Finding Dory at Sunway Pyramid

Finding Dory Event at Sunway Pyramid

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Trusting Our Children To Do The Right Thing

Recently my son came home with a couple of seeds and told me that he was going to give them to his teacher for Teacher's Day.

Bad mummy's reaction was:

"What?! Where did you get that? From the school field?! You can't give teacher that! It's dirty. What will she do with it? She will just throw it away."

In the back of my mind I was thinking of all the lovely teacher's day gifts that mums had lovingly prepared. I hadn't prepared any.

The 12 year old replied:

"Come on, mum. I know what I'm doing. Besides teacher said not to give her anything that costs money."

So bad mummy decided to trust him and said, "Ok, I trust you. Go ahead and give if you like."

A few weeks later when the spouse met the teacher, she told him about the seeds. Your son told me they are "Seeds of Hope". I don't know what else my son told the teacher but she had touched his heart. She told my spouse that she had gone home and told her husband about it and she took a picture of the seeds and shared it with her friends saying "Look, I have this student who......." 

She was just teaching him for 3 months. On her last day, she printed out the picture of the seeds and her sharing which was a page long, read it aloud in class to all the other students and gave it to him to keep.

When I sent her a message to thank her for the time she spent teaching  him, she replied "He is the perfect child in my heart." 

I am glad I chose to trust him instead of insisting he threw the seeds away.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Digital Creation Workshops At Crafty Minds Encourage Children To Think Out Of The Box

We often hear parents lament about kids not being able to think out of the box and having no creative outlet. They attend school, do a lot of homework and get sent from one enrichment class to another with no time for play and creativity. Sometimes parents send kids for enrichment classes because it is a better alternative then having the kids stay home with the maid watching television while they are at work.

So what if there is an enrichment programme that can harness your kids creativity, fulfill his need for play and at the same time develop his academic knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math (STEAM)? Wouldn't that be great?

Well, there is such a course available now at Crafty Minds, Sri Petaling. After school, parents can drop their kids to join any of the Digital Creation programmes for different age groups from 4 to 18 years old. Programmes are structured from beginner, intermediate to advance.

Kids and teens will learn to sketch, design and build 3 Dimensional action heroes, remote control cars, catapults, night lamps, hand-cranked animals etc. including movie making using their creations.

The workshops incorporates elements of
  • physics, 
  • math, 
  • robotics, 
  • engineering, 
  • team work, 
  • presentation skills 
Seeing an idea go from sketch to reality provides a holistic learning opportunity for kids. Lots of thinking out of the box and creativity required to complete the programmes.

At the workshops your kids will use the latest tech tools for their digital creation including a 3D Pen and a 3D Printer.

3D Pen

3D Printer

3D creation is new to many parents so do watch the videos to have a better idea of how these tools work.

Video: What is 3D Printing and how does it work?

Video: What is 3D Pen and how does it work?

Here are some past creations by students from the digital creation classes at Crafty Minds.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

5 Malaysian Parenting Facebook Groups To Follow

There are many parenting groups on Facebook. Anyone can start a group. However, if you wish to keep abreast with parenting and educational news and network with other like minded parents, here are 5 Malaysian Parenting Facebook Groups we recommend you follow:

1. The Parenting Network

This is the group to go to if you have little ones at home from babies to toddlers to preschoolers. You will get lots of support from this group of parents with young children at home. The admin is easy going, friendly and does a diligent job of making sure his members are genuine parents. The group description reads as follows:

"This group is for everyone who supports good parenting. So if you are 1 or you are going to be parents soon, feel free to pour your thoughts and share your experiences here."

That's why we start off by talking about this group. Those who have little kids at home will feel at home here but even those with older kids are welcome too.

Group Status: Closed Group
Number of Members to date: 4807 members
Date Established: June 2013

2. The Malaysia Primary and Secondary Parents on Facebook group.

This is our Facebook group. Our group is part of our network of website, 12 year old blog and other social media. All parents with kids studying in primary and secondary schools in Malaysia are welcome to join our group. We also have many parents with kids in kindergartens and preschools in our group as they prepare to network and learn as much as possible before their children start primary schools. The parents in our group are very generous with sharing of ideas. As founder and admin of the group, I like to run exclusive contests, promotions and offers for the benefit of our group members.

This is part of our group description:

"This Facebook Group is primarily for parents with school going children. Those with kids in nursery and kindy can also join. This Group is a platform for healthy discussion on parenting issues especially those related to schooling and education. Whether your child is home schooled, in SJKC, SK or Private School, it does not matter, we will post and learn from one another. You can also ask for homework help. We can also de stress during exam time by sharing here so we don't feel so alone."

Group Status: Closed Group
Number of Members to date: 15001 members
Date Established: June 2013

We also have a sister group called the Malaysian Primary and Secondary School Parents Market. This group was set up to allow parents to trade in kids, education and school related stuff. All trading is channeled to this group to keep our main group focused on discussion.

Sister Group Status: Closed Group
Number of Members to date: 3494 members
Date Established : May 2015

This group lives up to its name of being a support group for parents with children studying in International Schools. The MISPSG description states that

"The main objectives of Malaysia International Schools Parents Support Group (MISPSG) Facebook group are to provide peer support among parents with interest in international education / school and 21st-century learning; to increase networking among parents who have children attending international school in Malaysia; to increase awareness of the expected standards from international schools in Malaysia; and to share resources so parents can better support their children's learning experience."

The founder and admin runs the group professionally. She has also been invited to speak at several parenting talks during International or Private school trade fairs.

Group Status: Closed Group
Number of Members to date: 14,514
Date Established: June 2012

This group was set up to help parents get ready for the new format UPSR which commences in 2016. The group description states:

"This group is created specially for UPSR 2016 candidates, parents & teachers."

However, in just a short time, this group has grown to be more than that. It now provides support and help for many parents with children in upper primary school with the focus on preparing for UPSR. The many parents and teachers in the group provide relevant advice and support for each other. The main admin is also a well known food blogger. She created the group with two of her best friends and is supported by a team of dedicated parents in providing support for members.

Group Status: Public Group
Number of Members to date: 15,065
Date Established: November 2015

Parenting is Heart Work is the place to go for motivation and inspiration. The group admin gives a daily dose of inspirational messages that warm the heart. The group is described as follows:

"A place to inspire, share and encourage parents in their journey of parenthood."

True to this, the admin provides a daily dose of inspiration for parents. She is an experienced admin who has helped run other Facebook groups before this one.

Group Status: Public Group
Number of Members To Date: 1864
Date Established: December 2014

Definitions: Closed Group means Anyone can ask to join or be added or invited by a member
Public Group means Anyone can join or be added or invited by a member

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Monday, June 13, 2016

UPSR Time Table and Countdown to UPSR 2016

As of today, it is 79 days to UPSR for SJKC/SJKT or 83 days to UPSR for SK....... This year's UPSR is over 5 days instead of 3 days and the SJKC/SJKT students kick off the UPSR first by starting with the Chinese/Tamil paper on Thursday 1st September 2016. Then they break for Friday, Sat, & Sun and continue with the rest of the papers with the SK students. Why Thursday? Because Malaysia observes two different sets of weekends for different states I presume.

Below is the UPSR Time Table for 2016.

Free Printable Tri-lingual Essay Template For Visual Learners

Recently a parent in our Malaysia Primary and Secondary School Parents On Facebook group asked for ideas on how to teach a dyslexic child to write 'Karangan' (Essays in Bahasa Malaysia). It then occurred to me that in order to teach children who are visual learners, we need something visual and simple to remember.

Many of our kids in Malaysia learn 3 languages in school. This means they would have to write essays in English, BM (Karangan) or Chinese (作文) or Tamil. According to our current syllabus,  primary school going kids start to learn to write essays some time around the end of lower primary or start of upper primary school ie around Standard 3 or 4.

In Standard 1 and 2, they quickly progress from learning alphabets to words and phrases. Then they learn to string the words and phrases to form sentences (or Bina Ayat in Bahasa Malaysia). A few sentences joined together make a paragraph. Put together several paragraphs and you have an essay.

As parents who are guiding our children at home, we should not stress ourselves over the number of languages the children have to learn and talk about how difficult it is for them. In fact there are many synergies. Though there are many differences naturally, there are also many similarities. One of them is essay writing/menulis karangan/写作文。

We have put together a free printable template in 3 languages for you to teach your child the basics of essay writing. You can use this template to explain how to write an essay in any language English, Malay or Chinese. Those who have kids who are visual learners will find this easier to grasp then looking at lots of sample essays with plenty of words.

Basically every essay should have an introduction, a few paragraphs to support the main idea and a conclusion. Each paragraph can be 2-3 sentences long for those just learning to write essays.

Our free printable shows an ice-cream. The introduction is the cherry. Moving along, you can have the chocolate ice-cream, the vanilla ice-cream and the strawberry ice-cream. Finally, you have the cone. The cone is the conclusion or summary of what you write. You can have more scoops of ice-cream in other flavours for longer essays. Just write more paragraphs with supporting ideas for your main idea/topic.

The ice-cream cone essay template can be used to explain to your child the basics of essay writing in a structured manner. You can use it for English Essay, BM Karangan or Chinese 作文. We hope you find it useful. This free printable is available for our website members only. Members can login now to download and print the essay template in pdf format.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Caring For Your Piano

Before you buy your child a piano, here are some things you should know about the basic care and maintenance of a piano.

A piano is made up of mainly of wood, metal, springs and strings. As it has a large expanse of wood, one of the first things you should know is it gets affected by humidity and moisture. In a hot and humid country like Malaysia, you will need a dehumidifier for your piano. You keep this plugged on 24 hours to regulate the humidity. Other methods include having plants or an external dehumidifier nearby. Be sure to ask the dealer about these.

Where To Place Your Piano

It is also important where you place your piano. Don't place it near the window with direct sunlight where you may have extreme changes in temperature and humidity throughout the day. You should also avoid other sources of humidity like the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen also causes oil stains from cooking fumes.


Do not allow your children to eat or drink near the piano. It is extremely important not to spill any liquids near the piano as it may expand the wood.  Spillage or condensation can be very damaging to your piano requiring expensive repair.

The piano is rather like a huge lego put together. You can easily open up the outer parts to view the inside. In fact, you can open up the top of an upright piano to air it occasionally but make sure that no insects or pests get into it. 

Below is the inside of a piano. See the intricate system of strings and wood. You can check out the Merriam-Webster Visual Online Dictionary to see the names of the different parts of a piano.

Servicing Your Piano

Your piano should be serviced at least 2 times a year. 3-4 times is even better. Don't let too much time go in between services. Otherwise, you may need to do pitch-raising which will cause the technician more trips and higher cost and inconvenience to you. Inconvenience in arranging a time for servicing as a regular service may take hours.

The company you get to come in to service your piano may require you to enter into a contract for a certain number of piano service per year payable in advance. Remember to read the fine print on your contract because in some cases, if you allow the recommended time to lapse, the amount you paid ahead may be forfeited! Don't worry, usually the company will call in advance to remind you when  your service is due. However, do try to keep your appointments.

Wear And Tear

Hinges may be subject to wear and tear. For example, the music rack may not open or close smoothly after a while so do try to avoid putting or leaving too many heavy music books on it.

Recently we had to change one of the hinges for the fallboard ie the piano cover. It cost RM291 to change just one! You can't order just one, you need to order both in order to change just one side. We could not avoid the cost because it caused the cover to grate the sides of the piano which if left alone will create an even greater damage and eventual higher cost. 

You may also find stain marks on the wooden keys after a while like what you see in the above picture but that is ok as long as the wood does not expand. 

Keeping Your Piano Clean

Your piano is not only a piece of musical instrument. It can also serve as a fine furnishing for your home by using it as a focal point for decoration. This pinterest board on 1000 ideas to decorate your room around your piano will give you plenty of ideas. Covering your piano with a cloth, not only keeps it clean but it looks good too. Never put anything directly on your piano without a soft felt pad or cloth underneath to prevent damage. 

For regular care, wiping the dust off your piano with a soft slightly damp cloth (not wet) is good enough. Do not use household cleaners or polish. If you are polishing get your polish from a music shop or dealer and be very careful not to contaminate other parts of your instrument.

A piano is a rather expensive equipment, so do take care of it and teach your kids to treat it with loving care.

Enough words, let's enjoy some lovely piano music. My favourite - First Love by Utada Hikaru. Enjoy! It's beautiful.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Finding Dory Story Books And Activity Books For Kids

Finding Dory which is due for theatrical release in Malaysia on June 16, 2016  is trending now in searches everywhere. Its been 13 years since the original Finding Nemo and many of the kids that will be watching Finding Dory will probably be too young to remember it. That's okay though as there are plenty of books, toys and stationery ready for these new group of fans.

One of the ways, parents can turn a movie into an educational opportunity is through books, story books and activity books that allow kids to replay the movie in their minds and facilitate discussion with them about what they saw. Kids love repetition. That's how they learn. They love to watch a show over and over again. You can help them relive the show through these Finding Dory Books For Kids.

We found 91 results in Books Kinokuniya Malaysia Webstore for Finding Dory Books but we will just talk about 6 of them. We chose a variety to include books for all ages including story books, sticker books and toddler activity books.

1. Finding Dory Golden Book 

The Big Golden Book Series often have colourful illustrations that catch children's attention. This one summarizes the Finding Dory story for kids from ages 3 to 7. It tells of how the little forgetful Dory finds her way back to her family with the help of friends Nemo and Marlin.

RM39.90 Online Price
RM35.91 Kinokuniya Privilege Card Member Price

2. Finding Dory - The Essential Guide

DK's Finding Dory, The Essential Guide is excellent for kids who love to ask a lot of questions. This book will answer most of the questions regarding the movie including memorable moments during the movie, the characters, both old and new, the locations and more. 

RM54.95 Online Price
RM49.45 Kinokuniya Privilege Card Member Price

3. Finding Dory Sticker Book - There's Always A Way

We love sticker books and can't get enough of them! This one called "There's Always A Way by Parragon Books Ltd is a Sticker treasury of 1000 Stickers! Lot's of ocean scenes to colour and keep kids busy.

RM55.92 Online Price
RM50.33 Kinokuniya Privilege Card Member Price

Buy Now

4. Finding Dory Little Music Note

The Finding Dory Little Music Note book allows toddlers to sing along to the 6 public domain songs in the book at the press of a button. Lyrics are included inside.

RM44.90 Online Price
RM40.41 Kinokuniya Privilege Card Member Price

5. Finding Dory Mad Libs Book

Mad Libs is a word game where you substitute either your own word or select from a given list of words to fill in the blanks of a story. This often results in very comical and nonsensical results which kids love. 

This hilarious book can be read aloud and played as a game at any Finding Dory themed birthday parties. 

RM21.48 Online Price
RM19.33 Kinokuniya Privilege Card Member Price

6. Disney Pixar Finding Dory Make A Splash Paint Palette Book

Kids who love to paint will love this one as it comes with a palette of 18 fish shaped paints. 

Just take out a paintbrush, add a dab of water to colour amazing underwater scenes of Dory and his friends, Nemo, Marlin and all the other ocean pals. Easy and no mess for young fingers.

Online Price
RM35.09 Kinokuniya Privilege Card Member Price

This post was brought to you by Books Kinokuniya Malaysia Webstore. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

School Holiday Shopping Center Activities In The Klang Valley

Just a little less than a week left to the June school holidays. For those living in or visiting the Klang Valley, check out these school holiday shopping center activities happening in the Klang Valley this June 2016.

1. Finding Dory at Sunway Pyramid

Sunway Pyramid's LG2, Blue Concourse has been transformed into a striking underwater world with Finding Dory activities and games for kids. Kids earn stamps at play booths to redeem a free Finding Dory sticker book. Happening from 27 May till 19 June. Read more from our earlier post.

Image Credit: Sunway Pyramid
2. School Holiday POW WOW with Teenage Mutant Ninjas and Ninja Action Zones at the Pavillion KL.

Level 2, Centre Court of Pavillion KL has been turned into a Ninja adventure zone by Urban Playz. 5 Ninja Action Zones have been set up including the Turtle Power Trampoline, String Lazer Maze, NYC Brick Wall, High Ropes Obstacles and Epic Rock Wall. Happening from 26th May to 12th June 2016.

Image Credit: Urban Playz Facebook
Image Credit: Pavillion Kuala Lumpur
3. The Angry Birds Live At Mid Valley Megamall

The centre court of Mid Valley Megamall has been turned into a colourful bird's paradise from The Angry Birds Movie. There are games, workshops and parties for kids and you may chance upon the angry birds Red, Chuck and Bomb. Happening from 26 May to 12 June 2016.

Image Credit: Mid Valley Megamall
4. Infinite Wonders At 1 Utama Shopping Centre

Kids can explore arts and music at 1 Utama LG Oval. Activities include Splash Room for painting and colouring, Spiral Maze for doodling and painting and Laser Harp to create music. Happening from 25th May to 12th June 2016.

Image Credit: 1 Utama Shopping Centre Facebook

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