Category Archives: Interests

FREE activities for kids | June Holidays 2017

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Okay, I couldn’t think of a catchier title for this post, so the obvious would be best.

June holidays. If you have kids like mine, who attend kindy, you are probably feeling a slight sense of dread and having to face the kids the whole day instead of getting a break when the kids go to school. *heavy sigh* I do treasure those 3 hours leh! I know the teachers and kids are rejoicing..haha.

This time round, the kids are older and I figured we should have an eventful school holiday going outdoors. With a tight budget, and getting around on public transport, I got into my #auntiemode and started hunting for free activities for the kids. I mean, surely there could be some meaningful and fun stuff for the kids to do that doesn’t break the bank? I mean, I was even happy to fork out maybe like $10 pax for an activity/workshop (which means $30 min per outing..omg). Basically free or cheap.

…got anot huh?

GOT wor!! And the angels sing. Please do note that my list of activities is catered for the boys who are 3.5 years old and 5.5 years old, and the events are free for Singaporeans and PRs or the cost is fairly low #kiamkanna

Therefore, I present to you

justsometings’s free or cheap activities for the June holidays 2017

Let’s start with the basics: getting the kids to use as much energy as possible.

Free Outdoor Playgrounds:

Top Outdoor Playgrounds by Little Steps Asia

Additional information: 

Free Outdoor Playgrounds with individual reviews by BYKidO
Mass Chalk Art Drawing at Parkland Green
by BYKidO
A video walkthrough of Seletar Aerospace Park
 by UmeKids

Free Waterparks

18 free waterparks in Singapore by UmeKids

Additional information: 

Sentosa’s Port of Lost Wonder reopens by Young Parents

Events: 


Imaginarium: To The Ends of the Earth
| Runs till 27th August 2017
10am to 7pm, Singapore Art Museum
Website

Chicken & Egg: A Fowl Tale | Runs till 18th June 2017
10am – 7pm, Singapore Philatelic Museum
Website
Review by Bumble Bee Mum
Note: There are other exhibitions that run concurrently to the zodiac based exhibit, so do check out the rest of the exhibitions too!

Children’s Biennale
20th May – 8th Oct, 10am to 7pm, National Gallery
Website
Note: not only the Biennale, you can also head along to the Keppel Centre for Art Education for more activities!

Faber Castell Art Festival
27th May – 4th Jun, 11am to 9pm, Marina Square Central Atrium
More information here

Children’s Season @ The National Museum
27th May – 30th July, 10am to 6pm
Website

Children’s Season 2017
27th May – 25th June, various locations
Website

Familes for Life Celebrations 2017 | 1-Day event
28th May, 8am to 9.30pm, Civic District
Website | Registration required

Book Swap & Movie in the Park by Yoga Seeds
3rd June, 4.30pm to 7.30pm
Website

The Kidz Academy
9th – 11th June, 10am to 8pm, Suntec Singapore Halls 404 – 406
Website

Activities:

Garden turns 5 | Gardens by the Bay
19th May – 30th Jun, Garden Extravaganza on 3rd & 4th June
Website

National Gallery, Keppel Centre for Art Education
10am to 7pm
Website

Pip’s PLAYbox
11am – 6pm (closed for cleaning from 2pm – 3pm)
Website

Bollywood Veggies
Wed – Sun, 8am to 6.30pm
Website
Note:
1. The farm offers guide tours (9839 8896, Donna) for a min group of 20 pax. Costs range from $200 onwards for a potting session. You can wander around the farm at no cost if you do not wish to go for a guided tour.
2. There is a daily shuttle bus from Kranji MRT that will take you around the countryside to the various farms, so transport not an issue! For the bus schedule, click here
3. Other farms that allow free tour access are Farmart Centre, Jurong Frog Farm and Hay Diaries

Into The Wild Exhibit @ Art Science Museum
10am to 7pm
Website

Low Cost Activities / Promos

The Active Detective Carnival | HealthZone
3rd June, 9am to 5pm, Health Promotion Board
Ticket prices: Child – $2 | Adult – $3
Website

KidsSTOP @ The Science Centre
Various themed workshops catered for kids on selected days. For holiday programmes, booking is required. You can make a booking here
Ticket prices: Below 18m – Free | Child – $10 | Adult – $5
Website

Soap Art
10th June, 2 to 3pm, Takashimaya Departmental Store
For children 3 yrs and above: Learn the art of soap making in this hands-on workshop. A great sensory activity for young kids, your child will learn how to knead, mold, and mix colours and scents to create his or her own soap. This fun activity for kids will get their creative juices going and they’ll be excited to show off their own personal soap masterpiece at the end of the workshop!
(Even I also wanna sign up lah!! Quite surprised about this June holidays program for kids by Taka! Downside is you gotta pay $16.05 for a 2 yr membership to be eligible..which I think is still ok for all the events they have)
Ticket: $8
Website

 

The Science Centre
Visit the current travelling exhibit from Japan, Dino Robot Factory, on top of the regular fare at The Science Centre Singapore. For more details on the Dino Robot Factory, click here
Ticket prices:
Dino Robot Factory Exhibit: Child – $7 | Adult – $5
The Science Centre: Child – $4 | Adult – $6
Promotional bundles: Click Here

Kids Watch Free at Movies by BYKidO
Kids get to watch movies free with a paying adult. Participating cinemas are Golden Village and Shaw. Current & upcoming movies that you want to take note of are:
SING, Boss Baby, Smurfs: The Lost Village, Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul and Despicable Me 3.

Kids Craft Corner @ EatPlayLove Craft Cafe
a unique experience where kids and adults can get crafty at the same time’. Adults get to eat in peace and the kids get to craft, win win situation for me for sure!
Crafting cost: $5 for 1st hour, $2.50 for subsequent 30 mins.
Website

Multiple promos by BYKidO [discount code for a 6 mths pass to be up soon!]
The BYKidO pass works as an online coupon booklet with various vouchers for you to use every month. All you need to do is to purchase a pass, redeem the voucher you want to utilise, and show it to their Partners! Great way for you to try out various workshops or classes. Examples of discounts are:
2 Trial Classes @ $10 with Ready Steady Go Kids
2 Soccer Trial Classes with FRISCKIds @ $10
Free Kindergym Trial with Bubbles Gymnastics
3 Play TIme at Kidz Amaze Toa Payoh (Toddler 0 – 36 mths) @ $20
Various discounted attractions tickets, including one of the cheapest KidZania Tickets available.

Phew. I think I have pretty much gotten as much and as accurate (I hope!!) information as I can. Please feel free to add on if you come across any events/activities that is free and cheap. This will definitely get me started with the school holiday planning.

Many thanks to the kind folks at BYKidO who have kindly offered me some information and a discount code for you guys to use when you purchase a 6 mths pass from BYKidO. eh, discounts every month for various vendors leh..plus I specifically highlighted the cheap deals! #kiamkana This I will write in my next post else this post is too long liao!

Category: Interests, Kids, Outdoor, Special

Review: OSMO Play

Where it all started

Where it all started

Not sure how it all started, but I got to know about the Osmo when they were crowdfunding back in 2014. Oliver was 2.5 yo and we were weaning him off the iPad. I had been reading up about restricting screen time and how it is detrimental to a toddler’s development..(poor brain activity, oh the horrors!). Obviously being a first time mom (Quentin doesn’t count cos he’s not even a year old!), I was getting on the bandwagon on what is ‘right‘ for the kids.

But hey, the Osmo Play is a different. It still uses the iPad, but not by just swiping. It is more than just swiping. It is uses the iPad to get the child to interact and think out of the box. Now THAT, I can accept. I noticed that not a lot of people in Singapore know about the Osmo, so here’s my review on it!

November 2014

November 2014

The Osmo Starter Kit arrived in our home. It came with the base, colourful tangram pieces for the Tangram app and 2 sets of alphabets for the Word app. 2 months shy of turning 3 years, I wondered how Oliver would do with it. I mean, it is meant for 6 – 12 year-olds.

Osmo Starter Kit

Osmo Starter Kit

The iPad sits on the base, with a clip-on mirror attached to the front-facing camera to reflect the image of what is arranged on the surface in front of the iPad. The image is then fed into the camera for the app to process the information.

Tangrams

It didn’t take Oliver long to understand and figure Tangrams out. What I love about it is that there are a few levels of difficulty and that’s where the colours come in. I reckon 3 year olds could give it a shot if they love puzzles. See how the shapes come up in the various colours to guide the child to use those pieces. I would sit next to Oliver to help shift the pieces within the area of detection by the mirror. Once he completed a puzzle, he could choose to move on to another puzzle, or alternatively, if he choose to repeat the puzzle, it would have moved on to the next level of difficulty, where there would no longer be colours, but grayscale pieces displayed on the screen. It would eventually get to the point where the puzzle would be in black, with no outlines and the child would have to figure out how to replicate the exact same puzzle.

November 2015

November 2015 – 1 year on and still loving it! Shapes are now grayscaled.

Words

It was a little trickier with Words as the child would have to know how to spell in order to play with it. It was sorta like an iPad version of the game, Hangman. An image would be projected in the background. The child would need to firstly identify the word based on the image, and based on the number of letters required for the word. They will be able to collect ‘coins’ to use for hints. For starters, there would already be some clues in the word (letters provided). Subsequently, fewer letters would be provided, eventually to the point where no letters are provided.

Two sets of alphabets are provided for Words, which meant that Oliver could play with a friend and compete! That takes sharing the iPad to another level, and making learning even more fun!

On one hand, I liked that Oliver would be able to learn how to spell and I could guide him to learn how to spell phonetically. On the other hand, because Osmo is based in the USA, it is hard to guess the word based on the image which could give a different meaning to what we would guess it to be. Even I had difficulty figuring out what the word was. However, these images are rare and few. Most of them are pretty standard.

Was the Osmo a good buy? For the price that I was paying then (USD$89, I think), I honestly felt it was and still think it is a great buy. It helps that I am interested in it, and it makes me sit next to him to guide him, rather than him just watching videos on the iPad! I felt that it really stimulated him to think a lot. And it really helps that he enjoys the challenges of the tangram puzzles.

Fast forward to 2015, Osmo came up with Newton, Masterpiece, & Numbers. If you already bought the Starter Kit, you only need to download the apps for Newton & Masterpiece. I personally felt that Newton & Masterpiece were suitable for older kids.

Newton

Newton

Newton required a lot more logical thinking and finer motor skills for writing/drawing in order to fully be able to be engaged. I totally suck at it, cos I failed my Physics hahaha. Daddy Ting would probably fair better at it than me.

Trying to make the balls roll on the lines

Trying to make the balls roll on the lines to hit the target

Masterpiece required a lot of finer eye-hand coordination and finer motor skills for writing/drawing as it involves tracing on paper by looking at the image on the iPad. The tracing (hand movement) is mirrored on the iPad as well. This would be good to develop eye-hand coordination. No demo of this one..cos we haven’t ventured on it yet.

Using Numbers to fill up a tank

Using Numbers to fill up a tank

We love Numbers tho! I love that the pieces comes in both numerals and dots like that of the dice, so that the child can understand value via numerals or quantity. It comes in a game where by the child is required to burst water bubbles to fill a fish tank. And in order to burst these water bubbles, they would have to select tiles that would add up to the value stated on the water bubbles (addition only). Sometimes there would already be a ’tile’ that indicates ‘-n’ on the screen so the child would have to factor that in when selecting the tiles (addition & subtraction). The reward? Sometimes the fish tank is filled with a special fish or food for the fish! Oliver gets really excited when there is special food for the fish haha.

Using numbers to add and subtract

Using numbers to add and subtract

This year, Osmo released Coding, Monster Pizza Co. 

Again, I felt that Coding was for older kids so I didn’t get that, and also I felt that I didn’t see much educational value in it? I don’t know much about Coding, and based on the video, it was more of pressing buttons to ‘create’ a computer game. I could be wrong! There could be more than meets the eye haha just that this momma doesn’t know how to appreciate it. =P

Now Monster, I could appreciate! Both Oliver and Quentin loved it! Mo, the monster, interacts with the kids by asking them to help him out by drawing.

Monster Creative Set

Monster Creative Set

The boys would giggle and laugh when Mo would use what Oliver drew on the creative board which came with this set. And yes, it is a board designed to fit snugly against the Osmo base. The Creative set also came with markers, and a pencil case which doubled up as a cloth to wipe the marks off the board, so you don’t have to worry about bringing wipes along to wipe the board!

Ollie drawing what Mo had asked of him to draw

Ollie drawing what Mo had asked of him to draw

Mo and the wand I drew for him.

Mo and the wand I drew for him.

Pizza Co. is Osmo’s latest offering. I..was tempted to buy this only cos I am been a huge fan of Osmo and we are still enjoying what Osmo has to offer. I am hesitant only because we already have what they are offering, or rather, it is a game that can be easily replicated by us, in various methods (using Lego to teach fractions, teaching the value of money in real life scenarios, to name a few). Having said that, it does look fun tho! (If you are the type to play Diner Dash on your phone, come on, Pizza Co would be that for the kids! =P )

Pizza Co Game

Pizza Co Game

If you are planning to get the Osmo, get them via Amazon because it is eligible for free shipping to Singapore (min purchase of USD$125). Prices are the same in USD for both Amazon & the Osmo website, however you would have to pay for shipping on the Osmo website if you spend less than SGD$220 (I think about USD$150?).

[SC July’16] Millenial Parenting

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are you a millennial parent?

are you a millennial parent?

This article in July’s issue of Singapore’s Child about millennial parenting has struck a chord with me. To be honest, I never considered myself to be a millennial. Then again, I am someone who hasn’t quite figured out the Gen Y, Gen X and then millennial terms. Let’s just put me in the ‘confused’ category hahaha.

So who are the millennials?

This group of people largely constitutes of anyone from 16 to 36 years of age, and is a group with seemingly very distinct personalities, lifestyle choices and life philosophies…..A 2014 report found that five in 10 Singaporean millennial parents say they’re intentionally raising their children differently from how they were raised.’

*raises hand* Yup. That’s me alright.

Signs You Are A Millennial Parent:

  1. You are open to challenging traditional parenting norms.
  2. You believe in coming up with your own style
  3. You subscribe to a cause

I can relate to basically all of the above!

Norms? Being a norm in the non-norm. 

Okay, the article did mention that we were probably taking mental notes as a kid as to what I was definitely not going to do to my own kids (namely the caning and punishments). But how far away was I from doing it? Well, let’s just say I’ve kept to 75% of my word, with the other 25% due to frustration when I just snap. If you read my blog long enough, you would know we go by the gentle parenting approach. It doesn’t mean that I remain nice all the time and kiddo doesn’t get to cry, but some days I do know that I have to set the boundaries and if it means tears, there will be tears.

I am also fortunate to have that opportunity to live overseas and babysit some kids, see how friends raise theirs, and discover the various parenting methods that I felt comfortable with. Being internet savvy also meant that we could just simply ‘Google’ up information to affirm what we want to believe or..well, it could lead you the other way and ‘diagnose’ your child with ADHD based on what you were searching for!

We attend pre-natal classes and with it being scientifically backed, of course we become the gurus and go all ‘nononono, the instructor said no water if fully breastfed!‘ to the ‘just a sip to rinse their mouths!’

Confinement? What confinement? I am craving for an ice cream sundae and THOU SHALT GET ME ONE 2 HOURS POST DELIVERY. I believed in a stress-free post delivery recovery period. Being a control freak, I absolutely cannot allow a stranger to tell me what I can and cannot do. Cold water, showers, eating anything and everything I wanted, thankewberrymuch.

The Tings’ Style

I think the best compliment anyone has paid me is telling me that she loves the way I mother my kids and that my kids are blessed.

Wah. That was a MAJOR ego boost. It felt like I was doing something right, amidst some naysaying. Parents are judgemental. I admit that. We go out and we see something happening to a kid (tantrum throwing etc) and we think ‘I’m glad that’s not my kid’ or ‘omg, why is the parent not doing anything?’ So so easy to pass judgements.

Our style is obviously not all new agey. It is pretty much but with a pinch of salt. We’re a mix of the new and old. Certain traditional still works better for us cos of the convenience (eg. feeding vs baby led weaning). At the end of the day, it really boils down to what retains your sanity. There is no one right method. My kid may not adapt to what I want to do anyways. If there’s baby led weaning, how about baby led growing? Let them choose! Nah, new style. The ‘confused’ style.

The CAUSE

Yes. There are a few causes I subscribe to. Being environmentally conscious in our household (err..most of the time hor. Heatwave, pregnant momma needs aircon so please don’t crucify me), lots of freedom to love and to love generously

We have a little recycling box and Ollie knows what goes in there. He knows that sometimes I will take some containers from home to go to the market to take away some food. He knows that we should not use the air conditioning unnecessarily until mommy is melting hahah (just kidding).

The freedom to love. I wish it was this simple but until there is more tolerance, I can see that it will be complicated. Some of the closest friends to us are in a same-sex relationship, and they will be the people who will be there for my kids. For now, my kids look beyond that but one day, they will ask and I will be honest with them. That it is not wrong to love freely.

To love generously. To treat everyone with respect. The kids know their neighbours, they know the wet market vendors and they greet the grandfatherly Muslim cleaner for our block on the way to school with a resounding ‘Ah Tuk!!’ who acknowledges the call with an ‘AYE!’ and a wave. To honestly explain why some people behave the way they do and let them make the judgement call themselves.

So are you a millennial parent? What are your parenting styles? I would definitely love to hear all about it!

Also in this month’s issue: exciting giveaways for the whole family, from Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Three Little Pigs musical tickets to The Magic Spicebox cookbook, sure to leave your family entertained and their palates satisfied. This is definitely an issue brimming with goodness!

Disclaimer: tings.sg is the Digital Partner for Singapore’s Child and I received a complimentary issue of the magazine for review purposes. All opinions are solely mine and are written as objectively as possible. 

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