Tuesday, 23 December 2014

How I Get In The Picture Now

Every year I make a video compilation for my daughter's birthday.  It's a great, cheap way to look back and tell a story of the year that was.  The problem is I'm hardly ever in the story.  Nowadays I'm behind the camera.  Being a mom.  

My husband, however, could win Father of the Year thanks to my thoughtful art direction.  But no longer!  Last Sunday we went to the Christmas Light Show at the Ayala Triangle and took this:

This is why I love the Go Pro camera!  I was holding the discreet monopod just six inches away from my face, pointed towards Ladybug Girl.  The view is so wide, it's perfect for getting mom in the picture.  
I also don't look ridiculously self-conscious taking a selfie of myself. 
My new favourite mom gadget
Yes, I'm far from the target market of athletes.  (Far. Very far.)  But look, how useful it's turning out to be!  I won't go into specs here anymore, but it's just been an all-around delight for me in terms of sound and video quality.  The wide effect took time to get familiar with but it gets me some great tight shots I wouldn't normally get with an ordinary camera.
I even promised myself I wouldn't stress about how I'll look on video.  After seeing myself as we opened day 19 of our advent calendar first thing in the morning, it's given me some motivation to make an effort.  Under-eye concealer will be my friend.
Here's a test video of the first time I used the Go Pro on us :

Our next year's story will finally be complete!

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Do you get in the picture?  I'd love to know how.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Eyes of Wonder

You know that look of first-time wonder on your child's face you want to freeze in your mind forever?

I have.

"This wonder is what I put into the world.
It is what I was born with.

Eyes that see the wonder in everything.
 Eyes that see lights in the trees.
And magic in the air."

| Rise of the Guardians

May you have a very very long, wonder-filled childhood, sweet cheeks.
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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Race To A Hundred Game

Number rods are fantastic for building real number sense for the "math-shy".  Also called I-memorized-my-way-through-math-class.  Also called I-flunked-accounting-in-college.  Also called now-I'm-scared-to-teach-math-to-my-daughter.  Also called me.  

Whether you call them number sticks or Cuisenaire rods, they're alive and well in our playroom.  This is our absolute favourite game to play over and over.

To catch up on basics on how we've started using number sticks, head over to the handy gallery here.

I'm really not an expert at this, but I know this game reinforces all sorts of goodies: the decimal system of 1s, 10s, 100s, skip counting by tens, addition and just basic number sense. Things like how many 100 is, and how many tens make a hundred.  

Eventually she could lay out the start of the game herself: ten orange (10s) sticks in a row with the number labels.  This is the beginning layout.

You'll also need a pair of dice!  Try to spot ours above.

You each throw the die and lay down the stick you got.  
To get in some addition practice, add each number as you go.

We each rolled twice already (blue is nine and seven is black)

To practice making tens, the minute you overlap to the next ten trade up!  That way it's easy to see in a glance how many tens you have, and add the units left.

In this case the top reads "18" (one orange and one brown stick).
The top one says 31 (3 orange ten sticks and a white unit stick).  The bottom says 27.  She's winning!

It's been slowly working on her fine motor control too, as she delicately fixes the game pieces. 

Inevitably you'll reach an instance where you either teach/practice dynamic addition (crossing a tens place) or not.  I get a huge kick out of seeing how it builds on the first skill of knowing the number bonds of ten.  1+9, 2+8, and so on.

To illustrate, here's how we build on that basic skill to teach dynamic addition:

Now if your preschooler isn't into dynamic addition yet, don't force it.  You can use the beginning layout as a visual guide to see where the number crosses into another tens place, then just put the remainder stick.

Watch her use the sticks to try to figure out the answer:

When daddy's around he teaches another life skill : heckling.

It ends when someone passes the 100 mark:

Guess who won?
Guess who won?

Guess who won?

Guess who's liking math more and more?
Me Her!

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browse the archive

Monday, 1 December 2014

Rainbow Rice: A Third World Version

Since I parent in the third-world, I have a gut aversion to using food in play.   All those beans, corn and flour thrown away after a giant sensory tub activity could feed an entire family for a week!

But I couldn't resist rainbow rice: dyeing rice grains with food colouring and alcohol.  This time though, a mess is not allowed.  Each grain is gold.  And we've made our original batch last for 3 and a half years, and counting.  
The first batch we made when Ladybug Girl turned three.  Just eyeball the ingredients in a baggie and let them shake and mash until the colour spreads.  It was was very cool for us to make together.
Practicing some scooping into empty water-colour bottles, too
And the eventual fascination and exploring afterwards
After we got the hang of it, we made bigger batches to mix together:
Irresistible to touch!
We cooked:
We sold:
We served:
We partied!

It's a regular "pantry ingredient" in her pretend cooking area:
Every grain goes back inside the flask

Only the use of rubbing alcohol prevented my husband from cooking the whole lot.  I managed to convince him that it wasn't a good idea.

There's another place where we store rainbow rice - in our DIY sensory tub under our dining bench.
Lift the lid and play anytime!  See how we made this from an old drawer here.

Making it is half the fun.  Our after-work play for the day:

Total control over the green food colouring
And the remnants of our rubbing alcohol
It's coming along
And every grain goes back in!
The story unfolds in her mind and the play keeps evolving:

The antler is trapped and must be saved!

Sometimes I leave a surprise for her to find:
Learning about different kinds of houses in the world.
A game: there were ten pompoms to find with tongs
Simple natural materials to explore when Halloween was in season
A nativity playset last Christmas so she could do some storytelling
Sometimes she leaves surprises of her own:
Her idea: a tombstone back when Plants vs. Zombies 2 was standard conversation at home
But always, always there is this: 

My unusual concern over being careful has rubbed off on her.  Recently we were talking about toys and she finished my sentence with "let me guess... many kids in the Philippines don't have toys?".

So that's how guilt became the necessity of invention.
Cheers for third world - excuse me - emerging market parenting!

We must be appropriately corporate correct at all times.

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