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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hari Raya Crafts for Kids

I love how you can teach kids about culture and the different cultural celebrations through crafting. Here are some Hari Raya Crafts for our muslim friends. Living in a multi-racial society, not only muslim friends will enjoy these crafts, most kids will and it is a good way to teach them about other cultures.

Hari Raya Crafts:

Make a ketupat, Make a Hari Raya Card, Make a Ramadan Lamp Craft and more can be found at Kiddyhouse.com. I love the crafts from this site the best. In addition, it is a great site for teaching kids about the Muslim culture and Hari Raya celebrations with Ramadan activities, Ramadan Songs, and other Ramadan information. There are also external links to Animated Hari Raya e-Cards, Stories and coloring pages for Muslim kids.

Prayer Rug Greeting Cards and Ramadan Windsock from Yemen Links - You can find printable step by step instructions with pictures here. Lovely.

Ramadan Mobile, Gratitude Tree, Kids Crafts and more can be found at Ramdan Joy Crafts

From Crayola you can find some Ramadan inspired art like the Curving Calligraphy, Star and Moon Mobile, Personal Rug Patterns and Spirals on Paper Plates.

Ramadan Mosaic Sun Catcher from Highlightkids.com

Do check these sites out. They are all great in fun and creative factor! 

Happy Ramadan or as they say here in Malaysia Selamat Hari Raya!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Resources for Kids to Learn and Play Online

Kids these days are exposed to computers from a very young age. It is inevitable. We are living in a digital age. Computers and new technology is all around us. Tablet computers with its many new apps aimed at kids is a good example of how kids can use technology like the computer to learn and play.

When it comes time for your little ones to attend high school and start thinking about college, accredited online colleges is a helpful resource. It is never too early to start learning.

Computers are not bad for children. It is the use of computers without proper guidance from adults that is bad.
However technology can be good or bad. It is all up to us, the parents and guardians to make sure that we make use of the computer as the useful tool that it can be to teach our kids. We should limit use for addictive games, while teaching kids to make use of the computer to learn from interactive learning sites. Learning can be just as fun as playing games.

Here are my top 3 things you can teach kids online:
  1. Use computer to teach kids languages. Language learning sites for kids must be colorful, fun and interactive to catch the attention as well as hold the attention of the learner. Kids can learn English, Kids can Learn Chinese and many other languages online. These are widely available on the internet.
  2. Kids can learn Maths Online. There are many fun and interactive Math Games for Kids online. Learning numbers need not be boring with these cool math games online.
  3. Kids can learn Science Online.  If you want to do a home science experiment with your child but can't remember how? Don't worry. You can surf the net for all sort of fun and exciting science experiments you can do at home. These Science Games and Activities for kids are great for a rainy day at home.
Besides, Languages, Maths and Sciences, there are many more Educational Sites for kids. Kids can also learn music online. This learning music theory online resource is great for kids and adults too!
You can also use the computer to find crafts to do with children. Here are some good crafts for kids resources:
  1. Easy Crafts for Young Children - The collection of crafts here are very easy to do for young kids. Younger children may need adult supervision but older ones can try on their own.  
  2. Paper Crafts for Children - Paper is one of the best medium for crafts. It is both creative and cheap. Here are some paper crafts you can do at home including homemade cards, homemade bookmarks etc.  
  3. Origami For Children - Origami is another form of creativity using paper. You can make boxes, rabbits, paper stars, origami paper fortune teller and more.
  4. Holiday Crafts for Children - Holiday crafts are a great way of teaching kids about different cultures and traditions while getting creative. Here is a site with some great holiday crafts.
  5. Simple Cross Stitch Projects for Kids - Cross stitch can help a child develop their fine motor skills. Here are some interesting tips for teaching kids how to do cross stitch and some other cross stitch for kids resources.
Kids love to play. I am all for kids using the computer to play but parents or guardians MUST limit and control the playing. Educational Games are fine but mindless repetitive games that are addictive MUST be limited. Here are some mom approved game sites for kids
    1. Online Games for Boys - has mostly cartoon character games that boys love including Disney Mini Games, Disney Pixar Cars Games, Marvel Comic Character games and more  
    2. Online Games for Girls Only - Hello Kitty Games, Strawberry Shortcake Games, Dora the Explorer games etc can be found here.
    3. Online Games for Toddlers - has game resources for very young children just learning to play with the computer.  
    4. Ben 10 vs Ben 10 Alien Force Games - has games for all Ben 10 fans.
    5. Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends - is a resource for Thomas and Friends songs and wikis and all things Thomas and Friends
    6. Barney and Friends Online - is just right for fans of Barney the purple dinosaur and BJ and Baby Bop and Riff too.  
    7. Captain America Games - are for Captain America fans.
You can also use the computer to teach kids to read online and to learn many children songs with lyrics. Here are two great resources for kids on the computer.
    1. Online Stories for Children - Fairy tales, moral tales, English stories and all other interactive online stories resources can be found here. It is very comprehensive.
    2. Children Songs Lyrics and Music - Funny songs, Classic Children songs that you have forgotten the lyrics to, Animal Songs, and many other children songs lyrics and music resource can be found here.
There are plenty of online resources for children. You just have to know where to find them. Computers need not be bad for kids. In fact computers are very good for kids to learn and play. You just have to guide them along to the right places. You also have to draw up some rules on computer time.
    Parental Guidance is very important to make the computer a friend and not a foe in your household.

Keeping a Diary

My little boy has taken to keeping a diary. I found his diary in his bag yesterday while I was helping him pack his back. Usually he packs his own school bag but yesterday I packed it for him because his hands are full of rashes and it was bothering him, itchy and painful.

When I was packing, I took the opportunity to look around the bag. Boy! It was messy! He does not keep books nicely in his bag. He stuffs them in. His timetable was all torn. He had been asking me to make him a new one but I keep putting it off.

I had a look at his ejaan book and saw that he received 3 out of 8 for the previous ejaan. Hmm… I must look at this more often. I don’t even know when he has ejaan so I had not been helping him.

Anyway, I had a look at his ‘diary’, a little notebook. He had written on two pages. On one page he wrote ‘Happy Days’ and drew two smileys around the words. On another page was ‘Sad Days’ with two sad faces next to the words.

Then he listed down all his happy and sad days. He listed the dates down. I saw that almost the whole week was a happy day and there was only one day listed as ‘Sad Day’. That was 11.8.2011. When I asked him why 11th August was a Sad Day, he said he could not remember. lol. I had a good laugh.

I finally made him a new timetable. He was so happy with it. The next day, he told me “Mummy! I forgot to show my friends my new timetable. It is so brand new. It is so lovely.” And all I did was write it down on a blue cardboard paper. I should have done it much earlier for him. It only takes such a small thing to make him happy. No wonder the entries to his little ’diary’ were mostly ‘Happy Days’. Laughing out loud

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sibling Fights

Sibling Fights include fights over what movie to watch on our Family Movie Night.

"I want to watch Harry Potter 2"

"No, I want to watch Silver Surfer."

At times the fights may be so bad that you will wonder if you are going to need an online social work degree to solve their problems. Who knows. It can be quite a journey being a parent. How does one end this sibling fight? Mummy steps in and says...

"I'll decide what to watch or we won't watch anything!"

Now, if I were to really have my say, we'd probably be watching Moulin Rouge or some other soppy love or romance movie which mummy never ever gets to watch. Usually it is either some cartoon that the kids want to watch or some action movie that the man wants to watch. Mummy never gets to watch any of her type of movies, ever! So, how do you raise kids without losing yourself?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ABRSM Exam Tips and Resources

ABRSM Exam Video for Grade 1

Phew! I can breathe an air of relief now that both my kids ABRSM exams as well as school term tests are over. It was really tough to have both of the exams falling around the same dates. I had to prepare both kids for both exams at the same time.

I found the ABRSM website especially the Students section really useful to help me prepare the kids. The exam tips and resources for ABRSM students was very useful. They had Top Tips for Exam Preparation, Advice for the Exam Day, Mini Guide to Exams and Exam Videos like the one you see above which is for children taking the Grade 1 ABRSM exam. There was another video posted on that page for the Grade 5 ABRSM exam.

I read the Top Ten Tips for Practical ABRSM Exam Success to my kids. I especially like the part which reminded students that the examiner is on their side and read it to my kids. Hopefully that allayed some of their jitters. I also showed them the ABRSM exam videos to give them an idea of what to expect.

With that and with all their months of preparation including a trial exam and a candidate's concert by their music school, I think they walked into the examination room yesterday knowing fully what to expect. I think that really helps during exams. Tips on the exam day is always useful for children so that they don't get so nervous on exam day that all the months of preparation and effort goes down the drain.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Teaching Kids about Outer Space

Kids have a vague concept about outer space and the world beyond our world. It is not easy to teach kids about outer space. I think the closest they have got to outer space is playing with a Talking Buzz Lightyear. To infinity and beyond!

That probably sparked their interest for all things celestial, like the moon and planets. My son started to draw space rockets and space ships and astronauts soon after.

Recently, my husband bought a Star Trek motion pictures box set and we have been watching them all. I must say I enjoyed them tremendously too. My girl and boy are running around shouting "Warp Speed!" after watching the movie.

Since we are currently going To Infinity and Beyond on Warp Speed, I think it is time to teach the kids about outer space. This Astronomy For Kids website is just perfect for doing that. I think I will do a little exploration with the kids after their term tests soon. Its time to teach them some real astronomy. Sometimes, they can't differentiate between real life and fiction.

"Mummy is there such thing as Vulcan?"
"Mummy is there such thing as Pluto?"

Check out my Squidoo Lens on Science Games and Activities for kids for more Science Activities you can do with your kids during the school holidays.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Studying for Tests

The kids are studying for their term tests. The boy is studying Chinese Mandarin. He makes a sentence and writes…

“Father Likes me to Work” Work

When I asked him what he meant, he said…

“Daddy always say you must study hard so that you can get a good job. Daddy likes me to go to work!”

The girl is studying English. There is a picture of a family at the zoo. She is required to make sentences to describe the picture. Her final sentence was….

“Father takes a photo for Mother’s Blog.” Camera

I laughed aloud when I read it. I wonder whether her teacher will know what a blog is. Previously the boy said

“Teacher asked us to think about all the things we would like to have for our birthday. Somebody said angry bird and everyone put up their hands. Teacher said she does not know what is angry bird.”

This is why it is important to expose kids to as many experiences as possible. It helps in their studies too. When making sentences, sometimes they will think about these experiences and try to put them into words. No amount of teaching will be able to replace practical experiences.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Things to Make and Do for Girls and Boys

Over the weekend I was very pleased to buy the following craft books for my kids. I bought them at MPH sale at 50% off. So I get two books for the price of one. I think it is very worth it. It is hard cover on a ring binder and has many craft suggestions within.

Some of the crafts (not all) come with templates, stickers and stencils.

The boy's book of crafts has projects like mini kite, jet-propelled bottle car, periscope, pinhole viewer, erupting volcano etc.

The girl's book of crafts has projects like decorated hairband, heads and stars stationery, gift wrap, fuzzy flower, nail art, applique notebook etc.

Both of the books contain simple recipes and practical jokes.

The kids love their books too and despite a busy weekend of revision and studying for school tests, they manage to steal looks at their new books and even made a simple craft or two each.

Things to Make and Do for Boys

Inside the Things to Make and Do for Boy's book

Things to Make and do for Girls

Inside the Things to Make and Do For Girl's Book

Here are other Things to Make and Do for Girls and Boys books.

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