Promo code included: Stuck on You’s personalised bento box – join the revolution!

2 years ago when my eldest went to school, I went to Daiso and bought a SGD 2 dollar snack box. Coupled with the fact that he attend afternoon session school and he prefers to eat at the school canteen, I seldom need to a full lunch for him. After the mandatory snack break was implemented late last year, I brought out my SGD 2 dollar Daiso snack box to pack for his snack break which happens at 5pm.

In recent months, due to a popularity of lunch/bento boxes in the social media, my interest was piqued. It definitely cost many times more than the snack box from Daiso but I am attracted to all the pretty lunch boxes and bento boxes made by mummies (ie not some littlemissbento or domestic goddess). The ready-made compartments in the lunch/bento boxes make it easy for “plating” and you don’t need to make rice ball or elaborate cutting of seaweed sheet to create the look and feel of a bento box.

So when I saw Stuck on You newly launched its new range of personalized bento box (which is so so pretty) I need I need to join the revolution.

Its not just any lunch box as I see it with the personalized bento box from Stuck on You, I was given the opportunity (not much of a chef) to create a balanced meal that is pleasing to the eyes of the kids (especially fussy kids).

Given that the kids will be in morning sessions next year onwards, perhaps I could do some simple meals for their recess especially for big C aka miss fussy lee , I truly worry that she has nothing to eat, or rather she eats the same meal. Their primary school has gone forth to introduce healthy eating as part of their school canteen meals – introduction of brown rice, fruits as part of a meal. I truly applaud their effort to create a more balanced and healthier meals for their students, however, it does create any other issue for fussier kids. I heard that they often leave the fruit of the day untouched etc – creating unnecessary wastage. For kids like big J, there won’t be such issue as he is a fruits lover but it is not the case for big C. So I rather I packed things that she eat than for her to waste food.

At first glance

Ordering online through Stuck on You, is a breeze as there is a preview to see how the actual items will look like before ordering.

When the personalized bento box from Stuck on You arrived, (as I have yet to see a bento lunch box IRL)  I thought it was too big for my petite 6 year old. However, after making a full meal (see section Using it), any smaller in size, the portion will not be enough for the going to be primary 1 kid. Both the box and trays are made entirely of food-safe materials , BPA- free and Phthalates-free. Both the inner tray and outer box are dishwasher safe too.

If you were to pack a full meal, you would definitely need a lunch box carrier (instead of stuffing into the already heavy school bag). Stuck on You also have their personalized and insulated lunch box carrier. For those mummies who are “hoarding” Jujube bags (I am also guilty), I did a test, and it fits perfectly into the Jujube Fuel Cell as well (no need to thank me for giving your Fuel Cell a second life)

But what set it apart of the other in the markets , it comes personalized with your child’s name which makes it so so so pretty and one of its kind. There won’t be another similar bento box in the school canteen for sure!

Using it

After receiving it, I was raring to use it . I looks through my social media and stumbled upon a famous dad from Geelong, Australia (which coincidentally where Stuck on You originates as well) on Instagram who packs for his 2 daughters @schoollunchbox. From the various inspirations from IG, I realized that you don’t need to make very complicated food to make your own bento boxes look pretty.

Here are my maiden attempts for different meals – breakfast, lunch, snack, tea break.

The lid is lined with leak proof silicone seal that covers each individual compartment. That said, it is not advisable to put water or other liquid. The only recommended are yogurt dip and sauces. I did an experiment by putting yogurt and a sauce and tilting the bento box up and down. See this link for my experiment.  Clearly the yogurt and the sauce did not go into the other compartments. However, the yogurt and sauce does end up on the lid. This will not create an issue if the child finish the food in one go. If the child decide to continue eating at a later time,  the child would need to clean the lid before closing it else the remnant liquid on the lid may go into other compartments.

Loving It        

I like that the Stuck on You’s personalized bento box comes in only 1 size but option of 2 inter-changeable trays. The bento box comes with the 5-compartment plus 1 sauce food tray and you can purchase the sandwich tray  (3-compartment plus 1 sauce) separately (in you do not need purchase another bento box just to fit the sandwich tray).

The first time I made the bento (it wasn’t hard as its all ready materials – fruits, yogurts, green, sausages) , my girl went –  I will eat everything ………except for the raw greens. Ok,  none of my kids eat raw greens but big C only eat 2 types of cooked vegetables, yes two, in the whole wide world. The whole presentation (which doesn’t take too much time on my end) makes her a happier eater.

To make the presentation even prettier, get some pretty food picks (from Daiso) and from bread cutters and your bento boxes will look maybe 60 to 70% of the experienced bento makers.

One of the main uses of bento lunch boxes is for rationing and portion control for obese kids.  The compartments also act as a reminder to the mummies/daddies/helpers to pack the 5 main groups of food for a balanced meal.

It comes in 5 beautiful colours (Navy, Hot Pink, Light Pink, Light Blue, Mint) and there are many cute design icons and fonts to choose from. I am sure you will have a hard time deciding the perfect personalized design for your child ( I didn’t have such a hard time as OCD wanted the same matchy design with big C’s personalized school kit which was reviewed here. )

photo credit: Stuck on You

photo credit: Stuck on You

 

I did a few combinations for different colour bento boxes and the design icons just for the fun of it as they are all so pretty!

photo credit: Stuck on You

Stuck on You

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Promo code of 10% on all except value pack: soymypkids (valid till 30 Sept 2017)

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 


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Giveaway and Review of I-Study T120 ergonomic table – mypreciouzkids’ biggest giveaway to date!

Without a doubt this will be the biggest ticket item you will buy for your soon to be primary 1 child (in case you missed my p1 prep post, link here). That said it is not absolutely necessary as the cost and space the ergonomic table consumed may not fit every one’s budget or space. You do not need to buy it straight away once the child start school, but I would advise to cater a designated area/table for the child to do the school homework and revision.

The single most important question for most parents, is there a need to spend on an ergonomic table?

For me personally,  I see it as a long term investment, the ergonomic table and chair will see your child all the way to secondary school and beyond as the table and chair will “grow” with the child.  I remember when my parents bought me a proper study table complete with lights and a folding desk (definitely there is no ergonomic feature whatsoever). I was over the moon and I was very motivated to study and complete my homework. In fact that very same study table is still in my parent’s home –  its probably over 30 years old. I hope that with a proper and ergonomic study table, this will inculcate better habits and sitting postures.

The diagram below shows how an ergonomic table will help in creating a good and correct posture as compared to fixed height table and chair. Even if the table and chair is at the correct height, once the child grow, you will need to change another set else creating a wrong posture. This problem is cleverly resolved with ergonomic table and chair which height can be easily adjustable.

I am not expert in ergonomic tables, but 2 years ago, when big J started primary 1 both myself and hubby agreed we should invest in a proper table and chair albeit it being very pricey some even cost more than SGD 1k for both table and chair. At that point in time, there were a few prominent sellers which have their brick and mortar store in the shopping centres hence easy for viewing , touch and feel of the actual product. We finally settled with an ergonomic table and chair set from a German brand which burn a big hole in our pocket. We bit the bullet as we saw it as a long term investment and as we have multiple kids, they could take turns to use it doing their school work (all the way up to college!)

Fast forward 2 years later now that it is now big C turns to enter the world of formal schooling next year. As she is the only girl in the family, she also get to have her own room, and I thought it will be wonderful if she has her own ergonomic table so that she can do her work in peace and quiet away from the other boisterous and distracting boys. Even at this age of 6, she shows diligence and traits of a good student, and I am sure the table will be very much utilized by her when she starts primary 1.

I was blessed to come across a brand called I-Study in my recent search of ergonomic table. Their tables and chairs are manufactured in China using German patented technology for adjustable height table and chair. In the past, when I was comparing German brands and China brand, I often dismiss China brands as inferior in quality and make when I compared the tables at the brick and mortar shops 2 years ago.

I was skeptical of -I-Study’s table at first given that it was made in China but when I actually met Paul from I-Study and saw the actual product at the exhibition they were participating in early this year, I was sold. Being familiar with an existing ergonomic table that big J is using, I am better position to compare and contrast what I owned and i-study’s. Using high quality products and the German patented technology, the set is assembled in China.

Having to own a German brand for the past 2 years and comparing against big C’s brand new PINK ergonomic table and chair, in fact I preferred I-Study table much much more for its usability, ease of use and top quality finishing. To give an idea why I preferred the new set over big J’s current table, I will share the picture of the German brand table that we bought 2 years back.

Pardon the mess, but there is zero shelving, zero drawer and the only pull out compartment below the table has organisation sections. You will see later why I appreciated the I-Studytable much more later on it the blog, and price wise big J’s set cost $300-400 more than the I-Study table set.

The model big C is currently using now is T120 which is 1.2m long. It also comes in the 1m version called T100 which has all the wonderful features except that it is 20cm shorter in length.

At first glance 

The table top is made of premium Formica laminate which meets stringent US and European standard. Even with permanent marker or highlighter stain on the table, it can be easily clean with wet cloth. Paul , from I-Study actually did a demonstration when I met him at the exhibition early this year where he used marker to draw and it was easily resolved with a damp cloth.

The legs and table frame are made from medium carbon steel , durable , strong and rust free. The whole structure will sturdy and strong and definitely not flimsy or light-weight.

The most two most important features of an ergonomic table is a tiltable table top (which is a German patented technology) and an adjustable table height.

The table top can be tilt from 0 to 60 degree to cater to different purposes. For reading you can tilt it at higher degree and for doing homework, you can tilt it at a lower degree of slant. The technology used is German patented premium hydraulic system.

The table height can be adjusted from 50cm to 70 cm good for kids from height 120cm to 175cm.

The chair is also adjustable in height good for kids from height 110cm to 188cm. The seat comes with a free seat and back cover which is of waterproof material and machine washable. ( I didn’t have that for my German set :() It has a self braking system where the chair will not move when there is weight on it.

Using it

It is pretty easy to tilt the table – your child would be able to do it on her own. If you are worried of hands being caught, there is a holder area to place your hand while the other hand uses the lever located at the bottom of the table. As for the table height and chair, you can do a one time setup during installation. Of course as your child grows taller, you will need to make adjustment yourselves.

There are no sharp corners, rounded edge to ensure safety for kids.

Loving it

To me, what I really like is that besides being an ergonomic table, it  also has shelving and drawer compartments that will come in handy and keeping books and stationery organize. If you run a google on more famous ergonomic table brands in the Singapore market including the German brands, most do not have much shelving  or drawer options. For those, you have to buy your own table organizer and magazine racks to do the organization which will add to the cost of the already very pricey table and chair.

My previous German brand ergonomic zero shelving or drawers. As we were first time user, we didn’t know that there is a need for shelving and drawers but as the days go and big J using it, I realise the importance of having shelves and drawers. Hence, I even had to buy plastic magazine racks from Popular to be placed on the table to create some book shelving and some form of organization for big J. If not all the books are just piled up vertically waiting to be toppled. So when I compare the German brand table to I-Study, I am all praises for all the additional shelving, compartments, drawers etc. It is so user friendly and there is even an area to run the table light cord through it so that it looks neat and tidy –really thoughtful design.

One night, I was lying on C’s bed and I spotted another wonderful fixture of the table – a bag hook, rather inconspicuous as it was below the main table ( I didn’t know it for many weeks)  but another brownie point for I-Study! Big C can hang her bags from her enrichment classes etc or even her little handbags etc. Given that primary school kids bag in Singapore weighs a ton,I am sure it will also hold up well though I worry the bag’s handle will give away due to the weight.

The foot rest (SGD 29.90) and table light (SGD 39.90) can be purchased separately. For the bundle set, both the foot rest and table light will be given as part of the bundle set. The foot rest gives support to the kids feet for better blood circulation will improve the child’s concentration.

 

The T120 model comes with blue (with white), pink (with white) and gray (with woodgrain). Gray (with woodgrain) is a more gender neutral colour and maybe look like less kiddish when the kids get older and would have been my preferred choice but since its in the girl’s room and big C gets almost exclusive use – so she chose pink! All I-Study products come with free delivery and installation and 3 year warranty

I-Study are located @ Woodlands Bizhub, 190 Woodlands Industrial Park E5, #10-05 S757516.

At their showroom, do bring along your child to try on the different models of table and chair that they carry.Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Look for Paul at 9101-7370 for any non-obligation discussion.

Website 

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Giveaway

Paul from I-Study has generously sponsored the same bundle set (colour of your choice) worth SGD 788 which includes a T120 Study Table with book shelf, Type F study chair with protective  cover, foot rest and also the LED lamp.

1. Liked FB pages of mypreciouzkids.com and good.leh

2. Followed mypreciouzkids

3. Repost this visual on IG(tag 3 friends  – on my IG post, one tag per comment) with hashtag #mypreciouzkidsgiveaway for the IG giveaway and liked and share this FB post (tag 5 friends) for the FB giveaway.

4. I will also need you to share an additional post which is my FB post on the primary 1 preparation as part of the giveaway as well.

Please keep your Instagram profile public or the Facebook shared post public (as indicated in step 3 and 4)  in order to qualify.

I will be picking the 1 lucky winner using random.org. The giveaway closes on 20 August 2017 2359pm (Sun)

 

Winner: Honey C Javier

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 


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Review – Marshall Cavendish Education’s Conquering Comprehension

I had friends who had attending Marshall Cavendish Education (“MCE”) ‘s parent workshops on Saturday which were 6 hours long and had raved about it, ie money and time well-spent. Saturdays are extremely busy days for me as the kids have classes and swim classes, so I never didn’t want to take time off from parenting duties just to attend a 6 hour long workshop.

However, as big J’s home work and review papers are no longer walk in the park, I came to the realisation that I am not equiped to guide him at home effectively, the best way forward it so to “upgrade” myself. It is just like work, what I am lacking I need to find information, attend course etc. And like what my friend put it I will reap the most value out of these workshops as I have 4 kids and they will gradually would go through the system and sitting for PSLE.

They had many workshops during the June holidays which were beneficial to me, however due to parenting duties on Saturdays I procrastinated until July and finally I took time off from my parenting duties and attended my first ever workshop with MCE which focuses on  Conquering Comprehension.

During term 2 review, big J lost most of his marks in the English paper in comprehension (and it wasnt even open-ended), but after I had a read of the comprehension passage, I faulted the boy less. Even at the level of understanding of an adult, I had a double/ triple take at the questions and answers – which all require Higher Order Thinking (“HOT”) which will be further elaborated below. I even thought the correct answer was wrong. I guess these are the types of questions that differentiate the better ones over the others.

Only recently as well did I realise that unlike Chinese comprehension, the child cannot just lift off the passage. It clearly show me that I do not possess the knowledge nor strategies to properly guide big J through his comprehension section of the English paper.

The workshop was conducted Chitra Pillay- Chua who was once a HOD of the English Department of a primary school and currently focuses her work solely on comprehension making her an expert in comprehension questions and strategies.

At the start of the workshop, she asked the participants what were the most common problem faced by us.

  1. Most were unsure of the level of understanding of the child after reading
  2. The child reads but cannot answer
  3. Improper sentence structure (during PSLE no marks will be deducted for grammatical error made in comprehension section, however this may not be the case during school reviews/test)
  4. Complicated questions which required Higher Order Thinking (“HOT” – will be further elaborate below)

Chitra told us the story of 2 word cutters- one a young woodcutter and one an elderly woodcutter. The young woodcutter work through lunch and chop wood incessantly non stop while the elderly woodcutter had a lunch break. At the end of the day, the elderly woodcutter had chopped more words than the young one. The young one asked the elderly woodcutter, how did you manage to chop so much wood ,and even took lunch break! The secret was that he spend some time during lunch break sharpening his axe.

So we parents who gave worksheets and drills after drills (I am also guilty of this) are liken the young woodcutter. However, if we had known the proper strategies and techniques to “conquering” comprehension, it is liken to a sharpened axe of the elderly woodcutter, ie you may not have to do many drills to get the results you want.

I also wonder how are the students in school taught composition in school. Apparently most schools test rather than teach composition. The difference lies in testing comprehension involves asking a series of questions to ascertain the level of understanding while teaching comprehension focuses on equipping students with a set of comprehension skills to assist them in understanding the text thoroughly.

The workshop was broken down into 3 components, what does reading comprehension means, common comprehension strategies and Higher Order Thinking (“HOT”).

Reading comprehension

Reading does not equate to understanding. A voracious reader may not necessarily do well in comprehension.

All the participants were given this passage to read. How much do you understand of this passage after reading? How would we be able to understand this better?

The answer:  Background knowledge

If we had knowledge about galaxies or astronomy subjects, we would have a better understanding of this passage. However, none of the participants had a clue what this paragraph means as we have little or zero background knowledge to the subject in this paragraph. Many a times the child is able to read the passage but unable to comprehend the passage given due to lack of background knowledge.

There are some factors which could assist in understanding what you have read

-Knowledge / background to assist comprehension

Most of the times, the child may just be focusing on recognising the words , blending the letter sounds to read the words ie decoding. Those who are weak in comprehension do not make connections between what they read to what they already know (ie background knowledge) and they do not think deeply what is being read which bring to the next point. Some of the ways to mitigate this to accumulate a variety of knowledge and experiences through reading, exposure through travels, trip, outings, museum, etc.

-Good readers think while they read

One of the best ways to encourage this is to model our thinking. Reading a comprehension and articulating our thinking as we read along  is one way to improve understanding of the content. So instead of just reading the comprehension passage with child, articulate your thoughts throughout the passage so that when the child does the same during his own reading.  .

– Annotations

This is a good practise to make little notes, arrows or even emojis – sad face, smiley face, question marks etc  as the child read the passage to activate the thinking process as the child is reading.

The participants had a hands-on practice on annotations while reading through the passage

Common Comprehension strategies

There are many comprehension strategies, Chitra shared the 4 more common strategies.

1.Make connections with background knowledge

Throughout the workshop, much emphasis has been given to the importance of background knowledge. For example while reading a passage about going to the beach, you can relate an experience of  a recent beach outing so that they can make connection to the words/passage that they were reading. If you make a connection to yourself, it is called a text-to-self connection; if you make a connection from the story you are reading to another story you have read, it is called a text-to-text connection; and, if you make a connection to something you have seen on the news or to an experience someone you know has had, it is called a text-to-world connection.

2. Inferencing ie reading between the lines

This strategy requires readers to evaluate or draw conclusions from information in a text. Authors/ writers  do not always provide complete descriptions of, or explicit information about a topic, setting, character, or event. However, they often provide clues that readers can use to “read between the lines”-by making inferences that combine information in the text with their background knowledge.

3. Summarise

Somebody…..wanted….but….so….then. Doing a short summary of the passage after reading also improve understanding and for parents a way to test the level of understanding. For example the story of The Little Read Riding Hood could be summarised as a somebody wanted to visit her grandma but met a wolf along the way and told him about her grandma, so the wolf ate grandma , then the woodcutter manage save the grandma and her.

4. Ask questions

If the child ask questions about what is happening in the story, a character’s feelings, or wonder what will happen next, the child will be engaged in his reading, and that will help him understand on a deeper level.

Higher Order Thinking (“HOT”)

There is a difference between answer that can be found in the text or in my head. Answers that can be found in the text falls in the lower two level of Bloom’s taxonomy which are more on remembering and understanding typically for p1 and p2 level.  For more difficult questions which requires application, analysing, evaluating or even creating, this require HOT. For such questions, the answers are in my head  , is not located in the text and can be obtained by making inferences. Some questions may requires your own opinion/experiences which is the highest level in the Bloom’s taxonomy – creating!

Hence for one same passage, can be used for lower or upper primary depends on the type of questioning. For lower primary, the questions will be more in the text, while in upper primary, the questions will require more HOT and in your head.

It was a very informative 6 hour session as I learnt skills  to teach (not test) my son in doing his comprehension and most importantly, how to improve understanding when reading (not just for comprehension but any form of reading). We also had many hands-on practices to further apply what we have learnt with hope that we can guide our child more effectively at home. At least, now I have a clearer picture on how to use the comprehension strategies to teach comprehension to my p2. There was also an article on Straits Time early this year on parents attending tuition to help the kids. I believe such parents (myself included having attended my first tuition) would like to be avoid the tuition route , to be more involved and hands-on in our child’s education and to better understand the MOE syllable.

Marshall Cavendish Education is currently working on the second half year schedule and relooking at the formatting of the workshop . Do bookmark this page for their future workshops that you maybe interested in. Below as some of the type of courses that they have organised for parents of p1 to p4 and PSLE preparations for parents of p5 and p6.


Marshall Cavendish Education

No.1 New Industrial Road
Times Centre
Singapore 536196

T: (65) 6213 9300
E: marketing@mceducation.com

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 


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Preparing your child for Primary 1 -welcome to a new milestone for both child and parent

2 years ago when my first child, big J embarked on this milestone, I was  all “excited” as it was a new journey for me as a mother to a primary school kid. I did have a p1 prep series on my blog covering mostly things I have gotten for big J for his primary 1 but as I was an inexperienced parents myself, I wouldn’t be able to elaborate on more intangible items which I will elaborate in this post as I have gone through 1 round with big J. Hence, I am better prepared as a parent as big C starts her journey next year.  I wouldn’t say that I am expert p1 prep mummy but I have gone through one round, but by 2022 when my #4 small C enters primary 1, I will be an EXPERT!

After the excitement of the p1 registration was done and dusted 2 years ago this time, I went on a retail therapy to prep big J for his milestone journey (partly to counter my own anxiety as my first born enters his important milestone.. For this time round, I started much earlier in preparation for this blog series of p1 prep enlisting the help of some sponsors along the way and my own personal experiences.  I hope that you will find this blog useful as you navigate through this milestone with your child especially for the next coming half year before school beckons in 2018.

Things to purchase

  • Ergonomic table – You can read about my review and current on-going giveaway (giveaway has ended) of the I-Study T120
  • Ergonomic school bag – Ergo or non ergo? I believe this is what most parents will be asking.  We grew up in the era where we have never heard of the word ergonomic and I think we all turn out pretty fine, though the loads that the primary school students carry today maybe be far greater than what we had carried during  our time. I do acknowledge that ergonomic bags are much heavier than regular school bags due to its make and its spinal support, but I personally prefer to spend a bit more on a better structure bag especially as the child will be using it on a daily basis. There are many ergonomic bags which are in the range of SGD 100 plus and it probably can last 2 years or more. Some brands also offer trade in for the old bag for a  discount for the new purchase. Big J has been using Impact’s Comfort Spinal Protection since start of p1. You can read my review here  and 1.5 years old I must say it is still in pretty good shape despite being thrown everyday on the floor. There are many ergonomic brands in the market, Ergobag , SPI, Lego, Deuter, Dr Kong, Moonrock.  My word of advise, do bring along the child when you try on the bag, what is pleasing to you may not be suitable depending on the child’s height and built. See review here for IMPACT IPEG 223 by Ergoworks
  • Pencil case, stationery etc -I will not encourage to prep the child with the fanciest stationery like from Smiggle etc. They are bound to lose at some point in time. Also fanciful stationery will attract attention and take the focus away from class proper. Some school teachers do find it a huge distraction when pupils gather to “play” or “fiddle” with the fanciful gadgets or stationery. The best place to get the stationery will be from Popular School fair which happen every year end where I will go on a massive stock up of stationery of school. This time round, I also manage to do get a personalized school kit from Stuck on You for big C.   See my review for the school kit here.

  1. Name label, clothes label, shoe label – see my review from Stuck on You

  • Lunch box/snack box – with the implementation of snack break, there is a need to bring a lunch box to school . In the past when there is no snack break, J prefers to buy from the canteen during recess (coupled by the fact I do not have time to prepare for him) , hence there was no need for any lunch box per say. For the new mandatory snack break implemented by MOE ie healthy food and less messy food are to be consumed in the classroom. Big J’s preference is fruits which is easy for me. For big C, I will have to think hard on what to pack for her. I got her a cutesy my little pony lunch box (I cant remember where but was at some departmental store and check out the Stuck on You label. Do check out the latest and newest personalised bento boxes from Stuck on You , newly launched –  big C will get her own personalised bento box from Stuck on You – see my review here

photo credit: Stuck on You

  • Wallet – I find the nicer one at Toys R Us or Smiggle and the elastic chain you can get it from Popular or the school’s book store
  • Water bottle – as the kid will get to refill it often at the water cooler, there isn’t a need to get a giant size one. Also no particular need for a strap as they normally placed the water bottle on the designated table before purchasing the food
  • School shoes and polisher – There are many brands such as BATA (there is a model which is lightweight that J particularly liked though it does not last very long – so far a pair last him half a year), the school uniform vendors also sell them especially for  some schools which uses black school shoes instead of white . If you are making trips to Malaysia, the white shoes are generally cheaper in Malaysia too! White shoes are just more functional than fashionable at this juncture. As the feet grow in size and daily wear and tear, there isn’t a need to invest in a branded white pair of sports shoes (in my opinion those some parents may differ).  There is also a brand called Raymax which seems to be a popular choice among students as well. http://www.raymaxscience.com.sg/
  • For girls – hair accessories in approved colours ie black
  • Name stamp or label printers (in substitute of of name labels) My mum actually used this for me during my schooling days! This is an alternative to pre-printed name labels.  There are also printer labels from brands like Brothers or Dymo  . See this for review of Brothers’ label printer.
  • Watch – big J didn’t have a watch in p1 and he survived through it. There is a wall clock in the classroom and school bells at the end of every period,hence there isn’t much need for a watch. However, if the child start attending cca outside school hours and when you think time management is a critical skill , you can invest in a rather inexpensive watch such as Casio. Big J started to wear a digital Casio in p2 to better manage his time and have some sense of time.  Digital smart watch is currently in the rage, some are rather pricey and you require a sim card plan in order for it to function at its full capacity. It has phone calling and GPS capability. It is targeted who pupils who does not own a smartphone – an in between till they are officially allowed to own a smartphone.  The prices of such high tech gadgets cost from SGD 60 to SGD 200++ This device will be useful when the child take public transport on his own and leave the vicinity of the school compound on his own – location tracking. If the child is either in student care or school, there isn’t a real need to do location tracking. Big J already lost a Swatch watch (not brought for p1 but his birthday present) in school , so no thank you for now, and I don’t feel the need for a smart watch at this juncture and more so for the p1. As in point above, the more fanciful an item that the child brings to school , there is more distraction created which is most unwelcome by the teachers! 
  • Uniform – a tip – buy more PE attire than uniform, it is more comfortable. I cannot speak for all school but big J wears it every day because it saves me the trouble of ironing and more comfortable as well as he is in the afternoon session. The school’s general rule is on days of PE and CCA, they are allowed to wear PE attire. It may differ from schools to schools so do check with the school teachers on orientation day and gauge the correct proportion of uniform vs PE attire when you are about to purchase from the uniform vendor during orientation day.
  • Textbooks – most parents will purchase them lock, stock and barrel during school orientation day as it is all pre-bundled with exercise books, folders,book covers etc . However, if you have the book list you can also purchase the text book at Popular with some additional savings and credit card rebates, however, you will still need to purchase some school specific items like journal, exercise book etc (hence you still need to make a trip to the school book store) So in short, if you want to save the hassle (as the savings is not huge), do get it all at the school book store. Some school book store also offer delivery service saving the hassle of carrying it all home. Do remember to get the plastic book covers as well to save you from the hassle of cutting and wrapping their textbook.
  • Alarm clock – this is good to train independence, however if you have sleeping log like big J, the loudest alarm clock wouldn’t rouse him from his deep slumber

Skills to learn

  • Handling money – Money counting skill and most importantly how much to bring if the child eats in school and saving. Some preschools and child cares will also organize a trip to a nearby primary school’s canteen to let the current k2 the joy of purchasing food on their own. In this aspect, I am not too worried for big C as she often tag along her brother to buy “safe” food and drinks at the hawker centre but she hasn’t really learn to count money. Rest assured even if the child is unable to count money by the time they enter primary 1, the canteen aunty are always helpful to return the correct change to you, and it is a skill they will learn in no time.  Its for the parent to gauge the correct amount of money to be given to the child in the initial periods. Some school canteens have electronic payment system whereby it can be deducted from the child’s preloaded student pass. A trip to the canteen on orientation day will give an idea the average cost of the food. Recently, big J’s primary school introduce healthy meal eating which has raised the cost of canteen food due to inclusion of healthier food such as fruits and multigrain rice etc. Some school also have a buddy system during the initial days at the canteen  or some school  will have parent volunteer to assist them in the first few days of schooling.
  • Cleaning own-self in the toilet – When I ask my fellow mummies what are the main concerns in primary 1, one common response – cleaning themselves after big business. I didn’t have an issue because big J never did big business in school (don’t ask him how he does it, but he only does his big business at home) but letting the child try on his own (with monitoring) and maybe bring along a Kleenex toilet tissue will ensure a cleaner wipe than regular toilet paper.
  • Reading analog time – This is similar to handling money, even if you don’t read time, with the school bells ringing at every period end, you will be able to survive p1. Then said, it is part of the p1 Math syllable but nearer to the end of the year.  It will still be good to teach the kid to teach analog clock during the school holidays but do not stress over it too much!
  • Class of 40/30 kids vs a small size class setting in childcare or preschool – I was not prepared for this until big J started p1. I didn’t think it was an issue but it was for big J. His K2 class was smaller in size and he is often the one contributing in class etc. When he transited to primary 1 and in a class size of 30 (all strangers to him) he is unable to contribute as much as he wish to as the teacher would want to give every one an opportunity especially the more quiet kids. I do not have a solution to this for big C but I would have to mentally prep her that it is a much bigger class than her current k2 class with unfamiliar friends and teachers.
  • The school book store – Some kids discover this early, some not so. But as parents we have to navigate it carefully. This is similar to the snack store in school. First rule of them, do not give them excessive money – when there is no excess they will not be able to buy unnecessary items. Then again there are kids who skipped the meal entirely to buy unnecessary items or snacks. From the start of the school, parents have to be firmed on what the money can be spend on. If there is a need to buy something from the book store, ask for permission before purchasing it. Big J had been caught a few times buying country eraser and some fancy erasers from the bookstore.  If all stern warnings do not solve the issue, then the most extreme measure will be cut away the pocket money entirely.
  • Journalling – the habit of writing homework, outstanding items etc . Most school will require students to purchase My FTGP Journal ie diary where the main purpose is to jot down notes, and most importantly school homework so that the child/parent do not need to rummage through the whole school bag to search for undone homework. Do not worry as the teachers will guide them through the initial weeks and they will be an expert in no time.
  • Being responsible for items required in school ie no helicopter parenting -School not allowing parents to bring missing items to school, I am totally for it. The child will need to learn to be responsible for his /her own items.
  • Adapting to student care – some student care encourages the p1 going child to join in Dec so that the child can get use to student care before p1 begins, you can explore this option with the student care when enrolling your child in the student care
  • Phone call – As the p1 are not encourage to bring handphone to school, if there is ever a need to call the parents, there is a coin telephone (ie your child need to remember the handphone of either parents or both) or the final resort will be to seek the assistance of the school office admin who will definitely have the parents’ phone number in file.

Knowledge to acquire

  • Hanyupinyin (“HYPY”) – There is heavy emphasis in HYPY in primary 1, even more so that the Chinese character recognition.  It is best to expose them to some foundation before going to primary 1. I do know that most k2 syllable and Chinese enrichment classes which will touch on HYPY in K2.
  • Handwriting – I was shocked when I discovered there is hand writing book in p1 and even p2 called Stellar. It looks rather elementary to me but I had realize that legible and neat handwriting is very important and should be inculcated from a young age. Generally girls have neater handwriting than boys based on my general observation . That said, I realised big J has improved on his handwriting neatness so that hand writing book does help in a way.
  • English–  you can check my review on some supplement material for your p1 going kids. I found this interesting write up on young parents on 8 things your child must know before he starts primary school from the English language perspective
  • Mathematics  – you can check my review  and here  on some supplement materials which could be useful for your p1 going kid
  • I found a few articles on young parents website on the level of knowledge your child should have entering primary 1-  English, Math and Chinese. That said, do not be overly worried as most schools will have remedial classes for weaker students as early as the beginning of primary 1 so that they can catch up with their peers. The articles’ content were mostly provided by enrichment centres hence expectations maybe on the high side. I also know some schools which practice segregation to cater to students of different learning abilities by class too.

Others

  • Silent reading books (most school do not encourage comic, even it is from general knowledge magazine like Young Scientist etc) . Personally I prefer a light thin books or books from the library, non hard cover etc as the school bag already weigh a ton! Especially for Chinese books, there are many suitable thin Chinese books from the Singapore collection that you can borrow for your child to bring during silent reading during assembly. For your home’s Chinese book home collection, I would recommend Flip for Joy to build your own library of Chinese books. See my review here.
  • Daily cleaning of classroom – since the 2017, students are tasked with different cleaning duties, be it at the canteen table, sweeping the floor in the classrooms . Parents are also encouraged to reinforce such good habits at home.
  • Have good personal hygiene– ensure they have proper hand washing technique and also when they should be washing their hands ie before and after meal, after toilet, after sneezing or coughing or after class duties
  • Being involved as a Parent Support Group (“PSG”)I am a PSG myself though due to work commitments (signed up on the first day of school), I am not the most active but I do try my best to volunteer my time for school activities and the week –long programme. When your kid sees that their parents are involved in school activities, they will feel a sense of support and pride. PSG also allows me to know the parenting networks and the teaching cohort better.
  • Familiarising with the new environment – As compare to the childcare or preschool, the primary school compound maybe be intimidating to the child. Do take the child around the school during the school orientation day to familiarize themselves especially the important areas like toilet, assembly hall, canteen and office.
  • Helping your child develop a routineAs more and more schools are turning into single sessions should, it’s time to get the child to go to bed early and waking up earlier. Do try to develop a routine closer to school reopening so that the transition will be smoother. Pace year end activities – do not come back at the tail end of the school holidays so that the child will get ample rest before his big milestone. It would also be useful to help them develop an after-school routine/ time- table, such as setting aside time for homework and play.
  • Buy food and eat faster -To make the transition easier, you may to pack a small sandwich or snack for your child for the first 2 weeks of school so that they will still have something to eat if they find it too difficult to manage at recess time.
  • Guiding kids to make healthier food choice  – no child can resist snacks or sweets especially when they have their own pocket money. As parents we should model and guide them on selecting healthier food and leave the snack and sweet treats for special occasion or rewards.
  • Do a Transport Dry Run– Whether you will be walking to school together, taking public transport, or using the school bus, it is always a good idea to do a dry run together –this is also to gauge the approximate travel time , though morning rush hours and traffic and bad weather will add on to the travel time.
  • Set aside time to talk to the child after school – often the teachers will relay informations for the parents tthrough the child. You will also be able to find out about his emotions, fears and and on-goings in school. There are kids who would just spilled everything once they reached home, others will be only say when asked.
  • Communication with teachers and other parents – the most popular will be an app called Class Dojo. This is a platform for teachers to communicate with parents (without divulging their phone number). For parents, there is the group whatapps chat group though they are two camps of thought on whether is it beneficial to join. Some parents do not feel the need to have the safety net of information if the child has missed out a spelling or homework. For myself, I use those reminder by parents as a reminder to myself more than that of the child as I have multiples kids in different schools, it is sometimes quite tough to remember it all.
  • Tuitions for parents –  For parents who wants to be more involved and guide the child, and not so familiar with the requirements and MOE Syllable, Marshall Cavendish Education organises parents workshop for subjects like Math and English for the lower primary students. Recently I attended a workshop on comprehension, you can read my review here. I thought it was time/money well spent on a Saturday and if you have multiple kids like me, you will bound to reap the most benefits….well until the syllable changes.

Useful sources:

Here I share some useful links / videos that may be helpful to you and your child as you navigate to the “whole new world”

ISBN: 9789814765206

http://www.armourpublishing.com/product/timmy-tammy-guide-to-primary-one/

ISBN : 9789814765749

http://www.armourpublishing.com/product/timmy-tammy-saving-and-spending-money/

Last but not least, enjoy this milestone with your child. It may not be one that you are excited about (manage your own anxiety as your child will be able to feel it) but unless you going through the homeschooling route, you have the embrace the challenges ahead with an open mind and desire to learn this new journey with your child. For non first timer , I  am sure you are like me, more confident to be able to guide the child as he /she navigate her way into primary school. And if there is anything that I missed out to make this list of mine more comprehensive, do drop me PM on my blog’s FB or comment on this post, I would be more than happy to include and make this list as comprehensive as I possibly can for future reference and sharing. Feel free to share this blog post with your friends who are going through this same journey as you -the 2011 babies and hopefully we can all help and support each other! And for all those still awaiting registration into the school of choice, all the best!


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Giveaway : Flip for Joy – time to build the Chinese book library at home!

I didn’t learn Mandarin as my second language and my ability to converse was all thanks from watching channel  8’s drama serials. I can recognize probably less than 100 Chinese characters and big J at  p2 already knows more Chinese character than me now.

Our inability (including my husband’s ) to provide a Mandarin-speaking environment at home was my greatest fear that they will one day hate the language in school ( I often fear that I may need to migrate to another country if my kids struggle in their Chinese) Hence, the kids were send to Chinese enrichment classes the year they turn 3 and it is the only enrichment class that daddy was totally supportive of it.

So when it comes to sourcing for good Chinese books I am often at lost. I like buying set of Chinese readers books as it is easy  to procure at once. it comes in 1 big set and it has naturally progression ie it gets harder and harder with more characters  recognition. It is similar to the English readers like Peter and Jane. It helps them in learning to read and recognize the character but the storyline was simple. There is no imagination whatsoever or morale of the story. They are just very boring and repetitive stories to get the kids to recognize more and more characters are they go along. Those books lack interesting and imaginative storyline so after a single read, the books are “chucked” aside.

I recalled once I had a friend (who is super proficient in Mandarin) buy Chinese storybooks on my behalf as I do not know what is good and what is not and suitable at their level.

So for me, e-store like Flip of Joy is  like a godsend. I cannot be always asking my friend to procure books on my behalf. The owner behind Flip for Joy , Meiru was ex-JC Chinese teacher who curates good Chinese books for the different age group and she is more than willing to share what is think its suitable for different ages for helpless parents like myself.  There are many e-stores will carries children books at a competitive pricing but they normally carries more English books than Chinese books. Flip for Joy is probably the only e-bookstore that carries 100% Chinese books for pre-schoolers till lower primary school kids in Singapore.

The website has been made easy for buyers like myself (ie lost in translation) to narrow down suitable books for different age good. By using search words like bud (0-3 years), bloom (3-5 years) and 5 to 9 years (blossom), the e store will show Chinese books suitable for the different age categories.

The other way to search for books is by genre , fun, knowledge and love.

Flip for FUN books are highly interactive and a whole lot of fun.
Flip for KNOWLEDGE are insightful and have rich elements of story-telling.
Flip for LOVE books help children love the important values in life.

What I really appreciate about the e-store is that it comes with an English synopsis and also a few sample pages of the book. I never buy the books by the cover. I usually will try to look for sample pages before making my purchase decision. For eg if I were to purchase English books from Book Depository which doesn’t have sample pages, I will go to Amazon to look at the sample pages before deciding.

In my kids’ primary school’s silent reading session before assembly,  Mon to Wed’s are for English books while Thurs to Fri are for Chinese books during silent reading before assembly. I do hope that there is a swap because as it is whenever big J goes to the library, all he brings back are English and more English books. He is pretty strong in his Chinese all credit to his enrichment classes and teachers  since young but he still doesn’t read enough Chinese books (and it makes it even harder than I am unable to select /procure books on his behalf unlike English books).

As this post will be part of the blog series for preparation for primary 1, the books that were ordered from Flip for Joy were for big C in mind (of course the kids will be sharing) . Hopefully will be part of her silent reading Chinese books when she enter formal school next year. Do forgive me as my review of the Chinese books would not be as perfect as my English books review due to my Chinese language proficiency (lack of). I have even enlisted big J for some of the reviews as well.

图书馆狮子 Library Lion

This was the only book  from my order which came with a small booklet in English and an audio CD (so thankful and hence the reason why this is the first book to be reviewed) . A small part of me hopes that all Chinese book will come with its English version and audio CD so that I will be a more confident story teller of Chinese books.This is an English bestseller but the translation has kept its essence of imagination when a lion visits the library. What I like about books from Flip for Joy, the books have stories and imagination are what is lacking in my collection of Chinese books (which are just readers and hence surely has made my Chinese book collection least favoured compared to my award winning /best seller English books.

This is a super heart warming tale too where the lion was allowed in the library if it abides by the rules of the library. However, on one occasion where the lion actually went against the rule (for the right reason), he was told to leave the library. I won’t create a spoiler on how it ended but it has a happy ending. This is probably the one with the longest story-line of this set that I had procure from Flip for Joy -which is actually good for k2 to lower primary school kids.

100层的巴

This book was part of the series by Toshio Iwai, a renowned Japanese artist that big J enjoyed reading as we have the earlier 3 books.  I think this is a new edition to this series and I knew  I had to get it to complete the collection. Not only does this book fill the kids with imagination at each level, the book opens up vertically to give an extraordinary reading experience  – even as an adult reading for the first time, I was filled with anticipation as the more and more level are being built onto the bus!

need i say more, this is what you cant get out of kindle

What I really love it how much the content fills the kids up with imagination. How is it possible to have a hundred decker bus and what make it more “real” is when the vertical page which opens up to show that hundred decker bus.

勇气 Courage

I do have one exception, I actually chose this book based on the cover as I have seen the cover vaguely , my guess it was a popular English book. The book explore the different kinds of courage and often than not, my kids are lacking in courage to try new things or new challenges. This book explores the different kinds of courage and celebrate whether is it a big or small achievement.

This particular book is bilingual hence it has both the English and Chinese text. It talks about all kinds of courage, normal one  – ie everyday’s courage and also special courage too! There is one particular courage which speaks very closely to big C, the courage to eat the vegetable before making a face. Once she read that, she went in stitches…obviously it was talking about her! It is a very simple book and yet it is very relatable and definitely a keeper especially for age 4 and above where they can apprehend the concept of courage even though courage may not be in their vocabulary.

经典童话系列(三)(10册)

I love this series as big C would have know the stories in English and the books are thin and light , perfect to be brought to school’s silent reading sessions. Not too many words in 1 book and she will be able to finish 1 book in 1 sitting and light enough to be added to the “heavy” school bag.  The set include classic stories like The Little Prince, Cinderella , Puss in Boots using clay figurines as illustrations. And the best part, it comes with hanyupinyin!

如果地球被我们吃掉了

Rarely can we find children’s book with message of environmental conservation. My kids in childcare have been taught to save water and not to destroy Mother Earth so I thought it was apt to add a book of this genre into their library. I don’t believe I have any English books which discusses about the environment as well. Coupled with beautiful collages, the book has simple sentences and it is not intimidating to young readers.

The Dot

This is another translation from the English bestseller by Peter H. Reynolds. It talks about a young girl, Vashti who didnt know want to draw on a blank piece of paper. Her teacher asked  her to make a mark so she simply drew a dot .After finishing the dot, the teacher told her to sign her name on the paper. And after she saw that her painting was being framed up in the teacher’s office, she was further inspired to make different version of dots and goes on her own artistic adventure until she had her own art exhibition. During the exhibition, a boy told Vashti that he couldnt draw a straight line. So Vashti told the boy to draw and also sign on it.

This is an excellent book to motivate reluctant learners or kids who are lacking in self confidence, and this story line can be easily understood by 4 years old as it is not a wordy book and my kids loved this book very m

As you can notice from my selection of books, many of the books in the Flip for Joy e-store are bestsellers in its original languages and now translated to Chinese to retain the beautiful storytelling and illustration but to expose preschoolers or even the lower primary school kids to Chinese. I suppose it is easier to understand the Chinese language if the child had read and loved the English version before.

Flip for Joy offers free local standard mail for all orders and free courier delivery to your doorstep for orders S$50 and above.

Flip for Joy

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Do follow their social media as Meiru will recommend new titles and promotions regularly. And you can also ask her for her recommendation of books for the different age group and interest before buying.

It is really time for me to build their Chinese library at home to “counter the effect” of an English speaking environment and also an almost 100% English library at home.

Giveaway

Flip for Joy has kindly sponsored two of our favourite books to share with mypreciouzkids’ readers –   The Dot (FB winner)  and 100层的巴士 (IG winner).

1. Liked FB pages of mypreciouzkids.com and Flip for Joy

2. Followed mypreciouzkids and Flip for Joy on Instagram

3. Repost this visual on IG(tag 3 friends (on my IG post, one tag per comment) with hashtag #mypreciouzkidsgiveaway for the IG giveaway if you would like to win 100层的巴 or liked and share this FB post (tag 3 friends) for the FB giveaway if you would like to win  The Dot.

You can join both giveaways too if you can keen on either books.

Please keep your Instagram profile public or the Facebook shared post public (as indicated in step 3)  in order to qualify so that I can locate your entry or BOTH to double your chances of winning.

I will be picking the 2  lucky winners using random.org. The giveaway closes on 16 July 2017 2359pm (Sun) (1 from FB and 1 from IG).

IG winner: @thornedsapphire

FB winner: Ng Mei Ping

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 


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Giveaway & Review: Little Passports Early Explorers and World Edition , the making of young global travellers!

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Little Passports

There is something magical about receiving mails and packages. In the day and age when emails overtake postal letters, it is often nice to open the letter box to find big parcel awaiting to be opened. My kids too love receiving letters and packages in their name. Well, it was the first time they receive such a huge package for them respectively all the way from the States.  The first ever package from Little Passports is  come in form of a  little suitcase to keep all the monthly materials going forward. C had the orange suitcase which is the Early Explorers series which is suitable for ages 3 to 5 while J had the blue suitcase which is the World Edition series which is suitable for ages 6 to 10. There are many subscription boxes in the market currently. Those locally produced in Singapore are mainly targeted at art and craft especially for time-strapped parents who want to do art and craft but do not have the time, idea and creative to execute them. I have always been looking out for more knowledge-based subscription boxes (quite lacking in the local scene). I came across Little Passports from the US which is all about the world and different places – elementary geography I would say!

Little Passports is developed by 2 US mummies  to expose the children to the world at the comfort of home. Many kids may not have the luxury of travelling far and hence, this subscription will introduce the kids to the world literally without having to book a flight ticket.

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Little Passports – Early Explorers (3 to 5 years old)

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The first package comes also with a wall size map with content suitable for this age group.Nothing too complicated, introducing the continents and oceans. This package even had plenty of stickers to decorate the suitcase, much to the delight of C! For the first package , C is introduced to the different continents in the world. This package also come with a 20 page activity booklet to reinforce the subject matter of the month.

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The second package that come a month later was in a padded envelope containing the subject for the month. For the Early Explorers, they will get to learn about the famous landmarks in the world. It came with the cutest miniatures of some of the famous landmark in the world like Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Great Wall of China. With the help of the world map in the first package, C is able to identify the location of each of the landmarks. All subsequent packages come with 20-page activity booklet,fun souvenirs, Flashlight adventure, trading cards , letters, photos, stickers and luggage tags.

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There are many different plans for subscription. These are the prices for Early Explorers subscription.

early explorer package

 

Little Passports – World Edition (6 to 10 years old)

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One of the biggest differences even at its first package is the world map. Compared this to the one from the Early Explorers package, this map is more complex and has the name of the countries as well.

Similarly, it comes with an introduction letter, coloured worksheets and even a postcard.

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For the next package, the World Edition introduces the kids to Brazil and some of the countries in South America.

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In the same package, they also had a word puzzle whereby they are to identify the next destination which is the next package!

For the World Edition, the child can also login using a secret code to discover more fun and games online

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online games

There are many different plans for subscription. These are the prices for World Edition subscription.

world explorer package

 

After every package has arrived, Little Passports will also emailed additional materials to be printed out for those who are keen to do more than what has been sent over for both editions!

Check out the introduction video to Little Passports!

What I really like about subscription boxes are the idea of having a theme/topic for the month. There is no obligation to finish it in 1 sitting as it is done in the comfort of the home unlike having to attend a class.

As parents, we can also supplement the topic of the month by visiting the library and borrowing books of the same theme. For example, if the topic is on Brazil, I could borrow some books about Brazil or South America and impart more knowledge. With the subscription boxes, I have more structure in my home learning and ready materials to introduce a new country/ place/location to my kids! And this subscription also makes a excellent birthday gift from the usual toys and books for kids!

Thanks to the folks at Little Passports, they will be giving a free 3 month subscription to 1 lucky reader. The winner can choose any edition suitable for his/her child.

Please follow the steps below to be in the draw.

1. Liked mypreciouzkids.com on Facebook

2. Followed mypreciouzkids on Instagram and regram the Little Passport’s photo using hashtag  #mypreciouzkidsgiveaway

3. Followed mypreciouzkids on Twitter (no worries if you don’t have Twitter account)

4. Liked Little Passports on Facebook

5. Liked, shared and tag 5 friends who are new to mypreciouzkids or interested to win this pack by using this Facebook post. Pls comment “Done, Twitter: ?? , IG:??” on the same post for my easy tracking. Do set your post to PUBLIC so that I can verify your entry. Entries that are not shared publicly on your timeline will be disqualified. Giveaway ends 2nd May 2016 (Monday) 2359.

Disclosure: I received Early Explorers and World Edition subscription package for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 


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Giveaway & Review – Math-a-Morphosis , board games are the way forward! (Part 3 of 3)

In my household, I have never owned a tablet or Ipad of any generations as I believe if I don’t have the gadgets,  my kids will have no access to it. The main driving force behind my thinking is due to poor eyesight and vision due to continued usage etc.  I am fully aware there are information abound on the Internet if used properly .  The information from the internet can do the kids a whole world of good, which is the greatest debate on the use of technology for the young and the preschoolers. I do not have an answer but in my household, I had subscribed to no ipad or tablets since the day J was born until the absolute need arises. So my kids are most happy when relatives visit as most will come with tablets or Ipad , they are one of the most technology deprived kids in Singapore.

As the family grew and kids needing attention, there is a occasional need to let my smartphone babysit the the younger crying wailing kids. Nevertheless, it was for very small snippets of time and I can’t be too rigid for my own good sanity dealing with 4 kids under 7. For example when small J whine and cry, I  will use my phone to take a video of him and let him watch his own crying on the phone. He would immediately stop his crying and watch his own videos repeatedly. That is my best “hack” for small J. It has worked in most occasions especially outside! 

So what does my kids do during spare time? I am not so fixative about watching TV though as the screen is bigger and I myself grew up watching……loads of it in fact and it did not affect my grades. I suppose the attraction of the tablets vs the TV is different and the  level of damage to the vision as well. I have used DVD like Leapfrog, I can read  to “babysit” the kids at times.

Of coz there are the toys, but they can get bored of it easily, so the best way is to keep in storage some and resurface them after a while and they will treat it with new interest!

And my absolute favourite …..board games! However for board games, it works for older kids say 4 year old and above to be able to understand the concept of the board games etc. There was a time that J was so into snake and ladders that he will invite everyone in the household to play with him including his sister who don’t really understand the concept but play along. 

And over the holiday, J discover the whole new world of Monopoly as there was a set of kids Monopoly in the kids room at the hotel that we were staying over the year end break. He was very very happy to stay in the hotel room to play Monopoly. Thank god J only discover this on the last night of our stay….if not i am sure he will just stay in and not leave the hotel room. And after the trip,  I took our my decade old Monopoly set from storage and he was overjoyed! 

I always knew J loved board games just that I didn’t have the time to sit and play with him. The only disadvantage of board games , most cannot be played singly!. You also need some one else to play with unlike the smartphone, tablets etc. But the disadvantage can turn into an advantage which open a whole side of being sociable, and not afraid of losing etc. 

And when learning Mathematics can be part of a board game…that is a total jackpot to a parent like me and its not at all boring ..to some Mathematics can be boring because there ain’t much imagination or colour or fanciful words….so playing with Mathematical concepts…how fun can it be? I would not be going through all 26 variation of games but some of the more interesting ones for my kids.   

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Numbers set

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Geometry set

The sets are targeted mainly for kids ages 6 to 10 years old but how my 5 and 3 years old uses the materials in it, it is just pure magic! These two sets are locally produced by the publisher Add-venture Learning who also publishes the magazines, +venture in Maths and Inspire. You can read my reviews of the magazines in my previous posts.

Math-a-Morphosis Geometry Set


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This set come with 4 different coloured sets of tangrams, 1 shape dice, 1 number dice, 1 fraction dice ,4 counters , 3 sets of cards game , 1 set of big tangram cards, 1 board game and 1 set of double sided jigsaw puzzles.

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This table list the no of variation of games and the play. This Geometry set has a total of 10 games of differing levels and play mode -individual  or group. For each game, the table will show the topics covered and the skills acquired. In each of the games set, it is divided into card games and board games. 

Geometry – Card Games

I have tried several games with the kids, mainly with J of course as the games are all pitched for his age group. The first 3 games names memory, 2 Plus 1 and 3 Plus 1 (varying difficulty). These 3 games are suitable for ages even from my 2.5 year old. There are many ways to play it..ie competitive mode, or just simply play it singly just like what my 2.5 year old and my 5 year old did. There are also the more challenging 7 piece tangram formations which my 7 year old can complete easily. Even though there are some simpler 7 -piece formation one which my 5 year old can to do as well. 


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Seen here is my 2.5 year old unassisted trying to do the tangram card games from the simpler sets and my 5 year old attempting the 7 piece formation.

Board games

My 5 year and 7 year old loved the slide and splash board game. It used the 7 piece tangram set. The rule is to use the snake and ladder concept which most kids will be familiar with and the first person who complete their selected tangram picture will be the winner. Now he has abandoned the basic snake and ladder board game for this “improved” and more challenging “snake and ladder” game.

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slide and splash

The tac-toe board games is double sided with 2 mode of play- fraction or tangram. After fixing up the 9-piece jigsaw, it will reveal 9 different shapes. The concept of play is just like how we play tic-tac-toe, ie winner is the first to form a straight line. For the fraction-tac-toe, it uses a number dice to determine whether a player completes the selected shape or complete half of the shape depending whether it is odd or even number.  For the tangram-tac-toe, it uses the shape dice to determine which share the player get  to pick first and complete using their own tangram pieces.

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fraction-tac-toe

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tangram-tac-toe

I must admit this is the more favoured set of the 2 game sets as it has 4 coloured tangram pieces  set (colour and tangible appeals to younger kids) and concepts which my younger kids understand ie shape.  However for J he is indifferent has he loved different games in both set.

Math-a-Morphosis Numbers Set

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This set consist of 1 10-sided direc, 2 6-sided number dice, 2 sets of Number Friends cards (0-20), 2o hexagon counters and 2 sets of number plates (0-9) and 10 operations plate (6 ‘+/-‘ and 4 ‘x/÷’), 2 board games and 3 number hunt game sets.

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This set has a total of 16 variaion of games divided into card and board games of varying level , play mode. The list also outlines with topics and skills corresponding to each game.

Numbers – card games

Number memory game are suitable even for younger kids. It is a fairly simple concept of covering the 10 pairs of cards from 0 to 9 and the person who has the identified the most identical pairs win. To make it a bit more difficult , remove the “0” pair , and instead of matching similar numbers, matching by number bond of 10 ….9&1, 8&2 etc. For older kids, you can even use 2 sets of of 1-20 number cards and create memory cards game for multiplication and division too!

Fun with Numbers is a set of 24  puzzles involving whole numbers and 4 operations. Using the number plates provided, J is able to try different permutations to find the correct combination. Some of the puzzles are more difficult than the other. Just work through the different puzzles with your child and this make addition and subtraction less of a chore and fun!

(p/s not to worry there is a guidance booklet with suggested answer if the parents themselves have difficulty)

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Numbers – board games

One of J’s favourite is the number hunt game. There are 3 variations to this board game consisting Number hunt I, number hunt II and fraction hunt. The difference between Number hunt I and II is one uses addition and subtraction while the later used four operations. For now, the fraction hunt will be too difficult for J as he is not expose to fraction yet. He was happily “hunting” for the correct number sets on a Friday night which is designated as PLAY night!

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Number hunt & fraction hunt

 

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3-Out is a visual and strategic thinking game whereby the player loses if 3 hexagon counters are in the same line.

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3-Out

Math chess is a mini board game for pupils to practise forming maths sentences using 4 operations. This game can be played individually. For primary 1, you may begin with addition and subtraction plates first before venturing into all 4 operations.

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maths chess

My favourite childhood board game was Mastermind. Much to my delight when I saw a similar concept game appearing in this Numbers set. It is called the secret code. Instead of using coloured pegs, it uses numbers! Yellow hexagon counters represent the number is not in the correct position while the red hexagon counters represent the correct number and position.

Secret Code

Secret Code

There are still many unexplored games in both sets and varying level of difficulties. So these 2 sets will be still of use when J goes to upper primary to introduce him new concepts through play. I guess the main problem for parents is finding time to “play” with the kids. Of course if you have 2 primary school going kids, there maybe less of an issue as they are play most of the board games together. The older kid can even teach the younger kids new concept like how J teaches C to play the number bond memory game. For the other games, it will be for me to play with J mostly for now. In the constant call for more face time and less screen time, this may be the way forward and board games to me are a better investment that toys! Board games can be heirloom too….like my decade- old monopoly and scrabble sets!

These game sets are priced as a bundle of 2 sets at SGD 70. Individually they are priced at SGD 40 a set. You can order through using this form. 

Finally, the giveaway as promised, it will be the exact same 2 sets of Math-a-Morphosis game sets of Numbers and Geometry(worth SGD70) featured in this review for 1 very lucky reader (which includes free delivery to your home) for hours of mathematics fun and family bonding. 

1. Liked mypreciouzkids.com on Facebook

2. Liked Add-venture Learning  on Facebook

3. Liked, shared and tag 5 friends who are new to mypreciouzkids or who are interested in these products or giveaway for ALL the 3 posts of these series:  post 1, post 2 and final post

Pls comment “done” on the final post for my easy tracking. Do set your post to PUBLIC so that I can verify your entry. Entries that are not shared publicly will be disqualified.

4. Please comment on this blog post , which product from Add-Venture learning do you like the most and why(bonus step)

I will be picking the lucky winner using random.org . The giveaway closes on 21 Feb 2016, 2359pm (SUN).

Disclosure: I received a set of +venture in Maths , Inspire  and Math-a-morphosis game sets for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

 


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Giveaway & Review – Inspire magazine, WOW ! (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second of a 3 part series blog review for the wonderful publications and products by Add-venture Learning. It is not just 1 magazine but 2 magazines in 1 issue. Hence each issue has 2 covers, The Wonderful World of Words (WOW) and Exploring Our World.

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The Wonderful World of Words (WOW)

This magazine follows the adventure of the Royal family of WOW and learning grammar in the fun way. The first issue introduces King Norman Nautilus Noun. No prizes for guessing what the King will be teaches the readers….NOUNS! There are colourful pictures to introduce what are nouns and even a picture puzzle to find nouns in the picture. In the second issue, Queen Verb is being introduced to the readers and there was a fun exchanges between the King and Queen whether Noun or Verb is more important.

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Besides introducing the royal family, the magazine also introduces the Fabulous Forest of WOW. Kids will also learn grammar through problem solving by helping Owl, Rabbit and Squirrel by finding out why the animals of WOW are behaving so strangely. There are also fun mazes and games to accompany each story.

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Exploring Our World

This magazine introduces social issues and values through the use of stories, poems and lots of hands-on activities which follows the adventures of Kit and his friends, Mitra and Hairy. They will be exploring the world around them and introduce values such as positive self-esteem, how everyone is special and many more through the 8 issues.

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What accompany this magazine are many fun hands-on activities. Some of the examples are shown in the pictures below:

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There is a poetry corner to introduce the values taught in each issue.

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Finally like in the +venture in Maths magazine, there is a half a page of Parent’s page to outline how parents can further encourage the child using  the values outline in each issue and on how to use the Hands-on activities with the child.

There is also a section called “Dear Kit” where the child can send short notes to the publisher and they will be rewarded with little gifts.

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Both magazines are written by local English educators and are in line with MOE syllable. 

With all schools on STELLAR programme for English language, there is no longer a textbook or a workbook for English. Some parents like myself may be a bit lost when we don’t see thick textbook to accompany the child’s learning. With the Inspire magazines, the parents are guided as to what the expectations are for primary 1 English syllable.

The colourful and short comic strips on both magazines are also very engaging not just for my p1 boy but also for my younger kids aged 3 and 5. They are able to appreciate the stories and also engage in the hands on activities such as finger printing whereby the kids are introduced the concept that finger prints are unique.

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I am also thinking of using this magazine to slowly introduce English in a more systematic manner to my 5 year old girl instead of throwing her with English worksheets and workbook randomly (that was what I did for J).

The magazine can be subscribed via school or home at a price of SGD 37   for 8 issues per academic year (additional top up of SGD 10 for home delivery). As this magazine is newly launched in 2015, , currently they only have it for primary 1 and are currently working on issues for the primary 2 onward. For more details, do check out their website. 

You can view my earlier post in on +venture in Maths here.

Next up, will be my review of the many many games that you can play with your kids using the Numbers and Geomety Math-A-Morphosis game sets. As there is continued emphasis for less screen time and more face time, board games are the way forward and I can tell you my kids are begging for me to play with them every night ever since they spotted these two sets at home!

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The giveaway will be revealed on  the third and final post of this blog series, do follow these blog posts closely. Do remember liked and shared this blog post as well to qualify and also like mypreciouzkids on facebook so that you wont miss the final blog series which has the giveaway as well.

Disclosure: I received a set of +venture in Maths , Inspire  and Math-a-morphosis game sets for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

 

 


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Giveaway & Review – +venture in Maths magazine, when Mathematics is fun and colourful! (Part 1 of 3)

After going through the Junior Young Scientists and the Young Scientists magazines (see here for the previous review) for my two older kids (J & C),  and how light and fun reading is able to inculcate early awareness and interest in the science subject, I started to look for similar book materials -ie magazines/newsletter for other subjects in primary 1.

Besides science, I found out there are also locally published magazines catered towards Mathematics , English and Mandarin. The publisher – Add-venture Learning Pte Ltd publishes the Mathematics( +venture in Maths) and English magazine (Inspire). I will the covering the a 3-part blog series for all the wonderful products by Addventure. Firstly, I will be reviewing the +venture in Maths , followed by the Inspire and finally the Math-A-Morphosis game sets.

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magazines and games set by Addventure Learning

 

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+ venture in Maths magazine

+venture in maths magazine is catered for primary 1 to primary 6. The magazine has 16 full-coloured issues (4 issues per term) with 2 bonus issues for lower primary and 1 bonus issue for upper primary 1. And what makes the magazine relevant is that the contents of the magazine follow very closely to MOE syllable as the magazines are written by local mathematicians. The magazine can be subscribed through the school or directly to home (for home delivery, there is an additional top up SGD 10 for delivery fee). You can check with the class teacher before subscribing on your own to save on the delivery fee and potential bulk discount. What I understand most primary school who are partnering with the publishers will offer this subscription to the students by end of Jan.  You can check out the primary schools with partnership with them in this link

I will be reviewing some of the earlier issues (in term 1) for primary 1 with J. Firstly, I wanted to find out the comparison of MOE math syllable for primary 1 for term1/2 and compared it against what is being introduced by the first 4 issues of +venture. Yes, the magazine follows closely with the current primary 1 MOE syllable and textbook.

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p1 textbook

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first 4 issues of p1 magazines

Every issue is divided in 7 colourful sections and 1 bonus e practice worksheet (online)

  1. Funstart are stories on the history of Math. The first few issues introduce how Egyptians wrote their numbers. They even posted the video of the Funstart stories on their youtube channel. Even though it may not be relevant to primary 1 syllable, but it is fun general knowledge and to introduce simple mathematics based stories to the young. Even my 5 year old girl enjoyed listening to the short stories. You can view the video for the story in the first issue here to get a flavour of the short stories.

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  1. Concepts

This is where the MOE syllable kicks in. The concept for that issue will be explained in colourful and fun illustratives. For example, you can see how the number bond and substraction concept is being “taught”. I have taken a step further to do a side by side comparison vs a typical assessment primary 1 math assessment book. I am sure the kids will more keen to learn from the very colourful and thin magazine as compared to a black and white thicker assessment book.

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  1. Practice

Then to apply the concepts into the real work would be 2 to 4 pages of Practice.

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  1. Games and Puzzle

To enforce the concept even further, there will be  a page of games or puzzle.

In the first very issue, parents are tasked to help the child to make hexagon counters as manipulatives. (Do note that if you have also bought the game set, in the Number game sets there are also 20 hexagon counters which you can make use of). For those who did not buy the game sets, fret not, there is even on online tutorial to teach who to make the hexagon counters from straw. These hexagon counters will be used for games found even in the first issue!

One page puzzle also can be found in some issues which are like mazes, tangram puzzles,  number bonds etc

  1. Explore

Using the same concept taught in this issue, this one page section introduces new and function activities to further strengthen the concept. For example in the issue on basic shapes, Explore section introduces students to make their own Tangram, how a square can be made into  2 triangle and so on.

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  1. Parents’ page

It is a half-a-page extra notes and pointers to parents on how to further strengthen the concept ie through the use of outdoor activities, games, daily observation, etc

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  1. Competition

This is always on the last page of each issue whereby students can complete and have to mail to the publishers. The first 20 correct entries drawn from all the entries will win attractive prizes.

p/s there are also answers to all the practice, puzzle and explore sections at the back of the issue!

8. E practice (bonus!)

There are also e-practices that can be downloaded from the website. The password for each issue’s e practise will be revealed by solving a simple puzzle or question found on the cover of each issue.

What I really like about the magazines is that it is full of colour, non intimidating, thin (16 pages)  mathematics “worksheets”. Some parents may find the concepts in the initial issues a tad too easy as these concepts may have already been covered in K2, but these concepts served as a revision and to bring a standardised level of knowledge to all primary 1 students coming from different background and preschools such child care, kindergarten etc.

As I have received the issues at home, I will let J do an issue every fortnight before the concept is being taught in school. Now it is only Term1 week 2, not much has been taught in school, so we can slowly introduce the concept through the magazine at home. So when he goes to school, he will have better appreciation and be familiar with the concept. What he is unsure, he can further check with the Maths teacher. This is also my quick read up on what is being taught in school week on week basis and term by term basis.

In most primary schools, the students are required to bring English/Chinese books for silent reading before assembly. I like to offer these magazines as reading materials for my son as it is light and thin and the short stories or comic strips can be completed in 1 sitting (they probably have 10 to 15 min to read if any). This is unlike having a thick and bulky story book, which he could probably finish just a few pages and having to carry the book to student care, then to school and back home is not something I fancy. For now, J is bringing his Young Scientist issues to school. He can now have more options such as the +venture in Maths and Inspire magazines.

The +venture in Maths magazine set is priced at SGD 37 per level which work out to be around SGD 2 dollar per copy. You can also top up another SGD 60 to obtain 2 game sets (Numbers and Geometry) to accompany the magazine set. The combination of the magazine set and the game sets is called the + venture Set which is priced at SGD 97. The game sets will be reviewed in the third and final post. For further details, do check their website

Do check with your child’s Form teacher if they have partnered with the publisher to save on the delivery fee and receive the issues through the school. As the issues are distributed every fortnight through the school to students,  it will be kept in pace with the school delivery of the different concepts. Some primary schools are also using the magazines as supplementary materials to further reinforce the concepts in a more colourful and interactive manner.

Next up will be my review of the Inspire English magazine. This magazine also can be subscribed via school or home at a price of SGD 37   for 8 issues per academic year (additional top up of SGD 10 for home delivery). As this magazine is newly launched in 2015, currently they only have it for primary 1 and are currently working on issues for the primary 2 onwards. 

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2 magazines in 1 Inspire issue

The giveaway will be revealed on  the third and final post of this blog series, do follow these blog posts closely. Do liked and shared this blog post as well to qualify.

Do like mypreciouzkids on facebook so that you wont miss the next blog series!

Disclosure: I received a set of +venture in Maths , Inspire  and Math-a-morphosis game sets for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.


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Giveaway & Review – introduce science fun to the very young by The Young Scientists and Junior Young Scientists

Truth to be told, I have not heard of these range of very informative and colourful science magazine until a mummy friend told me that there are science magazines locally published which cater to kids as young as 4 years old. And you can get it from Popular book store or at Popular fair…ok I should start spending more time at Popular and its book fair..but science for a 4 year old…is it abit too young?? Would they be able to understand?? I was quite skeptical until I saw the magazines myself.

Science is a subject only taught from p3 onwards (not even p1) and it is definitely not the easiest subject to be taught(IMHO) (more so for parents to teach science in a home setting but it is the most interesting subject for me in school. Frankly thus far, I have been “reinforcing” the core subjects -English, Math, Chinese especially for the p1 going boy as I refused to believe in p1 preparatory classes (on hindsight maybe I should have outsource it given that the 2 younger ones are seeking more attention from me). Science is often an after thought as it is not a subject for the first 2 years of primary school (still have time kind of mentality). However, science can be a very interesting subject especially for kids who are not so much into languages. And any early exposure can only do a whole world of good!

Young Scientists Pte Ltd (the publisher of the magazines that I will be reviewing) is the pioneer in creative publication of science in comics style.  Through this style of magazine (comic strips), it hopes to stimulate young children’s interest in science. The magazines are currently being  distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, HK and India.

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Junior Young Scientist is meant for kids age 4 to 7 years old and The Young Scientist is for p1 and above. The Young Scientist is divided into different levels , Level 1 for p1 and p2, Level 2 for p3 and p4 , Level 3 for p5 and p6 and Level 4 for lower secondary. I will only focus this review on the Junior Young Scientists and The Young Scientists level 1 as they are suitable for J and C.

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Junior Young Scientists is recommended for kids from age 4 to 7. It comes in a pack of 5 issues. All the various packs and edition for this series, you can find it here.

Each magazine has 3 stories and each story comes with a page of pre-story to introduce the content of the story.

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The magazine boast big texts and colourful illustration which captures young kids’ attention easily. It is done like a comic strips with speech bubbles and makes me realise I seldom have such book of such nature (ok my kids do not own any comic books) And these magazines are the best kind of comic books that I can introduce to my kids. In between story time section, there are also game time which has activities such as colouring, matching, maze, etc before proceeding to another story. Each issue has a good amount of information through its story and interesting facts which are simple to understand for the age group from 4 to 7 years old. Nothing too “chim” and general knowledge on plants, animals, weathers, body parts can be easily introduce to the kids at a young age. I wish I know of these series when J was younger! One can use these short stories as bed time stories as well as it is not too lengthy nor wordy. It is also good for role playing for kids who can read to promote parent and child bonding.

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However, I did find it a tad too simple for J who is 6 plus year especially the activity pages which are more suited for C. Nevertheless there are some information that are new even to J like meat eating plants like the pitcher plants etc. For now, J reading mainly from The Young Scientists level 1 while the Junior Young Scientists issues “belong” to C.

The Young Scientists (Level 1) structure is different from the simple structure of the Junior version. It comes in a pack of 10 issues. All the various packs and edition for this series, you can find it here.  It covers a diverse range of information using comic to let readers absorb new and fun facts. There are many little facts at the bottom of the page to enforce the information on the comic strips. Besides that, they also point the parents to information on the youtube that can reinforce the learning. Unlike the Junior version, there is no activity pages. But for a 40 plus page magazine, every issue is packed with a whole lot of information. Very compact and easy to understand especially for information that J is not familiar with. However, I do wish there are some activities like crossword puzzles, filling of blanks to reinforce what has been read.

 

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The Junior Young Scientists are priced at SGD 20 per pack which contains 5 issues while the Young Scientists are priced at SGD 55 per pack which contains 10 issue. Do check their website as they have promotions and currently the 2015 collector’s set are at 15% discount.

You can also purchase  at all  Popular or MPH bookstores.

You can actually keep the magazines (just like story books) for the younger kids in future. It is not like your typical magazines where you read and probably will recycle/throw. It is more like a book which can be passed on to the younger siblings or friends with younger kids. I am sure in time to come my home will have many issues of both the Junior Young Scientists and The Young Scientists. You can also start an annual subscription for 2016 issue through the website as well. There will be a total of 10 magazines which means 1 magazine delivered monthly from January’16 (#153) till October’16 (#162) 2015 (10 issues) at SGD 55.  Not sure about your kids but my older ones love receiving mails in their name.

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The publisher has kindly provided me 1 set of Junior Young Scientists and 1 set of The Young Scientists to be given away to my readers. I hope your kids will like the magazines as much as my kids. The usual drills of my giveaway……

1. Liked mypreciouzkids.com on Facebook

2. Liked The Young Scientists on Facebook

3. Liked, shared and tag 5 friends who are new to mypreciouzkids using this Facebook post. Pls comment “done”on the same post for my easy tracking. Do set your post to PUBLIC so that I can verify your entry. Entries that are not shared publicly will be disqualified. Please state which set you prefer.

I will be picking the lucky winners using random.org . The giveaway closes on 29 November 2015, 2359pm (SUN).

Disclosure: I received a set of Junior Young Scientists and The Young Scientists for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

 

 

 


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