Learning Through Play

Making Snow Skin Mooncakes

Mid-autumn festival is round the corner and the girls and I spent some time making snow skin mooncakes. A fun, fast, messy and unhealthy treat!

Ingredients

  • 75g kaofen/fried glutinous rice flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 25g Crisco
  • 60ml cool boiled water
  • a quarter tsp pandan essence paste
  • Fillings of choice. We used lotus paste

Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly.

Step 2: Mixture A; Mix kaofen and icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Add Crisco and mix well.

Step 3: Mixture B; In another bowl, add water and essence. Mix well.

Step 4: Add mixture B to A. Knead into a dough.

Step 5: Divide dough into 10 portions.

Step 6: Roll lotus paste into 10 small balls.

Step 7: Wrap the dough over the lotus paste balls.

Step 8: Sprinkle some kaofen into the mooncake mould. Press dough into mould and release!

Step 9: Enjoy the mooncakes!

Books

How You Can Promote Perspective Taking in Children

Mind in the Making: Skill 2 Perspective Taking

Some 13 years ago, hubby and I got a thousand piece puzzle of M.C. Escher’s “Waterfall” from Puzzle World in Wanaka, NZ. It had been kept in storage and I finally decided to work on it after so many years. We enjoyed his artworks on perspective illusion and visited an exhibition on his artwork in 2016 at the Art Science museum. It’s interesting as we put our mind to work in viewing the artwork from different perspectives.

Different people have different takeaways from the same piece of artwork. Our interpretation can be derived from experiences or what we see with our naked eye.

Very often, we find it difficult to comprehend why others think, react in a certain manner because our mind is clouded by our past experiences or the limited evidence presented before us. Situations like these calls for perspective taking. Such skills are increasingly essential as we face a rising generation who are becoming more vocal in their beliefs.

“Mind in the Making” Book Club Sharing

Last week, during a book club sharing we discussed skill 2, perspective taking, from the book Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky (Seven essential life skills every child needs). Ellen listed 9 suggestions on how you can promote perspective taking in children and I am going to share a few that resonates with me.

Practice what we preach

Knowing parenting theories won’t mean a thing if we don’t practice it because parents are the greatest role model. We need to practice what we preach consistently!

View teaching children to be with others as equally important to teaching them independence

While connecting with others is as important as independence, kids need to first manage themselves before they can practice perspective taking in a positive way. We need to help our kids develop independence; exposure to different situations, teach self-help skills through chores, letting them fight their own battles and imposing natural consequences. Such skills are also built on (skill 1) focus and self-control.

As kids begin to be with others, problems and issues are bound to arise and Ellen suggested a six step “Dilemma Resolving Technique”. We need to teach children perspective taking along with problem solving.

  1. Identify the dilemma, problem or issue
  2. Determine the goal
  3. Come up with alternative solutions
  4. Consider how these alternative solutions might work
  5. Select a solution to try
  6. Evaluate the outcome, and if the solution isn’t working, try something else

Understand that a Warm & Trusting Relationship is the Strongest Foundation for Learning Perspective Taking

Children who feel listened to, who feel understood become better listeners and understand others. We are not our children, they need respect and we need to understand their viewpoints.

Use Everyday Moments

Lastly, a very practical suggestion, which I believe most of us are already practicing – use everyday moments to build the skill of perspective taking by talking about other people’s perspective! It can be someone’s action at the playground, an advertisement or a pieces of news we just heard. Books are key in my household as we practice perspective taking. Picture books’ illustrations are great as I would pose questions to invoke their feelings and thoughts.

Take the story of “Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes” for example. The girl and the purple rhino built a trusting friendship over time but it was time for the rhino to leave to be back with his family. As they hugged before the rhino boards the plane; how do you think the girl and the rhino feel? When the girl got home, she sees traces left behind by the rhino, how does she feel? Why? Is there anything that can make her feel better?

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Finally, let’s also be mindful to strike a balance in perspective taking, not to over speculate and overthink about others’ viewpoint that you neglect yourself.

Check out Skill 1: Focus and Self-control here.

Art & Craft, BFIAR, Books, Learning Through Play

Before Five in a Row (II)

The Big Green Pocketbook, Caps for Sale, Angus Lost, Blueberries for Sal

I decided to journal my BFIAR journey (in parts) with younger Gem as I was clearing photos to make more space in my phone. How I miss spending more time with her and older Gem previously before they started formal school. We took a BFIAR hiatus as they started school but I think I would like to resume and possibly move on to FIAR (for younger Gem) and Beyond FIAR (for older Gem).

Each book we rowed has a key memory verse as well as lap book to “document” her activities as keepsake. More than a year on, we still have them and she would take them out for a “review”!

The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom

“The fruit of the spirit is kindness.” Galatians 5:22

“圣灵所结的果子是恩慈。”加拉太书 5:22

The key theme I was trying to bring out from this story was kindness. The kindness of the people the character met when she went to town as well as the bus driver who returned her pocketbook, which contained her entire day! Kindness is doing good and not expecting anything in return.

We also discussed about the invisible bucket from “Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?”

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

“In your anger do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26

“生气却不要犯罪。” 以弗所书 4:26

Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack

“I will not be afraid for you are close beside me.” Psalms 23:4

“因为祢与我同在。” 诗篇 23:4

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

“Wherever you go I will go.” Ruth 1:16

“你往哪里去,我也往那里去。”路得记 1:16

When grandpa gives you blueberries, read “Blueberries for Sal” and make blueberry muffins!

Credits: https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/printables-from-a-to-z-from-homeschool-creations/

Art & Craft, BFIAR, Books, Learning Through Play

Before Five in a Row (I)

Goodnight Moon, Prayer for a Child, Play with Me, The Little Rabbit

I decided to journal my BFIAR journey (in parts) with younger Gem as I was clearing photos to make more space in my phone. How I miss spending more time with her and older Gem previously before they started formal school. We took a BFIAR hiatus as they started school but I think I would like to resume and possibly move on to FIAR (for younger Gem) and Beyond FIAR (for older Gem).

Each book we rowed has a key memory verse as well as lap book to “document” her activities as keepsake. More than a year on, we still have them and she would take them out for a “review”!

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

“God gives rest to His loved ones.” Psalms 127:2

“惟有耶和华所亲爱的,必叫他安然睡觉。”诗篇 127:2

This was the first book younger Gem rowed when she was 29 months old.

Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

“May the Lord bless you and keep you.” Numbers 6:24

“愿耶和华赐福给你,保护你。“ 民数记 6:24

As we rowed “Prayer for a Child”, it reminded me to be thankful for even the simplest things in life we often take for granted. We spent time listing down the things she is thankful for and prayed for the people around her.

Play with Me by Marie Hall Ets

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

“你们要休息,要知道我是神。”诗篇 46:10

“Play with Me” is such a lovely story about a little girl who wants to play with all the animals around her but all of them frightened away as she approached them. Finally she decided to sit and be quiet and one by one the animals came back, sat near her and even had a little surprise from one of the animals at the end.

We made all the animals which appeared in the book (printables in this link) , which took a long time, but she had so much fun doing it. This is her favourite book because we role played; one by one the animals would appear as we read the story.

The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn

“God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“神必与你同在。” 约书亚记 1:9

A story that provided a glimpse of what having a pet rabbit is like and learning the days of the week too!

Credits: https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/printables-from-a-to-z-from-homeschool-creations/

Experiencing God

Parenting with the Fruit of the Spirit

“A soothing tongue is a tree of life but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

The catchy tune of “Fruit of the Spirit” by Uncle Charlie has been a recent favourite on the girls’ playlist and they managed to pick up the tongue twisting lyrics in no time. Living our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is a lot more daunting than singing it. Head knowledge does not translate to daily life application and God sees the latter. God sees our heart.

I had created fruit of the spirit family devotion, decorated Christmas tree with the nine fruits of the spirit previously and repeatedly told the girls off for not applying what they learn. It’s always easy to tell the girls’ the expected behavior in a situation but yet as an adult I can’t behave as I should when I am put in a difficult situation.     

Modelling good behaviour and living a godly life to my girls has proven to be a daily challenge and God presented me a test.

Couple weeks back, hubby came into the bedroom with a letter in hand as I was about to read the bible to the girls before their bedtime…

Hubby: “You had the car last Wednesday morning right? Speeding ticket; $150 fine plus 4 demerit points.”

Oh my, it’s like returning the GST vouchers I just received! I recalled after finding out the location of the mentioned offence. I had brought older Gem to the zoo that morning before picking younger Gem from school and the fuel tank was running low. Knowing hubby needed the car that evening, I decided to be nice and make a detour, a deviation from the usual route, to fill up the tank for him. The following was my response/excuse in my defence.

Me: “Ya la, blah blah blah… had to fill up the tank for you. All your fault.”

Why did that even come out from my mouth? All the fruits of the spirit I know and taught crushed in the bin. No love, no joy, no peace, no patience, no kindness, no goodness, no faithfulness, no gentleness, no self-control. The ugly side of me displayed before my girls. I know speeding has no connection to the route, to me being nice to go pump petrol etc. but the natural reaction just like Adam and Eve was playing the blame game; creating excuses.

Oh, I just wanted to dig a burrow and hide! Ashamed of the summon, my reaction and in my heart, I remembered I took the same route the day before, anxious if I will get another summon.   

As parents, hubby and I quickly turned this into a lesson for the girls. A negative example, exactly what we should not do because mummy made the wrong choice and my reaction is not pleasing to God.

There was no love as I thought only for myself.

There was no joy as my reactions did not reflect my sovereign God was in control.

There was no peace as I was anxious about receiving another summon.

There was no patience as I sped.

There was no kindness in helping to top up fuel as true kindness does not expect anything in return.

There was no goodness. I was not ready to give.

There was no faithfulness as my actions did not glorify God.

There was no gentleness in my speech for playing the blame game.

There was no self-control as I spoke in haste.

One of those days where you rate yourself a zero for parenting! Let me try to be better tomorrow!

Anyway, hubby furnished my particulars and I have since received the notice. The Traffic Police has very kindly treat this incident as a warning. Thank you very much!

Experiencing God

Finding Hope and Strength from Psalms

Grim news of covid-19, floods and unrest in numerous nations and lost of life at RVHS brought me to the book of Psalms to seek solace. Art is truly therapeutic as I mediate on the word of God.

Through it all we can only put our hope and trust in our faithful God…

Day One of Seven

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” Psalms 31:24

Day Two of Seven

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalms 37:23-24

Day Three of Seven

“The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1

Day Four of Seven

“His love endures forever…” Psalms 136

Day Five of Seven

“When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Psalms 73:16-17

Day Six of Seven

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope come from him.” Psalms 62:5

Day Seven of Seven

“May you unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalms 33:22

Art & Craft, Books, Picture Books

The Little Kangaroo

Younger Gem has been on a kangaroo craze after learning a tune in mandarin at school titled “我是只小袋鼠” (I am a Little Kangaroo)! Riding on her enthusiasm we found out more on this animal from down under at the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. Catch her sing the tune at the Wallaby Trail in Night Safari.

Got younger Gem a kangaroo keychain from the zoo to accompany her to school on her bag!

Younger Gem enjoyed the story of “The Little Kangaroo” so much I had to repeat it countless times. The story speaks of mummy kangaroo trying to encourage her little joey to come out of her pouch and explore the world to no avail until…

As usual, we headed to the library to borrow books on kangaroos and here are three facts she learnt from “The Story of the Kangaroo”.

  1. Kangaroos are marsupials; mammals in which females feed and carry their young in pouches.
  2. They live in small groups called mobs.
  3. They move by hopping on their huge back legs and feet, using their tails for balance as they leap.

How can we forget about kangaroo crafts! We went for some kangaroo silhouettes and painting with some fruit sleeve covers. Yay, you can tell she was enjoying the process as she was singing while painting. A singing child is a happy child!

Books, Learning Through Play

Celebrating Nine Years of Motherhood!

As my firstborn turns nine, it also marks my ninth year in my motherhood journey. What a milestone for me who once did not want to have kids! My motherhood journey began with depression and by the grace of God I snapped out of it. Looking back, the past nine years had been the best so far and I can’t wait for many more 9 nine years! It has made me more appreciative of God, hubby and life!

How can we not have a celebration when there is a birthday girl in the house?

Willy Wonka themed cupcakes for birthday as requested by the birthday girl. She first read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” two years ago on our trip to Australia and has been re-reading it umpteen times! She managed to catch the movie of the same title inflight, which definitely made the story “come alive”.

As usual she gets to decorate some parts of her cupcakes; chocolate lollies this time around. Taking perspective; W for Wonka or turn it around as M for Matt. Her face lit when she saw the initials in sparkling gold!

Happy Birthday my older Gem! I love you to the moon and back! xoxo

Artists' Inspired, Books

Rousseau Inspired…

Spending time on painting is quite a luxury these days. I took an interest in older Gem’s HBL art homework and decided to work on it as well! That’s to create an art piece of the jungle, drawing inspirations from Henri Rousseau’s jungle pieces. It’s amazing that Henri Rousseau painted his jungle pieces based on imagination when he had never visited one before! A Malayan tapir in my version after my recent fascination over the animal with repeat visits to the Night Safari the past month.

Diving deeper into Rousseau’s work, we looked at his painting “The Sleeping Gypsy”; a painting of a lion peering over a gypsy in deep sleep. The painting currently resides at the MoMA. We read a book of the same title and it explored a possibility of why only a lion was in the painting, which older Gem found hilarious!

The beauty of an art piece, where you can have your own interpretation and create your wild imaginative ending. Older Gem thinks that the gypsy will be the lion’s breakfast!