Sometimes, I think change has been the one constant in our lives. By the time our younger fella was three, we’d moved across continents, homes and switched careers at least as many times. We were living out of suitcases. Family and friends floated in and out of the kids’ lives, depending on where we were. “Routine is important for kids”, people pointed out. I looked at two mopey little faces seeing their dad off, as he went away on yet another work trip and I worried. We had to get better at coping with change and fast.
Put a date on it: We made count down calendars. As neither kid could read at the time, we made a poster that showed them what mum and dad were doing and how long they would be gone. I drew pictures of who would be around and of all the fun stuff they could do together. When it was time for me to move back home with them, I made another calendar- “In how many days is mum coming back? Isn’t that going to be fun?”
List everything: We had schedules of tasks for the nanny to supervise, lists of medicines and dosages that we updated as the kids grew, emergency numbers and, finally, instructions for grandparents to keep in mind as they kindly and generously took care of the kids. Breaking a big undertaking into bite-sized lists of tasks to accomplish, made it less daunting.
Acknowledge emotions: For our last big move, the kids were old enough to worry. Our four-year-old later confided in me, that at the time he had been convinced, his grandma would die if he moved away. “It’s been a year now and she is OK. So nothing bad happened when we left, right?” he asked. So we talked about feelings and that it’s okay to be anxious or sad or even angry.
Take control: We prepared for our big move to Singapore with reconnaissance visits. The kids picked out stuff for the new house and more importantly, their room. On one such short visit, our older guy decided of his own volition to map out all the bridges on the Singapore river and walk across them. The younger one declared the evening we flew out, “Tonight is going to be Singapore night.” That became our mantra.
Stretch yourself and commit: Raising kids takes a village and we needed to build one for ourselves each time we moved to a new place. It takes effort and time. We try to volunteer, give time and effort towards various causes and community events. It is rewarding to contribute and help others. It also helps forge genuine connections with like-minded people. So go ahead and participate in that neighborhood event, join that runners group, enroll your children in that Imagin8ors workshop or a football camp.
Face your anxieties: Along the way, we have made it a practice to talk to the kids in detail about upcoming changes- big or small and involve them as much as possible so that they feel in control.
Mom/Dad have to travel for work- let’s look at the map and see where they are going. How many days till they return? Let’s learn the names and phone numbers to contact in case of emergencies. Let’s learn our address so that we always know how to get back home, if we are lost. Let’s have a family emergency plan. What time each day shall we facetime/skype? Best friend at school is relocating to another country- travails of being part of an expat community. Where are they moving to- what language do they speak in that country? Let’s learn a few words so we can use them with the friend. Do we have their email address so we can stay in touch? Let’s have play dates with new classmates.
Start new traditions: We miss how grandma would feed us at mealtimes or tell stories at bedtime. Let us begin new traditions. Xmas tree! Bedtime music and reading! How about Friday night family cuddles? Movie nights and popcorn!
It has been a learning curve but seeing happy little faces tucked up in their beds safe at night, gives us a measure of peace. The munchkins now aged eight and six, make friends easily. They have happy memories and great friends from different countries. They are curious about the world and are confident in new settings. An on-going dialogue with our children and robust preparation helped us manage change. Learning from fellow expats and working parents has been invaluable. Have you had to handle big changes with your kids? Do you have any tips on how to help them cope?
Kaumudi Goda is a mum, former attorney, current corp desk jockey, full time bookworm and pop-culture enthusiast. She has been a fan and supporter of Imagin8ors from inception. With her crew of three goofy boys (two munchkins and one overgrown football fanatic), KG has traveled extensively and lived in several places. She is happy to share her family’s hilarious adventures with the Imagin8ors community.
Rachna Singh, a Singapore based mother of two daughters who are like chalk and cheese. A collector, a writer, a gardener,a mother and a terrific friend; she is indeed a force of nature. Picking up each new thing in life with such enthusiasm and energy she is a constant source of inspiration to everyone around her.
MAAAA….. I am bored.
Oh dear Lord!!!….she is bored. AGAIN!!!
And thus began the holidays for my five-year-old Eesha. A sack full of untapped energy, who needed to be positively and constructively challenged every waking hour. Ignoring her, I went about tending to my plants lovingly.
“Can I do that please?” Eesha asked and I indulged her. This set the Sumerian wheel of gardening on the roll. In went the whole jug of water in a single plant and water spilled all over the place. It was time for her first lesson – “water conservation”. How to use water, a scarce natural resource, without wasting it.
When Eesha accidentally plucked out few healthy saplings along with the weeds, I told her about deforestation and imbalances in our ecological system. She absorbed all this new information not deterred by the big words thrown at her.
An organic fertilizer made of egg shells, vegetable and fruit peels was our next project .She learnt about being cost effective and recycling. I did make a passing reference to soil pollution and how our fertilizer was more eco-friendly. She was struck by the term “eco-friendly”. “Ma, I think I‘ll call my next doll eco-friendly. Now that made me smile.
In some mason jars we put layers of coloured pebbles and compost mixed soil and planted cacti plants with tiny red and yellow flowers. Forever the artist Eesha wrapped a dainty little green ribbon around the bottle. And our lovely glass garden terrarium was born.
As I was snipping away some mint leaves, for my tea, I was tempted to start an herb garden and I shared this with Eesha. Jubilant at the idea we painted and decorated the cans. We personalised it with ladyfinger imprint patterns. Basil, sage, thyme, rosemary, alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes and oriental capsicum all found a little can of their own. In the process, Eesha learnt the names and spellings of different herbs and understood the difference between herbs, fruits and vegetables. I also helped her understand the nutritional benefits of eating different coloured fresh produce.
But would she have the patience to wait? I was in for an unexpected surprise. For the next two months, Eesha meticulously and lovingly looked after her plants. Few times, I also caught her spray bottle in hand talking sweet nothings to her baby plants.
In August, my baby’s birthday month our herb garden was in full bloom, and what a sight. In a moment of pure genius Eesha suggested a gardening themed birthday party. I sure was impressed. Off we went to the market to collect our supplies.
At her birthday party each kid was handed a clean empty can to decorate and plant herbs of their choice. Once they were done it was time to make their own vegetable pizzas. Oh the excitement of trimming fresh herbs and scattering it over their pizzas. We further topped it with colourful cherry tomatoes and capsicums. Everything from the kitchen garden. The kids polished off the pizzas in minutes.
Amazed I mused, an activity meant to keep my kid busy in her holidays had reaped such rewards. I saw a more patient, knowledgeable, responsible and happy kid running around in the house.
That night, she hugged me and said that this was her best birthday ever, I couldn’t help beaming and hugging her back. I knew she really meant it.
Have you done something recently with your child which has reaped unexpected rewards? Do tell.
Our Open House, is an invigorating time for Team Imagin8ors, filled with anticipation of meeting some new tinkerers and welcoming back the older ones. For animated conversations, stimulating idea exchanges, some fearless tinkering and learning simply for the joy of it.
We were ready to lay down the canvases, for the children to pour a little bit of themselves on. The loaded materials table beckoned the maker in all. Softly it whispered:”Come lets tinker!!” This month our treasure trove consisted of three exciting experiences for the children to explore- paper speaker, wind table and dream catching lamp.
Children created paper speakers and activated it using copper tape loops and Neodymium magnets. Lo and behold!! they could send audio signals through them! The more the number of loops, the louder the speaker! The children were exhilarated manipulating the sound levels, always preferring the rather higher notes.
The children got a crash course in basic Physics as they built a table that could launch objects when placed on it. They learned how to harness the kinetic wind energy using various materials. Their eyes lit up with delight as they wielded the power to swish, sway or float with the wind.
The children and parents got messy together with clay, paper, neon paint, and glow in the dark glitter. Creativity flowed seamlessly as they dabbled with different materials to create their own unique lamp
Oh! The energy levels were through the roof. It sure has got us charged and our creative juices flowing. How about you? Was it just as stimulating? We hope the journey you embarked on with us will continue back home. Do come back again to inspire us with your energy and bright ideas. See you next month.
It was indeed a light bulb moment when we thought of Imagin8ors On The Go. What an opportunity for us to bring the Joy of Learning to your very doorstep! To meet wonderful children and parents and together create an environment where we could children could tinker, have fun and learn hands-on. Where we could have a conversation with parents on on why this is important.
In today’s fast changing, tech-driven world, it’s become even more critical to nurture imagination and creativity in our children, so that they could apply the knowledge they learn in original, novel ways that machines cannot replicate easily. We need to build a strong foundation of character traits like curiosity – always asking questions, seeking to understand etc.; critical thinking – to help them analyse and solve unstructured problems , courage – embracing failure as a necessary part of the creative process, and collaboration – sharing and learning from others. These are part of what is talked of as 21st Century skills or capabilities.
With this in our hearts Imagin8ors visited Costa Del Sol and Costa Rhu and we spent a happy day transforming old toys – a great way to put to practice the very same 21 century capabilities. The output from children and parents was simply amazing… Fisher-Price should be taking notes.
Children landed at the event and set about sketching what they were planning to transform their toy into. Their imagination ran wild with no boundaries or rules to stifle them.
Parents and children collaborated together and it was heartening to see them equally involved as they sketched and planned for a toy of their own.
Once everyone had a plan on paper it was time for some action. Out came the screwdrivers and the dismantling began. We witnessed a lot of focus as the children went about systematically taking toys apart. Curious little beings showed so much delight to get a peek into how their toys worked.
Once the toy was taken apart they had all the ingredients to make magic. The raw material from the toy, additional stuff from our materials table and their creativity – when these three met sparks did fly!
The children spent the time discussing, tinkering and modifying their toys. They would also go around looking at others’ creations-in-the-making to get ideas and inspiration.
Parents rolled up their sleeves, got messy and helped their children through the transformation process.
In the end we had some very happy children who had actually built something guided by their fluid imagination. As the journey was made with their toys and parents, the euphoria at the end result was so much more.
It was a happy moment to see the parents and children rejoice, having created something new and unique to take home. When it is all about the journey the destination always comes as a pleasant surprise.
What are your views on nurturing 21st Century Capabilities in children? Would you like us to come to your doorstep too? Join the conversation…
If you haven’t made plans to head to the Maker Faire Singapore 2016 this weekend, you should!
At this family friendly event, your child and you can meet an army of crafters, techies, artists, engineers, scientists and tinkerers and participate in fun interactive learning and play-based workshops. Immerse yourselves in hands-on activities and discover the inner maker and the curious kid who just like to build things.
The Maker Faire offers many opportunities for parents to expose children to the staggering breadth of creativity (arts, music, technology, electronics, robotics, building, handicrafts, you name it) and the increasing interconnection between disciplines.
Participating in non-instructional, hands-on tinkering activities could offer you and your child to experience and work with ambiguity, to teach them that many times there are no right or wrong answers, and to learn on how to take failure in your stride to iterate and create something of meaning.
So what are you waiting for? See you there!
When: 25 th June 2016 – 26 th June 2016
Where: Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD); 8 Somapah Rd, 487372
About the Maker Faire : The Maker faire is a showcase of the Maker Movement. The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2015 celebrated its tenth annual show with some 1100+ makers and 145,000 people in attendance. In these 10 years, it spread across the world, with Maker Faire Singapore becoming one of the most prominent in Asia.
Maker Faire Singapore is organised by the Singapore Science Center, and attracts thousands of attendees. Click on Maker Faire Singapore 2015 Highlights to view a video to give you a feel for the excitement in store!
Has the wobbly walk of a caterpillar ever caught your eye? Did you notice how its whole body twists like an acrobat? Would you like to view a butterfly under a microscope? Does it still look just as pretty? Come find the answers to all your queries while playing some fun interactive games. Science Centre Singapore and Butterfly Park, Sentosa brings you Butterflies Up-Close at the Science Centre Singapore.
This summer learn about all that and many other phenomena associated with butterflies and their life cycle. Come and have a unique sensory experience with your children this weekend. The exhibit has been on since 30th April 2016 and is designed for children of ages 3 years and above. The whole family can step into the indoor butterfly enclosure and get familiar with over 16 different butterfly species. So what are you waiting for over 500 beautiful butterflies await you!!
It’s the first Saturday of the month and Team Imagin8ors welcomes you to their monthly Open House. A space to spark imagination for children (ages 3-10) and parents, to tinker with technology, and indulge in some free unstructured play. Meet like-minded parents, make new friends, and swap views on the fascinating learning needs for today’s children! The experience is absolutely free only registration required.
This month, we have three exciting experiences for you to explore:
Using USB Microscopes capable of 200x magnification, your child enters a whole new world of micro objects, such as plants and animal cells! After taking the pictures your child will learn how to prepare slides. The snapshots of microscopic objects and life forms, will be then incorporated into Scratch™ animation. Their fantastic interpretations of the MicroWorld will fuel their imagination. So come to have a closer look at the micro-organisms and use coding to spin out some great stories!!
Never heard of PlayDough conducting electricity before? Come to the Imagin8ors Open House and you can see it happen! Join us, use our recipes to create your own conductive Playdough, in your favourite colour! Light it up with LED lights, and get as far as you imagination takes you!
Do you like playing Arcade Games? It sure will be fun to have one of our own. Why don’t you create one with us? Design the rules, build it with our wide array of fun and colourful materials, and play!
This is a community event and we would like to spread the joy of learning, a maker mind-set, and an appreciation for technology to as many people as possible! Join us in this cause and invite your friend to join too. It will be fun!
When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
1030am – 1230pm
Where: The Meeting Point @ JTC Launchpad,
73 Ayer Rajah Crescent
Near One-North mrt
Daya from team Imagin8ors just had a mind-blowing experience with his daughters at the Future World, ArtScience Museum. The exhibit has 15 interactive all immersive experiences designed to spark your child’s imagination. After our chat I am all geared to step into this digital interactive space with my son. How about you?
MOSH Sentosa, is a brilliant amalgam of technology and creativity where kids can experience imagination come to life in an innovative manner. MOSH! has five technological experiences divided into– Air: Paper Plane Adventure; Space: Fireworks Party; Sea: Doodle Aquarium; Land: Hide-and-Seek Table; and Fantasy: World of Wonder. A perfect place to unleash your creative juices and let technology take it forward. So how about giving the usual stuff on the island a miss and trying out some digital media edutainment?