Category Archives: activities

Crayons, repurposed

Last weekend, I cleared out some of the boys’ random assortment of old, broken crayons.

Together with the kids, we peeled off their wrappers and sorted out them by colour. Then we chopped them up into smaller pieces for melting. Ah, the rainbow colours are so pretty!

The boys put their own crayon mix together and then we baked them in the oven. (I belatedly realised the IKEA heart mold is not meant for baking – it melted along with the crayons, oops!)

Lookee at the cute dino and heart crayons!!!

Fun, if a little bit messy, decluttering activity to do with kids for sure! Erm, now what do I do with the shiny new crayons?! HAHA (Okay I am just going to give most of them away!)

Chinese New Year preparations and Reunion Dinner

Chinese New Year (Feb 5) is coming! Coincidentally, 大年初一 is Ryan’s 7th birthday this year – I have already told him his birthday will likely be overshadowed by CNY and we will have a proper celebration for Jo and him after CNY is over.

I didn’t do much preparation this year. I did buy new outfits and shoes for the kids and myself. I have been decluttering and tidying up quite a bit all year round so there wasn’t that much to do. I did put up some CNY decorations – I was pretty happy it looked simple and nice, and I didn’t spend a cent! Oh, I did update our photos on the walls and decluttered the hallway display, something I have been meaning to do for years! 

We spent one Saturday baking pineapple tarts. That’s the only thing I really wanted to eat this year so pineapple tarts it is. We made a lot of tarts and used up all three packs of pineapple paste (from Phoon Huat). Sean was pretty good about helping out this year. I expected him to run away after a while but he actually stayed throughout and did a fair bit of measuring and rolling. After we were done baking, I couldn’t bring myself to eat any at all. Ha, that’s the problem with baking/cooking!

We did get the usual Mandarin oranges, ba kwa, prawn rolls, belinjau crackers and my mum made her signature kueh moi (not sure how to spell or even describe it!).

On the weekend before CNY, we brought the kids for lohei and to see the lion dance at a nearby playground near home. It is a novelty for them but this is probably the furthest I will go for lion dance.

We also had reunion dinner and lohei with the in-laws at Xiyan. Food was really good!

On the eve of CNY (I rushed home from work), we had reunion steamboat dinner at home with our families. I had a massive headache and had to go to bed early to sleep it off. Thank goodness for my helper and mum who stayed up to clean the house and prepare the snacks! 

Am thankful for the relatively peaceful and fruitful Year of the Dog gone by. Now we are looking forward to the new Year of the Pig!

Trial class with White Canvas Studio

Ooh there are so many new art schools popping up in our neighbourhood!

I signed the boys up for a 1-for-1 trial (for $35) with White Canvas Studio which just opened in the Sin Min area last year. 

They had a great time drawing and painting and came home beaming with these pieces. Wow I am impressed!

I did not go down with them but the hubs said it was quite a nice set-up and the teachers were very forthcoming and dedicated. After the class, they provided valuable feedback on how the boys did in class: Sean is very creative and full of ideas. Ryan copies and idolizes everything that Sean does and doesn’t have much self-confidence (that’s very true!) – my take from this is to expose him to more activities on his own without Sean around. He did a remarkable job painting – the details and the colours! I am definitely framing it up for Chinese New Year. As for Jo who is very new to art class settings, he has considerable good dexterity and drawing skills for an almost-five-year-old. Such spot-on observations of the boys! None of it is new to me (Mama knows best) but sometimes it’s refreshing to hear how others perceive them for a change!

Alas, we are not planning to sign the boys up for regular classes (I know Jo for one would love lessons!). Our schedules are packed enough as it is. But we may go back for holiday classes!

White Canvas Studio is offering an irresistable 1-for-1 trial ($35) till 28 Feb 2019. You can msg them on Facebook to book a slot. If you have one child, ask them if you can pay half price for the class.

White Canvas Studio

229A Upper Thomson Road

Singapore 574361

Tel: 6560 5021

Trial class with Artlette

I love that quite a number of new art schools have been popping up in the neighbourhood.

My boys don’t go for regular art lessons. Their schedules are packed enough as it is, and I think I don’t really like the idea of a very structured program for learning art in one place.

I like to sign them up for adhoc art classes during the holidays.

So it turns out I won a trial class for Jo at the newly opened Artlette at Thomson Plaza so I just paid for the older boys so they could all go together. I have to say it’s a good place to dump the kids for 1.5 hours! HAHA

The boys drew a desert landscape with cactuses. They learnt about perspectives – how the size of cactuses differs depending on how far they are. The younger boys used oil pastels with watercolour (interesting pairing) and they came up with very vibrant pieces. Sean painted his piece wholly with watercolours which the teacher said was definitely harder.

I appreciated that the class size was small and the teacher could give them her full attention. Her feedback was, Jo was very patient and can paint well for his age (I think because he likes drawing/art and does a fair bit at home). Ryan is very neat and proper (in other words, a perfectionist) and Sean – who I realised could hardly sit still the whole lesson – is very creative (read: fearless, messy, don’t care). Ha, I love hearing how other people perceive my boys 🙂

Other things I can say about the place: The teachers are very passionate about art and the place is very well-laid out and conducive for painting. More details on their schedule here – if you are really keen, you can do a trial class (SGD38)!

Artlette

301 Upper Thomson Road

Thomson Plaza, #03-18,

Singapore 574408

Painting with Artflock

The school holidays are here!

Artflock recently moved a few doors down and as part of their anniversary celebrations, they had a 1-for-1 trial class promotion so I signed Ryan and Jo up.

The boys drew zebras and did a bit of watercolour resist art with thin strips of masking tape for the stripes. I thought it was very creative and interesting for the kids! They went crazy with the colours so the zebras look very pschedelic, and they even sprinkled salt on the muzzle… for texture, maybe?

It was really nice to see how much Artflock has grown since its early days – the boys took art lessons with them in 2016 when they just opened! They are quite established in the Sin Min/Thomson neighbourhood now and they have a lovely gallery space to showcase the works of the students.

We will heading back soon for one of their Santa’s Holiday Workshops – do check them out!

Artflock

221A Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 574353
info@artflockstudio.com
+65 64514514 / +65 ​84953463

Ryan’s taekwondo grading for yellow belt

Ryan missed his taekwondo grading for yellow belt back in September because of his broken arm. He finally made up for it three months later.

Sean got his yellow belt with green tips at the same time too so he is one belt ahead of Ryan.

They really like Taekwondo. I think it is because it is relatively easy (compared to their other activities, like piano) – they only go for lessons once a week and there is no great need to practice the moves at home. I find the lessons quite expensive and have been gently suggesting they drop it because their schedules are so packed but they refused to. Let’s see how far they can go in their taekwondo journey.

Ryan graduates from kindergarten (sobs)

Ah, my little Ryan is graduating from kindergarten!

Graduation is such a bittersweet rite of passage – he has grown from a cherubic 3 year old to a smart, chatty and lanky almost 7-year-old!

Here he is on the morning of the big day! (His teachers and I have been a bit worried because he just broke his arm back in August and we weren’t even sure if he would be able to perform for the concert! Thankfully, he could!)

Ryan being Ryan, has told me everything about the concert. From the songs he would be singing to his role in his play to his costume and makeup and how nervous he was about the whole thing 🙂

Here are the opening songs by the K2 children (this is also the point I start bawling in the audience):

His class, Respect, performed a meaningful skit about everyday heroes amongst us. Ryan is a bus driver, and the best bus-driver at that! 🙂

And finally the closing songs (it is quite a long wait to get to this point):

I loved that all the teachers came on stage at the very end and they prayed for the children’s journey ahead. I hope that the children will always have fond memories of their time in kindergarten and know how loved they are by their teachers!

Congratulations to my little graduate Ryan! May you go on to have wonderful adventures in primary school! We love you always.

Jo’s Nursery Sports Day

Back in August, we attended Jordan’s first Sports Day ever! I had no clue what he would be doing – he is just like Sean who could never tell me what was happening in school. (Ryan is the exact opposite from the two of them!)It is always nice to see the kids because I have hardly seen him in school this year. His class did a marchpast with his very enthusiastic teachers (love them!) and sang a few opening songs. I didn’t manage to take any pics or vids of them singing because he was all the way at the back and erm, not really singing/dancing.

This was his class routine. Go, Jordan, go! Okay he was a slow lory – he was a bit shy from all the attention.  (Ah, he has really lost his baby fats – he is so skinny and lanky now!)

It was nice to see the kids in action. Till next time!

National Gallery Children’s Festival – Small Big Dreamers

Last weekend, we attended the opening of the inaugural edition of National Gallery’s Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers. We loved the Children’s Biennale last year – it remains one of my favourite family-friendly events to date. So we went for the event with sky high expectations and hey, we were not disappointed at all!

Featuring a special commission inspired by the life and practice of one of Singapore’s pioneer performance artists and a Cultural Medallion award recipient, Lee Wen, together with other interactive installations, the Festival aims to encourage children and the young-at-heart to dream big through art and play. Even though I am not familiar with the artist, I am so heartened to see that we are appreciating local talent in such a big way!Hands On (by We Make Carpets)

From pool noodles to kitchen sponges, did you know that there are many things in your home that can be used to create art? Dutch art collective, We Make Carpets, taps into the creative potential of everyday objects, experimenting with different materials to create playful and intricate works of art. Their inventive artworks help us to see familar objects in new and interesting ways. See that last pic in the collage below – I can’t believe it is made entirely out of kitchen sponges!  This was our favourite room by far because there was just so much to see and do! The boys spent a long time here playing with the pool noodles peg board, wooden pieces on the giant canvas on the floor as well as the velcro artwork. Rainbow Passageway

The Cosmic Dancer is a character from Lee Wen’s 1981 book, A Waking Dream. Follow him along the Rainbow Passageway and up the stairs. As you walk, notice how the rainbow transforms into yellow threads like the sun’s rays.

This journey is a reminder of the bold steps Lee Wen took to become a performance artist using his body, rather than painting or sculpting, to tell a story.

Even if the significance of the exhibits is lost on you (like they were for us, haha), they make for great photo ops!

Daydream Tunnel

Do you ever daydream? Lee Wen invites you to let your imagination take flight in his Daydream Tunnel. You will meet Sun-boy and Yellow Man, characters that Lee Wen created for his 1981 book A Waking Dream and 1992 performance Journey of a Yellow Man.Rainbow Concert Hall

If colours could make sounds, what sound would a rainbow make?

Music is important to Lee Wen and he often uses it in his art. Rainbow Concert Hall is inspired by his painting Yellow Man, where are you going? Lee Wen created this painting in 1990 just before leaving Singapore for London, where he participated in a sculpture symposium and stayed on to study art and design. It represents his departure from his hometown to his arrival in London to begin a new artistic journey.

The kids will have fun here making a HUGE RUCKUS with everyday objects like salt shakers and pots – you’ve been warned: earplugs recommended!
Anatomy of Dreamers

Lee Wen performed Journey of a Yellow Man no. 2: The Fire and the Sun at a farm in India in 1992. He performed Strange Fruits more than ten years later, walking the streets and coast of eastern Singapore while carryinig a cluster of red lanterns. Here, Lee Wen invites you to design your own Small Big Dreamers journey by choosing one of three paths and discover the different journeys that the Yellow Man has taken and explore Sun-Boy’s land of dreams.

The boys had fun poking at the overhead red lanterns, balancing on the ropes and making their way through the rope obstacle course.
We didn’t manage to see all the installations – they were a good number and all quite spread out – but we definitely had a great time there. You can expect to spend at least 2-3 hours – you can have your lunch there (food is pretty good)! It wasn’t too crowded since the place is huge. However I would still recommend going on a weekday if you can!  There are performances and workshops on certain days as well. More details in the website.

Small Big Dreamers will be at the National Gallery from now till 9 Sep 2018. Don’t miss it!

Ryan lost his first tooth

Ryan (6yo) has had this recurring issue with one of his premolars.

He complained that it was painful about a year back and when I brought him for a checkup, the dentist Dr G said that it was badly infected and because he was still very young and the adult tooth would only come in when he is around 9-10 years old, Dr G tried to save the tooth by doing a root canal treatment and patch it up. Dr G warned us that the infection was likely to recur again and if it does, it is probably best to extract it.

During the start of the June holidays, my mum and Foops brought Ryan and Jordan to School Dental Centre (at Health Promotion Board) for a regular checkup. The dentist took an x-ray of Ryan’s teeth and said that the premolar was infected (see black patch in x-ray pic). So she recommended to extract it on the spot 🙁

Ryan was very brave and didn’t make a sound during the extraction even though I am sure the injection must have hurt and he must have been quite scared! Wish it was a lot less dramatic but that’s the story of how Ryan lost his first milk tooth. Jordan (4yo) had his first ever dental checkup. He had one cavity – sigh – so the dentist filled it up. (Sean went on a separate day to Dr G and he had one cavity too. Double sigh!)I have always been quite diligent about their teeth brushing so I felt I had failed them 🙁

The dentist shared that besides good dental habits, the choice of children’s toothpaste is equally important. Apparently, the Kodomo toothpaste that we use at home has very low fluoride content (500ppm). See the below pic for the list of recommended toothpaste for children. I promptly went out to buy new toothpaste for the boys that very day and threw out all our Kodomo toothpaste. Hmph! My KPI for their next dental visits shall be no cavities!!!