Learning Value of Money is More Than Being Able to Touch Dollar Notes and Coins

I’m really bad at managing money, no one really taught me the importance of savings when I was little. I was never told that I should split my daily pocket money so that I have some to spend, to save and to donate. Being the eldest in the family also means I got a lot of TLC from my parents, relatives and gramps. When I needed more money to buy books, and the many erasers, pens, highlighters because I could never had enough of them in my overspilling stationery box, I just had to ask from my gong gong and he will give it to me.

I recall there were many times when I had to call home during recess for extra pocket money so that I can buy more things/ food after school, and then I would run to the other end of my huge school field to “catch” the extra money being thrown out from my grandmother’s house window; yup the school and home were THAT close I could be “thrown” more money!

In those days, I was given every opportunity to touch the notes and coins, but never truly understood the value of money and how important it is! If you ask me, the teaching of life values, differentiating needs and wants and learning about delayed gratification are much more important than learning to count the notes and coins.

I could have been as rich as him IF I had been taught the value of saving and investing from young.

Imagine if someone HAD told me I could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in my savings account IF I had saved from my youngers days, I would have been able to afford a decent car or even upgraded our family to a more desirable house! Oh well… at least I’m starting to plan ahead for my girls and is slowly exposing them to the importance and value of money. The POSB Smart Buddy programme is one of the many ways I am going to use to show and pave them to become a wiser spender and better saver.

Never too early to start!

Personally, I’ve tried several different ways to teach my little girls the value of money. But none were quite followed through for more than a month, because this Mum is too lazy lah! Here’s the list of ways I tried over the last couple of years:

Rewarded $1 for each day they attend school – because two years ago, they REALLY hated going to school. So I give them each $1 after dinner when they behave well in the morning and go to school willingly. This stopped when I ran out of $1 coins!

Complete a well-behave card to redeem reward of their choice – each “chop” was for a 50-cents reward. They get a chore when they completed a chore or task well. When they complete the card which comes up to about $10 of value, they get to use the $10 to get something they want. Again this kinda died a silent death because it was too troublesome to dig out the card and give them a stamp… the cards couldn’t be found after the first few days.

Zara with her collection during CNY earlier this year

Putting % of their Ang Bao Collection for their use – this year, I decided to put aside some cold hard cash in a purse each for the girls to use them whenever they want to buy something for themselves. So for the first shopping trip we had together, we remembered to bring along their purses so they each got to pay for their own toys at the cashier. I learned that they actually take  A LOT MORE TIME to decide which toy to get when they are using their own money. I thought this was an excellent way to teach them… alas, after that first trip, subsequent trips out to the mall, we forgot their purses and all purchases were made by Mum! And because no one was keeping taps of these purchases, the money set aside were eventually just put back into their savings account and spending money all came from Mummy’s wallet.

If only there was a more efficient way to do all the above! And I think the new POSB Smart Buddy watch could be my solution. But… it’s not available to just anyone who walked in to the bank to apply! Only students from the primary schools onboard the programme get to receive the watch. But thanks to the good folks at POSB who invited us to check out the watch, I gladly accepted!

After the brief session with POSB team to learn more about the feature of the watch and the accompanying app, I was very excited to try it out with my girls.

We did an unboxing video live on Facebook the next day and they were rather excited at first to reveal what was inside the packages. Little sister Zara was really happy to see the watch and was quick to figure out how the different parts work, while Ayra was a little disappointed the watch comes only in one color. She wasn’t as enthusiastic as her little sister after she saw the watch. LOL!

When I told them they could use the watch to pay for things at the bookshop, it got their interests again. And so on Sunday, I let them wear the watch out and they started pressing the button. After 101 questions, they figured out what the footprint icon and number next to it represented, they learned to see the time and discovered their names are on the screen too. Things got really fun when they started competing the number of steps recorded on their watch – which kinda puzzled me because after Ayra’s ballet class (while Zara was sitting and chilling to wait for her) Zara had as many steps as Ayra?! We jokingly assumed that the watch also counted Zara’s hand movement while feeding herself with the snacks she got from the vending machine and the many swinging around while she sat to watch others play at the bowling alley. After investigating and trying out, we concluded the steps count isn’t as accurate as any kind of movement is counted as steps too! Oh well… it is still fun for the girls to want to walk more so they can win one another.

Zara with her POSB Smart Buddy Watch, deciding if this book is going to be in her purchase.

Ok I diverted… you see this POSB Smart Buddy watch is really more than just a payment wearable, there’s quite a lot of features too! I think what I really like most of the many functions is the ability to control and track my girls’ spending with the app. I can go on and on about how this works and why I love it, but that will require another 3-4 pages of experience sharing!

Here’s a quick start guide video from POSB if you’re keen to find out how it works.

In short, I’m really excited about the possibilities of this programme and really hope to see it improve and enhanced over the years. Ayra is going to P1 next year, and I hope her school will implement the programme so that we can make full use of the watch we received. For now, we will enjoy the functions of these watches over weekends and hope I can get some good teaching of money values and management with my girls.

Ayra making her first payment with the POSB Smart Buddy watch at the bookstore. She was super pleased with her new smart wearable.

Our 5 Year Old First Forest Adventure in Genting

In February, together with the little ones and my mum, we headed up to Genting for the first time after more than two decades. I have zero recollection of how the place looks like and did not have any expectation for the trip besides the awesome meals we were going to try at the newly renovated Sky Avenue at Resorts World Genting.

More than Casino and Food

When we signed up for a Fashion Forest walk, in my mind I was ready for a stroll in air-conditioned indoor somewhere inside the newly renovated Resorts World Genting. Oh boy I was SOOOOOO wrong! One day before the trip we were told to pack our sports shoes and attire, I knew things were going to be as easy as I’d thought.

We were going into a REAL FOREST! 

I didn’t know they have such places and adventures in Genting! The day before the adventure in a real forest, I was chickening out and had planned to skip it. But Ayra was super enthusiastic and insisted she wants to do it.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events

Our Adventure Begins

So off we went on our very first forest walk with the very friendly husband and wife team from Treks Genting.

To minimise the walking for the little one, and lucky for me; Ayra and I were driven up (and down) in this jeep with Pat. It was Ayra’s first 4-wheel jeep ride and up a rocky road. It sure was quite an adventure even before we set our feet onto the natural land in the Fashion Forest.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
While waiting for the rest of the group to hike up the meeting point, Pat set up small flame and smoke to keep mozzies away, but sadly we still got bitten quite badly! The insect repellent Zara made in school wasn’t very effective for these combat trained mosquitoes!

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
This is Uncle Eddie who is super enthusiastic and passionate about nature, forest and everything that you can find and do in the forest. His sharing and fun sharing of the forest had definitely attracted Ayra to want to go on this adventure. Together with his team at Treks Genting, they set up the forest to make it more interesting and engaging for their hikers. You’ll see QR code, frames to guide you on what to see and shoot around the forest, and even provides you with complimentary Wifi from their mobile phone if you need to stay connected in the forest.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
The walk into the forest started with a 10 minutes climb down a very steep and long set of stairs. This wasn’t our usual flats of stairs, every step was an adventure for the little one! But Ayra shocked me when she walked down the stairs without complaint and was very enthusiastic throughout our time in the forest. She walked into the forest with the help of a walking stick.

This experience has shown me the other side of Ayra which I didn’t know she was capable of. At one point she turned back, looked at me and said “Mummy faster!”; while I tried to catch my breathe after 1/4 climb back up from the forest. She was many steps ahead of me and show no sign of exhaustion! I was simply speechless.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events

If only the weather in Singapore was less humid and hot, I’ll gladly bring her for walks at Bukit Timah Hill anyday. Perhaps it’s time I start planning for our first mother-daughter trip before she enters Primary school next year. Where shall we go?


If you are heading to Fashion Forest, try spotting our names on the welcome banner at the start of the forest walk!

If you would like to experience a different side of Genting too, go check out treks.events or their Facebook page.

Never a Dull Moment at Kidsfest 2017 with Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson

What a fun evening it was with Julia Donaldson and her awesome casts at Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts! It was a mad rush down to the Victoria Theatre but totally worth it. The girls (including the 2 not-so-young ones) enjoyed the performance very much. Here’s why.

Never a dull moment! From the moment we got to our seats till the very end of the show, our eyes, ears and mind were fixed on stage. Even the changing of set from one story to the next, the casts did a funtasitic job making it look so seamless and fun. My mum and the girls were amazed at the different scenes from the five stories, transformed out from the few sets of boxes and shelves. So fun they said.

Lots of energy from the crew and Julia Donaldson. An hour of storytelling is seriously not easy furthermore they were actively engaging the audience. I was panting in my seat as I watched them bring the story and their characters alive. So much enthusiasm and energy!

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

So fun and engaging! To be the world-class theatre for young people is surely not an easy task. Kids get restless and distracted so easily, it takes a lot of effort to keep them focused even for just a few minutes. Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson was like a magic carpet right into the five popular stories written and told by Julia Donaldson. Kids were kept entertained and engaged, with mass audience participation and groups of kids were also invited up on stage to be part of the show.

That night we were sharks in Jack and the Flumflum Tree, entertained by the farm animals from What the Ladybird Heard, felt the squeeze inside the house that was A Squash and a Squeeze, pretended to be dragons with ZOG, and finally treated to a smart adventure with the tiny mouse in the forest with The Gruffalo; and what an adorable Gruffalo it was!

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

If you adore the stories by Julia Donaldson you cannot miss this five-star performance at Kidsfest 2017! Show is on this week only till Sunday 22 January at the Victoria Theatre. Get your tickets from SISTIC now.

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

Showtime schedule for Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson at Kidsfest 2017
Kidsfest-Gruffalos__Ladybirds_and_Other_Beasts_with_Julia_Donaldson

Learning to Write with Kids’ Favourite Songs

Ayra is in K2 this year, and she is still not very keen on reading nor writing. I am not sure if she’s only being lazy when around me or she is really just not interested. Based on feedback from her teachers, she is doing alright in class and even during her enrichment sessions at Eye Level.

learningwithmusiclyrics

To help get her want to practice writing, I thought we can try copying lyrics from her favourite song list. We tried it for the first time recently and I think I’m going to make this a weekly routine.

This was her copied version of part of the song from My Little Pony, titled Welcome To The Show.

Still a lot of practice needed. Should I be worried? My husband and I believe she will eventually learn and want to read and write. Her time is just not here yet.

My Little Photographers at KidZania Canon Imaging Academy

The Mummy loves photography and has been a supporter for Canon cameras for a long time now. The girls have been the subject of Mummy’s shooting obsession since the day they entered into her life. They have seen how the Mummy handled the camera and are rather familiar with how the camera works. When they were given a chance to handle a big camera like Mummy at KidZania, they were thrilled.

Although they didn’t get to complete their task as a photojournalist, as they were too distracted with the other activities going around them on their first visit to KidZania, they did get to put on the Canon EOS vest (which Mummy is rather jealous of) and tried handling and shooting with the Canon PowerShot EOS DSLR inside the Imaging Academy.

Look at how adorable and professional they look!

At the Canon Imaging Academy inside KidZania Singapore, the kids get to pick between being a Photojournalist or a Photography Student.

Photojournalist at Canon Imaging Academy

  • For +4 years and above
  • Each session allows up to 4 kids
  • Takes about 20 mins for each session
  • Kid earns 6 Kidzos

Being a Photojournalist, they were supposed to learn how to handle the DSLR camera, go on a mission to shoot different objects around KidZania and complete their task to earn the Kidzos.

Photography Student at Canon Imaging Academy

  • For +4 years and above
  • Each session allows up to 6 kids
  • Takes about 20 mins for each session
  • Kid pays 8 Kidzos

As a Photography Student, they get to learn how to pose for the camera and shoot other student models with the DSLR. Each student will also get to bring home a printed photo from their session.

The girls were happy to have snapped some photos of Mummy with their cameras and were issued a certificate at the end of their task.

Guess we will be back again for more KidZania fun since Mummy bought the girls their KidZania Passports! Perhaps we should make trips to other cities too to check out the other KidZanias.

Read other kids’ experiences at KidZania Canon Imaging Academy…

Love Creative Play Time with Our Kids

Playtime is rare with Mummy around, because Mummy is always busy with work even when she’s at home in the evening. But when Mummy do sit and play with the girls, they immerse themselves 101% and do all kind of silly things together. Now that Ayra is 5 and Zara is 3, both of them love creating their own stories and imaginative play. Mummy loves watching the show unfold in usually the most unimaginable way. The sky is the limit!

There are plenty of toys around the house, and Mummy does splurge a little too often showering the girls with new toys. Probably due to the guilt she has deep inside since she doesn’t spend as much time as she wished with the little ones. To keep them occupied and engaged, she buys toys and fun things for them.

One of the most common things she buys is building blocks from LEGO® , which the father get rather annoyed at. Because he hates stepping onto bricks around the house! But the girls love them, especially Ayra as she is now able to build a set on her own without any help. She will open the box, pour out all the bricks, look and follow the pictorial instructions and start building. Like this new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playset, she built it all by herself in less than 10 minutes.

LEGO Duplo Building Better Play - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Set
Following instructions and building her own play set. Zara helps along too.

After building the set, she’ll start to play and engage with her younger sister. Of cos, they do fight at times and snatch pieces from one another, but nothing stops them from fun play time. Mummy finds that she needs to learn such quick forgivingness from the girls. Adults tend to hold grudges longer, which is really unhealthy.

This new play set in the house is from the Disney Junior collection, LEGO® DUPLO® Mickey Mouse & Friends Beach House (10827).

Get your child sit Donald Duck in the speedboat and pull Goofy along on the wakeboard, while Mickey Mouse uses the camera to take pictures from the deck at his Beach House. Little Disney fans will love building and rebuilding this model with a fun vacation theme and creating their own role-play stories. This set comes with 3 LEGO® DUPLO® figures: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.

Accompanying the LEGO® DUPLO® sets, parents can now watch the LEGO® DUPLO® Buildling Better Play videos which were recently launched on YouTube. This series features 12 episodes led by child development experts who share useful information for parents – from building toddler confidence, social play and sharing, and developing motor skills with play, to making playtime feel special.

The Loving Mum has approved the play of LEGO® and LEGO® DUPLO® in the house and has been one of her choice gifts for children of her friends and relatives. For those searching for toys to give kids and has run out of ideas, you’ll never go wrong withLEGO® DUPLO® for the little ones and LEGO® sets for those 5 and above. Now you know what to get for the two girls for Christmas ya?

Now watch the two girls at play with their new LEGO® DUPLO® set…

Our Learning Experience with Eye Level Singapore at City Square Mall

Ayra is almost 5 and she’s not very interested in learning to read. She’s a spatial and visual learner, she prefers to draw than to write her alphabets. She prefers to learn the strokes of Chinese characters rather than to recognise the sound of words. A few months ago, she was still writing alphabets and words (even her name at times) in inverted form (in mirror-image). Since early this year, I started looking out for classes to send Ayra to help in reading and writing, we also attended a few trial classes together. But she doesn’t like any of the classes which were all in groups. I didn’t want to force her into doing what she doesn’t want, so I accepted that one day she will learn to read and write, now is just not her time yet.

An Invitation to Learn The Eye Level Way

Someone must have heard my woes or felt my worry, just as I was about to give up on the search for classes I received an invitation to go for a free diagnostic test and trial class with Eye Level. I accepted the invite and went to check out this place which we’d passed by many times at City Square Mall.

I did not know what Eye Level is about and have not done any research on them yet, cos I assumed they were for primary school kids. When I entered the centre for the first time, it kinda resembled much learning centre for bigger kids or a place for tuition where classrooms are filled with tables and chairs, a whiteboard and no space for group/floor activities.

The first question that came to mind – “Would Ayra be able to learn in and get used to such an environment?

After our first visit where she did her diagnostic test with the teacher to determine which level of learning she should start at, we took our time to decide if this is what Ayra needed.

The diagnostic test result was as what I’d expected, Ayra though in K1, her language skill is of a typical 4-year-old. If she were to start at Eye Level, she’ll be working on her fundamentals phonics skill and start from Level B instead of Level C.

Level B English at Eye Level introduces beginning consonant sounds and beginning and middle short vowel sounds. The child will develop phonemic awareness and letter-sound correspondence with practice in letter writing. Ayra will also be introduced to narrative stories and informational text and develop fluency by saying letter names, letter sounds, and picture names. It sounds a little too basic for a 5-year-old, but that’s where we have to start for Ayra.

We headed back to Eye Level City Square Mall the following week for a trial class and Ayra was a little reluctant to enter the classroom on her own. But after the trial class, she looks happy and less shy when the teacher spoke to her. It took us another 2 weeks of talking and consideration before we decided to embark on a 3 month (a term) of classes with Eye Level City Square Mall.

Eye Level at City Square Mall, Basement 2

The Eye Level Learning Method

  • Fundamental English Language Arts Skills
    Eye Level English consists of basic and advanced language arts and reading skills coupled with vocabulary and comprehension strategies. The program is based on language skills outlined in the state standards.
  • Individualized Program
    Eye Level English uses Diagnostic Tests at the beginning of the program and Level Tests at the end of each level to provide blueprints for instruction, customized to each child.
  • Promotes Self-Directed Learning
    Eye Level English is designed to develop the skills necessary for students to take responsibility and accountability for their own learning process.

It’s Been A Month with Eye Level

Surprisingly Ayra is now motivated to do her homework from Eye Level and is always chirpy and good spirited when she attends her weekly lesson.

Zara accompanying Ayra while she completes her Eye Level home activity, the little one learns too!

The Weekly Routine at Eye Level City Square Mall

A session at Eye Level is for 45-minutes of learning. The students are taught to check-in themselves on a tablet, remove their shoes and get their own learning materials for the week before entering the classroom.

Logging in (and out) for classes at Eye Level.
Part of the training to be independent learners here at Eye Level.

As Ayra needs lots of guidance to complete the activities, she gets more one-to-one time with the teacher in class. For learners who are independent, they will be briefed by the teacher on what they are learning that week, and they will move to their own table to do self-directed learning. Teacher is present to facilitate learning and provide guidance when necessary. Before the child leave, the teacher will give feedback on the submitted homework and the week’s lesson.

With her teacher from her second session with Eye Level.

Ayra’s Learning Progress

It has been more than a month since Ayra started learning English with Eye Level. Though she is still far from being a reader, she is now more aware of the sound of words and is more willing to learn on her own even when at home.

Ayra needs more exposure to reading and writing, and I have a very big role to play and gap to fill. Admit that I’m a lazy mum who rather spend time playing with the girls than to teach them to read and write. I think both my husband and I are the relax kind of parents, our mentality is that the girls will do well and learn when they are ready. They are still young and should be enjoying their childhood and play.

Though we were both trained and experienced educators,  but teaching primary school kids and pre-schoolers are not the same. More so with the teaching of other people’s children vs teaching our own! I think we got to figure out this whole learning routine in our home soon.

After a month, Ayra’s smiling when she go for her classes with Eye Level.

Get 20% off first 3 months of lesson at Eye Level

Eye Level will be at Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hall 403-406, Booth C31 & C32, for Rise & Shine Festival 2016, from 12 to 14 August 2016.

There will be a 20% off for first three months, for all subjects, during the three days event, exclusively at Rise & Shine Festival only.

If you are looking for a place where your child gets to learn at his/her own pace and get trained to be self-directed learners, go find out more at Rise & Shine Festival and talk to the teachers.

Logo_Eye_Level_Learning_Centre

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Eye Level Singapore

Address : 180 Kitchener Road #B2-02 Singapore 208539
Total of 19 centres in Singapore, find their location here.
Website: http://www.myeyelevel.com/
Facebook : www.facebook.com/eyelevel.singapore
Email : citysquaremall@myeyelevel.com
Tel : +65 6509 1317
Subject : Math / English / Play Math / English Sparks
Opening Hours : Wed: 1.30pm to 8pm / Thurs – Fri: 2.30pm – 8pm / Sat: 9.30am – 6pm / Sun: 9.30am to 1pm

Disclaimer: Ayra is sponsored a term of lesson with Eye Level for purpose of finding out more about the learning centre and for sharing of our experience with them. All opinions are our own.