Sunday, June 26, 2016

Salt Glue Word Building (Practical Mondays #19)

Salt Glue painting is therapeutic, strengthens fine motor skills, can be modified into what you’re currently learning (Alphabets, Numbers, Words, Drawings, or simply squiggles) and is a lot of fun! 

Don’t bother saving these art pieces however pretty they turn out, as the sheets tend to shed salt long after they've dried! Don't forget to take some pictures though!

The Practical Mom: Salt Glue Word Building: (1) Write with glue (2) Sprinkle Salt (3) Shake off Excess Salt (4) Transfer paint via pipette

A quick Tutorial

Material Reqd: 
Salt, Glue, Paints, Paper & Pipettes

The Practical Mom: Salt Glue Word Building: (1) Write with glue (2) Sprinkle Salt (3) Shake off Excess Salt (4) Transfer paint via pipette

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Why Children must tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude? (Practical Mondays #18)

Last week I read Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking”  (*affiliate) Written like a typical introvert, the book contains pages and pages of meticulous research and more research, done over a period of seven years. She takes us through case studies of Harvard Business School, Professor Kagan’s ongoing research on physiology, Steve Wozniak, Warren Buffet, Eleanor Roosevelt, and even cultural differences between the quiet Asian vs boisterous Americans.

So while the book did a good job making a case for introverts, how much power they hold and how the world should accept them, what I took home from it was how *everyone* should tap into their inner introvert. 

Without labelling our children as a shy extrovert, dominating introvert, ambivert and what not, let’s all agree that irrespective of the degree of extraversion, there is at least a minuscule degree of introversion within them. It *is* there, somewhere!

And we need to tap into it and embrace it.

Because as much as it is important for children to be well adjusted to other children and overall environment, it is important to be comfortable with being alone for a little while.

The Practical Mom: Why Children must tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude?  (Practical Mondays #18)

If you *are* an introvert (or somewhat introverted!), then a perfunctory scroll down of reviews on Goodreads will suggest that you’ll LOVE this book. Like “Finally! Someone to talk on our behalf!”

You may chuckle on the parts where she suggests introverts most likely think of ‘class participation’ as ‘talking nonsense’ and make a mental note of the Japanese Proverb “The wind howls, but the mountain remains still”. 

That’s cool, I get it. I get bored of social chit chat too. But honestly, I believe whether a person sounds like he’s talking sense or nonsense depends on his level of intelligence, expertise, coherence, overall appeal, and not to forget, whether you’re truly interested in the subject. It’s much more that the sole fact that he opened his mouth to talk. 

You’ll agree that if you find social gatherings full of nonsensical talk, there are innumerable number of best selling, award winning books that are full of nonsense too!

As you may have guessed, I’m a bit of both. I need both people and books. (And I find nonsense in both people and books!). But let’s not get into that. This post is not about personality types. But instead what we need to focus on is the Magic of Solitude, which helps in two big ways.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Cotton Swab Car Tracks, Mazes & Cities (Practical Mondays #17)

What do you do when the power goes out? (i.e. when you suddenly, unexpectedly have no internet access for a full twenty minutes? *shudder* …*gasp*!!)

Well, THIS is what I did. Made use of two boxes of 200 cotton swabs (ear buds/ Q tips / cotton buds) each to build a track for my son’s little toy car! We improvised further, to add on features likes bridges and tunnels and houses to make cities. And made mazes, with an agenda! To pick up all the pom poms and stickers before exiting the maze!

It has certainly been an exciting after school activity this week.  Like the yarn tracks, this is easy to clean up too! 

The Practical Mom: Cotton Swab Car Tracks, Mazes & Cities (Practical Mondays #17)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Practical Ways to Organise Kids’ Stuff: What should be out, what should be not! (Practical Mondays #16)

I’m writing about organising Kid’s stuff being fully aware that my son’s room right now is littered with Lightning McQueen, Thomas & Percy on the carpet, an unfinished Lion King puzzle in one corner, and paints and brushes on his desk from the fish in the ocean art project last evening. The only time everything is absolutely clean and in order, are that those 10 minutes between my loving maid leaving and my son arriving from school!

But creative mess is better than idle neatness. And neat doesn’t necessarily mean uncluttered! So while I look at mess as a fantastic sign of an active mind and time enjoyed (I know that he will complete the puzzle today!) I try not to lose focus on what’s more important: displaying & storing my kid’s stuff.

Having “all” toys out is likely to overstimulate and makes it difficult for children to pick and chose what they want to do, or stick with it for a while without distractions. Many toys go unnoticed for days because children develop a blind spot for them. It’s best to keep most toys in inaccessible shelves or in cupboards while displaying a few (including the most favourite ones) outside.

Two principles that help with displaying Kid’s Stuff:

  1. Accessibility, i.e. their stuff displayed at their height! Because it’s their stuff! They should be independent and should be able to choose, pick out & put back their own things.

  1. Less is more! Less toys= more time devoted to each toy= less mess= balanced stimulation. So other than regular clothes, books & toys, the others should be out of reach & out of sight.

The Practical Mom: Practical Ways to Organise Kids’ Stuff: What should be out, what should be not! (Practical Mondays #16)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Spy Printables! (Practical Mondays #15)

When you’ve run out of options and have already “spied” of all the furniture, toys, doors & windows in the house, all types of trucks and minivans in the road, and all the posters and doctors equipment while waiting for your turn, here are some I Spy Sheets you could use! 

Not just spy, but count the items and write the number at the bottom too.

Just Click & Print:

 Alphabets  |   Words  |   Shapes  |  Summer  

The Practical Mom: I Spy Printables! (Practical Mondays #15)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Should we diss our Children’s Instincts in favour of Parental Judgement? (Practical Mondays #14)

I had registered my son for a weeks’ vacation Bible Study at church, although he wasn’t comfortable going to Sunday School and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be comfortable with this either. I simply hoped “something” might have changed, perhaps the teacher, classroom, children or general vibe? It was like trying out a vegetable children don’t like,  but love after a coupla months!

But nothing had changed. It was the same classroom, same setting and my son *hated* it. He refused to stay there. I even waited outside for about 15 minutes to see whether he eventually gets comfortable but that was not the case. They were moving from the classroom to outdoors and he walked out howling loudly. 

But during those 15 minutes, while I was chatting with other mommies and volunteers outside, I was told that I *must* leave him and that if I “gave in”, he was “being the boss”. 

I simply laughed it off saying “oh you know, kids!!”

Was it anything to do with obeying or being the boss? I didn’t think so. We are taking about a kid who has loved going to school since he was 1.5 years old. If he completely refused to stay back in another classroom setting, there must’ve been some primal instinct screaming inside him to do so. There must be *something* that had put him off, even though it was a ‘safe’ environment from a parent’s point of view.

I made my apologies and took him back. When we were alone, I had a little chat with him before driving away. 

"Why didn’t you want to stay? Did you not like the children? Did you not like Ms XYZ? Do you not like Ms ABC? Do you not like the classroom?" Repeat. I wanted to know *what* was bugging him. I still couldn’t put a finger on it in spite of his answers, because although 4 year olds can talk, they can’t always express themselves well.

But just because I didn’t understand, didn’t mean I didn’t accept. 

It’s the same reason I didn’t force him to hug people when he was little. If he didn’t want to I would be ready with the exasperated “oh, Kids!!” expression which is a MUCH more suitable option than forcing him against his instinct. 

It takes me back to something that happened a few years back.