Sensory play is one of the best ways to engage little ones as young children are naturally drawn to natural materials. Instead of a typical instructional conduct, our sensory playgroups are invitational - Children are invited to interact with the tubs whenever and however they like. They learn and explore because they want to, not because they have to, don't we always learn better when the motivation is intrinsic?
Today's theme was The Three Billy Goats Gruff, conducted by teacher Ainul. We started off with a short warm up, where teacher Ainul read the story out loud.
We then bring out the sensory invitation tub and retold the story! The scene from the story was recreated and reenacted using toys and other materials, the kids got to interact with the setup and this allowed for a most vivid storytelling.
There are so many learning opportunities in sensory play, here's one where we have the word goat presented in different formats.
After the story, we invited the kids to dig into the tubs scene by scene.
All together now
The aftermath, pretty messy but definitely a fun learning experience for everyone. Do join us for our upcoming session next weekend - Pigs in the mud
At Busy Tables, we have hundreds of educational toys and learning resources, this has proved to be both a bane and a boon. Whilst there are many choices, it is not always easy to pick out a toy to play with.
For a start, we have sorted them into different categories and difficulty levels, we also came up with BusyCards system, and invested in capsule machines to provide some form of gamification to our resources.
Now, we have simplified it further! Here are a few changes.
1: All cards are thematic.
2: All the learning resources and toys are grouped together so you no longer have to search high and low for each of them.
3: BusyCards can now be completed in 1 sitting, you no longer have to bring the cards back and worry about forgetting to bring on subsequent visits.
The tasks on the BusyCards are age-appropriate and as they vary in terms of skillsets utilised, BusyCards provide a fun and easy way to understand your child's proficiency in the various disciplines of literacy, numeracy, problem solving, understand the world around us and so on.
So do try them out on your next visit!
Do you sometimes find yourself struggling to manage your easily-distracted child or does he/she have difficulty focusing on an activity?
Indicative behaviors that a child is unable to focus:
- Very easily distracted by new things every few minutes. Never satisfied or satiated with activities.
- Able to focus on mindless activities (television, mobile games, simple toys) but not on activities requiring higher mental stimulation.
- Lack of noticeable persistence in tasks.
- Does not take heed of instructions or directions
- Impulsivity, acting without thinking
These behaviors might already be a source of frustration for parents when a child is young. As children grow older, the multitude of academic studying and standardized tests require focus and discipline. This will lead to better impulse control, mental regulation, higher-level thinking and a multitude of other benefits. This holistic development is predictive of better academic performance and life outcomes!
Here are our top 4 tips/tricks to help your child develop self-discipline and focus! This is one must-have skill in today’s environment of ever-increasing distractions and information bombardment.
1. Engage in structured play with your child. These are physical or mental activities that imparts new skills through self-motivated play. Table-top play is a remarkable exemplar, encompassing countless puzzles which can help to improve basic knowledge (numeracy, literacy), or physical development (fine motor skills). Together with your child, you can find puzzles or activities that your child would like. After that, work on them collaboratively. Give encouragements and let your child work at it first before giving them a little nudge.
2. Offer a mix of rewards when your child completes tasks. There are 2 different types of rewards: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are simple, such as giving your child a toy or candies when they have successfully achieved something. Intrinsic rewards are psychological rewards from doing meaningful work and performing it well. As parents, we can give encouragements and praises for the effort and results attained. This increases inner motivation for a child, hence allowing them to focus better and persist at the task for longer periods of time.
3. Understand the root of the problem. Keep asking questions to determine the reason for your child’s lack of focus. Eliminate distractions and capture your child’s attention by engaging in activities that you know they are interested in. For example, if your child likes dinosaurs, you can let them tell you a story about them, or count their spikes, or even learn about dinosaur colours. Start small and be creative.
4. Stay calm but firm. Remember that your child is not deliberately being naughty. Avoid yelling or getting angry at them. Keeping cool and stating clear expectations is the formula for success. Stating clear expectations “Today, we will be doing this puzzle. First, I want you to help me match all 10 of these words to the pictures correctly. If you can do that, I will give you a sticker!” would guide the child’s expectations and behavior. It is important to be firm about reinforcements and rewards, letting your child understand that you mean what you say.
Happy new year everyone!
2016 has been loads of fun, we opened our doors on 1st May 2016, and so far it's been a fruitful journey. We are glad to have met and spoken to many of you, from parents with their first newborn, to parents of 5(!!!) kids, thank you for your support thus far.
We are looking forward to many new additions in 2017, some of you might have gotten a heads up from me during our chit-chats, so here it is, the list of the services we will provide in 2017
1) Single Entry - With just 1 entry fee, gain access to hundreds of learning resources and award winning toys.
2) Drop-off - Got an errand to run or need some quiet time to focus on your work? Drop your child off here and we will keep him/her busy!
3) Weekly playgroups - We are not a preschool, nor are we an enrichment centre, hence, our playgroups are non-structured bouts of fun!
Some other additions are:
- Craft corner - Variety of handicrafts for crafty fingers
- Featured-toys section - New section comprising of the latest award-winning toys
- Customised birthday parties - Games and activities tailored for your child's and guests' age, no 2 parties will be the same.
We will be closed on 31st December and 1st Jan for the holidays, and we'll be back 2nd Jan onwards to bring more moments of fun and learning for you and your kids.
Being a playground which focuses on Table Top play, Busy Cards' main objective is to provide an extrinsic motivation to spark an intrinsic motivation to learn. This is Selore's second session with the Busy Cards, we are still working with our teachers to do some fine-tuning here and there at the time of writing so pardon the random scribbles you might see on the card.
Busy Cards come in 3 stages depending on the age of your child. Stage 1 for 2-3 years old, stage 2 for 3-4 years old, and stage 3 for 5 years old and above. Each card comes with a candid trivia on its cover with a space for your child to doodle or write, colour pencils are available upon request.
The first 'mission' she needed to complete was 'Knowledge of the World'.
She was quite happy with the fact that this toy came from the older kids' section. She was tasked with matching the flags to the board, which she did with relative ease. It was hilarious watching her try to pronounce the names of the African nations as phonetically correct as she could.
There was a mistake on the board with the spelling of Sudan, which I corrected. When Selore saw this, she immediately flipped all the flags over to the back where only the name is shown. I asked her how she would be able to match without looking at the flags itself, to which she replied, "I want to match them by the names." It was totally unexpected and further convinced me that kids are really curious by nature, with the right environment and resources, they are definitely capable of outdoing our expectations
Ultimately, she was 1 short of completing the last activity before she got a little restless but I still awarded her the stamp for the effort she put in. That's 3 stamps down, and 3 more to go.
She was short of 1 stamp on her tangram 'mission', so she requested to do this next. This is one of my favourite activities in Busy Tables, as it requires you to recreate many different outlines using a fixed set of pieces. It hones your logical thinking and visual-spatial skills, which is why I strongly encourage all my staff to work through the entire range of tangram puzzles as part of their job orientation.
As it was a tier 3 activity, the puzzle was relatively tough, and was a good test for Selore's patience as she had to constantly trial and error. Eventually, with some "Why not flip that piece over" and "Wanna try turning it around?" kind of prompting, we managed to earn the 4th stamp.
Keep your toys after playing!
The Rainbow blocks caught her attention while she was putting away the tangram puzzle, so we took a short break from Busy Cards. She was pleased to be able to arrange the rainbow colours in order, and started singing some rainbow song she learnt from school. Music and singing is really not my thing so I have absolutely no recollection which song it was, only that the lyrics included the word rainbow and mentioned all its colours.
Experimenting with alternative ways of stacking
I waited patiently for her to finish playing with the rainbow blocks, she kept the blocks and wanted to finish up the rest of the card, she chose shoelacing board for her next challenge.
Putting in the puzzle pieces: Easy-peasy
The 1st tier activity of this shoelacing board was simple, she had to put in the puzzle pieces, which she did with relative ease. For the 2nd tier activity she had to insert and criss-cross the shoelaces through the holes, this was a little challenging for her and I had to assist her a little.
It took a while, but we did it!
The 3rd tier activity requires her to tie a knot, but that's something for another day, so I'll leave it to her mum :)
Showing her card to the staff to redeem her token
Getting her prize from the capsule machine!
It's almost her naptime now, so we had her sanitise her hands and waved goodbye to everyone.
Well, is this it?
No way, she bugged us the entire Monday to bring her back to complete the card, so we came back on Tuesday and completed it she did. She was delighted with the mystery prize she got and got started immediately on a new card.
Guess you'll be seeing her around on your next visit!