Animals Theme (mostly for 18 mths) Free Math Flashcard Printable

It’s been a rather fun month of doing all things animal-related with the kids!  It’s a relatively easy theme to do and there are plenty of resources in the library and on the Internet so it’s no rocket science.

1. Vocabulary input
I just flashed (sounds wrong.  But it’s not.) Animal Flashcards to the little one.  Z really likes flashcards and I could do this round after round and he’ll not get bored.  These cards cover both English and Mandarin.  I bought these flashcards from Popular at about $7.90/set.

blog flashcards

Animal Flashcards from Popular Bookstore

 

 

Books on animals

Books on Animals

 

 

 

 

 

2. Reading (non fiction)
Managed to scrounge up this Wildlife Factsheet, which I bought at a flea market for $3? Finally came into use!  Thought I’d read both fiction and non-fiction material to him. A bit dry but you get to learn some interesting facts.

3. Reading (fiction)
The library is a trove of animal-themed books.  I had a few suggested titles but I couldn’t find them in my library.  No matter!  Every 5 children’s books is one on animals anyway.  I particularly liked:

  • Little Bee by Edward Gibbs (English GIB -[BA])  because of it’s repetitive nature.  “Little bee, little bee, why do you flee?  Because there’s a hungry frog chasing me!”  And then the animals change, but those few action words do not.  After a few readings, K could read it on her own.  I love such books which set the kids up for success in reading.  🙂
  • Tell Time with the Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle (English CAR -[BA]) is a perennial favourite.  I don’t know why kids like Eric Carle’s books but I guess they do like the weird, blocky kind of illustration.  The movable hands on the clock helps the preschooler tell time too.
  • Another Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc (English TRE) is the second book after the familiar Night at the Museum. This one focuses more on ocean animals.  And I learnt what a coelacanth is!
  • Princess Poppy: Puppy Love by Janey Louise Jones (English JON).  Anything with Princess in the title appeals to K at this stage.  So we’ll be checking more Princess Poppy books out.  The story is set in a quaint farm town, which I thought is interesting for K.

4. Phonics
I’m starting Z with the letter ‘A’ –> the “ahh” or “air” sound.  I just go “air” “air” “alligator”and sometimes he will imitate me.  In fact, he might actually think that when I emphasize the beginning sound, it’s part of the word!  Now he says, “mm” “mm” “bike”  because I used to say “mm” “mm” “motorbike”.  I guess he found it convenient to drop the middle syllables. A fun art activity to reinforce the ‘a’ sound was making an alligator with the letter A.  You can print out a template here.  Added some googly eyes from Daiso.  The kids love them!

Cuz the mother's art and craft is so meh... but idea is there.

Cuz the mother’s art and craft is so meh… but idea is there.

 

5. Neobear
Coincidentally, I got my hands on this new toy in time for the Animal theme – the Neobear Animal game.  I’m not too big on ipad games and would prefer giving my kids physical toys to play with (even McD’s rubbish toys are preferable to shoving them with an ipad / iphone!) BUT I’m not extreme enough to deny my children ALL ipad games and I have stumbled across some gems which I have bought!  Neobear Animal Game is one of my better finds, I think.  The Neobear Animal Set comes with 96 animal cards (covering mammals, reptiles, insects, amphibians, molluscs, fish and birds).  They have printed the English and Mandarin names of these animals behind each card for parents’ easy reference.  The magic happens when you download their app from the AppStore / Play. When you place the card in front your device’s camera, the animal pops up in 3D and can make noises and move!  The realism is quite uncanny and the kids are definitely enthralled with seeing the animals in 3D form.

Neobear Animal Set

Neobear Animal Set

Of course, as with most materials, if the parent or adult can give additional input, the child will benefit much much more than from merely seeing and playing with the cards. The knowledge input can be very simple to the kids but I think talking to them about the animals – what they observe about the animals, how many legs do they have, what does the monkey’s tail help them do… etc.. the child can learn so so so much more.  And if I don’t know about the animal?  I guess reading up beforehand helps me broaden my knowledge as well.  LimpehZ says I cannot teach science cuz I’m terribad at it but WHO else will undertake such a self-sacrifical endeavour… ???  *flick my hair*

For a demo of how this works, 

You can get your set here!

6. Alphabet Matching Set (click on the link for a separate post on how to use this material)
I just remembered I had this set this morning and pulled it out for the kids to play.  After doing A-C, doing the “air” “air” “alligator”, “buh” “buh” “butterfly”, Z got distracted and started swiping the cards and wooden letters.  Of course K did most of the matching, which is good revision for her.  Plus, she gets to play crazy, pull-her-hair-out teacher to her inattentive, disruptive brother.  Now she knows what my job was – still is.

On theme!  Animal Alphabet Matching

On theme! Animal Alphabet Matching

7. Excursion
And of course, on a theme like animals, what better way to bring the learning to life than a trip to our very own local zoo!  We visited the River Safari for the first time and was pleasantly surprised at the many exhibits there – though most were swampy, ugly and terrifying fish (if I were to meet them while swimming).  I did play a trick on K though. Knowing her favourite Disney princess is Ariel, I told her I was going to show her a mermaid.  Her eyes lit up, like, for reals?!!  Ariel the Mermaid?!?! Then I brought her to see the manatees and she was like.. oh….. that’s a mermaid??  So mean right??  Haha.. but I think she forgave me because she did say the manatee was her favourite animal she saw that day (not the cuddly wuddly pandas, surprisingly!) Maybe next time, we’ll go back to the main zoo to see the polar bear and koalas!

Huge Scary Fish!

Huge Scary Fish!

blog river safari 2

I’m too cool.. No photos please.

blog river safari 3

Why is the panda baby soooooo smalll??

8. Math 
I made some number flashcards with alligators.  11-20 alligators in a set.  You can download them for FREE!

Follow us on our A-Z journey by subscribing via email at the top right of the page or like us on our Facebook page (I HOPE we can get there before Z goes to school next year… but I think… we’ll be fortunately if we can cover half :P)  we’ll see how it goes anyway!

P.S.  I have VERY limited sets of Neobear on the shop now.  Get yours here if you want it delivered in the next 2 days!
And get your Alphabet Matching Set here.

First week in Hong Kong – Hong Kong Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui

Hello from Hong Kong!!  Yes, I’m now in Hong Kong living the expatriate taitai life  (in my dreams), more like DA Maid…  I realized I’ve been quite spoilt by my parents and in-laws who help me out a lot (thanks you all!).  And we have nice piping hot dinners (either at home or out)…  But now, I have to do everything myself. *cries* 😦  But I’m getting used to it… Soon, soon.  Slowly…

It ain’t half bad once I get the routine sorted out.  And part of the routine MUST include some time getting out of the apartment.  I tried 1 day being cooped up all day with the kids and it so.isn’t.fun.  At least 1 person will go mad and usually I’m the first.  The kiddos… well, they are quite the troopers and seem to adapt quite well.  They invent stuff for themselves to do, or K will just amuse herself at her brother’s expense.. i.e. disturb him endlessly, grabbing a fistful of his hair, pushing him down on the ground/bed… basically bully him.  Poor boy… Wait till he grows bigger.

This week, we went to the Hong Kong Science Museum at Tsim Sha Tsui.  Fantastic place!  Okay… I try to be enthusiastic about all the scienc-ey things like all the various physics exhibits – magnetism, light, electricity blah blah.. but sigh, I’m sorry but really, science still isn’t my best subject.  And K has an attention span typical of viewers of Korean MTVs – the 0.2 seconds change of scenes.  She presses a few buttons and before LimpehZ can explain the concept behind what’s going on, she’s run off to the next exhibit.  Urm… okay… moving along now…

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Best thing about the humongous place is that it’s really kid-friendly.  Everything is touchable and they can go crazy.  There’s also this kid’s area on the 4th floor.  I think we should have just come up here right away.  There’s this soft mat area for kids below the height of 110 cm (they are quite strict).  The whole place is littered with soft blocks and structures that the kids can build their castles and moats.  Fantastic!  Hong Kongers are really scrupulous about sterilizing everything (I suppose from their previous SARS experience).  Even my lift buttons are proudly sterilized every 2 hours – or so the notice says.  The kids’ play area is really clean and well-maintained.  Just remember to bring your socks!  There’s also a funky bubble area where you can make those giant bubbles.

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Oh!  There’s this really cool puzzle area with a lot of those brain-teaser things.  K really loved manipulating this puzzle – the Farmer needs to transport the grain, chicken and fox over the river but something will eat something else if left alone kind of puzzles.  She has quite a good sense of logic and with a few prompts, she kinda solved the puzzle.  I think I will come to these kinds of places when I’m old to stimulate my brain so I will delay dementia.  Or just play mahjong.

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Best part??  Admission was free!!!  Cuz it was a Wednesday!  So awesome right??  Good lobangs must share.

Hong Kong Science Museum
2 Science Museum Rd, Hong Kong
Take MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit 2B.  Walk along Cameron Road, then turn left at Chatham Road S, then take the overhead bridge across to the Science Museum.  (I assume it was right at the exit and had to wander around and ask for directions before I found it.)
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10 am – 7 pm, Closed on Thursdays
Weekends 10 am – 9 pm
Ticket Price: $25 for adult, free admission for kids under 4.
Free entry on Wednesdays!