Saturday, 30 May 2015

Dinosaur Phase - Five Year Old

Tiger is absolutely crazy about these ancient creatures.
We have officially departed from Outer Space and entered the Jurassic world.
Pity the Space Toobs and Planet Toobs I just bought. *cries*
I wouldn't recommend the Planet Toobs. It's just too small. You might as well paint your own.

We already have most of the materials from our first Dinosaur Week.
Dinosaur Bin was our first sensory bin. Has it really been that long ago?

Now that Tiger is older, he is asking questions and fascinated by the facts and stats.
The idea that some of these creatures were as big as building and trees. Wow...
They lived on Earth millions of years ago? How much is a million?
How do you read this name?
 Some of them have tongue twisting names, like Pachycephalosaurus,
A month ago, he wasn't able to name any dinosaur besides T-rex.
Iguanodon is my favorite :)

A simple setup to start some reading.
We started with these fictional ones.

By the end of first week, he was more interested in reading non-fiction.
He really enjoyed asking questions about dinos and we looked up the answers in books such as this DK Dinosaur Encyclopedia or the internet.

To supplement his learning, I printed some worksheets and 
we did some simple cutting and pasting such as this one.

This 'fill-in-the-missing-number' worksheet is from Twinkl.
We used the Montessori 100 Board for self-checking.
Sometimes, he ignores my plans and ideas. 
He drew lots of dinosaurs over the weeks and I suggested some stamping of names.
Nope, as usual, he stamped his ABCs :)
That's okay too. My best intentions are secondary to his ideas.

For some hands on activities, we tried our hands at excavating dino fossils.
Got these from Toyrus warehouse sale at about rm 3.50 each.
This was a hydrosaur. It took several days as I refused to help.
Dino week meant big words: paleontologist, excavation, fossilized, mamenchisaurus.
But it also meant patience in this case.

 His favorite activity has to be: Bringing them to the playground.
I hid his dinos all over the play structure and the two kids went on a dino hunt!

Caught in action!

We used our Lasy blocks to create this Brachiosaurus.
I helped, of course but he did most of the work.
After years of saying "Try again." and "You can do it, just try.", it's finally imprinted in his head.
Children need encouragement and parents who believe in them.
I try to praise intelligently or sometimes, I just do a happy dance :)

He was so proud of his hard work.

So much so, he couldn't go to bed.

We watched some dinosaur documentaries on Youtube and it inspired this
recycled Koko Krunch Dino World.
His kindy uses lots of recyclable materials for crafts, so we are trying to emulate that at home.

For our field trip, we visited Dinoscovery in KL and Tiger 
was fascinated by the differences in the footprints of herbivores and the meat eaters.
At home, we did some foot printing on our kinetic sand. 
It wasn't very obvious but still, it was good, messy fun for them.

Then, there is the Chinese...
If only there is a potion I can drink to be more competent.
For now, Pleco is my best friend.
I now know that T-rex is called ba-wang-long in Chinese.

 We are still very much in the Dinosaur phase.
It may last another month, maybe two...
As long as he wants to learn, I will support him.

My girl?
She is so into role-playing.
Despite the fact that I have said many times that this is a DINOSAUR TAIL...
"Khang gooooo"
"Hop hop hop"
Haih....ok la. You win, my little kangaroo.

Have you heard of Dinovember?
Makes me want to buy those big dinos from ELC, arrrghhh.
In the mean time, I just froze some mini ones in the fridge last night,  so it ain't over yet, folks.
Stay tuned for more dino adventures!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Dinoscovery KL, Avenue K

 I casually showed Tiger a picture of his cousins at Dinoscovery in Avenue K, KL
and surprise, surprise....he wanted to go too.

In order to be acquainted with at least a few dinos before the trip,
we added bits of dinosaur activities that week,
Okay, I was more of a full blown dinosaur-madness,
extravaganza homeschool week.

Oh, one more thing. 
You know how I've always advocated for play-based learning and kinda not so into flashcards?
Well, I was reading a dino book to him and he asked casually,
"Can you find the dinosaurs flashcards for me?"
Holy macaroni!! The last time I flashed that one set of dino cards...he was two!
Never underestimate their super human brain!

 Anyway, We I planned the trip on Mother's Day because they had free tickets for mothers!!
Also, because we could conveniently park at KLCC in case hubs decides to buy 
me a bag  small present for giving birth, to honour my stretch marks, 
show appreciation and love to the mother of his children, etc.
(he didn't) 
Times are tough now, I know. I'll take a rain check on that.

There wasn't much of a crowd that day, thank goodness.
First thing we noticed was a gigantic brontosaurus (I think) with a swinging tail outside.
All the sauropods look the same to me.
The kids kept wanting to catch it :)
Tiger doing a Jordan pose which I caught using my swell Iphone6.
A shout-out to hubs for the new phone.

I only knew 3 dinosaurs...lolx.
Terrible, I know. Looking back now, I can probably name 6.

It was pretty dark and noisy inside.
But my little paleontologist is all grown up and brave now.
Dragon girl hated it! Haha...Until we got to Race A Therapod

The kids got a torchlight and a touch card to activate the display screens.
They were also given a map and little stickers to complete a search quest.

 This triceratop's head was moving, so it scared him a little.
Took some time to assure him that they weren't really alive.
"You said they all DIED!!"
"Babe, relax. It's animatronics"
"Oh, like robots...they look real."

Styracosaurus, erm ....right?

 Some spindly back dinosaur

One of the duck-billed ones, Parasaurolophus?

We raced the therapod so many times!
It was exhausting since Dragon girl wanted to be held.
It was basically motion sensor with animation la but the kids were amazed!

Tiger was scared of the Tyrannosaurus Rex!!!
They are the kings, after all :)

 There was a sand pit at the end of the show for some fossil digging.
Kids and sand...WIN!
Spent some 40 minutes here while hubs and MIL had coffee at the cafe.

 Dragon girl finally found something she enjoyed.
A little ball popping volcano :)

The 3D movie section was closed due to technical issues.
And nope, no discount was given.

As the ever kiasu mom, we went back and read all the dinosaurs names again.
Then we pretended we were being chased by them and ran around.
There was no one there to witness our craziness la.

I bought this gorgeous poster for Tiger as a souvenir.
We were exhausted after that that totally forgot to buy Garrett's!!
Hubs was like..."Mother's Day or Children's Day?"
"Same." I replied.
They are my world, afterall. 

Next up: Dinosaur week

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Picky Eater No More

Tiger is spoiled by my MIL.
Meals used to take up to 1 hour, at the very least.
He runs around and expect my MIL to go after him, lovingly feeding him spoon by spoon.
He is five this year. Five.
Needless to say, I cannot stand it. I just cannot.
His kindergarten teacher's first feedback was, "Tiger is a picky eater"

The list of food he likes includes broccoli, green beans, peas, Ebiko and seaweed. Salmon & Chicken.
No sauce or soup please.
Every scoop that goes into his mouth must consist of one colour only.
God forbid a piece of  meat or vegetable should be buried in the rice.

Of course he loves McDs and ice creams and sweets and chocolate. I do not restrict my kids to organic, home made, super nutritious, pesticide-free, animal-cruelty free, GMO-free food.
You can, of course but it's not our choice. Everything in moderation is my motto.

So, during our last trip to Malacca, he was doing his famous "I am so full, I cannot eat routine" during breakfast. I was losing my temper faster than oil burning but since we were out in public, I had to maintain some dignity.

I whipped out my phone, tapped on Youtube and typed, "starving Africans kids" and pressed play on the first video on the list.

I asked Tiger sweetly, "You want to watch Youtube?"

He nodded gleefully.
Within seconds, he his lips quivered and tears started rolling down his face.

"Mama, I don't want to watch this..."

"No, finish watching it. I insist."

He did.

"Do you understand how lucky you are to have food whenever you are hungry?"
"Do you want to go to Africa and live with those kids?"

Wailing cries followed but he finished everything I served him.
For a week, whenever he says refused a meal, I would whisper, "Africa..."

From then onwards. No more food issues.
He tells us whenever he needs a snack.
He is willing to try new food.
You can hashtag gratitude on that.

I still remind him to appreciate food, to eat whenever he is hungry, not to be overly greedy, etc.
Stuff that used to fall on deaf he gets it!!

Last night, I asked him about school and he said,

"We ate porridge today and it was delicious. There are vegetables in it"

I nearly cried from joy.
I wanted to sing and dance.
No more lectures.
No more nagging. 
No scolding. 
No yelling.
Case closed.
I love you, Youtube.
Next time I meet a picky eater, I will prescribe:

This video, stat dose.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

April 2015: Farm Animals Week

Our 'homeschool' is back in full swing after Tiger has fully adapted to his life as a kindergartener.
That means no longer crying.
He likes ALL of his teachers. Happy dance
He is able to converse in Chinese now. Break dance
And most importantly, he has a best friend in school. Yay! Twerking

Why do we homeschool when he is already attending kindergarten?
There are many reasons.
Firstly, it has become a routine for us. It's school time after dinner.
It is also MIL's rest and TV time.
We use this time to explore whatever question Tiger asked when I was busy.
"Why is there wind?"
"Why is night dark?"
"Why dinosaurs die?"
I enjoy it, the kids love it. Why the heck not?

In April, the weather was lovely in the evening, so we hung out in the park mostly.
One of the days, Tiger noted a blanket of pink flowers on the ground and we had the best time
tossing and collecting them. 

It is raining so much now in May, my kids are going bonkers.
"Park! Park, park!!" 
I swear they are turning into little icky monsters without outdoor play.
I don't love it personally, but I do it for my sanity.

 My almost three year old.
Can't reach the ground yet?
No problem, I'll just half sit and half slide off .
I know I should trust her but she really pushes all my panic buttons 
 So cute, ain't she? Hehe.

 She walks around with this hat and bag. ALL. THE. TIME.
My little stylo mylo girl.
Hat: A kiosk in Sunway Pyramid
Bag: rm6 from China (gift from Winnie)
Shirt: Uniqlo
Pants: Cotton On
( blogger in the making :D)

 She doesn't just walk around, acting all cool and cute.
Sometimes, she reads too.
But ONLY if the book has animals or Mickey in it.
This is still one of her favorite book to date.
The others being the four Words, Words, Words books from Grolier.
Dress: H&M
All of her hair accessories are from China.
Winnie buys so much, the people there thought she has a hair clip shop.

She adores this 3D animals magnetic puzzle.
She erms...slices the animals apart and puts them back together thousands of times.
It is quite brutal to watch.
She says stuff like," Cut, haha, cut cut cut!"
 3D magnetic farm puzzle: Benho (china brand)
PJs: Only RM16 from Facebook seller. Love it!!

 She also learned some threading that week with this Froebel J2 set.
The only reason she could string so many was to make a snake to drag up and down the stairs.
I'll accept whatever motivation she has, as long as she is cooperating,
 Froebel J2: From groupbuy. Currently closed.
Shirt: Guess
Pants: Mothercare
(I am so enjoying this. Feel like a fashion editor already)

Of course, farm means pretend play extravaganza!!
I had grand plans of creating a mini farm plot but no time laaaa.
So, this Farm Shop is close enough la and a more realistic setup.

They were sooooo interested for 3-4 days. =.="
Perhaps it was because there were not enough customers. Only kakak and I :p
Dragon is most uncooperative because she dislike sharing anything with Tiger.
 Toy cashier from ELC
PJs: Mothercare

 One of the more peaceful days.
Dragon was cheerfully saying "Thank you" to Tiger the whole time.
Only happens once in a blue moon. Will treasure this moment forever.

For their printables and play money, I used Twinkl.
We only accept Euros, sorry. 

 For fine motor and practical life, I created a 'milk' pouring activity from white Crayola paint.
By preparing only one set, they were forced to take turns without any eye poking or hair pulling.

 A 3D book from Enfagrow that provided a backdrop for our mini animals
Mini Farm Animals from ELC

 We also used them with this Farmyard Families printable from The Helpful Garden.
There are loads of free Montessori printables there, so please check it out.

 We read lots of farm animals books but my personal favorite was 

He asked me about plants and animals and why we eat?
So, I thought he was ready for a lesson on Living vs Non-living.
I was right.
It is a breeze to teach a child who is ready to learn.
When they are ready for a topic, they just sponge it up.
Wish someone had told me this when he was one.
They do not sponge up everything you flash to them.
They absorb what they are interested in. Something that strikes their curiosity.
Do not let those moment slip past.
Grab it. Explore. Ask questions. Search for answers.
And learning becomes a natural process. 

For math, he is still doing some simple additions.
I just introduced skip counting by five to him.

For Chinese, I have no idea what he is doing in school.
We just read lots of picture books before bedtime.

In keeping with the farm theme, here's our pitiful effort at farming.
But then again, it grew into a mini kailan :)
He is still not very comfortable with the idea of getting dirty but we are improving.
Mud pie kitchen will have to wait a while.

We got this set of Usborne from Winnie because she unknowingly bought two sets.
*rolls eyes*  I know...she is a true shopaholic.
 Tiger went through it and he was appalled by the number books he already owned.
They remember whatever you say or read to them.
So, don't say things you do not mean and be mindful of the promises you make.

 Our pictures may paint a deceivingly sweet and organized homeschool life, 
but most of the time, someone is crying or yelling, 
someone is blinded by glitter/paint/saliva,
someone lost a finger,
someone's hungry,
someone just wants to yell for no reason.
And I only have 2 kids. *sweat*

 Here's to keeping it real.

We learned about farm animals briefly when Tiger was 14.5 months old. 
You can read about it here
And our visit to Farm In The City here.
There is no part 2 to Farm in The City because I got lazy :p

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