She’s in the papers

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.

Paints in the morning

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… ๐Ÿ™‚

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)

watching ebooks online

Our favorite resources online, Link to Learning, Starfall and has lots of stuff in store for children!

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


  1. That’s a very nice article and I would say congratulations except it doesn’t seem appropriate. Looks to me as though Dubai needs to be a bit embarrassed.

    Dropping the ball on the education of tomorrow’s leaders doesn’t sound like a good plan.
    Such a busy place, such an opulent metropolis of wealth and yet, what will tomorrow bring if those children are not properly educated?

    190 days here doesn’t seem long enough. The first back to school month is spent “refreshing” their minds as to what they learned last year. I’ll imagine teachers there have a rather difficult time picking up the pieces of an apathetic summer “vacation”.

    I’m glad somebody heard you and Pristine and I’ll be watching for any follow ups.
    So sad for Pristine. That little girl is going to pee her pants on the morning you say, “Yes, sweetheart. Today is school”. You MUST show us her back to school picture!

    I’ve got back to school photos to show everyone soon! We were at school today for an induction program. She was literally bouncing on walls and woke up before 6 am! The program starts at 9:30!


  2. Parenting is a full time job. I have to give it to you, because I know some parents who don’t take that much time out. They prefer to send there kids off to some sort of day camp. I think you two will be real close as she grows older.

    There are day camps (summer camps for half day) here but I don’t think it is good – too many children in one group, less competent teachers and not to mention, very expensive. It’s more like a business here than a fun activity to favor the children!

    >I think you two will be real close as she grows older.
    I am hoping that. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Great advice Grace. I’m sending the link to this post, to several of the moms that I go to church with. They are homeschoolers, and I think that they will appreciate your info!

    Thanks Libby! But they are already homeschoolers – I need to learn from them not the other way around. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Oh wow, that’s so wonderful!!
    I’m glad your experience could be recognized and hopefully it helps other parents and children in the same circumstances.
    Those are very great tips too =]

    Thanks, Kayla! Most parents and children are not here in Duba in the summer but if they are, I hope my tips can help them and they can share what they do at home to keep the kids busy too. Sadly, no one from Dubai is commenting on this particular post!


  5. How exciting that you have been heard by the media in Dubai!! Maybe you will get that indoor park that the children SO deserve!! Your writing is so wonderful, that it certainly deserves to be noticed and Pristine is so photogenic that she is a perfect subject to put in the paper. I can’t wait to see the article and any follow up.
    Have a great week.

    The indoor park would be great. Actually, there’s an indoor kid entertainment during the Dubai Summer Surprises even (mid-June to mid-August) but it is filled with toxic attractions such as video games, carnival rides. It is also expensive.


  6. that’s a whole month of exposure for Pristine!

    Yeah, I feel that I blogged about her too much in August ๐Ÿ™‚
    Will be taking a break in September..I guess I’m fast turning into a mommy blogger…those moms who can’t stop talking about their kids…


  7. We love children books too… I use to but often and I love go to the library and spend hours seeing them…

    I was disconnected these days… I miss you!



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