Tag Archives: toddler

G at Heguru – 2nd year update

Time flies, and I’ve realized that my last update on Heguru was from March last year (!)

G has been attending Heguru classes for a year now. Since Heguru groups the children born in the year 2012 and 2011 together in the same class, he is still doing pretty much the same activities compared to last year.

Course contents
With the new management taking over last September, there were some improvements made to the contents, for example, introduction of Chinese word flash cards. The physical exercises were also fine-tuned so that they were more age-appropriate (last year G was asked to hop on one leg at 1yo… )

Peg memory numbers 1-100 had been fully covered last year. With the start of the new year, we are starting with numbers 1 to 10 again.

The topics covered during the flashcards are not duplicated though, and new sets of cards are introduced every 4 weeks. I’m constantly inspired by the topics presented in class – ranging from guitar chords to types of whales to sources of calcium.

I’ve also purchased a set of 24 booklets recommended by Heguru (12 books for intellectual development, 12 books for number concept). They contain simple exercises to be done with G on a daily basis (a page from each booklet a day). An example of the contents in the intellectual development booklets include identification of parts of the body (vol. 1) to identifying collective nouns (vol. 12). For number concepts, they start with simple counting (vol. 1) to counting number of blocks in 3-D shapes (vol.12).

Heguru booklets

G’s progress
G is turning 3 this May. In right brain training, this is the age when the children start to give “output”. (Previously, when they were younger, below 2 years old, the focus concentrated on “input”, where information was presented to the child). Since the end of last year, I’ve seen G responding to ESP exercises verbally, sometimes shouting out the answers before teacher finished the question. I’ve mentioned previously that I was surprised that G could do the ESP exercises, and I continue to be impressed by his output in this area.

Previously I had concerns that the introduction to colour mandala was not age appropriate. Now that G is a year older, he is able to do the colouring by himself. He is now less distracted by the box of crayons, and able to focus on the image. On some occasions, he is also able to start drawing the shapes on the mandala (but most times, I’m still the one drawing).

He has also grasped the concept of linking memory. Last December, on a whim I decided to try it with G using a set of cards. To my surprise, he was able to name all 10 cards I placed and could recite bits of the story that I told. Currently he is able to do about 15-20 cards (depending on his mood).

One of the areas that he has not made progress, though, is during self-introduction. The cheeky boy happily goes to the front of the class when called, but refuses to say his name or answer questions (he happily chatters on when he is out of the spotlight). Hopefully this stage passes soon…

I’m happy to see that G continues to enjoy his classes, and look forward to more pleasant surprises this year 🙂

Which of your kids’ recent developments have surprised you most?


Home Practice with G (the budget version)

Some time ago, I had a discussion with some mummies who were interested in doing home practice, but were concerned about the investment needed to buy all the materials necessary to do so. This prompted me to do a short post on some ways we can DIY our own home practice material at very little cost, using items that we have.

Photographic memory
In class, this is done in various ways:

  • Flashing a picture, then asking the child which picture he saw
  • Flashing a picture, then asking the child to replicate the arrangement of the items on the picture
  • Placing cards in the order of the story told (Story memory/ linking memory)

At home, we can either replicate what was done in class, or use what we have at home:

  • Use lego. You’ll need 2 sets of bricks – one for yourself, another for your child. Arrange the bricks and show the child, then give him his own set to replicate what he saw.
  • Play peek-a-boo with his soft toys. Remove one of them and ask him to identify which is missing.
  • Tell silly stories using items that you have – be creative! An example of a story that I did with G just before he had snacks.

One day, G was driving his car (toy car) when he saw piglet (piglet toy). He decided to throw and eraser (eraser) at him to get his attention. Piglet was very happy (happy face sticker) to see him and they both decided to eat grapes (a few grapes) and raisins (a few raisins). They went to the zoo and saw Mickey Mouse (Mickey soft toy) and said hello to the panda (a panda biscuit). It was a hot day so all of them had water (a cup of water). Soon stars (star sticker) came out and they went home.

G had an incentive to do it, because he got to eat grapes, raisins and panda biscuits after 😉


ESP practice in class is usually done using pictures – guessing the hidden item, shape, etc

At home, household objects/toys can be used:

  • guess the colour of the spoon in the bag by touch – place similar spoons but of different colours in an opaque bag or box and ask the child to touch
  • use poker cards to guess the shape (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades)
  • place animal stickers under bottle caps and ask them to “see” which bottle cap has a specific animal
  • using coloured pom-poms

The list goes on.

Home practice need not necessarily involve printing/laminating. Sometimes using real objects that are familiar can be more interesting to young children. Hope these tips will be useful!

Do you have any DIY ideas for home practice? Do share them in the comments below!

What I did at Club Med Bali (by C)

Hi! I’m C. I’m 6 and a half years old and mummy has decided to let me do a guest post on my trip to Bali.

Club Med Bali was the best! We got to wear rainbow ribbons on our wrists throughout our stay. The adults got boring plain orange ribbons. Haha.
Mum: Club Med shared the beach with the other resorts. The ribbon was used to differentiate the guests at the beach.

Rainbow ribbons!

Rainbow ribbons!

Mummy signed me up for the C’Komo (kids’) club where I got to meet lots of friends. We danced on stage for everyone! I got to wear a pink fairy dress and had makeup on too 🙂

That's me on the stage!

That’s me on the stage!

There was also cookie baking (I forgot to bring the cookies back), art and pool games.

Cookie making

Cookie making

Lots to do at C'Komo

Lots to do at C’Komo

Oh, yes, I went kayaking too! The big brother Stanley paddled while I sat in the kayak. We capsized but I enjoyed the experience. Too bad there wasn’t a photo of me on the kayak!

At the sea sports area

At the sea sports area

I also got my first try at many new activities.  I saw the bungee bounce while touring the grounds with mummy and daddy. Mummy asked if I would like to try it. I didn’t really know what to do at first, but I soon found out how high I could go. Wheee!

Bungee booooounce!

Bungee booooounce!

I also went up on the trapeze thrice. Mummy watched me climb up by myself. I think she was panicking below since the trapeze was rather high up. I didn’t think it was a big deal since there was a net below to catch me if I fell. I even let one hand go just to see how she would react 😉 I enjoyed both the bungee and the trapeze so much that I wanted to go everyday. But it was a pity that it rained on some mornings.
Mum: She asked to go up the trapeze out of her own accord. Yes, I was both impressed and freaking out at the same time to see my 6 year old swinging all the way up there. I had no idea that she was such a daredevil!

And off I go!

And off I go!

One of the things that I’ve always wanted to do was archery. Initially mummy told me that it was only for children older than 8 years old so I was very disappointed. I was so happy to know that 6 year olds could try it too! I didn’t really have enough strength to pull the bow though, so most of my arrows ended up on the ground. But it was still fun. I’m going to try again next year!

Pull, hold and release!

Pull, hold and release!

My little brother was too young to join me in the earlier activities (and he was sleeping a lot!), but there were plenty of other activities that we could do together. We played together at the beach. Mummy forgot to bring the toys for sand play but we found a spoon to dig in the sand. I loved to watch my sandcastle being knocked down by the waves.

We also had fun in the pool! It was shallow enough for us to wade around and splash water at one another.

Fun with G

Fun with G

I love the beach!

I love the beach!

We saw lots of animals at Club Med Bali, and my favourites were the squirrels. There were so many of them and they were everywhere. We saw three of them every morning just outside our room! They were really cute!



There were lots of yummy food at the restaurant, and I had a special tray with different colours for different food groups (I wished all of them were for dessert though)  G and I had lots of ice cream and cakes! Yum! I also got to enjoy cocktails with daddy and mummy 🙂

Food and drinks!

Food and drinks!

Guess G's favourite food?

Guess G’s favourite food?

I had so much fun and I didn’t want to go home, but Mummy promised that we would be back again next year. See you Club Med Bali!

Thank you to all the nice big brothers and sisters!

Thank you to all the nice big brothers and sisters!

Mummy’s note: I asked C what she remembered about this trip and these were her memories 🙂 She had a wonderful time, thanks to the staff there (especially Stanley and Kaori!) It was an eye-opening trip for me too… I had no idea my daughter was so adventurous! I will remember her on the trapeze for a very long time.

What was the most memorable thing you did during the holidays?


I just spent 5 hours with a wheezing G at the A&E department of the children’s hospital. Although being at the hospital was the last thing that I wanted, I’m thankful for several things:

I’m thankful that I had someone to look after C, and she didn’t have to go with us to the hospital.

I’m thankful that we were ushered in almost immediately by the nurse, so we didn’t have to wait in a long queue.

I’m thankful that G was a trooper who took the nebulizer without complaints, twice. He remained a cheerful and happy boy throughout.

I’m thankful that we decided to bring G in to the hospital instead of self-medicating. He was diagnosed with a mild chest infection that could have worsened if we held back for a few more days.

I’m thankful that we went to the hospital, where the x-ray machine was available to confirm the diagnosis.

I’m thankful that the medical bill was subsidised 😛

What are you thankful for today?

Note: G’s cough and cold started with mild symptoms (slight cough, a runny nose and a low-grade fever) last Friday night. We decided to self-medicate, but somehow the cough got worse this afternoon, and he started to wheeze slightly. Wheezing is never a good sign. We gave a call to the hospital and was advised to go down immediately. G remained very active throughout the entire process so we had thought initially that it was just a normal cold that would sort itself out. We were wrong. If your child has chesty coughs and a fever, do bring him down to get checked for a possible chest infection.

Every so often, when I’m with my kids, little moments come by. Moments that I cherish, and wish that I could hold in my memory forever…

A few hours ago, I was having dinner with my husband,  my mum and G. The little boy was getting restless, so my husband brought him out of the restaurant for a short walk to let me finish my dinner in peace. They left, but returned in a few minutes, with G chanting for “mummy, mummy, muuuuuummmmmmmmmyyyyyy”.

G ran up to me with a grin, pulled my hand and said “Mummy, let’s go. Show.” He can be a very persistent little 2-year old, so I had little choice but to abort dinner and follow him out of the restaurant. Besides, I was curious about what he wanted to show me. He led me up the steps, and out into an open area. He stopped, asked me to carry him, then pointed upwards.

“Mummy, see moon. So high!” My little boy wanted me to see the moon.

The moon never looked more beautiful.


What was your most recent little moment?

Happy birthday Singapore!

9th of August 2013 marks Singapore’s 48th year as an independent nation.

In honour of our national day, we will be doing activities around the theme of Singapore this month. We will be learning more about our country’s history, culture, landmarks, language and people.

This week, we learnt about the Singapore flag, and the significance of the various elements:


Red: universal brotherhood and equality of man.
White: pervading and everlasting purity and virtue.
Crescent moon: a young nation on the ascendant.
Five stars: the ideals of Singapore – democracy, peace, progress, equality and justice.

In order to remember the elements in the flag, I introduced the kids to the song Five stars arising. This song was written in 1969, using the Singapore flag as the theme.

Five Stars Arising
There’s a new moon arising, out of the stormy sea
Youthful and bright and bearing hope, and tranquil as can be
Reach out for the moon above, savour freedom, truth and love
There’s a new moon arising, out of the stormy sea

There are five stars arising, out of the stormy sea
Each is a lamp to guide our way; a lamp for all to see
Reach out for the stars above, savour freedom, truth and love
There are five stars arising, out of the stormy sea

There’s a new flag arising, out of the stormy sea
Crimson as the blood of all mankind, yet white and pure and free
Reach out for the flag above, savour freedom, truth and love
There’s a new flag arising, happy and proud are we

I did some simple paper cutouts of the elements (crescent moon, five stars and the Singapore flag) and pasted them on ice-cream sticks, for the kids to wave while singing.

For C, I also introduced the national pledge so that she will be able to recite along during the national day celebrations this evening:

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity
and progress for our nation.

Unfortunately both G and myself are down with fever so we can’t go out to catch the fireworks live today. Our family will be watching the National Day parade on tv tonight though. Before I end this post, I’d like to share one of my favourite National Day songs from 1998. This is a 2011 remix of the song “Home”:

Happy Birthday Singapore!

Product review: Meet the Sight Words by Preschool Prep

Recently I’ve been working on introducing sight words to G.

Sight words, also known as high frequency words, are words that occur frequently in print material. Some examples are “the”, “of”, “she”. In order to be able to read effectively, it is recommended that children memorize a list of sight words, so they will be able to recognize them instantly without having to decode them. There are several compiled lists of sight words – the Dolch list being the most well-known among several others.

Some of the common methods used to teach sight words include using flashcards or simple readers. I’ve tried the above, but found that the simplest and most effective method was to use DVDs (yes, I’m a lazy busy mum who is not adverse to letting the kids watch a bit of tv).

The DVDs that I use are from the Meet the Sight Words series by Preschool Prep Company.


In this set of 3 DVDs, sight words are presented using colourful, animated characters. There is lots of repetition involved, and a short story at the end of each DVD where the sight words are used. When playing the DVD, we are able to choose between playing selective lessons or the whole DVD.

In total, 47 sight words are taught in the 3 DVDs, covering the top 30 words in the Dolch list. Here is the word list:

DVD 1: A, and, for, have, he, I, in, is, it, of, play, said, that, the, to, you
DVD 2: are, as, but, go, had, here, his, like, my, on, see, she, they, was, we & with
DVD 3: all, at, be, by, from, her, him, look, one, on, some, there, this, up & word

A screen shot

A screen shot

Previews of the videos are also available on the Preschool Prep website

G’s and C’s review
I’ve had this series since C was 2. Although she has outgrown it now, she still enjoys watching it with G. Meet the Sight Words is one of G’s favourites at the moment. G requests for specific discs by the sight word shown on the cover – “it”, “on” and “by”. He loves to act out the actions,  and can easily recognise about 90% of the sight words after watching the DVDs four to five times. He was so proud of himself when he pointed out the sight words in random posters and books.

My review
When I first bought the DVDs way back in 2008, I was doubtful of its claims that it could help the little ones master the sight words. In fact, the first time I watched it with C, I was literally bored to tears because there was so much repetition! But I was very pleasantly surprised at how well C and G took to the DVDs, and the speed at which they picked up the words (due to the repetition). And the best part? I could leave them to watch the DVDs for 20 minutes while I completed my chores. Meet the Sight Words really works!

I highly recommend getting this set of DVDs – it really does make teaching sight words so much easier!

Note: Knowing sight words is just a small part of the journey to literacy, as is letter recognition and phonemic awareness.  Reading is still very much a part of our daily routine 🙂

How do you introduce sight words?

Book review: White is for Blueberry by George Shannon

While searching for David Shannon’s book “No, David!” at the library, I chanced upon this book by George Shannon. The title, White is for Blueberry, immediately caught my attention. White is for blueberry? Hmm….white_isfor_blueberry Flipping to the first page, I was struck by the first statement. Pink is for crow? Well, obviously the crow was black…

Pink is for Crow

Pink is for Crow

… until I turned the page to reveal newly-hatched crow chicks. white_is_for_blueberries2.jpg George Shannon continued to challenge our preconceptions of what colours each item should be. When are blueberries white?

White is for blueberries

White is for blueberries

When they are still blossoms of course! white_is_for_blueberries4.jpg C’s review
When we read the book together, she was first amused by the title, then intrigued as we turned the pages. “Whoever thought that there were pink crows?!” We had fun thinking about how sweet potatoes could be brown and when the leaves were red.

G’s review
He was too young to know about the associations of colours to various objects, but he enjoyed pointing out the colours and naming the objects in the pictures nonetheless.

My review
I loved the simplicity of this picture book, with the words in simple black print, except for the colour-coordinated word in large capital letters. Illustrations were simple but vibrantly coloured, framed in the corresponding colour. It certainly encouraged me to view things from a different perspective!

An interesting and creative book. Highly recommended!

So… when is firelight blue?

Guess when the flame is blue?

Guess when the flame is blue?

Book review: Peek-a-Poo What’s in your diaper? by Guido Van Genechten

Peek-a-Poo What;s in your diaper?

Peek-a-Poo What’s in your diaper?

We brought G to the library last weekend. I asked him to choose a book, and he happily came back with Peek-a-Poo What’s in your nappy? by Guido Van Genechten.

I flipped through the book and it turned out to be a really interesting choice by G. The story starts with curious Mouse, who loves to investigate everything – taking things apart, poking sticks into holes and exploring every rock (does this sound familiar to anyone?)

Curious mouse

Curious mouse

This time he has decided to explore what’s inside everyone’s nappy! He starts by asking Rabbit:


Opening the flap reveals Rabbit’s poo (ok, if you are easily offended you might not find this amusing)!

Seven rabbit pellets!

Seven rabbit pellets!

He goes on to ask each of his animal friends in turn, noting the difference in shape and quantity each time he examines their diapers.

Pointy dog poo

Pointy dog poo

However, when it comes to Mouse’s turn, he reveals that his diaper is…. empty! He tells his friends that he uses a potty instead of his nappy.

Potty-trained Mouse

Potty-trained Mouse

Of course, the story ends happily with all his friends trying out their potties.

Happy ending

Happy ending

G’s review
He loved opening the flaps, going “poo” then “ewwwww”. LOL!

My review
It’s different from the usual potty-training books, and I think this was appropriate for G’s age right now. The lift-the-flap concept appeals to young kids and the cute illustrations of familiar animals kept G interested through to the end. The only risk is that your child might go examining everyone else’s diaper 😛

Do you have any interesting books on potty training for kids?

Project: Dragon boat festival

The dragon boat festival (端午节) is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month on the Chinese calendar (五月初五). This year, the festival falls on 12th of June.

This festival commemorates the sacrifice of Qu Yuan (屈原), a poet from the Chu State during the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC). Qu Yuan was a very patriotic and loyal advisor in the court of King Huai. However, the king was misguided by corrupt officials, and sent Qu Yuan into exile. Without the loyal advisor’s counsel, the state was eventually defeated by the neighboring Qin State.

On this day, upon learning of the fall of his state, Qu Yuan is believed to have jumped into the Miluo river in despair. He was well-loved and respected by the people, and they wanted to protect his body from the fishes in the river. In order to do so, the villagers threw sticky rice dumplings into the river as food for the fishes, paddled out in their boats and beat drums in order to drive the fishes away. This practice has been carried on as cultural tradition: we continue to eat rice dumplings (粽子) and have dragon boat races (赛龙舟) on this day.

I wanted the kids to know more about our Chinese traditions and customs, and thought that it would be fun to do some related activities with the kids to celebrate this festival.

We began by reading a book on Qu Yuan that I borrowed from the library. It was a good chance to talk a little about Chinese history. Of course, there were a lot of questions from C on why he chose to jump into the river…


We then created our own dragon boats. I found a template online for the base of our dragon boat, and drew the dragon head and tail to be pasted on (I drew it freehand, sorry I’m not that artistic). The kids were given the template to decorate, before I cut and assembled the boats. I must say that I was pleased with how the boats turned out. C wanted to do more of them – we are going to try “racing” them tomorrow.

G dotting away

G dotting away


Dragon boats by C (background) and G (foreground)

We also made rice dumpling maracas. I found a tutorial to fold a triangular pyramid here, and made it together with C. We used 4 pieces of 12cmx12cm construction paper for each dumpling. C needed some help with some of the folds, but she managed to follow most of the instructions. C and G helped to add some rice grains into the “dumplings” before we sealed them up with tape. The kids loved these! Note: This could get messy! We had rice grains all over the table.

Rice dumpling maracas!

Rice dumpling maracas!

In line with the theme, I also created some homeschooling material to learn chinese numbers. The same material can also be used for colour matching, sequencing, or photographic memory practice.

Chinese numbers

Chinese numbers

What comes next?

What comes next?

For C, I made some worksheets for writing and hanyu pinyin practice.


Writing and pinyin practice

Of course, I’ll be preparing rice dumplings for the kids to enjoy! 🙂

Are you doing anything to celebrate the dragon boat festival? How about making a dragon boat for your own race?

Download your printables here!
Printable – Dragon boat craft
Printable – Dragon boat math
Printable – Dragon boat writing and pinyin

Note: You’ll also be able to find the links for the downloads on my Home Practice Materials page here.

denverartmuseum.org for the paper canoe base
visualmandarin.com for the chinese stroke sequence