9/28/2010

Alicia's newest whim

Alicia has been crazy about my pillow for quite awhile now and she'd lug both my pillow and bolster around the house and declare that, "It's MINE!" 

Her newest whim then has been to tickle her nostril with the corner of the pillow and she can be engaged in this activity for a very long time! LOL!

Some really entertaining shots:




oblivious to me...

oops... caught in the act... keke

9/27/2010

Painting... with a toothbrush

Some time last week, she asked to paint so instead of painting with the usual medium of fingers and brushes, I whipped out a toothbrush that had just been declared junk and that was what she used that day!:

What you need:
  • an old toothbrush
  • drawing block
  • non-toxic paint
  • palette

A word of caution: the child may try to brush her teeth with the toothbrush so be vigilant!






I quite like the effect created by using a toothbrush and how the paint blends together when brushed rather than mixed together... here's the eventual masterpiece:

Of pegging and sorting

After the short activity with flowers, we went on to try out pegging to hone her fine motor skills.

What you need for the activity:
  • A hanger with small pegs OR small pegs and some yarn
  • small pieces of clothing (preferably your child's) 

If using small pegs and yarn, tie the yarn to two chairs (or anything else that you can secure the string to) at your child's height. 

For my activity, I used her burp cloths for the small items to be pegged. 

Demonstrate how it is done then allow the child to have a go at it. Take it step by step: let the child press and release the peg a few times before starting to peg actual items.

Let me try...

 Figuring out how it works

 It actually requires quite some coordination to hold the item with one hand and peg with the other so don't be disheartened if your child can't do it this time - it may take a few more months before she's able to do it... and so I just let her practise either pressing the peg (while I hold the cloth in place) and vice versa.


 Hmm... why can't I do it myself???

Once your child loses interest, you can move on to the next activity, and here's what I prepared for her:

 Sock matching activity

For starters, just 3 pairs of different-patterned socks will do.

She expressed little interest in the activity and tried to wear the socks instead... :P


Then she decided that she wanted to hang up her dog:





Well, sometimes activities don't happen the way we want them to but that's life isn't it?

I'll just try my luck again next time! :P

Flowers on a rainy morning...

Remember the previous post?

Well, here's what we did with the flowers we collected and since it was a rainy morning after the day we collected the flowers, it was an enjoyable indoor activity! :)

What you need for the activity:
  • a sheet of drawing block
  • two pieces of masking tape
  • some flowers


I stuck two pieces of masking tape on a piece of drawing block, with most of the sticky side up and her task was to stick the flowers onto the tape.

It kept her busy for awhile:





And after she was done sticking all the flowers, she decided to rip off the tape and so I made it into a bracelet for her... fashionable huh? :P


Now don't go plucking all the flowers from your neighbourhood plants after this post coz these flowers we collected were already on the ground! :)

Let your little one venture around and see what you both can find on your little nature trail!

9/22/2010

A morning with flowers and leaves :)

Last Thursday we had fine weather so after marketing, I brought Alicia downstairs with the intention to explore the flowers in our neighbourhood as part of the series of activities for teaching the letter F and simply for appreciating nature.

As expected, she ran excitedly to the playground immediately so my plan had to be shelved, or so it seemed.

It turned out that someone had plucked ixora by the bunches and left them strewn all over the playground compound so we still got to erm, spend time examining flowers. And in the end, I'm glad to say, Alicia's attention was not so much on the playground than it was on collecting and examining flowers and leaves. :)

She ran round in search of more flowers and leaves that were on the ground and played with them in her way:

wow! flowers!

More flowers!

She remembered what she did the previous time with the ixora and I must say her fine motor skills have improved!


Nice?


Going round in search of more flowers and leaves

Look what I found, mummy!

The tired gal in her pram - but still holding on to leaves...

We collected some of the flowers she played with for a follow-up activity... stay tuned! :)

An interesting book

My sis-in-law bought this book for Alicia some time back but because I felt that she wasn't ready for it then, I just placed it on Alicia's bookshelf, awaiting the day that she'd be mature enough to make use of the book properly.

A few days back, Alicia was rummaging through her bookshelf and she took this book and told me she wanted to read it. 


This is really quite a good buy as it's only about $2 from Popular bookstore (was on special offer) and it has stickers of pictures and words which the child is supposed to stick on the right pages.


The format of the book: on one page, there is the picture of the object and on the other, the word.
The child is supposed to stick the picture and word accordingly. See pic below:

Alicia associating the real object with what she sees in the book

Listening attentively to instructions

Having fun pasting the stickers

Alright, she had more fun with the picture stickers than the words and her attention span only allowed us to go through 3-4 words before she moved on to something else.... kids... :P

This book is one of the six in the series so if you're interested, hop by Popular bookstore to check it out! :)

Lower prices at Simply Mommie's Precious Handmades and Children's Day Promo!

Dear readers,

I've revised the prices of some learning aids DOWNWARDS due to more efficient ways of doing things so do take some time to browse through my blogshop.

Children's Day promotion:
Simply spend $100 or more at Simply Mommie's Precious Handmades and get the Flower Sorting learning aid (worth $9.90) FREE! :)

Offer valid till 1 October 2010.

9/20/2010

Review of Crayola's 26-pc Pipsqueaks markers portfolio

Item #3 I'm reviewing from my loot: the 26-pc Pipsqueaks markers portfolio (retails at $23).

The pouch includes 14 regular-sized pipsqueak markers and 12 skinny markers (packed separately in two different compartments) and a doodle pad (a stack of note paper) in the middle of the pouch.

The regular-sized marker measures 1.5cm in diameter (where the child grips) and the skinny marker measures 0.9cm in diameter (where the child grips). Both types of markers are about 10.5cm in length (with cap on). They are little markers for little hands. :)

I bought this because Alicia has been wanting to draw with my markers and those aren't washable and aren't non-toxic.

I've not really tried out how washable they are because erm, so far no accidents have happened. :P Nevertheless, from my experience with Crayola's promise of 'washability' of their products, I think these markers should be washable too - as with their other (washable) products. Just make sure you clean up the unwanted marks immediately to minimise the 'damage'. :)

Folds up to be like a pencil case...


This is how it looks when you open the first fold...


Here's the complete picture of the product when you open the pouch fully...


Doodle master at work

Alicia isn't really that interested in this set of materials - I guess it doesn't have the 'wow-factor' compared to the window markers and the dry-erase travel pack (she just loves how the marks disappear instantaneously when we wipe them off!). Nevertheless, I'm placing this pouch in the coffee table drawer (that's where I used to store my markers) so she gets to doodle with non-toxic, washable markers (made for little hands) when she wants to. :)

Review of Crayola's Dry-Erase Travel Pack

This is part of the stash of art supplies I bought for Alicia the other day:

Retails at $25.90

This is how it looks like when the pouch is opened

In the case, there are a total of four crayons (red, blue, green and black), a crayon sharpener, an erase mitt (for cleaning), and eight (reusable) activity sheets.

The crayons are washable - Alicia accidentally brushed one against my fabric sofa and I managed to wipe it off easily with a damp cloth. The crayon marks also come off easily by just wiping the plastic surface with the erase mitt provided (it's a glove, so just slot your hand (or your kid's hand) in and wipe, with a bit of applied pressure).

There is a plastic folder where you slot the activity sheets - and that's really what makes them reusable. The activity sheets are really just normal paper. :P

And hence, that means you can technically create your own activity sheets, cut them into the right size and slot them in and you have customised activity sheets for your child! Sounds great, huh? :) I've yet to have to customise any for Alicia yet... hee.

Alicia working on one of the activity sheets


Colour away!

The best part about this product is that it's meant for travel use so it all folds up nicely into a compact case (slightly larger than A5 size). A good way to entertain a kid when on the move (or when you need her to stay still for awhile)! :)

The only thing that I'm disappointed with is probably the limited colours of the crayons... but it's meant to be a travel pack, so I guess we can't have that many crayons... :)

Chayote (chokos) with glass noodles


I'm really quite in love with this vegetable as you can see... I cook it as a dessert, I stir-fry it with prawns and dried shrimps and just over the weekend I tried cooking it with glass noodles.

I came across this idea while reading Ju's blog and I thought, I'd try it some day.

And so that day came and I cooked it.

I think I still prefer the thinly sliced version instead of the julienned one because I prefer my chayote to be crunchy rather than soft. But oh well, if I don't try it, I'd never know right? :P


Chayote (Chokos) with glass noodles


Ingredients:

  • 1 big chayote
  • 1 handful small dried shrimps
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bowl stock
  • 1 bowl water
  • 1 small packet of glass noodles
  • fish sauce to taste



Method:

  1. Remove the skin and seed of the chayote and julienn.
  2. Rinse the dried shrimps a couple of times then soak in a bowl of water. Remove the shrimps and air-dry before frying (to prevent oil from splattering later). Reserve the bowl of water the shrimps were soaking in.
  3. Soak the glass noodles to soften them a bit.
  4. Heat oil in a wok and fry the garlic and dried shrimps till fragrant.
  5. Add the chayote and fry for 30sec before adding in the stock and bowl of water.
  6. Bring the stock to a boil then add the glass noodles.
  7. Add fish sauce to taste.
  8. Dish and serve. 


9/14/2010

Review of Crayola's Window Markers

As mentioned in my previous post, I bought some new art supplies for the little artist to let her experience different ways of creating a piece of art.

This is the first of the five products I'll be reviewing - Crayola's Window Mega Markers:


I bought my products from a distributor so the price is slightly lower than retail prices but I had to go through much frustration just trying to get the lady to confirm my orders among many other issues, so perhaps you might find it more worthwhile to just buy it at retail price ($11). :P 

I had initially wanted the 8-pc set but it was out of stock so I had to settle for the 4pc set which features mega markers. It's bulkier (the part where you grip is about 2.2cm in diameter) but I think the thickness of the marker itself is quite satisfactory (about 1.3cm) - you can get nice thick defined lines on the glass. They work well on glass surfaces so if you don't have full-height windows for your tot to doodle on, your glass coffee table or mirror would work too. :P

Washable? Yes, very. :) Just wipe the marks off with a damp cloth (followed by a dry paper towel) - even Alicia can do it! - and she derived much pleasure from doing that on top of the doodling :) Don't leave the marks on the surfaces for too long though as they may not be as easily cleaned off and may require several times of wiping. During the doodling, a bit got onto my curtain but it was easily removed with soap and water... phew.

The packaging of the product says it contains small parts and is not suitable for kids below 36mths but I really don't see any small parts at all and I think as long as your kid's not mouthing things anymore, there is no harm in letting her use the markers.

I'm very satisfied with the product and I'm sure Alicia is too!

Some shots of my tot enjoying the window markers:









Checking out the colour and naming it before doodling


After she got comfortable using the markers, she started to doodle on EVERY window panel 


Being responsible for her doodling :P

A day of painting - my little Monet at work

Alicia has officially finished the term at Julia Gabriel and since we've withdrawn her from classes, I decided that she should still get her weekly (at least) dose of painting and messy fun. You see, ever since we enrolled her at JG, we got rather lazy in bringing out the fingerpaints we bought for her earlier since the mentality then was that the once-a-week painting at JG was probably enough for her *guilty*.

Now that lessons have stopped, I decided that it was time to get messy at home again. :)

Art is included in my homeschooling 'curriculum' as it promotes creativity and ability to think and that's why it is an integral part of early childhood education. One important thing to note when engaging in art with a tot or a young preschooler - the process is more important than the product! :) 

One way of further engaging the tot in artistic creation is to provide different materials (and hence create different experiences) and so I've bought a new stash of art supplies for her and I will be reviewing them on my blog really soon, so stay tuned. 

In this post, Alicia's using Crayola's non-toxic, washable fingerpaints which have been sitting in the storeroom for quite awhile:

I do believe this is the old packaging and Crayola has released the product with a new look
I think the retail price is $16.90 - it's been quite awhile since I bought it

These paints are easy to use - just squeeze the paint out from the tubes into a palette or dish and the tot can get on with the painting. 

While the name of the product suggests that these are fingerpaints, you don't really have to get your tot to paint with fingers if you're worried about the mess, especially if you've just started to introduce your kid to painting and the thought of the colourful mess the kid would get into could get you hyperventilating. 

You'd be glad to know they work well with brushes too - see the bookmarks Alicia painted with a paintbrush when we were learning the letter B:



The medium chosen for doing the art pieces for the day?

HANDS. Bare hands. And fingers.

It's really ok, just keep a wet cloth on hand to clean up any spots that require immediate attention. :)

And be prepared to be part of the action too: Alicia kept insisting that I should paint alongside... and of course I did! - after taking some photos :)







Trying to dig paint out from the tube

Concentrating on rubbing her hands (filled with paint)

The creative gal who believes that art doesn't have to be done sitting down or standing up

oh will you just look at that, mummy! My hands are sooo painted!

Tell me mummy, is my nose green too?


Checking her hands for paint


Dinner time art (she asked to paint again!):





Our hands :)







Can you see a flower?


The masterpiece - painting flowers with fingers in line with the teaching of the letter F! :)

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