Fishing learning aid

Since we were on a 'fishing' theme with Alicia - scooping fish and the visit to the Underwater World at Sentosa - I made this fishing learning aid for her. It's a versatile learning aid and I've been wanting to do it up for a long time and finally got down to doing it - and finishing it (those are two very different things!).

It's a versatile learning aid because what's on the fish can be easily changed to suit whatever you want to teach (while the fish remain, well, unchanged).

*photos taken on 18 Nov 2010*

Here she's fishing for uppercase letters in the 'pond' (which really is a big piece of felt I bought to make a felt board for her - it's standing in temporarily as a make-shift pond):

I've prepared alphabets (both upper and lower case), numbers 1-20 and some dolch list sight words (which will come in useful in future). Currently we're only playing with the alphabets and numbers.

I can get her to fish for specific alphabets to spell a certain word or just get her to fish for fun - I guess magnets have a certain hold on children :) Her fav activity though is to 'clap' the fish I caught and make it drop... lol.

Taking out another set of alphabets:

Checking out the googly eye on the fish:

We really have so much fun with this! :P

Stir-fried fish slices

I haven't blogged about food in ages! teehee.. well, here's a simple stir-fried fish dish that's healthy and yummy  and one that pleases tots as well! I cooked this some time back... hopefully I got the ingredients right in this recipe... lol. My memory fails me sometimes...

Alright, the real reason why I fried my fish this time was because the slab of red snapper had been sitting in my freezer for ages so I decided I'd better not serve it steamed... :P

Stir-fried fish slices 


  • 1 slab of red snapper meat, sliced (not more than 1cm thick)
  • a couple of bunches of scallions, washed, cut into 1-2" segments
  • thumb-size ginger, shred finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Marinate fish slices with:
  • ground white pepper
  • light soy sauce
  • hua diao jiu
  • sesame oil
  • 1-2tsp cornflour (so that the fish will not disintegrate when frying)

  • oyster sauce
  • soy sauce
  • sugar (optional)
  • ground white pepper
  • sesame oil
  • water

*Add sauces and condiments according to your own tastes*

  1. Mix all the ingredients needed for the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Add the garlic, ginger and scallion and fry till fragrant.
  3. Add the marinated fish slices and stir-fry quickly for a couple of minutes (be gentle with the fish).
  4. Add the sauce prepared earlier into the wok and bring to a boil.
  5. Add cornflour solution if preferred.
  6. Dish and serve hot with rice.

Dress Up Bear

This Dress Up Bear is the quick, simple and attractive solution to practising fine motor skills for tots and preschoolers. It definitely beats practising those fine motor skills on boring Montessori frames!

The Bear's features:
  • a zip
  • a snap button
  • a (normal) big button
  • a velcro (pocket)
  • a buckle
  • (shoe)laces (for practising tying ribbons)

Here are some photos of my little one practising hard:

Trying hard to undo the button:

Zip up! Zip down! Zip, zip, zip! :P

It's buckle time!


Here's the pic of the Dress Up Bear:

Spelling Bee

Bought a set of Spelling Bee recently for Alicia during Infantino's warehouse sale and here are some pics of her enjoying her new learning aid! :)

Not that useful for now as she doesn't really spell yet but should come in handy when she's slightly older! 

She still has fun naming the pictures and fiddling with the alphabets though. :) and of course, spelling nonsensical words... LOL.

Little learner in action:

Placing the alphabet back into the pocket:

Naming the letters:

Concentrating very hard, as you can see... :P

Here's the learning aid! :)


Cable car ride! :)

Did you know that our Singapore Cable Car has been around for 36 years? :P It has undergone a major overhaul and the once multi-coloured cable cars are now stylishly black and sleek. The cost of taking the ride has also changed with the appearance of the cable car, as expected. :P

We decided that it was time to introduce Alicia to the cable car and just pop by the Underwater world at Sentosa as part of our short expedition on 13 Nov. We haven't brought her to the Underwater world since our staycation at Sentosa and she didn't quite enjoy it then because she was ill so we hoped she would enjoy it this time round - and she did... :) She was quite hooked on the touch pools, especially the one with huge stingrays. :P

Here are the photos!

At Jewel Box:

The view from Jewel Box

Time to board!

Here we go! :P

Look at that little apprehensive face as the cable car heads out into the sky

Hmm... enjoying the bird's eye view for the first time in her life

Still looking apprehensive... and she was almost clingy... lol

Mummy-daughter time... enjoying the view together

The construction works at Sentosa... 

Touch pool!

Checking out the fish in the tunnel...


Christmas 2010 - Part I

We had our Christmas light-up earlier than Orchard Road this year! Haha. We did up our tree on 12 November with our little helper... 

Last year we didn't set up our tree because she was so naughty and we were sure that she would wreck the tree and the decorations. This year she's sensible enough and she even helped to hang up the decorative items and we bought two snowmen, specially for her and they're hung at the bottom of the tree so that she has access to them. She turns on the tree lights whenever she pleases, even in the day sometimes and I would have to let her admire the lights first then turn them off. Kids are really so adorable aren't they? :)

This was her in 2008, barely half a year old, celebrating Christmas with us:

My little girl has grown up, hasn't she? :D

Alicia's first plant! :)

Solicitous care for living things affords satisfaction to one of the most lively instincts of the child’s mind. Nothing is better calculated than this to awaken an attitude of foresight.
—Maria Montessori

We popped by Hort Park the other day for a walk and decided to buy a small plant for Alicia. Currently we just want her to get used to having a plant within her reach because my cacti babies are not suitable for her to get close to. When she's older and more sensible, we'll be getting her to take care of this little plant by watering it every few days.

Right now, we just want her to learn to respect the plant and in future, this respect should extend to caring for it. :)

Scooping fish!

We bought this simple toy from Daiso the other day and it has provided, literally, hours of fun thus far for us! We play with this during bath time and we'd be scooping fish and balls according to colours, sizes, and we try to teach her to count properly... and not forgetting the fun of simply scooping these items from the tub (and the hand-eye coordination required).

$2 for so much entertainment and learning. Pretty worth it, don't you think? :) 


Stringing beads

More hands-on activities and this time it's stringing of beads!

It's obvious that this activity is to practise fine motor skills so I don't think any elaboration is needed. :)

This activity is not suitable for tots still mouthing items.

*Activity first conducted on 31 Oct 2010*

All you need for this activity are:

  • some beads
  • a short piece of yarn
  • a toothpick
  • masking tape

  1. Trim off the sharp points of the toothpick. 
  2. Wrap a small piece of masking tape around one of the trimmed points. 
  3. Wrap a small piece of masking tape around the yarn and the other point of the toothpick to hold them together (as shown above). 
  4. If you like, you can tie a knot at the end of the string and let your toddler string the beads up. (Alicia doesn't like the knot, so she'd just string the bead then remove it from the string and ask for the next bead.)
So far this is the method that works best with the beads. Earlier I tried just using tape to stiffen the end of the yarn but it wasn't firm or long enough for the beads I had so I decided to let the toothpick take the place of the 'needle' in this activity. :) I also had to change the thickness of the string to fit the beads... hee. Lots of trial and error but at least in the end she had the joy of completing this task successfully! :P

Bought these beads at Golden Dragon at People's Park Centre

She decided that she wanted to sort the beads rather than string them together:

And she did a great job, didn't she?

Ok, here she is, stringing...



Back when we were learning about things starting with the letter E, I prepared a cute elephant picture for her to learn lacing. That was the first lacing learning aid I made for her.

Subsequently, when we learnt about shapes, I made this extremely tedious-to-make lacing learning aid for her and only lately has she shown a revived interest in practising her lacing skills with this:

Read more about this learning aid here.

Apart from merely using this set of learning aids for her to get some lacing practice, I've been using it to get her to match shapes I draw on the white/blackboard at home and so far she's enjoyed the 'lessons'! :P

*Photos taken on 26 Oct 2010*

Concentrating hard... 

It's in! Now to pull the string out...

yay! :)


Sorting, sorting and more sorting!

Did I mention that she loves sorting lately? haha. She sorts everything she sees and lays hands on... well, which is a good thing, definitely! It means that she's making connections about items - an essential skill in processing information. :)

This was what she decided to do the other day (8 Nov) with her blocks and my Ikea cups:

Look at her, beaming with pride... :)

And the dismantling begins before she does the sorting all over again!

More sorting activities

Somehow Alicia was extremely in the mood for sorting things in the past few weeks so I took out this old set of learning aids I made for her much earlier.

Posing with the learning aids before the sorting started

And the sorting begins!:

And so she sorted the flowers according to colours and sizes... such a simple activity but so much fun... :)

In the process, we revised the colours, and the concepts of 'big', 'small', 'bigger' and 'smaller' - important concepts for math! :P

Read here for more details about this flower-themed learning aid

Sorting pompoms

This is an extremely easy activity to carry out with your tot and my little gal just kept doing it over and over again! :P After awhile, she got so engaged in the activity, she didn't even notice I went to the kitchen to cook our lunch! haha....

Here's what you need:

  • a set of colourful pompoms
  • a container to hold the pompoms
  • several small containers for the sorting (I used those little disposable 'plates' we place our sauces in for this activity)

Almost done with sorting...

After I bought the first batch of pompoms, I kinda fell in love with them and when I saw a very pretty set at Daiso, I just had to buy it... :P

These aren't so suitable for tonging though due to their design; works well for a sorting sensory game since they are well, furry/ prickly. The red ones (can't be seen in the photo) in particular look like mini rambutans... hee. Tell me you love these too! :P


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