Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Origami promotes creativity in toddlers

Origami means "folding paper" in Japanese, it is an ancient Japanese art of folding the paper. When I was young, I did not know that folding paper into an object had this beautiful name called "origami", all I did know was I enjoyed playing with the papers.
My mum is good in Origami. She is the one that teaches me how to fold boat, aeroplane, frog, crane, ball and etc. I remember playing the paper boat on small pond near my house, it was really fun.
I believe Origami can promote creativity, imagine folding a crane from just a piece of paper, isn't it fun? I also think that Origami can enhance the bonding between parents and children, just like how my mum did with me.
Last Sunday I did Origami with my daughter. I can see that she was amazed at what I was doing. She kept asking me, "mummy, what (are) you doing?". When I fold the paper, she was staring at my paper, I told her that I was folding a bird. After I had done, I showed her the paper crane, and moved its wings so that it looked like flying, my girl was trilled at it.
After a while, she took another piece of red paper, crushed it and threw it up, she told me "mummy, Chloe made bird", haha!
The "bird" (crush) made by Chloe

You can get this type of origami paper from Daiso at $2 per pack. See my post on Daiso here if you're interested.

Some Origami diagrams:



For more diagrams click here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why toddlers need to maintain their first teeth?

By theory everyone knows that we need to keep our teeth healthy, but I’m very sure many parents do not place importance on maintaining their toddlers’ first teeth, and I doubt parents really brush their toddlers’ teeth when their toddlers are one year plus, which is suggested by the expert.
Kids will lose all their first teeth anyway! I was once among those who think this way, until I heard a radio program on the importance of dental hygiene for toddlers.
Yes, baby first teeth will drop and be replaced by the permanent teeth, but mind you, the permanent teeth only grow out when the kids are around 6 years old. I’m sure no one likes to be called “bo geh” (toothless) in his or her childhood, and this will not only affect the appearance of the kid, but also the digestion of food when the kid eats. Moreover, these primary teeth hold the right spaces for the permanent teeth. Children with tooth decay problems will also suffer from emotional distress, and have the higher tendency of related gum diseases.
One interesting point highlighted by the dentist in the radio program was that, children need to brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, he said, only fluoride gives protection to the enamel of the teeth. This is contrary to what we read or heard, children below four cannot use fluoride toothpaste as they tend to swallow the toothpaste instead of rinse it away. If a child swallow too much of fluoride, it can cause the child with a tooth condition called fluorosis. According to Wikipedia, “fluorosis appears as tiny white streaks or specks that are often unnoticeable. The spots and stains left by fluorosis are permanent. They may darken over time.” This is the reason why, most of the toothpastes used by kids are fluoride-free. But the dentist had his argument over it, he said so far, only fluoride was medically proven to protect the tooth enamel from decay, and when brushing teeth, the moderate usage of toothpaste will not result in excessive consumption that could lead to fluorosis.
So what is my take? Well, the dentist is right that only fluoride is medically proven to protect tooth from decay, but it is also right that kids like to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it. I do want my kids to have good dental hygiene but I also do not want her to get fluorosis especially our water supplies are already with fluoride. So, I will let my girl use the fluoride-free toothpaste till the time she knows how to rinse her mouth.
Getting the concept right doesn’t mean you can now start to do the right thing. Majority of the toddlers especially those below three refuse to brush their teeth, or let others touch their teeth. You probably need to spend more time on getting them to brush teeth than deciding on fluoride or fluoride-free toothpaste. For me, I let my girl used the toothbrush without toothpaste initially, she was not interested in it. I then bought a toothbrush with Spongebob design, and the Orajel training toothpaste with fruity favourite and Thomas train packaging. The miracle works and she now likes to brush her teeth. You might want to try it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun Class - F for Fish

Finally, I have time to carry out the second lesson of letter F. When you have more than 1 kid, it is really quite difficult to sit down and let one of the kids concentrate on his or her study. Well, I finally made used of the 1 hour before cooking the lunch on Sunday, whereby my hubby can help taking care of the little boy.

After greeting song, I take out the Letter F paper with pasted pictures done in previous lesson, and let Chloe paste the word of each pictures on it.

Chloe will spell out each word and read each word. I find this method good, and I'll continue doing this for her future lesson, i.e. one lesson on getting the pictures out from a bag and paste on the letter paper, the second lesson on labeling the picture.

After the letter F pictures chart, I let her listen to the phonics song of F, and told her we are going to learn F for fish today.

She coloured the picture of a fish with paint. After painting, we did prompting for the word "fish". She is still not familiar with prompting, but is ok, I just want to introduce her the idea of prompting slowly.
The handicraft for this lesson was very interesting, it was a fishing game. All you need will be a chopstick which you can get from those hawker stalls, a string, a magnet bar where you probably can cut from those free gift usually sent by post (if you really can't find then you can buy from the stationery shop), some paper clips and self drawing of fish.

I let Chloe colour the fishes with crayon.

After colouring, just clip the paper clip on it. Let the child count the fishes, which enhances their mathematics at the same time.

Tie the string to the chopstick, and tie the magnet at the other end of the string, and the fishing rope is done. Chloe likes to play this game:

I believe the adults will find it interesting too, I was eager to try it out after she had done :)

We sang the closing song of Once I Caught a Fish Alive, and Chloe gave me a hug and said "thank you mummy!"

The lesson plan:
1) Greeting Song, click here
2) Introduce phonics of F, sing phonics song of F
3) Let the kids label the pictures of objects start with F done in previous lesson
4) Prompting
5) Tell the kid today we're learning F for Fish
6) Art craft on the Fish
7) Summary
8) Closing song

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fun Class: F for Frog

Chloe: Mummy, Fun Class?
Me: Em....
Chloe: F for Frog ah?

My girl will ask me whether there will be Fun Class for her every time I fetch her home from babysitter's house. And she can always guess what I'll be teaching her next, amazing......

We started the lesson with "Greeting Song" (click here for the song), I showed her letter F printed on A4 paper, let her trace the letter. She's very familiar with the procedure by now, she would immediately trace the letter without me telling her. I then let her listen to the phonics song of F, and let her take out pictures of item start with letter F from a bag. The pictures consisted of "frog, fish, fork, flower, french fries". I let her paste the pictures on the Letter F A4 paper.

She purposely showed me a black face when i took out my camera, below picture showed the true mischievous her....

Whenever she took out one picture from the bag, I would ask her what is that and she would answer me before pasting the picture on the letter F paper. I used this method for lesson A, I then stopped using it for the subsequent lessons, but I still prefer this method as it was fun to her and she did pick up words from here, so I introduced back this method in this letter F lesson.

I told her we were going to learn F for frog. I prompted her to spell "frog". I wanted to take down the video of the prompting, but she was not cooperating, I would try to record it in future, but generally prompting is about pronouncing the phonics of the letters in a word and let the kid spells the word. For younger kid, you will have to prompt letter by letter.

I let her do the handicraft of frog, for which she pasted the crepe paper on the body of a picture of frog.

She had little patience on the pasting, so I had got to help her with it.

I then let her paint the head of the frog, which was something she likes to do, so no problem with it. After finished painting, let it dry, and cut a small hole on the mouth of the frog, and put through a blower, which acted like the tongue of the frog.

Chloe really likes this frog craft, for the first time she played this for at least 15 minutes! The result was of course the blower got damaged, but she was still playing it till I promised to buy her another blower to replace it.

We sang the closing song "Mr frog".

She ended the lesson by giving me a hug and saying "thank you" to me.

The lesson plan:
1) Greeting Song, click here
2) Introduce phonics of F, sing phonics song of F
3) Let the kids see pictures of objects start with F
4) Prompting
5) Tell the kid today we're learning F for Frog
6) Art craft on the Frog
7) Summary
8) Closing song

Fun Class - Greeting Song

A greeting song, can be any song, but it must be a lively, energetic one that symbolizes the start of the lesson. In many pre-schools, the teachers will sing this good morning song, click here (this video is not interesting, but is the only one I could find with the same melody, ha!). You need not sing the whole song which says out the names, you may just sing the following part:

Good morning, good morning
To you to you and to you
Good morning, good morning
To you and to you.....

You may also modify the song if you're having the lesson in afternoon or evening by changing the word "morning".

A greeting song is a must, my girl will stop and focus once she hears me singing the greeting song, it tells her that the lesson has started. I guess, the effect is just like when we heard the class monitor shouted "stand up!" and the classmates greeted the teacher "Good morning teacher", which told us that the class had started and we should stop playing and concentrate from then on.

A video of my girl singing the song:

(she almost forgotten the lyrics, ha!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fun Class: E for Egg and Elephant

I had the lesson on "E for Egg" with Chloe long time ago, before we had the lessons on B, C and D. This is because on that particular day, a colleague send us the baby full month cake where red eggs were included in the goodies bag. Since Chloe knows A-Z already, there shouldn't be any harm to skip the sequence and so I made use of the red eggs to have the "E for Egg" lesson with her.
The topic song in this lesson was "humty Dumpty", it was a coincidence that she learned about this rhyme from her weekend Zoophonics lesson a week before my fun class, so she could well relate the song to the topic.

The rhyme goes like this:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

For those who are not familiar with this rhyme, "humpty dumpty" was a character portrayed as an egg :)

I did not take any picture of this lesson, probably too eager to eat the red egg after the lesson, Chloe had fun singing the rhyme, she told me "humpty dumpty egg", haha!

The second lesson was on "E for Elephant", as "elephant" was quite a long word for Chloe, I skipped the prompting part. There are 2 arts for this lesson, the first one is the elephant puzzle, which I let her colour it with crayon.
The body parts of the elephant can be 'dismantled', it was stick to the paper by blue tags and after which I told her to stick back the parts to the correct places. While she's doing that, I asked her the body parts and she answered them. E.g. I would ask 'where is the leg?' and she would tell me "leg is here".
elephant puzzle

The second arts work was an elephant puppet, you'll need an envelop, 2 cuttings of the ear shape, 1 long strip paper as the nose:
elephant puppet

I let her colour the "ears" and "nose",
elephant puzzle

The finished product after the ears and nose are pasted on the envelop. Put your hand in the envelop and it would become a puppet:
elephant puppet

It was a fun class thanks to the arts work above :)

The lesson plan:
1) Greeting Song, click here
2) Introduce phonics of E, sing phonics song of E
3) Let the kids see pictures of objects start with E
4) Prompting
5) Tell the kid today we're learning E for Egg or Elephant
6) Art craft on the Egg or Elephant
7) Summary
8) Closing song

Click here for song on "humpty dumpty" and here for elephant

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