Creative Minds

It is just so incredible how people can be so creative and ingenious. This, my friends,  is definitely one.  They turned a mini-truck into an awesome, moving restaurant.

Amazing huh?!

Earlier that day my kids were on a Mr. and Miss Maker mood (inspired by The Mister Maker kiddie show).  They turn this tiny plastic medicine bottle into a prop plane, with a spinner toy for a propeller and pikachu as the pilot….hmmm.


Creative?  Imaginative?

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Moon Gazing at the Night Market

Taken by OPPO F1 selfie as viewed from the telescope

Moon gazing at the night market, that’s right at the night market with real telescopes amidst the hustle and bustle. How amazing is that?

We don’t frequent the night market for one reason and that is, it’s just way to crowded.  However, tonight is an exemption.  NARIT or National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand is here, and their bringing 5 telescopes for everyone. I wondered how it would go considering how busy the place is.  But amazingly things went smoothly – no pushing and shoving, no shouting and rowdy behavior . Everyone queued and waited for their turn. The kids had a great time,  and was blown away by what they saw.

It was indeed educational and precious. An experience they would cherish forever, and be grateful of.
NARIT has been totally generous. We appreciate their effort of going out of their comfort zones and reaching out to as many people as possible; and where else would you find tons of people than the night market, aye?
I think it is just incredibly wonderful to allow precious Science equipment like these to be out in the open where they could be vulnerable to damages for the sake of sharing Science to everyone. I’m in awe.

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Structured Busy Life vs. Child’s Play Time
Spelunking Phu Pha Phet

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Explore and Experience

It was Visakha Bucha,  a Buddhist holiday where Thais visit temples to pray, when we decided to visit Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the largest city in the South of Thailand. This one day trip had been educational since our kids hadn’t only gotten to experience a Buddhist religious practice, they also explored some ancient artifacts in the temple’s museum dating back to Bangkok period.

This is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, the main and oldest buddhist temple in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.  Directly in front of the temple’s right wing entrance is the museum.  Inside, you’ll find three large chambers where ancient artifacts that date back to Bangkok period were exhibited. There were hand painted metal cabinets of varying sizes, brasswares,  copperwares, glasswares, and chinas.  Aside from these, there were weapons,  textiles, a few preserved sea creatures, and numerous sea shells.  It is a great place to explore and a good reinforcement for kids studying history and marine life. Taking of photos are not allowed here.

This was taken just outside the museum.  A row of sitting,  golden Buddhas outlined the entire length of this side of the temple. On the same chamber,  were displays of huge whale remains and other marine life.

Summer and Derick offered incense and flowers, and said their prayers.

 

Despite the scorching heat of the sun, exploring Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawin was a great experience.

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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet
Freedom and Control is Possible with KidsEmail

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Freedom and Control is Possible with Kidsemail

Responsible freedom is what kidsemail is.

Today, it is just nearly impossible to not let kids get their hands on technology. The more they are prohibited the more curious they become. If this brings them positive results well and good, but if it swings them on the flip side of the coin, well it spells trouble. And we all have seen unimaginable things happen and are still happening if we let down our guards. Of course, this is something we all don’t want. So be on the guard all the time.
Yet you don’t want to tighten your grip that much, as sand trickles through your fingers as you squeeze on it too tightly.

Kidsemail is just the right mixture of freedom and control. It is a great way to let children have a taste of freedom in using technology and interact with friends through email, while parents gradually instill in them necessary values and attitude to keep them safe in this time of the internet.

Kidsemail safeguards children and teens from unwanted elements that parents dread so much. It is the most kid-friendly website in the entire internetland. One of the features which I love immensely is the parental control, with it parents are able to manage contacts, filter offensive words, and approve or deny emails sent to your children. Emails notifying parents of incoming and outgoing emails are sent directly to parent’s email. It can be used on relatively all devices as it’s supported by iOS, Android, and Web platforms.

For more details about its amazing features read HERE, and HERE on how to register for FREE on your first month.

Now, here’s a time lapse of Summer sending an email to her Aunt in Dubai. She had previously written the letter on her diary.

I encourage parents and schools to avail of kidsemail. It is parents’ greatest partner in keeping children from harms way, and an excellent tool for schools especially that some teachers give homework, other activities, and communication online.

 

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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet Cave

Derick and Summer were the youngest in the group of tourists in Phu Pha Phet cave. I thought they won’t survive the two hour walk inside the cave, well I thought wrong. As a matter of fact they enjoyed it, Summer got so fascinated by the things she saw and Derick, oh well, because it’s so dark and he gets to use a flashlight.

We came as a side trip since the cave is within the vicinity of the waterfalls we went to earlier that day. Although unprepared it turned out successful. They love it and are looking forward to spelunk again.

This time though we have to prepare some things before hand like.

  • Face mask especially if your kids are asthmatics. It might be dusty inside from loose soil or bat droppings.
  • Tiny backpacks for water bottles, face towel, and the likes
  • Comfortable rubber shoes are definitely better than open loose slippers
  • Long stretchy pants would be comfortable and it would be easy to crawl or duck if there is a need to.
  • Wear mosquito repellent lotion for protection.

For more details about Phu Pha Phet Cave Satun Thailand.

Here’s a slideshow of them in the cave

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Summer’s World Reading Corner: The Shopping List

If you can read, you can learn EVERYTHING! Reading is knowledge itself. If you read, there is no limit to the knowledge you gain. There is no limit to the places you can go.

For children, it fuels the imagination. It enriches their world and view of the world. Although the time they start to show interest in reading and the rate of progress they make vary, it is important to encourage them. Reading is such an important skill every child must achieve.

 

What was odd about their shopping?

 

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Structured Busy Lifestyle vs. Child’s Play Time

“To a child playing is learning.” ∼ MitchRyan

Play is one of the most important factors for normal developmental growth in any child. It is a child’s world, as a matter of fact it could be the only world for them. In this world a child learns to solve problems, learn things around them like color, shapes, learn to do things like grasp, crawl, balance, and understand the concept of cooperation, negotiation, and give and take.  These in effect lead to the development of more sophisticated cognitive, affective, and psychomotor tasks along the way.
Modern times, however, has curtailed child’s play time to almost nothing. Our lifestyle is so structured towards getting things done that 24 hours is not enough. People are busy making a living leaving no moments for play and relaxation. Why is this? It’s because doing so is a waste of time. It seems like these days are all about competition, profit, and innovation. Although these are excellent goals, these on the other are all result oriented. Hence the process leading to the result is given the least priority which thwarts a child’s normal developmental growth. As parents if we want to see our children grow to become great individuals who have achieved their fullest potential then we must start looking into the process of making great individuals.

Now, here are practices which I think puts child’s play time to a minimum.

  • Kids taking up too many after school classes and/or lessons on the weekends
  • Too much screen time
  • Obsession on having high scores (mostly parents)
  • Class ranking and competition especially during the early years
  • Early school years inappropriate curriculum. For example, some schools give emphasis on writing and listening, thus, the series of writing books, long hours of sitting. Kids are reprimanded for not holding pens properly and are branded having ADHD because they could not sit for long hours.
  • Too many homework

Reality bites! The degree may vary from one culture to the other but sadly these are true. These and many other practices run havoc on our child’s play time which, to reiterate, is one sure process for children to engage in a meaningful learning. Play should be treated as a form of lifestyle for children.

Playing is a child’s lifestyle.∼ MitchRyan

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How To Survive A Road Trip With Kids In Tow

family-road-trip

Road trips are one of the most common choices for family vacations. Of course, that involves spending more than a few hours in close quarters with your kids. Before you hit the road with your children, take a moment to plan out how to get to your destination without losing your mind along the way.

It might not be the way you first imagine a road trip with the kids – your thoughts probably turn to backseat shenanigans and endless questions along the lines of “are we there yet” – but it’s entirely possible to leave the stress behind when you take your children on a road trip. The secret to smooth sailing on a family road trip is to keep your expectations reasonable and do as much advanced planning as possible. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Confirm Your Vehicle’s Readiness

Suffering a breakdown on the road is always irritating, but it can turn into a real disaster when you have a pair of rambunctious toddlers in the backseat. Pay a visit to your favorite car mechanic before you hit the road. Have him check the air pressure and condition of all of your tires, including the spare, as well as check your mechanical systems (including the air conditioner and / or heater, and fluid levels) in advance, too.

Consider Signing Up For Roadside Assistance

AAA is still the gold standard when it comes to nationwide roadside assistance services, but there are other options in the same vein as well. If you aren’t already a member of a similar service, you should strongly consider signing up before your trip. It may be handy to download an app like EmergenSee, too. This turns your smartphone into a live recording device (capturing video, audio, and GPS data) and sends it to chosen contacts or law enforcement officials when you’re in trouble. Also, check with your car insurance to see if they offer roadside assistance.

Make Your Kids Safe

Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the car and/or booster seats your kids need before you set off. Confirm they’re installed properly. You can find a local authority for this service by visiting SeatCheck.org. Alternatively, just inquire with your nearest fire station – most of them handle this safety check for free.

Bear in mind that the latest advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to use rear-facing car seats for children under the age of two. Kids should always be strapped in when the car is moving. If your children need a break from their seats, plan these kind of stops into your travel plans to give everyone a break from the car.

Always Have A First Aid Kit

Bring along all the usual items you might need to deal with minor ailments: Band-Aids, antiseptic, fever reducers, medications used by your family members, and perhaps even a little extra toilet paper for unplanned bathroom breaks.

Schedule Your Departure Wisely

If your kids are experienced backseat sleepers, think about kicking your trip off at either bedtime or in the early morning. Feel free to leave them in their PJs and enjoy a restful, quiet start to your road trip. Also, consider travel plans of others. Are you traveling during a busy holiday time? You may want to avoid heavy traffic by leaving at a time when you’ll hit big cities at their least busy times. Sitting in a traffic jam while on a road trip with kids is NOT fun!

Comfort Is A Priority

Make sure your children are dressed in clothes they like for the trip. Wearing PJs or other comfy clothes is always recommended. Shoes that are easy for your child to get on and off by themselves is another good tip. This makes stops easier on mom and dad. You should also bring along any familiar items that will help the kids feel at home (stuffed animals, blankets, and even favorite pillows) to encourage sleeping in the car.

Assign Seating

If you’re hauling a large family in a large vehicle, keep your family dynamics in mind when placing people in their seats. Break up fractious siblings by putting them into separate rows. This will be appreciated by both the youngsters and the adults who are driving. You’ll also want to consider keeping smaller children who frequently need help close to the front or near someone capable of helping the younger passengers.

Pack Snacks

Bring along as many healthy snacks as you can comfortably manage. Stay away from sugary, high-energy foods; your kids don’t need any surplus pep for a long car trip. Perfect road trip foods include raisins, bananas, rice cakes, Cheerios, and crackers. Try to avoid snacks that are messy or crumbly and that don’t require utensils to eat. But be prepared for messes, pack wipes and a small car trash can.

Plan Some Welcome Surprises

Kids love a surprise, and a road trip gives you ample opportunities to cook up some unexpected delights. Look for fun stops your family can make on your way to your destination. If you can spring something like a trip to a candy store or a water park on your kids they’re less likely to get bored and grumpy afterward.

Visit the dollar store to buy up a supply of small toys and treats. To keep everybody amused on the trip, let each child pick out something new for each hour you spend on the road. This stash of goodies also makes a great incentive and encourages good behavior! If you’ve got enough time, try wrapping up the treats in advance to make each pick more exciting – and time-consuming – for your kids.

Bring As Much Entertainment As Possible

While too much screen time is a bad thing for your kids, that rule goes out the window when you’ve got a long road trip to get through. Feel free to bring along smartphones, tablets, and portable DVD players to keep the children amused. Make sure you load your devices up with apps, songs, and videos you know your kids will enjoy. And bring headphones for each person!

Don’t Challenge Your Kids’ Endurance

The grownups might be ready to handle six hours of uninterrupted drive time, but that’s not going to fly with youngsters. Plan on stopping at least every two hours, if not more frequently. A clean rest stop can be a life-saver – the first time you pull into one. After the first half-dozen, your family is going to get bored. Plan out stops at local parks (the sort with slides, swings, and other kid-friendly equipment) as a refreshing alternative.

Preserve Bedtime Rituals

Although you’ll probably be tempted to jump right into bed after a long day on the road, try to keep up as many of your standard bedtime routines as you can. Bathe, read, nurse, and do whatever else you normally do at home to get your kids ready for a good night’s sleep. Bring the pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals in from the car to make the kids’ vacation room feel as homelike as possible.

Follow these simple tips to get your family vacation off to the right start!

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Haad Kaew Resort Staycation
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Make Your Olympic 2016 A 10

The 2016 Summer Olympics are Here!

Sports, more than the winning, is more of the pride of representing ones country, of proving oneself, of improving ones mettle.  It brings not only physical well-being, but it also promotes mental, emotional, and psychological fortitude.

Now until August 21st the whole world will be abuzz with Summer Olympics, and there is so much opportunity for learning and getting active! Here are (a perfect) 10 tools to foster olympic-worthy learning and help you host your own olympics at home!

Tip: Use code GETREADY at Educents for free shipping on any order.

Learn About the Olympics

1. Summer Olympics Fun Pack – Printable!

SO fun pack

This pack has crosswords, medal tally sheets, coloring pages, and my favorite – a venn diagram comparing modern and ancient Olympics! A lot of punch in one downloadable package, making it a great start to learning fun with Olympics. Suitable for Pre-K – 5th grade levels. $4.75.

2. 2016 Summer Olympics Lapbook with Study Guide – Printable!

study guide

Get the details on all of the summer games, the history of the olympics, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Created by one of my favorite resources, Knowledge Box Central. Tip: You can print as many of these lapbooks for your family and friends to build knowledge and community while you watch the games. $5.

3. Sporting Events Interactive Foldable Booklet- Printable!

foldable booklet

For the avid sports – watching kiddos, this foldable game tracker allows them to track scores in each game for the summer 2016 Olympics. Use this as an opportunity to practice math based on their skill level – whose in first, second and third place? What percent is 4.8 out of 10? I love this handheld, interactive, printable tool! Just $1.

4. 2016 Summer Olympics Interactive Bundle – Printable!

SO BUNDLE

There’s a little something in this bundle for everyone, from writing prompts, to coloring – great for the littles who need an activity while the group watches swimming. Suitable for 6-10 year olds. $4.99, down from $7.99.

5. Summer Olympics Bingo!

bingo

Whether you’re planning a viewing party with other families, or you have a class full of excited viewers, this is a fun group activity for all ages. Bone up on olympic vocabulary with this classic game with a timely theme. Speaking of which, let the games begin! $2.

6. Olympics Online Unit Studies

online unit

For homeschoolers looking to mix things up this summer, this online course by 5-star reviewed Online Course features self-directed research projects, unit studies, and a deeper dive into the history and global meaning of the Olympic games. Great for elementary and middles school level kiddos comfortable with the internet. $15.

 

Host your Own Olympics at Home!

7. Scoop and Toss Game

scoop game

Scoop and Toss Game features 2-15″ scoops and a softball-sized plastic ball can be used for a number of outdoor games including baseball, jai alai or catch. This would be a great game for field day!

8. Playground Balls

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 2.17.36 PM

These classic rubber playground balls come in a set of three assorted designs. Inflate with standard pump and needle.

9. Play Ring Set

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 2.18.36 PM

These fun play ring sets can be used in the yard, park, in the pool or at the beach! The big foam-ring paddles have a stretchy nylon center that make toss and catch games tons of fun.

10. Resistance Tunnel

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 2.18.42 PM

Many children love the feel of climbing through the tunnel. Some of the benefits that can be realized are deep pressure input/touch, increased sense of body awareness, motor skills, balance, coordination, prone extension, and self regulation.

May the best olympians win!

 

Old Calendars for Something Educational

Don’t throw old calendars, re-use them for something educational.
Alphabet flashcards may not be that expensive, but then why buy when you can do it yourself, right? Coloring them is fun and relaxing. I enjoyed it. Besides I get to showoff my coloring skills to my daughter who is into drawing. She likes the way I do it and so she’s trying to imitate it.  Now, she’s good at it.
So what I did here was printed out free printable alphabet from the internet (What2Learn.com). Although you can print them out in colored ink, I chose black and white. It’s no fun if all you need to do is print, cut, and paste. Go the extra miles, color them yourselves and bring out the artist in you. Your kids can help out too. It’s a good way to teach coloring techniques and color combination and mixture. Anyway, after that I glued them onto old, hard paper calendars like these.
And voila!
As I was looking at the finish product, I thought, it would have been better if I colored the letters with a similar color. That way, they would have aesthetically “jot” out instead of getting lost in the riot of colors in the background.
What do you think?

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