Feeling at home at Playeum

June hols. A period in which parents get all busy because there are simply too many places to visit and things to do. We are just entering into June and had visited the Singapore Art Museum, Gallery Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery, Faber-Castell’s Art Festival, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Dino Robot Factory at the Science Centre, Singapore Book Fair and then Playeum.

Playeum launched its fourth interactive exhibition ‘Making It Home: Dreaming Rooms, Making Spaces, Creating Places’ and it will be held from 16 May to 29 October.

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‘Making It Home’ is designed for children ages 1-12 and celebrates the home as a source of creativity, artistry and thinking. The spaces are transformed into different ‘rooms’, each with a different purpose and opportunities to explore and experiment. And these were exactly what our children did.

This is Dan who went straight to The Central Space to create connections using the pipes that we so commonly see in our homes. I just stood there and marvelled at how simple things like this could captivate a young boy.

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Then there is The Bedroom where dreams and drama co-exist. There were textiles that the children could use to transform themselves and engage in make-believe play. Faith dressed herself up as a superhero and roped me in. As if this wasn’t enough, there were two mini slides which my two kids had much fun with.

It’s funny how the kids could spend a good amount of time in this space alone. Oh, the wonders of creativity!

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The Store-y Room, a dark, slightly scary space that stores odd and sometimes discarded items.

The Future Living Room.

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This is the Laundry Room where our kids were trying to figure out how it works. There were different types of textiles and I thought this made for a good sensory lesson for Dan. There was this spinning fan that Dan could explore since the ones at home were out of bounds for him!

Here, the children can explore the world of laundry and cloth through weaving and peg-play.

The Kitchen, a space which I like and at Playeum, it’s the kids’ favourite too. They could use a variety of materials such as sand, magnets and kitchen instruments to engage and focus on sensory play.

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This is the girl’s favourite spot.

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Exploration extends to the real herbs growing just outside.

Have I convinced you enough that this year’s exhibition is mighty good? This has got to be my favourite. Perhaps, it’s because I like the homey feel? Perhaps, I could relate to the materials and segments of the rooms? Or perhaps, it’s because my kids were truly engaged, even for our toddler who normally could not stay focussed for more than a few minutes. I really love to see him so engrossed with the materials!

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The exhibition ends on 29 October. There’s ample time for you to consider making a trip down!

Paul Klee and his artwork

Our ‘Art education’ at home continued with Paul Klee. I have yet to find an art class suitable for Faith so meanwhile, we will have to learn what we can through books and the Internet. Normally, I will scout the local libraries for children’s books on the particular artist, read to the girl and then explore the artist’s work with her. I’m not an Art teacher by training but I can always learn!

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The book that I used for this lesson is The Cat and the Bird and the illustration is based on Paul Klee’s work. My objective for this lesson is simple. I wanted Faith to observe how colours are being used in harmony and to apply it in the colouring of the cat which I drew the night before.

Faith is in this phase in which everything is colourful to her. If you are to ask her to complete a piece of colouring work, chances are it will resemble the colours of rainbow. For this lesson, I wanted her to observe how the colours blend and we used crayons for this task. Initially, she was doing well.

While the sister was doing work, the brother couldn’t be ignored, of course! It’s doodling time for him!

“Hey! Pay attention to what you are doing!”

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Before you know it, the girl continued the colouring, this time in multi-colours. She gave me all sorts of reasons why the cat should be full of colours. I wasn’t going to fight this battle. Besides, it’s her work. I’m just going to let her enjoy the process.

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There you have it. A colourful cat. Her version of Paul Klee’s The Cat and the Bird.

We continued with the next artwork called ‘Castle and Sun’. Here, I got Faith to observe how the artist used shapes and lines to create this piece. I could have asked her to cut out different shapes using coloured paper but decided that she could spend some time working on the designs that are to be cut into various shapes as buildings. We even took out the blocks to create a ‘castle’.

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By this time, the brother was tired out and needed to take a short nap. While I carried him to nap, the girl continued to her work. We couldn’t quite finish the second piece since she had to get ready for school and had to continue the following day .

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Each of our ‘art lessons’ takes about two hours and while it can get really messy with the toddler around, I must say it is also satisfying to see how the girl has progressed. My only hope is that I will remain calm and not think about the mess that could be created. Learning should be fun!

[Friday Flips] F’s rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

After almost three weeks into 2017, we are more or less settled with the new schedule. The family is still coughing our way into the nights but at least we are on the road to recovery. Mornings are precious because those are the times when the kids are fresh and eager to learn. So far, we had fun doing grocery together, exercised and enjoyed our playground time, busied ourselves in the kitchen and had an artistic morning.

Faith has always indicated an interest in art and I have wanted to enrol her in some art classes. Alas, our last school holidays were so packed (with activities and rest and getting sick) that she didn’t get to attend any in the end. Despite that, we attempted to learn about artists and their works last month and I thought we should continue what we have started.

The next artist that we learnt about is Vincent Van Gogh.

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This book talks about how a boy followed the attitudes of the adults around him and bullied an eccentric painter (Van Gogh) before realising that there is more than one way to see the world when he met the painter face-to-face. I thought this book is one that helps to address bullying and how one ought to treat others. Our girl ‘catch no ball’ (couldn’t comprehend) although she got acquainted with Mr Van Gogh and his artwork through this book.

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The next book that we read was Katie and the Starry Night which is definitely more interesting and enjoyable. We went through some of the paintings of Van Gogh such as Vincent’s Chair, Noon, The Olive Grove and Fishing Boats on the Beach before starting to work on her rendition of The Starry Night. The main materials that we used were square sponges, cotton buds and the heads of Bok Choy (because I was cooking them the night before).

Using the square sponges, she dabbed them in blue to paint the sky.

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The next stage is to use the cotton bud to create the swirls in white and yellow. This was when Dan came in. He could well have fun with it too!

After the paint had dried up a little, it’s time to put in the stars using the head of the Choy. The design is lovely, isn’t it?

Lastly, I got Faith to cut out the houses from the corrugated paper and pasted them on the artwork.

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This took us the whole morning (plus playground time while waiting for the paint to dry up a little) but we were all satisfied at the end of it.

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We love the Katie’s adventure series a lot and thankfully our libraries stock them. You can read more about Monet’s works through Katie and the Waterlily Pond!

Which artist shall we touch on next?

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Fun with scissors: Cutouts with Henri Matisse

I had wanted to sign Faith up for some art classes during this hols but because of her cough, I had to stop the plan; I don’t want her to spread germs to the other children. So, I would have to scout for ideas for art and I thought reading about the lives of artists and learning about their art forms would be a good way to start. It’s pinterest to the rescue once more and I found some interesting resources that I could use.

After listing down some artists, I searched the catalogue of the local libraries and I’m so happy that there are good children’s books on artists.

The first artist that Faith and I learnt about is Henri Matisse who was famous for his cutouts later in his life. We read these three books to get to know the artist more and all three can be found in the Junior Lending Picture Books’ section in the (selected) libraries.

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After reading, I selected some key words to go through with Faith. She could sound out CVC words but I thought there’s no harm in getting her to learn some new words.

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Prior to the ‘lesson’, I drew some squares and rectangles on a drawing paper so that she could paint on them.

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It’s interesting to observe the colours she chose and how she painted the shapes. I tried not to interfere but to allow her to enjoy the process but…

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While waiting for the paint to dry, I got her to imagine and cut out any shapes she could think of. The girl loves to cut but she often cuts the paper into small pieces. This time round, I requested that she be bold and cut big curvy shapes and guided her into cutting them. She wasn’t comfortable and wasn’t too keen to do so but at least she tried, for some.

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After that it’s pasting time! I wanted her to pair contrasting colours together just as Mr Matisse did.

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Almost done! Since she was the artist behind this piece of art, she must sign off!

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Our first lesson on the study of Henri Matisse and cutouts!

Related and useful resources:
:: Painting with scissors: Kids study Matisse
:: In the style of – Henri Matisse

 

Canvas Painting at TrehausKids

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I have mentioned before that I would like to expose Faith to different interests so that I could help her identify her strengths and work on it/them. The period before she enters Primary School is a great timing because she has extra pockets of time to explore and we would not be stressed out by the demands of school. So far, we have signed her up for music, swim, dance and Chinese class. She loves all of them except for dance. It’s exasperating to observe her dance movement and attitude during the Twinkle Toes’ sessions that we signed her up for at the Esplanade. We concluded that she does not have interest in it, at least for now.

Art. I think she has a keen interest in it judging by how she could focus on working on an art piece. She has often expressed that she would like to attend an art class and I jumped at the opportunity for her to go for one at TrehausKids during the September school holidays.

The theme for that session is Monsters and Faith was actually looking forward to that session because she genuinely loves the space at Trehaus (she has had very good memories there). Upon entering the class, she settled rather quickly though it was her first time meeting Ms Jessie Chandran.

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Ms Chandran read them the book – Monsters Love Underpants – before getting them to work on a collage and subsequently the canvas painting of the Monster.

Definitely proud of her own work!

TrehausKids is launching regular weekly art classes at the Trehaus Studio, starting 16 September 2016. Helmed by TrehausKids Lead Facilitator and Art Educator, Ms Jessie Chandran, the weekly art classes happening every Friday is set to immerse young children in the world of modern and contemporary art while picking up core skills in painting techniques, colour mixing and sketching.

Every session, Ms Chandran will personally guide a small class size of no more than 8 students and mentor them on drawing, sketching and painting techniques to create their own masterpieces. In these sessions, students will explore different art medium such as watercolour and acrylics with a variety of painting tools to unleash their inner Warhol or Picasso. 😉

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For younger students who are aged 3-4, theme-based art workshops will include storytelling to accompany each session. I heard there will be exciting tales from well-loved children’s authors such as Eric Carle and other famous classics!

While the sister was working on her creative piece, the brother was having a fun time in the next room.

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The art class happens every Friday, starting 16 September
2:00PM – 3:30PM (3-6 years old)
4:00PM – 6 PM (7-10 years old)

Venue: Trehaus Studio
Cost of each session: $35 +GST (non members); $20 +GST (Trehaus members*)
Cost of one term of 4 sessions: $120 + GST (non members); $60 + GST (Trehaus members)

*Trehaus member refers to members on WORK or WORK + PLAY membership packages

More information can be found here.

Friday Flips | Windblown

How many of you will pack some activity materials for your kids to work on as you go out with them?

I do because I find them useful in ‘entertaining’ young kids and this is especially so when they are waiting for their food to be served during mealtimes.

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Normally, I will pack sticker books or some colour pencils and a small notebook for Faith to doodle. Along with that, a book or two are good choices too. Recently, I saw this book on the library’s bookshelf, flipped the pages and knew I had to borrow it.

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Windblown
by Édouard Manceau

“‘Shhh. . .’ said the wind.
‘I blew and blew as hard as I might.
I toppled the tree found by the frog,
shaped by the snail,
that the bird made into paper
that the fish cut into the pieces
that the chicken saw lying around.'”
— from the book

This story tells of seven scraps of paper blown along by the wind. On each page, the scraps create an animal who claims to be the owner of the scraps. The chicken claims they are his, the fish claims them too and so do the bird, snail and frog. Finally, the wind claims the scraps and blows them with one gust to the reader. “They are yours now too. What will you do?”

As you can see, this story screams for us to create something from the seven scraps of paper. So, I cut out the shapes (you can print it off here and laminate) and went through the story with Faith. With each page, the girl recreated the animal using the scraps of paper. You can bring along a piece of blank paper and have the child complete the picture by drawing the lines. In response to the last page in the story, I invited the girl to design a creature based on the scraps but she chose to work on the frog instead.

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I know it’s a safe choice and I respect her decision.

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I think her brother wanted to join in too.

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I decided to stretch the activity further by asking her to paint the picture since she kept asking me when she would be going for another art class. Moreover, we have just read Mix It Up and I thought it would be a good follow-up activity to the story.

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The activity actually became really fun when painting was involved. So I reckon this book is good to bring along to engage the minds of the young ones when you are out and as you go back home, you could continue to work on it like what we have done.

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I’m actually pleased with the outcome and frame the picture up.
This is a good home learning activity and we took about an hour to complete it. 😉

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Growing with the Tans Friday Flips
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Faith’s first art class

Faith has often expressed an interest in painting and would ask me to do art with her at home. I’m not trained in this area and could only work on some simple forms of artwork with her. So, when growingwiththetans asked me if I would be interested to get Faith to attend some art classes during the school holidays, I agreed readily.


She can be a tad shy when she’s with new friends. Thankfully N gor gor was there. We signed the kids up for Flower Vase (Finger Painting) at Artflock studio.


She was rather apprehensive at first because she has not seen this art teacher before. So, you can expect her to be rather quiet.


Once the lesson started, the kids were all on the ball. See how serious every one was.


While the children were hard at work, the mums were busy catching up with one another over brunch. I like this location a fair bit because there are some good cafes around and that means “caffeine, here I come!”


Came back and they were at the last stage. Such beautiful art pieces! I could never do such a work with her.


She was all smiles and I think she enjoyed herself.


Her artwork is the only one with a pink background.


The artist and her masterpiece.


So this concludes her first art lesson. When I asked her why she didn’t choose purple as the background since that’s her favourite colour, she replied,”I thought pink is your favourite colour?”

I’m not sure what that means. Did she choose pink because I like it? I’ll be honoured if that is the case. 😀

She did enjoy the class and when I asked her if she wanted to go for another lesson, her reply was an enthusiastic “yes”.

At this age, I’m still trying to find out what she is good at. She seems to be interested in a lot of things which is good. But how do you tell where her talent lies so that you can help her develop it? I’m not keen to crowd her childhood with enrichment classes but if she is not exposed to such an opportunity, how will we know?

Oh well, I’ll just use the school holidays to enrich her then. *shrug shoulders*

Over the ocean, Under the sea @ SAM at 8Q

I have been wanting to work on art with the girl for the longest time. However, such an attempt does require time and a peaceful environment and heart. On normal days, after the girl comes back from school, has lunch and nap, it would be evening and I would have to prepare dinner. Gah… so I’m taking every opportunity during the June holidays to have her immerse in some form of art. ✌️


First up, these sea creatures. Don’t be mistaken. She couldn’t draw these animals yet but I could definitely get her to paint using acrylic and poster colours. Her grip of the paintbrush has improved and could do a decent job in painting. We had instrumental music in the background and this created a perfect environment to work on her art piece. I love it when I saw the sparkle in her eyes as we mixed the different colours.

“Mom, why the blue and yellow turn to green?” That night, I read Little blue and little yellow to her.

In the afternoon, we joined Mrs Eio to the Singapore Art Museum for some Over the ocean, under the sea experience, hence my artwork with Faith in the morning.

I won’t elaborate on what’s in store at the museum since one can easily check it up on its website. I would just review it based on how enthusiastic the kids were.


I like this exhibition (Where is Mogus?) at level 1 the best. Maybe it’s the colourful installation that are mainly made by knitted yarn. Or perhaps it’s the tactile sculptures which encourage play, imagination and exploration among the kids. I was just wowed by the display. Reminded me of the beautiful underwater world when we went diving. I also love it that there is one particular coral patch that was completely white. Why? The coral has been bleached as explained by the guide.


At the Submaroom, the kids could try their hands on the origami. There are step-by-step guide for them to follow.


Aren’t they beautiful? Now, if only I could fold them successfully…


I personally felt that the Plastic Ocean which is an installation with plastic, nylon string, wooden pedestals (or waste materials, to me) spoke to me. I told the kids to imagine themselves as creatures living in the sea. How would they feel if they find their environment filled with all these trash? I felt suffocated and wanted to share with them the meaning of pollution. Faith is obviously a little too young to understand. But it’s always good to just share knowledge with her.


The other installations are non-interactive and I think the kids didn’t know what to do. They looked and went off. Hah…


Faith was obviously scared by this shark. Just look at the body language.


At the Suara Muara, posing with this Javanese old couple.


Back home, I got Faith to finish up her artwork and read her a story on pollution and tried to help her relate to what she had seen at the museum.


First art piece that is 90% done by her. It will be displayed in her room. ✌️

Keppel Centre for Art Education

How do you spend your March holidays?

For us, there would be no overseas travel or staycation. Instead, we would just be tourists in our country and try to explore as many places as we could. These days, we opt for places that the kids could enjoy and our first stop is the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery Singapore.

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Since we are citizens, we do not have to pay for the admission fees. Hooray! #FunforFreeSG

We went straight to the Keppel Centre but before we went in, we got to explore some of the art pieces by our local students.

Maybe our little one will be inspired after admiring these artwork? I can always hope.

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We proceeded to the Art Playscape which houses the magical forest and it provides great fun for the kids. Faith took some time to warm up to the environment and after 5 minutes or so, she could be seen running up and down the stairs and exploring the space. Oh, fellow parents, you do have to be with the kids lest they got too excited and hurt themselves in the process. This forest somewhat resembles the Trick Eye Museum and personally I had fun taking pictures.

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There is great avenue for pretend play here. Let’s imagine us crossing the river. Oh, look, there’s Mr Crocodile! Be careful!

Our next stop is the Project Gallery where we explore future homes and cities. Here, children think about how different our homes and the way we live will be and they translate their thinking into drawing and writing .

Spend $4 and you could work on this artwork with your child.

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A random child’s thoughts

After about 20 minutes in the Project Gallery, we proceeded to the Children’s Museum Workshop where the kids could write a postcard to the artist. Obviously, the girl couldn’t write it but she did doddle something on it before posting it.

So we spent slightly more than an hour in the three art spaces and when we popped by the Children’s Museum where kids could create some craftwork, the girl was visibly tired and asked to skip this.

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Children’s Museum

We didn’t stay long at the National Gallery. I would love to but the kids were exhausted and da man had to carry the older one around. We did enjoy the architecture of the supreme court though.

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Perhaps, next time?

To avoid the crowd during the school holidays, consider going there early?
😉

Playdate #3

After a few weeks of break, we finally resume our playdate! And I learn about exposure, age-appropriateness of any activities and readiness of the child.

Our plan is as follows:

– Circle time: Welcome song and introduction of the colour ‘Green’
– Storytelling and Craft
– Teabreak
– Quiet time
– Practical life
– Sandplay
– Goodbye song

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This time round, I hosted the playdate and after the Good Morning song, we shared about Green and brought green items to show the kids. Hopefully, they can register that colour in their minds.

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C read the story ‘Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?‘ by Eric Carle and I thought that is really a wonderful book. Since there is repetition in the story, children can expect what’s next. I like the big illustration too and our little children could even name some of the animals.

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The follow-up activities require the kids to match the animals using the cards provided by C. Of course, this activity has to be guided by the adults. Faith wasn’t able to do the matching; she’s not ready for it. But the older ones, like R could do so and I heard him make the sound of the animals too. Maybe I’m just not patient enough with Faith. In any case, I’m going to continue doing this activity with her!

IMG_2979Homemade matching cards by C.

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Teatime and I nearly fainted. Faith was dropping bread crumbs and cherries everywhere! I know she’s still working on her motor skills but I’m not good with the mess she’s creating! Arghh!

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The individual station for the Practical Life segment remains more or less the same but C introduced the clothes pegs today as she wanted the kids to work on their ‘pincers’ skills. This proved to be challenging for the kids but they did well for the other stations. I did see an improvement in Faith for the matching of the bottle caps to their respective containers.

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Originally, we wanted to bring the kids to the playground at the reservoir so that they could play with the sand. However, there was light rain before the playdate and we had to change the plan. So, we decided on art and got the kids to create their own artwork using paint and sponge. Faith didn’t want to work on it. I guess this is the first time that she’s introduced to this and would need some time for her to participate. Ok, time to get those Crayola’s washable paint!

noqLooking forward to the next playdate already!


Reminder: Don’t forget your entitlement to an exclusive 15% discount on all purchases at NoQ Store when you use code LYNNLLY at the checkout. This discount is valid until 31 July 2014.

Playdate #2
– Playdate #1