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!

Create-Art-Homeschool-Crafts

Paint Scrape Art

This art project was inspired by persialou.com. The finishing piece will look good no matter what! You’ll need:

  • Paint (we’ve used Crayola)
  • Cardboard or canvas
  • Old credit cards or reward cards

Steps:

  1. Drip drops of paint along one side of your cardboard/canvas.
  2. Place your credit/reward card above your paint drops. Pull down firmly to the bottom of your cardboard/canvas.

Note: The children scraped various directions to create different patterns and texture. It looked just as good!

DIY-Harmonica-Homeschool-Crafts

DIY Popsicle Stick Harmonica

We love creating music. This DIY Popsicle Stick Harmonica by housingaforest.com was simply something we had to test out! You’ll need:

  • 2 wide popsicle sticks
  • 2 rubber bands
  • 1 strip of paper (same size as popsicle stick)
  • 1 toothpick

Steps:

  1. Place a strip of paper between the popsicle sticks.
  2. Wrap one rubber band around the end of the sticks tightly.
  3. Cut toothpick into two. Both sticks must be the same width as popsicle stick.
  4. Slide one stick to the inside of the popsicle stick. It should be below the paper.
  5. Sandwich the other stick to the other end of popsicle stick. It should be above the paper.
  6. Secure with rubber band.

When Hannah blew her harmonica, it sounded like a duck. What about yours?

DIY-Rocket-Homeschool-Crafts

DIY “Rocket”

This idea came to us spontaneously. We were all ready to head out. Then we were greeted by a sudden downpour. 😦

To create your “rocket”, you’ll need:

  • a strip of paper
  • a straw
  • cellophane tape or stapler

Steps: 

  1. Using a short thin strip of paper, fold the paper into a cone. Somewhat like a tip of an aeroplane.
  2. Secure with cellophane tape or stapler.

To play, place the cone to the end of the straw. Give a good blow and see your “rocket” fly!

Ang-Pow-Red-Packet-Butterfly-Homeschool-Crafts

“Ang Pow” Red Packet Butterfly

With the leftover “ang pows” or red packets, we made butterflies to go along with the Chinese New Year decorations. To create one butterfly, you’ll need:

  • 8 red packets (longer in size)
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • Stapler
  • Cellophane tape
  • Scissors

Steps: 

  1. Fold short sides of the red packets in half (only at the ends). This will serve as a marking.
  2. Fold corners of the red packet as if you’re folding a paper plane (tip). Use marking as your center. Do this for both ends. One red packet should have 2 tips.
  3. Staple the corners of 4 red packets together to make one side of the butterfly. It should resemble as “X”. Make two sides.
  4. Staple both sides of the butterfly together.
  5. Bend your pipe cleaner and tape to the center of your butterfly.

DIY-Maze-Homeschool-Crafts

Create a Maze

Hannah tried creating her maze out of recycled items. As you can see, it’s still work in progress. 🙂 For younger children, they might require some help from you. You’ll need:

  • Straws (quantity depends on the complicity of your maze)
  • Markers
  • Coloured paper
  • Rectangular plastic lid
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. Cut coloured paper the same width and length as your plastic lid.
  2. Glue coloured paper on the lid.
  3. Cut the straws and stick on the coloured paper to create maze.
  4. Decorate the maze with markers.

To play, scrunch up the scrap pieces of coloured paper into a ball. Roll it along the maze.

DIY-Kite-Homeschool-Crafts

DIY Kite

This is one of the easiest craft ever! Yet this DIY kite brought hours of fun for us. 🙂
You’ll need:

  • Plastic bag Raffia string, any thick string or ribbon

Steps:

  1. Tie Raffia string to the ends of the plastic bag. You’re done!

Run with your plastic bag kite and watch it dance in the sky. We love how easy it is to make and how compact it is to bring it around.

DIY-Catapult-Homeschool-Crafts

DIY Catapult

The children were amazed how everyday items could transform into “machines”. You’ll need:

  • Pompom
  • Teaspoon
  • 1 rubber band
  • 1 plastic cup

Steps:

  1. Wrap the rubber band around a plastic cup twice. Make sure it’s snug.
  2. Place teaspoon under one of the rubber band and place head of spoon on top of cup (as shown).
  3. Place pompom on teaspoon.

Watch your catapult spring into action by hitting the end of your teaspoon!

Do you have a favourite easy-to-do craft too? Share your ideas with me.

What We Do on a Rainy Day

It’s wet, wet, WET throughout this week (and more to come). Here are some things that keep us occupied while staying dry. 😉

Create a story box

Story boxes are a great tool to allow children be their own storyteller. They encourage creativity, imaginative play and literacy development. It can be a scene from your child’s favourite story book, a show, or anything they imagine!

Things needed: any empty boxes, paint, crepe paper, paint and any craft materials you find at home.

Story-box-play-scenes

Threading/Sewing

My first attempt to get Hannah to “sew”. She follows a pattern and learns hand sewing basics. Like, the idea of the needle going up and down through the board.

Things needed: (I’m using a purchased set) sewing/lacing cards and yarn or shoelaces.

Threading-sewing-for-kids

Back-and-Forth Drawing

It’s a collaboration between parent and the kids. One person starts the drawing and the other builds on it by adding elements.This is an interactive drawing activity for kids (and adults) of all ages.

Things needed: drawing paper and markers.

Back-forth-drawing-add-on

Kitchen Science Experiments

I’m all for science experiments under 10 minutes! This project was to create a tornado in a bottle.

Things needed: clear (preferably narrow) bottle with cap, water, dishwashing liquid, and good arm power.

Kitchen-science-experiment

Washi Tape Wall Art Project

Let your child be the artist of your wall decoration! Straightforward and mess-free: a winner for kids and parent.

Things needed: blank canvas or sturdy cardboard and Washi tapes.

Washy-Tape-Art-For-Kids

Geoboard Art

Geoboard is not only a Mathematical manipulative, it is also a wonderful tool for encouraging fine motor skills.  Look beyond teaching perimeters, shapes and areas, and you might find your child creating art with rubber bands. 🙂

Things needed: Geoboard and rubber bands.

Geo-board-activity-for-kids

Train a Plant

How do plants know which way is up and which way is down? You can actually “train” a plant to grow in any direction you want.  If you look closely, the roots of this plant is growing upwards. This phenomenon is known as geotropism.

Things needed: Ziploc storage bag, paper towels, fast-growing bean, stapler water, tape, marker. Instructions

Science-experiment-train-plant-upside-down

Other rainy day activities: Balloon FunDIY Reindeer Antlers,  Crayon Etchings,  Animals of the World Puzzle,  Angus Lost & Snowy Day Activities, What Makes Snow,  The Napping House Activities

What are your rainy day activities?

Teacher’s Day 2016: Paper Doily Lollipop Flowers

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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?

I know a lot of parents spend late nights baking and decorating wonderful presents for the teachers.  Gifts range from handmade cookies to movie tickets. That’s wonderful, and yes, I do think teachers deserve a good break at the movies.

But I would like Hannah to understand that they are her teachers, not mine.  I’ve already done my fair share of craft and thank you letters to my teachers.

And although her gift may be small, it really is her heart (spirit of thankfulness) that matters.  It’s not about showcasing how beautiful or expensive her Teacher’s Day gift is.

Making Paper Doily Lollipop Flowers

To make these doily lollipop flowers, we need:

  • Paper doilies;
  • Mini lollipops (comes in a bag of 25);
  • Washi tape/cellophane tape; and
  • scissors.

1. Cut a straight line to the centre of the paper doily.

2. Have the wrong side of the doily face up. Then slide your lollipop to the centre.

3. Roll the doily around your lollipop.

4. Twist the end of the doily. Secure with washi tape or cellophane tape.

 

We created a bouquet of these and gave them to each teacher. Hannah spent over two evenings making 39 paper doily flowers. She did them while I put Elijah to sleep.

When Hannah’s Sunday School teacher asked if her mother had made them, Hannah proudly told her teacher that it was she that made all the flowers.

It might not have been the prettiest bouquet received. It wasn’t the most expensive gift. Surely it is a gift from the heart and with much dedication.

More Teacher’s Day gift ideas: “Tea-riffic Teacher” Tea Lights  Chocolate Doily Gift Wrap 

Read Aloud Books by Karen Kingsbury: Father-Daughter / Mother-Son Bond

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Does your little girl look to her Daddy as if he’s her superhero? Does your little boy make footprints in your heart?

Written by Karen Kingsbury, this set of books make a lovely read for your little boy and girl. I love the fact that there’s one for little boys and their mother, and another for little girls and their father. It is especially useful for us!

“Whatever You Grow Up to Be” documents a mother-son bond from infant to adulthood. Each page shows a life stage in the boy’s life, and his mother is always there to celebrate and encourage him along the way.

Now that I am a mother to a boy, I can fully relate to the story as I too, desire my boy to grow into the man that God has designed him to be.  Life is filled with endless possibilities and God has a special plan for him – whatever he grows up to be.

I’m reminded that these sleepless nights, leg-hugging moments, the whining and banging on your toilet door, the endless piles of food-stained laundry….is only for a season.

I have only but this season to influence my children; the values and lessons we impart last for a lifetime.

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“Always Daddy’s Princess” is the perfect book for little girls and their Daddies.  Hannah enjoys snuggling up with Daddy while reading this whimsical book (filled with lots of purple and pink too!).

Similar to “Whatever You Grow Up to Be”, the girl’s father is always there for her, in every stage of her life.  From tea parties to soccer games to boys and her wedding, she is her Daddy’s princess every moment.

The book provided a meaningful opportunity for Daddy to discuss with Hannah about life’s journey, God, her husband-to-be…and how she will always be important to Mama and Daddy.

Although it’s written in a Christian content, the stories will tug the heartstrings of any parent and child reading them.

Grab your copy at your nearest public library or bookstores. It’s a keeper. 😉

Heritage Fest 2016

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A belated May blog post on Heritage Fest 2016, Singapore.

Running its 13th year, Singapore HeritageFest brings to the public the diverse cultural heritage of this little city. From food trails to music recitals to experiencing Singapore’s last living kampong; Pulau Ubin. There’s something for everyone.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s our first year participating in Heritage Fest. We managed to catch two programmes:

Aliwal Arts Centre Open House

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Through the workshops, we learned various traditional art forms, such as the Malay dance by DIAN dancers and Chinese opera by Nam Hwa Opera.

Hannah liked the pretty DIAN dancers so much that she wanted to take a picture with them.

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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that Hannah is a big fan of Chinese opera. She was excited to watch the opera up close!

We found out how opera singers use gestures, facial expressions and their props to express the emotions of the characters portrayed.

Here’s one opera-related activity you could do with your little one. Be sure to read these two (here, here) wonderful books on Chinese opera too!

Romance, Hope and Dreams @ Velocity, Novena Square

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Like most little girls, Hannah loves weddings! Ask her about the weddings she attended, and she’ll rattle off the names of the couple, and colour of the evening gowns those brides wore.

“Romance, Hope and Dreams” was the perfect exhibition for her to learn about the meanings of traditional wedding practices and beliefs of different ethnic communities.

Every traditional wedding ceremony had been modelled with clay.  See how intricate they are? They remind me of Alexandra Bruel’s clay pop art. Amazing.

Singapore HeritageFest happens from April to May every year. Be sure to check out www.heritagefest.sg for their latest happenings.

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. 😉

ABC Jesus Loves Me (ABCJLM) Curriculum Review

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I’m terribly late with this curriculum review. But time has only heightened my appreciation for Heidi Franz’s “ABC Jesus Loves Me” (ABCJLM) curricula.

We’ve used all four of ABCJLM’s curricula: 2-year to 5-year. Here’s how we began:

During our first year of homeschooling (read here), I wasn’t sure if things would work out.  Hannah was then barely two.  All I knew was, I wanted a Bible-centered curriculum. And it has to be affordable.

So clueless me googled “homeschool curriculum for preschool”, and read many blogs and homeschool forums.  Then I cried.

Some curricula were terribly expensive (shipping fee not factored in)! Others were too overwhelming. How was I to do my laundry, cook, mop the floor…. I just wasn’t sure if I could complete all the things in the checklist within a week.

I prayed and prayed. There’s a tug in my heart to embark this journey.  But how Lord?

Finally, I landed on “ABC Jesus Loves Me” website.  It’s bible-centered. Check! The lessons seem doable. Check! It’s comprehensive. Check! It’s FREE!! Hallelujah!

Some friends whom I spoke to were skeptical about the quality of a free curriculum.  So I did more research. Having read many good reviews about the curriculum, I held my breath and took the plunge.

Four years on, I’m glad I took the first step.

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“ABC Jesus Loves Me” curriculum offers more than just academic development.  It teaches about gross and fine motor skills.

I especially like that it incorporates tips on basic manners, self-care and information a child ought to know. Being a first-time mom, I wasn’t sure what to teach and when without overwhelming my child. So having weekly objectives were definitely welcomed!

Following a weekly objective helped pace our learning.  I didn’t have to follow a daily lesson plan or checklist rigidly. The activities and crafts were adequate.

Housework_HomeschoolCrafts

Of course, I’m very, absolutely grateful that Heidi offers ALL lesson plans to homeschool families for free.

While you could have the lesson plans and workbooks printed for you,  I had several concerns.  Firstly, I wasn’t sure if homeschooling works out for us.  Secondly, the international shipping fee was is a BIG concern for me.  The currency exchange rate is another major factor.  USD$60 = nearly SGD$90 (excluding shipping fee).

Without a doubt, having everything printed allows me to have more sleep. 🙂  I might consider this option when teaching Elijah.

ABC-Jesus-Loves-Me-Curriculum-Review-Homeschool-Crafts

Early this year, Heidi introduced the 1-year curriculum. We’re several weeks into the curriculum for Elijah.  So far so good!  Elijah has picked up basic sign-language.  His learning pace is vastly different from Hannah’s.  This new curriculum certainly provides me with much needed tips and ideas.

I find it difficult to teach Hannah and occupy Elijah at the same time.  I’ve tried setting up independent activities for Elijah but he doesn’t play on his own for long.  He’s more interested in his sister’s work!

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Having started on the 1-year curriculum, I find that I’m able to teach both children.  Hannah enjoys helping her brother in his work.  And she gets what she enjoys: more “school” time with me.

I still struggle to carve out time to prepare activities, borrow books and print activity sheets for both children.  Nowadays, I’m so drained by evening that I end up in bed with the kids. If you have any tips or suggestion on how to better manage time, please drop me a line.  Suggestions very welcomed!

Ok, I’ve digressed…

All in all, if you’re looking for a flexible, Bible-centered, quality preschool curricula, then check out ABC Jesus Loves Me.

Happy homeschooling!

Easy Easter Kids’ Crafts

Easy-To-Do-Easter-Kids-Crafts-Dyed-Eggs-Homeschool-Crafts

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.

Easy-Easter-Kids-Activities-Painted-Eggs-Homeschool-Crafts

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!

Crayon-Decorated-Eggs-Easy-Easter-Crafts-Homeschool-Crafts

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!

Easy-Easter-Kids-Craft-Yarn-Egg-Homeschool-Crafts

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.

Easy-Easter-Kids-Craft-Sticker-Egg-Homeschool-Crafts

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!

Why We Homeschool

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Every Chinese New Year, we are asked this question: Is Hannah attending school?  And when I tell people that she’s not attending a kindergarten or a childcare centre, they’ll naturally ask why homeschool?

My reasons to people are never quite complete.  I’ve learned to give different reasons to different people; mainly to avoid further questioning or run into a debate about homeschooling (or what’s best for my children).

Anyway, I’m penning down my reasons for homeschooling so as to remind myself why I grit my teeth and soldier on through those hair-pulling days (with a capital ‘S’).

It all started when Hannah around 16 months old.  After being a stay-home mom for nearly 3 months, I was kind of bored at home with a toddler (I truly had no idea how blissful life was then…)  Then I met up with a friend who homeschool her children.  The word, “homeschool” was really something new yet exciting to me.

After much research (…prayers, self-doubt and worry), we embarked our homeschooling journey when most of Hannah’s peers start to attend childcare or play groups.

Why-We-Homeschool-Preschool-3-Homeschool-Crafts

::  Learn together  ::

Homeschooling has showed me God’s world with fresh perspective.  It’s clearly evident that I don’t know a lot of things.  I thoroughly enjoy researching and discovering the new with Hannah.

I find it such privilege to be by my children when they start reading for the first time, or see their faces go “A-HA!” when they finally understood a concept.

Learning together with my children has taught me how to rely on God for wisdom and direction.  It has taught me to dig deeper into His word and to realise the marvellous creation He has made.

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

::  Learn at our own pace  ::

It’s generally acknowledged that school stress hits both children and parents in Singapore.   The number of hours put into enrichment classes and assessment worksheets just throws me off.

I hope to hold back the pressure for as long as I can.  We want our children to look at the world around with wonder and intrigue.  They are allowed to develop at their pace, not by peers or stated benchmarks.  We are created uniquely so why are we expected to perform uniformly?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13-14

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::  Grow as a family  ::

A relationship with a sibling is probably the longest relationship you’ll ever have.  Homeschooling has allowed the siblings to bond through tears and laughter.  They are still learning how to share and get along with each other.  Lots of squabbles and “..I was playing with this first…” But you know what?  It’s really something when you see them walking hand in hand.

A friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

::  Faith begins at home  ::

Life lessons cannot be found in textbooks but demonstrated by deeds and actions.  Christ should not be only found in Sunday School but in our daily lives.  People have jokingly said, “Are you thinking of raising a pastor?”

I’d say, “Why not?”  I don’t want my children to think of Bible stories as fairy tales that took place in Neverland.  What’s recorded in the Bible is true.  It happened for real.

Homeschooling allows us to recognise the truth of God.  If we don’t start now, then when?

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy  6:7-9

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Having said all this, I don’t have everything mapped out.  I don’t know if I’m homeschooling through the primary school years.  It’s unnerving to have the weight of your children’s education upon your shoulders.

We are taking each year as it comes.  Our family schedule is ever changing.  But one thing’s for sure: No regrets taking this plunge!

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.

Chinese-New-Year-2016-Tie-Organize-Homeschool-Crafts

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!