Building Sandcastles at Siloso Beach SG50

I had promised El that we would take him to see the sand sculptures at Sentosa over the weekend. The Sands of Time sand sculptures showcased some aspects of Singapore’s history, as part of the SG 50 Golden Jubilee celebrations. We had already gone to Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum earlier.

On National Day itself, we drove to Sentosa and then walked to Siloso Beach. It was a Sunday and National Day itself, so the place was packed. There were so many people! We were dressed in red!

After walking for ages, we still did not see the sculptures, so we decided to just find a place at the no swim zone and start digging. We had some of our sandcastle building tools with us.

sandcastle building tools

el at siloso beach el building sandcastle el digging

Initally, Gar was throwing a tantrum as he is highly sensitive and he hated the sand on his feet and shoes. The moment we cleaned his feet and shoes, he would put his feet down and then get sand on him again. It was only after his father took him to the sea to wash his feet, then dumped sand on him, that he overcame his aversion to sand and was a happy boy again.

gar and daddy soaking their feet

elgar brothers father building sandcastle Gar helping out
gar building sandcastle

The bigger castles were harder to do. We had to do them three times before we got them right. We needed to add water to make them more compact. This place is better than Labrador Park and Bishan Park because we have easy access to water and the sand here looked relatively clean. I think the sand had been imported.

our sandcastles at siloso beach This is the best one, but Gar went to dump some sand on top.
sandcastle siloso beach gar

El said it would have been better if we could build a moat around the castles.

We left and headed to the other far end where the sand sculptures were. It was a long walk on the sand, and we took turns carrying Gar.

siloso beach

Finally, we saw them. The first one was about people at a kopitiam listening to the proclamation of independence on 9 August, 1965.

children at a coffeeshop sandcastle

Watching the parade for the first time at Parliament House

watching the first national day parade at parliament house

Having a swinging good time

having a swinging good time

Sentosa and MerlionSentosa Some favourite activities of Singaporeans – playing mahjong and buying 4D.

we are the champions

After that, we decided to rush home and try to get glimpses of the fireworks at my relative’s house.

Unfortunately, despite being at 38th storey, we were blocked and did not get to see much. Oh well. We had enough of crowds and did not want to jostle with others.

4 Ideas For Children During Free Time

After being confronted with the reality that my young children spend far too much of their free time on iPad either playing Minecraft, Tap Zoo and Surfer Run, or watching YouTube videos, I decided there must be better things for them to do, because they become quite irritable after playing online games for too long. There are four big ideas I would encourage them to do during their free time.

1. Play

Active play is great for young children. Gifted children may have asynchronous development physically, so spending time outdoors could help them with their gross motor skills. Unstructured play is important for their development. We also go to the playground occasionally. Gar loves to climb and he becomes braver each time. I used to hover around Gar, but now that he is older and more skilful, I can let him have more independence. My son’s preschool teacher also mentioned that negotiation skills are best observed at the playground.

The boys love to jump on the sofa. The younger one loves to jump from the piano bench, tables and beds. We have lots of playmats to cushion his jumps. Someone mentioned that having a mini trampoline would be a great idea. I haven’t had time to check that out. In the mean time, my 3-year-old sofa looks bad.

The boys also love to play with balls. They could throw it, kick it or roll it. Gar loves to put on his father’s soccer gloves. Sometimes I will even join in, but I think I am far from bending it like Beckham.

Apart from active play, sedentary play is important too. Gar loves to play with Batman and Joker at the moment. My husband had bought Duplo Batman, so the brothers love to play with them.

Recently, we started playing Twister, a game that ties you up in knots, as El loves to say. What I can say is my children can’t seem to tell left and right apart.

playing twister1

Charades is another game that we have played before. It is no ordinary charades. It is dinosaur charades. El would act out various dinosaur species, and get me to guess what they are.

Not too long ago, with his latest Minecraft obsession, and some Citiblocs tiny wooden blocks, he made me guess various items, such as tree, treehouse, heart, and other things that look exactly like how they do in Minecraft.


2. Create

Let children come up with something. Sometimes they could create their own games, or sometimes they could recreate drawings or other handicraft.

El creates drawings filled with dinosaurs or Ben 10 aliens. Despite nearly 2 years of art lessons, he is still not so good at drawing. However, I still love his drawings. I have tonnes of unused exercise paper, so he just takes them and draw. He fills them up with maps of various continents and countries. He writes a lot of information on those papers as well.

Gar has learnt how to use a pair of scissors through practising cutting those cute pictures from Kumon books. He can use a normal pair of scissors. Sometimes I just let him cut coloured paper. This helps him with his fine motor skills. He does this when he is bored.
cut paper dog let's cut paper

We used to do painting, but I usually ended up painting most of the time. Gar likes to watch me paint more than he paints. If he does paint, he uses a lot of yellow.

gar and el painting

Now that we have finally bought a piano, I would also play songs for them to sing. Gar loves Skidamarink at the moment, so I play that and he will sing along. He loves to sing. It is also a tactic by me to get El to the piano so that he can practise the piano.

3. Think

It is good to have down time. They could think about anything. It is also good when they are in cars and have nothing to do. Simple games can be played.

Sometimes El sees me reading newspapers and he would join in. Last week, I saw an news article about a basketballer named Curry, and it tickled El greatly because he likes to eat curry. He was so inspired he came up with a song/rap (can’t really call it a song because he cannot carry a tune) about curry. All I did was to give him a piece of paper and a pencil.

There is a cartoon with a character named Mabel. In an oft-televised advertisement, she says, “My name is Mabel. It rhymes with cable.” The boys are also tickled by this. El started thinking about rhymes.

“My name is Ace. It rhymes with ice,” he said, while we were in the car.

“No, they do not rhyme,” I replied, and made the vowel sounds for him.

It was only when I wrote it down I realized he had rhymed them via spelling. To provide him with more examples, I showed him a video on Michael Learns To Rock, about star/car, and stay/anyway as part of rhyming pairs. Think he wasn’t keen on the music.

Other thinking games include thinking of as many animals/birds/dinosaurs/countries, depending on their current obsessions, starting with a particular letter.

Boggle is another interesting word game.

We have plenty of books at home, so sometimes Gar will request us to read the books to him.

4. Dream

Dreaming and thinking are not exclusive, but I would like to think of dreaming as something that is more abstract and allows more room for creativity.

I like to throw random questions to El. If you were a tree, what would you be? He replied he would be a shelter for animals.

What is your ideal school? He said it would be a nature school. He told me that his school would be situated in a forest, and surrounded by trees. They will study about nature. He went to check out images of nature schools, and then drew his own school.

nature school 1

Sometimes we need to give our gifted children time to dream. If they have too many packed activities (which I am sometimes tempted to do), they are just going through the motion, and may soon lose their zest for learning.

You could check out creative journal prompts and get some questions to ask your children. They do not have to turn this into a writing activity. They could just verbalise their thoughts, and you could encourage them to dream. You never know when their ideas could crystallise.

7 habits of happy kids

I had bought a book on The 7 Habits for Happy Children and read a story to El. It was about a character feeling bored. He was encouraged to take charge himself and not depend on others to relieve his boredom. The habit was about Being Proactive. When El mentioned that word to me a few days ago, I reminded him of the story, and immediately he went to find something to do. I hope my boys will take charge of their own free time and find something to occupy themselves, or just use the time to dream. El will be going to school next year, and with the stressful Singapore education system, I hope he will have free time to play, create, think and dream.

This is part of a blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page for June. Click on the image to check out other blogs on the gift of free time.
the gift of free time

Cozy Weekend With Gar

My helper has left for home after her contract is up. This is the first weekend without any help in nearly two years. We stayed home most of the time since the boys were not well enough to go out for food.

The first thing I did was to cook breakfast for Gar. El was with his grandparents as we had to separate the two from further cross infection.

photo 1

I steamed some fish and meat for Gar. I am not a good cook.

fish and meat

It was time to keep Gar’s clothes.

folding clothes

Gar was hiding behind the clothes hangers. What a cheeky boy.

clothes hangersWe pasted stickers onto a sticker book. He tried counting them but only counted to 5 and then he mixed it up.

fish stickers

After that, he played with his Lego toys.

building bricks

Then, he wanted to play Ninja Turtles with his father.

playing with toys

We had fun with this boy over the weekend, but that meant that we had not much time left to do our own work. Should I relook into the hours I spend at work?

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