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Gaining Confidence with Sparkanauts + Giveaway

Friday, 31 July 2015

Small J has come to the end of his first term of Junior Pilot at Sparkanauts. You may read about what Sparkanauts is about and what happens during a lesson

We have now gotten so familiar with this room. Small J also knows the way to his classroom. Unlike when he first came, he was so scared and refused to step into the room. 


When we sing the welcome song, he could wave the bell and do the actions.


Matching the word cards to the picture cards, with lots of prompting from me. The problem is, J could never sit still during flashcards time. He will be looking at other places or trying to wriggle out from my arms. I'm glad I didn't send him for any right brain training classes as he definitely will not be able to stay still. This is why I particularly like the classes at Sparkanauts - a well mix of both physical and intellectual activities to ensure that your child has an all-rounded development.


He picked his favourite drum and start drumming away as we sing along to the theme song of the week. 


Peekaboo!
When it comes to circuit time, J is now able to conquer all the stations at lighting speed. Jumping on the trampoline, crawling through the tunnel, climbing up and down the steps, jumping off, etc. Though, he still need some help on the balancing beam. Comparing when he first started, he could only managed 2 rounds and now he can do 3 rounds! Over the months, he has become much more confident and independent. Sometimes, he just simply zoom off to the next station without waiting for me.


His favourite is the trapeze. Before the teachers could announce that it is trapeze timing, he is already all excited and ready to swing. I could never believe that he used to be so afraid of the trapeze and would cry and hang on to me.


Another of his favourite is music time. At home, he is able to sing do-do-re-re-mi-mi, which is the intro song for music time. And when he sees the toy xylophone, he will hit it and say fa-fa-do-do.


The teachers there are very helpful, friendly and always there to answer any queries you have. We are so glad to see how Small J has grown and developed self-confidence with the help from Sparkanauts. From a crying koala bear to a joyful and courageous toddler! 

If you would like to give Sparkanauts a try, which I strongly feel you should, do drop them an email or give them a call to arrange for a trial. You could also read about our experiences at here and here.

Sparkanauts
Address: 293 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, SAFRA Toa Payoh, #02-01, Singapore 319387
Contact: 6259 0307
Email: info@sparkanauts.com
Website: www.sparkanauts.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sparkanauts
Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm


GIVEAWAY

Sparkanauts is generously giving away 3 trial passes worth $58 each to 3 lucky readers of The Js Arena. 

Just complete all the steps below to win! Giveaway ends Monday, 10 August 2015, 11:59pm.
(This giveaway is only open to fans of The Js Arena and Sparkanauts. Please ensure that you have liked both pages.)
To Win, 
1) Like The Js Arena
2) Like Sparkanauts
3) Like and share this facebook post. Remember to set your post to public.
4) Comment on this facebook post with the age of your child, why you would want to win and tag 3 friends.

Bonus entries. These are not compulsory but you could earn bonus entries to increase your chance of winning.
1) Follow @TheJsArena on Instagram.
2) Follow @Sparkanauts on Instagram.
3) Repost the Giveaway photo and hashtag #sparkanauts and #thejsarenagiveaway on Instagram.


Terms and Conditions:
1. Giveaway ends on Monday, 10 August 2015, 2359 hours (Singapore time)
2. This giveaway is for first-time Sparkanauts students only.
2. Open to Singapore residents only.
3. All entries have to be completed. Incomplete or invalid entries will be disqualified without notice.
4. Limited to one winner per household.
5. Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
6. We reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions without prior notice.


Disclaimer: We were invited to attend the classes at Sparkanauts for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine.

If you enjoy reading this post, I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram. You could also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left hand column) and be updated of my latest post.


A Trip to the Fire Station

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

We went to the fire station again. If you still do not know, almost all the fire stations in Singapore has an open house on every Saturday between 9am to 11pm. More details of the open house here.

This time we are super happy because we finally get our hands on the kiddy fireman helmet! During all our previous visits, they always ran out of the helmets.

The boys look super cute with the helmets but they are too distracted with other things

We were first bought to the comms room where a very friendly fireman explained to us about the operations of the fire station and the area that they cover. They also told us that most of the calls they received are usually rescue calls instead of fire calls and this fire station has the highest number of suicide calls. Wow... I didn't know that there are so many suicide cases in our neighbourhood. 

Then, we were brought outside to look at the fire engines and other rescue vehicles. This fireman is demonstrating to us how they put on their suits within 1 minute.


Next is the boys favourite! Water time! Here, they got to try out turning on and off the water on the fire hose. Big J jumped right in, while Small J needed some warming up before he was willing to try. However, once he got hang of it, he didn't want to leave.




Then, the firemen showed us some stunts of sliding down the fire pole. After this, we were free to explore the fire station. We saw a live call for a fire rescue bike, where the fireman quickly put on his gears and zoomed out of the fire station in a flash.


Mandatory photo with the big fire engine

Little man in a big truck. Let's roll!

Trying the real helmet which is really heavy

If you enjoy reading this post, I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram. You could also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left hand column) and be updated on my latest post.


Sparkanauts Leyun (乐云) Chinese Programme

Monday, 27 July 2015

If you have been following this blog, you would know how much Small J and I are enjoying the classes at Sparkanauts. Read about our experiences here and here

With the success of its English holistic development curriculum, Sparkanauts is excited to launch their new Chinese Programme - Leyun (乐云). This programme is catered for children from the age of 18 months to 30 months and 3 to 5 years old.

What we like about Sparkanauts is their low teacher-student ratio. In these Leyun classes, there will be a maximum of 10 children to 2 teachers per class. There are 3 programmes to choose from:

Curious Class (快乐班) - Parent Accompanied Class

Age Group: 18 months to 30 months old
Duration: 75 Minutes
Frequency: Once a week

Available Classes:
Tuesday: 3pm & 4.30pm
Wednesday: 1.30pm
Thursday: 2.45pm
Friday: 2.30pm

Programme Objective:
Child will be exposed to the mandarin language in a natural environment. They will enjoy speaking, singing and reading in mandarin as they are introduced to the language in a fun environment.

Programme Synopsis:
Children will learn the mandarin language through a holistic approach. Children will be engaged in a good range of physical, intellectual and social activities while being introduced to different mandarin words, songs and music.

What to Expect:
Thematic learning
Mandarin Music and Movement
Rhythmic Sing along
Gross Motor Play
Dramatic Show and Tell
Craft
Story Time
Snack Time


Witty Class (飞跃班) - Non-Parent Accompanied Class

Age Group: 3 years - 5 years old
Duration: 60 Mins
Frequency: Once a week

Available Classes:
Wednesday: 5pm
Thursday: 4.30pm
Friday: 1pm

Programme Objective:
This programme adopts a story-based learning approach to engage the sense of fun and adventure in your child, helping them to learn more about the world around them. They will be introduced to key words (nouns, verbs, adjectives)  on a weekly basis that will enable them to read the book of the month. Children will be introduced to basic mandarin strokes and successfully write commonly used mandarin words in this programme.

What to Expect:
Book based learning
Mandarin Music and Movement
Gross Motor Play
Introduction to chinese Idioms
Writing in mandarin
Craft


Bilingual Class  (双语班) - Non-Parent Accompanied Class

Age Group: 3 years - 5 years old
Duration: 1.5 hours
Frequency: Once a week

Available Classes:
Tuesday: 1pm
Thursday: 1pm

Program Objective:
This programme adopts a story-based learning approach to engage the sense of fun and adventure in your child, helping them to learn more about the world around them. Children will also be introduced to the story in English and their comprehension skills are further developed during the English segment of the class. They will be introduced to mandarin key words (nouns, verbs, adjectives)  on a weekly basis that will enable them to read the book of the month. Children will be introduced to basic mandarin strokes and successfully write commonly used mandarin words in this program.

What to Expect:
Book based learning (English and Mandarin)
Mandarin Music and Movement
Gross Motor Play
Introduction to chinese Idioms
Writing in mandarin
Craft


We were invited to a trial of the Curious Class (快乐班). Here are some of the activities in the class.

Recognising his Chinese name

Music and Movement

Drama time

Crafts

Gross Motor

Story Time

The class is conducted based on a theme. In our case, the theme was about Cat. We learnt about cat, mouse and fish. The pace of the class is not too fast nor too slow. However, being young children, their attention span is really short and they are easily distracted by other things in the room or what the other children are doing. I thought the teachers were flexible to change the flow of the lesson to get the attention of the children. For example, they love running around, especially when they see the gym equipment. The teacher suggested to do the gross motor part first, where the children are free to go around the circuit while learning about the theme at the same time. I was pretty amazed that they learn better this way and it is more fun too!


Special Pre-launch Trial Class Price

In celebration of the launch of the Leyun (乐云) programme, Sparkanauts will be offering trial classes at a special price of $10 only! The usual price is $48. To register, please email info@sparkanauts.com. This offer is only available from now till 6 August.

Sparkanauts
Address: 293 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, SAFRA Toa Payoh, #02-01, Singapore 319387
Contact: 6259 0307
Email: info@sparkanauts.com
Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9am to 5pm

Disclaimer: We were invited to a trial by Sparkanauts for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine.

If you enjoy reading this post, I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram. You could also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left hand column) and be updated of my latest post.


Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Preschooler

Friday, 24 July 2015

Following the Busy Bag Exchange for Toddlers, here's the exchange for the preschoolers.

I made an Alphabet and Name Tracing activity. The alphabet tracing activity is from Confession of a Homeschooler

The name tracing activity was self-created by myself and customised to all the mummies in the group. I made it to be double-sided - one side is the bubble letters and the other side is dot letters. These are laminated so the child can trace their names using a whiteboard marker and erase it off later. 


Here are what I have received from the other 11 mummies.

Counting and pattering game by Mummy F

Build a muffin by Mummy C. Inspiration from here.

My pattern book by Mummy D

Build a book by Mummy LX. Inspiration from here.

Sequencing game by Mummy S. Inspiration from here.

Traffic light toss game by Mummy L. Inspiration from here.

Measure it by Mummy J. Inspiration from here.

Pizza parlour by Mummy C. Inspiration from here.

Counting caterpillar from Mummy S. Inspiration from here.

Tracing mazes from Mummy ML. Inspiration from here.

Arts masterpiece matching by Mummy J.

If you are keen to form your own busy bag exchange, don't forget to check out the busy bag exchange tips. You can also read more about the busy bag exchange that we had.

Busy Bag Exchange 1 (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Toddler (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Preschooler
Busy Bag Exchange 3
Busy Bag Exchange Tips
Pin the Bunny Tail (free printable)

If you enjoy reading this post, I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram. You could also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left hand column) and be updated of my latest post.


Busy Bag Tips

Monday, 20 July 2015

Since my first post about busy bag exchange, I have received queries from readers about where to find such group to join. This busy bag exchange was initiated by a kind Mummy in one of the Facebook parents support group which I joined. Unfortunately, our group for the next exchange is full again.

Here are some tips for parents who are keen to set up your own busy bag exchange. 

1) Where to find a busy bag exchange group
You may ask like-minded Mums around you if they are keen to form a group. Facebook groups or even your own group of Mummy friends is a good place to start. I would say a group of about 8-10 works great so that you will not be overwhelmed with making too many sets of bags.

2) Ideas for busy bag
The Internet of course! There are lots of ideas and inspirations out there. The key word is 'Busy bag' If you are a visual person, Pinterest is a good place to look for ideas. Just make sure that you control yourself and not get addicted to it, like myself.

A very kind Mummy, LX, has compiled a list of busy bags useful for each group. You can refer to this for more inspirations.

Toddler Mega List of Busy Bags (Age 2-3)
Preschooler Mega List of Busy Bags (Age 4-5)

3) Where to get the materials for making the busy bag
You can get many of the materials from Daiso, eg felt, pom poms, pipecleaner, clothespin, magnets, stickers, straws, etc. If you look hard enough, you might also find other places with items that are cheaper than Daiso. ValueShop or your neighbourhood shops are other good alternatives. For more crafty items, you can try Spotlight or ArtFriend. If you have more time, you might want to try out online sources such as Taobao, Amazon or Ebay.

4) What are the tools required
If you are doing lots of lamination, a laminator is a must. Plus a paper cutter or scissors, a round corner cutter and a colour printer. All these will go a long way if you have plans to create your own learning materials for your little ones. You can get all these from Popular. On and off, Popular will have promotion for laminator and the laminating pouch and makes it a very good deal. During the previous Popular sales, an A4 laminator is going for about $39 with 100 pieces of laminating pouches for free.

5) What to include in the busy bag
A busy bag is supposed to be an all inclusive bag with the necessary materials and tools that your child will need to use the busy bag. You do not want to give a bag to your child and only to realise that you are missing something. Of course, in a busy bag exchange, you have a budget to adhere to. So in cases where there is an over budget, you might want to discuss with the group as to how to tackle the problem.

You might also want to include an instruction sheet as to how to use the bag. It would be even better if you could include extension ideas of using the bags so as to lengthen the lifespan of the items and give the child more variety of play.

Lastly, as the name busy bag suggests, pack everything in a ziplock bag.

6) What to bring on the exchange day
Apart from all the busy bags you have prepared, do bring along a big bag to hold all the busy bags that you will be going home with. Bear in mind, some of the activities can be quite bulky. I came back with two big bags stuffed to the max during the last exchange.



7) Safety concerns
Think about if the parts in the busy bag are too small for the age group? Example, could there be choking hazards or sharp objects? Please remember that while busy bag can be used to keep the child occupied, always have adults supervision if your child is still mouthing or if some activities require the use of scissors. Laminated sheets must always have the corners rounded otherwise the child might cut himself while using the cards.

8) Quality concerns
The bottom line of an busy bay exchange is to make a busy bag of a quality that you would like to receive. How would you feel if you have put in lots of effort to put together a busy bag but receiving something that looks like it was haphazardly put together just a night before the exchange? Or receiving something that doesn't hold up to the handling of the child? So, do bear in mind to make something of a quality that you would love to receive.

That's all the tips I have for you. Hope you will find this useful and have a successful busy bag exchange.

You can read more about the busy bag exchange that we had.

Busy Bag Exchange 1 (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Toddler (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Preschooler
Busy Bag Exchange 3
Busy Bag Exchange Tips
Pin the Bunny Tail (free printable)

These are the busy bags that I have prepared for the busy bag exchange I have participated in. Free printable for download.

Mummy and Baby Animals Matching Cards

Magnet Puzzle

If you enjoy reading this post, I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram. You could also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left hand column) and be updated of my latest post.


Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Toddler. Plus a Free Printable

Monday, 13 July 2015

After going for the first busy bag exchange, which is a great success, I signed up for the second busy bag exchange. This time, we separate ourselves into two groups, one for toddlers and one for preschoolers. I took part in both groups which means I have to make close to 30 busy bags! I have burnt many midnight oil to complete these. 

I will first share about the toddlers group busy bags, which is for children age 2-3 years old. 

I made a magnet puzzle. I drafted out the scenes, look for pictures via Google and put them together to form a scene. I bought magnet sheets from Daiso and cut them out to the shapes I want. Here's the final product. Free printable is available at the end of this post.


These are what I have received. During the process of making the busy bags, we learnt many things from each other. For example, where to get the cheapest supplies, how we brainstormed to get solutions when we are stuck with a problem and also encouragement from each other while making these. 

Wacky Sacks by Mummy S. Inspiration from here.
The balloons are filled with playdough. These are very nice to squeeze.

Coloured pasta sort / Sensory bin by Mummy F. Inspiration from here.
The small containers are from Value Shop and the colourful measuring spoons are from Taobao.

Pipecleaner toy by Mummy J. Inspiration from here.
The bottle from Toyogo. Pipecleaner from Daiso.

I-Spy bottle by Mummy E. Inspiration from here.

Cutting strips by Mummy S. Inspiration from here

Button loops by Mummy J. Inspiration from here.
Form craft stick from Duyi Bookshop.

Alphabet matching by Mummy C. Inspiration from here.
Alphabet stickers from Daiso. Pebbles from ArtFriend.
These pebbles can be used on the light table too.

Numbers / shapes matching puzzle by Mummy I. Inspiration from here.

Pre-writing cards by Mummy LX. Inspiration from here.
Whiteboard marker from Daiso. 
Many of us love these markers as they write and erase off well. 
The size is just write for little hands. 
It is also value for money, $2 for a pack of 5 markers.
For the eraser, pom poms and felt sheets are good choices.

Playdough mat by Mummy ML. Inspiration from here.
Playdough from Daiso.

Popsicle stick and clothespin colour matching by Mummy R. Inspiration from here.

Crocodile counting by Mummy A. Inspiration from here.

Arts masterpiece matching by Mummy J.

I must say that all the Mummies have put in loads of efforts to make these busy bags for our little ones. The ideas and quality is better than our first exchange. I am super happy to received all these. And yes, we have decided to go for another round of exchange again! Looking forward.

I will be sharing some tips about busy bags and the busy bags I received from the preschooler group in the next few posts. Do stay tune!

Lastly, here is the free printable of the Magnet Puzzle from me. Click on the photo below to download it.


If you are keen to form your own busy bag exchange, don't forget to check out the busy bag exchange tips. You can also read more about the busy bag exchange that we had.

Busy Bag Exchange 1 (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Toddler (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Preschooler
Busy Bag Exchange 3
Busy Bag Exchange Tips
Pin the Bunny Tail (free printable)

If you enjoy reading this post, I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram. You could also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left hand column) and be updated of my latest post.


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