Teacher’s Day 2016: Paper Doily Lollipop Flowers

teachers-day-gift-idea-doily-lollipop-flowers-homeschool-crafts

Mark Van Doren, a poet and writer once said, “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery”.

Teachers play such an important role in our children’s lives.  Whether we homeschool our children or not, we inevitably have teachers some point in time.

For Hannah, these are the inspiring teachers in Sunday School, in swimming and dance classes.  They make classes enjoyable and learning fun.

As we celebrated Teacher’s Day on 2 September in Singapore, we kept our gift simple and doable by the child.  After all, it’s the child’s appreciation to her teacher right? Continue reading Teacher’s Day 2016: Paper Doily Lollipop Flowers

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Pebble and Stone Painting

Love You When...

The haze is back… 😦  As we stay home, we’ve found an enjoyable activity to occupy our afternoon.

Our recent read, “Love You When…” by Linda Kranz has inspired us to start pebble painting! Every page we flipped, we admired the beautifully painted rocks and its heartwarming message.

It’s hardly possible to collect pebbles in urban Singapore (those at hotel/mall fountains aren’t for picking!) so I’ve decided to buy a pack of pebbles from Far East Flora Garden Centre.

Then, Hannah painted the stones with Crayola Washable Kid’s Paint. Since it washes out easily, I can safely let her paint while doing housework.  If you want a glossy finish for your pebbles, try acrylic paint.

Pebble Stone Painting

Looking for more inspiration? Try browsing these pages:

Martha Stewart: Rock Crafts

Hodge Podge: 20 Reasons to Paint Rocks

British Museum: Painted Pebbles

HubPages: Painting on Stones is a Craft that Rocks!

Teachers’ Day 2015: “Tea-riffic Teacher” Tea Lights

Teacher Appreciation Gifts: "Tea-rriffic teacher" tea lights

Happy Teachers’ Day!

We celebrate Teachers’ Day in Singapore today.  These gifts were made for Hannah’s Sunday School teachers.

I was inspired (with the help of Pinterest of course!) to DIY tea lights with washi tape.

Not only do they look adorable, they are absolutely easy to make! Hannah was able to make these on her own.

To make washi tape tea lights, you’ll only need tea lights and colourful washi tapes!

My tea lights were GLIMMA unscented tea lights from Ikea, and the washi tapes from Daiso.

Wrap the washi tape around the tea lights and you’re done!

Teachers Day Gift: Washi Tape Tea Lights

To complete the packaging, I printed the cute gift tags from Rowdy in Room 300.  Then twirled two coloured strings together to make somewhat like a baker’s twine.  The strings could be purchased from Daiso.

I enjoyed making these washi tea lights with Hannah.  We chatted while crafting, and I got to understand my girl a little better through observing the way she gingerly wrap the tea lights, how she insists which pattern should pair up, and who should get which set of tea lights.

And to all homeschool parents in Singapore, give yourself a pat on the back! Happy Teacher’s Day!

Preschool Geography: Japan

Preschool Geography: Japan

Konnichiwa! In this week’s geography lesson, we talked about Japan.

Firstly, we located Japan on the map, then its flag.  We read up books on the Japanese culture and from the book, “A Carp for Kimiko“, we found out why they hang carp-like windsocks.

Hannah enjoyed reading this book very much, especially the section where the author teaches young readers how to address family members in Japanese.
Eg. Mother is “Okaa san” and Father is “Otou san“.  Alternatively, you could refer to this site.

Following the instructions in Country Topics for Craft Projects: Japan” by Richard Tames, we made a Kokeshi doll out of cardboard and wrapping papers.

It is said that Kokeshi dolls originated in the early 19th century, from the Tohoku region of Northern Japan, an area well-known for its onsen (hot springs).  These dolls were sold to onsen visitors as souvenirs.

Doesn’t the Kokeshi doll look cute? Hannah tried to colour her doll’s cheeks red. It’s not ketchup stains LOL!

Have fun globetrotting with your kids!

Preschool Geography: Japan (Kokeshi Doll)

More sites:
National Geographic Kids
Japanese Crafts and Activities
Facts and Crafts: A to Z Kids Stuff

P/s: An update on the current situation at home. It’s difficult to keep up with blogging.  I’ve been sick over the weekend and the kids have just recovered from a long-drawn flu. Elijah’s waking up several times a night due to teething.  So, I’m really zonked out every day!

Geography for Kids: Big City Explorer

Big City Explorer Book

Over the past weeks, we “travelled” the world from the comfort of our home.  The children caught the viral fever and had to stay home for nearly three weeks.  Books such as the “Big City Explorer” (by Maggie Li) were great company during those miserable days.

Similar to “Walk This World” (our review here), you’ll find the country’s flag, local attractions, native animals in “Big City Explorer”.  However, this book is written in an informative manner rather than a story.  Think Lonely Planet guide – kids’ edition.

Inside of Big City Explorer Book

I was pleasantly surprised to find Singapore in the book! Being just a dot on the map, and with no natural resources, it’s no wonder we’re usually excluded. I’m glad that “Big City Explorer” included Singapore so young readers will come to realise that this little island is not somewhere in China, or a state in Malaysia.  I’ve heard such assumptions from people I meet during my backpacking days.

What’s cool about this book is that it includes a compass to help readers navigate their way (from one country to another).  Good opportunity to learn how to use the compass!

Keen to get your preschooler to learn about the world?  Here’s what we did to make our learning a bit more fun.

Let It Snow: Discovering What Makes It Snow

Books on discovering what makes it snow

I never knew so much about snow until today!  In this lesson, we learned about snow: what makes it snow, Snowflake Bentley’s story and other stories relating to snow.

I love, love, LOVE the story of Wilson A. Bentley and his amazing discovery about snowflakes.  I borrowed “Snowflake Bentley” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin in Mandarin.  Reading about Bentley’s passion and determination to capture snowflakes simply astounds me.  Thanks to Bentley, we’ve learned much more about snowflakes, and admire its beauty.

Here’s a short documentary of “The Snowflake Man” you could share with older children. 

Facts about snow

  1. No two snowflakes are alike.
  2. Snow is actually translucent, not white. It looks white because of the way the light reflects off ice crystals.
  3. Every winter at least one septillion (that is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) snow crystals fall from the sky!

More facts can be found at Michigan Science Center.

Activities

Try these snow-related activities with your little one:

It’ll probably never snow in Singapore but we’ve certainly enjoyed reading all about them!  I hope you will too. 🙂

Letter of the Week: G is for Ginger Bear and Grapes

Letter G Week: Gingerbread Bear and Grapes

I’m sorry it’s been a long silence on my blog.  Things have been rather crazy in the house…leaky-nosed, whiny kids, sick tempermental mama. Complete mayhem! Finally manage to find the time and energy to blog again.

Our letter G week had us eating grapes and raisin bread, reading Ginger Bear and discovering how raisins are made.

Books to Read: Ginger Bear by Mini Grey

We had fun reading Ginger Bear.  A young boy named Horace makes a bear-shaped cookie.  Whenever he tries to eat it, there was always a reason he couldn’t do so: the cookie was too hot, he hasn’t had his dinner, he has just brushed his teeth.  (Something Hannah could surely relate to!)

Then at night, Ginger bear comes alive! He tries to create other cookie friends.  Sadly, his newfound friends were all eaten up by Horace’s dog!  Finally, Ginger Bear found his “happily ever after” at a window display of a bakery.

Books to Read: Grapes to Raisins by Inez Synder

In this Scholastic series, we learned how grapes are turned into raisins.  The book was informative, concise and pictures provided helped Hannah understand the text clearly.

Activity: Making a Raisin Bear

Letter G week: Ginger Bear and Grapes

No time to make a ginger bear from scratch? Or are you a baking idiot like me?  Then this one’s for you!

Using a slice of raisin bread bought from the supermarket, we created our raisin bear.  To create the bear’s face, we used a cup to cut out a circle.  Then with a butter knife, Hannah cut out the corners of the bread to create raisin bear’s ears.  Then, tear a small bit for the nose, another for the mouth and raisins for the eyes.  Voila!

Letter G week: Ginger Bear and Raisins

DIY Sock Snowman

DIY Sock Snowman

It doesn’t snow in Singapore, but that doesn’t stop us from making a sock snowman. 🙂 This easy-peasy craft takes only minutes to complete, yet allows the children to have fun decorating.

Materials

  • Newspaper
  • 1 men’s sock in white
  • 1 rubber band
  • Cellophane tape
  • Coloured paper
  • Adhesive felt material
  • Crepe paper

Instructions

Unlike other sock snowman tutorials that use rice or styrofoam balls as the filling, ours is stuffed with newspapers.  Scrunch a few pages of newspaper into balls.  A big one for the body and a smaller one for the snowman’s head.

To assemble, push the big newspaper ball into the sock, followed by the smaller one. Tie the top of the sock with a rubber band.

Fold the top of the sock (the “tail” that sticks out after tying), over your snowman.  Depending how big your sock snowman is, you may be able to cover the entire snowman with another layer; like ours.  If you have made a big snowman, then the layer of sock might be the cap for your snowman.

Using the coloured paper, fold a paper hat for your snowman.  Secure the hat on your sock snowman with cellophane tape. If the extra layer of sock cover your sock snowman’s head, then you could skip this step.

Twirl crepe paper around your snowman’s neck.  Tape it down with cellophane tape.

Use the adhesive felt to decorate your sock snowman. We used the felt material to decorate our snowman’s eyes, mouth, buttons and hat.

Have fun making your sock snowman with or without the snow!

DIY Reindeer Antlers Headband

DIY reindeer antlers headband

It’s that time of the year again! As we count down to Christmas, we made a reindeer antlers headband to add the festive cheer. Plus, it keeps the children busy on a rainy day. 🙂

This is a really simple activity and it’s easy to clean up afterwards.  Here’s how to make the reindeer antlers headband:

You’ll need:

  • A4 cardboard
  • 1 sturdy hairband
  • 2 pipe cleaners
  • Tape
  • Glitter glue and any other decorations

Method:

  1. Draw reindeer antlers on the cardboard.
  2. Cut out the reindeer antlers.
  3. Decorate your reindeer antlers in any way you wish.  We decorated ours with red glitter glue.
  4. Tape the reindeer antlers to the pipe cleaners. Add more tape to the back of the antlers so that it doesn’t droop.
  5. Secure the pipe cleaners to the hairband.
  6. Parade your reindeer antlers headband!

DIY Reindeer Antlers Headband

Apart from the reindeer craft, why not try some of our last-minute Christmas decorations?

Our family have been counting down the days to Christmas with our Jesse Tree calendar, making gift tags for friends and families, and reading the nativity story.

What have your family been doing this advent?

Amidst the craziness and to-dos, let’s not forget what Christmas is all about.

Jesus is the saviour God promised.

From our family to yours, have a blessed Christmas! 😀

DIY Foam Letter Builders

DIY foam letter builders

I finally got about creating these foam letter builders!  If you have a child that’s learning to write, this will help make pre-writing instruction easy.

I learned this idea from Erica of “Confessions of a Homeschooler”.  And upon further research, I found that “Handwriting Without Tears” (a handwriting curriculum) uses a similar material as well.

How to create letter builders?

The builders comprise of:

  • long and short lines;
  • big and little curves and;
  • dots for lowercase letters.

You can refer to Erica’s magnetic alphabet builders for a template.  Otherwise, you could, like me, trace the curves with a circular object and cut them out.

There’s a slight variation to my letter builders, I’ve added an even shorter line to make three different lengths. While playing around with the builders, I’ve noticed that I needed an even shorter line to make the lowercase letters e.g. “m” (as shown above).

How many pieces do I need?

You can cut as many pieces as you like.  The number of pieces really depends on how you are using the builders.  I’ve cut 4 pieces for each size so that Hannah can form at least one capital letter and one lowercase letter.

How to use letter builders?

I’m no expert in this.  But here are some of the things we’ve done:

Pre-writing: I demonstrate how a letter is formed using the builders.  As I form each stroke, I say the letter formation “chants” (taken from “ABC Jesus Loves Me”).  It does help Hannah remember the writing strokes.  Then, Hannah imitates what I’ve done.

Numbers and Math symbols: This one was thought by Hannah herself!  You can learn how to write numbers, math symbols like: greater than, less than, equal, plus, minus, divide etc.  Then form equations as your child progresses.

Patterns: Again, Hannah came up with this. You can create patterns or simply have fun creating smiley faces.  🙂

For us, these letter builders come in handy when Hannah doesn’t want to pick up her pencil.  We still can get around to practice writing without the frustration.