Tuesday 28 May 2013

Practical Life: Pouring water

You need a bottle, funnel & cup(s) of water and a tray (collect any spillage).
Instruct the child to put the funnel over the bottle.

Take the cup and pour into the funnel.
{I gave her two small cups of water because i wanted her to pour small quantity at a time. I was quite sure she wouldn't be able to manage if she was given a bigger cup filled with water.} 

The adventurous girl wanted to transfer the water in the bottle into the cups which wasn't part of my plan but oh well. The bottle was too big for her i know, but that was what i had in my house.

Don't forget to prepare a towel!
Tip: don't be too overwhelmed by the spillage, just calmly teach the child how to use the towel to wipe the floor.
And once she is profficient in this, she is ready to pour a drink for you! :P

Monday 27 May 2013

Beside the Russian Dolls...

Beside the Russian Dolls, i have also these on our shelf.
This was inspired by my friend, Lynn! I dashed to Daiso after seeing this on her blog, Playhood & went on to buy these wooden blocks. But on purchase, i had NO idea what to do with it. :P Until now.
Stuck some stickers on them and numbered them. Babydoll had to line them up in sequence.

Melissa & Doug number puzzles.
Something every household can do. Sorting colored pegs!

Sorting & matching red/yellow Duplo blocks. 

Grammar: adjectives & nouns

It's been awhile since i last prepared an activity for Sonshine. I missed such times versus making him do assesment books. I found that when doing hands-on activities like Montessori, we had more fun and it was quite stress free. 
Whereas when doing assessment books, it is almost like do or die. The answers are fix and rigid; black or white; right or wrong. Moreover, some assessment books are specially created to slash the kids' brains like an assessment ninja. (OK that was lame!)
It makes revision very stressful.
But I digress.
This was a grammar activity to teach him how to use Adjectives to describe Nouns.  On a paper, i drew two columns, one for 'adjectives' and the other for 'nouns'. {The child must have prior knowledge what a 'noun' is}
I gave him two baskets; one had all the adjective words and the other noun words. He randomly drew a noun card, in this picture 'dad' and he drew out adjectives & place them in the corresponding column. I showed him we can use adjectives to describe 'dad'; such as a 'good dad', a 'fast dad' (hmm not sure if that makes sense) or a 'round dad'. He played a few more rounds using other nouns & adjectives.
I could tell he was happy and stress free while working this activity.
To end the lesson, i gave him a simple worksheet i prepared and had him identify the adjective and nouns. Easy peasy. Ah, this was one of the most relax home learning i have in many, many months!

For the love of Russian Dolls!

I bought this beauty at Victoria market, Australia. I was over the moon when i saw this because i was looking for one! (It is hard to find one here!)

I had to convince myself that this was an educational piece of work! And it is! One can use this to teach about 'big vs small', 'biggest to smallest'.

This is also a great visual discrimination activity for the child! Matching the correct upper body to the lower.

I wouldn't stop with my obsession for Russian dolls. I made them following a tutorial i saw on a craft book. I could make more but ah, i was too lazy!

I used these babies and created a matching game for doll. To avoid more work, i simply photocopied the 4 paper dolls i hand made; so now i've got multiples! I made a sort of a table mat of Russian dolls bordered with WASHI tapes.

I made another set, stuck some stickers and wrote numbers on them. Doll has to match the numbers. Admittedly, she could also match by size but oh well.

And to top up my love for Russian dolls, i just HAD to get this cute Russian doll T-shirt and bottle for doll from Cotton On Kids (and washi tape of course)! :D

As Sonshine grows older, he's personality is coming through. There are strengths and unfortunately weaknesses. One of the things that is apparent about him is that he is driven by fear. His fear of being reprimanded, fear of losing out, fear of being the different one, fear of being the last; these fear (& probably more) drive him to do his best- at least in school.
I do not know if it is acceptable for him to be this way. On one hand, this fear has allowed me to trust him and be hands-off when it comes to school work. For instance, i know for certain (and the teachers confirm this) that he pays FULL attention in class; he voluntarily brings any forms/revision books to me for signing, he takes his homework out without our prompting, completes them (without supervision from us) & puts them nicely back into his bag. He also takes upon himself to learn spelling on his own. Once, i had to get him revise his spelling the night before only to find out he had already learnt it on his own. Even for Chinese spelling; he would double check if i have taught him correctly (after being taught wrongly). There are alot of initiatives but all these are done in fear, fear of being scolded by his teachers if assignments were not done promptly. 
On the other hand, i suspect this fear affects his self confidence.  I was told that while there is no doubt that he knows his work, but he still wants to double check his answers with his friends. The fear of not perfecting his answers dent his self confidence. He is afraid to make a mistake to a point of not being sure if he is correct. I suspect too that this fear of saying the wrong things has been holding him back from being vocal in class. This fear, restricts him to be himself, it prisons him to do and say the things he desires.
I question myself what i have done wrong. Was it those countless times when i reprimanded him for doing the wrong  things? Or perhaps I haven't been giving him enough space to falter like any child does. Or was it that the day to day errands that have made me impatient, demanding him to quickly grow up so that i can keep up with my tight schedule?
Sonshine is very much like me. As a child, i was afraid of alot of things; not just mentally but also physically. Like him, i cried buckets at the littlest of things which annoyed my entire family to no end. Now, this boy is doing the same to me! It seems that we were born with alot more fragile personality then an average person. We are more sensitive about our place in the society then most and are so at a very young age (Sonshine even younger). And i was also a very quiet student in class- this was written all over my report book. Similarly, i was quiet for fear that i would be laughed at or scolded at for giving the wrong answers. In some ways, Sonshine takes after me- the bad side of me that is.
So, is it nature or nurture? I do not know. But i am reminded to be more sensitive toward him and to step up my parenting. There were things i wish my elders did better when they were raising me; i distinctively remember telling myself that i will never commit the same mistakes as them when i become a parent.  I clearly have forgotten that promise i made to myself.
In the past, my error was that i placed more attention on his mistakes than the things he do very well. I should have given more if not equal attention on his right doing than his wrongs. I now consciously pick on his wonderful behaviours however small and give him his due praises & pats on the back. I would now say things like "I like that you threw away the empty milk packet without me telling you to".  I am mindful that sometimes him making a mistake is a good thing. Mistakes are opportunities for him to learn. So, if he spills his drink on his pants but that taught him not to tilt his can of green tea too high the next time. Sometimes it is better for him to make mistakes now when i am around to guide him then when he is alone out there in the world where people would readily take advantage of his wrongs.

Also, i realised I have been too quick to correct him to the point where he may think all he ever do is wrong. That may caused him to hesitate in doing something-especially academics, worried that he may do it wrongly. He may also be well aware that he isn't as eloquent as his peers. These probably made him less confident. To boost his confidence, i use any pockets of time to remind him of his strengths. To point to him that not many 6 year olds are aware that there are about 200 volcanoes in Indonesia nor can identify the world maps, or add 20+12 mentally like he can. I am not trying to make him feel arrogant but i want him to know that while he isn't as good as his peers in some areas, he is stronger in other areas.
While i will be more conscious moving forward, i am also well aware that i am but a human who's weak in the flesh.  This is where I place my dependence and trust in my Lord.  I know no matter how hard i work at improving my parenting, i will never be as perfect as my Lord. So the wisest thing to do, is to submit my entire parenting know-hows into His hands & just trust in His love for me & my children. I am hearten to know that i am not alone in parenting my kids but alongside with the Lord.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Movable alphabet with a twist

Babydoll has learnt letter recognition and letter sounds. Logically, the next step to do is to start her on reading words. Admittedly, i don't know if she is ready. But i think no harm exposing to her since she is showing no resistance either.
I made a little book comprising of 'at' family words.

On each page, is a picture of the word she is suppose to form. For this, my DIY movable alphabet came in mighty handy!

What she has to do is to select the correct beginning letter sound of the shown picture.

While she can clearly name all the objects/animals in this book, i still had to guide her by saying the letter sounds for her. On hearing the letter sound, she has no issues picking out the correct letter.
I don't know how much of it got into her, but i reckon with consistent exposure, she'll get it some day! :)

Heart + ice cream sticks = Mandarin?

Babydoll and i have been learning to read numbers in mandarin. I made this activity to reinforce what she has been reading.
I used some ice cream sticks, made some heart shape cards (2 cards of the same number). On one side of the stick, i stuck a heart number shape.
She had to find the matching numbered heart and match them onto the corresponding stick.
Some of the finish work. :)

Wreath of Hearts

I was looking at some craft books and was inspired to make a Heart wreath with babydoll.
Cut out some heart shapes using colored paper.

I also used a paper plate (cut a hole in the middle) and glue.

Babydoll brushing some glue on the paper plate.

Stick the cut out hearts onto the plate. Unfortunately, she was not interested and left the job to me half way through (but i was secretly happy because i was dying to do it).

Our Lovable wreath!
(Erm, now i don't know what to do with it? How?)

Monday 20 May 2013

Threading a caterpillar

Here's an easy DIY threading activity!
In this activity Babydoll gets to exercise her fine motor skills and practise her 123s!

I made threading cards for babydoll. On each card of the ten cards, there is a number (from 1-10).
The goal is to thread the cards according to the number sequence.
Viola! Our cute little caterpillar (with no legs) is created! 
You can do this with ABCs or even work up a spelling activity with this! :)
Have fun!
Linking up:

Montessori Monday
Toddly Mummy

A new exciting blog and facebook!

I am excited to share with you that my good friend Lynn, has started her own blog!
What's so exciting about it? Well, if you are looking for home learning ideas to do with your pre-schoolers, her blog is a MUST to visit. She has tons of creative DIY ideas that you can do at home with your child. Best of all, her ideas are all easy, so easy that all busy moms & dads can DIY at home. No burning of our wallets required- thank you very much! Yet, her activities are appealing and attractive to any child, i promise!
Some background about Lynn. She is a teacher with 14 years of experience, now a Stay at home mom. I love to tap on the brains of teachers because, well they are after-all THE experts when it comes to teaching right? What's more, she is passionate, like burning passionate, about teaching and early childhood. But more importantly, she is also a mother who understands the ups & downs of being a mom.
So please, do me the honour and welcome her by hopping over to her blog.
And oh, *shy* i have started a facebook page.
I have NO idea why i did that for or what is the purpose of it, truth be told. BUt, i have my own favourite blog reads and i appreciate the updates i get on my facebook. It alerts me of new posts that i surely wouldn't want to miss. I reckon, I'll do the same for you guys here. Also, i know several of you who prefer to communicate outside of this blog. Facebook would be another (& probably faster) way to get in touch with me (other than email).
So, do me another honour, if you will, & like my page. The link is on the right panel of this blog.


Sunday 19 May 2013

Different but same

{I used Grammarly to grammar check this post.}
Do you treat your children differently?
Well, recently, i discovered (much to my dismay) that my answer is 'yes'. Some of the examples of how i treat them distinctively different:
1) Whenever Sonshine falls or makes a mistake, my immediate reaction is to fault him, question his ability or reprimanding him with-'what is WRONG with you?'. But if doll makes the same mistake, i respond differently. Sometimes i'd laugh it off & think her mistakes are just cute or hilarious. Most of the time, i am more forgiving towards her.
2) I get hot angry when Sonshine complains that he does not how to do something which i deem easy. Or during our home learning, he gives me the wrong answer despite me explaining to him countless times. Again, i question why he can't get it right. BUT, with doll, when she gives me the 'i don't know' look or gives me the wrong answers, i pat her for her effort or give her a nice hug and tell her (and myself) 'it's ok'.
Needless to say, i am horrified that my responses to each child are adversely different. I search my heart and am quite sure it is not like i favour one child over the other. In fact, if anything, i think my heart thugs more for Sonshine. Yet, i am perplexed why i treat him so harshly as compared to his 2 year old sister. But after some thoughts, i think it is largely due to the age factor amongst other things.
Sonshine is 6 years old this year and i guess, i have unknowingly placed expectations on him. Expectations that i think a 6 year old boy should be. In my mind, he is considered an 'old' kid and he should have enough senses and wisdom of a 6 year old. So i clamp down hard on him whenever he falls short of my expectations. On the other hand, doll, in my eyes, is still a baby. She is still helpless in most ways and her thoughts, immature. Hence, i am more patient with her. But i have clearly forgotten that a 6 year old is still but a child. A child who has much to learn. He is not an adult. Even if he is an adult, he is but a human with faults. It is unfair that i disallow him to falter one bit. :(
I think it is quite a natural trend for us parents. When our kids are infants, toddlers, we think of their every action, right or wrong as cute or forgivable. We are more lenient and patient with them because we understand that they are still infantile in their ways and thoughts. But as the child grows older, we become less tolerant, we demand unreasonably more from them and place too high an expectations on them. I feel rather sad that i no longer coo or go 'oooh, aaah' at Sonshine's ways. I miss the days when he was just a toddler and when i was more easy going & patient with him. But now, i am often too quick to reprimand him for being childish and demand that he grows up faster than he should.
Whatever the reason, it is a wake up call for me. It hit me hard that my reaction to each child is unfairly different. Although Sonshine hasn't complain nor feel that i love him any lesser but it is time for me to be more conscious about the way i handle  Sonshine. 6 years old or 2 years old, boy or girl, I need to cut him some slack and acknowledge that he is still a child just like his baby sister. That i should give him room to learn and that he needs more time. In essence, i should bestow to him the same patience and leniency i give to babydoll. Although he is older & different than doll but he is still a juvenile afterall, same as doll. 

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Free ABC booklet printable

I have received request for the above printable. Instead of sending it mail by mail, i've decided to put it up for public sharing.
Be warned though, there are loads of cutting to be done! :D
If you like, you may download my pdf file for this mini booklet here.
Please let me know if you have trouble downloading. It's my first time trying this, hope this works!
Do link back to my blog especially when you are writing on a post related to my printable. Thank you.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Mini Australian Unit (edited)

Following our trip to Australia, i made a Australian theme unit for Doll this week.

I made a printable for doll to learn her numbers from 11-14. Just to make it more Aussie, i added Koala bears design on the cards. She had to match the cards. As she picks one up i say out the number to help her recognise and identify.

Another printable i made, counting Cockatoos! I  accidentally discovered that she can count (not just rote count) up to 4! I made her these cards to help her practise more. :)
I took out all our animal toys; animals that can be found in Australia such as the Kangaroo, Koala, Sheep, cockatoo etc. Babydoll is task to match the animals to the cards and the word labels. My aim is to help her in word recognition.
I also made her an easy Australian map puzzle. I printed the map on the website and cut out the shapes. I chose this map because each state is color coded so Babydoll could match by color & shape.
This is how it looks like when completed.

Some non-Australian activity on our shelf. A box of 'B's.

This box contained all the objects/animals starting with the letter 'B'.

There are a couple of mandarin activity tray on our shelf this week.
I discovered Babydoll has learnt to read some more Mandarin words on fruits. Hence, I made these cards to help her revise and reinforce what she knows.

We are reading on colors (mandarin)! This is one activity to help speed up her learning.
This activity is still on our shelf. Well, it is somewhat Aussie, we did see these animals during our visit to Collingwood Farm in Melbourne! :P
Have a great week ahead y'all!
Link up to

Montessori Monday

Peel the Egg baby!

This is a common activity done by lots blogger moms. I couldn't resist either!
It is a great activity to practise eye-hand coordination skills and pincer grasp. Plus, it is just pure entertainment for the little one.

You got to boil the egg first, yah? I cracked the egg a little to make it easier for Babydoll.

Happily peeling the shell away. Focus, focus, focus...
Ta-da! Job done albeit broken but still taste as yummy as ever!