Review: Kidstartnow June Holiday Superhero Camp

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It's the June Holidays once again! My favourite time of the year! Not because I get to rest more, but on the contrary, I have to work harder! There's a host of activities out there for us to participate in! It is so tough to squeeze them all. Hence, one has got to be selective.

This June, we have been kindly invited to attend a 4 day Chinese holiday camp organised by Kidstartnow. There are three classes held:

1) Role-playing and conversation camp for 3-6 year olds
This focuses on role-playing and oral conversation. 
Maximum of 8 students

2) Show and Tell & Word recognition camp for 6-8 year olds.
This prepares children for show and tell in primary school as well as boosts their level of vocabulary 
Maximum of 10 students

3) P2 game show camp for 8 year olds
The camp reinforces concepts learnt in school so that kids are well-prepared. 
Parents also get personalised progress report sent to them, as well as actionable tips on how to help kids achieve better grades.


This camp has been consistently sold out since its inception in 2013. With such track record, it must be pretty good right? In fact, they have expanded and now have two outlets: Bedok & Serangoon. We were in the camp for show and tell and mommy is loving it! Truth be told, I am, like any other parent, Kiasu. Not to a large extent but I do want my child to excel in school. Big K is a pretty smart girl, however, she is rather soft spoken. Last year, when she was in K1, our preschool teacher highlighted that she wasn't sensitive towards Chinese characters! Say what? How could that be, I asked myself. Granted I did not do much writing with her, I have definitely read a good amount of books with her. Sometimes, I am being forced to as the school assigned them books to read at home. At my in-law's place where she goes every weekday evening, the family speaks to her in Mandarin. Coupled with that, we lived with the in-laws for almost half a year! So, I couldn't really accept the fact that my daughter was inadequate in the language. I panicked and we pulled up our socks. We did see marked improvements, but honestly, I needed more help. Chinese isn't my forte. Just like many, I dreaded the subject. I was put through rote learning when young and I did not want my child to go through the same path of learning. 

At Kidstartnow, for preschoolers, they use a multi-sensory approach that combines animated stories, games and role-playing to build a deep passion for Chinese and a solid foundation. Learn through play! That's exactly what I have been advocating since day one! 

The adorable Boshi Panda (博士熊猫)
To be honest, I was a little apprehensive as this baby girl of mine isn't confident when it comes to speaking up. Not that she doesn't know. In fact, she does! Oral is extremely important these days with the new syllabus. The weightage have gone up and the format has changed. You are expected to give your opinions rather than regurgitate what your teachers have told you. Hence, I am particularly concerned in this area and am trying my best to boost her confidence.The moment we stepped into the centre, I felt at ease. The place was so colourfully decorated to the theme -- Superheroes. Even the walls had intricately cut out bamboo stems to make the whole look and feel complete. Dedication! It made the place very welcoming. Our teacher, 刘老师 was also a very experienced teacher who was able to nudge the child into participating. And, participate was what Big K did! I saw her prancing around in class from day one! She was exhilarated to be chosen to be Little Panda sister 熊猫妹妹. I guess the role has got to be hers, because she's the tiniest in class and the youngest!




In class, to encourage the children to participate, they were given electronic gold coins as a reward. Their scores can be seen on a screen and that got many kids excited. Most children are by nature, competitive. Even an introvert like Big K was raising her hand to answer questions! They were taught several Chinese words and phrases and even idioms through stories revolving around a pair of panda siblings who are constantly quarrelling. Through the story, they will learn about sibling love. Something which I inculcate at home as well. The children are taught descriptive words and each time, after explaining, the teacher would get them to make  sentence (造句). This is a fundamental skill as it would be useless if one only knows the meaning by heart but not know how to apply it. Big K was initially making rather short sentences. However, perhaps due to peer pressure, by Day 2, the teacher told us that she was making longer sentences! yay!




Now, I did say they made use of animated stories to entice the students. These stories were told in class and in addition to that, everyday, they would email us the link to review the story! Apart from accessing it through the email via the computer, one can also save it on the phone as a webapp! Lessons on the go! In this era of technology, it is very difficult to deny a child of access to the iPad. However, as much as possible, I only expose them to useful things and this definitely is one of them! Apart from listening to the story, there is also a tab to listen to the hanyu pinyin taught in class. Very helpful for both parent and child. Their proprietary software empowers your kids to excel quickly in exams by providing timely actionable feedback so you know how your kids are doing and who to help them.







Here's Big K playing with her friends before class. Look how tiny she is! She's the youngest but that's no problem as she was able to catch up really fast. Also, the teacher catered to her standards and guided her along. #proudmama

Over and above, I think it has been a very fruitful and beneficial camp for Big K. She has been opening her eyes each day and asking me if she would be going for the camp every. single. day! Wow! There are discounts available for bulk purchase for their June Holiday programmes so do enquire! If for some reason you are unable to make it for the camp, do give their regular classes a try too! There are trial classes.

Follow Kidstartnow on Facebook or check out their website for more details. 

Foundation is built when the child is young. It has to be laid well especially since many schools are starting off Higher Chinese at P1! *sweats. Big K is still not  speaking to me a lot in Mandarin but I definitely see an improvement as her passion for the subject seems to have been rekindled!

Disclaimer: I was given an invitation to attend the June holiday camp for the purpose of this review. No additional monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.






Sticker making workshop

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Last weekend we were invited by Smarter.me to attend an interesting workshop jointly organised by Faber Castell Singapore, Stickiemail and The lettering Workbook

Smarter.me is a platform set up by parents who understand the difficulty in finding the right course for your child. They believe that there should be a place where parents don't have to waste hours researching because they are assured of quality and fit. The platform categorises courses according to different interest groups. Not only are parents able to find a match easily, educators and enrichment centres are also able to reach out to their audience. If in doubt, you can always ask the instructor a question through the platform. There may sometimes be reviews from other parents who have attended for your reference. In addition, the instructors' and course details are clearly stated on the site, making it transparent for all.

Photo Credit: Stickiemail

Now, back to the workshop. I said it was interesting because it was a workshop where we MADE stickers. Yup, DIY. I don't know about you, but many a times, I find it tough to find good quality (non-China made) stickers in the design I want. For example, there was a time when Big K was obsessed over Frozen. Everything had to be in Elsa and Anna. I posted on Facebook asking where I could find stickers on those characters and most pointed me to Pasar Malam (night markets). Some kind souls even pointed me to a location where they saw such a market selling such stickers. Some as far as the West! I live on the other side of Singapore and there is NOoooooo way I was going to travel that far! But to appease Big K's insatiable appetite for Frozen stickers, I did drive around quite a bit in search for it! Finally, I found! Only to realise that most of the stickers aren't sticky anymore due to age. The glue had lost its adhesiveness and some stickers were even turning yellow! Can't blame the seller. They were going at 3 booklets for $3. 




So when I learnt that there is a sticker making machine, which is priced affordably, has hit the Singapore shores, I was beyond excited! This is such a great tool which is so useful even if you aren't a fan of scrapbooking. At the workshop, KY and her team from The Lettering Workbook showed us how easy it was to make our own stickers. You could doodle on a piece of cardstock, colour it and slot it into the machine then pull the tape out! Too lazy to even draw? Print from the Internet or better yet, recycle and cut out from old magazines! It's that simple! Even my 5yo could do it! Big K was engrossed in making them and was terribly upset at one point where she pulled a little too much tape and wasted a good portion of it. Frugal is her virtue. At the end of the workshop, I had to drag her away and she was once again, upset that we had to leave. Only when I told her that she could continue making stickers at home because we now own a Xyron Sticker machine, did a smile light up on her face! 


The free doodles given out by The Lettering Workbook was such a hit! It kindof made me want to doodle a bit at home as well! 

I printed these doodles from the Internet!


The machine is quite a saviour. I have been rather busy these days catching up on work and chores. I have completely no time to entertain or teach the kids. I was surprised that a few days after the event, Big K came forward to ask me if she could make some stickers with the little brother! Why, of coz! as long as you guys leave me alone! haha...I printed some doodles for them, got them to colour them and they made heaps of stickers and yes, I managed to get some work done! Yay! Win-win! If you would like to get your hands on one of these babies, do check them out online or the following retail outlets:

  • Times Bookstores
  • Kinokuniya Books
  • NBC Stationery & Gifts
  • Naiise
  • Made With Love
  • The Elly Store/Twelve By Elly; or 
  • via our online Storytime Kit collaboration partner, Tickle Your Senses. 
They do have several upcoming events, so do check them out as well!








After the event, we walked around the Faber Castell's Art Exhibition and feasted our eyes on how their marker caps could be made into various attractions in Singapore! I had always love their range of markers and colour pencils but never bought it for Big K as looking at the way the kids handled their stationery, I felt it would be a big waste! You see, their markers and colour pencils are often strewned all over the floor despite my incessant nagging and despite the fact that I did give them a designated place to store their tools. However, all words fall on deaf ears. 

With Small K, it is worse! He uses markers on Everything! Yes, Everything including his TOES and fingernails! (Cue: Jaw Drop). However, as Big K was colouring with Faber Castell's markers, she commented how smooth they were and that why I hadn't bought her such a set before! 'Nuff said. 



It was such a fruitful bonding session for my first born and I. We really enjoyed the session!
Thank you for the invite, guys!


Disclosure: We were invited by Smarter.me to attend the sticker making workshop. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services.  

The birth of my number 4 -- Lebox

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I went through it again! The birth of my number 4! After my two Ks, my diapercake business Rhapnroll, I took the plunge together with fellow mummy xavvylicious on 27 March 2017 and started a new venture! The conception and gestation of this baby is certainly the shortest. Phew! I don't have to carry it for 9 months before my waterbag bursts and go through 27hours of labour pain (that was how long it was before Big K decided to make her appearance😅)

It was really by the stroke of fate that Lebox was conceived. It started as an innocent brunch date with xavvylicious on a fateful Monday morning at Forty Hands. We were chatting about random stuff and the next thing you know, it was a lightbulb moment for the both of us! We were so in sync in thoughts with respect to educating our children. We wanted to do more! We wanted to spread this love to time-starved mummies. Children are like sponges and it is such a sad sight to see their little faces glued to the google boxes or the ipads. I do not deny that a certain amount of screen time is necessary for our own sanity as well as to let the child be in the knowing. I wouldn't want them to be outcasted just because they didn't know Fluttershy is part of My Little Pony. However, the increasing reliance on gadgets is prevalent and we can't deny. Hopefully if readymade learning materials are readily available, parents may consider putting down the gadget and bond with the child.

With the intensity of the rat race, we also recognise that academics is essential. It isn't easy to marry academics to fun but we have been doing quite a fair bit in that area with our own children so why not spread the love to others? 

To focus on Chinese (for the moment) was pretty clear to me. You see, Small K doesn't seem to fancy the subject and in fact refuses to reply his teachers or us in Mandarin. I realised this could be because my plate had been so full, trying to keep those two little beings alive when Small K came to this world, hence I was not able to expose him as much as i did for Big K. It was only after almost 1.5years did I achieve a better equilibrium and ensured that the two did not starve, had clean clothes to wear and got to school mostly on time. The name LeBox was also inspired by Small K who is affectionately known as 乐乐. Lè can also be hanyu pinyin for 乐 and 'the' in french! And recently, a fellow mommy A also pointed out that it could take the meaning of LEarningbox! Wow! One name, many interpretations! I love!

So right after that brunch session, xavvylicious and I started brainstorming and spamming each other with ideas and like they say, the rest is history!

Without further ado, may I present you with Lebox first box based on the Dumpling Festival theme!

Did you know that Dumpling Festival is also known as double five? Don't know right? Well, I didn't as well! I didn't even know there were more than one folklore leading to this festival! Apparently 屈原 is not the only celebrity here! Anyway, let's start with what we are more familiar with. The Dragon Boat Festival memorializes the patriot poet Qu Yuan and has held an important place in China's agrarian society. It falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, explaining why one of its alternate names is the Double Fifth Festival. 

To help children be more culturally aware, #leboxsg has proudly come up with a Chinese learning box filled with fun materials which allows your child to not only understand the culture more, but to boost his interest in the Chinese language.


Steaming inside the box are:
- A sticker storybook about the origins of Dumpling Festival -Sequencing cards to enrich literacy
- Supplies for craft
- Supplies to teach numeracy
- Bricks for fine motor skills
- Fun reusable worksheets for word recognition
- Right brain training cards
- Fishing kit to teach word recognition
- Oracy materials
- Parent Guide with detailed activity instructions



Our materials can be used to complement each other. There may be more than one way to play. It is up to your imagination.

For example, our right-brain material is a gem. It can double up as ESP training, memory training and telepathy! 



In case you don't know what I am talking about, here's the summary:

The right brain is sometimes known as the image brain. Through high speed training, it enlarges the vessel for the brain. ESP: It forms the right brain's 5 senses, similar to how the left brain senses are: sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell. So how do we play this?

  • Place the set of 4 cards in a row facing up.
  • Have your child hold another set of 4 cards facing down.
  • Ask your child to place each card facing down corresponding to what they think is the same as the set that is facing up.
  • When your child has placed all 4 cards, flip them over to check if they are the same as those facing up.


Another way of using this set is to hone their memory:

  • Place the 4 pictures on the grey board in whichever order you desire
  • Show it to the child for 3 seconds and then face the cards down.
  • Get the child to arrange his set of cards on his own board.
  • Once done,  flip over your set and let the child compare. If the child is having difficulty, start with one or two cards. Adapt the game accordingly to age and ability of your child. There are many possibilities and you may rearrange the cards and repeat the activity.


Lastly, we could work on telepathy with this set of cards. Telepathy is a child's ability to make a successful guess of what is visualised in the mind of his parent. You may think that this is bogus but it is a good skill to have when you need to tikam tikam for MCQ during an exam! It is actually to strengthen your intuition. So here's what you can do:

  • Line up the 4 cards in from of your child, faced up.
  • Line up 4 cards in front of yourself faced down.
  • Take one of your cards without showing your child what it is and stare intently at it and see the imagine your mind. 
  • Repeat this as many time as you like.


It isn't Dumpling Festival yet but I have started some activities with my children and they absolutely loved them!









Hop over to @leboxsg on instagram and shower us with love! 


We put in a lot of effort in this and hope that all Lebox users will learn in a 快乐 manner!! 




Homelearning:: Easter fun

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I am always excited when there is a festival coming up. Not only because we get to party and bond as a family, but it is also a great thematic learning opportunity. 

The long weekend of Easter Sunday just came and went. We aren't Christians but I think it is nice for my children to be exposed to the story behind Easter lest they think that Easter is a celebration of bunnies and eggs!

Was pretty glad to get this book from My Greatest Child at Citysquare Mall. It was going at 1/2 price!



To complement the theme, below are the activities we engaged in. I think I might have outdone myself this year!


This was an inspiration from @tiny3rds I basically printed these adorable chicks and pasted onto a piece of used cardboard. Then I painstakingly cut with a blunt blade. -_- The process of making was far longer than playing. Small K took less than 1min to place them into the relevant holes. 

Sensory treasure hunt for matching eggs. The eggs had shapes and the kids had to find the matching shapes and colour.







Counting activity. It was quite a challenge to get Small K to have the patience to count through. This boy is completely different from his sister in terms of learning styles. I foresee it is going to be an uphill task. 


This activity is a recycled one. Inspired by @playlexue. The faces of each Sesame Street character was painstakingly cut out! My eyeballs almost popped! This year, i changed the action slips and hey presto we've got a new activity! The kids enjoyed it tremendously especially when it involved physical actions.





Gifted by @happytotshelf who played an instrumental role in this event. Very glad to have met her and didn't expect to share so many things in common. 


Art and craft. Big K's favourite. I was glad I had these stash in the pile of materials I had! It was a life saviour coz I wasn't prepared to do anything that day but the kids were patiently for mommy to present them with activities. A blessing which I couldn't say no to.


It's about time Small K (35mo) try his hands at lacing. however, it was treated with lukewarm welcome. He used it as a kite and ran around the house instead. -_- I guess that's the difference again, between a boy and a girl? Big K started to show very good fine motor skills at a young age whilst Small K is more adept in his gross motor skills. That said, this boy held the pencil the correct way far earlier than Big K! He must be some kind of genius! teehee



It was all about Science. We discovered that vinegar will disintegrate the egg shell and turn it into a naked egg after 48 hours. It could even bounce! Amazing that the membrane is such a great protection for the chick (if there were a chick). The other Science activity we played with was the overused baking soda with vinegar. Though an old activity, the kids seemed to have great fun and refused to stop. Probably because this time I added colouring and they were busy mixing colours. 

Letter hunt. I really didn't expect Small K to know his letters well, but he surprised me! This printable was from totschooling


Colour Sorting. An activity inspired by JsAreana. Once again, lovingly cut out, but activity completed within a few minutes. 



It smelt heavenly!



This activity has got to be the highlight of Easter! We were invited to attend an egg pop cake baking session conducted by the queen of chiffon, Susanne Ng. It is my 2-year goal to bake a decent cake and this was certainly a great push. In fact, it pushed not only me, but the husband who decided that he is a whizz at baking. This man is sometimes so full of himself. So much so he has accepted the challenge to bake a birthday cake for Small K's impending birthday next month. It wasn't as difficult as I thought, but the technique needs to be improved. The unmoulding process wasn't that easy. Probably because we couldn't wait for it to cool. Taste wise, it got the thumbs up from the kids! In fact, the kids enjoyed the baking jam so much they kept telling everyone that they baked.

The next highlight of Easter was a meetup with some homelearning IG mommas. These mummies are extremely passionate in teaching their children and are so creative and inspiring. Just look at the activities they prepared for the event and you will know what I mean! It was a great opportunity to show my children how easy and nice to make new friends. Somehow, it doesn't come naturally for my kids to make new friends, hence as their mom, I probably should show them and set a good example. I am glad that I can finally put a face to the many IG accounts I follow. 




Small K's favourite activity: Waterbeads!


Egg hunt! Big K was delirious that she found all the eggs and there was a surprise inside!


DIY lava lamp. An activity created by playlexue. She is one creative mommy who puts together interesting stuff for her kid, QR.


Playdoh can never go wrong at a party. These aren't ordinary playdoh. It is homemade by MessyfingersThe tools are so interesting that even I wanted a piece of the action. 

Hope you guys had a good rest over the long weekend! I know I need a good  (and long) rest after all these activities!
DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS