iDad – better than any mobile app

You, daddy, are daddy dearest — Vera’s favourite playmate, and JJ’s punching bag on bad days (when I’ve had enough and I pass him to you).

Whenever you’re home, you’re always up to something with the kids. The house lights up with laughter whenever you’re around, and you’re the perfect balance to mummy’s neurotic-ness.

Yet you are also disciplinarian. Because you hardly raise your voice, when you actually do, we all take notice and proceed with care. (Especially Vera.)

I really don’t need father’s day to come by so that I can say ‘thank you’ for being such a loving and strong father.

I can say that every day, and I probably should (although I do notice now that you’ve cut down a lot on diaper-changing duties).

But poo-related tasks aside, I want to acknowledge you for your love, your care, your efforts to discipline and teach, and your simply just being here.

Because you’re here, I can be confident of these things.

That our children will grow to know and love our God

That they will be confident and well-adjusted adults who will live out lives that are purpose-driven and pleasing to our Maker.

That is the extent, the magic, the power, of a father’s influence on a child.

You are Dad — one with a superhero ability to stay calm when everything around us is caving in.

And I love you.

You are far better than any app that tech geniuses can dream of.

You are iDad. OurDad. The I-can-beat-any-app-hands-down kinda dad.

A child’s development and learning. What’s art got to do with it?

As a young parent, I’ve always believed in exposing my kids to various forms of learning and experiences. Art, music, sports, tumbling with nature, on top of, you know, the usual stuff like ABCs and 123s and 你好吗 [‘How are you’ in Chinese].

And I’ve always thought of art as a fun way to foster creativity. It’s a nice thing to do at home, and all you need are some brushes and paint, pieces of paper, some inspiration and voila, ART happens.

But I’ve never thought that you could actually learn so many things from the process of doing art itself. Nor that it could offer multifold benefits for children in their learning and development.

An accidental interview ‘happened’ as I was asking Jaelle Ang, Founder of Art Bug, some casual questions over email…here’s what she had to say about the benefits of starting young at art.

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1. Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills 

Holding a narrow paint brush, cutting with scissors, tearing paper and sculpting clay are a few examples of art activities that use fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The more often they practice these skills, the more improved they become. And these skills actually form the foundation for kids to learn writing and other essential activities.

2. Creativity

Art education is a creative opportunity. It stimulates the child’s imagination, as well as their cognitive and problem-solving skills. These problem-solving skills enable them to think creatively in other situations.

3. Concentration

The enjoyable nature of art projects engages most students. Because they enjoy the artwork, they are better able to concentrate on the task, sticking with it from beginning to end. Finishing the project gives the kids a sense of accomplishment, which can be particularly empowering for kids who struggle in other areas of learning.

4. Self-expression

Most subjects in the formal educational system are based on facts, with correct and incorrect answers.  Art education offers a more open approach and even celebrates the differences in finished products. Kids learn that there is more than one way to complete the art project, and appreciate multiple points of views.

5. Risk-taking + Self-esteem

The open-ended nature of art allows kids to take risks. Kids don’t feel as much pressure because they know that the finished product will be accepted even if it doesn’t look like all the rest. This can help to boost their confidence, which may then carry over into other areas.

6. Discovery

Children learn best through play and discovery and not always through ‘teaching’. If there is one valuable thing we can pass on to our children, it will be the love for learning and a lifetime of curiosity.  This will be the driving force for further learning, self-improvement and accomplishment.

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There! Now we all have more reasons to have fun with art with our kids… 🙂

Here are some sites that I go to when I need inspiration…

Mum in the Making – Art Adventures

I can teach my child – Alphabet Crafts

Kids Activities Blog

Kaboose – Activities for children

The Activity Mom

Where do you go to for inspiration?

 

The little boss who lives in my house

Our little inspector - Vera policing the grounds at our recent Batam getaway

Our little inspector – Vera policing the grounds at our recent Batam getaway

Vera, age 2.0: Mummy, you sit here ok, and play with me, ok.

The way it was said, it wasn’t so much a question, but more like a statement.

Vera, age 2.0: Papa, you eat this one ok. Vera cannot eat this one. Papa, you eat ok. [nodding to herself]

Again, the ‘ok’s act like a full-stop rather than a question mark.

So, I’ve concluded we have a little boss in the house. I’m not sure if we played any part in nurturing her bossiness, but I do have a nagging suspicion that she learnt some of it from me, since her manner of speech bears an uncanny resemblance to mine.

That said, she was born with a strong character, will and personality, so that is likely a natural bedrock for bossy behaviour to thrive.

While her bossy acts can be rather enduring and palatable now, I’m starting to wonder how far it’ll develop as time goes by.

I’m starting to worry.

I’m also tempted to re-think the way I instruct and teach her (i.e. Am I too bossy as a mum?)

On a more positive note, we can see her leadership traits quite clearly now.

When she’s playing with other kids her age, she’s the one instructing them to do this and that.

She’s usually also the one initiating to change the mode of play. Funnily enough, some of the kids do follow her lead.

The questions are:
– How can we tame her big-boss attitude without quashing her leadership traits?

– How can we inculcate values such as cooperation, flexibility, and the need to consider others?

We may just have to figure some of those out along the way…

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