Everyone’s ready for summer break to end. Click that.
Pristine’s been featured in an article from a local newspaper, The National today. Last week, I received an email from a journalist requesting for a phone interview after she read my blog post about how summer in Dubai is tough for kids. I accepted the interview, shared my thoughts and they sent a very nice lady photographer to take photos of Pristine at home.
In the article you will come to know that the number of school days for children in the UAE is only 155 compared to Singapore with 200 days and US/Australia with 190 days each. To me, that is alarming and parents need to put effort not only to keep their child/children entertained but to make them not forget their lessons and be intellectually ready for the next school year.
Here are a few of the things we do at home that kept her busy in the summer:
1. Art work – I stock up on art supplies, print out pages to color from the internet, buy coloring books. Coloring books need not be expensive. If you’re working, you can even bring home misprints (paper printed on one side and clean on the other) and make your child draw, paint on it.
Pristine likes to draw, color and paint. Sometimes, the first thing she asks when she wakes up is her painting set.
2. Geography – Pristine loves geography as much as I do. We have a big world map in our living room wall where I teach her the countries and oceans of the world. To make it easy on her and make her retain what she had learned easier, instead of saying, where’s Japan or The Philippines or Australia, etc. I do it like this:
“Where’s Japan – where you spent your baby life, where grandma & grandpa is? It looks like a dragon sitting in the sea (at least that’s how I see it)”
“Where’s Australia – land down under, down, below…where Ms. Kaelynne (her favorite teacher) is from?”
“Where’s the USA? – big, big land waay on the left side of where we are (Dubai)?”
“Canada? – just above the USA, they’re neighbors, you know…”
and much, much more. I think she can now locate at least 15 countries and she never gets tired of it. Now if only I can come up with ways to make her locate the group of countries in Europe… 🙂
3. Black board and White board – She loves drawing and teaching. In most of our plays, she’s the teacher and I am the student. She practices writing a lot on the boards and I write simple mathematical equations of addition and subtraction, around 10 items each and have her get busy with it while I do something in the kitchen. Then I’ll come back after a few minutes to check and make a big check mark across the board and write, “100%”. She beams every time.
4. Interactive online learning – Kids these days are so darn lucky to have internet ready at hand. Pristine loves to hear narrated stories online. Her favorite is The Gruffalo. She also loves online E-books, some of which I read to her while she’s on my lap.
When I can’t be there to read to her (have to go to a place called “office”), I access the page in the morning and she takes it from there. (my mom supervises)
5. Books, books and more books – we love books and we buy it more than we buy clothes. We take turns in reading it aloud during bed time or whenever she likes to (and whenever M & I are at home). When M and I are out, wondering what to bring Pristine home as a gift, we know that buying a book would make her happy than anything else. (aside from beautiful clips in pink, please)
So, to them who must not be named: Please don’t give her a stuffed toy on her birthday.
Some of our favorite books we read day in, day out are:
The World of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – in a box! It contains the Original Peter Rabbit books 1-23 in a cute Presentation Box. The stories are simple, the illustrations beautiful and the size of the books fits into a child’s hand just right.
I-Spy – it’s a children’s book series with texts written by Jean Marzollo. It contains pictures of various items, either in massive clutter, or set up to portray a scene, such as a haunted house. Below each picture is a riddle that asks the reader to search for specific items or words spelled out within the photo. Many of the shots, besides being visually interesting, are intriguing and imaginative, with eerie or sentimental themes. (info from Wikipedia)
I started introducing I-Spy books to her before she turned two. I found out that she’s extremely focused in finding the things in the pages and want to do more even when I say, bed time! We started with the simple and little I-Spy books: I Spy Little Letters, I Spy Little Numbers, I Spy Little Book. Then we moved on to more challenging I-Spy books that even I, as an adult, enjoy so much:I Spy Year-Round Challenger!, I Spy Christmas, I Spy Treasure Hunt and I Spy Fun House