Friday, 8 August 2014

Pretend play: Camping

I bought a tent and tunnel set ages ago from ToyRus because you know, I wanted the kids to experience camping without the risk of contracting leptospirosis, dengue, etc.
picture from walmart.com
Ours is something like the picture above, just slightly more cheapskate in quality and blue/orange.
The two things I have always wanted to do as a kid (besides going to Disneyland) was camping and flying a kite.

"Just camp in the garden laaaa," Those were my exact words to hubs while I was paying with a stupid grin. Hubby just walked away. I turned to my son and said "Tiger, we are going camping!!" He gave me a blank look. MIL started her 'buying rubbish' lecture and I turned on selective-deafness mode.

Truth be told, it was quite rubbish :p
The plastic bent after some usual rough play by some kids. So, my advise is, if you are going to buy a play tent, make sure you buy something with reasonably good quality, like a Bazoogi tent/structure.
 The camping out doors part? Haha....forget it.... with the mosquitoes and the sweltering heat in tropical Malaysia....omg!

So after two years, I finally set camp, in my bedroom. No mosquitoes, no bugs, no dirt, no haze, air-conditioned and most importantly, decreased chances of kidnapping and robbery.

Tiger actually slept in the tent :)  
That's his playpen mattress and his stinky baby bolster.

I wanted to tell him ghost stories like people do in the movies but nevermind la, 
in case the ghost in the toilet decides to come back.
So, I told him there are wild boars at night and he nearly cried.
"Where? Where?"
OMG, I am seriously considering the fact he is on the spectrum.
ZERO imagination.

I had to explain that we're actually indoors and there aren't any wild animals,
just pretending, imagining and making up stories.
He wasn't convinced, so I distracted him with a 'campfire'

I made up another story about hunting for animals.
 "There's a rabbit, I am shooting it with my bow and arrow. 
Now I am going to skin it and we are roasting it over the fire.
Here, have some roasted rabbit for supper."

"IT'S DEAD?!? YOU KILLED A RABBIT."

Pretending to chew and bite, "Yeah, it's food, baby. You want some?"
Tiger was visibly disturbed, "No, thank you."

What am I going to do with you, Little Tiger?
Why are you so literal?
It's exasperating.
We need more pretend play.

I googled for play benefits of tents and tunnels and it includes:
Gross motor and coordination practice.
Speech training
Imagination 
Teamwork 

Basically it is another toy. 
Money saving tip:
Just use a large bed sheet over a string and you have a tent.
Picture from google

Picture from pinterest

 Have a wonderful weekend and happy camping!
 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Hand Trampoline aka OgoSport Disks

Sponsored post

The kind people from TOY TAG INTERNATIONAL sent this to us for a review.
And it's AWESOME!!!
It's called OgoSport Mini Disk: a hand trampoline.
Way cool, right?
Hubs and I were exhausted after a round.
Great for losing weight!

A close up of the cute Ogosoft ball.

It is now residing in the Kid's Sport Bar.
Okay la, it is just a box with their sport equipments but I gave it a snazzy name.
Besides, who doesn't love a bar?
The other items we own are as labelled:
The golf clubs are dangerous weapons in the hands of kids.
The bowling game has been ignored for god knows how long.
And the racquets...hahaha...waste of money.

The only thing they frequently play with are the OgoSport disks.
It comes in handy as a sunshade as well :p

We usually go to the nearby field so that we can run around like hooligans.
Tiger is so funny because  he is not very coordinated.
(sucks at dancing, typical nerd)
He thinks we are laughing together but I am laughing at him, most of the time.
He gets frustrated after some time but like any skill in life, you need to practise and persevere.
And he is getting better! More coordinated and we can actually have a relay.
Future Dato Lee Chong Wei?

He despise picking up the balls repetitively (like his mama).
Lucky for him, his sister decided to become a professional ball picker-upper. 
 So fun to watch them cooperating and working together, for once. 
On another occasion, we tried using a small rubber ball and it works just fine.
 
 
 
If you are super coordinated, I guess you can use several balls and juggle.
I juggle ONE ball with a disk on each hand and the kids were like,
"WHOA!!!"
*brush dirt off shoulder with a smirk*

We tossed the disks upwards to see whose can go higher.
The rings are very durable, so no worries. 

Tiger then bounced the ball upwards, to try to reach the moon.
I asked him, "Do you know why the disks and balls always fall back onto the ground?"

Instead of answering my questions, he asked:
"Mama, this moon got eyes or not?"
"How far is the moon"
"How come it's not dark but got moon?"
"Where is the sun?"

Princess was on a ball picking mission but she was distracted by a path on the field...

...and a mound of hardened earth.
Before she ran off to chase after a stray dog.

Outdoor activities is a must for us.
It gives the kids a chance to let off some steam.
Keeping your body active is good for the brain and soul.
They sleep better (yay!)
They learn about teamwork.
I insist that children should fall and learn to pick themselves up
BUT
Tiger had a minor fall and insisted I give him a piggy back ride home.
=.="


So, Dragon girl got to ride the balance bike home, which is another wonderful
outdoor equipment.
Sorry about the terkangkang legs but I love this pic!


The OgoSport Mini Disks

  • Mini flies the farthest and its small target area increases difficulty.
  • Bounce any ball -- for summer fun, try it in the pool with water balloons!
  • Winner of Parents Choice Award 2007
  • Winner of TD monthly Innovations Award 2007
Each set includes one bright-blue and one orange disk with one OgoSoft ball. 
EVA foam ring. 
Nylon-spandex membrane center.








The reviews on Amazon are excellent!
Watch a video on it here

You can purchase from:
Follow Toy Tag International on their Facebook here

 Pssst....Lazada is having a 20% discount now, so go get it!



Thursday, 31 July 2014

A New Rhythm

Suddenly realised I have not updated on school recently.
Honestly, it's because we no longer have a structured system with nice themes and trays.

And it's all because of this fireball.
This is how she looks like on any given school day.
How to attend a real school like this? 
Whenever I say no painting, she screams and starts painting the whole room orange/red.
 I pity her future teachers and I am expecting regular calls from them.
 

Her rhythm is paint, markers, trays, walk around the room, 
disturb Tiger and wander off.

When she is very quiet, it's because:
1. She's pooping in a corner
2. She has drawn something, somewhere (bed/wall usually)
3. She found food or some crap to eat
4. She has destroyed something and she is frantically trying to fix it.
5. She is flipping a book. Weird but true.
I personally like option number 5 only.

For Tiger, we are still doing his regular school work:

1. Workbooks (Math & English)
We use stickers, crayons, markers, magnets, dry erase, etc so that it's fun.
 Or he does whatever strikes his fancy.


2. Peter & Jane. 
We are still at book 6A because I limit it to a page per day.
It's a compromise because MIL thinks I am torturing him.
He does read more fluently now.

3. Chinese
Baobei and Odonata Flashcards (yucks)
Odonata books
Chinese Picture books

4. Lots and lots of games
Connect4
Tangrams
Checkers
Marble run
Blocks building

5. Toy Based Learning
This week: Moon & Cats
I hate to say it but he doesn't really like picture books.
Which makes me mad because they are so expensive.
Oh, except this Pete the Cat book we borrowed from the library
Here's a video on this book. I totally rock the chorus, which is why he likes it.

He prefers books about space with little tiny words
that I have to read repeatedly in an Indian accent.

We are starting some project based learning and here is what we did for moon/space:
A globe (earth), 
 Torchlight (Sun), 
Tennis ball as the moon  
(The moon is actually a quarter of Earth's size. 
Did you know that? No? That's why you must read more)

I used Nobita (from Doraemon) to represent Tiger
"Mama, I don't wear glasses. This is not me!"
"Ermmm, it's okay baby. Mama and papa also wear specs. This is you in 10 years time"
He stared at Nobita for 2 minutes while considering my words.
I waited.
"This is not me. This is kor-kor."
Okay. Whatever...We stuck Nobita on Malaysia, on the globe.

6. Art
We paint a lot more because of Dragon girl.
Sometimes we just paint the whole night.
They have a little art corner with all the materials displayed, 
except the glue gun and glitter.

He helped me with the frames for the PLAY, READ and HEART at the reading area.
We upcycled them with some poster colour from Buncho.

Msde confetti with some mini punchers from Mr DIY for rm1.80 each

7. Music
Practicing do-re-mi, mi-re-do at home.
 


8. Outdoors
We spent waaaay too much time outdoors.
Whenever I don't smell the bloody haze, we run outside and celebrate.

Dragon girl in her Jerry shoes. Tiger has a blue Tom pair.
You know, Tom & Jerry, since they are always fighting.

Running in the field.
 

 In our outdoor classroom with some green aquarium sand just for variation.
Nope, I do not have kinetic sand. Sand is sand la...
 If you cannot make a mess with sand...then, don't play with sand!
My 2 cents. I'd rather buy lots of paint with rm239.
 

Holiday
Visited another animal farm over Raya break.
Poor boy was on the brink of crying cause the little duckling is scary.
Still forced him to smile :)

Only the ears grew from 2013.
Bwahahahahaha......he is taller, hihi...but that's not so obvious in pics.

Gangster girl and the poor rabbit.
She literally force-fed the poor bunny by stuffing feed into its mouth.
You should have seen our faces.
 We were like NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

We stayed at Thistle, Port Dickson for a night.
It was a last minute thing, hence we could only get this gigantic, overpriced room
 
   
The kids really enjoyed themselves. Obviously, since they are not paying.
Tiger wants to move to a hotel for the rest of his life.
Any hotel. Preferably no ghost one.
Last year, Dragon girl had post MMRV fever and rash, so we avoided the sea.
Tiger was disgusted with the idea of swimming in murky waters.
This year.....
 

  Guess who thought she was a mermaid?
One aunty commented, "She swims in the sea all the time? First time ! She is fearless!"
Haha, we've noticed :)
 

Tiger was a scientist as usual.
He threw the coconut into the sea ....lo and behold, it floated!
He was absolutely fascinated. 
Nothing like learning naturally.
It really made me think about project based learning.
Thank you, coconut.

And finally,
One for the album, for, you know....
 me, to look back at my 22 year old self when I am 30.
What, I was 22 last year? 
No laaaaa....I am 22 years old EVERY freaking year.

 It rained the next day, so we asked for lots of bath gel and did this :)


Mama is reading up on these:
Problem-based learning
Froebel
Reggio

So, what exactly is our rhythm?
Our homeschooling style is never fixed.
It changes with the nature of the children.
It follows their interest and that has always been our rhythm.

I can't say for sure that ours is the best method,
but I believe my children are capable beings,
they think,
they feel,
they are curious, 
they want to learn.
BUT
I do not believe children are empty vessels,
they are not waiting to be filled with information.
Hence we are moving away from right brain/rapid flashing.

Dragon is not going to read anytime soon,
so, paint and play she will.

Tiger is all about space and cars,
so that we will read about space every night,
weird accent and all.

There shouldn't be a standardized version of school for the convenience of adults.
I believe my children are special in their own ways,
as do you in your precious ones.
Why stifle their natural style with school?
Learn, play, love.
What is in store for us in years to come?
I have no idea.
But I am looking forward to it.

Goodness, I sound like I am 50.
I assure you I am 22 in internet years.

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