Review of ‘Number Random Dots’ Flashcards

Here is a review of a later version of dot flashcards sold by the local Shichida school. The earlier ones are no longer being sold (If I’m not wrong they are called ‘variety dots’ and ‘organised dots’) so you will have to get a pre-owned set if you are interested..
number random dots
number random dots 2
This flashcard series contains 50 cards, with each set of 10 cards in different shapes. The cards are of good quality, thick paper, and all the corners are pre-cut.
number random dots 3
I don’t have much to comment or complain about this product, except that it costs $29.80, and works up to 64 cents per card, which is a little costly…Otherwise, this is an ok buy, especially if you are too lazy to make your own dot flashcards.
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Review of ‘Language Genius 1’ Flashcards

I was given this flyer of ‘home practice materials’ that the school was selling and decided to give a few products a go. The Language genius set was one of those that I bought ($50.50). The cards work out to about 25 cents per piece.
language genius front
language genius backThis is a box of plain word flashcards, without any images. The words are sorted into sets (someone predetermined which word are ‘more important’ than others and the cards are sorted according to their ‘importance’- I know of this list called the Dolch word list, a list of most frequently used words but I can’t get myself down to comparing it with this set because it will simply take me too much time)
language genius
language genius 2
Here are some of the issues I had with these cards-
  • One of the suggested uses was to form a sentence (sometimes with a picture). However, to do so I had to look through the entire box for the word that I wanted (sometimes after searching the entire box I couldn’t find the word I wanted). So an index of all the words, with the set to find them in, would be really useful!
  • You would be required to have picture flashcards in A5 size in order to flash the composite word-picture sentence. At that point in time I only had my home-made flashcards (I had not received my flashcard set from China yet) that were smaller than A5 size so there was no way I could do that..
language genius instructions
This set is has a similar concept to Glenn Doman’s ‘Teach your Baby to Read’ set. However, the notable difference is that the words in this set are mainly verbs and adjectives with hardly any nouns while in Glenn Doman they usually start with nouns first, before going on to the rest. (see this site with a recommended word bank if you want to follow Glenn Doman’s method)
If you are interested in reading about Glenn Doman’s method of teaching your baby to read, you can go here and here. Once again, these are fantastic mummy blogs, where you can read up more about Glenn Doman, his methods, and their successes.
Please do note, however, that this method of flashing words is in keeping with the ‘whole word approach’, which has been criticized by educators (as opposed to phonics). For a very brief overview on this approach, its pros and cons, you may like to read this wikipedia article.
Apparently until today, the debate still continues. Well in my opinion, just do both!
Anyway, I have digressed far away from the Flashcard review. Overall, this is a fair set to buy. However, for those on a budget, you may want to consider printing your own word cards, which is definitely cheaper than buying this set for fifty dollars.

Shichida Week 15

Hello! Here’s a quick summary of the activities we had in class today, which you may like to try at home!

For pretend play today we pretended to be animals! We had to flutter like a butterfly, gallop like a horse, stomp like an elephant, swing like a monkey and cling like a koala. I think it was a great idea, and it would have been much better if we didn’t have to rush through the while activity (it lasted for a grand total of 3 minutes). The babies did look like they enjoyed the activity though…

Some of the other activities we did today (most are repetitions or a variant of a previous activity):

  • putting together a 3 piece jigsaw puzzle
  • matching pictures of objects (with names starting with the letters ‘E’ and ‘F’) with their respective alphabets
  • tracing out letters ‘E’ and ‘F’ with their fingers
  • learning about ‘a little’ and ‘a lot’ using small plastic containers containing tiny items like beans
  • arranging wooden blocks to match a prescribed picture
Samantha was quite restless in class today and kept wanting to go and look at the pictures at the back of the class. My guess is that the activities were not as interesting to her as to the other babies in the class (they were relatively attentive!).

For the first time in 15 weeks, I decided to let Samantha decide if she wanted to take part in the activities or not, instead of coercing/enticing her to participate. In the process I learnt that it is difficult and it takes a lot of restraint for the parent not to impose his/her own will onto the child. We should all be mindful of this and not have our children turn up as miniature replicas of ourselves, or what we wanted to be!

Makedo Project – Playhouse!

It all started with a random thought I had – wouldn’t it be nice to have a steering wheel attached to the child car seat? The child could then pretend to drive during a road trip..How fun!

I googled for images of a child car seat steering wheel and found only a handful of such toys. One image caught my eye, it was more than a steering wheel-it was the entire car dashboard, with the speedometer, fuel gauge and even the gear stick! On closer inspection, this pretend car dashboard was completely DIY. That did the trick, I was hooked.. I must make one!

So how was it made? I found out that the dashboard was made from scrap material (cardboard, plastic jar caps) linked together by Makedo, a connector system designed in Australia. Visiting their blog revealed a whole bunch of interesting things people have made.. Including a cardboard iron man costume!

The kits can be purchased online (they ship to Singapore) but I decided to find the local distributor and emailed them to find out where I could find this toy. In 24 hours, I was home with a tube of 165 Makedo parts (and $48.90 poorer).

makedo

Here is what the Makedo connector system is all about-

  • A safe-saw to cut through and punch holes through cardboard.
  • Re-clips to attach materials together (basically a zip tie / cable tie with a detachable washer)
  • A lockable hinge to create a movable part or two pieces of cardboard attached at an angle to each other.

saw

clip

hinge

Next I begged a cardboard box from the supermarket.. And I was all set to go! Being imaginatively barren, I decided to start simple, with a playhouse for Samantha.

house 1.0
The only problem was..it wasn’t very stable at all!! It kept flopping over and it looked like a cardboard slum, totally not like what I had imagined before.

So I recruited the help of my Dad and we made version 2 of Samantha’s playhouse (complete with windows)..and it was a hit! Samantha was soon crawling in and out of the playhouse, playing chase and peekaboo with us and her toy dogs. It was a really good activity that resulted in quality family bonding time between my Dad, Samantha and myself, and we had loads of fun making the playhouse and subsequently playing with it.

house 2.0

The good thing about Makedo is that when you get bored of your current toy, you can take your construction apart and make something new out of the same materials. It is both This is environmentally friendly and pocket friendly (for as long as your child loves to play with cardboard boxes).

Subsequently I added a tile/brick pattern wallpaper to some parts of the house and my dad added a flashing LED fireplace.

house 2.1

house 2.1 fun

I did have a few comments (which are actually not product flaws but just my own personal complaints)-

  • The safe-saw doesn’t cut through cardboard as cleanly as I expected it to. But since this saw is meant to be safe for kids to handle, I think it is a fair trade-off.
  • My 165-part ‘Kit for three’ was almost used up to make the playhouse. If I wanted to make a larger project, I think I will need to buy more sets.
  • The ends of the re-clips tend to be a little pokey. To clarify, it doesn’t hurt an adult if you were to jam your hand into the clip, but I’m not so sure if unsuspecting babies or toddlers can be injured by these bits. That being said, Makedo sets are actually recommended only for ages 5 and up, so if you follow the age advisory there should be absolutely no issue at all!

The Makedo sets are priced from S$20 to S$50 (depending on the number of pieces in the set) and can be purchased from:

  • Toy tag (Harbourfront Centre)
  • The collector (Funan Digitalife Mall)
  • Times The Bookshop stores
  • Makedo website (it’s more expensive than if you buy it from the local shops)

Shichida Week 14

Today we had some interesting activities!

For pretend play today all the babies pretended to be butterflies (there were giant butterfly wings that could be velcro-ed onto their arms) and flew to the back of the class where they saw pretty flowers pasted on the wall.

Here are some of the other activities-

  • sorting out pictures of objects that start with the letters K and Y
  • learning counting 1 to 12 by playing hopscotch
  • learning to differentiate ‘a little’ from ‘a lot’ by comparing containers filled with beans
  • attaching heads and tails to bodies of dinosaurs – each dinosaur has a different colour