Tag Archive | family

In my world: Blessing is her middle name

DD drew up this activity sheet for her brother the other night. In her own words, “it has a ‘Find the Differences’ section, a ‘Trace the Dotted Lines’ section and the below is for Di Di to colour”.

And she sat with him patiently, explaining the sections, keeping an energetic younger brother quietly occupied as her father and I leaned back to catch a breather from the long day.

*****

Sometimes in the middle of cleaning the rooms, I discover little gems left behind by the children. This Friday series was started with the intention of celebrating the imagination and creativity in a young child’s world…and hoping that it’ll bring a little ray of inspiration and joy to your day, as it does mine.

*****

Papercraft, Prime and Pteranodons

kitchen counter dusty with icing sugar
perfect recipe of vanilla buttercream swirled in the mixer
gobs of tissue paper, piled up toothpicks of Wilton deep red and royal blue
kids bent over with laughter and giggles
sugar highs from too much cake
late night papercraft ventures and conversations with your lifelong best friend
of how you will never attempt such a crazy thing again
yet knowing full well that you’ll go ahead and do it anyway and crazier the next time round

three hugs a day for long life
three cheers each meal for birthday celebrations


and three glorious reasons and persons to celebrate life with for life.

Bookmark Monday: Medieval Math

So sue me, I like corny math story books. But with a title like Sir Cumference and the King’s Tens, you’re not just that wee bit curious of the content?

Noticing that the King has been rather gloomy of late, Lady Di of Ameter suggests to her husband, Sir Cumference the idea of hosting a surprise birthday party for the King. Which is a great idea, except now the castle is burgeoning with guests and more are arriving by the minute, and Lady Di needs a way to figure out how many lunches she needs to tell the cook to prepare.

With the help of the Knights of the Round Table – Sir Kell, Sir Tangent and Sir Lionel Segment, Sir Cumference and Lady Di of Ameter must quickly figure out the most time-efficient and accurate method of counting the total number of guests.

How do we do it?

Line them all in a straight line and count?….Too slow….

Form small circles and total the sum of parts? …Too exhausting…

What next?

Cindy Neuschwander cleverly introduces “place value” in an entertaining and engaging way as the story makes use of tents to illustrate the concept by separating the 9,999 guests that show up for King Arthur’s party into nine groups of one thousand, nine groups of one hundred, nine groups of ten and nine single guests, divided into four tents or number neighbourhoods.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for the rest of the Sir Cumference series now.

Huzzah for more corny math storybooks!

Preschooler Art: Recycle Art

I had no idea what she had in mind on Sunday afternoon when she asked me if she could recycle the empty tissue pack from which she’d removed the last sheet of tissue paper to blow her nose with.

What can one reuse a plastic tissue paper pack for?

Oh, unimaginative me!

Trans-four-m!

He squares his shoulders
Walking tall to school in his new shirt of blue
So much like his father
So much his own little man too

The children sit in a row
Reciting their lesson with their teacher on tiled floor
And I catch his face light up aglow
As we sneak him a wink round the frame of the door

It’s a wonderful day for a birthday
All together now, smile for a picture
“How old are you now, God bless you today”
It’s a great month to turn a grand four!

Copyright – iwonderbee.wordpress.com

Bookmark Monday: Old Mother Goose used to fly through the air

First there were the original rhymes, and then came the all-new rhymes recounting the latest adventures of best-loved Mother Goose characters.

And although I have a deep appreciation for the originals, some of the “updated” versions in Mary Had a Little Jam and Other Silly Rhymes, written by Bruce Lansky and illustrated by Stephen Carpenter, are laugh-out-loud funny and preschooler pleasers in their own right.

 

Mary had a little jam;
She spread it on a waffle.
And if she hadn’t eaten ten,
she wouldn’t feel so awful.

Notwithstanding that fullest appreciation of the underlying joke in each rhyme is best supported by knowing the originals to begin with, the collection of short rhymes with fairly easy words makes it an accessible and achievable to beginner readers, and as Christine Clark, editor at Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine put it, it is well and truly “a kinder, gentler Mother Goose…and funny, too!”

I’ll leave you with one more reason why I like this somewhat over the originals, and let you check out the book yourself. 🙂

Rock-a-bye, baby, on the treetop.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the birds sing, the baby will smile,
and fall asleep happy in a short while.

Gotta love that over the horrifying original, what kind of baby falls asleep to thoughts of falling out of a tree?

Bookmark Monday: All about Singapore

I had wanted to allocate one Bookmark Monday segment for covering Singapore history and its road to independence. However there aren’t any books (I haven’t found them and I’ve asked the librarians but if you know of any, please drop me a note!) for young readers, and the most elementary that I have found is in the Primary Four level Social Studies syllabus. But that’s for another post…

For this week’s post, as an alternative to the printed page, I thought I would list a couple of events that have been organised in celebration of Singapore’s 47th National Day, that we ourselves are thinking of checking out.

  • TimeOut has published a short article listing four activities for kids in Singapore this month. Click on this link to find out more. Among the listed activities, is free entry to the Istana on 5 August, art and craft activities at the Arts and Heritage Village and complimentary entry into the Istana Building (otherwise priced at $2) if your child participates in the On-the-Spot Art competition.
  • The National Museum of Singapore, in a collaboration with the National Archives of Singapore is displaying an exhibition titled 45-65: Liberation, Unrest…a New Nation at its Stamford Gallery on Level 1.  This is a free admission exhibition running till 18 November.  It’s free, it runs for some time, I don’t have to be asked twice. 🙂
  • And for the entire month of August 2012, the National Heritage Board is offering free entry for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents to the permanent galleries of the following museums – Asian Civilisations Museum, Memories at Old Ford Factory, National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum, Reflections at Bukit Chandu, Singapore Art Museum and Singapore Philatelic Museum.

To all our Singaporean readers, Happy 47th National Day!

Craft with Daddy: Papier mache shark

A project in progress, DH and the kids dipped old newspaper strips in a craft glue solution to make a papier mache mix, which was then moulded around a plastic water bottle to form the shape of the shark.

Currently finished in acrylic paint and awaiting the next free afternoon to work on detailing the sharks’ features.  🙂

Singapore National Day Craft: Fly our flag

I don’t know about you but my favourite segments of the National Day Parade are without a doubt, the fly past and military defence showcase. And with this year’s theme – Salute to 45 Years of National Service in Singapore, I am anticipating an even more impressive show.

Last Saturday evening, I happened to be attending a wedding dinner at the Fullerton Hotel. When I heard the deafening roar of the jet engines as I entered the lift on the first floor, it was all I could do to hurry on to the fifth floor roof garden…only to find that the Fullerton’s roof garden is enclosed. Bummer! So much for hoping to be able to catch a free glimpse.

Anyway.
I found 20 craft sticks in our art bureau, and decided we would do a little “Fly our Flag” craft.

You will need the following materials: 10 plain craft sticks (for each child), craft glue, red and white acrylic paints, brushes and palette, twine or string, toy helicopter.

1. Take 8 craft sticks and line them up in in a single column. Apply craft glue down the left and right hand side of the column, and paste one craft stick on each side perpendicular to the rows. Leave to dry.

2. When dry, paint the top 4 rows with red acrylic paint, and the bottom 4 rows with white. Leave to dry.

3. Paint on a crescent moon and five stars. (We tried this both with a skinny paintbrush and a Q-tip, both seem to work fairly well, very good for testing fine motor dexterity). Again, leave to dry.

4. When dry, using twine or string, tie the flag to the helicopter and you’ll have your own little fly past model ready for when the aerial segment comes on.

Bookmark Monday: Orange Ants

The use of carnivorous citrus ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) to protect orange groves in China dates back at least 1,700 years. The earliest known mention of such use is attributed to Ji Han in his records of the Plants and Trees of the Southern Regions (A.D. 304):
The people of Jiao -zhi sell in their markets ants in bags of rush matting. The nests are like silk. The bags are all attached to twigs and leaes which, with the ants inside the nests, are for sale. The ants are reddish-yellow in color, bigger than ordinary ants. (These ants do not eat the oranges but attack and kill the insects which do.)

We found Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants written by Barbara Ann Porte and illustrated by Annie Cannon, while the kids were in a storytelling session at the library last weekend.

We’ve been introducing them to folk tales and fables recently, and this title caught our eye because we were curious to find out what orange ants are, and how people earned a living selling orange ants in ancient China. This week, I have learnt something new I didn’t know before. 🙂

*****

The Ma family earned a living selling orange ants to owners of orange groves. It did not necessarily yield a lot of money but they made enough to have food, shelter, clothes and medicine to put on ant bites, and lived happily enough. However, one day, the father and brothers were rounded up to serve in the emperor’s army, leaving Ma Jiang, her mother and her baby brother to fend for themselves.

As collecting wild nests of orange ants was a predominantly male job, requiring collectors to climb high into tall trees and into wild bamboo in the night, neither Jiang nor her mother were in a position to do this, and so they relied on making rush mat bags and other woven articles as an alternative source of income.

Times were hard and the children and their mother often went hungry as only the rich or lazy bought rush mat nets, most people made their own.  But one day, their fortune turns for the better when a beekeeper buys Jiang’s mother’s rush mat nets and a chicken cage and sandals because he finds these will be useful to stave off stings, and pays them in honey instead of money.

The family is glad for the honey, and they keep it in a gourd hung from the ceiling, and enjoy a little each day. One day, while eating, Jiang’s baby brother accidentally drips a puddle of honey onto the floor, attracting hundreds of little black ants.

This lends Jiang a brilliant idea to make a honey trap by smearing the inside of a rush mat bag with honey, reviving the business of selling orange ants without requiring dangerous night time climbing of trees.

Jiang’s mother was happy to be able to buy good things for the family and they prospered on the sale of the orange ants.

However, as they prepared the good food for the Lunar New Year, they could not help but miss Jiang’s father and brothers who had now been away for a year.

Then just three days before the end of the old year, Jiang and her mother and brother receive a pleasant surprise – her father and brothers return, released at last from the emperor’s service and the story ends happily as the family joyfully reunites with much to be grateful for.

*****