhood is very much in our command.

There is really much considerations when starting our child on something. Do we want it short-term or long-term, what approach are we taking towards it, does a school or private teacher give us the flexibility we want and of course, if our child is enjoying their schedule? Let's not get sucked into the system of 'because of everyone is doing it', but because my child needs and enjoys it. 

Enrichment, be it arts, music, sports or academic, in any childhood today, it's almost inevitable. Do we want to orchestrate their schedule or do we allow them to play the music of their life? I forgot to ask my kids, but I will ask them tonight, what are the activities that bring them most joy?! We should be doing more of that!

This Lunar New Year, we want to celebrate family bond and rest from schedules. May you have a splendid time ahead too, Happy New Year!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Sensory playtime at Busy Tables [GIVEAWAY]

Juboy is in the age of enjoying sensory play very much. When the invitation to play with Busy Tables came, we knew we had to hop on. We embarked on a 5 sensory thematic play sessions where experiential play experiences for children between 1-6 years old were delivered. Busy Tables adopts a holistic experiential learning approach which enables young learners to learn through the reflection of what they have experienced or done. It allows them to maximise their learning opportunities through teacher-led facilitation

Their programmes conducted by experienced early childhood educators are delivered through facilitated learning sessions, where learner's experience is the focus. Little learners are constantly questioned and encouraged in the learning process. We know kids at such tender ages learn more effectively from facilitation, not instruction. 

For having our sessions in the first morning slot, we were always welcomed by a neat and cosy layout of meaningful play resources. And that's where Juboy roams and play for a while before the session begins. He loves every moment of it!

During the times we visited, though not consecutive weeks, the sessions were different and never once repeated. Which brings to the point that sensory play is an unlimited multitude of ideas. Their package sessions works with your flexibility, just be sure to use them up within 6 months. I know, sensory play is one that can be done, anytime and anywhere, even in homes. And yes, we do sensory play at home too!

However, coming together in groups to play and being guided purposefully may have a different impact on the toddler's learning. At least for Juboy, who has yet to start school, it is a place that he knows Mummy doesn't do the facilitation, but someone else. He learns to play in small groups and did attempt to sit for concentration. And most essentially, it explores the sensory play that I would usually put on my procrastination list. Getting messy is often the easy excuse to shelf my plans aside.

The sensory thematic playgroup group sessions we embarked on, wasn't a very large group. There was enough room and play for each learner and their accompanying adult. We know how ineffective learning can be when there's overcrowding. Small and contained session like this definitely makes learning conducive. 

Each play session led by teacher Ainul was awesomely good! She is positive, encouraging and really good with the little learners. She praises efforts and ensures that every curious mind has room for exploration. The facilitators were never mindful about mess or dirtiness, though it really did seem uncomfortable to parents. Parents were busily trying to contain and scoop up the mess, but it really was alright to keep clam and move on! That's what sensory play is all about.

So yes, dress your little one in rugs, or if not, aprons are available for put on. Get really prepared for mess! Each session which lasts about an hour consists of three different activities, mostly revolving around the same theme. Two of which are dry activities and a final one that invites little hands to get wet and messy with shaving cream, slime, noodles etc.

All in all, it was a time and place with positive vibes for play! Learners really enjoyed it there. 

We also love that after every session, we were welcomed to stay on for play instead of having to pack and rush off. And so we usually tarry a little longer for play before heading off. There are a huge bunch of learning resources and sensory kits set up for learners to free play before and after each session.

It was almost inevitable that my little learner got comfortable with mess by having flour all over his face and hair! Thankfully, though there isn't a toilet within Busy Tables, they have got a huge water tumbler brought in for hands washing.

The concept of such invitation to play helps little learners learn and explore in a manner that they want to, and not because they have to. Such is definitely the right motivation to kick off the right learning style, where curiosity is encouraged and rewarded with fun and learning opportunities!

It was a great time of bonding session for us, Mother and son too! Look out too for their monthly sensory carnival which will be loads of fun.
Rochester Mall
35 Rochester Drive
Singapore 138639
+65 84200200

Facebook: @busytables 
Instagram: @busytables

Parents with children between 1 to 6 years old, we have a 3 session play at Busy Tables to giveaway to ONE winner. I assure you, it's great fun for any curious child. To participate, Simply complete the following steps:

1. Like Busy Tables on Facebook
2. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
3. Tag 3 friends whom you think will love this giveaway, in the comments section of the post.

That's it. All the best!

Giveaway closes on 09 Feb 17, 2359hrs, 

Terms and Conditions:
  • Winner will be announced on Facebook and this blog post
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • All entries will be verified before the winners are announced 
  • To be fair to our sponsor, social media accounts set up purely to take part in contests will be deemed ineligible to win.
  • Giveaway is no way sponsored, endorsed, administered or associated with Facebook..

Friday, 29 December 2017

Closing 2017

2017 is closing its chapter. How was it for you?

For a home Mum, it was probably another great year of watching the kids grow, learn and mature. This year, I seem to have struggled much more with sibling rivalry. There were countless fights and conflicts between the older two. I've no idea what is happening, all the tiffs are driving me up to the wall. Friends and experienced parents often tell me it's only natural! But it's a whole new story when you see and spend time with the kids the moment they are off school and unite with each other. You see through every breeze to storm.

Not that I expect some perfect harmony, but it just gets too crazy when I witness their zero tolerance towards each other. In midst, I've mastered the art of ignorance. Ignore the little things, ignore the slightest annoyance, give them time to resolve before intervention, take privileges away and even go on individual dates. Tolerance is futile, it didn't get me much rewards. This sibling rivalry can get so intense that I often feel too much time is spent negotiating, breaking up fights and disciplining. It's time wasted which can be used for other quality matters.

I recalled they were easier when younger. Maybe, it was the addition of another sibling, which possibly means less time with them. And honestly, I've been trying really hard to balance and rope the man in, to mend the gaps. Yet there's just this much we can do.

As I look back the year, life with 3 kids had been excitingly challenging. Families with 4 or more kids, I wonder how their zone is like. I struggled with coping, I struggled to give each child attention and somehow, the least understanding youngest usually wins the battle of time. It is however with consensus that he being the cutest, gets the sweetest deal.

As a home Mum, I've no career goals, I've no salary or bonus to look forward to, I can only continue working in my called role of teaching the kids best values, build memorable and beautiful childhood for as long as I can. For the man, as much as I can give him the peace of mind at work.

I do have fears, I fear that their maturity outgrows my thoughts some day, I fear that their independence draws them too quickly away from me, and I fear they do not grow up the way I had wanted them to. The hard truth is, our kids will really have to leave our nest to build their own families. What will become of me and my gradually empty nest?!

In the new year, I will have to continue making peace and do my best in refereeing sibling conflicts. I strive for a better routine and a greater balance. With the youngest turning two next year, it will be a whole new excitement. I've never thought it gets easier because sending him to school is far from thought, I'm only bracing myself for more busy times ahead. 

Number 2, Jare is hopping onto primary 1 next year! A mixed of feelings I get again, the sea of emotions that I struggle with having a kid out of preschool. But yay! To the savings we get from fees. Mainstream primary school is so much more affordable, won't you agree?!! 

Sometimes the kids are more ready than we are. Though I felt so much lack in getting him ready for P1, the anxious me has mellowed much with this being our second. I just had to be reminded on our ways of easing into P1 for big sister.

The eldest, Jazz is stepping into P3 next year. I will have to say I'm more anxious about that. Still holding back to our no academic enrichment route, I hope she will be able to cope with tougher syllabus, and with the addition of Science. It's impossible to say they learn through play at this age, but igniting the hunger for learning is one great way to inspire.

Year of 2017 wasn't like a bed of roses. Bad things and Good things make up the year. It is always easy to be Thankful for beautiful things, but tough trying to see beauty out of the bad. Over dwelling in the bad doesn't make us any better. In times of tears and in the very congested mind, I look at family with a different perspective. The moments of family presence, hugs, kisses and cuddles are just so magical! It melts woes almost instantly.

Thankful that we are all moving onto another new year! Not so much about the aging, but proclaiming the glorious and better days ahead! 

This is my story to share. I hope your year has been well and may it get even better in the many more years ahead. Have a Blessed New Year!