23.1.11: Grasshopper

My maid found a grasshopper at our doorstep and brought it inside to show the boys. S called me to come downstairs to have a look at the grasshopper. I didn't feel too comfortable with insects but the boys had no problem with it and kept touching it. I reminded them to be gentle towards the hapless creature.

We quickly put it outside in the garden. E plucked a leaf for the grasshopper to eat, but it refused. 

After looking at it closely, I found the answer why it didn't jump away. It had only 4 legs! The last 2 legs were plucked out! Poor creature!   

23.1.11: KLPac Open Day

We went to the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre Open Day at their premises in Sentul. There were many people there. The boys joined in a storytelling session on the first floor entitled "The Gruffalo" by Marina Tan.

Then we stood in a circle and did some action songs. 

After that, we wandered around the place. We then came to a hall where there were people trying their hands to play traditional instruments.

We were taught how to play the gambang, a traditional musical instrument which looked like a xylophone. It had 2 sticks and you had to hit both the keys at the same time. There were numbers written on the gambang and everyone there were required to follow the numbers to play a tune. 

This guy in orange was conducting the session and all of us tried to play the instruments and make some music together. 

After that, S wanted to take some pictures. I passed him my old digital camera for him to snap pictures. 

After that, we went out to the lobby. There were performances on the stage there with some buskers and later a Balinese dance. 
We took a picture with a busker
Balinese dance

21.1.11: Ang pow craft

I taught the boys how to make some ang pow lantern. At first E didn't want to listen to instructions and just cut through the ang pow packet. After that, I drew a line at the edge of the ang pow packet to guide them to stop cutting at that line. They managed to cut it properly. When it was opened up and rolled and stapled at the edges, it is turned into a lantern. A strip of ang pow paper can be affixed at the top, for the handles.

19.1.11: Cardboard car

I made a cardboard car with a template from "The Ultimate Craft Book" that we borrowed from the National Library. Then I cut out the pieces from corrugated cardboard and used a hot glue gun to glue the sides. After that, I used some sticks and bottle caps to make the wheels. At first S did not want to paint the car. He just wanted to take the marker pen and draw out the details of the car.

A few days later, the boys decided to paint their cars. They had stuck googly eyes onto the car (ala lightning mcqueen). S painted over the eyes, saying that the car was asleep. He didn't want to wipe the paint of their eyes, so the cars remained asleep until today. 

19.1.11: Raft from twigs

My initial plan to make a wooden table from twigs got skewed and it ended up as a raft. The boys put it in the water along with some other toys and twigs. They enjoyed playing with it and it also motivated them to have their bath. (Bath time can be quite challenging and I have to constantly think up of some interesting bath time activities to get them motivated to have their bath.)

18.1.11: I am a Zookeeper program @ Zoo Negara

We joined a group of homeschoolers from the Kepong - Damansara area for an educational trip to Zoo Negara on a Tuesday morning at 9.00 am. It was a program by Zoo Negara called, "I am a Zookeeper".

I felt that the fees were quite expensive, as it was just a 2-hour programme and the children were still so young.

  • RM15 for children 3 years old and below 
  • RM25 for children above 3 years old 
  • RM20 for adults (with MyKad) 

For the kids, the fees were inclusive of the activities and tram, whereas the normal fees for the kids were only RM6 for children 3 - 12 years old.

We took a group photo before we started. Looking at the growing numbers, it looks like that there are more and more people homeschooling their children nowadays and we were happy to meet like-minded people.

All of us were asked to wash our hands first with soap, before we started the programme proper. After that there were some ice-breaking exercises with songs to start off the programme.

Ice-breaking exercises
Then we boarded the tram to get to the porpucine enclosure. E was insistent on sitting at the side. I was afraid that he would fall off the tram in the unlikely event that the tram stopped suddenly, so I held him tightly. 

The children were briefed on what to do. They were supposed to make a "goat" out of a cardboard box and later some pieces of meat would be wrapped inside a piece of banana leaf and put inside the goat. It would be the hyena's lunch.

Those that didn't want to participate in the goat-making activity could do a colouring activity - to colour a porcupine and stick it with toothpicks to represent the porcupine spines (quills). 

The kids had a go at preparing the meal for the porcupines. They inserted pieces of vegetables and fruits such as cabbage, carrots and bananas into the bamboo segments for the porcupines to eat. Didn't know porcupines were vegetarian, err, I mean herbivore.

Some children putting raw meat onto the banana leaf, which was later wrapped and put into the "goat".

The children looking at the porcupine spine (quill)
The porcupines enjoying their meals. All of them had their back towards us. Maybe they were shy. 
We then made our way to the hyena enclosure. The hyena came out to look at the "goat". At the beginning, it stayed away, sniffing at it suspiciously. Then it got curious and moved nearer to the "goat". At that point, my boys got tired, so we walked away from the place to find a bench to sit down and have some cookies. We didn't watch the hyena eating.

The hyena sniffing the "goat".
After that, we took a tram to the Multi-Animal show. 

S sitting at the side this time. I asked him to hold on tight to side railing. 
I was quite disappointed that the Multi-Animal show was not as good as the one I watched 2+ years ago in the same location. At that time, there was this white bird that was trained to fly across the spectators. That was impressive. There were more performances too. 

The seal show (below) was good though. 

The seal clapping and catching the rings
Balancing a ball and shooting right into the net
After the Multi-Animal show, we went to see the aquarium located just behind it. By then, the boys were tired and wanted to go back. It was a pity, as it was just 12.15 pm, and I had wanted to explore more of the zoo to maximise the fees that we paid. I felt a little disappointed as we hadn't really seen enough of the zoo. So, we made our way back to the car park.

They fell asleep in the car. When we arrived back home, S asked me to make a porcupine craft. So, I thought about it and we made a porcupine with clay. I thought of making the feet from clay, but S wanted to just insert the sticks into the porcupine as feet. What a good idea!

The unpainted clay porcupine

17.1.11: Collecting twigs at the park

The boys collected some twigs at the neighbourhood park to make into crafts.

17.1.11: Making muffins

Here we are making muffins. I bought larger paper cups for the muffin. The boys helped to arrange the paper cups into the muffin tray. With only 250g of flour, I managed to make only 11 muffins. It took quite a long while to bake these muffins which were larger than the smaller ones that we made earlier. It also didn't come out as fluffy as I had expected.

Tip from grandma: Put in fresh milk instead (I had used the children's powdered milk) as I didn't have fresh milk in the house.

Scooping the cake mixture into the cups. A messy affair.

17.1.11: Fire engine with rotating propeller

S combined 3 different toys and created this vehicle. He called it a fire engine, with a rotating propeller. Who knows, it could be flashing lights, water hose, rotating siren or propeller. He used the switch part from the gear toy and put it on top of the 'ikea' truck of wheels. Then he turned the switch on, and the  'propeller' rotated and he made fire engine sounds. I was impressed!

16.1.11: Toy gears

I bought a box of toy gears at The Store, since it was selling at a cheap price of RM13. The box looked new and unopened. When I returned home and opened the box, I found a few pieces of the parts were missing. I decided not to return the product and claim a refund, as the boys liked the toy and it was the last box on the aisle. They would be upset and would not understand if I returned back the toy.

There was a compartment to insert an AA sized battery, a switch to switch on and off. For 1 week, I didn't tell them anything about the switch and they just ignored it. I wanted them to get used to the toy first.

It could be made into 3D shapes and S made a vehicle.  Later on, I inserted a battery and the gear started rotating.

15.1.11: Garbage enzyme

I made bottles of garbage enzyme many months ago. Sometimes I used them for cleaning purposes and for soaking fruits such as apples or mixed with water to water the plants. I kept them in bottles for many months and finally decided to filter the solution from the dregs, so I could use it.

I want to send the bottles for recycling, but I can't get the fruit and vegetable dregs out. I think I should cut the bottles into half, then send it for recycling. However, I won't be able to cut through the thicker bottles (on the left).   

Bottles of garbage enzyme ready to be filtered
Filtering the garbage enzyme solution from the vegetable dregs
Pouring it into a container
Good practice for hand-eye coordination
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