Summer activities – Visit the Zoo

Most kids would enjoy a trip to the zoo.

Because the winter here is quite long and harsh. I find the best time to visit a zoo is no doubt during the summer. Most special and seasonal exhibits are opened from mid-June through mid September and so you will get to see more animals during this period than you normal would in other months.

Visiting a zoo can be fun and educational. The children can learn about animals, have fun watching them, and sometimes even feed and pat some animals.

Here are some things/tips you can do to make your trip to the zoo more enjoyable.

1. Most zoos will have some educational activities for the kids so check the Zoo website for daily schedules, exhibition guides, educational programs and special events prior to the trip. This will help you decide which exhibit to go and avoid wasting time upon arrival.

2. For older children, you may want to print out some zoo-related activity sheets for them to bring along, give them some papers to jot down the things they learn about the animals or even a scrapebook to draw.

Here’s what the girl did during our recent trip to the zoo. She made her own journal and drew pictures of the animals she saw at the zoo. 🙂

3. Speak with a Zookeeper, whenever possible.
I find that children learn more when they get a chance to speak to someone who know best about the animals. So, do encourage your kids to ask questions and talk to the zookeeper.

4. Take some time to read the fact sheets of the animals with the children. That’s another way they can learn more about the animals.

5. Allow some play time at the playground for young children. This will make them happy. 🙂

6. Bring lunch and snack from home.
You know how picky young children are. The food selection at the park cafes are usually limited and the only way you can be sure that the kids would enjoy their food, is to pack your own food. The children would love the idea of picnicking. If possible, pack some special treats for them to make the picnicking exprience even better.

My children enjoying a cup of homemade strawberry yogurt ice and fresh strawberries for snack.

7. Zoo admission fee can be quite expensive. So, check out your local library for free or discounted Zoo/Museum passes. You can save a lot by planning and reserving your pass ahead of time.

8. Lastly, but most importantly – Slow down and take your time to enjoy your time at the zoo. There’s always something happening at the zoo. It is only when you slow down that you can see and appreciate the beautiful park and the animals.

memory picture book

The girl is at the age where she can self-entertain herself. So we gave her some papers and color pencils to do some doodling when we drove up to Quebec, Canada for a short vacation last week. When I saw how she enjoyed drawing pictures after pictures of flowers, house and people, it gave me an idea…

Instead of throwing away the heaps of pictures she drew at the end of the trip, why not do something more constructive and educational like… making a memory book using her drawings? The girl was really excited after I told her about my idea. So, whenever she had the opportunity, like when we were waiting for our food at the restaurant, resting in the hotel room etc , she would take out some papers and start doodling the things that were related to the places we visited. It is quite interesting to know what she enjoyed and remembers about Quebec through her drawings.

(Don’t you just love kids drawing? I especially like the waterfall and the artist pictures that the girl drew!)

By the end of our trip, she had drawn more than enough drawings to make into a picture book. So, once we were back home and well-rested, I started to help her compile and assemble her drawings into a small booklet. As the girl can’t really spell yet, I had to help her to write while she described the pictures she drew. Other than this, she pretty much did everything by herself. She was rather proud of herself for making this picture book and can’t wait to go back to school to share it with her friends. 🙂

I think this is a great activity for the school-age children. It is fun, easy and a great way for them to chronicle everything they see or experience during the vacation. Because they have created a memory picture book themselves, they will have a great sense of accomplishment when it is done and are more likely to retain information about the places they visited. And if your child loves “Show and Tell” like mine, memory books are really great for sharing!

dragon boat craft

Happy 端午节 (Dragon Boat Festival)!!

Today is the start of the girl’s summer vacation and we decided to make a dragon boat craft since it is the Dragon Boat festival.

Materials Used :

1. 2 A4/letter size papers.

2. Colorful markers

3. Glue

4. Scissors

Instructions :

1. Use 1 A4 size paper to make a origami boat. See the instructions here if you don’t know how to make one.

2. Draw and decorate 2 pairs of dragon heads and tails on the paper.

3. Cut the dragon heads and tails and glue them on the origami boat.

4. Draw and decorate some scales pattern on the body of the dragon boat.

For this craft, you can decorate the dragons with whatever materials you have on hand (like glitters, stickers, or anything!). I’m lazy, so I just provided the girl with the simplest materials i.e. markers. Even with just markers, the boat turned out rather beautiful I must say. Because this is an origami boat, it can actually float on water and we are going to try floating it when the children are having their bath later. 😀 Remember to check back, I may have some pictures to show!

Have Fun!!

Original craft idea from Wee Kean and you should check out how she did hers! She recycled a chocolate box as the dragon boat body and her dragon boat is very cute!

boston children museum ’07

Last week, we brought The girl and The boy to Boston Children Museum as part of The girl’s birthday celebration. The museum is literally a huge indoor playground for the children, and because this wasn’t the first time for The girl, she knew exactly what she wanted to play in the museum. We were just glad to follow her around. 🙂

Anyway, I shall let the pictures do the talking …

New cowboy exhibits … The girl pretended to be Mulan riding on her horse…

The girl volunteered herself to play the character of “carrot” in the interactive play “The Balancing Act”. We were so proud of her even though she did nothing but just to stand pretty on the stage. Haha…

At the Art corner, paper making craft. When the art coordinator ask for a volunteer to make the paper with her, my little girl raised her hand… We were really surprised because she volunteered herself TWICE that day! Wow… So unlike her. 🙂

After she completed her paper making craft, The boy got so cranky (think he buay tahan already) that none of us could pacify him so we decided to call it a day and go home to bake cake with the girl…

homemade christmas cards

Last year the girl had fun making simple Christmas cards for her teachers and classmates, so this year we also want to do the same. I showed the girl the cotton ball snowman christmas card from Lian’s blog, she immediately said she wanted to do one too.:)

Here’s our version of the cotton ball snowman and Santa Christmas cards. Very Cute, right?

This craft is not difficult. the girl did most of the work. The only things I have to help is to help her to cut the snowflakes, glue the scarves on the snowmen and to make sure she glue the parts correctly for the Santa.

Original idea from FamilyEducation.

Other related posts:

Christmas Crafts See our other Christmas Craft here.

santa decoration craft

“Mommy, why are we using green color paper to make the Santa?”

“Hmm… because we run out of red paper it is not Christmas yet. Santa only wears red on Christmas Day.” 😛

“Oh I see. Then I’m going to color my Santa purple!” 🙂

Craft Materials :

1. Construction paper (Pink (for face), Black (for belt), Yellow (for buckle) and Red is preferred for the Santa body.  *these colors are recommended, but you can always change it if you like. 😉 )

2. Staples

3. Glue

4. Scissors

5. Cotton Balls

For detail craft instructions, click here.

(Craft idea from

Other related posts:

Christmas Crafts See our other Christmas Craft here.

museum of science

Last Sunday, DH brought us to the Museum of Science in Boston. Like any other museums in the States, this museum is huge too. We were there for almost 6 hours but probably saw only half of the available exhibits. So, I guess we will have to visit this museum again some day. 🙂

Here are some pictures to share…

Pictures taken at the Discovery Centre, located at the Red Wing. We were there to enjoy a very lively ‘Science and Live Animals’ storytime. The storyteller was really animated and engaging, all the children and adults totally enjoyed her story of ‘how the rabbit got its long legs and the split on the lips’. After the storytime, the girl spent some time making a beautiful butterfly craft, using washable markers, pipe cleaner and coffee filter.

Pictures taken at the Green Wing. We spent a lot of time at the Human Body Connection because there is a egg hatching station. The girl was very fascinated by the chicks and the eggs which were due to hatch. Then we moved on to the ‘Birth’ exhibit. DH just couldn’t stop himself from imitating the pose of the Mother and Child sculpture at the entrance of this exhibit. Poor girl, kena treated like a prop. (PS: she actually enjoyed it la!) 😆 We adjourned to the ‘Science in the Park’ section at the Blue Wing. Though most of the exhibits and experiment stations are catered more for elementary and higher schooling children, there are some which are suitable for younger children too. The girl had a great time playing with the solar-powered toy car, gravity balls station, Jumping-Sound station etc.

Father and daughter having fun posing at the T-rex exhibit. Roar… Oh no, Mulan is in trouble! Quick! Someone please save her!! 😆

Checking out the Egg Hatching station for the last time before we head home. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the chick has cracked out of its shell and was enjoying “suntaning”. Hehe…

We were so lucky! We saw a baby owl and learnt some interesting facts about the owl too!
Do you know?

Owl has a long neck – 14 bones vs human’s 7 bones and that’s why it can turn 180 deg both ways.
Owl is not really the wisest bird, they have a relatively smaller brain than some other birds. So, don’t be happy when someone tells u that you are as wise as an owl 😆
Owl’s ears are long and narrow like a slit and one is placed higher than the other so it can differentiate the sound from the ground and from the top, to help locating its prey.
We often thought that owl has pointed ears but those are actually decorative feathers only.

So, do you know where the ears are located? 😉

Edited :

See the pink markings! Those are the locations of the owl’s ears.

washington d.c. (day 3 and 4)

Day 3 : 24 Dec 06 and Day 4 : 25 Dec 06

The highlight of our Washington D.C. trip is our trip to Smithsonian’s National Zoo to see the Pandas! Here my DH went crazy with snapping photos of the animals. He must have took like over 80 pictures of the Pandas, 30 pictures of the Tigress and cubs, 20 pictures of the Cheetah etc. -_- I’m just glad that he was using his DSLR and not his antique SLR camera. Imagine how much work it would be for me to arrange those filmed prints if he didn’t use his DSLR? Anyway, here’s the photos to share with you…

The Pandas : Tiantian (daddy), Meixiang (mommy) and Taishan (the 18-mth old baby).
You can see them from this webcam here.

Some random animals photos…

| Lonely Mexican wolf that looked very much like a dog.| Big fat beaver.| Majestic-looking American bald eagle.| A wild deer (with family)|

|Cow dung everywhere around this cow. Eww.| Praire Dog wakes up late. We didn’t see them when we were there in the morning, but by the afternoon they were all out.| This lioness must be quite young, she was seen playing hide and seek with her companion.| Cheetah loves to roam around.| Tiger enjoying its treat.| Tigress and her cub (she has 3 cubs actually). |Invertebrates exhibition hall was too dark to take any decent pictures, here we saw how the octopus captured its prey. |The gorillas at Thinktank. They looked quite intimidating. |

|The Amazonia reminds me of the Fragile Garden of Singapore Zoo. We were surprised to see a sloth there!|

|The seals here are probably quite young too. We enjoyed watching them swim and lazed in the sun. They are so cute!|

It was almost 4pm when we left the Zoo, Nikita knocked out almost immediately after we put her in her carseat. So, DH decided to take this opportunity to see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Since I didn’t go with him becos I was stuck in the car with a sleeping beauty, I don’t know much about him and his story. You can read it up all from this site I guess.

After I saw these photos, I told my DH… “Aiyo, Jefferson ???, ????! ??Lincoln??????, ?????.” (PS: Chill out! I’m just kidding, ok!:P)

My DH has this thing for memorial and statues. If he knows of any memorial or statue in the city he is visiting, he will make sure he has the chance to see and take picture of them all. Like these, which he took on Day 3.

Vietnam War Memorial– the wall of names.

– Vietnam Women’s Memorial

He took these on our last day (Day 4) in D.C…
Marine Corps War Memorial

and Dunno-what-Memorial/statues at the Capitol Hill…

and finally, Albert Einstein Memorial, where we finally have our decent family picture taken in the D.C.

With this picture, we concluded our Washington D.C. trip. Yay!

washington d.c. (day 2- part 2)

Day 2 part 2 :

Initially we wanted to visit Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum while Nikita was taking a short nap in her stroller. But she woke up almost immediately after we stepped out of the Museum of Natural History. -_- So, changed of plan… We made our way to the National World War II memorial, which is near the Washington Monument, instead.

The monument is a tribute to the 16 million patriots who served in the US armed forces during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died and all who supported the war effort from home. The memorial plaza is really beautiful, both during the day and night. My DH spent quite a long time there snapping photos, using his new toy (i.e. DSLR). While waiting for him, Nikita and I ate Doritos, made silly faces and took pictures of ourselves. (Who needs the man? We can always take ourselves! haha :lol: )

This is the freedom wall. “Here We Mark The Price Of Freedom”. I feel kind of sad to know that each of the 4000 gold stars (on the wall) is actually representing approximately 100 American deaths incurred in the war. 60年都过了, 今时今日还是有战争. 这是什么世界?! Sigh.

On our way to Lincoln Memorial, we passed by the Reflecting Pool. We saw at least 2 dozens of geese at the pool. This was certainly not a normal sight in December (winter month) since geese usually migrate south to warmer places before winter. That only goes to show that how warm this place is. (Around 50F or 10deg C.) Believe or not, it is so warm that even the trees got confused! They must have thought that Spring is here. We saw some trees starting to bud and we even spotted some cherry flowers!

By the way, it is almost mid-Jan and we still have no snow here! Can you believe it ?! Rewind back to Dec 06, this was what we had. I’m not complaining, but we would love to do some sledding or snowboarding at least once this year. Hahaa…

Next stop : Lincoln Memorial. As this was my 2nd visit, I wasn’t interested in seeing the old man giant seated figure of Lincoln. So, Nikita and I entertained ourselves again with more Doritos and more silly poses. Haha… Finally, DH came to join us. The view of the Washington Monument and its reflection on the reflecting pool was very beautiful and I just had to ask my little photographer to take a picture of us. Hehe… Not bad, right?

At this point, I was actually feeling rather tired and hungry. Both Nikita and I just wanted to go back, but DH insisted that we should see the Korean War Veterans Memorial since it is nearby, within 5-10 mins walk. So, off we went…

Ya la, 是很特别(quite unique). But I was really too tired to appreciate it lor.

走到脚都快断了. -_-

trip to washington d.c. (day 1)

Date : 22 Dec 06, Friday

We started our road trip early in the morning 0430 am. Nikita was so excited that she talked non-stop to DH for about 1.5 hour before she finally fell asleep again in her carseat. It was an 8-hours drive to Washington D.C.

The little one was obviously thrilled with the hotel room. There are many things she liked about this room – the telephone (because we have none at home, we use handphones. 😆 ), the full length mirrors (vainpot loves “admiring” herself) and the big big comfy bed. After DH took all our barangbarang (i.e. bags) into the room, freshened himself up, we had to leave for lunch at the nearby Japanese restaurant. When we announced that we had to go, she protested,” I want to stay in MY hotel. I don’t want to eat. I’m not hungry! I will miss my hotel.” -_- Ya, that’s our silly girl. Cute, right?

After our scrumptious lunch, we headed straight to dc downtown even though it was drizzling. We strolled on the Pathway to Peace to see the National Christmas tree at the Ellipse. This Christmas tree is a living tree that was planted in 1978 and surrounding it is 56 smaller (and living) Christmas trees which each representing one of the various states and US territories in alphabetical order.

At one corner of the pathway, we saw the Nativity scene and burning of Yule Log. We were really lucky to see the forklift truck dropping a few logs into the fire pit, which was a Christmas tradition here in the Capitol. It was definitely quite an experience to see how the logs emitted showers of sparks and provide some warmth on a cold winter night.

As it was starting to rain heavier, we decided to call it a day and went back to the hotel after a simple meal at the Panara Bread cafe.

(… to be continued.)