Saturday, 21 March 2015

For The Love of Splash Pads

As a parent in the third-world, I tend to be overly protective of my little girl.  Which usually means she can't get dirty, wet or sweaty for fear of getting sick.  A visit to Singapore as a first-time parent changed all that.  Thanks to public splash pads which are nearly everywhere.

It was liberating for both of us.

Gardens by the Bay
Singapore Zoo
Jurong Bird Park
Jacob Ballas Children's Garden
Vivo City Mall 
KLCC Park in Malaysia
Hong Kong Disneyland
Shangrila Mactan in Cebu (or any Shangrila Hotel in Manila) - not public anymore though!

Public splash pads are sorely missing in Manila,  but I've been desensitised now so I don't mind this:

SM Aura
At Market, Market fountain.  This time I left her spare clothes in the car so I had to wrap her in my cardigan afterwards!
If you've found other splash pads or fountains I'd love to know!

Here's our DIY version.  We've had it for three years now:

I felt ridiculous for buying it because all it is is a plastic tube with holes.  But how fun.

Just hook up a hose and you're good to go.

At her lolo and lola's house in Tagaytay
With her cousin's baby pool last year
With a cheap tin foil-made river when we had no plastic pool

And with another cousin who couldn't resist it either!

I don't have a garden or backyard space either, but maybe the garage this summer if we're desperate.   

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Sunday, 15 March 2015

What We Do With Book Jackets

If you're anal about keeping your books good-as-new, look away right now.  
You won't like seeing what I do with them.

I've been cutting up the dust jackets on Ladybug Girl's books ever since we started buying them. 

Like a ritual, she always removed the dust covers because they got in the way of reading.  I soon got tired of being book-anal myself so I began to think of ways to squeeze some use from the covers rather than keeping them in storage or throwing them in the trash.

We have this box in her art shelf for making collages or artwork:
A few books into this, I've delegated the cutting to Yaya  

I lost the pictures of some of the artwork from this box, but you get the idea.  Sometimes we take the box to bed at night, and I choose a random cut-out and ask if she remembers the book and what happened in the story.  Just fun.

If you're really serious about squeezing more use out of the covers, cut out the words.  I left this invitation to make her own silly phrases which is really sneaky practice in early creative writing.  This one was inspired by the Montessori movable alphabet.

All it is my favorite contact paper stuck down to her easel, sticky-side out:

We had a good laugh after I got home to see what phrases she made.

Last one to share is my favourite.  You know how the dust jackets print a preview of what the book is about?  I have that cut up too along with the title.  Like an answer sheet, she has to stick the correct title to match the preview.  This one was inspired by the hands-on Montessori nomenclature work where a child matches cards.  Something like this:

And this:

That's still contact paper stuck down to the tray, sticky-side up

I once used a box-lid and washi-tape instead of the whole contact paper set-up.  Washi tape re-sticks easily so it's easy to move around the titles:

As an early reader it was one of her favourite activities to do. 

If you're wondering how our cover-less books are doing, I've never missed them.  Those hardcovers are pretty sturdy!  Sometimes you have to let go of the extras if you want to make shortcuts.  

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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A Shortcut to Art Appreciation

It's only through my daughter's Montessori education that art ever entered my consciousness.  I don't recall ever studying art or music appreciation at traditional school, do you?  Montessori places huge value in art as a form of expression, abstraction and imagination.  
The classrooms use nomenclature cards to build an awareness, vocabulary and interest in artists' works.  I've seen many great homeschool resources online for you to DIY your own art card sets.  Basically you download, print, laminate and cut  -- I've tried it.
My laminating machine is a grossly under-utilised capital expenditure ever since.
This is my working-mom solution: