Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My first airplane ride

In anticipation of our holiday, i borrowed this book on airplane ride. It's about a boy who's visiting his grandma and his process of getting on to the airplane all the way to the touch down.

 We've been reading this book and N enjoys it very much. We talked about what we can expect from checking into the Airport and riding on a plane.

I printed out some pictures from the internet. These are some of the things we can find in the airport and on the plane.

N also learnt how to spell 'plane'.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Counting by Twos

As you can see, it's going to be a mathematical week. I chance upon this book on counting by twos, and decided to borrow it. I've been reading this book for some nights now. As we read, i'd ask N what's after 2? And as i turn the page, there lies his answer and he'd say '4'! I was worried that he'd be confuse and start to count by 2s instead of 1-10. So i made it a point to say 'let's count by 2s' to help him differentiate.

I am constantly amazed at how a simple book can actually be a powerful teaching tool. Just by reading this book, N somewhat knows how to count by 2s. I say somewhat, because he tends to miss the '6' or sometimes '8'. We'll keep reading! :)

Declaring God's word

This week's verse, Isaiah 41: 10. Its a chunky passage but i simplified it into 4 words. It was so simple that N could remember it instantly and recite it on the spot. Simple but powerful.

Teaching Addition

Now, i know it might be too early to teach addition to a toddler who's going to be 3 in a few weeks time. However, N seems to be intrigued and keen on this topic. So instead of limiting him by what I THINK is correct, i decided to take his lead.

It started when N flipped open his activity book, to a page on addition. He asked to do it, and just for fun, i briefly introduced to him addition. Since then, he kept bringing the book to me requesting that we 'play'. I had wanted to let it be, till i remembered about the sensitive period that Maria Montessori talked about. I realised N was going through a sensitive period for this topic, i felt i should help him instead of letting it aimlessly pass us by.

I began a series of adhoc introduction to N. At night, while lying on the bed, i would use my fingers to teach N simple addtion. From this he has learnt that 1+1 = 2 and
5+5 =10. I also borrowed a book on addition just to fuel on his interest.

After i felt that N is ready to move on,  i went to purchase this set of Mathematical cubes (only to realise i could've used our lego toys instead. What a waste of money! Sssh, don't tell my husband! He seems to accept my rationale for this purchase!). I also purchased a set of addition flash cards (another lame purchase, you can easily DIY). 

I took out the flash card, pointed to the first number, in this case, 1.
I instructed N to put 1 cube above the digit.
I pointed to the number 3 and asked N how many is that, after he determined its 3, he placed 3 cubes above the digit. I would ask aloud '1+3=?', N would count the total number of cubes aloud and say 4!

I got N to place the Montessori Cut out numeral next to the equation, just to complete the question. We did 4 sums today!

Again, i was very careful to do this activity because i don't want to kill his interest. I had to be sure that he was ready for his and that my demonstration was clear and accurate. Thank God, N was receptive towards this. As i was busy snapping photos of this, he quietly did the equations again this time all by himself! :))

Matching Color shades

N's pretty bored with his color box activity and i was struggling to make it more interesting for him. Then i had a light bulb moment!

I took out 3 different shades of green, blue and yellow plates from my Montessori color box as well as the 3 mathematical cubes of the same colors. I got N to match the colored cube to the closest shade.

Ten Board and Beads

So, finally, i have decided its time for N to do this activity. As always, im in awe of Montessori activities, i think it brings the message very clearly even to the young.

I started out by establishing with N that there are 10 yellow beads in each erm string? I also got him to count the number of grey beads in each erm...string (for the lack of better word). He counted, and matched the grey beads to the numeral plates (before we slit into the board. I showed him that 10 yellow beads and 1 grey bead makes 11 and on and on.

I was concern this was too challenging for N or it was too boring for N. Fortunately, he stuck through it and wanted to do more (i only intended to do up till 13 for today). So we did it all the way up to 19. He seems to be getting the concept, but i want to be very sure.

The rest of the week, i'm going to get him to do this independently.

Which Country are you from?

I've been reading this mandarin book with N lately, titles 'Which country are you from?'

It introduces the different people from varying countries.
I thought it was apt for N to learn the mandarin names of the different countries. As i read out loud, i'd ask him what is 美国 in English? Looking at the flag on the page, he'd answer 'USA!'. I'd repeat the questions on each page as deemed.

With that, i continued with teaching on the countries names in mandarin. So far, he's recognised the mandarin names of Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, USA, China and Japan.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moments with N

Me: EH! Drink your water!

N: EH! I don't want drink water!

Me: ..... (lesson learnt)

Friday, June 25, 2010


I wanted N to have a go at reading an entire book on his own. Hence, i borrowed this book which has fairly simple sentences.

It's got repetitive sentences from page to page.

Last night, i took out this book during our bedtime story. It was his first time seeing the book and i've never read to him. So, i got him to read to me instead. He diligently read all 10 pages by himself with no help from me. Oh except for one word 'buggy' which he read it as 'bug!'. And he read it quite clearly too! What a proud moment!!  I could even sense my husband beaming with pride as we quietly listened to our sonshine read :)))

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heptagon & Dodecagon

When N was younger, i used the flashcard method to introduce to him shapes with 5 sides and more (heptagon, nonagon, dodecagon, pentagon etc).

I recently tried to 'test' him to see if he remembers, he seems to be able to differentiate the shapes...but im not sure. Anyway, i brought these cards out again, because this time i want him to learn which shape has how many number of sides/angles.

I got this idea from another blogger mom (I CANT REMEMBER WHO?!!). Using ice cream sticks, i got N to place each stick on each side and count the number of side that shape has. By doing this, he now knows that a Heptagon has 7 sides.

And a dodecagon has 12 sides. I should say N AND Mummy learnt together. I never knew what these shapes are called untill now!

Peace at last!

I can finally put my heart at ease...well at least for now.

We went for N's first meet up with the Speech therapist (ST) today. I was bracing myself for a bad report like N's got weak oral muscle or he's alittle abnormal etc. But it turned out quite the opposite.

Throughout the session, the ST assured me that all is well with N. Yes, she said it quite loud and clear that N is no way autistic. She also added that N is on the right track albeit slow in his speech development. Since he just started to really talk only in Feb this year and has improved lots within these short period, she felt that N just needs more time. Instead of the weekly therapy i was expecting, she suggested we let him grow at his own pace and review him again in 6 months time. By then, she is confident that N will improve. If not, she assures me we can start therapy and it won't be too late.

She credits to N's withdrawn behaviour to 2 things. 1) His personality. It's his nature be totally absorbed in what he is doing be it playing with toys. 2) His lack of social interaction. So, for the next months, we'll just have to up his chances of meeting more children. The ST ended our meeting saying that she's rarely have to say 'see you in 6months!' because most of the kids she see needs immediate therapy. PHEW.

So yeah, at least i've heard the good news right from the horse's mouth and i can finally happily trot on on my way. YEEE HA!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

la la la, elmo's world

This week, i learnt that we don't need to keep making materials to have stimulative play with our kids. We can also use their toys! I am amazed that some of the toys are actually quite educational in their own right.

Here's one.

  My sister gave this when N was way too young. He has been playing it by randomly pressing the buttons. But today, i realised N knows enough to play this toy the right way, so i yanked it out and interest him to play this toy. He loves it!

To play, pull the lever on the right to make Elmo ask a question like 'how many birds can you see? Who is standing next to the letter Y? What color/shape is the sun?' There are 4 (2 sided) disc for you to change the scenery and vary the play.

I thought this was an excellent way to get N put to practise what he has been learning. It also sharpens his listening skills  On top of that, he learns to answer questions like 'who, what, how'. He also gets to practise his counting skills, revise his shapes and colors. Better than the iphone i say!

(Im begining to turn this blog into a product review page instead!)

Sort Money, Save money

Since we were on the topic of money/coins. i grabbed a handful of coins and got N to sort them out. I took the chance to tell him the value of each coin.

After which, we slotted all the coins into our cute 'hippo' bank. Good activity for fine motor skills!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The little Handy man

Once again, in my desperate bid to pretend play with N, i took out his toolbox toy which was kept away because of his lack of interest for it. Since it has been out of sight for some time, the toolbox managed some of N's attention today.

N's favourite activity on his toolbox, hammering the nail

Drilling the screws out

To refine his motor skills, i got him to unscrew the screws with his hand instead of the drill.

I thought this was one of the more intelligent toys we've bought for N. It's as real as it can get! There are many tools that can help train a child's fine motor skills.

There are alot of other stuff in the box but we could only play these before N ran away back to his train toys!

Puzzle galore!

I bought this set of Melissa & Doug puzzles and i love it so much that i just had to come here and rave about it! It comes with 4, 12-piece puzzles and cost only $13++ (can't remember the exact price). What i like most about it is that these puzzles are made of wood. I don't know why but i just love wood puzzles! The smell, the texture, the! N loves the puzzles too- it helps that he is in the sensitive period for puzzles! He's been asking to do this everyday and he'd piece this box of puzzles and continues on with the other puzzles he has.

The best part of all, it comes with a box with 4 compartments- one for each puzzles. It's so easy to store and keep!

Oh if you notice there's a piece in the box, you'll see a circle stamped on the back part of the puzzle. Well, each puzzles have different shapes stamped at the back, circle, diamond, square and triangle. In case you mixed all 4 puzzles and don't quite know how to sort them out (it can be very challenging figuring out which piece is for which puzzle), just flip them over and sort them by the shape stamps. How thoughtful!

:)) Melissa & Doug should pay me for this review!

Counting money!

Here's how i'm planning to teach N all about money...well coins actually. I traced the coins on a white card from the smallest and to the biggest and wrote the respective demominations. As N match the coins, i would call out the demonination aloud. Later, i got him to give me the coins according to what i've called for. For instance, i say, 'give mama 5cents' and N passed me the respective coin. For fun, i also asked him which one is the largest coin and which is the smallest.

Later, i intend to teach him the monetary value when we combine 2 coins together. I've prepared a few cards where i again traced the coins on the paper. For example, for $1.50, i traced the $1 coin and $0.50 coin on the card. Hopefully this way, N would realise that a one dollar coin and 50cents coin makes $1.50.

What's the time N?

Hooray! N can tell the time!

After doing this N learnt how to tell the time by the hour (1 o'clock, 2 o'clock etc). I have to add that i wasn't very dicipline in doing the activity with him. I just whip it out every now and then and we spent a mere few seconds going through it each time. I just briefly mentioned to him that when the long hand is pointing at 12 and short hand pointing at 6, for instance, makes 6 o'clock. I went through all the other hourly timings using the cards i made.

Then one day, just to make sure he really knows, i took out this clock i bought and asked N to make 6 o'clock for me. He swiped the long hand at 12 and the short hand at 6! And i got him to make other timings for me as well. Woohoo! I think i will stop here and wait for him to be older to teach him to tell time by the minutes. I don't want to confuse him yet.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Holiday Fun

We were over at KL for a week and i brought alot of activities/toys so to entertain the boy. Unfortunately, we did little! Because the shopaholic in me refused to spend time in the room!

However, we did read books. Im proud to say, the very first thing N reached out for when we checked into the room was his books. :)

In my desperate attempt to help N pretend play, i dragged his 'masak masak' toys all the way up north! I even brought 2 stuff toys! N was quick to serve food to the two animals. He even placed the cup on the saucer himself!

I say! The monkey looks very pleased with N's service doesn't he? :)


I am very pleased that my effort to teach N bible verse have proven to be effective! After doing this with N for a week or so, N now can recite the verse on demand. Every now and then i would ask N 'What does Ps 139 vs 14 says?' and he'd say 'N is fearfully & wonderfully made!'. Amen!

Just now, he went up to his papa and recited the verse to him without any prompting! Praise God! I hope this means that the verse is deeply rooted in him and he'd grow up remembering the verses he learnt. As an adult, i always have problems remembering verses or even finding a relevant one when i need it. I had wish someone had made me remember the key verses when i was younger. That's why im doing this for N, so that when he is older, he will have no problem reaching out for the verses whenever he is in need of it. Now on to the next verse! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Autistic Or not?

Apart from N's speech development, i am also concern about his social skills. It seems he has two distinct personality in different social settings, at home with me and outside with any other strangers.

At home, he is like any other toddler. He responds to his name, maintains good eye contact with me and even make verbal requests to me. He also replies to my questions promptly and accurately. He also immitates me very well.

However, he becomes a totally different child with others. He completely ignores anyone who attempts to talk to him, avoids eye contact and appears to not know the answers to questions but in fact he knows very well. I get really disheartened seeing how one adult after another fail to get him to converse with them. Oddly, when i repeat their questions, he responds immediately! He behaves like people around him don't exist. However, I notice he is aware of his environment. For instance, today we had dinner with his grandparents. During which he didn't interact much with them nor looked excited seeing them (we only meet them a few times a year due to our locations), BUT he was able to tell me later that he had met "gong gong & por por & C" (grandpa & grandma and his cousin) when i asked him who we met for dinner. Also, in informal settings i.e play he will make eye contact with the adults. BUT when he is expected to converse or respond verbally, he avoids making eye contact.

I have had suspected that he was autistic but when at home, seeing how he communicates with me, i was sure he wasn't. And no, he doesn't display any other common signs such as repetitive actions, obsession with an object, hand flapping etc. I brought him for an assesment (for both his speech & social developments), the Dr, after reviewing him, didn't think N is on the spectrum for autisim, MUCH TO MY RELIEF. However, she also agrees that his social skills need some brushing up.

During the review, the Dr asked if N plays pretend at home and my answer was 'not quite'. Apparently, pretend play is a huge factor they use to determine if the child is normal. Because of this and her observation on N's social skills, she has set him for therapy. I went home feeling like a bad mother because, i rarely play pretend with N. The Dr pointed out that that could be why he doesn't pretend play. After the visit, i grabbed every opportunity possible to test N if he could pretend play with me. One time, i gave him a bowl and spoon and made him pretend that he was eating something. He pretended to feed himself and even pretended that he was eating noodle. He also pretended feeding me and my husband. SO, i guess that's a pass?

I don't know. I am feeling preplexed. WHy is N behaving like this? I came up with possible reasons. 1) Its the environment he is raised in. Most of the days, it's just me and him. He hardly have any playdates and almost zero chances to play with other toddlers. His classmates have dropped out or move to another time slot which means the class is made up of just him and the teacher. Hence, he doesn't quite know how to interact with anyone else except me & hub 2) Its his nature, his inborn personality. Alot of my husband's friends insist that N is very smiliar to my husband who also is quiet by nature. 3) There is something wrong in his development. 4) Perhaps he feels that people, other than me and hub, doesn't seem to understand what he is saying (rightly so because of his poor articulation) he thinks its a waste of time communicating with them. 5) all of the above.

One moment, i am confident that my son just needs time to develop on his own. But seeing how different he is when he's with other children, i am not so sure. N is going for therapy but, it's going to take time yet i want a definate answer now. I need help. Do you know of any toddlers who behave in the same way?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cut out numerals

I have these set of montessori cut out numerals and was playing another activity with N when we accidentally created a new activity out of it.

I saw how N was happily forming 2 digit numbers using the cut out numerals and decided to play a game with him. I would shout out a 2-digit number for N to form using the numerals. For instance, i say 'mummy wants forty-seven!' and he'd scramble to find the digits '4' and '7' and put them side by side to form the number. It was kind of challenging for him at first though he could pick out the correct numbers but would display them wrongly. For instance he would arrange it as '74' instead of '47'. After a few tries, he finally got it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sorting stationaries

Here's a sorting game we're playing this week.

I dug out various stuff from my stationary box and mix them in a container.

N had to sort all the items out. After he's done, he counted the number of items in each box. I deliberately took a specific number of items from each sets i.e. 8 ice cream sticks, 10 paper clips etc. N loves this game! He's been choosing this activity over and over again. :)

More about birds

I used Melissa & Doug wooden toy to teach N how to spell, 'bird'. After a while, i laid the alphabets randomly on the floor (without the board) and got N to spell on his own.

N used his bird figurines to match to the bird pictures i printed for him.

More tweet tweets

Here's more Bird activities we'll be doing.

I printed out some bird pictures from the net and made word labels. N will be learning the names of different bird species.

I have also a set of drawn pictures of birds. N has learnt the names of all the birds in English. So i decided to take another step and teach him the names in mandarin. He seems to be turn off by the mandarin words! Opps!

Parts of a Bird

In line with this week's theme, i made this so that N can learn about the different parts of a bird.

Instead of buying the costly Montessori puzzles, just google for a good bird (coloring for toddlers) picture, print a number of copies and highlight the specific parts on each picture. Make word labels and you're done! As easy as ABC! Although it may not look as pretty as the montessori ones but it is good enough to bring the message across.

It's a bird!

This week's theme is about Birds.
I deliberately borrowed this book to set the mood.
This book is great as it pretty much sums up the basics on birds.

Once again, i look for books with short sentences and large pictures. This book has taught us that birds have feathers, wings & beaks. They mostly eat seeds, berries and worms. N also learnt that Puffin birds eat fish.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

WHY i keep my blog anonymous.

Because I have not told any of my friends about my blog, only a select few (like less than 5?) & i have my reasons.

1) I know of friends who yearn to be home teaching their kids but cannot due to work, financial or family commitments. I hate the idea that my blog would make them feel guilty or lesser as a mother for not doing what im doing.

I have to pause here and say that just because you haven't been teaching your child at home (for whatever reasons) doesn't mean he/she will lag behind. I believe these children will eventually catch up in one way or another i.e. in school or maybe when they become an adult. So don't feel bad if your child is seemingly slower acadamically. It is still too early to tell how they will be like in future.

Similarly, just because N is alittle more knowledgable than kids his age now, i am slow to assume that he'd be a straight A student. Because he is still too young for us to predict such things and one will never know what the future holds. Moreover, there are many aspects to the word 'intelligence' and it does not always refer to acadamics. A child is also considered intelligent if he/she excels in other areas like music, sports, arts etc.

2) Every parent thinks their kiddo is smart & i am no exception. However, call me odd but i dislike it when my friends start to view N as intelligent or smart. Because that would put a high expectation and thus unnecessary pressure on him to perform. Hence, i rather my friends see N as any toddler. Therfore, i am hiding this blog from them in case they form any of such impressions. Although like any proud parent i sometimes want to shout it out loud for everybody to know! :P

However, because of N's reserve personality and inability to speak clearly, he is often viewed as 'slower'  by people around us. When that happens, i find myself furiously defending him by telling my friends that he actually knows this, knows that etc. To which, they would politely praise him but probably walk away thinking im bragging. At times like this, i feel like giving them my blog to read but yet for reasons mentioned above, i hold myself back. In other words, i'd much rather they see him as 'slow' than 'smart' because then, N would exceed their expectations rather than fall short from it.

But why then did i bother to start this blog anyway? Because as i said, like any proud parent i want to talk about my son's achievement but more so, i just want to record it down. So what better way than hiding behind a screen name and still protect my interest.

So there! I've given you alittle trivia about me, the anonymous author of this blog. It's totally irrelevant to what i've been writing. Somehow i feel silly saying all these but i don't know why i just feel like blogging it down! :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Transportation Art

N came back from his school holiday program with these art pieces. The theme this week is transportation. The kids (or rather the teachers) made a hot-air balloon, bus and a boat all from recycled materials. Love it!

DIY Animal Puzzles

Here's a simple puzzle game you can make without paying a single cent. Oh well perhaps just the printing & paper cost. Select any pictures you like, here i used my animal flash cards. I photocopied the pictures and pasted them over cardstock. Initially, i cut each picture into half and got N to fit it together.

Now that he is older, i cut them again to make it into a 4 piece puzzle. I mixed all the pieces and got N had to sort out the pieces, identify the animals and fit them together. It was real educational fun!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Country names in Mandarin

Every, and i mean EVERY, night, N would bug us to 'play flags'. Here's how we play it. I would display the word cards of country names and N would match them with a stack of country flags. At first, it was very fun, then, i got really, awfully, extremely bored because we play this EVERY day and night.  I then shoved the respondsibility to my husband who also found it fun in the begining but boredom is now knocking on his doors too.

Hence to make it more interesting FOR ME, i decided to print out the country names in mandarin! It got me all excited again! Today, i started with 4 countries, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea & Indonesia. N surprised me again, he remembered all the country names in mandarin almost instantly. Unfortunately, N is not as interested in tweaking the game, i had to coax to do it. It's interesting how we learn as we teach our kids. I never knew the mandarin names of some countries like Ireland, Iceland, Poland etc, but now i do!

Here's a closer look


Summing up my flower theme with this activity:

I have 2 sets of flower pictures, one drawn and one photographed. I previously used the 2 sets seperately to teach N the various types of flowers. But to make it more interesting, i decided to merge the 2 by having N match the drawn picture of the flowers to the photographed ones.

N did wonderfully well, he matched all without a hitch!

Next, i got him to match the word labels to the correct flowers

Here's a closer look.
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