Look!

The curiosity of children never fails to put a smile on my lips. Well sometimes they also bring frowns especially when the curiosity brings them to places dirty or dangerous.

JJ is at a particularly curious and touchy-feely stage – everything is explored through touch and taste and grubby fingers. He loves to show off his new finds by stuffing them in your face, eagerly waiting for your eyes to light up and match his own.

The kids’ curiosity is contagious. It affects us all as a family, and nowadays we often find ourselves stooping by water ponds or under big sturdy trees just to check out the creepy-crawlies or big black ants going about their everyday busy business.

They have opened my eyes to a beautiful and different world. My world is bigger now, and I daresay it’s because of them.

Kiddos, I pray that your curiosity will grow with the years, and be accompanied by wisdom so that you don’t go poking your noses into places where you shouldn’t go. May you always keep your eyes open, keep asking questions, keep exploring new ideas and insights. May you always ask “why” and never accept an answer that does not satisfy.

Have a curious weekend exploring your neighbourhood, friends!

Our trip to Hay Dairies Goat Farm

We’ve been drinking fresh goat’s milk from Hay Dairies since Vera was about 2 plus as she has an intolerance toward cow’s milk. Soy milk doesn’t go down that well either.

When we started supplementing breastmilk with formula milk for her, she tried lots of different milk brands but to no avail. Finally, we settled on Karihome goat’s milk formula, and it was all good. That was how we started becoming goat’s milk fans.

Now, as I’m still breastfeeding JJ and he ALSO has the same intolerance, both Vera and I rely on goat’s milk for our calcium intake. The farm delivers island-wide every Tuesday morning at 6am, and two 800ml bottles (costing $8 each) last us till about Sunday.

Because goat’s milk is so much a part of our lives, we decided to make a trip down to visit the goats! We had fun and even made some new discoveries about these caprines. Trot over to An Accidental Home-schooling Mum to find out more!

Let’s go out! 4 fun-tastic ideas for outdoor family play

This guest post is written by Sarah from The Playful Parents. She is a real play enthusiast, and has infected many around her with the play bug (including me). She has reminded me that life with children should be about play, so let’s not take things too seriously, starting from today.

Here are some fun and easy ideas for outdoor play. Take it away, Sarah!

~~~~~

Tired of your usual haunts and in need for some fresh ideas on where to go as a family? Well, here are some ideas to set you off on brand new adventures. Best of all, they’re easy on your pocket, but big on fun!

#1. Discover & Conquer

You don’t have to travel far to find fun and adventures, really. As a non-car owner, I assure you that public transport travel with young children isn’t that scary or impossible. It is actually a rather wonderful way for our children to learn more about daily life.

Be a tourist around your neighbourhood. Head out on the bus, bike or on foot. Hit a street you’ve never been to before. I would dare say all neighbourhoods have gems waiting for us to discover. We just need to make the effort to look for them.

Butterfly-spotting: Trying to stand still long enough to see the butterflies

Try these neighbourhood conquests:

  • Play Trail: Do a playground hop to check out all the playgrounds. Perhaps you’ll be lucky and see if you can find any of the classic heritage Singapore playgrounds too!
  • Food Trail: Pick a favourite food and try every stall you find that sells it. Ask for recommendations from random strangers who live in the area. Search out the must-try stalls from online food bloggers.
  • Flora and Fauna Trail: Parks are fantastic treasure troves of biodiversity and great for kids to just run about. Go bird-watching or butterfly-spotting.  Singapore’s NParks has produced several fantastic guides and walking trails for you to download. I highly recommend exploring the park connector trails. Or how about going on a hunt for these10 Trees in Singapore?

# 2. Host An Outdoor Olympics

The Terrific Tot-lympian: Trying to cross a hurdle in his path

  • Bubbles. Play Blow and Pop: Someone blow up bubbles while another chases and pops them.
  • Catching in its many variants old and new: Police and Thief, Fire and Ice.  I especially enjoy the co-operative catching games where a group has to work together against the ‘catcher’ like  Eagle Catching the Chicks ( Lao Ying Zhua Xiao Ji) and What’s the time, Mr Wolf?( similar to Grandmother’s Footsteps).
  • Ball games: Basketball, football, volleyball, poison ball, monkey ball.
  • Sack races: An oldie-but-goodie that is good both indoor and outdoor.
  • Obstacle Races: Gather some neighbours and their children to have an obstacle race! Here’s a starter planning list.

# 3. Do Outdoor Art

How about letting the outdoors inspire you and your young ones? Pack up your art materials and sit at a nearby park to draw or paint. Crayons, watercolours-in-a-box and a sketch book are easily portable. Even better, use Nature itself to create art.

Stick + Sand + Kids = Artistic Fun!

Here is more mess-free stuff to try:

  • Chalk drawing: For a twist, bring along a water spray filled with water. Spray water on chalk drawings and see how your art changes.
  • Family Profile Silhouettes: Find a sunny spot. Stick up cardstock on the wall. Stand in front of the paper. Trace the silhouette cast. Cut along the outlines.
  • Water painting: All you need are brushes and some bottles of water to paint the floor.
  • Outdoor sculptures: Gather twigs, leaves, stones and whatever catches your fancy to construct your sculptures.
  • Make a kite and fly it!

#4. Go Geo-Caching: Contemporary Treasure Hunt

Have you heard of geocaching? It’s a ‘real world’, treasure hunt game you play using GPS devices. Many cities and countries around the world have geocaches so if you’re truly adventurous, you could even do this on your holiday. Here is a list of current geocaches in Singapore. Click here to find out more about how geocaching works!

For more playful ideas, do check out The Playful Parents.

About Sarah, Family Play Advocate

Sarah is an educator-storyteller-writer turned domestic circus ring mistress. She currently runs her circus show 24/7 starring 3 males, and counting. It can be a mad yet fulfilling life. A passionate advocate for more playfulness in life, Sarah enjoys sharing ideas and resources on practical ways to live more creatively, artfully and playfully on her blog. Swing on by and say ‘hello’ to other Playful Parents like you!

Life’s simple joys

We had nothing scheduled over the weekend. Absolutely nothing. No one to meet. Nowhere to go. No major task to accomplish.

But…it was all good.

What did we do? Well, we rounded the kids up and took them out for a walk to the library.

Along the way, daddy spotted a yellow butterfly. He took a small plastic bag and caught it, much to Vera’s delight and JJ’s curiosity.

Here’s Vera holding on to the bag with the butterfly. She said, “Mummy, I want to bring this home and play with it.”

To which I said, “No, because the butterfly’s home belongs to the great outdoors. It would be very sad if it was trapped in our home. Let’s set it free later, okay?”

She thought for awhile, then said okay.

papa caught me a butterfly!

After getting some Chinese books from the library, we walked around a nearby field.

It was wonderful to be out. The sun was strong. The fields were a happy yellow-green.

And the daddy and kiddos were a-walking, a-walking.

a-walking a-walking

You can tell that JJ was one happy baby to be out on the loose.

He also enjoyed playing ‘catch’ with daddy.

Chuckle, chuckle, shrieks of laughter.

baby on the loose

Who’s that hiding behind the bus-stop advertisement? Peek-a-boo!

peek-a-boo

Spending the afternoon in the sun reminded me of this article about childhood myopia. I was taken aback at this finding: “In Singapore, where the rate of nearsightedness is about 90 per cent, most children spent about half-an-hour outside.”

Half an hour is really not a lot.

The problem comes when we have insufficient exposure to bright, natural light. And it’s exacerbated because students spend a lot of time reading, studying, watching TV, and on the computer.

Being a working mum, I may not be able to bring my kids outdoors every day, but I do ask my care-givers to take them to the playground or nearby park.

After such a lovely, sun-shining day out with them, I’m inspired to do this more often. Empty our schedules, relax and chill, run about and have fun with the kids.

Days like these remind me of the priceless possession of motherhood — the pure and simple joy of seeing a big smile on big sister’s face and hearing little boy’s incessant chuckles.

I hope your weekend was good too?

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