Advent 2017: Day 13

I’m a little poorly today, so the Barn Owl stayed home to help me with the kids. I’ll be better with a little rest.

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

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

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Advent 2017: Day 9

Thumper is still recuperating and the Barn Owl is now ill, so the both of them had to stay home today whilst the rest of us attended the first Christmas party of the season.

 

The electronics kit that the kids are playing with is called Snap Circuits‘, and was a gift to us a few Christmases ago. It’s really cool toy which gives the kids safe boundaries within which to design and build electrical circuits, and keeps the kids occupied for hours! Even 2 year old Thumper is now able to build a simple circuit to power a spinning toy. (Buyer’s note: I think this was probably from a local toy store called Growing Fun, but you can get it off Amazon.)

We also did an origami Joseph doll as part of our ‘Truth in the Tinsel’ advent craft of the day. It’s the same one from the origami nativity that I made on Day 6.

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

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

Building a world of fun together (ft. Miclik)

Months ago, Thumper was reaching the stage where he was starting to push himself around the house. He grabbed everything in sight and the first thing he’d do is shove it into his mouth. He was so excited to learn about the world, he just crawled everywhere with his little tongue hanging out of his mouth like a puppy.

Of course, this meant that it was time to put all the Legos away, as the tiny pieces are all potential choking hazards. I also had to put away our beloved Citiblocs away as prolonged chewing and sucking on the porous wooden pieces would probably ruin them. I brought out our trusty set of Duplo blocks, hoping that this would appease J and Little E, who complained loudly and at length as I put away their favourite construction toys.

Unfortunately, the Duplos no longer interested them (I mean, once you start on Legos and Citiblocs, it’s really hard to go back!) so I started looking out for toys that would be fun for my 8 year old, challenge my 5 year old but still be safe for my little crawler.

This is when local enrichment center, Explorer Junior (not to be confused with Junior Explorers Singapore) , introduced me to the wonderful world of Miclik – and I’m glad to say that it’s a toy that all my three kids can play with together.

miclik-creative-blocks-party

I find Miclik to be such an elegant and innovative toy. Really, I expect nothing less from a building toy that is created in Barcelona, one of the leading centres of architecture and design. Marc Castelló, the founder and designer behind the boutique toy company, Mitoi, aims to spark children’s imagination and creativity through his unique and ingenious toys, and I really think that he has succeeded in doing so!

The Miclik toy is a modular construction toy that basically consists of colourful flat hexagons of firm plastic. Each hexagon is hinged in the middle allowing the pieces to be bent back and forth like butterfly wings. It is this very flexibility that the key to opening up a vast world of creative opportunity.

The pieces snap together quickly and easily, and my kids quickly immersed themselves in creating elaborate 3-dimensional structures and wearables for role-play. Best of all, the Miclik toys have undergone rigorous lab-testing to ensure that they are safe and non-toxic – so I don’t have to worry if Thumper uses them as chew toys!

I brought these toys out during a party and they were a real hit with all the children present, who were completely engrossed in making crowns, bracelets and swords, even a pair of handcuffs!

miclik-toys-fun-creative-building

I have never had another construction toy that was so quickly used for interactive, imaginative play.

This is now our toy of choice in the living room, and I often peek in on the three kids to find them on another Miclik adventure. Sometimes they are wearing helmets and defending Thumper with swords and shields, other times they are making hiking boots or snowshoes for expeditions across the Arctic, sometimes I stumble across a herd of Miclik cows and chickens. It’s amazing where this toy has taken them!

Buyer’s Note: Explorer Junior is currently the sole distributor of Miclik toys in Singapore (click here to go to their online store). They may seem pricey at SGD$49.90 (for 48 pcs) or SGD$79.90 (for 96pcs) but they are worth it. I would be very cautious in purchasing cheap imitations as they will not be certified non-toxic or made from the same durable materials.

P.S. Explorer Junior is very kindly offering an exclusive discount code for all Owls Well readers! From now until 15th June 2016, just enter the code OWLS10 at checkout to take 10% off your order! Thanks Explorer Junior!

Don’t just take my word for it – check out these other reviews over at Mum in the Making and Mum’s Calling and see what their Miclik creations!

Small Spaces: Living in the Living Room

Over here in the owls’ nest, the kids spend more time playing in the living room than in their bedroom. To be honest, I prefer them in the living room where I can keep an eye on them when I’m fussing about the house.

In one corner of our living room is the music corner, which is where J and Little E will practice their violin each afternoon. It is also where our sound system sits in state, surrounded by great drifts of CD boxes as well as a mountain of violin cases and music books. Our house is never without music!

Music, Meccano and Munchkin

Music, Meccano and Munchkin

The kids have amassed a ton of toys due to the generosity of friends and relatives but having all their toys out at the same time can be overwhelming (and messy).

This is why I keep the children’s toys on rotation. Every so often, I will put one of the plastic toy tubs back into their room and bring out another tub filled with different toys. Sometimes it will be wooden building blocks, or a box of cars, or large floor puzzles. This week, it’s a new set of Meccano from the visiting Outlaws.

The only toys that are a permanent fixture in one corner of the living room are the LEGO, which are J and Little E’s ‘go-to’ toys.

Legos legos legos

There is no such thing as too many Legos

J and Little E’s LEGO collection has been quietly expanding over the last few years, so keeping them organised is a real challenge for me.

Right now, I am using a combination of compartmentalised, stackable boxes from IKEA, takeaway containers and old chicken essence bottles1 to sort and store their Legos pieces. The bricks are organised by colour and type, with the tiniest pieces sorted into small glass bottles that fit nicely into a plastic takeaway container.

Everything is in clear containers so that J and Little E can find the bricks that they are looking for without having to dump everything out on the floor.

There is nothing more painful than stepping on a stray segment of Lego – and then having to placate the child whose half-finished project you have inadvertently dismantled. I always insist that completed or half-finished Lego projects are tidied into baskets at the end of playtime, which keeps them out of the way.

On the carpet

Thumper joins in

The kids love playing on their carpet, which is great for marking out the boundaries of their play. This way, the toys that the kids play with tend to stay on and around the mat, and don’t spread about the house.

Similarly, the kids also tend to stay on and around the playmat and don’t spread about the house. This is a neat trick that I learned from the Aged Ps, which came in especially handy when the kids were very tiny tots. I could leave 2 year old J on the mat, go have a nice long shower, and come back to find him still pushing his cars around, saying  ‘Vrrrrm’ thoughtfully to himself.

Now that Thumper has come along, he will sit quietly in a swing in a corner of the playmat or lay on his tummy on a quilt on the living room floor, observing his siblings. J and Little E will talk to him whilst they play, occasionally breaking off from their games to make faces at him or give him a cuddle.

A reading daybed

A reading daybed

My favourite place in the living room is definitely the window seat, which the kids use as a reading nook (or day bed). The windows of the living room look over some lush greenery, and you can often see birds and butterflies flitting through the trees. There’s plenty of natural light filtering in through our giant windows, so I don’t have to worry about their eyes.

Occasionally, the J or Little E will draw the day curtains in front of the window seat, and it becomes a little hideout for them!


11414780_10153059479483897_377168398_nUp next on the blog train is Jus over at Mum in the Making.

Jus is a stay-home mama to three little boys, and spends her days homeschooling, reading and doing crafts with her kids. She will be sharing the learning area that has been carved out for her boys from their home’s entryway, so do pop by on Monday to read about it! I’m really looking forward to Small Spaces on Mum in the Making – she has such a flair for interior design!

This post is part of the Small Spaces blog train (hosted by Mum in the Making!). Click on the button below to see more Small Spaces and find out how other families tailor their homes to accommodate their children!


1. I have discovered that New Moon chicken essence containers have better lids and their labels peel off after soaking without leaving any residue which makes them prettier to look at. Brand’s chicken essence containers have plastic lids which deform very easily and the label glue cannot be removed despite hours of scraping, but the shorter and smaller containers fit snugly into a takeaway container.

The Best Movie Trailer of 2013!!

THIS. IS. AWESOMENESS.

A Lego Movie trailer!

Bricks that make me smile.

P.S. What do you think about this Ministry of Education press release? It’s about mainstream education in Singapore. Basically, the MOE don’t feel that students require private tuition in order to cope with the current standardised curriculum (and also, they imply that not many teachers leave public service in order to join the tuition service). This seems to be a load of crock to me. What are your thoughts?