Busy tables, busy cards

[Review + Giveaway]

Busy tables. Any idea what they are about?

When I first got an email to preview Busy Cards at Busy Tables, I was curious and wondered what this was about. I have apparently not heard of Busy Tables and my first impression was some kind of cafes that could cater to kids and provide them with a set of tasks while dining in.

I was wrong. Just a little.

Busy Tables is located at Rochester Mall and is an indoor educational playground suitable for children under 6 years of age. Educational ? Yes. You will find that the setup is different as compared to the indoor playgrounds that we commonly go to. Here, you will find educational toys and resources that encourage children to use their senses to explore.

As we entered, I was asked to have Faith explore the various spaces and toys at Busy Tables. The girl got busy instantly. There were toys which she had played with before and there were also those that she was really interested in like car tracks and rainbow nesting wooden block stacker.

There was minimal guidance from me but she was totally engrossed in those that she was interested in; she was trying to make sense of the toys.

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Then there was this dark room that really attracted her attention and she stayed in there for the bulk of our time at Busy Tables. I’m quite certain that was the first time that she has ever seen a light box and with so many toys to play with, who would want to come out?

We must have sat there for quite a while until one of the staff at Busy Tables came over and tell me more about this indoor educational playground and Busy Cards. Essentially, they hope that parents could learn and bond with their children through working with the resources. They believe that children learn best from their parents and thus create such an environment for them to learn and have fun together.

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I was then introduced to Busy Cards which is an assortment of curated cards which give children ‘missions’ to complete. As can be seen from the picture, there is a variety of activities that involves literacy, numeracy, fine-motor and problem solving skills. The cards and missions are divided into various stages and tiers to pose as incremental challenges to them. It is hoped that children could acquire the discipline to concentrate on a task as they work together with their parents and to learn to keep and return each set of resources back to their original postion. Good habits, I say! These cards also assist parents to explore the many resources available at BusyTables. 😉

If you find the activities on the card given to your child to be on the easier or more difficult side, you can definitely ask for one that suits your child more.

The girl was very motivated to want to complete six activities because upon completion of those tasks, she could get a coin token to play on the slot machine (she loves it!). And, it’s no surprise that she chose to work on the activities that were found in the dark room.

If you look through the resources at Busy Tables and scan the Busy Cards, you would find that you might have some of them at home. For us, we have some of the puzzles and toys that are found there. Obviously, we do not have all and I definitely won’t be able to recreate the dark room in my home ( I don’t want to do it). I would think that this is a good place to hang out if you want to spend some quality time with your child and to have him/her do some “brain work”.

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We saw a group of mothers and children having a playdate while we were there and I thought that is a brilliant idea. I mean, all the resources are there and you don’t have to spend time making resources.

According to the staff of Busy Tables, the peak hours are in the morning, early afternoon and evening. There are fewer people between 1 to 4pm and you guess it right! It’s nap time! So if your kids don’t need to nap, that period is the best time to go! If you are curious about the pricing, you can refer to this on their website.

[Giveaway] Busy Tables has kindly agreed to give FIVE passes to readers of Raising Faith (residents of Singapore only)! Hooray!  All you need to do is to comment on this post or on Raising Faith Facebook Page who you would like to bring to Busy Tables and do leave your email address for us to contact you! 😉

You can find out more about Busy Tables via their website or facebook page. The giveaway will end on 16 December 2016 and I would announce the winners on my Facebook Page and IG account.

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All the best!

Learning about work at Kidzania(SG)

I think we are among the last few people who have not visited Kidzania. It’s not a place that is on my list of places to visit for now because Faith is still so young. What could she learn from the experience? Would she enjoy herself? The entrance fee itself is high and I needed to make sure that we will be spending our $$ wisely. Thankfully, our friend had won passes for the adults and all we needed to spend on was the fee for the girl. So, in the end, we found our way to Kidzania (Sg).

It was the first Saturday of the year-end school holidays and we were expecting great crowd so I had braced myself for such a turnout. Managing expectations is important. Alas, we were taken by surprise that it was not THAT crowded!

It was this empty when we arrived and there was NO queue when we checked in. We were told that there was an event held earlier in the morning and that we should expect the participants to stay on. Okay!

The first thing the kids have to do is to open a bank account so that they could deposit their ‘hard-earned’ money into their account. We have not brought the girl to a bank before and she was clueless as to what to do. (-_Q) I actually found myself shouting to guide her from outside. So unglam.

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Her first job? Post woman! This is a relatively easy task and I think she would enjoy it.

All ready for the job yo! It’s good to visit Kidzania with a friend so that both can help and encourage each other. I suppose if Faith was to come alone, she would take a LONG time to warm up and participate.

Trust me, they had fun.

The next job that she went for was the dentist. It wasn’t her choice, really. We were just looking for the next possible job, one that would not require her to queue for too long. The queue for the dentist was one of the shorter ones because they were ending their previous round and would just need the next round of participants to queue for about 10 minutes which was decent.

So, I’ve learnt that one has to learn to play the waiting game at Kidzania. It’s truly training of patience.

The next job that Faith was willing to queue up for was a doctor in the A & E department. She must really wanted to learn about this role because she waited in line for about 20 minutes then and the whole session would take about 55 minutes. While she was learning about being a doctor, that was the best time for the adults to take a breather and have a bite at the eateries in Kidzania.

Before we could finish our meal, we were alerted that there was an ‘accident’ and had to quickly finish so that we could (ahem) rush to take pictures of our child at work. Faith was just playing the observing doctor throughout and I wasn’t sure what she was thinking about. Was she trying to make sense of the whole thing?

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This was a scene in which a hotel was on fire. And who came to the rescue? Fire fighters! This was interesting but unfortunately, the girl didn’t manage to be one.

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This was at Acting School. We asked Faith to go in since her friend was interested in this and also, it didn’t require us to wait. But, halfway through, she asked to come out because she basically wasn’t interested.

 

She would rather go and play soccer, seriously! In fact, she had requested for this for a few times! I was surprised by her interest!

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Four hours into role-play and I could totally sense the girl’s exhaustion. She had swimming lesson that morning and didn’t get to nap before going for Kidzania and I know she was going to get cranky soon. In the end, she chose a simple activity which was to shop at a supermarket although she wanted to be a cashier (not old enough).

 

The last activity before she got to spend her hard-earned money – kidZos – at the department store was to go on a tour around Kidzania which she needed to pay for. I guess this was a good ending!

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I’m glad we made it for this visit to Kidzania though I wasn’t so keen initially. I feel it is too young for a newly-minted 4YO to understand and fully maximise the time spent in Kidzania. I think it would make more sense for the older kids. Besides, there are other roles that have age and height limits. Nonetheless, it was a good experience. I got to observe how Faith behaved through the various roles and got to know her interests. For her, she learnt dental care from being a dentist (for example) and most importantly, she had fun.

I don’t forsee us going back soon but perhaps once a year? Many of my friends prefer to go to the ones in KL and Bangkok because of the cost. Maybe we could try that option too!

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To understand Kidzania (SG) a little more, I find this guide a comprehensive one.

ACM | Finding the Missing Mouse

The plan is this. We would meet up with Faith’s playmates to visit Asian Civilisations Museum since there is a Children’s Season Programme going on – Once Upon a time in Asia: The Missing Mouse. The mummies would read the story to the kids and perhaps attempt to work on some craft with them.

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It didn’t happen that way. Not at all. In fact, when the kids met up, they were so happy to see one another they just played, in their own ways. It’s not the setting that’s important; it’s the company that counts.

Faith was so happy when she saw N and Mummy Ade that she rushed to meet them. From then now, the two kids were inseparable, holding hands as they walked towards ACM. The last picture? Faith was frightened by the millipede and N gor gor reached out to protect her. Awwwww…

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Young tourists

Singaporeans enter the museum free and once they were in this hall, took off their shoes and went running into the maze. It happened really fast and we, the moms, had not much time to react. However, since it is a small space, we thought the kids would be fine on their own playing and exploring and we ended up chatting at the bench.

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The kids really had a jolly good time just running around in the maze. Kids at this age are so easy to please! They had so much energy that we didn’t bother to read them the story. Just let them have fun!

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Although this is a small space, the kids were entertained for 1.5 hours. Apparently, there are story-telling sessions in the afternoon and Fridays seem to be the best day to go! So if you haven’t been there, do drop by! Good for young kids, IMHO.

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We were all famished by noon. Thankfully, there is a cafe within ACM and ‘Kids eat for free’ yo! It didn’t take us long to settle for this place because…

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…there is a play area for kids within the cafe. Awwwwesome!

 Faith had her spaghetti while I had my overpriced laksa. The kids’ meal comes with dessert which was brownie and vanilla ice-cream for Faith and a vanilla milkshake for her drink. Not bad a deal at all. You just need to order a main and the kids could dine for free yo.

Such a playdate is soooo satisfying. The kids had their fun and the mummies got their rest. I need more of such outings.

If you still have the energy to go on, do pop by the National Gallery (Keppel Centre for Art Education) and have some fun in there too!

PS. Thank you Mummy F for the wonderful pictures!

First attempt to homeschool Faith

Recently, I posted some pictures about planning activities to homeschool Faith and received requests from mommies who asked if their kids could join. Fact is, my friends and I were just starting out and we want to see if the kids benefit from the session. We are not preschool educators, just your regular mothers. One had worked in a childcare centre before while the other had gone through some online Montessori courses. Me? I was just an elementary school teacher. Nevertheless, we just came together, pooled our resources and experience and started a session for the kiddos.

We started off with Circle Time with C going through BLUE items since the theme is on the colour. Each child took turns to touch the item as C explained them to the kids. But I must say, the kids could not really sit still except for F.C.! Well done, little girl.

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The next time when the little ones could talk, I would use the Circle Time to talk about the day, weather and probably ask them to share about stuff related to a theme. I learnt this while I was doing my work attachment at Park Street School a few years back.

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After the Circle Time, I read a book on Shapes to them with a follow-up activity of getting themto recognise the shapes of items that I had prepared for them and then pasting them onto the paper (with shapes drawn). The peeling of the double-sided tape requires them to use their fine motor skills. Faith, being the youngest of them all, could not really manage this task well but got all excited when she saw the biscuit in its rectangular packaging. SIGH!

So, we changed the plan since we realised that the kids needed time out and decided it’s time for refreshment! Sab prepared fruits and we got them to sit down and feed themselves. What an adorable sight!

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We had physical activity next. Kids at this age really need to move. Okay, I know it was right after a snack but our activity wasn’t really vigorous. It’s just playing with balloons and fruits & balls relay (getting them to pass some balls and toy fruits from one container to another), an idea I got from Gymnademics. I must say the kids love to move, move and move!

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Counting the number of balls they could transfer. Faith, having had practice at Gymnademics scored in this segment.

The last part of this ‘programme’ is some stations on practical life which C learnt from her online course. Kids should learn simple real life tasks even from a young age. So we had scooping of woollen balls from one container to another, choosing and closing of container using the right caps and stacking of cups.

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In 2 hours’ time, the kids, as well as the mothers, were famished and it’s meal time again. We served bread for them and they gobbled them up.

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My dear girl didn’t have enough and ‘stole’ from her friend. SIGH!

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So, there you go. Our first attempt in getting them to learn as a small group. I’m sure there are many experienced parents who are also homeschooling their kids. Do share your ideas!

Play dates for Faith

At times I find that Faith can be rather lonely playing by herself while under the adults’ care. Putting myself in her position, I think I would love to hang out with peers my age. Thankfully, once in a while, my girlfriends would meet up and the that will be the opportune time for the kids (same year) to play together. I am hoping we can aim for more regular sessions!

Recent play time at the Chans

Recent play time at the Chans

Both Faiths playing with each other

Both Faiths playing with each other

The older Faith feeding the younger Faith

The older Faith feeding the younger Faith

Every Saturday, at CG, the kids will come together and Faith has another chance of play time with her mates.

Faith and Samuel, two months apart.

Faith and Samuel, two months apart.

Cathy playing with Faith

Cathy playing with Faith

Of course, I love it whenever my sis and her family come back for a visit and am hoping for her return in December, this time for good.

Cousins at play!

Cousins at play!

It’s nice to be kids.

Wordless Wednesday | A rest from work

Work, currently, is taking care of the kid and managing household chores. It can get very exhausting at times and when that happens, ill thoughts crowd my finite mind and instead of joy, I’m filled with angst and bitterness.

I seek solace in baking and my cake decorating classes in which we speak the same lingo and share the same passion.

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Linking up with

Waterplay at Changi City Point

Call me a mountain tortoise and I won’t be angry with you when it comes to places to hang out in Singapore. Fact is, I really do not know a lot of attraction spots or places for the kiddos to play and have fun.

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Yesterday, I followed my sis and her family to Changi City Point so that the kids can have fun at the water playground. She stumbled upon this when they had dinner the night before at the food court and the playground is just located outside! So, the nephews wanted to have some waterplay and we followed suit.

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I’ve not been to a lot of water playgrounds but I thought this one is quite spacious and fun. It has water jets and cannons for kids who want to get wet and wild. There is also a dry play area that has fun climbing structures. We were there at 5pm and there weren’t a lot of people at that point in time. My eldest nephew, Dallen, became excited all at once and set off to play while Faith and my younger nephew, Dayen, needed some time to reach that excitement level.

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Faith didn’t seem to enjoy water now which I thought was weird. Months ago, when we were at the waterplay area near the Siloso Beach, she was having real fun but now, it seems that she is scared of water. I have better do something about this!

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Both Dayen and Faith needed to be carried. Why don’t they like waterplay? Maybe they didn’t have the mood to play then?

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There is a changing area near the playground which helps a lot since the area can get rather windy and you wouldn’t want your kiddos to catch a cold. Once you step into the food court, it’s even worse. So please do bring along a sweater for the young ones.

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I like it that we can just proceed to any one of the many eateries in Changi City Point after the waterplay. We chose the Koufu Food Court which is spacious and serves a good variety of food. Oh yes, parking lots are aplenty which is another plus point!

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The 3 House
Level 2
Changi City Point
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
Changi East
S486038