Books and Paint at Botanic Gardens

I would really like to let my kids spend more time at green, open spaces. Preferably places with no playground structure. Because playgrounds are all similar, aren’t they? Run around the playground, climb up and down… Yes, playgrounds are good. But the playgrounds in my neighbourhood and indoor playgrounds also allow the kids to expend physical energy.

An open space… would allow the kids to have free play… in the outdoors! Kill two birds with one stone! But when I tried to think of green, open spaces near my home, I couldn’t think of any. I really need to explore more. Decided to go to the Botanic Gardens for now.

Admittedly, it wasn’t true free play, since I prepared a painting activity. Start small and slow first 😛 Still, I enjoyed the outing. Though we could occasionally hear loud vehicles, it was very quiet for the most part. As we were sitting in the middle of a huge grass patch, we could see others playing (bubbles, kicking ball, skate scooters, running around) and yet were not bothered by thier noises. With birds chirping and insects calling, it truly felt very idllyic to be reading with my children and watching them paint and play. I do not know whether they felt the same way, but I am sure they will learn to appreciate it more as they get more opportunities to experience.

I actually got the idea for this outing after being inspired by these books. A Tree Is Nice is a Caldecotts winner, and the author gives many reasons for appreciating trees. The ‘Building on Books’ section in the resource book suggests reading Sky Tree, which illustrates how a tree can be so many things as the weather and seasons change. I enjoyed reading these two books at home, and truly, I was able to appreciate them even more while reading with the kids amongst so many trees. Not sure whether I was imagining things, but it seemed like the boys were quieter than usual, perhaps feeling the books while I was reading?

Do let me know if you know of green, open spaces in Singapore!


Behind the scenes:

Within five minutes of reaching the Botanic Gardens, Kor Kor started complaining it was too hot and dragged his feet. But it WASN’T.

While walking across the grass, Kor Kor complained his shoes were getting dirty.

Shortly after we sat down on the mat, Kor Kor complained there were too many insects flying around.

Didi decided he needed to poo. Even though he very rarely does a Number Two when we are outside. So I had to clean him in the middle of nowhere. Very smelly too.

When we reached home, I had to clean three caps, two pairs of shoes, one ball, one ball net, one picnic mat, three paintbrushes and four paint containers.

Oh well.


Colorforms with Arrow to The Sun

An expression of the universal myth of the hero-quest, this beautiful story also portrays the Indian reverence for the source of life: the Solar Fire. Vibrant full-color illustrations capture the boldness and color of Pueblo art. A Caldecott Medal Book.

The pictures are mostly combinations of various geometrical shapes, so I got the idea from the Caldecott resource book to let the boys play with different sizes of different shapes. And tata! – I have Colorforms! Bought it more than two years ago, cos when I came across it, I thought it was such a great thing for children to play with! It includes 350 shapes which attach to any glossy surface or each other – reusable of course. But it only comes with one play board.. then another lightbulb came on – I had previously laminated many sheets of construction paper of various colours for the boys to learn their shapes and colors and they could now use them as extra play boards! (See?? It’s good to have extra stuff squirreled away.. you never know when you would ‘need’ them for ’emergencies’!)

So, that was my plan – to bring the boys’ attention to the geometric combinations in the book, but I started off with free creation. THEN Kor Kor happened to glance at the book.. and he said he wanted to make an arrow like in the book! Fireworks went off in my heart.. he NOTICED! I didn’t even realise about the geometric stuff until I read the resource book 😛


The Snowy Day

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Winner of the Caldecott Medal, The Snowy Day celebrates the magic and boundless possibilities of the very first snowfall. Young Peter can’t wait to jump into his snowsuit and explore, for there are snowmen to build and snowballs to pack, and snowballs for carving a snow angel! (From the back cover)

No snow in Singapore, so we focused on the part about the tracks the boy made in the snow.

Learnt about the different tracks various animals make using the Animal Tracks game, and had a fun time making our own tracks!