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.


Credit Card Cheat Sheet


This is LimpehZ – supreme dictator of the Z family, the humble husband of the Wife, fatherer of the two kids K & Z, and a contrite civil serpent earning milkpowder money so that the Wife can stay home with the aforementioned kids.

Comments from The Wife in pink:
Like seriously??  You want to call yourself LimpehZ?!  Why??  That totally goes against the elegant tone of my blog.  *cough*  Okay.  Whatever rocks your socks.  

I have to tell you that IMHO the Wife isn’t too good with numbers – she was in Maths remedial when I met her in our secondary school days (and she still needed help in JC) and to this day she will still remember numbers wrongly when I ask her “How much did you pay for that?”.  The magnitude of the error would be shocking, sometimes plus or minus an extra zero (or zeroes), and sometimes the first digit could be the difference between 1 and 9.  I would like to attribute that to her not ever having to worry about money, rather than dishonesty, but if I find out anything to the contrary I will let you know.

As a result of the above, our agreement is that I would handle all our family’s money.  Yes, I am that handsome balding Indian ex-ACS dude (Min Finance)*, and MAS and CPF* Board and GIC and Temasek all at the same time, for the sake of our family.

* Please note that I am neither balding, nor Indian, nor ex-ACS.  I was very handsome, just look at baby Z for proof.

A young unmarried colleague sometimes say that LimpehZ is very “uncle” because of my experience with financial matters (e.g. discounts/investments etc) and my conservative Christian views on marriage but he will know better when he gets married himself.  A good way to respond to any hint of disrespect for LimpehZ is to say “My son, I have fathered two children while your weapon is still of unknown quality.  We can talk more about this when your weapon has been tested in the day of battle.”  Works. Every. Time.

Anyway, I recently did a review of the credit cards in my wallet and just wanted to share the result of my findings with you.  I keep a pdf copy of the cheat sheet using the ibook app on my iphone, so that I know which card to use for what kind of expenses.  So hardworking/clever right? As the Z family doesn’t have a car, the petrol row is just for any family who does.  3 other cards that I have considered but don’t find suitable for my own needs are: Citibank Dividend, UOB One and Maybank Friends and Family (the Wife has one so I think that’s enough). Okay, that’s all the freebies you are getting from me.


(See annexure below)

Credit card cheat sheet (information updated as of 2 September 2014)

Credit card cheat sheet (information updated as of 2 September 2014)

Feel free to click picture and save.  Please subscribe via email to get the download link to the editable copy.  Link will be in the confirmation email.  Thanks!!  Hope this has been useful, if not, at least entertaining.  

Flashcards on Flowers (Free printable)

A quick and short post since we are holidaying in Bali now!  Just wanted to share what I do with the second kiddo, Z, who is 10 months old.  I used to be pretty skeptical about flashcards and its effectiveness. But after trying them with K in her first 2 years, I think they are pretty good and it takes so little time (to flash, not to prepare, unfortunately). So since it doesn’t do any harm and might do some good, why not?  K is pretty happy when shown the flashcards and always begs for more.  When doing the transport series with K, she could tell me the difference between transport helicopter and assault helicopter.  Not bad… I was surprised.  Z shows quite a bit of interest too and is happy viewing them repeatedly… like 3 times over.

These are some flower cards I made. You can print them out on cardstock (I’ve tried with my HP laser colour printer but the ink didn’t adhere very well). I print them out on paper and then paste them on cardstock. More work, but at least the colours are vibrant and attractive.  You can also paste the words behind the flashcards so that it’s easy for you to read them out.  I’ve also put in the Chinese names and the Hanyu Pinyin for easier reading!

chinese flashcards with chinese and hanyu pinyin

I learnt how to type in hanyu pinyin!

The link is in the welcome email when you subscribe to the blog.  Thanks and hope it’s useful!  Help yourself to the other files I’ve uploaded there!

Homeschool: Family Theme – Adult and Young Free Printable

We sure took a long time to cover this theme but I guess that’s alright because its about the journey and not the end destination.  It is NOT about covering syllabus… Eeks… teacher-speak!

I went on this Family theme because for quite a long time now, K has been obsessed with ‘Mei(4) Mei(4)’.  Like a younger sister.  Which she does not have and will not have… at least for quite a long time.  It’s quite funny how she pretends play with this MM – feeding her, bathing her and using her as an excuse, e.g. “MM wants to eat sweets.  Can I have 1 more?”  or “MM doesn’t want to sleep.  She still wants to play.”  She really scares my mum sometimes when she says, “MM is sitting there looking at us.” *points to the empty sofa*  Shudder.  Creepy much.  So sometimes, for the heck of it, I’ll scare her too… like when she sits down somewhere, I’ll say, “Hey!  You’re squishing MM!!”  Then she’ll hop up in horror.  Okok.. I’ve been told NOT to encourage her anymore.

So here goes for the theme of FAMILY!

1. Family Tree (Theme)
It’s not very nice but it serves the purpose!  Tried to teach her the family relationships.  She still gets confused – who’s papa’s papa, who’s mama’s papa etc but she’s getting it.  She likes pasting her name in thickets and gets some practice spelling and picking out the letters in her and her brother’s names.

Who's who in the family?

Who’s who in the family?

2. Word Building (Language)

K knows her letters and sounds pretty well now so I’m trying to move her to combine sounds together.  It’s still pretty hard for her because she can only identify the beginning sounds and tends to leave out the middle and end sounds.  They say if that’s the challenge, we need to give her more practice by playing games like “I spy with my little eye… something that ends with ‘p’ “.  Then she has to pick out an object that ends with the ‘p’ sound.  Practice, practice practice!  But I did try out an activity once or twice with the Large Movable Alphabet.  She got distracted real quick after the second attempt.  She’s probably not ready for this.

Word-building with Large Movable Alphabet

Word-building with Large Movable Alphabet.  All the words here are phonetic words (words which follow the letter sounds), save the names.

I also wrote out the Chinese words of the various family members on flashcards and just repeat.

3. Adult and Young Cards (Cultural)

These cards were printed and laminated with the intention to use over and over again.  I showed her the adult and told her the specific name of the young and got her to repeat.  Simple.  It was nice as she went around asking us, “What is the name of the mama cat?”  “What is the name of papa bird?”  “What is the name of mama dog?”  “Urm… let’s just call her dog for now.”  I didn’t want to teach her the word b**** in case she goes around misfiring on people.

4. Spooning Beans from Bowl to Bowl (Practical Life)

You love your family by being independent, i.e. feed yourself.  She can feed herself okay, but she tends to make a whole big mess.  I don’t think it’s a matter of control but she just loves the sensory feel of noodles, oil, rice all over her hands and mouth.  Gross.  Anyway, I hope this helps her be more mindful of spillage while scooping.

K's spooning up a storm!  But to her credit, she managed to pick up every single bean and put them back into the bowl at the end.

K’s spooning up a storm! But to her credit, she managed to pick up every single bean and put them back into the bowl at the end.

4. Household Chores (Practical Life with Math)

Of course, we love our family by helping each other out.  She loaded up the laundry, scooped the detergent (and spilled so got her to clean up) and pressed the buttons, which was her favourite part.  She pegged the clothes.  She scrubbed the corridors and baked (sort of.  I did most of it).

Washing clothes

Washing clothes

Pouring and mixing ingredients

Pouring and mixing ingredients

Cutting out Hello Kitties from cookie cutter

Cutting out Hello Kitties from cookie cutter


Cinderkyra scrubbing the corridors

Maths was kinda incorporated into these activities, e.g. measuring out the ingredients with a weighing scale, what the buttons on the washing machine meant etc.

5. Praying and Character-building

We spoke about why we pray to God – He is our family and He loves talking to us.  Just this week, the Hubs got really sick and usually, K would kick a fuss if Papa wasn’t the one to make her milk, bathe her and put her to bed.  So I told K, “Papa is not well.  We love him by letting him rest.  Let me make milk for you, ok?”  Those 2 nights, she was really compliant and sweet and let me do everything for her (like she’s doing me a favour right??)  But it showed that she understood and though I’m her second choice, she was willing to compromise to show love to her daddy.  Really proud of her.

Plus, having the chance to put her to bed these 2 nights was nice… It’s been a long time since I did it and it was nice not to be rejected for once.  And we played and we read the bible together and discussed stuff that happened in the day… real nice.. 🙂  It felt great to be commanded, “Mama, you are well.  So YOU come over and switch on the air-con.  YOU stay here and take care of me!”  Urm… alright….

So that’s it!  I am sharing the Adult and Young print-out cards if you are interested.  It’s great if you have a colour-printer and laminator cuz I’d hate for my teaching materials to be bent or destroyed in 2 uses.  Couple of ways to use these cards over and over again:
1. Show and teach vocabulary.  This is a cow.  The baby is called a calf…
2. Matching and pairing activity.  Pair the adult with the baby.
3. Memory game.  Flip those cards over and find the matching pairs.
4. Sorting activities.  Big and small, adult and young.
5. Match your 3D, plastic farm animals with the 2D picture cards.  Helps the child move from concrete to abstract representations.
6. Use the picture cards for word-building.  Choose the phonetic words first, e.g. hen, lamb, pup(puppy), dog, cat, duck, pig…  Ask the child, “What sounds can I hear from the word ‘pig’?”  Let the child pick out the letters and you can rearrange it in the right order, then read it out loud together.

If you want the printable, simply subscribe to the mailing list.  The download link will be in the confirmation email.   You can’t find a Adult and Young free printable anywhere else because there isn’t anymore now!  I’m the laziest person around.  If there were, I’d have printed it and not created one myself.  Appreciate if you avoid sharing it amongst your friends.  Please direct them back to my site!  More freebies coming up soon! (Pictures are from morguefile).

*This is the first time I’m sharing stuff over the blog.  Let me know if there’s a problem with the download link!*