CitiBlocs for creative play

I love open-ended toys with limitless possibilities to stretch their imagination, for pretend play, and even to learn math concepts like counting, sorting or patterning effortlessly.

A mumtrepreneur friend who runs the local online shop My First Games brought over a set of CitiBlocs in cool colours, and we’ve been having good fun with it.

CitiBlocs 200 pieces ($89.90)

It comes with a little manual with some suggestions of things to build and the required number of blocks. #5 flipped through it and asked Kate what she wanted him to build for her. “House!” she exclaimed.

House under contruction

#5 picked up some blocks, looked at the manual, then realised that it doesn’t have step-by-step instructions like his Lego sets.

He looked at me, looked at his little sister and said, “Don’t worry ok, gor gor will figure out how to build for you.”

Kate’s tiny house

Within minutes, he finished constructing an adorable little house for Kate.

That was fast!

I was still studying the diagram and didn’t know where to begin. Guess #5 doesn’t need any help from his clueless mum when it comes to construction toys.

With the remaining number of pieces, he did some quick math, and figured that he had enough blocks to build this robot-looking model.

He got stuck after building the base, thought a little while, then beamed. “OH! I know.”

Over the past few years, I have discovered that he is very strong in his spatial abilities so looking at a picture and replicating it is not too difficult for him.

Robot man

He was done for the day, and the little ones happily took over. It was interesting to watch how they started by lining them up in a row, and slowly progressing to stacking them up horizontally.

Over time, I prompted them on other simple ways they could build with the blocks.

Free play

Another day, I took the box out for Kate to play with and #5 came over and suggested we have a competition.

We divided the blocks into half, and the category was “Vehicle”.

#5’s ship with mast

We were not allowed to look at each other’s work, and halfway through, I was stuck and wondering how to fashion the sides of the ship to make it curve upwards.

Mummy’s ship

#5 took some of my blocks, aligned them properly to give the sides a tilt and taught me the physics behind it.

See, if you put it like that, it will tilt up. If you want a greater tilt, you add more blocks here. But if it becomes too heavy, you need to…

Ok, I can’t even remember everything else he said. Mummy has absolutely no aptitude nor interest in engineering and construction. But I still get involved to support his interest and learning…

Making a tilt

He appointed his 5-year old cousin as judge, and no surprises who emerged as winner.

Living room

The next category was “Furniture”. #5 had great plans to make a towering chair. However, he built it too thin and too high that it collapsed.

So the score was 1-1.

Till next time!

Save tip: Not to be missed promotion going on now! 30% off all CitiBlocs from My First Games. Enter code CTBTHIRTY at checkout. While stocks lasts.


Sane tip: Kids may not naturally know how to create with blocks. Kate is quite clueless where to begin and prefers to ask #5 to build something for her. I encourage her to fiddle with it and gradually she is learning more ways of stacking them. Slowly she will improve on her fine motor skills and creativity and be able to work on it herself!

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

DIY calendar craft

#4 made a really pretty calendar for her desk. She got some of my scrapbooking paper and fashioned a simple calendar out of materials found around the house.

Materials:

  • Scrapbook paper or slightly thicker paper
  • 3 toothpicks
  • 3 or 6 mini pegs
  • Hole puncher
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Washi tape (optional)
Daily table calendar

STEP 1:

Cut scrapbooking paper into rectangles and punch holes on the left.

You will need 26 pieces of rectangle slips.

If you don’t have scrapbooking paper, you can use washi tape to decorate plain coloured paper.

12 months

STEP 2:

Write 1 month on each slip of paper (January to December). Total: 12

Write 1 numeral on each slip of paper.

Write a set of numbers 0 to 9. Total: 10

Write a set of numbers 0 to 3. Total: 4

STEP 3:

Paint the toothpicks if you wish. #4 painted them gold.


STEP 4: (Optional)

Use washi tape to decorate the mini pegs.


Peg the mini pegs onto the toothpick and slot the pegs into the weave of the box. If you don’t have such a box, you can perhaps tape it onto a shelf.

STEP 5:

Peg another mini peg at the front of the toothpick to prevent the paper from slipping off.


That’s it! #4 is delighted that she will know exactly what date it is every single day.

For more craft ideas, here’s a really lovely and easy to do DIY vacation box craft from A Juggling Mum, and #4’s DIY calendar idea can easily be taped on the top of it. 

And here are 8 more activities from Mamawearpapashirt blog to check out!

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

AIR+ Smart Mask for Children and Adults

Unfortunately, the haze is back. Air quality has hit unhealthy levels and looks to persist as there are more hot spots detected in Sumatra. Especially vulnerable are our children and the elderly. Besides staying indoors as much as possible, we can protect ourselves by wearing good quality protective masks.

#3 wearing size ‘M’

I can still remember the haze situation 2 years back where the masks available came in one standard size and were not of a good fit for my kids. They did not like to wear it as it was uncomfortable. The peak was during the June school holidays so we tried to minimise going out, but there were still activities we needed to do and life had to go on.

I’m so glad that Innosparks, a ST Engineering subsidiary has invented the World’s First Smart Mask, with a micro ventilator for fresher air. Furthermore, being innovated in Singapore, the masks are designed for Asian faces, and in sizes to fit both children and adults. Yes, I can hear you breathe a sigh of relief.

The engineers focused their R&D efforts on a design that will provide better seal protection for all ages, as well as frontline workers, who have to wear masks for prolonged periods in exposed areas. Hence, they applied their engineering and technical skill sets and invented the next generation of respirators.

The AIR+ Smart Mask consists of 2 components. One is the disposable mask and the other is a ventilator, like a mini fan.

Size chart on the box

Benefits of the Smart Mask

  • Protects against airborne pollutants and PM2.5
  • 3 sizes available for children from 7 years onwards. Guideline: Children (S), Women (M), Men (L)
  • Designed for Asian faces
  • Superior comfort – plush cushioning and soft material
  • Adjustable straps that are easy to put on
  • Has a one way exhalation vent to allow for release of air that we breathe out
  • Can be used as a standalone product as a superior N95 disposable mask, or together with the Micro Ventilator for easier breathing and more comfort. Can be reused intermittently, up to a total of 8 hours.
  • Retail price: $7.20 (3 pc pack)
Micro Ventilator
Benefits of the AIR+ Micro Ventilator
  • World’s first Micro Ventilator
  • Clips easily onto Smart Mask to extract air, moisture, heat and carbon dioxide trapped within the mask
  • Reusable for up to 2 years, rechargeable via USB plug* (included)
  • Extracts air, moisture, heat and carbon dioxide trapped within the mask by its micro fan to keep you cool and fresh
  • Fits all Smart Masks
  • Retail price: $29.90

*the micro ventilator takes 1 hour to be fully charged and can be used for about 2 hours

Sane tip: This is such a timely innovation, especially for children and the elderly, as the other N95 masks may not be suitable because there is an accumulation of heat, humidity and high CO2 levels, resulting in breathing difficulties or dizziness.

Rest assured, the AIR+ Smart Mask is certified to meet both the EN 149:2001+A1:2009 (European) and the N95 NIOSH-approved (American) standards.

AIR+ Smart Mask

Save tip: {GIVEAWAY} Good news!

I am so pleased to giveaway 5 sets of AIR+ Smart Mask for my readers (worth $37.10 per set), which includes the masks and the ventilator.

All you have to do is:

  • Like Mummy Wee’s Facebook page
  • Like this post on Facebook
  •  Leave a comment on Mummy Wee’s Facebook post stating your name and email address
Details:

  • 5 lucky winners will be chosen at random
  • Open to Singapore residents only
  • Ends midnight of 11 September 2015
  • Winners will be announced on Mummy Wee’s Facebook page on 14 September 2015
  • Winners will be contacted by our sponsors for delivery
  • Size of masks can be requested.


The AIR+ Smart Mask is available at all Watsons Singapore and Watsons online store.

For more information, visit the AIR+ Smart Mask official website.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored advertorial. The giveaway has been sponsored by AIR+ Smart Mask. All opinions are my own

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~



New Cable car ride at Sentosa

Kate has never been on the cable car, and I asked if the older kids were keen to go, and they said yes! It’s been quite a few years since I last took them on the cable car. We headed to Mount Faber for the ride into Sentosa, and it turned out to be a really enjoyable day out.

Cheap thrill #1:

The ticketing lady asked if we had any NTUC card which I did have (so auntie, right?) and it allowed us UNLIMITED rides for the day! We could even hop on and off as we wished. Perfect!

What a view!

There were lots to see from up there, and we asked Kate if she could see this and that. “Look at the cruise ship. Can you see it? There’s even a swimming pool in it!”

She got the hang of it and started pointing things out to us and asked if we could see it.

The cable car seems bigger than I remembered it to be, and can fit 8 people.

I spy…

There’s so much going on in Sentosa these days, and we could even hear the shouts coming from the people having fun in Adventure Cove.

Birds eye view

Cheap thrill #2:

We discovered that there is a new cable car line within Sentosa! I was so glad we were upgraded to unlimited rides because Kate kept saying, ” I want to go round and round.”

When you alight at Sentosa, head towards this grey building, and take the escalator up.

Grandma clearly enjoying the picturesque view
We could see the activities going on along the beach and my mum remarked that it looked like we were overseas.

Yup, it sure did feel like we were on holiday. Doing the touristy thing going round and round like we had nothing to do all day. Kids have a lot to teach us about slowing down, don’t they?

Siloso Beach

We lost count of the number of times we went round (the ticketing people stopped asking to check our tickets) and finally Kate declared, “I’m hungry.” The older girls were so glad to hear those words.

“Hmm, not bad..”

We had tea at Spuds & Apron to end our very relaxing day out.

Sane tip: If you are looking for an activity where you don’t have to do much yet the kids are kept entertained, this is it! We went at 3pm, and it was a bit hot. Best to enjoy the ride in the evenings. Opens everyday from 8.45am – 10pm.

Save tip: Tickets which include both the Mount Faber and Sentosa lines are $19 for adults and $12 for kids and senior citizen (locals). You can top up $10 for unlimited rides for the day which will be waived with the NTUC card.

More ticketing information at the Singapore Cable Car Sky Network official homepage.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Children’s Season: Masak Masak 2015 at the National Museum

I must admit I don’t expose my kids enough to the arts. The intention is there but it’s hard to find suitable activities which will interest them. So when we were invited for the bloggers’ preview of Masak Masak 2015, I decided there’s no excuse not to take them. There are 10 installations on exhibit by both local and international artists, and here’s a peek at some of them.

Playgrounds on the Lawn

Spectrum of Paper

Artist: Mademoiselle Maurice, France

To Maurice, the bird is a symbol of hope and she has created a colourful origami mural. Her works can be found in urban spaces in San Francisco, France, Italy, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

What’s fun: Origami session with Mademoiselle Maurice ($20 for one parent-and-child pair, 4-7 years old, 1.5 hours) Tickets available from Sistic.

Spectrum of Paper

Simple Pleasures in Life

Artist: Jeanette Aw, Singapore

Yes, the actress. Besides her love for performing, she also enjoys creating whimsical worlds through her illustrations.

Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that make you smile. It’s time to look around and discover the people who bring colour to your life.

What’s fun: Pick up a crayon and fill this wall mural with your favourite colours!

Simple Pleasures in Life

Dancing Solar Flowers

Artist: Alexandre Dang, France

Alexandre Dang was previously an engineer with the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris and aims to raise awareness for eco-technology by incorporating solar energy into his kinetic works of art.

What’s fun: Be mesmerised by this field of flowers. It allows children to ponder our current use of energy and to think of sustainable energy sources for the future.

Dancing Solar Flowers
Take the escalator down and you’ll find 2 more installations.

Wanderlust

Artist: Crystal Wagner, USA

What’s fun: Explore this enchanting forest maze made from crepe paper.
Wanderlust

Head back up the escalator, and up the stairs all the way to the 3rd floor. Tucked away in a corner room is an interesting installation in semi-darkness created by 2 NUS Division of Industrial Design graduates.

Luma-City

Artist: Lim Kim and Alfred Lim, Singapore

This immersive play-space hopes to light up children’s imagination and get them to think about what happens beneath when vehicles move.

What’s fun: Push these vehicles around in the dark and be surprised by the luminescent trails that appear and disappear beneath your feet.

Luma-City

And before you leave the museum, if you haven’t already taken your kids here, check out this kids arena on the 3rd floor, which is a permanent installation at the museum, where they get to Explore, Create and Perform!

PLAY @ NMS

Of course, the kids will not leave without having a go at the jumping castles. These recreated playgrounds pay tribute to the familiar mosaic playgrounds designed by the HDB in the 1980s.

Do note, the jumping castles are available on Weekends ONLY.

Having a jumping good time!

Children’s Season: Masak Masak 2015 is currently on until 10 August 2015, daily from 10am to 6pm.

Sane tip: By the time we got out, the kids were jumping around under the hot sun. Best to play on the jumping castle first then head inside if you’re going in the morning, or vice versa if going in the afternoon. Have fun!

Save tip: Admission is Free.

National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~



When your child needs surgery

#3 got injured in a sports accident and is now undergoing surgery. As the bone right under her eye got fractured, it is going to be a slightly tricky operation.


I followed her into the OT and held her hand while they administered general anesthesia, and watched her drift off to sleep.

As a mum, there is nothing more painful than watching your child go through any form of suffering. Yet you have to be strong.


She said that she regretted going into the match which resulted in this. I told her life is meant to be lived. We shouldn’t be like porcelain vases, sitting pretty because we are afraid to be broken. Accidents happen.

It is in falling and getting up which makes us stronger, and in receiving the care and concern from friends and relatives which makes our lives richer.

It is going to be a 2 hour wait. When your mind wanders to what the doctor said about the risks involved which she had to inform you of, you can only surrender your worries to God. And it’s times like these which make you stop and think about your priorities in life.

Thank you, to those who are united with us in prayer. May the op go smoothly and may she heal beautifully.
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Lessons from Mr Lee Kuan Yew

When I was young, my dad hardly watched TV. The only time he did was when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was giving his national day speech. My dad turned up the volume and we had to be quiet. I wondered who this man was, who spoke with such power, and whom my dad revered. My parents went through the war and the Japanese occupation and they will forever be staunch supporters of the PAP and Mr Lee.

It was quite different for me. I was born into a generation which took much for granted. Over the years, controversial headlines in the newspapers left me with a different opinion of the government as that of my parents, and it was hard to shake off the fearsome image of Mr Lee.

This past week, as I followed the articles in The Straits Times, I was enlightened by the personal sharings from our ministers and many world leaders. I was ashamed that I knew so little about the history of a man so pivotal to the transformation of our nation.

Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information

The article by our current Education Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat on Mr Lee’s ‘red box’ was a real eye-opener. Mr Heng was his principal private secretary from 1997 – 2000. We have heard about the policies he had implemented and how he has taken us from third world to first. But here was finally an account of how he worked.

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew had a red box. Before Mr Lee came in to work each day, the locked red box would arrive first, at about 9am.

This red box held what Mr Lee was working on at any one time. Through the years, it held his papers, speech drafts, letters, readings, and a whole range of questions, reflections and observations.

Mr Lee was well-known for keeping extremely alert to everything he saw and heard around him – when he noticed something wrong, like an ailing raintree, a note in the red box would follow.

Inside the red box was always something about how we could create a better life for all. We would get to work right away. Our aim was to do as much as we could by the time Mr Lee came into the office later. While we did this, Mr Lee would be working from home.

In his days as PM, Mr Lee’s average bedtime was 3.30am in the morning. Deep into the night, while the rest of Singapore slept, it was common for Mr Lee to be in full work mode. Before he went to bed, Mr Lee would put everything he had completed back into the red box, with clear pointers on what he wished for us to do in the office. The last thing he did was to place the red box outside his study room. The next morning, the duty security team picked up the red box, brought it to us waiting in the office, and a new day would begin.”


Such discipline. Even when he was in his 70s and 80s. And here I am, begrudging the fact that I am over-worked and have no time for myself. How self-indulgent. He makes me want to squeeze more life out of my days and to set the bar higher. To be the best that I can be, in my own capacity.

I also liked the tribute written by Mr Bilahari Kausikan, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He says of Mr Lee:

“He wanted to get things done. He always dared to try. Mr Lee never stopped learning and was never too proud to seek information even from the most junior, and certainly never too proud to change his mind whenever the situation warranted. His sense of mission, his dedication to and passion for Singapore inspired an entire generation of Singaporeans from all walks of life to defy the odds and to serve some cause larger than themselves.”

The greatest of our founding fathers left a lasting legacy for all of us.

What legacy do we want to leave for our children, our grandchildren, and for those around us?

If we dare to dream big dreams, have the dedication and determination to see it through, put our hearts and souls into making the world a better place for ourselves and our fellow Singaporeans, I’m sure our nation will not just survive in the next 50 years, but thrive.

As a friend put it so eloquently in her post
“The best way to remember your spirit is not in weeping, but in girding up our loins, putting our shoulder to the wheel, and working for a better tomorrow for all Singaporeans. We will mourn for there is sorrow, but more importantly, we will try to make you proud.”



Here’s a round-up of tributes from our community of mummy bloggers.

~ www.mummweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Day 2 of our splendid LEGOLAND weekend

We were invited by our very lovely sponsors, the team behind LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort for a weekend stay at the LEGOLAND hotel, complete with admission tickets to both the Theme Park and the Water Park, with meal vouchers included.

Read about our fun-filled first day of our LEGOLAND weekend.

DAY 2

7:30am: The kids were up bright and early and all refreshed for another day of fun. They quickly remembered they were in a whole new world and were all in a jolly good mood. They were chatting non-stop and Kate was happily climbing up and down the bunk bed, which left me in a jolly good mood too as I could get organised without interruption.

8.00am: Breakfast is included at Bricks Family Restaurant. When we went down to the lobby for breakfast, the kids just had to pay a visit to the Castle to play for a bit and told me to get a table and settle Kate in first and they will join us shortly. Of course they never did come back and I had to go get them. That’s how I managed to snap a rare shot of the lobby with absolutely NOBODY in the photo. 

Hotel Lobby at 8am

Bricks family restaurant is extremely kids-friendly. From the assortment of coloured, plastic cutlery for the kids to choose from, to the smorgasbord of food to cater to even the fussiest eaters, it clearly has the little ones’ needs highest on their priority.

Bricks family restaurant

Last night after dinner, Kate saw a life-sized Lego character walking around the hotel and this morning she kept asking to look for the ‘Legoman’. Finally, after breakfast, Captain Hook made an appearance and she was delighted.

Nice to meet you, Captain Hook!

I loved that there was so much to entertain the kids at the lobby and I could go up to our room to pack in peace. I don’t know about you but I find it very hard to pack properly with kids running around me and always end up getting agitated. So this was something I really appreciated. Kate stood here for a long time watching the older boys dance to the pirate Wii game.

“What are they doing??”

More Lego to ignite their imagination. Here, the kids are spoilt with Lego in a different form. Soft jumbo Lego blocks where they can built thrones, houses, and giant structures.

10.00am: We checked out of the hotel, ready to hit the Theme Park for another full day of fun. We decided to start from the right of the entrance with LEGO CITY as it was more suitable for Kate. Our first ride of the day was the Boating School where the kids get to steer the boat along the course. See Kate’s unhappy face? She wanted to steer but couldn’t do a proper job so #5 took over and she wasn’t pleased about that.
Our private boat

Kate continued with the other rides which were suitable for toddlers such as the City Airport and the Rescue Academy. Meanwhile, the older kids headed off to the other sections which were more suitable for them.

Kate’s private jet

Kate is at the age where she loves vehicles and is constantly asking to be taken on the bus, MRT, and even to ride on vans and trucks. She spotted the colourful train snaking through the park and got all excited. The LEGOLAND Express is tagged under #61 on the map. She spent the rest of her time with her grandparents at IMAGINATION and the LAND of ADVENTURE.

“Hi mummy, I’m going on a train ride”

The older kids moved on to MINILAND and marvelled at the intricate and amazingly detailed replicas of the models representing the different countries. The China Miniland has been adorned with a new scene to usher in the Year of the Goat.

China miniland

We made our way to the LEGO Academy and discovered that they ran 2 Robotics classes there with different time slots. The kiasu parent in me encouraged them to sign up quickly (free class, why not?). They were taught how to program the robot to place the ball into the receptacle, and to close it. They were thrilled when they succeeded, and I was impressed. It was also a good bonding experience for the siblings as #5 was stuck halfway and #4 helped him out.

The Robotics classes are for ages 8 and up. You have to go and register as they have limited numbers for each session. Their class didn’t start till about 20 minutes later so we ducked right across to the Asian Deli and the kids ordered the Chicken Nuggets Kids Meal (RM18), which comes with a drink and a little toy. The day couldn’t be more perfect for them.

LEGO TECHNIC arena

I didn’t know what to expect at the Star Wars Miniland, and was amazed by the exhibits on display. And boy, did it bring back fond memories of my childhood. We were pretty spoilt and my brothers had a huge collection of the Star Wars toys. To see them again after 3 decades, in painstakingly built LEGO pieces was extremely nostalgic. Suddenly I was transported back to when I was a child and I could hear my mum’s shrill tone admonishing my brother, “If you don’t pack up your toys, I will throw your Star Wars away!” Oh gosh, how many times did I say that to #5 about his Lego collection.

The older kids said that the 3 things they enjoyed the most were the Robotics class, LEGO MINDSTORMS (roller coaster ride) and the Star Wars Miniland. As it was a Sunday, which is a school day for the students in Johor, there were no queues and they must have gone for about 10 rides on the roller coaster!

Their faves

You know what was the best part of the whole weekend for me? I realized that this was one rare trip where I didn’t have to raise my voice even once. The kids were kept happy and entertained at every turn and so was I at all the well thought-out conveniences to make it that much easier for parents.


Having a room at the hotel is really handy especially if you have kids of different ages or came with the grandparents. The older ones literally made the most of it and played at the Parks for the whole 8 hours. I was happy that Kate (and my dad) still managed to have their naps in comfort and woke up cheery to join us for the rest of the evening. My parents made friends with another set of grandparents from Hong Kong and they were able to sit in the cool comfort of the hotel lobby while the grandkids had their fun in the sun.

I have to say that without a doubt, the LEGOLAND Malaysia resort experience is one that is truly unrivalled, for a fuss-free and happy family weekend away.

Express checkout

FUSS-FREE CHECK OUT:All we had to do was drop our room cards into the express checkout box at the reception counter and that was it! Check out time is at 11am. (Request can be made for a later check-out).

If you’re still not convinced, here’s 5 reasons to visit Legoland Hotel from Life is in the Small Things blog, and you can also read more from Lil Blue Bottle’s Legoland post.

Getting there:

By Car: Use the Tuas Second link and exit at Nusajara Exit 312. Look out for the LEGOLAND signage on the Left. That’s it!

By Bus: Coach service is available from the Singapore Flyer at $20 per person. Click here for more details.

Disclaimer: We were sponsored our stay at LEGOLAND Malaysia Hotel inclusive of admission tickets to the Parks and meal vouchers. All opinions are my own.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~