With two active toddlers in the family, coming up with activities to keep both entertained and interested at the same time can sometimes be pretty challenging.
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PSEUDO HOMESCHOOLING / Since the weekend memo (read: RISE EARLY!) was handed out (AGAIN!), that means having to keep both babies occupied with some simple activities. I'm no #craftymama so this will have to do with 2 kids of different learning phases. Looking at this photo, no prizes for guessing how my pseudo homeschooling attempt went 🤣 . How do mums with multiples tackle different kids at the same seating? I probably spent most of the time running after the boy who was eager to reach out to a pair of scissors on the table, putting markers into his mouth, and clearing up scrap paper so he wouldn't eat them 😂 Needless to say, V wasn't impressed with my fleeting presence as I pranced around like a shadowless kungfu master 🙊Still glad she managed to work on her masterpiece independently, before the baby started crying and yours truly had to get on a con call for work. 🌈
I’m neither an expert in homeschooling nor a conscientious mum who burns midnight oil to prepare teaching materials. When it comes to the main game, it’s best to trust in the experienced specialists :P
We were invited to an open house by My Little Genius recently to learn about their programme, lesson styles and more. Their promise of a whole brain learning sounded pretty exciting! With several enrichment centres that focus on right brain training, I was eager to find out more. Here’s what we discovered:
About My Little Genius
My Little Genius is a homegrown brand in young children education, specifically in brain stimulation. With classes for one-year old to five-year old, each age-specific programme is developed to meet various learning outcomes at different stages.
My Little Genius believes in marrying bilingualism and activities to stimulate whole-brain development while cultivating the love for learning. Expect to immerse in both English and Mandarin languages during the session, along with fast-paced activities to stimulate the right brain, as well as activities that pique reasoning abilities and thinking skills to trigger the left brain.
Fringe activities at My Little Genius trial class
Prior to the trial class, families enjoyed a fun (or scary!) balloon sculpting session. Thereafter, Teacher and Centre Manager of Jurong East school, Gene Chua, shared with us about the programme, the school’s beliefs and how the activities are developed to enrich young children.
And, since it was Mother’s Day, little Vera and daddy were actually twisting a flower for me! Daddy was really brave, I must say! :D
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FROM YOU TO ME / #throwback to that nervously twisted balloon flower I received on Mother's Day. The one who made it? The Husband, who gamely tackled the squeaky stretchy rubber while bracing himself in case they go 'POP'! 🎈What are some reasons your partner is so awesome in your eyes? 😍
Along with a buffet spread of tea time treats, My Little Genius made sure we were fed, and kept belly happy with food and hot drinks. In addition, they invited a partner who shared some children-friendly skin care products with us. Pretty sure you would have heard of Theo10, which embraces natural ingredients that are safe for the family.
Theo10’s founder, Theodore Khng, shared with mummies the products that are great for eczema skin, as well as natural insect repellents among others.
Sneak peek of the trial class
With English as a dominant spoken language at home, it’s little wonder that many kids in Singapore are like “potatoes” aka “kan dang”. Feedback from Vera’s childcare teachers have also aligned our concerns, but it also looks like we are not alone as many of my friends experience the same situation too!
Studies have shown that exposure to bilingualism or multilingualism has more benefits for a child’s development than we think. No, they will not be confused, and yes, kids are able to decipher information despite different languages! Psychologist and educators believe that exposure to multiple languages gears children to be better communicators, resulting in a larger vocabulary bank than others. Besides linguistic abilities, it is believed that they embrace both insider and outside perspectives, seeing things across cultures and appreciate other cultures, besides having their critical thinking skills developed.
My Little Genius understands this common concern about the lack of exposure to Mandarin for families in Singapore, and their programme aims to help parents increase their child’s exposure to the language too. Classes are conducted in both English and Mandarin through different activities, so each parents and children enjoy the best of both worlds.
Here are some snippets of what goes on in a typical My Little Genius class:
Music and singing
With young children, songs are always a good idea to get them warmed up with their new friends and teachers. The trial class started with greeting songs, which are in place to introduce discipline and the idea of routine and order. Soon, they were all ready for some fun!
Songs of varying rhymes and rhythm in both English and Mandarin are sung, along with actions. Vera started to warm up a fair bit when familiar songs were played!
Did you know that rapid flashing of flash cards triggers the Right Brain activation? The slower-paced flashing and explanation (e.g. pointing out each card or word) nurtures the Left Brain instead. That was something I learnt from the educators that day – interesting isn’t it?
Unless we train on our own to flash those cards at lightning speed, I think the teachers left a few jaws dropping! And yes, different sets of cards in dual languages too!
This activity helps to relax a child’s eye muscles (optic nerves) and yet increases their peripheral view.
Photographic Memory (“Chik Chak”)
This sounds really fun, and activities are developed to improve a child’s spatial recognition ability, brain capacity and nurture his/her attention to details. Reminds me of those party games we had when I was a little child!
Finger Play/Flash Card Song/Brain Gym
Besides brain stimulation, My Little Genius crafts their program to encompass an active child’s physical abilities too. These series of activities are geared towards eye-hand-leg coordination. Along with music appreciation and the perfect pitch, children learn to listen and observe with their ears. Mindfulness techniques are introduced too, as this helps with relaxation.
The brain requires simulation and engaging our senses helps get that going. Hand-eye coordination skills, IQ enhancement, critical thinking and problem solving skills are in the works when the kids explore and figure our these puzzles. Playing along with parents who encourage them along the way, helps give them additional moral support!
This simple activity brought about some “oohs..!”, and exposure to this along with explanation on why it happens offers children with additional knowledge on things they hardly get a chance to experience. It’s easily replicated at home too, so parents can do the same as well, and continue intriguing your little ones!
At the end of the trial session, both Vera and Leroy “graduated”! At 3.5 years old, Vera could follow instructions and engaged with the various activities. Can’t say the same about Leroy who’s only a year old, and also this is the first time he has attended a “class” per se. But I’m sure familiarity breeds and in time to come, this active boy will learn and understand about rules and routines too :)
Thank you for having us, My Little Genius! And, till we meet again! Ending this post with group photos of fellow parent bloggers in Singapore! So surreal to meet them because I’ve been following most of them too :P
Are you interested in developing your child’s left and right brains as a whole? Do share some activities that you’ve tried!