Review + Giveaway: How To Count Busy Book

We recently returned from 10 glorious days in Sydney. It was Elliott’s very first flight and our first “proper” holiday as a family of 3. I applied for one day’s leave before the trip so that I can pack Elliott’s luggage. I was deathly afraid of missing out something important so I threw in many packs of diapers, milk powder, wet wipes, clothes, extra pair of shoes, etc.

I was also mindful to pack in a few of his favourite toys, like his “choo choo tain” and “air pane” so that when required, I can whip them out to distract him for a bit. Another item I placed inside the diaper bag (which really was a backpack that the boy stuffed to the brim with his son’s stuff and lugged it around the entire holiday – MY HERO) was this cloth book called “How To Count Busy Book“.

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I told Cecilia from The Royal Rae that we were going on holiday and the true test of the book would be during the plane rides, car rides (we did a road trip to Hunter Valley) as well as sit-down adult dinners. She very kindly ensured that the book arrived in my mailbox before the trip and I made sure that it went into an easy-to-reach spot in that backpack-that-became-a-diaper-bag.

He likes the “balls” page and would remove all 6 balls (velcro pieces at the back) before putting them all back again. This photo was taken when we were having an “adult” lunch at a rather fancy winery.

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As it turned out, this little cloth book was a lifesaver. It looks like a little bag with 2 handles and has a zip that goes around the entire book. This zip is crucial as it keeps all of the little pieces within.

We stayed with friends over in Sydney and when the adults were busy chugging back wine and chatting, the book kept him busy for a bit. Sydney

He enjoys removing the 10 apples (loose pieces) and then pretending to eat them by going “arhm“. Sometimes, I will count along with him as we place the apples back into the pocket, usually with him ending it with a rousing “TEN!

We also used the bold-coloured book on the 3-hour drive to and from Hunter’s Valley.

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As you can tell from the pictures, he would always turn to the page with the “balls” and get busy with them. And yes, his “choo choo tain” is never too far away. Removing the velcro-ed items repeatedly also allows Elliott to practise his pincer grip and hone his motor skills.

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Sometimes, we’d play along with him and pretend to take the ducks “for a walk” and he would mimic us by doing the same. He also enjoyed taking out the cat (1) and bunnies (3) for a walk, and placing the cat back into the pocket again. When we first got the book, he was fascinated with the tails of the kite (8). We also try and teach him how to count, as well as to identify the various animals and objects along the way.

I also like that it is light and flat so it’s easy to stuff it into the bulging diaper bag. Also, despite Elliott peeling out and putting back the balls repeatedly, they haven’t come undone yet. The stitching of the book is pretty sturdy which is important when placed in little hands.

The only downside? There is a real chance for the loose items, i.e. the apples, ladybug, cat and bunnies to get lost. I have lost count of the number of times where I had to crawl under tables and random corners to retrieve one of these items because Elliott decided to fling them all onto the floor. As such, close supervision of the child is required if you don’t want to end up losing any piece.

Overall, I was very thankful that we had this book to occupy Elliott during his first overseas trip and foresee us taking it along for future ones! I just noticed on their website that there is a similar book called “Air Land Sea Transportation“. Boy oh boy, I think my little boy would like that very much!

GIVEAWAY

My Royal Rae is kindly giving away the same “How To Count Busy Book” (blue) book worth S$37 to one lucky reader of Bubsicles. All you need to do is to follow the steps below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on 19 October, 11:59pm and is open only to Singapore residents. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

Giveaway is over. The winner is Chengling Tan. Congratulations!

Disclaimer: I was given a How To Count Busy Book for the purpose of a review. All opinions are mine.

Review: Ros Schoolhouse

Let me preface this post by saying that I have never been a fan of enrichment classes. I’m not a tiger mum and I think that the “education” my preschooler receives at his daycare is enough for his needs currently. I’d much rather take him outdoors during the weekends and set him loose, than to seat him in a classroom and make him learn his ABCs.

Having said that, when Ros Schoolhouse approached me for a review, I was intrigued. I’ve never joined a class before and I was interested to know what went on behind those shiny, cheery doors. So I said yes to a trial of three classes and here’s what I found out.

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The instructional approach of Ros Schoolhouse is the whole-brain programme, which allows learners to make connections that tap on both the left and right hemispheres, enabling active learning. Aidan was invited to participate in the Enrich 1 Programme, which was catered to three-year-old preschoolers.
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Starting school

I don’t know how it happened but that tiny dumpling of mine is fast approaching a year. A YEAR! I read some of the older entries, like this one on our early days, and my eyes get a little misty. In fact, Elliott is growing so quickly, I found myself checking out play groups.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember play groups. The earliest ‘formal’ education was Nursery or Kindergarten. These play group thingies did not exist then! Play was basically sitting around my grandma’s kitchen and messing up her uncooked rice pot, or running around with the neighbourhood kids at the playground.

These days, it is the norm to send young children to ‘interact and socialise’ at structured play groups. I know that the minimum age for play groups is 18 months but I am also concerned that as he grows older, he will need and want the company of other little people around his age.
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The merits of daycare

When Aidan was born, we were lucky that both sets of grandmothers were willing and able to look after him while we were at work. The arrangement worked well as they split the caregiving duties during the weekdays, and neither were overly taxed by the responsibilities of looking after an infant.

But when he turned two, we made the decision to place him in the full-day childcare centre near my office – a decision that certainly did not endear us to our parents. In fact, I am still getting guilt-tripped about it! But we persevered and managed to get a spot for him about a month after Zac was born (Dragon babies can be so much trouble!). And four months on, I can say that we made the right choice.
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Books For Two

I had shared on my Maybebaby blog back in June 2012 about my online shopping addiction…. for children’s books. Back then, Coco was all of 10 months old!

I was looking at our storybook collection last night and it dawned on me that more than 2 years on, we’re still reading some of our favourite books. While Coco has outgrown most of the baby books, she still enjoys listening to some of the old favourites. What’s more, she can now chip in by reading some of the lines aloud!

Claire, on the other hand, is still relishing stories suited for younger toddlers, such as lift-the-flap Maisy books, touch-and-feel and peek-a-boo type books.

So, what is ONE mum to do when TWO girls want mummy to read them both a book at the same time? I thought it would be interesting to share our favourite titles that appeal to both my 19 month-old and 3 year-old little readers, so that you too can prop one kiddo upon each of your thighs and enjoy some two-on-one (literally) story time.

(Before they start elbowing and kicking each other, that is. Or before your legs go numb, whichever is earlier.)
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Mama Learns The Cello

Hola!

Apologies for the long hiatus from Bubsicles. It’s been an especially hectic period with things exploding at work, sick family members, Claire starting school and … *drumroll*…. cello lessons for me!

Yes, I’m picking up the cello, at the ripe old age of 35 years. It’s a major paradigm shift for the brain, I tell ‘ya. All of the sudden, my mind and body need to communicate with each other outside of their routine conversations to execute the positions and movements needed for cello-playing.

Why am I doing this?

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