Playdate | Tickle Your Senses x Stickiemail

A few more days to Christmas and two more weeks before we march into 2018. How time flies! Why does this school hols seem so short? I guess it’s because our days are full, as in our schedule is really packed and I hardly have time to take a breather. I struggle to record our experiences because there isn’t enough time and I have to prioritise so…

However, one of the most memorable activities that we had during this hols would be the playdate that we attended in late November. It was organised by a few parents in F’s school but sadly I didn’t know them in person since our girl is in a different level that their children. I got wind of it nonetheless and thick-skinnedly asked if I might join because I realised that Tickle Your Senses and Stickiemail would be conducting the session. You see, I could never join in their sessions due to the timing so this time round, I had to make sure we could participate and we did! Yay!

This playdate was conducted in one of the parents’ home and there were more than 10 kids for that session. Awesomeness! It was very well-organised, I must say.

When we reached the house, the kids started to make their nametags with the sticker maker. Such a wonderful idea! The kids were immediately kept engaged!

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The session soon started after all the kids arrived. CC from Tickle Your Senses gave a very lively storytelling of ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ and captivated the kids with her animated reading.

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All ears

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Soon after that, it’s time for the kids to ‘work’! They would have to design the wardrobe of the Giant using the sticker maker. See the engagement level of the kids.

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Even our 2YO wasn’t spared and he did his task diligently. 😉

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It’s playdough time! Seems like the children were well-trained with using the dough! I love this sight.

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Her creation

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The kids were treated to lunch and then waterplay. Ahhh… kids these days are so fortunate. I don’t recall mine being so fun. ;p

Can we have more of such playdates?

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Playdate + Chicken Stew = Comfort

I love playdates.

When Faith was younger, playdates gave me great relief from the mundane of everyday life with a young kid. I remember the first time Faith went for one with planned lesson, I was the more excited person. I could meet up with my friends at last! Apart from meeting up with friends to have a chit-chat session after the ‘lesson’, playdates enable us to observe how our children behave with their peers and track their development.

My SIL and I started to meet once weekly recently so that the children could have fun swimming together and enjoy their evening with some play time. When they were younger, they played alongside each other, not speaking much. Now, they were truly engaging each other in lively conversations and I  find myself amused by it. How they have grown!

Having playdates in the late afternoon means that I have to make sure that dinner is prepared before we set off so that when we return, we could come back to a decent meal. And, you know I love one-pot meal and I particularly like this chicken stew. I know, I know, chicken stew is so easy to make and there is really no need for a recipe. You just throw everything in the pot, cook and viola, you have one great meal!

Just for record’s sake.

Ingredients
400g chicken thighs (cut into smaller pieces)
2 sausages
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 carrots (cut into bit-sized pieces)
250g peas
500ml chicken stock
baby potatoes

  1. Empty the sausages out of the cases into a large pot.
  2. Cook the sausages for 2 to 3 minutes at medium heat until some of the juicy fat comes out of the sausage.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until they have softened.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Once the chicken is lightly cooked on both sides, add the chicken stock, peas, carrots and potatoes.
  6. Set the stovetop temperature to the lowest setting, put the pot lid on and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken stew with rice.

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*

Learning about Microgreens

In order to have a proper closure for our weekly play date, one of the mummies, Adeline of Growingwiththetans, suggested that we have a gardening session where the children could learn about plants and how to grow them. It’s a definite YES from us since it tied in well with the ‘Fuits and Vegetables’ theme.

Adeline had her friend share with us about Microgreens. For the uninitiated like yours truly, Microgreens are basically baby seedlings of our commonly eaten vegetables and herbs. They are harvested at a young stage (between 5 -14 days) and the whole plant is eaten (except for the roots). Although they are micro in size, they are intense in flavor though they are not as strong as their older sibling.

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We had the session at Bishan Park and Faith was all excited to be out with her friends again. It was warm and humid that late afternoon but thankfully the kids were not complaining!

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When Khai Lin first learnt that she was going to share her passion with a group of toddlers, she was a bit concerned as they were rather young and she wasn’t sure if they could benefit fully from it. ‘Let’s give it a try!’ was our answer to her and so she did. KL showed the kiddos the fully grow pea shoots and had them touch the seedlings. That set the stage for our lesson!

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We started off with some craft work. KL had the mummies and children create a bunny from a toilet roll as we were going to have a ‘carrot’ garden for them. The carrots are the pots that hold the seedlings.

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I like it that KL encouraged the kids to feel the pebbles and the peat moss (looks like soil to me) which is formulated for germinating seeds. Most of the children were curious and attempted to feel them. It’s a good lesson to have the children discover through their senses!

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KL was super patient with the children and showed each one of them the steps to start the gardening process. Here she got them to fill the container with peat moss. Look at Faith’s expression after she touched it.

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I must say that I enjoyed the whole learning process as an adult. Because I have very little knowledge about microgreens, this session is truly informative. I’m not sure if the young ones understand what they have gone through but it’s a good start nonetheless. There was a 4YO boy in our midst and he was really curious and posed KL loads of questions. I guess this session would be more beneficial to older kids?

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We are going to plant the speckled peas and sunflower and both can be harvested between 7 to 14 days. That’s really fast, you know?

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After watering the peat moss lightly in the pot to keep it damp, sprinkle the seeds generously over the top of the peat moss. However, do not overlap the seeds. Then gently press the seeds down using the hands. See how proud Faith is with her ‘garden’.

Before we went home, we were told to cover the big container so as to create a greenhouse effect. What we need to do is to keep the soil moist by misting it each day. Once the seeds have germinated, the cover can be removed and we can place it near the window for some sunlight.

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After about a week, the seedlings have grown and we are ready to harvest. Faith isn’t very enthusiastic about having her greens (sad to say) and I must think of ways to hide them in her food!

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So I decided to make some sliders for dinner and since she loves mushrooms, I roasted portobello mushrooms that were topped with sweet potatoes, breadcrumbs and well, the pea shoots!

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This girl has a sharp sense of taste and could pinpoint if there are any greens in her food. She did eat some but refused the ones that are found in the salad.  Oh well, I did try.

I will not give up!

Overall, we find the session on Mircogreens useful and I’m just surprised that they are so easy to plant and manage at home. The best thing is I don’t see any ants coming near my plants because I’m really particular about that. They also take up little space since I only need to place them near a window in any room (indirect light from the sun is good enough). I thought this can be an awesome project for the older kids as they learn about plants and their nutritional benefits; they should know the source of their food from young!

If you are interested, you can find out more about it via its website at www.microgreens.sg or visit its Facebook page. There will be recipes, kids’ projects and tips on growing Microgreens so stay tuned. 😉

The session above cost $25 per child at an introductory price. Usual price is $40. Materials are included.

#notasponsoredpost

Friday Flips: Books on fruits and vegetables

:: Coop #4 & 5

Our coop has moved on from the Chinese New Year theme to Fruits & Vegetables. It’s a refreshing change and one which I welcome because our girl has some issues with greens recently. Hopefully, she will have less resentment towards them by the end of the few lessons! *fingers crossed* image   We would always start off the session with the Welcome song and introduction of the fruits and vegetables. Following that, one of the mummies would read a book aloud and the mummies were happy to note that the children could sit through and enjoy the story. Mind you, the story wasn’t short at all! I must say Mummy Ade has good storytelling skills! image For craft, the children pieced up the pictures of the fruits and vegetables and labelled them accordingly, obviously with the help of their mummies.

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We also got the children to grow their own beans and to track their growth. They were so excited upon receiving their beans. How fun!

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Our children have grown! It’s always a joy to see them play and learn together. May they continue to enjoy learning and exploring.

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For Practical Life, the children worked on their motor skills and coordination, just to name a few. We got them to pick up balls using training chopsticks, pour beans onto cups, stack blocks according to the sizes, threading and matching of cards.

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The mummies decided that we should not change the stations every week as we want to track their progress in the various stations. Makes sense!

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A few months back, Faith would have absolutely no idea on how to stack these blocks based on their sizes. Now she could, with the knowledge of her numbers. It gave me joy to see that she has progressed at her own pace.

These are some of the books that are related to the Fruits and Vegetables theme. Faith and I read the books a few times and we could talk at length about the story based on the pictures. The story itself isn’t long but there’s much to discuss! And, all these books could be found at our local libraries.

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You could sing to the tune of ‘Old Macdonald Has a Farm’ but what I like more about this book is that we can talk about urban gardening. We don’t have space in this city state but there are certainly ways in which we could grow our own herbs, for example.

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Oh, I love Farmers’ Markets! Sadly, we don’t have a lot of that in Singapore. The closest one that I think resembles that one that I’m familiar with is the Farmers’ Market at Loewen Garden. Go check it out one day!

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Granted that this is not really about fruits and vegetables but there is information about the orchard and fruits that you can talk about with your kid. This book makes me think about the farm and the apple-picking session that I have had visited and experienced. I want to go back again!

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans

Faith graduated!

On the third week of December, the mummies of our regular playdates came together and threw a Christmas cum graduation party for the little ones. Oh my, I still remember the first lesson that we had, with only three children. By the end of the year, the group has enlarged to 6 (full strength). When Faith first started the coop/playgroup, she was only 16 months and now she is already 2 years old!

I regret not being diligent in recording EVERY single coop because they really are sweet memories. I MUST blog about this Christmas party!

IMG-1628-1We were a tad early for the celebration and did the usual – photo taking! Mummy Ez had kindly bought the Christmas decors from Daiso as she wanted the function room to be more festive-looking.

IMG-1639-1Children love balloons and what’s a party without balloons? The kids were thrilled, of course, while the mummies laboured.

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Faith loves balloons and has recently discovered that they can burst if she continues to use her fingers or fingernails to scratch on the surface. Such a terror!

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We had snacks and I baked the group a Hello Kitty strawberry-flavoured cake. F, as usual, was my fan, but the cake was well-received! I baked this cake for one of the mummies who is crazy over Hello Kitty. It’s always a pleasure baking cakes for friends!

IMG-1726After everyone had arrived, I started reading the Nativity story, complete with some cardboard figurines. It’s difficult to find a big book on Nativity and one that is easy for the toddlers to comprehend. So I hope the extra materials would help!

IMG-1732Cute eh?

IMG-1741Mummy Ade went on with craftwork and the children were supposed to make angels!

IMG-1753Mandatory photo – the kids with their completed work.

10881477_10152666605599234_5186933916461912703_nWe had a game of musical chairs (replaced by coloured papers). Our dear girl couldn’t catch the concept and was the first to be eliminated. Sigh! Her mum was queen of musical chairs when she was a kid but she clearly didn’t take after her. ;p

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Balloons again!

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We had Christmas gift exchange and Noah gifted Faith with a toy she likes!

IMG_20141218_125958Faith received her graduation certificate (done by mummy C) that day and she was immensely proud of that certificate. In fact, she was beaming with joy when she saw her photo on the sheet of paper. We had only missed one session thus far and it’s just so heartwarming to see how she had developed over the months. A special friendship was formed too among the mummies and I really appreciate every one of them.

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😉

A thankful spirit on a random Friday

I’m counting my blessings today because on looking back, the second year with Faith was a fruitful and exciting one because I was blessed with the company of wonderful mommy friends throughout that year.

I was often kept busy by playdates. We had regular ones, as well as ad-hoc ones invited by random friends. Because of that, Faith is mostly in the company of friends and warms up to others rather easily. The downside is that she gets bored when we stay at home and that could drive me mad when she acts up.

Nevertheless, I want to thank those friends who always open their place for the little ones to have some jolly good times. And I’m all the more grateful that they are ever so willing to share their toys with Faith.

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There’s B who has soon become Faith’s constant playmate. Whenever I feel frustrated, I know I can run to Mummy T who will always open her home to us. That’s not all. Mummy T and I always exchange toys and books and more often than not, I am the one benefitting more because Mummy T can actually open a bookstore with the amount of books at her place. So, I will often go home with quality English and Chinese books. Blessed!

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Faith also has the company of older kids such as K who came over to accompany her while I prepared lunch for a gathering for a group of SAHMs. Faith adores this older sister and learns a fair bit of stuff from her since she is five years older than her.

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Recently, Mummy J invited us and Mummy D to her place for a playdate and Faith got exposed to playing the piano. The talented A was so kind to Faith and spent some time getting Faith to appreciate music. I can absolutely see a fine young man in him!

20141202_112954In the company of A gor gor and Y jie jie

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There are also new mummy friends who invited us over to have playdates with their kids and Faith had a good time with the three boys playing puzzles, building train tracks and working on some Duplo sets.

20141204_113828 I am always thankful to have a group of mummy friends for our regular playdates and coop. I have learnt so much from every one of them and to think that we might not be together again the following year saddens me.

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Of course, Faith loves the company of her cousins whom she loves very much. She would jump with joy whenever she sees them.

Initially I thought being a SAHM would be rather boring but I thought wrong! My calendar can be kept full because of playdates but I’ve nothing to complain! The little one loves the company of friends and I really hope this will help her transit well when she goes to nursery the following year.

I’m also grateful to friends who are so willing to share their toys and books with Faith. We have few toys at home but because they share, Faith doesn’t lack.

So here I am. Looking back at the past year (Faith’s 2nd year) with great gratitude.

Memories of our playdate (today)

I’m writing this post with quite a heavy heart. You see, over the course of this year, I have grown attached to this group of mothers who come together to plan lessons for our children’s weekly playdate. I love the dynamics of this group and appreciate their care and concern for the children. We pool our resources and chip in whenever one couldn’t make it or have difficulty with any segment of the playdate. And I also love it that our children have forged friendship with one another.

But it would be a different story come next year.

All but one of the children will be going to school the following year. And yes, that includes Faith (that is another story in itself).

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I’ll miss the ‘Good Morning’ song that we know so well by now.

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And Circle Time in which the mummies will think of creative ways to introduce the farm animals (our theme for this term). There is always something new to learn each session.

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Love Mummy Ade, the lobang queen and one avid blogger. We love her outgoing spirit and she is always willing to take on new segments even if it is out of her comfort zone. Part of the objective of having the mummies to lead the various segments is for our own development too. We grow in love and knowledge together!

It is really heartening to note that the children could sit down and enjoy the storytelling session. When we first started during the earlier part of the year, our children couldn’t sit still and were distracted by things around them. But now, they can and even respond to the story! Yahoo!

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Mummy C and I have been friends for almost two decades and since the days of our youth, we have known her to be one ‘crafty’ lady. She would send homemade encouragement cards to us and they were always so pretty. So, it is no surprise that the children learn some useful art and craft skills from her. Mummy C has a lot of creative juice in her and it is a pity that she doesn’t have the time to blog about them. ;( Thankfully, she shares her ideas and knowledge to fellow mummies and those who come into contact with her. A very wonderful and patient mother.

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We had full attendance today!

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Mummy Jenna, the best Chinese storyteller in my humble opinion! She is so animated and speaks with clear, crisp Mandarin. As you can see from the picture, everyone was all ears!

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Our little girl led her peers in giving thanks for the food.

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Since today we had our lesson in the outdoor, we decided to get the kids to play with the balloons and balls. They had great fun despite the heat and we ended off with the feeding of the fish at the nearby pond, thanks to Mummy Jenna.

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We had such great times together and I believe we have provided our kids with a fun and safe environment to learn. Faith would come back and hum the songs she has learnt during the playdates and would often utter the names of her playmates. I’m thankful that the mummies help to correct the behaviour of the kids if anyone misbehaves and would not be stingy with encouragement for the kids and fellow mummies alike.

It is entirely possible to plan regular playdates such as ours. All you need are like-minded mummies who are willing to do a little bit of homework in planning for the lessons. Mummy Ade had written a very useful post on organising playdates. Do check it out!

Playdate with little distraction

Our last playdate was held in a function room of one of the mummy’s condo. Turned out to be awesome because there was little distraction from toys and the kids were more attentive.

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After storytelling, we got them to create a lion’s face using the tines of the fork. Again, this was designed with kids who don’t like to get their hands dirty like Faith.

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Faith’s lion is the one of the left and the right is mine which I used to demonstrate to the kids. Again, Faith wasn’t that interested in craftwork but I shall persevere!

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Practical life segment

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Playground time: The Children’s favourite!

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“I wonder where we will be going next week?”

Homeschool or preschool?

These few days have been rather challenging basically because Faith has become more aware of herself and testing limits more often. Her mom, of course, feels very drained each day and her frustration level increases daily. And today she’s contemplating if she is able to take yet another year to homeschool her. Patience is wearing thin.

I have the group of moms to thank that I am still in this journey of ‘homeschooling’ Faith. We encourage one another and share ideas. As always, I feel enriched after each session of playdate/coop because there is always something new to learn.

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Mummy C hosted today’s session and for free play, she set up this painting area along the corridor so that the little one could express their appreciation for art. Hah. Faith stopped after a mere three minutes. She really doesn’t like art! Is it a lack of exposure or is it the genes? Sigh!

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For craftwork, Mummy Ade had the children colour the different parts of a lion and the mums helped to put them together using paper fasteners. Mr Google is a great resource for ideas! We just need time to search!

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Faith, with her completed lion.

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Group photo. It’s uber difficult to get everyone to look at the camera!

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The children learnt about the names of the farm animals in Chinese.

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I love the practical life segment that Mummy C organised. I have always loved her ideas as she has more experience and could come up with really useful stations which we could re-create at home.

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Station 1: Matching of bears which is an okay task for Faith since she has been doing quite a lot of matching at home.

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Station 2: Cutting homemade dough into pieces. Child-size knife is from Ikea and I’m pleasantly surprised that Faith was willing to touch the dough and attempted successfully to cut them up. More practice needed though.

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Station 3. Recreating the patterns using blocks. Faith didn’t follow through and piece up the blocks as she liked it. Sigh!

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Station 4. Pouring of water into cups. I guess a smaller jug would be helpful because the little one doesn’t have sufficient strength. Good to practise at home!

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Station 5. Hanging of clothes. Faith’s pincer’s grip is not there yet and could not perform this task. I’ve been looking out for clothes pegs that don’t require so much effort but till now, have not found suitable ones. Anyone has recommendations?

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For big muscles segment, we got the children to play at the playground. The restless kids came alive all of a sudden and played to their hearts’ content! Up and down the slide they went and each wore a smile on their faces. *Bliss*

Alas, my joy was cut short as we headed back home. Faith kicked up such a fuss on our way back that I had to raise my voice many times. Bad! Bad! Bad! And then the thought of sending her to school came back. Guilt gripped me once more as I was reminded that this is the wrong reason for having her in school.

The cycle continues…

You may want to read Mummy Ade’s account of the coop here.

Farm hopping!

While others do cafe-hopping, our group of mothers and children prefer to do farm-hopping and since this week is the school holidays, we took the opportunity to do that!

Our initial itinerary included six places but in the end, we managed five which was a great feat! Am thankful for Mummy C who came up with the plan and helped to liaise with Bollywood for our lunch. Thank God for her serving spirit!

Our first stop is Hay Diaries where we got to watch the mother goats being milked and view them in their pen.

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If you are going with a group of more than 20 people, you would need to pay an entrance fee of S$3.21 per person and this price includes a 200ml bottle of milk, a souvenir and a 20 minute orientation on goats & milk. Not a bad deal!

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We got quite close to the goats when they were about to return to their pens. Faith was fascinated by them and even witnessed their pee-ing and poo-ing. Ah…nature’s call!

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Taking a stroll and viewing the goats and kids.

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Our group was not considered big and thus we did not have to pay for the entrance fee (#funforfreesg). However, if you want to drink the fresh milk, a bottle will cost $2.50. Mommy C’s sons enjoyed the drink whereas Faith preferred to mess up the leaflets.

Hay Diaries
3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4, Singapore 718859
+65 6792 0931

Our next stop is the Jurong Frog Farm. However, we missed out on making reservation with them and thus we could not have the frog tour. There are various types of tour packages in which  you can can have a personal encounter with the frogs or even fulfill your dream of kissing the frog prince (kidding). But I think it will be quite an experience for the adults and children alike. Our kids could only see the tadpoles and a few frogs in the tank outside the farm but they were already excited. Just imagine if they go through the tour! We will definitely go back again!

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Jurong Frog Farm
51 (Plot 56)
Lim Chu Kang Lane 6
Singapore 718864

We proceeded to a hydroponics 0rganic farm (not in our itinerary and thanks to a reader for pointing out my mistake for terming it as a hydroponics farm! ) instead of the intended Fireflies Health Farm but we didn’t stay long since the sky was overcast and promised heavy rain!

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I don’t really think that the kids like the hydroponics organic farm since the vegetables can’t really be interactive. To them, it’s probably just patches of green. Hah!

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Oh no! Dark clouds! Run!

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Before that, who can’t resist buying a few packets of fresh vegetables at very reasonable price! We are ‘aunties’ after all!

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We started the tour at around 9.45am and by the time we were ready to move on from the hydroponics farm, it was already a quarter past 11am and it was time to makan (eat)! We headed to Bollywood where Mummy C had helped to make reservation. Mummy C and I whipped out our busy bags once the kids settled. I think we kind of know that the kids were cranky and needed some form of distraction or entertainment.

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Some of us had The Warrior’s Platter and we all agreed that the food’s good! I had the Bollyccino (coffee) since I needed the caffeine!

Bollywood Veggies
100 Neo Tiew Road,
Singapore 719026 (Kranji)

Our last stop is Qian Hu (fish farm) and this place never fails to captivate the children. Faith and I visited this place when she was about 14 months old and she was attracted to the colourful fish. As we visited this place again, she was equally mesmerised by them.

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We decided to call it a day at around 2pm. The kids were getting restless even though some of them continued to practise their big muscles ( running around). They needed their naps and so did the moms! We had wanted to complete the tour with a visit to the Farmart Centre but I guess we had to reserve that for the next time.

Qian Hu
No. 71 Jalan Lekar
Singapore 698950

We had much fun and thankfully most of these places allow us to visit without a cost. Yay to #funforfreesg!

Playdate 040914

We are into our second lesson on the ‘Farm Animals’ theme and this is the programme for that day.

Free play with farm animals
Welcome song, introduction of one or two animals
Story time
Craft – making shakers
Snack time
Chinese
Practical life
Big muscles activity / playground time
Action songs and Goodbye song

The host, Ade, set up stations for the kids to busy themselves with before the lesson starts. There are sensory bin of toy animals, puzzles and books.

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We had our welcome song and I introduced four farm animals to the little ones. Most of them could recognise the animals and name them. Hmmm, I think we should move on to something more difficult! Nah…

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After this, Ade read the story ‘The Cow that Laid an Egg’ which was rather entertaining but we weren’t quite sure if the kids understood the humour in the story. At the end of it, we reflected and thought we should not confuse the kids with such a storyline until they are older. Reminder: Choice of appropriate books at this age is important!

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Craft time and we made shakers from toilet rolls, balloons and masking tapes! The kids were more involved this time round and I dare say that they did more work than the previous times. 😉

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 Mommy E shared the Chinese story this time round and as usual, the kids were all ears.

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Practical life session saw the kids working on snake button, puzzles, sorting of lego bricks and scooping of pom pom balls. It’s a good reminder to all of us that we should encourage and not get frustrated when the child cannot achieve or complete a task. There is a very high chance that the child is simply not ready.

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For big muscle activity, we decided to use bean bags and get the kids to balance each one on their head. Not an easy task for them!

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We ended the session with some action songs and used the shakers that the kids had made earlier to complement the singing. We had fun!

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Just the four of them for this week.

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Science lesson on terrapin

😉

Rainy day on an outdoor playdate

Once a week, some moms and I would plan outdoor playdate for the kids. Prior to that day, we would pray hard that it wouldn’t rain but obviously we couldn’t control the weather and this week, it rained cats and dogs.

What a dampener!

We had wanted to go to Jacob Ballas but adjourned to seek shelter at Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens. We love the restaurant for its wide space and a playground just outside the premise where the children could play.

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There were about 10 children on that day and what could we do to occupy the energetic kids?
We were disappointed that the restaurant doesn’t provide colour pencils and paper for the kids anymore but hey, there’s bound to be someone in our midst who brought something for the toddlers!

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The kids went out to play once the rain had stopped.

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Lester and his mummy.

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How long can they be content with the small playground?

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“Mama, I’m bored!”
Mama panicked.

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Yay, someone brought the bubbles!
All the children perked up!
Moms went ‘phew!’

Lesson learnt: When you are going on an outdoor activity, always bring the busy bag along and storybooks. Playing with bubbles is fun for the kids, so always have it in the bag.

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These pictures make me smile.

*Thank you to the one who brought the bubbles for the children to play with.
* Nicer pictures taken by one of the moms, Trisa. The not-so-nice ones are taken by yours truly.

Playdate 070814

It’s been a crazy week with teaching and baking of cakes for friends but I always look forward to our weekly playdate. I’m thankful that the moms in this group are all enthusiastic when it comes to teaching the kids and I always go back home with a few more teaching ideas. Inspired, no doubt and hey, majority of the moms are were teachers!

We decided on Bishan Park as we did have an awesome time the previous week. Thankfully, we were blessed with good sunny weather!

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We first started off with a welcome song (as usual) and then the recap of the colours and shapes that we had learnt. Then we introduced the colour that they had to learn for the day.

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C then read the story ‘Dear Zoo’ to the kids. I love interactive books such as this. The children got to open the flap and this got their attention.

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The follow-up activity requires the kids to colour the various animals in the book. Obviously the little ones couldn’t colour at this point in time but the mothers took every opportunity to teach colours to them.

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And it’s time to move about! The kids got to pick the fallen leaves, feathers and twigs for their art and craft session.

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Adeline got 3M to sponsor some tapes for us and the kids learnt to use the tapes and stick them on the items that they have collected. Thanks to both!

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Our dear girl decided to explore a little more and didn’t follow the ‘curriculum’.

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If you see such neat artwork, it’s definitely NOT Faith’s work. Not yet, anyway.

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The completed work.

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After sitting down for a rather long time, the children sprang to life when they saw food, glorious, food! It’s not surprising to see Faith popping grapes, blueberries and biscuits into her already-full mouth. Sigh!

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The children love it when it comes to physical activity (who wouldn’t?) and I really felt that Faith scores in this segment. I’m not comparing her with the other kids. What I have observed is that Faith came to life when she is asked to move about and her actions are more mature. However, when it comes to artwork, she doesn’t show interest in that area. Is it about exposure? Her preference? I’m not sure.

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We added soccer time!

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We added a Chinese Storytelling session this month onwards because we have a Chinese teacher in our midst! I must say that the children were all ears and I’m truly captivated by the language. Oh, the way Jenna read the story… it sounded so soothing to the soul!

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Certainly hope you guys have fun!

PLAYDATE @ Bishan Park 310714

We had our playdate in the outdoors today and it was great fun! Decided to let the pictures tell the story.

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It was a beautiful morning and we are indeed grateful because for the past few days, it had been raining and we were wondering if today’s playdate could happen in the outdoors. And the sky cleared for the little children. Thank you, God!

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After the welcome song and circle time, we proceeded to story telling and this time, I picked Eric Carle’s Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?. I think the children were paying attention especially to the sounds of the various animals in the book. Time for Faith to visit the zoo too!

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We had a total of seven kids today because we included the slightly younger ones to join us for this day. Got the children to pick up the leaves on the ground and use them for leaf printing.

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I love this picture. Every one of us was engaged. The children had great fun with the water telematch and we were pleasantly surprised that they could scoop water from a cup and transport it to the other end before pouring it into another container. Well done!

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From this activity, we could observe a child’s character. Some are really cautious and proceeded very carefully and slowly, not wanting any drop of water to drip while others just wanted to complete the fun task.

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Wonderful big muscle programme!

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Look at all the encouraging moms with their tots. Beautiful, isn’t it?

20140731_121902Went over to Grub for lunch and had a relaxing one with the group.

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All of us had a wonderful time and wanted more!

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🙂

The weekly playdate 240714

We had 3 children in attendance today but no worries, we still had fun!

As usual, we had our welcome song and circle time and today, we introduced purple and square using blocks (as seen in the picture).

20140724_101607For storytime, I chose a book that I bought from the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens. It is a simple book on fruits and vegetables and there is a repeated phrase, “I pick it and eat it.” For the past sessions, I realised that the children couldn’t sit through the whole story and I thought this short story would suffice. In addition, I wanted them to see the fruits and vegetables in real and brought them out.

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As I read, I showed them the items and had the kids touch them. The repeated phrase helped and Faith who has read the story a few times, pretended to pick the fruits from the book and eat them. This time round, I also got them to eat the grapes and blueberries and this really got their attention all right. They sat through the story. Hooray!

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Adeline then supplemented with another story of a similar theme. I love team work like this. 😉
It would be better if we have bigger board books. I find it hard to search for them in the library. Oh, NLB, please have more of such books?

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After some action songs, we had art and I carved patterns on some vegetables, namely carrots, potatoes and corn so that the kids could use them to stamp patterns on the drawing paper.

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Our little girl still could not get over messiness and refused to touch the vegetables and paint, much to the frustration of the mother. I know I can’t force her; she’s just not ready. Sigh!

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There’s good news though. Noah, the boy in the middle, started our playdate not liking paint but today, he did an awesome job. He actually filled the paper with paint on his own! I’m so proud of him! The paper with the yellow border is Noah’s and the one with the flowery border is Faith’s and the work is not counted since her mother helped a lot to achieve that look. By the way, to create that border, I used washi tapes to do the job.

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After a few action songs, thanks to Adeline, we had our snack time and it comprises corn, grapes, blueberries (yes, items taught from the storytelling) and chocolate-nutella cupcakes that were sent over by my sis in the morning. How timely!

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While taking a break, the moms decided that we should head over to Ikea for lunch. The kids could expend their energy there. Hah! Before departing, we had our Big Muscles Movement and got the kids to retrieve the needed shapes and put them in the right container. I’m heartened to note that the kids really did observe the shapes that they had in their hands and place them correctly in the respective containers. Smart!

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This is Faith doing Yoga… nah…

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Had a fun day today!

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See you next week. It will be in the outdoors and we are praying for good weather.

😉

The weekly playdate 170714

Our weekly co-op/playdate brought us to C’s place. Her place is so cozy and she has this painted black wall where the kids could draw using chalk. So cool!

Our first activity was at the sensory bin where the kids got to play with the salt, blocks, plastic cups and toy animals. It was brilliant because all we need to do to clean up was to wash it with water. I say it’s a better choice as compared to sand! Some of the kids needed encouragement to play with salt. Our dear Faith only played with the toy animals. Think she is into animals now.

We have very engrossed kids!

We have very engrossed kids!

We went on to start the programme with a welcome song and circle time in which we revised the colour and shape taught the previous week and introduced a new colour and shape for this week. Following that was Storytelling and then craftwork!

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The tired Faith clung on to me! Arghh!

We decided that we should continue with paint even though it may not be the kids’ favourite. Coincidentally, the kids who do not really enjoy this segment are the ones with no siblings (yet). Little exposure, I guess?

Using shapes to create some artwork.

Using shapes to create some artwork.

Our star student!

Our star student!

Teatime!

Teatime!

We had our practical life as usual before we moved on to big muscle movement time and the kids got to do ‘shuttle run’ to retrieve round shapes from the bin. I love wide corridors like this. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Run, children, run!

Run, children, run!

We taught the kids some songs before the end of the playdate and then it’s on to lunch for all of us! What a lovely morning spent with the mums and kids.

All except one who's with the mom to fetch the older brother from school.

All except one who’s with the mom to fetch the older brother from school.

🙂

Playdate @10 July

Our group playdate resumes! I don’t know if I’m using the right term. Playgroup? Co-op? Playdate? Oh, whatever. Until I find a proper term for such a day as this, it will be called playdate for now. 😉

Today, we had one more boy joining us and that makes four kids! Yahoo!

Our schedule goes like this:
-Welcome & circle time
– Big muscle movement
– Story time and craftwork
– Tea break
– Quiet time
– Sensory bin
– Action songs
– Practical life
– Closing time and goodbye song

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This is rather different from the previous sessions that we had and to be honest, it felt like we were rushing through. But fear not, the mummies came together and discussed what needs to be improved. I like it that I’m learning from the other ladies in the group. Lifelong learning, eh?

What I have learnt:
– The children can’t sit through the entire story-telling time. They were restless towards the end. Perhaps find one with a short story?IMG-20140710-WA0012
– Faith needs more exposure to craftwork. More art sessions!
– Faith doesn’t like to get her hands dirty (except when it comes to food). She doesn’t like the idea of touching the playdough during the ‘sensory bin’ section. Need to work on that.
– Faith seems to like threading and the blocks that C used for this station (2) is of the right size and material for her!

 

Practical LIfe materials

Practical LIfe materials

I didn’t have enough time to bake something for the kids and just cut mickey mouse shapes from slices of chocolate bread using a cutter. They have fruits, bananas and the colourful goldfish crackers for teatime. We had wanted to teach the kids to peel the bananas but the mummies got distracted by their own tea break and went off to rest. All except for Jenna. Hah!

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I baked a Yuzu sponge cake and carrot cake for the ladies. We had proper tea break today but oops, we lost track of time as a result. Hah! Teaching kids is a lot of hard work, I assure you, especially young kids. A salute to all preschool teachers!

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 The day was long and it was a tad more tiring than before. I’m sure the kids were too. But I’m just glad that we have this regular playdate/co-op going on.

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J getting encouragement from his mummy at the Big Muscle Movement segment.

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Faith and her new-found friend, J. They hit it off the moment that met. I’m so surprised! They even didn’t mind holding hands together! Whoah! But I have to say that J is really a very pleasant and happy boy. Faith has much to learn from this gor gor!

What will happen next week?
I got excited just by thinking of it! Lots to learn!

Playdate resumes!

Our playdate resumed yesterday as the school term starts. It was only C and I but it was still fun!

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Our theme for this whole term is on colours so we got the kids to do leaf printing using Crayola’s washable paint. But before that, we got the kids to pick the leaves themselves and put them into a bowl. The little children needed some coaxing and much guidance to just pick up the leaves!

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 We settled at a sheltered area and set up our stuff – picnic mat, crayola paints, paper plates and wet wipes!

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Obviously, the kids needed much help from us. Little Faith didn’t like the idea of mess and I had to coax her to get her hands dirty for this task. And then, I saw the great difference between Ray and Faith. The boy painted his legs and hands as well while Faith looked on with disgust. Hah!

This is the next thing she did. Went to get a piece of wet wipes and cleaned her hands. No help required!

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3rd pic: Guess which piece belongs to Faith and Ray respectively?

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After the art session and cleaning up, we went on to Practical Life where we got the kids to scoop some jelly-like balls called water beads into their bowls.

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Gotta get hold of more of these water beads! Good to teach about colours and texture and use them for other teaching purposes.

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Getting ready to move to another site for our tea-break!
Reminder to self: teach Faith to wear her own shoes.

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We love the view of the reservoir. So we had a mini picnic here but had to move on since it was getting real hot!
Reminder to self: bring a hat along!

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Our last stop is at the nearby playground where the children made noise with the branches and the metal parts of the playground and expressed their artistic ability by drawing pictures on the sand.

Looking forward to the next playdate!

#holidayfun – National Museum of Singapore

Play is in!

This got me all excited because in the month of June, my mother friends whom I have grown up with since youth days are coming together to plan outings for our kids.

C and I sat down to plan the places that we want to visit and come up with a list – Airport, National Museum, Indoor playgrounds (in the event of rain), Gardens by the Bay, Cafes (such as Eat, Play, Love), Jacob Ballas, Botanical Garden, Farm visit, etc.

Our first stop is the National Museum of Singapore and I must say we enjoyed the visit especially since it coincides with the Children’s Season – more activities catered to the kids.

We were there at around 9am since we didn’t want to meet with the crowd and once the kids were inside, they were captivated by the various stations found on the first floor.

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Faith loves balls and this station is one of her favourite. Initially she just threw the balls in any fashion she liked until the ‘gor gor’ (brother) advised her on what to do and I’m proud to say that she could aim the ball at the designated hole! Sheer luck? I say NO! 😉

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Remember the game – pick up sticks – that we used to play when we were young? This is the adapted version in which the ‘sticks’ have velcro on them and the kids will create the shape or canopy of the tree using those sticks. Faith obviously didn’t understand anything but was just fascinated by what the velcro can do.

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This is the enlarged version of the five stones and Faith and her little friends do not have the energy to do well in this station. Faith got tired of it within minutes and moved back to the ball game.

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I love The Salon, the station where children get to do some craft work and this area is beautified by cardboards! The older kids were excited at the station and they got to decorate their own cardboard house using materials that could be purchased for $2. The younger kids just sat around watching their older siblings do the job. Wonderful!

IMG-20140602-WA0020The mama was trying to encourage the lil one to play with craft but she just wanted to observe.

We had our lunch early at 11am at Food for Thought. We love the branch at the Botanical Gardens but couldn’t say the same thing about this one at the museum. They had the details of our orders mixed up and the folks who came after us were served first. Also the servers wore stressed-out expression. Oh well.

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While waiting, we kept the children busy with these…

20140602_124408After lunch, we continued visiting the other stations. This is Rouleaux – Paper Art. C’s sons like craft and the older boy got down to work very quickly. Not bad for a boy his age! The other kids just joined in doing various stuff like our lil girl who just opened and closed the cap of the glue stick.

20140602_125740The kids were in here for just 5 minutes. They used light to draw on the screen.

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This is the station where children learn about local food. Surprisingly, the boys were very engaged with ‘cooking’ and occupied the area for a long time.

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The children had an absolutely fun time at the museum and we have not visited ALL the stations! But since the kids were visibly tired (nap time was looming), we decided to call it a day. I must say the result would not be the same if it wasn’t a big group like today. The kids were learning from one another and having fun interacting.

IMG-20140602-WA0018All these are born in the year of the dragon. Going up the flight of steps together. Cute eh?

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Do visit the National Museum soon before the Children’s Season is over!

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – Fun for all!

C and I decided to go to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden since Sab can’t join us for the weekly playdate. I have not been to this garden before since Faith was too young to enjoy the facilities then but I have heard wonderful review about it! Today is the day! Faith should be able to enjoy some of the facilities.

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Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden opens at 8am and after breakfast, Faith and I went over to meet C and her two boys. There were busloads of kindergarten children visiting the garden today. Boy, it’s going to be crowded!

There are 8 magical spots in the garden but we only managed TWO in a span of 2 hours. Our first stop is the sandplay area at the tall tree house. The boys got down to play quite immediately while Faith still could not appreciate sand and stood on the mat for a mighty long time.

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After half an hour or so, we proceeded to the waterplay area. Faith followed the sound of the water and got to the right place! Good sense of hearing, you’ve got there!

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The waterplay area isn’t fantastic but they have a few small fountains which got the children all excited. Children just love water, don’t they? We spent an hour just in this area. Amazing!

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Soon, the waterplay area got crowded because the kindergarteners joined in. What fun! So much happy sound!

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Our outing was cut short due to an overcast sky. It’s going to rain soon! We quickly gathered the kids, cleaned them and proceeded to the entrance for our ‘picnic’. We had wanted to do so at the Botanic Gardens but had to abandon that idea due to the impending rain. Do note that food is not allowed in the garden but there is a small cafe good enough for some bites. The staff kindly allowed us to have our ‘picnic’ as we explained to them that our kids were hungry. ;p

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We had quite a feast – salmon sandwiches, carrot muffins, blueberries, bananas, avocado and raisins. Awesome, isn’t it? I brought along the new feeding range from Fisher Price and the bright colours did cheer us up!

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Would we come again? Oh, most definitely! We still have the other 6 magical spots to discover!

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To be honest, I actually enjoyed myself. I feel like I’m a kid again! #Idonthavechildhood

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