I had been planning for his 2nd birthday even though it was not going to be a big affair like his first. And in a blink of an eye, it came and passed. Oh boy, how time flies! Just imagine 2 years ago, he was just a tiny wee little baby and now he is a grown up toddler with his own opinions.
We celebrated in advance on a weekend with family and close friends at our humble home. Since Go Diego Go was his favorite character of the moment, I made it the theme for his party.
It is no simple task trying to keep a toddler captivated, since he started crawling at around 9 months old, Asher has always been more keen in exploring than sitting down to complete activities. They should put a warning on these toy packagings. I mean, they often show these happy babies expertly stacking rings. I bought him a similar toy too, expecting him to do the same but he never had much regard for the toy except to toss the rings around the house.
Soon, I learnt that toys weren’t enough. And that was when I started googling for activities to keep him occupied and stumbled upon all these pinterest-worthy activities online. “Sensory play” is a phrase that often popped up whenever I was searching for new activities. Sensory play refers to play that involves and stimulates the five senses; (the senses of touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing), as this is how young children explores the world around them.
It is the school holidays! I am running out of ideas on how to keep Asher entertained. And it’s just the start of the June holidays only. Some parents find Hokey Pokey rather subpar but I think it’s fine and I really enjoy the kitchen section where Asher gets to pretend he is a chef or cafe patron. Anyway, I was delighted to learn that AMK (Ang Mo Kio) Hub had an indoor playground by NTUC called eXplorere Kids. I thought that maybe we won’t need to travel down all the way to town the next time Asher wants to indulge in some ball pit fun.
So we arrived at AMK hub level 4 where the indoor playground is situated at. Toddlers aged 13-24 months pay only S$5 during off peak period and S$10 during peak period. for a 2 hour play time. Basically, it was peak period since it is the June holidays. What a waste of money it turned out to be.
The place was terribly small that even Petite Park at Changi Point somehow seems so much bigger than it even though I find it to be quite tiny. And that’s not the worst part, the play station’s lack of sufficient lighting made it an undesirable place for both my toddler and I. This was the first time I had to use the FLASH function to snap photos of Asher in an indoor playground.
The toddler’s area turned out to be JUST a pathetic ball pit corner. I’d rather spend my money at Hokey Pokey or Cool De Sac instead. Even Singkids at United Square which Asher finds to be quite boring is actually more exciting than explorer kids AMK Hub. This is the first and last time we are ever heading over there. I guess the next round we would be visiting Polliwogs, we went past the playground the other day and it sure looks fun from the outside.
I think I’d just found my favorite library of all times. I have been bringing Asher out so often, it is starting to burn a hole in my pocket. Indoor playgrounds, enrichment activities and so on, all these cost money.
So when I found this Treetop section at the National Library at Bugis. It was like a dream come true, the place was done up nicely to resemble an enchanted forest which of course made Asher very excited. And there were books for 0-3 years of age available, which would have made this an education trip, not that he cared though.
Asher is turning 18 months this April, that’s the best age to start on enrichment classes (if we intend to) because he can walk now and able to express himself better. We tried a baby class when he was much younger, say 9 months old, but I don’t think he quite understood what was going on. Then again, I wasn’t too impressed with that particular class either and felt that I could do everything the teacher did on my own.
Asher’s favorite part was bubble time
I’m not trying to be a Tiger Mum here. I know some mothers probably have their babies sent to right-brain training and language classes the moment they turn 6 months old. My main purpose of bringing him to such classes is to expose him to other kids of his age group and let him socialize.
This week, we tried 2 parent accompanied classes. One of them was a trial Bilingual Tots lesson at Bibinogs. It runs for 1.5 hours which I felt was slightly too long for Asher. There were parts of it where he got restless but then again it’s his first time so maybe he just wasn’t used to it. The Bilingual Tots lesson consisted of 15 mins of mandarin lessons which included some songs, poems and playtime interaction to promote bilingualism. The rest of the lesson was conducted in English.
Like most toddler classes, it starts with free play. The kids sang songs, read a book together, played some games and were involved in a hands-on activity of painting with lemon juice. There was also a snack break where they served honey stars and the mini wang wang round biscuits. They were also taught a new alphabet each lesson, this round it was the letter L. So this lesson had some phonics incorporated into it.
Overall, I do like the class but I can’t say the same for Asher. Maybe we would try out this other class they have called Mandarin Tots where the lesson is conducted entirely in Mandarin before deciding. I like Bibinogs because the classes focus on Mandarin, our mother tongue which I hardly use at home with him. I think it’s great to expose him to some mandarin before he goes to school.
Trial is at S$45 for weekday lesson and S$55 for weekend lesson. Check out Bibinogs website for more information.
Finally, after being a hermit crab for the longest time. I’ve been bringing Asher out pretty often and especially last weekend since I had the car all to myself. I found out about this place online and thought I should check it out soon. Given it’s entrance fee was only S$10 (weekdays)/ S$13 (weekends) and it’s unlimited play time. That’s really cheap!
They have a cafe which serves western food and even food for babies but I had lunch elsewhere so we didn’t get to try the cafe out.