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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Frosty The Snowman

Here's one of my children's favourite Christmas Songs... Frosty The Snowman. I enjoy it too. They lyrics to the Frosty the Snowman song is fun and the tune catchy. This animated video shows the Frosty the Snowman cartoon and song. Very nice.

I hope you or your kids enjoy this Christmas song too. Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

You can find Frosty the Snowman lyrics here if you want to teach it to your kids.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First World Hotel Genting Highlands

This post is useful to a first time visitor with young kids to Genting Highlands as it highlights our visit to the First World Hotel and the Indoor Theme Park. Older Children may prefer the Outdoor Theme Park while even older "children" may prefer the Casino. :) Read on only if you are in the first category otherwise you would be bored. Long post ahead.

On July 25, 2008, I wrote a post on Where to stay and what to do in Genting Highlands. Well, I finally made it there. We went there as a family of four plus our domestic helper. The kids are 5 and 7. If you have young kids around that age, I hope that this post about our stay can help to answer some of the questions I had about Where to stay and what to do in Genting Highlands when you are going there with very young children.

We stayed at the First World Hotel, Genting Highlands. In 2006, the First World Hotel was listed as the World's largest hotel according to the number of rooms with 6118 rooms altogether. It is the 3rd largest now according to this source.

We decided to drive there early from Kuala Lumpur. It is just about an hour's drive. Before we drove there, we made sure that we went to the Genting website to print out the latest maps available so we managed to drive right straight to the hotel carpark with ease. For example, the Genting Highlands Brochure gave me a pretty good idea about where each hotel or attraction is in relation to each other while this Genting Map showed me where and how to drive straight into the First World Hotel Car Park. We also found this Genting Indoor Theme Park Map useful. If you have kids as young as ours, this is where you want to go. You can get this indoor theme park map at the theme park itself so you don't need to print it but it gives you a good idea of what rides are available beforehand so you can plan your activities.

I haven't been up to Genting for over 10 years so we have to make use of all these resources to help us. I do find them really useful which is why I am posting them here.

We made a telephone reservation about 4 days before our trip. That is not a very good idea during a peak period. As a result, what was left available was the Standard View Room which is really a rather small basic room. We had to take two of those in order to fit in our group of 3 adults and 2 children. That cost us RM210 per room including 2 breakfasts. Only kids below 5 eat for free.

You get a discount of 10% for online bookings. I find the bookings not very consistent. Some of them requested for payment within 3 days otherwise your booking would be cancelled. At first I was told the same, but when I told reservations that I would like to pay upon checking in, they said ok, you can do so but your room will only be held till 6pm. Perhaps it was because I booked 4 days before arrival date so they gave me a leeway. Not sure about that but I did not have to pay beforehand. I paid upon arrival.

The Standard Room has no mini bar or tea and coffee making facilities. You have to walk out of your room to get cold and hot water from a mini water station. Fortunately for us, the water station was very near to our room, so we could make several trips to make our 3-in-1 hot Milo and Maggie Mee in a cup for supper!

Well, at least we had a view. The standard room without a view overlooks the wall of another building which is not very nice. Ours had a good view of the hills and the mists with a nice cool breeze. However, if all you want is a place to sleep, than it won't matter very much. (Besides, you may not be planning to do much sleeping anyway as the indoor theme parks are open till 1am during the peak period). Don't expect a very good sleep though as the rooms are not very sound proof. I was lucky to be in a higher floor but I could still hear distant screaming, other guests talking and doors slamming as they pass by the corridors to their own rooms.

Don't expect luxury but the rooms are clean and it serves its function. However, if I do go again, I will probably try to book earlier so I can get better accomodations as they do have better categories of rooms. Since we have young children, I think good sleep is important to us.

We arrived at Genting at about 9am, drove right into the First World Hotel Carpark using the maps we printed out. We made our way to the hotel lobby immediately as we had heard that you have to wait hours to check in the hotel. We left our luggage in the car. We were going for a one-night trip so we did not want to waste too much time waiting to check in the hotel. There were about 30 check in counters in I am not mistaken. I enquired at one and was told to get a number.

At about 9.30am, my number was 172. I did not have to queue for a number but I saw that the queue for the number had grown longer by noon. I was told that they would start calling the numbers at 12pm. "How long before they reach my number?" I asked the girl and she said about an hour. "What if I miss my number?" No worries, you can queue up at the dedicated counters (about 3-4 counters) specially for those who missed their numbers. "Isn't check in time 3pm? Do I have to wait till 3pm before I can go to my room?" No, you can check in if your number is called early. I saw a sign that says you can also check the current number being called by phone/sms. So you don't have to wait around for your number to be called.

Armed with that information, we went to get our tickets to play! Since the indoor theme park is located within the hotel premises it was just a matter of taking the elevator to a different floor. That is why we chose to stay at the First World Hotel. Despite it being the peak, the queue was reasonable since we were early. Earlier is better. We got a family package for 2 adults and 2 kids plus another adult ticket for the maid. That cost us RM109 for the family package plus RM30 for an extra adult. The tickets were for a one day unlimited ride pass at the Indoor Theme Park only.

We played till lunch time, went to wait for a while before our number was called. Got our hotel room keys. Went to have lunch and played some more. We jumped onto just about every ride available including the Junior and Adult Bumper Car Rides, the Venice Gondola, The Rio Float, the Reindeer cruiser, the Ferris Wheel, the Mini Train, the Carousel, the Monorail.

The Monorail takes you one round around the entire theme park including the external one so it gave us a good bird's eye view of the indoor as well as outdoor theme parks. We went on it twice. Unfortunately, both times, it stalled. :(

We went to Snow World after lunch and had to pay another RM58 for a family package plus RM17 for an extra adult. The tickets entitle you to half an hour of play in the Snow World. We had to don smelly jackets and gloves to keep warm.

Cameras and phones are strictly prohibited. Why? So that Genting can make more money from taking your photos and selling them to you, of course. ;) Of course you don't have to have your photos if you don't want to. We decided to have ours taken just for fun. We posed for 4-5 photos. A 4R photo cost RM16 he told us. The camera man assured us that we did not have to pay for those which we did not want.

By the time we came out of Snow World half an hour later we saw an 8R sized family photo of ours being displayed outside. There was also a couple of 4R ones and another 3-D 4 R one for us to select from. The 8R one looked the best. Pretty smart of them eh? So we ended up paying RM30 for an 8R plus a 4R one. Expensive but a nice family photo is worthwhile for keepsakes.

Finally, we went to collect our luggage from the car and went to the room to rest for a while before coming out for dinner, a walk and more playing!

The kids had a blast. They love the bumper cars the most. The maid loved it too. Unfortunately, the girl was too tall for the junior bumper cars and she had to go for the adult one so the kids couldn't play together.

Breakfast was at the cafe on the 3rd floor. The food was so so but the cafe was huge. It looked more like a canteen.

Finally, check out was the easiest. For world card members or those who had settled their hotel room bill in full by credit card upon check in, all you had to do was go to a kiosk, slot in your door room key cards in the slot. The machine flashes a thank you message. You place your hotel cards in a box and thats it! You are free to leave. It was so fast and simple. No queue at all. Everyone looked a bit amazed and surprised at how quick and simple it was.

We were lazy so we had our lunch and dinner at food courts at the First World Hotel Plaza or shopping complex itself which is also within the hotel premises. The food was pricey and lousy. Well, the bah kut teh was fine since hot soup in cold weather can't go very wrong but I think the main ingredient for the fried noodles and fried rice we had for dinner was.... salt.

Since its near Christmas, the decorations at the hotel lobby was beautiful. Hanging reindeers and santa's sleigh lights flying above your heads. Snowman lights and beautiful stars light up the area. Really magical.

Would I stay at the First World Hotel again? Yes, I would, but I would try to book earlier for a better room for more comfort. I hope this post was useful to you. As for me, it serves as a good record and memory of our first trip there as a family.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Teaching kids to draw with step by step instructions

My kids love to draw and color. Usually I just let them draw whatever they like using their imagination instead of trying to influence them with set ideas or instructions.

However, I was delighted to find this: Learn to Draw and Color with Uncle Fred. Uncle Fred gives step by step instructions on how to draw simple cartoons together with a sample of the finished colored drawing.

Though I think it is a good idea to let the kids have a free rein when it comes to drawing, I think there is perfectly no harm in having step by step instructions once in a while.

My kids and I immediately set to work to draw some of the cartoons. We picked "Bunny", "Kitty" and "Happy Puppy". We drew in the main character and added some background of our own. Then we colored them in with color pencils.

The kids love the step by step instructions on how to draw a cat, dog and rabbit. Below is our puppy, bunny and kitty drawings.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Craft for kids - Santa's Reindeer Art

Here's another very easy Christmas Craft for young kids. I got the instructions for doing this Santa's Reindeer Handprint Art from AllFreeCrafts.com.

I love this one because it is a good one for keepsakes since it uses the children's handprints and footprints. We can look back later and laugh at how small their hands and feet used to be.

We trace the children's hands for the reindeer's ears and one of their feet for the reindeer's face. We drew the eyes on white paper and cut it out. The we pasted everything on white paper.

To finish off, we drew in the eyebrows, eyelashes (which my girl wanted to add for hers), nose and mouth.

Then we cut out some paper snowflakes and added them in as decoration. My girl wanted her reindeer to "wear" the snowflake in its antlers like a flower.

They later added their names proudly to their Christmas Art. It is a very lovely way to tell them that Christmas is coming soon and to let them feel the excitement of the festive holidays. After they finished their art they took out their Santa's Reindeer storybook (which they received a few years ago as a Christmas present) to read.

Here are Reindeer's Santa created by my girl and my boy. No prizes for the correct guess on which one belongs to the girl and which one the boy.

My girl commented that her reindeer can't be called Rudolf because Rudolf is a boy and hers is a girl. :)

This Children's Christmas Art is very simple. It was done by my 7 year old girl and my 5 year old boy. Naturally the boy required more help but the girl was able to do hers quite independantly... accept for the snowflakes which is harder to cut for little hands.

Friday, December 04, 2009

How to make a 3-D Christmas Tree for kids

The girl has been asking for a small Christmas tree to put on her table. Just as I have been asking the man for a big Christmas tree to put in the house. However, this year we have to put off the Christmas tree yet again due to other expenses.

So, we decided to make a Christmas tree as one of our holiday craft instead. We decided to make a 3-D Christmas tree.

I found this simple instruction on How to make a simple 3-dimensional Christmas Tree from Enchanted Learning. It is really really simple and it takes just minutes to set up the "tree".

However, this Paper Christmas tree, just like a real Christmas tree, requires further work on the decorations and trimmings to give it the extra oomph! We used stickers, glitter pens and recycled old party hat trimmings for our decorations.

Here are our completed trees. You should try out this Christmas Craft too. Its simple. Its fun. The kids love it.

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