Guest Post: Homemade Beads in 3 Ways

This week, we learn how to make beads. Hannah loves dressing up. The girly girl in her enjoys wearing necklaces and bracelets. So when Jessica from Education.com shared this idea with me, I just had to try them with my girl! 

Education.com provides parents,homeschoolers and teachers with fun learning resources e.g. worksheets, lesson plans, digital games, an online guided learning platform, and more. Over to Jessica:

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Stringing beads is a fun way to give boredom the boot. And most preschoolers, both girls and boys, enjoy taking a crack at it.

Beyond fueling creativity, beading also has another trick up its sleeve: it helps young kids practice patterning, or sequencing, which lays the groundwork for math, reading, and science. You can buy a sack of beads at any craft store. But here are 3 inexpensive ways for kids to make their own beads, from scratch.

Continue reading Guest Post: Homemade Beads in 3 Ways

DIY Activities in Minutes!

The weather has been so unpredictable these days. One minute, it pours. The next, it’s bright and cheery. So while you wait for the weather to clear, here are seven DIY activities you can dish out to your kids in minutes!

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Continue reading DIY Activities in Minutes!

Chinese New Year Craft: Dot-A-Dot Cherry Blossoms

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Goodbye Christmas, hello Chinese New Year!

Back in November, shops have already started selling Chinese New Year decorations and goodies. It was oh so, confusing with Christmas and Chinese New Year marked so close each other.

With the Lunar New Year fast approaching (another 10 days?!), it’s time to get into the festive mood and start our preparations.

Here’s a fuss-free way to DIY your house and show off your kids’ craft to your visitors (even if your kid isn’t crafty). Continue reading Chinese New Year Craft: Dot-A-Dot Cherry Blossoms

The Night Before Christmas: When You Run Out of Wrapping Paper

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Twas the night before Christmas, when the children were nestled all snug in their beds;

it’s only mamma frantically wrapping the presents while papa has settled his brains for a long winter’s nap…

What to do when you run out of wrapping papers then?

We, mothers do what we do best…improvise!

Here’s how to create your DIY Christmas Gift Wrap: Continue reading The Night Before Christmas: When You Run Out of Wrapping Paper

Indoor Art Activity: Crayon Etchings

Crayon etchings: indoor art activity for children

The heat is on!  On Wednesday (13 Apr 2016), Singapore recorded its highest temperature in a decade this month: 36.7 deg C.

With the scorching weather refusing to let up,  we hide ourselves indoors from the blazing afternoon sun.  Keeping the children entertained isn’t an easy feat especially when I have to prepare dinner and do laundry.

Recently, I’ve found crayon etchings to be a useful activity to keep their little hands busy and burn those energy.

You will need:

  1. Bright coloured crayons
  2. Black crayon
  3. Toothpick or end of paintbrush
  4. Small sheet of paper
  5. Newspaper

Start by colouring the bright coloured crayons all over your paper.  You have to press firmly to create a thick layer of colouring. (That’s how you expand their energy!)

Place a pad of newspaper under the sheet of paper.  Cover the layer of crayon with black crayon.  The newspaper will allows the black crayon to coat evenly.  Again, you need to press firmly to coat a thick layer.

Now, lay newspapers all over the table before you etch.  This makes clean-up easier.  Remove the pad of newspaper before etching.

Design your picture by scraping the black layer with a toothpick or end of paintbrush.

I’m sure your children will feel hungry after all that colouring!  Just in time for dinner. 😉

Easy Easter Kids’ Crafts

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I’ve always been apprehensive about making our own Easter eggs, especially the mess I’ve to clean up if Hannah breaks an egg. That’s until I realised we could use hard-boiled eggs!

I know you must be thinking, “What have you been thinking all this time?!”

This egg crafting business is really new to me.  Here are several ideas for newbies like me:

Food Colour Dye Eggs

Mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and drops of food colour to achieve your desired colour.  Dip your hard-boiled eggs in the dye for 5 minutes. Remove and allow the eggs to dry.

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Painting on Empty Egg Shells

Daddy contributed this idea!  He made a small opening on the eggs, removed and cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast, then washed the egg shells.

With chopsticks and a cup to prop the egg shells, we left them to dry before painting them.     The chopsticks and cup helped keep Hannah’s hands and clothes clean.  Minimal clean-up effort!

Crayon Decorated Eggs

Now, this method requires some practice.  We had used crayons to draw designs on hard-boiled eggs.

I meant to dye the eggs after that to create crayon-resist effect. However, the eggs were crushed after Hannah drew on them.  So we skipped the dye.

As you can tell, we had a lot of eggs to finish for the week!

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Yarn Eggs

A friend taught us this.  Blow up a ballon to the size of your fist.  Secure balloon with a knot. Dip yarns in PVA glue (diluted with some water). Wrap glue-covered yarn around balloon.  The balloon should be fairly well covered with yarn.

Allow balloon and yarn to dry completely.  Pop balloon and remove it.

Oh, you could also use this egg to share about Jesus’s resurrection.  The egg is hollow because Jesus has resurrected!. The tomb is empty!

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Sticker Decorated Eggs

We did this on Thursday at MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers).  Simply stick stickers on a hard-boiled egg.  You could even tell the Easter story with the stickers.  Hannah chose to illustrate Jesus’s crucifixion by pasting 3 crosses.  Two for the criminals and Jesus in the middle.

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Easter Kids’ Activities

In the run-up to Easter, we recount Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection with Easter Activity Workbook.  It’s a 7-day countdown that covers Palm Sunday through Christ’s resurrection. You could get your free copy by subscribing to ABC Jesus Loves Me Blog.

We also learned about the story of the resurrection eggs through the book, “Lily’s Easter Party“.  It’s an interesting concept to recount the Easter story using symbols.

Intrigued by the concept, I shared this at our Mandarin co-op. Retelling the Easter story in Mandarin proved to be a feat!  It surely was a relief to know that the children enjoyed the Easter egg hunt and discovering the symbols.

Life Your Way and Teaching Heart provide free materials to go along with story.

Even if you didn’t get to do any craft or activity, don’t be dismayed. Take this Sunday to quiet your heart and let God speak to you. He’s the reason for Easter.

14022783319_ee3e72485b_bPhoto by Andrea Howey on Flickr

Happy Easter!

Chinese New Year 2016: Crafts, Spring-Cleaning, Organizing

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Another four days to the Lunar New Year ! *gasp*

How are your preparations for Spring?  This year, we kept things simple.

Have a look at our activities leading to Chinese New Year:

For art and craft, we’ve made a “大头娃娃” or “big head doll” – usually seen at a lion dance performance or Chinese New Year street celebration.

Materials:

  • Paper bag or plastic bag
  • Newspaper
  • Cellophane tape
  • Chopstick,straw or stirrer
  • Crepe paper or coloured tissue paper
  • Self-adhesive labels

Directions:

  1. Crush some newspaper into a ball. Secure with cellophane tape.
  2. Put newspaper ball into paper bag or a plastic bag. This will be the doll’s head.
  3. Insert a chopstick, straw or stirrer into the newspaper ball.
  4. Secure stick and bag with cellophane tape.
  5. Use crepe paper or coloured tissue paper to make the doll’s hair.
  6. You may also use crepe paper to decorate the doll’s hair (flowers or hair accessory).
  7. Draw the doll’s eyes, nose and mouth on the self-adhesive label.
  8. Cut out the label and stick them onto the doll’s face.

This craft can be made within minutes.  I find it almost impossible to craft while keeping an active toddler under radar at the same time! More Chinese New Year crafts can be found here and here.

Here’s what Elijah did while we made “大头娃娃” or “big head doll”.

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Happily mopping the floor for 15 minutes max.  Otherwise, he’ll probably rip the doll’s hair or chew its eyes and nose.

Our Lunar New Year decoration kept fairly simple: hanging couplets around the house, and New Year stickers stuck on our door.

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This week, “贺新年” (a festive song) has been playing over the phone.  We desperately need to learn another Chinese New Year song, other than “恭喜恭喜”!

贺新年 “He Xin Nian” Lyrics

贺新年 祝新年
新年哪 年连年
爆竹声声催人想幼年
贺新年 祝新年
新年哪 年连年
岁月悠悠光阴如箭
回首往事如烟 痛苦辛酸
寄望从今万事如愿
贺新年 祝新年
新年哪 年连年
愿大家都过个太平年

The song translates:

Happy New Year, wishing you well in the new year;
The new year comes year after year;
The sound of firecrackers remind people of yesteryear;

Happy New Year, wishing you well in the new year;
The new year comes year after year;
Time flies like an arrow;
Looking back in sorrow;
Hoping things are looking up;

Happy New Year, wishing you well in the new year;
The new year comes year after year;
May everyone enjoy a peaceful year.

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Organization, spring-cleaning, decluttering! I wasn’t able to do as much as I would like to. But I take comfort knowing that it’s always ongoing.

Here’s a nifty trick to organize the hub’s neck ties.  Inspired by the numerous organizing tips on Pinterest. 🙂

Finally, we made our yearly trip to Chinatown to see the Chinese New Year decorations and people-watch as they queue up as early as 5am to buy Bak Kwa (savoury sweet BBQ meat).

In my opinion, the best view of Chinatown’s decorations and surroundings can be seen at the Garden Bridge. Head to Exit C at Chinatown MRT Station.  Then take the lift to Garden Bridge.  You’ll get a good view of the decorations together with prominent buildings like The Majestic and Yue Hwa Building.

If you have older children or plan to do a tour around Chinatown, be sure to read up the historical facts about Chinatown compiled by “Singapore Lost & Filed”.  I surely found them useful!

National Gallery Singapore | Keppel Centre for Art Education

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This is a backdated entry which finally got published. Phew!

While the hype of National Gallery Singapore has somewhat fizzled, nevertheless, this is one awesome place to check out as a family.

The National Gallery Singapore, which has been in the making for 10 years, finally opened its doors to the public on 24 November 2015.  To commemorate this milestone, there was a two-week long of free events and activities.

With the festive season and “school” moving on slowly, I decided an impromptu outing to National Gallery Singapore.  Getting there (with a stroller) wasn’t a problem. It was just minutes away from City Hall MRT Station.

Once in the 64,000 sqm museum, we felt kind of lost.  On hindsight, I should have downloaded the museum’s Gallery Explorer mobile application.  It offers visitors a self-guided tour and turn-by-turn directions from one’s location to points of interest within the Gallery.

Wandering quite aimlessly, a friendly security officer approached us (our faces must have said we were lost!) and shared about Keppel Centre for Art Education.  It was a facility dedicated for children.

Not feeling so lost now…we proceeded to locate Keppel Centre for Art Education. 🙂

Moms with babies in tow, you’d be glad to know that strollers are permitted in the galleries.  However, they are not permitted in the Keppel Centre for Art Education.  You’d need to park them outside the facility.

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Inside Keppel Centre for Art Education you will find:

  • Art Corridor: explore art through tactile play
  • Art Playscape: develop imagination through active play
  • Project Gallery: learn creative process through art making
  • Children’s Museum: learn to put up exhibitions through role play

Parents, be warned: Lots of persuasion and patience is needed to get your little ones moving from one gallery to another.  And you may be paying for every kit at each gallery.

Like most children, Hannah was stuck at the Art Corridor for a while ( I really mean a long while).  Everyone was busy trying to put colourful discs into the art puzzle.

At the Project Gallery, it was no surprise that Hannah wanted to create her “boat in the sky” as the room was filled with whimsical artwork of flying buses and boats.  The activity kits could be purchased at SGD $4.

Finally, at the Children’s Museum, we took a peek into the artist, Milenko Prvacki ‘s art studio, and examine the artistic process: tools he used, techniques he created etc.  The children could decorate a postcard and send it to Milenko Prvacki himself!

There was a Pocket Sculpture Starter Kit which could be purchased at SGD $2 (see what I mean?) but we didn’t get that for Hannah.

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We didn’t manage to enter Art Playscape as Elijah was getting cranky and hungry.  But we managed to snap some photos of its fancy backdrop and layout.

What was Hannah’s highlight of the day?

It must definitely be Who’s in the Woods.  An interactive platform that features day-to-night scape of a forest.  Children get to choose and design their animals, and watch them come alive on screen. (See first image of Hannah’s tiger.)

You also get to receive a printable of your designed animal via email.  Then piece your animal and play them at home. How cool is that?

As I was saying, Elijah was getting hungry. There are several F&B outlets in the museum.  But being the frugal mom, we ended up eating sushi at City Link Mall. There are plenty of restaurants and fast food joints around the area.  You won’t go hungry. 🙂

For families thinking of visiting the National Gallery Singapore, check out these upcoming programmes.

 

 

 

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!