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Friday, November 28, 2008

How to get your kids involved in Arts & Crafts

The kids love to do Arts and Crafts. We have designated Friday as Arts & Crafts Day this school holiday.

I did make a lot of effort to introduce Art & Craft to them and get them involved to bring out their creativity when they were younger. However, ever since the girl started kindy, we have less time to do them. I haven't updated the Arts and Crafts category on this blog for a long time.

We still have a useful stock of art supplies though. I find it really useful to have Arts and Craft Supplies readily available so we can use them whenever we need.

We have the following in our Arts and Crafts Cupboard:
  • Scissors
  • Glues
  • All sorts of construction papers, colored, cardboard, crepe, thick, thin, transparent
  • All sorts of colored pens and pencils and glitter glue and pens
  • Stickers
  • Glitter dust'
  • Ribbons and papers from old hampers
  • Recycled wrapping paper
  • Play Doh
  • Paints and Palletes
  • Origami books and papers
  • Paper plane books and papers
  • Balloon Art pump and balloons plus instructions
  • Pencil, rubber, ruler
  • Drawing Block

With these basic supply, we can sit down for an arts and crafts project anytime. Today we're making a homemade story book. So we took out our manila cardboard for the cover, folded and cut out the pages of the book and stapled the pages together with the cover to make the book and the rest is up to their imagination.

The girl has been given a project to make a story book called "My School Holidays" and the boy is to make a book called "My ABC 123 Book". The rest is up to their imagination and its wonderful what they can come up with sometimes. I tell them to write, draw, color and decorate with stickers, anything they feel like doing.

I give them a book as an example for what to put on the cover. Eg: Title and Author and how the book should look like. The girl would often call out to me on how to spell a word that she wants to put in her story. Its a fun way of learning instead of asking her to do spelling. This way she learns on her own initiative.

For ideas, sometimes I look at kids' contests, or newspaper pages for kids and of course, the world wide web. Last night the girl couldn't wait for Arts and Crafts Friday so she started her project to draw firemen on a rescue mission, an idea I stole from the newspapers.

Doing Arts and Crafts is a fun way for the kids to learn, keeps them occupied and away from the tv. :)

I wrote this post last week but now its Friday again and time for another Arts & Crafts project! My goodness. Time flies. For today's project, we are going to paint pictures and frame them up in the colourful frames I bought from IKEA about 2 weeks ago. It'll be fun plus it'll make a nice decoration for their playroom.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Are boys lazier than girls?

I'm wondering if boys are lazier than girls. I've had no problems teaching my girl. She loves learning and she soaks up information like a sponge. She has a photographic memory and can often remember shows or books that she reads word for word. Its amazing.

She learned her ABCs almost by herself. I taught her a couple of times and then she would practise by herself and soon she knew them all. We have the whole set of Peter and Jane books and when I teach her to read using them, we would go through book after book till she completed all in the series almost without turning back.

Even now that she is older, she loves home lessons. I can give her some instructions and she would do the work eagerly. All she needs is some reward stickers to make her happy.

Its a different story with my boy though. Whenever I teach him, sometimes he would grumble and say "Tired...." He's learning to read the Peter and Jane books but we can't move on. We keep on going back to books 1 and 2 over and over again because he can't remember.

Last night he threw two of the books that we were currently reading down the bed when I was not looking. I found them because he and his sister were looking under the bed at the numerous toys and other stuff that he threw in there.

When I asked him why he threw the book under his bed, he said he didn't want to read them. So he threw them in there so I couldn't find them! When I told his dad about that, his dad said "Smart boy". Hmmm...... and he is the one who is always asking me to give more attention to the boy and make sure that he is not left behind in his lessons compared to his sister.

What to do now? I don't want to turn him off learning. His dad said he should be pushed a little so that he doesn't take it easy all the time. He hasn't outgrown his mirror image writing so we want to make sure that we spend time teaching him but he is lazy to learn. He is going to be 5 in April 2009. To me he is still a baby and I shouldn't be worried but his paeditrician had wanted to have him screened for dyslexia some months ago when we visited her. Eventually she agreed to wait a few months till he starts school to see his progress. I guess that is why his dad is always asking me to push him a little but I don't want to punish or scold him if he is lazy to learn. I don't want him to learn because he HAS to, I want him to learn because he WANTS to.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back to School Shopping

This is the first year that I am involved in Back to School Shopping. I am a bit blur.

I saw some school uniforms going for around RM20.90 (just for the pinafore) and got my girl to try it but the material didn't look very fantastic. Then I went to another shop which had very nice cotton material and had better workmanship but that cost RM34.90. Wow! Quite a big price difference. The white blouse cost RM21.90.

Everyone advised us to get bigger sizes so in the end, the girl looks a bit sloppy but we got the big sets anyway hoping that she will grow into them. We got 3 sets each. Hope that will be enough turnover time for it to be washed, dried and ironed daily.

Then we got shoes and socks for both the boy and the girl. We sure had a hard time deciding on the right size as well. However the girl and the boy had a good time prancing around the shoe store. The shoes cost about RM25 each and the socks around RM6 each. *Seeing money flying out the window*

We got the boy a tumbler since the girl already has one. We haven't got them stationaries yet. Will probably get those cheap sets that comes in bulk since they keep on losing them! Sigh! No matter how much I scold, nag, persuade, inform, teach, tell my girl. She still comes home with missing pencils and erasers.

Then I went to have a look at the school bags. Now this is a area that I am blur upon. I keep reading that the books are very heavy so I see the kids having this pull along roller bags like the ones you take for long distance travelling in an airport. Should I get one of those? It'll surely be hard to navigate along stairways wouldn't it? I saw those pink pink Princess, Dora types and it cost RM130! *faints*

Do the schools allow children to carry those? Can the children carry anything they like or are there some rules and regulations they must follow when it comes to school bags? What if it becomes the envy of friends etc? So many issues to think about. In the end, I left the bags because I didn't know what to buy. Can any experienced mums please share?

Throughout kindy, I let my girl carry the schoolbag provided by the kindy. Some of her friends carried fancy bags but I didn't get her one. I got her to do some of her own name tags etc to decorate her own bag and she was fine with that. Now the school does not provide bags so I have to get her one of her own but I don't know what to buy. Please help?

Have you done your back to school shopping yet? I decided to do mine early so that I don't have to rush as soon we will need to do Christmas Gift shopping and then Chinese New Year Shopping for new clothing. Is there any back to school items that I have left out?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The School Holidays so far

What we did for the school holidays so far.

Day 1 - Visit Dentist and Watch a Movie
Day 2 - Put up Bookcase and get the kids to pack their books
Day 3 - Get the kids to pack their bedside drawers *
Day 4 - Grandpa came over
Day 5 - Art & Craft Project

* The kids are allowed to put some toys and books in their own bedside drawers and its really convenient to ask them to "Keep everything away in your drawers" at bedtime to get rid of clutter in the bedroom. I have to check the drawers periodically though otherwise it will explode. The little one has stuffed so many toys and books into it that it almost broke!

So they have to pack their own drawers once in a while to decide what they would like to keep in there. I would bring their drawers in the playroom, empty it then ask them to sort them and put them in the respective toy boxes eg: cars, animals, blocks, party toys etc and then they get to choose new ones. This way the kids get to be responsible for their own things and they help mummy to pack as well. Its a great activity and something to occupy them.

These are very simple activities but they enjoy it and its much better than watching tv all the time.

Our home lesson plans will start a bit more seriously next week. Will probably start by going through the girl's test papers with her. Afterall, whats the point of doing tests if you don't do a review to explain the results.

Today is Art & Craft Friday in our timetable but I will write about that next week as this post is getting long. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Year End School Holiday Program

Its the school holidays again and as usual the kids look forward to their "Home School Holiday Program" or "Home Lessons". "When can we start our home lessons?" they ask eagerly.

To start off our "Home Lessons" we had to first set up our room. Hehe. We had gotten a new shelf for their books which had grown so much it was exploding our own shelves. I think its the "Billy" bookcase from Ikea. I put it together on the 2nd day of the school holidays and I was taken aback to find that the back of the bookcase was made of cardboard! Hmmm..... Cardboard! A thin piece of wood would have sufficed but cardboard! I hadn't noticed it when I saw the shelf at the store. It had looked so nice then. Hmmm...

Anyway, we put it up and I got the kids to sort their books ie which books belong to whom. There were 3 shelves. I designated a shelf for each of them and the last was a shared one. Then I got them to put their own books on their own shelves and to decorate it a little bit. They were more than eager to help. Finally we put their name label stickers on the shelves to stake ownership. Hahaha.

In the evening, we drew up their school holiday program timetable. There would be daily reading in Chinese for the Girl and English for the boy. The girl wanted to have two mornings dedicated to Arts and Craft but I managed to negotiate it to just one morning. Then we included English, Malay, Science, Moral and Maths Lesson plus another morning for "Computer Lessons" and we were done.

Each day goes something like this: Breakfast, Lesson, Lesson, Lunch, Reading, Nap, Dinner, Playtime. Then the girl decorated the timetable with glitters and hearts and we stuck it on the whiteboard with magnets.

OMG! I think I've been overly ambitious. Now, I won't have time for anything else. Help! Hahaha.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Madagascar 2 : Not a Review

The first day of the school holidays saw us heading towards the cinema to watch Madagascar 2.

The kids had been looking forward to this (going to the cinema) for so long. Ever since their first time in the cinema for Kungfu Panda, they've been waiting to go again. Previously we went last minute so we only managed to get really lousy tickets on the 2nd front row. Ouch! My neck!

This time we made sure we got better tickets. We also promised the kids some snacks. Its just so thrilling to be able to watch and snack at the same time. They decided to go for coke and cheezels.

I think they enjoyed the coke and cheezels more than the show. Hahaha. They were busy munching and drinking away and when my hand dipped into the boy's bag of cheezels, he protested loudly.......

"Mummy, why you eat so much, I eat so little, you eat so much, afterwards I no more already!"

Hahaha. So whats the verdict: The kids agreed that they enjoyed Kungfu Panda more.

So, in the end, the kids enjoyed their coke and cheezels, Mr MG and I enjoyed the kids and I think the maid enjoyed the show most of all as I could hear her laughing in many scenes. lol. Its her first time to a cinema and she has a really delicious sense of humour. Anything can set her going. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A farewell gift for teacher

Today is the last day of kindy for my girl. I feel a bit sad that she won't be seeing her friends anymore. The kids don't seem a bit sad though. They were all busy laughing, playing and enjoying their end of school class party.

My girl wanted to make a card for her teacher and friends but yesterday we were a bit rushed. We didn't have time to make a homemade card, so we bought her a gift and card for teacher instead. We bought her a flower mug and a thank you card. My girl wrote on it....

"Dear teacher. Thank you for being my teacher. I love you."

Then she wrote "Got some more at the back" (Haha. Meaning Please Turn Over). She also drew in balloons, a cake and a heart shape.

At the back of the card she wrote...

"DALLING Teacher. I hope you remember me after your present."

Lol. She had wanted to buy her teacher flowers but we told her that flowers will wilt and be forgotten. We told her that whenever her teacher drinks from her mug, she will think of her. So I guess thats why she wrote what she did.

Ah.. the innocence of children. :)

Teaching the kids to joy and meaning of gift giving is a wonderful thing. By allowing them to write freely on their own, they also learn new things. For example, in composing her message, the girl asked me "How to spell "your"? and "What is the meaning of "Dear" and why do people put it in letters?" However, I think that the fact that she misspelled her "darling" is a rather sweet thing. I hope her teacher likes her gift.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Her First Kindy Progress Report

I've collected the girl's kindy progress report. For record purposes:

Last Term: A very keen and vocal learner. Generates answers and questions during discussion.
This Term: Inquisitive and has a lot of questions to ask
Score: 96%

Bahasa Malaysia
Last Term: She can associate sounds of letters to words introduced
This Term: Able to follow the lessons well
Score: 97%

Mandarin Chinese
Last Term: Shows keen interest to learn Mandarin
This Term: Has shown immense improvement. Keep it up!
Score: 83%

Last Term: Manages well with guidance
This Term: Has shown improvement
Score: 98%

Last Term: Has contributed suggestions & views & able to differentiate & describe too
This Term: Shows delight in new discovery
Score: 91% (Science); 83% (Moral)

Art & Craft
Last Term: She tries her best to complete her work independantly
This Term: Eager to participate in art & craft projects

Behaviour & Attitude in Class
Last Term: Has carried out her responsibilities well in class
This Term: A friendly and helpful girl. She has formed good relationship with classmates.

Music & Movement
Last Term: Shows interest in music & movement
This Term: Able to clap the rythm

Teacher says that her handwriting for Chinese and other languages is poor so she needs to improve in those areas. She is talkative and a bit kaypoh in class. Talks during lessons (Teacher says she just can't seem to help herself!) and example of kaypoh: she is always trying to tell others when they have done something in the wrong way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My kids' babysitter

My kids' babysitter is rather square but she has a way with kids. She is very loud but sometimes when I am around, she will be softer. She can really make the kids laugh too. They love her. She can really capture their attention. Sometimes she sings and sometimes she tells stories and jokes. Did I say that the kids love her? Well, they do.

They love to listen to her and watch her. She is really quite useful to have around especially when I am very busy. She has a way of keeping the kids very quiet. I guess it is because they are so enraptured by her.

They are so captivated by her that sometimes they even ask for her when I am around. Sometimes they want to see her again and again even when they've just seen her. In fact, she's here, entertaining the kids again, even as I write this. I can hear her singing again in her loud voice and the kids are singing along with her, singing and clapping too!

Well, I guess they've been with her long enough today, so I have to go and turn her off now. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Little Emcee

My girl was the English Emcee for her kindy concert. Preparation for this role began during the last week before the middle or last term school holidays began. After the school holidays, she had to stay back in school 3 times a week to practise. It was like having a free speech and drama class. Haha.

She had five pages of text to memorize. Even though she was the English Emcee, she also had Chinese and Malay speaking parts too. The words used were really bombastic and difficult to pronounce. I wish they wouldn't do that but I guess the kindy wanted to show how "good" the kids were.

We practised really hard for months. First she had to memorise her part, then she had to learn how to pronounce the words, then she had to practise some hand gestures and expressions, then I had to explain to her what those big, big words meant. As suggested by the principal, we even got her a mike to practise getting used to speaking with one. Then we had to build her confidence by giving her lots and lots of positive talk, love, support and encouragement.

We were afraid that she would be afraid on the concert day and instead of boosting her confidence it would put a dent in it. Daddy couldn't sleep the night before from worry. Haha. But although she was afraid (she said so), it didn't show. She spoke with confidence to a crowd of 300 plus adults and really enjoyed herself on that day. Phew! We're glad thats over. After the concert, she got lots of treats and goodies from daddy to reward her for working so hard and being so brave. Hehe.

Congratulations sweetie pie. You did well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My little exercise coach

My boy at 4 is still a super glue.

At bedtime, he holds my hand, places in over him, then puts his bolster and carefully arranges his blanket over my hand then asks me....

"Mummy, do you know why I put your hand like that?"

When I say...

"No. Why?"

He goes on to say....

"So that your hand will be stuck so when you move, I will wake up and know. Heheh."

lol. Well, usually I move and sleep on the mattress on the floor beside him and last night, he fell on me. He whined a bit but when I carried him back and put him back on his bed, he continued to whine a little and then went right back to sleep. Hehe.

This morning when I was doing some exercises, he asks me not to follow the one on the tv screen but to follow him.... and so I did. I jumped about the way he directed me to and later on when it came time to stretch he coached me to lie down on the floor, stretch and yawn. (We yawned upon his suggestion) Hahaha. After that he turned towards me, put his hand on my face and say "Must sayang face" then he hugs me and says "Must hug hug." In turn I must sayang his face and hug hug him too. Then we stretched and yawned some more and he asked me "Are you tired?"

When I replied "Yes." he said he was tired too so he suggested that we go and drink some orange juice, his favourite. Hahaha.

Usually I just let him play his computer game when I exercise so he can be near enough for me to watch him. Today, he was playing his blocks, cars and digger so he decided to join me in exercising instead and then he decided to be the exercise coach. Hehe. And what a wonderful little coach he turned out to be. Great exercise therapy. You should try it too with your kids. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Caring Boy

I have written about how affectionate my little boy is and this is another example of it.

One night I was really sleepy but the kids were still wide awake (from having had too good an afternoon nap). So I gave them a sticker book each and asked them to sit on my bed with me to play because I was too tired to chat with or read to them.

My boy wanted me to help him stick his marvel characters which he couldn't find so I sleepily found and stuck them for him. Stick. Stick. Stick. He hugged me tight and said......

"Are you okay mummy? Nevermind mummy, I hug hug you."

Then we stuck a few more marvel bad guys. Stick. Stick. Stick. I started to yawn till my eyes filled with tears. He wiped my eyes and said........

"Nevermind mummy, I wipe your eyes for you."

Then we stuck some marvel good guys. Stick. Stick. Stick. I yawned some more. He clamped my mouth close together and said....

"Nevermind mummy, I close your mouth for you."


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When daddy is left alone with the kids

To my dearest sweetie pie and cutie pie,
(Thats what mommy used to call you both)

Kids, this post is for you to help you remember what silly things your dad used to do together with you when mommy is not around.

  • The elephant bath - Daddy taught you both how to do the elephant dance in the shower. First, you put water in the mouth, gargle, then spew out the water as far as you can just like an elephant would with his trunk. Thats why daddy calls it the elephant bath. This never fails to delight you both especially when daddy praises how far you can shoot out the water. If mommy is around, daddy will ask you to shoot the water at mommy! As a result, mommy's bathroom floor and sink is always wet! (Because sometimes you both like to practise your elephant bath gargle at the sink too!)
  • The zebra dance - Daddy taught you both to do the zebra dance when washing your feet. He would spray the shower onto your feet and ask you both to put one feet over the other to make sure that they are both clean. He named this the zebra dance.
  • Tickles - Daddy is very good at tickling. Both of you would always ask to be tickled. Daddy would stand up, count to 3 and pretend like he was going to pounce on you both sending you both shrieking in delighted anticipation. If mommy is in, sometimes daddy asks you both to tickle mommy as well.
  • Milo Ais in a bowl - When mommy is out, instead of making you both milk in your bottles, daddy would make a big bowl of iced milo, then give you both straws and ask you both to drink from it. Then he would sing this song while you are both drinking...."When mummy is out, we drink Milo, then we don't tell mummy!" But you always tell mommy in the end. Hehe.
  • Reading Books - Daddy is not very good at reading books to you. (Because he is usually tired from work and goes to sleep early). He bought this book of 365 stories for a story a day but he has only used it 2-3 times this year. Hahaha. Anyway, when daddy does read you a story, I can always hear both of you laughing as daddy makes funny actions to go with the story. Sometimes you even get out of bed to do the actions together.
  • Fierce Daddy - Daddy can be very fierce when he is scolding you. That is because he loves you both and wants to make sure that both of you learn what is right and wrong. When he scolds, mummy never interferes because he would always hug you both and tell you that he loves you, a little time after the scolding. This is not like mummy who scolds you all day long. Haha. But then mummy is with you all day long and you both do quarrel, and fight, and pester mummy all day long.
  • At the supermarket with daddy - Daddy is the fun man or the funny man so when its time to go out for fun you like to look for daddy. In the supermarket, you both always prefer daddy to mommy because daddy will stop to show you the fruits and vegetables and put the cold cans of drinks we bought on your cheeks to tease you. If mommy is nearby, mommy may sometimes get a shock from the cold canned drinks too. Mommy doesn't do any of that at the supermarket. She is always rushing around and asking you not to tear up her vegetables! You both prefer daddy when going out but back home its always mommy again, especially at bed time. :)
  • At the mall with daddy - Daddy plays catching with you at the malls. He lets you run, then he chases after you and you all end up laughing and sitting on the floor .... like it is your home! Daddy - oh, daddy. Sometimes mommy is made to wear her running shoes and has to sit on the mall floor too! Sometimes the loser in the mall running race would cry but daddy would soothe you and say its ok because mommy is last again! Mommy does not like you to run around very much because she can't catch up with you.
  • Daddy the teacher - Dad teaches you both Math and ABC usually in very creative ways. You like him to teach you but at the same time sometimes you are scared too because daddy can be very stern. ;)

So, kids. Though you often ask for mommy because mommy is at home all day with you teaching with you, napping with you, reading and singing with you, these are the fun things you do with daddy. You see, daddy and mommy love you but we show our love differently. You have fun with daddy and you are comforted by mommy. And mommy hopes that when you are adults you will be able to remember this stuff that daddy used to do with you when you are little especially when daddy scolds you for not studying, staying out too late with friends, etc etc and all those other things that big kids do. :)



Exam is over. Hurrah!

Today the girl is dressed in her "princess socks" (white socks with lace), pink heart shaped barbie digital watch with pretty pink ribbons in her hair.

She has brought along stickers and little note pad papers decorated with stickers by her and personalized with her friend's names also by her to school to share with her friends.

And all because...........tests are over!

Yes, she is right. It IS fun to be a kid.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Exam Stress of a 6 year old kid

"Mummy, I'm scared teacher will scold me."
Its okay sweetie, you just do your best.

"Mummy, I'm afraid I don't know how to answer."
You have studied very hard. I am sure you will know some answers. Don't worry about those you don't know ok?

"Mummy, teacher scolded me because I showed my answer to my friend."
You can't do that. In a test, you are not supposed to look at your friend's answer and you can't show them your answers either alright?

Poor kid! Haha. Anyway, I explained to my girl that this test is just an introduction to them on what to expect in a real test in big school in the future.

In this kindy test, the teacher arranged the chairs and tables like in a real test. There is a syllabus and the kids are evaluated on 6 subjects. English, Malay, Chinese, Math, Moral and Science. The teacher gives them guidance if she sees that they have trouble or need help during the test. According to my girl, they can also ask the teacher questions if they are not sure about something.

And there is no time limit to finish the paper. The kids get to take their time to complete all the questions. If they can't finish it, they can even continue after tea break. Hahaha. My girl told me she was the second to complete her English paper and the second last to finish her Chinese paper. (I had to wait more than half an hour after school for her to finish her Chinese test paper.) lol. I had to remind her that speed does not mean good and vice versa.

Well test is over now and school is out in 2 weeks time. Whats ahead? School trip, Maths Competition, Piano Recital (with mommy), Class Party. Isn't it fun to be a kid? Just the other day my girl told me that its fun to be a kid. I agreed with her and said that I wanted to be a kid too. Hahaha.

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