smiling girl with a book

Reading Through Social Media

Reading, is it still important? An absolute yes!

On the other hand, we have social media, which many claim have been distracting our children from reading, playing with friends, socializing face to face with others, and from their studies in general. However, social media is a reality. It’s not going anywhere. It’s here to stay. And whether we like it or not, it is a super big part of our lives, most especially of our kids. How about reading through social media?

What do we do then?

I personally think that we should make use of social media to our advantage as parents. Now, I’m not saying we let our children have all the screen time they want. There should still be rules regarding that. Screen time should be limited to make time for some diverse outdoor activities, and that children have to take part in house chores, if you’re interested you may also check 5 reasons children need chores. What I’m saying is, we can re-direct them to something productive and beneficial. As I see it, social media can be tapped by parents to encourage children develop and improve their skills.

My children love watching Youtube videos. I showed them some family videos we had; they loved it. Also, they like watching them from time to time. This was a light bulb moment for me. Since they like watching themselves in videos, why not make a video of them doing something really productive and beneficial, say, reading!

Reading through Youtube

In the beginning, this really was a training for our bilingual children. The main goal was to motivate them to read some more, and develop their English pronunciation. I soon realized that, it could also be beneficial for other children who are watching. They could simply listen first, then read along, and then eventually read the story all by themselves.

Here are list of Reading videos we’ve made so far. Please feel free to watch and share with people who you may think will benefit from these.

  1. The Village in the Snow

The Dragon Tree

The Castle Adventure

Pirate Adventure

Gran

The Shopping List

Tara’s Party

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Ben 10 Omni Launch Unboxing

Here’s a short unboxing video of the Ben 10 Omni Launch Battle Figure.  You could also read on for the step by step instruction on how to easily put in the battle figure.

Please subscribe to our Youtube channel and hit the like button. Enjoy!

One of the sought after toys by kids and kids-at-heart is Ben 10. What’s interesting about this is that there are two makers of the Ben 10 toy line. The toys from the first four series were manufactured by Bandai,  the maker of Gundam. Playmates,  on the other hand,  produced the 2016 TV series  Ben 10 also known as Ben 10 reboot.

Omni -Enhanced Heatblast and Omni-Enhanced XLR8
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Omni Launch Watch

Omni Launch

Derick loves Ben 10 toys, he got a Ben 10 Omni Launch Battle figure. It is a Ben 10 watch toy that launches an alien chatacter out,  produced by Playmates made in China.  The toy set includes a Ben 10 watch and two alien battle figures,  Omni -Enhanced Heatblast and Omni-Enhanced XLR8. The omni-launch watch is a bit bulky with dimensions of 7*7*3 centimeters.    It is hollow at the center. This is where the battle figure is squeezed into,  and a prominent button at the base of the watch launches it out.

How do to put the battle figure in?  Follow these 4 simple steps.

1. Tuck and press in the arms in front of the figure

2. Fold the head backwards,  clasp this down by bringing the back flap upward.

3. With the parts tucked in firmly,  insert the feet into two crevices in the watch making sure that the front side of the battle figure is facing the opposite side of where the launch button is.

4. Fold the legs towards that side,  and press it in.

Viola!  Ready, get set,  LAUNCH!

Verdict

The quality is a OK, nothing comparable to US or Japan made probably, but attention was given to details and functionality.  Tiny,  moving parts actually feel sturdy and durable. The battle figures fit snugly unto the watch.  So basically, it functions as expected.  It launches the battle figure without hitch.  And with the right angle,  it lands perfectly on its feet.

So at a price point of $27 (900 THB), the toy is worth buying. It is a great present for your little man.  He would surely love and enjoy play pretend. Derick already has an Ben 10 Omnitrix watch,  but he said,  the omni launch is different. I could just imagine how much imagination it sparked on him.

This is perfect for gifting this holiday season. You can easily avail this in Lazada or Lazada Mobile PH, Lazada app in your Lazada Mobile.

“You have been Ben 10ed” – Derick

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Unboxing of Cash Register Toy: China Made

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Unboxing of Cash Register Toy: China Made

Chinese products have been described as fake, unreliable, unhygienic, and even hazardous.  Despite these claims,  the Chinese market is never short of clients from across the globe most probably due to its comparably lower cost.  We are one of those who despite having bought lemon products like Dengo Car Camera and  Portable Cordless Handy Stitch, still buys products made by Chinese companies every now and then.

And yes,  we bought yet another one.

Recently, we bought our daughter a cash register toy. She has been wanting it for sometime, but we kept pushing the idea off, and convinced her to choose something else every time. Something within our budget, well, mom on a budget really!

Please watch her unboxing video here.

 

This Chinese company-made cash register costs $21. According to my mom-on-a-budget standard, a toy that costs more than $15 is too much, however, considering that its branded counterparts cost around $30, and that she has been waiting for a long time to have one, so I gave in and bought it.

Here’s why this cash register is practical.

  1.  Functional. As a simulation toy, it pretty much lets you perform what a real life cash register does. The keyboard is pressable, the display shows the number, and the drawer opens; they all work. Even the scanners and microphone are all functional.
  2. Other features. Aside from the main cash register, the set also comes with toy money, toy credit card, and several plastic and paper toy merchandises.
  3. Feel. This plastic cash register toy set is lightweight, and it easily moves as you type in the prices or when taking money in and out of the drawer. It would have made a whole lot of difference to the play experience if suction cups or the likes were placed to hold the cash register in place.
  4. Price. It certainly is affordable. At the cost of $21, considering that it works perfectly and that it does not feel and smell like plastic, even though it is made by a rather unpopular Chinese company, I have no complains.

My daughter is happy! So am I.

Have you had a similar experience with Chinese-company made products?  Share it with us. 

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Kayaking: What You Need to Bring


One of the major outdoor activity we had recently was kayaking. Kayaking is to move across a body of water through a kayak, which is low-to-the-water with double blade paddles, and paddlers sits forward with legs in front. Kayaking started with the Inuit as a way for hunting and fishing. And through the years kayaking became a sport, and nowadays people kayak for recreational purposes. In our case, we kayaked in a river called Wang Sai Thong in Langu district, Satun, Thailand.

Satun is one of the provinces in Southern Thailand, rich with natural beauty and resources like lush green rainforest, waterfalls, caves (Phu Pha Phet and Chet Cot); rivers, and a must go beaches; one of these is Koh Lipeh. Aside from this, the “disappearing tribe” of Thailand called the Sakai tribe can also be found here.

We went kayaking with our children, and of course they were beyond themselves with excitement. The first time we went there, they were still too young to go on a kayak. But this time, we thought they could already handle it, since the water was not so rough. If it was, we would not risked it for sure.

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Diverse Outdoor Activities for Children

Having gone there, done it; here are some of the things that we found important.

1. Bring your own kids life jackets. Usually life jackets are available and are provided by the accommodation, however,  the sizes may not be the right fit. It is essential that life jackets fit, otherwise it could be uncomfortable and could possibly ruin the moment. And also it could restrict movement as well as block ones view of the surroundings. And another thing, if you are super particular about hygiene I think having your own life jacket is a great idea.

2. Wear a comfortable attire.  Most of the kayaks used here are sit-on-top,  with the foot rest almost the same level as the seat. So wearing jean shorts or other attire made of stiff fabric can be very uncomfortable and could cause abrasions on the skin. Cottony shirts and shorts are fine. Beachwears like top-bottom set,  burquini-type and wet suite-type beachwears are also great. One-piece or bikinis might be a little too much for the culture here,  and besides it won’t give so much protection in case the kayak tips over.

3. Anti-mosquito lotion. The place is surrounded by greeneries and water; two things mosquitoes love the most. Protect yourself from malaria and other diseases brought by mosquitoes. Anti-mosquito lotion is available in convenience stores and other SkinStore.

4. Pain relieving ointments. You would find this really handy and helpful as muscles would be stiff and sore the next day or even a few hours after. Wang Sai Thong river is 7 to 10 kilometers long, this could be a lot for the not so trained muscles.

5. Water-proof camera. Yes, yes, yes! Document every moment of it, every scream, every laughter; capture the emotions, the beauty, as well as the risks.

Oh by the way, the kayaks are generic. There are no special kayaks for our little ones. That’s why our children had to go with a guide.

Have you gone kayaking? Where? How was the experience?

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Diverse Outdoor Activities for Children

Engaging kids in outdoor activities has loads of benefits not only to the physical growth of children but it also reinforces cognition and learning, promotes social and emotional development. Children who are always around people and nature have a better sense of social interaction, empathy, and has a stronger concept of self identity and self-worth.

We have been trying our best to expose our children outdoor and encourage them to be active and interact with peers. The need to be active is especially important for our children as they are asthmatic; they say asthma is a modern-day disease.  Although modern medicine has provided us with effective asthma treatment, having a sound body and a healthy lifestyle would certainly make a load of difference.

Going out is something that my husband and I are not accustomed to doing as we are home-buddies and introverts. However, having children is a whole new story, especially that the kids have a rather outgoing personalities. The activities below are those that are available around our community. Some may not be possible with you however we hope that these could give you some ideas.

So here are some few of the things that we have been doing to get the children out of the house and catch some rays.

Kayaking. is another great family outdoor activity. It is something different from what children usually do, so they would find this exciting.  Although there are few risks to think about, but if the water is not too rough, it is pretty safe for kids.

kayaking @Satun Thailand

Bicycle around the house or neighborhood. Now that my son already knows to ride a bicycle,  he’s excited to go out of the house and go on an adventure as he would call it.

Walk along the beach and collect some shells. Our house is just a block away from Chalatat beach and Samila Beach.  So it’s so easy to stroll on the beach, collect some shells, and breathe in some fresh sea air after school.

Figurine painting with water color. Another favorite activity that my children love is painting at the beach.Plant some vegetables. I’m keen on growing our own produce and so I thought of a garden in the city.  Our place is tiny,  but we managed to turn a portion of the patio into a mini garden.  My kids caught up and planted their own vegetables. Now one of their favorite household chores is watering plants.

Go spelunking caves. Thailand is extremely abundant with natural resources like caves,  jungle,  and waterfalls.  These are great places to explore and experience the beauty of  nature with your family. In one of our trips in Satun Thailand, we visited Phu Pha Phet Cave or the Diamond Cave.  Unlike Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai, where a young soccer team was trapped for 18 days, this cave is big and super spacious inside, as well as dry and dusty.

Spelunking Phu Pha Phet

Enjoy a waterfall. As mentioned there is no shortage of waterfalls in Thailand.  One particular waterfall we like is the Wang Sai Thong in Satun Thailand, the entire waterfall basin and paths have high deposits of calcified limestone.  So the place is not slippery. Pretty safe for super active children.

Chill out at the beach. Whether the purpose is to swim or simply hang out there, a beach is an awesome place and children love it.  Aside from swimming, my kids love to feel the sand and build sand castles. A nice way to reconnect with earth, and boosts your child’s immunity by contact with microbes living in sand. They enjoy swimming greatly that a swimming pool is one of the things we look for when booking a hotel to stay for a short staycation or vacation.

Going to museums. A museum is a great place to explore and experience so many things about history, arts and crafts, sciences,  and many others.  What’s awesome with some of the museums here,  is that they are situated in pretty interesting sites like on top of a hill,  park,  and temples.

Explore and Experience

Family time at the park. For city dwellers city parks are the closest to nature one could get. And there are so much stuff kids could do, like play with their Frisbee, fly kites,  bike around,  explore the place and find different plants and insects,  or may be just run around while Mom and Dad are chilling out with their read.

Camping, may it be day camp or an overnight camping, is an exciting outdoor activity that would surely encouraged children and adults alike especially if they do this together with peers. This is a great venue for them to interact with others and exercise their learnt interpersonal and social values.

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Day Camp @Samila Sheep Farm

Nature photography is another great outdoor activity families could engage to bond, learn, and have fun.  Our daughter is showing interests in photography and is following dad’s footsteps. Below are some of her photos during a day trip to the zoo.

Empowered Kids Corner: Following Dad’s Footsteps

Corner: Following Dad’s Footsteps[/caption]

Take self-defense lessons like Taekwondo. Apart from self-defense, children can also develop motor coordination and balance.

Play basketball, football, or any sports your kids are into.

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How to Create a Healthier Diet for You and Your Kids

Our health is the most important asset that we have and having a healthy and nutritious diet is the key to achieving lifelong good health. As parents, an effective diet is also important to give us the energy we need to keep pace with our children, but of course our first priority is always to our kids’ health, so it’s essential that we pay full attention to their diets as well. Cutting down on junk food and adopting healthier options can make a vast difference to how you feel and how your children feel, so let’s look at how easy it is to do.

 

Increase Your Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Fruit and vegetables are nature’s gift to us all, as they provide us with the essential vitamins and minerals that we need on a daily basis. Expert opinions vary on how much fruit and veg we should consume, but they all agree we should eat between five and ten portions per day. That can sound like a lot but reaching the target can bring huge benefits to your health, fitness and energy levels. If your children are reticent to eating vegetables, or anything healthy, try hiding root vegetables like swede and turnip in among other foodstuffs, or encourage them to find one or two vegetables or fruits that they really like.

 

Cut Down on Sugar

Many of us have a sweet tooth, and there’s no denying that cakes, chocolate and candy taste great, but they are far from great for our health. Sugar is an addictive substance, and it features heavily in almost all the readymade and processed food stuffs that you can buy. It’s also a leading cause of obesity and linked conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, so it makes sense to reduce your sugar intake as much as possible. One way to do this is to cook your meals yourself using fresh ingredients rather than turning to ready meals or take-aways. This may seem difficult at first, but your body will soon forget its sugar cravings and love its new healthier diet.

 

Reduce Weight Naturally

Being overweight has an adverse effect upon every aspect of your life, so if you want to lose weight you’ll have to exercise more and eat less. That’s a simplistic equation of course, and some people find that they have to turn to a diet plan to help them say goodbye to their excess pounds; in this case, they should opt for diets based upon purely natural ingredients, such as the HCG diet. You can find more information on this hormone-based diet through expert websites such as Hcgdietreview.Com and this also means that you’ll be able to find the best HCG drops and supplements at the best possible prices.

A healthy diet and lifestyle adopted in childhood is likely to remain in place throughout an adult life, and the best way to encourage your children to eat healthily is to eat healthily yourself. Wave goodbye to processed foods filled with sugar and excess fat and say hello to homemade meals full of natural ingredients such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You’ll be amazed at the transforming effect it can have on you and your family.

 

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Derick Learns to Ride a Bicycle

Derick Learns to Ride a Bicycle

Yes,yes..finally my son has learnt to ride a bicycle. It has been a year since we bought him his bicycle, and only now he got to really enjoy it. He said, he now loves his bicycle more than ever. Apparently he’s not a kinesthetic learner, and there had been moments of frustration on his part and ours too.  While it has been very easy teaching Summer, Derick took his time,and that took so much of our patience and time.

*Derick and Summer have helmets but on this particular day, they decided not to wear them.

 

What were the tricks we did before he finally were able to put both feet on the pedals?

  1. First, we made sure the bike is the right height and size, and that he’s wearing protective gear for safety.
  2. Then we tried what we did with Summer, which was – hold the handle bar firmly forward, give it a push, put your feet on the pedals and start pedalling. It didn’t work with him! He couldn’t control the handle bar and couldn’t keep his balance.
  3. So we took the pedals out, and let him glide with it similar to pedal-less bicycles for toddlers.  Doing this develops a sense of balance and builds muscle memory. This stage took most part of the days that he tried learning to ride his bicycle. There were weeks even months that he refused to ride his bicycle because of frustration.
  4. At long last, during the summer break, we gave it another go after a long hiatus. We decided to put back the pedals since he could already balance. With sheer determination and lots and lots of encouragement that he could do it, he finally found his rythym  on the second day of practice. And since then he’s been enjoying it.

Hurray! Now, the bicycle is one of his treasured possesions.

Bicycling is a great outdoor activity for kids not only during summer but even during weekends and after school.  It is a great extracurricular activity that refreshes the mind and limit screen time.

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Kids Making Moringa Powder: A Beneficial Chore

Moringa is a superfood I include in my children’s diet,  and honestly they love it.  Not just that,  they make Moringa powder themselves. It’s easy to follow, in fact there are only 4 simple steps all in the video description.

Here’s a short video clip of how to make Moringa powder.  Enjoy!

Allowing children to do this is actually beneficial for them.

  1. Doing chores like this give them a sense of accomplishment.  Something they could be proud of. Chores for children are what trainings are for adults.
  2. It’s a great way to teach children the importance of good health and how to stay healthy.
  3. One of the ways to help your child eat and love veggies and other plant-based food.
  4. Doing this chore, helps instill in your child the love for plants and nature in general. In fact we’ve planted Moringa in our garden in the city.

It’s so easy and simple,  right?  Is this something that you’re children could do too?

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Watch and Learn

A young Thai kid speaks English like he has been reared in a household of English speaking individuals. But the truth is far from this. This kid’s parents know not a thing about the English language. And yet this kid’s proficiency is certainly way above his peers. So how is this possible?

Some twenty years back, this may seem outrightly impossible. Nowadays however, with the advent of internet, learning any language is just a click away. True enough, this kid as I have found out spends hours watching English cartoons in the internet or cable TV where he learns English vocabulary and imitates the way the characters speak.

 

Some of his favorite cartoons include,

1. Dora the explorer
2. My Little Ponies
3. Barneys
4. Peppa Pig
5. Ben and Holly
6. Octonauts
7. Charlie and Lola
8. Peep and the Big Wide World

Of the four English skills, listening should be the first to be learnt, and the rest speaking, reading, and writing, with continuous supervision, will follow suit smoothly. Watching English cartoons is a fun and great way for toddlers and school-age kids to learn English pronunciation and vocabulary.

Word of caution though, first, children must not be left unmonitored and unsupervised. The internet is both a friend and an enemy, protect your child.  Second,  no matter how helpful it is, if it is done in excess, it is definitely not good. Strike a balance,  engage your child in physical and other extracurricular activities. And also,  not to be forgotten,  child’s play is just as important.

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Children’s Day: Thailand

Children's Day 2018

Children’s day is an annual international celebration aim to not only celebrate children for who they are but also to bring awareness to children and the whole world of the protection and rights that are duly theirs. Children throughout our history have been subjected to cruelty, forced labor, and violence. And through this celebration governments must do in its power to protect children who are the future of this world.

It is celebrated by almost all countries at a varied calendar dates.  For example, USA celebrates this on the second Sunday of June which was first declared by a pastor by the name of Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard in Massachusetts on 1856.  It then was declared as an official annual holiday by Turkey on 1923 celebrating it every 23rd of April then on. United Kingdom celebrates this on the second Sunday of May, 20th of November for the Philippines, and second Saturday of January for Thailand.

 

Children’s day in Thailand:  Wan Dek (Day Children, direct translation)

 

It is celebrated with so much fun in mind. It is a big celebration for Thailand. Local governments, public and private institutions, and even schools prepare games and surprises for kids. Free food, milk, and goodies are aplenty during this day.

Local governments give kids a free tour and try program.  For example kids are given a guided tour in a government house and are actually allowed to sit at a government official’s desk; Royal Thai Military allows children to explore their aircrafts, and private institutions give free toys, and school supplies. Aside from these,  various activities are prepared for kids watch and learn.

 

Wan Dek 2018 (2561 in Thai Calendar)

Some schools celebrated Wan Dek a day earlier as the occassion fell on a Saturday.  This is how my son and his friends spent their day. Please the short clip we made of the entire event below. Thanks.

And here’s how my daughter celebrated Children’s Day in her school. Enjoy.

 

How did you spend Children’s Day?

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