Monday 28 July 2014

Food Chain

Since I had my animals out, I decided to make full use of it & conduct a simple activity with Sonshine.
It's all about animal's food chain!

I wrote down the definitions of 'Carnivores', 'Herbivores' and 'Omnivores'. We briefly discussed which animals belong to which group.
I showed him what is a food chain.

We also explored other food chains.
This lesson took us a grand total of 5 minutes. Now that Sonshine is older, he is hardly willing to sit down and have an activity with me (he has so many other hobbies competing time with me, sob). That's why I planned this in a bite size so that he can understand in a short time. Yay. Accomplished!

Monday 21 July 2014

Simply Animals

I took out a tub of our animal toys and conducted some simple activities with Doll.
I made a place mat depicting the sea, land and sky.
We randomly picked out some animal toys and sorted them according to where they can be found i.e. sea, land or sky.   

I printed out some animal prints and Doll matched the animal toys to the cards.

We sorted some animals according to the number of legs they had.

As always, making her read is my priority. This week she is learning sight words 'i' and 'am'. I made sure all the cards repeated these two sight words so that it gets drilled into her head. She read aloud the cards and matched it to respective animal toys.

I've been neglecting the mandarin bit. Just a little phrase for her to retain words that she has learnt. Also, to help her make sense the words that she learnt.

Another way of AB patterning. Instead of pictures, this time I used words. She had to read and find the corresponding colored animal.

Monday 14 July 2014

What a (little) girl wants and needs!

 Lately, Doll has been pretending to be a waitress taking my orders and serving me my meals and collecting my money. I felt sorry that she had to make do with the little space available (due to HER clutter) on our coffee table for her 'cooking'. Hence, I put together a little play area at, where else, my kitchen.
First, I gathered some of her cooking toys and displayed them in a basket (which I bought from Daiso for this very purpose).

A bakery basket

I had an empty shelf so I displayed the baskets of food on the shelf- inspired by the ones we saw at Kids Stop, Science Center. A poor version of it but is an invitation to play! Besides the bakery and carbo baskets, we also have a basket of fruits & vegetables and a tray of an assorted cakes. :P

Next to that black shelf is MY kitchen shelf. Just for her, I cleared one tier for her. I placed her cultery, rice cooker, water flask and what-nots.

And what use is a kitchen without a cooking stove? I shifted this from her usual play space into our kitchen.

To complete my mini project, I painstakingly snapped photos of each and every item displayed on the shelf and created a menu. I forsee that I can use this to teach her to read and the concept of money!
Next, I really should set up a cashier counter for her! Man, I envy her! I wish I had an play area like that when I was at her age!

Monday 7 July 2014

Oh (my) boy!

Recently, my hub and I gave a stern lecture to Sonshine. Earlier on that day, someone asked him a question. He immediately answered 'I don't know'. We are pretty clear that the answer is his head. It may sound trivial. It would be if it's a one-off cheeky thing. However, he's been consistently like this even at 2 years old. Even his kindergarten and now primary school teachers gave us the same feedback. They know that Sonshine has the answers but he would always show otherwise or refuse to participate in class. 

Sometimes, I let him be. But it can get really frustrating. Whenever someone ask him a question that he knows very well, you will see him crack a smile and declare 'I don't know!'. People who don't know him well will accept his answer as it is. But if they know better & dig further, they would be surprise to know that he has the answers and even more. Even if he says out the answer, he would only reveal a little of what he knows. 

Sometimes I sympathize with him. I find that his mind is not in sync with the rest of his body. Take his speech for instance, he's not very good in expressing himself. The words that come out of his mouth don't accurately describe what's on his mind. Even if he does say it out, the words would only scrape the tip of the iceberg of what he wants to truly say. I suspect that is why he gives up on speaking and telling people the answers. 

This applies with his hands especially when it comes to writing as well. He's got something in his head, but writing takes too long. Even in his imaginative play, it would also be constructing Lego or drawing in a big haste. He does not bother about the aesthetics outcome, all he wants is to recreate the idea out of his head and translate it out in his Lego or drawings. Hence his creation always look like a mess and very hard for others to comprehend. Even in math work, I notice how he can solve problem sums (those that require 3-4 tiers of calculation), he writes down the final (& correct) answer after a quick mental calculation. But he struggles to explain how he gets the answer, duh. 

It's pretty frustrating especially when I know what he wants to say but it gets wrongly translated into words. Every time, I feel a strong urge to intervene and tell whoever there that he actually knows this much. It hurts that people pass him by or opportunies slip by because he hides what he knows. I asked him once why he refuse to tell people the answers and he says 'Because it's a secret'. What? Do you think you're 007 agent, who's storing classified information in your head son? 😐

The thing is, now that he's in school, all the more he's expected to be vocal and shout out his answers confidently. But it seems, he hesistates to reveal the answers whether as an individual or a team mate. 

I hope in time to come my boy will come out his shell. If only he would let others in into his mind so that they come to understand him, appreciate & value his gifts (especially his teachers) instead of brushing him aside and sideline him. Like every parent, I want my child's gifts to be fully capitalized and not be wasted. Still, it's not in my hands but it's in my Lord's hands. As of now, I can only encourage him to speak up and guide him to understand that when he do so, many amazing doors will be open for him. 

Sunday 6 July 2014

Judge me not please!

As soon as My hub and I settled into our seats, we quickly whisked out our phones and hand it over to our kids. We ordered our supper and happily daze away in peace. 

I am aware of the judging glances and what other parents or non parents are saying of us. Probably shaking their heads and passing judgement on us for exposing our children to electronics instead of having a quality, in depth, eye to eye conversation. Some times, I ignore them. At times, I just want to yell out and tell them my reasons, or some may say excuses. Most of time, I just quietly tell them in my head, pretending that I can send mind to mind message to them. 

Since I can't quite turn to these strangers and tell them to stop passing judgement on me- I shall do it here on my blog. Before you pass judgement on other parents: here are some of my 'excuses' and perhaps other parents too.

1) You have no idea how hard it is to feed my kids. You are very lucky that your kids love and enjoy eating but mine do not. I do not need to explain extensively how hard it is just trust me- it's tortorous and it drove me to tears and near depression many a times multiply that by 2 kids. Giving them the phone, distracts them so that I can deceptively stuff the spoonful of food into their mouths. But don't you worry, I am discerning enough to know when to put a stop to this bad habit. Now that Sonshine is older, we can order him to eat without the phone and he's been phone free during meal times for a long time. As for doll, I'm working right at it. But you probably don't know all these and it's easier for you to judge me in that mere moment you remotely met me in the restaurant. 

2) Sometimes we need to space out. I don't have a live in helper nor grand parents whom I can easily hand my kids over to get away. In other words, the kids are with me 24/7, all year round and it repeats itself. There's no escape route for me- na da. In order to get some peace and quiet, to earn myself some quietness, I hand them the phones just to shut them up. You may see a family at a dining place with kids furiously tapping their fingers on the phones while the parents daze away. But you never know, they may have had a horribly bad day just before stepping into the restaurant. And just to earn themselves some chill time, they liberally allow their kids to tap away on the phones. Cut them some slack will you?

3) Trust me, I am not as liberal at home as I am when I am out. At home & on weekdays when we hardly go out for meals, it's hands-off from the phones/iPads. They have zero iPhone/iPad play time on weekdays. My kids know that and they don't suffer from any form of withdrawal symptoms either. Neither do they ask to play, not even a squeak. But knowing that they really enjoy playing and watching, we decide to let them play when we go out and eat on weekends. Just to reward them for being phone free for the entire week or well, simply put a smile on their faces. Again, you wouldn't know that would you? Seeing my kids glued on the iPhones during meal times, it was so easy to make an assumption that my kids are ALWAYS on the electronic devices, wasn't it? You wouldn't have known that that was their only precious tiny opportunity to play on the phones for the entire week, would you? I don't expect you to but, don't be quick to judge ya?

4) And ahem, my kids are doing well in their studies so, I know that their time on the iPhone is not wasting their brains. Don't you worry, I watch them like a hawk in this aspect, especially for doll since she is still very young. But the fact that her attention span is great (she gives her full attention during our reading time), not easily distracted, she learns well and retains well, I think a little exposure to the iPhone is not hurting her and Sonshine. 

There I let it out! Should I print this out and hand it to the next parent who throw me a dirty glare? LOL! Seriously, I think at this day and age, it is not realistic to abstain our kids from electronics. The exposure is everywhere. That said, of course I'm not for kids playing electronic devices especially at such a young age either.  And if possible, I will choose not to expose them. But I have succumbed and instead of regretting it, I decide to allow it but control my kids' usage and what they are exposed to wisely. I think the key is how we parents manage it. It is very much like fire, it can be a good servant but it may be a very very bad master. So parents should always lord over the phones and not the other way around. Wisdom and a lot of control is key. 

So anyway, next time you see a family with kids lost in the world of iPhones in dining areas; don't be too quick to pass a judgement. Let's cut each other some slack, parents to parent! :)

Friday 4 July 2014

Learning about all things in the sky!

I have finally cleaned up my act and display new sets of learning activities for Doll!
Sonshine was able to patterning when he was 3 year old. Then, I thought it was because of a technic I used to help him. But that same technic didn't help Doll. So, I came up with this pattern strip and cut out the same pictures. She's to match the pictures from left to right. I hope this will help her 'see' the pattern.

Revising her word recognition on number words. Matching the correct number word cloud to the corresponding rainbow.

Which is NOT the same? Which is Different? Helping her visual discrimination and also at the same build her vocabulary.

Doll can read 'the', 'three' and 'this' but there are times when she mixes these words up. So I decide to put the words side by side to help her see that these words are not the same. Here, she has to sort out the words accordingly. I must say, it is helping. She can now instantly read out these words without confusion.

I have seen many Montessori counting activities from 1-10 but never beyond. Why so? Anyway, I printed out these cards and have her count. The numbers are between 21-30. She's doing this very well!

I never let an activity whizz by without her learning new words. This time, she's learning words on weather and all things in the sky.
If you like the above printables, click here