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Showing posts from May, 2014

Nathan the doodler

Nathan is really into drawing and doodling these days. It’s one of the regular quiet activities we do at rest time (which we implemented since he gradually started cutting down on his daily naps). I am quite amazed at the degree of focus and the level of detail he puts into each drawing at just three years old. He loves drawing fire engines. Lots of them. He has a basic formula he uses to draw each one: A rectangle for the body, four or five circles at the bottom for the wheels, a ladder with meticulously drawn rungs, and a fireman in front. Then he draws a big fire (that’s what the zig zag lines at the top of the page are) and the line is the long hose connected to the fire engine, shooting water out at the fire. Last Sunday morning, I woke up bleary eyed to Nathan’s bright little face smiling down at me. He held up one of his latest drawings and announced…“Mum, look what I draw! It’s a story. Do you want me to tell you the story?”I was feeling super sleep deprived, but I was curious w…

Independent Play: Being the observer and the storyteller

{Part 2 of my series on Independent Play. You read Part 1 about my top 5 favourite toys and materials for play}Sometimes I feel as adults, we sometimes have a tendency to talk too much over our children.Already their days are filled with our non-stop yammering, asking them to get dressed, eat breakfast, clean up, hurry up.Even during play, the chattering goes on… “What colour is this?”, “How many blocks are there?”, “What are you making?”.It can really sound like an interrogation session sometimes. If we were to talk to another adult like that, it would certainly come across as being very confrontational and in your face.As parents, we seem to feel compelled to constantly check if our children are ‘learning’ or gaining something from every single action they do. The truth is, children are already continuously learning as they observe, listen, experiment on their own. We should simply give them the freedom and space to do so.Of course there will plenty of times for chatter and conversa…

Some recent additions to my favourite things

I haven’t done a post on my favourite things lately but I think it’s about time I did. Here are a few little gems that I’ve discovered list which I think are really worth sharing and recommending.Nookums Paci PlushiesIf your baby uses a pacifier or dummy, I think you can definitely relate to the love-hate relationship we have with it. I always dreaded having to sit on the edge of my seat ready to run in to pop it back into baby’s mouth whenever it fell out (when she was really little). So Paci Plushies was my biggest sanity saver in this department. Ever since we started using it, baby was able to look for her dummy whenever it popped out and she quickly learnt to transition through sleep cycles smoothly on her own.Natures Child Bottom BalmAs a user of cloth nappies, I’ve always been on the hunt for a nappy rash cream or ointment that was effective at preventing and treating nappy rash but also gentle on my cloth nappies. Since discovering this product, I am now a big fan and would re…

Independent Play: The best toys and materials for play

[This is the first chapter in this series on Independent Play. You can read the prelude to this series on why it is so important for children to have independent play]Whenever we visit the toy store or the toy section at the shops, the choice of toys, play equipment and educational tools can really be overwhelming. These days, there is such a wide array of toys and gadgets for kids that it’s hard to know where to begin.Many of the toys out there are often positioned as educational and beneficial to children’s learning. Of course such toys are fun to play with, but the truth is, as sophisticated as they look, the numerous features they possess can often be quite one-dimensional.Sure, all those buttons and lights on those toys look like a lot of fun to play with. However buttons can do only do what buttons do --be pushed and pressed. When you strip everything down, such toys actually leave very little to the imagination. After a child has pushed, prodded and pressed every single button …

Independent Play: Important tips on how to let kids play

So, after reading about my top five favourite toys and materials that encourage open ended play, there are also two very important things to keep in mind to allow open ended and imaginative play to happen.#1. Try to hold back from ‘showing’ children how to use or play with the material or toy
A very common thing we adults sometimes do when sitting down with our children to play is to pick up the toy and start building or making something with it, or talking the child through what they should do (e.g. “Here, use this roller and roll the dough out like this, press out the shapes like this” or “Let’s build a house, here stack the blocks like this”). Not that it’s wrong or bad, but sometimes there’s a subtle tendency to start guiding a child to only play with toys a certain way… i.e. Our way.Take Lego blocks for example, they are a fantastic basic toy. However sometimes when we buy a Lego model set, we will naturally take the blocks out and build the structure based on the pre-set model on…

Caterpillar update

In case some of you were wondering, our wriggly wiggly little caterpillar has now turned into a cocoon!I’ve been finding the whole process very fascinating to watch myself. I was especially intrigued to observe the white filmy layer surrounding the cocoon itself. I guessed that the caterpillar first spins this filmy layer around itself as an initial protection before going on to spin the actual cocoon.The children enjoyed examining the little cocoon. Things have quietened a bit in this department as there is not much ‘action’ happening at the moment. Just watching and waiting.In the meantime, we’ve been reading the story about ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and doing some other activities related to the story like acting the story out with pretend fruits and stringing beads on pipe cleaners to make our own caterpillars.Hope you’re having a lovely week.Linking up to
Twinkle in the Eye and
Little Drummer Boys

Why children need independent play

One of the common laments often heard in conversations with fellow parents is:“My child can’t play independently on their own”.Other related remarks include…“She has a very short attention span.”“He needs me to sit right next to him all the time.”“She’s just not very imaginative”I came across this quote in this article which said…“Kids don’t need adult playmates, they need parents”.Although it sounds rather extreme, I think there is an element of truth in it. Looking back on my own childhood, I certainly don’t recall my parents being at my beck and call to entertain me or constantly try to find things to amuse me. Sure there were many times when they did jump into our games and plays, but inside I always knew that they were my parents with their own things they needed to do. And I was perfectly content with that.For the most part of my childhood, hours of play were spent outdoors, exploring the neighbourhood with my two brothers. We cycled to the playground and played with other child…

Watching the magic unfold

I am presently working on a longer post on ‘Independent Play’, so this is just a quick pop in to say “Hi” to everyone. In the meantime, here’s a little snippet from the piece I’m working on…Sometimes while I’m bustling and hustling around the house or in the kitchen, I pause and look around and suddenly realise that the kids are not in sight.I stand quietly for a moment, then tiptoe over to the play area, and gently peek my head around the corner.I hold my breath;And simply watch the magic unfold;In their own little world.Sometimes I am invited in.Sometimes I simply stand outside as a privileged observer into this magical world…Linking up to Jess for IBOT

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