Monday, October 12, 2015

13 (and more) ways to transform Daiso items into home learning activities

Yes, Daiso. The one shop I would go over and over and over again. Wouldn't you if everything is just at $2? Of course, Daiso is also a terrible place. Go in with the intention of buying just two to three items, and very often, you come out with more than ten. Arghh!!! But no matter how much we buy, we can always find ways to use them, right? :) There are just so many surprising finds that are potentially useful. All you have to do is to think a little bit more, squeeze those creative juices and viola! What I like about Daiso is the ability to use many of its items to create home learning activities for EV and AA.

So today, on this Daiso blog train by a group of Singapore Mom Bloggers, I'd like to share some home learning activities that I've created using oh-so-affordable items from Daiso (underlined items). Truly friendly to the pocket.

Language Literacy & Mathematics
For several of these activities, the materials were adapted for language literacy, number recognition, counting and even mathematical equations.

Wooden blocks (cubes & cuboids), plain-coloured tapes & fine marker pen
These blocks run out of stock really fast, because they are just so versatile! Kids can build with them, draw on them, the list is almost endless. Because they can be hard to find, I usually stock up on them the moment I see them at the shops. I stick plain-coloured tapes on the cubes, so that they can be reusable, and use them to build EV and AA’s language literacy and mathematical ability.

Story cubes

For language literacy, we use the blocks to do activities such as:
- CVC word formation - consonants and vowels are written on individual blocks, and words like CAT can be formed.
- forming words of two syllables or more - syllables of several words are written on separate blocks, for example, TA-BLE, and the mission is to join the blocks together to form complete words.
- sentence making - simple complete words are written on the blocks, and the task is to form simple sentences.
- roll & rhyme game - create a dice with the wooden cubes. Create worksheets where each dice value corresponds to a short vowel, long vowel or word families. For example, if the focus is short vowel, then 'number 1' can correspond to the '-at' word family, 'number 2' can correspond to the '-ap' word family and so on. The task is to roll the dice, identify the specific word family, and then write similar words that rhyme. The difficulty level of this activity can be adjusted to suit someone who has learnt short and long vowels, and word families, or someone who is just starting out forming simple CVC words
- story telling cubes - draw various images (can be of different categories such as animals, transport, food/drink, colours, musical instruments, toys, objects and so on) on the blocks. When the ideas are ready, take turns throwing the cubes and tell a story. Each person can take turns to tell the next part of the story.
- Chinese character recognition - write simple characters to enhance recognition. Or, write the different components of characters, and join the correct parts together like a puzzle.
- Chinese sentence making - write characters on the blocks, and form simple sentences by putting the blocks together.

We also use the blocks for counting, number recognition and simple mathematical equations. Just write the numbers and equation signs on the blocks, and throw the cubes to make it a game of ‘fastest wins’. We sometimes use pebbles, pom poms, and wooden pegs to enhance the learning.

Zips, fine marker pens, paper & paper clips
This activity can be used for forming words of two syllables, and for sentence making. Cut the felt into moderately sized pieces. The syllables of the same word is written on two separate felt pieces, then attached to each side of the zip using paper clips. Then have the child 'join' the syllables together by zipping the zip. Using paper clips means that several two-syllable words can be 'joined' and learnt in this way. Alternatively, this can be used for making short sentences. Write the first and second parts of various sentences on longer pieces of felt, for example, 'Peter is reading' and 'a book'. The child needs to find suitable parts, attach the parts to the zip and then 'join' the parts together.


This activity is for enhancing the learning of word families. Simply cut the pages of the notebook into two parts, one slightly thinner than the other. Write the consonants or consonant blends such as 's' or 'tr'on the thinner strips, and the word families such as 'at' and 'ain' on the thicker strips. Then the child can flip the pages back and forth to create and learn words. In the process, silly words that don't exist may be created, but it's ok. It's all part of language learning.


Wooden clothes pegs, paper & fine marker pen
I created this activity for EV, as I thought this might be a more engaging activity than just writing or memorising her spelling words. Just write the alphabets on the wooden clothes pegs, and write the spelling words on strips of coloured blank paper. Then it is up to EV to find relevant alphabets and match it to the words on the paper. Each correct word gets a sticker. This can even be turned into a speed game, as she becomes more familiar with the words.

Wooden peg

This can also be adapted for mathematical equations. Just write equations on strips of blank paper, write the answers on the clothes pegs, and then match the correct clothes peg to the equation. Or, for sometime simpler, draw groups of dots on a piece of paper, and the corresponding numbers on the clothes pegs. AA had to count each group of dots and match the correct clothes peg.

Stickers & coloured origami paper
This activity is mainly for AA, to help him in learning about letter and number formation, as he’s slowing beginning to write simple strokes. I cut out letters and numbers using Daiso’s coloured origami paper (You can actually use any coloured paper, but I use Daiso’s because the paper is smaller, so there’s less wastage. Plus it’s extremely affordable at $2 a pack). Sometimes, I get EV to help me cut the letters and numbers out as reinforcement.


Plus, as the big sister, it gives her much satisfaction to know that she’s helping di di learn. Once the cut-outs are ready, I get AA to stick stickers on them, following the stroke rules of the respective letters and numbers.

Pipe cleaners, coloured paper (cut into strips) or Post-its & fine marker pen
I created this activity as a more hands-on way for EV to learn her words. I wrote alphabets on strips of paper, one alphabet to a strip. Write the letter nearer the bottom of the strip. If using 3M Post-its, they may need to be cut into thinner strips. Using Post-its might be easier and quicker, as they are already in a smaller size; may just need to cut them thinner. Then roll the top of the strip around the pipe cleaner. For added security, I stuck a small piece of scotch tape behind. Slowly create the word, adding strips of alphabets one after another. Then when ready, just remove the paper from the pipe cleaner, mix it all up. I wrote the complete words on a bigger sheet of paper, and got EV to form the words from the pile of paper strips.

Pipe cleaner

This activity can also be extended to learn mathematical equations. Just replace the alphabets with numbers and mathematical signs.

Hemp string & paper
This is extremely versatile. Alphabets and numbers can be written on the paper and give to any kid of any age to trace using different lengths of yarn. The difficulty can also be modified, such that words are written instead of alphabets.

Hemp string

Pipe cleaners, pebbles, poms poms, measuring tape
EV and AA use these materials to measure and learn about perimeter, length and height. They measure anything they can find in the home, from tables to sofas, to dolls and cars. In the process, they discover that a table can be as tall as 10 pipe cleaners, while a toy car can be as long as 10 pom poms. Each of them also has a retractable measuring tape, which they use to measure like little builders. I also teach them about units of measurements, like centimetres.


Sensory Fun
Fake grass, pebbles & Safari Ltd Toobs Dinosaurs
We are dong a home learning theme on Dinosaurs, and this sensory tub really got AA excited. It’s simple to set up - just some fake grass and pebbles from Daiso and a couple of toy dinosaurs. Later, the kids also asked for recycled milk cartons and bottles to 'feed' the dinosaurs. It was good seeing them engage in pretend play too, and made up story about he the dinosaurs were lost and needed to be saved.


Water beads, marbles & Safari Ltd Toobs Sharks
Whenever EV and AA run out of ideas to entertain themselves, they’ll always turn to their parents and say ‘What should I do now?’. Water beads is a sure winner with them. So I try to think of as many sensory tub combinations with water beads as I can. Usually, it’s just looking for whatever is available and putting these randomly together. Because really, as long as there are water beads and water, the kids will be kept busy for quite a while. I generally like to add marbles, pebbles, plastic alphabets and numbers, or even toy creatures. Add ice for a little variety. Varying the ice shapes (big blocks, cubes, spheres) can also make a difference.

Water beads

Strainers, flour, baby oil, moulds
This can get a little messy, and I don't just mean the kids. I first put the flour in a shallow container, give the kids strainers and off they go sifting the flour. Over-enthusiastic AA likes to fling the flour all over the place, so it's a good idea to have this activity in the bathroom, or anywhere where it's easy to wash off after. Later, I add baby oil to the flour, and get the kids to mix them up into a nice soft dough. Once this is achieved, the moulds go in for some shaping exercise. This activity is deliberately broken up in to separate parts, so that the kids can be engaged for a longer time.


Wooden blocks, pom poms, recycled milk cartons, recycled Yakult bottles, Safari Ltd Toobs Knights & Dragons
This was really one of those random activities I put together one hazy afternoon, when I was tired and extremely uninspired, but surprise surprise! It got the kids busy for quite a while. I think it stretched their imagination, and also trained their motor skills. They could stack the blocks into the milk cartons,, which I had cut into half, or they could squeeze the pom poms into the Yakult bottles. Or they could build their own castles, bridges and what nots for the knights and dragons to battle it out.

Blocks  pom poms

Pom poms, paper, glue
A really simple activity that also practices motor and spatial skills. I drew a simple tree, and got AA to glue green pom poms on to it. This makes him practice the dexterity of his fingers as he holds the pom poms, puts glue on them, and paste them on the paper. I deliberately got him to leave spaces in between, and then asked him to guess how many red pom poms he needed to glue to make apples. For more creativity, felt or foam can be used for the tree trunk, and even a bright cherry sun can be added.

Pom pom tree

Hope you enjoyed the ideas shared here. Do share what home learning ideas you have using items from Daiso.


Next up on the Daiso 101 blog train is Adeline of Growing with the Tans. Adeline loves good deals, and what better place to find them than at Daiso? When she isn't out shopping at Daiso, she looks after her 3-year-old son, Noah, and blogs about their family life, activities that keep Noah busy, and books that they enjoy.

This post is part of the "DAISO 101" blog train hosted by Mum in the Making. Click on the button below to get the full list of Daiso posts, and happy shopping!


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  1. We also love to use Daiso products in our home learning activities. Our recent project is to make DIY story cubes using the wooden blocks.

  2. Wow, what a lovely collection of indoor learning fun - and everything under a few dollars! Daiso really has everything.

  3. lovely ideas to engage your children. I like the safari grass patch :) It's so fun to be a child!

  4. I love Daiso too!! It's great that we can get so many learning materials from them at such a great price. These are excellent ideas Winnie!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  5. I find Daiso products are just perfect for kids learning activities. Some of these activities we have already done but rest I will give a try with my kids.

  6. You are such a hardworking momma! You make learning so so fun for the kids! I've lots to learn from you :)

  7. You're an absolutely hardworking mommy! Thanks for sharing these great tips on making learning fun using simple everyday items from Daiso! :)

  8. Thanks for sharing!! I have been looking at the water beads for the longest time but never got down to buying it because I am not sure what to do with it! I'm gonna get them in my next trip to finally get it hehehe

  9. Wow! Really admire your efforts in making home schooling fun with Daiso products! Creative! Great job mummy! :)

    ~ Audrey @ SAys! Happy Mums


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