Boxing Day bonus: Through the eyes of a toddler

Amongst all the footage I had for the Advent 2017 daily vlogs, I found that 2 year old Thumper had helped himself to my GoPro camera (I occasionally allowed J and Little E to contribute to the main videos) and it was so interesting to see his point of view!

So…I decided to edit his little videos together.

 

I didn’t change the camera speed at all, so what you see on the video is exactly what Thumper is looking at. He jiggles the camera about whilst he’s running around the place (he never walks), but I love it that when he’s focussed on something, he holds the camera completely still. Usually this happens when he’s looking at people, which just shows you what a social little character he is.

P.S. Check out our Christmas and Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Sleeping Beauty on Ice by the Imperial Ice Stars

Last weekend, we were really privileged to win tickets to Sleeping Beauty On Ice from a giveaway hosted by Life’s Tiny Miracles. Woohoohoo!

I am so glad that we won the tickets because the show really exceeded expectations!

Really excited about Sleeping Beauty on Ice by the Imperial Ice Stars

Really excited about Sleeping Beauty on Ice by the Imperial Ice Stars

First of all, I was wondering how the Imperial Ice Stars would be performing as the venue, MasterCard Theatres, is not a large arena-style theatre which would be suitable for a traditional round ice-skating rink. Little did I know that the Imperial Ice Stars usually brings their own portable cooling equipment along with four tonnes of crushed ice to turn any theatre stage into a temporary ice rink!

Secondly, I did not expect the show to contain anything other than graceful figure skating to the music of Tchaikovsky…but it was so much more than that!

There was fire!

I mean, fire ON the ice!

And ballet!

I mean, ballet, with pointe shoes and everything, pirouetting ON the ice!

And there was aerial gymnastics! With ribbons!

And wirework! FLYING!!! With the blades of their skates flashing in the light as they cut through the air!

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Needless to say, the kids were completely mesmerised the whole time. Even little Thumper, who watched most of the show from the comfort of his sling!

J and Little E were initially rather confused by the story, which departs from both the traditional ballet version as well as the Disney version. However, once I explained to them that there exists more than one version of the fairytale, they became intrigued by the differences that they observed!

There are no fairies in this version. Instead, Sleeping Beauty has many older sisters, the most courageous of them being Princess Lilac. Princess Lilac vows to protect her sister from the wicked sorcerer who poisoned and kidnapped her during a birthday party, and sets out to look for her. In the process, she finds a prince whom she has to persuade to help her to slay the sorcerer and his minions whilst she seeks the antidote to the poison.

I was really glad that there was a 20 minute interval in the midst of the 2 hour long production. It came just in time for me to put Thumper to sleep, and it was a good opportunity for J and Little E to stretch their legs and visit the loo.

Whilst rocking Thumper to sleep in his sling, I observed many of the younger members of the audience twirling and prancing about in the aisle, imitating the gestures of the ice dancers. A tween-aged girl and boy sitting behind us were discussing the technical aspects of the performance, commenting on how difficult some of the spins and lifts were and comparing them to their personal experience in ice-skating.

My kids are now looking forward to spending some time on the ice themselves, as the ticket stubs for the show can be presented at the Skating Rink at Marina Bay Sands in exchange for free skate rental. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring them there this week!

P.S. Not convinced of the awesomeness? Check out these other reviews here, here and here!

31 of the best (FREE) online learning resources for preschoolers

Over here in Singapore, there is tremendous pressure on children to excel academically, and many of Little E and J’s preschool classmates are enrolled in various expensive enrichment classes.

Although I am trying my best to avoid hot-housing my children, both J and Little E have a innate love of learning and I like to find ways to nurture and encourage them in their educational journey. Now with the June school holidays on the horizon, I find myself actively looking for meaningful home activities to keep them gainfully occupied during the day!

Here is a list of 30 of my favourite (free!) online learning resources that I find myself returning to again and again!

Phonics and Early Reading

With most schools returning to phonics to help children to learn how to read, these are some brilliant websites which will help you to reinforce what your preschooler is learning!

  1. Reading Bear – there are some very lovely videos to help capture your kid’s interest
  2. Progressive Phonics – this has some great e-books and worksheets too
  3. Starfall Phonics – the animations may be rather crude, but the songs are pretty catchy!
  4. Phonics4free – this is a series of videos and guides for empowering parents to teach phonics
  5. ABC Fast Phonics – A very simple no-frills guide to the basics which is good for parents who want to help their kids at home

Mandarin

Bilingualism is very important in Singapore with Mandarin chinese offered as a second language in most preschools. We speak very little Mandarin at home, so I have to find creative ways to expose my children to the nuances in both the spoken and written word. These websites have really helped me to keep my kids interested and engaged!

  1. Chineasy – This is a beautiful website which focusses on the pictorial nature of the chinese written script and helps kids (and adults) to remember chinese characters using gorgeous illustrations and beautifully animated teaching videos.
  2. CCTV Learn Chinese – This is an extensive library of videos aimed at teaching conversational chinese and touches on aspects of chinese culture and daily living as well.
  3. Fun Fun Elmo – Sesame Street has most recently developed a preschool mandarin programme featuring the ever-popular Elmo in a series of 10 minute vignettes! This first season is available on Youtube – and hopefully Sesame Street will release their subsequent episodes online too.
  4. Semanda  – These are some free printable flashcards which cover some basic concepts (such as colours, fruits, animals, vehicles etc) as well as some multiple choice style quizzes
  5. Hanlexon Chinese – This is a useful website for printing out writing practice worksheets. You can alter the worksheet to show the stroke order or allow tracing of the characters

Math

  1. Khan Academy – This site is brilliant for kids who already know how to count. J loves this because he can unlock achievement badges and trophies when he has achieved mastery of a new concept!
  2. Math Worksheet Wizard – Here is a simple worksheet generator to help reinforce simple counting, addition as well as subtraction.
  3. ScootPad – This has a basic free system for individuals as well as a subscription service for classrooms. The basic free system has both Math as well as Reading practice pages (but the Math pages are prettier), as well as some really fun math games!
  4. Math Game Time – this is self explanatory, but helps kids to reinforce their rote counting and number recognition skills
  5. Soft Schools – Here you can find some great free printable worksheets and online games to help grow little mathletes.

Art

These art sites are more for parents who are looking for simple, foolproof art projects for preschoolers as well as lesson plans to introduce kids to art history!

  1. Mrs Brown’s Art Class
  2. Teach Kids Art
  3. Art Projects for Kids
  4. KinderArt
  5. Museum of Modern Art NY

Science

These are a collection of brilliant websites that include some very impressive science demonstration videos as well as projects and simple experiments that you can set up at home!

  1. Science For Preschoolers
  2. Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop
  3. The Kid Should See This
  4. BrainPOP
  5. SESL Writing Wizard

Other Useful Resources

There are plenty of awesome sites out there that will inspire your kids to learn more about the world around them! Here are our current favourites that include everything from World History to Astrophysics :

  1. Typing Club
  2. Learning with Fun
  3. Crash Course World History
  4. NASA Kids Club
  5. The Good Stuff
  6. Smarter Every Day

Playing with Food: Making Pizza

Last week, Little E went to the kitchens of a local Italian restaurant (who does not wish to be named), in order to learn the secrets behind their tasty, tasty pizzas.

It’s so much fun to play with food! I mean, why play with playdoh, when you can play with real dough that you can actually eat?

If you’re looking the ingredients list for a really great pizza dough and tomato marinara sauce you can try these from Buddy Valastro the Kitchen Boss (which I have reproduced below – just click on the links for the full recipe):

Buddy Valastro’s Pizza Dough Ingredients:

  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • About 15 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 cups)
  • About 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

 Buddy Valastro’s Marinara Sauce Ingredients:

  •  2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
  •  2 (15-ounce cans) of diced tomatoes in juice
  •  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  2 cloves of garlic
  •  Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  •  1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

P.S. Watch our first episode of Playing with Food here.

edit: You may have noticed that I have edited the content of this post as well as the accompanying video since I first posted it! This is at the request of the Restaurant-who-shall-not-be-named.

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