Friday, May 22, 2015

Resources For Kids To Learn English Online

Resources For Kids To Learn English Online

Here is a guide to resources to help kids to learn English, learning English online can be fun for kids. Kids can learn through songs, videos and  more.

Learning English Can Be Fun

Reading Skills Grade 3
Learning English, learning Grammar, synonyms, antonyms, spelling, phonics, etc can be fun. Here are some fun websites for kids to learn English.
Learning English Songs, Learning English Games, Learning English Videos and many interactive learning English sites can be found on the web. I will find and review them for you.
These learning English sites would be great for Children learning English as a Second Language (ESL) but useful for anyone learning English all the same.
Sometimes I like to look at YouTube for kids learning English resources.

Grammar Rock - on YouTube

I love this Learning Grammar Videos by Grammar Rock on YouTube. They make learning grammar so much fun!

Learning Alphabets and Phonics

Starfall's Learn to Read with Phonics

The first place to head to for children to learn alphabets and learn phonics is There are four levels of difficulty:
1. ABCs
2. Learn to Read
3. It's Fun to Read
4. I'm Reading
If you go through all the learn to read levels, your child will be an independent English reader in no time. 

LearningEnglish Kids has interesting Christmas Stories for Kids. Check it out!

LearnEnglish Kids

by British Council

No Learning English for Kids site would be complete without the mention of British Council's LearnEnglish Kids.
It is colorful and has so many exciting learning English Games, Songs, Stories and Activities for Children to learn English in a fun manner. Not only will it benefit kids who are non-native learners of English, all kids learning English will find this site extremely enjoyable!
I love LearnEnglish Kids because other than teaching kids English, it also teaches kids about different cultures and holidays.
One example is this great Christmas for kids link with exciting Christmas Stories for Kids. Besides the short Christmas Stories for kids, children can also have fun learning English and about Christmas by playing Christmas Games, making Christmas crafts, taking Christmas quizzes and printing Christmas worksheets. What better way to learn English then to have fun while learning it. 

Learn from a Variety of Mediums

Children's Learning Tablet

You can learn English not only from books. You can learn English Online and by using audio CDs to listen to English Songs and Stories or by using software to play interactive Learn English Games.

Online English Language Dictionaries

English Picture Dictionary
There are quite a few online English Dictionaries available. Some of them are from very established names like Cambridge, Merriam-Webster etc. Here are some of them:
  • Cambridge Dictionary Online
    Two options to Cambridge English Dictionaries are available. They are the Essential British English and Essential American English. Both are for elementary and lower intermediate learners of English, and are have easy to understand definitions and ex
  • Merriam-Webster
    The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has and English Dictionary as well as a Thesaurus. You can easily browse words by topics such as Sports and Recreation, Home and Garden, Health and Fitness etc.
  • Learner's Dictionary
    This dictionary is also by Merriam-Webster and is specially for Learners and Teachers of the English Language.
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online
    Did you know that Oxford Dictionaries has a special section for Children and Schools with free bilingual resources, free bilingual audio as well as free worksheets for children to have fun with Dictionaries.
    You can easily search from hundreds of online dictionaries and thesaurus at In fact, at this time of writing there are 16,738,555 words being searched today. That just goes to show how many people find this online English Dictionary useful
Students learning English as a Second Language (ESL), Check the following site out!

Resources for English as a Second Language (ESL)

If you are learning English as a Second Language (ESL) you will find the resources on helpful. These ESL tools are for students of English, teachers and learners. There are useful handouts and printables as well as useful links for information on English.
The teacher handouts and printables are very useful for your child to practise English.
Older children may find this site useful. Parents, educators and teachers will find plenty of resources for teaching English to kids of different levels here.


for Preschoolers

Kindersay has Free Online English Videos and Activities for Preschool Children.
There are over 500 online activities available in a special Word Show format. These are great for preschool kids as well as Children who are learning English as Second Language (ESL) to learn English words.
Parents can create their own lessons tailored to their child's abilities and interests by storing the videos under their favorites and playing them for their child. It is also easy enough for the child to navigate on his or her own.

Interactive English Games and Activities

from Woodlands Junior School Literacy Zone

Woodlands Junior School, a primary school in England with students from ages 7 to 11 have a good Educational Site for Children. It includes a Literacy Zone for kids with Interactive English Games in the following categories:
1. Words and Spelling
2. Grammar
3. Punctuation
4. Writing Text

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How To Make Your Own Balloon Animals

How To Make Your Own Balloon Animals

Have you ever been to a kids party where there is a clown who hands out balloon animals to the happy children? Those balloon animals look incredible and children love them. Well, you too can make these amazing balloon animals and you don't have to be a clown to do it.
All you need is some long balloons and a balloon pump. If you're a first timer, a Balloon Animal Sculpture Kit may help but once you've got the basics, it is really easy.
Your balloon animals will look very professional and kids will love you at every party. You can also save money hiring a clown. :) These lens shows you how you can make balloon animals. You do not need to be very creative to make balloon animals. Basic skills is all that is needed.
The image is my own. This balloon animal dog (or is it a mouse) was made for my boy and girl using the basic skills I learned from our Balloon Animal Kit. It looks professional don't you think? It's easier than you think. Try it!

What you'll need to make a balloon animal

1. #260 balloons
2. A balloon Inflator or Double Action Pump or a strong pair of lungs if you've got one
3. Marker pen to draw in the animal eyes etc
Step 1 - Get A Balloon Animal Kit

Here's What You Need To Make Your Own Balloon Animals And Sculptures For Kids Parties

You'll only need this once to pick up the basic skills and knots you need to make your own balloon animals

This is a basic Balloon Animals Starter Kit. You'll get instructions in the form of a booklet as well as video access.
It also comes with 90 balloons and an air pump. That's more than enough balloons for a kids party.

You only needed this kit once, after that all we needed was more balloons refills.

Balloon Twisting Instructions - How to tie a balloon knot for balloon sculptures

Step 2 - Learn how to tie a knot first

Once you have mastered the twisting and knot making, you can make just about anything you want, balloon animals, balloon swords, balloon flowers.
You can go to websites showing you how to tie a know but I prefer to see side by side video instructions on how to tie a balloon knot. You'll find plenty of those on YouTube. I'll show you some of them on this lens.
There is a lot of locking and twisting action.

Step 3 - Watch and Learn

That's all to it!

Watch Videos on YouTube to get ideas for different types of things you can sculpture with a balloon.
Then practice, practice, practice.
I was successful in just my third attempt. It is easy to make balloon animals that look amazing even if you have just learned the skill.

How to Make A Balloon Flower

When you make your own balloon animals...

You can entertain kids by singing, telling a story about the animals and more. When balloons go pop, make funny faces and sounds to help the little ones overcome their fear.
You can blow balloons and hand these to older kids to try their hand in balloon twisting and sculpting. They'll enjoy it!

Balloon Animal Poodle - This is my second attempt at Balloon Animal making

In my first attempt, the balloon burst! Be prepared for a lot of that when you are trying at first but you will soon get the hang of it.
This is my second try at making balloon animals. It is supposed to be a dog but I think it looks rather like a mouse. Somehow, the air ran out in the middle of its body!

How to Make A Balloon Animal Dog - This is how a balloon dog is supposed to look like.

Compare this to the balloon dog I made. Don't you think mine looks like a poodle or mouse instead?

Balloon Animals - Giraffe - My Third Attempt at making balloon animals. Success!

I made this Balloon Sculpture Giraffe after only 3 attempts at making balloon animals. It really is that easy.
You will need a marker pen to draw in the eyes and other parts of the animals to make it more realistic. That is the fun part actually.
Draw in the designs after you have finished with your balloon animal sculpturing.

If You Don't Want To Get A Balloon Animal Making Kit. You Can Get Just The Balloons

Here's A Video On How To Make A Balloon Animal Giraffe

When you've done the basic, you can then move on to more exciting sculptures - You can combine two or more balloons for a better effect

I made this balloon flower for my girl using three balloons and the balloon sword for my boy. It is easy to make and fun.

Balloon Pump
The most basic balloon animals would be the dog and giraffe which I tried. After you have mastered that, you can move on to other things like this balloon flower for girls or the balloon sword for boys.

If You Are Getting Just The Balloons, Don't Forget The Balloon Pumps

Free Personalized Chinese Character Practice Worksheets

Are you looking for free worksheets to let your child or yourself practice Chinese character writing? I am happy to share with your something even better than that. These worksheets can be personalized to include any Chinese character that YOU or your child wish to practice. Here's the site with this wonderful tool. Free Printable Chinese Character Worksheet from

The site is in Chinese, so I'm going to show you how to do it in English. This is what I suggest you do. You can do it differently once you learn how but for a start this is good.

1. Make sure you select the middle button. That allows you to personalize your worksheet
2. Select the middle button for medium size boxes
3. Key in the number 9 for the number of lines you wish to practice on (9 is the maximum)
4. Key in the number 3 for the number of times you wish to have the example words in the background for tracing
5. Select the left button to include the Chinese Stroke Order at the top of your worksheet
6. Key in the word you wish to practice. Remember to add the Chinese keyboard for your PC if you haven't done so
7. Hit Enter

To demonstrate, I keyed in the Chinese character 我 using the steps above and this was what I got. You can now print your free printable Chinese character worksheet for practice.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How To Type Chinese Characters From Your Computer Keyboard

One of the first few "challenges" we faced with a child studying in Chinese school is how to type in Chinese using our desktop computer. This started as soon as our kid was required to do a project or search for something on the internet.... in Chinese. We didn't know how to type in Chinese. It took me hours to figure out how to input Chinese characters using our keyboard.

In actual fact, it is quite easy to input Chinese characters or type in Chinese using your computer keyboard. All you have to do is add the Chinese keyboard. The steps are similar for whatever system or desktop computer or software you are running on your PC. I have shown it in the diagram above. Some of the tabs may be named a little differently then shown above but the steps for adding a keyboard in another language is similar to the above. If you wish to know in more detail, you can go here for the step by step guide on how to change your computer's input language.

Once you have installed your Chinese character keyboard (remember to choose simplified Chinese rather than traditional Chinese), you may need to learn how to toggle between your English and Chinese keyboards.

Good Resources For Learning Music Theory Online

When my daughter started learning piano, I knew I had to learn some music theory in order to help her when she wanted to ask some questions. That was when I decided to learn music theory. I learned music theory online on my own, in the comfort of my own home, in my own time. I will share some of the resources I used with you.

Graded Music Exams

First, a little about graded music exams. The two popular ones which I know are ABRSM and Yamaha.
    What does ABRSM stand for? In case you didn't know, ABRSM stands for Associated Board of Royal School of Music. You can check out the syllabus for the music theory exams at ABRSM if you want to know what is expected of a music theory learner.
  • Yamaha Music School
    An interesting thing to note about Yahama is the fact that it Grades its learners starting from Grade 9 to 6 for students, 5 to 3 for teachers and 2-1 for professional performance candidates. Interesting isn't it? As far as I know Yamaha incorpora

An Online Music Dictionary!


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