Friday, November 3, 2017

Make your Child love ABC Writing and Reading

I couldn't believe my eyes when my son who is 2 years old, called my attention and told me he wrote 'A'. and  he continued to write the whole alphabet!

Many parents struggle to teach letter sounds and writing to their child. It was no exception for me  since I didn't know much about how to present it other than the traditional way. After trying several methods, one or combination of these might work for you.

1. Wooden letter Puzzle
I took advantage of his obsession in repetition until the item is mastered.
I encouraged also his need for order, he always matches in alphabetical order A-Z.
Choose one that has a pincer grip,
it will also help them prepare for pen writing later
2. Letter books and Music

 Read, read and read, add a tune, singing makes it easier to remember.
check version sung by the author
Go to a local Market and match the fruits and vegetables
take a careful look
Find and frame letters around your city

3. Sandpaper letters and Movable letters
Trace with two fingers, say the letter sound.
Ideally, limit up to three for introduction of letters.
Read more on Montessori method of  presentation.
image from

4. GAMES: A-Z sound
During traffic, we take turns in thinking words that start in letter A and so forth. You'll be amazed at what words kids think of.

5. Handwriting Without Tears
This has helped us build the uppercase letters with fun.

Building Mat Man
Image from Mrs, smith singing the Mat Man song

Building Letters
made our custom made pieces from foam board,
you may purchase or make wood for sturdier pieces

Friday, March 31, 2017

Amazing Race Philippines

My childhood memories of Nayong Pilipino has been wonderful, the theme was the country’s landmark.  A mini Philippines, where you could go up the the perfect cone of Mayon Volcano,Albay,  see the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, and have a nice afternoon boat ride.

The new Nayong Pilipino has changed it’s theme to a historic landmark. For a 5 year old child, all the buildings might be uninteresting ,  however the interactive activities prepared by Early Achievers Learning Center made the learning experience different. Let us now start our journey.

   Location:  Clark Expo, Centennial Road, Clark Field Pampanga, Philippines
   Activity: Team is grouped per family and activities are done per color group. Starting point at the ampitheater, where we run and start with our first clue.

1st Stop : Find the first Filipinos Alamat ni Malakas at si Maganda
Legend of first Man and first Woman:  Bathala (God) created the world, He  sent a bird and pecked into a bamboo. It split into two there came out Malakas, (meaning strong) , the first man and Maganda, (meaning beautiful), the first woman.

2nd  Stop:  find the famous house where the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain was declared, answer 10 questions correctly

   10 facts about the Philippine Independence  
1.       Proclamed at: Kawit, Cavite, Philippines
2.       Where: window (not balcony as many depictions show)                  of Emilio Aguinaldo’s ancestral home
3.       Date: June 12, 1898
4.       Time: 4-5pm
5.       The proclamation was made in Spanish
6.       1st time to unfurl the Flag of the Philippines
7.       The flag was made in HongKong
8.       The flag is sewn by Marcella Agoncillo, Lorenza                       Agoncillo, and Delfina Herboza
9.       1st performance of the Marcha Filipina Magdalo as the                  national anthem, now known as Lupang Hinirang
10.   National anthem composer: Julian Felipe

3rd  Stop: Head to Barasoin Church and choose two options
Option 1: present a Philippine currency with the Barasoin Church
It is found in a 10 peso bill which is already out of circulation, chances of having this is very slim

   1.Barasoin is a national shrine.
   2. Major events in Philippine history happened here: the         convening of the First Philippine Congress, drafting of the Malolos Constitution,  and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic
That would be us spoofing a weeding photoshoot
Option 2: eat 4 pieces Polvoron without drinking water
                Definition: from the Spanish word polvo means powder, made of toasted flour, sugar, large amount if powdered milk, butter , sometimes with pinipig (crisp rice)

                Without water, it is very hard to eat and swallow one, let alone four, imagine swallowing heaps of powdered milk in a hurry. I am the one who did this challenge!!!

4th Stop: learn to dance the Tinikling 
1.       Tinikling is the National Folk Dance of the Philippines, it originated during the Spanish Era.
2.       The dance involves two people beating, tapping and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles in a dance.
Tinikling has a rhythm and sound that is both exciting and fun. Careful not to let your feet get caught in the closing of bamboos!
My daughter made a short performance after learning the basics

DETOUR : A choice between Carvers or Dancers, in the Ifugao Village.
Option 1 Carvers: learn the art of Ifugao by doing it hands on, task is to achieve a wood carving sculpture per approval of a native Ifugao (local of northern province of Cordillera Region, Luzon)

Option 2 learn the Ifugao dance, memorize the steps, rehearse and perform
source seventhbliss
    1.       Banaue Rice Terraces, commonly referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”  a famous tourist attraction were hand-carved by the Ifugaos into the mountains 2000 years ago to plant rice.
    2.       Terraces was fed by ancient irrigation system
    3.       Gradual erosion of the step needs constant reconstruction, 2010 drought also posed problem

EXTRA CHALLENGE for other groups:
We cannot resist but have a stop and try this one.
A native Ifugao (means earth people, from northern Luzon of Philippines) is there to demonstrate, teach and assist.
 Try and get a bulls eye with this native bow and arrow. I had a great laugh missing the target way off, my husband had a great luck (chamba) on the bull’s eye on his second try.

5th Stop: Go to far north, find the “House of Estrella” also known as “House of Dakay”, and locate the famous work of world-renowned artist who is from this province.
Ah, my daughter chose the best looking one from the set and it so happens to be the right answer!

About the Artist Pacita Abad (1946-2004):
source :
        1.       born in Basco, Batanes, a small island in the northern most part of the Philippines
        2.       Her painting is characterized by vibrantly colorful mixed media,  painted textile, collages, abstract assemblages and trapunto paintings, a number of small works that include hand stitched textiles, tin , mirror and many other found objects.

About the House of Estrella (House of Dakay)
1.       Made of limestone, Oldest stone house of the Ivatans (local people of Batanes island)
2.       Built during the Spanish Colonial Era 1877, regarded as cultural treasure of the province
3.       Survived some of the strongest calamities such as typhoons and even a magnitude 8.30 earthquake back in 1918

6th Stop: Travel to the City of Marawi and roam around the Torogan House, find the next clue amongst the pillars, wall, doors

source seventhbliss
          1.       to the Maranaw family, it is a symbol of high social status, it was home to sultan or Datu (equivalent to a chieftain)
          2.       it is more than a hundred years old 
          3.       Designed to resist flood by being elevated 2.21 meters above ground using tree stumps, Raised flooring braces the structure against termite attacks, rats and wood decay
          4.       Elevated piles rest on rounded boulders to act as roller supports during earthquakes
          5.       Walls are covered with plywood sticks and roof thatched with dried coconut leaves, no interior partition, the wealthier, the more intricately engraved design of the flowing geometries of Maranaw design system called Okir (geometric and flowing design)
          6.       A Torogan is never complete without the display of the legendary bird Sarimanok (sari means cloth generally of many colors; manok means chicken)  displayed inside

ROADBLOCK:  Memorize a poem written by our National Hero, Jose Rizal
The Song of Maria Clara
Entering the repica of Jose Rizal's House

7th Stop: go to the Chinese Bridge and find 20 Filipino words / food that are inspired by Chinese heritage
     1.       Chinese merchants came to the Philippines , and Chinatown was established in 1594 by the Spaniards
     2.       Chinatown is in Binondo Manila near Intramuros but across the Pasig River 
     3.       Binondo is a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spaniards came
     4.       Some words coined from Chinese:

   Bakya (Native Wood Sandal)
   Bihon (Rice noodle)
   Betsin (Monosodium Glutamate)
   Tsaa (Tea)
   Ditse (second sister)
   Ingkong (grandfather)
   Lauriat (a wide variety of food)
   Lumpia (wrapped meat or vegetable)
   Mami (Meat & Noodle Soup)
   Pansit (Noodle)
   Petsay (Chinese Cabbage)
   Siyansi (ladle)
   Siopao (steam meat in bun)
   Sotanghon (glass noodle)
   Suahe (Shrimp)
   Suki (regular customer)
   Susi (Key)
   Tikoy (Chinese New Year Cake)
   Tokwa (Tofu)
   Wansoy (Cilantro)

8th Stop Challenge: Palarong Pambata, choose three games play it
Going to the Bandstand area and you will find games commonly played by children using native materials or instruments. Due to limited resources of toys, Filipino children invented games without much items but the players themselves, most are outdoor games.
1.       Jack ‘n’ Poy / Bato bato Pik (Rock Paper Scissors)
2.       Piko (hopscotch)
3.       Tumbang Preso (Hit the Can)
4.       Sungka

source dbgg1979
5.       Sipa (similar to Sepang Takraw, but this using metal base and straw)

9th Stop:  youngest member to complete the puzzle at the house of a famous hero with a moniker Dakilang Lumpo “Sublime Paralytic”

Facts on Apolinario Mabini:
1.       Known as the Brains of the Revolution
2.       Considered as the 1st Prime Minister of the Philippines
3.       Helped shape the First Philippine Constitution under Emilio Aguinaldo
4.       Was struck by polio and lost the use both of his legs (at 30 years old)

10th Stop: run towards the Teatro
Celebrate Filipino artistry by this final stop.
We are second placers for Blue Team!

Make learning fun!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Love is in the Air

Children are very expressive of their love. They love unconditionally. Oh how I wish everybody loves like them,  trusting, true and overflowing.

Our activities are always coupled with a fine picture book.

1. Book: Cranberry Valentine

We fell in love with Cranberry Thanksgiving, so we continued with the series. After reading, my daughter is inspired to do Valentine cards.

2. Arts and Craft- Valentine Cards
As simple as it sounds, but it develops fine motor skills on cutting, pasting.
Brainstorm ideas and let those creative thoughts coming.
Practice writing, drills might bore a young child, but expressing their thoughts get them writing.

3. Bake
A recipe is provided at the back of the book, or celebrate with a special treat and make the whole activity memorable

4. Quotes and Bible Verses
Make a heart chain filled with verses about love, open one per day and discuss further.

5. Sensory Play: Color Baskets
 Present one color at a time for your toddler, starting with primary colors, in this case it is red.
photo from Counting Coconuts

6. Sensory Play : Find the Heart
Identify the shape, use visual discrimination.
Touch the sides and contour, let him feel and trace the shape.
Games to play, blindfold the child let him find the heart shape thru sense of touch.
Another variety, put several shapes inside a pouch and let him find the shape.
photo from Orange and Coco
May your love overflow unconditionally. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Call for Courtesy

We always hear every generation saying 'iba na talaga panahon ngayon' (times have changed). One alarming thing that changed is that the lack of courtesy nowadays.

These are very simple and common but without teaching the child, we are missing a lot.

Let me make a short checklist to remind us all of what has been passed and what we might be missing.

1. Doors and Knocking

   - knock before entering a room
   - to enter and exit doors quietly
   - to open and close cabinets and drawers quietly 

as early as 18 months, children can practice doing this

2.Silence Game

   - practice to be silent , use an hourglass, look at the second hand of a clock
   - listen to the sound around you, listen to each other's heartbeat
   - practice waiting for turn to speak
Using what we have at home, a digital timer would suffice,
this will take a lot of practice and patience

3.Telephone / Cellphone Answering

  -don't forget to say Hello and Goodbye, (I noticed a lot are just hanging up after speaking especially on cellphones)
- when answering, getting someone to the phone, calling someone, remind to get the name, message and saying 'wait for a moment', instead of just passing the phone
- practice how to call , get a calling card handy for the child to have in case of emergencies
I gave her a card with my number for her to practice calling,
 you'll be surprised at how easy they remember

4. Coughing, Sneezing, Blowing the Nose, Burping, Yawning

   Sometimes we find children's blunder cute but it is not a good habit to grow.
 -sneeze on arm not on hands
 - practice covering mouth, washing hands and blowing on tissue
- say excuse me

5. Being Excused
- when leaving a group, table,  practice how to excuse yourself, take turns
- when passing in between people, normally you go around, this is only when there is no other choice
- when interrupting conversations

6. Being on Time, RSVP

I have organized enough parties, activities and seminars to know that this has really, REALLY gone bad.

- I would like to see the term Filipino time be erased in anybody's vocabulary.

- Give the host a time to plan, they are paying for your seat already please at least tell them that you are not coming at least a week before to adjust the food and seats
- Make a routine chart and schedule of how to make your time fit

I am guilty of this. Why? because I consider the time others will arrive,
now we are trapped in a loop where everybody thinks it will start an hour or so later

7. Offering Help

Teach the child to be independent and helpful.
Doing everything for your child spells disaster when they grow up. A doting parent might say "they are so helpless" (They are not really helpless at two years old, you'll be surprised at what they can do just give them a chance to learn)

- make a dialogue on offering help and help them discriminate who are in need of help

7. Gadgets Usage

If possible, no gadgets and tv for children under 2 yrs of age.

- no gadgets on meal time

- no gadgets on movie houses and church
- please stop using the gadgets while talking to someone

Remember, you are setting an example to your children, practice what you teach.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Leprechauns with a Pot 'o Gold

St Patrick's Day is not a big thing here in the Philippines, but since there was a unit about it and we already have the materials for it then we went for it.

1. Books: Under the Rainbow, St Patrick

2. Geography and Reading Preparation
Locate Ireland in the Map.
Make a game identifying all words that starts with sh

3. Botany & Bible: 
Talk about shamrock and its meaning.

2. Art: Color Sequence of a Rainbow
The Song Colors of the Rainbow as sung at Kindermusik class helped a lot in remembering the sequence.
We coupled it with activities and painting.

3. Language: Rainbows around the World:
Colors in English,Tagalog and how often Spanish words are used in the Philippines (a short introduction to Spanish influence to the Philippines) and Chinese

Red - Pula红色
Green -Luntian (berde) - Spanish Verde 綠色

and so on

4. Music: Classifying High and Low

- Visual thru pictures (pointing and looking for objects), High and Low
- Kinesthetic thru movement and dance
-  Auditory thru singing the high note and low note, play the high low note in the piano

5. Musical Term: Glissando
-Visual thru the logo

-Kinesthetic thru waving the scarves in an arclike movement

-Auditory thru playing the slide whistle

6. Dress Up

7. Do an Irish Jig
Put a clacker (bottle cap/coin) at the bottom of our shoes and followed the dance step.

In the end we found the pot of gold, and ate them all up!