Wednesday, 9 December 2015

6 Activities to keep the kids away from Gadgets

I was invited on the program "Parenting Made Easy" with Susan Ng on 93.8 Live to share about how to deal with children and their gadget usage during the school holidays as many are left to their own devices. Literally.

Similarly as with most households, if I don't plan activities for the kids, they would end up spending hours on their phones, iPads or computers. Here are 6 simple activities I do with my children during the school holidays to keep them busy.
Weekly scheduling keeps me sane!
1. Link what they read/learn with reality

I was reading to Kate "Oh, the Pets you can get" by Dr. Seuss and she has joined her siblings in clamouring for a pet dog. I decided it was about time I took them to S.P.C.A to show them what happens to dogs which have been abandoned, and to impress upon them that a pet is a responsibility for the long-haul.
S.P.C.A
Kate was attracted to the tiniest dog, and wanted to go inside the cage to pet her. Most of the other dogs are quite big, and some bark a lot, although many just lie there quietly. The kids were taken aback by the listlessness of several of the dogs as they are used to seeing dogs at the playground which are frisky and playful.
Poor little dog
This Christmas, you can spread some love to these animals by sponsoring items they require. Click their wish list for more details.

S.P.C.ASociety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Singapore
31 Mount Vernon Road
Singapore 368054*

Viewing hours: 11am - 4pm

Closed on Thursdays, except on PH
Tel: 62875355

*From January 2016, they will be moving to 50 Sungei Tengah Road, Singapore 699012



Prince, Apollonia and Twinky
Kate has been watching the Jurassic Park sequels and keeps talking about dinosaurs. I took the opportunity to take her to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS to show her the fossils of the dinosaurs and I can see how learning is so much more effective when the child's interest in piqued.

Tickets have to be pre-bought via Sistic, and collected at their authorised agents, for crowd control. However, they do sell left-over tickets at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis. Call +65 6601 3333 to try your luck!

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
National University of Singapore
2 Conservatory Drive

Singapore 117377


2. Visit other libraries

I have been meaning to take Kate to the Central library at Bras Besah but have never found the time. She enjoyed herself so much that we spent more than 2 hours at the kids' section.

She took a book, found herself a nice chair and 'read' to herself. She returned the book, chose another one, and chose another chair. Yup, that took her almost an hour. I think she had as much fun playing chair rotation as reading the books. Meanwhile, I grabbed a book from the parenting section and sat within sight of her.

I had the unexpected pleasure of being able to read while she kept herself occupied. I love this library! She spent the rest of the time watching some older kids play on the interactive computer terminals and after they left, she was so pleased that she had the computer all to herself, pretending that she knew how it worked.
Central Library
3. Take them outdoors

During the school term, we hardly get a chance to spend the whole afternoon mucking around the beach. The weekdays are occupied with school activities while we don't enjoy jostling with the crowds on the weekends. I love taking the kids to the beaches in Sentosa as it feels like we are on holiday. Best of all, it costs nothing!
More fun with friends!
4. Encourage them to create their own games

On normal days, everyone is in a rush. We like to take it nice and slow during the holidays, to let everyone re-charge. In between our activities and parties, I allocate lots of time and space for them to create their own fun.

There is so much more that goes on when they make up their own games, their own rules, and learn to negotiate and compromise.

#5 set up a simple game with Kate's stacking cups. He later realised that she could not aim from such a distance and allowed her to move closer, closer, closer.
Cup and ball game
5. Let the kids prepare special dinners

Dining out is not cheap in Singapore, so the next best thing is to DIY our own 'fine' dining experience! From planning of the menu, to the preparation of the food and setting of the table. It also teaches kids so many important life skills, not least that food doesn't just appear on the table!

Besides, it gives them a sense of achievement and a good way to bond. Use adult utensils for an extra special atmosphere. You'd be surprised how careful the kids are with glassware when you set your expectations and show that you entrust them to use them with care. (But of course, no long-stemmed wine glasses for the little ones!)
Dinner prepared by the kids
6. Give them free reign to bake

I know it messes up the kitchen, but there's so much going on in an activity like baking. Planning sequences, math concepts like measuring and adding, and fine motor skills such as pouring and scooping.
Chocolate chip cookies
And the final product is so rewarding! I love it when we sit around the kitchen table after all the hard work, savouring our freshly baked goods. Sometimes it turns out to be a failure, and we have a good laugh about it.
#1's artistic shot
Related posts:

6 Family-friendly restaurants that we love

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

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