Wait, wait, wait. Didn’t they just have one?
In Malaysia, school-going kids had a week’s break late January because it was Chinese New Year. Exactly 40 days later – yes, I counted. I took out my desk calendar, used my forefinger and counted the good ol’ fashion way – Malaysian kids get yet another nine-day break from school.
The week kids are ecstatic about, the week parents dread. Unless, of course, if you’re the parent with help in the house. Then, it’s the week the help dreads.
So in October 2011, I drew up a holiday timetable for my four-year-old. Yes, ma’am. A timetable.
Perhaps you’d like to know what was in that list? Here are some of the activities:
1/ A trip to the public library. I LURRRRRVE libraries. I really, really do. I love the smell, I love the surreal quiet. I love the images in the books, I love the smell of paper, the different textures of book covers. It’s free. It’s air-conditioned. What’s not to love?! (TIP: if you’re particular about the cleanliness of these books, bring along anti-bacterial wet wipes to scrub the book covers with. And choose newer looking books. You’ll thank me for these tips. Think Hands, Foot & Mouth Disease. Think kids with runny noses wiping it on the books.)
2/ Trip to the zoo. This works for kids who love animals and the outdoors. For toddlers, bring the stroller. Zoos have restaurants and restrooms.
3/ Workbooks – My little Ms. Mermaid Princess was four last year and she liked to draw and colour. So I bought her one alphabet and one number workbook, disguised as colouring book and “join-the-dots” book respectively. Of course, I bought her four other workbooks …one for Chinese, one for Malay, one English, one for Science. Thank you, Popular Bookstore!
4/ Science & Math projects – I went online and did tons of research for this. (TIP: Google “home science project”) On Tuesdays, we did science projects. Like build a volcano using baking soda (this is REALLY cool – just remember to do this in the sink). On Fridays, we’d count stuff, add stuff, take away stuff – Maths. So she thinks, oooh, woooow.
5/ Exercise – Ms. Mermaid Princess went for swim lessons twice a week at the public pool. She learned not to be afraid of water. Walks at the park – free. Outdoor playground – free. Her grandmother likes to bring her to indoor playgrounds, these are chargeable and it’s best to bring your own socks. Really, bring your own socks. Even if the playground doesn’t enforce that rule. Bring your own socks. (p.s. unlike the library, you can’t use anti-bacterial wet wipes on the playground equipment so it’s good to go to new playgrounds, which logically, should be cleaner than older ones.) Other kid activities I would have loved for her to do – Pilates for Kids, camping, gymnastics, tennis…
6/ Grandparents – Time to reconnect with grandparents. Ms. Mermaid went out with her maternal grandparents on Wednesdays, 9am to 2pm; and paternal grandparents on Thursdays.
7/ Holiday programme – churches, daycare centres, tuition centres, I understand many of these have programmes for children during the holidays. They’re age-appropriate activities that are fun because they involve interaction and play with other kids. Of course, these are for those sociable kids.
8/ Stock up at home – for quiet time and quiet kids, buy things that the child enjoys doing at home. Since Ms. Mermaid enjoys colouring and drawing, we bought lots of paper, paint brushes, big tubs of paints and an apron. Line the floor with recycled newspaper, tape the newspaper down to the floor. These kept her entertained for a long time. But then, there’s clean-up time… Those kept me “entertained” for an equally long time.
In case you’re wondering, both Ms. Mermaid Princess and I survived the year-end holiday.
Happy holiday, kids!
“Behind Her Lens” is a sort of spin-off of Louis Pang Studio blog. Working at the studio, while necessary, is not so good for the lower half of my body so I take every opportunity I can get to get off this chair. Photo assignments, shoes, holidays, kids, girlie issues…if they take me off this chair and bring me out for a virtual walk, let’s talk about them all here!