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.

Fun Day Out with Singtel Cast app and Nickelodeon Play

Our girls are forever glued to the screens when they are at home, travelling in the car or during meal time. When the day came for them to discover a new entertainment app at KidZania, they were both too eager to check it out.

It was a fun day out with Singtel Cast app and Nickelodeon Play app, both unfamiliar to both our girls and also to the mum. Because sadly we aren’t Singtel users and the app is only available for Singtel customers. Nevertheless, we got some hands-on time with the apps at the event held in November. (Yes this is one of those super overdue posts lah! #needmoretime)

When it comes to apps, Ayra and Zara need no instructions nor introduction, just download the app on our devices and they automatically know how to use them. This applies to ALL and ANY apps we’ve downloaded for them so far. They also have a way of knowing EXACTLY which apps they can tap to open and which are the ones that belong to Mummy and Ayah! #stunned

The girls were entertaining themselves with the Nickelodeon app while Mummy learned more about what Cast has to offer.

Singtel Cast is Singapore’s first OTT video portal app. Cast offers thousands of hours of exciting movies, dramas, variety shows and kids’ edutainment delivered on Singtel’s extensive 4G network. Singtel Mobile postpaid customers can choose from Kids, Asian Hits and Hallyu content packs. Each pack is priced at S$4.90/month and customers can opt for a special 1GB data add-on for just S$3 more per month. Customers can also sign up for Viu’s premium service at Cast to enjoy the latest Korean and Japanese entertainment at the same price.

Features of Singtel Cast

  • Instant access to Full HD episodes or downloads to watch offline with the ‘Watch Now’ and ‘Download’ functions
  • Uninterrupted streaming on Singtel’s high-speed, extensive 4G network or any WiFi connection
  • Convenience of paying for subscriptions through monthly Singtel bill

Viu Premium service – Offers the widest range of the latest Korean drama and variety shows such as Entourage, Jealousy Incarnate and Love in the Moonlight. Viu Premium subscribers can enjoy privileges such as unlimited download, priority viewing with English and Chinese subtitles as fast as eight hours after original telecast, full HD and uninterrupted viewing2 on the Viu app.

Kids Pack – Features the Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. channels along with popular programmes such as SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Shimmer & Shine, and more. The Kids Pack on CAST is also the only place to get access to the full range of games and shows on the all-new, Emmy award-winning, Nickelodeon Play app.

Asian Hits Pack – Features up to 1,000 hours of popular hit movies, entertainment and drama series from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China in their original languages, including variety shows Are You Hokkien?, The Voice of Taiwan, Chef Nic and hit drama series Diamond Lover, Taste of Love, and The Legend of S.

Hallyu Pack – Offers the best of Korean entertainment from top Korean broadcasters on popular channels ONE, Oh!K and KBS World such as highly-anticipated drama series within 24 hours of Korean telecast and all-time variety show favourites like Infinite Challenge.

Subscriptions for each pack start from S$4.90/month with a 12-month contract or S$6.90/month with no contract. A pack can be bundled with 1GB of data for just an additional S$3/month. Customers can enjoy extra value when they stack individual packs bundled with 1GB of data. This means a customer with Asian, Kids and Hallyu packs bundled with data, will get to enjoy 3GB data every month.

Kids Can’t Get Hands Off the Nickelodeon Play App

With a grid designed like that, the little ones will be begging to get the Kids Pack to unlock everything on it so they can keep scrolling up, down, left, right and click on any of the videos and games in the Nickelodeon Play app. This app is probably the must have for die-hard fans of Nickelodeon.

At the fun day out, we also got a special session with Nickelodeon’s favourite duo, Spongebob and Patrick! The girls (and their Ayah) were super excited to see their favourite characters on stage.

What a fun-filled and exciting morning with Singtel and Nickelodeon! Thanks for including us in this special session. Ayra and Zara had fun.

If you would like to find out more about the app, visit www.cast.sg.

Creating More Space in Our Living Room

Every year during this period I tend to become a little lazy at work and want to do something new around the house. It has been awhile since I did some home improvement and since there’s the Christmas party with family coming, and the Chinese New Year shortly after, I decided to do some “magic” around our living room.

We live in a 5-room HDB and is kinda huge in the standard HDB context these days. Our living room and dining area are one massive open space in a regular rectangular shape which makes it rather easy to shift things around and create our space. I love to create cosy space while the husband prefers to keep it minimum and clean. With just the four of us living in this space, we kept things to the minimum.

BEFORE: Quite a messy sight

This space is used mainly for the following:

  • Space for dinner, which we have at the round kid’s table because the girls want to watch TV while they eat.
  • To chill, watch TV, where the girls do their crafting, writing and activities that require tables/chairs.
  • Hosting of our family and friends when they come over for visits.
  • Storing of books, game consoles, some toys and photo albums.

Before, we bought one and then another shelf for the girls’ collection of books and activities. Eventually, these two shelves were overloaded and had papers, books and what not spilling out. We needed more storage space.

BEFORE: Our overloaded book shelves

When we first moved into our house, we had a huge comfy sofa and lounger from IKEA, but we removed it after 5 years as we felt it was taking up too much space. Then we got two NOLMYRA Easy chairs that we can move around easily. But then we realized family members had to sit at the dining table or on the floor when they visit as there were not enough seats in the living room. We needed more seats.

BEFORE: Limited seating chairs for guests

We have also been considering getting a coffee table or a side table for the living room because when the girls are doing their activities on their round table, there’ll be no table space for us to put our cup of drinks or stuff when we are spending time together in the evenings. End up the adults will be seated at the dining table with our drinks or evening snacks while the girls do their stuff at the other side of the room. Though we were still in the same room, but it felt a little distant. We needed table closer to the kids.

With the three needs in mind, we planned our new living room for the new year. And I’m happy with it because it’s now more functional, meets our needs and there is a lot more storage space! Our girls are thrilled too! “Mummy it’s so colourful! I love it!” said Zara when she came back from her gramps after we got the living room transformed.

AFTER: More of everything we needed!

For the books and stuff, we removed the two small shelves we had and replaced them with two KALLAX Shelving units in green and yellow. With the additional shelf space, I spread the books out and grouped them by type and level. The girls suddenly realized they had lots of books to read and rediscovered the many stories they didn’t know they had! As there are many loose sheets of papers and thin magazines, stickers and activity books, I kept them hidden from sight with FJÄLLA Magazine files; creating a neater look for the shelves.

AFTER: More storage space for the whole family

On the other side of the room, I added more storage space, more seats and even table space with just two sets of STUVA / FÖLJA Storage benches! I am super proud of myself when I put this corner together because it is multi-functional and yet so simple. We love this new corner!

AFTER: Loving our new multi-functional living space

Now the girls can use this side of the space for reading, more space for them to do their activities and they get to just dump their commonly played toys into the drawers instead of moving them in and out of their playroom.

AFTER: Hide those cushion seats into the drawers and we’ve got tables for snacks and stuff!
AFTER: Remove the storage unit and put in a chair, and we’ve got another space for activities!

We are now set and ready for more family time in our living space! Well at least the living room is ready.

One room down and three more to go. And this was the easiest space to improve on, the other rooms are in such crazy mess I don’t event know where to start! More spring cleaning and decluttering to be done soon! How are you preparing for the new year?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

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

[themify_button style=”large blue rounded” color=”#0E6DDA” link=”https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FreeTrialClass” text=”#FFF” target=”_blank” ]Sign-up for Free Trial[/themify_button]

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.

My Children’s Favourite Bedtime Stories

Not sure about you, but I’m one of those parents who will buy a book whenever I see one that is interesting or fun for my children to read. And I would tell myself that I’ll spend time every night reading with them before bed. Yes, I did do it as often as I can, but not as much as I’d wanted to. Because our daily bedtime routine is just too random and usually ended up one girl crying for iPad, and the other insisting for both Mum and Dad to tap her to sleep. But this did not stop me from my (sometime) crazy book buying spree. I try to avoid stepping into Times Bookshop or Kinokuniya as much as I can. But whenever I do, I’ll end up bagging at least 3 new books for the girls. It’s time we get a bigger bookshelf to house all our books.

thelovingmum favoritebedtimestories

One of my biggest problem I face when buying books for my kids is searching for good ones. If you have totally no clue what title you want to buy before you step into the bookstore, you’ll probably end up giving up searching because it is just no possible to know what a book is about just looking at the slim spine of these children’s book on rows and rows of bookshelves.

As requested by some friends who are starting to build up their home library, here’s sharing some of the girls’ favourite bedtime story books. They are all pretty fun to read!

Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Sommerset

“What do you do with them?”
“Smarty tables?”
“Yes, smarty tablets.”

I saw this book when I was touring New Zealand with a group of friends. The cute sheep caught my attention and I started reading, flipping through the pages and couldn’t help but started giggling as I turn the pages. This book is very fun to read together with your children.

Little Baa Baa is bored. When Quirky Turkey comes along the opportunity to make some mischief proves too hard to resist. Baa Baa Smart Sheep is a cheeky tricksters tale designed to leave you laughing out loud.

Two Little Bugs by Mark and Rowan Sommerset

By the same authors from the previous book, Two Little Bugs is another fun to read book with holey pages! I love how they designed the book to make it interactive and fun through a series of die-cut holes and shapes. Making every turn a surprise.

Little Bug Blue has a wish. Little Bug Red has an appetite. Together they find out there’s more than one way to find your wings.

Next book is by a local writer, Shervin Seah and illustrated by Candice Phang.

Meet The Wakersaur by Shervin Seah

I can relate 101% with the author with this book. Waking up little children in the morning is seriously the toughest challenge in our family! Girls get out of bed its time for school! Don’t lie back down in bed, get up now! Wake up wake up! It’s time to wake up!!! And this can go on for 45 mins before they get out of bed reluctantly. And we’re all late for school and work. If you have the same dilemma as me, perhaps this book might help. Well it did for us for a couple of times when I first introduced this book to my girls, but soon after they aren’t waking up early to catch a glimpse of “The Wakersaur” because they are always not waking up early enough to find him in the room.

That’s me EVERY weekday morning.

The last book I’m going to share with you today is one of the longest standing book in our library. I started reading this even before Ayra was born.

Upsy Down Town by Sue Hendra

One of the first few books I bought before Ayra was born, because you know lah, first pregnancy so I was kiasu, I read books to my baby inside hoping she’ll come out loving to read. But nope it didn’t happen.

Upsy Down Town is a song or was it a rhyme (?) that is quite famous if I’m not wrong. The girls love the cute illustrations and how silly some of the animals are in the story.

In Upsy Down Town, everything is not as it should be…

Their favorite part of the story is to shout “STOP!” together with the birds.

Hope your children will enjoy these books too. If you have any good recommendations too please do share with me! I’ll soon have more space for new books once I get that new bookshelf from IKEA. 🙂