Category Archives: Family Fun

YAY DADS, YAY FAMILIES!

3

We applaud our government for doubling paternity leave from 1 to 2 weeks. While it is our hope that more and more companies will give dads the extra time for family, here are 3 simple things you can do with your kids today! 

  1. Teach them to feed themselves
    oreo balls

Continue reading

Advertisements

Cubed Paints!

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with the kids this December, give this a shot! It’s a simple, fun, fuss-free idea 🙂

Things you’ll need:

  • Ice cube tray(s)
  • Liquid watercolors OR food coloring
  • Pan or foil tray with sides
  • Thick paper

Optional items:

  • Newspaper
  • Ice cream sticks

#1: Begin creating your paint cubes

Fill your ice cube tray(s) with the liquid watercolors, and freeze it.

If you are using food coloring, squeeze the coloring into the tray, fill with water and stir well. Let it sit for awhile (we suggest anywhere between 5 – 15 minutes), and then add a bit more food coloring before freezing.

Note: If you want, you can stick ice cream sticks in each cube so the kids have something to hold on to while painting. If

Colored Ice Cubes by Wadleigh Library

Colored Ice Cubes by Wadleigh Library

#2: Ready, get set….

Once the ice cubes are frozen, break them out into the pan or foil tray you have prepared. It doesn’t matter if you put the different colors in one tray or sort them out by color; it’s totally up to you.

 

#3: …PAINT!

This is the fun part! If you’re concerned about the paint, lay newspaper on the ground, and put the thick paper in the middle. Begin painting on the thick paper – let your imagination run wild!

Photo © Cathy Walters.

Photo © Cathy Walters

A suggestion we have is to let different colored cubes melt on the thick paper – it’ll result an interesting mish-mash of colors. You can also let the paint melt slightly within the pan/foil tray, and then encourage your kids use different “tools” (like brushes, or their hands) to paint.

Once the masterpiece has been completed, lay it flat to dry.

 

Happy painting! 🙂

Have any crafty or great ideas for fun family activities? Share them with us!

 

3 Suggestions for Mother and Daughter Time Together

For children, love is spelt t.i.m.e.

And for kids whose love language is quality time, they definitely appreciate it when their parents set aside time for some parent and child bonding. For the kids, the activity itself is not as important as the time spent together. But if you’re stuck for ideas, here are some suggestions of what you can do to enjoy mother and daughter bonding:

Cooking or baking
Weekends give us the opportunity to whip up something in the kitchen together. For those with little budding chefs or bakers, get them involved in the food preparation or even cooking process. Not only will they (or their future spouse) thank you for imparting to them a life skill in future, the time in the kitchen can also be little lessons when it comes to learning measurements, food nutrition, etc.

And if you are wary about the kids hurting themselves, they can be given simple tasks. Sophie likes to help me stir the pancake mix, and even attempts to fry them on the stove while I stand next to her. Other times, she’s asked to help me set the table. After all, helping with these little tasks makes the kids more appreciative of the work that goes behind each meal that is served to them on the table as well.

Art and crafts
When it comes to art and craft ideas, Pinterest and the Internet are my best friend. There are so Crafts by A Juggling Mommany activities and ideas that are suited for all ages and interests. The only problem is finding the time to make or do them…!

Some of these crafts can be games, like what we did with these paper clips fishing game or even finger puppets.

Besides giving kids an outlet for their creative expression, art and craft can all be an excellent form of learning experience as you find fun and creative ways to teach new concepts or lessons.

Some recommended art and crafts sites that I’ve bookmarked are Artful ParentActivity Mom and Childhood 101.

Get outdoors
We didn’t think twice Play by A Juggling Momwhen Sophie requested to pick up roller blading or swimming. After all, it’s important to get the kids moving and anything beats sitting in front of the TV or playing on the iPad. Most kids don’t get enough outdoor play and it will do them good to see more greenery and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Going outdoors can be as simple as going to the nearby park for a walk, letting them ride their bicycles, or heading to the neighbourhood playground for a swinging good time.

There’s probably a lot more that mothers can do together with their daughters (and sons). My suggestion: make it a point to find out what your child enjoys, and make an effort to bond over their favourite activity.

Have any suggestions on activities mothers can do with their daughters? Share them in the comments below!

This guest post comes courtesy of Susan, a mum, wife, career woman and home maker all rolled into one. She blogs about her parenting journey and shares her travel adventures at A Juggling Mom, and tries to keep sane with a healthy and positive outlook in life.

The Harmony Project

With the excessive amount of sibling bickering my husband and I have seen at home lately, I decided to embark on a much-needed lesson about harmony for our 7-year old and 4-year old.

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite sites, kidsofintegrity.com, I kicked off our lesson with a craft project that the children had to complete together with minimal assistance.

Using mostly recycled materials and armed with a single set of tools, the children were ‘forced’ to work together to create a guitar and some shakers which they could then use to play in their own harmony band.

Craft Supplies for Harmony Project

Here’s a list of the craft tools and general materials we used:

  • An empty tissue box
  • 4-6 Rubber bands
  • 2 used toilet rolls
  • 4 balloons
  • Corn kernels (or green/red beans, rice)
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Colored Paper

To make the guitar, my 7-year old began by cutting out a rectangle out from the top of the tissue box.

Harmony Project - Cutting out the tissue box

My 7-year old dutifully cutting along the outline I marked out.

I gave the kids free room to decorate their guitar with one instruction: do it together. And they happily obeyed, working together to decorate their guitar.

The two kids hard at work!

The two kids hard at work.

To complete making the guitar, the kids strapped the rubber bands around the box and over the hole on the top.

Proud smiles all around for having successfully created their very own guitar!

Proud smiles all around for having successfully created their very own guitar!

That done, the kids got started on creating their shakers. Each took responsibility for decorating one roll.

Hard at work decorating their very own shakers!

Hard at work decorating their very own shakers!

Once done, we cut the top part of the balloon off, and covered one end of the toilet roll with it. A rubber band was looped at the bottom to ensure the ‘fillings’ of the shaker wouldn’t spill out!

Attach the top part of the balloon to the shaker.

Attach the top part of the balloon to the shaker.

My 4-year old helped to fill a quarter of the roll with corn kernels, while his elder sister helped to cover the other end of the toilet roll with another balloon top. If you don’t have corn kernels at home, substitute it with anything you think would make a good sound – like rice or green beans.

Filling up the shaker with corn kernels.

Filling up the shaker with corn kernels.

With the focus on completing a craft together, the children were able to spend at least an hour without petty bickering. It was such a delight to see them have fun creating something together in harmony.

Before they went off to use their new, handmade musical instruments, we had a short discussion on the experience of working together. By having to share tools and making a concerted effort to agree on how to embellish their craft pieces, the children learnt the importance of cooperation. They also practiced patience and using encouraging words with one another. Most importantly, they had fun!

The two maestros showing off their new shakers.

The two maestros showing off their new shakers.

It was a great time of bonding and building up the relationship between siblings, and a handy lesson I intend to use regularly from now on!

Sue-Ann is a mother of two (with another on the way).  She enjoys nothing better than daydreaming of new ways for her family to take the stress out of living busy city lives.  Her children, Rainbow Sky and Chubs Salami – nicknames they gave themselves – are 7 and 4.

Date Night Challenge

date nightSince two and a half years ago, our domestic helper decided to go back to her home country and we felt the kids were older and we would be able to manage without one. Thankfully, with the help of my husband, and my giving the kids some responsibilities, we have all managed to pitch in. However, it hasn’t been as easy to go out on a date with my husband ever since. It was easier in the past as we could tuck our kids to bed and go out on a date at night while our helper was at home. Now we have to rely mainly on our parents for child minding.

Research says that 92% of couples who make dating a priority have increased satisfaction in their relationships. So we have been trying to arrange for our date night. It wasn’t easy in the beginning and we hardly had the chance as we weren’t intentional about it.

Take One

There was a night where we had to visit a friend in hospital. The kids were doing a sleepover at their grandparents’. After the hospital visit, we decided to make it a date night to catch a movie at Vivocity. The Mandarin movie we wanted to watch had already been running for quite a while and so we were certain that we could get tickets. I guess not being out for a date for a long time made us inexperienced in understanding the night life in Singapore. Tickets were sold out and so we decided to find a quiet place for coffee and dessert. We combed the entire Vivocity, but I guess “quiet” and “shopping centers” in Singapore are an oxymoron. Every affordable place was packed. So we decided to head home.

What I got out from that? Just spending time together, holding hands walking around. Yup! That’s a date too.

Take Two

We wanted to attend a night conference together. Again, thankfully the kids had a sleepover at their grandparents’. We managed to attend the conference and had a very good time engaging in discussion about the conference after that.

Key note? Learning together – that’s a date too.

Take Three

Saturday mornings give us a good two hours of couple time as the kids head off for their enrichment class. We get to have breakfast together as we search out places in the vicinity for good coffee. We talk about politics, faith, kids, challenges, hopes, dreams. And good coffee… did I mention that already? That’s a bonus.

Learning point – engaging in meaningful conversation and giving and having undivided attention. You guessed it. That’s a date too.

In retrospect, we can find pockets of time to spend with each other, but we do need to be intentional about it as well. You need to work at your marriage, and it will work for you!

What should we do during our first year of marriage?

At our wedding dinner, we placed little cards on the tables, each with a question about marriage/ the wedding for the guests. Some tongue in cheek, but all great advice, many from people who have been married years and years before.

I thought I’d share my top 10 favorites of two of those questions here:

What should we do during our first year of marriage?

  1. Have babies!
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE always
  3. Go on as many honeymoons/dates as possible
  4. Enjoy the time before the kids come!
  5. Make a list of things that both of you have always wanted and just do it (before you have kids)!
  6. Keep close tabs of your spending and save for rainy days
  7. Plan when to have children but do not take too long – young plants flower healthily
  8. Make each other the priority in your lives
  9. Sort out the tooth paste problem, hanger, laundry, cooking, washing…so many things to sort out but from my experience, let it be, let go of your expectations…just love each other, close one eye. Enjoy each other’s company before the babies come.
  10. Don’t sweat over small stuff!

What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever gotten?

1.Take walks together

2.Never go to bed angry

3. Be quick to say sorry

4. Save water, shower together

5. Before you get married open your eyes wide. After you marry don’t open it too wide!

6. Talk less, listen more to each other (especially when you disagree)

7. Never stop praying for your spouse and your marriage

8. Must surprise your honey every now and then

9. Give and take

10. God first in all.

What about you? Do you have any marriage advice you’ve received, or even learnt in your own lives, that you’d like to share? 🙂

Play Time

Every child loves play. Or rightly, they should. Here are some favourite play ideas my husband and I enjoy with our preschooler:

Build a Village

We set up my son’s toy cars, wooden train set and tracks, and a Thomas the Train set – all given as hand-me-downs or gifts – in the middle of the living room floor. The whole village took an hour to build and was equipped with bus-stops, carparks, petrol stations and the like, built from his little engineering set.

Going on a Bear Hunt

A few nights ago, I enacted this award-winning story by Michael Rosen that Focus on the Family adapted for their Playtime workshop. My son loved the interactivity and dramatic expressions, and could repeat the story back to me just after one reading.

Family Restaurant

I gave my son an old and scratched cooking pot, a couple of cheap ladles (the cheapest from IKEA that he decided to claim as his toys), and some empty plastic containers such as the ones used to package strawberries or takeaway food. Old receipts from the supermarket served as the customer’s bill. The caps we had collected from plastic disposable drink bottles came in handy as the chef’s ingredients for cooking up delectable “dishes” for “sale” to restaurant customers.

Target Practice

Our son loves to place all his odds-and-ends figurines, be they from past Happy Meals or things inherited, scattered around the room. Tables and chairs are rearranged to provide barriers and deliberate obstacles. We typically use a toy gun or rubber ball to aim at the figurine targets and shoot/knock them down.

Bowling

The mogu-mogu drink bottles collected over the year were used as the bowling pins and the small bouncy balls purchased from the $2 shop was used as the bowling ball. The great thing is that you can fill the mogu bottles with rice, beans, paint, anything to add weight or color… and if the bottle gets too dirty, you can just discard it!

 It is always a joy to see the creativity and delight in my son. A simple game turns into endless memories of pretend play. This is also a really economical way of education, as he picks up lessons on negotiation and social skills, language and math concepts – all through play.

 Let our children have their childhood! And enjoy getting down on your knees and de-stressing by playing with them!

p/s Do share your play ideas with me!