Homelearning: Teaching sight words

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I am a big fan of sight words. Phonics is important in early childhood education but should the child be able to read by sight, wouldn't that be faster? Big K's repertoire of sight words is pretty vast. I try to introduce a word a day in three to four days. Several activities will be prepared for her to ingrain the word into her brain. Ideally, I would love to introduce 3 - 5 unfamiliar words at a time every other day as I believe it is manageable for her age. But sadly, I am always behind schedule. As the child gets more advance, you might expand the number of words you work on in each lesson.

Through trial and error, I have figured that there are a few techniques which worked for us:

1) See and Say: Repetition does help. Paste the words in various fonts all around the house and get the child to identify and read.

2) Spell reading: get the child to spell out the letters and then read the word again.

3) Air Writing: The child is to write the letters in the air.

4) Table Writing: The child writes the letters on a piece of paper.

5) Bring it to reality: This is one of our favourites as it gives the child empowerment that they know the world! When you come across a word on an advertisement or the bus, point it out to your child, you will see how her eyes light up!

6) Games: Kids love games and if you turn it into one, they will be exhilarated. Below are some which you could try:

I bought these cards some time back and it makes a great thing to bring along when we are out. What I usually do is to say out the word and if she knows which card it is, she takes it and scores a point. Things can be made more challenging when you play it with her. Take turns to shout out the word and snap it. She doesn't have to know that you know all the words :P

These eggs were painstakingly cut out by yours truly. A similar game as the above except that I would incorporate a spatula and get her to flip the eggs as I read the word. 

Caption: Photo credit: 3dinosaurs.com
This is a great activity as it trains not only sight but motor skills. 

Photo credit: Pinterest

Decorate the sight words with stickers, poms poms or whatever you could find around the house! One of my favourites as it requires so little preparation time!

Photo credit: coffeecupsandcrayons

This activity is soooooo cool!!! I hope to do it one day with Big K! It kills two birds with one stone! You get to practice sight word recognition by using them to build 3D shapes using play dough and craft sticks.

Remember tic tac toe? Well, why not do it with sight words?

Photo credit: Learningiftoff
Bring sight words outdoors. Your child will love it! Toss your marker, read the word it lands on and hop to it! 

Photo credit: giftofcuriosity

If writing on paper is too boring for you, why not try various mediums like shaving cream, salt or coloured rice? A bit of sensory action goes a long way!

There are a host of other activities which you can do with your little one. If you are ever stuck on ideas, head down on to Pinterest. The suggestions are endless! Have fun!

Review: Hello kitty lands in Singapore!

Friday, May 13, 2016

The cat has landed in Singapore!

Last night, I did something crazy. Something which I would never have done in my entire life. That was to queue for 2 hours to get into the latest craze in town -- Hello Kitty Orchid Garden. I am no fan of the cat, but well, friends around were, so ok, in the name of friendship, i joined in the madness. 

We were there at approximately 610pm and by approximately 810pm, we were given a place. This was on Day 2 of their opening. Everyone were patiently waiting. Some taking turns to queue. No queue numbers were given out and there was no reservation number we could call. On top of that, they were probably shorthanded as we spied several empty seats for a long while and no one was ushered in. So, we sat down and wanted to order practically everything bowed (the recommended stuff). Unfortunately, several items were out of stock! This included their flavoured sodas, because, they were out of sodas! Could you believe it? Well, with every new restaurant, there are bound to be teething problems and I guess they had been so busy they didn't have time to replenish their stock! Some of their mains were also not available and even no fuss sides like Nachos were not available. The food were mediocre and things like ice cream seemed like they were bought from NTUC. Nothing against that, but I would have expected better quality ones like Hagen Daz, Andersons, Movenpick or Udders perhaps?

Well, at least the food were looking pretty! Feast your eyes on them:

We had two out of three of their desserts: The Cat In Paradise (the one in yellow) which cost $18.50 and a Sundae, "Camping under the stars" which cost $19.50. The Sundae in my opinion was a ripoff! I mean, just a few pieces of biscuits and two scoops of ice-cream cost me close to $20? The other which was actually mango moose was more refreshing. It is light and easy on the palette and was served with a scoop of hazelnut gelato.

For mains, we ordered the waffles and Salmon. The waffles were disappointing as they weren't hot and fragrant. To make a good waffle is not easy but I would have expected better standards from a cafe like this. The salmon wasn't too bad. But again, not warm. The mains were generally well priced. At less than $20, you are able to get a decent meal.

Since there weren't sodas or plain water, we had to settle for tea at $7.80 per pot. The Strawberry Marshmallow tea we ordered tasted like cough syrup while the Kitty's Apple Pie Tea was went well with us. It has a fruit tisane of toasted apple and cinnamon tea.

We were told by the staff that our food would arrive only 45mins later. WHAT? after waiting for 2 hours, I still had to wait for another 45mins? A hungry man is an angry man and I was a bear with sore head! I was literally having a bad headache due to the intense heat the last couple of days and the wait didn't help. The waitress asked if we would like to have our desserts served after our meals but knowing how slow they were, we requested for whatever's fastest to come first. After what seemed like half an hour, our table was filled with all the food we ordered! *mouth agape

This was the crowd after we left at approximately 10pm. It seemed like the later it got, the more crowded it was. 

Don't be deceived, the place is filled to the brim!

If you would like to bring home a little something, there were also coffee, tea, and germination kits. Nicely packaged. But, it wasn't too price friendly. $38.50 for a tea gift set? That must be some good tea

Their selection of gelato was pretty wide. They weren't too sweet but honestly, nothing impressive. 

Acting cute in line with the theme! haha.

So my final verdict. If you would really like to join in the hype, probably go really early. Else, wait for everything to sizzle down as it is really not worth the wait. 

Disclaimer: No monetary compensation has been received. (I queued for 2hours didn't I?) All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Home Series: Lights, camera, action!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The correct lighting options can brighten your home style. Planning your home lighting is an important step. The hubs and I spent several hours thinking of what sort of light to use and what mood we wanted. We had to consider what tasks were going to be carried out in that particular room. Both design and function have to gel. The kids' rooms for example had to have ample lighting whilst our master bedroom needed something softer. There are various other factors to consider when choosing lights:
  • Floor and surface may reflect or swallow your lights. 
  • Ceiling height impacts the way you illuminate the room as well. Should you be lucky enough to have high ceilings, brighter lights can be spaced out. 
  • Colour of walls. If you have a dark-coloured wall like our master bedroom, keep in mind that that tend to absorb light. Similarly for textured walls made of stone or brick. White light on the other hand reflects light hence the room would look brighter.

What do you think of this baby? Gorgeous right? It is meant to be a night light but I am planning on using it as a bedside table lamp. It didn't come cheap though considering that it is from Taobao. It cost me close to $40 per piece? I probably have bought the last two as the link is no longer working. 

We got this LED light for our master from Taobao. Many would probably shun at the thought of getting lightings or anything electrical from Taobao. We know how unreliable that may be. However, I tried to get it from a store with better ratings and more diamonds and crowns. Also, according to the hubs, who deals a lot with electricity in his job, such ornamental lights in Singapore didn't come with the safety mark anyways, so no diff. Biggest diff is in the driver of the lights. So fingers cross that that doesn't catch fire! *Gulp. The size we bought was of 52cm however, I kindof regretted it as it isn't as bright as we wanted it to be. Should have gotten a bigger one. Nevertheless, a nice designer piece like this would probably set us back easily by triple its price in Singapore. I got this at approximately $60 with shipping. Great deal right?

I didn't want my house to be filled with boring old downlight hence here's another beauty for my study room to give the room a bit of an industrial look. A good an big lighting can be the talking point when guests come so I am hoping that its prominence would bring some chatters. Also, gotten from Taobao. I couldn't find a nice and decently priced one here and whilst browsing randomly one day, this beauty caught my eye and I had to get it. Cost me approximately SGD60 (inclusive of shipping). 

Track lights have been in vogue of late. It can be used as mood lighting or general lighting. It goes really well with a industrial or Scandinavian  modern theme.

These boring lights are well, boring, but essential. It gives the place a minimalistic look. Too many pendant lamps will kill the feel of the place. Cove lights and downlight go hand in hand. To achieve a continuous glow effect, the strips of cove lighting has to be installed well. Be sure to cater enough width for overlapping.  We got these from a wholesaler at Kahki Bukit.

Switches are an integral part of the house. It is of utmost importance that you plan the position and the function of each switch. Like where would you like a two gang or a three gang to be? Would this switch be able to be controlled at another part of the house? Which lights do the switch control? Where do you need the sockets to be -- this depends highly on the things that you go about doing in the house which require a socket e.g. vacuuming. All these information has to be discussed and communicated well to the electricians because trust me, there are some out there who would simply not take initiatives and will have several lights controlled by one switch, thereby turning your house into a stadium! The hubs is particularly fond of Schneider's switches. He says it's the designer piece amongst switches. I have to agree with him as it has a softer touch than its cheaper counterparts. When turning off and on, it doesn't make the loud click click sound. Also, when it is switched off, you would see a small blue light which is enough to be my my night light. You may be wondering why is my switch placed horizontally but well, that's the design! Most switches would be vertical but ours are horizontal. Perhaps I'm a frog in the well, but this is pretty interesting isn't it?

Apart from Taobao and local brick and mortar stores lining Geylang and Balestier, we did check out a couple online lighting stores. Below are some of my favourites in no particular order of preference:

The entire renovation journey thus far has been an exhausting one. From choosing laminates and flooring to lightings and furniture. However, one thing's for sure, the hubs and I got to bond more over this project and we have been talking about things other than kids! You know how you tend to loose yourself when you have kids? So this is a refreshing topic. That said, I wish things would move a tad faster! The wait is an arduous one!