I run a website and Facebook group called Preschool Resources. Inspired by my wife, Pearlyn, who is always creating DIY activities for my daughters, Jannah, 2, and Jazzel, 4, I started the platform in April last year, so that like-minded parents can share their ideas, too.
To date, we’ve got more than 15,000 members in our group, most of whom are fellow parents, or educators. We also organise busy bag swaps twice a year. These are activities that you put together in a bag ― convenient for parents to whip out while waiting for food to be served at the restaurant, while travelling, or even as an activity to do at home. Busy bags are a great way to reduce our reliance on electronic gadgets.
The biggest challenge is to get kids to concentrate on activities that are completely new to them. My daughter Jazzel, for instance, was really interested in playing the piano when she started going for classes. While she loves playing on the piano, she doesn’t particularly like the “theory” portion.
Instead of spending lots of money to constantly buy new toys to keep them entertained, Pearlyn and I create activities according to their specific interests instead.
But having to read the musical notes is an essential part of learning to play an instrument, so Pearlyn designed a game to make the theory lessons more enjoyable.
This entails creating a “musical dice”, with different musical notes of different values (1, 2, 3, or 4 counts) on each side of the dice. You’ll also prepare materials to help the child count, like counting blocks or rings. During the activity, the child rolls the dice and has to respond with the name of the musical note and the note value that’s lying face up. The counting materials will be used to indicate the number of counts the musical note holds, by the child.
More DIY fun ideas (no devices needed)... Next!
Although there are lots of resources on the Internet, most are from Australia and the US, and may not be that relevant to us, so Preschool Resources aims to fill this gap in the Singapore context.
Parents can share their innovative ideas, and you’re also able to download free printable activities that include topics on literacy, numbers, motor skills and pattern recognition. In particular, we’ve got lots of Chinese resources that are suitable in the local context.
These resources have benefitted my family greatly. For one, instead of spending lots of money to constantly buy new toys to keep them entertained, Pearlyn and I create activities according to their specific interests instead.
“If time permits, you’ll find us at places like Kallang Wave Mall that have designated tracks for scootering around, or at the nearby playground to play and interact with other kids!”
For example, once, after a trip to the zoo, we noticed that our children were starting to get really excited about all kinds of animals. Pearlyn then created some printables to teach them about animal fur patterns, as shown below.
1. For toddlers aged 3 and below, you can let them match little animal figurines against printouts of the animal fur patterns. By doing this, you can introduce simple terms, such as spots and stripes, in both English and Chinese.
2. For preschoolers and older children, let them select the respective animal print picture cards and match it to the corresponding animal card. Next, ask them to select the correct word card and match it to the correct animal.
The printables are available here.
Besides creating these activities, we believe ― and research has shown ― that outdoor play is essential for children as it helps reduce myopia and develops the child’s gross motor skills and social skills.
So, if time permits, you’ll find us at places like Kallang Wave Mall that have designated tracks for scootering around, or at the nearby playground to play and interact with other kids!
Edmund Lim, 37, is married to Pearlyn Ng, 33, and dad to Jannah, 2, and Jazzel, 4.
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