Keppel Centre for Art Education 

The National Kitchen Restaurant

Yesterday following a delicious meal in the exquisite  ‘National Kitchen’ restaurant in the Singapore National Gallery we stumbled on a really fun activity area called ‘Who’s in the Wood’. I’m not sure who enjoyed it most. Our two year old granddaughter or the adults in the party! 


Click here to see more:  ​​​​Who’s in the Woods?

​When we were able to tear ourselves away from ‘We were in for another amazing discovery. The ‘Keppel Centre for Art Education’ 
On the first level of the Gallery, this imaginative Centre for children is made up of four areas. The Art Playscape, Art Corridor, Museum and Project Gallery. The activities and resources encourage children to think creatively, to problem solve and to communicate.  In other words, everything that ‘The Jumbles’ believe in. 

This is such a wonderful learning resource for residents in Singapore but a visit to the National Gallery including the Keppel Centre (and a meal in the’National Kitchen’ ) is also something I would rate as a ‘must’ for families visiting the country. 

For more information and amazing photographs, click on the link below. 

      Keppel Centre

Advertisements

Haw Par Villa 


We visited the Haw Par Villa theme park in the Pasir Panjang District (MRT Circle Line) for the second time today. 

The park in the middle of massive renovation works and so many of the areas were ‘out of bounds’ and it was very noisy. . 

However, I would definitely recommend this place once the works are completed as it is going to be really beautiful. 

This theme park is named after the ‘Aw Brothers’ who invented the Tiger Balm ointment and, as expected, the gardens contain many tiger statues

Haw Par is best known for its gruesome depiction of the ‘Ten Gates of Hell’ but, with over 1.000 statues and tableaux it is a magical journey into Chinese Mythology. To really appreciate it fully I would recommend acquiring a basic knowledge of some of the stories.

Children will love the animal statues and the numerous turtles and terrapins and will enjoy clambering up the steps and exploring the many tunnels that meander through the tableuxs. 

I definitely would NOT recommend taking them to see the ten gates of hell! 

Below is a very short video I took today of the restricted area. 

After our previous visit a couple of years ago I made a pre-visit video for children.  To view please use this link: 

       Haw Par Villla for Kids

     

.

Fine Motor Skills 

What are Fine Motor Skills ? 

The term Fine Motor Skills refers to the use and control of all the small movements we do with our hands and fingers (and feet and toes). A new baby has very little control of its hands and fingers but by about five or six months it is able to grasp an object with its whole hand.  At twelve months it will be able to pick up small objects using its thumb and index finger. This is the stage when babies repeatedly  ‘practice’ (often to our annoyance!) picking things up and dropping them. By the age of four most children can use a crayon, stack shapes, turn over pages and cut with scissors. 

All these actions require the use of muscles in our hands and fingers.  Generally speaking the stronger the muscles the better are our fine motor skills and as our motor skills develop so does our hand and eye coordination. 

In the Kitchen 
There are lots of activities which help to strengthen the muscles of the hand and fingers and also help with coordination and some of the easiest and most fun happen in the kitchen. Children love helping to cook and bake and it is a great way for them to strengthen their hand muscles in addition to absorbing many basic mathematical and scientific concepts. 

 If you think of all the different ways we use our hands when preparing food. Whisking cream, kneading dough, stirring soup, rolling pastry, spreading butter. The list is endless. 

 

Even picking up small pieces of food involves fine motor skills and the more practice toddlers have the stronger their muscles will become. But we do need to ensure that we demonstrate the correct ‘tripod’ grip. Once children get into a habit of picking things up the wrong way, for example in the fist, it is difficult to correct. 


There are some very ‘fun’ activities involving food. 


Why not make mini fruit and veg or cheese kebabs using straws. The fruit needs to be firm rather than over ripe. Pears, firm bananas and kiwi, apple, Melon and avocado work well and half grapes or cherries or tomatoes can be used as the end pieces. 


Even placing pieces of bread of toast on a plate of scrambled egg to make a fun face is great practice and improves hand-eye coordination. 


Playdough is a great medium for strengthening little muscles and for hand-eye coordination. 

Practice the tripod grip when pulling pieces apart . 


Exercise other muscles by squeezing and rolling and pressing. 


One activity I’ve found very popular is illustrated here.  Different types of lines and circles are drawn on sheets of clear plastic. An assortment of wavy and straight lines, long and short lines plus different sizes of circles can also be incorporated into a design or simple picture. 

Then pieces of playdough can be made into the correct shape and size to fit over the lines and dots. 

Threading beads, pasta, rubber washers infact anything that has a hole and is safe is great fun. I like to have a lidded plastic box full of pasta tubes, beads, washers, together with plastic cord, coloured string, straws and pipe cleaners.


 Children will happily play with this assortment oblivious to the fact that they are not only practising fine motor skills and improving hand-eye coordination but are also developing their creativity and learning about texture, colour and even basic number concepts! Not to mention absorbing lots of new vocabulary. 

 

The Lion Dance. Chinese New Year 

Above:  The Lions visit the  Plaza Singapura Shopping Centre in Dhoby Gaut, Singapore. 

Why? 

In a nutshell, to chase away evil spirits and monsters like Nian and to bring good luck and fortune during the coming year. 

There are two men inside each Lion. One at the head and one at the tail. The music follows the move of the Lion. The Lion has a mirror attached to its head and this is believed to expel negative energy. 

The businesses hang a string of green vegetables outside the door. To this is attached a lucky red packet. Usually the businesses have prepaid for the visit by the lions. The dance culminates with the lions ‘eating’ the green vegetables and packet accompanied by a crescendo of drums and cymbals. Then they spit out the chewed up remains. This is a symbolic gesture. The lions are blessing the business with good luck and lots of customers during the new year! In return the lions are rewarded with oranges or tangerines which again symbolise good good luck. 

Often the lions leave a Year Date spelt out in orange segments on the floor. 


In the video below you can see the climax of the lion dance at Plaza Singapura

         LION DANCE. PLAZA SINGAPURA

Come back tomorrow for more fun when we will be participating in the ‘Yu Sheng’. This is a traditional noodle tossing and great fun. Tastes great too! There’s also a DRAGON! 

​​

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: