Design Innovation 5 day holiday camp at The Keys – Innovate with Empathy

In the day and age where kids are exposed to technology at a very young age , I have tried my very best to keep technology at bay for my kids. They have little smartphone and tablet interactions (I have never own any tablet or Ipad) and I wanted to keep it that way for as long as I can . I do know that kids exposed to cyberspace maybe be more knowledgeable, perhaps smarter but I feel that my kids will definitely catch up during formal schooling.  He maybe the most technology deprived kid as he only touched a laptop during K2 when I sign him up for a coding class with IDA. He was very lost as well intrigued by it both the laptop and the coding software during that class. 

In Primary 1,  there are e-learning modules and a daily online Mathematics challenges as part of the school curriculum. I guess time has come for my boy to embrace some controlled environment of technology.

So for the past 2 schooling terms, he has been using the laptop rather proficiently with little help from me for his school work and e-learning. (back to the point kids are inherently able to pick up and learn things quickly)

And in the name of embracing technology , I am not about to open a floodgate where he plays electronic games etc but meaningful technology-based programme and classes which are outside of school curriculum. Classes for coding  is the craze now , see this Straits Time article. There are many schools and centres offering coding and robotics but The Keys holiday camp for Design Innovation caught my eyes.
 
There are actually 2 suitable camps for J organised by The Keys for the June school holidays – Design Innovation (6 to 8 years old) and Tech Star Junior (6 to 8 years old). I must admit that the more true-blue coding class would be the Tech Star Junior which uses Scratch software to create animated stories (J and I had a brief introduction when we attend the IDA workshop last year) but I decided that Design Innovation camp would be something more beneficial and engaging for him at this juncture. Besides using the laptop and software, I would like see a mix of “hand-based” activities which is exactly that he got at the end of the camp.

On the first day of the June holidays, J needed to wake up earlier than usual (he attends afternoon session on a normal school term) but I assure him its going to be really fun and his eyes popped up when he saw the LEGO Mindstorms EV3. He was really excited to head to The Keys every morning for the next 4 days of camp too.  The Keys is located at Odeon Towers (central location) which is good as I could drop him earlier before 9am before heading to work. Since the camp ends at 2pm, there is some arrangements needed to be made for full time working parents. I was lucky that a friend of mine has enrolled her girl in the same class and we took turns doing the picking up at 2pm.

 J loved it so much that he actually incessantly requested to return for another week of camp. In fact since Day 2, he has been begging me to extend his camp till the end of week 2 of school holidays! There is indeed another another suitable camp for his age category which is the Tech Star JR which is more coding based using Scratch. Let’s say that mummy need a rest from the out-of-cycle routine and there is still the MEGA big December holidays to fill.

I guess his immense interest stemmed from the fact that this is something that he has never done before and the things with boys and LEGO.  Sorry to generalize but the girls in camp also had as much fun (testimony from my friend’s girl who attended the same camp as J). He kept raving about the breakfast challenges, who did what and who won etc and the capabilities of his and his friends’ EV3.

What I really like about these holiday camps organised by The Keys is the small age gap. Some holiday camps and workshops have age ranges from 7 to 12 years old. Speaking from a mother of a 7 year old (which is the youngest of the range), I feel that it is too wide of a range. What a 10 year old can understand may not be what a 7 year old can understand. Hence, I like that this  camp has a small age gap which is for kids between 6 to 8 years old. The knowledge and level of understanding would not be very different and the kids can discuss and relate to one another more easily.

The other reasons why I chose this over the Tech Star Junior was this camp is not all about technology ie the kids do not “play” with the EV3 thoughout the daily 5 hour camp. It is about problem solving and empathy with the daily breakfast challenges. You might be thinking why empathy. During the camp, they are required to problem solve how Tumanka (a kid from a developing country) goes to school and the kids from the same country take so much effort to go to school. This is where kids in the camp (our city kids) can form more understanding, appreciation and empathy towards children of developing countries and develop their problem solving skills.

If you read the course structure, there are some pretty big jargons throughout the course description which I can’t really explain at my child’s understanding level  – prototyping, innovation, modular design, etc. The instructors were able to bring such abstract concepts  at the kids’ level of understanding in a fun way which really amazes me. Most importantly, some level of empathy as they critically think of ways for improve the livelihood of kids in a developing country and finally build an amusement park for them as a finale to the 5 day camp.

Just to give a flavour of the Design Innovation camp that J just did with The Keys. As it is a drop off programme, the information below are based on the camp course structure , the best J has described his daily on-goings and photos provided by The Keys.

Day 1

The day typically start with a breakfast challenge where kids are divided into teams to tackle the challenge. For the first challenge, the teams are to build the tallest structure using spaghetti. This teaches them creative problem solving and teamwork.

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the winning spaghetti tower

 
Next up, they are introduced to the design challenge topic which will set the tone for the week long camp. They were introduced to Tumanka , a 6 year old kid from a developing country and the challenges she and her friends face when they needed to go to school. They were given problems such as reasons why Tumanka takes a long time to get to school. They were given a big piece of white paper to do mind mapping and present it to the rest of the class. This is where they learn empathy and storyboarding.
 
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J’s team mind map

 
Finally, the highlight of the day, LEGO! Ok not just any LEGO but the highest end of the LEGO series – LEGO Mindstorms EV3.  By using LEGO WeDo software, the kids are required to build and programme the EV3 to pick the kids from remote villages and bring them to school.
 
LEGO WeDo

LEGO WeDo

 
Day 2
For the breakfast challenge, they were tasked to build a very strong bridge for the billy goats to cross in Tumanka’s village with the use of ice cream sticks and duct tapes.
 
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 They further enhanced their individual EV3 capability with more motions and actions by building an automated feeding machine to feed the billy goats – innovation in daily processes.
 
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Day 3

They are given a task to design Tumanka’s school from paper, straws, binderclips and pipe cleaner. From the different materials, the kids will recognise constraints and come up with possible solutions.

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They even had a mini field trip to IDA Labs at National Design Centre (a stone’s throw away from The Keys) to understand how people innovate in real life settings.
 
Last order for the day is to improve of the EV3 capabilities with another design challenge.
 
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Day 4
For breakfast challenge, they built paper planes and the winner will be the one with the longest flight distance. The last order of the day was another design challenge and once again , the kids will do their programming on LEGO WeDo and test it out on their EV3.
 
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Day 5

The last design challenge for the camp was to build an amusement park for Tumanka and her friends which will be later presented and showcased to the parents at the end of the camp. Each kid will do a different park ride.  J chose to make a space-shot , which he proudly shown me how it works.

Other kids designed ferris wheel, carousel, roller coaster as part of the design challenge. J also brought me around showing me his team’s design of the bridge, school and the daily breakfast challenges. 
 
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Amusement park made of EV3

 
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J had so much fun with the camp and his new found friends, here with the course instructor receiving his completion certificate

showing how his spaceshot worked

If you are looking for something different (I know my boy woudn’t want a chinese oral and compo camp) and fun and yet give your child some basic foundations to problem solving skills and some preliminary exposure to coding and programming, this camp has a bit of everything to keep the child busy for 1 week of the school holidays.

There are 2 more weeks for the June holidays to fill so do check out the various camps that The Keys offer for the holidays.

For more information about the various camps, do click here. The below camps are left with limited spots.

  • CSI week of June 20-24th: Very limited spots
  • Silicon Valley 101 week of June 6-June 10th: Limited spots

For information on Design Innovation for your 7 year old, click here.

For those who cant afford the time to bring your child for a 5 day camp  but would like to get a flavour of their design and innovation camps, you can join their weekly parent and child workshop , do check their Facebook page for on-going workshops on Saturday or contact them at + 65 6734 8559 or email them at contact@thekeys.global.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own. Photos during the drop off camp was mainly provided to me by The Keys.


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SeriousAboutPreschool.com – first of its kind enrichment centre portal for 0 to 6 years old

There was quite handful of enrichment centres in Singapore, ranging from music, Chinese, arts, right brain training etc. So when a parent decides on enrolling their child in an enrichment centre, often it is by recommendation or word of mouth. If not, it will be more like, just try, if no good then withdraw.

This is probably one of its kind portal in Singapore listing down an exhaustive list of enrichment centres in Singapore by genres for 0 to 6 years old. Besides that, it engages parents who have been to the centres to review it .

Before I go into the portal itself, mypreciouzkids were invited to the launch party held at Cool de Sac whereby seriousaboutpreschool.com invited 3 well known enrichment centres to give a taster/sampler of their programmes, namely Da Little, Julia Gabriel and Heguru.

Here are some photos of the launch party.

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fun with frame making by Da Little

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fun with frame making by Da Little

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completed with frame with instant photo print

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drama sampler by Julia Gabriel

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a taster of right brain training by Heguru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SeriousAboutPreschool.com is a portal whereby parents can search for preschool or enrichment centre by genre, age group and location. Thereafter , if the enrichment centre has been reviewed before you can click and view the comments.

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Parents who have reviewed the centres will be awarded points for each review. And the points can be redeemed for Port of Lost Wonder tickets, Polliwogs tickets and MUA kids iron on labels to name a few.

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Based on the reviews and ratings, SeriousAboutPreschool.com will be able to rank the enrichment centres by popularity and rating.

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This is a wonderful portal for first time parents or parents who are looking to the most suitable enrichment centre for their child. For parents who have tried some of the enrichment centres, they are able to share their experiences and be rewarded! Parents can register for free here.

Disclaimer: We were invited to join in this launch party. All opinions and photos are solely ours. 

 


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OhmSantih Yoga – kids yoga is so fun! and a giveaway

I started yoga  6 years ago as I embarked on my first pregnancy. My gynae told me that there are 2 exercises which preggers can do which are yoga and swimming. And I am very sure I will want a natural birth and want the labour to be as fast and “painless” , I decided to be very active during my pregnancy (even more active than when I am not pregnant). And that was how my journey with yoga began. And after delivery, I will go back to yoga and went on to challenge myself for hot yoga and vinyasa classes. And whenever I get pregnant,  I will indulge in my pre-natal yoga again. I cant say how much yoga has help me through 3 natural births but what I know yoga is one of the best forms of exercise at least for the lazy me who hates to run on the threadmill or do weights etc. It untied knots and stiffness better than even Thai massage! And hot yoga is even better than just being in a sauna.  I normally do lunch time yoga, after yoga and a light meal, I feel refreshed for the second half of the day!

I even did a pre natal yoga photoshoot during  my last pregnancy to commenrate my fantastic 5 year journey with yoga!

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This brings me to OhmSantih Yoga. I have been on a lookout for kids yoga as I enjoyed it tremendously personally and wish to introduce it to my older kids. My kids even can do simple poses especially the tree pose as they are used to see my do it occasionally!   I was invited to an adult and kid yoga session with OhmSantih Yoga in partnership with Familicious SG.

OhmSantih Yoga was found by War War Lwin Tun who discovered the benefits of yoga as a mean of healing and a respite from the corporate life. The yoga studio is located at Kampong Glam neighbourhood, along the shophouses at Bussorah Street. It conducts classes at its 1600 square foot space comprising 2 studios and shower facilities.

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My girl was thrilled to be following me for yoga for the very first time.

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First, an introduction to yoga and its benefits to kids , and boy to they have the cutest yoga mats for the kids, I hope mine was as sunshine-y and as flowery as the kids’.

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Some of the benefits of kids yoga:

  1. Teachers and kids co create the storyline
  2. Enhances flexibility
  3. Strengthen body systems
  4. Increases focus and awareness
  5. Relieves stress and anxiety

In order for me to review both the adult yoga and kids yoga, I did half a session of adult yoga and continued with observing my girl at her kids yoga class. Both classes last for 1 hour.

As the adult class were mainly consist of beginners with no familiarity with yoga, Teacher Betty was slow and patient in explaining the poses etc to the beginners. It was done in a non-airconditioned environment (but not hot yoga type) and the class is kept to the maximum of 6 adults. As it was a beginner class, it was a good introduction to those who has not tried yoga before as the teacher and student ratio is low as compared to big operators like the one I go to, Pure Yoga, we have minimally 30 to 1 teacher. This is very important for beginner as the teacher is able to correct the poses of each student. Both kids and adults classes are based on a structured curriculum but at the same time, the instructors make necessary tweaks so that the instructors are teaching as how it is applied to the students’ individual needs, therefore it’s very customized. This is also the utmost reason why the classes are kept to 6 students.

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photo credit: Ohmsantih Yoga

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photo credit: Ohmsantih Yoga

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photo credit: Ohmsantih Yoga

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photo credit: Ohmsantih Yoga

I was more keen in being part of the kids yoga class as I have no idea how it is being introduced. From the initial photos taken (when I was in the adult class) , they started with some simple warmed up poses and exercises.

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And the story telling began by Teacher Penny, who interweave yoga poses with the storyline of her story. Like when the king went to Egypt he saw pyramids, and the teachers slowly guide the kids into a triangle pose.

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And the king feast on the table and the kids were taught the table pose. In order to capture the attention of the kids, the story was interesting and sometimes the kids get to have a say in the story too.

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Every pose has a story so that they can go into the pose as part of the storyline. This kept their interest and attention in doing the poses for 1 hour.

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1 hour passed by so quickly, before long, the kids were brought to the corpse pose in a dimmed condition. As fidgeting as they are, they couldn’t really stay still in their corpse pose but they were resting on their mat for good 5 to 10 min.

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The session ended with a Q&A session of the story that Teacher Penny has narrated and little button badges were awarded as encouragement to the little newbies!

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And does my girl enjoy it? As we make our way to our car, she asked me if she can come for class again? I definitely bring her again as I heard there are classes whereby both adult and kids are at the same timing. You can drop of the kids and still do a session yourself at the same time. This is such a perfect arrangement for busy mummies who need to do some workout and yet the kids are taken care of!

Ohmsantih Yoga has kindly sponsored a free kids yoga class (worth SGD 45) to a lucky reader. All you have to do is to follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.This giveaway is open to anyone residing in Singapore, and will end on Thursday , 18 December 2014, at 2359h. The minimum age for kids yoga is 3 years old and the class must be completed by 31 Jan 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We were invited for a free session of adult and kids yoga class. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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