I love all the myfirst product range from myFirst tech collection which are designed with kids in mind. If you recalled, I reviewed myFirst Fone S2 previously and how I relied on the device to train my eldest to take public transport independently to and fro school being his first smart watch/phone.
Now, we are introduced to another awesome product from the same maker – the kids very own camera! For the past weekend since we received the camera, my kids has been using the myFirst Camera 2 virtually every where in the house and on every member of the household. That is like first “toy” they grab in the morning, and they will go around taking all sort of photos especially with the sticker mode! And the camera is like their companion throughout the day! Never ever had a toy being played for many hours and so many days.
I can attest that this is one of the best “toy” or gift to young kids I would say below 9 years old especially I am an avid photographer myself owning my own DSLR, I do hope one of my kids will appreciate and has an eye of photography to share my love.
5 reasons what make myFirst Camera 2 is THE perfect gift for kids:-
Perfect size for little hand – I love how compact and light the camera is, perfect for little hands!
Waterproof and durable – comes with a waterproof casing ( made with reinforced high strength polymers for underwater additional drop protection, can be used up to 3m underwater for 180 minutes ) and we tested it for underwater photography too! See sample photo below.
Simple setup – There are only 4 buttons and 1 shutter. Even my 5 year old is able to view gallery, change mode, delete the photos on his own, it is super easy to manuever – idiot proof. See video below of big C sharing the key functions of the camera.
Sticker template mode – favourite! – besides being to take photos , the camera also comes with a special mode ( some what like the smart phone camera) , my kids have such fun time posing and be in the picture volunteering be the subject of photography! Here are some fun samples of the photos taken by the kids.
Full HD Photos & Videos – here are some sample photos and videos, it is 8MP and it is decent enough for normal photo size printing, this is not meant for blowing up to A4 or A3 sizes.
The photos taken easily be downloaded via the microSD card and a thumb drive reader that has been conveniently provided together with camera. It also comes with a silicon sleeve and a lanyard for extra protection from the rough handling of kids! They even provide stickers to personalise their first ever camera!
For further saving, you can quote mypreciouzkids15 when ordering online here. The camera comes in 2 colour – blue or pink and 1 year warranty.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
After days of eating home-cooked food, it is sometimes nice and lovely to order and have restaurant/zi char food delivered for a change. One thing for sure, my kids are SUPER EXCITED with food delivery (as we don’t do it that often probably once or twice a year as we prefer to eat out in normal times). However, in strange times with another month of the circuit breaker and we have been doing food deliveries more often. My in-laws have been great in cooking our daily meals for my big family but I also hope to give them a break at times especially on weekends, so an invitation to try zi-char food delivered by 8 Crabs (they operate out from kitchens and don’t have a physical restaurant) a splendid surprise and I coincided it to celebrate mother’s day in advance (in case, you are like me, totally lost count of the days in the month, mother’s day falls on 10th May, next Sun).
My word of advice, since everyday and every weekend is largely the same now being home bound, do try to avoid celebrating on the actual day itself as the load on the home deliveries will definitely increase and the risk of delayed deliveries will definitely be there.
So for me, since the first weekend of May is a loooonnng weekend, so I decided to have the celebration earlier and give my mother-in-law a break from cooking so I ordered for the night before May Day.
When u skimmed through the menu the items on offer are largely the same as the rest – chilli crab, black pepper crab, cereal prawns, sweet and sour pork. In fact their menu is not extensive, a few selections for each category of food, which is good as too many choices makes it difficult to decide what to order! Hence they focus on what they are really good at! Crabs!
So what makes 8 Crabs different is from the rest of the zi char restaurants is their signature Sri Lankan Wild Catch Crabs which are graded AAA (graded by the most experienced crab graders in the trade). In fact, 8 Crabs is the only company in Singapore using AAA premium Sri Lankan sourced wild crab.
You might ask what is the difference between farmed crabs (which is cheaper and what most restaurants use) and wild catch crabs is the ammonia smell. So farmed crabs get stressed easily in captivity and lack of space, when stressed, produce ammonia which is a signed of decomposition. However, wild crabs do not face such issues hence they are meatier, tastier, bigger, and less watery.
To ensure freshness, these wild catch crabs are caught, flown, prepared and delivered to the customers within 12 hours from Sri Lanka (which they broke it down to 4.5 hours via flight to Singapore, 2.5 hours custom clearance, and 1 hour for cooking and delivery time). In order to do one hour crab delivery, they only specialize in 3 signature flavours – chilli crab, black pepper and salted egg and 1 driver per order. You can read all about their crab supply here which is quite an interesting new knowledge for me and give me greater appreciation of the food I consume.
I LOVE (in CAPS and BOLD) eating crabs, and 2 of my 4 kids have also acquired the same food affinity as me! So even with only 3 ways of cooking offered in the menu, I almost wanted to order all 3 varieties (greedy me) for my big family but I finally decided to try two for my first order – chilli crab and salted egg to prevent food wastage. You can choose the size of the crab (from medium 400g to xx large – 1.3kg, SGD 60 to SGD110) , typically I prefer ard 800g crab type based on my previous experiences.
The sizes of crabs that came were as per my expectation, not overly too big , it is super meaty and fresh! They were so generous with the chilli crab gravy and we had so much leftover gravy. Even my mother-in-law commented that the crabs were so fresh – meat peeling in pieces (not so fresh crab meat will clump together )! The salted egg crab version also was very fragrant and offered a nice balance with eating with the chilli crab.
large chilli crab SGD 68
lots of crab roe
check out the super huge mantou….the biggest I have ever eaten, skip the rice , 1 is enough and a quick comparison to regular size mantou
large salted egg crab (SGD 68)
And to cater to my 2 kids (a bit sad they dont enjoy crab but means less to share too 🙂 ) who don’t share my immense love for crabs like me, I ordered prawn paste chicken, sweet and sour pork and butter battered calamari (a favourite for every kid). The non crab dishes are not extra-ordinary, just like regular zi-char offerings so this is to cater for family members who are not big fan of crabs.
sweet and sour pork (SGD 12)
prawn paste chicken (SGD12)
butter battered calamari (SGD 14)
The food traveled well in their usual zi char boxes, and I have it all plated nicely to mimic the feel of eating in a zi-char restaurant (but at the comfort of home).
So from 1 crab lover to another , I have tried their highly raved signature grade AAA Sri Lankan Wild Catch Crabs and it is a must try! Hands up how many crab loving mummies don’t get to eat crab when dining out with the baby (reminisce of my early days of motherhood) because hands get dirty and become so messy caring for the baby! Problem solved by having crab dishes delivered and consumed the comfort of home (just dump baby in play yard with lots of toys)! Of all the dishes tried today, the crab dishes travelled the best, in fact the chilli crab was still piping hot when I was plating it and . I am glad I get to try both way of cooking – chilli crab and the salted egg, I liked them both equally but if you like mantou dipping in chilli crab gravy, then you know which to choose. So if you are craving for crabs or want to treat dearest crab-loving mothers in May, do give 8 Crabs a try! You will not be disappointed! Click here to order.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I have paid additional top-up beyond the sponsored amount. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
24.4.2020 – These are my own rambles after going thru 14 days of HBL (hope I didnt miscount as I wasn’t counting at all) with my p1, p3 and p5. Despite the unfamiliarity with HBL and not having a single platform (yes SLS is the main platform but we have many sub-platforms for teleconferencing, communication, submission which I wil elaborate later) , we (mainly myself with hubby’s help for the only most dire situations) managed to pull through with some screams, some missed live lessons and also because we (me and the kids) learned and adapted so fast when we were put through such a super steep learning curve!
Yes, there is the main platform which is SLS. For live lessons, the teachers were initially using Zoom until some security breached causing MOE to quickly say that Zoom is not to be used. And I think they couldn’t find a better teleconferencing platform and with new security update, MOE quickly U-turned and allowed the use of Zoom. Even though both P3 and P5 use Zoom for their lessons, for my P1’s catch time with teachers and friends , they use google meet – so among my 3 kids, they are already use 2 different teleconferencing platforms.
And there are also various platforms for submission, the easiest for us, parents would be submission directly via SLS. For paper worksheets, some preferred to submit via class dojo, some uses google drive, one even had some google classroom. There are also various places for communication, some communicate via SLS, some communicate via the student’s email on their mconline, some uses class dojo. Especially with you have multiple kids, it is really a big spider web to looking to ensure nothing is miss out so that learning is optimised. It was indeed a very steep learning curve even for a person like me who uses computer for my full time work as I have never used most of the platforms I have mentioned before (but the irony of it all, kids are very fast learners especially when it comes to devices, my P5 is like a pro on Zoom, so I often rely on him for some IT trouble shooting). I hope you are following but if you are, I dont blame you as there are indeed many new things to manage from the get-go.
Do I like HBL? I hate how much screen time there is but do we have a choice. It is not meant to replace actual class setting however, when there is no school to attend, this is really the BEST option as opposed to loitering at home! Even if they are not learning at 100% , they are definitely doing some learning and some revisions done. And there is also some structure and timetable involved. The kids have be ready by 8am – my girl has it the worst as her zoom lessons are always at 8am, but there is timetable/break and disturbing of their siblings. Given the current situation, I do like having the HBL despite the many platforms I need to be familiar with.
We started with 3 kids sharing 1 old laptop, initially thinking that there is minimal live lesson and hence minimal overlapping of live lessons . They can share and toggle between SLS and paper worksheets. However, the reality was not as I imagined to be as the live lessons for the P3 and P5 are too many to keep track off and in order for them to learn to study independently and not to affect my P5 learning momentum, I invested in a new laptop for the P5. So with this new addition, it has reduced the amount of conflict over who can use the laptop which require my intervention in the early days (hence i could concentrate on my work better).
In fact now, I really hope that we can continue the momentum and not stop for 1 month o May. Imagine (touch wood) if the circuit breaker does not end on 1st June, and the school does not reopen, we go back to HBL after 1 month break? I think it is definitely difficult to restart back the momentum but I definitely do not hope for this to happen (ie the physical school reopens in 1 June).For the circuit breaker to continue past 1st June is purely unthinkable!
Of course during the May holidays, I can definitely give my own timetable and homework but the kids are smart, they know it is not school work, they wouldn’t treat it as seriously as school work and will procrastinate and give a million excuses including it is the holidays, we are suppose to enjoy, there is no midyear exam, why need to revise?
Here are my own experiences with my 3 school going kids:-
P1: He is able to navigate the entire SLS on his own and do his work, of course he will constantly bug me on how to spell certain words , or technical issue and totally ignore an entire instruction to submit on class dojo. Last Friday night, I receive a note from his form teachers that he didnt submit his work on class dojo’s portfolio, so apparently it was all mentioned in the SLS. I dont blame him, it is a lengthy instruction and I really dont go thru any of his submission on SLS (same in school i dont go through his work, if he makes a mistake he learns from it). So I did get a bit flustered that I had to spend my Saturday morning completing all the unfinished task on class dojo. With this “lesson”, I will check before the week ends and ensure no unfinished task class dojo (learning curve!). The only thing I really manage actively on his behalf is his live google meet classes (not lesson per say but catching up with teachers and friends, and sometimes when i eavesdropped the P1 , they are all so innocent and naive in their replies and their observations, really make my day) and it happens 3x a week so that is the only thing I keep track off as the google invite goes to my personal email (and of course my P1 wont know how to access and retrieve the link)
P3: She is semi-independent. She is able to operate the laptop and the different platforms , and she is still getting into the rhythm and noting down all her live lessons as she can have as many as 3-4 live lessons a day. Quite a mad schedule and I am in no ability or time to track for her (and she does have the ability to start learning about time manage and also independent learning).Only time she really needed help is when uploaded the completed work into google drive. Once she improved on managing her zoom lessons, she is as independent as my P5!
P5: Being more savvy in devices and being older, I do expect for him to require the least help from me, which is the case. He knows when he need to attend his zoom classes and not lost in the amount of task he has in SLS. Similarly to my P5, I only help him with the google drive submission (simple coz it is easier to take it via phone and upload directly, instead of using the laptop) and sometimes my second line of support when I need help for the younger 2 when face with technical issues.
I actually have 1 more kid not in this picture, my K1, who does have some home based worksheet brought home, but he is the most difficult to manage and frankly I have my plate full ensuring the P1, P3 and P5’s HBL run smoothly, he basically does whatever he wants and probably zero learning! And I foresee my older 3 suffering same fate in May with HBL removed!
I think the biggest difficulties and laments of HBL stemmed of the younger kids (P1, P2) as they are not exposed to laptop, they are not exposed to typing on keyboard and some can’t even sit still for a long time in front of a laptop. Hence, there are more hand-holding by the parents and it is sometimes as good as the parent going through the entire timetable of HBL with the kid (which is not a luxury for FTWM).
To many, there seem to be no light to the end of the tunnel (a reprieve given recently due to the announcement of the early May holidays) but I have kept my spirits high as I know with all these HBL challenges, there is only 1 way forward, we get BETTER with each passing day. How could it be that it gets worse everyday? Of course there are good days and bad days for me as a parent, but we do what we can each day , one thing for sure my kids are not complaining about HBL.
I thank all the teachers who have been similarly put through this steep learning curve with us parents and students (and many teachers even have kids going through HBL as well, its like double whammy for them) for all their hard work. In fact, I know some teachers are still uploading lessons, checking submission even close to midnight.
All I know is that we will only emerge stronger and more adaptable and HBL will no longer be a taboo word but a welcome change to the education system (in times when we really need it, it will come our next best alternative!).
So can I volunteer my kids for HBL in May too since we are home bound too?
The last time I reviewed The Young Scientists was 5 years ago when big J started primary 1. At that time, I have not heard of The Young Scientists magazine before but fast forward now, I believe most primary school kids would have read these series making Young Scientists one of the most popular school magazines in Singapore.
My sudden renewed interest on The Young Scientists stemmed from the recent surge of interest by my p1 and p3 read past copies and hence I think it will be a good time to get new ones (2019 collector’s set and all each of the level as my eldest would have outgrow level 1). My last review was more to differentiate the Junior Young Scientists with the Young Scientists level 1. So I believe it is high time that I covered a salient difference between level 1 to 4 and which level is suitable for which primary level (especially having gone through 3 years of science with big J who is now p5)
The single most important feature of these series is that it follow’s MOE Science syllabus, hence they will try to keep within primary science school syllabus. As recommended by the publisher, Level 1 = Introduction to Science for Pri1 to Pri2 | Level 2 = Lower Block Science for Pri3 to Pri4 | Level 3 = Upper Block Science for Pri5 to Pri6 | Level 4 = Lower Sec Science (EA/NA) for students graduating Pri6 to Sec2.
Based on my observation, the content of Level 1 and 2 is perfect for P1 to P4. My P1 is able to enjoy the comic strips in Level 1 and 2. Though his understanding of science concept may not be strong given that he has not been introduced to science in schools, he thoroughly enjoyed all the stories. Clearly the introduction of science concepts through comic strips is indeed a winner , no wonder The Young Scientists series is so popular among the school kids.
As for big C (P3) who has just started science lessons in school, besides enjoying the stories, she is able to relate better to the concept introduced through the comic strips. I always complain that the science textbooks in school are so thin and skimpy as they rely on the teachers to present and elaborate the concept in the classroom. I love that through The Young Scientists magazines, big C get more insight and science bites into the topics she has encountered (it may not be tested in the exam, but it aids in her overall appreciation of the science subject!). For example, mushroom and fungi topic which was covered recently was further elaborated through these comic strips.
Each collectors’ set also included 10 science assessments for her to do covering MOE science syllable themes such as diversity, cycles, systems, interactions and energy – maybe tough for p1 and p2 but definitely not for p3 as it is taught in school. Level 1 science assessments are for P3 while level 2 science assessments are more for topics in P4.
As for Level 3 and 4, the language used is simple enough for my P1 and P3 however the concept is at a higher level of understanding hence, they may not be able to understand the concept fully. Hence level 3 and 4 definitely were more suited for upper primary kids like my P5. As for the science assessments level 3 is for P5 and level 4 is for P6.
So there you have it a guidelines of which level is suitable for which primary level to guide you in purchase your own set of The Young Scientists for your kids!
You buy the past years collectors’ set here (which i actually preferred)or subscribe to the 2020 subscription here (which means you get monthly copies send to your home address).
Disclosure: I received the sets of The Young Scientists for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
As much as I love to dine out, there are lazy days when the weather makes it difficult to leave home, there are days when the kids have to sleep early making difficult to rush out for dinner and there are extraordinary times like this during the COVID-19 outbreak when should avoid going out so often.
I did dined out the past 2 days but I see many restaurants having constraints in implementing social distancing. As much as we want to support the local economy, I did dined with a tinge of uneasiness when the precautionary measures are not fully abide by.
Hence comes a food delivery option – this is a godsend service in times like this. We loved Japanese food and we can have it as our daily meals. But to queue at sushi chains at the malls is that something I want to avoid doing now. So it is lovely to discover that Sushi Delivery delivered fresh sushi , sashimi and even hot bento set and rice bowl to satisfy my Japanese food cravings!
So I had so much foresight to order it for Sunday’s dinner given that Monday was first day of school and it actually rained in the afternoon too spoiling our plans outdoor. Hence we stayed home, played board games until the delivery guy came with our order!
I spend zero hour labouring in the kitchen in fact I spent hours bond with my kids over board games especially its the end of the school holidays for them by ordering delivery.
So these was our order for Sunday’s dinner all thanks to Sushi Delivery ! Sushi Delivery promises to deliver restaurant grade sushi and sashimi through home delivery. This fed my family of 6. The kids shared the 3 bento sets and 2 trays of kappa maki while myself and hubby had all the sashimi and the taiyou century egg maki.
As for myself and hubby, I ordered to 2 trays of sashimi – hamachi and swordfish. Thanks to the ice pack beneath the freshly cut slices of sashimi, the sashimi remain chill and fresh! There is no difference having this at a sushi restaurant or at home!
We also tried the taiyou century egg maki. An interesting combi though the century eggs were drizzled on the top instead of having it as a filing. I guess the flavour will come out even more if it was part of the filing but this is something I have not tried before!
Just a carousel of the food we ordered from Sushi Delivery! So oishii!
The next time when you are having Japanese food craving but wish not to venture out, you can have Japanese hot food and even fresh sushi and sashimi delivered to your home with Sushi Delivery . There is free delivery for order above SGD 60 and a guaranteed 45 minutes delivery.
As most of the families I know are staying put in Singapore no thanks to the virus outbreak, one of the best places to go in Singapore to feel some semblance of a holiday is Sentosa. For some who is not willing to spend a whole day there and out in the extreme hot Singapore weather, there is the Trick Eye Museum and Head Rock VR. As the Trick Eye Museum is simplier to review and 1 unique experience, I will share it as an IG/FB post here.
As for Headrock VR, there are my reviews from the eyes of my precious kids and myself too as I had a go at some of the rides related VR.
The only VR experience my kids ever had was a pop up VR game booth we chanced upon at Our Tampines Hub some time back. It cost me SGD 10 for a short probably less 5 minutes of fun, but big J enjoyed it immensely but not pocket friendly.
I have heard of Headrock VR since it opened a year back, but I did not visited it as there is an age requirement (above 7) and a height requirement (110cm). It is really no fun playing on their own without their siblings. So now I have 3 kids (sorry small C) who are able enjoy this attraction and I only have an afternoon to spare and wish not to spend in the hot sun , we had our first experience at Headrock VR
Featuring 11 thematic attractions/games split into 3 thematic zones – Green , orange and blue , we had a tried at every one of them to review from the eyes of the kids and even myself.
Green zone (for newbies)
1. VR room
This experience was pretty similar to the game that I paid at Our Tampines Hub, a lone gamer experience, but its perfect first timer and beginner. There are people who suffers from motion sickness hence if you cant take this you probably cant do the rest.
2. Zombie buster
This is a notch more fun that VR room where you can partner a friend to play it, shooting more zombie. A favourite of the boys too!
3. Robin Hood – archery (above 8)
The olders kids had a taster of archery and in fact the older kids played for a rather long while!
Orange Zone (adrenaline junkie
This was the first ride that caught our eyes so we did that first including yours truly. Some tourists had liken it to the transformer ride in USS but I liken it to the thrill of a roller coaster minus safety issue and the heat. I totally enjoyed my first VR experience!
2. Jungle rafting
This is similar to extreme train but set in a different setting – rapid river with dinosaurs looming over us and escaping from a T-rex. A must try for all dinosaurs lovers and thrill seekers!
In this game, you will have to overcome high altitudes to battle it out with enemy robots. My boys totally love this. It may look odd watching them move from the outside but the experience feel so real being a player.
4. Horror room
Not advisable for younger kids as there are graphic of blood and gore, I didn’t really quite like it personally as I do not watch horror movies myself but I did had a go, only recommended if you are huge horror movie fan!
Of all the rides related VR experience – train, raft and now sleighing in the show, this is my absolute favourite. They even have this big exhaust fans to create the effect of cold. Fur jackets are provided if you feel too cold!
2. Jump Jump
Big C’s favourite!! The kids jump their way through the jungle-like Tarzan in this jungle adventure by being strapped and lifted off the ground!
3. Beat saber
All the kids favourite – hands down! I guess slashing the beats to the rhythm of the music is better than shooting zombies or robots. Reminds of the arcade games where you use your feet to press the beats but triple the fun due to the VR!
4. Flying Dive (above 135cm)
I had a go at this being strapped like in a parachute and lifted above the ground. In comparison to the ride-related rides, I didn’t quite enjoy this – probably more for people who are into buggy jumping or sky diving but don’t dare to do the real deal!
Due to the school holidays, there are more promotions for students and for big groups. They also have tied up with
10% OFF Normal Packages 20% OFF Group Packages (3 Pax & Above) 30% OFF for all Students
Combined with the Trick Eye Museum next door, we were from there from 3pm till 530pm. We had so much fun in the comfort of air-conditioned environment and thanks/no thanks to the virus outbreak, there is no crowd, hence you can take all the photos/video you want at Trick Eye Musuem and no queuing at all the rides/games at Headrock VR.
Do take of new opening hours implemented due to COVID-19 for both attractions before making your visit.
Thanks to the generous sponsors, I will be hosting a giveaway of 2 pairs of big 5 (valid till 31 May 2020) – I will choose 1 winner from FB and 1 winner from IG respectively.
At the start of the school holidays, the good folks at Times Reads have sent a big box of books especially for big J and big C so that can they can indulge in some readings on days when they have no holiday camp/classes to attend.
Here is a sample of the books we have received through our unboxing video
Personally, I am a mega big fan of Sophie Kinsella, and to my surprise, she also recently published her first ever illustrated series for young reader following the adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo. Big C quickly took into the book set as it is all about magic and fairies (and you don’t really have to read in any particular order) .
The story revolves around Ella, her best friends – Tom and Lenka, her not-best friend Zoe and most importantly, her mother is a Mummy Fairy. In fact, not only her mum but her Aunty Jo and her grandma all can do magic with Computawand W5 which has a fairy apps, fairy mail and fairy games or a fairy wand. All girls in her family turn into fairies when they grow up. However, Ella’s mom cant never seem to remember the right magic code for her Computawand. Many a times, Ella has come to the rescue and learning how to solve the glitches and perhaps one day be a fairy herself.
In the second magical book – Fairy-in-waiting has four more magical adventures with more amazing spells, cheeky monkey and the best birthday party ever. The third magical book -Unicorn Wishes – Ella wants to reach to school the earliest to earn a shiny stickers and adventures like magical ballet lessons and the most unusual playdate ever!
I would say this series is perfect for new independent chapter book readers and for girls who do want to grow up like big C, she still loves this genre which revolves around fairies and magic!
Big C’s review
“I love all of Ella’s adventures as I love fairies and magic tricks. I hope I can be like Ella – a fairy in waiting and being able to do all the spells even though some may not work. I love how much Ella and her mom work together to overcome all challenges that they faced and be the best fairy pair ever!”
2. Archie’s cloud
I guess the audience is not only for angry boys and girls but also me as parents on how to manage such kids with their emotions. After every Archie’s story, there is a section aimed at parents, teachers and child support experts which they can use to to reinforce the messages in the preceding chapter through a guided conversation and a mindfulness exercise.
Big J’s review
” I like this book a lot as it helps me to know the importance of not being angry. It also helps to control my anger when something does not go my way. The main character in this book is Archie. He often gets angry just like me when things do not go his way, he gets angry. As he walks into a forest with friendly animals, his adventure begins. First, he met a rhino named Three Toes and they shared their experiences with each other and how they react when they lose a game! Next, he meets an owl named Plume who shared his cleverly problem-solved by asking for help instead getting mad, a donkey named Fuzz which centre around resolving conflicts with friends and a rabbit named Twitch and the power of positive self-talk. I learned about ways to manage my emotions and anger better! “
3. Michael Murpongo’s The Snowman
This is perfect for the year end festive season and for some of us who will be heading for a winter holiday. This book is inspired by the original tale by Raymond Briggs written by my favourite kid author of all time, Michael Morpurgo! One of the most heartwarming tales ever especially with the festive season upon us and many of us are scooting for a winter vacation, this is THE perfect book!
One December morning, James is thrilled to wake up to see snow falling and went out to build his perfect snowman with coal eyes, an old hat, a green scarf, brussel sprouts buttons and a tangerine nose, just like the snowman from his favourite story. That night, something magical happens- the Snowman comes to life! The Snowman takes James take to North Pole on a magical adventure where they meet someone very special.
Big C’s review
“As I am going for a winter vacation, this was a good prelude for my holidays where I get to play with snow and build my own snowman too. It may not be as big as James’ snowman but it will be beautiful in my eyes and I hope I can have a magical adventure just like James “
4. The Trials of Apollo -The Tyrant’s Tomb
The Percy Jackson’ series is the next best series after finishing Harry Potter. I know that most of the upper primary boys are into this series and there are many books written by Rick Riordan on Percy Jackson and The Trial of Apollo being the latest. In fact, big J just started on the initial series before this came.
Big J’s review
This book is about a teenager named Percy Jackson and his friends – Meg, Frank , Reyna and Lester. Percy Jackson was once an all powerful god Apollo but now an awkward mortal teenager forced to do deadly trials, rescue oracles and save the world. things are getting from bad to worse. Nero, Galigula and Commodus are going to San Francisco where Camp Jupiter is at to destroy everything and everyone is in it. Will they be able to destroy Camp Jupiter? I rate this book 5-star!
5. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl
This series is so popular that the first book will be a major Hollywood film in 2020. The story follows the adventure of a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind and millionaire Artemis Fowl whose father has disappeared along with with the family’s fortune. His mother also went into a mental state. Along with his friend and bodyguard Butler, Fowl discovers the existence of fairies and in order to decodes their Book, they captured LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short but under-estimated the power of the fairies.
6. The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch
This book is the continuation of the bestseller, The Christmasaurus where William Trundle had an incredible adventure with an extraordinary dinosaur: the Christmasaurus, however, you do not need to read the first book in order to enjoy this book.
In the book, William is about to be transported to the North Pole, and meet the icy, mysterious and magical Winter Witch, whose power to control time which allows Santa to travel all around the world on Christmas Eve. William and the Christmasaurus must risk everything to save Christmas as Winter Witch is so powerful that Christmas itself would not exist without her.
7. Sam Copeland’s Charlie series
The stories are very funny, silly , hilarious and wildly entertaining all in 1- good for lower primary boys and girls. The book follows a young boy called Charlie who keeps changing into animals and he can’t quite work out why until his friends try to help him to deal with it. This is a sure hit with fans of Kid Normal, David Walliams and Roald Dahl as well.
All these amazing books can be purchased from Kinokuniya, Popular and Times Bookstores.
The kind sponsors at Times Reads have sponsored two sets of books – Mummy and Me book set from Sophie Kinsella and Sam Copeland’s Charlie series to be given to two readers (1 one set each).
Did you know that the onset of presbyopia (or better known as lao hua) could be as early as 37 years old. The good news is it is not because of bad reading habits but a natural part of aging, hence it will occur in every one (unlike myopia which is due to genetic, bad reading habits and less exposure to outdoors).
My husband who is the same age as me and has myopia corrected via spectacles has been complaining that he need to remove his specs in order to read books and handphones. I was happily announcing that presbyopia has not hit me as I can still read near sight with no issue. Little did I know that the reason why I am still able to read nearsight was because I have a slight myopia which helps to balance the onset of presbyopia.
I had lasik done 12 years ago and it has been 12 years of freedom, I do know that my myopia is creeping though it has not disrupted my lifestyle in a huge extent. But in recent months I do notice that whenever I go for shows, I have a hard time making out the facial expression. The most recent, I could see the dinosaurs in The Walking with Dinosaurs clearly but I can hardly make up the paleontologist/ commentator.
I guess it left me with little choice but to find out about my current eye condition.
Recently, I dropped by W Optics in Suntec City. Till date, it is still the largest optical store in Singapore since 2013. Apart from a wide variety of eyewear from pocket friendly to luxury brands and contact lenses, they also houses clinical grade diagnostic equipment for a comprehensive eye examination.
Once arrived, I was recommended to do a comprehensive eye check examination instead of an ordinary eye check with most of the optical does (as it is my first visit). It is highly recommended to go for yearly eye examination as sight is one of the most important sense that we need to safe guard. The bad news is that I do have presbyopia and the good news it is at its on-set only at 100 and my myopia is at 100,125 respectively which explained that I could still go on with my day to day activities with little difficulties. The only times when I struggled a bit is when I am driving at night and when I am watching shows. So the optometrist recommended to me that it is time for me to own a pair of progressive lenses to correct my vision.
Apart from getting the eye prescription, W Optics comprehensive eye examination also include checking of cornea and eye health, eye pressure and retina health.
The entire eye examination will not take more than half hour (do remember to make your appointment to avoid waiting time as it may get busy during peak hours).
The next part would be to pick up a frame of my liking. Having not made spectacles for the past 10 years, I was amazed by the latest look and trend for spectacles. They are more into bold and black frames. Given that I am not so much into bold and black frames, I settled for a Kate Spade with purple tortoise shell motive. Fitting of the frame is as important as the design. A good fit of frame will ensure the optimum performance of the lenses such as progressive lenses.
And now, back to the most important part of it all, the lenses which are the most expensive component of this pair of spectacles.
Most people may more familiar with bifocal lenses. Bifocal lenses consist of two lens segments separated by a visible line. They’re used to correct vision at two distances, including reading distance lost to presbyopia, but they don’t offer the same fluidity as progressive lenses. You have to adjust your position to find the right zone all the time and cope with the lines between the lens segments.
However, progressive lenses are equipped with a correction power that varies smoothly and seamlessly over the entire surface of the lenses. At the top they adapt to far vision; in the middle, intermediate vision; and at the bottom, near vision. The result is a simple and effective solution to presbyopia and compatible with all visual corrections.
Did you know the very first progressive lens was invented in 1959 – it was a Varilux lens. This lens was conceived with 2,742 spectacles wearers across the world . Do you know that there are over 400 million Varilux® wearers in the world, and 1 progressive lens out of 2 is a Varilux® ?
The biggest improvement to the Varilux range in the X series is the Xtend™ technology which by extending vision for the near and intermediate zone. Simply put it, I do not need to move my head too much to achieve my sweet spot as I am able to see at arm’s reach.
The Essilor’s Varilux X series comes in two variations – Clear lenses or Transitions light adaptive lenses. I choose the Clear lenses and added on Crizal Prevencia for blue light protection. Blue light protection is important as I think it will help in my daily office work as I am constantly exposre to blue light produced by computer monitors, smartphone screens and other digital devices.
Finally, the frame and lense are ready for collection. Mixed feeling, happy that I finally found a permanent solution for my vision, apprehensive as I do not know how well I can adjust to Essilor’s Varilux X series progressive lenses.
Two things to take note, is to always move my head down when I am going down the escalators instead of peering to the bottom of the lense and also when I am driving when looking to the side mirrors. At the side angles and at the bottom, my far sight will be compromise as those areas are not meant for far sight.
In the first week, I have worn it to my third child’s primary 1 orientation , with my perfect vision I can spot my child from afar. I also worn it for driving at night to crystal clear vision. In fact, transition to near sight was also quite seamless too without much head movement too!
After 1 week of usage, I am proud to announce that I am been able to adapt to my new pair of spectacles without much difficulties . I can see better for sure to maintain my active lifestyle and adjusting to progressive lenses has been quite second nature in fact! I am thankful for my improved lifestyle, all thanks to Essilor’s Varilux X series progressive lenses.
W OPTICS at Suntec City 3 Temasek Boulevard #01-400, Suntec City Singapore 038983Mon – Sun:10:30 AM – 9:30 PM
This is my third time procuring a school bag for my p1 going child from Ergoworks. You can read about my prior two experiences here and here with big J and big C. In fact, big C’s school bag is still in superb condition, no visible wear and tear and it will probably last her for another year. I was quickly reminded during my recent visit, that big C’s backpack is adjustable for height (selected models), so she can still use it for next year as she goes to p3. Frankly, the price may be steep ie >SGD 100 but to be depreciated over 3 years, I think it is money well spent.
As I made my biennial visit to Ergowork’s showroom at Marina Square, I was pleasantly surprise that they moved to a unit twice the size of the previous unit showcasing even more ergonomic products for your every need from junior, office and now even to sleep!
You might think that I am very experienced in choosing a correct school bag as it is not my first child, well I am still am not. Perhaps it was this wall of ergonomic school bags that made my decision very very difficult. Look at how many choices and models of ergonomic school bags Ergoworks carries! One thing for sure, which ever model I finally settled with , I am assured that IMPACT is the ONLY ergonomic brand internationally endorsed and recommended by Singapore Physiotherapy Association and The Chiropractic Association (Singapore).
The most important tip in choosing the right school bag for your child is to bring your child along as you shouldn’t buy a bag that is too big for his stature. Of coz being all 6 years old , they may have their own opinion of print or colour over the functionality, so being parents you really have to weigh functionality over fashion. Small J was quite attracted to the army print bag, but it may not be as sturdy and as lasting as other models.
Some models are super compact but putting in an A4 folder maybe a tight squeeze. Some models are heavier and I do worry that small J given his petite size may be too overwhelming. Thanks to the huge range, small J has a fun time shopping for his first primary school bag.
The most important thing to note is that the bag should be align to the shoulder of the child. The backpack should not be significantly wider than the shoulders for a proper fit . The base of the backpack should be not lower than the top of the hip bone. There is also a chest belt to distribute the weight evenly on the wearer.
Finally, we chose IMPACT IM-00337 Ergo-Comfort Spinal Support Backpack. Winston from Marina Square branch (do look for him as he is super knowledgeable) explained that even though this bag may weigh heavier than many other, this bag comes with Stress-free Backpack Straps and Comfy U Neck Fit Back straps which will evenly distribute the weight. I also love that boxy and roomy feel as the child will be able to see what he has instead of rummaging through his bag. Some of the other noteworthy features of the bag includes Comfy U Neck Fit Back straps, USA 3M Scotchlite Reflective Safety Materials , Patented Chest Stabilization Belt and High Quality Self Repairing Recoilless Zipper with Loop Lock Design.
This model is priced at SGD 149 and comes into two colours – royal blue and pink. All backpacks from Ergoworks comes with a 180 days warranty and an exclusive trade in program, whereby you can bring your old Impact school bag for a 20% trade in discount for the next purchase. So based on my previous experience, if the bag can last 3 years, I only have to buy 2 bags for the entire primary school and the second bag comes with a 20% too!
Ergoworks also has a tie up with SAFRA card to offer 15% discount for IMPACT ergonomic bags (applicable to regular priced models of bag) , valid till 31/12/2019.
Even the range of water bottles is mind-boggling, different sizes, colours and some comes with Ion Energy. I chose IMPACT 700-5061 700ml NANO IONIZER which is contains advanced Japanese Anion technology elements, effectively ionize & improve the fluid molecular structure, provides healthier & softer water with antibacterial activation function for better living lifestyle
Besides ergonomic school bags, Ergoworks also carry a huge range of ergonomic tables and chairs.
This is an entirely new section, showcasing their range of sleep products – mattresses and pillows. They never had this section at the older unit.
Can you give it a guess what this is ?
This is a pillow which is height adjustable – both for adults and kids to achieve the optimum height of pillow, it is the MOTEX 1’mm – World’s first individually custom-made adjustable pillow by controlling the height by 1mm. Both small J and I even had on the adjustable pillow and different section of the pillow cater for different type of sleepers too – side sleeper or back sleeper! This is a pillow you can truly consider if you often find yourself having a restless night or waking up with aches.
The huge showroom also showcases other ergonomic lifestyles products that can improve your lifestyle.
I had wanted to give an update after small J’s first month of formal schooling as a followup to this blog post but with daily routines, schedules and also the virus outbreak it actually slipped my mind entirely until this came in my letter box last week.
For a good start, there were no calls from his form teachers (no calls equate to good news as from experience, teachers only call when there is trouble). I also don’t want to ask the teacher so early in the term to give feedback on small J.
With the exception of small reminders, small J is adapting formal schooling very well (evident by the sweet note from his form teacher last week).
He packs his school bag everyday, bring out papers for me to sign, write on his journal (of course teacher will guide them), ensure there is enough pocket money, very aware of the on-goings in school (in fact he reminded his older sister of her activities in the school bus as the sister almost took the school bus home) and generally very happy and well-adjusted. He is even appointed the PE ranger and very happy to have this responsibility. I know he has been eating the same kind of food at the canteen , slowly encouraging try more variety. There are days when he dozes off in the afternoon after a long day but other than that he is seems to have grow from a preschooler to a primary school kids almost overnight! I think that The Little Executive P1 Prep Camp has really give small J a taster, a good start and a foundation of the demands of formal schooling hence he was better prepared and well adjusted. I hope that he will continue to improve on all the 10 essential skills as outline by the camp!
Finally, the day has arrived for small J to spend almost 2 full days with The Little Executive. He was super excited to spend two days away from his child care (though he only has less than 1 month with his childcare that he has been with since 18 months -super bitter sweet -sorry for the digression). I do not believe that I need to prep my kids academically for primary 1 as they may lose interest in what is taught in primary school. School is for learning and I would like to keep it that way and not to learn ahead of the school curriculum, so long the kid can read and count, I think these are sufficient academic knowledge to handle the rigour of formal education especially in the first year, especially with no exam in primary 1 and 2, I think we can let loose a bit on the academic front of formal education.
What I am more worried is the emotional side of the transition. From a smaller class setting to a bigger one, where there is less attention from teacher as it is 1 teacher to 30 as compared to a way smaller ratio in childcare, some kids may find it hard to have themselves heard.
At the get-go, the kids were given a school journal/diary – scheduling and timetable skills. At the end of the day, they will have write down the timetable of the activities they had done for the day. Later, this will be further develop into planning and prioritizing which is a skill that is required even as a working adult!
To introduce the concept of emotional regulation , the kids were introduced to the “emotion wheel” where they need to be able to express their own emotions and communicate their needs, ie simply put it not to show their unhappiness through tantrums and cries.
I love how each kid has been given responsibilities and roles within the small class setting on the onset. The first thing small J shown me when I went during his lunch break was that he was proudly announcing that he was the “whiteboard monitor” ! (develop responsibility and leadership )
We as adults and parents often overlook and take for granted simple things like asking for helping (it is not a sign of weakness but this is vital especially when the level of independence up many notches above child care), raising your hands when need to answer questions take time to do your work carefully, my shirt is always neat and tidy (personal grooming is important for work and school too) and finishing their work on time (this is super important, kids like to “kepo” and chit chat with other pupils).
The ability to get organised and to pack their bags is also a very important skill set that I often overlook. Hence, as part of the 2-day camp they will discuss items to bring, whose responsibility is it and what if the child forget to bring something to school. (independence)
Initially, I didn’t quite grasp what skills you will get from playing games , and I quickly found out that by playing team games is also one way to develop social skills and sportsmanship. The kids learnt how to play fair, what happen if they win or lose , how to be a gracious winner or how to persevere.
In the camp, they also simulated recess time, about making the right choices (small J chose to buy stationery!) and most importantly , money skills and counting the right change.
Another important skill is classroom skills – manage work and behaviour in class – learning to check one’s work, learning how to be careful , having a growth mindset and most importantly if an activity was difficult, how can they be resilient and persevere.
They are also taught how to handle bullies in school and what they must do when they are faced with a bully – social skills
I had the opportunity to catch up with the facilitator at the end of day 1 on small J’s progress and weaknesses that we need to focus and manage. He was unable to regulate his emotions well and he tends to walk around the class as he completes his task very quickly. It is really good feedback as this is not an observation from child care (perhaps he is very too used to the routine/rules in child care as he has been there for 4.5 years) unlike the P1 prep camp or Primary 1 which are entirely new settings.
On day 2, small J being more familiar with the other kids and facilitators was able to regulate his emotions better and even check his work carefully before handing it up. Phew, seems like he did managed to adapt quite quickly to the new environment and hope it will be the same when it comes to the real deal!
The Little Executive 138 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 229844 T: 69081889 Email: email@example.com
There is only one final camp left which is from 17 to 18 December from 10 to 5pm, do sign up here . I may even do a follow-up post a few months after small J enter primary 1 , to see how well he has transition to primary 1 with the help of the P1 prep camp by The Little Executive.
Given that I have two kids in primary school, you might think that I have an idea how to prepare no 3, ie small J well for primary school. I had two very different experiences with the older two. With big J, given his easy going nature and he was well-liked in child care, I thought that he will transition to primary school easy. I was so wrong as he has a hard time getting himself heard in a class of 30 ( much bigger than his child care class size) and I often get complain from his form teacher of his misconducts. I couldn’t understand why he was behaving the way he was, I guess it is partly his nature of dealing with handle his own emotions and his form teacher was not the most caring of teacher. She couldn’t really handle the pupil well but I can’t really choose the teacher. Luckily, it did resolved after having new teachers in P3 (yes, it was 2 years of emotional rollercoaster with big J, almost like walking on egg shells)
When it was big C’s turn, she is very fortunate as she has one of the most caring teachers in school. And being a girl (more obedient of the two gender), I had zero complain. If there was ever any weakness is that she is very shy, unwilling to speak out loud enough for her class to hear her especially in the initially days as she is more introverted in nature. However, she did blossom well under the teacher and even was nominated as the model pupil too! The teachers were also happy to see her slowing gaining her confidence but it did take many months.
I guess, different child (ie different gender) and different teachers do make some differences in how well the child transition into primary school. For no 3, small J who is a boy, I am not leaving it to chance. I hope to prep him well emotionally to primary school (in hope I get less or zero calls from the teacher).
I am not looking for an academic preparatory class which is also offered in my child care as well, as they can read, write and count, in my honest opinion sufficient to start primary 1. However, I am looking more of the softer skills- emotion, communications , social skills and even the new buzz word – growth mindset.
Most P1 prep camp offered in the market are academic in nature. I think The Little Executive (“TLE”) has one of the most unique P1 prep camps in Simgapore – it is non academic, hoping to equip the P1 going kids with soft skills and confidence. If you have seen my initial sharing on social media on TLE, you would have heard of the 4Q (IQ, EQ and Executive Function, Resilience) which forms the core of TLE’s curriculum.
TLE hopes that after completing the 2-day camp, the P1 going kid will be equipped with problem solving skills (simple things like friend taking your eraser without your permission), take on challenges and simply to try new things (growth mindset) , independence (especially in a bigger class setup and less hands-on care givers unlike child care teacher), overcome fears of speaking up (this was what big C faced) or more vocal kids, when to speak , how to develop responsibility and leadership , money skills (choice between food and the lures of the bookshop), emotional regulation, social skills (new friends or even bullies) , classroom skills (focus and listening to teachers and executive function skills (set goals, self motivation).
These are the top 10 skills that they hope to equip the kids in the 2-day camp.
There is only 2 camps during the school holidays : 28/29 November and 17/18 December from 10 to 5pm, as the spaces get filled up quite quickly, do sign up here .
Frankly, I think preparing them emotionally is as important (if not more important ) as preparing them academically to face the challenges of primary school education.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
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